Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Commission Part 3

First of all, I feel the need to apologize to anyone who has looked at my blog within the past few months.  I've been trying to organize and separate my personal and artist accounts.  I have been using my personal gmail to write this blog.  I thought it would make more sense if I was using my artist gmail account. So, I moved all of my images from one account to the other.  I had no idea that if I deleted the images from my google account that it would delete them from the blog as well.  So, instead of writing new posts, I've been going back to the blogs, reading them and finding the images that I once had.  I am nowhere close to being done :(

But I am still making art!  I recently finished my largest commission.  It was another portrait commission.  This time there were 18 people in it.  Because the painting was a surprise, my friend had to give me photos of everyone in small groups.  I took all of the photos into Photoshop and did some editing so I could arrange them in a good composition.

Once we agreed on an arrangement that my friend liked the best, I began working on the outline.

I used Derwent Inktense Pencils for this artwork.  I love the vibrancy of the colors.  I especially love that is dries like an ink, so I am able to work in multiple layers without worrying about lifting previous layers.  With 18 people there were a variety of skin tones to match.  I began playing with various colors creating a skin tone chart.
Beginning skin tones always terrifies me.  I think it is because it doesn't look anything like the person at first and it takes a few layers for the face to begin to resemble the person.

 Each face took me around 2 hours to complete and they were about 2 inches in size.

There were a few faces that I had trouble with.  I had to "erase" them and start all over.  Mr. Clean magic erasers are amazing and are not just good for cleaning around the house.  They are great at removing the intense color.  It won't remove all of it and depending on the color you first used determines what staining may occur.  You can see the color stain left on the 2 faces in the middle.

But in the end the painting turned out wonderful.

It was an intense commission, but I enjoyed working on it.  I liked the challenges that were presented along the way.  I like drawing and painting portraits.  There is a fear (a good kind) that comes with it.  Will it look like the person?  Or will it be a disaster?  I like that it is such a different style from my Mizzles.  It helps my skills stay fresh and prevents me from becoming board with my work.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Colombo Mizzle Golf Cover

As I do every year, I created another Mizzle golf club cover for my friend McEvoy.  Another to add to his collection.  I know I've said this in a previous post, but I really do look forward to making this every year.  It challenges me.  It forces me to create in the boundaries right out of my comfort zone.

This year he wanted Colombo.

I used my usual materials, but I experimented with using faux fur for the hair.  It is a messy material to work with when having to cut it into pieces, but it worked perfectly for the hair styles I was recreating this year with the TLC Mizzles.

I've had requests for next year's theme.  A few possibilities are: Star Wars, The Beatles, famous scientist, famous literary artists, and Tim Burton characters.  We'll see what creations will happen next year!

Monday, March 2, 2015

TLC Mizzles 2015

Every year our school does a school-wide fundraiser for TLC (True Lasting Connections), which is a non-profit organization that provides a variety of health and medical services for families in the community who are in need of help.  This organization runs solely on donations and grants. It is a great organization and it feels great to participate in this fundraiser knowing the money will be going towards helping my students and their families.

A few years ago, I began auctioning my Mizzles to help raise money for this organization.  Each year, the Mizzles have become more elaborate in size, shape, and costume.  Last year, I created a superhero series.  They were fun characters who had useless superpowers.  This year the Mizzles are impersonating historical figures.

From left to right: Amelia Earhart Mizzle, Mahatma Gandhi Mizzle, Adolf Hitler Mizzle, Albert Einstein Mizzle, Abraham Lincoln Mizzle, Cleopatra Mizzle, and Queen Elizabeth I Mizzle.

Each Mizzle and their costume was sewn by hand.  They were a lot of work, but so much fun to make.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Commission Part 2

2015 so far has been the year of the portrait commissions. It actually began last November, but it seems to continue its theme.  I was asked to do a second portrait painting for my workout partner's mother.  He loved the painting I did for his wife's Christmas present.

He wanted to do something similar for his mother's birthday.  And here it is:
 I prepped a 20x16 canvas with watercolor ground.  I used Koi watercolor for the background, which was an interesting experience.  I'm still an amateur with the watercolor ground and I guess it takes longer to absorb the watercolor into it.  I discovered this a few hours after I painted the background with a few washes of blue.  I thought it was dry, but every time I moved the painting I would find blue all over my arms and legs.

