Thursday, June 23, 2011

Peek into the Vintage Shop of VMTEAM Member

My Vintage Etsy Shop has been featured on the Vintage Market Team blog!

Vintage Market Team on Etsy: Let's Peek into the Shops of VMTEAM Members... Cos...: "Looking for vintage supplies and well curated accessories? Look no further than Diane's shop, CostanzaVintageCraft . This Victorian era al..."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Melanie...Just because...

The other day, this young lady came from the tip of my pencil
for no other reason than "just because".

Have a happy day!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Portrait Series ~ Days 2 & 3

Continuing in my quest to immortalize Adrienne on
canvas, I blocked in the colors of both the background and
my subject, Adrienne.

I used flat washes of color to indicate the main shapes of the layout.

Don't let the scary eyes worry you, they are temporary as
I was just  laying in the shape and whites of the eyes.
The warm brown irises of Adrienne's eyes will follow soon enough. 

I worked the face to get the shape and planes of the features as
close to my subject's as possible. I know it will take quite a bit more to
capture a true likeness, but that will be best achieved with the eyes.
The eyes must look correct and will probably take the most of my time.

At this point the background, specifically the farthest foliage back,
needs to be detailed. I will be painting from back to front in
order of distance, layer over layer.

I am not happy with the color of the foliage and will be
experimenting with different shades of greens and yellows to
get the leaves where I want them to be.

Stop in next weekend to how I begin to detail the background.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Ode to The Pre-Raphaelites

As you may know, I love the art of the Pre-raphaelite Brotherhood.
Here is a piece I did in homage to their genius, particularly Rossetti.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Portrait Series ~ Step 1

The hardest part of beginning a painting for me personally is
getting the initial layout placed on the canvas.

If I am working on a piece that doesn’t require much
forethought or precision, sketching my composition directly on
the canvas is the way I would go, but a portrait likeness with
very specific design requirements is another story.

This particular portrait will have not only the portrait subject
herself, but additional images that are near and dear to the
subject’s heart... monkeys.

Adrienne is a collector of monkeys in
many forms and she asked that I include them in this painting.

We discussed the self-portraits of Frida Kahlo where
Kahlo often used the lush jungle as a background and
included monkeys as design elements in her artwork.

So now not only will I be depicting a true likeness of Adrienne,
I will also need to incorporate additional monkey images, and
that will require some planning to get the composition right.
It requires a preliminary sketch or layout.

The first step was to ask Adrienne to choose the configuration
of the canvas that she preferred.

After reviewing some quick thumbnail sketches I had done
that showed the layout in vertical, horizontal and square formats,
Adrienne chose the traditional vertical portrait layout.

In preparation I also surfed the net for images of spider monkeys
in various poses until I found some that would work within the
layout and give me a working knowledge of the anatomy
of a spider monkey


Now I needed to think about what technique I would be
using to transfer the layout onto the canvas.

The following are transfer techniques artists can
use to go from paper to canvas:

Transfer Paper – you would trace the design onto the canvas
using a carbon transfer paper available in most art stores.
Check out art suppliers like Dick Blick to find transfer paper.

Projection – You would print your sketch out onto acetate and
project it onto your canvas via an overhead projector.
Remember those from grade school? These can
also be found at online art suppliers like Dick Blick.

The Old Master's Technique –you would place tiny pinholes
along the lines of your sketch and then pounce over the pinholes
with loose charcoal to transfer the design.

Reverse Pencil Tracing - The most basic image transfer
technique we all have used in school where you would trace
the backside of your drawing with a pencil over a light box or
sunny window and then rub the front side with blunt tool until
the image appears on your canvas. This doesn’t work too well
with canvas that has too much texture. You'll find many
online tutorials for other variations of this technique.

The Grid Method - This is the transfer method I chose to use
for this piece. You create a grid over your original design with
a piece of acetate with the grid already drawn (or you can
draw the grid directly onto your layout.) Then draw a comparable
grid lightly on your canvas and use the grid as a guide to
redraw the design in exact proportion. Here's a detailed
online tutorial from Art Is Fun!

Being on a shoestring budget, I will draw the grids myself.

To get an accurate "map" of Adrienne's features, I printed
out a silhouetted version of Adrienne's photo and added
a grid of 1" X 1" squares to the print in blue pencil.

Allowing me to work square by square, the grid will guide my
drawing by isolating each area of the image into smaller,
more measure-able pieces.

I then added a grid pattern into 1 1/2" X 1 1/2" squares onto
the canvas so I could enlarge the image while capturing
the important points of the face to get an accurate likeness.
I used a yellow watercolor pencil for the grid so that it would
fade beneath the acrylic paint and a darker watercolor pencil
in a burnt umber tone to sketch in the portrait.

I did not transfer the monkey images at this point, only
indicated where they will be in the layout in relation to Adrienne
using simple round shapes. I also created an abstract sketch
of the jungle foliage, again, really just to get an idea of where I
want the foliage to end and the sky to begin in relation to
Adrienne and the canvas' edges.

Sorry for the poor quality of the canvas image.
The lighting wasn't very good inside when I took this photo.

Step 2 to come… blocking in the layout!

Friday, June 3, 2011



June 3rd thru midnight, June 5th!!

Just use Coupon Code JUNE30OFFSALE at checkout!

I offer Vintage Handbags, Housewares, Collectibles, Jewelry and Craft Supplies.
An extensive supply of vintage cabachons, pewter pendants, buttons, buckles
and findings can all be found here, as well as unusual jewelry, belts and unique found items.

Stop by and take a look!

Vintage is the ultimate in GOING GREEN!

Art Studio Makeover ~ 2

While I wait for days when I have the time to begin a large
project in my studio makeover, such as fixing the walls and
painting the ceiling, I thought I would begin to organize all
my art supplies and tools.

Right now, everything has been
thrown together without much thought as to its use, so I was
in need of some serious organizing so that I can continue to
work while the room is being worked on.

These are bins I had previously collected over time whenever
there was a sale at Michaels, JoAnns, AC Moore or Big Lots.

This was a great project to do while sitting in front of the tv.
It takes little more attention than knowing when to throw
a marker in this bin and a tube of paint in that one.

Once I had finished re-organizing the  bins, I
created tags on my computer and printed them out on
sheets of perforated business card paper I had
never used. For a bit of color, I added stickers that
came with two sets of thank you notes.

I then taped them with shipping tape to each bin or drawer
where I had stacked them all up on the counter in the studio.

Cost for this project = approx. $5 
because I now have to replace the packing tape.

Obviously the cost is quite a bit more if you don't 
already have the bins, as I did. But to purchase them
on sale would be an additional $50 or so.