Thursday, September 11, 2014
Seven years ago, my grandson, Oscar, was visiting here in Maine. Not quite two years old, and very active, he was for a short while on this particular day, agreeable to sitting for some photographs. I was taking the photos for the purpose of drawing a portrait, and was happy with the assortment I got, especially the ones where he was sitting on the big rock in my back yard. There was something about the images that kept calling me back to look at them again and again.
When I say "again and again", I really mean it. This what happened, repeatedly, over several years:
1. I would see the images in my file of reference photos.
2. I would be compelled to begin the portrait project.
3. I would think about the dimensions necessary to convey the feeling I wanted to evoke. 4. I would decide to begin it at a later date.
O.K. I am leaving out some important stuff in that description. What really was happening was this:
1. I would see the images and immediately be hit (hard!) in the gut with... what? Love? Longing? Whatever it was, it was powerful.
2. I would be excited, with butterflies in my stomach, to get started.
3. I would be afraid and nauseous, doubting my ability to actually accomplish what my mind's eye and my heart could see so clearly.
4. I would relieve all of the aforementioned symptoms by keeping the project in the "later" category.
I had almost decided that too much time had passed, and it would be silly to do a portrait of a toddler when Oscar is really such a big guy now. I told myself that I had missed my chance to complete it in a timely fashion, as if there was a statute of limitations on such things. Little debates on the matter were happening in obscure back corners of my brain. It finally hit me that I needed to do this.
So, last February, I ordered my 24 x 36 inch Pastelbord, and took the plunge. Seven months later, Little Oscar, At the Edge of the Wild, is complete. During the process, I experienced many bouts of gut-wrenching love, longing, butterflies, and nausea, among other maladies. I'm sure there will be remnants of all of these as the work is exhibited for the first time, next Tuesday at the opening reception of my show in Portsmouth.
(24x36", colored pencil on Pastelbord, acrylic varnish)
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
I am so looking forward to being there! Little did I know, while working on this drawing, that it would lead to a weekend in New York with my husband and some wonderful friends!
Thursday, August 28, 2014
The Gateway Gallery at Great Bay Community College
Thursday, February 6, 2014
So, now I have my new sheet of Pastelbord. It is larger by far than any others I have used for my colored pencil drawings. Actually, I think it's the biggest one the Ampersand company makes... 24x36 inches. It will be like doing this 9x12 one, eight times. An adventure!
Friday, November 8, 2013
As I worked on this still life, I was also constantly aware of the delicacy of most of the objects' contact with the window sash. Though the shells at either end have some weight, they balance on just a tiny point of their surface. The empty crab shell appears to be on tiptoe. The quince blossoms give the lightest touch with their stems, while their petals yield softly, and appear to meld with the shadows. In contrast, the worn old bottle sits solidly with its wide base, but the flowers rest there ever so gently.
(18 x 6", colored pencil on pastelbord)
Thursday, May 23, 2013
I'm taking a break from working on this little 5 by 7 inch piece. For its size, it seems to be taking way too long to finish, but I guess I brought it upon myself when I chose that ancient chair with the interestingly flaking paint as the backdrop for a pair of plump tomatoes. It really is almost done, but I just needed to let it be for a while.
So, to save my sanity, I've begun work on another still life. This one is 6 by 18 inches. It's still rough, but I'm liking it!
Both of these are colored pencil on Pastelbord.
Monday, April 8, 2013
Searching for a naturally lit place to set up my still life, I was drawn to the sunny porch, where this tablecloth was already covering the table onto which I unloaded the apples from a bag. They looked interesting together, but I decided I needed a container of some sort. These antique variety apples are really large, so off I went to find a bowl big enough to hold a bunch of them. I had always meant to include the mended bowl in a drawing, and it just happened to be the perfect size for these huge apples.
(Antique Apples and Mended Bowl, 12x12", colored pencil on Pastelbord)
Friday, January 11, 2013
I posted this as a work in progress a while back, and since that time, it has been sold, finished, varnished, framed and delivered... in that order. It's truly a wonderful thing to sell a piece before it's completed!
