Friday, December 27, 2013

Looking Back On 2013

 My space at Crossroads Gallery

I can't help but to look back these last days of the year.  Christmas has passed and I'm tidying up the last to dos before the year ends.  Happily making big check marks on my mental and actual lists.  

Each year I make a list of Goals - Personal and Artist ones (it's a well known fact that I'm a huge list maker, a trait I have passed down to some of my boys and to my granddaughter), my husband jokes that I probably have a master list of lists and I actually do.  But I  digress......

My Personal List always has the proverbial : Loose 10 pounds+, Get more active,  ( somehow these are tied together and involve another item, find more time to do this), and tell more people I appreciate them in my life, live a more present day.........and so on....... You get the drift.
Crossroads Galley Space

But my Artist List usually has more concrete and productive Goals.  And I think even if you are not a regular member of the Make A List Club, your art can benefit by doing so.  Like making my grocery list, it's the very simple act of writing it down that files it into my brain, and makes me think about where I want the new year to take my art.  If your like me with busy days and stuff to do unless I sit down to ponder these things I don't feel in tune with where I'm going in my art.   Yes, there are professional artist goals like:  get my website redesign finished, apply to more shows, and redo my exhibit space at Crossroads Gallery.........

Then there are the deeper listed items that even the hobbyist artist can think on:  Developing better depth perception in my landscapes, continuing to refine my skills in lost and found edges,  growing my small band of plein air sketchers and journaling friends. 
There are many people reflecting on the year as it was and I hope just as many looking forward to the new.  As I think about what I want to do to spread the colored pencil paintings word and how I can help my students accomplish their goals I'm thankful for the small band of my blog readers.  I hope my blog entries have helped some of you or spurred on a curiosity for the media.  Let me know if it has, make a comment and tell me how I can help more or just share this with someone you think may enjoy it.  

And if your reading me for the first time, let me know how you found me.   I promise my entries are usually more full of pictures and how I did my latest painting than lists.      

Now to finish the last 2013 painting in my drawing desk.

Oh and instead of a New Years resolution (which I would un-doutably would break by the 5th of January I'm making a 2014 Mantra and it is: Accomplish Your Best   

What would yours be?
Gloria Callahan

Friday, December 20, 2013

Colored Pencil On Travertine Marble - Great new surfaces

                                        Celtic Greenman on Travertine Marble 10 X 10 Tile

This is a post that's been waiting to be written on a piece I accomplished at this years CPSA Convention in Brea, CA this summer.  Elliott Everson conducted this workshop, as a signature member of the CPSA, his work is very appropriate for this surface.  His website is here:  Take a look at his work and subject matter, it really goes well onto the stone tile he works on and his location.  But since I'm not a fan of snakes, reptiles, and such, I choose to work from a reference of mine that reflected one of my passions.  Green men faces, I have them all around my yard and home, on a wall of my front porch and elsewhere in my garden.  I just love them.  This mythical figure the Green man symbolizes the life that is found in the natural plant world and on earth itself, and has many interesting stories and fables surrounding it.  Being a gardener I can't help to love the simple idea of the green man protecting my garden.  Their faces are as varied as the human faces in our lives.  

I had created this Celtic Greenman originally on a used violin for a fundraiser for the Richmond Symphony several years ago, called "String Art" (see below).  I primed with colorfix pastel primer on the front face of the badly beat up instrument and then applied my color pencil on top.  It was auctioned to raise funds for the symphony so I never had a chance to enjoy it at my home and secretly wanted one of my own.  
So it was this image of a stone carving from the Bamburg Cathedral I chose to use as my workshop adventure with travertine marble.  I highly recommend Everett's teaching method on stone, if you ever get to take a workshop from him.  And being an ole decorative painter working on new surfaces intrigues me.  

Working on unsealed, tumbled marble tile was an adventure indeed.  My normal method of working in 20-25 layers on paper or pastelboard wouldn't work here.  Yes, the roughness chews up your pencil a little, so that's similar to pastelboard or sanded paper.  But after a few 3-4 layers of wax based pencil (Prismacolors) you find the pencil sliding on the stone.  Now that would have bothered me but I had just finished working on double frosted mylar for my Jamestown Sea Captain. (See my Aug. entry titled:  Gloria J Callahan, CPSA - Colored Pencil Paintings: Jamestown Sea Captain and my busy summer.   Mylar or Acetate does not take many layers of wax based pencil either.  The one difference is that with the travertine marble can be spray with workable fixative to get a few more layers down. Which worked beautifully on the Celtic Greenman.  

Working with the rough surface was fun to incorporate the dips and crevices into the subject.  This gave me a whole new idea for a series of stone pieces to create.  More to come....... so watch for new work.  Oh, one more thing, you finish and protect your work by spraying with fixative then several light coats of acrylic sealant or varnish.  This of course would not allow you to use the tile for a trivet with hot surfaces as the varnish would be damaged and thus your work.  I'm happy to display it on a counter easel for the art work it is.  And now I have one for my very own.  
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