Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Boudoir Portrait - The Sexiest Gift a Guy Could Get

We all know that men can be impossible to shop for...that's why I LOVE it when a client approaches me about creating a commission like this one. For her husband's birthday, she wanted this very sexy, very intimate portrait done. I love the photo she chose - shows off her husband's favorite part of her figure, her derriere, yet is also very discreet. I think it's a brilliant combination of sexuality and shyness. boudoir
When I am working with a client on a special (and surprise!) gift such as this, I feel the most important thing I can do is LISTEN to their needs and desires, integrating exactly what they want into their portrait. While I may suggest few things - color, scale, what picture would make the best painting, I know that my number one job is to make the client happy (closely followed by making them look GOOD!)

This series (shown in reverse order from start to finish) shows how frequently I update my clients, getting feedback and sharing in the process. That's another aspect that makes ordering a custom portrait so much fun! The interaction with the artist as the piece is being developed. The anticipation of seeing it from one step to the next!

If you have any questions on the process, or would like some ideas on how to take a great photo for a custom portrait, I would be happy to help you. You can leave a comment or contact me thru my Etsy Shop. I have had female clients create work for their significant others, but I have also had male clients buy gift certificates for their partners as well -trust me ladies - he thinks your gorgeous and loves your figure! Go for it!

You can see more samples of my custom portrait paintings and drawings in this section of my Etsy shop.
PS...many thanks to my fabulous friend/client who said "go for it!" when I asked permission to share her portrait with you. Let me assure you...NO ONE gets to see your pictures if you don't want them to!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Custom Watercolor Portraits of Children - A Perfect Mother's Day Gift

Like all mothers...I think I have the most beautiful children on the planet. And I take a ton of pictures. And occasionally I find the time to draw or paint them! About 3 years ago I did this watercolor of my son Jack - he's about a yr old in the photo, looking at an acorn in front of our house.

I took this photo of Arianna around the same age, also sitting in the driveway. I knew it would make a great partner to Jack's painting - and it only took me a year to finally get started! I would say I'm about 70% finished...I need to work on the colors in the face, make the shadow stronger and of course finish her other arm and foot.
Portraits of children make excellent Mother's day gifts - check out custom portrait samples of my Etsy shop for more ideas! Please contact me if you have any questions.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Figure Drawing...Two Nude Female Models Drawn is Dastel

Our lucky figure drawing group had two lovely models last night! They always do such wonderful gesture poses, and here are two five-minute sketches from our session.
(I actually posed for the first round of 2-minute gestures, clothed, because our models were going to be delayed. As I took the first pose Bruce said "well I guess we get partial nudity". I forgot that I was wearing low-riding jeans and took a pose that, well, made them go VERY low...I am told that the color on my cheeks and the expression on my face was priceless. )

This is a shot of my drawing in progress - Nupastel on Colorfix pastel board. I was trying to be colorful, but mindful of staying in the middle value range, saving highlights and deep shadows until the very end, after making sure all proportions were accurate.

I may still add more color to the environment. I like the composition as it is, and that the legs of the model on the left are only implied, not fully defined.

This is a quick (35 minutes of drawing time) portrait from the opposite side of the room.

This is my mom's drawing! I told you she would come to class with me! Didn't she do a great job? She worked in mostly vine charcoal, and spent a lot of time working on her proportions. She developed light and shadow over the entire drawing at the same time, not getting too dark in any area too quickly. She also blocked in the shapes nicely, not depending on too much line to define the figures. Other than a few marks I made to help define the heads, this is 100% Maria!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Custom Portrait Painting in Watercolor, A Wonderful Gift Idea

The first of my recent commissions was given to it's intended recipient over the weekend, so I am now excited to share it with you!

(This is actually on creamy-white watercolor paper, but I have yet to perfect a photographing technique to capture the white of the background (feel free to post a tip if you have one!)

I worked from a couple of different photos provided from my client, all of which were in kind of a "soft focus". But that worked out ok for the watercolor - as long as I didn't get too "tight" with the detail. I didn't try to define each wrinkle or eye-lash, but rather let the portrait stay soft and beautiful.

This was to honor the client's mother on the her mother's first birthday since her passing last September. I am told that the client's father was extremely touched, and I even received an e-mail from him expressing his gratitude, which really thrilled me. I love being part of a project like this, honoring someone that was obviously loved and cherished by many.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Busy Week Ahead

So much is happening at one time I don't even know where to begin! Sometimes it helps to write it out...look at it a day at a time...and don't be so overwhelmed! So here it goes!

Monday...Jack has t-ball practice tonight. While Ari and I stay home nursing our runny noses, hopefully Jack will learn that as you are running to the base...you do not stop and play with the chalk line.

Tuesday...Drop off Jack and school and then Ari and I head over to ZUMBA class at http://www.fusiondancefitness.com/ in Woodstock, GA. SO much fun...and I can't wait!

