Archive for Finished Art

Replicating Louis Tiffany’s Masterpiece

Replicating Louis Tiffany’s masterpiece can be a challenging thing. This next illustration for the children’s book “Lights On!” illustrates Ike and Samuel walking down the Cross Hall as it might have looked in 1890. The problem is, there’s only 3 grainy photos I was able to find of the Cross Hall and the famed Tiffany glass partition that separated the Cross Hall from the entry way. In 1904, Theodore Roosevelt remodeled the White House and one of the things he did was have the stained glass wall removed in order to open up the space.

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In order to make this illustration, I employed several tricks. First, I roughed up a generic point of view in my thumbnail sketches. Even though in this piece the vanishing points are really close together (much closer than would be in reality) I loved the gaping, cavernous feel it gave, so I kept the original perspective from my thumbnail sketches. (I tried a version where I “corrected” the placement of the vanishing points, and found the image to be too boring). I then gridded everything out and I aligned the columns, windows, and ceiling tiling in the grid.

Then, on a separate sheet of graph paper, I drew out the stained glass design as best as I could approximate. In Adobe Illustrator, I created a ceiling design based upon one of the photos I had. I took the flat stained glass design and ceiling design and digitally warped and fit them into my gridded perspective drawing. This was then all traced on board. For my underpainting, I separated the light areas and the shadow areas first, and then I proceeded to paint the detail inside of both. Believe me, the detail was as arduous as it looks. I labored over it, because I wanted it to have a wow factor at the end.

By the time I finished, seven days later, the paint on my palette had pretty much all dried up and my detail brushes were all shot. But, in the end, I think it’s worth it.

PS. I did not do enough research to know where the stained glass ended up, I’m guessing it’s in a museum somewhere. If you know, feel free to send me an email.

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Custom Christmas Card for BL Speer and Associates

Every year I design and illustrate custom Christmas cards for various area businesses, and one client who has consistantly been a part of that for many, many years is Ms. Speer, who also happens to be an intellectual property lawyer, specializing in the arts.

Every year, she has me depict her and her staff in some sort of outrageous and wonderfully creative scene. I’m amazed how she’s able to come up with something completely different each year.

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This year it was the Speak Easy theme, 1920s, prohibition, flapper girl, jazz.

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It’s too late this year, but if this is something you’d like for next year, be sure to let me know, oh…, about August! I book up fast.

 

This Year’s Liver Transplant Card

This year’s liver transplant card features the American bison grazing on the Colorado Front Range. As many of you know, my life from childhood has been one that deals with debilitating chronic auto-immune disabilities. One direct result of this is PSC, which ultimately destroys the liver and requires transplantation. This I endured as a 15 year old. So it is with great honor that I continue to design the annual calendar card for the great people at the University of Colorado Liver Transplant Team.

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For whatever reason, all I knew going into this painting is that I wanted to paint buffalo. And grass. Lots of grass. In my head, that’s all I saw. Unlike most pieces, I did not start with a color study and barely a rough sketch. I started with a red and brown underpainting and then I began to look for shapes and forms in my gestural brush work and started sketching out from there. When I got to the background mountains, I decided I should probably pick actual Colorado peaks, so I choose Long’s Peak. After the bison were painted in (they were the easy part), I took a breath, went “here goes nothing” and just started hacking away at the grassy areas.

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I painted the transplant ribbon on a separate canvas and merged the two digitally. I’m absolutely thrilled how it turned out! Being a freelance artist has been a blessing, allowing me to work when I have good days, and work around my rough days. And I do still have rough days. I’ll always have them. But the gift of organ donation has given me 24 additional full and powerfully rich years. I am deeply blessed.

 

Two to Tango

Originally inspired by a challenge prompt: shoes. There is a part of me that really enjoys jazz music of all flavors and the coordinated dance that accompanies it. Seems like once every four or five years I do a piece similar to this, although each time significantly better.

This piece is a practice and exploratory piece, as I played around with color, application of media, and the pushing and pulling of background vs foreground elements. This piece was a sample piece of the method and style I’m thinking about painting for an upcoming children’s book. (Oops, did I say that out loud? Well, the rest of the details about this book are proprietary, that’s the only hint you’re getting for now…)

Yes, I burned through a lot of detail brushes in the process. But it was worth it.