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

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.