Thursday, October 31, 2013

Inking the roses

Little by little the secret of the garden emerges....

Happy Halloween!

Be spooky, be merry,
load your bags with
candies and berries!

Obviously, I am no poet...but the intention is true...I hope you'll have a great time tonightT My children are watching the clouds crowding the sky and the constant drizzle of rain hoping that tonight the weather will allow an excursion in the neighborhood. Fortunately, our daycare had a small Halloween party a couple of days ago and they have had a chance to celebrate, anyways.

Wherever you are, may the sun (or later the moon) shine on your trick or treating!

Saturday, October 26, 2013 fieri

This is for a personal project, which will take likely years to be completed, but I am not in a hurry...

So far I am working on two fairies. I have a clear idea of where I am going with this but somehow I am stuck with the anatomy of these two little ladies, fighting with myself over hands, arms, and poses in general. I have taken pictures of myself as reference, yet I am still in trouble! The initial sketch is taking me forever....Yesterday night I actually spent one hour just deciding the angle of an arm and a hand (and it's not just a matter of deciding, but of actually getting my pencil to do what my brain clumsily tries to communicate to my fingers!).

Hopefully tonight things will go better...:)

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Just a doodle done in front of the TV, waiting to start the next project.
Have a great Monday (the greatest challenge) and rest of the week!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Home Sweet Home...finished!

Here we go...I made it within the deadline!
Hope you like it (and Anna as well!). :)

Home Sweet Home 9'x12'

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Slowly getting there...

An hour each evening...that's the time I can give myself to draw. It seems always such a short time! I can barely get into the "zone" that it's time to wrap things up and going to sleep. So I inch day by day, finishing some parts and realizing other will need to be changed.

Half way through...I did a bit more tonight.
I figured the color of the grass was too bright, despite my grey undertone and I had to use a Mustard yellow to darken in. I am happy with the trees, the sky and the background, but now looking at all the sweets, at the scattered candies, at the cookies and gummy bears, I wander if the children will be properly visible. The witch, with her dark garb, will be neatly cut against the light sky. The young bunch,  instead, has to contend with the crazy garden population, especially the Cookie man, looming just behind Bella...The main thing, I guess, is that I should have started coloring the protagonists first and build the surroundings to match them, not the other way around. That's a basic instinctive rule I have been following since childhood, when I cared nothing or not much for the backgrounds and only focused on getting the main character done properly. Of late, instead, maybe because I put so much effort in building interesting landscapes, I start coloring those and work my way backward to the protagonists. But, to do this successfully, I should either plan better or learn more control over my markers, because now it feels like the garden (particularly the chocolate walkway) is the main subject of the drawing and the children are completely lost in it, almost an afterthought. And that was not the feeling I wanted to convey...

...or maybe I have reached the usual desperation moment, when I think I completely ruined the drawing and wasted a lot of precious time in the process, but I will fix it in the end.

If not, I could flip the coin and rationalize that in this illustration, the children have subverted completely the Hansel and Gretel tale and have found pure delight and not dreadful peril in the garden, that they feel so comfortable, unafraid and in control that are completely part of what supposed to be a deadly trap. Meanwhile the "poor" witch and her crow and broom are sadly left out, displaced from their classical role in the they have become the new protagonists, for which I feel sorry: look at how all their hard baking is being ravaged by the four little monsters!

Well I'll keep working on this and we'll see what happens in the next few sessions....I've learned another lesson, anyways. :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Botanical Garden and another progress report

On saturday we visited theBotanical Garden. That's one of my favorite place to spend the day. The flowers are always so colorful and inviting, even during fall and there are so many fun activities for children. Bella has started appreciating the hay maze, pumpkin mountain and water fountains too. She had a blast running in the fields and looking at the fruit a vegetable gardens, laden with yummy produce. We took many pictures, as always...I am always scouting for references. I have a good library now and I should start using it for some art.

