Saturday, January 31, 2009

Okay you art show experts, riddle me this!

Since I've never been invited nor have I entered a show, I just submitted a couple of images of my work to an email associated with this organization.

World Art Foundation

I immediately got an email the next morning stating that my work was accepted , please join the association for $30 and if you cannot afford the booth fee of $500, they will provide a sponsor and on top of that if you can't afford to attend, just send your work and they will have a representative to explain your pieces. Submit images of 20 pieces you are going to display.

Maybe it's my background, but you know what they say, "If it looks too good to be true....etc"

Anyone have any experience with this organization? They purport to be interested in everything from plein air, photography, tattoo , spray and digital art and much more.

And check these out. Usually there are cash prizes but in this set of contest rules, they write, Million dollars in prizes but at the bottom refer to being featured in a magazine worth $5,000.

Contest Rules

Friday, January 30, 2009

Pachyderm Dream

and other weird visions. This actually came to me in a dream and don't ask me what I had for dinner last night. I don't know if it was a Timothy Leary version of Disney's Fantasia or bad cheese.

I'm curious what you think ( besides a possible 72 hour hold) of this oil on 18x36 stretched canvas.

Click image to enlarge

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Nothing to see here...

I submitted my DSFDF challenge this morning thinking I may have missed the Wednesday deadline after working and finishing this last night.

*sigh* Alas no. So a quick explanation. I'm running low on oil so I used watercolor on a Fredrix Watercolor Canvas Board for the first time. (8x10) Pretty cool because no need to tape the paper down and worry about warping and wrinkling. It absorbs the water and color a little differently but it's easy to adapt. Please don't look at my image as an example of what you can do with this medium.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Only a face a mother could love

So this was a gift for a friend. 6x8 oil on canvasboard. Since their French Bulldog is a male, I thought a blue back ground would be nice. She said the blue was a "concern" and so I scraped and changed it to fit her homescape of deep green and pumpkin. Now it looks like he's trying to lick the background. Ah well, at least she's happy.

I just got from a meeting with some administrator of our local SPCA. They were enthused with some of the ideas I have in working with them directly to help promote long term yet to be adopted animals and fund raising.

Part of my proposal included the oil paintings I posted earlier this week and the other includes these ACEO (Artist's Card Editions Orginals). My

The two on the bottom, Apollo and Paco are actually residents at the shelter waiting for adoption. If you really awesome ACEOs go to Akiko's or Erika's site. They will really blow you away with their beautiful pieces.

The admin folks said they will be presenting my proposal to the Board Members in their weekly meeting and I hopefully will hear from them later this week! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"R."n't you glad...

you've been following R. Garriott's blog and the thread of posts on how not to end up with posting a before picture like mine?

R. probably took pity on me and and charitably took my monk post image from a few days back and showed how effective knowing photo editing tools can be enhancing "challenged" photograph.

Nothing like a visual to hit it home. Thank you R.! I'm moving my seat to the front of the class. It's not like you have nothing else to do. R. has a full time job and has deadlines to meet. R. is one of those gifted people who is artistically talented but can also teach!

Monday, January 26, 2009

I'm not ready to have a baby!

Is what my 11 year old declared with great anguish when she heard my classmate wanted me to draw her grandbaby. I quickly agreed and assured her, women decided at different times when to have babies. I chose later in life. After she left the room with a look of relief I thought to my self, I don't have the heart to tell her this lady was a couple of grades younger than me.

A quick pastel [8x10 with a little color pencil] done with a couple of corrections after being reviewed by my friend. As you could see I was challenged by the jpg she sent to me. It was low resolution and had a mom glued to her cheek. What do YOU do when this happens?

I'd love to hear how you've dealt with this issue. HUGS!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Karen Hargett

I discovered Karen like many other artists on DSFDF. I have met and continue to meet amazing and generous artists every since I've submitted a DSFDF challenge and started this blog. I featured Karen in my list of animal artists blogs in the January 19th post. It was then that I discovered her website, Karen Hargett's Fine Art.

