My son and daughter-in-law recently bought a second home in Arizona. The home is an opportunity to be closer to family, and enjoy a change of scenery from the Pacific Northwest, which is where they reside full-time. I wanted to paint something for their desert home, and what’s better than a giant saguaro? Of course, I had to continue the fun and paint something for my little granddaughter who LOVES cats. So, what’s better than a giant saguaro? A whole garden of cat cacti!
There’s nothing like welcoming a new granddaughter with a personalized piece of art. She was born in December 2018, and her name was not revealed until after her birth. I had my work cut out for me to finish these canvas blocks before our first visit. I love using imagery from children’s art, so I borrowed from this portrait of a past family dog that was done by my son (my grandchild’s father) when he was about six. The elements of nature were perfect for a little girl with a name that evokes sunshine, flowers, and busy little bees.
I love this portrait of Jessi, our Rhodesian Ridgeback, created many years ago. I love how my son captured the ridge on her back, but contrary to how depicted, she never bared her teeth!
Let me introduce you to the “Guac-a-cado Love Bird” and her message of Peace. She was my donation to the 2019 Lend a Hand silent auction fundraiser “Planting the Seeds of Dreams” sponsored by The Muse in downtown Frederick, Maryland. The chosen charity for 2019 was The Buddy Project, which focuses on autism awareness in our community.
The Warrior 2018
This was my third year to participate in the Lend a Hand fundraiser. While not my intention, all my entries have had birds as the main subject.
Many of my recent pieces have been a combination of acrylic paint and a technique called image transfer. Some of the artists I work with in open studio would ask me how I get certain effects in my paintings, or they would see me working with image transfer and wonder what I was doing. I decided to do a tutorial for them and used these paintings to explain and show the process.
Image transfer is a method of transferring an image to a surface using gel medium. My images are usually copies made on a laser printer of random photos, art prints, or fabrics. I cut out the pieces I want to use and adhere them print side down to the surface (usually painted canvas) using gel medium as the adhesive. I use a brayer roller to press the paper securely to the canvas. After drying overnight, I lightly sand the paper and spray with water. The paper can then be gently rubbed off with fingers or a soft cloth, leaving the design layer on the the canvas. I usually add layers on top of layers to build up pattern and design.
Click here for a great YouTube video on image transfers.
My son’s original art from a young age in elementary school became my inspiration for another “li’l birds” project. The original is construction paper collage and incidentally, hung over my desk at work for years. I often told colleagues that it was a depiction of me behind my desk reacting to a typical day’s work.
“I’m Only Human” is designed to be art you can touch. It’s an interactive piece made from canvas panels, acrylic paint, metal, wood, and magnets. Four small canvas panels are meant to be removed from the background and placed in positions favored by the viewer.
The background was painted on a thin piece of sheet metal and framed in a custom built frame. The background was drawn on a larger scale to look like the background in the original. The four 6×6-inch canvas panels were painted to resemble the original true to size, except in four separate pieces.
The canvas panels were mounted on wood (stained to match the frame) and small magnets were attached.
The four small panels can be placed anywhere on the metal background.
The finished piece is now hangs on a wall waiting for the next person to walk by and create a new arrangement.
Acrylic on canvas & metal, 33×12
Her name is Chloe and she was in desperate need of a home. My friend adopted her to live with their family. One day while I was visiting, she curled up next to my chair and I took her picture. This painting just had to happen next.
Acrylic on Bristol, 10×10
The 2018 TAG/The Artists Gallery Box Show was held March 3-24 at TAG in downtown Frederick, Maryland. The show is an annual event and silent auction gallery fundraiser. This year’s show was “On and Off the Wall” and featured both boxes and wood panels (artist’s choice). I chose a panel and with spring in mind, I painted yellow tulips. I chose complementary colors for each item to add richness and harmony, hence the blue and orange background, red and green leaves and yellow and violet tulips. This piece went for $150.
This painting was a commissioned portrait, painted from a photo. Her name is Hallie and she was four years old when the photo was snapped on a very windy day at the beach.
Acrylic on canvas, 16×12