In the studio: shoe study

12 09 2017

I think I was in high school or early years of college when I drew this study of my (sturdy looking things, aren’t they?!) shoes. It was done with Conté crayons and charcoal on a sheet of Carson Mi-Tientes drawing paper.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

WEB LacedShoes





Recycled Mosaics by Daniel Scott, Jr.

4 04 2013

I interviewed fellow graphic designer, Daniel Scott, Jr., for our artist feature in the spring issue of Celebrate Home Magazine. I first interviewed Daniel on my blog two years ago. You can read that post here.

Daniel’s work is simply amazing! He creates these beautiful pop-art works of art with tiny slivers of product labels. Learn more about his work beginning on page 66 of the issue, which is free to download in the links below. He has beautiful prints available for purchase; see the store link on page 80.

The more clicks we get, the better we do with promoting and getting advertising! We thank you for your support.

Single pages version: Celebrate Home Spring 2013

Reader spreads version (my favorite!): Celebrate Home Spring 2013 Spreads

Order a print copy (at cost, plus shipping): http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/540569

You can also view it on issuu.com here.

DanielScottArt

 





From Celebrate Home Magazine: Gladys Roldan-de-Moras, Impressionist painter

16 02 2013

Gladys Roldan-de-Moras is our cover feature for our second issue of Celebrate Home Magazine, which was just published on Monday. I met Gladys in January when I was visiting my family in Texas. My sister, Debbie, introduced me to her and she graciously agreed to be interviewed and photographed for our magazine. Debbie and Gladys were “band moms” when their eldest children (Landen and Rafael, respectively) were in high school together several years ago.

She is an incredibly talented artist and spending the entire afternoon with her was both an honor and a memorable experience! I absorbed everything she said and we found that we have a lot in common. I look forward to the opportunity to paint alongside her in a future visit to San Antonio!

Talent runs in the family, too. Her eldest son, Rafael Moras, a tenor, is a 2006 NFAA Young ARTS Winner in Classical Voice, United States Presidential Scholar in the Arts, and a Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions 2009-2010 National Semi-Finalist. Rafael is currently a second year graduate student at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University studying under Dr. Stephen King, Rice’s Professor of Voice and Chair of Vocal Studies, under the generous gift of the “Renee Fleming Endowed Scholarship in Voice” and the “James and Rose Marie King Prize in Voice.” You can see Rafael Moras in HBO’s Master Class 2010 with Placido Domingo here and read more about his experience in his article here. His website can be found here.

Glady’s middle son, David Moras, is a ceramic artist working on his BFA. When her daughter Annie isn’t posing for many of her mother’s paintings, she is working on her degree in psychology and music. Her husband, Rafael Sr., is an engineering professor, poet and musician. He composes religious music and sets the music to religious plays that his mother has written.

Reader spreads version (my favorite!): Celebrate Home Winter 2013 Spreads

Single pages version: Celebrate Home Winter 2013

You can purchase just this feature in magazine format for just $4 plus shipping here: http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/515281

You can order a print copy of the magazine (at cost, plus shipping) here: http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/513977

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Gladys Layout





The Painting Years: Texas Bluebonnets

31 12 2011

This tiny painting measures just 4×6″ and is an original oil painting that I did when I was about 17 years old.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





The Painting Years: Landscape with deer

30 12 2011

This was a 24×36 oil painting that I copied from a small postcard in Lila’s “morgue file.” (I don’t remember the original artist’s name.) I was immediately drawn to it because of all the blues and greens. It was a monumental undertaking because of all the details and all the color mixing. I most certainly didn’t complete this one in two Saturday sessions! I was so tired of it at the end that my father tried to bribe me with money to finish the deer in the background with more details. I had completed the one on the far right and was so exhausted that I just painted brown amorphous shapes in for the others! (Maybe one day I’ll surprise him and finish it. Hmph.) He just told me that this was yet another painting that Lila advised me against attempting. Well, except for not finishing the deer, I showed her, huh?





The Painting Years: Apple harvest

30 12 2011

Here’s one of my favorite oil paintings. I don’t recall the artist who did the original. I was probably 15 or 16 when I painted it. This is an 18×24 canvas.





The Painting Years: Birds in flight

30 12 2011

Here’s another painting I copied while studying with Lila Prater in Weslaco, Texas. I was about 15 when I painted this 18×24 canvas.





