Sunday, May 31, 2020

"WELCOME WELLIES" - My Salute to a much loved family home and downsizing.

"WELCOME WELLIES",  20 X 16, Colored Pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard
Setting up what was to be the last Still Life at our big family home, was more than just your typical set up. It was to be a fond farewell to the home where we enjoyed raising our boys and welcomed grandchildren. This painting was one I thought about composing for a very long time. Putting together a garden vignette scene which would tell a personal story, of joy in past days, family and a bright future.  

It showcases many generations welcomed in our home; my mother's circa 1940's red umbrella, my Welly boots, and my grandchildren's alligator Welly boots (all 3 of them wore these fun little boots), with our colonial welcome yard ornament at our Provencal blue door. The pair of blue garden gloves was added to soften the boot edge and to bring a repeat of blue to the composition. The bouquet of flowers I placed in a vase and into the tall back boot were to enhance our two story entry for the Open House we had when selling this home.  The flowers are a symbol of how the gardens there were such a part of our lives. 

When completing this painting I wanted to preserve the glow of sunlight through part of the red umbrella and where the light steamed under it. Textures of the aggregate and brick porch floor wasn't fun but not hard to create but time-consuming. Although the reflections on the shiny stripped boots were fun and are always the best part to accomplish. Love doing reflections!

Just looking at this painting makes me remember all the wonderful times we had at this home. From Spring Easter Egg hunts to splashing in mud puddles! ;)) So much fun, graduation to prom photos, garden swings, badminton games, and paddle pools. Downsizing from such a home toward a smaller one where life can be easier, simpler and which allows for more art, family and good times is our future.

Transferred Line drawing

Watercolor CP under painting stage. 
While the above photos just show the beginnings of the painting, line drawing transfer then watercolor pencil underpainting of the door, umbrella and background tones. Much planning was done before the line drawing like the many set up versions to the many many photos. moving the ornament from right side to left for composition reasons after the photos were taken. However I neglected in my moving brain fog to photograph all the dry color pencil application stages.

The painting from set up to competition took 11 months, not because it was so large or difficult but because life got in the way. The process of downsizing isn't for the faint of heart and certainly not for sissies. Going from a home we as a family of 5 grew into and down to a home for two empty nesters took perseverance and cut throat eliminating. donating and giving.  

Always hoping for more time to paint, healthy partners, and not having to move twice from home to apartment/storage while building to finally moving again into our new open plan one story home. I love this new home and it was so "just in time" before my dear hubby's total knee replacement.

More on the new place yet to come, and a studio tour is a possibility so stay tuned. Sorry to have been gone so long from my blog and you readers. So comment if you can: Have you downsized recently? Has life gotten in your way of creating? How did you get back on track?

Back in the studio and out sketch journaling, at a safe social distance of course ;))

Friday, April 5, 2019

Trees, ancient, towering, majestic and awesome!

Entwined - Charleston's Angel Tree 12 X 24, Colored Pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard
For some time now I have had a fascination with trees. My first son even works for the Dept. of Forestry.  I live on a wooded lot in rural VA surrounded by some amazing specimens. And that doesn't always mean towering giants, twisting branches can be full of artistry and character even in the smallest of Japanese Thread Leaf Maples.  The image above "Entwined" is a partial section of the upper carriage of The Angel Oak Tree, near Charleston SC.  

"Angel Oak is a Southern live oak located in Angel Oak Park on Johns Island near Charleston, South Carolina. The tree is estimated to be 400-500 years old. It stands 66.5 ft tall, measures 28 ft in circumference, and produces shade that covers 17,200 square feet. Its longest branch distance is 187 ft in length. Wikipedia"

I have been on a personal mission to visit with and witness as many of the truly historic, amazingly large and unique trees on our planet.  Click the Wikipedia link above to read more about this wondrous tree.  I have photo references for many here in VA that are in my "Must Paint" file.  And during my Pacific Northwest & Canada trip last Sept. I photographed some really amazing trees.

