Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Drawings From My Sketchbook At The End of 2014.

Happy New Year, Friends. Here are some sketchbook images reflecting my adventures from around Thanksgiving.until now.

Sometimes at the end of my morning walk I miraculously end up at the nearby Dunkin' Donuts.
These two couples have been meeting here every morning for years. I've always wanted to draw them,
and just last week finally did. One day I got brave and asked what language they were speaking?
They are Greeks, and obviously longtime friends.

Two weeks ago I took the train into Philly to meet three of my friends and fellow artists at the Barnes Museum. These passengers were waiting for other trains.

After we parted I walked over to the Barnes and Noble, around 18th and Walnut streets.
These two folks did not know each other, or that I was drawing them. Each of us was in our own world.

Before heading back out of town I stopped in one of my old haunts, from when I was in Art School, in the sixties. Nothing seemed to have changed, except the bartender and me.

I could not resist sketching this dozing fellow passenger on the train ride home. The partial sketch on the right
is of a guard at the Barnes, who was also dozing off and on. He said I could not sketch in the galleries.
Mmmm...I wonder how Monet would have replied?

A few days later, while out running errands, I gave in to a mad urge for some pumpkin pie, topped with vanilla ice cream and a few puffy squirts of whipped cream. When my students complain they don't know what to draw in their sketchbooks, I tell them "Draw anything!"

Always a fun thing to do when at my favorite Chinese restaurant is just fill the page with "talking heads,"
at the take-out counter.

Sometimes when my son Mason is playing with his band, the "Tree Rats,"on "Open Mic Tuesdays", I'll hang out to draw them as they perform. Mas' is the small head left of middle, always behind his band mates because he is the drummer.
Tomorrow night is New Years eve, and to each of you have a safe and enjoyable evening, wherever you celebrate.                                


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Art Of Wishing My Friends A Merry Christmas.

If you were to type William Ternay Jr into Google and hit "images" you would see cartoons, portraits, courtroom art, landscapes, romantic paperback and children's book illustrations, drawings from my sketchbooks, even primitive drawings from my teen years done at idle moments in my dad's store.

Among those many subjects you'll also see some of my illustrations of a "Religious" theme, created for the
Franklin Mint, Greeting Card, Print, and believe it or not, Puzzle companies. The painting above is one of my most favorites. I hope it captures the mystery, magic, and perhaps majesty of this event celebrated by so many around the world at this time of the year..

One of the Greeting card companies I deal with is "Leanin' Tree." whose market is all those folks in the south and west who are into the "Great Outdoors", camping, fishing, hunting, etc. This concept came to me one beautiful, crisp, and crunchy afternoon  while standing at the top of a ski run in the mountains above Denver.
I cannot tell you how difficult it is to get a moose to hold a pose.

Happy Holidays friends, and the very best to you in 2015.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Artwork versus Art Work.

There is a big difference between creating "Artwork" and the often long process leading to its' finish,
the actual "Art Work."

Today I'm sharing with you a few of the steps in the creation of a posthumous portrait of "Nimbus," a majestic Belgian Sheep dog whose owner, a close friend, was mourning the loss of  her companion.of many years. She needed some cheering up, although I knew, if I was successful, there would also be tears.
I did Nimbus's portrait during a warm week in the fall, taking advantage of the cool shade on my porch.

When I do portraits, whether of people or animals, I prefer taking my own reference photos, so I have control over the light that describes my subject. When the subject is deceased, I don't have that luxury.
This is the basic pose I used for the painting, which showed his long lines, and enough indication of his
elegant "double coat," unique to his breed, and something I knew I had to capture.

These images gave me more information about the structure and details of Nimbus's powerful head.
In particular my friend wanted me to capture his beautiful eyes, which she described as "the color of light
coffee beans." Having done quite a few portraits of dogs in the past, I knew the ultimate "likeness" always
comes down to the eyes. Pretty true with humans, for that matter. There is a saying; "The eyes have it."

After doing many compositional sketches I trace the final one onto the canvas, faintly seen here.
I start with the most obvious and easiest part of the painting, just to get me going.. In this instance, one of Nimbus's favorite toys, a mailman doll. Unlike my landscape paintings, my portraits tend to be much tighter and detailed. I also early on establish the "darkest darks," (here; his paw) so I'll have a frame of reference when painting the mid-tones, and heading up to the "lightest lights."

When painting people I work either in oil or watercolor, but my preferred medium when painting animals is usually acrylics. Acrylics are water-based, thus easier when cleaning up. They also dry within a few minutes.
The colors on my palette, no matter what the medium, are pretty basic. A warm and a cool version of the primaries red, yellow, and blue, an orange and a cool green, and two "Earth" colors; Raw Sienna and Burnt Sienna. I put out two piles of white; one for warm mixes and one for cool, so neither contaminates the other.

Using complementary colors I mix my own blacks, and with the addition of white, my own warm or cool versions of gray. One of my long time favorite artists, Jeanne Dobie, calls them "mouse colors."  Next time you see a mouse in your kitchen, see if he or she is a "cool" gray or a "warm" gray. Or not.

Here is the finished painting of "Nimbus." I knew his owner's favorite color is "tomato red" (a warm red, not a cool red.) so I put him on a red rug in the room where his portrait now hangs. Nimbus looks down
with his coffee colored eyes from his place above the fireplace. Our dear mutual friend loves the painting, and that makes me very happy.      