I must encourage you to visit her website not only to look at her beautiful work but to perhaps like I did , learn some wonderful marketing strategies she's employed. The most significant and I believe effective is her free print when you sign up with her newsletter. I did just that when I saw her wonderful site.

Not only does she give you a choice of a handful of images but she does not mention they arrive with a coordinating mat and lovingly protected in a glassine envelope. My daughter picked out the print and she was delighted to see "Butterfly Kisses". I was blown away by being able to look at her work up close. With her print in hand, I could see the millions of delicate strokes she carefully laid to produce a poignant and beautiful image. Photographs do not do her artwork justice as you too must experience with your work.

I cannot afford any more prints at this time but because of this experience, (her care of packaging and prompt reply to inquiries and her high quality art) as soon as I'm more solvent I will order two more prints for a grouping in my daughter's room.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Young Tibetan Monk

I was just browsing the net one night when I saw an image of a young monk standing in the doorway of his monastery. Even with the turbulent events in his country because of their conflict with China he appeared calm and serene. I thought I would try and capture his image but also put a impressionistic tweak to it.

24x24 oil on canvas

FYI I know there is a cloudy glare because of the dark back ground. I've already sent a request to R. Garriott who is currently taking the time to give us a lesson on the best way to fix photos as suggested by Karin Jurick.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A little story

Okay, I've changed my mind. Sorry Dominique but I think I should get a break and not have to list more than 7 things a week. [ check my Tuesday blog] but to make up for it let me tell you a story of something that happened to me while I was a cop.

I was a rookie [any cop with five and less years on the job is a rookie in my book] when I was assigned to go to an elementary school. I met with the principal and he introduced me to a sliver of a 5th grader who was brought to the office by her teacher.

I remember she reminded me of a "whipped" dog that cowered in the corner of the kennel after being rescued by a cruel owner. The principal pointed out the marks on her legs. The red welts wrapping around the calves of her legs indicated they were put there by a belt. The principal told me she had two younger sisters and suggested I speak to them also. I ended up examining and documenting belt marks across all three sisters. The eldest explained her father would drink too much and get angry at them. Their mother was too scared to protect them.

I asked for a civilian police employee to transport the sisters to the department while I went to the house to look for the suspect and evidence. The mother explained the father was at work and then led me to the closet door where he kept the two inch wide leather belt hung specifically to beat the girls. I told her I was taking the girls and I would be back to speak to him. When I saw a flicker of relief and then a bit of panic cross her face I told her to call the police immediately if he tried to hurt her which she assured me he had not done in recent past.

Back at the department, the girls sat quietly in the Report Writing Room. They almost never looked up even though the cops coming in automatically knew why the girls would be there and tried to be friendly or goofy to coax a smile. Sodas and snacks were bought for them to munch on while waiting for Child Protective Services to locate a foster home. They called and said the girls could not be placed in a single home together for tonight but they would continue to look for a place that could do so. I chatted with them as they sat in the car for the ride trying to explain what was happening. The three sets of dark eyes just looked at me and when I finally dropped them off, I went back to the station wondering if they would understand I was trying to do something good for them.

I never went to court. CPS told me later the father fled back to Mexico to escape prosecution and the girls returned to the mother. I went back to the home but I later learned they had moved because without the father's income they could not longer live in the house. I wondered if they resented me for forcing their father to flee and subsequently force them to leave their home.

About ten years later, I was a Sergeant and a little fatter and sassier than my rookie photo because of all the paperwork I had to deal with as a patrol supervisor. I met another employee for lunch at a restaurant in town while on duty one day. We walked up to the host and the lovely young lady looked at me and asked, "Are you.... officer 'Toh-geema(sic)'?"

