Category Archives: Paintings

I Hope

Like a lot of people these days I’ve been doing some cleaning around the house. I had a painting I did on a large cradled board that I’d never been happy with. And oh dear, it was the second painting on that board that I could never come to feel good about.

I was ready to throw out the board, but…it was large and I hated to waste the money. So one afternoon I started painting over the past, as you might say, and ended up with this new direction.

I like it and I think it is the one that will stay.


“I Hope”

24″ x 36″, acrylics on masonite board, June 2020.

 

I Hope 24 x 36 6-20

Mirror Image Women

I made this image as a demonstration for one of my students in the mixed media class I taught in Winter, 2020. I wanted to show an incorporation of stenciling on layers of paint and my explanation in words was not making sense to her.

I cut out a woman figure. Then I painted a piece of watercolor paper (9″ x 12″) in sections of  random color.  Next, I set the stencil on the paper and painted around her; then I flipped her over and painted the other side of the paper in different colors.

The figures protect the original colors so that when the stencil is removed, there it is.

The whole thing took maybe five minutes to do. The student saw the process and I was pleasantly surprised by the results. Sometimes good things happen very fast, and the key is, don’t mess with them just because you think it should have been harder. Sometimes…it is easy!

 

Mirror Image Women 1-2020 8.5 x 10.5003

Light Rain

I took a photo of a street of houses, a car, and a person walking along with an umbrella from an overhead viewpoint, back in January 2020. I used it as a reference for this painting, which I did during the mixed media class I taught in Winter 2020.

The class was working on individual projects and I did not want to be forcing my attention on them without respite, so I gave myself a project to work on, too.

The painting is called “Light Rain”. Acrylics, 20″ x 16″, March 2020.

Light Rain 20 x 16 3-20001

Lebruchio & Father, Movers

You may remember that I’ve done some illustration work for the online fiction magazine Fictive Dream. I love working for editor Laura Black and I also love being involved in the world of short fiction in this way. I’ve found the process of reading a story and turning it to something visual to be really satisfying in a way I can’t quite describe – there’s the challenge of “seeing” what the words say and then conveying it that I love.

Recently Laura asked me if I would illustrate an upcoming story for the magazine. I was happy to do so. The story, Lebruchio & Father, Movers, by Louis Gallo, appears today at Fictive Dream.

I used a variety of materials and techniques in these images. For Image 1, I collaged painted magazine papers to make the house against an acrylic-painted background (the grass with a few pieces of paper thrown in). I drew the truck in basic form on a sheet of paper, to serve as a pattern (my intention was to use the same truck in both pictures).

I then drew the truck’s details, minus the logo, and adhered it to the image.

For Image 2, I used a brush dip pen and India ink to draw the image – in this picture, the truck was drawn on the paper along with everything else, using the truck pattern. I filled in the details, minus the logo, and then used acrylic inks to color the picture.

To make the logo for the truck took some research time. It’s the most prominent part of the picture (I think when you include print in an art image it always attracts the first glance, which is why you have to be careful with adding words to art). I reviewed various typefaces and chose one with elements I liked. I used Word to arrange it in a circle shape. Then, not tracing it but using it as a reference and modifying it as I liked, I drew the logo. I scanned it, then cut each one out, put it on a black background so that it would have a border, and adhered them to the images.

Many times the fun of illustration is choosing the mediums and techniques that I think will best represent the text (unless the medium is specified by the commissioning party, of course, in which case my challenge is to work with that added parameter).


 

Here are the images. Go to Fictive Dream and read the story – see  which one Laura chose and how it fits the story…

Now that you’ve viewed the art, here’s more info if you are interested in seeing past works of illustration for Fictive Dream – I’ve given a few links and if you want to know more, search my blog under the topic: Fictive Dream. 

September Slam 2018

Flash Fiction February 2019

Flash Fiction February 2020

Revisits 2019

And…here are links to the events at the magazine’s site, Fictive Dream.

Flash Fiction February 2019

Flash Fiction February 2020

Revisits

Repast

You may remember that I’ve done some illustration work for the online fiction magazine Fictive Dream. I love working for editor Laura Black and I also love being involved in the world of short fiction in this way. I’ve found the process of reading a story and turning it to something visual to be really satisfying in a way I can’t quite describe – there’s the challenge of “seeing” what the words say and then conveying it that I love.

