Tag Archives: Portrait

Weekly Art Challenge: VAN GOGH

Hey Folks!

This week our theme is VAN GOGH! Van Gogh is famous worldwide for his expressive paintings and tragic life. He is a universal favorite for art lovers.

 

DylanThe Ear Selfie, Special effects and instagram

I love this! If Van Gogh was around today, I imagine his famous post ear-cutting self portrait would have look something like this! Only Dylan could make you envious of her mangled ear and blood splattered throat selfie!

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Karri – Sunflowers, acrylic on canvas

 “Van Gogh’s Sunflowers have always captured my attention. I love that he painted them to decorate a room for his friend Gauguin. The sunflowers in Provence must be stunning. Wish sunflowers around here were just as plentiful.”

Van Gogh’s Sunflowers are beautiful and one of his most iconic pieces! I love Karri’s loose painterly brushstrokes and soft color palette, she did a beautiful job capturing the spirit of Van Gogh and charm of sunflowers. I don’t think there is a person who can look at a a sunflower and not feel a little bit happier.  🙂

 

Karri Van gogh

 

Bethany

“My rough interpretation of Van Gogh’s Skull with Burning Cigarette. Only I gave him a sweet tea with lemon and a little umbrella, which oddly looks like a flower.”  

If I were a skull, I’d prefer the sweet tea over the cigarette too! I love the personal and cultural (nothing beats Southern sweet tea!) twist to one of Van Gogh’s early and probably lesser known works, but what I like most is that Bethany decided to tackle the skeleton. Most people prefer to avoid drawing skeletons, they can be intimidating subjects. Bethany went for it  and with beautiful contour lines. Great job Bethany!

 

bethany van gogh

 

Emily – Quotes, monotype prints on paper.

“Here are my Van Gogh entries, my first layer of printing went well, then the yellow didn’t! Then I just ran with it anyway creating some strange messy pieces mixed with Van Gogh quotes, not technically amazing pieces but I kinda like the messiness!”

The prints are messy and I like that about them too! The messiness, in my opinion, gives off an energy similar to that of Van Gogh’s thick, bold and animated strokes. The composition, color choices and quotes remind me of street art. I can visualize these pieces becoming wheatpastes around a city. As a humorous thought, the blue piece looks like the sunflowers are growing out if Van Gogh’s head. Its as if his thoughts/dreams can no longer be contained within his head and are now becoming hair!

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AmberDandelions, Acrylic washes and graphite on paper

I loved Van Gogh’s artwork as a kid. He was the first artist that I learned about in grade school and was able to recognize when shown his artwork; this was a major thrill and feeling of accomplishment for a seven year old me.

For this week’s challenge I wanted to create a piece that was inspired by one of my favorite Van Gogh paintings, Sunflowers. Karri and I must be kindred Van Gogh spirits!

I painted dandelions (surprise!) in a teacup. Dandelions being my equivalent to his sunflowers and of course the teacup instead of a vase made obvious sense for me. Instead of painting with his preferred thick brushstrokes I chose to work in the muted washes that I lean toward. This piece felt like a collaboration between me and an artist that I greatly admire.

 

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Next week’s theme: SPACE

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Weekly Art Challenge: REFLECTION

Hey Folks,

This week the challenge theme is Reflection and everyone took this theme into different directions!

 

RJ:  Statue, photoI asked RJ about why he was drawn to photographing this particular statue in London – located in front of Buckingham Palace – and he replied “It was shiny”. HAHAHA yes it is! Its a lovely statue and from my memory of visiting London ten years ago, the city is filled with lovely shiny statues. Good find! 🙂

 rj reflection

 

Tony – Reflection, pencil on paper Tony’s piece is a young fashionable young woman checking out her reflection. I imagine that she is off to some romantic date or maybe she is a performer about to hit the stage. She reminds me a bit of my teenage nieces. I have caught them a few times admiring their reflection, especially when they are trying out a new hairstyle or outfit. I think they would be envious of this young woman’s style!

tony reflection

 

Dylan: Wolf, Charcoal on paper – Dylan’s piece was more of a self reflection through exploring an early dream memory and how it relates to who she is today. Its an interesting concept to think about. Do our dreams have an impact on our identities or do the reflect what is already there, but has not yet surfaced?

“Often I wonder what has shaped my identity most. Some things are obvious while others are more subtle. This incident is just strange and I can not stop thinking about it. The parallels with this reoccurring, stable world and my ever changing real world are eerie.

