Sunday, August 25, 2019

Taki-pup Update

Taki, my longhair miniature dachshund pup is growing!

He is 5 months old now. He operates at 100 mph or 0 - he has no in between. He tends to skid into walls and over run the balls he is chasing. He has no "brakes". We are still working on chewing and housetraining - he is improving. He is very sweet, if a bit bombastic.

Taki at 9 weeks.

Taki at 4 months.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Metalpoint Workshop with Koo Schadler

Silverpoint study of rhinoceros. Silverpoint on a ground of Natural Pigments Traditional Silverpoint Ground on Crescent museum board. The ground was applied with a sponge, and tinted slightly with yellow ochre pigment.

I spent a lovely several days in New Hampshire, taking a workshop in metalpoint with Koo Schadler.

Koo is a wonderful teacher and struck the perfect balance between history, information on the technique, and time to draw. She covered a wide range of supports and grounds, as well as a variety of metals, including silver, gold, copper, etc. 

For those of you unfamiliar with metalpoint, it was a technique used by artists, including Albrecht Dürer and Leonardo da Vinci, before there were pencils as we know them today. When a metal wire - often silver - is drawn over an abrasive surface, it leaves a residue. It resembles a light pencil drawing, however, it does not behave like pencil. When silver or another metal leaves a mark, it cannot be easily erased. Over time, silver will tarnish, taking on a brownish tone, and copper may take on a greenish tone. 

Deeper values are achieved by layering strokes. I use a technique called hatching, which consists of small lines applied in many layers.

Detail showing layered strokes.
Koo Schadler
Natural Pigments Traditional Silverpoint Ground

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Welcome home, Taki!

Taki (pronounced "tah'-key") is my new pup – a longhair miniature dachshund. He is black with brown highlights. At 11 weeks, he is a traveler, having been to New Hampshire and back. He sleeps with abandon and chews on everything. And he is a fearless hunter of leaves. 

Exhibition: Minis

July 5 – July 30, 2019

Paragon Framing and Art
175 Bridge St.
Phoenixville, PA 19460

Exhibition: Lessedra Gallery

18th Lessedra World Art Print Annual Mini Print 2019
June 19 – September 30, 2019
Opening Reception, June 19 at 7pm

Lessedra Gallery
Milin Kamak Street, Lozenetz
1164 Sofia, Bulgaria

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Tickle the Pickle

December 16th 2003 – April 15 2019

I drove to Fort Dodge, Iowa to meet Tickle – on Valentine's Day 2004. She was the perfect little lady, even then.

Tickle went everywhere with me. That first winter, she weighed about 3 pounds, and I tucked her into the front of my parka to keep her warm. She came to the university with me, and would run to greet her favorite students. Then she would wait patiently in my office until class was over and she could play some more. 

I named her "Tickle", derived from the German word "teckel" for dachshund. She always pretended to be a little aloof. She would get close enough to visitors and then would scoot away before they could pet her. She enjoyed a good game of tag. She explored her yard tirelessly, checking beneath the bird bath and behind the day-lilies. 

When I brought Weema-pup home, Tickle ignored her for the longest time. The day Tickle took Weema's back leg in her mouth and growled, Weema was thrilled – a combination of joy and terror. After Tickle let go, Weema wiggled back over as if to say, "do it again!".

Tickle, chomping on her "dinosaur bone".

Picasso had a little dachshund named "Lump". David Hockney followed his dachsies around the house and made paintings of them. Andy Warhol took his dachsie, Archie, to galleries, on business trips and to photo shoots. John Wayne had a dachsie. 

And I had my beloved Tickle, also known as Tickle the Pickle.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Watercolor on Calfskin Vellum

This is a sample done in preparation for my workshop for the
GNSI - Carolinas Chapter, March 16th and 17th, 2019. 

Calfskin vellum was used before paper was available, and is still used for British Acts of Parliament, Jewish scrolls, and other special documents. Vellum is prepared by soaking the skin in a lime solution to soften and remove the hair, and it is then stretched on a wooden frame. A crescent-shaped blade is used to scrape the skin to achieve the desired thickness. 

The above study is done on a scrap of vellum, leftover from when pages were cut from the whole skin. Hence, the irregular shape. The blue swatches at the right show a solid blue, and a gradated blue. These were made by layering small strokes of watercolor. Because paint sits on top of the vellum and does not soak in, a relatively dry brush method must be used in order not to lift paint. A light touch and a good brush also helps.

Water can cause vellum to buckle, so working relatively dry is a good idea. 

I use Sennelier, Schmincke and Daniel Smith (mineral) watercolors. I prefer Winsor & Newton Miniature Series 7 Kolinksy sable brushes - sizes 1 and 2. 

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Workshop: Watercolor on Vellum

Illustration in progress, watercolor on vellum.

GNSI - Carolinas Chapter
March 16 & 17, 2019
Raleigh, North Carolina

Vellum is calfskin that is prepared for writing or painting. It has a smooth, translucent surface. However it presents challenges, as the surface is not at all like paper. This workshop will cover vellum as a painting surface and how to prepare it. The application of watercolor to this surface creates a luminous painting with fine detail. For more information, contact Betsy Donovan: