8x9" graphite and colored pencils on Fabiano Artistico smooth paper. The photo reference is mine. This was drawn while caring for my sick Mom in Florida. The photo and layout were started and abandoned some months ago, so when I packed up my stuff, I decided to bring the project along. Good thing because it was a much needed break from a deplorable situation. The image depicts my Diva cat Charlotte peeking behind a tree. The full color red leaf was added for fun. This drawing is available for $385.00. If interested in purchasing, go to SHOP, which will send you over to my ETSY site.
As I'm doing my usual Friday morning catch-up, it occurs to me that you might be interested in knowing a few things about me. You see me posting my art work fairly regularly on Facebook and my Pepper Portraits blog, but did you know that besides being a completely committed artist, I hold two part time jobs? Winning a few awards and getting published, does not guarantee a regular pay check. Nope, I go months sometimes without a sale. I'm married to a wonderful guy who pays most of the bills, but by no means makes enough money for me to do art 24-7. I have to at least cover groceries and vet bills, which with 2 older dogs and three cats, adds up, believe you me! So I continue to work as a vet assistant in a small animal veterinary practice. I've been working with vets since 2011- started in my 40's and still doing doggy yoga as I near 60. I feel like a thirty year old with no time to get old! My other job is a gallery portrait artist- picture framer -Girl Friday for a lovely little gallery, in a haunted brick building, in the small river town of Milford Ohio. There I teach portrait classes, frame picture, assist hanging shows and whatever else they might need of me.
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.
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!
Maize and Blue, 11x14" colored pencil on linen.Read More
The hardest thing about being a professional artist is sales. If it isn't a custom order, what sells? Does every successful artist consider this when deciding on a subject to paint? After spending the first few years establishing my reputation, should I stick to what works? Should I, in essence, brand myself ? The collector needs to be comforted by a certain predictability, right? He/she needs to "know" me a little before forking over $1000.00. But as an artist how do I continue to be stimulated? I can't do the same thing over and over without becoming stale. How do I explore and challenge myself if I don't step off the path? I guess it has more to do with business plan and intent. Am I an artist who equates success with income or peer accolades or self fulfillment? The answer is a little of all three. Of course I would love to get paid for doing something well. Who wouldn't? But, that is not my first goal. Right now, I wish to create meaningful, well executed images that resonate with one or two (OK, let's be honest here, many) viewers. My style is emerging on its own and continues to evolve. Who knows what it will look like in 10 years. I don't feel I have time to fool around with what sells at this point in my life. There's too much to learn. I hope that along the way, someone likes my art enough to buy it. So much for a business plan. I really don't have one. I just do the art, show it and enter as many competitions as I can afford. When I actually sell something it's fantastic! Go ahead, say what's on your mind."Don't quit your day job," right?