Friday, September 24, 2010

Paint whatever comes your way

This chest belonged to my husband's sister, who I never got to meet. It was then used by his daughter Liane and ultimately ended up in storage. I decided it would make a great project for Liane's daughter, Kamrynn, and set about changing it from the basic French Provencial white to something with a little more character. Previous makeovers of this type have included a set of cabinet doors when we added a cabinet unit to an older house and were not able to match the existing cabinets, and a large wooden floor lamp. I'll post photos of the other two mentioned projects in the near future. The chest and lamp were inspired by the ever colorful and whimsical styles of Mackenzie-Childs. I find their work especially delightful for the child in us all.

Happy creating!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pretty in Pink - Party Dress

This past week was spent in the cool mountain village of Cloudcroft, NM where I taught a class in collage.So much has happened since my last post. Some of it has been fabulous: I have a fantastic daughter-in-law! Some of it tragic: my daughter-in-law's father, who was also a personal friend, passed away in the early morning hours on the day of the wedding. Also, my baby sister is now home with hospice as she continues to battle damned cancer. Life happens and we deal with it.
Collage is a welcome respite from the world of reality. It is a break from the tedious detailed work I usually do. I believe the freedom of it is what has made it a unanimous first choice for my students.I'm posting a collage that I completed as a demonstration for the students which includes 3-d elements. It's a cheerful party dress that will be inserted in a shadowbox frame.
The dress is made up of paper elements layered and bent to contribute to the form. The wood panel support was covered with a portion of a McCall's dress pattern and then stenciled over with a diamond design. I think a series of these dresses would make a really fun wall grouping.
Enjoy every day that comes your way, don't waste precious time and stay in the moment as much as possible!
All the best, Linda

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Combining Photos for a Portrait

Though my website, I was contacted by a lady who asked if I could do a portrait of her daughter along with her daughter's pets. She has 3 dogs and a beloved turtle and wanted to have them all included in the portrait. We discussed sizes and agreed that a 22 x 16 would be large enough to incorporate all the subjects and include enough detail to make each recognizable. Also, with a 4" mat, the fnished portrait would easily fit into a 30x24 standard sized frame. We discussed pastel and colored pencil as the preferred mediums for completing the portrait. When I learned that they wanted to carry the portrait with them on a plane where they would travel to visit the final recipient, I suggested colored pencil as the more portable of the two. The client was already leaning toward the colored pencil from reviewing portraits on my website. We discussed the setting for the portrait and a natural, outdoor setting seemed well suited for the inclusion of the pets. The client lives in a beautiful, wooded area and requested including the trees in the background. I agreed to travel to their home to take photographs of each of the dogs, the turtle, and most importantly, the little girl.

Realizing it would be extremely difficult to pose them all at the same time, I focused on trying to capture each of them separately and made notes regarding personal characteristics and expressions. It was rather sunny and warm and I knew that the shadows would be harsh and I would have to soften the shading when doing the final artwork. After returning home, I went through the photographs and emailed samples for the client to select and also rough images of various poses for the group. Using Photoshop, I cut and pasted various poses of the little girl and each of her pets. I emailed the rough compositions to the client to solicit her preferences. The first two images below were sent as the intial suggestions for a composition incorporating all the elements.
The client responded that she preferred the vertical format, but requested that the dogs be facing forward. The third composition above was the result of those revisions.

The facial expression in this photo was selected as best representative of Holly. To have her incorporated with the 3 dogs, I turned her body more forward and changed the arms to hold the turtle more centered. Bob was cooperative and easy to photograph. I think he likes posing.

Max wasn't especially interested in having his portrait done. The client noted that his usual facial expression included his tongue hanging out on his left side. She also asked that he be looking up or forward instead of to the side.

Unfortunately, Dusty was not looking forward in any of the photographs I had taken. I wanted to be sure to capture his unique markings, so I consulted the photos that I had taken and referred to a photo I found online of a black and tan dachshund facing forward for a reference in drawing the shape of his head from a face-forward position.

I was fortunate to get a shot of Bea that did not require modifications. I eliminated the leash attached to her collar, but otherwise, she was good-to-go.
The final portrait: Holly & Friends, colored pencil, 22x16

The client expressed her satisfaction with the final portrait and I had the pleasure of knowing that special memories had been captured and recorded. Hopefully, the good times will live on through my artwork.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans...

That may not be the exact quote from John Lennon, but close enough.

We expected to be back in Cloudcroft today, but that is not the way things have gone. We are moving up a wedding between my son and his fiance by several months and are waiting on the date. My sister is struggling with cancer and is not feeling well.

I have a painting on the easel and am trying gilding for the first time. I'm using imitation for this first piece. I can't see using gold or silver until I am sure I can apply it competently. A botanical drawing of a rose that is almost completed is awaiting my return to Cloudcroft. I put it aside to complete the portrait I was commissioned to do. I'll post them here later.

