Monday, December 31, 2007

Vintage Portrait

Here is a recent commission, drawn in graphite from a wallet-sized photograph. I really enjoy doing this sort of thing occasionally. There is something about creating a new, fresh version of an old image that can just delight people so much. It's always fun to see or hear about their reactions, and it feels good to know that my little pencil drawing will be appreciated in a very personal way, bringing memories of moments and even the sound of a voice long gone that I know nothing of.

8"x10", graphite

Friday, December 21, 2007

Winter Solstice

The Turn

By a twist and a tilt
we go 'round the bend,
That some call beginning
and some call the end.
And some call the middle,
Whether going in or out.
By fact and by figure
there can be no doubt.

We have measured to the nth
and so we've found,
That now is the place
where the earth goes around.
A calendar face, a shadow on ground.

Marking an x
by this common connection,
Feel the rumble and turn,
Changing direction.
Worry one side might freeze
while the other might burn.
Yet we turn to perfection,
Though we mark it or not.
And bend 'round the bend
to a sunnier spot.

Len Faria

To mark the winter solstice, I am sharing this little collaboration; a poem, "The Turn", written by my brother, and a recent art card of mine, titled "Winter Solstice Sun".

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Last but not least...

My third and final grandson portrait for gift giving this Christmas. This was one of those times when, half-way through, it seemed like I was completely off, and was thinking of starting over. Luckily, I forged ahead, remembering how many times I've felt that frustration, only to be pleased in the end at the outcome. (Come to think of it, that happens in all sorts of places besides making art, doesn't it?)

I'm pretty happy with these three little portraits. Of course, the fact that these guys mean so much to me probably colors my perception a bit! They are a joy!

6"x6", Prismacolor pencil on Ampersand Pastelbord

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Another Grandson... one more to go

This is my oldest grandson; big brother to the cutie in my previous post. They are quite a pair! As these will be hung together, I chose poses with similar lighting, and kept the backgrounds simple. The third and final grandson portrait, which will be posted tomorrow, has a very different look, as you will see.

The Ampersand Pastelbord is definitely feeling more comfortable to me now, and I'm off to buy some more today, and a new batch of Prismacolor pencils as well... I've worn them down to the size where they become little art supplies for the two and three year old boys I have been drawing!

6"x6", Prismacolor pencil on Ampersand Pastelbord

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My Youngest Grandson... and another tag!

Here is a little colored pencil portrait of my youngest grandson. This is part of a Christmas gift for my son and his wife... the other part being a portrait of this adorable guy's big brother! I'll post it in a couple of days.

Now, it seems I've been tagged once again; this time by Alvin Richard, an amazing painter whose acrylic works often give me goosebumps! Previously, I was tagged by Robyn, and although I did tell some things about myself, I never got around to tagging other people. So, now I'll make up for it, and do it right.

1. I was fired from my first job, at the age of 16. It was at a "Friendly's" restaurant. The manager told me, "We were looking for a friendlier waitress."

2. I lived in the same house from birth to marriage.

3. When I turned 50, I celebrated by taking a hot air balloon ride. It took off in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, a short distance from the famous Portland Head Lighthouse, and traveled northwest toward Sebago Lake. There was a small plane flying around us at the beginning of the flight, and its passenger was a photographer for Conde Nast Traveler Magazine... taking pictures of us!

4. My husband and I share our house with a 20 pound cat.

5. My sisters and I played a game of Squiggles (... make a scribble, give it to someone, they make a picture out of it...) by mail, for years!

OK, here's who I'm tagging:
Cooper Dragonette
Gillian Mowbray
Nicole Caulfield
J Matt Miller
William K Moore

Thanks, Alvin!

6"x6", Prismacolor pencil on Ampersand Pastelbord

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hello Santa

I have been busily working on a commission piece which will be done in a couple of days, and a few ACEOs as well. Three pencil portraits will be started next week, with several more to follow... and all will be complete by Christmas. I also want to give some gifts of art this year, and I truly hope I can do it all!

So, I have tacked up this Santa over my drawing table, with the idea that if I get everything done, he'll put something good in my stocking!

8"x10", Prismacolor pencil and acrylic paint on watercolor paper

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day is next week, so, of course, I've had pies on my mind. While I seriously doubt that I will have the time, patience, or frankly, the desire to meticulously carve out a pie crust like this, I really enjoyed illustrating the concept! It was good, too, to be reminded as I worked on this little piece, of some of the countless things I am thankful for. By the time the drawing and thinking were done, I was feeling exceedingly blessed!

Wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving!

(This little art card (ACEO) is one of my current listings on ebay. 2.5"x3.5" Prismacolor pencil on Bristol)

Thursday, November 1, 2007


This little drawing is for a wine bottle label. I had fun with these tendrils!

6"x6", Prismacolor pencils and ink on Bristol

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Little Boy Found

I have been spending quite a bit of time clearing and reorganizing my studio space lately. It was literally closing in on me, as I had allowed all sorts of non-studio items to rest here "temporarily". Realizing that I was working in a space with pathways through lots of random stuff, I was reminded that "temporarily" does not mean "indefinitely", and that all of that clutter wasn't just getting in the way of my feet, but also of my creativity and productiveness.