Meanwhile, I progressed a bit more in the coloring of the Gingerbread house. Here is a balance of Brick white, Barely beige, Tan, Dull Ivory for the walls of the building. All of these are Copic markers. While large areas turn our rather better in Prismacolors than in Copics, when it comes to details and front/prominent characters/elements, I still trust more Copics, possibly because I have more experience using them. I need to do something to make the cream of the cannoli fluffier...probably in post-production with pastels..

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Yard friends and more sweets

Mushrooms are sprouting all over the place, thanks to the humid and warm weather. I so miss the porcini mushrooms my parents brought home from the woods in the hills behind Genova...they are an incredible treat. Last month we ate some porcini at a restaurant around here...I have no idea where the chef bought them, but they had nothing of the incredible perfume and aroma of the ones I am used to...kind of disappointing, actually. Next year we plan to go to Italy in September, so we'll have the chance to indulge...
No porcini around my house, unfortunately. Only interesting looking and probably rather indigestible mushrooms, the kind on which you could expect to find one of Tammie Lee's witches...Bella is intrigued by them, so we keep her under very close watch, in case she decided to take a bite off them..;)

From my front yard, courtesy of my mother in law

In the past couple of days, I have been exploring the internet in search of colorful sweets to put in my Gingerbread home. So many choices...they made me ravenous for dessert while I was drawing! At this point, though, I am done drawing (fortunately) and I started coloring. I used Prismacolor markers (warm and cold grey 10% and brick white) to lay down some grey tones. I like doing this when trying to limit the saturation of my landscapes.

 Now the real fun begins. :)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hansel, Gretel, etc.

My sister in law is coming to visit with her family (Pit will spend some quality time with Bella!). I am making a drawing to celebrate her birthday and the fact that we are going to have a new addition to the family soon. She asked for a Hansel and Gretel inspired picture, with the ginger bread house and the children, but without the scary witch.
Here is the initial sketch with some inking done...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Taman VanScoy's Landscapes

A couple of weeks ago, Naperville hosted its annual Riverwalk Art Fair. My husband and I have wanted to see it for ages, but typically this time of the year we are away, either in Italy or camping. Now that Isabella is here, we have abandoned camping, at least until she is a bit older, and we went to Italy back in June, so we finally got to visit the Fair.

It was fun, very crowded, and we got to admire works from  local and traveling artists. Bella had a chance to flex her developing artistic muscles at the table of the Naperville Art league. Mommy and Daddy instead planned the decorations of the dining room.

We moved last year to a much bigger house, so of course most of our rooms are empty. Little by little we will buy some furniture to fill them and we decided to start with the dining room. We have a nice big groups of Italian friends we spend the holidays with and now that the family is growing we definitely need  space for eating together comfortably. So we placed an order for a nice extending table at a local carpenter and then we started thinking about what kind of paintings we should hang on the walls.

As soon as we walked in the Fair, we encounter the stand of Taman VanScoy, an artist based in Long Beach, CA, whose fabulous landscapes immediately captured our attention and fancy. We knew his work would be perfect for our home and oh, I wish we could have bought his entire collection then and there: I could envision so many places those beautiful paintings would bring life to. We decided to invest in two paintings and then we started debating which two we should get! It took a while....

We went home, we came back on Sunday, amidst a deluge of rain, we thought and pondered some more. Taman was extremely helpful and patient. He showed us different paintings, even some he had not planned to display at this event. He even offered to let us bring home a few of the paintings to help us decide which one worked best for us. All of them worked wonderfully....and it was very hard to choose. To top this off, he helped us placing them on the wall and hang them securely.
Taman with his two paintings

It was great to meet and work with Taman: we look forward to see him again next year when he will participate to the Lincoln Park Art Fair in Chicago. His art is soothing and dreamy, with vistas of fields inspired by the Wisconsin countryside (where he spent his summers as a child) yet born our of his imagination. Every time I step into my home, now, I smile looking upon the serene beauty of my two new paintings.

My husband holding a diptych we considered as an alternative to the two paintings we ended up buying.

Please go and take a look at his gallery or check our whether he is displaying his art at some art event near you.