The second wedding venue portrait finished

Inked

The second wedding venue portrait is finished and they both have reached their destination.  I really enjoyed doing this one.  It is stark in its own way, as a simple brick-faced building, but its details are quite charming.  Wooden shutters block the lower windows, but the fanned, vertical brick archtop above them and the iron gated doorway add much needed visual interest.  The eye is drawn up to the second story windows with their overflowing flower boxes and striped awnings.  The trees soften the harder angles and add texture.

Number two wedding venue gift portrait

Pencil plus

Number two was started but I forgot to take a photo before beginning the inking.  I was in a bit of a rush as I wanted to get these out before my trip to Boise, and I had a senior moment about the photo.  Still, I managed to catch myself before I went too far.

This one was a bit easier than the last one as I didn’t have to cram so much building into the 10×8 space.  Still, it had its own issues.  This is peeling white paint over red brick.  No color to help delineate that. It has black wooden shutters over the first floor windows and lovely arches in them.  The entryway is  recessed in its own archway and has half circle window above the door.  Grilled iron gates protect the enclosed area too.  So, in its own way, it is packed with detail, too.

The first wedding gift portrait finished

Inked in

It seems so simple to just do black and white.  But it’s not. The first portrait for my wedding venue gift is finished and there was a lot of work to it. Not just in the shapes but in the balance of black and white as well.  These can take almost as much time as a portrait in color. Without the “crutch” of color I have to work carefully with the ink to not over do it and end up with a black blob and no detail in the shadows.

New Commissions

Pencil up

The woman who has had me do the wedding venue portraits as gifts contacted me a couple of weeks ago to do two more. I started the first one and, as always, it is more complicated than would first appear.  There is a lot of building there to pack into a 10×8 portrait and not have too much sky or lawn.

Summer outdoor life

What kind of swallowtail is this?

A tiger swallowtail next to the mystery man

I saw this odd swallowtail a few days ago while watering my outside plants.  There is always a ton of butterflies on the pink phlox in front of the garage, and I knew right away that I had never seen this kind before.

Thank heavens for a handy camera and google. With a few clicks (I knew it was a swallowtail) I discovered that it is called a giant swallowtail.  Not a very creative name, I know, but it is the biggest swallowtail found in the continental US.  Males can get to be 7″, but I don’t think this one was quite that large.  The caterpillar stage looks like a large blob of bird poop!

It is found across the country though mainly in the eastern half and especially in Florida – not surprisingly because the caterpillar likes to feed on citrus leaves.  I really hope to see one again.  I’ll be keeping my eye on the phlox.

Pastels, pastels, pastels

Pastels over the ink

Summer is flying by.  I haven’t done much in the studio except this commission and working to get my Society6 store stocked. This was a nice  piece to work on.

I haven’t done a lot of pastel work in the last few years, but this client for multiple portraits lets me decide what to use. When commissions get to be 14×9 or above I like to use the pastels versus watercolors when possible.  The richness of colors is easier accomplish with pastels on something this large.

I enjoyed doing stonework for the first time in a while on this long, tall two-story. The red door sets off the taupe siding and the brown and cream stonework nicely.  I wish there were more flowers, but you can’t have everything..

A New Commission for July

Two story home commission

Inked in

Just after the 4th of July, I picked up the pictures for my next home portrait commission.  It’s a long two-story home with taupe siding and stone. It is pretty straight forward in layout and facade, so the inking went pretty quickly.  I haven’t done stone in a while, so this is a bit of a treat for me.

Because it is 14″x9″ and my choice of color technique, I am going forward with pastels.  I like how I can lay down the colors easily and more lushly than with watercolors in the larger sizes.

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