Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Bologna Children's Book Fair

Sorry I have been absent for a while.  Life got really busy:)  Here is a video of this year's Children's Book Fair in Bologna Italy.  It took place at the end of March.  This is my one day go to this book fair and better yet, to one day have my art there!  This video shows how artists leave their work for others to discover.   So much FUN!


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Den Full of Foxes

This week I returned to a project that I have shared with you before.  It's my Fox Went Out On A Chilly Night picture book project that is part of my thesis project at the Academy of Art University.  I want to add another three paintings to this project by Mothers day!  I'll post my progress so you can hold me to my deadline:)  I find a deadline always helps me and accountability to others as well, so it's up to you to keep me on track!

You can see here the beginning of my work on this painting.  In the top picture you can see my storyboard on the bottom of the pile of papers.  These are my original thoughts on what should be on each page.  Then you can see some of the photo references I used to create the painting I am working on.  This painting is the last page of the book where all the fox, his wife and all their kits are fast asleep in their den as winter snows cover the land.  I use prima color markers to do a value study thinking about the previous paintings I have done and my focal point.  Sometimes the prisma color markers don't have the right values that I am looking for and her is a case in point.  I wanted the tree to be the darkest value, but this value study it is a little too dark, so in my color study I adjusted the value as you can see below.  

I felt that the too dark tree against the light background brought your eye away from the subject of the foxes, so I lighten the tree and put more emphasis on the foxes by playing with cool versus warm colors to bring your eye to the focal point.  I think it reads better now, what are your thoughts?  Let me know in the comments below:)



Sunday, March 20, 2016

Two Obscure Holidays In One!

When I looked at the calendar for my next obscure holiday to illustrate I found two!  Today is both International Earth Day and Extraterrestrial Abductions Day.  The juxtaposition of the two holidays demanded that I put them both in one illustration.  So here it is....Earth being abducted by aliens!

Let me know what you think in the comments section:)


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Portrait Group

I love my Friday Portrait Group! It is such a fun and creative group of people.  We listen to music, talk to the model, and paint.  You can see in this picture we were talking to the model and I like her casual pose so much I grabbed a coffee cup and asked her to hold it as a prop.  I wanted to capture the spontaneity that came through her casual pose.     

Her beautiful auburn hair and porcelain skin was the perfect subject to paint the day after St. Patrick's day and just seeing her we were all inspired:)  It was two hours of bliss for me.  Every portrait always starts as a mess of marks and paint splotches as I try to find the landmarks and proportions of the face.  You can see here that I wanted to get her coffee cup in the painting, but the painting seemed to have it's own path and ultimately the cup was lost from the composition.

It was because of her hair.  I got lost in the beauty of the color and depth of it.  I actually started with a piece of canvas paper that was long and narrow and wanted to do a crop of her.  But once I started massing in her hair I had to add a second piece of paper to be able to capture her hair.  So if you look closely you'll notice the line separating the two pieces of canvas paper and my painting was really a diptych!  I played with the colors a bit and went with a complimentary color scheme vs the somewhat analogous background that the yellow wall created.  You can see my set up here.  I have a folding chair and a card table for my paints and a music stand for my paper.  I paint on canvas paper because I really like the ease of it and since these are just practice studies, I feel less committed to the paper and allow myself to push it and make mistakes.

Here is my finished study and a close up of it.  I didn't really capture fully her likeness but I am improving from week to week with each painting, so I am pleased:)

Monday, March 7, 2016

Art Quote

I can't believe that I missed Dr. Seuss's birthday last week!  I have many of his books in my children's book collection and I have read them over and over to my own children.  I can recite them from memory just like I'm sure many of you can.  They are so much fun and I love his quirky style of illustration.  So to make up for it, this week I have chosen an art quote by Dr. Seuss.  This one seemed appropriate to me because if you have met me then you know, I stand out in a crowd, just like the llama:)


Monday, February 29, 2016

Portrait Group

It has been said that there is no better exercise than to paint from life.  It teaches you to observe and analyze your subject and make decisions on the spot.  I learned this in graduate school and I would agree, it's one of the best ways to improve yourself as a painter.  The problem is.... how do you find a way to do it regularly? 

Well, I am lucky enough to have a portrait group in my area that is run by the East Aurora Art Society, of which I am a member.  Despite my busy schedule this winter I have been able to make it to a couple of the Friday sessions and have been so inspired by the experience I wanted to share it with you all!  Above you can see one of my paintings and a little bit of my process.  I blocked in the shadow shapes first to try and capture likeness.  I was working with a limited pallet of colors and I did not have violet, or anything to make the violet color of her scarf, so I had to borrow a dab from a friend.  I love the triadic color scheme it created.  When I was done with this painting I thought I could use this study to create a "mom" character for one of my picture books.  She looks young and fresh and very French with her scarf on her head.     


At portrait group there is usually about 5-8 of us and a model in the basement of this quaint church in East Aurora, New York.  

It's a rather simple setting of a yellow cinder block Sunday school room, but once we begin and are focused on our subject I find more than enough inspiration in the model who is sitting right in front of us!  I paint in oils on canvas paper because I only consider these to be studies and I am experimenting with a limited pallet to see what I can produce.  The sessions go about 2 hours with a little break in the middle for the model to grab a drink and for us artists to gab a bit.  I can't decide what I like more, the painting or the conversation between the artist, all of whom are there to improve themselves.   


Here are a few more my studies here for you to see.  To me each one represents a little bit of learning that is turning me into a better painter:)