Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A little photoshopping


Hello ladies,
Just thought I'd post an update on my witch lady here. I photoshopped the top piece a bit and darkened the right part of the background as suggested. I also pumped up the contrast on the green slime droplets. I'm still worried that the details will be lost so that's why I didn't make it even darker. You let me know though. For next week I hope to have a Xmas themed sketch done. I'm praying this time I get it done before the actual holiday! I guess I do that to myself to put the pressure on to get something out there.

On another note, I also didn't get anything new done because I was in the hospital over the weekend. I had a terrible episode with kidney stones! Not fun let me tell you. For the most part it's over now but I have to get some more tests done to make sure there are no more stones. Ok just thought I'd fill you in. Won't get into all the fun details. Hope everyone has a good productive week.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

OK I think I'm done?

Ok my friends, I realize I didn't even do my crits last week!!! Time just got away from me. My apologies really. My daughter was in a college art show ( she's still a senior in HS, brag brag) and sold her first painting!!!! I was so excited for her. I should post her work so you can take a look. Anyway, between the artshow, driving my son back to college after being home for the weekend, cooking, cleaning and prepping for my art history course ( only four classes left yay!!!) there was basically no time for moi. I managed to finally finish this piece today. Thank God. I was getting tired of looking at it sitting on my drafting table. Let me know what needs tweaking. I'm off to do my crits I failed to complete so take a look. Hope everyone has a wonderful week. Oh and thanks for all of your kind words. I wouldn't be doing any of this if it wasn't for this group!!!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Not quite done

Hi ladies,
Thank you so much for all of your kind words! I was hoping to get this up here today finished but I guess it will have to be next week. After a while the other day painting this one I kept saying to myself " Why so many details Giselle????". Anyway, as much as I love details it's taking me quite a bit of time painting them in! The other thing that happened is that I kept having to go over and over some spots to cover up my ink ing lines. It never happened before but for some reason they kept resurfacing after painting them over. I think I was using too much of my drying agent and didn't realize the amount of paint I was putting down was actually much thinner than what it was. I was doing this to get it to dry faster so I could go to the next layer and I was actually slowing myself down because I kept having to repaint! The agent was making it look thicker than it was but when it dried of course it would thin. Anyway you learn from your mistakes right. OK enough rambling. I'm off to a little school visit this afternoon to do some fun activities with an art club and show them some of my illustrations. A great way to see what kids that aren't related to me really think. Have a great rest of the week.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Underpainting Stage

Above: Actual piece

Below: photoshop ideas

Hi everyone,

Thanks so much for all of the feedback on this piece last week. Debbie glad you spotted my perspective "ooops" in the corner there. I will be adjusting that thanks though! Shouldn't be a big hassle at this stage. The top version is what it actually looks like right now. I've started my underpainting and will of course be adding layers of color when I'm done with this part of it. The witch will have salt and pepper scraggly hair. Hopefully my glazes will let most of the underpainting values show through. My question to you is this; Does the bottom piece seem good in terms of "lighting"? This bottom version is the effect I'm aiming for but haven't actually painted yet on the canvas, it's just the piece manipulated using photoshop. I find it's a great tool to use to see what something might look like before mistakes are made. I've darkened the background and tried to keep the focus on her and the lit up ball. Don't worry the little critters on the wall will all be highlighted but will be in shadow somewhat. Let me know your thoughts, your feedback is invaluable!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Grant verdict coming soon

Hi ladies,

Love all of the beautiful artwork on here this week! Just fabulous stuff. Anyway, thought I'd let you know that I did last weeks crits and this weeks crits at the same time!! I know I'm a bit off these days but better late than never right? I think I said that last week too.
Ok, on another note I'll be finding out pretty soon whether I got the grant for the Stony Point lighthouse painting I'm going to be doing this spring for my local library. They said the end of October the latest so the verdict will be in before I know it. With the weeks flying by the way they have been I shouldn't get too much more anxious. Hope everyone has a good and productive week. Seems like you are all moving along at the speed of lightening. Good luck at those conferences ladies! Can't wait to hear all of the details.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Another teaching job

Hi everyone,

Just thought I'd let you know that things are going a bit better. I'm totally getting the hang of the college professor job. It's a wonderful college, very warm and inviting. So far so good. The students have been great thus far too. We will be doing the fresco project I posted here before next Monday. Should be a blast. It gives them and me a break from all the lectures.

