Archive for February, 2012

Recent commissions

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Over the past few months, I’ve been honored to be entrusted with a couple of commissioned paintings.  I’m always a little nervous when I get a commission — what if my interpretation doesn’t match the picture in the client’s head?  But it’s a great opportunity to try subject matter I might not automatically gravitate to, and I’ve always been really happy to have taken on the project.

balloons balloon release sky clouds

This commission was especially emotionally charged.  A friend recently lost his mother, and after the funeral, the family released balloons into the air.  He wanted me to paint the balloons to give as a gift to his father.  Having lost my own father not too long ago, this really resonated with me and I was afraid I’d have a hard time emotionally with this.  But the image was so colorful and the balloons so cheerful, I couldn’t help but smile while I was painting.


yellow orchids greenhouse window

This second recent commission was less emotionally fraught.  The client’s mother collects orchids, and this is one of her favorites.  I loved how the greenhouse windows indicate a world outside, while the bright yellow flowers command your attention.

Thanks to my clients for bringing these beautiful images into my life and letting me paint my interpretation of them.



The Sketchbook Project 2012

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

I have a secret.  I’m an artist who never sketches.  But last fall, a project came to my attention that had the potential to change all that:  the ArtHouse Sketchbook Project 2012.

ArtHouse Co-Op, to quote their website, “is an independent Brooklyn-based company that organizes global, collaborative art projects.”  Their flagship project is to get thousands of artists to complete a sketchbook, which then tour the world and end up in the Brooklyn Art Library.  This sounded pretty cool to me, so I decided this might just be the project to get me from “gee, I want to sketch someday” to actually sketching.

See, there was a deadline.  And I thrive on deadlines.

Plus, we got to pick one of several themes, and the one I picked was “In ten minutes“.  I figured I could get myself to sketch for ten minutes.  What I didn’t anticipate was how hard it would be to limit myself to those ten minutes.

I started within my comfort zone:  a tree:

I love pastel and oil, both very forgiving media.  And I’m addicted to color.  So I decided to challenge myself to black and white, and ink.  Putting that first line in the sketchbook was hard.  But I actually liked it, and had fun figuring out how to indicate shading and shape with only black and white.

A trip to the Rodin Sculpture Garden on the Stanford campus gave me a bigger challenge:  the human form.

Emboldened by my efforts, I decided to go whole hog and sketch “The Gates of Hell”:

I wasn’t sure what the result would be, but I really got into the process of capturing the darks, and this turned out to be one of my favorite sketches – both because I had so much fun doing it and because I liked the result.

Here’s another of my favorites, my last post, completed on 1/31, which just happened to be the deadline:

My sketchbook is now in the mail on its way to the Brooklyn Art Library.  I’m planning on stocking up on small sketchbooks and keeping one in my purse at all times.  Because you never know when you’ll have 10 minutes or so to fill, and I’ve discovered that filling that time with sketching is very nice indeed.