Recently Laura asked me if I would illustrate an upcoming story for the magazine, Repast, by Len Kunz. Given the world situation at the moment, I admitted to a lack of an ability to focus, and doing an illustration that would do justice to a story was just beyond me.

However, I had an idea – maybe I could search my archives and see if anything might fill the bill. I have literally thousands of images of my artworks dating back twenty years. Surely there might be something there to work from.

Contrary to usual practice, I did not want to read the story itself, feeling that doing so would cause me to restrict the possibilities and overlook something that might work. Therefore, I asked her for a general idea of what she was looking for. It worked out well – I was able to come up with a variety of images of wildly differing subjects.

Take a look at some of the candidates:

As you can see, there is quite a variety. Among the group are an altered digital photo (of my stove); a collage from the early 2000’s; and a selection of mail art postcards painted on ad cards in acrylics.

I sent Laura the selection and she made her decision. I made some adjustments so that it would fit the size requirements.


Now it’s up to you:

Go to Fictive Dream and read the story – see  which one Laura chose and how it fits the story…

*******

Now that you’ve viewed the art, here’s more info if you are interested in seeing past works of illustration for Fictive Dream – I’ve given a few links and if you want to know more, search my blog under the topic: Fictive Dream. 

September Slam 2018

Flash Fiction February 2019

Flash Fiction February 2020

Revisits 2019

And…here are links to the events at the magazine’s site, Fictive Dream.

Flash Fiction February 2019

Flash Fiction February 2020

Revisits

Impromptu Still Life

In the mixed media class I taught from January-March 2020, there came a day when we did mixed media still life.

We set up some objects and the students got to work. To keep myself from hovering over them, I started to work on this piece and finished it later at home.

I’m not very reality-oriented in my rendition. For example, the red circly things at the bottom represent a swath of bubble wrap spread on the table.

Just saying.

“Impromptu Still Life”, acrylics/paper/ink on canvas, 20″ x 16″, 2/2020.

Impromptu Still Life 20 x 16

The Red Envelope

You may remember that I’ve done some illustration work for the online fiction magazine Fictive Dream. I love working for editor Laura Black and I also love being involved in the world of short fiction in this way. I’ve found the process of reading a story and turning it to something visual to be really satisfying in a way I can’t quite describe – there’s the challenge of “seeing” what the words say and then conveying it that I love.

Recently Laura asked me if I would illustrate an upcoming story for the magazine. I was happy to do so. The story, The Red Envelope by Dinah Cox, appears today at Fictive Dream.

I used a variety of materials and techniques in these images. The first two present a similar scene, but one is mainly done in collage and acrylics, while the second one is mostly pen with a little wash of acrylic paints. The third image is collage, composed of papers I painted with acrylics and found papers.

Many times the fun of illustration is choosing the medium that I think will best represent the text (unless the medium is specified by the commissioning party, of course, in which case my challenge is to work with that added parameter). This time I tried out several things, to give Laura a choice and to give myself some fun with it.

 


Here are the images. Go to Fictive Dream and read the story – see  which one Laura chose and how it fits the story…

 

Now that you’ve viewed the art, here’s more info if you are interested in seeing past works of illustration for Fictive Dream – I’ve given a few links and if you want to know more, search my blog under the topic: Fictive Dream. 

September Slam 2018

Flash Fiction February 2019

Flash Fiction February 2020

Revisits 2019

And…here are links to the events at the magazine’s site, Fictive Dream.

Flash Fiction February 2019

Flash Fiction February 2020

Revisits

 

Let’s Say You Have a Photo and You Want to Make a Collage Image Inspired By It…

I’ve made lots of collages that were based on a photo where I intended the finished image to adhere somewhat faithfully to the photo’s inspiration.

Like these collages below, all made in the early 2000’s from photos I took of actual scenes.

(Painted paper collages, sizes varying from 4″ x 6″ to 18″ x 24″)

Here’s the question this post will answer – if you have an image that requires you to follow a plan, how do you do it?

