Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year

"The Art of Photoshop Compositing" by Julieanne Kost has been my favorite course of all the tutorials I've watched this year. So now finally, in the last few hours of 2014, I'm taking Photoshop out for a test drive, with a backseat full of cherished images.

Love ya Mom, and miss you mightily. It's been an unexpected pleasure spending New Years this way.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Meaningful Work

My largest painting to date: the cottage and deck. 

All year long, I wait for those three precious months - June, July, August. In years past, free time in summer was spent hiking, kayaking, bicycling, running, painting. But not this year.

This was a summer of devotion. Hour after hour - before work, after work, all weekend, every weekend - no radio, no distractions, just listening to the sounds of the neighborhood and my mind's griping, as I scraped, primed, and painted.

Whenever I'd find myself beginning to despair, I'd "pranam to the guru" - surrender to the job that needed to be done. This brought peace. Time passed without anxiety. Situational awareness was like meditation: moving the ladder, setting it's feet, balancing high above the ground, avoiding power lines and stinging wasps. Working until I was too hungry, or tired, or it was too dark to see.

First completed: deck, planters, and railing.
Scraping by hand, inch by inch, each face of the building, over and over.

The south side had always been prone to blistering.
The solution: paint at the end of a dry sunny day,
after the wood has cooled.
Found this tool in a Newtown paint store and HAD to buy it!
Setting ladder feet into a rocky slope was a precarious challenge.

Even with the hot muggy New England weather, a respirator and mask were essential.

My belovéd Aunt Helen worked for Mine Safety (MSA) long, long ago.
She was a quality control inspector,
overseeing the production of gas masks.
Miss you Helen! 

Nearing completion: new molding around the door, and a new light overhead.


And so the intimate connection to this place that I've been calling home for so long, continues to deepen. It's nothing fancy, but it is close to my heart. May the universe forgive me for being so attached. But there's something special about a home: if you take care of it, it will certainly take care of you.

And now the year 2014 draws to a close, and I look back and cherish the results of this summer's efforts. Hmm, think I'll fix myself a drink, get the fireplace going, put my feet up and listen to one of the best storytellers I know: Snap Judgement.

Peace be with you all in this holiday season. 
Love Everybody,
 - Nancy Boudreau

Monday, December 15, 2014

That's Not What I Meant

The title describes the method. Painting begins with an effort to express my mood by using color and texture. As the paint dries, I see that what I've done does not aptly express my intentions. So I take another stab at it, add more color, more texture, and again that's not what I meant. I try again, and again. The painting builds until it finally speaks for itself, no longer needing my input.

This little ditty, is an acrylic painting on an Ampersand 5" x 7" basswood panel cradled with a 7/8" profile.

The auction on eBay will run for one week.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Colorful Garden Benches

Sometimes a brush, pencil, or stylus is just not enough to satisfy the creative spirit in me. Last weekend, all chores were set aside, as I surrendered to spontaneous three-dimensional thinking and a little playful tinkering with jigsaw, electric drill, a box of screws, leftover paint, and castoff wooden pallets. Three cheerful garden benches were the result. I'm thinking they'll look nice in the snow. And even better over the years, as each year the rough surfaces are painted a new color, the old color peeking through to tease the eye.

This one has a built-in trug.

All are just plain comfortable.

Let me know if you want one. . . 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Reading By The Fireplace

This is a view from the loft of my home on Cottonwood Trail in Sandy Hook, the second in a series of drawings paying homage to the many years I've worked in the book publishing industry. 

Done in Photoshop using a Wacom Tablet, this is a digital scratchboard drawing. It's available as a 32" x 32" archival print for $292 plus shipping. Payment can be made using PayPal, and delivery can usually be made in a week. Email me if you'd like to place an order.

 - Nancy Boudreau

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Book for James

A tribute to my friend James Teeling, an author who has published his first novel, "The Star seers of Elidden", available through Amazon.

. . . and another scratchboard drawing, or is it a clever segue into the digital world? 

This piece of art differs from the last few drawings in that it was created using Photoshop and a Wacom Intuos4 tabletThe image you see here is much reduced from its original file size. 

An archival print at 32" x 32" is available for $292. Payment can be made using PayPal, and delivery is generally in one week. I'd love to hear from you if you're interested in owning a print.

 - Nancy Boudreau

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Horseshoe Crab Scratchboard 2

This is a scratchboard drawing of the ventral side of a cast-off horseshoe crab shell.The shell is thin and brittle. A couple of claws are missing from its delicate legs. It was collected two decades ago, from the beach at the mouth of the Housatonic River, where crabs lay their eggs in June. It still rattles with sand caught inside. 

We owe something to these crabs. . . not long ago they were rounded up for fertilizer, like lobsters once were. But also like lobsters, we've found better things to do with them. Ancient blue-bloods, they are, and today, we put that blue blood to work, saving human lives. 

This scratchboard drawing is 4.25" x 5.5", mounted on panel, and will be initially offered through auction on EBay.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Horseshoe Crab Scratchboard Drawing

Horseshoe Crabs were a fascination of my childhood summers at Short Beach in Stratford, Connecticut. I used to find the cast-off shells, an inch and a half long to as large as eight inches, on the protected beaches adjacent to the mouth of the Housatonic River. The live adults would appear in the month of June, gathering to spawn. 

This is another scratchboard drawing, a small sketch of 4.25" x 5.5", on paper mounted on panel. It is unframed, and sealed with a spray fixative. I hope to do much larger drawings of the horseshoe crab, as the shells have such wonderful detail and subtle surface values.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Cicada Husk Scratchboard Drawing

This is a study of a cicada husk, left over from last years hatch. It was a hot summer, here in Connecticut, just what our local dog-day cicadas love. Long live Tibicen Canicularis, and their electric August music!