For the mother and the dog, I used Derwent Inktense pencils.  I was working from 2 different photos so I included a few in-progress shots showing the originals I was working from.

 In order for me to figure out proportions and placement, I had to use Photoshop to put the two images together.

My workout partner and his wife loved the finished painting a lot!  So much, that he wants me to do a third portrait painting!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Art with Friends

Even though 2014 had some horrible moments, there was one thing that saved me... Art with Friends.  
There were new friends, who I shared fun moments brainstorming Mizzle ideas.  Some were "adult" Mizzle ideas, which were fun to draw because they pushed me past my comfort zone. 

These were a few sketches that I played with for the Lucky Seven art show I participated in.

These small watercolor paintings came about from a fun conversation that began with stripes.  Somehow stripes turned into a neon Mizzle safari, where Larry rode a neon blue zebra.  After I created the first painting, my friend came up with idea that the Mizzles needed to hang out with elephants.

But my favorite thing has been my monthly paint and wine nights.  Last August, I turned my garage into my art studio.  Each month I come up with a theme and find paintings by a variety of artists that fit that them.  Then, we create our own versions of them.  Sometimes we create a nice replica.  And sometimes... well... we don't.  The fun thing is that my friend, Jenn, and I are the only trained artists that are there.  The remainder of the group is made up of friends who just love art... and at the very best, trust that I will help fix their painting if things go wrong.  We all look forward to this night.  Here are some photos provided by friends of some of these nights:

Definitely my favorite night each month! I think this has been the most healing time of my life... sharing my love of painting with a great group of people, who have been supportive in every aspect of my life... new friends and old friends sharing art, food, wine... and tons of laughs!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Commission Portrait

2014 was a horrible year for me.  It ended just as it had begun.  I found myself not really in a giving or "holiday" mood.  I'm told it is understandable considering the year I've had, but it felt wrong.

I tried to get into the spirit a little with a few sketches, but they didn't really help.

One thing that was a good distraction was the commission I obtained.  My workout partner had seen my Frida Self portrait in the members art show at the Huntington Beach Art Center.  He originally wanted me to do a Mizzle painting for his office, but then he decided he wanted me to do a painting as a Christmas present for his wife.  I absolutely adore his wife, and was thrilled to do this for him.  It was one of my favorite projects to work on. 
I used this as an opportunity to try out watercolor ground.  I had read about it, but never used it before.  I painted on a thick layer of watercolor ground onto a 16x20 canvas and allowed it to dry for 72 hours.  I used my Derwent Inktense Watercolor pencils to create this painting.  I was surprised how the watercolor ground felt like watercolor paper when it was dry.  It was very easy to work with.  It's a little expensive for my taste.  I think for this size I'd prefer to work with watercolor board, but I felt for this gift it needed to be on a canvas.  

I also created a painting for my mom, which was a difficult decision.  I almost didn't do it because I wasn't sure if I should.  I create a drawing or painting of a family member every year for my mom.  After talking it out with my little sister, we decided I should go for it.  It was a painful, yet rewarding experience.  I decided to do a painting of my mom and dad about to kiss.  I won't lie.  I cried every time I worked on it.  But, it was something worth going through.  

I think the look on my mom's face when she saw it was the best.  And my little sister loved it too.

I'm hoping 2015 turns out to better year all around.  So far it hasn't disappointed.  There is a possibility of more portrait commissions in the works.  *Fingers crossed*

Friday, January 9, 2015


At the beginning of the school year, I was inspired to put Mizzles in famous paintings.  I am calling this series "recreations."  It all began with Frida Self portrait I did last year.

I thought it would be fun to create more using colored pencil.  Of course, I don't want to derail my original goals or projects, but sometimes you need another project to alternate between.  It helps prevent boredom.

So, I decided I would begin with sketches.  This way I could see if it would be a successful piece for the Mizzles to recreate.

Can you identify these famous paintings?

Not all of these will make the final cut into a colorized version, but they have been fun to sketch out.

Here are a few that I turned into color versions: 

 I'm hoping to get about 10 color versions done by the end of the year, but we'll see how that goes.  :)

What paintings would you like to see the Mizzles recreate?