On Assignment: Family tree mural

10 03 2015

One project I assisted on while working in Texas over the holidays was this large tree mural (you’ve seen them on Pinterest with framed photos hanging over the branches like a “family tree.”). Last fall, my friend William painted a mural for Color Clay Studio in Schertz, TX. A customer saw it and William got a gig painting this larger one in a house outside San Antonio. I played assistant artist and it was a lot of fun to create. This mural was considerably bigger than the Color Clay one (the wall was 20 ft. wide x 12 ft. high!), but since it was one solid color (and no birds on the branches, etc.), the task was a little bit easier.

When drawing out the initial sketch with conté chalk, we only had a small printout of a family tree for reference. William went left and I went right and within what seemed about 20 minutes or less, we had the tree roughly drawn in! The little leaves sketched out in the center of the trunk were practice sketches to determine shape and size of the leaves. The remainder of the day was spent going up and down the ladder to paint in branches and leaves. The homeowner was thrilled with the results and said she didn’t even want to put frames over it. Yes, he’s available for murals in the San Antonio area and I’m for hire on the east coast, too. Inquire within! 😉

Photos © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

WilliamTreeMural





Spring 2013 Celebrate Home Magazine: Artist-in-Residence

4 04 2013

Camilla and Jim Houghton’s laid-back Florida home is featured in the spring 2013 issue of Celebrate Home Magazine, now available for FREE download in the links below. Read my interview, “Artist-in-Residence,” starting on page 12 of this issue.

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.

Photography © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

ArtistInResidence





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





P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home at Moss Mountain Farm, Part 5

14 12 2012

One of my favorite highlights of the tour was P. Allen’s detached art studio with windows overlooking the gardens and French doors opening onto the lawn behind the screened porch. Sue dared me to paint something on the blank watercolor paper pad and I was so tempted. Now I wish I had (and signed it)! Although he professes to “just dabble,” he is a talented artist (something I didn’t know about him!). The large American vegetable paintings hanging throughout the house and lining two walls in the “dinner barn” are his work (photos to come).

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

ArtStudiolorez





Celebrate Home Magazine interviews Lucile Prache, watercolor artist

14 10 2012

Last month I interviewed Parisian artist Lucile Prache for our inaugural issue of Celebrate Home Magazine, which Barbara Kelley and I launched just two weeks ago. I found Lucile’s illustrations on etsy.com and had her store bookmarked because I love her sketchy, whimsical illustration style. I contacted her and she agreed to be interviewed for our magazine. Click on the link below to download the magazine to see more of Lucile’s lovely artwork.

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Spreads

Lucile’s Kitchen

When did you first discover your creative talents?
I have been drawing since my early childhood and found it quite natural to express myself in this way as I grew in a family with an artistic mood. I was very shy and I guess it was helpful to draw instead of talk.

Did you go to school for art?
Yes, I studied at the ESAG art school (also known as Penninghen) in Saint Germain des Prés in Paris and graduated—a long time ago.

Did you inherit your artistic talents from your parents?
Yes, I surely did. My father is an architect and my mother has always been making pottery (both are part of the flower power generation!).

When did you know that you wanted to be an artist (illustrator)?
I didn’t really feel like a fine artist because at art school we learned to be illustrators. Plus, I had been working for magazines, the fashion industry, and in advertising for such long time, I didn’t feel like a fine artist.

I still do these types of projects, but I love painting for my Etsy world-wide customers. Having a large audience is important for me—I don’t think “real” artists need that. Knowing that someone in Japan and someone in New York is looking at my artwork at the same time just makes my day!

How long have you been working as a freelance artist and illustrator?
I have been a freelancer for almost 25 years.

I love the fresh, loose, sketchy style of your illustrations. Did the evolution of this style come easily to you?
Thank you so much! I think I have always sketched in this style because I love travel journals (specifically Cy Twombly and Jean Michel Basquiat art). I have been very interested in Chinese calligraphy and started to learn with a Chinese teacher. He always told his French students that they never would become Chinese even after 100 years, but this could be helpful for our very Western style; I believe this is true—my work has become looser and fresher since I began studying Chinese calligraphy.

How would you describe your illustration/painting style?
I want my paintings to look carefree and happy. I have been studying ballet since my childhood, and I believe that my illustrations are just like dance pieces—everything appears to be easy. Dancers are always smiling on stage, but there is a lot of work behind the stage.

