Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Prep work for my project: 100 Pet Portraits in 100 Days

This morning I painted an oil study of my cat on a 6 x 6 inch panel. This is the size I intended to do the 100 Pet Portraits. After completing the study, I decided I'd rather work a little bit larger. I finally settled on 9 x 9 inch as the size for each of the 100 pet portraits.
This afternoon I began preparing panels and got several cut before leaving the studio for dinner. Panels consist of acid-free archival Rives BFK paper (heavy weight). I apply four thin coats of white gesso on each side of the paper, lightly sanding between coats.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Several artists I see are doing "100 paintings in 100 days" to expand their exposure and possible sales. The paintings are small (5 x 7 inch). Typically, they are landscape or still-life works. One artist I found does portraits; People were asked to email the artist snapshots of themselves for consideration to be among the 100 paintings.
Well, I haven't found anyone doing pets this way. So . . . . .
I'll paint 100 pet portraits in 100 days. Each oil painting will be at least 6 x 6 inch and done in any style I deem appropriate.
If so, email me a snapshot of your animal pet (dog, cat, bird, horse, turtle, etc.) Include the pet's name and breed and be sure to write "100 PETS" in the email subject line so it doesn't accidently end up in my junk mail folder.
My email address: poppengacarol@hotmail.com

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Big sky, small paintings

"Distant Weather" is one of several small (5 x 7 inch) paintings I've created recently. The challenge is to convey the big sky of the high prairie I live in. Storms or unsettled, changing weather (like a cold front or a chinook rolling in) are what I find the most interesting, although I do paint "fair weather" skies too. I like to experience weather in "real time" and then paint the memory of it later in the studio.

"Black Butte Memories" is another 5 x 7 inch painting completed this week. Personally, I find this kind of painting more interesting than the one above ("Distant Weather"). Black Butte is a landmark northeast of Lewistown, MT. When portraying large land masses such as this, I "immerse" it in the even larger sky. Even though it's only a few miles away, Black Butte is not visible from my studio as it's mountain neighbors, the Judiths, rise to the immediate west/southwest of it. This painting is based in memories of pleasure drives taken along the gravel road that meanders around the butte's base. The general view is from north looking southward toward the butte (not the view most people in Lewistown are familiar with). It's not a literal recording of the butte but rather a collective sense of the butte as one would see it from changing angles as the road meanders.

Monday, December 14, 2009

"Pincushion Cactus with Shasta Blues (butterflies)" original handpulled silkscreen

Part of my strategy in 2009 was to work in mediums that would allow me to offer a lower-priced original artwork. Many years ago I'd done several silkscreened works with fine results, so I thought I'd return to that medium again and see how marketable it might be in this economy. This particular work is a 15-color, measures 15 inches diameter, and is in an edition of only thirteen. As always, I destroy the screen once the work/edition is finished.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Streetscape Amenities

Streetscape Amenities commission close to completion

I've created designs for street amenities for the City of Lewistown, Montana. There will be 14 benches (7 distinct designs), 14 bike stands, and 14 waste receptacles. Bench designs are based on architectural elements of historic buildings on Main Street (which is where the benches will be installed.) Below are photos of several benches in the fabrication stage. Each bench is six feet long, will have two arm rests, feet drilled for mounting bolts (sidewalk installation); and a Rotary Club plaque (the local Rotary provided a portion of the funds for the benches). For the bike stands and waste receptacles, I created a design based on wheat (a major agriculture product in this part of Montana.) Bike stands were completed and delivered in October. Benches in-progress shown in the photos. Designs include: Lion; Egg and Dart; Roman Column Capital; Full Fan; Quadrafoil.