Brooklyn Blanket, Color Pencil on LinenRead More
I just finished two small paintings for a lovely client who wished to create the perfect gifts for her two children: table top original portraits of their two dogs. Each child chose a puppy fourteen years ago. They are now gray in the muzzle and a little slower, but otherwise healthy. The children, both in college, miss their pups. I spent a few hours one afternoon, photographing and getting to know the dogs, while also learning about the family and the mom. The photographs and expressions were chosen by her. We wished to capture each dog's personality in a tiny 5x7 head shot. This is not an easy task. In fact, a lot can be lost in one small tick of the pencil. I struggled with these. There was concern that the dog Ed, looking at the viewer and pleading to be petted, might appear to be giving dominant eye contact. Thanks to my husband's suggestion, a touch of dark to the eyebrow made the difference in the perceived expression. The other dog, Lucy held a strange pose which finally necessitated the inclusion of parts of her foreleg; otherwise her head would have seemed tipped over.
I decided to use colored linen mat as the surface to give these a painterly feel. Lucy, who is mostly black, is painted on a dark blue mat and Ed, who has a lot of browns and reds, is on a red mat. Using colored mat board, even if completely covered with pigment, is similar to an under paint wash and provides tone.
When my client finally saw the finished pieces she was completely satisfied. This is a blessing, because I never know what a client will think until they have the art in hand. Now I can relax for a bit and paint something new, something BIGGER.
I'm tipping the proverbial "hat" to myself. The past few months have been quite successful: My painting "Waiting" was selected to be in Ann Kullberg's e-book Hidden Treasures. This same painting, which earned CPSA Signature Status for me by being my third acceptance into the CPSA International Exhibition within ten years, was also purchased at a recent art fair and was my biggest sale to date. And let's be honest, sales make the rest possible. For those of you interested, I am in the process of having the image printed in giclee form to be sold in my shop soon. READ ON
My painting "Who Rescued Whom" was published in Strokes of Genius 6, by Rachel R. Wolf, Northlight Books, hitting the bookstore shelves as we speak.
My painting "Departing" earned second place at the CPSA District Chapter 119 exhibition, showing now until the end of the month at The Clifton Cultural Arts Center in Clifton Oh.
That's it for now, but there is always room for more.
If you have ever wondered why the real life artists aren't as happy-go-lucky as they are reputed to be, consider the expenses incurred in self promotion. For instance, did you know that an artist pays a submission fee of $30.00 to $50.00 for every image submitted to a juried show? Did you know that if the piece or pieces are accepted, the artist pays for presentation requirements, shipping and insurance, to and from said exhibition? For example, some shows require plexiglass, which is nearly twice as expensive as conservation glass. (Don't even ask about UV blocking Plexi.) I recently sent two pieces to California. My shipping plus return shipping total was nearly $400.00. Expenses like these are a calculated risk against a possible sale or the possible lead. How many small businesses take that kind of risk? As I've said numerous times, being an artist is not for the faint of heart.
I used mostly Prismas and Luminance cp's with mineral spirits on 100% rag mat board. I'm almost sad I darkened the foreground. It's hard to know what to do once you have taken the plunge. Even if you photo shop values into the comp during the designing stages, there's the perspective and "reality"aspect. Would I leave a detailed background and a blank foreground? Wouldn't that be odd? My thought was that subtle roughed in details and shadowy earth tones would support the portrait without busying it up too much. What do you think?
Lucy is coming along. Her coat colors are a gigantic challenge. I have hundreds of colored pencils rolling around on the drafting table! The use of mineral spirits was crucial. Tweaking will come later. I am going to set this aside for a little while to work on something else. Plenty left to do, but I'm "Artist blind."
I'm having a little trouble with my rag mat board surface holding up to all the color pencil layers. One thing I've found: odorless mineral spirits when allowed to over saturate breaks down my surface. I've since switched back to good old regular mineral spirits, but the damage was already done. -Came close to starting all over, but was able to dip and dab color where needed. The detailing is just about impossible. Working fixative allows a little repair. Otherwise, the piece is coming along. I will never return to odorless mineral spirits. Thank goodness for windows and fans!