Three Lucky Pennies at JRB Art Gallery 2010.11.05

Self Portrait: Three Lucky Pennies, acrylic on canvas, 8 x 8 x 1.5 inches, 2010 Self Portrait: Three Lucky Pennies, acrylic on canvas, 8 x 8 x 1.5 inches, 2010

Three Lucky Pennies will be in the annual Small Works show at JRB Art Gallery at the Elms in Oklahoma City (map link) for the month of November 2010. The opening reception is Friday, November 5th, 6-10 pm.

The Small Works show at JRB will feature 100 8x8-inch canvases by 100 artists, each piece priced at $180.00. Artists Skip Hill, Nick Wu, Carlos Tello and Sohail Sheheda will be featured in the gallery's other spaces.

Here's a look at how I created this piece.

Self Portrait: Three Lucky Pennies, graphite underdrawing on canvas, 2010 by Sarah Atlee

The idea for this self portrait popped into my head a couple of weeks ago. I imagined a ratty, thrift-store leopard-print coat, but that item seems to be missing from my closet. I took reference photos of myself wearing this wonderful purple kimono that my Mom has had for years. I settled on the two best shots, and spliced them together in PhotoShop.

I always enjoy painting the edges of a canvas. Luckily, the canvases this gallery provides for the Small Works show have lovely 1.5" edges. Using Adobe InDesign, I created a grid and placed my reference photo under it. This is a useful tool when working from a single reference.

This is an unofficial companion to my painting for 2009's Small Works show. I like to see what I can squeeze onto the edge.

Self Portrait: Three Lucky Pennies, graphite underdrawing on canvas, 2010 by Sarah Atlee

I had to turn this painting around in just a couple of days, so I knew that a good underdrawing would be key. I couldn't afford to take time working all the shadows out in paint alone. I often do underdrawings in graphite, and I prefer not to use spray fixative because it's water-resistant and stinky. Here I've blended the shadows using my finger, from which a small amount of skin oil helps the graphite adhere to the canvas. When I put the first wash down, I do it gently, so as not to smear the drawing. One acrylic wash seals it.

Self Portrait: Three Lucky Pennies, first underpainting, 2010 by Sarah Atlee

Usually I put down a burnt sienna or pepto-bismol-pink wash for figure painting, but I pictured this piece with yellow undertones. The wash here is a mixture of Naples yellow and a cadmium-based pale pink.

When painting patterns, I prefer a loose interpretation to a slavish reproduction. I drew the pattern on the canvas in pencil, mostly not looking at what I was drawing. (I love drawing blind.) I went over the lines using Payne's gray and a #1 liner brush.

Self Portrait: Three Lucky Pennies, second underpainting, 2010 by Sarah Atlee

I put in the big shadows with Payne's gray (how I love thee), and began blocking in the skin tones with quinacradone violet, napthol red, titanium white, Indian yellow, Naples yellow, Pyrrole red, light umber, and burnt sienna. These days I'm using a lot of Golden Fluid Acrylics, recommended to me by professor Bob Dorsey for their high pigment concentration and versatility. He also recommends Windsor Newton Series 7 brushes, which are indeed "worth every penny."

Self Portrait: Three Lucky Pennies, third underpainting, 2010 by Sarah Atlee

Here I've added washes of quinacradone violet and more Payne's gray to the robe. Continuing to block in the skin tones. The background is tinanium white with just a drop of Payne's gray to cool it off, and contrast with the warmth of the figure. I laid it on thick, allowing hints of the yellow underpainting to show through.

Self Portrait: Three Lucky Pennies, edge view, 2010 by Sarah Atlee

To finish, I overglazed the skin with more titanium white, napthol red tint, and Naples yellow, using some Golden glazing medium in yellow ochre and iridescent red. More glazes of quinacradone violet were added to the robe.


Found on Flickr: Visual Diaries

The Visual Diaries are tools I create to capture my aesthetic for a particular moment. They're collections of my favorite Flickr images each month or so. See all of them here. Hemphill-Co-safe-passage, by Flickr user Stateart1. Click image to view on Flickr.

Hemphill-Co-safe-passage, by Flickr user Stateart1. Click image to view on Flickr.

This is from my October Visual Diary, The Finding Place. Hemphill County, Texas, is where my mother's family has lived for the past several generations.

See what else I've found on Flickr.

Dr. Sketchy's OKC, Roller Derby Edition 2010.03.14

Flyer for Dr. Sketchy's OKC, March 2010, feat. Poison Okie
Hey Sketchers, come join me tonight at IAO Gallery for another episode of Dames, Drinking, and Drawing. In that order. Marilyn sez, "If you bring gently used or new art supplies you have a chance to win a fabulous prize. These art goodies will be going to Haiti." Yee-haw!

Abstract Dr. Sketchy's 8, ink on paper, 2010 by Sarah Atlee. Click image to view source.
Abstract Dr. Sketchy's 8, ink on paper, 2010 by Sarah Atlee. Click image to view source.

Check out the new additions to my Flickr site - abstract drawings from this year's previous Dr. Sketchy's sessions.

My Naughties

That's what happened.
Yeah, I'm a little late to the top-ten-list party. Here are my top ten artistic moments (in chronological order) from the Naughts, 2000-2009 :

2000 I have my first solo show, ____ day of my life, at the now-defunct ASA Gallery at UNM. 2001 My senior thesis show, Actual Size, sells out. I graduate from UNM with a BFA. 2002 Making art on my own in Indiana, I realize that I need more instruction to become a better painter. This becomes my goal in applying to graduate school. 2003 I begin graduate study at RIT. 2004 I learn a heck of a lot about the illustration business, and my personal style really begins to solidify. I start making paintings like this. 2005 I complete my graduate thesis show. One of these paintings is accepted to the Society of Illustrators Scholarship Competition. 2006 I move to Oklahoma, and am warmly welcomed into the artistic community here. 2007 I get a beautiful studio above Mainsite Gallery, and a slot in the Art 365 program. 2008 The Art 365 show debuts, including my series Normal, OK. 2009 I join the fabulous, inspiring, nerdcore community at the Oklahoma City Coworking Collaborative, or okcCoCo.

And from this past year, 2009:

January: I make two drawings for the Seeing Other People show curated by Jennifer Barron. February: I take my family to Society of Illustrators in NYC to see my piece in the annual Book Illustration exhibition. March: I quit my last day job to commit to art full-time. Haaaa-le-lu-jah April: I attend OVAC's Artists' Retreat at Quartz Mountain, where I learn all about residencies. May: I began the Occupied project, on my own, because a) I wanted to and b) I can. June: My drawing of romy is accepted to the 24 Works On Paper travelling exhibition. July: Back to Normal: Normal, OK Revisited opens at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum. August: I join the okcCoCo and move my studio there. November: I'm accepted into OVAC's first Oklahoma Art Writing and Curatorial Fellowship. December: Looking forward to 2010. There have been so many positive changes for me in recent years, I can't wait to see what comes next.