Monday, December 29, 2008

AJAS Emerging Artists

I am taking somewhat of a break for the holidays, but I wanted to create a quick entry to mention that the American Juried Art Salon has selected me as one of their Emerging Artists:
Click on my name to see which of my pieces have been juried into this gallery, and do check out the amazing work of the other artists listed.

I have been making some progress on my latest portrait this week, and next week I will resume regular blogging including some images of my work in progress.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Portrait of Elise

I mentioned my latest portrait in an earlier blog post, and now I am finally posting an image, above. This portrait was such a breath of fresh air for me because I had been growing weary of the self-portraits with dramatic lighting, poses, and backgrounds. This straight-forward head and shoulders portrait with subtle lighting and a simple background is all about the natural beauty of a girl named Elise.

Monday, December 15, 2008

American Juried Art Salon

The American Juried Art Salon 2008 Fall-Winter Show opens online today. My piece Coming Clean, shown above was accepted into this exhibition, which is juried by gallery owners, directors and well known college and university art professors in North America. Because this is my third consecutive exhibition with American Juried Art Salon, I have also been accepted into the Master Class Plus Gallery, which can be viewed here:
To read more about the American Juried Art Salon, visit their website:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Artwork Scan

Today I brought "Solitude" along with another portrait to be professionally scanned. I went to Image-Tec, located nearby in Methuen, MA, and I am so pleased with how they both turned out. Solitude was kind of an experiment because I ended up using paint thinner on most of the background, and then sprayed a ton of fixative and varnish on it leaving it very shiny. Despite the shine, I think the scan came out really nicely. I am especially pleased with how my other portrait came out, which I had sprayed with a matte fixative, but no varnish. The subtle colors and detail are perfect! I am so happy with the service and results at Image-Tec, and I am highly recommending them to any local artists who are looking for a place to photograph/scan their work. They even make giclee prints, cards, etc, and will make slides from the digital images. The best part? The prices are SO reasonable. Check out their website:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Back to Solitude...

I hadn’t done any more work on Solitude in this photo, but it does show the piece in its entirety. I stopped working on it because I was growing tired of dramatic colors, lighting and poses, and it was feeling a bit contrived. Luckily I had another piece to work on, a straight forward head and shoulders portrait with subtle lighting coming from multiple directions and a simple background. Despite its simplicity (or perhaps because of its simplicity), this other portrait has become one of my favorites so far. I won’t be posting it for a couple of weeks though; sorry for the teaser!

Back to Solitude… since I took the photo above, I have made changes to the background as a whole, as well as to the shirt, hands, and the bench. As I mentioned before, I drew the trees mostly out of my imagination, as the reference photo showed a lot of vines and shrubs with some leaves remaining. By the time I went back to this piece, the trees I had drawn looked very similar to those outside – bare and gray! The curved stone bench is pretty much like the one I was sitting on.

Tomorrow I am bringing this and the other portrait I mentioned to a photography studio to have them scanned. This will be the first time I’ve tried scanning, so I will write about how it goes later on this week.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

People's Choice Award

I just found out that "Coming Clean", above, won the People's Choice Award at the CPSA Chapter 112 "H2O" Exhibition. I'm so honored that people chose my piece as their favorite!
This piece will also be in the upcoming American Juried Art Salon Fall-Winter Exhibition, which is scheduled to open online at on December 12th.

Monday, December 1, 2008

It Turned on Me!

My "Solitude" piece has somehow turned on me - I am about 95% finished, and I can't seem to bring myself to finish it! This happens to me sometimes (though never for commissions when I am determined to create a successful piece for the client), and I think that the best solution is to put it away for the time being. So I am starting a different piece this week, a traditional head and shoulders portrait. I am looking forward to starting because this portrait will have a simple background and be mostly about the face. I'm hoping my motivation to finish "Solitude" returns by the end of the week...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Solitude with Reference

Today I am posting my reference photo along with my drawing to show how I'm using it to create the portrait. The photo is just printed on a sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 white paper, and you can see how I've folded it to bring certain portions of the photo close to the drawing as I work.
I noticed that the photo was washed out (I'm pale, but not that pale!), so I used a mirror in addition to the photo to get the skin tones right, keeping in mind that light filtered through a window is slightly different from being outside in the shade. I also decided to add some much-needed lipstick and blush, and to have the eyes looking slightly less to the side. I haven't done too much more on this today, and I'm not sure how much more I will get done with Thanksgiving fast approaching. I'll try to post a progress photo again this week, but at the latest will have a new post next Monday.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Solitude Update

