Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Gardens at Lion Hill

I finished this pastel this week. It is based on a photograph taken in the 1960s. The garden was the brain child of my Mother and was created by her and my Grandmother. This picture shows it in August when all the different colored daisies where in bloom. In the background one can just see the old house which was our summer home. The property was located on a hill over looking the Niagara River in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada. We named it Lion Hill because of the stone lion who slept on the lawn near the front of the house.
Unfortunately, neither the house nor the garden exists any longer. A few years after we sold it, the house, which was about 160 years old, burned to the ground. The property was abandoned and, of course, the garden died out. We took the lion with us and he now sleeps in an ivy patch in the garden of a house in Buffalo, New York.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Works in Progress

The pastel of The Garden at Lion Hill which was introduced in last week's post is shown here on the right.
Below is a picture of how it looks now after another couple of hours of work. I'm not the fastest artist in the world but it's almost finished.

This is the start of a oil painting of three mushrooms (Stropharia rugosoannulata) that I found in the woods here on Long Island. After I took the picture which I'm using as a model, I picked and sauteed them with olive oil, butter, basil and red onion. Mmmmmm....

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Works In Progress

Below are two pieces on which I am working.

This is a pastel painting of the garden at Lion Hill, a place that now exists only in my memory. I am using an old photograph from 1965 as the model for this picture. I still have quite a bit of work to do on this one.

This one is an acrylic on canvas of the view from the ferry terminal at Anacortes, Washington. It's almost done except for the foreground and a few details around the water and some extras in the sky.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Pastel Portrait of Eli

I have never tried to do a portrait before but I thought, why not? This is the pastel that I did of my grand-nephew, Eli. I did it from a photograph that I took about a year and a half ago. He has changed quite a bit since then, of course, and learned to say "No". The joys of being 2.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tools For Cutting Leather

My friend, Robert Ambrose, gave me some great tips on cutting leather even though he does not work with it as much as he used to do. His creativity find outlets in his woodworking, ACEO mattes and cord necklaces which he sells on Etsy as qbranchltd. He has another shop, pastperfect, where he features his photography and note cards.

Robert mentioned four tools that he uses for various thicknesses of leather.

Fisker rolling cutters, usually used by quilters, are good for straight lines and gentle curves. These are not good if you want to make tight curves because the will cut on a slant going around the curve and you can not get a nice vertical edge.

Xacto knives are good but care should be taken because of their sharpness. Sometimes it's better to make a shallow cut and, on the second go round, cut the rest of the way through.

Made especially for cutting leather, the Half Moon Knife, or Round Knife as it is also called, must be purchased through a leather supply company such as Tandy. It has a large semi-circular blade and is used by rocking the tip through the leather. It is very good for thick belt leather. Caution must be taken while using it because it is extremely sharp.

Last, but probably best for most people, are the clam-shell scissors. Intended for cutting open those stubborn plastic clam-shell package that a lot of merchandise seems to come in these days, it cuts through leather like butter and does those tight curves very nicely.

Clam-shell Scissors
It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
Henry Davis Thoreau