Monday, May 4, 2009

200 Posts!

8 x 11"
graphite on Stonehenge paper

This is my 200th post since I started blogging in Feb, 2007. Blogging has been very good for me: I've made some fantastic connections with other artists around the world; I've sold some of my art; and I've been asked to teach some classes and workshops both about my work and about getting started on blogging.
But I've found that the most important thing that has come from blogging has proven to be a boost to my credibility as a working artist and one who is committed to her craft. I must say, that because of the positive feedback and interactions with other artists and readers, I have a much stronger feeling of confidence in my work. That is HUGE for anyone who works primarily alone day in and day out. You can only get so many "atta girls" from your family and friends; but those from you guys carry a lot of weight.
Thank you, readers! Wouldn't have made 200 without you.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Daisy Today

ACEO - 2.5 x 3.5"
colored pencil drawing on wood veneer
This has been a very busy and productive week for me; however, none of the busy-ness included making art. Oh, there were a few jabs at the sketch book, some planning and some creative thinking, but no real time for drawing or painting.
I was only able to get this little ACEO done. I drew it with colored pencils directly onto a small sheet of wood veneer. This is another technique where you can frame the piece without glass. Just a spray of acrylic varnish and its all set.
But I wonder, does the lack of time to make art cause other artists to become as cranky as I have been this week?

Friday, April 24, 2009

April Virtual Sketch Date

watercolor and colored pencil
on Arches 140 hot pressed paper

I thoroughly enjoyed working on this month's Virtual Sketch Date drawing of a rhododendron from a reference photo provided by Jeanette Jobson. After getting the composition I wanted from cropping, I realized that what appealed to me about the image was that it reminded me of a stained glass window. While wanting to retain that, my goal was also to keep the flower as the focal point and not let the background overwhelm it.

This month, I also decided to work in mixed media with watercolor and colored pencil. Here's my progression:

Step 1 - watercolor wash

Step 2 - First layer of colored pencil. Establishing the dark areas.

Step 3: Second layer of cp. I work all over a drawing at once and build my layers of color. Here I'm still working on layering in the darks and establishing more realistic shapes.

In the final step (above), I've continues to build the color and then began muting some of the background with complimentary color in order to establish foreground and background.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Frequent Sketches

Ooh, boy, I've been busy: cleaning out the studio, moving things around, reorganizing, taking inventory, and just generally doing some spring cleaning.
Because I'm not motivated to make commitments and changes in January when most people do (I just don't have the energy), I wait until spring. This year, not only am I making some much needed physical changes but I've made some much needed new commitments to myself and my work. Here are the biggies:
  1. I've written out my mission statement and have it posted where I read it daily.
  2. I have also posted my list of professional goals where I can read them daily along with their deadlines.
  3. Each goal is broken down into workable steps with each date marked on a goal calendar.
  4. To avoid the inevitable (for me) lag time between finishing a piece and starting a new one, I will strive to have more than one project going at a time. This is also very helpful when I am struggling or bored working on one particular drawing.
  5. I will sketch. I am not committing to a daily schedule, but a frequent one. It's just impossible for me with a young son and so many other commitments to sketch daily. But I have promised myself to try to work on a simple sketch for 30 minutes or less. I plan to share many of these sketches here.
  6. I have made a daily work schedule to block out large chunks of time to commit solely to my artwork. This schedule is then being shared with my family so they can be aware of when I am working.

Making these commitments and cleaning out that studio has given me a new boost toward my work and creativity.

Does anyone else feel the need to "spring clean" to recharge the batteries?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

WIP - VSD for April

April 09 VSD
4 x 6"

This month for the Virtual Sketch Date, I thought I'd try a mixed media piece: watercolor and colored pencil. I love the reference photo sent in by Jeanette Jobson and hope to do it justice. While I want to achieve a more saturated color, I also want to retain some translucence. Hence, the watercolor decision.

This is the first stage with just the watercolor wash; tomorrow I will begin adding colored pencil to the piece. I am working on 140 lb. hot pressed Arches Aquarelle watercolor paper as I like the smooth finish for my pencils.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

First Place!

Here I am basking in the glow of a blue ribbon! My series, "Aging Gracefully", was part of the wonderful "Drawn Together" show put together by the Columbus Colored Pencel Guild.