The drawing is 4.25" x 5.5", done with the fine point of an X-Acto knife on scratchboard paper. You can follow the auction for this drawing on EBay.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Produce from the Asian Market

Produce from the local Asian market: lemongrass, baby bok choy, garlic, ginger, and Thai eggplants. In the center of the still life, sits a small carved wooden bust. Could she be an exotic princess, or a mysterious deity?

This is an 8.5" x 11" drawing done on scratchboard paper, adhered to a panel and sealed with spray fixative. Follow the auction on EBay.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Teddy Bear, Book, and Rosary Scratchboard

"Emotional comforts: An old teddy bear, the book "How to Meditate" by Pema Chödrön, and my mother's rosary."

This is an 8.5" x 11" still life drawing, done on scratchboard paper, fixed to panel, unframed.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Produce from Mexico - Art from Connecticut

After finishing this drawing, the ingredients became my dinner. The eggs and avocado were a rich appetizer. The pepper, tomatoes, and tomatillos were sautéed with a Swai filet, the tomatillos giving the dish a light lemony tang. It was one of those "feel-good long afterward" meals. My appreciation goes to Mexico, our southern neighbors who grow such wonderful produce.

Tonight. . . the beans.

This is an 8.5" x 11" drawing done on scratchboard that is made and sold locally, by a small company that sells toys and art supplies for children, Melissa & Doug. My thanks to them. The child in me is thoroughly enjoying their art materials.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Return Flight Digital Drawing

Instead of reading on the flight home, I played with the Kindle and the SketchBook Mobile app, drawing an imaginary profile of someone looking out the window, a partial closeup, typical of how you would see another passenger.

Check out my Etsy store for prints of this digital drawing and other drawings and paintings of mine.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Squash and Salt Cellar Scratchboard

These are items from my heart: last summer's squashes and a whimsical ceramic salt cellar. Every time I look at this drawing, I recall the smell of fresh pumpkin.

The drawing was done from a still life, using squashes grown in my garden this past summer, stored in the garage through the hard winter, and eaten with gusto after serving as a prop in the studio. Here's the recipe: cut the squash into sections, slather the sections  with ghee, olive oil and jaggery. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and cinnamon, then roast at 350˚F until fork tender.

The salt cellar is a much loved little piece of ceramic that I picked up at a craft show at Columbia University a couple of lifetimes ago. I've always been enchanted by the interaction of the two figures - their conversation goes on forever.

This is an unframed, 8" x 10" scratchboard drawing done on an Ampersand flat gessoed panel painted with india ink and sealed with spray fixative. It will be for sale through my Etsy shop.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Prep Bowls and Measuring Spoons Scratchboard

These brushed steel bowls were perfect for a scratchboard drawing, their surfaces literally described with strokes of light.

This is an 8" x 10" drawing, done with an X-Acto knife on an Ampersand smooth gessoed panel, painted with india ink and sealed with spray fixative.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Brushes and Guitar Scratchboard

The hair in these brushes are like the soft, colorful notes of a guitar played with the thumb and fingertips.

Another scratchboard still life, this one on an 8" x 10" Ampersand smooth finish panel, painted with india ink and spray fixative. The tool of choice was the point of an X-acto knife, which created very fine lines.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Failed Scratchboard #7

Someday my spring will come, and with it perhaps, a prince.

6" x 6" masonite painted with acrylic and lovingly worked until satisfaction.

Failed Scratchboard #6

Driving at night during a snowstorm. Hypnotic. Headlights illuminating flakes hurling toward me, when in reality I am the one being hurled - into a tunnel of snow. Snow-spotted void. 

6" x 6" masonite painted with acrylic and worked over until it cried "uncle".

Failed Scratchboard #5

This is winter: gray, vertical tree trunks, salty roads, piles of dirty snow, people dressed in black.

6" x 6" masonite panel painted with acrylic and worked with patience.

Failed Scratchboard #4

Fish in the sea, are there always more? In the darkness I see jellyfish, I see herring, I see whales and vast schools whirling, silver bodies shooting forward in arched trajectories. . . 

6" x 6" masonite painted with acrylic, brought to life with faith and intuition.

Failed Scratchboard #3

Have you ever walked the cement canyons of Manhattan in the small hours of the night?

6" x 6" masonite, painted with acrylic and worked with determination.

Failed Scratchboard #2

Perhaps this could be a colorful slub in the warp and weft of a winter coat.

6" x 6" masonite panel, acrylic paint, and a lot of frustrated gouging, scraping, and smearing.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Failed Scratchboard #1

I tried making my own scratchboards, painting masonite with plaster-loaded gesso, then with gel medium darkened with india ink. The result was an impenetrable surface. And so "gougeboard" was invented. Being a good sport, not one to let failure deter, I commenced to gouge, scrape, smear, rub and generally work the surface until I'd had enough. The result are seven confused-looking abstract panels, children of these dark winter days.

This is a 6" x 6" sheet of masonite, painted with acrylic. It is number one in a series of seven.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Sake Flask and Cups

Through the ages, in every land, people have sought to create an elixir that would dispel the pain of life. Though ingenious and delightful, every invention has been little more than a poor replacement for mother's milk - that thoroughly satisfying taste of relief and love, which we first enjoy as newborns. 

This is a 5.5" x 8.5" scratchboard drawing, intended for the January Black & White Show at Danbury Art Frame.