You see, when I had come to move into a house located within the city I work for, I learned I always ran the chance of people recognizing me for the wrong reason. I would be at the checkout line in the middle of the busy shift of a grocery store in my shorts and t-shirt, no make-up just from the gym sweaty and stinky and inevitably, some one said, "HEY! You're the cop who gave the the ticket, arrested my brother, towed my car...." you name it, they made sure I and everyone within ear shot knew that this stinky, sweaty, holey t-shirt and flip flop wearing woman was a cop. I would slink out of there with my bread and Diet Dr. Pepper hoping no one would see me jump in my car and try to memorize what it looked like so they could vandalize it when I parked it somewhere else.

So back to the host. Even my friend was looking at me and back to the host wondering if she should just go to the table and wait in case someone wanted to tell me how what I had done out of duty ruined (their, their mother's , friend's cousin's ) life.

Suddenly with the menus whizzing by my head the hostess flung her arms around me in a hug and she said, "It is you!" She proceeded to tell me she was the oldest sister of the three girls I took away from the elementary school years ago. Things were hard but so much better since their dad left out of fear of being arrested. She told me she was doing well as well as her sisters and described how they had boyfriends and doing all the normals things teenagers do.

Moments like these are very rare. Most people never get to see if what they did with good intentions ever sets things in motion for the better. I was blessed with this event but there are thousands of actions and inactions ( not giving a ticket or arresting someone, buying a homeless guy a meal) that I will never know if it made a difference. So I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't do things because of what you might get out of it, just do it because it's the right thing to do. Even something as small as picking up litter in the neighborhood can make a difference. Wouldn't it be so much better if EVERYONE tried to do something nice for someone else everyday? HUGS to you all.

What was my inspiration?

click on image to enlarge
Was it a particular bad day after dealing with my ex? Was it learning that he wanted to get more money from me and take me back to court? Was it because I had not heard from any of the part time jobs I had applied for or that I was having my 143rd peanut butter sandwich for breakfast and lunch so my kids could have a decent dinner when they are with me? Nope. This graphite drawing with a little micron pen was inspired by a 2 second shot of a woman dealing with cramps on her couch (clothed of course) in a Pamprin commercial. LOL.... gotta see the light and opportunity in every day we're given. Have a great day everyone.
I just got tagged by Dominique my SoCal Pal. Dominque is a very talented artist whose personality is as beautiful as her art. Check out her sketches, watercolor and "Grottesca".

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Just one more animal please

Because I'm groaning at the new DSFDF challenge. Yes, Karin told us not to be hard on ourselves but another building? Yes, it's one of those lovely SF painted ladies but an architectural challenge?

Okay I'm done whining.

Click if you dare...(it's big bird)....
On a tiny oil a 4x5 inch canvas that took more time then I expected. That'll teach me not to think this is easy peasy lemon squeezy. Four hours almost to paint this feisty fellow well worth the lesson though. Now to thinking about the challenge.

Which reminds me.... PLEASE check out R. Garriott's blog. He is an accomplished artist and a terrific instructor both in art and techno stuff that I'm challenged in also. Due to Karin's suggestion to learn how to use PhotoShop to properly present your work, he has generously taken his time to start a series of lessons on this very subject to aid novices like me. Now we can all have professional images to post on DSFDF and our blog thanks to R.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Oh give me a home....

Gotta give the dogs their due. This guy is also waiting for a home at our local shelter. I want to see if I can work with the local SPCA and have paintings of the waiting animals grab more attention maybe or raise funds for them. I'll let you know if/how it works out.

6x8 oil on canvas board

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Historic Day

Whether you voted for him or not today was a historic inauguration of our 44th president. I was compelled to do this quick sketch from the CBS broadcast of the First Couple after they finished singing the National Anthem.

Historic Day Graphite on paper, 8.5 x11 inches

On a lighter note I was just "tagged" by my friend and fellow artist Judy Mackey. I'm supposed to revealed 7 interesting things about myself and then tag 7 other artists so they can do the same. Let's see if I do this correctly.

1. I found out I had a half sister who was born a year ahead of me when I was 36 years old.

2. My grandmother Sophie Borodkin was a chief for the Eyak tribe in Cordova Alaska and one of two native speakers until she died a month after I learned about her existance. My mother and she had a falling out when my half sister was born and I never had a chance to meet her. My grandaunt was the last native speaker of the Eyak language and was featured in many forms of media when she died last year.

