Student work, Fall 2014


Here is a sampling of student work produced by my studio courses at the colleges this past Fall.  I taught the drawing class the art of observation using different techniques, from relative proportions to gridding.

After learning sighting techniques in charcoal, the class moved on to color using chalk pastels. They presented their first sketchbook assignment together alongside their final drawing, a self-portrait,   to show their improvements in observation.

The painting students worked through color theory for the first few weeks of class.  The course is designed to emphasize design skills while learning the technical aspects of the medium with an emphasis on color and value manipulation.  Later in the semester, they had the opportunity to exhibit their artwork in the library at Northwest Vista College alongside my art appreciation class.  
The images below are student works from the collage project.  The assignment was to create an 8 x 10" collage that was used as the basis for their painting compositions.  My students were motivated and produced some good, creative work this semester.

Texmas 2014

We celebrated our third holiday here in Texas.  Christmas is also Steven's birthday, which makes it even more special.  In the days leading up to Christmas, we baked about a million pizzelles & Steven smoked pecans on the grill for our neighbors.  Our pets have spent their time relaxing in front of the tree.  Since we began dating six years ago, we've created a tradition of cooking together in the kitchen. For Christmas dinner, he baked bread and we made our own ravioli, everything from the dough to the ricotta and filling (arugala and green onion).  We will try our hand at pierogies for the New Year.  My Grandma would have been so proud.


Recent pet commissions

Now that the gifts have been received, I am able to share the holiday commissions.  These petite portraits were shipped all over, from Kansas to Ohio & Georgia.  Each measures 5 x 5 x 3/4", acrylic on birch veneer panels, cradled on a solid wood frame with a sawtooth hanger.  I start the paintings with the background patterns and wrap the edges of the cradleboard.   Then I sketch the pet (based on their photograph) on tracing paper and transfer it to the board with carbon paper.  I use tracing paper so that I can see where the pet will 'sit' on the panel.  Next comes the underpainting to establish the value and fur patterns, followed lastly by the details. In the case of the pirate dog, I added a special costumed twist at the request of the patron.  Commission yours here


Paradise painting for Marge

My friend Marge passed away at the start of November. She was a sweet, loving woman that I considered family and I'll always miss her.  As anyone from the Steel Valley can understand, family extends beyond blood relations to include neighbors and dear friends.  She lived in Youngstown in a cute little house with a sweet, spunky dog named Mollie.  I took this photo of her in June when I was home for my cousin's wedding.  She would always tell me, 'Live slow; I've lived my whole life slow, just doing things at my own pace, and here I am now.'  She was 94.

Her passing came during a week that I was scheduled to give a painting demonstration to my class at the college.  Their assignment was to create a collage as the basis for a painting composition.  I talked about different modes of expression, from tight portrayals of their collages to a looser approach, which is what I demonstrated here.

After class, I brought home my demo artwork and continued to paint on it that weekend, altering and building up layers of color. As I worked, I imagined the ambiguous space as a sort of paradise, a welcoming place where the memory of my friend could live.  I continued to add to the canvas, incorporating the pattern from her living room wallpaper into the background.  During that week, working on this gave me some comfort.  Painting the little birds also brought back memories of her sunroom, filled with ceramic bird figurines in varying stages of flight and rest.

This month I spoke to my community class about the artwork; how it developed and why the resulting image was so significant to me.  One of my students who was also grieving the loss of a friend explained it perfectly.  She told me she was grateful for her own painting that week, as it gave her a way to remember her friend and allowed her to get lost in her art for awhile.


Student Painting Show

Here are my Painting I students at the opening reception for their vanitas inspired art exhibit.

The library at NVC has permanent exhibition space, specially built to accommodate 18" x 24" canvases.  This year, my painting and art appreciation students were given the opportunity to create artwork for this space.  The art appreciation course worked collaboratively; their assignment was to choose an artist to emulate, in terms of subject matter and/or style.  Their interpretations were very creative, ranging from Kandinsky to Banksy.