For now, I'm sharing an acrylic painting based on a quiet pool and stream I photographed in Tennessee a couple of years ago.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Painting my Face

"Painting my Face" 10x14 Colored Pencil
The idea for this painting has been percolating for several years. I wonder if artists are better at applying their makeup or not. And what if you could just repaint the parts that you didn't like? Then again, that could be a disaster. For a long time I thought I should get a model for this design. I pondered how I might set it up - with the model's face reflected in a mirror, or the model facing the viewer with a mirror in her hand, or... I finally just used the digital camera with the timer setting. I don't particularly like doing self-portraits, but the model is always handy and the fee is affordable.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

It's Just the Judge's Preference

Entering juried competitions is a tricky thing. After all, the selections are purely the preference of the person(s) viewing the artwork. The art juror brings to the table their own personal likes and dislikes. No matter how hard you try to be objective, if you really don't like something, it's bound to play into your choices.
For some reason I can't explain, I recoiled at the sight of tattoos as a child. I have worked hard to overcome that as they have become more mainstream, but the point is, I have to work at it. Given the choice between a natural beauty and an artificially adorned one, I would tend to gravitate to the former. That is a bias that I have and the point is, most everyone has predilections they consciously or subconsciously carry with them.
The judges for art events bring their own inclinations - consciously or not - to their judgments. I like all different kinds of art, but may not be able to appreciate certain types to the degree someone else might. In addition, it is the judge's responsibility to create an exhibition that is varied and interesting. If a large percentage of entries are similar in subject, it makes the competition in that genre more difficult.
When I created my still life painting, "American Classics", I thought it was one of my better colored pencil paintings. I also realized that there would be an abundance of still life entries with flowers and fruit, making it more difficult to stand out in a large field of similar entries. I had wanted to do something a little more "out-of -the-box" and have been doing quite a bit of free-lance illustrating recently, so I came up with the concept of "In Search of Rousseau". I believe that the piece shows more imagination and creativity than the still life painting. However, I believe that the technical skill used in the still life painting was of a higher level.
There have been years when I have entered 2 paintings and neither was selected for inclusion. The first year I entered the Colored Pencil Society of America's International Exhibition, I sent 1 submission. (Entrants are allowed to submit up to 2 images for consideration with no more than 1 entry being eligible for inclusion.) At that point, I was entirely self-taught in colored pencil
and was totally naive about the level of competition. My piece was included and I was thrilled. If it hadn't been juried in, I might never have entered again.
I am writing this blog to let other artists know how wrong-headed that would have been. In another year among other entries or with a differen juror, that piece could have easily been rejected. It was a still life of fruit and might have been one too many to make the cut that year. Just remind yourself that the variables are many and keep trying to do your best work. The decision to include or exclude your entry, is no more than the preference of the judge.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

In Search of Rousseau

"In Search of Rousseau" 18x24 Colored Pencil on Sanded Panel

This colored pencil painting which I completed a few months ago has been juried into the 18th annual CPSA International Exhibit. It was done as an homage to Henri Rousseau. For those of you who might not be familiar with the artist Rousseau, he began painting in his 40's in the time of Matisse. He was inspired by the exotic plants he saw at the Paris botanical gardens and by photos from books about Africa. He felt he had stepped into a dream when in the presence of the strange and beautiful plants and sought to project the mood to his paintings. Rousseau painted in a primitive, naive manner that was ridiculed by other artists - though it is thought he was not aware of their disdain for his paintings. His work was later held in higher regard and Picasso supposedly rescued one of his paintings from a street vendor who was selling it as a canvas that could be reused by artists seeking inexpensive painting supplies.
My painting depicts a fancy lady - to represent the Paris elite - on a quest through a primitive, naive jungle landscape in search of the artist Rousseau. A composite of Rousseau images follows.

In my next blog, I will compare the painting that got selected for the exhibit and the painting that didn't, and a little about art competitions.

All the best, Linda

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Angel of Peace Paper Painting Collage

I took a break from the colored pencil paintings I am working on to create a 20x16 collage on a birch panel. I used some highly textured papers on the dove and wings of the angel. I had purchased some handpainted papers from an artist in Florida recently who was trying to raise money to help a friend avoid bankruptcy and I was able to incorporate some of the papers from that purchase. I wasn't happy with the hair on the angel and ended up using papers from a magazine and like the mixture of patterns I found. There are handpainted pages from the Bible worked into the collage in many places. Actually, there were even more of them on the wings of the angel, but I thought the color too dark and ended up covering them with thick, handmade paper. The next photo is a closeup of the detail.
I have two colored pencil paintings I hope to finish by the end of the month so that I can enter them to the jury for the annual international colored pencil exhibit. Peace & grace, Linda

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

More Collages Across the Atlantic

"Hands across the water, heads across the sky..." Paul McCartney

Continuing with collages from Joanne Cole's students in Great Britain:

These delectable creations make me smile and I hope the students had as much fun making them as I've had looking at them! Isn't it amazing to see how different people interpret the same theme? Ice cream sundae collages - in all shapes and colors of the rainbow! Thanks so much for sharing, Joanne!
I just finished a new collage painting yesterday and will post it later. For now, it's clean up the mess I made while doing it and then back to the drawing board - literally. I intend to complete 2 colored pencil paintings by the end of this month to enter the annual international CPSA juried exhibit. The one I'm working on now is on sanded panel and is a homage to Henri Rousseau. I need to have it finished by the end of this week to have time to finish the traditional still life that is in the very beginning stages...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ice Cream Across the Atlantic

Last year I completed 2 ice cream cone collages and posted the process on this blog. Since then, I was contacted by Joanne Cole in Bristol, England. She is a school art teacher and her students were beginning an assignment using collage to create ice cream sundaes. She was asking permission to use my collages and information with her students. I readily agreed and asked that she send photos of her students' work. I emailed photos of the different stages on the ice cream cone collages I had done. I had posted them here previously, but for some reason, several of the photos couldn't be viewed later on. Today, I am sharing with you a photo of my new international friend, Jo

and the work of her younger students.

This first set of collages was done by 11 year olds with the main focus on tone. On my next blog post I will show the sundaes done by the older students, so stay tuned!
It is such fun that the internet enables us to connect with people of similar interests all over the world. Enjoy!
All the best - Linda