Volkswagen Beetle

When I was just a baby, we had a Volkswagen Beetle. It was 1970 and side-burns and “Bugs” were in fashion. Of course I don’t remember the vehicle, other than seeing it in photographs and hearing that my Dad smashed the front-end not too long after he bought it. I have the small original photograph of the two us in the driveway and thought it would make a great Christmas gift for my Dad.

Having just completed the commission piece for my friends, I didn’t have long before Christmas and we were getting together just prior on the 23rd. I had just over a week, so I went pretty small and fast; 12″x 12″ on Ampersand Gessoboard. It was my first time using the board and it was quite different from the usual canvas. The surface is smooth with very little tooth so the paint just glides on which definitely takes getting used to. The paint seems to dry faster which was a bonus given my short time frame. I was a bit rushed at the end, and wanted one more day to smooth things out and add a couple of details, but all-in-all, I was very pleased with it. And best of all, he loved it!

Baby Jenna and Bug
Baby Jenna and Bug

True Love

The finishing touches have finally been applied on the large commission painting for my friends. I am very pleased with the final outcome. I’m hoping they will ♥ it! I’ll ship it in a couple of weeks – just in time for the New Year! Since it’s not a surprise, I’m sure they won’t mind if I share it with you.

As I had mentioned in previous posts, I began the painting in September and had to take a bit of time off and work slowly due to my new elbow and nerve injury. Painting once again proved my saving grace, and although difficult at times, helped my mental state during the healing process.

Shiela and Leo - True Love
True Love

Baaaaaa

Hello again. It’s been a while since I posted. After my last few paintings for others, I wanted to create something for our home. We have a large yellow-golden wall in the living room that begs for an equally large colorful painting. I like to change up my decorative pictures depending on the season and I needed a large spring / summertime image to fill the space.

After weeks of scouring my own pictures and the internet, I discovered this one on Flickr taken by a German photographer; a herd of sheep grazing the hillside at dusk. The vibrant colors and quirky composition grabbed me the moment I spotted it. The colors would match beautifully with our interiors. I know they say Art doesn’t have to match, but I guess I haven’t fully bought into that notion.

The number of sheep became overwhelming for me and I wasn’t convinced that I could get away with the angle. The more I stared at the “gaggle,” the more I saw them standing on their heads! I couldn’t leave it like this — it would drive the OCD in me crazy. I pared down the heard to a manageable size; one that I could have more control over.

Grazing
“Gaggle of Sheep”

Less sheep became even fewer sheep. At one point, my son commented that they look like elephants! Yikes! I love elephants, but that was not the goal! On to yet another reiteration of sheep.

Baaa
Refining

Finally, once I had a much more manageable group of “sheep-like” animals; I began detailing the faces. It was surprising to me if you change one little line that indicates bone structure or move the placement of the ears upward, they look like a completely different animal — think female lion. Below shows the finished painting on our wall. The yellow fields match perfectly!
Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…

Baaa
Baaa
mini

Traditional Ojibwa Girl

Young Ojibwa Girl

This painting was done for my beautiful niece Brianna. She and her sisters are part Cherokee / Ojibwa on their mom’s side. I hope she loves it.

I knew going into this, it would be a challenge, but one that I needed to tackle head on (literally and figuratively). I really haven’t painted a face in oils, let alone a Native American.

Ojibwa Girl
Second Attempt

The first step was to locate images of Ojibwa Indians. I discovered this one of a young native girl on the internet, only it was in black and white. Next, I searched for color images of the traditional clothing and was able to find what I believe matched her outfit.

Once I got the clothing blocked in, I went back on to work on her face. I had to consult my books on proper facial structure and Google painting combinations for Native American skin pigmentation.I must have revisited her poor face and neck at least ten times before I was content enough to let it go.

I admit she was headless a few times in the process; looked like Pocahontas; looked too Caucasian; too African-American; too old; and had a broken nose. At one point (about 3 in the morning) I swear she even looked exactly like Ryan Gosling!!

Young Ojibwe Girl
Ojibwa Girl

Airbus A380

The Airbus A380 is the world’s largest commercial airplane and my 12-year-old son is obsessed!  Now that his “mature” bedroom remodel is complete, I offered to paint a few of his most favorite things to hang on the walls. First up is the Airbus.

Airbus A380
Airbus A380

This double-deck, wide-body, four-engine behemoth began its service in 2007 as part of Singapore Airlines. As of October 2015, 173 aircraft have been delivered, with 317 more on order. The upper deck extends the entire length of the fuselage and its width is equivalent to a large-body aircraft.

The cabin has just over 5,900 square feet of usable floor space, that’s 40% greater than the next largest aircraft, and can carry between roughly 500 to 800 passengers depending upon configuration. The A380 can fly nonstop from Dallas, Texas to Sydney, Australia.