Here's what the juror, Jim Glover, had to say about this series:
"1st Place: Aging Gracefully/Tucker This series of drawings grew on me with second, third and fourth looks. Well conceived, it is delicately handled with soft edges and well-observed transitions in hue. The dandelions appear to be part of the scene, not cut out and pasted on, which takes great skill to accomplish. Nice job!"

All the work in the show was of drawings (joy!) in any media and there are some incredible works in this show. I am extremely flattered to have been in the show AND to have won first place.

The show is at the beautiful High Road Gallery in Worthington, Ohio and runs through April 26. Hope you can see it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bolivian Lady Final

Bolivian Lady
colored pencil
14 x 18"

Well, it's finally finished! This piece took a very long time to complete but it was a labor of love being that I just recently returned from Bolivia.
This is one of my submissions to the CPSA International Show in Atlanta this year. Last year I did not get any of my work accepted which was a huge disappointment, but I must admit it encouraged me to work that much harder this year. I really like shows that are difficult to get into, because when you do, you know you have truly achieved something. (And I would be lying if I said I didn't care about achieving that goal this year!)
Good luck to all of you who are entering. Hope to see you in Atlanta.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Back from South America

8 x 10" oil painting on canvas
I just returned from Cochabamba and LaPaz, Bolivia, and am still mentally processing the trip. Even though this was the second time I had travelled to Bolivia to do work on an orphanage project, it's still a difficult mental voyage as well. Such poverty and beauty in the same setting can never make sense.
Our group worked hard this year on projects such as sanding, painting, staining, laying sewer pipe, laying tile and a lot of back breaking clean-up. We all tapped into old and new skills to reach our goals.
One of our best days was when we were able to invite the local village families to come to the orphanage home and receive some gifts from us. At the same time we completed a simple census to count the children in the area. My job was to photograph each an every child, which I was happy to do. We counted and I photographed 112 children ranging from teenagers to a newborn 4 days old and still without a name.
Every day, while we worked, many of these children would come to the orphanage site and hang out to watch the gringos work, many of them white women, at that! Unheard of of in their world and, to watch their faces, was also extremely funny to most of them. But we made time for all of them, played with them, hugged them, held them and they stole our hearts.
These children live in such extreme poverty that a used pair of shoes is equal to the best Christmas present. They were so happy with their new gifts; what a joy to be a giver of goods!
My painting in progress above is of a little girl named Elizabeth who wore her traditional clothing every day and who easily won us all over.
I guess my way of processing and reliving my journeys to Bolivia are best done through my art. I'm sure you will see more work inspired by my trip to the southern hemisphere.

Friday, February 27, 2009

New Directions?

"On the Vine"
oil painting
5 x 7"

Last weekend, my husband gave me a wonderful gift of time alone.  I checked into a local hotel for two days and a night to be silent and think.  I took along my laptop, many books, notebooks, some sketching and a couple of pairs of sweatpants.  It was delicious.

During that time, I planned my goals for the upcoming year, broke them down into projects, wrote my mission statement, planned some directions for my work and just generally was able to focus on my work.

One of the goals I've decided upon is to go back to oil painting - not exclusively, I WILL continue with my colored pencil drawings - but as an addition to.  Every Friday, barring schedule interruptions, I plan to paint.  Painting and drawing for me are very, very different.  I am very slow and methodical in the way I draw - it can take months for one drawing.  However, the way I learned to paint was in school and from life; therefore, my style is very quick and loose.  I like both ways of working.

Today was my first "painting" day and I was amazed that I could still ride that horse - albeit a bit rusty, but I wasn't too disappointed in what I produced.  But I'll let you tell me what you think.

I decided to paint from a reference photo I was currently using for a colored pencil drawing on which I had spent a couple of hours.  The painting took the same amount of time.  The drawing isn't done; the painting is signed.  You can see the results below.

It seems to me that it can be good for my growth as an artist to allow myself to explore, create and enjoy the process.  I hope that doing both painting and drawing will complement each other and allow me to grow as an artist.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bolivian Lady WIP - 3rd Post

Bolivian Lady - Stage 7

Bolivian Lady - Stage 8

Bolivian Lady - Stage 9

Ooooh, I wish I were one of those artists who could work across a drawing from left to right and finish a section at a time, knowing I had nailed the values, contrast and color right from the start. But alas, I work all over the page building and glazing layer upon layer of color until I know the piece is finished.
This explains how, in this post, the changes you see are very, very subtle (look closely at the background and the lady's left shoulder). I usually have a vague idea of my background and develop that along with the piece - this one is begging to be darker and will be - but it can determine, and change, my focal subject in subtle ways as well.
Since I work from light to dark, I have always struggled to get my darkest darks right away. I usually seem to slowly coax them out along with the background.
I am hoping to have this piece done by next week, but I also r-e-a-l-l-y need a break from it and plan to work on the Virtual Sketch Date drawing, too, which I will post before next weekend.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bolivian Lady - WIP, second post

