Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Karl and Kaden

Karl and Kaden
16x20 graphite on bristol
The bonds that tie are such a compelling subject for me.  This is the companion portrait to the "Kat and Chloe" of the last post.  I love drawing mothers and babies, but I also love the father-baby bond.  There is no relationship as tender as that of a parent and child.  This piece was also executed mainly with an 8B pencil.  I like to use a variety of paper tortillions to blend and shade the flesh areas of the faces and hand.  I additionally use a mechanical pencil for the lash and brow work - once I have shaded in the main areas.  Once I feel like the portrait is finished, I spray it lightly with workable fixative to prevent amy smudging of the graphite.  I also try very hard not to touch the bristol with my hands as I work.  If the oil from my skin gets onto the paper, it changes the way those spots accept the lead.  If I decide more work is needed, I simply continue drawing, always finishing with a fixative on top.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Kat and Chloe

Kat and Chloe
graphite on bristol - sold
It is so easy to draw someone I know - especially when she is one of the sweetest friends I have ever had the pleasure of knowing!  She is pictured here with her new little bundle of joy.  There is something about the bond of motherhood that draws me in like no other - almost as if I am compelled to capture it with pencil and paper.  I used my favorite vellum bristol and did the majority of work with my trusted 8B water-soluable pencil.  Perhaps as little as 5% of this drawing was executed with my other various pencils.  They are simply not needed.  When I reach the point where I can almost feel my subject breathe, I lay my pencil down, step back from the paper, and take a long look.  I let it rest until the next day, and look again.  If I am still satisfied, I sign it, and look towards the next piece.

Monday, October 22, 2012

My Little Chickadees

My Little Chickadees
Oil on panel, 11x14
Flowers and birds always call out to me when I'm out in the countryside painting.  These irises called to me from a garden along the road side in Augusta - just east of the little park in town.  I started this during a Joshua Been workshop on a cool, crisp morning - my first attempt at plein air iris painting using my oils.  The trick for me was to be sure and get enough paint on the surface!  I was able to lay the paint on thicker than I normally do - which was so much fun!  I absolutely love the feel of the creamy oil paints under my brush.  Feeling like the painting needed a little more interest, I added the chickadees later - while looking out my kitchen window to the feeders. That is the great thing about being the artist, I can change things up with a few more strokes - anytime :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Autumn Color in the Quarry

Ruckus Ridge
oil over acrylic on panel, 12x9
The misty sky was a good backdrop for the changing leaves in Augusta.  The locals call this "Ruckus Ridge" - a place where people like to hike up the ridge and gather around a campfire.  I under-painted this one in acrylic, and layered the oils over this foundation.  The palette knife was my last tool, building up texture on the rocks and foliage.  There are rumors that a cougar has been spotted here - so each rustling of the brush behind me pushed me to work a little faster.  It is so fun to experiment surrounded by such beauty!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

No Greater Gift

No Greater Gift
graphite on bristol
From beginning to end, this was an absolute joy to draw!  I have gently bumped up the contrast by deepening the darks, trying to keep   it all soft and balanced as I work.  If I apply too much, I simply pull it back out with my favorite pink eraser (yes - the one we used in grade school!)  I have many erasers - but this is my "go-to" one - always.  The very last thing I do is to take a small sable brush lightly dipped in water to the darkest lines.  I know it sounds crazy - but this is the real benefit of using water-soluable graphites.  It darkens the darks even more, for a more life-like result.  What better way to spend the day?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

First Day of New Work

graphite on bristol - 11x14
It feels SO GOOD to pick up my tried and true graphites again!  It is just like slipping into a warm blanket with a hot cup of tea!  The "mother and child" subject matter is one of my absolute favorites - so this day has been very rewarding.  I begin with my line drawing, then I focus in on the most important facial features - eyes, lips, noses.  Once I am satisfied with this foundation, I spread out from there.  I use mainly an 8B water-soluable graphite pencil for this work.  I have dozens of others, and may pick up a different one for lashes and brows, but the creamy soft lead is by far my favorite.  Tomorrow, I will lay in the rest and start to deepen the darks for good contrast.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Misty Morn in Autumn

Misty Morn in Autumn - 11x14, oil on panel
I love when the weather starts changing and autumn is in the air - especially after the super hot, dry summer we have had in Missouri!  Fog and mist were spreading like a blanket as I started this painting.  Easel and paints set up in Augusta shores, this plein air "path" was really a clearing through the woods for electrical wires.  With a little artistic license, the path unfolded before me.  The leaves were dropping beautifully - lining the woodland floor and leading me right down that path.  I pull out indian red and cad yellow deep at this time of the year - and I'm playing with the Gamblin grays, too.  I use a limited palette so much of the time - it is fun to try something new on a whim!  The turning of the leaves is such a brief and magical time - I sure hope they don't all turn and drop before I've painted my fill!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sunlight in the Garden

As I approached this path, I knew instantly that this would be my scene for the Sunset Quick Paint at the STEMS Plein Air Event.  Time after time, I find myself picking out spots where I am looking into the sun as I paint.  I am drawn to the way the light illuminates the flowers and foliage as it strikes them from behind.   Trying to keep my wide brimmed hat between the sun and my eyes, I mix the oils and apply the paint.  Laying in the lights quickly - I move next to the shadows.  Upon finishing, I find this is one of my favorite plein air pieces painted in one of my favorite places.
Sunlight in the Garden
Oil on panel - 14x11

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Woodville Grain Elevator

Irene Webster Pippitt Historical Award
2012 HFAA Show
This fabulous grain elevator is virtually unchanged since it was built in 1920.  It received it's last coat of paint in the 80's, and has only been used sporadically in recent years.  It resides in the town of Woodville, OH - which is just down the Portage River Road 4 miles from my parent's house.  Reports say that it will be torn down before it becomes a dangerous building.  I wanted to capture it in oil, before it goes the way of so many other american icons.  This is hands down the most beautiful, historic grain elevator I have had the pleasure of seeing and painting.  This is now showing at the HFAA Show in the Historic Catergory.

Woodville Grain Elevator
Oil on panel - 11x14

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Peaceful Portage

Judge's Merit - HFAA 2012 Show
This was painted from a small plein air study that I did from my parent's back yard.  I set up on the bank of the Portage River in Elmore, Ohio, early one morning.  With family health concerns looming, the act of putting paint to panel calmed and soothed my nerves.  This special place called to me each day.  As I walked it's banks, I could see paintings in every direction.  On this day, rain was coming and the sky was changing - so I had to work quickly.  All stress evaporates with brushes in my hands.

The Peaceful Portage
Oil on panel - 18x24

Monday, October 1, 2012

Windows of the Soul

Honorable Mention - HFAA 2012 Show
Sometimes, a drawing just flows off the tip of the pencil.  Other times, it is brought into this world like a hard fought battle.  I must say, this falls into the latter category.  Using new pencils AND changing up my normal methods was certainly the biggest drawing challenge I have had.  No resting in my comfort zone for this little darling.  After so much more work (i.e. blood, sweat, and tears...) I can lay my pencils down.  This one is now framed and ready to go to the HFAA show tomorrow.  I feel like I poured my own soul out on this one!

Windows to the Soul
tinted graphite on bristol, 20x16