Before I even started kindergarten, I had my earliest memorable dream. Growing up on an old tobacco farm in Kentucky with no neighbors, no car, no phone, and no distractions, I would dream of this yellow and pink roller coaster stopping only at my front porch in the moonlight. Inside the first cart would be a friendly werewolf, allowing me to crawl in. We would ride through the tobacco and lightning bug landscape marveling at all the wonders of the country life’s nocturnal world. The wolf would silently let me off at my door. This dream only lasted for a few years.

I wonder if was a latent social warning, (that I could only have fun when no one was around), a sexual hint, (I am attracted to hairy and aggressive people) or even an environmental admiration. It still reflect on how it fascinates and haunts me whatever it meant.”

 dylan reflection

 

Karri: Pow Wow Reflections and Portrait, Watercolor on sketchbook — Karri reflected on family and heritage for her pieces. I love the soft colors and marks in her pieces, they suggest a distant memory that gently tugs at the present.

When we talk about reflections, are we talking about the casting back of light? The reflections of an image in a mirror or glass? Or reflections of our mind. In this case I am forced to consider the reflections of my past. This week my family has been researching our family history. Going through the genealogy trying to find proof that we are indeed Native American. the search has more than paid off. My sister found proof that we are 14 generations removed from Pocahontas’ sister, Princess Cleopatra Sent Flower Powhatan. When I showed my mother her picture she nearly fell on the floor. She resembles my grandmother’s features so closely its scary! So my painting this week is a reflection of the pow wows my mother would take us to as children to make sure we understand our heritage.”

 

karri reflection 1

 

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Emily Cactus Friends, watercolor on paper – Emily’s piece has a lovely calming simplicity about it and I love the reflection of the two cacti in the water. Its like they are looking at how adorable they are together! Great job, Emily! Keep experimenting with those watercolors. 🙂

“I don’t use watercolors much, so I thought I’d experiment with them. I thought loads about what to do for reflection; however, I was sitting in my conservatory full of cacti and decided to just do a little fun piece this week of some cactus friends.”

Emily refelction

 

 

AmberThe setting sun, Instagram photo – The day I took this photo was a stressful day filled with angry and frustrating emotions. Nothing I had planned for the day was going to happen. I was trying to mellow out; but, each minute of the day that tick by was a minute taken away from my creative time. When my unproductive workday was finally over. I started to drive east toward the main road, That was when I checked my side mirror and saw this, the reflection of the setting sun.

I suddenly had a moment of clarity about letting emotions go once they served their purpose instead of holding onto them. The sun setting signifies the end of a day and with all endings, new beginnings emerge. Letting go of my annoyance and anger during the day, will in theory make room for something new and hopefully better in its place.

 

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Next theme is: UNCONVENTIONAL


Weekly Art Challenge 2.0!!!

Hey folks!

We haven’t worked on our weekly art challenge since the beginning of the year. Some of us were genuinely busy, the rest of us (myself included) were total slackers! haha, but here we are again, ready to get back into the swing of things.

The first theme for Weekly Art Challenge 2.0 is FEELINGS! 

 

RJ: Frustration, Acrylic on paper. – RJ was originally trying to convey the feeling of happiness through abstraction, but it wasn’t working out as he planned and instead of capturing happiness, he accurately expressed his frustration. RJ’s experience is common amongst artists. Our moods affect our work and our work can affect our moods. The choice of colors, the bold brush strokes and the way the darkness smears itself across the image, preventing the viewer from moving past the feeling frustration to the possibilities beyond the dark smear.

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Tony: Happiness, marker on paper. – Tony set out to illustrate happiness and I think it would be impossible to look at his image and think it conveyed anything else but happiness. I like that his illustration literally oozes happiness. From the body posture to the choice of colors and supportive imagery, AND of course – in case you are not sure about the theme of the piece – the word ‘Happiness’ is written across the top in a bouncy la-la-la font. I can see this character in a children’s book or featured on a children’s television show. Young kids would definitely respond positively to this happy lil guy!

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Dylan: Loud Silence, found object – Dylan wanted to express the exhaustion of her feelings.

“I feel like I am only genuine in my emotions when I am working. Everyday life and most people drain me til there is nothing left. The energy is “turned on” only when I am working.”

Another relatable feeling. Those days when you must be “on” but in fact your feeling is more accurately described as “off”.  Its a struggle to effortlessly switch from one feeling to another and I think that struggle increases for those who are naturally empathic to other’s feelings.

