Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Bruce Lee Experience

The Bruce Lee Experience

Working with acrylics on canvas has been an awesome experience. The drying time is fast and the layers that can be added are unlimited. When I started this 30x40 painting of Bruce Lee I had no real plans of what the background would consist of, so as you can imagine I just made up things as I went along, I free styled. Below is the pencil sketch I did of Bruce Lee on canvas.

 The next few pictures will show you the process from the starting of this  painting until the end . As you can see the background was not penciled in because I had no plans of what to do with it.

                        Section A

The first for pictures on the left show the step by step process.The pencil sketch is shown in the 1st box .I then mixed  brown and red together to create a burnt color for the outlines of the painting on pic1. As I worked my way around I shaded in some areas like the hair with a darker brownish wash in pic3. Then I  laid down color  for the first layer while I waiting for the other areas to dry. Notice the lighter shades on the face and chest in the 4th pic. These colors were made by adding while to my brownish color wash.
                                                                                   Section B      
The next few pictures show in Section B took more hours to complete. I took breaks in between the drying times and I played around with the background. I kept in mind that when painting anything is possible and most things can be changed. I added a total of 5 layers some more or less in certain areas. In pic 4 I started shaping and defining my subject and background extensively. This important process was a must before moving forward.

Look at the difference in these two photos below. I was really focused on the details and my subject in both but I had worked out the background and started applying details to the dragon on the 1st painting . I moved to different areas sometimes working withing the same color to save paint. This also increased my layering time and allowed me to focus on certain areas that required a lot more work. The dragon i knew for a fact would require a lot of small details .

As my subject came to life I added more details to the background as shown above. The dragon was free styled, I had no real plans of what it would look like or the colors. I simply decided as I went along . Even though the process of free styling can be risky, sometimes you need to just go forward and take the risk and as you become more skilled with your medium you may agree that its not a risk at all.

                                           Bruce Lee 30x40 Acrylic on Canvas 

The finished painting as you can see, turned out amazing. I was completely satisfied with the end results . I encourage any one to step out of their normal painting preferences and embrace a new challenge . Sometimes you will find that during your painting experience the idea you had turns out completely different but more satisfying than you could've ever imagined.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Persistence Makes Progress

My Marilyn Monroe 24x36 Acrylic on Canvas

  The first serious try with painting a black and white portrait of Marilyn Monroe took place in 2011 . I had very little experience with shading on canvas but I was motivated enough to put forth the effort. Painting I can assure you was not at all like any other medium that I had used and depending on if it was oils or acrylics the process required experience in shading and adding layers . I had been painting all of my life but this time I was expecting something different since I was working on canvas.        
  During the painting process I had not planned on adding layers to anything like in the past. I was just expecting everything to just come together  and have a finished painting in a few hours but I was in for a huge surprise. I can tell you that from my personal experience when working with paint on canvas , the drying and blending time with water is much more complicated and if you plan to shade, it will takes some practice. I was not at all satisfied with the results and therefore lacked some confidence in finishing the portrait . After awhile I just left the painting alone altogether and started on something totally different. This experience was the beginning of major changes in the way I did things . The Portrait shown is the very first try at Marilyn Monroe with blending and shading.

  Today I have grown from that experience and many paintings later . I realized that I needed to practice more and I now expect to make mistakes that I have learned how to fix during this painting journey. Some paintings especially the type of portraits that I enjoy painting will take time.

   Take a look at the process of this black and white Marilyn Monroe portrait. The canvas was sketched with a pencil before adding paint with just enough details to lay a foundation. I liked the results.

    I will have to add several layers and I was prepared to spend some real time painting . No rushing or time limits . I finally understood the importance of this in order to produce good work. These next layers took hours to complete , especially after factoring in drying times. I didn't want to lose my subject so I stepped away from my painting several times to have a fresh look.

The next few pictures will take you through the process.

Darker paints were added first . Its always important to line everything up during this time.

I then started with the next section of layers as you can see Miss Monroe is coming to life.

          I worked on each layer until I was satisfied and the progress was amazing . I added darker
                                                 and lighter colors to bring out the details.