The Painting Years: Taking the bait

29 12 2011

I did this 8×10 painting for my father when I was about 15 years old. I think I copied it from an original illustration in a fishing magazine. This was one of the unframed paintings in my dad’s frame shop (guess he didn’t like it enough to frame it, huh?) The canvas is cracked (cheap student paint supplies, perhaps?) but that gives it a cool old-world feel now!

Note: It’s funny how I signed my name in a different way and location on every painting. I have put it one of the following positions: right side at the bottom, nestled by an object like a vase in a still life, all caps and first and last name written, all caps and just first name written, or just my first name with an initial cap. I also only dated a few of them. What consistency, huh?





The Painting Years: First florals

29 12 2011

Yesterday I organized my father’s “framing shed” workshop and found some of my old oil paintings that I painted from about ages 12-17. The two paintings below are framed and hanging in the house. Discovering the unframed paintings instigated this trip down memory lane and I thought I would share some of my first paintings with you.

My parents took me to the Lila Prater Studio in Weslaco, Texas, for an interview with Lila when I was just 12 years old. I had already been drawing since elementary school and they wanted to further encourage my interest in art. Lila had a strict rule—no students under 15 years old. Classes ran from 9:00 a.m. to noon every Saturday and she discovered that most younger students don’t have the attention span nor inclination to give up a Saturday morning to paint. My dad showed her my portfolio of drawings and I remember him saying, “she’s not like other kids.” (She’s still not!)

Lila decided to make an exception and give me a spot in her Saturday morning oil painting class. I remember there were about five or six students at the time. I was the youngest at 12, the next was a young man who was about 17 or 18, and the others were in their 40s and older. I don’t remember all their names, but I remember some details of my fellow painters. One dark-haired woman, possibly in her late 40s, always dressed up for class and never spilled one drop of paint on her white-colored clothing. She wore a simple white smock/apron and never got paint on it either. I, on the other hand, occasionally used my clothing as a wipe rag (much to my mother’s chagrin).

Another woman, probably in her 50s or 60s at the time, was a retiree named Violet Treasure, who wore her silver hair in a bun perched on top of head. Hers was such an unusual name that I thought it couldn’t possibly be her real name. I did an online search but can’t find anything about her, unfortunately, but I never forgot her name. She painted on really large canvases and almost always painted female nudes. She was a supremely talented painter. I marveled at her use of color—where I tended to see skin as one tone of beige, her brush strokes infused purple, lilac, pink, green and every other hue into the figure. I would learn just how difficult this was when I attempted to copy a painting of a young Native American girl. Initially, my subject was just one shade of brown (think coloring book style) and it was just so flat and uninspiring. Under Lila’s patient guidance, my subject’s skin began to reflect all those colors that Violet used in her paintings. I never did master skin tones but I had an instant respect for Violet’s painting skills.

The young man’s last name was Somerville (or Summerville), but I don’t recall his first name. My dad, who was in Customs at the time, worked with his father, Red Somerville, who was an immigration officer at the port near Nuevo Progreso (which was a mere eight miles from where we lived in Donna, Texas). I remember how slowly he painted and how meticulous he was. He hardly uttered a word while he was in class—he was too intent on replicating works of the masters. (He would have done incredibly well as a forger!) One painting I remember him copying was The Gleaners, an oil painting by Jean-Francois Millet. I always aimed to finish a painting in one or two weekends (impatient even at that young age, I was). He, on the other hand, spent three hours painting just the hands of the wheat gleaners! I marveled at his patience and expertise. When I moved on to a new painting instructor in a different studio, he was still working on his copy of The Gleaners!

There was a pass-through from Lila’s studio to her dining and living room, where her husband, Neil Giles Prater, was bedridden with a long-term illness. I just did a search online and learned that he died at age 83 on June 10, 1977 of pneumonia.

I actually spoke with Lila sometime in the 90s and she was about 92 years old then. She was in an assisted living home and had lost her eyesight. She remembered me and some of the images I painted. I just did a search and found that one of her two daughters passed away in 2010 and the obituary indicated she was preceded in death by her parents, Lila and Neil. Further research revealed that there was a Lila V. Prater, from Weslaco, Texas, who lived to 107 and died in 2003, and I’m pretty certain she’s one and the same Lila Prater. 107 years old—amazing, isn’t it?

Lila had a huge filing cabinet that she called “the morgue,” where we could sort through and find an image to paint. As a rookie, I invariably chose images to copy that were well out of my scope, and Lila would encourage me to pick another. Sometimes she won, sometimes I did.

