Monday, April 25, 2011

Not So Black Lab Commission

the sketch on wood panel

The CEO of Full Sail University here in Orlando was taken with my art when "Poised Peacock" appeared on the cover of Winter Park Magazine (that's my cover art you see on their home page) this year. His assistant contacted me about "Over The Moon" but it was already sold.

About a month ago the CEO's wife contacted me about doing a portrait of her husband's dog Mario as a birthday gift. I asked for some good photos but could not get any that really portrayed Mario's facial features. We arranged for me to meet Mario in person and my husband Doug Nelson took reference photos for me to work from. We worked hard to get Mario to sit still!

Doug's photo of Mario

Doug got several good shots and I decided to use this 3/4 view but to turn his eyes to be more facing and engaging the viewer. I loved the way his red collar looked against his dark fur and so I decided to make the background red as well and to frame the final piece in black reclaimed barn wood.

One thing my friend and fellow artist Kim Santini has taught me is how to portray black dogs in blue so that they have more character and more color. After all, her blog is "A Dog A Day" so if anyone knows about not so black labs, it's her. Kim was so generous, even sharing the suggestion of prussian blue and other colors on her palette with me. 

Mario in the under-painting stage

The client was thrilled with this under-painting photo which I sent for approval. Once I get a thumbs up at this phase I dive right into collage. I try to stick to the guides of color and shading I have established in my under-painting with the papers. Luckily I had a lot of blue/purple/gray hand painted papers on hand.

Mario completed 

I pumped up the red in the finished piece and gave it some texture by mark making with Derwent InkTense pencils. When I delivered the work to the client she said that it looked just like Mario and that her husband just loved that dog and she was sure he would love this portrait. 

I'm always happy to have a happy client and a happy ending. Mario the not so black lab was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed working in alternate colors to black and trying to highlight the blue/purple tones.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dynamic Duos

click to enlarge

The oversized postcards for Dynamic Duos Celebrations Gallery arrived and they look great. Many thanks to Jackie for putting my collaborative piece with Robin Maria Pedrero "A New Take on Cake" on the top left!

Robin and I shared our detailed process and the works here on the blog and on facebook. One of several collaborations, but our first time to actually have worked on the sames pieces.
If you live anywhere near Pomfret Center, please stop by the Gallery and Shoppes, they have recently opened a beautiful tea room on the premises where you can sample some unique blends and sweet treats. They are offering monthly themed afternoon teas from 2-5pm and reservations are required.
click to enlarge

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cherie's Progress

It's been a while since I posted about Cherie's progress. For those of you who are new to this blog, you can catch up on the story of my childhood friend who was paralyzed in a life changing car accident on September 30th, 2010 from previous posts.

I have asked you to make and send cards and notes to her, first at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center and then at Shepherd Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Center. I have asked you to consider contributing to or purchasing a copy of the book that I created for her on Blurb, with proceeds going to her family.

I'm still trying to help raise money for Cherie and her family. Cherie has no health insurance, she is not married and has no children. Her sister and brother have quit their jobs in order to provide 24-hour care for her in Vero Beach, FL in the home of her sister Sue.  They are still in need of simple things like a front door ramp, widened doorways, a shower chair, and other adaptive equipment as Cherie is paralyzed from the shoulders down.

Recently I reconnected with an old friend from our hometown, Tom Mihalek. Tom, Cherie and I all attended Westfield High School together. When I told Tom of Cherie's story, he wanted to help. Tom's sister was in a life threatening car accident when he was a kid and he remembered how hard it was on his family. It just so happens that Tom Mihalek owns a company that makes a health care related product. This product is the PERFECT Card©, a Portable Electronic Records For Emergency Care and Treatment. Basically this USB card (MAC and Windows compatible) is YOUR portable records protected and in the palm of your hand. Click here to view the emergency records report.

TravelerER has a very special offer, they are willing to donate 100% of proceeds of this product to Cherie's charitable trust fund.

