Thursday, January 26, 2012

Just off the Easel: Miss Lucy

Finished the portrait of this sweet baby, and very happy with the outcome!

Miss Lucy
11" x 14" 
oil pastel on paper

Every time I thought I was finished, I found another spot to work more on!  Loved working on this one, especially the colors in her gown and the headband. Here are the reference picture, a few progress pictures, and the final image at the end:

Working on finishing another commission and have a house portrait to lay out next.  And I have to get a little something done for the Apex Arts Council's Romance/Valentine show coming up next week.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

WIP: Little Lucy

Here's an oil pastel portrait that I am close to finishing...

11" x 14" oil pastel on Arches Cover
primed with clear Colourfix

I still have some work to do on the hands and eyes, some shading in the cheeks, and a little more with the background.  It's hard to stop, but I think she's almost there!

Stay tuned for the finish!  I'm also working on a kitty portrait and will have a post on that this weekend.

PS:  Did you notice that I reworked the look of my blog?  A cleaner look for the new year.  I have so many goals for 2012, and we're almost to February already...yikes!

Interested in commissioning a portrait? See details at my Etsy shop.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Commissions Step-by-Step

Some of you might wonder how I go about painting a commissioned piece.  Here's a step by step run down of my process, shown here is a recent painting, "Virginia Farm."

I start with a good reference picture from the client.  

The client asked for some of the trees to be removed from the front of the house so we can see more of the house up on the hill.  Luckily, they got another close-up of the house so I could see what was behind those trees!

We decide on a 12" x 16" oil pastel painting, and I begin with a basic sketch. (Send layout to client for approval/feedback)

I lay down a layer of oil pastel on board primed with pastel primer.  (Send progress picture to client for feedback)

When client replies that all is on track, I go in with more pastel to refine/blend.

I am constantly editing, adjusting colors, adding detail, and stepping back to see how things are looking. At this point in the painting, the trees in the background and in the middle of the hill are making me a bit crazy.  There is not much vibrancy in the trees, so I need to enhance the colors and punch them up a bit.  Now is a good time to take a breather for a day (send progress pics to client), and come back with fresh eyes.  Also, the pastel needs to dry and "set up" a bit so the next layers will go over and not blend with the previous layer.

I have added highlights to the trees and some pops of color to make it more exciting.  I put in more shadows around the distant structures and add detail around the barn in the foreground.  My mom, a talented painter and my best friend, comes over and suggests that I push the trees on the left up so they break up the bar of blue sky.  I agree and take another break, and then go in for the last round...

I'm pretty pleased with everything and stop before I think I'm finished.  I've learned that I'll never be 100% satisfied, but there is a point where you have to quit before you make a mess and muddy it all up!  I send the client a final version for approval.  

They are happy and have no changes, so the final step is to sign the painting and take a good photo in natural light with my good camera!  

finished oil pastel painting

again, the reference photo for comparison

I hope you enjoyed my painting demo!  It's so much fun taking a photo and making a painting for a client... hopefully this was a memorable Christmas present.  

For more about commissions and pricing, visit my Etsy shop or see the Commissions section on this website.  

Happy weekend!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Just off the Easel: Jack the "Bassador"

Here is another pet portrait...two dog-themed blog posts in one day!  

Jack the "Bassador"
8" x 10" oil pastel

Jack is a Labrador and Basset mix, hence the nickname his parents gave him of "Bassador."  After some rough patches, Jack has thankfully found a great family and is a happy, loving pup!  It is a testament to the love a rescued pet gives to the people who give him a chance in a wonderful home.  

Our own dog, Penny, was a rescue from a no-kill shelter in Liberty, NC.  She has been a loving friend and companion for almost ten years!  It was in February 2002 that Nick and I adopted her, just 4 months after getting married...she was and always will be our "first baby!"

Penny, aka "Pennypie"
at 4 months, 2/2002
Penny lounging in the studio 12/2011

Just off the Easel: Buttons the Poodle

Here's another pup that I did over the holidays... Buttons is the name of this sweet little poodle.

8" x 10" oil pastel

This was supposed to be a sketch, but I was having so much fun with the colors and blue background it ended up being a little more involved!

Stay tuned...I have a few more commissions to share!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Just off the Easel: Chicago Sunset

Happy New Year! Wishing you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2012!

Here's another recent painting that I can share now...This was for my brother, Andrew, who just moved back after a year in Chicago.

Chicago Sunset
16" x 20"
acrylic on canvas

This year I'm hoping to make many more friends across the country and world through my art.  It's amazing to make connections with other artists and art (and pet!) lovers. 

Stay tuned for a few more recent commission and "Just off the Easel" painting posts! 

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