Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Week Ago Today - Danette Velez

Early in the morning last Thursday, my friend Danette passed away. You may remember her from previous posts if you've read my blog for some time. If not, you can read my first post about her, when I completed a celebratory "I'm cancer free!" portrait. Her cancer returned, and I completed this second painting, and this post has a wonderful image of her portable shrine and an article about her courage and optimism.

Once again, I am without words that can describe how I feel (except maybe denial!), honor her memory, or truly give a hint as to the impact this woman had on so many people. Literally, I have been out in public with her portrait and had numerous people recognize her image and stop to talk about what a 'bright spirit' she is. Children would recognize her face and smile at the sunny image of Miss Danette. People who never even met her would be touched by the image of this happy, optimistic woman who was in the midst of battling cancer. Over at this CaringBridge webpage, that her family set up for her, some 13,000 people have visited, and hundreds have signed the guestbook and shared memories and loving thoughts. You can also read some entries from her journal, which family members have been posting here and there, and just get a glimpse into the kind of woman she was.

Friday at 3pm there will be a 'Celebration of Life' memorial service for her at Unity Church of Overland Park. Danette leaves behind a husband who carries the same 'bright spirit,' and 5 beautiful children who reflect the souls their parents, as well an extended family. A trust fund has been set up for the family; please consider giving if you are moved to do so:

Danette Velez Fund

First National Bank of Olathe

PO Box 1500

Olathe, KS 66051-9901

This woman was simply amazing, and I am so gifted for having known her. Thank you, Danette, for your friendship.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Unfortunately, there is a lot of glare in this photo, especially in the shadows of the thighs. Hopefully the effect of the shadows is not totally lost.

The legs are the least lit area of this figure, and so I am trying to keep a relatively narrow value range here. Also, the value of much of the rest of the painting will come down, too, as I continue to paint. The idea is to allow certain areas and edges to become lost in the shadow, which will cause the lights to have just that much more impact.

Stay tuned as I slowly make my way through this one.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Standing Nude Painting In Progress

Here you can see where I've put another layer on the butt and thigh areas. Seems like a logical place to start to me! This way I have a reference right in the middle of the painting, instead of starting at one end and changing things by the time I get to the other end. There's also a medium value range here, as opposed to the dark range in the legs and the highlights in the shoulders, and there's much less detail to worry about than in areas with more muscle and bone definition, such as the back.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wondering if this is Finished

I think this may be done. I like the gentle rendering, so it doesn't feel over done, but I am also wondering if the graphite is dark enough for the heavily toned paper. Maybe it needs a little charcoal in the shadows? I'll think about it, and concentrate on my painting for a while.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Drawing and Painting and Drawing Some More!

In addition to working on the drawing above and the painting below, I have also put some finishing touches on a couple other drawings. Perhaps I will post those in a day or two, here and/or on my website.

Monday, September 10, 2007


I'm back, and I'm drawing a back! I have been working on things slowly but steadily since I returned home. There have been some events that have left me speechless, and if words come to me about them, I will share. Meanwhile, I have kept myself busy finishing up some drawings, finishing a proposal, starting this drawing, and working on a few other projects. Hopefully now I will be able to get back to my painting full force.

Drawing is fun. I've gathered some new paper to play with and add some variety to the drawings. The color above is galled "Pottery Green." I can't wait to see how the white conte looks on it.

Monday, September 03, 2007

In Loving Memory of My Grandma

From left to right; my mother, my grandmother, myself
at my mother's wedding this summer.

Shortly after my last post, I got a phone call from my mother. This was followed later in the afternoon my another call, and a final call late that night. My grandma had died.

I don't usually discuss personal experiences or thoughts on my blog; generally I stick to the topic of my art and related events, but today I feel like sharing.

For the past several hours I've been trying to write my thoughts about my grandma, and describe what she meant to me and to my family and who she was as a person. Of course, a person cannot be encapsulated in a blog entry, so I have decided instead to tell a favorite story about her.

Growing up, I waited all year every year to feast on Grandma's pumpkin pie. I wouldn't allow myself to eat it at any other time of year, or else I felt like I was cheating. On Thanksgiving day, I had to wait patiently for everyone to finish dinner, and let it settle for a while before breaking into dessert. She knew I loved the pie, and would make enough so that some could be sent home with me.

When I realized that moving away from Syracuse would mean that I may not get to participate in this annual indulgence, I started nagging her for the recipe. Eventually, a year after I had moved and she was visiting KC, she finally shared her secret recipe with me. I believe her exact words were, "Oh, get a can of Libby's and read it!"

I now refer to it as "Grandma's World Famous 'Get a Can of Libby's and Read It!' Pumpkin Pie."