Your illustrations are unique and full of energy. Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from real life—typography on labels, dirty papers on the sidewalk (yes, I am a Parisian!), kitsch postcards of Brooklyn, a vibrant green top on a girl in the street, vintage books of English china, figs at the market—almost any image can inspire me!

What mediums do you work in other than watercolor? Do you have a favorite brand of watercolor paint? Favorite brushes and paper?
I work a lot on my Cintiq Wacom pen tablet with Photoshop when I get jobs for fashion, magazines and advertising clients. When painting with watercolor, I love Windsor and Newton because of their amazing fresh colors. I am painting with Chinese brushes on French BFK Rives paper.

I decided to leave my Wacom tablet and my computer for a while and went back to colored pencils, gouache and watercolor again. I missed the “real taste” of different papers and pigments. The printing process means CMYK colors. Original paintings allow gold, silver, fluo paintings and this just makes my day!

Do you create still life set-ups of fruits and vegetables from which to reference? What is a typical work day like?
Sometimes I stumble upon beautiful fruits or vegetables at the market and paint them before cooking them. Most of the time I reference photos or browse online for inspiration when I don’t have time to go to Chinatown and purchase Asian food for a still life set-up.

Do you do any computer illustration?
Yes, I do. It is exciting to use several devices. I work in Corel Painter, Illustrator and Photoshop on an old Mac Pro. These software programs allow me to paste labels, type and photographs into my illustrations.

What do you like most about being an illustrator?
Illustrators have freedom—this is what I like most; but we know that we sometimes have to pay a huge price to keep this freedom.

Has illustration as a profession changed over the years?
It has. Computers and the Internet changed everything. I started my career before the Internet, and I remember I had to go to Marie Claire magazine and deliver my orders in person. It was quite fun because I could talk with the art director and the redaction team. We knew each other quite well. I loved to walk in Paris from my studio to my clients, but it was time-consuming, too.

We are now networking and it is completely different, but I really enjoy the friends I’ve met around the world because of Etsy. I am meeting them sometimes in Paris, or more recently in New York, and I love this!

How long have you been selling on Etsy? Has it been a good way to get your work out to buyers?
I started selling on Etsy more than two years ago and it completely changed my life! It is always very exciting to add new paintings, communicate on Facebook and blog about the process. I am absolutely thrilled to get many buyers from all around the world—mainly from the United States. It is a delight to keep in touch with so many open-minded, cool and positive people.

Do you pursue other creative endeavors?
I like screenprinting and can’t wait to work on new designs but I need time and energy—and not to be too hungry because my screenprinting studio is my kitchen.

You are surrounded by amazing museums, which must be an inspiration to you. Tell me a little bit about life in Paris and your family. Did your children inherit your talent for art?
My children are geeks and creative ones! Please come to Paris and see how we live. After spending two weeks in New York City, Paris seems to me like a small village of farmers, But I definitely love Paris—I get inspiration from the street equally as from the museums. I plan to go and see the Gerard Richter exhibition in le Centre Pompidou tomorrow. I always forget how I can be stunned by painting in a peaceful place like a museum. I am in love with my city, but I am always dreaming of elsewhere…and I swear I will try to improve my bad English. But luckily, the language of images is international.

I noticed on your blog that you also are an avid gardener. How does gardening influence your love of illustrating food?
My garden is located on a wet and sunny island, so I only see my garden four to six weeks a year and it doesn’t take much care. I wish I had a vegetable garden and could watch it grow but it is impossible for a Parisian work addict. Too bad, because it would be very inspiring. I paint fruits, vegetables, cakes because of their beauty, but also because I enjoy cooking.

What are your influences? What artists inspire you?
I was first influenced by rock music and pop art artists such as Andy Warhol, Basquiat, Jasper Johns, Rauschenberg, French artist Hervé Télémaque, Tadanori Yokoo, Joan Mitchell—I love them all.

What are you working on now?
I just finished a collaboration with a French publisher on a cookbook about Italian food. It is a very exciting project.

I will be working for a fashion agency in late October, but currently I want to add new prints and paintings in my Etsy shop. I would love to publish my own recipe book and make it available for Christmas, but I am sure I won’t have time this year.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?
I would be a (bad) dancer.

Any advice for aspiring illustrators?
Keep your eyes wide open unless you are asleep.

