Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Pencil Portrait of Baby

Well, less you think I have been idle.......the past couple of days I have completed 4 commissions: 3 pencils and a small pastel. I will post the other 2 pencils after figuring out how to alter the white balance. As you see, the pencil is dark and was obviously worked on white paper..... !
The pencils are very popular and in an investment range that everyone can afford. This client (as the others) emailed their images to me.
Originally, in the client's photo, this little guy was in a hammock on his side, so as an artist I just altered a few things, adjusted his position and wallah! A beautiful heirloom from a candid photograph

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Pohicke Bay, Potomac River in Virginia

Lovely, huh? One big advantage to camping is being able to hike trails and capture an image like this. Beautiful May weather along the banks of the Pohicke Bay of the Potomac. Easily reachable from the campgrounds of the Virginia State Park. Geese were nearby and HUGE fish were swirling around the banks among the tops of submerged trees. A great spot to unwind.
No (sigh) , I have not painted it yet....I have to make sure the commissions are completed first!
Since arriving back in NC on Tuesday, I have been kept busy with the usual details that come with running a business!
However I am not too busy to realize the weather is warmer, the wild roses are blooming......... and it's time to go paint!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Secretariet and Ponies

There is something about being in a camper listening to the rain on the roof that makes for a sound night's sleep!
All day yesterday and last night the rain fell steadily and the riders and their horses bore it with good humor. We are beginning to think that "Saint Clements" was the saint of rain :-)
I have spent some productive days with my pastels and completed two more commissions.
The lovely aged gelding to the left is "Pinky" a grandson of Secretariet and as red and gorgeous as his grandsire. It is an 18 x 24 Pastel.

(Collection of Mike Seagrove)

Since we wil be on the road all day tomorrow, I decided to add this pastel which I completed in Saratoga as well.
Peyton and her pal, Lone Star were at the Rosemont Show in Virginia where I photographed them for their portrait.
(Collection of Melinda Smith)

Many artists tell me that they cannot work in public, but I find that I can easily slip into a zone when I am concentrating and "working in public"
doesn't bother me.

And the speed in which I work is two-fold. First of all, pastel comes easily to me. I am a drawer and pastel is just an extension of that ability.

Secondly I cannot procrastinate at a show! I can't clean the house, work in the garden, feed the goats or ponies, wander off on another tangent......in other words, I keep my nose to the grindstone! So it is not speed as much as the ability to concentrate and stay focused when I am creating artwork! Until next time!

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Child and her Pony and MEMORIES

Wow, it has been raining and COLD here at this show in upstate NY so yesterday I completed a PASTEL commission of a child and her pony while staying warm and dry in the camper. Steve manfully worked on his horse show paintings despite the lack of gloves (I am not kidding here) and when I took a break from my work, I'd bring him some hot coffee.

Two weeks in a hotel would have been a very tiring proposition and Steve and I have an wonderful advantage in that one of us can man the booth while the other works elsewhere (or sleeps or eats or goes to the laundromat!)

The order came in last weekend and the client will collect it this weekend. This is the completed 16 x 16" pastel. On another, smaller digital camera, I have some "in progress" shots that I hope turned out considering the light (or lack of) and will see about posting them later.
The face of the child is from another photograph and I dropped her hands, lowered her heels, removed Mom (it was a candid photo from a leadline class several years ago) and created a neutral background. This is a pony worth it's weight in gold....what other pony could be dressed up and taken door to door trick or treating at night as they do each Halloween?
Many of my portraits begin with a memory....if the client is fortunate, there is a good photo, but many times there is not, and it is up to me to bring out the details of my client's memory of that day, that event, that person........it is SO rewarding!
Cloudy today but I may be able to work outside at the booth. People do love to watch and I am more productive actually.....stay at the easel longer! I have a small pencil of a child and a small pastel of a mixed breed dog to complete before we return to NC on Monday........brrrr, gotta turn the propane heat! higher!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

a PENCIL a DAY! (in public)

Yep..all you need (I am constantly telling parents and artists) to improve your ability to see and draw is a #2 pencil and a pad of drawing paper!

I tell budding artists that they should ALWAYS be carrying those two art supplies around....and there are several good reasons why!

1. A small 5 x 7 sketch book
is handy and portable. When out with friends or with parents, sketch something...anything...a salt shaker, a leaf, a dog, a friend, a fork...the point is small sketches teach hand and eye coordination. There is NO substitute like the real thing. The ability to see perspective can take an artist further in an art career than anything else. Even a career in computer art is enhanced by knowing the basics...why? Because Photographs are often distorted!

2. The next benefit
of carrying these two art items around is that YOU are "Working in public." Do you really think that the average person is going to come up to you or a child and look at a sketch and say"That's awful!"? No. The perks are increased confidence, increased ego and of course, increased skills!

3. Parents of kids take note! Let your kids SELL their artwork!
$1.00 or 2.00 or even $10.00 or $15.00. The point is, they must learn to VALUE their abilities EVEN if a sketch took 15 seconds! Got it? NO freebies to classmates, neighbors, etc....well maybe Grandma but no matter your age, do NOT value it by how little time it took!

Get a sketchbook, sketch simple items daily for 2 weeks, date each sketch, and resketch a couple of your earlier ones 2 weeks later. You WILL see an improvement in speed and perspective...and by this time your nervousness at sketching in public (the mall, a restaurant, recess, on the bus, car, etc.) will also be fading!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A quiet old Lab

Everyone knows such a dog or has had such a dog! This commission, finished at these shows, emphasizes the older, quieter Lab......the ones that lay down by the fire or greet their owners sedately.......yes they exist and the keys to capturing such a dog's image correctly are the eyes and the ears!
This lovely old girl was a seeing eye dog, retired early because of occassional but unpredicatable seizures. But her "dad" loves her!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Finishing the OIL commission

Despite my earlier attempt at procrastination, I later buckled down and finished a few strokes to the background to consider this commission completed :-).

Well, it certainly is not a clear image (sigh) and has a bit of glare but be assured that this 30 x 40 oil is now ready to be sent as a digital (better of course!) to the client.

The past few days as I have worked on this oil outside. The days have alternated between sunny, bright blue skies interspersed with the coolness that the fast moving clouds bring.

Tomorrow is also a "free" day but we come to these shows to work and be seen so sometimes the quiet days are actually the best for meeting people. Things are not so hectic and I can run to a stall and photograph an owner and horse when the call of competition is not so strong!

I have not been in this area since I was a kid and there is a bit of the Rip Van Winkle effect still
hovering in my head! It is a nice journey to visit the past...and then it is equally nice to return to the present!

Creating a Living from ART


Beginnings are too long aren't they? Let's condense and jump to the present, today, and simply let you know that I am in New York at the St. Clements horse show with my husband Steve (also an artist) in a 15 x 15 tent with dozens of paintings on display!
Steve is a plein air painter and has quite a following among his collectors. I am, by nature, mentality and discipline, a portrait artist .

So, with our Corgi, Rosie in tow, we are camped out the grounds in beautiful Sarasota Springs and enjoying a non-show day. Been here since the 7th and will leave the 21st...long show but we are collecting orders both at the show and over the Internet :-).
Watch for examples of what we are doing here later today....too nice to sit here any longer!

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