Sunday, December 4, 2011

New Blog - Pictures and Print!

I've started a new blog called Pictures and Print! For some time now, I have been sharing vintage books from my own collection here on my sketch blog to show where some of my inspirations come from. I enjoy sharing my books so much that I decided to create a spin-off blog specifically for that purpose. My collection is always growing, so I will always have new books to share as well as other vintage items of interests, such as magazines, comics, and more.

Check it out for more information and all sorts of vintage book goodness!

...I also often post on Instagram, vintage related and not, as jackieocean. Feel free to follow along!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Poppa Sullivan

I painted this portrait recently as a birthday gift for my Dad. It's based on a photo of my grandfather, John Sullivan, in his World War II uniform. I snuck a quick photo of the original photo last time I was at my grandmother's house to use it for reference for this. The painting was done with acrylic paint and measures 9" x 12".

Thursday, August 25, 2011

West Tisbury Tractor - new watercolor painting

This is a new watercolor painting of a tractor in a farm field in West Tisbury, on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. Completed in August of 2011. Some in progress pictures of the painting can be viewed here.

Prints are available through my print shop.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Inspirations: Vintage Books no.12

It's been a while since I shared a vintage book that I find inspiring, so tonight I pulled one from my collection and scanned some pages. I picked this up at my favorite local used book store because I loved the simplicity and quirkiness of the interior illustrations. My favorite is the page where a duck is sporting a top hat, jacket, glasses, and a walking cane.

The book is titled Morning Noises and is written and illustrated by Alain Grée, and published by Wonder Books, Inc. in 1962.

All previous posts featuring books from my collection can be viewed by clicking here.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Philbin Beach Rocks - watercolor sketches

I was able to do a little bit of painting while I was on Martha's Vineyard last week visiting my family and working on planning my wedding for next summer. I took two of my watercolor sketchbooks to Philbin Beach in Aquinnah so that I could paint in one while the other was drying. It was pretty hot and sunny, so the paint was drying faster than I would have liked, but I did my best to just work with it and not get too hung up on precise details. These three watercolor sketches are the result.

I'm hoping to do more painting here at home over the next few weeks, using some of the photos I took last week as reference. Later in August I'll be returning to the island for another visit/wedding planning session.

To see more of my Martha's Vineyard drawings and paintings, just click here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lighthouse - sketchbook

Here's another page from my sketchbook, featuring the Gay Head Lighthouse in Aquinnah on Martha's Vineyard. Drawn with pen in my moleskine sketchbook.

To see more of my Martha's Vineyard drawings and paintings, just click here.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sketchbook Pages

This morning I scanned a couple of recent pages out of my sketchbook. I had to keep myself busy while monitoring student exams last week.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ceramic Apple

I made this ceramic apple to use for a glaze demonstration with my 8th grade students. The apple is true to size, and I wanted to use it to experiment with layering subtle different colors of glaze to make it mimic the variety of colors that you can see in a real apple skin. I was really happy with how the colors turned out in this experiment.

You can also see part of my classroom desk in the photo below.

Monday, June 6, 2011

New watercolor painting in progress

I started a new watercolor painting yesterday, based on a photo I took in West Tisbury when I was on Martha's Vineyard last summer. I'm trying using Strathmore 500 series cold press illustration board, which I don't have much experience with. It reacts differently than normal watercolor paper, so I'm having to slightly re-adjust my painting strategy.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Zooey - a watercolor portrait

I've been practicing some more with watercolor and it led to this portrait of Zooey Deschanel. Over the past couple of years I've become a fan of her music, fashion sense, and acting. I was trying to treat this kind of like an illustration that you would see in a magazine and had fun incorporating the pattern into the painting.

You can see some photos of the painting in progress right here.

The final painting measures 9" x 12" and was completed on May 19, 2011.

Prints are now available through my print shop!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

New watercolor in progress

I've been working on a new watercolor painting today, a portrait of Zooey Deschanel. I'm taking a break for the rest of the night while I decide on what I'm going to do for the background. While I mull it over, I thought it might be fun to post some progress photos here on my blog. The photo above is what the painting looks like at the moment on the art desk, and below you can some photos that I snapped quick while I was working on it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Florence - a watercolor portrait

Yesterday, I decided that I wanted to try doing a watercolor painting based solely on warm and cool colors, which is how this whole thing got started. I chose to do a portrait of Florence Welch from the band Florence + The Machine because I thought her bright hair would lend itself quite well to the color scheme restraints. This turned out to be a lot of fun and I want to try doing more watercolor portraits in this manner. It's a good exercise, if anything.

The final painting measures 12" x 12 and was completed on April 17, 2011.

Prints are now available through my print shop!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Along The River - Paris watercolor

Another Paris watercolor for my sketchbook, measuring 8" x 5 1/4". The Seine was extremely high while we were there, so many of the walking paths under the bridges along the river were flooded over. This was the view along the Seine facing towards Notre Dame.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ceramic Box inspired by Hokusai's Great Wave

This is a demo piece that I made for one of my 8th grade classes. For their assignment, they had to make a clay box using slab construction. The lid and any other designs that they put on their box had to be based on a famous piece of artwork. For my demonstration piece, I made a box that was inspired by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai's "The Great Wave off Kanagawa".

The finished box measures 5 inches x 4 inches and is a little over 4 inches tall. The lid is layered with different levels of clay to add some dimension to the image. All of the students were encouraged to think about how they could add texture or depth to the painting that they were basing their box on, and how they could use the different glazes to try and re-create that painting.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Walking In Paris

Tonight I made a little color painting in my sketchbook, based on photos that we took while walking in Paris during our first day in the city. I want to go back, especially now that it's springtime.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

1971 - on display

Just a reminder that if you're in the area, my digital illustration 1971 is on display at Maxwell Public Library in Camillus, NY as part of the West Genesee Fine Arts Faculty Show. The show has been up for most of this month and comes down at the end of this weekend, so catch it while you can.