Bolivian Lady
Stage 4

Bolivian Lady
Stage 5

Bolivian Lady
Stage 6

I have a love/hate relationship with this piece now - it is taking a l-o-n-g time to progress (which I hate) but I can zone out and get a bit meditative as well (which I love). I also listen to books on tape while I draw or paint so I think I'm going to get through at least 3 books with this one!

Friday, February 6, 2009

New WIP - Bolivian Lady

Bolivian Lady
Stage 1

Bolivian Lady
Stage 2

Bolivian Lady
Stage 3

This piece is very large for me - it measures 18 x 14". It's pure colored pencil on white Stonehenge paper. If you, too, work in colored pencil, you have an idea of how work intensive this piece is and has been, especially with the background.

As much work as it is, I have enjoyed it- almost feel guilty at times. (Does anyone else feel guilty about loving their work, too?)

I am working from a reference photo I took last year while in Bolivia. I was fascinated by how the women dressed and how they carried everything in their wraps. The Bolivian women are some of the hardest working people I have ever seen. In this piece I hope to capture some of that work-filled life in her face along with her feminity and beauty.

I've been meaning to start one of these large pieces from Bolivia since last year. Maybe because I have my second trip booked for this spring, I felt compelled to begin this drawing. I'm not sure, but it is motivating me to get ready to travel again.
Let me know what you think. Love your comments and suggestions.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Art for Orphans

"Market Day"
2.5 x 3.5" ACEO
colored pencil drawing

Another ACEO drawing to be sold to the highest bidder in order to raise funds for an orphanage in Bolivia.
This is drawn from my own photo taken last year at a festival when a group of us journied to Cochabamba, Bolivia. I love the hats and the colorful wraps the women wear. They carry EVERYTHING in the wrap, even their children. I think it should catch on here. I have one of these cloths, maybe I'll give it a try.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Art for Orphans

"My Own Crayons"
ACEO 2.5 x 3.5"colored pencil on Stonehenge paper
I will donate 50% of this sale to the K'illallaray Orphanage Project


Once again, I am offering an ACEO on eBay to benefit the fund to help build the orphanage home for children in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

And, once again, I have made a commitment to travel to Bolivia to help with the building and to build good relations between the "gringos" and the native people.
The drawing above was taken from a reference photo taken last year of one of the orphans. We had just given them all their own crayons and coloring books; many of them thought we would take them back when we left. This beautiful little girl had just had a bath, found a warm spot of sun, and began her coloring project. I just had to share this in a drawing. She touched my heart.
If you're interested in finding out more info, check the website here or my original post here. Thanks for your help.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 09 Virtual Sketch Date

5 x 7"
pastel and colored pencil on Ampersand pastel board

Spent much of the day watching the innauguration with my young son reminding him that he was seeing history being made.

But I found time to finish this month's VSD (Virtual Sketch Date). As in my past VSD posts, I decided to try something a little different that the way I usually work. This month I did a pastel underpainting and finished with colored pencil on a tan-toned Ampersand pastel board.

Check out the other entries this month; many of them are wonderful. You can see many of the members' drawings on a Flickr page here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Back from Hiatus

OK, I've taken enough time off from posting. I spent a hectic, fun-filled holiday season with family and friends and didn't do much drawing. After finishing a couple of commissions prior to the holidays, I think I was a little burnt out and needed some time to regroup.

For the next couple of months, I plan on doing some "businessy"-type stuff. You know, rewrite my mission statement, artist statement, list of goals, bio, inventory my work, update mailing lists, etc., etc. All the un-fun things we must do but put off. Well, my time is now.

I still plan to draw and work on some sketching. May even take a class or two. Just need to get my head on straight about direction and organization. I seem to work better overall when my house and head are in order. I like to start the year off that way when I can.

Let me know what you do to keep your art business in order. Any special tips, tricks, time-savers you want to share, I'd love to hear about right now. Leave me a comment or two.

In the mean time, enjoy a few of the commissions I finished before Christmas. These are on 8 x 10" black gessoed canvas and are done with colored pencil.