3. I didn't know my parents (my dad is second generation and my mom half) were both interned in Camp during WWII when they were teens until I learned of this piece of history in College. Now my son is learning about this in Middle School.

4. I was the first Asian female to be hired at my Police Dept. The only female in my Police Academy class and the first female to be selected to be a traffic officer and Internal Affairs Investigator at the same Dept. I was also a Hostage Negotiator and a Trauma Support team member for other employees. My favorite co-assignment during my last years was being part of a team of Press Information Officers. They always asked me to talk to the Press ( TV, Radio and AP) when the tough cases came because they figured they (the press) would go easy on me. NOT!

5. I had my last child just before I turned 43. She's now a feisty sixth grader and gets along well with her older 14 year old brother. Both my kids are artistic.

6. I played co-ed intermural basketball in college and being the only gal on the team where one of the players was George Foreman's younger brother they called the team, "Sheila's Army".

7. Though from the time I was about 10 to the present, life has thrown its challenges and taken me to very dark places in the world and in myself, I choose to focus on the light ahead of me and take the time to tell my kids and people I meet why I appreciate them every chance I get. I know life is fleeting and precious and I may never get a chance to let special people know how they've given me their gift of friendship or support and do it when I can. Blessings to you all.

I'm tagging:
R. Garriott, Ed Burton , Diane Hoeptner, Margaret Mayer, Dana Cooper, Kristen Duer and Paula Villanova.

I apologize in advance if you've been tagged in the past.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Trying yet another experiment

There are several artists whose blogs I visit because I love the animals they paint or sketch. I am trying something new which will hopefully help the critters at my local shelter and help me make payments to my ex. [did I say that out loud?]

This is my first pet portrait of a kitty I took a picture of at our local SPCA over the weekend. This is a 6x8 oil on canvas board.

Many thanks to the following artists for their continued support, encouragement and inspiration by continued excellence in animal masterpieces.

Adebanji Alade: I've been admiring his people and didn't know he was an equine expert until today.

Amanda Carter: check out her "Dinner Time"

Annie Salness: love her "Getting Ready to Ride"

Akiko Watanabe: hands down the humanitarian or animaltarian of the year.

Erika Nelson: her subjects and styles are unlimited but I adore her "Zoey" portrait.

Elizabeth Pearson: talk about taking a walk on the wild side....check out what she has in her backyard.

Judy Mackey:
you'll be floored by her tiny gem-like pet portraits. I'd love to learn how she does this!

Carol Schiff: Another artist with a style I love. Take a look at "Lucy".

Dana Cooper: Love her "Rocky" but also check out her latest amazing "Love to Ride".

Dean H. Another DSFDF artist whose "Laid Back Cat" painting is where I commented that I never painted a cat.

Diane Hoeptner: A prolific painter of whimsical toys and beautiful blooms who will surprise us once in a while with a jewel like "Petal: the Found Dog"

Ed Burton: Karin Jurick is even his fan. Look at his "Claude"

Margaret Mayer: "Yellow Dog" needs a hug but also check out her sassy "Lucy"

Paula Villanova: Love her unique palette, just look at how she handled the "Independant"

Kate: She's working on Jump Series but I think she did a wonderful job with "Dede".

Torrie Smiley: Ravishing Rooster series just one of her many paintings.

Dominique Eichi:
Another artist who isn't limited by medium or subject matter. She just posted "Grace" painted by Vern Schwartz.

Janet Whitehead: You've got to agree she did an awesome job on her first pet portrait. "Gone to the Dogs"

Michelle Burnett: She does whimsical drawing and wondrous paintings. She posted a new ACEO with a raven but I love the commissioned pet portrait from not so ideal reference.

Carol Horzempa: Ya gotta love what she added to her DSFDF boot challenge.

Sam Dolman: Who doesn't love a perky piggy?

Tom Pohlman:
Even our favorite cowpoke has his Longhorn days.