My first painting was a landscape, and the very next painting was the first floral piece below, done on an 11×14 canvas. When I picked the painting I wanted to copy, she said it was too soon for me to do such a detailed work. I pleaded with her, stating it was to be a gift for Mother’s Day. She relented and I faithfully replicated the work. When I was 15, I painted the second floral, a 24×36 canvas, as a present for my mother.

By copying the work of other artists, I learned myriad painting techniques and color combinations. Lila also taught me how to use the grid method to enlarge or transfer an image to a canvas. Learn more about the grid method here. For this posting, I’ve made both images the same size, although there is a huge difference between them in reality—11×14 vs. 24×36.

I studied under Lila’s direction for about five years and rarely missed a painting session. She was a wonderful teacher and gave me a great foundation in painting. When I was about 17, I began taking lessons with another instructor, Richard (last name escapes me) in Donna, Texas. His teaching method was vastly different from Lila’s—he didn’t allow us to copy anything and we had interesting exercises like using limited palettes of black and white paint only. We did a lot of still life set-ups with fruit, bowls, vases and figurines.

Re: framing—my dad would buy really beautiful but very inexpensive frames in Mexico to showcase my paintings. I remember that we would swap them out whenever I painted something new that matched the color of a particular frame!





Artist Alexa Meade and her human canvas

4 11 2011

Washington, D.C. artist Alexa Meade paints live models (including their surroundings) and then photographs them. Her work is simply amazing!

With her permission, I am showing a few samples of her work and linking to her website here and flickr gallery here. I hope to do an in-depth interview with her soon.








Charles Wildbank, artist

20 02 2010

I met artist Charles Wildbank through my friend Mike Royer, who is a member of HLAA (Hearing Loss Association of America). I design and produce the Hearing Loss Magazine for HLAA and photographed Mike, Alicia and my friend Sue for the cover of the March/April 2008 issue (see that cover in this posting here). I’ve also photographed the Royer family in my studio and had the honor of photographing their third child, Ashley Jocelyn, coming into the world. You can see those photos in my postings: Meet the Royers; And baby girl makes five…; Annie & Joshua; Welcome to the world, Ashley Jocelyn;  and Introducing Ashley Jocelyn.

Mike knows we’re always on the lookout for interesting people who have hearing loss, so he recommended Charles for a future feature article. Charles wears hearing aids and received a cochlear implant in late 2009. I’m happy to report that Charles and I are online friends now and chat often through Facebook, discussing art techniques and materials, photography, camera gear, Photoshop, marketing our work, and life in general. I plan to drive up to North Fork, Long Island, to interview and photograph Charles for the magazine sometime this year. (Above: Charles works on a painting from his Hado series)

A prolific painter, Charles averages one or two large paintings a month and works in oil and acrylic. He does a lot of sketching on his computer with an electronic tablet, and paints with his laptop next to the easel for reference. He uses paintbrushes, applicators, squeeze bottles, detailing pens, rollers, soaking rags and drip techniques. His paintings range from 36″ minimum up to 20 feet—“the bigger the better for me—for my best expression,” he says.

Charles is currently working on a demonstration painting “performance” video that will be posted on youtube.com and vimeo.com. View a video he recently created about his painting, Luvin’ Wave, here. Check out his website at www.wildbank.com. He has been interviewed by many publications, including Fine Art Magazine, Dan’s Papers, Southampton Press, the Los Angeles Times, and others. You can read those interviews on his website here. To download his 41-page e-book, click here: WildbankEbookprint.

Some of my favorite Wildbanks paintings are from his still life series. In an interview with Dan’s Papers, he said, “Although I create large-scale subjects for my murals and commissions, I wind up interspersing my still life series with vignettes of the simple pleasures in life, such as the cup of capuccino.”

Excerpted from www.deafnotes.com:
Charles, a Long Island native, is the eldest of nine children and congenitally profoundly deaf. He was fitted with a hearing aid at age two and has a brother who is deaf and another who is hard of hearing. When he was nine years old, with the support and nurturing of his parents and grandmother, he began painting. He later attended Yale, Pratt and Columbia, graduating with honors. In 1979, Wildbank’s first exhibit at Bonwit Teller created a sensation on Fifth Avenue, with a giant sparkling rendering of the famed Cartier diamond. He had just left his position after seven years of teaching the deaf. Deciding to continue painting, he discovered that other artists were exhibiting their art in the store windows of Fifth Avenue, thought he would give it a try, and was quite successful. Soon after, he walked into a neighboring Cartier store and inquired about their windows. Three years later they gave him an entire salon upstairs, where he painted the seven foot tall painting of the Cartier diamond.