Here’s how I did it. You need some materials: a photo, pencil, your collage support, tracing paper, a pen.

Tracing Drawing #6 materials 10-192

First step. Using your photo, draw the image on your support. You can do this freehand, or you can use a grid system. In either case, the idea is to make a representation of the masses and shapes of your final collage image. It’s not necessary to fill in details – such as architectural elements or stripes on a person’s shirt. Just stick with the big picture, so to speak.

I often draw the image upside down. It keeps me honest about focusing on shapes and forms rather than drawing what I think I see or what I think might be there.

Tracing Drawing start to draw #1 10-196

Here is your drawing, compared to the photo. I did this one freehand. If it were imperative to have correct proportions, I would have used graph paper or drawn a grid on the paper to follow. Otherwise, I have made editorial decisions here – you can see already what the image will include and what it will not, and that I am not very concerned about perfect scale or perspective. But I do want my finished image to resemble what I have drawn.

Tracing Drawing #2 10-195

Next step. Trace over the lines with a pen. You do this so that you can see the lines very clearly because…

Tracing Drawing #3 ink outline 10-194

the next step is to trace the image on the tracing paper. With the lines on the support outlined in ink, you can see what you are doing very easily.

Tracing Drawing #5 tracing 10-191



 

Now, let’s think about what we are going to be doing to create this collage image.

  • I will take pieces of paper and glue them down.
  • I will work from the back of the image (the sky) to the front (the porch area at the bottom of the picture).
  • I’m going to use this drawing as my guide to know where to glue the papers.

But…as I glue, I will be covering up the lines that I have drawn on my support. And then how will I know if I am following my image’s outlines, etc.? Because if I don’t, it is very likely that among other things, the picture will “drift” – in other words, I will be a little off, and a little off, and then I get to the end of the picture and…wait, what happened to the porch? I don’t have room for it!

So this is why you do this next thing. Set your support, with its sketch, on your worktable. Tape the tracing paper sketch to it, matching it with the one on the support, so that you can flip the tracing paper layer back and off the support.

Tracing Drawing #4 tape 10-193

 

To get to work…Flip the tracing paper back off the support layer. Start working on the sky. As you glue, you will eventually reach the roof area. Keep putting down paper for the sky, letting the sky extend a little over the line into the roof area.

It’s not like in mosaic making where you abut the elements; collage allows you to layer and then cover with another layer to create a division between shapes.

Don’t worry, even though you have just obliterated the line that shows you the extent of the roof against the sky because you have glued papers over it.

Just flip the tracing paper layer back over the support, align it as necessary, and you can see exactly where you need to start the the roof-line. Yes! it is right there on your tracing paper guide.

You may glue a roof into place with confidence. See how it works?



 

You are probably saying- If only I could see the project in process and finished. Well, I cannot show you, because I did not go on to make a collage in this instance. I use this set of materials as a sample for teaching a mixed media class in how to set up a mixed media piece when exactitude is of importance.

Maybe someday I will take this preparation and go on to make a mixed media piece…

*******************

What I can show you is what I did with the photo in real life. I used it as the basis for this painting that I did in 2013. Acrylics, 16 x 20 (I think). The original photo was of row houses in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

City Rows, 2013

City Rows, 2013.

Mary Ann’s Living Room

In December 2019 I gave my mixed media class students an assignment for the last two sessions – come up with a proposal, including materials, theme, and techniques, for work to be done independently in class.

One student worked on a large representation of a section of her living room. I wanted to have a project myself (to keep from hovering over the students) so I had brought a canvas and materials to class myself, but…no ideas. (I obviously did not follow my own class requirements.)

The student mentioned above was working at a table in front of me. I asked her if I could use her composition as a reference. She was amenable, so I did a version of her living room, from a reversed position and looking at it upside down (though I created the picture right-side up from my point of view). I guess it’s a mirror image I was making.

It ended up looking nothing like hers, except for having a chair and fireplace in it, but…I enjoyed it and it did cut down on my interference with the students’ work.

I did most of it in class and finished it up at home later on.

Acrylics, inks, crayons – 20″ x 16″, December 2019.

Mary Ann's Living Room 12-19 20 x 16 small