After working on this post for the past hour I know I have not included all of you so I will continue to edit and add as the day progresses. Just realized how rich I've become in my bounty of virtual friends and boundless sources of informations since I started this blog a month ago. Thank you everyone for visiting and bless you all.

Told you I'd think of more...
Melissa Langer: A new found friend who is a champion for a good cause. This post lists her favorite pet artists.

Karen Hargett: After smiling at her Maine coon cat, chuckle at her avatar.

Pat Burns: Birds are something I haven't tried either.

Kristen Duer: A new blogger with a new post on her canine companion.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

BART ( not Simpson )

Bay Area Rapid Transit or BART has been the source of riots and controversy after the killing of a detainee during his arrest by a BART officer.

This saddened me immensely. There are so many losses. For the family of the deceased, for the officer who resigned after the incident, for the community and department involved.

I've worked with BART police in many capacities. As an officer responding to the Station to assist a lone BART officer fighting with suspects, with the Administration and commanders as a Press Information Officer and Internal Affairs Investigator and at the receiving end for requests for assistance.

Click to enlarge if you wish

They are a fine group of men and women working in a very challenging environment.

There is nothing that will replace the loss of the young man who was killed but I have a difficult time understanding why people have gone to the extent of of threatening the officer's wife and infant girl at their home. That is why the family was out of state when he was arrested.

This is a composite I did for BART when a murder occurred on one of the trains. The witness was a passenger [ a business man in his 40's] and he was able to calmly describe the horrific scene of the suspect stabbing and killing another young man while they were in transit. The composite aided in the arrest of a then 17 year old suspect for the crime.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Artist trading cards ATC

click to enlarge images if you'd like

If you visit Erika's
, Akiko's or Mark's blogs, you will see absolutely jaw dropping masterpieces of ACEO. [ Artist's Card, Editions or Originals] Their cards are much sought after and people buy or bid big bucks for these cards. I'm not there yet so I'm still trading them through a group of Artists at Here are some of these 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inch cards I've traded in the past. They were done in watercolor, color pencil and oil.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sketches gone wild

I visit Adebanji Alade's and Stephen Gardner's sketch blogs every day. Both these fine artists have their own fine art websites as well. Adebanji transforms his every day sketches to colorful gems and Stephen Gardner has a portfolio of fine pieces of art. They honor me when they occassionally comment on my work or encourage me through my self doubt.

I believe they follow the principal thinking of my daughter's piano teacher. Practice every day so the basics come naturally to you. I'm not quite back to once a day but I find myself sketching so much more often. This practice has me actively looking at scenes I pass everyday with "new eyes" and growing more confident in capturing what I see or want to see. [ okay the Jefferson Memorial is an exception] I also saw this video and thought I would share it because some artist sketched the whole song into a video. I'm not crazy about the music but love seeing the artist draw and erase his way through the piece.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Every Artist gets asked

You know what I'm talking about. Could you draw up a little something for ________ (insert flyer for Edwin's birthday, retirement or company party, to make fun of a co-worker's blunder, newsletter, school play, etc...). I usually didn't mind especially when a fellow officer was retiring.

One day a San Jose detective asked me to come up with a design for their children's T-shirt logo for their upcoming hosted Fire/Police Olympics. It's a big event which usually has department's from all over the nation and countries like Canada, Great Britain and Germany participating on occasions. Of course there is the on-going competition betwee Fire and Police themselves. Police Officers can't figure out why Fire Fighters big day consists of shopping for dinner and which cable program to watch that night and Fire Fighters don't know why cops are always parked near a Starbucks or near an intersection watching stop signs.

I asked the detective ( who by the way was part of a drug task force) why she didn't use her department's artist. San Jose PD is big enough and where there is enough crime to fund a full time composite artist. All he does is draw suspects of crimes in his own little office. I and many other composite artists have his/her main assignment (patrol, traffic, detective). Only when a major crime or one that had a good eye witness did I used to be ask to schedule an appointment with a subject.