Describe yourself in three words.
Still always curious

No interview would be complete without this requisite question—You’re stranded on a deserted island. What five things must you have?
Five cards of Raoul Dufy flowers, then find a way to make tools and do mineral painting—let’s get to work!

www.etsy.com/shop/lucileskitchen

luciles-kitchen.blogspot.fr/

www.facebook.com/pages/Luciles-kitchen/197554960274042?sk=wall

Click the link below to download a two-page spread pdf of Celebrate Home Magazine:

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Spreads

Click the link below to download a pdf designed for single page printing:

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Pages

Want to order a print copy of Celebrate Home Magazine? Click here, then sign up for a free magcloud.com account. You can download the FREE pdf or purchase a print copy on this link.





Tiny bling

16 06 2012

These are some of the images I’ve chosen to create pendant necklaces (1″ silverplated, copper or brass bezels with acrylic or glass domes and dogtag, silver snake chains or cotton and satin cords). I’m going to launch a shop on etsy soon (Garden Muse Studio) to sell prints (loose, matted, framed), photo notecards (regular botanical photos and my older line of Polaroid transfer reproductions) and crafts such as jewelry, linoleum cut prints (my next endeavor) and small acrylic paintings (landscapes, botanicals and mixed media). There’s nothing in the store yet, but I’m working on it! The two kitten faces are for my friend Karen and her daughters, FYI.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





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.








More Austin graffiti

6 04 2011

Graffiti on the “permission wall” and an artist in action (the blue building with the mad bulldog is a nearby bar)

Photos © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Austin graffiti

6 04 2011

Most of the artwork below was painted on the walls of bars, restaurants and stores. The Carmen Miranda illustration and the last painting was done on what is called a “permission wall”—a long warehouse wall near the railroad tracks.

Photos © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Alicia Royer, pastellist

8 09 2010

I met Alicia Royer a few years ago when I photographer her with her family (husband Mike, and kids Annie and Joshua) for the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). Mike, who wears a cochlear implant, is a member of HLAA. We’ve been friends ever since. I invited the family to my studio sometime later for portraits and at the time, Alicia was seven months pregnant with their daughter, Ashley Jocelyn. You can see the results of that photo session in my blog posts: Meet the Royers, And baby girl five… and Annie & Joshua. Two months later, Mike asked me if I could photograph the birth of their daughter and I jumped at the chance (and the challenge!). You can see the photos from the birth in my blog posts: Welcome to the world, Ashley Jocelyn! and Introducing Ashley Jocelyn. Ashley celebrated her second birthday this past month.

Now that Alicia has a dedicated art space in their new home, this busy mother of three has been churning out drawings and improving her skills with every effort. A few months ago, she asked if she could use a photo I shot of my friend Camilla (Cam) as a reference for a drawing. Recently, she e-mailed me the results and I thought she did a great job and wanted to share it on my blog. While I have been drawing and painting since I was a child, I haven’t done much with the pastel medium, but I do know that it isn’t an easy medium to work in—yet Alicia excels in it with her color palette choices and her layering skills. And most often she chooses portraits as her subject—not an easy task, in my opinion.

Check out her pencil drawings on www.aliciajroyer.blogspot.com and pastel drawings on www.aliciajroyer22.blogspot.com.

And she’s getting creative in the kitchen, too, with her new blogs, It Begins in the Kitchen and Alicia’s Favorites.





Will work for Peeps…

30 03 2010

(and Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies, too!). This past Sunday, Karen and I drove down to her lakehouse to paint the last remaining bedroom. While making a run to Family Dollar for paint rollers, we picked up some unhealthy snacks (bless her little heart). I told her I sure worked cheap—Peeps and Cosmic Brownies! To quote Steve Martin’s character in The Jerk, “And that’s all I need too. I don’t need one other thing, not one—I need this…and Peeps…and these Cosmic Brownies…but not one other thing…not one…oh, and this blue broom…

Without a doubt, it was plenty of sugar to keep us going. After we finished painting, I stretched out on the lakeside hammock for a few minutes just to get these graphic tree shots and also—because how often does one get to lie in a hammock, anyway?

Yes, Virginia, there is a Peeps Fan Club. Check it out here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





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.





Coming full circle?