I actually got another teaching job. It's just once a week for continuing ed at the local high school but I'm looking forward to it. No term papers to correct or quizzes to give so it should be totally relaxing. That makes three teaching jobs at the moment. When it rains it pours right. Too bad they are not all book deals right. I'm not complaining though I do love it all. Anyway, I want to thank you all for putting up with my absences again! You have all been so supportive! I do appreciate it. And I'm off to do my crits for the week, so you can check on your posts. Soooooooooooorry I'm so late!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

College drop off

Hi everyone,

I just got back from dropping off my oldest, Tommy, at college. Wow that was really hard. I didn't think it was going to be as difficult as it was only because he's pretty closeby, Stevens Institute of Technology right in Hoboken NJ 1 hr south of us. I'm really sad right now. I held it together at the goodbyes and contained the big knot in my throat. Gave him lots of encouragement and stole a lot of hugs and kisses. God I miss him so much!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nevertheless I know he's happy and was totally excited to be there. Then again I also could sense his angst at all of the newness and having to figure everything out on his own for the first time. That was the killer! Not to be able to be there for him. Such is life right. On the brighter side his roommate turned out to be wonderful. They both seemed to have the same easy going temperament so I was totally relieved. Met the mom and siblings too. I thought I was overprotective but goodness she seemed like she couldn't get herself to leave. I felt her pain totally. A lovely woman nevertheless.
Tomorrow I have to go to Dominican College where I start teaching art history on Monday to check out the AV equipment and make sure everything is in working order for my first class. Thanks for letting me vent. I feel a little better now. Anyway, just an update on my life this week. No artwork to speak of.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Penny did you get this via email??

Monday, July 28, 2008

More rejections but hopeful.

Hi everyone,

Just thought I'd let you know that I got two more rejections on my book dummy, argh. The only good thing was that I didn't have to wait too long for a response. Woopedeee doo right. Only 3 weeks! I thought that was pretty amazing considering I've waited up to 4 months and other times never heard anything. Oh well, I'll be shipping them out again soon and just keep at it I guess. Other than that I've been enjoying studying for my art history course enormously ( I'm up to the Greeks, thus Athena above) eventhough much to my surprise everyone in my family is sick of me talking about all my renewed knowledge, hmm wonder why, too bad for them I say. OK enough feeling sorry for myself. On to the rest of the week! I think I'm going to put Samson to the side for a bit more and maybe come up with something new and different althogether in terms of an illo. We'll see. Hope you have a marvelous week my friends. Looking forward to more of your great illo's to stir the muses a bit.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Good Morning from the Beach!

Hi everyone,

Just thought I'd pop in and say hello while down here on vacation in Bethany Beach DE. We're having a great time and the weather is wonderful. I don't think I'll have much time to do anything in the way of painting but it's for a good reason Relaxation. Anyway, thank you so much for all of the feedback on last week's Samson sketch. I definitely hope to add color in the next couple of weeks and use him as one of my portfolio pieces. Looking forward to seeing all of your illos this week including our lastest member's Carlyn's!

Monday, July 07, 2008

A little more Samson and I'm sick of studying!

I'm happy to say I got a little bit of drawing time in this week and worked on this Samson book dummy sketch. It's where the little boy that's looking at him through the tank (illo below in color) finally gets in there and grabs Samson by the leg. Samson is suppose to be ecstatic at the prospect of getting "out" of the tank so although he looks a bit coy he's loving it! Let me know if the expression comes across with that in mind. I realize right off the bat that I have to make the finger's of the hand in the sketch above smaller so that it's consistant with the bottom color illo. Have a fabulous week everyone!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

New Member Joining!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hi Ladies,

Just wanted to let everyone know that a new member will be joining our group next week! Yay! Her name is Deborah Cuneo and is a friend of Penny's. Hope you give her a warm welcome. I know she'll be an asset to the group. Thanks Penny (and yes I do have 4 kids Penny! and yes I know I went a little nuts at the end there but they keep me young somehow). Happy blogging everyone and enjoy the rest of the week.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Sent out another book dummy!

Hi girls,

Didn't get too much done this week except to get another copy of my book dummy out. I'm continuing to focus on marketing and studying for my class in the Fall. Have a great week! looking forward to doing my critiques on time this week!!!

