Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mahlet Portrait

8" x 10"
Prismacolor Coloured Pencils
90lb Cream Stonehenge Paper

This portrait is a birthday commission. It was a lot of fun to do. I loved working on all the colours. The pose is a little different too, and that made it more fun to work on.

Mahlet Portrait
Mahlet is a beautiful young woman, as you can see. Click on the above link to see the Work in Progress (WIP).

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Message

Click above to see our Christmas day photos.

Our friend, Doyle Dykes, sent out his Christmas message this morning, and I thought I would share it with everyone. He is an amazing guitarist/musician and a devout Christian. He is also one heck of a nice guy. We are blessed to know him.

The Tirolese Family wishes You a
Very Merry Christmas
and a
Blessed New Year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Rebecca Puso Coração

Rebecca Puso Coração
8" x 10"
Coloured Pencil on 90lb Stonehenge Art Paper

Last "Before Christmas" commissioned piece for this year (2008), this portrait is going to be a gift for the subject.

Because I felt a bit rushed on this one, I had a lot of trouble with it. It took several tries to get the subject to look like herself. I am glad I took the time to get it right. The client was very happy with the final portrait. He felt that I made her look younger, which is not a bad thing. It pleases me when the clients are happy.

I must let you know that when I delivered Missy (below) to the that client, she was THRILLED with it. Missy was a beloved family member for the client and is greatly missed. When the client saw the portrait she got all teary-eyed and started to weep. She really loved the portrait and thinks it is going to be well received by her husband (this is a Christmas gift for him).

I was pleased that I was able to offer something meaningful for their Christmas, and beyond.

Monday, December 15, 2008


8" x 10"
Coloured Pencil on 90lb Stonehenge Art Paper

Missy was a lot of fun to paint. She was a beautiful dog, from the photos the client sent me, and from what the client told me about her. This portrait is for the client's husband for Christmas.

I really enjoyed doing this portrait.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

ArtScape Magazine

I just found out that there is a small profile on me in the current issue of ArtScape Magazine. ArtScape Magazine is a local arts magazine that lets people know what is going on around town and in the local area arts-wise.

If looking at the PDF of the current issue of the magazine, you will find the article on page 8. I would like to thank my friend, Linda Zimmerman, for making a jpg of the article for us.

I was aware that this article would eventually be printed, however, I did not realize it was intended for the December 2008 issue. If an old friend (that I have not heard from in 20 years) had not phoned me to say she saw the article and would like me to do a small portrait of her, I would not have known. Normally, I pick up an issue each month, but this month I have not left the house/studio much, and therefore, had not yet picked up a copy of ArtScape Magazine. I will have to make a point of getting my hands on a few actual hard copies to put away.

The latter part of 2008 has been good to me as an artist. I am not certain what the difference is, but suddenly people are hearing about my work. I feel honoured that people enjoy my work.

Now I must rush back to my drawing board. I am hoping to have a portrait completed by Tuesday.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Robert & Theresa Lewis
8" x 10"
Graphite & Carbon Pencil
80lb Strathmore Acid Free Paper

This was a composite portrait. Two different photos were used to create this portrait. The client wanted the couple in front of the waterfall. She also wanted to have the subjects' dates of birth and death on this portrait. The fleur de lys represents the name of the town they are from. This portrait is a Christmas gift for her boyfriend.

It has been a while since I have worked in graphite so this was a bit of a challenge. I had difficulty getting the Theresa's nose correct, and had to re-do it a few times.

All in all, I am pleased with the final result. The client was very pleased too and can hardly wait to give to her boyfriend. The subjects are his parents. I can barely wait to find out how he receives this gift.

Here are the original photos I worked from:

From Lewis Portrait

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Quick Update

I am currently working on a black & white pencil portrait for a Christmas commission. I have yet to photograph it (have not done WIPs) so I have no photo to post. However, if luck, discipline, and a few uninterrupted hours, have it, it should be completed by this afternoon.

When creating art (or doing housework) I like to listen to audiobooks. It is a form of multitasking. It allows me to keep up on my reading while I work, and it makes housework less distasteful. When I work on art, I tend to ready lighter, fluffier, books so that I can concentrate on the art. I listen to heavier more intense books while doing housework so that the housework passes more quickly and I don't have to think about it too much. Our local library offers audiobooks online that can be downloaded for 14 days at a time. This is a excellent way to listen to a access a large variety of books. The library continually adds to their collection so there is always huge selection from which to choose.