When I decide to draw the Angel Oak I decided to focus on the entwined branches and the resurrection ferns that grew on the branches - instead of the leaves. Per one of my favorite  blogs that just happens to be in Charleston: Art Food Home: "Resurrection ferns when dry turn brown and appear to be dead. When it rains they’re rehydrated and turn a lush green without a speck of brown. Apparently there is a special protein the resurrection fern has called DEHYDRIN which allows it to become lush and green only hours after receiving rain/water! These ferns last up to 100 years!" You can read more on her blog.
One of the many reference photos I used.
Concentrating on the branches of this tree was easy because I had so many photos from our trip back to Charleston just to find this majestic beauty.  With all the other trees in Angel Oak Park and their greenery which isn't the prettiest in early March, kind of dull/sparce, BUT the sky colors reminded me of the humid dusky air present the day we were there. This inspired me to do the background in warm dusky colors of the late afternoon.  A little Greyed Lavender, Dusty mauves/pinks/peach and warmed blues moving across the background.  The light that played on the branches I kept warm but still hinting at the greenish Spanish moss and green cast of other mosses on the branches.

Although I often live up to the "Crazy Artist" reputation in my family - the day we were at the Angel Oak I felt a kind of "hum" or lets call it an energy that seemed to surge from the ground into my body.  Something I have felt in the presence of 2 other Majestic Trees since then.  I'm not sure what it is but it leaves you knowing you have been in the company of nature's time aged wisdom.  

Can you feel it? Next time you're in the presence of a natural wonder take time to feel the energy. After all who doesn't need more energy?

Look for more of my tree series to come, but now there's a still life on my drawing board.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Travels, Art Journaling and Plein Air Colored Pencil Paintings

Slocan Lake View, BC, CA- 6" X 12" Plein Air,  Colored Pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard
Available For Sale

As life gets back to normal after traveling for almost a month in September.  I'm playing catch up on all things art related and business related.  But BOY! did I have fun! For an artist who gets recharged by traveling and being on the road, seeing the Pacific Northwest (specifically the Oregon Coast and up to British Columbia, Canada) made the top of my list for my 2018 travels.  I'm an east coast girl so I know it pretty well, north south and mid Atlantic.  Although I've enjoyed previous trips to Washington State and Montana, getting to enjoy the PNW for 3+ weeks as an artist and spend time with my sister was a joy.

I travel journaled for most of the trip and those images will come in another post, stay tuned.  I still need to put a few finishing touches to a couple pages :))  Journaling is always a great way to get the feel of a place for me art wise.  Observe the lighting, atmosphere and vibes of a place. (And the afore mentioned are so different than here in VA.)  Travel journaling kind of gives my head time to adjust to actually making art on a trip. It also gives this "name challenged" brain of mine a place to write location names, places and people I see along the way.  The dates on photos correlate to the dates in my journal so I know where I was on each day.

The scene above was of Slocan Lake's south slip, where ferry boats would come into Silverton in the early part of the 20th Century bringing supplies and miners families to town.  My sister has a lake house there and her view of Slocan Lake is beautiful also.  So many photos to paint from so little time! My reference photo taken for a few tweaks after I returned to Oregon is below.  While the photo is close to what I saw, the camera greatly changes the tones on the far mountain range I observed.  They were not the very blue as seen below.  While pretty I wanted to capture the actual view.
Photo of Slocan Lake View for reference

You see the human eye can see so many more values and colors than the camera. Which clones major darks and cannot see the subtle tones our eyes can.  Plus for this morning out it was really about the fog that still settled in the highest mountain ranges and the lightly dusted glacier of Idaho Peak seen in the distant right.  With some editing of the scene, (removing a couple small trees that interfere with the distance focal point) I hope I can give just a little of my experience of a moist, foggy day to the viewer.  The dew in the grass and shear quiet of the location.  While it was only mid September the tourist season was ending in Silverton.  The campgrounds nearby emptied in the few days we were there and brisk high 30 degree temps hit in the mornings at lake level.

