Thursday, November 11, 2010

At the Firehouse Center For The Arts

My work has been hanging at the Firehouse Center For The Arts' Gallery for a week now, and it's been a good week. I was assisted with the hanging process by my brother, Stephen.... who, it so happens, has a play being produced by the Firehouse during these first two weeks of my show. Presenting our work at the same time has reminded me that we definitely belong to a mutual admiration society. It's hard to say which of us is more proud of the other!

The opening reception was a joyous evening, if a bit of a blur, with so many wonderful people to talk to! I am short on photos, but wanted to show one of the varnished pieces all framed and hanging on the gallery wall. There will be more to come.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Grace's Alpaca Hat

There is something about my niece's favorite alpaca hat that I think gives this portrait a timeless, yet contemporary feeling. Maybe it's the earflaps: old fashioned and funky at the same time. Whatever it is, the vision of her in it makes me smile.

This is the final piece for my solo show which is being hung one week from today. Here is all of the information.

Elizabeth Patterson - Works In Colored Pencil

Firehouse Center For The Arts
Market Square
Newburyport, MA

Exhibit: November 3 - December 12, 2010
Reception for the artist:
Saturday, November 6, 5:00 - 7:00
Open Wednesday - Sunday 12:00 - 5:00
and extended hours on performance nights.
Call 978-462-7336 or visit for more information.

Hope that some of you reading this can come!

(11"x11", colored pencil on Pastelbord)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Acorn Squash and Zinnia

Here is one last still life for my solo exhibit, opening in three weeks. A palette of primary colors, an aged pitcher, pickings from the garden, and bright morning light are some of my favorite elements, so I've brought them all together.

Now it's time to get all of the framing done, mail postcards... and do one more portrait!

(14"x9", colored pencil on Pastelbord)

Friday, October 1, 2010


This work-in-progress is a piece that has been in my head for a long time. I often feature old pitchers, creamers, tea and coffee pots... basically anything with a spout... in my still lifes. When I asked my mom several months ago about borrowing some gravy boats to use as "models", she told me a little story that inspired this piece. What happened was this. My mom likes to display interesting and beautiful things, create impromptu floral arrangements, and generally come up with new ways to showcase heirlooms and thrift store finds. She had just finished attractively setting up her assortment of gravy boats on an antique oak cabinet one day, when my dad walked in and said, "What's with the flotilla?" So, here is my Flotilla. I will smile every time I look at this piece, imagining that moment, hearing my father's voice and humor, seeing my mom's spontaneous creativity and her grin at his silliness. Love.

All right. I've had a little break for tears. I miss my dad a lot.

Anyway! Set up on a blue-gray silk sea, these six gravy boats from my my mother's collection are on their way... somewhere. A flotilla under the parsley and nasturtium flag.

(20"x7", colored pencil on Pastelbord)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cherries In A Teacup

One of my smaller pieces for the upcoming show, Cherries In A Teacup is one that I am planning to frame without glass. While at the CPSA exhibit and conference, I saw many colored pencil pieces finished with different varnishing processes and framed as an acrylic or oil painting would be, eliminating the need for mat and glass. I really liked the look of them, and the pastel board that I work on lends itself to these techniques. Out of a total of twenty five or so pieces in the solo exhibit, five or six will be done this way. The process still feels very new to me, so is requiring a lot of care and patience... plus I'm just realizing that choosing frames will be very different, since I'm so accustomed to having that buffer of white mat in there.

Come to the show and see how it all turns out!

(10.5"x6", colored pencil on Pastelbord)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ella & the Cosmos

I've made lots of progress on this special piece. Bringing "still life" objects into portraits is something I have been wanting to do lately, and finishing at least one of these in time for the November show was a goal. "Ella & the Cosmos" will fulfill that goal, after a bit more work and a trip to the frame shop.

Thank you to my niece for posing, and for suggesting the flower tucked in her hair!

(20"x16", colored pencil on Pastelbord)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mussel Shells & Lusterware, and works in progress

The 'Mussel Shells & Lusterware' still life is ready for framing, and I have two works in progress here. These are each in different stages. The little 6 by 10 inch 'Cherries In a Teacup' is still quite rough, but the gray Pastelbord has been completely covered. I will continue layering and refining to finish it. The portrait, 'Ella & The Cosmos', whose detail I'm showing here, is much larger, at 16 by 20 inches. There is still a lot of bare gray board showing, with some of my early, sketchy layers, but the face is much further along.

I am busily and excitedly preparing for a one-person show this fall, at The Firehouse Center For The Arts in Newburyport, Massachusetts. More on that later!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Work In Progress Detail: Mussel Shells

Using mussel shells in a still life with blue lusterware has been in the back of my mind for quite a while. I thought that white linen would be a good backdrop for them, and it probably would be... but these old, rough-sawn boards happened to be nearby when I chose an east window as my light source, so I lined them up as a tabletop and immediately liked what I saw. The colors are just complimentary enough, the wood grain shapes just similar enough to the shells, and the texture just varied enough from the other subjects to lend a comfortable beauty to the setting.

