Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

Do you know the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran's Day?  There is a difference and apparently most folks don't know that.  Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those military men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice.  Veteran's Day is a day we remember and think of those who have served, both alive and passed.  So yes, there is a difference even if it's subtle.  As a military spouse, I take these days pretty seriously, and tend adhere to their proper definitions.  Below is a photo I had taken last November during a trip to Boston, MA for a convention.  It's a view of the symbolic tags in The Memorial Garden.  The Memorial Garden is a place to honor the men and women in the armed forces and the civilians who lost their lives in the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.

To celebrate this day of remembrance, we took a small extended weekend trip into Denver, CO.  Having never been there before there was a lot to explore.  Denver. Is. Awesome.  We fell in love with it immediately.  Needless to say, not a lot of artistic accomplishments outside of some pretty pictures from the Denver Botanical Gardens.  One of the biggest selling points of making the trip was the opportunity to visit Jerry's Artarama.  A really fantastic art supply store with the most reasonable prices I have ever found.  I found them online first and was very excited to see that they had a Colorado location.  I walked away with a great table easel, large mural brush, a fan brush, and 12x16 pad of Canson Pastel Paper, and all for under $50. So excited to have a favorite art supply store that isn't Michael's.

I may or may not have some extended free time coming up.  I hope to get some more works completed during that time.  Looking forward to it!

"Their Tags"
The Memorial Garden, Boston, MA
Date Taken: 11-6-2010

Sunday, May 15, 2011

More Love for Color Pencils

Since I've decided to take a break from the watercolor and I didn't feel like setting up the acrylics, I sat down with my colored pencils again.  Tonight I completed "Pears".  The other picture, "Lemon Tea", I had done a few weeks ago but never posted.  "Lemon Tea" was done relatively quick.  I wanted to use white as a primary.  I also wanted to tackle the tin flower pot.  Couldn't quite master the reflectiveness of the pot though.  I am pretty happy with the tea pot and the daisies. 

"Pears" on the other hand I am very happy with.  I really enjoy burnishing.  The colorless blending pencils and marker really help to smooth away the tooth of the paper.  I was hesitant to add the dots on the skin of the pear.  I waited until I was more or less done and then decided to go for it.  I think it makes it look more realistic.  The creamy flesh of the inside of the pear was a combination of White, Creme, and Light Peach. All were layered multiple times in different combinations to really achieve that particular color.  The pears were a combination of, Crimson Red, Tuscan Red, Pink, Carmine Red, Poppy Red, Goldenrod and Mulberry.  Again, all were layered in different combinations to match the red of the pear's skin.  One of my favorite techniques I learned from my favorite art instructor was the use of indigo blue.  I rarely, if ever, use black.  indigo blue just adds that touch of color to a neutral area, in this case the shadows.  I may end up framing my "Cherries" and "Pears". All of these pieces ("Cherries", "Pears", and "Lemon Tea") were completed on Canson Pastel 9x12 paper. Using the colored paper add to the whole composition of the pieces I think.  Automatic background!

It's rewarding when I am actually pleased with my work.  The completion of "Cherries" and "Pears" really makes me happy and accomplished.  I hope everyone enjoys them too.

8x11, Colored Pencil, Canson Pastel Paper 98#

"Lemon Tea"
8x11, Colored Pencil, Canson Pastel Paper 98#

Saturday, May 14, 2011


I haven't used watercolors in a little while so I pulled them out again.  Another reason I wanted to try them was because I had purchased a watercolor canvas.  I've never used them before and was eager to try.  I've spent two days on it so far, and I'm not exactly happy with it.  One the challenges I've run into using the canvas is the fact that you pretty much just push the color around.  There is very very little absorbancy.  Which of course is good and bad, but what I found was its hard to layer.  As soon as I'd brush over it it'd pick up the color that had already dried and I'd have to start all over again.  This piece though did give me the opportunity to use the white watercolor.  It helped me achieve the pink in the tulips. I think I'm going to set this one aside for a little bit, but keep it in sight so I can decide what to do next.  In the meantime, I'm going to start something else.  Not sure what yet, but something! 

In the Tulips
12x12, Watercolor, Watercolor Canvas

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

FolioTwist and an Update

I've started a FolioTwist site. is a site and service that provides professional personal artist websites.  It's designed by the same guys who are responsible for (a personal fave of mine).  They have a 10 day Free Trial where it allows you to start, design, and upload your own work for display.  It can even link a Paypal account to make the purchase of your works a whole heck of a lot easier.  I'm still in my trial window, but I think I may make it permanent. 

Their current promotion is what peaked my interest.  They state that in light of the economy and the fact that many artists really love FolioTwist but can't afford the $45/mo fee for the site, they are doing a pricing experiment.  So what they've come up with is, start the free trial, decide if you like it, and then submit a REASONABLE offer as to how much you'd be willing to pay per month.  They also send a weekly how-to email that tells you all about site promotion and how to really optimize the site and its feature to your full advantage.   

By the way, totally posting this because I wanted too and under absolutely no coercion from the website.  I just think it's pretty cool!

Quick note about what's happening with me.

I've been on vacation for pretty much the past 3 weeks, and driving took up at least 2 of them.  Needless to say, not a lot of work getting done.  However, I plan to pick it back up this week (sometime).  I've received some pretty positive feedback about my painting, in particular Landscape #2.  So that is quite encouraging.  I was starting to feel that my painting just wasn't worth the bulk of my time.  I switched back to Prismacolor Color Pencils because I feel "safe" with them.  I felt I could produce more finished and successful pieces with this medium, and I think I did.  With all of the positive comments though, I think I might give the paints another try. 

I really just want to feel validated as an artist.  I'm not "formally" trained nor have any fancy art degrees.  I have the confidence from my friends and family and some past successes to keep trying.  I may even submit some more work to another contest, because why the hell not!?

All in due time I guess...