Tag Archives: painting

New Frontiers

bison guitar complete final edit

“Can you do a painting of a buffalo on a guitar?”  This request came from a friend, asking for her significant other.  She wanted to know if I could meet with him to discuss the project as he had very specific ideas about what he wanted.

I had questions…  Did he want a painting of a “picture” of a guitar with a buffalo on it (which I didn’t really want to do), or did he want me to paint a picture of a buffalo on an actual guitar (which I REALLY didn’t want to do)?  Since it was a close friend asking, I decided to at least hear what he had to say, even though I was quite certain that I did not want to take on this project.

He wanted me to paint on an actual guitar.  I said no. He had put a good deal of time and thought into a presentation with examples of exactly what he wanted.  It was to be a parting gift for his boss, who oversaw the Buffalo, New York region and was transferring to another state. He was a musician and guitar enthusiast, hence the buffalo on the guitar.  I said no – I had no idea what to use to paint a guitar, and I didn’t want to ruin a perfectly good musical instrument – layers of paint would certainly affect the sound quality of an acoustic guitar.  Still, he persisted.  It was to be a more of a wall ornament, not to be played, and he would buy a low-end guitar for me to use.

Then something shifted.  I was swept up in his wave of enthusiasm.  I had an idea:  I knew I didn’t want to paint the guitar, but what if I were to use color pencil and oil pastel?  I was confident that I could achieve the look that he wanted using that medium.  However, he would have to find a guitar with unfinished wood in order for it to work.  He agreed and we had a plan!

After two failed attempts at procuring an unfinished wood guitar (although they looked like unfinished wood, they had some sort of laminate that had a plastic-like surface and would not hold the pencil colors), he found a woodworker that was able to apply a thin wood veneer to the front of the second guitar. Finally, I had a base on which I could work.  The rest of the project went very smoothly and was a rather enjoyable experience and I was quite pleased with the finished piece.  My friend brought the guitar back to the music store from which he purchased it to get it re-strung and tuned.  The best part of all – even more than I could have hoped for – the musician who tuned it for him said that it had the nicest sound of any guitar she had ever played!

 

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Anatomy of a Horse Portrait …”Star”

Since I haven’t started a new piece yet, I thought I’d share this.  When this horse portrait was commissioned, the horse’s owner asked if I could send pictures of my progress to her as I went along.  I was happy to oblige.

First, I visited her farm in order to meet her horse, “Star”  and have a photo shoot.  I took about 50 pictures in various settings and poses.  She chose two pictures from which I would create the portrait.

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She wanted me to use the pose from the  first picture and the coat color from the second.  A bit more difficult than working from one photo, but I’m always up for a challenge!

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I did the initial drawing on toned paper with white chalk pencil.  The chalk is easier than graphite to erase as I go along, so that the lines don’t show through. I added “atmosphere” in the background with chalk pastel.

Next came the fun part – coloring!

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I began with a base of colored pencil, intending to do the whole base layer in pencil first, but I got impatient and started in with the oil pastels. In the photos above, I’ve added the oil pastel to the ears.  (I just love horses’ ears!)

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I’ve finished most of the color pencil on the horse, and added the oil pastel.

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Now for the halter.  Color pencil base layer then the oil pastel.  I rework details with color pencil on top of the pastel over the whole portrait.

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The finished portrait of Star.

As always, thoughts and constructive critiques are welcomed and appreciated!

Getting back to the studio

After a long hiatus from studio time, I’m ready to get back to it. I’m starting small, so as not to get overwhelmed and procrastinate. I’ve chosen a picture of a garter snake that I took last summer in the horse paddock. It was patient enough to let me have a photo shoot, even while I was crouched on the ground in front of it to get different perspectives. Thank you little snake!

I know snakes are not a popular subject matter, but if you can overlook the “creepy” factor, they really are quite beautiful.

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I will be portraying this little garter snake in graphite. I’ll add updates as I go along.

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I was a little impatient and jumped right in before doing a complete detailed line drawing.  A good start though, I think.

Feb 17, 2015   I haven’t had much time to work this week. Got a little further. Trying to decide just how much detail I want to put on the ground. I don’t want it to be too busy, but I want it to have texture.

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March 5, 2015   Not much progress – a bout with the flu left me with no desire to get much of anything done.  But I’m on the mend and getting back to work.  I find myself getting a little cross-eyed on this one.  So many little scales!

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One of the hardest parts of any drawing for me is knowing when to stop.  I think this one is finished, for now.  I’ll put it aside for a week and then give it one last tweak.  I can see that I have to work on photographing my work to have more consistency in the lighting.  Constructive critiques are welcome!