Then...Yippee! Grandma and grandpa arrive from Buffalo!

Wednesday...get LOTS of errands done while Grandma babysits. Oh...and it's Arianna's 2nd birthday! I can't believe it! (That's one of the first first pictures of Jack and Ari together and a picture taken last month!) End the day with drawing at Shane's studio - we're working from the two live female models again (I'll bring my mom to draw with us...that'll be my first opportunity to embarrass her this week...or will it be the other way around?)
Thursday...Back to Zumba class! I'll bring my mom to class...in case you're keeping track...this will be my second chance to embarrass my mom this week...or will it be the other way around?

Friday...Kickboxing class...I like my mother a little too much to subject her to the torture of this class...she and Ari can hang out at home! I hope I make it thru class! And I think Hubby and i will have a well deserved date-night (oh yeah - today's Monday...I hereby declare my undying love for my husband! And he really deserves it this week - he turned all of his own white socks right-side-out so that I didn't have to do it on laundry day. I really love that man)
Saturday...FINALLY spend some time at the tour home in Milton where I have some of my pastel portraits on display. I'll be there all day selling my art and working on a portrait - come and watch me paint! The house is GORGEOUS and all the money goes to a great cause! The Homestead Presented by the Roswell Women's Club http://roswellwomansclub.org/

Sunday...big birthday party for my sweet girl!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Three Colorful Pastel Figure Drawings from the Live Nude Female Model

There's nothing like fresh supplies to get your creative juices flowing! I just recieved a big package of colored, textured pastel paper and was raring to go when we had our figure drawing group last night. I strated with a deep blue piece of paper and grabbed lots of bright colors. I'm pleased with the composition and alot of the lost/found lines, and the variety of ways that I defined her figure, but I think I still need to work on the face and perhaps soften the background.

I didn't want to over-work the drawing above, so I quickly grabbed a piece of sap green pastel paper and three colors - orange, bluish grey and red and sat on the other side of the room for this quick (about 5- 10 minute) sketch. The colors worked very well together!

The last post of the night was an "artists request" - we wanted to draw the model's gorgeous hair down! So she struck the dramatic pose and I positioned the light high above her head, creating a lot of interesting shadows, especially in her torso. This is a warm, earthy paper (almost the color of the Georgia clay!) and I was surprised at the beautiful color relationships that I could build with my Nupastels. The upper left corner is my favorite spot! That's a light mint green layered over a rich magenta...awesome combo!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Variety of Gesture Drawings from Figure Drawing Sessions

Hi!!! I'm doing a little bit of everything today...I painted a mini watercolor, gessoed some masonite so I can start a new painting, and cleaned the studio a bit. The mini watercolor was based on a gesture drawing, and I realized as I flipped thru my sketchbook that there were some I hadn't shared with you before! So here is a collection of gesture drawings for you...a few that have been posted before, a few that are new!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kathy Jones - An Artist I Admire

My dear friend Geri sent me a recent copy of American Art Collector to show me a quote from her daughter, a collector (and also the subject of this portrait!) and I came across the work of Kathy Jones, an incredible figurative artist.

Ms. Jones paints with intensity. There is an emotive quality to her subject matter, matched by her paint application and her color palette. I am drawn to the variety of paint application and her facility with the media. Surprising color combinations, and the sense that there is a history on the surface - layers of paint building up and effecting each layer that comes after it.

Even though her figures are faceless, you know who they are, you can feel their thoughts, you can sense a time and place in which they exist. It's amazing how much information the viewer can bring to her work...every viewer can finish the story started by her painting.

I picked the piece above "Fade With Time" because of the red line, which I have been experimenting in my own work. It makes me yearn for time in my studio to really push my work to the next level.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I can't show you anything!

I just want to say "I'm sorry". I can't show you anything! I just sent out 2 commissions today, and although I'm DYING to share then with you, they are gifts! And who knows who might stumble upon my blog and see their gift early! (insert a pair of shifty eyes here...) I'm even starting a NEW commission portrait this week so that will have to wait! But I promise, as soon as the cat is out of the bag, I will catch up and show you the work!

But here's something to entertain you until then,

The other day hubby was using the laptop and I said "Have you read my blog lately?"

Hubby "yeah it looks good. You don't talk about me enough".

Me "yes I do - I just told everyone how nice you painted the dresser!"

Hubby "I mean you should be declaring your undying love for me at least once a week"

So...because I have nothing else to say today...

"I hereby declare my undying love for my Hubby"

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bunco Night - Salmon Puffs, Mojitos...and Custom Wine

Once a month a group of lovely ladies in my neighborhood get together for Bunco Night. It's a great excuse to catch up, have a few drinks, and share some great food and fun! Last night was my turn to co-host and I tried a recipe from the Pilsbury Bake-Off contest that came out AMAZING - Salmon Pufs with Dill Pesto. You can see the recipe here.
Look at all this gorgeous food! I also made my Green Tea Mojitos - which tasted great but apparently weren't strong enough! Next time - more rum! I'll also get Danette's recipe for her awesome Arugala Salad with warm Squash and Cranberries (out of this world!) and her pasta with artichokes, mushrooms and parmesian cheese...I had two huge servings!