This was the fourth painting for my beginning painting class.  To make still-life painting more engaging, students were introduced to the history of vanitas painting.  Vanitas literally means 'empty' or 'worthless.'  They are symbolic paintings of earthly goods that exploit the beauty of the subject matter while referencing the transience of life.  Everything from the obvious skull and hourglass to cut flowers and exotic foods were included in these 17th century artworks.  My students had to create a contemporary interpretation of this theme and set up their own still life to paint.  The technical part of the assignment required them to grid out their images and glaze over a grisaille underpainting.  Beginning with the grisaille allowed the value scale to be established first, and referenced the technique of painters like Vermeer.  Each student photographed their still-life and gridded the images to aid in enlarging the scene on canvas.  Glazing is a challenging process that requires an understanding of color interaction to create a successful image.  Since the colors are transparent, each layer changes the value and saturation level of the paint.  If done correctly, the image glows in a way that mimics oil painting.  My painters did a wonderful job pushing the layers and building up the glazes to create some very realistic effects.

I am really proud of the work created by both classes. The paintings will be on exhibit for the rest of the year, go check it out if you are on campus!


Holiday Pet Paintings

Just a few more days to place custom painting orders in time for Christmas! Use the promo code holiday14 at checkout to save 15% through Dec. 12! Visit www.mkt.com/foundherestudio.com to check out examples of previous commissions and choose your size.  These portraits are in acrylic on wooden cradleboard, a smooth surface that allows for more detail than traditional canvas. Sizes available are 5" or  8" square, 3/4" deep and 12" square, 1 3/4" deep.  Paintings are made directly from photographs and personalized with your choice of background color and pattern. ready to hang and sure to delight any pet owner! 


Painting giveaway winner!

Congratulations to Kristen Blizard, lucky winner of my pet portrait giveaway contest!  Max has been a part of her family since she and her husband were dating, almost ten years now.  He used to wear a green bowtie collar, which is adorable.  Her custom painting is acrylic on a cradled birch panel, 8" x 8" x 1".  

Pick up your own custom painting at my newly launched marketplace, foundherestudio.  Receive an automatic 15% discount for a limited time!  You can also follow me on facebook for studio news and promotions!


Idea to Image: Fancy Meeting You Here

Fancy Meeting You Here, acrylic, 24" x 36" x 1.5"

Fresh from my studio!  I'm having fun with color and texture, creating these plants through a combination of observation & imagination.  This painting is currently on loan for the new faculty exhibition at Our Lady of the Lake University.

Below are images of the painting's progress, from sketch to completion.  Inspired by the many moves throughout my college years and finally putting down some roots here in SATX.  Studies from my sketchbook for the weathervane were put on tracing paper and transferred to the canvas using carbon paper.  The plants were sketched directly on the canvas & painted.



Painting Giveaway Winner!

There was a great response to the pet portrait giveaway on facebook!  A winner was chosen through www.miniwebtool.com.  All entrant's names were logged into the system and the random name picker tool generated the lucky winner!

And the winner is.....Kristen Blizard!  Congratulations Kristen & thank you to everyone who entered and shared the contest details on their pages.

Follow my studio on instagram & like it on facebook for future contests & sales!


Hill Country Inspiration & Studio Progress

Here are a handful of snapshots from our Sunday evening in Hill Country.  Steven's coworker was married at the Paniolo Ranch and it was picturesque.  The gardens were incredible, full of cactus, flowers and fruit trees loaded with pears.  At the guest table were jars of pom-poms, glitter & sequins, which made me want to go home and put all my craft supplies on display.  
At our seats were tiny potted succulents with stamped flags.  I loved the color combination of the sun setting behind one of the food trucks (and, the polka dots, of course.)  It was also the evening of the year's second super moon, so the night sky was pretty amazing for our drive back to the city.

Read about the content of this painting in my previous post.  Lola, my eleven year old cat, is always nearby in the studio.  She's quite the assistant & critic #studiocat  The birds are a composite of a few different sketches, pulled from the pages of my pet bird books.


Pet Painting Giveaway!

A few days left to enter my pet painting contest!  One person will be randomly chosen to win an 8" x 10" custom acrylic pet painting.  To enter, visit Found Here Studio on Facebook, like my page, comment & share the contest post for your chance to win.  The winner will be announced on August 15th!