Monday, June 09, 2008

No Art but feeling better

Hi Ladies,

Glad to see everyone on here today. Sorry to say I'm all out of steam for this week's posting. Thank you for your well wishes too. I'm in much better shape now thank goodness. Sorry about not getting to my crits last week. Looking forward to getting back in the groove again for this week. Have a wonderfully productive week. And stay Cool, for all of you in the northeast!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

New Postcard

Hi Ladies,
Hope everyone is relaxing and enjoying this wonderful holiday weekend. I'm zonked personally from lots of outdoor activity but figured I'd get a head start this week posting a few minutes before midnight knowing too well tomorrow will just run away from me with everyone home and looking for food and fun! Anyway, this is a promo piece I worked on this week along with printing out another copy of my Little Red book dummy to send out on Tuesday. I've already gotten two rejections for it but life most go on darn it!
I had lots of fun putting this promo piece together duplicating some of my own painted pebbles from the tank and making them look like they are popping off the page. You let me know if it works or if I need to adjust anything. On another note, thanks so much everyone for your concerns about my overloading on teaching jobs. I'm doing OK actually, the Dominican College position for the Fall is just one course, once a week right now ( Art History, which I'm furiously reviewing material for but enjoying believe it or not) and then in the Spring I'll add one or two painting courses which are less work and a lot more fun. My other current job at the JCC community center is really easy with small classes and little stress, painting and drawing for adults. I might have to give up the latter if things get hairy come the Fall. The Dominican job pays a lot better and is more what I was looking for and so focusing on keeping it for long term. The new adjunct position at our local community college I haven't heard anything from yet in terms of acknowledging my inquiry so we'll see. It would also be a one course kind of thing I think anyway. I love teaching so I figure if the opportunities arise nearby I'm jumping on them. My true goal is to keep a school calender schedule so it doesn't interfere with the rearing of my little munchkins. I can be at work while they are at school, holidays off and summers off etc. And of course still be able to focus on the freelancing. Enough rambling right. Have a great rest of the week and keep it all coming!!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Working on getting another adjunct college job

Hi ladies,

Sorry to say I wasn't able to work on my book dummy this week. I am on the other hand working on getting another adjunct teaching position at our community college here in Rockland. Just found out through the grapevine that some openings are going into effect for this summer and Fall in their art department so I pounced on the opportunity and sent out a cover letter and updated resume. At this stage in my life I have to try to get as much employment as possible with my son Tommy going to college in September and my daughter Caitlin the following year! Anyway hope everyone else is back on board for this week and there are some beautiful children's book illo's to see. Have a great week my friends.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Color Sketch

Hi ladies,

Hope everyone had a good weekend! We had a double whammy here. My 7 yr old, Evan, had his First Holy Communion on Saturday and then of course Mother's Day on Sunday. Phew! Didn't think I'd make it! Much fun was had but to tell you the truth I'm quite happy (and exhausted) Monday rolled around so that I could focus on my art. I didn't get anything new done other than pull up this color sketch I think I'm going to turn into a party scene for my Samson story. This will be where he brings gifts to all of the little forest friends he meets during his initial escapade outside the confines of his glass tank. I know he doesn't look like my other Samson but it's just the concept I'm working on at this stage. Let me know your thoughts my friends. Have a highly productive week!!!!

Monday, March 31, 2008

I can't seem to post my art??

Ok ladies,

I guess there's a first time for everything. I can't seem to post any images on here. I tried it through internet explorer but no go. The window just doesn't open up. I can't figure it out but will try again later tonight. Not that I got much done on my oil painting but I actually wanted your thoughts on what the reflection should look like on the glass of the tortoise's tank, argh!! Oh with regard to the Dominican College job no word yet. I'm still hopeful I'll get to teach at least one course. They were interviewing two more people this week so I guess I'll find out soon enough. I spent alot of this weekend writing up my overview for the workshop I'm going to teach on how to create and moderate an online critique group for the local arts council here. Who knew this would turn into some kind of paying position!!!! Welcome Sherry, officially that is, your stuff looks marvelous!
Update later this evening: I was finally able to upload this piece. I know it doesn't look much different than the last time but I'm kind of stumped as to how to incorporate the "glass". I've barely put in some reflection just with photoshop so I could get an idea of what it would look like when I go ahaed and put it down in oil. Blah, blah blah. I'm rambling now. I have to hit the hay. Let me know your thoughts.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

More Progress, I hope!

