Experiments with Painting on Tiles

Monday, January 31, 2011

Inspired by the work of ceramic artist Helen Beard, I dusted off my Pebeo Porcelaine paints and found some leftover tile from an old bathroom project to see what I could do. To get acquainted with the consistency of the paint, I first used a henna pattern stencil (still had these in a drawer from my wedding!) to see how that might work. Encouraged, I then used a dark pencil to carefully transfer a small part of a larger digital painting of West Beach to another tile and drew the lines with a brown Porcelaine outliner. I used various combinations of yellow, blue, green and magenta paints for the color.

Stenciled henna pattern on ceramic tileBeach painting on ceramic tile

To set the colors, I baked both tiles in the oven for 35 minutes at 300 degrees as indicated on the paint jars. I'm pleased with the results and may do a series of similarly themed tiles; perhaps I'll even be motivated to try my hand at pottery one of these days!

Sketchcrawl at Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A friend and I crawled at Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History this morning. We started off in the great hall with the dinosaurs and reptiles.

First I drew this Galapagos tortoise:


There were lots of skeletons to draw, but I was distracted by the people as usual:

Museum visitors

As I was drawing, a young man rolled a cart in and took out some fossils. Manning the "fossil cart" was a high-school student volunteer who showed kids various fossils and bones as they passed by:

Fossil Cart

I knew I had to draw at least ONE of the many skeletons gracing the hall, so I did:


We then moved on to a higher floor, with floor-to-ceiling glass cases full of stuffed birds. The display explained which ones were full-time residents of Connecticut, and which ones visited only briefly or during the summer. I'll have to come back and study them more closely another time so I can identify some of the shore birds I see on kayaking trips along the coastline.

Greater Yellowlegs, Hudsonian Goodwit

Owls, gull

Flycatcher, lark, fish crow

Pileated Woodpecker


Pileated Woodpecker

After our two-hour crawl of the museum, we had lunch at the fab Miya's Sushi in downtown New Haven -- amazing and sustainable deliciousness!

Hope to see some more people joining us on our next Sketchcrawl!

On the Way to Knit, a Sketch

Monday, January 17, 2011

Found myself standing yesterday on the Metro-North train as I headed to Brooklyn for a friend's Sunday afternoon knitting get-together. This rider was absorbed in a book -- the perfect motionless model -- when I started this sketch. Sadly, he tired of it and moved just as we were entering the Bronx, so I had to rush to remember what he looked like in his original pose.

(Finger-drawn using the Brushes app on the iPhone, then cropped and retouched a bit in Photoshop.)

Metro-North rider

Playing with the Pen Tablet

Friday, January 14, 2011

It's a coooold day here in Stamford -- 16 F, feels like 7, says Weather.com -- so I've been indoors playing with Photoshop, looking for interesting (and possibly painting-worthy) compositions in my photographs. Here's one of some skaters at nearby Terry Conners Rink from earlier this year, cropped, altered and hand painted with my Wacom pen tablet in Photoshop.

Skaters at Terry Conners Rink, Stamford, CT

Scenes from an Inauguration

Sunday, January 09, 2011

On Jan. 5, our Shippan Point neighbor and former mayor, Dan Malloy, became the 88th governor of the state of Connecticut. The inauguration was held at the William A. O'Neill Armory in Hartford.

As the crowd filed into the building, the band played standards to get everyone in the mood. What standards? You know, the usual -- some Sousa, some Michael Jackson tunes, the theme from "Superman"...

Scenes from an Inauguration: The Band

The doors to the Armory opened at noon, but the inauguration wasn't to start until 2 p.m., so people spent the time saying hello to friends and/or getting their pictures taken with the new officers-elect (or sketching, in my case).

Scenes from an Inauguration: The Armory

Connecticut poet laureate Dick Allen read his poem "Intuition" in honor of the occasion.

Scenes from an Inauguration: The Poet Laureate

So where are the sketches of Gov. Malloy? Sorry, wasn't able to draw him since he stood at the far lectern on the stage; even my camera had trouble getting a sharp picture at that distance, but here he is!

North Country Sketchbook

Monday, January 03, 2011

View from snow-covered golf course, Lake Placid, NY

For a long time, I had wanted to experience a ski lodge in the mountains somewhere. Now I didn't really care so much about the skiing part; I was more interested in the "lodginess" of the place -- you know, big (preferably stone) fireplace, high ceilings with log beams, typical ski-country decor. Well, my wish came true this past weekend, as we spent New Year's in the Adirondacks.

Local resident and author Russell Banks (Rule of the Bone, Cloudsplitter) recently told Amtrak's Arrive magazine that you won't see wilderness like this again till you get to the Rockies. I can believe it. ADK is a woodsy, wintry vastness, and I can't wait to go back and see it in other seasons.

We snowshoed, rode in a horse-drawn open sleigh, skated on the Olympic Oval, and watched the dogsleds go by on frozen Mirror Lake. We stayed in Saranac Lake, at the lovely Porcupine Inn, and had "Eve of New Year's Eve" dinner in the spectacular setting of Kanu at Whiteface Lodge. New Year's Eve dinner was at the newly restored pub at Interlaken Inn, and we enjoyed drinks, live music and pool at Maggie's Pub at Lake Placid Lodge. Cozy, warm, lodgy lodginess -- basically, what you'd get if you turned a big mug of mulled cider into a vacation spot.

Cross-country skiiers on the golf course, Lake Placid, NY

Sleigh ride on the golf course, Lake Placid, NY

Drew this next one with a pencil as we bumped along in the sleigh -- not an easy task (watercolor added later). I always thought sleigh rides were fast, swooshy and smooth -- you know, "dashing through the snow," and all that. Not so.

View from sleigh ride, Lake Placid, NY

Speed skaters on the Olympic Oval, Lake Placid, NY

New Year's Eve at Maggie's Pub, Lake Placid, NY