17 02 2010

My friend Cam just finished a painting class with Joseph Melancon at the Art Center of Sarasota. Like me, Cam makes her living as a graphic designer, too. While she has dabbled in acrylic painting just a bit in the past few years, I think her work is really evolving and she is definitely growing as a painter! I photographed this recent painting in her home in Siesta Key a few weeks ago. You can view the work of her instructor, Joseph Melancon, here. She is now enrolled in an abstract painting course at the Art Center of Sarasota.

Kudos, Cam—I do hope you keep at it. I remember being completely absorbed in the process back in my teen years. That’s why I chose to major in art in college. I couldn’t imagine making a living doing anything not creative.

I remember my very sage father asking me, “how will you make a living with your painting?” He was not trying to discourage me; both my parents have been incredibly supportive of all my creative endeavors. I replied, “why, I’ll sell my paintings, of course.” He then asked, “what if no one buys your paintings?” Huh? That one certainly stumped me. I hadn’t imagined that I might not be able to sell my work! It had nothing to do with talent or lack thereof—it was a practical monetary issue. That’s where fantasy and reality collided.

Then I discovered graphic design. Ah…so here was a potential career where you could actually make art, get paid, and not be the quintessential “starving artist.” It made complete sense, so I enrolled in the “Commercial Art” program at Pan American University (now University of Texas Pan American). While I still painted and sketched, I was more focused on a career where I could actually make a living (practically guaranteed). Hey, Sonya and Mary—remember hand-lettering “Make Your Rum Ron Rico” in design class? Yes, hand-lettering. Rapidograph pens, ink and bristol board. Remember waxers, amberlith, rubylith, and sticky registration dots? Jeez, I feel old just typing this. Remember our instructor (Phillip somebody-or-the-other)? He was always working on his own freelance projects, with an exacto knife in one hand and a cigarette in the other, when he was supposed to be teaching us. That should have been a clue to us—here he was teaching and freelancing just to pay the bills. And he was old…why, he was at least 45! Bald on top with gray fringe around the ears. Still having to work two jobs. How did we not question that set-up and run screaming to the career counselor to change our majors? I want a refund!

Fast forward…all these years after, I’m still a graphic designer…and not entirely unhappy with my chosen profession…but somehow both Cam and I are back at the “what if we could paint (or craft or photograph or something else creative) and sell our results to make a living?” mode. We both daydream about that possibility. Life, full circle, perhaps—back to our roots—if only in our imaginations at the moment. Makes me want to drop everything (not possible) and start painting again. I certainly have the arsenal of supplies with which to do so…sigh…some day. But today? Today a newsletter, trade show banner and business card design beckon. Back to the (electronic) drawing board.





Koi pond at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

9 02 2010

On Thursday morning Michael’s father took us to the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota. The 9.5-acre bayfront property is best known for its living collection of more than 6,000 orchids as well as its large representation of warm tropical epiphytes. Epiphytes are plants that grow upon another plant (such as a tree) non-parasitically or on objects such as buildings or wires. They derive moisture and nutrients from the air and rain and are found in temperate zones. Epiphytes include some ferns, cacti, orchids, bromeliads, mosses, liverwort, Spanish moss, lichens and algae.

I shot the image below at the Koi Pond at Selby Gardens. I saw this statue and visualized the koi swirling around it, but the fish were right up against the edge of the pond, begging for handouts. So Michael ran off to buy fish food to help make my image happen (isn’t he the best?). He came back empty-handed since they ration out only a day’s worth of fish food for visitors to purchase. Not about to give up on my vision, I asked him to just splash water toward the statue. Bingo—the entire mass of fish started swimming in that direction. Psych! Click! (click, click, click…9 shots later…)

Wikipedia: Koi were developed from common carp in Japan in the 1820s and are a symbol of love and friendship. The carp is a large group of fish originally found in Central Europe and Asia….The ability of carp to survive and adapt to many climates and water conditions allowed the domesticated species to be propagated to many new locations including Japan. Carp as known as koi in Japan.

I especially enjoyed the art exhibit, Batiks Botanicos—Gardens, Plants and Flowers for the Soul, on display until February 23 at the Museum of Botany and the Arts in the Mansion at Selby Gardens. A native of Colombia, artist Angela Maria Isaza captures tropical and exotic plants using the batik process. Originating in the East, batik is a wax-resist dyeing technique. Isaza applies hot wax and various dyes to natural fiber cloth to create her beautiful paintings. This step-by-step process is based on the principle that wax resists the water-based dyes. After wax is applied to certain areas, the fabric is dyed in one color. The dye penetrates the unwaxed areas. This process is repeated several times. The wax is removed by ironing the cloth between newspaper pages.

