Tuesday, December 23, 2008

TAH DAH, Part 5

Here are some more detailed photos. There is a lot going on in this little community. The stairway wall faces the front door and will have a mirror in the center of the wall over a writing desk. The only details on this wall are to the right and left sides of the wall. On the left side is a school house. Since my husband is a school administrator, it seemed appropriate to include a school in the mural. Notice the swing in the tree for the children to use at recess.

On the right side of the wall, you will find a little cabin nestled in the woods on the side of the mountain..

Sunday, December 21, 2008

TAH DAH, Part 4

Here are a few more details from the mural. Moving back through the main wall from the grist mill and to the left, you see a farm house and a barn.

On the hillside behind the farm you will find a herd of sheep grazing.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

TAH DAH, Part 3

There are a lot of details in the mural that are not easy to see in the full photos. Here are some of the detailed pictures. One of the important aspects of Rufus Porter's murals was that he made an effort to keep perspective in his work. Hills and mountains that are further away from the viewer are more blue and lighter. Buildings that are further away are smaller and those that are closer are larger. The trees and bushes are sized to match the buildings one the plane in which they appear. The whole mural is framed by the foreground trees that are as tall as the wall and the foreground bushes that are nearly life size. If you look at the previous posts, hopefully you will be able to pick out the various planes in the landscape and notice how the foreground trees and bushes frame the entire work and help establish perspective.

Here is the Grist Mill. It is the building that is closest to the viewer in the mural. Notice the detail in the stones that make up the building wall and the swan in the mill pond.

As you move further back into the mural, you will find a small grove of trees and the farmer's dog is wandering by.

Monday, December 15, 2008

TAH DAH, Part 2

Here are some additional pictures of the mural. These pictures show the entry alcove. Because the wall areas are narrow, I chose not to do a lot of background landscape and instead just used trees and bushes to fill the spaces.

This entire mural was painted using DecoArt Americana Acrylic Paint in 2-ounce bottles. It took 2-3 bottles of the greens and golds, but far less than a bottle of each of the other colors. The foliage on the foreground bushes and trees were painted with sponges. All of the rest of the work was done with a variety of types and sizes of brushes.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Big TAH DAH!!!

The mural is finished! It covers every wall in my foyer. Here are the two main walls. These are the walls you see as you come in the front door. There will be a mirror in the center of the narrow wall and a small writing desk in front of it. The large wall will be home ot a Windsor Bench. More photos to come.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum

Each year the city of Franklin holds a festival called Light-Up Night. It involves the Christmas parade, decorated store windows, lighting the City Christmas tree and fireworks. It is a wonderful night and always very well attended. One of the annual activities associated with Light-Up Night is a Christmas tree display in the Barrow Civic Theater--our downtown jewel, We are very fortunate as a small community to have a theater that is home to an active community theater group and that sponsors performances by traveling groups as well as our community Silver Cornet Band and the community orchestra. So, before Light-Up night various community organizations put up trees in the theater lobby and decorate them. This year, I did the tree for the Franklin Fine Arts Council. Since I just joined the Arts Council, I didn't have a lot of time to plan the tree. I went through my small paintings and decorated the tree with ribbon, paint brushes, and a number of my small works in oil, watercolor, and colored pencil. The tree topper is a clean (fancy that) wooden palette and the small painting featured just below the palette is an oil painting of the County Court House on Light-Up night with fireworks behind it.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Today I taught the Snowman Fleece Throw Make-It-Take-It class. This design is painted freehand and part of the fun is dressing you snow person once you have the basic shape. Today, my demonstration piece was a Red Hat Snow Lady. She is wearing a feather boa and a flashy red hat. It is difficult to paint fine details on fleece, so this snow person is pretty basic If I were painting on a smooth surface (cotton, wood, metal, ..), she would be carrying a red purse. After all, Red Hatters like to shop! The snowmen might be holding a birdhouse or a broom. My students had the option of dressing their snow person any way they wanted. You can see the original sample piece in my posting of November 15, 2008.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Foyer

We have been working on our house ever since we moved in 3 years ago. There have been big projects and small projects--difficult and easy. One of our current projects is the foyer. Several months ago I started a mural in the style of Rufus Porter but had to stop as we started a construction project in another part of the house that required putting furniture in front of my work. Over the weekend we removed a tile floor from the foyer in preparation for laying new flooring so the mural MUST be finished. Today I started working on it again.

