Visiting The Mansion At Strathmore

On Nov. 19 I had the opportunity to attend the opening reception for two art shows — both at The Mansion at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Md.The first show, Large Scale: Miniature Artists Go Big, is on the main floor of the Mansion. The 84th International Exhibition of Fine Art in Miniature is located on the second floor. What impressive shows — both of them!

I have four 3D paper sculpture pieces, including Hanging Out At the Beach, Paper Shells, In the Jungle and Mr. Rooster, that are part of the large scale exhibition. In the miniature show, I have one small rabbit named Hopscotch on display. Hopscotch is so small he fits under a glass dome and wooden base measures 3.25” high by 2.75”.

The oldest miniature art society in the United States, Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers Society of Washington, D.C., has their annual show at the Mansion at Strathmore. This year, miniature artists were invited to also display their larger pieces during the same time frame. So this was a real treat to be able to see so many of the miniature artists also showing their large-scale pieces. What an exciting contrast!

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Arts Business Institute Interview

Executive Director of Arts Business Institute and Founder of Artsy Shark, Carolyn Edlund, interviewed me for an article she published on the Arts Business Institute website. Every Friday, she profiles a different artist. I was thrilled and honored to be one of the artists featured.

As a private person, it is difficult for me to do any type of interview. I want people to be able to see my artwork, but, I find it difficult to tell my story. It is a constant internal struggle that I grapple with daily, including every time I post on social media.

But, I know people like to learn more about the artist — the person behind the paper sculptures and why they choose their subjects and create the art they do and the way they do. It is often difficult for me to put any of that into words.

Even though I have been posting regularly to this blog for years, I rarely post my personal story. I hope you will take a few minutes to read more at the ABI website. Perhaps in upcoming blog posts, I will start to tell more personal stories — so for now — this article is just the beginning of future personal stories.

Thanks for checking out the article.

P A P E R

As a self-employed illustrator, I have to continually market my work. One of the ways I do that is to come up with creative ways to show people my paper sculptures, which is a medium and style that is a little unconventional. I want to convey to people quickly that it is something different and exciting and explain to someone in a visual way what my illustrations are. I also want to demonstrate to a potential client how I can solve a project and what medium I use to illustrate it.

This whole process of coming up with marketing materials is similar to being in college, and being assigned your next project by an art teacher. Except now, you come up with your own assignments for your marketing and advertising needs and figure out the goal, the problem that needs solving and the parameters you have to stay within.

So, with this marketing assignment, I want to use the final image on all of my social media sites and also on a postcard to market my paper sculpture illustration business to art directors. The problem is, how can I quickly portray my paper sculpture medium and my process to someone unfamiliar with my work? How can I demonstrate that I can help solve a publication’s needs?

My concept was to create a one-word sign appropriately titled PAPER. I could show a progression beginning with a simple, plain white piece of paper and end up with a fully illustrated 3D paper sculptured letter. Using just one word will quickly explain my process visually and I will also be able to show different ways of visually and graphically communicating a solution to a publication’s message using my medium, paper sculpture.

PAPER paper sculpture illustration

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Paper Sculptures Head To Chambersburg

Three of my paper sculptures, Crabby Baby, Hoppy Bunny Day and Keeping Watch, were all accepted into the Chambersburg, Pa., Council for the Arts 33rd Annual Miniature Art Exhibition. The opening reception for the miniature show is Friday, Nov. 3 from 5-8 p.m. The show runs through Jan. 5, 2018.

 

Hopscotch Goes To Washington, D.C.

I am so honored to find out that my little Hopscotch 3D paper sculpture was accepted into the 2017 Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers Society of Washington, D.C. (MPSGS)  84th  International Exhibition of Fine Art in Miniature show. The miniature show will run Nov. 19 through Jan. 6, 2018, at The Mansion at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda, MD  20852.

Celebrating Inktober!

Inktober is a 31-day social media art challenge where artists from all over the world participate. The idea is that during the month of October, artists post a new ink drawing daily on their social media sites using the #inktober hashtag. This is a fun, motivational challenge any artist can participate in and a great way to practice your drawing and inking skills and to get into the habit of drawing every day.

How did Inktober get started? In 2009, artist Jake Parker wanted to improve his inking skills and instill good drawing habits. As a personal challenge, he decided he would post a daily inked drawing for an entire month on social media. People began to notice his daily posts and looked forward to seeing the next one. His personal challenge has now grown into a worldwide event every October.

Because it is a voluntary challenge, there are no hard and fast rules with a bunch of strict requirements — no mandatory items that must be drawn, no tests, no grades, everyone will pass, and you will most likely improve your drawing and inking skills. So it’s a win-win situation. The main concept is to challenge yourself — to practice — but then you have to put it out there — post it online. (For me that is the hardest part!)

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Readying The Paint Trays

It’s that time again — to start a new paper sculpture. I need to wash out my paint tray and put some fresh new watercolors out.

I use Winsor & Newton watercolors and gouache paints, which comes in a tube. Typically I can keep the watercolor paints on my palette for several weeks. I used a large plastic 12″ x 15″ tray with individual cups around the outside with a large area inside the tray to mix your paints. It came with a lid, which was nice because it helped to prevent your paints from drying out so quickly.

If I knew I wouldn’t be able to get back to my painting for more than a few days, I would cover the plastic tray in plastic wrap and then put the lid overtop of the tray. This method gave me a couple of extra days, maybe a week or so, before my paints dried out completely. While it is true that all you have to do is add water to revive your dried up watercolor paints, it is better to keep the paints wet.

If the paint dries out completely and you go back to add water it will often times be gritty and is difficult and if not impossible to get rid of that graininess. When using grainy watercolors, that beautiful wash of blue you just laid down on your watercolor paper will have these tiny specks of dried paint here and there that can be very distracting, ruining your serene sky. (I have made this mistake in the past, only to have to redo the whole thing once again!)

A few years ago I started to use paint trays that come with individual cups with tight fitting lids. Even though the mixing area is smaller than my old tray, I’ve found this type of tray really suits my way of working. Ninety percent of my paintings are smaller than 9″ x 12″ so I don’t require huge areas to mix up my washes.

These paint trays solve my problem with the paints drying out too quickly. Since they have individual cups, even if one color dries out or your cadmium yellow accidentally got alizarin crimson mixed into it, you can easily and quickly change out one cup of color — wash it out, refill it and you are good to go!

Every now and then I still like to completely wash out all of my paint cups and paint trays. I especially like to do this before beginning a large project or series of projects — it is part of my ritual, a fresh start.

As I clean off my drawing table, organize pencils, brushes, papers, gather reference material, and sketches, I am also thinking about this new project. At this stage, the sketches are already completed and finalized so I am beginning to think, what will I work on first? What colors will I use? Should I do a color study first? How detailed will the picture be?

Once my desk is cleaned off and organized, my paint trays are washed out and cleaned, it is time to add the paints. I always putting the paints in the same place in the same order. Being consistent with the placement of the paints in the tray is very helpful. For example, when I want to mix up a yellowish green, I immediately know which container holds my new gamboge, cadmium yellow and spectrum yellow, creating an easy method of mixing the color I want to use.

Using good tools, organization, simplifying your process, and creating a consistent set up with your paints will help you be more efficient in your work.