Back to San Jose. The detective explained the t-shirt was a fund raising item for hosting their olympics. Their artist was going to do it gratis but when he heard how many they were making, he asked for money up front and a dollar from each sold. He was a fairly new artist who had just replaced another composite artist who had retired as a sergeant with 30 years with San Jose. The committee was trying to make the items as low cost as possible and still make money to reimburse for expenses. After a few drafts and changes to make the police canine "less scary" this is what I came up with. I had asked my Chief ( with whom I was working directly for at that time) and was able to do on duty between investigations for no cost to their Police Union.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

To quote Monty Python's Flying Circus

click to enlarge image
"And now for something completely different..."

I was watching the program "Project Runway" and they had a delightful episode where the contestants had to design and sew an outrageous outfit for an even more outrageous drag queen. What made it interesting was one of the challengers himself was/is a drag queen performer and costume designer in San Francisco before going to NY to try his hand at clothing for real women.

I just adore these performers who have studied women and really caricatured and exaggerated the stereotypical features of feminine beauty. These are lovely hemales from my imagination that I just wanted to have fun painting. Oil on 16x20 canvas. The one of the left was given to a former classmate because he and his wife thought it was "cool." Purple Purrsylla is still looking for a good home but he/she is making me smile everyday when I see her in the hallway.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I shouldn't have peeked!!!

I tell myself this morning, "Don't look at the other paintings this morning because you know you're gonna be intimidated instead on inspired at this juncture of the challenge".

So I just went to the DSFDF blog just to see if there were any comments to her post regarding photographing a dark scene. Lo and behold, several generous and kind professional and experienced experts gave wonderful tips on doing just that. This artist community is so generous and has a huge heart! Thank you for always taking the time to help us newbies.

I've stopped trying. I am not happy with the painting but I am happy that I decided to finish and submit despite my reservations.

Fellow DSFDF , I know the composition experiment fell flat. The paint is over worked [it is my forth attempt ] and I would give it a C- this time. I did learn that I need to paint more buildings and night scenes!!! I hope you are having a great day, thanks for stopping by.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Older stuff

So I'm still struggling with the DSFDF Jefferson Memorial challenge. That comment she posted last night? That was me that prompted her to write about getting glare spots out. I don't use flash but even the ambient light leaves white splotches that I really don't know how to effectively remove with my limited photo editing tool without washing out the color.

It's okay, I'm looking at the painting and I'm thinking I still need to do something with it. The disadvantages of taking so long is that I get more and more intimidated by the awesome work that continues to get posted. Go to the Different Strokes for Different Folks website and see how so many people have so many wonderful ways of depicting quite a ordinary night scene.

So in the meanwhile, I'll post a colored pencil work I did for a fellow artist. I was doing a series of "composites" of ideal women for folks. I would get a description, [ i.e. short dark brown hair, high heels, boy shorts etc] and draw an image based on photos I found on the web. It was fun for a while to see how close I got to the image that had in their head. This gal was for a photographer named Chase.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Making a Mark

Nice article on DSFDF on this very popular blog.

If you are reading this after today, search for the January 11, 2009 post.

It was also featured in another big muckymuck art website! January 9th post.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Another Composite

Okay, one more composite story to get my mind off my struggle with the Jefferson Memorial on DSFDF.

There was a series of burglaries in the neighborhood where the suspect was taking the glass louvers off the mounts when residents left their window cranked open. One day an apartment resident saw a man walking down the hallway carrying a television set midday. Most people would not have given this a second thought but the witness was an ex-con himself and made mental notes of the guy.

Click to enlarge image if you'd like

Sure enough when the officers knocked on his door that night to see if he had seen anything out of the ordinary because his neighbor got burglarized he was able to say yes. So I'm talking to this guy and chit chatting about his "time in the pen" and I don't know how much credibility to give to the description he gave me.