Present state:

Started working on ear and extended arm and hand:

More skin tone layers all over. Finalized mouth and eyes:

Where I left off last week:
Hi ladies,
Just wanted to say thanks so much for all of your support and encouragement as usual! Posting a tad early here because well with tomorrow being St.Patrick's day and with a name like McMenamin you know I'm making corned beef and cabbage for dinner and will be busy in the kitchen from early in the morning! Also half of my brew is off from school tomorrow so I won't have the normal amount of piece and quiet I usually have on Monday's. Argh! Although I don't have a drop of Irish blood in me I married someone that has a lot of it and so will be very dissapointed if I don't serve all the fixings! On another note, this piece has tested me thus far so all of your feedback has been a very positive source of inspiration. Here are a couple of more stages of my illo starting with last week's piece at the bottom and all the way to where I am right now. Oh and by the way it is an oil. I use MAX water soluble oil paints with "QuickDry Alkyd" gel as a medium. It has a drying agent in it and works miraculously! The painting dries to the touch overnight. I also use Turpenoid a non toxic kind of fake turpentine made from pine tree sap. Eventhough the paints are water soluble in still takes a while to clean the brushes with soap and water so I soak then in the turpenoid first rinse then do the soap and water. I really hope to finish this piece by the end of the week well with Easter coming and a few festivities we're going to have I know I'll never get any artwork done next weekend! Anyway, let me know your thoughts positive and negative of course. It all helps. have a wonderfully productive week!

Monday, March 03, 2008

A little color

Hi ladies,
Really sorry about the terrible picture I took of my latest illo with my digital camera. I'm working in oils this time and didn't get it dry enough to lay on my precious scanner. I stink at taking photograpghs as you can see. Nevertheless, I'm having fun with this piece thus far. I know I've lost a lot of the detail but I will be working it all back in. Hopefully next week I'll be able to scan the piece so you can see it better. On another note, I got a letter this week from a local private college, Dominican, about an adjunct position opening up this Fall in their growing Humanities dept. They want to build their art foundation courses and are looking for prospective teachers. I only have me BA and they stated they preferred someone with a Masters but I sent my resume in anyway! I'd be crazy not to. Anyway, I'm waiting for the call to be interviewed or the rejection letter. Wish me luck. Hope everyone has a wonderfully productive week! Oh, I did end up getting the go ahead to give a workshop on how to start and maintain an online critique group at ACOR, Arts Council of Rockland! That was exciting. I'll be doing it this summer and actually be paid YES!!!!!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Samson meets his friend

Version 1
Version 2 Below (This one looks a lot more like my son Graig and I promised him I'd put him in my next book dummy. The top version doesn't do him any justice. I also fixed the line of sight. Hopefully Graig looks more like he's looking right into Samson's eyes in the one below?)

Hi ladies,

Hope everyone had a good weekend! I got this done today! I had family here all weekend and as much as I love them I didn't get anything done while they were here. Thank goodness my youngest was pooped from all the activites going on and seemed to want to just chill after AM Kindergarten. I was able to finish this piece, or sketch I should say, for my Samson story and think I'm going to finish this one in gouache paints. I hope to start the painting by tomorrow so if you see any thing that really stands out let me know. This is where Samson is almost at the bottom of the hill of pebbles he's built up and sees his potential new friend through the tank wall. Let me know if the expressions are all right, I wasn't sure. Have a great week. Looking forward to get my fingers messy with paint!!!!

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Little More Samson

Hi ladies,
Thanks so much for all of your advice last week on the other Samson falling down piece. And yes I'm definitely going to show objects in the room through the glass. Just trying to get the preliminary down at this stage. Great suggestion! I think I'm also going to write the whole story down in regular text before I continue more with the rhyming. Another great suggestion! Thanks. I find it so incredibly time consuming right now that I don't feel I'm moving fast enough with the illo's for this book dummy. Anyway this is all I have for you this week. Let me know your thoughts on any or all of it. Have a wonderful week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Work, work , work

Hi ladies,

Sorry to say I got absolutely nothing done illustration wise this past week. Pretty much taught my classes, which are going real well, and wrote up so new course offerings for the spring semester at the art center where I work. Between that, the superbowl, and working on my library grant the week was booked. Hopefully I'll get back to Samson this week and use some of those wonderful suggestions you all gave me. Have a wonderfully productive week everyone!!!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Samson's Falling

Hi everyone,
Thanks so much for last week's feedback on my story! It truly helped, well I guess hopefully it will seem like it helped next week when I post the update on the manuscript! Anyway, this is the another quick sketch I did where he has built up his mound of pebblesa and wood chips in his tank and has attempted to call for help but stumbles and falls. There is glass behind him from the tank. let me know your thoughts?? Happy blogging.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Some writing

