I was a participating artist this summer at Loveland's Art in the Park Festival! The first Art in the Park was held in 1966 at Dwayne Webster Park (Cannon Park) on the south side of Lake Loveland, and had less than 20 participating artists. This festival has developed into a two-day event featuring over 200 artists and artisans. Art in the Park has emerged as an artisan event that draws people from all over the country. Art in the Park also shows the same weekend as the internationally renowned Sculpture in the Park. These events combined draw over 30,000 people to Loveland.
I had a great time exhibiting my art as well as having the opportunity to chat with people about my artistic process...I would definitely participate again! My husband Brian Hill also had the chance to play some of his newly composed songs which were greatly received! You can check out his music at http://theblindleadstheblind.com
Several months ago I was commissioned to create my first mural! The office room where the mural was painted had no exterior windows and the client wanted me to create a landscape so that the employees felt like they were looking outside. After multiple preliminary sketches they chose the image of the Santa Monica pier. On the wall I started with a charcoal drawing to lay out the composition, then started right in with acrylic paint. I began with the sky mixing up large quantities of the colors being used so that I would not run out. I then proceeded to paint the mountains followed by the sand and ocean, the pier and life guard post were painted last. I have always wanted to paint a mural and I really enjoyed the process. The only difficulty I had was climbing up and down the ladder while I was six months pregnant, but I managed! The scale is 9 x 12 feet
Recently finished watercolor painting from my summer painting trip to Italy! I had started this piece on my trip, creating the drawing from life sitting gazing up at this amazing view of the hilltop town of Assisi. The drawing was difficult due to the complexity of the town's architecture, but with anything that seems daunting.....I took a deep breath and said "here it goes!" I first started by mapping put the different layers of buildings and arches that make up the basilica and monastery of San Francesco which is the primary building cluster in the front of the composition. Once the larger structures were placed then I could fill in the rest of the smaller buildings including the medieval imperial fortress of Rocca Maggiore on the top of the hill... in the foreground azalea flowers bloomed. The town, background and sky are done with watercolor only whereas the foreground grasses and flowers are a combination of watercolor with pastel on top.
I wanted to share some photos from my last trip to Italy one year ago. Last year I was invited to partake in an artist residency program in Tuscany. These photos consist of images including some of the artwork I completed while I was there, plus some photos of the area where I stayed! I went to the program with three other artist and I had a great time. Please check it out. Stayed tuned for pictures of my latest trip to Italy from this summer, some new paintings are posted below!
Sometimes you just need a break from your normal routine! I recently painted these two still lifes for a fundraiser silent art auction. I wanted to paint something fun, bright and colorful and this is what I came up with...
I painted the objects from observation then inserted Matisse inspired backgrounds behind to spice things up a bit. The process was enjoyable and I definitely felt like a child again creating the colorful backgrounds. These paintings were done in acrylic paint, I have a feeling that I will be working more in acrylic in the future because it will enable me to work really large, not having to worry about framing like I do with my pastel work.
side note: bell peppers are my most favorite vegetable to paint...great shapes!
This was a pastel drawing from my Italy trip that I completed recently. This cypress lined avenue which is so typical of Tuscany, was just down the road where I was staying outside of Buonconvento. It was a very windy day, it had rained quit a bit the previous days and now the sun was shinning bright! Spring flowers just started to pop up from the earth....red and yellow, the air was clean and crisp. Ah.....another wonderful day in Italy!
I recently have had the privilege of having my pastel painting "Passing" printed in the April 2014 issue of the Pastel Journal art magazine. This was an international competition open to all artist working in the medium of chalk pastel, I received an honorable mention in the portrait/figure category. My first publication! The same piece is also on display til April 7th at the Pico House Gallery in downtown Los Angeles!
The pastel painting of my friends Morgan and Jon is slowly progressing along. There is now pastel on most of the top half of the painting as well as the portraits and Jon's figure. The bottom half of the image is still just the charcoal drawing and gouache under painting...I have a long way to go.