Please click to enlarge the letters here from Tom Mihalek and learn a bit more about his product and how he plans to share the proceeds with Cherie. The offer for you is FREE SHIPPING AND HANDLING when you utilize the CS2011 promo code. This code also signifies that your purchase proceeds will be applied to the Cherie Stannard charitable trust.

Our goal is to sell 1000 pieces! Spread the word to family and friends. This is a great product for a wonderful cause.

and use promo code CS2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011

In Addition to Art

Anyone who has watched my inspirational video by Growing Bolder knows that in addition to art, I like to think of myself as athletic. This morning my husband and I completed the Columbia Muddy Buddy at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Disney World, FL. What a great time and a great cause!

All proceeds from this race series go to the Challenged Athletes Foundation, which helps people with physical disabilities, including many of our wounded veterans, prepare for an active lifestyle and participate in competitive athletics. Some amazing men who returned from Iraq without legs were there to show us all that where there is a will, there is a way! They all had "running legs" on and they were not only competing in this obstacle course, run/ride... but all of them have done bigger, better races as well!

My husband and I really enjoyed our run/ride and obstacle course, including rope wall and mud pit this morning starting at 6am!

The Muddy Buddy is raising funds for a great cause, check out this informative CAF video on YouTube. They are bringing this race to 18 cities this year, check their website to see if it will be coming to your area!

In the mean time, check out my Facebook Fan Page for an album awesome down and dirty photos from today.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

An Inspiration

Bob Cline, a 7th grade science teacher at Dr. Henry W. Karrer Middle School in Dublin, Ohio sent me this letter along with photos of his student's "Paper Paintings" bird collages this week. Each of his students chose a bird to research and visually display using art. They were presented three artists with unique styles and many of them gravitated toward my work (I was in company with Audubon and Charley Harper!). the students used classroom scraps to create with and boy did they come up with some wonderful birds!

Thank you Bob for taking the time to send me such a wonderful letter and photos which I will put in my brag book binder!
Please view the album of the kids work on my Facebook Fan Page!

Bigger is Better

Peacocks, Purple, and Klimt

Richard Kessler, of Kessler Hotel fame has commissioned me to create a peacock collage. Mr. Kessler owns the Grand Bohemian Hotels which are home to the Grand Bohemian Galleries which represent my work in Orlando, Celebration, St. Augustine, Asheville, and Savannah.

A few weeks ago I was painting live at the Orlando location for Sunday Brunch and I was lucky enough to meet Mr. Kessler for the first time. He came up to me, put his arm around my shoulders and pointed to my piece "Fine Feathers" and said "I want that one.... only BIGGER!" He asked me if I could do that, I said "sure, as long as you don't need it next week!" We agreed that 30x60 was a size he would be happy with and that he had no immediate deadline. Coming from a world of advertising as my day job, I NEVER get this kind of deadline.

"Fine Feathers" caught Mr. Kessler's eye. 
He's a fan of peacocks, purple and Klimt

This weekend my husband built me the support for the 30x60 (did you know that 60 inches is FIVE FEET????) peacock which will be my biggest collage EVER. Mr Kessler said he just loved the pinks and purples I had utilized in "Fine Feathers" and I told him that purple was, in fact, my favorite color. "Me too!" he said, as he smiled at his wife, they were on their way out the door to spend the afternoon at Leu Gardens with friends. As he rushed out I wanted to tell him how much I loved the "Klimt Rotunda" in the hotel, because Klimt was my favorite artist and I even had his signature and a copy of one of his images tattooed on my leg.... I guess I'll have to save that for future conversation.

The Orlando Hotel's Klimt Rotunda features Klimt etchings and a very rare Bösendorfer piano

Visit my Facebook Fan Page for a complete album of photos taken yesterday as Doug built me the support. My daughter is going to make me a documentary video of the project in her own fun style, you can see her amazing videography skills on her YouTube channel.