Of course I was humbled when a Parole Officer looked at the crime bulletin and said he thought he recognized the suspect as his parolee. His fingerprints matched those left on the window and he was arrested. I always remind myself never to make assumptions about people based on their past or appearances.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sculpted Sculptor

Oil 16x20

Another artist asked me to paint his torso for him.

The one on the right is my first concept but it looked too anatomical to me. I ended up changing the color and a little of the form to end up with the finished painting on the left. Some days I think I should have left it but the subject said he likes the second one. What do you think? Oh, and that question you're asking yourself right now? It's yes. He sculpts stone and marble so he needs to be fit to be able to manipulate and maneuver several tons of mass for his project.

Now I will be trying to psych myself up to force myself to do Karin Jurick's next challenge on Different Strokes from Different Folks having never done a night scene or a building!!! Check it out. Fabulous artists are ALREADY finished with the project. *Argh*

Thursday, January 8, 2009


This 16x20 oil on canvas is based on a photo my 14 year old son took of our neighbor's front yard. She has a wonderful display of succulents, agave and cacti. This is the first painting I made that I stood back and said to myself, "I might be able to do this painting stuff". To me there was always a mystique about those who worked with oil. I decided to finally break down and take some lessons two years ago. I am such a novice compared to my new wonderful, supportive and inspiring cyber art pals. Seeing their work and reading their words make me feel blessed .

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My Mystery Man

I was a giddy as a kid on Christmas day this morning. The first site I opened was Karin Jurick's blog Different Strokes for Different Folks. I scrolled down to my painting of the mystery artist to see if he had his portrait of me posted by Karin this morning because today is the deadline for submissions. My heart dropped a bit because there were no new portraits near my handsome subject on her site.

I solemnly went to my blog and was going through my posts [ since this is new, there aren't many :o) ] and I see another post for my DSFDF portrait. I clicked, scrolled down and my heart jumped as if I found out who my blind date was.

James Abbott from the State of Washington finally revealed himself. He has several blogs but please make sure you drop by his Painting Diary where you'll see magical and wonderful nutcrackers he's painted and sold (I'm so envious of his public following for his works). I love my portrait he so modestly posted because it portrays the way I feel when I paint and view wonderful images albeit sketches or paintings. Thank you James Abbott and I so happy to make your acquaintance!

My dear new friend and fellow artist Carolyn Finnell suggested I post my portrait of James so I shall.
Please visit Carolyn's Blog, it is filled with wonderful painting gems and eye candy. I've tried a couple of times already and I keep getting an internal error message. The image is also on the next page of this blog if you really want to view it.

Master Artist Marcel Franquelin

This micron pen drawing with purposely left pencil sketch marks was a birthday gift for one of the most talented artists I know. Marcel has his own art school and is not only a master oil painter but a jaw dropping artist with pencil and pastel. You can see the image I based this sketch on at the bottom center of his art school website. The penguin is an inside joke obviously.

click on image to enlarge

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pouty Pastel Portrait

I believe this is the first pastel portrait I completed in a small room with a stone sculptor for my subject. I met him during the summer and he brought some conte' and pastels along to finish a project. He let me use his materials so I could experiment with the medium. The paper is a little crinkled because I had to roll it up and carry it on the plane.

He is a very interesting person. A tile layer by trade from the age of 14 he joined the Army at 17. He was an M.P. for a time stationed in Panama. They had to make an exception for him because he was too short (5'7) for the special assignment for the Military Police. After leaving the Army he put himself through college and obtained a degree in Fine Art. He is technically proficient in painting and pastel but large stone sculptures that he grinds, drills and sands are his passion. Very strong to be able to handle several tons of granite and stone. He got the tribal tattoos to cover some older tattoos.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Traffic Diagrams

Back in the day (in other words BC -Before Computers) in police work, officers used to have to draw collision scenes by hand. After a 40 hour class in investigation you were supposed to know how to draw a single two lane scene.