Sharing this detail of my work-in-progress gives me incentive to keep working, through muggy weather and summer activities, and get this done! Look for the entire, finished piece to be posted soon.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Still Life For A Cat

This is another little 5"x7" piece that I've been working on. I didn't start out with the idea of creating a still life that a cat might appreciate... it just evolved that way, which is kind of fun. I wanted to use the tiny cut glass pitcher and salter, and was looking for an interesting sprig of something green to put in the pitcher. There on my windowsill were some healthy new catnip plants that my grandson and I had started from seeds, so I snipped off a piece and stuck it in. For a moment, it seemed like a weird subject, but that's when the cat idea struck me. So, the catnip went into the salter, milk went into the pitcher, and a tempting tassel was added to the scene.

Once it's finished, I'll test it out on my cat... although, knowing him, he'll probably turn up his nose at it!

(7"x5", colored pencil on Pastelbord)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Heirloom Tomatoes & Chard, work in progress

I sketched and photographed this still life set-up a couple of years ago, when I grew these beautiful stripey tomatoes and the Swiss chard in my garden. The Roseville pitcher seemed like a fitting companion, being an heirloom itself, and having some of that subtle rosy coloring found in the tomato. I sat them all on an old wicker basket, in front of my one-hundred-plus-year-old kitchen cabinets. There is something irresistible to me about pairing the very fresh and the very old!

(11"x16", colored pencil on pastelbord)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Apple and Her Baggage

Here is the finished apple piece, and the title, which just came to me five minutes ago. This little still life was sold before it was finished, and continues to generate interest. Who would have thought that such a simple subject, and small format would be so popular? I think "Apple and Her Baggage" will be a giclee print soon. (By the way, I'm working on adding a page to this blog, where giclee prints and note cards will be available for purchase.)

(7"x5", colored pencil on Pastelbord)

Monday, April 26, 2010

CPSA 18th Annual International Exhibit

For a few years now, I have submitted entries to the Colored Pencil Society of America's annual international exhibit, but had never had one of my pieces chosen. I just found out that "Waiting" (a portrait of my grandson, Ethan) has been accepted for this year's show! It will be re-framed with plexiglass for safe shipping, and sent off to Los Gatos, California in July.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Title for an Apple

Here is a little something I'm working on. At just five by seven inches, it really is a little something! I was going to call this "Apple and Old Maids", because of the group of tiny, shriveled, undeveloped fruits on the same stem as this beautifully hefty one. We call unpopped popcorn kernels 'old maids', and that's what these reminded me of. Then I started to think about the term, and I just don't like it!

So, what else could I call it? Survival of the Fittest? Sole Survivor? Over and Under Achievers? Any ideas?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Still Point Art Gallery Exhibition

Three of my colored pencil pieces are currently on display in Still Point Art Gallery's current show, "Still Point II". I am honored to also have been selected as an 'Artist of Distinction' by the gallery, which will allow me to show more of my work there in 2011. The gallery's blog has articles on each of the chosen artists here. I invite you to take a look!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

O. J. & Blues (work-in-progress #3)

This shot of the latest work-in-progress shows more of the loose drawing stage of my process... not to say that my process is the same with every piece... but somewhere in there, a natural, quick drawing style plays a part. I'd describe my process as follows: intuitive, practiced, and spontaneous happenings, in varying proportions.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Plums, Quince & Tea

Perhaps I should rename this blog, "The Work In Progress Journal".

So, here is another work in progress! I am actually waiting for a delivery of some art supplies to finish this, and my previously posted 'mottled' piece... and I have started another still life in the meantime. Having three pieces in progress at once is something I thought I would never do. Never say never! Now I'm thinking that I might bring all three to the same 'almost done' stage, then spend a few days just working in 'finish' mode, and complete them. It could be a good thing.

12"x12", colored pencil on Pastelbord

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Work In Progress: "Mottled"

Here is a glimpse of the still life I've been working on for the past few weeks. I chose to place a speckled squash in a mottled bowl, by some freckled jars and a dappled glass pitcher... hence the title! I knew it would be a challenge with all of those assorted spots, and the addition of a traditional twining floral print fabric underneath it all ensured that I would be working on this for quite some time. While I was setting it up, by a partially curtained window, a narrow strip of sunlight hit the golden squash, creating that fantastic reflection inside the bowl. With a little nudging, I got the light to shoot through the green glass as well.

Back to work. I will be posting the finished piece soon.

((detail) 16"x20", colored pencil on pastelbord)

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Brother & Sister in Pencil, and a Group Show Report

Here is a recently done pair of commissioned portraits in graphite pencil. I really like how they have a similar feeling of confidence, with a straightforward gaze and the poses slightly leaning toward us. Such beautiful young faces!

I must take a few moments to report on the group show of last November. In a nutshell, it was wonderful! We had plenty of traffic, tons of interest, gorgeous weather, lots of fun, and we all made some sales. We hung the show ourselves (with the help of some fabulous friends), served up an abundance of refreshments at the artists' reception, and definitely got to know each other better!

The artists; Dirk Leach, Nina Fuller, Jane Ryan, and myself, with some of Jane's paintings behind us.