Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's been a while!

Things have been pretty crazy on the home front. Our little guy is now 4 months old and has been a very easy baby. The upside is that I have been able to do some artwork, but I can see that when he's about 6 months, that will come to a screeching halt again as he will be mobile. Not sure how I'll deal with two kids under 3 and do artwork. I do rely on daily naps to get through the daytime so I can work at night. What I won't do for art!

I had to have Maggie go to daycare and have anyone who could watch her take over for a few days while I worked. When it rains, it pours! I was very, very busy last month!

I had a freelance gig with a Department Store which came and went just as quickly. Lots of late nights and sleepy days, but it was worth it. I should have a line of plates, cups, kitchen towels and placemats coming out next Christmas. I'll have to post how things look!

Just on the last day, I barely got things out. My G4 laptop (6 years old) died on me. It was dead. I couldn't start the computer, the battery was also dead since it was so old. I decided that having a freelance gig was a sign I should just get a new computer and have the G4 as my backup. I also had to get all new software since the new operating system was Intel based and the old stuff won't port over. So, I am excited about what I can do now.

I'm not so excited about why my old laptop died.
I didn't realize it was just the power cord until my husband "tested" it with his tongue. So with a new power supply, it's working, though it's not totally reliable. I can't burn DVD's, the cover doesn't shut, the keys are wearing off and lots of other things aren't working due to it's age.

Teaching my first Acrylics Class
I had just got done teaching my first painting class at the Center for Visual Arts in Wausau, WI. It was a basic Acrylics class. I had 5 students, which was a good amount for both of us being beginners! I feel it went pretty well, everyone seemed to learn a lot and gained confidence in what they were doing.

It strikes me how afraid people are to try painting, as if it's so mysterious that they can't possibly do it. When they find out how easy it really is to just apply the paint to the canvas, they blossom. It's not that they don't have ideas on what to paint, it's the actual application of paint that is the scary part. I personally have the opposite problem, it's the idea that is difficult and the paint application that's easy!

As I expected, I learned a great deal on using Acrylics from the students and just my research. It's really opened up a new world on how I approach painting as well. Working with an extremely limited palette has made me realize I really don't need more than primaries, black and white. Even black is optional! We never painted that way at college, I wish we did.

Acrylics class online
I do plan on posting (not sure when) how I went about doing the Acrylics class so maybe other who are thinking of teaching will possibly pick up something. I really couldn't find anything online on how to come up with a beginner's curriculum, how to teach and what seems to be expected of students and the instructor.

Drawing Class in March
I'll be doing the drawing class at the CVA in the spring and as far as I have understood, it's mine if I want it. I'll have to write how I got this class when I have more time. It's a sad story, but I know it was meant to be. I already have one or two students signed up, my Dad and possibly my Aunt. I told them they need to be my guinea pigs so I can develop the class ahead of time!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

New Web site Launched

Web site Update


I decided to redo my Web site (again) after I realized how difficult it was for search engines to track it and to add verbal information easily. It originally was more of a gallery, which was easy to update, but it wasn't practical for actually ordering from the site!

I added a form for ordering. It should work for most orders. I will be adding a section to upload pictures directly and for making payments through PayPal. Always more stuff to add!

Hopefully will get more traffic and orders with this version.

I'm glad that I can do my own site and coding, it's not so great that I am so picky!

"Saturday Evening Post Cover - 2009"
12" x 14" Colored Pencil on Bristol Board

This was several years in the making, as it was a Pro Bono for my Father, and was put on the back burner pretty much constantly since I started it. Since I have a limited amount of time right now before baby #2 is born, and wasn't too busy with other work, I should take the time and finish the project once and for all!

It's a cover reproduction of a 1950's Saturday Evening Post. The thing making it special is that I had to replace the original photo of the Harley Davidson with my Father's Indian Motorcycle.

It was interesting to go back and work on something that I started so long ago. My techniques for colored pencil have changed quite a bit over the last few years and I have learned a ton since starting this.

I have been working in colored pencil for over 20 years, but not as intensly and detailed as I have recently. The progress was much faster now than it would have been if I continued when I started it.

Glad to have it done and I will be giving it to him as soon as I can!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Teaching at the Center for the Visual Arts!

Just found out I'll be teaching an Acrylics class at the CVA this fall. It will be a month after having my baby - hope I'll be able to stay awake for the class!

Now, I really need to get some painting done. It's one thing to know how to paint, it's another thing entirely to teach someone else how to do it. I did document my last painting and kept mental notes of what I did to get to where I needed to go, but it wouldn't hurt to do it again. I also don't have any current work and would like to enter the juried show again this year, so I'll have something to show for class and for the show if I get in.

I'll still be working on my colored pencil stuff since it's a lot more portable and it's my first love. I just wish I had more time like the old days, before kids, to get things done.

Life Drawing
Right now I'm also taking an open lab life drawing class. Best $25 bucks I've spent in a long time. It's been about 17-18 years since I drew from life like that. I didn't do too bad, but I can certainly use some more time to get proportions on the lower half of the body correct. I can't remember all my little tricks, but they are coming back to me as I do more and more.

It's a great group of people in there. The difference between this and a regular college class is that everyone wants to be there and are fairly accomplished at drawing, where in college most of the class is inexperienced or don't want to be there.

I hope I can make it to the end of the class. It goes until the end of July, I'm due in the middle of August.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Another Portrait Finished

"Maggie in the Leaves"


Colored Pencil on White Stonehenge Paper

Got one more portrait done! I'm working as fast as I can before our second child arrives in August. This portrait will be at the Center for Visual Arts in Wausau, Wisconsin for a July show. I need to frame it up and get it ready!