When I became a traffic investigator I and my partner were assigned to handle the serious or fatal collision. I always volunteered to do the diagram for a challenging scene and my partner would gladly handle the written investigation (anywhere from 10 to 50 pages) because he thought the scene was daunting. The diagram was the only document in police reports that were allowed to be in pencil.

click on image to enlarge

So the scene had to be recreated almost to scale by using tape measures and stroll-meters to plot location of evidence and the scene. I would grab a rookie and tell him to measure from a certain point to another point while I filled page after page with measurements and rough sketches. Everything pertinent had to be described and plotted for court or reconstruction purposes.

This case, a car drove off the road and flew over the edge hitting a tree about 40 feet below. The license plate was embedded into the tree and of course I loved showing that! The family believe the driver swerved to avoid another car but the tire track and lack of skids pointed to the more likely possibility of him falling asleep at the wheel.

Now the lucky cops have computers to do all this.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Have you ever gone into a room and felt someone was there but after turning quickly you were surprised to see there was no one? I had started with one painting and scraping down the failure on this canvas. It was a horizontal painting and as I used a thinner to wipe down one side, I though I could see a face emerge from the Pthalo Blue blob. I continue to try and wipe it down but it would not dissappear. I'm not saying I had one of those "Jesus in a grilled cheese sandwich" moments but I decided to work around it. I framed it and surrounded it with complimentary color so it wasn't so obvious. Do you see this as a reflection or someone peering in through a foggy window? Oil, 16x30.

Click to view a larger image.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Forensic Reconstruction

So I wondered if I should post this because it really could offend some people but I felt more people would be fascinated by the process of trying to put a "face" on unknown remains. I could go into the process a little more if people are not put off by the subject. Let me know.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Artists are Awesome

What a wonderful experience it has been so far to have actually step out and try something like participate in DSFDF. So many kind and generous people took the time to say hello and welcome I am so touched and in awe of this community.

I guess I still have a vivid memory of visiting an artist and her husband in a small town in Gold Country in Northern California. Part of her business was to make small watercolor portraits of patrons for $50. I was still working for the police department then and was intrigued by someone who was making a living doing art and her husband making frames for all her work. I commissioned a small portrait for my then firefighter boyfriend and was expecting to be able to see her process.

She closed some shuttered doors between me and her and started her work. When I tried to peek between the slats, she became upset and shooed me away with a wave of her brush. That was my FORMER impression of artists. How wrong was I!! On the most part, artists are kind, supportive of each other and very generous with helping budding wanna-be artists with tips and advice. Amazing. So thank you again for making me feel welcome folks. Many of you are the artists I used dream.... "maybe one day....."

For today's image, I posted a quick pastel I did for my 11 year old daughter's soccer coach. She is heading off to a big tournament in Fresno this weekend and she wanted to present it to him at the last game. The girls will sign their name in the patch of green.

Composite Drawings

As mentioned before I wanted to post a composite made from 5 photo references. So there was separate photos for the hair, eyes, nose, mouth and head/jaw area. It is all in pencil but a pretty picture does not catch a crook. This was done in a class room setting with no crying victim or intimidated witness to contend with.

click on either image for a larger view

Now this composite was described to me by a 71 year old neighbor lady. She was watering her lawn when she saw this person with hair rollers and a fuzzy pink sweater go to her neighbor's front door. After knocking and not getting an answer this person went to the side gate and disappeared. The lady assumed this person was a new cleaning lady and didn't think anything more of it until later that night. A police officer informed her that he was making a check for possible witnesses because that neighbor was burglarized earlier in that day. Could the person she saw be involved? Fortunately, the officer took the chance to have a composite done on this person.

This lady was the oldest witness I had dealt with but she was sharp as a tack. She even described how the rollers were on this suspect's head. So officers and detective's "assumed" they were looking for a slightly built African American woman in her late twenties.

A couple of weeks later, another police officer was conducting a check on a Parolee for a Parole Officer. The Parolee was a male who had been incarcerated for burglary. The officer looked at the Parolee and discovered he was a transvestite and looked very similar to the composite. [down to the curls in his hair] and fingerprints later confirmed this was the "cleaning lady" burglar and was able to clear several burglaries in the neighborhood.