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Well, what can I say?!?!  I haven't been active on DA for about 9 months, stuck in an endless cycle of dodging the things that life throws at me.  I have a day job that pays the bills, like most artists, and changes in the job description required that I return to college.  Before anyone thinks, "Hey, that's great!  You can do it!", let me explain that the classes that I have to take are difficult, all science based with labs, and require a lot of my time.  My brain is not 25 any more, I don't read with comprehension as well as I did in 1987, I don't process information as quickly, I don't retain and regurgitate in the ways that I was capable and used to the first time around....so it has not been a walk in the park at all.  It's been very stressful and takes up ALL of my time outside of work and sleep.  My art business is completely stalled and on hold until I get done, and it's sinking me into more school loan debt that I will never be able to completely pay off before my death benefit gets cashed in by my husband or children (whoever is here to process the claim).  *sigh*  So there has been nothing new to post creatively.

So what IS new?  Well, I was on an Ann Kullberg colored pencil cruise to Alaska with my husband.  Alaska should be on EVERYONE's bucket list!!  The pristine surroundings will take your breath away.  I got a lot of photos that might make fantastic art references some day.  I took colored pencil classes with Ann, of course, but also with Cynthia Knox and Linda Lucas Hardy.  My husband and I are taking another colored pencil workshop cruise next month to the Caribbean - Ann Kullberg again, but this time, additional classes will be taught by Deborah Friedman and Arlene Steinberg (who is teaching a class with the Icarus Board - can't wait for that one!!) 
Park Place Starbucks, Seattle, Washington by ginasdrawings  Me at the pier, Seattle, Washington by ginasdrawings  Me in Ketchikan, Alaska by ginasdrawings   Me at Mendenhall glacier, Juno, Alaska by ginasdrawings

I have two of my works featured in art books this month too!  First, "Mouse" is in a new book published by Ann Kullberg called "Colored Pencil Cats & Dogs".  For the publication, I was asked to speak on my method of producing highlights in black fur.  Also this month, my work, "On a Down Time Train" will appear in Strokes of Genius 7, published by North Light Books.
Mouse by ginasdrawingsOn a Down Time Train by ginasdrawings

Aaaaaaaaand.....I am a new grandma!  May I introduce sweet baby Chloe...

Chloe and GeeGee by ginasdrawings

I hope to get back to ART soon - I have had to turn away commissions because of lack of time due to school work.  Missing it...
  • Reading: Basic & Applied Concepts of Blood Banking & Transf
  • Watching: Jets vs Dolphins
  • Drinking: Coffee
I was awarded First Place at the 2014 Ann & Bill Litaker Show at Mint Hill Arts in the 2 dimensional multimedia category. This has been a very good year for me and "On a Down Time Train".  The woman who does my framing selected a wonderful frame for this piece: hammered metal.  It really complements the overall atmosphere of the work.  

Me by ginasdrawings
  • Drinking: Coffee
Got my calendar! WOOT!!  I was one of the winners of Colored Pencil Magazine's annual Art Competition.  I received Honorable Mention and placement into their calendar, November issue of Colored Pencil Magazine, and Winter issue of Colored Pencil student.  I got some great prizes too! :-)

So here is a pretty awful cell phone pic of me with my art on the month of January.  UGH!  No makeup! LOL

You can get your copy of the calendar here: coloredpencilmag.com/competiti…

Month of January! by ginasdrawings
  • Watching: Browns VS Bengals
  • Drinking: Coffee
"On a Down Time Train" has been awarded Honorable Mention in Colored Pencil Magazine's 2014 Art Competition!!  

This is a huge win for me.  Only 12 submitted works are selected for this, and I can only begin to imagine how many are submitted...it must be well over several hundred because the entry fee for this was one of the most affordable out there making it conducive for multiple entries per candidate.  My piece will be featured in their annual calendar, their monthly publication, and their quarterly publication.  I also won some SUPER fantastic art supplies.

Again, I am very honored to be featured prominently among so talented artists.

On a Down Time Train by ginasdrawings
  • Watching: Dancing With The Stars
  • Eating: Key lime yogurt with honey oats granola
  • Drinking: Water with lemon
"On a Down Time Train" has been selected for publication in North Light Books' Strokes of Genius 7: Depth, Dimension + Space

My first MAJOR book publication! I am so honored to be featured prominently among so many accomplished artists.

On a Down Time Train by ginasdrawings
  • Watching: Hell's Kitchen
  • Drinking: Water with lemon
I will be teaching 2 Saturday classes this fall for Mint Hill Arts - the classes will be a beginner's introduction to colored pencil.  I plan to cover types of pencils, substrate/surface, blending techniques, layering, burnishing, and all sorts of tools to bring colored pencil paintings to life!  This will be the first time I will be leading an art workshop, so I am very excited about the opportunity. :painter:
  • Watching: Carolina Panthers preseason (against Buffalo)
  • Playing: NTN Buzztime Trivia (Topix)
  • Drinking: Mahogany coffee
Hey - whattayaknow?  I was recently interviewed by Angie's List for a review that I left for a local business that did an outstanding job framing an exhibition piece for me.  The owner and framer is Kassandra Ulchar of Applewood Gallery of Charlotte, NC.  Check out the article here:

Framing shop mounts award-winning picture
  • Watching: Law and Order reruns
  • Drinking: Maple Sugar Bush coffee
I spent the weekend doing layout and preliminary drawings for 12 different upcoming colored pencil pieces. None of it is related in any way except that I have this folder on my laptop full of some of my past photos that I have always wanted to draw. 