Rufus Porter was an itinerant artist who worked in New England and traveled as far south as Virginia between 1820 and 1840. It was less expensive for people to have a mural painted than to import wallpaper, so he found a lot of work. Some of his murals are still in existence and have been preserved. His style was what we call today New England Primitive. In addition to being an artist, he was a teacher and an inventor. He also founded the Scientific American magazine. He was a really interesting man.

So, here is my mural so far. It still needs a lot of trees and bushes, some sheep on the hillsides, a duck in the millpond. Once all the details are painted it will be time to paint the foreground bushes and trees to finish it off.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

My new "nephew"

My sister got a new Cavalier King Charlies Spaniel a few weeks ago. She sent me a photo and I have done a colored pencil portrait of little Newton. This one is really small, about 2x3.

Pet portraits are a perfect gift for the pet lover for any occasion. If you are interested in a pet portrait, please visit my website and see how you can order one.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New project

I can't believe it has been more than a month since my last post. I have been busy teaching classes and time just got away from me. My classes are finished for the season and now I can concentrate on new projects.

This week I designed a new fabric painting project that will be a Make-It-Take-It at the December meeting of Town and Country Decorative Painters. This is painted using DecoArt SoSoft fabric paint on a light weight fleece throw. Painting on fleece is a challenge because of the nap. If you are going to paint on fleece, select a subject that is not highly detailed and is suited to showing texture. In applying the first layer of paint, it is necessary to scrub the paint into the fleece if you want fairly solid coverage.

This design is a snowman. The first step is to scrub an off-white color into the fleece with a deerfoot stippler to create three snowballs that make up his body. While the paint is wet, you can scrub in the shadows and the highlights. Then it is a matter of using flat, filbert, and liner brushes to dress him and apply details. The last step is to go back to the deerfoot stippler to add the snow on the ground with the same colors you use on the snowman. The ground cover will look better if it is not scrubbed in to the fabric as solidly as the snowman.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A fabric project

Each year the Town and Country Decorative Painters makes a painted quilt to support our annual retreat. The quilt always follows the theme of the retreat. The theme for the 2009 retreat is Painting Safari. Each square of the quilt is to be decorated with the likeness of a jungle critter. I was assigned a parrot. The design on my square is a Macaw. The retreat committee provides the fabric. This year there is a leaf design on the fabric. The square is painted using DecoArt So-Soft fabric paint. The parrot is painted as a vignette. That is, the edge just fades off rather than being a hard, finished edge or including the whole bird.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A difficult subject

A Visit to the Aquarium
colored pencil on Bristol Plate (smooth)
The challenge in this little piece is the aquarium lighting. Everything in the picture has a blue tint. To achieve this, after the little boy was completed, I applied a light wash of blue over him. The whale was rendered using various blue pencils in addition to the white and black so that it would have the blue glow that was in the photograph. See if you can find the lost edges on the whale.
When I am ready to frame this piece, I think I am going to mat it down to about 3.5x4 so that it will be eligible for submission to a miniature show.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pet Portrait

I am doing a lot of pet portraits in colored pencil these days. I work from photos and create a line drawing by scanning the photo and sizing it to the size I want my finished piece to be and then tracing the essential elements of the portrait. Of course, the skill is in translating the color, markings, and expression of the animal into a well-painted portrait. If you are interested in having a colored pencil portrati painted of your precious pet, go to my website and you will find ordering information.