Many of the paintings that are on display can be seen on her website here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Sponge painting should be illegal.

7 08 2009

There. I said it (okay, typed it). I know I will offend some DIY’s out there who beg to differ. With the myriad painting treatments you can do to a wall, why on earth would you ever sponge paint one again? Ugh. There’s a reason that treatment didn’t stay around long. It’s U-G-L-Y. And no, it doesn’t matter if a master painter does it, either. Karen rented her lake house out last year and the tenants got creative in two of the bedrooms—the results were rather disastrous. This Exorcist-pea-soup green sponged room was actually the more tame of the two, if you can imagine that. I’ll share the worst room in a future post! I want to reiterate—while this is Karen’s lake house, she is not responsible for the “before” room treatments. She has much better taste, trust me.

If you ever hear a friend mention the word “sponge painting” when referencing what she envisions for a room in her home—remember—friends don’t let friends sponge paint! Color wash, yes. Stucco texture, if style appropriate and well done, have at it. Glazing, sure. Anything but sponge painting. I’ve never seen it done well. Ever. No need to send me photos or links or any other proof that it can be done well. I am my father’s daughter and I am stubborn. I cannot be swayed, at least not on this subject!

Karen and I painted the walls a seafoam blue and Joe painted the ceiling a bright white. Karen and I made padded headboards with MDF board, cotton batting, and upholstery fabric—very simple: we had Home Depot cut the sheet in half so we wouldn’t have to do any cutting at the lake. We wrapped the front with batting, then used a staple gun to tack on the fabric. It doesn’t get any easier than that! I bought the funky abstract rose-patterned fabric years ago and never had an occasion to use it until now.

I whitewashed the nightstand to give it a more rustic, shabby chic look. Karen already had the curtains. We raided our respective closets for some excess linens and bought the rest to tie the whole thing together. I’m envisioning a handmade something-or-another spanning the large wall behind the beds—perhaps a school of whimsical fish cut from wood or metal (Hey—Michael has a plasma cutter somewhere!)—something light and airy and floaty, perhaps?

This is the room Karen and Joe let me sleep one night this past February. It was the first time I stayed with them at the lake. This room was still sponged painted, unfortunately. Fortunately, you don’t notice it in the dark! They wanted me experience a sunrise on the lake. It was so beautiful! I photographed  and blogged about that first sunrise in a posting titled, “Room with a view.” I’ve been down there many times since and I always lay claim to this room—sure hope they don’t mind!

The room isn’t completely done yet, but it’s on its way!

More of our lake house makeovers to come…

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Lakehouse seafoam room





“Four by 4” at Gallery West

13 01 2009

FourXFour LogoOn Saturday evening Michael, Regina, Karen, and Joe and I attended the opening reception of the “Four by 4” show at Gallery West on King Street. Regina’s husband, Jeff, was one of the four artists in this collaborative exhibit. Founded in 1979, Gallery West is an artist’s cooperative gallery located at 1213 King Street in Alexandria, Virginia. The “Four by 4” show runs from January 7 through February 1. All photography © Cindy Dyer.

gallery-photo-1aa

The Four x 4 artists, left to right: Parisa Tirna, Susan La Mont, Karen Waltermire, and Jeff Evans.

From the Gallery West website:

PARISA TIRNA is an emerging self taught landscape artist whose contemplative canvases evoke the classic landscapes of the 19th century. This is her first gallery show. See more of Parisa’s work at www.parisaart.blogspot.com and on the Gallery West website.

SUSAN LA MONT has a B.F.A. in art from Pratt Institute, a M.A. in illustration from Syracuse University, and a Doctor of Arts from George Mason University in higher education with a focus on art. She has won several awards and her sharply drawn realistic paintings can be found in numerous private and corporate collections. See more of Susan’s work at www.susanlamont.com and on the Gallery West website. You can watch her work on one of her paintings in a video I found here on the Artistic Type website.

KAREN WALTERMIRE studied art for several years before striking out on her own to develop a unique whimsical drawing style. She has been in several group shows in the D.C. area and was previously a member of Spectrum Gallery. See more of Karen’s work at www.inkonly.blogspot.com and on the Gallery West website.