Of course when all the dice have been rolled and all the shouts of "BUNCO" have died down, it comes time to award prizes to the winners (and losers!) Danette and I aren't normal people, so why would we give normal prizes? We made custom Wine bottle labels with our pictures on them. The first one is Danette and I making kissie faces... with a Judy Garland quote "Twas not my lips you kissed, but my soul". The second was Danette and I staring into each other's eyes and the wine label read "For that moment when you fell like you've never felt before...BLUSH" and the last picture was a swirled picture of Danette and I with red-rimmed glasses on. The label said "Rose Colored Glasses. The more you drink, the better we look".

Here are to of the very lucky winners opening their prizes! I didn't get pictures of it because I was laughing too hard, but there were also MATCHING NECKLACES for each bottle! When I saw Freda put on her necklace of Danette and I staring into each other's eyes...well, that was it. Game over. I was rolling on the floor!
Bunco babes...that is my favorite night of the month! Thank you for the laughter, the food and the friendship! I love you all!

Friday, March 13, 2009

The T-Ball Banner...do I have too much free time?

OK. The kids are 4. They probably don't care what their Team Banner looks like. But give me a project and some paint and I just can't keep it simple!

Hopefully the parents will like it :). Good luck Marlins! I hope you have a great season!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Building Layers of Color in a Figure Drawing of a Black Male Model

Our very lucky figure drawing group had the incredible james model for us last night! He is one of the best! His gesture poses are phenomenal - this is a quick shot of one of his two-minute poses. By the time we are done with gestures, we are all wiped out! (PS...always ask the model's permission before taking photos!)
After gestures we set up a long pose. I was working on a grey piece of mat board and started blocking in the form with a lilac pastel for the highlights and a blue Nupastel for the shadows - being careful not too get too dark or specific too early in the drawing (this pose will go for 2 hours)

I then started to add warmer colors to the highlights and further define the form.

I took some time to start developing the head/face - there was such an amazing highlight on his forehead.

But I was spending TOO MUCH TIME ON THE FACE. So I put a sticky-note on it and forced myself to develop the whole drawing at the same time.

Right at the end I added a little bit of light sap green to the environment - finding that little triangle of light under the arm on our left. I think that helped to define the space. Overall I'm pretty happy with the drawing, and I think there's a focus on the face, while still providing enough information about the whole figure.

Photographing a Dark Drawing, Getting a Better Value Range in Your Photograph

Drawings or paintings that have a narrow value range are often hard to photograph - ones that are overall grey can be almost impossible to capture all the subtle variations.

I just wanted to show you the best set-up for taking a photo of a piece like this drawing.

Give your camera a good value range to read - and try to put that range in the center of the camera (for my digital camera, I cannot press "half-way" and then MOVE the focus to take the picture - I have to just snap the picture.
So I need my value range right in the middle of the shot)

I did try with the value range set further apart - this was not as successful.

Taking photos of your art can be a big challenge - thankfully with digitial we have the freedom to explore and see the results instantly!

Click on the tag "photographing art" to see other examples.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Favorite Figure Drawing Books

I love buying books on art...technique, artists, styles, art movements. And what's great about buying any art book is that every time you look at it, you will see something new and gain some new insight. They don't have to be a big investment, either.
The book in the lower left "Drawing the Nude" was a great find for under $7 at barnes and Noble. The author is Diana Constance who also wrote the book above - "Complete Life drawing Course". While the drawings may not be the best figure drawings out there, they are all solid examples of technique and style. She gives a great over-view of drawing techniques and time-honored methods of improving your drawing skills.

Inside each book I find an abundance of inspiration - I love the "Big Book of Drawing and Painting the Figure" by Muntsa Calbo - he has an incredible technique and includes many examples from other great figure artists, both famous and unknown. He also shows a lot of works in progress, which i think is so important- the next best thing to watching a great artist work.
"How to Draw the Human Figure" by John and Jody Raynes also has a great over-view of drawing technique, and ends with a section on figures in environment which is very helpful and gets he artist thinking about beyond the studio, There are some beautiful color palettes in theses pieces especially.
I have written about "Drawing from Life" in a previous post...definitely one of my favorites!
The important thing to remember when buying a book is - no. 1 - not all the images are "the best of the best". Many of these are instructional drawings, meant to illustrate a point, not to be seen as "fine art". Read, but also look at the pictures with an eye for IDEAS - do you like the pose? is it a great sense of space? do you like the line quality? is it an interesting color palette? When you need an idea, or inspiration to take your work to the next level, or just a gentle reminder of HOW to draw (technique!) these books never fail me. I look forward to adding more to my collection!