Loud Silence

 

Amber: Invisible, mix media on paper (graphite, acrylic, watercolor, gesso, ink,  paper) –  I picked INVISIBLE as my feeling because I think it is a feeling that everyone can relate to, especially in an era where we are obsessed with putting our best face forward for the sake of the perfect [enter preferred social media] profile. I don’t want to criticize social media itself or point fingers and judge folks for spending too much time online, I am equally guilty of overindulging in social media as the next person. I am more interested in illustrating the desire to be seen, to stand out and still feeling invisible with the attention we receive. I wanted to illustrate the feeling of invisibility as a young girl awkwardly holding a bold and matured mask. The mask’s face reflects nothing of her real self, but instead reflects the performance of the visible her or the her that others prefer to see when they “see” her.

Perhaps we are so self involved that we all fail to see each other, thus forcing those around us to try harder to gain visibility? Or, we are incapable of seeing the real person before us because what we see reflects us more then them? These are some of the thoughts that were running through my head as I worked on my piece.

 

Invisible

Hope you all enjoyed this week’s art challenge. Next week the theme is: Repetition!!


Pet Portrait: Sophie!!

This month I had the pleasure of painting Sophie! She has such an interesting lovable face that I was almost sad when it came time to ship her portrait to her human mom.

Sophie and the Tulips

Sophie and the Tulips – 2015, Acrylic on 16×20 canvas

 

Painting this portrait started last year when my friend’s cat, Ginger, became very ill and the vet bills to keep Ginger alive were both financially and emotionally draining. My friend then turned to a crowdfunding site to alleviate some of the incurring vet bills. To help my friend out I offered a free pet portrait as a raffle prize. Anyone who had donated $50 or more would have their named entered into a raffle.

I don’t know how many entries my friend had to pick from, but I was very excited that the name drawn from the hat was another childhood friend of mine, Magdalena! I haven’t seen Mags in years and I remember her has a kind, generous and sensitive individual. The kind of person who would literally never hurt a fly. Painting a pet portrait for her was a pleasure, especially when she sent me the photos that I would be working from! I saw the image of Sophie sitting amongst some lovely red tulips and knew THAT was the image!

I hope Mags Loves her new painting as much as I do and I can’t wait to finish the next two portraits for her!

 

If you are interesting in having a portrait of your pet painted, please contact me at Palechickstudios@gmail.com.

 


Mother and Child

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A couple weeks ago for The Weekly Art Challenge, I posted an unfinished drawing of a mother and child. A portrait of a very close friend’s sister-in-law and young nephew. It was far from completion and something I worked very hard on for about three weeks. Finally I completed it and thought I should share the outcome.

When I started the piece I had all sorts of whimsical ideas from floral backgrounds to, what would be for me, a challenging style and painting application; but in the end I choose a more classic style to capture the motherly tenderness I saw in my friend’s photograph. The color in the background is a reference to her auburn hair and fondness of Japanese Maples. I mixed several warm earthy reddish tones together and applied the wash in multiple layers, often using tissues to gently remove color and create a dreamy intimate space for the figures.

The mother in the image will not receive her portrait until the holiday, and I am eager to know if she likes the piece. I sincerely hope she does, at the moment this is my favorite piece in my portfolio.

You can visit my Etsy site if you are interested in commissioning a similar portrait for your loved ones.
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Weekly Art Challenge: Age!

Hey folks!

This weeks theme is AGE.

RJ: Old Hands, Pencil and photo graph – Our RJ just had a birthday last week and like most normal people, the topic of aging is on the mind. I liked that drew the hands instead of the face. It feels more appropriate for an artist to focus on our hands. The more we create the more we notice the changes in our hands.

 

 

 

Amber: Pears, Instagram Photo – I wanted so badly to draw/paint this. But a hectic work schedule ate up all my free time. So instagram to the rescue! I wanted to focus on the act of aging. the pears still have a part of them that is youthful and firm while another part of them is loosing that desirable youth rapidly. I think it the same for people. We age differently and how we age is affected by our varied lifestyles. Some of us maintain a youthful appearance but inside we feel the pains of age, others look decades older but inside they could feel no different than they did at age 30. I like the duality and struggle between the appearance and reality.

 

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Weekly Art Challenge: Artist Choice

Hey Folks!!

This week’s challenge was a two week challenge and the theme was ARTIST’S CHOICE.