    As an artist we work hard sometimes but we may miss focusing on some of the things that we are weak in. If you need to practice hair, practice hair or look at a video tutorial on painting hair. Some paintings may not seem like your best work but never stop producing new work. Even if you get tired or discouraged about working on one thing , stop and come back to it latter . I still to this day have to step away from a piece that I am working on sometimes and come back to it at another time when I can view it with fresh new eyes but I will not step away altogether .... no definitely not at this point in time. I have learned that .

                      Pictured is my Marilyn Monroe today. The difference is amazing.

here is a link to the progression video :

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


When I decided to sketch this picture of Derek Jeter, my intentions were just to practice some other drawing forms. I usually dont do to many sports figures but he has always sparked my interest. I can actually say that I can't recall any sports figures or legends that had taken interest in so much. The glow the whole idea of being in the position to take the game with his next hit just made me excited. I started this drawing with the grid technique . Drawing even squares on my 18x24 pressed paper with a 9h drawing pencil, leaving an inch off of the edges on each side and I measured and created the same even squares on my photo. I hadn't used this technique in awhile but Im glad I did for this picture . I used black electrical tape to pin my paper down onto a larger sheet of project paper. Painters tape or electrical tape is inexpensive, reusable and peels away easily. 
I started immediately with my sketch after applying my grid, with the outside then the face specifics . This process is crutial for lining up everything . I applied a small amount of pressure during this process because I knew later I would be erasing all the lines so the lighter the better. 

 2. Light Grid and Shading 

 Some light shading with my 9h pencil assisted me with my progress . 9h is the lightest pencil in my collection and it does wonders for light shading . I would recommend using the same pencil for shading as drawing the grid lines. I shaded the skin to completely and erased to create some high lights. It's really important to shade the skin with the lightest pencil because it basically sets the tone for all the other shades in your picture. You can always go darker but it's nearly impossible to go from the darkest shade to an extremely light shade. 

3.Shading with the lightest pencil possible 9h

I proceeded after the light shading with my 9h pencil to shade in this order 9h 7h 5h 2h hb 2b 4b 6b 8b 9b, 9b is the darkest in my set . I actually used a charcoal pencil after that. I over lapped and applied moderate amounts of pressure in some areas to create dept and shadows. The picture was a good reference but you have to be looking at both when you are focusing on small details . The small details is what gives your picture a realistic effect, That's what I'm going for. 
4. Progressed shading to bring my picture to life .

As I progressed small details took a lot of time. I actually spent 2 hrs on the hand and glove. Taking a break from a picture is recommended because sometimes you'll need it. I've lost myself in a drawing or painting a few times and couldn't see what I was doing at all. Fortunately I was blessed not to have had that experience with this one. 
5. Shading with a shading nub and using a sheet of paper to avoid smears 

This is the finished results and I was completely satisfied. I think the grid techniques is awesome. It's a great way to line everything up . I never cared bery much for erasing but overall I definitely plan to use this technique again. He is definitely ready for a fast ball .

Monday, January 5, 2015

Sketching For Fun

I've been sketching more than usual this week . It all started when I decided to challenge myself to working with paper smaller than 11x17. I have to admit that in the last few yrs I haven't really sketched much because I already had the idea in my head and that was definitely not the best way to sharpen my skills. Now don't get me wrong, I have sketched on canvas prior to painting but that wasn't my idea of sketching at all. I had not sat and blended for hours like I had in the past. I had gotten to the place where I thought I was past the sketch proces and that couldn't have been further from the truth. Sketching will always be the foundation of creating . I realized how much I was missing when I picked up my #2b and #5b pencils to do some shading. It didn't need to be anything large and complicated . I simply just needed to fill my paper with something I had a taste for and this is what I came up with. 

This was the basics of lining everything up.

Next i usually sart with the face because likeness is crucial 

I shaded and added some highlights took about 20min

More details and a lot of shading 

This close up shows some of the pencil work 

Here's the almost finished picture . 

Practice does improve your skills. I think this 10x12 sketch came out great . 