Since starting this post I have answered the phone twice(had a relatively longish conversation with one of the callers), emptied the dishwasher and put the breakfast dished in it, started a load of laundry, called my son in sick to school (he came home not feeling well), and fed the birds, rabbit, and fish. Now, I am ready to sit down to work on the commission.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Frog Talk

My son has started a fun little video series called Frog Talk. He is doing this for fun. He is a creative 17 year-old who plays many instruments and loves to entertain people. I am not sure what started this little series. Frog Talk 3 is my favourite, so far, but I have not seen Frog Talk 4 yet (being uploaded as I post this). Each episode includes a bit of talking followed by a song.

Please take a look at these, and feel free to leave comments on YouTube. I will include a link for episode 3 here. You can see the other episodes by clicking on "More From: frogstalks" in the right hand menu section on YouTube.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Coloured Pencil on 90lb Stonehenge Paper
December 2008

This lovely kestrel was commissioned as a Christmas gift. This year I have received several Christmas commissions and I am just tickled pink with most of the subjects.

This was a fun piece to do.

It has been an eventful few weeks. I have picked up, altogether, seven Christmas commissions. I have three left to go. I am at my limit to get work done before Christmas, however, anyone wanting work done early in the new year are still welcome to contact me.

The art show at Williams has been taken down. There was a lot of positive response from this show. All in all, I would say it was the most successful show I have had to date.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Left Brain - Right Brain

My friend, Raven, of Oregon posted this illustration in a group we both belong to. It made me smile. I don't know who to credit this to, so if anyone knows, can you please let me know so I can give proper credit for the illustration.

This morning I got another Christmas commission for a portrait. That gives me three commissions to complete before Christmas. I am really quite excited because they are all excellent ref photos.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Portrait of Darrell

Completed portrait of Darrell, Yvonne's father
8" x 10"
Coloured Pencil on 90lb Stonehenge White Paper

Original reference photo of Darrell

This is the latest commission I have been working on. It was from a pretty small reference photo that was a bit blurry. However, all in all, I am quite pleased with the end result. The scan of the portrait does not do the colours justice. Despite tweaking and tweaking the colours in my photo management application, I was unable to get the colours to truly represent the real life coloured pencil portrait.

I will be shipping this portrait early next week. It is going to British Columbia too. With luck and a prayer, we will not have the courier fiasco of the last one.

Soon, it will be time to take down the art from the show at Williams. It has been a successful show. I have sold 5 pieces off the wall!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Portrait of Yvonne Aleck

This portrait was a birthday commission by a dear friend of mine (Robert Westbrook) for his dear friend, Yvonne. Her birthday was November 7th. I could not post anything earlier than that because this portrait was a birthday surprise. You can view the work in progress below.

Yvonne Aleck - Work In Progress

It is 11" x 14", coloured pencil, on 90lb white acid free Stonehenge art paper. I did manage to get the portrait done in time, despite spending over 80 hours on it. I really enjoyed working on this portrait. The massive amount of curls in her hair were a definite challenge. (smile).

This portrait had to travel from Ontario (where I am) to British Columbia (where Yvonne is). This was a challenge in packaging as Robert wanted it fully framed. The portrait was packaged in a heck of a lot of bubble wrap and then into a box. The glass still managed to arrive cracked. I have since been told by friends who ship a lot of framed work that I should have put an X of drafting tape (similar to masking tape but easier to remove) across the glass. Live and learn.

We did have an awful scare when DHL courier lost the package. The package was to arrive by 9:00 am (British Columbia time) on Friday, November 7th, 2008. It did not arrive. We then thought it might arrive by Noon, then by 5:00 pm. Still nothing. DHL claimed that they had delivered the package, but Yvonne did not have it and no one in her household had signed for it.

I was sick with worry, and just plain sick at the thought the package was lost forever. I had put a lot of work into this portrait (as I do with all my artwork). The thought of it being lost just tore at my insides. It is like losing a piece of yourself.