This little portrait is taken from a photo of my friend's cat, Ziggy. It is approximately 3x3 and is painted on brown card stock. The portrait is on top and the reference photo is at the bottom of the page.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Another HOOT project

To fill in a little time, I took a class that used fabric paint on a denim tote bag. Nothing much new in this class. It was just a nice little project to keep busy on that particular day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

More from HOOT

Here is another HOOT project. This one is colored pencil on sand paper--that's right, 400 grit sand paper! The project is very nice, but sand paper will eat up your pencils. This piece will mat to about 6x8. It is done in browns and white so that it has a sepia-tone look. By the way, the cup is not crooked, the photo is. I will need to take another picture with the surface sitting is a better position.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

HOOT Convention

Every August the Heart of Ohio Tole Painters holds a large convention in Columbus, OH. At this convention, you can take classes, shop at the trade show, and attend demos of techniques and products. My friend and I attended the convention last week from Wednesday until Saturday. I took a few classes and had a chance to visit with friends from far away. Here is a photo of one of the classes I took. This yellow rose was taught by Pat Lentine. It is done in pastels on Mi-Tientes paper using layering and blending techniques. The size is approximately 14x16.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Testing My Skills

I tried my first colored pencil portrait today. It is far from perfect, but for a first attempt, I am not unhappy. A little work on the skin tones and the eyes will make a huge improvement in the finished work. With some more practice, I will be painting quite respectable portraits. Here is the pencil portrait and the original photo from which I was working. The size is approximately 3x3.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Brag!

I was very pleased and excited today to find out that my portrait of Miss Windy took 3rd Prize in the professional oil/acrylic division at the Oil Heritage Art Show in Oil City, PA. This was especially exciting because it is only 5x7. In recent years only very large pieces have received any sort of awards.

Windy (oil on board, 5x7)

Friday, July 25, 2008

New Addition to Goldfish Series

Continuing my series of goldfish paintings in colored pencil, here is a veil tail goldfish on black card stock. My objective in this painting was to use the black background to emphasize the shape of the fish and make the highlights stand out. Whenever I paint living things (animals, fish, birds, people) I always start with the eyes. The eyes give you piece the spark of life and help to establish character from the first stroke of color. Once the eyes are painted, the first step in painting this piece was to base all of the lightest areas with a light wash of White. The darkest areas were first washed with Black Grape, the compliment of Orange. After the initial washes, the color was built up in layers with the lightest, brightest oranges layered in last.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

New Pet Portrait - Lucky

I finished up a portrait today that will be a gift for a friend. This is my first portrait using colored pencil. I am very pleased with the result. The reference photo had a very dark background and I liked the idea of the shiny coat against the really dark background, so I painted this piece on black cardstock. The photo is not entirely accurate. It is very difficult to photograph black cardstock because the dark background causes the camera to read colors a little differently. This little portrait is about 4x5 before matting.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My New Website

No pictures today, but I am very excited. I have just finished setting up my new website. There you can purchase my pattern packets and original paintings, find information about my travel teaching, and other bits. The website is still under construction and new pages are being added, so it is not totally complete, yet.

I hope that you will take a minute to visit my website and look around.

My blog will continue to be active. This is a place for sharing information and new projects, so I hope that you will continue to visit here often.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Colored Pencil Miniature

This week I have been working on a miniature in colored pencil. You may remember from previous posts that miniatures are very small paintings-usually not larger than 24 square inches. This piece is 4x4, or 16 square inches. It is painted on Bristol Vellum paper. I think that an even smoother surface would be better for miniatures so that detail will be easier to achieve. It is also important to keep your pencil point very sharp. A dull point will not allow you to achieve sharp details in your work. It felt good to get back to working on really small pieces again. I have not really done a new miniature for nearly a year.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Can you paint on leather or faux leather?

Today's project is painted in acrylics on two different surfaces. One is an organizer and the other is an address book. The material for both of these is faux leather (I don't think either of them is real leather). Both are ring binders so you can purchase refills.

So, how do you paint on this surface? Is it durable? The answer to the first question is that you can use regular acrylic paints. Simply clean the surface with an alcohol wipe before you begin to paint and then just go to town. It is not necessary to put any sort of varnish over the finished work, either. Is it durable? You bet! I have several luggage tags that I painted at least five years ago and they still look like new. They have been on planes and in and out of cars and hotels for all that time. The paint is not even worn.