So - I have enough to keep me busy for a WHILE! :bademoticon:  I'm still working on the boy behind the fence, but I need to step away from that one for a bit. These upcoming projects are all over the place - got some people, animals, architecture, plants, landmarks, and some crazy stuff that looks like spilled coffee!! I still have more photos that I want to work from - but I ran out of time AND paper for these ones.  

I have updated my website with this year's rates. :typerhappy:
Please visit www.ginasdrawings.com for more info (on the contact page).

Commissions are being accepted for Christmas - but be sure to get them in before October. If I am as busy this year as I was last year, anything after October will have to be on a "if time permits" basis with no guarantee of Christmas delivery.
:xmas: 

And lastly - my Facebook page has really taken off, thanks to a "like" from Ester Roi!  If like what you see here, please stop by and "like" my art page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GinasDrawings  Thumbs Up 
  • Listening to: The ice maker....
I got news this afternoon that "On a Down Time Train" has been accepted into the Pencil Art Society's inaugural  International Open Juried Exhibition!!  This will be my first international exhibition!  I am both, extraordinarily excited and humbled to be included in a gallery show of pencil art next to some of the best pencil artists in the WORLD. 

On a Down Time Train by ginasdrawings

This show will be on display at Repentigny Exhibition Centre in Repentigny, Quebec, Canada from August 23 through September 21, 2014. Winners will be revealed at that time.  I don't know if I will win a place in this show, but I do know that I am on my way to earning my signature status, and that pleases me VERY much. 
  • Watching: Jail (yes, that's actually what it is called)
  • Eating: A freshly grilled burger with Jarlsberg Swiss
  • Drinking: Coffee
Only a couple of days after learning that "On a Down Time Train" placed FIRST in one show, I learned that it also got an Honorable Mention in the Colored Pencil Society of America's online Spring 2014 Artspectations show!

On a Down Time Train by ginasdrawings 

This show was split into 2 categories: Signature Members and Non-Signature.  There was one cash prize and 5 honorable mentions in each of these 2 categories.

Some of the best colored pencil work in the world is on display in this competition, so I am incredibly honored to stand out among the best. :dance:
  • Watching: Bar Rescue
  • Eating: Banana Cream greek yogurt and granola
I am extremely happy to announce that I placed FIRST in Ann Kullberg's Colored Pencil Magazine 15th Annual Member Show with my cp painting, "On a Down Time Train"!!!!!

On a Down Time Train by ginasdrawings

There were nearly 100 entries - many of which are outstanding, which makes this win even sweeter for me.  Please take a look at the show gallery page: annkullberg.com/pages/15th-ann…
  • Listening to: the refrigerator humming away....
  • Drinking: Coffee
If you are a member of the Colored Pencil Society of America (CPSA) - the premier organization in the USA for the promotion and support of the colored pencil medium, then take a look at the latest issue of "The Point"!!  My portrait, "Ryley" appears on page 7! 

Ryley by ginasdrawings
  • Watching: Seinfeld
  • Drinking: Peach Iced Tea
I had my second article published in this May's Ann Kullberg's Colored Pencil Magazine!
:dance:
It's a techie article that briefly describes how to use a color card to adjust photographs.  No biggie, but still fun to see my name on it.  One of these days, maybe it'll be an article on some sort of skillful art technique?  LOL
Colorcard by ginasdrawings
  • Watching: Hell's Kitchen
  • Drinking: Coffee
I have to have this done by Friday. I won't be able to work on it at all next weekend, and it's due March 31st!

About halfway there. Here's to the final push!!!

Working hard!! by ginasdrawings
  • Listening to: Elwood-Parlance of Our Time
  • Drinking: Coffee
I keep saying - I think THIS year is going to be my big year!

So - I am working very hard on a VERY complicated new colored pencil painting entitled, "The Red Line".  Here is a little sneak peek. I have, at minimum, 5 different juried exhibitions that I intend to submit for entry with this one.  Prizes total over $8,000 for the various top honors, so I am reaching high. The first deadlines are rapidly approaching, so I have to keep pretty busy with this until I get finished.  Crossing my fingers...

