Something New

Every once in a while you need to mix it up. A different support, different medium, different approach, all of it , whether the outcome is successful or not, is how an artist grows.

This piece is from a reference photo I shot in Pensacola Florida one morning. The sun was barely up and I was walking in my Mom’s neighborhood along the Bay. I saw Osprey, Pelicans, an Egret and this beautiful Great Blue Heron- well worth putting my sneakers on before my eyes were completely open. Turns out, it was my last time walking on this stretch along the Bay. My Mom has passed and her house sold.

I may have a terrible memory for many things, but I know my reference material. So, when a Raven piece that had been slated for an exhibit this fall unexpectedly sold and needed to be replaced, I thought of the heron photos. I was out of my go-to support, Crescent 100% rag 4 ply mat board, but had a drawer full of watercolor paper. Why not mix it up? I had always wanted to use watercolor with colored pencil. Here is the result: Night Fishing, 10 x20” watercolor and oil colored pencils on watercolor paper.

Night Fishing 4skb.jpg

A path towards recognition

Most people don't have a clue about how an artist becomes known. One important way is to compete in juried shows. It costs money, takes commitment and teaches one to grow a thick skin, while emptying the bank account. Since January, I have submitted to four juried exhibitions, while preparing for at least two exhibitions, to which I have already been invited. The first result will be posted tomorrow. 

After paying the exhibition submission fees that fund these shows, (anywhere from 25.00 to 175.00) and if I am accepted, I will be responsible for framing the art to the exhibition specs, insuring the art, packing and sending, as well as paying for the return shipping and cartage fee. Sometimes there are additional printers fees for an exhibit catalog. And I've recently used a professional photographer to get decent photos of my larger works.

If I win a prize or sell the original piece, great! If I sell some giclees of the original, awesome! But the main reason I do it, is to grow my reputation and my ability. The more invites, the higher the bar and of course, my work increases in value. I have been doing this seriously since 2010. Let's see what 2019 brings. Wish me luck!! 

PS. In case you're wondering why 'CPSA' follows the signature on my current artwork, it is because I am a 'Signature Member of The Colored Pencil Society of America’. I earned this by being accepted into three CPSA International Exhibitions within 10 years.

I am also an Associate Member of Society of Animal Artists. My portfolio was reviewed by a jury and accepted into this international society of animal artists.

Finally, I am a member of Masterworks for Nature, a local to Cincinnati group of esteemed wild life artists, including John Ruthven. I was sponsored and eventually invited into this amazing group.

Home Grown

Home Grown

The Gift

Gift wip

Work in Progress, This going to be big. So far the dimensions will be 22x 42” using mostly oil based Polychromos with a touch of wax based Luminance pencils on rag 4 ply mat. The reference material was taken by me at The Cincinnati Nature Center last November while walking with my dogs.

My mom, who had been in Hospice for 2 1/2 years was declining. Kidney disease, heart failure, macular degeneration, hearing loss and crippling arthritis were very, very slowly, taking their toll. I will never know why Mom’s will to live was so strong. Her sisters and friends had all passed. Ninety-nine years of age! Maybe she was hoping to make 100. She was a very competitive woman! But this time, days before my family would gather for Thanksgiving, and while I was taking a walk in the the woods, my beautiful mother slipped into a deep sleep from which she would never wake.

A doe appeared. Perhaps she was there all the time. I looked at her for a second or two before my sight communicated to my brain that she was there. After taking numerous photos at every angle, this generous animal standing patiently, I realized there was another behind her. Who knows how many more were nearby, but invisible. It was pure magic! A gift my mother gave me as she passed from this existence to the next.

This piece is big. There is much left to do. It will take hours and hours and hours to complete. A few things learned through these 2 1/2 years with my Mom: patience, enjoy the simplest thing and the journey is as important as the destination.


The Susan Kathleen Black Foundation is hosting

In the Audubon Tradition Exhibit and Sale,

Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati, OH 200th Anniversary Extravaganza Event!

September 12, 2019- January 5, 2020.

The list of contributing wildlife artists is impressive!    John A. Ruthven, Robert Bateman, Guy Coheleach, Kent Ullberg, Mort Solberg, Walt Matia, John Banovich, Greg Beecham, John Seerey-Lester, Suzie Seerey-Lester, John Pitcher, Sue Westin, James Gurney, David Rankin, Carel P. Brest Van Kempen, Wes Siegrist, Rachelle Siegrist, Nancy Howe, John Agnew, Cindy House, James Coe with more great artists to be added!!

And I have been invited to be among them. The pressure is on! This event is followed by the reopening of the newly restored Union Terminal, November 10th 2019.

Visit the Cincinnati Museum Center, and the Susan Kathleen Black Foundation,

Dick & Dianne Wham Wildlife Award- OVAL Biannual KY, National Wildlife exhibition

This is by far the biggest monetary award I have earned. In addition, my painting was hung in a primo spot, next to the works of well established and much more successful artists! Considering a few years ago, one of my best animal portraits ever, was hung as an after thought over a thermostat, where no-one could find it, I have now experienced the best and the worst. It was a huge honor to be recognized. And it came at a time when I most needed the boost. It isn’t always about the money, but in this case, I can now afford a new point and shoot camera with both wide angle and telephoto lens. Many thanks OVAL, for including me in your exhibition!