Still haven't heard if I will for sure be teaching an acrylic class this coming fall. This would be a great opportunity for me as I really do love to teach. I'm intentionally doing more acrylic paintings just to be able to describe my process. It's one thing to just do it, another to teach about it.

I am excited about the prospect of taking a life drawing course in the next few weeks. It's a rare opportunity to have an open lab without the commitment of a formal class and that it's right here in town. The only possible problem is that there won't be enough people signing up to take the class and they might not offer it if it's not full.

Friday, April 24, 2009

"Thresher" 12x12

I just finished a 12x12" painting recently of a thresher from the family farm. It was one of those projects that took way too long, but was a lot of fun to do. I ended up putting Maggie in daycare so I could work on it during the day. She sure likes going there and I sure like to get stuff done, so we'll do this as long as I can afford to do it.

I figured I better get back into acrylics if I teach a class this fall! That was part of my major in college and I did a lot of acrylics in high school, so I'm familiar with it. Things sure have changed though on the kinds of acrylics that are out there. I'm really enjoying the OPEN line from Golden. I hate how long oils take to dry, but acrylics are also a problem even with retarders added. They dry way too fast. The new kind of acrylics are so much easier to work with, staying open to drying time a lot longer, but will not stay open so long as to require months of drying time.

In this case, I opted for the regular old acrylics just to get a feel for it, but I would like to keep working with the OPEN line and I got a bunch of the Atelier line to try out.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Finished Jax & Oscar

After a rocky start, I finally got the portrait of Jax and Oscar completed. It's an 11x14 on Stonehenge cream colored paper.

The best part of doing portraits is always the delivery of the artwork. They were very happy and started to cry, especially when they saw the black dog. He died unexpectedly and this was a tribute to him.

Next project: Ford F150 part II

This could be considered a series as it's the exact same image of a Ford Truck that I had just done, except the background will change. It's family who had just sold the truck which had belonged to their father. This is a great way to keep the truck and make it part of their family history. I'm hoping to get started with it this week. I'm getting really busy now and hate to stop.

We'll be having our second child in August, I expect my last days working will be in June sometime as I will probably have carpal tunnel terribly bad again, just like last time. After that though, I'll be back at it. So, right now I'm frantically trying to get as much done as possible!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Commission: Oscar & Jax

Right now I have another commission to do portraits of a pair of dogs.

The one in the foreground had just unexpectedly passed away. The one in the background is still around.

The client really wants the foreground dog to stand out, which should be easy since he's a black dog.

I have to watch the background however. I'll be putting grass around the dogs, so I also don't want it to get overwhelmed by that. I'll post pics as I go along.

Finished the Truck!

This is the second to last of the proofs, I had to finish the bottom part a little more and sign the thing. I got it done a couple of days ago. I sure learned a lot from this one! I'm still not too familiar with pastels and what the best method is to work in them.

One thing I learned is I should do the background first! I don't like to do the background first when I do colored pencil, it gets too hard to keep the subject clean for me at least. In this case, it was a real problem adding things around the vehicle after I already had it finished. I think I did alright, but it could have gone smoother.

The other is don't use my finger for blending. I need to make sure that if I do, I have a good callous built up because I pretty much scraped the skin off my finger on the sanded paper. It would have been a bloody mess if I didn't watch what I was doing. It really hurt too.

I haven't found a tool that can blend quite as well as my finger. The things out there lift off the pastel and don't force it into the grain of the paper. Working so small also requires a delicate touch so I can't always blend just using the pastels themselves.

I'm not sure if I like the Wallis sanded paper. It seems to have too much tooth for the above reasons. I did like Pastelbord by Ampersand. It's just enough tooth, but not too much. Problem with that is it's a major pain to frame. I'll have to show a demo on how I framed something else when I used the Pastelbord.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I'm so not a writer!

I still have to get used to blogging! I don't write a whole lot as far as journaling goes, especially with an 18 month old who wants 100% attention. Anyway, I have been pretty busy drawing/painting lately.

CVA Midwest Winter Show
The show officially opened last Friday and had a great turnout. I was there for most of the time, lots of food! :) The quality of the pieces was very good this year. I haven't seen the previous years work, but sometimes I am disappointed in what is in the gallery. There were pieces from 11 states, coast-to-coast. I'm hoping my little piece would get someones attention and it has. I have two commissions resulting from that. Not a lot of money, but it's something! I figure it's worth it to do to make up for all the art supplies I have bought over the last two years. Now I can really use them up!

I also got to talk to the director and I'm hoping to be able to teach a class this summer. I really miss teaching and I think this would be a great outlet for me. I have to find out when it will be, I'm due in August -- I should still be able to teach, as long as I don't have the babes on the day of the class!

Truck #2
Here's what I have been working on for a couple of weeks now. It's not that it has taken that long, it's just that I'm beat at the end of the day lately. I'm hoping my energy level increases as I approach the second trimester.

This is the first commission I have had for a while. It's on Wallis sanded paper, pastel pencils mainly and some soft pastel, 10"x8". It was two photos combined, I had to include the gas station in the background somehow and make it a different kind (Texaco). Not sure if it's the way I want it to look yet. I need some distance to get a good judgement.

The big issue I have is as always, the background. I'm not sure if adding trees will be convincing enough. Not much to go on in the photo, but that's where I have to work my magic!