This design is an adaptation of Ros Stallcup's roses. Ros' roses take some time to learn, but once you get the technique, they are pretty easy to paint and they are always impressive to see.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Another Version of Cardinals

Remember the pair of Cardinals done in watercolor? One of my students had requested a cardinal design. Here it is again. My colored pencil students liked it so much, they asked to do it, too. I think I like the colored pencil version better. The curved lines at the bottom of the photo are because I developed this small version of the design for a lamp shade that fits over the top of a wine glass to make a candle holder. This is the prototype, not the finished lamp shade.
Many designs can be adapted to different surfaces and mediums. Use your imagination and wonderful things can happen.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


This is the first in a series of goldfish paintings. It is done in colored pencil on hot press watercolor paper. The size is 7x6. The goldfish is a Ryunkin and the painting is based on a photograph used by permission of the owner. If you are going to work from a photograph that is not your own, ALWAYS ask for permission to use it. I am thinking about all the other ways a goldfish can be painted. Look for more of this series in future posts.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Pears and Luggage

Here is my latest colored pencil project. It is from a still life drawing that I did several years ago and just hadn't been inspired to turn it into a painting by any of the mediums I was working with. It is painted on cardboard-colored cardstock. The pears are underpainted using complimentary purples as are the brass buckles. In order to keep the pears and brass buckles from disappearing into the cardstock, the first step in developing this piece was to put a light wash of white over those areas.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Same Design, Same Surface, Different Palette

This rose is one of my favorite designs and it is very adaptable. I have done it in watercolor, oil, and colored pencil. Here is an example of how you can take the same design, change the palette and still get a beautiful end result. Both of these roses are painted using colored pencil on suede mat board. In each case, the color of the mat board dictated the colored pencil palette that was used to paint the piece. Both were developed using the underpainting technique with Prismacolor Premier pencils. The pink rose was underpainted with Indigo Blue. The yellow rose was underpainted with Violet which is the complimentary color to yellow.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Good Old Summertime!

I was asked to paint something on this fabric cooler/lunchbox. I've had it for almost two months and I've been trying to figure out what to put on it. It needed to be something summery. After all, you could carry a small picnic in it. The areas available for painting were pretty limited. I finally sat down with a bunch of books hoping for some inspiration. Here is the result. I used DecoArt Americana acrylic paints. Once the paint is cured, it will be permanent and will hold up well to daily use.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Watercolor Request

I have a student who requested a cardinal project. She wants to paint a gift for a friend and her friend loves cardinals. So, here it is. Male cardinals are not my favorite birds to paint. While they are colorful, they are pretty much one color and it is challenging to create his form. The female cardinal, while not as bright and cheerful looking as the male, is actually much more fun to paint.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A New Watercolor

It was time to work on a watercolor or two. I have students who need projects to work on. So, I put my pencils down and picked up a paintbrush. Here is a new watercolor--spring tulips. This piece is 9x12. It is painted on 200 pound cold press watercolor paper using MaimeriBlu paint.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

More Colored Pencils

I am continuing to play with my pencils and I am thoroughly enjoying them. I have collected a number of technique books that are very helpful. I am finding new and exciting techniques to apply to my own work. Here is a recent piece--three pears on a cloth painted on beige cardstock. The pears are painted using an underpainting technique with complimentary colors.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Taking Classes

Last week I had the privilege of teaching at the MAD Painting Conference in the Poconos. Since my classes were on Wednesday and Friday, I took advantage of some of my uncommitted time to take a couple of classes from other teachers. Both of the classes I took were in colored pencil. It is a good idea to see what other people are doing and maybe pick up a few new ideas and tips.

Rose Hips, Kelly Hoernig

At the Beach, Laurie McKenzie

Monday, April 14, 2008

A work in Progress

Here is another new pencil project. It is not quite finished. I still need to anchor it and decide about a background.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

New Pencil Project

This weekend I attended a local painting retreat. While I was attending to the make-it-take-it table (I was the MITI Chair), I had plenty of time to play with my colored pencils. Here is one of the projects I worked on. It is painted (colored pencil projects are called paintings) on suede mat board.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Playing with Pencils

I am having a wonderful time playing with my colored pencils. Pencils are such a portable medium. You don't need a lot of extra paraphernalia, they aren't messy, and you can stop and start without worrying about what is going to happen to your paint, your piece, your brushes while you are away from your project. Here are a couple of pencil projects.