I took so many photos while in British Columbia of the scenery, mountains, rivers and lakes  I will have no shortage of landscape images to work from.  If anyone is from that area who stumbles upon my blog I hope you feel I did it justice.

Of course the piece is for sale and you can contact me at my email: if your interested.  All of my Colored Pencil works on Ampersand board are created using artist grade lightfast pigmented colors, and are protected with fixative and 6 light layers of archival UV Acrylic Varnish.  

Now off to frame this little guy!

Friday, August 3, 2018

International Guild Of Realism Acceptance for my Colored Pencil Work

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"Happy Tequila" 16" X 12" Colored Pencil Painting on Ampersand Pastelboard

Being MIA from the blog apologies and fantastic news!  While still working and teaching in colored pencil I've been a little preoccupied with all that summer brings into your life.  A too long break from this blog is one of them.  So sorry all if you've been waiting.  

And the big news is I finally got out of my comfort zone and actually applied to The International Guild Of Realism for membership.  This was a career goal for me and one I had been putting off for all the reasons we do such things.  Fear of not being good enough and procrastination come to mind as just a few reasons.  I know this may sound odd if you have been following me for a time.  After all, I  have my signature status in the CPSA, I've been showing around the US since 2008, teaching and demoing my techniques for 9 years.  Not to mention blogging about it for almost as long.  

While I am a member of several art associations and have held office in some of them, I like you have that little voice that whispers into my brain............ you know the one....... the one that says unkind, un-encouraging phrases.   

I find it best to apply to art shows, competitions and professional organizations with no expectations at all.  Put it out there in the universe or internet and promptly forget about it.  Well kind of, if it's a show I need to track where I have entered my work for commitment to show.  But other than that give it up.  After all there's not much use in worrying about it after I hit the enter button is there!  

Well to my absolute delight I was accepted!!!!!!  Woooohoooo!!! ;))
After paying my dues I am now listed on their member page and will be able to apply to their future show calls for entry. The next show for me to apply to will be in 2019, since they request you not apply during a current show process.   But they do have a show curated or juried this fall at: 
IGOR 13th Annual
Juried Exhibition at
Sugarman-Peterson Gallery in Santa Fe, NM 
Oct 5 - Oct 29, 2018

I do hope you will check them out and if the show is near you please check it out.  I am so honored to have been added to their membership roster.  In an effort to let more people know about this wonderful group, I have copied from their home page this about the organization: 

The International Guild of Realism's primary mission is to advance realism in fine art through museum exhibitions, art gallery shows, workshops and education programs conducted by our members, marketing support, and internet exposure.
For us, "realism" ranges from the classical based upon traditional, academic-style painting to the contemporary where cutting edge techniques and a wide variety of subject matter are used to comment on today's world. Our members represent a wonderful spectrum of styles including (but not limited to) Trompe l'Oeil, photorealism, surrealism, and super-realism.
The International Guild of Realism was founded by a group of leading professional realism artists from around the globe in 2002 with four goals:
  •  Recognize the best realists working today.
  •  Create gallery and museum exhibition opportunities.
  •  Provide advertising and marketing support for IGOR members.
  •  Offer a bridge between art collectors and the highest quality realist art, created by our members.
We know that as greater numbers of art lovers have access to high-quality realism, the value of these paintings will increase — not just in monetary terms, but in appreciation, understanding, and international attention.
For art collectors, we have juried exhibitions in museums and galleries that span as many aspects of realism as possible, providing incredible panoramas of international work. For museums, we curate themed exhibitions that capture a snapshot of where realism is today. For fellow artists, we gather and share information about workshops conducted by members, and magazine features about realism techniques. It is our passion and our privilege to continuously grow and share this beautiful art form.

Not back to finishing a long project.......soon to be posted here on the blog.
Smiles and have a colorful day!    Gloria
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