After a restless night's sleep, I got a call from Robert early Saturday morning to say that the package was finally delivered around 11:30pm their time. Thank God!!!

I am quite pleased to hear that Yvonne and family LOVED the portrait.

I am now working on another portrait for Yvonne. This time it is of her father, Darrell.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Art Opening Reception


November 4, 2008

The opening reception of my art show at Williams Coffee Pub was quite pleasant. It was not as well attended as we had hoped, however, those that did show up had a great time.

The Tirolese Jazz Trio played and they were fabulous. They are a very talented group of young men. Everyone enjoyed the music. Many people took their cards so hopefully they will be getting some gigs from this.

I sold some items and art on opening night. I also got a Christmas commission, so I am pretty pleased. It was a successful evening all around.

It was great to see some people I had not seen in ages. All in all, it was a pleasant night.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Horizontes da Poesia Book Launch

On Sunday, October 19, 2008, Mr. Euclides Cavaco had a book launch for his latest book of poetry: Horizontes da Poesia. It was held at the Wolf Auditorium and Mr. Cavaco arranged to have several wonderful Portuguese performers join him and put on a wonderful show for us.

I had the honour of being Mr. Cavaco's guest and having this portrait I did of him included in his book.

My parents attended this function with me. Anthony and Alexander were not feeling well enough to go out, but they managed a few hours without me. My parents were proud that my artwork was in Mr. Cavaco's book. They also really enjoy Mr. Cavaco's poetry and also like him as a person.

My father, despite not being well these days, managed to sit through the whole performance. He was in extreme pain and his legs were very swollen by the time it was time to go home. He could barely walk. However, I spoke with him the next day, and he said he would not have missed it for the world. He really enjoyed himself. My mother enjoyed herself too. They were both thrilled to be there.

Many of Mr. Euclides Cavaco's poetry translates well into Fados (a traditional Portuguese song/music). Many of his poems have been turned into Fados. There were several Fados performers at the book launch that performed for us. All were fabulous. There was a young man (early 20s) who is a new Fado singer. When this young man opened his mouth to sing, I got goosebumps all over. His voice is absolutely gorgeous. His name Paulo Filipe is and I have a feeling he is going to go far in this genre.

All in all, it was a great time had by all. The party continued at Aroma Restaurant. My dad was too ill to go, and I needed to get home to my sick men, so we did not attend. I am sure it was a lot of fun.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Coloured Pencil Holders

These are my coloured pencil holders. My coloured pencils stand at attention like little soldiers so that I can find them quickly when I need them.

These holders were generously made for me by my good friend, Yves Bureau. I had asked him to poke some holes into some left over wood for me, and he presented me with these beauties. He not only finished them nicely, he added felt feet to them so they don't scratch my table. I love these holders! They are perfect!

Ana’s Parents Come to Visit

My parents came on one of their extremely rare visits to my home on Saturday. They live in town, but rarely come out to my home. And, if they do come by, they usually do not come in (just to drop something off or pick something up). On Saturday they actually came in and had a coffee with me. They have no idea how happy that made me. They don’t understand how much I enjoy their company, how much I love them, and how much I wish they would visit more often. Mind you, they probably think the same thing about me. I rarely visit them at their home either.

I suffer from severe asthma. My parents’ home, more often than not, has a blue haze of cigarette smoke hanging in the air. Everyone, except my mother, and the youngest of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, smoke in that house. When I go over I end up having an asthma attack that takes days to get over.

My parents’ home is also crawling with rug-rats (grandchildren & great-grandchildren). I love the rug-rats too, but it is noisy and chaotic in their home at the best of times. When you couple that with not being able to breathe, it spells “cranky Ana”. I don’t want the rug-rats only memory of Tia Ana (Aunt Ana) to be of the overly large, super cranky, lady.

It pains me to see my dad in so much pain and discomfort. After years of physical labour, life has caught up to him. He can barely walk now. He did manage to get to a chair and from his vantage point he noticed my art supplies (hard to miss since they are sitting out in the open in the living area). I think it finally dawned on him that not only am I an artist, but I work in coloured pencils. He couldn’t get over my little pencil soldiers, standing at attention in their holder (will add a photo in another post). He knew exactly what my pencil extender was used for. He got a kick that I had a portable drawer system filled with coloured pencils (the back-ups). He also got a kick out of how I glued my pencils together. It finally dawned on him that I paint with coloured pencils. Up until now it had all been an abstract idea in his mind that his daughter is an artist and works in pencil. Now it is concrete.