I chose the title, Tomato Bull's-Eye, for two reasons. The first is the composition, with the stacked plates' concentric circles reminiscent of a target, the crisscrossed shadows and fine blue lines of the top plate reminding me of crosshairs. The second is the tomato itself, a beautiful Italian heirloom variety, called 'Cuore di Bue', which means 'Bull's Heart'. It was that reference to a bull that pulled it all together. I do enjoy coming up with titles!
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
This is one of those pieces where I really am enjoying all of the contrasts and connections going on.
The very orderly arrangement of stacked plates and perfectly centered tomato is overlaid by the odd angles and indistinct shapes of the cast shadows. The soft, fleshy tomato appears even more ripe in contrast with the cool, hard ceramic surfaces. And, of course, it's hard to miss the hot reds versus cool blues!
The bottom plate's geometric details seem to reach out and connect with the linear shadows, while the little top plate's design mimics and surrounds the tomato's contours. And then there's the middle plate: its slightly sculptural texture hinting at those lobular shapes on the tomato, as the fence, earth and clouds illustrate quite literally where it was very recently growing.
Friday, October 5, 2012
Amazon. I am excited that my colored pencil portrait, Grace's Alpaca Hat, was selected for publication in this book, and can finally be seen on its pages! The portrait of my niece, Grace, was completed in October of 2010, entered in the competition and selected in the spring and summer of 2011, and now published in October of 2012. I saw Grace recently, and we were trying to determine how many drastic changes in hairstyle and color have happened since this portrait was done... I lost count!
Thursday, June 21, 2012
It looks like art exhibit season is here, with all of the framing, delivering, shipping, printing of cards, and hanging that goes with it. I am pleased to have my work juried into three upcoming shows so far.
Tomorrow is the opening reception of the Art Is Community III juried regional show at the Old White Church in Bar Mills, Maine. Three of my still life pieces are hanging in this very special, local show.
On Monday, I will be shipping my September Still Life On Moss to the 20th Annual CPSA International Exhibition, at the Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center in Covington, Kentucky. This is my third year in a row being accepted into this show, which means I'll achieve signature status. Very excited about that!
Then, in another week, I'll deliver two pieces to the juried show of the New England Chapter of CPSA, at the Sharon Arts Center in New Hampshire.
The still life shown here (as yet untitled) is in the process of being varnished, and will be framed very soon for entry into yet another local juried show. I love the calm feeling of this piece... everything worn, and pale, and comfortable. The bottles were actually found under the floor of a good friend's barn, many years ago, by our boys. They were just doing what boys do: burrowing in the dirt, and finding treasures. They are almost sanded to a frosted surface, like sea glass. The shells, too, have that rough-tumbled quality, worn away, showing their layers, or encrusted with limpets. I'm counting on these charming qualities to help me come up with a suitable title. But, right now, I'm off to help prepare the exhibit space for tomorrow's opening!
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Back in September, as my garden overflowed with beautiful still life possibilities, I took a few days to set up and photograph some unusual groupings, for future inspiration and reference. This was drawn from one of my favorite creations from that project. And, yes, I consider the gathering of objects and placing them together in various ways a creation in its own right. It's amazing how much trial and error, arranging and rearranging, tweaking and nudging, and toting things from place to place it takes to come up with a good still life composition!
I wanted to use the bright peppers and large, almost ripe, heirloom tomato in this modern art-glass bowl, with a snip of turning Virginia creeper vine as a "garnish" of sorts, over the top. I set it all up on vintage linen tablecloths... a white, a turquoise, and a swirly print, then on an old wooden chair with peeling paint, then a granite step. I tried it in the garden, among the growing plants, on a huge tree stump, and, finally, right on the ground in a mossy area strewn with maple seeds and dry leaves. I found it enchanting. Really. Like fairyland enchanting. Once I saw how the dappled light worked its magic with the glass and the shadows and the cushiony green carpet, I was powerless to do anything but draw this lovely little moment in time. That is how this particular still life came to be. And after many, many hours of work, we all lived happily ever after. The End
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
I recently delivered these commissioned pencil portraits, of three completely charming and lovely girls. Drawing siblings is always interesting, because as I work I notice the features and expressions that may be similar to each other.