And as always, prints of this are available through my print shop!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Inspirations: Vintage Books no.11

Yesterday I visited my favorite local used bookstore, Books and Memories, as a way to kick off the weekend. I found some more great vintage books to add to my collection and thought I would feature one of them today.

The book is titled Sailor Jack And Eddy and is from a series of early reader books about Sailor Jack. The authors are Selma and Jack Wasserman, the illustrator is Robert S. Robison, and the book was published in 1961 by Benefic Press. The story is about a little boy named Eddy who stows away on the submarine Shark during his elementary school field trip.

I initially picked up the book because it has the bold colored canvas cover that can be found on many books from the '50s and '60s. I'm a big fan of these covers for their simplified design with limited colors and bold shapes, and am often tempted to take books home solely based on the cover design. This book is a nice bonus, because not only is the cover great but the inside illustrations are classic as well. The artist used a three color printing scheme - blue, yellow, and red - which is layered to make any green or orange that is needed. The result is a composition that has been very well planned out to make use of the printing technology that was available at the time.

I particularly like how some illustrations rely more on shapes than falling back completely on black outlines (like the sailors in the background of the final image below). The lines that are used are also nice and fluid - look at the continuous swoop of the pen that makes the sailor's legs as he walks in the image below. Older books like this are a good reminder that less can be more when it comes to art. Sometimes by setting some limits you can come up with a stronger composition and not be tempted to fill the picture with more just because you can.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hope For Japan

The tragedy going on in Japan right now is unimaginable. Earthquakes, tsunami waves, fires, nuclear seems like they've been hit with just about everything. I've been reading the news quite a bit since I woke up to the headlines yesterday morning and my heart goes out to all of those people.

This illustration is my response to the whole situation, offering some hope in my own little way. I used sumi ink, watercolor paper, and Photoshop to put it together this morning.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Fox Run

I've been meaning to make a piece of art that would lend itself well to a wrap-around design for a ceramic mug. Today's snow day presented the perfect opportunity! This was done with watercolor paint and then some digital edits in Photoshop. Measures 10" x 5", completed March of 2011.

This painting is available as an art print or as a ceramic mug through my print shop. If you get a mug, take a photo of it in use and send it to me! I'd love to see it.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Recycled Book Wreath

Earlier this week I made a new wreath for the front door, since the holiday one I made has once again been put into storage for the year.

I've seen people make wreaths out of books and sheet music before, so I thought that would be fun to try with some discarded library books that I had. Originally, when I thought of the project a while back, I was going to cut out lots of leaves, but I decided that would take too long. I had seen one made of sheet music on Etsy before where the papers were rolled, so that seemed like a good method to try for this project. I flipped over a large pad of newsprint drawing paper to use as a work surface, since I was sitting on the carpet and didn't want to get any stray glue on it.

I started off by cutting a base ring out of a cardboard box. If you have trouble drawing even circles, and don't have a compass, you can use different size plates and bowls to trace.  The book I used for this project is a discarded paperback copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone that I took from the free pile at the library (I feel that the choice of book makes the wreath all the more suitable for my home). Just ask at your local library, or even a used book store, to see if they have any books they are discarding or giving away.  I am always picking up discarded books to save for future projects.  The only other materials I used are scissors and a hot glue gun. You could probably also use regular Elmer's Glue instead of hot glue, but I was impatient and I also thought that the hot glue might be a bit sturdier in the long run.

I separated the book pages from the glued binding by ripping the book into a few smaller sections and then carefully tearing the pages off one by one. It came apart pretty easily and I hardly had to use the scissors at all. I quite like the slightly ragged edges that some of the rolls of paper have from ripping them instead of clean cut edges.

After separating the pages, I then rolled them into tubes, securing them closed with a strip of hot glue at the end of the roll. I started hot gluing the rolls of paper around the cardboard ring. The first layer of paper rolls was glued so that half the roll was on the cardboard ring and half was sticking out. The second layer was then glued on top of the paper rolls, moving in towards the center of the ring. Eventually there were three of four layers of paper, with the top layers being made of paper rolls that were cut in half to add some shape variety.

Ideally, I should have more carefully planned out the spacing of the tubes before gluing them, something I figured out too late into the project. I may have also been slightly distracted by watching Dr. Who on Netflix while I was sitting on the carpet working. Oops! There are a few gaps I might try and fix, but I only have a couple pages from the book left over and I don't want to mix in pages from another book and risk having the difference in paper color stand out. I might try again at some point with a different style of wreath, but overall it's not too bad for a first attempt.

All in all, the wreath measures about 18 inches across. It's not heavy at all, and all of the layered rolls of paper actually make it quite sturdy. I cut a U-shape out of cardboard and hot glued it to the back of the cardboard ring to make a hook for hanging it on the door. The wreath is easily lightweight enough to hang from a 3M hook.  I'm pretty happy with the way it came out, and it didn't cost me a penny since I either had the supplies on hand or was recycling.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Pair of Foxes

Last Valentine's Day I painted this watercolor painting of two foxes for Jeff. This year, I thought it would be fun to make him a small sculpture of the two foxes from last year's painting. I first sculpted it out of clay (you can see an unpainted photo below) and then painted it with acrylic paint after firing it. I had debated about using glaze to finish the sculpture, but in the end I decided that paint would help me better reach the finished look that I had in my head, and luckily it worked out great. When it was all done, I sealed the paint with a flat spray finish by Valspar. The completed sculpture is approximately 3.5" tall.