I've done a little more work on the face, but here's where I slow down considerably. Drawing the trees was so much fun, but now I get to work on a face, which is my favorite, and I don't mind taking my time. Here you can see the scale, as I've placed my hand directly onto the paper.
I'm working from a very washed out photograph, and I need to add a lot of color and shadowing to make it look more real. Next week I'll post the reference along with the drawing in progress, so you can see the changes that I've made.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Solitude Progress

I've started working on the face, shown above. As I mentioned in my last post, I'm working from a reference photograph for this, but I will make adjustments to account for skin tones and other details that the camera did not capture. So far this piece has a very cold feel to it, and I'm trying to keep it from looking too dismal. The piece will be titled "Solitude", and I want it to be a little stark while somewhat peaceful at the same time. By the way, I'm using UART 800 grit, and the face is about the size of my palm (I'll try to post a photo showing the relative size later).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Trees, trees, trees...

I've been drawing a lot of them lately! I mentioned in my last post that I was drawing from memory rather than a reference, and posted above are a couple of sneak peeks. Nothing too exciting yet! I do have reference photos that I'm using for the subject (me), but I'm disregarding the small partially green shrubs, vines, and trees in the background because I want a more stark feel. I have been paying close attention to the trees while on my morning run for added inspiration. Working without a reference right in front of you is SO liberating! I will work from a photo reference when drawing myself, but the great thing is that I can also look in the mirror to for additional detail and more accurate skin tones.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Little Creativity...

I don't have a new image to post today, but I did start working on something where much of the piece is out of my imagination! I always deviate from photo references in some way, even for portrait commissions where I like to use my memory of meeting with the subject(s) to incorporate unique facial expressions that define their character. For my figurative works, I often deviate much more from the actual references, something that I find not only enjoyable but also fundamental to my role as an artist.

So for my latest piece I decided to really exercise my creativity and place myself in a background almost completely out of my imagination, while aiming to mainting a somewhat realistic feel. I will post photos next week (I might even post some of my references), so stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Autumn Lace II

Autumn Lace II
Recently I completed a second installment of Autumn Lace, shown above. I decided to revisit the piece in part because I wanted to do a slightly more realistic background, but also because I felt that the complexion in the first piece was a little too washed out. In addition to wanting more mid-tones in the face, I decided to go with a slightly different pose. Also, I did this on Rtistx pastel panel, whereas the original was done on Pastelbord. I like this re-do better than the original, but just like last time, I have already heard from family and friends who prefer the first! Perhaps they like the more pleasant expression? Comments are welcome...

Monday, November 10, 2008

National Drawing Show Opening

The SSAC National Drawing Show Opening Reception was a huge success, with a large crowd gathering as the night went along. The first photo shows me by my piece, which was awarded one of four Awards of Merit by juror Rachel Rosenfield Lafo, Director of Curatorial Affairs of the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, MA. You can read her statement and comments on the winning pieces here:
In the second photo you can see some newspaper clippings of the Globe articles that were displayed at the gallery entrance. The last photo shows the Bancroft Gallery, the main gallery in the South Shore Art Center. You can read more about this and upcoming exhibitions at the Bancroft gallery on the SSAC website.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

South Shore National Drawing Show

Just a reminder that the opening reception for the South Shore National Drawing Show is tomorrow evening from 6-8pm, located at the South Shore Art Center at 119 Ripley Road in Cohasset, MA.
My piece A New Day is on display and received an Award of Merit. The postcard invitation above shows a sampling of the other works to be on display. I can't wait to see some of these works in person - it should be a great show!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

H2O Opening Photos

I am taking a quick break from watching campaign coverage to post a couple of photos from the H2O Show Opening this past weekend at the Spring Bull Gallery in Newport, RI. The first photo shows me standing by my piece "Still Life Sabotage", and "Coming Clean" is the middle piece in the second photo. More photos of the opening can be viewed on the CPSA Chapter 112 website:
The show runs until December 3rd, and more details can be found on my Events page.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

"H2O" Show Reminder

The Opening Reception for the "H2O" themed show by the New England Chapter 112 of the Colored Pencil Society of America is this Saturday from 5-7pm at the Spring Bull Gallery, 55 Bellevue Ave, Newport, RI. I will have Still Life Sabotage (pictured on the left in the postcard above) as well as Coming Clean on display. Come see all of the amazing works on display by colored pencil artists around New England! For more information on this and other shows and exhibitions, please see my Events page.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Change of Pace...

