This painting was completed as a portrait project for Ryan McCormick’s Drawing & Painting class at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.  It’s based on a portrait by Teenie Harris: “Portrait of Lucille Cuthbert” c. 1940-1950, Charles Teenie Harris, gelatin silver print, Carnegie Museum of Art 1996.69.48

You can see the original portrait at Historic Pittsburgh.

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Portrait, in progress

It’s been a long road. Maybe it’s almost done?  This was a project for painting class in which I attempted to copy or at least make something similar to this portrait by Vigée-LeBrun   Watch it grow…

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Now if I could just finish the sweater I started knitting 2 years ago…

Art inspired by online dating

I started this piece many months ago when someone sent me a really annoying message on OK Cupid, but I couldn’t put my finger on what was so frustrating about it.  It said: “no way u r single”.  So I ended up making this painting using  images from old encyclopedias and acrylics:

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Since this is the first artwork I’ve actually COMPLETED in a really long time, I went hog-wild and submitted it for Art All Night, which happens this Saturday in Pittsburgh. Yay for un-curated, free, and massive art displays! Can’t wait to see everything else that’ll be there. Oh, and I did title this piece “no way u r single”, it only seemed proper as an homage.

Birds of prey

Years ago I got this lovely book at the Ann Arbor Public Library book sale.  It has 192 full color plates illustrated by Roger Tory Peterson.


I’ve since used many of the bird illustrations in collages or as models for paintings or designing paper cuttings.  The latest project turned out especially great — somehow even though there’s terrible lighting in my apartment, I managed to get the color mixing exactly right to blend the printed images into the painted edges of this small wooden tray:

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For this little tray (which was a random Goodwill purchase years ago), I cut out part of the plate from the book, painted a background with some minimal shading, and then fixed the lovely vultures onto the tray’s surface using glue and paint.  I then hand-painted the missing or cropped parts of the image to extend them over the edges of the tray, improvising a bit and making the already dynamic imagery feel like its flowing out of the rectangular frame.

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I can’t recommend this type of painting enough if you’re feeling stuck in a rut or don’t know what you want to create. Let some other artist help you out of your image block by using their forms as your canvas. It will probably help you relax and just enjoy working with paint and color, along with helping you learn to see new aspects of an image you already appreciated.  Worth it, even if you don’t end up creating something wholly original.