Hi ladies,
Hope everyone had a productive week and were able to get more done than me art-wise! This week I began teaching my new adult drawing class and had a great experience. I have some very talented students so I'm extremely excited. I set up a still life with some nice direct lighting to cast strong shadows and filled the room with classical music to set a relaxing atmosphere. It was an incredibly therapeutic morning to say the least. I could definitely do this until my dying day! I'm also teaching a kids cartooning class which was fun but I've been doing that kind of work for ages so it's not, well, as exciting anymore. The kids are sweet and very into art so that's always a plus. On another note, I wasn't able to get too much done on my own artwork but did do some re-writing on my Samson story which I hope to post for next week with a new illo. That's all for now folks. I'm off to work on my stuff as we speak on this wonderful day off we have. Thanks for all of the inspiration to move forward every week. Happy Blogging!!!!

PS Here's an update I posted later today Monday on my story "Samson". Any suggestions on my writing are more than welcome!

It's about a little tortoise that doesn't get attention from it's owners anymore. They grow tired of him basically and ignore him. He ends up disappearing and they all really miss him. Tortoise ends up having some wonderful adventures while "missing". Samson actually belonged to my kids in real life. Here's the beginning. Illo's to follow next week.

I've updated this writing yet again, today Tuesday, with Ginger's great suggestions in mind! Sorry if this is getting confusing!

Samson the Tortoise

Samson is lonely he goes round and about,
from this wall to that he keeps bumping his snout.

Day after day in his tank made of glass,
he shuffles he scuffles and longs for real grass!

Samson's quite sure when enough is enough,
knows he's not cut out for this kind of stuff!

His owners don't bother with him anymore,
He doesn't do tricks, they think he's a bore.

He tries to yell loud so someone will listen
to his call for help, to friends he's been missin':

"I want to be free, I want to be free,
I want to meet others that like me for me!"

Pushing some pebbles he makes a big heap
all with his hiney and his big feet.

He climbs to the top, standing real tall
ready to go he's sure he won't fall

At the top of the mound brave Samson calls:
"Please help me get out!!! but tumbles and falls

He wants to have fun, to run through the dew
to find a nice friend, oh someone brandnew.

With no one to play and always alone
there's nothing to do but grumble and groan.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Update on Apples and Color Study for Lighthouse

Hi everyone,
Hope you all had a productive weekend. I got a little more done on my Tortoise piece for my latest book dummy. Thanks for the suggestion on the sizing of the apples Joni. I knew there was something off there but couldn't quite figure it out. I made some adjustments and changed the largest apple in the foreground so that it looks like it has just crash landed in the dirt, at least I'm hoping you read it that way? I added some extra flying debris and some startled little bugs. I don't think I'm going to make this any more finished looking like I did my other Little Red Riding Hood book dummy because it was just too time consuming. Please let me know if any of it or all of it works.
I've also posted a pastel color study of the lighthouse painting I'm going to be doing for the library project. This is actually a piece I did for my mother-in-law a long time ago that I've spruced up a bit. Normally I work much more detailed in my fine art pieces but I figured I'd show you what I was up to. No need to critique, but of course anything really standing out please do let me know! Have a wonderful week. Looking forward to all of your posts!!!!!!!!

Monday, January 07, 2008

The apples they are falling

Hi ladies,

Hope everyone had a great weekend and of course I hope I'm not the last one to publish my weekly post tonight! Where are the rest of you fellow artists? We are supposed to be starting anew with no holidays to blame for our delays!!! Anyway, I'm happy to say I was able to pull this rough sketch together from my lastest book dummy "Tortoise" at the last minute. I really think it needs a lot of work but it's a start. I wanted to make his expression seem like one of being startled at the sight of large apples falling all around him and nearly hitting him. You let me know if I've pulled it off. On another note I'm happy to say that the grant process for the painting I'm going to do for my local library is in progress. Whoo Hooo! After two more meetings with the director I've decided to do a landscape scene of the Stony Point Lighthouse which is a historic landmark that sits in a lush state park right on the Hudson River where I live. I'm totally excited to say the least. Athena will have to wait. That's fine by me. I'll have about a year to work on the project so that's just wonderful. Oh and no it's not a mural painted directly on the wall, thank God, but a large painting about 5 feet by 4 feet. It will be a permanent fixture so I have to give it up in the end. I hate the thought of doing that on something I'm going to be spending so much time on but it's right here in town so I can go take a peek whenever right. Have a great week everyone. Keep up the beautiful work. And get those posts cracking!!!!!!!!!