Fruit Still Life (Colored Pencil on card stock)

Strawberry Patch (Colored Pencil on Papier Mache Box)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

YIKES! Whare does time go?

I can't believe that it has been a month since I last posted. I have been really busy getting ready for a number of upcoming classes and there has not been a lot of time for painting new things. I have spent some time with my new favorite colored pencils and I have finished a couple of projects that I was requested to paint. Here is a little bench that I was asked to paint. It is done in the New England Primitive style. The top and the plugs on the sides are stained. The base is painted black. Once stained, the top was taped off and the design was painted in each rectangle.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A New Medium, A New Addiction

A week ago, I attended a 3-day seminar on colored pencils. I was really looking forward to the seminar and suspected that I would enjoy using pencils. I never thought I would find them so totally compelling. Colored pencils are a good medium to have in your bag of tricks. They are totally portable. With a container full of pencils, a support surface with some clips, and some paper you are in business. Another little bag with a pencil sharpener, maybe a blender, a kneaded eraser, and a regular lead pencil completes the things you need to create with colored pencils.

In the seminar, we used a number of different surfaces including papier mache, card stock, and suede board. I have also played with a wooden box and Bristol Vellum. All of these surfaces work really well with pencils.
Here are the projects we did in the class:
Day One: Wildflowers on Papier Mache Book
Day Two: Elephant on Black Cardstock
Day Three: Lighthouse on Suede Board

Monday, February 18, 2008

Having a Crafty Day

I would not classify most of what I do as crafting. But, sometimes, a craft-type project comes along and must be tackled. I am going to a belated Valentine party on Wednesday night. My Red Hat group is having their monthly get together and since it is February, we are going to exchange Valentines. Part of the rules were that we have to decorate a shoe box like we did when we were children--the concept, not the exact style. At the end of the evening, we are going to vote for the best decorated box.

I couldn't find a shoe box, but I found a folding box at Michael's for $0.79. It is a little smaller than a shoe box, but it is the right size and shape. Here is my completed Valentine mailbox.

So how did I do this? First, here is the supply list: cardboard box, red tissue paper torn into smallish pieces, Mod Podge, Glitter Mod Podge, paper doilies--heart-shaped and round, 1 sheet of purple scrapbooking paper, 1 package of small gift cards with purple flowers, a plastic "crystal" heart bracelet. All of the supplies were either already in my closet or were purchased at Michael's. I only spent around $3.50 for the things I needed to buy.

Now for the directions:

1. Use Mod Podge to decoupage torn red tissue paper on the top and sides of the box. For a top coat, I used Glitter Mod Podge--something I found in my closet that I had never used. If you look closely, you may be able to see that the red surface sparkles a little.

2. When it is dry, carefully cut a mail slot in the back of the box with an exacto knife.

3. Glue on heart-shaped paper doilies.

4. Cut the front off the gift cards and cut squares from the purple scrapbook paper about the same size as the gift card covers and one larger square.

5. Glue the gift card cover to the purple square and glue the whole assembly to the top of the box.

6. Make two more gift card-purple square assemblies and glue each one to the center of a round doily. Glue one of these to each end of the box.

7. Glue the larger purple square to the front of the box. It will serve as a background to make the "crystal" heart stand out.

8. Use a paper punch to punch a hole in the front of the box and in the lid. I was able to hide the hole in the lid under the edge of the doily. Make sure your holes are large enough for the chain on the bracelet to fit through. This was very difficult and I had to have my husband do the actual punching--his hands are stronger. The Mod Podge makes the paper and the cardboard very stiff.

9. Thread the chain of the bracelet through the front of the box with the "crystal" on the outside. Then thread it up through the lid of the box. Close the lid and loop the chain down behind the "crystal" and fasten it on the front close to the hole in the lid. This way, you don't have to shorten the chain and you don't have to remove the whole bracelet when you want to open the box. Just unfasten it and lift the lid enough to get the cards out.

10. Finally, use a gold marker to write your name on the box so people know that this is your address.

I think my box turned out pretty well and I even kept the red and purple theme. It will be fun to see what everyone else does.