Progress has been made, and I'm breathing easier already. I'm making headway on a commission piece that had been languishing on a drawing table. I'm finding things I forgot I had, or thought were lost. For example, hidden in a stack of paper was a photo CD containing my only copy of this portrait. Seeing it brings back the joy of meeting, photographing, and drawing this serious and charming boy!

I will keep clearing.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tagged? Who, me?

It seems I've been tagged by my blogging friend, Robyn (of "Have Dogs Will Travel"), and I am supposed to share seven previously unrevealed things about myself. (This recent ACEO illustrates the situation pretty well. I am the cat, in my own little world, blissfully unaware of the imminent tag by the lovely smiling sun, which is Robyn!)

This should be easy, since I haven't revealed much so far anyway!

1. Come this Sunday, I will have been married for 34 years.

2. I have 3 sons, and 3 grandsons.

3. Never had my ears, or anything else, pierced.

4. Once made a turducken from scratch, assisted by my husband and sons.

5. Everything reminds me of a song, which plays in my head until it's replaced by the next one, etc., etc.

6. When I finish a bowl of ice cream, I always want more.

7. My mother gave me a long, cotton, Indian block-printed dress in 1972 for my 18th birthday, and I have worn it at least once every year since, around the time of my birthday.

Now, as far as tagging others goes... I'll have to do that later, and also find out how to do that tricky link thing! Thanks, Robyn, this was fun!

"Sun-Loving Cat" 2.5"x 3.5" Prismacolor pencil on Bristol

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tomatoes With Basil

Another still life from my garden and my pitcher collection. I always found this pitcher to be a little bit odd. Its shape is unusual, it's slightly lopsided, and the design looks like a weird face when viewed straight on. But, I've been looking at it my whole life, so it's sort of like an eccentric relative, whom I love in spite of any shortcomings.

It is fitting that I post a basil "portrait" today, as I just finished making a big batch of pesto with most of my garden's basil crop. So, in recognition and appreciation, I dedicate this piece to the departed basil. It gave its life that we may enhance our pasta!

6"x6" Prismacolor pencil on Ampersand Pastel Board

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Zucchini & Peppers With Fennel

Straight from my garden comes this still life, with a little help from my pitcher collection.

I love the feathery fronds of the bronze fennel. The actual plant looks like a drawing itself outdoors, all sketchy and crosshatched, so I decided to draw it just that way. Its companion vegetables and the vintage pottery got a more solid approach. This was my second attempt at Prismacolor pencils on Ampersand pastel board, and I'm not really sure how I feel about it yet. All the little white spots that don't get covered on the textured surface are bugging me a bit, but over all, it's a nice soft look, I think.

6"x 6", Prismacolor pencil on Ampersand Pastel Board

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

"Cloud Cover Sun"

Here's another ACEO with a story. I sketched this idea out in my sketchbook, and liked how it looked. When I did the actual card, however, the face in the clouds looked just like William Shatner, circa early Star Trek. Not really what I was going for. I modified him a bit, but once it was in my head, that likeness shone through no matter what I did. Even the elfin ears didn't do the trick... he just looked like James T. Kirk making fun of Mr. Spock. Then the sun's face, looking at him with those dramatic eyes, had me hearing voices... "She's an android, Jim!"

I listed the card. (No mention of Shatner) It was the first of this extensive series that did not get a single bid. I was going to tuck him away for future amusement, but I decided to relist instead, and he became my first European sale! So, Jim Kirk and his android girlfriend (or maybe it's Yeoman Rand?) are living in Brussels, Belgium now.

The End.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Montecatini Alto Welcome

This little colored pencil piece is a birthday gift for my mother. I had the pleasure of traveling with her to Italy a couple of years ago, and we stayed in the little town of Montecatini. Our hotel was in Montecatini Terme, which is the "new" town, built around its thermal spas. Montecatini Alto is the "old" town, situated at the top of a hill, and we rode up there in the "funiculare" to explore one day. It was a magical day, all around... gorgeous weather, beautiful sights, lots of little surprises as we rounded corner after corner. We both really enjoy the distinctive doors and entryways that are so typically Italian, and I took quite a few photos of them that day. I hope looking at this brings her back to that lovely day!

This being an art journal, I should add that on that same day, we literally stumbled upon an other wonderful experience. We walked back from the funiculare station a different way, and saw a sign for an art academy. It appeared they were having some sort of exhibit having to do with Leonardo DaVinci, and we were trying to figure out, with our limited understanding of Italian, what exactly it was all about. The gate was closed and locked, and we were about to leave when a man came out and spoke to us. To make a long story short, we were able to come back a few hours later, to a side door where he let us in, even though the place was closed. We had this whole exhibit to ourselves, and it was like a dream! They had a large collection of Leonardo DaVinci's tiny little sketchbooks and journals! Fantastic!