Excerpted from www.wildbank.com:

Born and raised on Long Island, Charles Bourke Wildbank drew and painted since age 4 as his prime means of communication, as he was born deaf. In an interview with Hamptons.com, Charles said, “When I was younger, drawing took the place of speaking when I couldn’t find the words. Painting or drawing was something I developed because I remember admiring the graffiti in the neighborhood. I loved to draw and found myself drawing my other hand. It developed into drawing a hand holding a ball, earth, or a pencil, sort of like the artist Escher. Art was never a means to escape; it was either a communication or even a dance, showing my skill.”

He took art classes on Saturdays with the encouragement of his family and found himself earning scholarships to Pratt Institute and Yale University where he majored in Fine Art and Photography. He delved into photorealism while at Pratt Institute, created a sensation on Fifth Avenue with a giant sparkling rendering of the famed Cartier diamond, and has painted portraits of David Hockney and the late Luciano Pavarotti. In his Hamptons.com interview, he said, “Growing up, I despaired over being able to sing and yet not hear the notes enough to discern the pitches. I can only get the melody and nuances of music with my hearing aid. I deeply love music but have transcended that with my love for color and light.” He is well known for his versatility of a wide range of figurative themes including florals, still life, portraits and seascapes. Read the full Hamptons.com interview here. (Left: Charles with his painting, Sedona)

His latest achievements include two 18-foot-high murals commissioned by the Cunard Line for the new luxury ocean liner, the Queen Mary 2. The murals depict cliffs and coastal scenes of England and America. Though the murals were applied with paint, Wildbank made extensive use of digital and photographic technology in his sketch preparations.

Wildbank is listed with some of his works in the book, Deaf Artists in America: Colonial to Contemporary, by Deborah Sonnenstrahl. He conducted workshops in Poppi, Italy during fall of 2002, and in Giverny, France during spring of 2006. View his art chronology here.

Up to present day, observable form and vivid color have long been attributed to Wildbank’s art. His recent works appear to flirt with the abstract and the surreal christened as his HADO series. His studio in Jamesport is now open to the public by appointment.

ideafnews.com recently interviewed Charles at his home in North Fork. You can view that captioned video below.





Alabama cotton field, Virginia sky

1 12 2008

While we were vacationing with Sue and her mother in Seattle this past September, Sue requested a commission for a painting to go over her mantel in her Huntsville home. She wanted something related to her new home state and her first thought was a cotton field landscape. A few weeks ago, I came up with some ideas and sent her some sketches via e-mail and this painting was the end result.

The 36×48 painting is done on gallery wrap canvas with acrylic paint. I haven’t painted in a few years, but as soon as I got started, it all came back to me. I don’t have an exact estimate of time, but the painting took less than 10 hours, spread over two days, to complete—although I was still touching it up the morning we left!

With the much-welcomed help of my dad and my friend Debbi, I was able to tweak several things when I got stuck mid-way. Debbi suggested adding more green to the foreground so it would complement the treeline. When I showed the initial digital sketches to my dad, he said, “That can’t be an Alabama cotton field. Where are the rolling hills and trees?” Dad grew up in Mississippi and Alabama and spent some time in cotton fields, so I took his advice and added trees and rolling hills. He also offered suggestions on how to make the foreground blend more with the treeline and sky so it didn’t look like two separate paintings, and to make the furrows not as dark and flat. I am grateful for their suggestions because the changes made for a much more cohesive painting—one that I was proud to present to Sue!

Toward the end, I still wasn’t happy with the lackluster sky and desperately needed a muse. On Friday, while I was out running last minute errands, the Virginia sky became my inspiration—I finished the painting that evening (in between cleaning the house, paying bills, and packing computer equipment, camera gear, and clothes for the trek to Texas the next day!)

After packing the car early Saturday morning, there was just enough room to slide in the oversized painting. It made the 10+ hour trip to Huntsville without incident. After we got back from lunch and shopping Sunday evening, I whipped out a 6×6 gallery wrap miniature painting depicting three cotton buds blossoming (it’s on the little easel to the left of the painting). Now Sue and Steve (and their cats, Matilda (pictured) and Pante (the antisocial boy) have a painting of an Alabama cotton field under a Virginia sky gracing their great room!

Learn how cotton is grown here. Click here and learn about Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin and a pioneer in the mass production of cotton. Learn about the origin of denim, what makes towels absorbent, how the t-shirt got its name, and other interesting cotton-related facts on www.cottoninc.com.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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