It was great visiting with mom too. I see her slightly more often than I see dad. I also speak to her on the phone a few times a week. Mom brought two small pots of home-made jam. One is grape jam, the other pear. Both from home grown fruit. Delicious! One taste and I was transported to my childhood.

Mom and dad brought some roses from their garden as well. They are fragrant and beautiful. Every time I walk by them I have to take a sniff.

All in all, I am thrilled that my parents came to visit, and really hope they will come again soon. They were invited to come for Thanksgiving dinner, but have graciously turned me down (again). One of these days they will find out I can actually cook. I hope it is not in the too far distant future.

Pencil Extender, Glueing, & Microwaving

I use a pencil extender when my coloured pencils become too small to hold comfortably in my hand. This allows me to hold the pencil so that I can continue with my work. Once the pencil becomes too small for the extender (or to sharpen with the electric pencil sharpener) I then glue the small pencil butt to a new pencil with Krazy Glue. (I use Krazy Glue Precision) I let it sit at least 12 hours (preferably longer -- usually 24 hours) before using the pencil again. I am able to use pretty well all of the pencil this way. I sharpen right through to the new pencil. It allows me to make the most of my coloured pencils.

A very important tip in the care and storage of your coloured pencil is to NEVER drop them, especially onto a hard floor. This breaks the lead inside the pencil. However, if you do accidently drop the pencil, or you find a lead that keeps breaking you should try the following suggestion: A trick that I picked up from someone in my Online Portrait Art Group is to microwave the coloured pencil. I microwave the pencil for approximately 20 seconds then put it in the freezer for a few minutes. This allows the wax to melt in the pencil and rebond together. I was thrilled to find out about this trick because these pencils are quite expensive and it is most irritating to keep sharpening a pencil and the lead continuously break and fall out. It is such an expensive waste, not to mention you are then less that much more of that colour to work with.

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Post Cards for Art Show

I have been working on material for the art show in November at Williams Coffee Pub. This is the front (colour) and back (B/W) of the post card I will have on the counter for people to take. Of course, I will also have business cards available. I still have to create the little poster that sits on tables that give a short bio and description of the work being shown.

Despite Anthony and Alexander both being sick and home most of the week, I still managed to get a good chunk of work done. I have started on the next commissioned portrait and have heard that I may be getting a new commission in the very near future. I do hope to create a few new pieces for the show, but time is starting to run short. We have to take into account that they will need framing so if I don't have them done by the end of this coming week, I may as well just go with the older pieces.

It is Thanksgiving Weekend here in Canada. We are going to spend it quietly at home. I have a wonderful dinner planned for Monday.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Jill Hammond's Portrait is Finished!

Well, it took long enough, but the portrait is finally finished.

I hope Jill likes it.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Jill Work in Progress # 2

I have brightened the hair a bit more. Also, believe it or not, I used Prismacolor Black Grape in the darker areas and it really works well. I am very happy with the results.

Now, a bit more work on the facial features and this portrait will be complete.

This is good news since I need to work on a new rush commission that just came in, as well as create a few new pieces for the art show at Williams in November.

I will not be sharing the new commission on here until it is finished and the recipient has the portrait delivered. It is a special birthday gift and I would hate to ruin the surprise.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Jill's Portrait - Work in Progress # 1

I still need to work on the face. Most of the rest of this portrait is pretty well completed.

This has been a difficult portrait to do because the original photo has so little contrast.

I have the pleasure of working on this today with my dear husband, Anthony, playing his guitar. My husband is an amazing fingerstyle guitarist/musician. He is working on some new pieces. It is very relaxing to work on art while listening to Anthony play.

Alexander is out with his friend, therefore he is not here to join in the musicality. Normally I have both of them to work to.


Original Image

This is the original image I am using for the portrait of Jill. I have cropped it down to just her head and shoulders for the portrait.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Skin Tone Chart

Well, I worked on this for approx. 10 hours. It does not seem like much, but it really took that long.