This is the transition from black and white into color. The charcoal drawing is complete and I have started to loosely block in large fields of color with opaque gouache paint. I will continue the under-painting until every shape, excluding the faces and hands, are covered with a thin layer of gouache paint. I will then begin to layer pastel on top of the gouache, rendering and finessing each form until I deem it worthy of completion.
The drawing has come quit a long way. A few more elements need to be added to the clutter on the floor then I will be ready for COLOR!
I have begun the process of starting on a new large pastel drawing. I wanted to share a little bit about my process of how I begin a large painting. First, and I would think the most important start to a large work of art is having a creative thought as to what you are trying to say with the piece, for me that is a narrative. Sometimes it takes a while for me to come up with a new idea for a new painting and it doesn't always "come to me" the same every time. Typically there will be an idea or theme in my mind based on thoughts or theories that I've recently been dwelling upon. Those thoughts and theories sometimes produce specific imagery in my mind as I ponder them, almost like receiving a vision (and I don't mean to sound hokey), but it literally is like a vision...a pictorial story that unfolds in my head.
After I have the idea and direction for a new painting, I then organize a photo shoot with the models I think will best support the cast of my characters, they are usually family or close friends. I prefer working with people who are close to me because I will have a greater bond with my subject since I am familiar with their faces and personalities. When the photo shoot is finished I will start to sift through the images looking for the perfect pose, the perfect face, the best hand placement, the right angle. For this particular painting I took about 500 photos so that I would have plenty of options, knowing that something would definitely work. In the end I will most likely be working from 4-6 different photos composing different elements from each to make the final composition.
Before staring on the final large drawing I will create a smaller preliminary drawing to work out placements and scale of the figures and their environment. From this preliminary sketch I will then start the larger final image. The pictures below are the start of the final composition in charcoal in which color will follow!
I recently got back from a month long trip to Italy where I both studied and created art. I was invited by other artist friends to apply for an artist residency in Tuscany where we would stay in a beautiful old villa making art and visiting surrounding areas for research and inspiration. The objective of the trip was to immerse myself into art....going to museums and churches seeking out the works of the great masters.
We spent six days in Rome, then took up our residency in Tuscany just outside the small town of Buonconvento (south of Sienna) . In our Tuscan villa we were focused on making art. The question is always....well, what do I paint? this is always a dilemma. I was in a foreign country, with different surroundings and different influences. Before I started this drawing I had spent many days looking at ancient Greek and Roman sculptures in Rome and Florence so sculpture was definitely on the mind. I was drawn to a particular marble frieze in the Vatican museum which was situated right next to one of the most famous Roman sculptures of Apollo. The pose of the woman in the frieze captured my attention...it was pure beauty and grace. The movement of the drapery swirling around her as well as the placement of the hands compelled me. The power of the human body with all its sensitivity of shape and form almost brought me to tears. Art does have the ability to strike a hearts string stopping us in our tracks, forcing us to take a breath and contemplate the image in our immediate gaze.
I spent many hours rendering each fold of the fabric, and just as long trying to get her hands just right. It was her hands on the sculpture that first caught my attention and I wanted them to be just as graceful in my drawing of them. This piece is my best drawing from the trip and conveys so much of what my mind walked away with from the visual roller coaster of art that is Italy. Maybe I could even go as far as to say that this is a self portrait of me finding my way through the vast and extravagant history of art, paying my homage to all the greats that have created art before me.
Well this pastel is almost finished. This project was started about one year ago when I did the photo shoot with my models. This piece has definitely been a journey for me. I have not worked on it steadily every day, rather it has been put aside, then reconsidered, reworked and reexamined many times. It has gone through many stages throughout the creative process. First the initial charcoal drawing (the start of which is below), then a gouache under painting to block out basic color, then chalk pastel to flesh out the color, values and textures. As one can see there has been some editing as well. At one point I took out the back piece of furniture with the globe and desk light after they had been almost completely finished at the pastel stage. I also took out the chair in the background at one point as well and I am also about to take out one of the white hangers in the foreground because I think it seems a little distracting. But I do see the finish line....hopefully today!