 

Amber: Mother and Child, graphite on paper – This is not complete. I had to start over when I realize that my original composition was all wrong and not nearly as intimate as I wanted the piece to be. I am making this for a very dear friend of mine to give as a holiday gift to her younger brother and his wife. There is still a lot of work to be done. Her face is still a bit weird and I need to fix the problem areas, but so far I am happy with it. Color will be added and I am playing with some ideas on how I want to apply the color. I am leaning towards shades of cool charcoal and Japanese Maple for the background and subtle color added to the figures.

mother and child


Weekly Art Challenge: HEALING

Hey Folks!

Last week’s challenge theme is Healing! Sorry for the delay in this post, folks. I have been working on the road and my hours are limited! In fact it was a busy week for many of us so it will be only me posting work. 🙂

 

AmberMy Thoughts Were Too Loud, I Couldn’t Hear My Heart Beat, Acrylic on paper – The inspiration for the theme came from my niece, she wanted to give me a theme that she thought would be too hard! lol, she was shocked when I told her it was the perfect theme and it really was!

The idea behind my image is that there are moments when we are in such emotional pain and turmoil that we fail to notice what is happening around us. We become lost inside our murky thoughts and sometimes become dangerously isolated; but, if we can find the will-power to pull ourselves from our thoughts we will see that healing is possible, that life continues and we can continue with it.

I wanted my piece to represent the struggle and hope that comes with healing. The uncertainty to trust that there is hope, and the struggle to not loose yourself to negative hopeless thinking/feelings. Hope and the process of healing is represented organically via the tall grass, the ever resilient dandelions (notice the the cup and the one puffless aged dandelion?) and the wind turbines are busy bringing in a renewable future.

It was a therapeutic piece for me to create and I hope others are inspired by it to breathe and take care of themselves. 🙂

 

Next week’s theme: Heavy!


Jager Monster

I love animals, all of them, no matter the species. But I am probably best matched with cats due to their independent nature and THIS lovely girl is one of my favorite cats – next to my own personal Tamlin – in the entire world! Her name is Jager, aka Jager-monster, and she is a purrer! She belongs to my roommate/best friend who rescued her and her sister ten years ago from the trash. Can you believe that someone would toss something so precious away?!?

When I am home for a period of time Jager becomes my ‘best friend’. My room is instantly hers and my bed is now hers, unless I am in it than I become her bed. Almost every night when I crawl into bed she will join me and every morning I wake up to this view. Her eyes just opening and looking at me wondering if I will dare disturb her comfort. Her paws, always stretched out in superman mode, in my face and the purrs never seem to stop. Love this cat!

Another belated birthday gift for my roommate/ best friend.

Jager

Jager-Monster, 16×20 acrylic on canvas

Jager face

Interested in commissioning a portrait of your favorite pet companion? Then please visit my Palechick Studios Etsy page! 


Simon

This was our Simon. My sweet loving “piglet” as I liked to call him.

About a week ago our family had to make the hard decision to put him to sleep. He was 15 years old, covered in cancerous tumors and having seizures. We know it was for the best, but never is it easy to say goodbye to a member of the family. His portrait, a gift for my mom, was one of the first I painted after years and years of not painting anything. I nicknamed him the Piglet because my mom kept him well fed and when he would run his white fur would become a brilliant pink from the exercise. My folks nicknamed him The Prince, because he did what he wanted in his last few years, house rules be damned!  If there was a spot on the couch it was his, if there was a need for a ‘cookie’ he got it, and if he wanted to get up at 2 am to go outside and enjoy his ‘domain’ from the porch he did.

Simon was a great dog. He was pit bull that was so naturally friendly and sweet he manage to change many people’s views about pit bulls. In his entire life there was maybe 3 people he did not like near his family, but everyone else was okay especially if they had a ‘cookie’ for him or just gave him attention. He loved his toys. His favorite was popped basketballs and a ginormous bone that he would run around the house with trying to temp my dad to play “where’s your bone”. He was great with kids, mostly because he learned early that kids are more generous with their food than us stingy adults. And he could clear the house with his endless supply of farts.. Oh My Lord could he shamelessly clear a house. He hated thunderstorms and fireworks, poor thing would shake like a leaf and cry. He often told on my nieces or our other dog, Maggie, when they did something wrong and he knew it! lol he was such a hall monitor. And because I would never give into his begging for my food he switched tactics and would look at my mom with his “I’m hungry mom and she won’t share” look while standing in front of me. Never worked but he did it every time. He was great dog.

He was the cutest little puppy and an important member of our family for for 15 years. We will miss you always, Simon, farts and all.

Simon

Simon 9×12 acrylic on canvas board

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Simon circa 2006

Simon and the ball

Simon and his Ball, 2011

Simon snuggling up on the couch Christmas of 2012