My scanner is not working properly and I could not get a good clean scan of the chart. It looks a lot better in real life. I decided it was time to redo this chart (my original one fell apart from over-use and had not been replaced.

I am working on a tricky portrait of my friend, Jill. The reference photo is dark and has very little contrast (somewhat flat). It has been a real challenge to get the skin tone on this portrait so I created this chart to help me visualize the skin tone better. Ann Kullberg has a chart like this that she sells on her site. I used her colour suggestions for the skin tone chart. Too bad that Prismacolor's Deco Pink has been discontinued. I still have a few left, but will have to find a replacement when those are used up.

Keep your eyes on this blog for updates on Jill's portrait and the new pieces I will be working on. You can go to the my main website to get info on the upcoming shows. I will be posting information later today on the opening reception at William's Coffee Pub. Tirolese Jazz Quartet will be playing that night. It will be wonderful.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Prismacolor Chart of Coloured Pencils

I have spent the last few days working on a colour chart of Prismacolor pencils. I thought it would be handy to have a quick reference of each of the current colours I have on hand. This way, I can look quickly to find the exact colour I need, as I need it. It is time to get organized. I will be doing a skintone chart too.

This took a lot more time than I had anticipated. But, that is the story of my life. LOL

Having the pencils organized by colour and value is the next project, after the skintone chart.

I am planning on teaching again, soon. These are the first steps in getting the lesson plans organized. I am hoping to get some training soon, but I thought I would start getting organized in case that does not pan out as I hope.

I enjoy listening to audio books while I work. I just finished listening to The Soloist by Steve Lopez. It was quite a good book. Last night Anthony, our son and I were out to dinner at Ben Thanhs (a favourite Viet/Thai restaurant) and I was mentioning that I just finished listening to this book. Our son surprised me by not only having heard about, but knowing quite a bit about the story. He really amazes me sometimes.

I have to work on some things for the show at Williams coming up in November so stay tuned for works in progress and updates.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Jay Unger and Molly Mason plus Family

We have been fans of Jay and Molly for many years. Our son found a copy of the music to Lovers Waltz in a Strings magazine several years ago. He was just little then and playing violin. He decided to learn the piece and it was beautiful. In the magazine was just the bare bones of the piece so we ordered a full score from Jay and Molly's website. Our son learned the piece, and with his dad accompanying him, he played it for his Montessori school. It really was beautiful.

When we heard that Jay Unger and Molly Mason were going to be in Port Dover we just had to attend. On Friday Anthony, Our son and I went to Port Dover, Ontario's beautiful Lighthouse Festival Theatre to catch a Jay Unger and Molly Mason in concert.

We had front row seats and were in for a real treat. The performance was fantastic. Not only were Jay and Molly there, but Jay's daughter, Ruthy Unger Merenda, and her husband, Mike Merenda were there too. It was a real family event. Ruthy and Mike are also very talented (we will be picking up their new CD online in the next few days).

The music was absolutely amazing! We were grinning like fools through the whole thing, it was so good. And, we had the pleasure of meeting them all after the performance. What delightful and pleasant people! Poor Our son as so excited at meeting one of his violin heros that he was tongue-tied when talking to Jay! (We all know that is a rare thing for Our son!)

Mike and Ruthy had their 8 month old son, William, with them. What a cutie! He is really adorable. I bet he will continue in the family business as a third generation musician.

All-in-all, we had a great time, despite never having been in Port Dover before and having a heck of a time reading the directions to get back home that I printed off Google Maps. We got stopped for a spot check with the RIDE program and the nice OPP officer gave us better directions to getting back to London than I had picked up off Google Maps. We were so thankful.

We hope we can get Jay and Molly to come to London some time in the near future. It would be great of Ruthy and Mike could come too.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Redesigned Website Finally Up and Running

The long overdue website redesign is finally completed. You can view it at www.tirolese.com/art.

I have also decided that I will use this space to keep everyone updated on what is going on in my art life. It is difficult for me to remember to post to a blog because I rarely can think of anything to write about. However, I will use this space to show works in progress, write up about upcoming art shows, and keep people up to date on what is going on with my work.

Thanks for reading.