Friday, December 12, 2014

Louise Ternay; Wife, Mother, Artist, Agent, And Adventurer.

This past Saturday marked the seventh year anniversary of my wife Louise's death.

Louise was one of those "left-brain-right-brain" people who prided herself on her work ethic, and her ability to "Get the job done!" She did that as a Business person, and as an Artist.This is a water color I did of her
when she was doing her co-op at the Fabric Workshop, in Philadelphia. Here she is cleaning a silk screen,
part of the very involved process of printing images on fabric.

She explained the whole process to me one day, so I decided to do this illustration, based on her description. So many steps that must be done right.

Here is one of the many more "free form" hangings she loved doing.

As I've mentioned in other posts, going to the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine in the early seventies changed our family's lives forever. Louise expressed her love of crafts by taking classes in many mediums. Here she experimented in paper making, embedding leaves in the wedded layers of  paper.

In this instance she put delicate natural fibers in the mix of wet paper, creating a subtle surface texture.

On three different occasions Louise spent a month at "Arcosanti," the experimental desert living community
envisioned by Paolo Solari, seventy miles above Phoenix, Arizona.. While there she became a stone mason, building walls and fireplaces (Count Rumford) from rock she cut and gathered in the surrounding desert and canyons. It is here where the famous "Solari Bells" are made. This is a cartoon showing Louise "Before and After" her adventures...of which she had many.

In this ceramic tile her design reflects the architecture and graphics she saw while at Arcosanti.

A few years before she died, Louise took another class at Haystack. This time it was woodworking.
She decided to build a rustic four-poster mortice and tenon cedar bed for our cabin.
The eight poles cost us fifteen bucks at the local saw mill, and the two-week course at Haystack cost at least
fifteen hundred bucks. She stripped each log, carefully cut and joined each section, and when assembled in
our cabin bedroom, proudly carved "Made By Louise Kates Ternay," on the rail at the foot of the bed.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving, Family, And A Nostalgic Drawing.

Most of us are no doubt still indulging in leftovers, but I am indulging in nostalgia and childhood memories.
Thanksgiving this year was wonderful, delicious, and poignant. But throughout the festivities I was reminded
of how thankful I am to have had the "Norman Rockwellian" childhood I shared with my parents and brothers, in South Jersey. This is a drawing I gave my parents and brothers at Christmas, in 1988, illustrating that upbringing.

On the left are my brother Bob and me in our teens. In the middle is my dad, Bud, and our mom, Helen, and my youngest brother, Frank, who sadly died within weeks of our father. Life and Death; still a magical mystery tour, to the end.

My parents had a country store, with a cast of characters from the local farming community. One of them, Billy McClintock, used to hold me over the grease pit and threaten to drop me in when I was little.
On the roof is our pet crow, Blackie and on lower right is our dog. Someone had cut off her tail when she was a pup, so we called her Numpie.

In addition to the store, Pop farmed the land. I loved walking in the furrow behind the plow, especially on hot days. The freshly turned earth was cool under my bare feet. Cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, and always sweet South Jersey strawberries were favorite crops.

My brothers and I spent most weekends, even in winter, playing in the fields and woods. If the ice was thick enough we'd skate on the small pond in the woods. In the summer we'd take our horses and my Kodak camera, and make cowboy movies in the local gravel pits. I was always the noble, but of course treacherous, Indian. Forgive me, my Native American brothers.

On rainy weekends we'd play in the barn, daring each other to walk the beam from one side to the other.
Or we'd have cap-pistol gunfights among the hay bales in the loft, scaring the nesting pigeons. The horse rearing below was brother Bob's palomino. It hated wearing a saddle, and would try to toss Bob.
Pop got rid of that horse within a week. None of us had the nerve to use the brier covered outhouse, for fear of spiders, and snakes.

On hot summer mornings I'd often be awakened by the buzz of a bi-plane as it roared over our house.
Beyond the woods were fields being dusted with chemicals dropped from the planes. Pretty horrific to
contemplate, in hindsight. But I'll bet it was fun flying one of those relics.

Equally scary was our second grade teacher, "Miss Reeves." Our grade school was just across the road. I still have a vivid image of an angry Miss Reeves holding a belligerent student by his ankles, out the window, over the sandbox below, as punishment. For awhile Miss Reeves lived in the spare room in our house,
so I had many reasons to not get on her bad side.    

When I was a teen I'd often climb onto the roof  at night to look at the glow on the horizon of what I assumed were lights from far away and mysterious Philadelphia. The lights were actually from the local town of Elmer, only about three miles away, and little did I know I'd spend most of my life living only blocks away from Philly. Note the cow staked out on the lawn. My Dad's way of cutting the grass.

With the exception of my brother Bob and me, everything I drew in this picture is long gone, except for some photos, and many wonderful memories. In the late 1950s the store, our house, the barn and outbuildings (and outhouse) and orchard, were razed. Where the barn once stood my brother Bob built a store patterned after "Seven Eleven." Above the entrance on the inside of the store are pictures of the old store, and of Bud and Helen making "Subs," and pumpkin pies...and...mmmmm... I wonder if we still have any pumpkin pie left over from Thanksgiving? I hope you all had a really enjoyable Thanksgiving, friends.