JEFFERSON EVANS is a self taught photographer who focuses on travel, nature and fine art images. He is a member of the Northern Virginia Photographic Society and the Springfield Art Guild. His work has been in numerous juried shows, exhibitions and publications. See more of his work at www.evansimagesandart.com, on the Springfield Art Guild‘s website, and on the Gallery West website. Jeff also contributed his beautiful Monarch chrysalis photographs for a poster I designed for the Happy Tonics Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake, Wisconsin. You can see that poster here. The “Monarch emerging” photos are also used in the nameplate of the quarterly newsletter, Butterflies & Gardens, that I design and produce for Happy Tonics.

gallery-west-8

Parisa started painting as a non-objective abstract painter until her first landscape experiment showed her the rewarding spirit of nature and brought her to the world of landscape art. Her paintings are inspired by American East Coast lushness of trees and fields of wildflowers and create a feeling of open space and reverie.

gallery-west-7

Susan La Mont’s narrative realistic style connects with viewers and encourages them to examine the details and speculate about the scenes she portrays. Susan’s work has been acquired by over 30 private and corporate collections.

gallery-west-6

Karen Waltermire draw portraits of imaginary people in pen and ink based on people she sees, architecture, and her imagination. Her style is modern, edgy and spirited—with a sense of humor thrown in.

gallery-photo-1a

Travel throughout Europe, as well as his wife’s love of gardening, has greatly influenced Jefferson Evans’ photographic eye. His images capture everything from broad vistas to lively street scenes to dewdrops on a single blade of grass. His subjects range from floral ephemeral to human transitional—from one moment to the next—from vivid colors to classic monochrome to evocative infrared. Above: Jeff and his wife, Regina

gallery-west-9

Above: Jeff with Leda (a friend from our neighborhood and also one of my “Weedettes” in the Garden Club) and Leda’s friend, Anna (right), who coincidentally was one of Michael’s co-workers when he worked for the City of Alexandria. Anna worked as a graphic designer for the City and is now a freelance photographer.

gallery-photo-2

And from Jeff’s ‘hood, a rousing show of support—Michael, Regina, Karen and Joe. Some other neighbors and friends in attendance were Tom, Holly, Mike, Janet, Bill, Jeannie and Dan—and other supporters I met but whose names escape me. Michael, Tom, Holly, Karen, and Joe and I gathered for a wonderful Italian dinner across the street at Pines of Florence after the reception. (Kudos to the gallery and the artists—they provided a plethora of things to eat and drink—best food offering of any gallery reception I’ve ever been to!)

A SHORT STROLL DOWN (BLOG) MEMORY LANE: Back in December 2007 I posted a photo I shot of Jeff in front of his winning entry at a Huntley Meadows photo contest on my “One photo every day” blog. I wrote about Regina’s garden (which is one of Jeff’s inspirations) in September 2007. I posted a sweet photo of Regina with one of their three cats, Dusty, this past May. This past June I photographed Tom’s beautiful farm and two of the creatures I came aross—a beautiful Widow Skimmer dragonfly and a hungry White Death Spider. You’ll find those three postings here. And in April 2008 I wrote about Karen’s memorial garden to honor her mother.

Remember, the show runs until February 1, so if you’re a local resident (or traveling in the area during this time), stop by Gallery West to see the exhibit. Gallery West is open from Wednesday through Sunday. From January to March, hours are 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. From April to December, hours are 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Other hours are available by appointment.

_________________________________________________________________________

Jeff and I often go on short photo field trips. One of our favorite local places is Green Spring Gardens, where Jeff photographed his gorgeous pink poppies photo! Here are some of my photos from our field trips:

Green Spring Gardens
https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/08/07/in-bloom-at-green-spring-gardens/
https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/05/18/glorious-poppies/
https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/07/31/wordless-wednesday/
https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/05/18/love-in-a-mist/
https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/05/18/a-day-of-bliss/
https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/08/31/honorine-jobert/

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2007/07/22/kenilworth-gardens-7222007/
https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/07/20/worth-standing-in-the-july-heat-for/
http://www.cindydyer.com/KenilworthGardens/

Brookside Gardens
https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/04/23/brookside-gardens-2/
https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/09/05/wings-of-fancy/

U.S. Botanic Garden
https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/03/13/in-my-heaven/
https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/03/11/us-botanic-garden/





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.

paintinglorez