I just finished a house portrait commission, which was quite a change of pace for me. I typically accept people portraits exclusively because I enjoy capturing faces and expressions so much, but I was quite surprised to find a hidden motivation to work on this portrait and to give it as much character as I do when working on people. I thought of how my house is my favorite place to be, the place where I spend most of my time with my husband, and am comforted by familiar surroundings. Our quaint New England house is certainly not large, but is rich with memories and even decorated with some of my artwork. When I think of my home in this way, I can attribute to it character and a sort of “personality”. I thought of this when working on my latest portrait of a little beach house on a lake. I tried to make the surrounding trees sway inward, as if bowing in reverence to this little home, and the white sand as a soft carpet leading out to the lake with water moving playfully in the breeze. I hope that the portrait serves as a lasting reminder of happy memories spent there. If I obtain permission from the client, I will post a photo of the portrait in an upcoming blog. For the time being, I am back to people portraits…

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Another Interpretation


Above is my latest piece, done using Neocolor II watersoluble pastels and colored pencil on Rtistx 420 panel. This is a more realistic interpretation of the scene I used for Botanical Lace, in which I made the leaves look more abstract to fit the theme. I find this piece more somber than Botanical Lace, but it still fits my style. I am very interested in hearing any opinions on the two pieces!

Monday, October 20, 2008

TAG Portait Show Artist's Reception

This past weekend I traveled to NYC to attend the opening for The Art Guild's Portrait Show- the photo above shows me standing by my piece Amira which was juried into the show. The exhibit feature 58 pieces which were selected by juror Ying-He Liu, an amazing and accomplished portrait artist whom I had the opportunity to meet at the artist's reception on Friday. The show runs through November 28th, and gallery hours are Saturday and Sunday from 1:00-5:00 or by appointment. More information about this show can be found on The Art Guild website.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Portrait Exhibition Opening This Friday

I am looking forward to heading to Manhasset, NY this weekend to attend the Opening Reception of The Art Guild's 1st Annual Portrait Competition and Exhibition, where my piece Amira will be on display. If you will be in the NYC area between October 17th and November 28th, stop by and see the show juried by award winning portrait artist Ying-He Liu. For more information on this and other upcoming exhibits, please see my Events page.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ampersand Pastelbord vs. Rtistx 280 Panel

Autumn Lace
My latest piece shown above is very similar in concept to Botanical Lace, which I blogged about earlier. However, Autumn Lace was done on Ampersand Pastelbord, whereas Botanical Lace was done on Rtistx 280 panel. Because the pieces are so similar, it is easy for me to compare the supports. For both pieces, I created the background leaves by first applying “blobs” of color using Caran D’Ache Neocolor II watersoluble pastel crayons. I then went over the background with colored pencil, “finding” leaves in the abstract shapes of color. I find that I work more intuitively when I start with basic shapes and create detail as the work progresses. (That being said, I sometimes like to create pieces where control and precision is evident from the beginning, and I will be starting such a piece next). Both the Pastelbord and Rtistx 280 panel seemed to accept the watersoluble pastels very easily. The biggest difference I found was in applying the colored pencil.

Though I like Pastelbord for its durability and gritty surface, rendering smooth surfaces can be difficult as the surface is not as uniform and finely textured as the Rtistx 280 panel. The leaves ended up looking much smoother in Botanical Lace, and I found myself fighting the texture in Autumn Lace. Some of my pieces seem more suited to Pastelbord, such as Adorned with Pride, where I allowed the texture of the board to show for the background, and I also used to my advantage in creating the texture of the skin and clothing. But for creating softer looking portraits such as of children, I prefer the Rtistx 280 panel.

Monday, October 13, 2008

National Drawing Show

I recently found out that A New Day, shown above, was juried into and received an Award of Merit for the South Shore Art Center's National Drawing Show! I brought the piece to the South Shore Art Center in Cohasset, MA this past Saturday, and it is a beautiful wide-open space for displaying art. The exhibit takes place from November 7th through December 31st. More information about this and other upcoming exhibits can be found on my Events page.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Latest Piece...

Botanical Lace
16" x 20"
Colored pencil on Rtistx Panel

I’m finally posting my latest piece, shown above. You may recognize me as the subject in this piece as well as a few others. My reason for this is simple: I’m a convenient subject! Also, I like to be able to have complete control over the pose, clothing, and expression. I sometimes set up a camera with a timer to photograph myself, but often I just ask my husband to take a few snapshots (he’s very patient taking direction from me!)

I use the photographs quite loosely, however. I like to tweak colors and shape. In this piece, the leaves behind me were much more misshapen and with lighter shadows, but I wanted to carry the lace theme throughout the piece. Also, my hair is dark, but not black and definitely does not shine blue (though it did once as a result of a bad at-home dye experience!)