(5"x7", colored pencil on Ampersand pastel board)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Another recent pencil portrait... another pretty niece. I really loved how her beautiful curls fell like a curtain, allowing only a limited view of her face... but enough to know it is Eleanor.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Forever and Humbly Unfinished

I don't know what possesses me sometimes. To set up a still life, with perishable fruit and delicate plant material, when I know I will not have enough uninterrupted time to finish, and I'm out of practice with acrylics... well, it's crazy, isn't it? Not to mention my failure to acknowledge the importance of preparation... of work space, materials (do I even OWN a decent brush right now?), or location of the set-up (within inches of an often-used door! Brilliant!).

So, the nectarines are brown and mushy, the leaves of the sweet woodruff are pointing DOWN, three brushes are on their way to the trash, and this little painting is not finished. But, here it is anyway! (6"x6", acrylic on masonite) The tiny yellow pitcher is a favorite object of mine. I'm thinking that my collection of pitchers would be a good theme for this summer's artwork, so expect to see them, in all their diversity!

Having had a little preview this past week of living and working with extra people in the house, I think it might be wise for me to stick with my colored pencils while we have a son, daughter-in-law, and two grandsons (ages one and a half and three) staying with us for the month of July. Yes, definitely.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Here is one of my commissioned portraits, done not too long ago. I always thought she was particularly sweet!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Topiary Garden Sun

I'm still having fun with the prismacolor ACEOs. The ideas for these just keep streaming from my brain... or are they streaming TO my brain? I've received some very interesting messages from buyers about how they searched for a particular subject at a specific time, because of something that had happened to them personally, and one of my newly listed cards popped up. Some of the messages are cute or funny, and there are a couple that are downright mystifying!

Anyway, maybe this one will wind up with an interesting story. I worked the shapes of the topiaries and the face of the sun before really deciding on what route I would take with the rays. In the back of my mind, I was thinking simple geometric, and this grosgrain ribbon-like design is what happened. It wasn't until it was finished that I noticed the overall Engish feel... those rays suddenly reminding me of the Union Jack.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Spanish Bowl

My intent here, with this journal, is to post new work on a regular basis. However, until I have something brand-spanking-new (other than the aforementioned ACEOs) I will share some older pieces. Perhaps looking at them myself, and realizing just how old some of them are, will embarrass me into action! I have cut, sanded, and gessoed some 6"x6" pieces of masonite. I'm sure it won't be long before I make a new start. (Just having those white squares looking at me expectantly each time I enter my studio will go a long way in the nudging department! I know, I'm pitiful!)

So, this still life painting, in acrylic on stretched canvas, was done... let's just say... quite some time ago! It holds a special place in my heart because whenever I look at it, I remember buying that bowl at a street market in Spain. It was meant to be a gift for someone, but it broke inside my suitcase, maybe somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean. I glued it, kept it, and it's really the only memento I have now of that trip.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Nasturtium Nosegay

In preparation for some freelance work for a stationery company a while back, I needed a warm-up to reacquaint myself with my acrylic paints. It had been months since I had even opened my paint box, as I had been working on pencil and colored pencil portraits, which were keping me busy. I did a pencil sketch of these nasturtiums, and then painted right over it with the acrylics, just to get over my initial "paralysis". I expected the result to be a throw-away, really, but surprisingly, I quite liked it! The texture of the pencil lines on the rough paper peeking through the glazes, and remaining as an occasional outline, somehow pleases my eye.

Friday, May 25, 2007

...and now for something completely different

A few months ago, I decided to try offering some of my work through ebay. I looked around at what others were doing, and thought the little ACEOs might be a fun way to stick my toe in the water. I had done some small colored pencil pieces years ago that I always liked, depicting fanciful suns and moons, and I decided to do a few new designs in this even smaller 2.5"x3.5" format. Their whimsy and resemblance to old book illustrations seemed a natural match to the miniature size. I figured I'd do a few and move on to something else.

OK, here's the thing. I just listed the 30th one in this series. I can't stop! The ideas just keep popping into my head, and I find the whole process very therapeutic. Maybe it's the novelty of working from my imagination, rather than from "life", which up to now has been a rare occurrence. It's fun! For now I'm looking at it like exercise... admittedly, kind of silly exercise... but exercise just the same.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I think I've done hundreds

Over the last 35 years or so, I can safely say that I have done hundreds of portraits in pencil. It's just something I have always done, from the time I was a teen. I sketched my brothers and sisters, my parents and grandparents, my friends and neighbors. A few of these old drawings still hang in my mother's house... my sisters at age 6 and 14, one of my brothers at 16. They all have some gray hair now, but on the portrait wall they are forever young!

Pencil portraits were my main thing from the mid eighties to the mid nineties. I sketched so many local children that I couldn't keep them straight in my head. I would meet them in the store and feel bad that I didn't remember their names. I remembered the faces, though! I sometimes recognize adult people whose portraits I drew when they were 10 years old. I guess faces are forever, at least in my brain.

I still do portraits, because I just love faces! This beautiful face belongs to my niece, Grace.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

It's A Start

It's hard to know where to start! This is a colored pencil still life, called "Autumn Gold". It was sold at an auction to benefit a historic farm restoration project in the town where I grew up in Massachusetts. Prismacolor pencils are my most often used medium right now, and the still life is one of my favorite subjects, so this seems an appropriate first post.