I recently started a new sculpture, quarter life size, and so far I am really pleased with the progress. At this stage I have put in about 8 hours of sculpting time and most likely have about 8 hours to go. The model is a dear friend of mine and the pose was inspired by Andrew Wyeth's Helga painting "On Her Knees." The simplicity of the pose is quite beautiful and I appreciate how natural it feels.... really showing off the elegance of the female form. The painting in the background is one of my husband's new works....a interior/still life of our bathroom shower window with orchids.
I tried a different approach to this piece I first started with a graphite pencil drawing, then began to add watercolor and several small passes of pastel. Recently I had visited an exhibition of Van Gogh's work at the Denver Art Museum and was completely inspired by his use of mixed media. In his drawings he regularly combined pencil, pen, ink, watercolor and even a touch of gouache paint. I thought if Van Gogh did it...I could too! I really had fun layering these mediums together and in the end, all of the layering really created a soft, aethereal presence.
The model is my neighbor, Morgan, whom continues to be my muse. The plants surrounding her are in my succulent/cactus garden outside my back door. My second passion besides art is gardening and it was rather nice to be able to include some of my plants into this painting. I spend so much time looking at the plants and caring for them....watering, weeding, trimming and now I had the opportunity to paint them.
Just finished my sixth painting from my Japan series! This particular image is very meaningful to me because of the events that surrounded its discovery. Another hot and dreadfully muggy day in Kyoto, Japan. We visited Japan in the month of July.... probably the hottest and stickiest I have ever been in my life.It was Adam's (my husband) 34th birthday and we had adventured out to the neighboring district of Arashiyama, an area on the outskirts of Kyoto where more shrines, temples, and a well known bamboo grove were to be explored. Adam and I had just gotten off the train, orienting ourselves with our surrounding when we realized we needed to navigate our way through narrow ally streets to get to the bamboo grove. This was one of the first scenes that we saw down the street from the train station....In the foreground a extremely silly cartoon like "kids at play" sign glowed before us! I really was drawn to its bright, saturated colors in juxtaposition to the overcast, heavy grey atmosphere. It stood out like a beacon of light in the darkness! In Japan there seems to be a desire to make all signs and advertisements into a cartoon world, and this was a perfect example of this phenomenon and I had to document its existence.
Here are some more pictures from that day......
Just finished this commissioned drawing for a couple in Orange County. The interesting thing is that this was the third time I created this image. The first time I drew this image I was still in art school and it actually was a project I did in a drawing class for a local church. The church wanted four different drawings to illustrate different stages of advent. My theme was on abundance...this is what I came up with. A couple of years later there was a couple in that church that commissioned me to make the same image for their home....five years after that again another request for the same image. This piece was fun to create even on the third time around, it is interesting to revisit after so many years even challenging to recreate. the first drawing was fairly large around 5 x 3 feet, this recent drawing was 30 x 22 inches. It is all charcoal, the clay pot is done with pastel.
I thought it would be nice to show you the beginning and the end of a painting. The above pencil sketch is the final drawing before I started putting paint down. The drawing was definitely challenging and probably took me 2 1/2 to 3 hours to complete. I wanted to work out all of the drawing issues with pencil before I started adding color so that my composition was solid and I knew exactly where every element and shape was going to be placed before painting. One of my favorite parts of the painting process is figuring out the drawing. For me it is like solving a puzzle. A puzzle in the sense that I have all these different shaped pieces of the composition and I have to literally fit them together to make the final image. I take it has a challenge to see just how close I can get to the real scene, how actuate my eyes and hand can duplicate what is in front of me.
The finished painting above is a result of many hours (about 10 to be exact) of layering the watercolor with delicate washes so that the end product reflects a sense of depth and atmosphere. This painting was done after we visited the Japanese town of Kamakura. It was the end of a long day touring the sights including paying our pilgrimage to the famous giant Buddha, devouring green tea gelato, and watching WWF style Japanese wrestlers down on the beach when we strolled down a small alley on our way to yet another temple. The sky was filled with that golden hour light, the time of day that makes everything seem so beautiful and perfect. Me and my camera just kept snapping away....at the time little did I know that I would make a painting of this scene, but for some reason this image spoke to me.