I have started a similar piece – though only 12”x16” – and should be ready to post it sometime next week.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Being an artist can be lonely at times, especially in contrast to my previous career. As an engineer I was constantly barraged with feedback both formal and informal, and people seeking my feedback as well. Every issue was discussed at length, and I had little time to really reflect on how I felt about my work, and whether it was fulfilling. Contrast that with being an artist, where I work alone and make most of the decisions about my business and artistic direction. This change has been very rewarding to me, as I enjoy the sense of control over my career. However, sometimes I can feel lost, which is why I cherish the feedback that I have received from others, both positive and negative. I have solicited formal critiques from established portrait artists, and also informal feedback via e-mail, both of which I have found very helpful. In addition, some of the most useful feedback has come from jurors who have not accepted my work into an exhibition. I am human and do feel a bit of disappointment at first, but then I get excited at the possibility of incorporating the advice into my work. In fact, I have created some of my best work immediately following feedback received from rejection letters! Of course, I also love getting positive feedback, and I really enjoy reading comments on my blog or e-mails from other artists and art enthusiasts. So to those of you who have commented or written to me, THANK YOU!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Finalist in the TAG Portrait Competition

I am so happy to announce that my portrait "Amira", shown above was selected as a Finalist in The Art Guild's 1st Annual Portrait Competition and Exhibition. The show is taking place at the Gallery of Elderfields in Manhasset, NY, and runs from October 13th through November 28th. An Artist's Reception and Awards Ceremony will be held on October 17th from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

The juror for this competition is Ying He-Liu, an amazing portrait artist whose work I have admired for a while now. Visit her website and view some samples of her work:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fall Offering

Fall Offering

I finished "Fall Offering", shown above, and have added it to my online Hands Collection. Today I also started working on a larger figurative piece, which I hope to post soon.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Fall Offering - Work in Progress

I started a small (9"x12") piece this week on Pastelbord using Neocolor II watersoluble pastel crayons underneath colored pencil, and I thought I'd post the step-by-step progress. I don't always apply the Neocolors in block colors like this, and this was kind of an experiment to see how dark I could get the background. One word of caution - if the Neocolors are applied too thickly, the Pastelbord will resist any additional colored pencil on top. I learned this the hard way! This piece isn't quite done yet, but I wanted to get it mostly done so that I could finish it up on Monday and work more on a larger piece I have started (more on that later).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Summer Piece

Summer Wrap-Up
Hawaii was really nice, but I'm so glad to be back in New England. Late summer and early fall are my favorite seasons here, and it would be a shame to miss them! The piece shown here is meant to depict the very last of summer warmth just before the crisp air of fall sets in. I plan on visiting Franconia Notch in NH soon, where I hope to get some good references for a fall-themed piece.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Blanche Ames Reception

I attended the Blanche Ames Opening Reception this past Saturday, and was really impressed with the variety of artwork and the way the reception was organized. Here are a couple of quick snapshots of my piece on display. At the reception, I found out that 171 artists submitted 508 pieces of art, which was a record for the competition. The juror, Richard Whitten, selected 57 pieces of art which span various art styles and mediums.
One of my favorite pieces on display, which received first place during the awards ceremony, is "Hostel Alley" by Ed Stitt. I highly recommend stopping by the exhibit to see this and all of the other works sometime before it closes on October 4th. The Ames Mansion is located at Borderland State Park, 257 Massapoag Ave, North Easton, MA, and the exhibition is open Tuesdays through Sundays, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. More information can be found here:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Blanche Ames Reception This Weekend

As a reminder, the Opening Reception for the 2008 Blanche Ames National Juried Art Exhibition is this Saturday, September 20th from 7:00-10:00 pm at the Ames Mansion in Borderland (Sharon/North Easton, MA). My piece It Comes Down to This is on display.
The exhibition runs from September 16th through October 4th. For more information on this exhibition, please see the website:

Monday, September 15, 2008

Vacation Confession

I feel a little guiltly admitting this since September marks the beginning of school and work for many people, but I have to come clean - I have been on vacation in Hawaii for about a week and a half! I had a last minute opportunity to go with my husband that I couldn't pass up. It's partly a work trip, but I am definitely doing my fair share of relaxing. I am feeling a little antsy to get back to my artwork now, but I am looking at this trip as a good oppotunity to recharge my batteries and maybe use some of the sights I see as inspiration for future work.

I have never been to Hawaii before, and I am truly blown away by the beautiful views, in addition to the gorgeous weather. The first photo above is me amidst other tourists on a boat tour around the island of Kauai. The second photo shows a view from the boat of the island cliffs with peaks so high that they pierced the clouds above.