WIP 1 - The Red Line by ginasdrawings WIP 2 - The Red Line by ginasdrawings
WOO HOO!  It took six years, but I got a DD and I'm soooooo happy about that!   :w00t:

Thank you ArtByCher! :hug:

Ryley by ginasdrawings

I want to thank everyone for their very kind comments, all the new watches, and all of the new favorites.  Thank you.  :heart:

I've been working hard on my newly updated website - please feel free to visit at:


I recently entered my soft pastel and colored pencil painting, "Autumn" into the Annual Ann and Bill Litaker Judged Show at Mint Hill Arts.  This was my very first gallery exhibition.  I received notice that I was an award winner, but I had no idea that it would be anything more than an honorable mention.

Colored pencil truly doesn't get much respect in certain circles, considered a "crafty" medium, not to be taken seriously as art.  On the contrary, colored pencil is painting with wax.  It is tedious, detailed, and hard to cover up a mistake when you make one.  It's a slow medium that takes me at least a week or more from start to completion when I begin a new piece.  

This was an exhibition for ALL media...oils, acrylics, watercolor, sculpture, and 2 dimensional mixed media, where my work was placed.  I was up against photography, ink, graphite, etc. - and I won FIRST PLACE!! :)  I am so honored...

Everyone has a time in their art career where they wonder if they are “good enough”.  Sure, your friends and your family love your work, but deep inside, you want art aficionados to appreciate your work as well.  This past year, I paid entry fees, entered at least 5 juried shows and didn't get a single notification.  It DOES sting a little, but it’s a learning process and a time to reevaluate what might be missing that gives art that extra “oomph” that makes it stand out to a juror.  You can either let those “failures” eat away at you, or you keep on trying.  Tenacity will seldom let you down in the end.

I am happy to have that tenacity.  This award is a real shot in the arm for me.  It also validates colored pencil in the art world for me, given that this was a show that contained everything from pottery to painting.  But here….HERE is the best part…

The juror is a university art professor who wrote this inspiring critique for me:

“Accomplished illustrative technique is evident in this beautifully rendered portrait that includes a carefully composed narrative scene. Viewers are drawn immediately to the exquisite style of this excellent tribute to the possibilities of pencil and pastel.”

This same work is being published in "CP Hidden Treasures" by Ann Kullberg!  Be sure to check it out!

I am very proud of “Autumn” – and my skills have improved since then.  I hope my next “work of art” impresses as many as this one has.

I have been so busy this Christmas season - more than any year before.  

In October, I did a Mucha inspired colored pencil and ink wedding portrait for Jo and Steve Hackett.  

On Halloween, I began a graphite portrait of 3 grandchildren that were in reality about 5 years apart in ages from the oldest to youngest, but I made them all about 2 weeks old in the composition.  It was a Christmas gift for her daughter.

In November, I completed a large colored pencil portrait of a long haired tortoise shell kitteh that was a Christmas gift to the client's wife.  I heard from him today that it moved his wife to tears. 

At the beginning of December, I started a graphite portrait of a man's deceased grandfather.  It was commissioned as a Christmas gift for the man from his girlfriend.  Because the subject was deceased, the photo I had was not the best, but we made it work.  

Then, last week I started on a colored pencil portrait of a beautiful girl, commissioned by her mother as a Christmas gift for her husband.  This one was special, because this little girl's grandmother was one of my first art clients.  I have done colored pencil portraits of the girl's older sister twice before, about 6 years ago.  So nice to have repeat customers who appreciate your work!  I heard from the mother today after she finally saw the finished piece..."just now seeing it with tears in my eyes. Thank you!!!"

This is what creating art is for me - it has the ability to move people.  
I have been working on a wedding gift for a certain musician.  I can't say who just yet, but it will be an Alphonse Mucha inspired piece done in ink, Prismacolor Premier colored pencil bathed in OMS washes on watercolor paper.

I have a commission for a nero/graphite portrait of a group of babies to be given by their grandmother to the parents as a Christmas gift.  I also have 2 more children's portraits, one in nero/graphite and the other in colored pencil, coming up soon.

In my spare (HA!!!) time, I have a photo of the inside of a subway car from a recent trip to NYC that will be my most ambitious colored pencil painting to date.  It has the potential to be a real competition piece.

I am now a member of the Colored Pencil Society of America, which I take very seriously, and I have begun to enter my pieces in quite a few competitions.  I am taking part in a 3 day workshop with cp artist, Ann Kullberg, who I have admired for her skill in portraiture.  I have plans in November to attend Art of the Carolinas and take an all day class with Cecile Baird, another cp artist that I admire for her use of strong contrasting and brilliant light in her work.  I hope, by entering these competitions and networking and studying these brilliant cp artists, that I will start to garner some exposure through publication and word of mouth.  Maybe I'll even get some higher commissions. ;-)
I am making the move to follow my dream and become a professional artist!  I am working on new compositions, trying new techniques (Icarus Board, anyone?), entering exhibitions, joining professional organizations, taking college courses on website design and starting an art/craft business, getting my sales tax and wholesale (resellers) licenses, finishing my studio, and more!

This is a very exciting time for me, because I have wanted this for many many years, but I never thought I was "ready".  

I am ready NOW.  :-D