Friday, March 26, 2010


I've been wanting to post this for months, but first it was a Christmas present for the family, and then I decided it needed more work. So I've finally got it done to my satisfaction (or as close I get to it), and have put it back on the wall. I used the trace and transfer method of this, and did most of it in a fit of inspiration. Took about four hours to get the bulk of it done, then probably that much again to tweak it. The victory? Maggie didn't like the picture of herself, but loves the painting. ☺ Happy sister.
Learned how to do eyes on this one.

Steven's Snowball Fight

This was actually homework I assigned for my class on Tuesday and decided to do myself. I wanted high contrast with the dark right next to the light. This took me a couple hours from sketch to finish and I really like it. It doesn't really look too much like the original subject, but I got his hair (which I've been trying to capture for a long time now). The tongue stuck out and clamped between his teeth is confusing, but if you know the story (he's in the middle of a gleeful snowball fight) it makes more sense. Still, context needs to not be the savior of a piece. So it needs work. But I like how different it is from my normal stuff, and how much more it is like the portraits of my favorite artist, John Singer Sargent.
I also learned that I need to be careful of copying the mistakes of the photograph: his real nose looks nothing like that, and the picture sent me the wrong way.


Studies in contrast! This was winter poplars, out of my head, trying to remember from earlier this year.... yeah. Needs work, but I have made my peace with it. It didn't work at all till I made the road purple. Funny how that works!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Steph and Joel

This has been a fun one! My friend and former roommate Stephanie married a fantastic guy last year (Joel) and this is their much-belated wedding gift. I had their collusion on it, which was awesome; Steph sent me a couple pictures she would like as paintings and I got to pick. I didn't fall in love with either of the shots right away, but suddenly one evening the muse descended with a rush and this was the result. I did the trace-and-transfer method (which I usually do with portraiture that "matters") on aqua board (or clayboard) which I love. It's a little tougher to work with in that it sets pretty irrevocably, but since you're on board it doesn't wrinkle or warp and when it's done you can just stick it in a frame! If, that is, you have painted it the right size for a frame. Which I didn't. So we had to mat it creatively. But Jesus worked that whole thing out in forty minutes as I was on my way to give it to the lovely lady herself. This was so much fun to do. Loved the wall. And the plus about truly knowing the people I'm painting is that when I didn't get her mouth exactly the way it is in the photo, I could relax because I knew it was still a common Stephanie expression.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Did not realize how many times I've painted my cousin Sara! Obviously I have good taste. ☺ I'll keep painting her too. I have an ultimate portrait in mind for later.... (not involving frisbee) This is from a couple summers ago. Probably 2007. Uncle Phil took us fishing on Mayfield and we got a lot of good pictures that day. This one has been kicking around my art bag since then and one afternoon in class I just whipped it out to practice. The mouth is not hers at all, but the hair, the eyes, and nose, and the attitude in which she sits is all Sara! I like the looseness of this one. Classic watercolor, but sometimes that's best. Needs more contrast, actually, but I never finished this one either. Not even signed.

Looks a lot like chaos

This one was an experiment with "pouring", inspired by this painting by John Howe. I dropped highly saturated blue and pink onto wet paper, let it set a little, then literally poured a bowl of thick black watercolor on top. The trouble with black and watercolor is that it goes dead if one isn't very, very careful. The context of the black in the painting is very important, and the ratio of pigment to water is very important. Usually I say don't use black out of a tube at all: mix it! But John challenged me to try tube black and see if I could wrangle anything from it. Honestly, I was thrilled with the result.


Here's an odd one. Summer of 2008 I took a class with Marlene Ahmann. She's a fantastic local artist, inspired frequently by Zoltan Szabo. Taught us a lot about negative shapes. For this exercise we were told to find something outside we liked and paint it, using negative shapes and light. I loved the way the sun lit up this gnarled and ancient rhododendron. I never really finished it, but it's grown on me as-is. What do people think? What does it need?

Tuscan Road

I'm going to upload a few today, since I'm feeling like it and have the time because I'm home recovering from a doozy of a cold. This is one of my oldest pieces (as noted by the old signature), but it's also a favorite. It's some road in Tuscany that I've never seen, but which has inhabited my brain for years and years. I want to go there someday.


Time for a little update! It's not that I haven't been painting or drawing anything, I just haven't been scanning and uploading. ☺ Below is a little class demonstration that got wild. It was all by instinct after I copied the initial sketch by Susanne (thank you!). Didn't know where it was going. Once home I brightened it up with pastels. I love mixed media! And yea for making flowers immortal!
(I've already made it into a card. ☺)