In order to truly appreciate the massive scale of the A380 you really have to see it in comparison to a typical size aircraft. I’ve included a couple of images from the Internet that show you the enormity of this flying machine.

Maude’s Garage

A couple of years ago our family went on a Michigan vacation to the West side of the state, Ludington to be exact. It’s a great little coastal town on Lake Michigan with neat little shops and restaurants and a wonderful beach. And if you take scenic route M22 up the coast you reach the famous Sleeping Bear Dunes. We packed a ton into that trip and had a wonderful get away.

Maude’s Garage

One of the places that has stood out in my memory is a great store called Maude’s Garage in downtown Ludington. The store is actually in an old garage that’s been converted and inside you find hand-made fine art pieces, up-cycled and reclaimed furniture, vintage jewelry, unique and wacky gifts, etc.; just the kind of place I can get lost in for days. And you can’t miss it: just look for the old vintage red truck out front covered in antiques and flowers.

I took this photo and it has to be one of all-time favorites! I knew one day i would paint it. Well, the day (or days/ weeks/ months I should say) finally came. This has been my latest project, between everything else going on, it’s taken a while, but I finally completed it last week and couldn’t be more happy.

It certainly presented a challenge because at the time I took the photograph I wasn’t thinking about a future painting project and so some views were missing – namely the front of the truck! A couple of months ago, when I began the project, I didn’t know the name of the store. It was only today when I was doing my research for the blog write up that I stumbled upon the name and some great photos of the entire truck that I was missing. Talk about learning a lesson!

Maude’s Garage
Drawing_Graphite Pencil on Canvas Paper

Without my own photos I headed to the internet to find the missing piece of the puzzle. I researched 1930’s Ford pick-up trucks until I found one that looked exactly like Maud’s. I learned that it is a 1934 Ford Model V8 1 1/2-Ton Stake Truck. You can check out a brand new replica Stake Truck here (and it can be yours for only $93,6000!). I combined my photos along with what I found to create the initial drawing.

Maude’s Garage
Putting in Darks w Oil

The next step was to paint in the darks. Then, I layered in the intermediate colors and began detailing the truck.

I continued by adding in the light hues, the flowers, and details. I must admit I really struggled with getting the front end of the truck and tire just right and repainted it several times until I was happy. It will be perfect in our home and will always remind me of that wonderful little vacation in Ludington!

Maude’s Garage
Finished Painting

La Maison Rose

Upon returning from Paris, I decided my first painting from the trip would be the quaint pink house turned bistro at 2 Rue de l’Abreuvoir, Montmartre. I began the painting process in Mid-April and just finished up a couple of weeks ago, taking a hiatus to create the 5th grade promotion video for my sons’ class.

Because of the hilly nature of the Montmartre landscape, the perspective on this one was extremely difficult. From where I took the photograph, the bistro and street corner were slightly below me receding into the distance at a slight angle. Not one single point was straight!

While researching La Maison Rose, I learned that Picasso himself had frequented the place and that it was home of Germaine Pichot, a well known painting model and notorious femme fatale. Picasso and Carlos Casagemas, Picasso’s best friend, met Germaine when they first came to Paris in 1900. Carlos fell madly in love with Germaine, but the feelings were not mutual.

In 1901, in his grief and drunkenness, Carlos attempted to shoot Germaine. He missed his target and instead turned the gun on himself. Shocked and saddened by his friend’s death, Picasso fell into a depression. It was this tragic incident that provoked his Blue Period. Germaine was depicted in Picasso’s 1905 painting At the Lapin Agile shown below.

La Maison Rose, Montmartre, Parris, France.
La Maison Rose, Montmartre, Parris, France.

The Blind Man’s Meal] is one of Picasso’s most moving pictures from his Blue Period (autumn 1901–mid-1904). Most prevalent among his subjects were the old, the destitute, the blind, the homeless, and the otherwise underprivileged outcasts of society. The painting is not merely a portrait of a blind man; it is also Picasso’s commentary on human suffering in general. Additionally, the work elicits affinities to Picasso’s own situation at the time, when, impoverished and depressed, he closely identified with the unfortunates of society. (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

The destitute outcasts featured in Picasso’s Blue Period gave way, in 1905, to circus performers and harlequins in more colorful settings. The Lapin Agile was originally conceived to decorate a bar in Montmartre, the interior of which is depicted here. Standing at the counter is Picasso himself, dressed as the melancholy and gaunt Harlequin in a vivid diamond-patterned shirt and three-cornered hat. Behind him, in profile with heavy makeup and pouty lips, leans Germaine Pichot, wearing a gaudy orange dress, bead choker, boa, and feathered hat. (Metropolitan Museum of Art)