Friday, January 2, 2015

A work in progress

. My studio has been cluttered with large pieces of canvas for quite some time , so I decided to start on a few paintings one day prior to the new year . I vow to have them finished in just a few days. I hadnt painted much the past few momths so I finally had to ask myself what was I waiting for . When I decided to paint I just grabbed a few ideas and went for it. This year I plan to paint my heart away , I'm painting until I run out of canvas . Here is some work in progress . This is A painting of Jimi Hendrix 36x48 Acrylic on Canvas . I love the results so far .

I used a #5 drawing pencil then outlined a few areas with a thin marker 

I decides to start adding layers after I was sure of the shading

usually start on the face and eyes because those are the most important parts of a portrait to me. 
The background just happened . It was a mixture of yellow, green and white. Some more shading and blending with water soften everything a little .

More progression 

I started with the hair prior to finishing up the face ....I didn't want to risk having to rework certain ares due to mistakes . And this is where I am 
to be continues ....

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sneakers In A Box

      The past few weeks I have been working on these new paintings from my " Sneakers In A Box Collection" and I have to say it has definitely been different . The overall response that I have gotten has been great. People actually thought I was signing a shoe when I first showed the progression photos but I decided today to show a few pictures from the beginning process. I'm usually more focused on portraits but since I've embraced this new creative avenue, I'm actually a bit excited . 
I'm not one that owns a large collection of sneakers but I can definitely respect it. " It's nothing like putting on a fresh pair of kicks", this one guy expressed to me,  its nice just to see them in the box .... Even If I'm not ready to wear them at all. When he saw this picture he was amazed and I felt like I had accomplished a lot of what I was aiming for . . . . something different.  I have to also thank Shawn Hewitt , Shawns pictures alone was the reason I decided on this painting to begin with . I have decided to build from here and just venture out, after all there are no rules when you are an Artist
 This picture in the Sneakers In A Box Collection is called " Fresh Kicks Nike" its acrylic on canvas, measuring 18x24. Prints will be available late September 2014 . 
       Some people may say why sneakers but if you have seen some of my past work then this picture should come as no surprise . I have been hand painting on sneakers and other footwear for many years. I admit painting on canvas was totally different but it still allowed me to be creative in another way . I just went from one lane to another and I can switch between lanes whenever I'm in the mood . I consider myself blessed because not only am I diversed and think way out of the box I can create multiple different things many ways . That in itself sets me apart from a lot of people and I don't take it for granted . I have made a commitment to myself just recently, to stay focused and to never lose sight of my dreams because this is my life . Aside from everything else this is what I wake up for every single day. 
Earlier designs per customer request .

Custom Glitter Kicks and Custom glow in the dark Hulks per customer request

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Painting Outside The Box

     These past few weeks I have really unleashed a different side . I'm normally an Artist who loves to challenge the portrait side of making a person look exactly the way they should, from my point of view but this small challenge has opened up a new door to another avenue in which I am embracing whole heartly. When I was introduced to the opportunity to paint live during the even at the Walton Gallery I didn't think twice about it .... I was all for it. The only live painting I had done recently was a few face painting events which involved mostly kids and my past experience painting sneakers and other footwear in a small area of my now closed retail store a few years ago. I had never actually stood painting with an easel and a few brushes in front of anyone really .... Except for my dogs and the few faces that were welcomed into my home studio, so this was awesome . Ive heard a few Artist say that they wouldn't really be comfortable . I didn't ask why, maybe some of it contributed to the medium they used because everyone doesn't paint for one or maybe the crowd and questions would be a real distraction. I can tell that my personal experience was great. I was the only female painting and I got to do it in heels (giggling ) hey that was cool . I admit that I wasted half of the paint on my pallet because I was interrupted often with questions and to pose for pictures, people simply found it fascinating and I savored in the moment. My display of sneakers for the Sneakers On A Wire event was awesome. It simply was a different me. I asks myself would I do it again ?? No question . Life is short I'm running with mine . Anything creative, adventurous and exciting I'm definitely in .