Saturday, July 20, 2019

Cicada in Gold

Cicada, 7"x5", ink, watercolor, and composite gold leaf on panel.
I worked on this little guy last weekend. I started with a drawing that I transferred to the panel using graphite transfer paper. Then I began outlining and adding ink washes.

Next I added watercolor: mixes of cadmium scarlet, Indian yellow, burnt sienna, cerulean blue, Payne's gray, and cobalt turquoise.

The next step was to apply the metal leaf adhesive. I do this in sections so that when I apply the leaf, it won't stick to areas where I don't want it. In order to keep tiny lines on the wings free of metal leaf, I apply the adhesive and leaf carefully around those spots in small patches. The background in this piece, because it's so small, was done with 2 pieces of leaf. Afterward, I applied metal leaf sealant to prevent the leaf from tarnishing.

I framed the piece with a gold metal frame and clear plastic spacers. I'm very pleased with how well the frame works with the painting.

August Open Exhibit

My painting "The Gulf at Dusk" will be on display in the August Open Exhibit at The Art League Gallery from 8/6/19 to 9/8/19. The opening reception is Thursday, August 8th.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Plein Air Paintings


Last month, I took two plein air painting trips. One to Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (bottom) and one to Harper's Ferry (top).

On the top, I originally wanted to include the leaves that were in my view but ran out of time. I might go back and work on this more. This is watercolor on Aquabord. I started with a wash of water over the entire board and it made it very fun and pleasant to paint in the mountains in the background.

Patuxent was a learning experience. I didn't realize that DEET doesn't really repel biting flies. Two weeks later, I still have marks on my legs from all the bites. The painting on the left was literally made with blood and sweat. It was watercolor on a watercolor block--incidentally, a blank watercolor block that used to belong to my late grandfather. I was thinking about him while painting. He was always a looser painter. I think he would like the way this turned out.

American Landscapes (8/22/19-9/21/19)

I'm excited to announce that my painting "Desolation" as accepted into the Maryland Federation of Art's American Landscapes show. Out of 798 entries, 64 artists were selected by juror Jack Rasmussen, Director of the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center. The exhibit runs 8/22/19 to 9/21/19 at Circle Gallery in Annapolis, Maryland. You can preview the show here.

The reception will be Sunday, September 9th, from 3pm-5pm. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, June 16, 2019


Desolation, 11”x14”, watercolor on Aquabord, 2019

This is my grief painting, coping with the loss of my dog. Originally this was going to be much darker, but I rather like the symbolism of the light shining through the clouds. This is one of many parks we visited together. She was always so happy to be on an adventure with her pack. I found one of her hairs on my sweater the other day. Her coat changed so much over time, and she always gave the best fluffy hugs. I’m just glad I got some of those fluffy hugs and got to spend time with her before she passed.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

A Royal Pet Portrait

Portrait of Simba, 14"x11", watercolor, ink, gold leaf, and paper on Aquabord

I recently made this pet portrait commission of Simba the greyhound. I recorded the entire process and have posted videos on YouTube:

Part 1 (the drawing)

Part 2 (the painting)

Part 3 (the gilding)

I'll have Part 4 (collage) up early this week.

I first sketched out several ideas and researched portraits of renaissance men. Then I transferred the final design to the Aquabord using transfer paper and a stylus, and lined the drawing with India ink. Next I painted Simba with watercolor and applied metal leaf size to the jewelry, trim, and crown. After applying and burnishing the metal leaf, I sealed it with a water-based metal leaf sealer. The next step was to create templates by tracing the drawing with tracing paper, then use the tracing paper templates to cut pieces of fine paper. I use q-tips to apply Yes! Paste to small areas and paper towels for large areas. After pasting and allowing to dry, I coated the paper with an acid-free matte sealer.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Drawing Lunch Wednesday

Over the fall, I started going out and sketching on Wednesday during lunch—and had to stop when it got too cold, and there just weren’t any people to draw. Which was a bummer because I’d really been enjoying it.

But now that spring is finally here for real, people are outside at lunch and I can draw again! I picked up some new woodless charcoal pencils (which I’ve never actually used before [the woodless kind, I mean]) and had fun drawing Wednesday afternoon. Here are some of my sketches.

Cicada in Gold

Cicada , 7"x5", ink, watercolor, and composite gold leaf on panel. I worked on this little guy last weekend. I started with a...