Friday, September 12, 2008

My Latest Piece on Pastelbord

My latest piece, "Adorned with Pride" exemplifies why I will not settle on one surface for all my colored pencil portraits. As much as I enjoyed the fast color laydown and smooth blending capability of the sanded paper I used for my last two pieces, I felt that the subject of my latest piece was more suited to Pastelbord. Here you can see how I used the rough texture to create the coursely-colored background, and also to render the texture of her skin and clothing.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Portraits on Sanded Paper

Recently I completed the two portraits shown here using colored pencil on a smooth sanded paper designed for pastels. I hadn’t spent a lot of time working with sanded paper before, but these two portraits have convinced me that there are some definite benefits to working on this surface.

I find it very easy to work quickly, and the color goes on smoothly and can be smudged like pastels. This can be very desirable for achieving smooth skin textures; very appropriate for women and children. Also, I also find that this surface is very conducive to achieving realism, and I find that I tend to use fewer layers of color than when working on paper or Pastelbord. Though many layers aren’t necessary on this surface, I sometimes like the effect of layering color to create complex colors and textures, so I will continue to also use Pastelbord and paper when deemed appropriate for the subject.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Brillante Weblog Award

I just found out that Dee Overly has presented my blog with the “Brillante Weblog” award! This award is a way to identify favorite blogs, similar to the Arte y Pico award, which I wrote about here. Since I recently identified some of my favorite blogs with the Arte y Pico, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dee, and also to recommend reading Dee’s Art Journal and viewing her amazing colored pencil gallery (be sure to check out Raindrops – it’s one my favorites!)

Friday, August 15, 2008

American Artist Self Portrait Competition

I am so honored to announce that "Winter Blues" was selected as a Finalist in the American Artist Self Portrait Competition. In addition to being published in the October issue of American Artist, the award winners and finalists are displayed online:

Art Kudos Finalist

I am very happy to announce that my piece "Pensive", shown above, was selected as a finalist in the Art Kudos International Juried Art Competition and Exhibition. The online exhibition of all award winners and finalists begins today (my piece is can be seen here).

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Armenian Library and Museum of America

I recently finished working on this portrait of Susan and Gary Lind-Sinanian, who are curators at the Armenian Library and Museum of America (ALMA). The museum is located at 65 Main Street in Watertown, MA. This portrait will be available for viewing at the museum after August 19th. For museum hours and more information about ALMA, go to

Monday, August 4, 2008

Arte y Pico Award

I was so flattered to find out today that Marsha Robinett has announced on her blog, The Extraordinary Pencil that she has selected my blog as one of five to receive the Arte y Pico Award. A description of this award is below:

Arte y Pico Award Origin
The designer of the award puts it like this..."The Arte y Pico Award has arisen from the daily visits that I make to many blogs which nourish and enrich me with creativity. In them, I see dedication, creativity, care, comradeship, but mainly, ART, much art. I want to share this prize with all those bloggers that entertain and enrich me day to day. Doubtlessly, there are many and it will be hard to pick just a few.”

The Rules:
1. You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award through creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributes to the blogger community, no matter of language.
2. Each award should have the name of the author with a link to their blog.
3. Award winners have to post the award with the name and link to the blog of the person who gave them the award.
4. Show these rules and the paragraph (above) explaining the awards origination.

My Selections
My Google Reader is full of blogs that I regularly read, so this is a tough one for me as well. However, I did narrow it down to the following for their insight into the creative process and quality of art:
Cindy Haase’s Color On!
Debbi Friedman’s Blog
Karin Wells Studio
Kendra Ferreira’s kjfdesign
Steve Atkinson Painting Blog

Thanks for reading, and thank you again, Marsha!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Blanche Ames National Art Exhibition

I am very pleased to announce that my piece "It Comes Down to This", shown above, has been juried into the 2008 Blanche Ames National Juried Art Exhibition. The exhibition will take place at the Ames Mansion at Borderland, from September 16th through October 4th. More information about the mansion and the exhibition can be found here:

I created this piece as part of my Hands Collection, and my goal was to convey the frustration that many artists feel when submitting a 35mm slide as a representation of a work that took countless hours to create. Of course, many juried exhibitions also allow digital entries, but the reproduction never quite measures up to the original.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Thank You

Today is my wedding anniversary, and I wanted to take a moment to thank my husband for all of his love and support. I could not have made the leap from engineer to artist without him! He has also been a very patient subject (one of my first portraits is shown here).