Another thing that is unique to a set of portraits such as these, that will be hung together on one wall, is making sure that they look comfortable together. The way I accomplish this is to make sure they are each lit from the same direction when I take my reference photos, and choose poses that create a feeling of unity.
My plan with these three was to place this one in the center, with the other two sisters each facing toward her. Once they were matted and framed (beautifully, thank you Sylvie!), they did indeed make a very nice group!
(each 9x12", graphite pencil on bristol)
Friday, February 3, 2012
This sunny still life will be featured in an article which will appear in a summer issue of the Daniel Smith Artist's Materials catalog, and also on the Ampersand Company website. The nice people at Ampersand asked me to do this after seeing my prizewinning piece in the Artist's Magazine, and I was very excited to accept. (Ampersand makes the Pastelbord that I have used for almost all of my colored pencil paintings.) Included in the article are some photos showing the drawing at different stages, along with information about my process, and some thoughts about my work.
To coincide with the catalog's season, I pretended it was summer here in chilly Maine, and set up the strawberries, old blue glass saucer, and a favorite tiny yellow pitcher out on the sun porch. That was when those great shadows introduced themselves to the composition. I really like how they formed a kind of sunburst shape on the little pitcher!
I will post an alert when the article has ben published, but for now, here is Strawberry Shadow Play.
(12x9", colored pencil on Pastelbord)
Friday, January 6, 2012
This little portrait of my grand-daughter was a long time coming.
First, it took a long time to get some good photo reference, even though I had taken plenty of pictures of her every time we were together. The thing is, I have some criteria for my portraits. I want the pose and facial expression to be relaxed, calm, and contented... as if the subject sat comfortably with me as I worked on their portrait. (Even though I actually use my photos for reference.) My feeling is that the resulting portrait is one that will be enjoyed with that same contentedness by its viewers.
But, whenever Audrey spied the camera, she would make a funny face. So, although we had a lot of fun, those needed reference photos eluded me for months. I finally got some I liked, and began drawing... oh, back in August, I think. I finished it just in time to give to my son and daughter-in-law for Christmas. Granted, there was a lot going on in my life during that time, but still, that is a long time for a little portrait. I keep comparing it in my mind to a slow-cooked meal. I suppose it's o.k. to be a crock-pot once in a while. Who knows, maybe I'll be a pressure cooker one day!
(6x9", colored pencil on Pastelbord)
Friday, November 4, 2011
I am happy to finally be able to announce that my colored pencil piece, Mottled, has won second place in the still life category of The Artist's Magazine's annual competition! It was so exciting to find out about this several months ago, and waiting until it hit the newsstands to publish my news has been tough. (I was just informed by my sister that she and my mother did indeed see the issue in a bookstore today... and they bought every copy there!)
(For a better view, click on "Still Life Gallery", to the right. It's in there!)
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
This piece should be finished and framed in time for the "Art at Marrett" show this weekend. I'm calling this one Onion: Past Her Prime. More and more, I am inspired by the undeniable beauty of things that are slightly worn, over-ripe, chipped, patched, or gone-to-seed. You have to admit, for an onion that a few days later, went to her final rest in the compost, she's looking quite striking here!
Appropriately, the upcoming show is in the barn at the historic Marrett House in Standish, Maine. I will be happily surrounded by antiquity!
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
This little graphite pencil portrait is a special one, in that it's the latest in a series that was begun over twenty years ago. I have a few precious clients whose collections of my work are like visual chronicles of their families' growth: in this case, pencil portraits of grandchildren. The snapshot below shows the drawings of Isabella's older cousins on the wall... some of whom are young adults now. Time really does fly.
(9x12", graphite pencil on bristol)
Thursday, June 30, 2011
My colored pencil still life, Heirloom Tomatoes and Chard, has been juried into the Barn Gallery's annual Open, Regional, Juried Exhibition. It's exciting to be a part of this show, and I must admit that sometimes I forget how fortunate I am to live so close to an area that has such an active and dynamic arts community... especially in the summer!
Regional Artists: An Open, Juried Show
On the corner of Shore Road and Bourne Lane
Exhibition Dates: Wednesday, June 29 - Sunday, July 30, 2011
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 9, 5 - 8 PM