Monday, October 24, 2011

GREAT Photography! Jill Luecht!

My last post was a little about my new dSLR camera and my attempts at taking reference photos. I thought I'd post today about a friend of mine who's a professional photographer and takes FANTASTIC photos, Jill Luecht.

Jill also uses a Canon! :)

Jill is a natural light, on-location, lifestyle photographer as well as a photo editor. You just have to check out some of her photos! She has a facebook page here where she posts about what she's currently working on. She also has a web where she tells more about herself and the services she offers along with an etsy shop.

How sweet is she!?

Jill currently lives and works in Germany though she does visit the US and when she's here she's generally available for photo shoots. With Christmas coming up I can't help but think what a great gift her photography would be!

Not only does she takes great photos but she can make great photos out of the rest of our lousy ones! So if you take photos over the holidays which you really wish you'd done a better job with, she can make them look like you did! How great is that!? There's nothing worse than thinking you got that perfect shot then realizing it didn't come out quite how you'd thought. It's not very likely you're going to be able to call everyone back to the scene for a reenactment to retake the photo. It's nice to know there's another option out there.

Jill does photo editing for businesses as well as for individuals, you can see examples on her Facebook page and website she does a great job of making something great out of something blah. I also found some of her work here and now I'm really wishing for one of those cupcakes! :)

As a graphic designer I work with photos a lot and if you can't tell already, I'm a huge fan of Jill's!

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

I love my new camera!

I simply LOVE taking photos. I took my first photography class in high school and I really enjoyed it. At that time it was all traditional photography with the rolls of film, the dark room, chemical baths, etc. I took my next class in college. As an Illustration major, the importance taking reference photos was frequently stressed. It was still film at that time and I got a Pentax K1000 for the job! I loved my Pentax! Still do, actually, though film isn't very practical anymore so it's been mostly collecting dust for the past 10 or so years while I've gone through a few small point and shoot digital cameras.

While point and shoots do a good job for the most part and have gotten more and more convenient to carry size-wise, I have been longing for a dSLR for quite a while and I finally got one this summer! I narrowed my search down to two cameras, a Nikon d7000 and a Canon 60D. I finally settled on the Canon and I love it! I also love my Tamron 18-270 lens which some may argue doesn't have the quality as shorter focal length lenses, I simply love the convenience of only having to lug around one lens. Also, it fits quite nicely in my snug form fitting case so when I'm playing the tourist I don't need to heft around a camera bag!

Canon 60D with Tamron 18-270 lens and my Mickey Mouse strap purchased at Disney for my Pentax back when I was in college.

LOVE this case by USA Gear which I found on Amazon! It has a small zipper section on the back for carrying things, I use it for money, license, etc though I think it's meant for extra memory cards and such.

This is a photo from Canon's site. One big reason I picked this camera over the Nikon is that flip out screen, on the left, which can be closed with the screen facing inward to protect it. I have screen protectors on everything I own and this feature allowed me to not have to worry about this one. I couldn't be more happy with it!

Here are a couple of my favorites from a trip to a winery a few weeks ago. I will very likely be painting from a few of these.

Very funny and frisky cat at the winery

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Cool Bees Outdoor Fall Market

Custom Portrait Samples 

Last Saturday was the outdoor market at Cool Bees and the weather was just perfect! Well...perfect until the wind picked up and started sending my artwork sailing to the ground. The "perfect" lasted most of the day though so I can't complain!

Me at My Tent

I had a great time meeting people and several very nice people stopped by to talk to me about my artwork and about having a portrait done. I was able to meet and chat with some of the other vendors and get to see what they were selling. Over all it was a wonderful day and I think I might do it again.

Another benefit of participating in the market was that I was forced to get my business cards and brochures done. As you may know, I'm also a graphic designer and have my own business, Bendt Design, so that helps quite a bit. Though, as the saying goes about the shoemaker's son having no shoes...well, I'm also last on my own list so I needed a little nudge. I'm very excited to finally have these done! You can download a brochure by clicking here or on the graphic to the left if you'd like to see it!

Business Cards - 2 sided

My New Portrait Brochure - Download Here

I also learned a few things about how I might set up differently next time. First off, I'd have table clothes, that would have helped everything look a bit tidier. Secondly, I'd have all of the portrait examples up front instead of splitting them up between front and side.

I also learned a few things about tents. To answer my own question, which I had before the event, "yes, there is a difference between them". I got an amazing deal on mine ($54! WOO HOO!) which is officially more of a sporting even tent. As the wind picked up and my tent wanted to go with it I realized that the people with "Festival Tents" didn't have as much of a problem as I did. There are vents in the top of those tents which allow the air to pass through vs to cause lift off. Of courses, festival tents are much more expensive then the one I got so unless I start participating in these regularly I'm not sure that I'll be getting one. Another thing which the seasoned folks around me did was to tie weights to their tent legs, a trick which seemed to work quite well.

Prints Hanging in Cool Bees

A final benefit of participating in this event is that I got myself organized! I now know what I have and where it is! I have added many more originals to my etsy shop and also have some originals hanging in Cool Bees Artwork and Gifts! That means more room around here for new paintings! Yay!

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Jeanmarie!!!!

Strike a Pose

My niece turns 10 today! Jeanmarie is a fun girl who's into many things including Art, Reading, Lacrosse, Soccer, and most of all Horses! I have watched her go through my web site and pick out pieces which she likes, mostly I have seen her point to the horses. So, a few weeks ago when we were talking about what to get for this special little girl on her birthday, the idea of my doing a horse portrait for her popped up.

I had a lot of fun working on this, not the least of which was based on whom I was creating it for. It's a lot of fun to give presents from the heart and I poured my heart into this. I find that working on graphite renderings puts me into a very peaceful place, I haven't done one in a while so I was reminded of this while I worked "ohmmmm...."

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JEANMARIE! I hope you enjoy your present as much as I enjoyed making it for you!

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Colorful New Orleans

Colorful New Orleans
It's been a while since I participated in the Virtual Paintout. This month's location is New Orleans. I wandered around looking for something which caught my eye and ended up here. I set out to complete this painting in one sitting and was happy to have accomplished that. I started out with a brush but in the end used a palette knife for most of it. The actual image was rather drab but that just didn't seem right to me. Having never been to New Orleans, I tend to envision the area in the bold colors so I used those quite liberally here.

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Monday, September 26, 2011


Procreate App on iPad

I love abstracts, they are so much fun to look at. I made an attempt at one a while back (click here to view), it was a small 5x7 oil painting. Here's my second one, this time created using the Procreate app on my iPad.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cool Bees!

I was recently contacted by a local shop called Cool Bees (what a fun name!). The owner saw my work online and asked if I'd like to sell some of my work there. I've thought of doing this before but didn't know where to start so this is incredibly exciting! I do have an etsy shop but this is a real live store you can walk into! How about that?

I'm working on getting everything assembled right now and phweww! What a job! I have no idea what will sell the best so I'm going to start with framed prints. That means matting, lots and lots of matting. Thanks to my wonderful (I can't say enough about her) high school art teacher, Valerie Savage, I am rather well equipped for the job. I've utilized the skills she taught me several times over the years, but never at this scale. I am also grateful that my Dad, while I was in college, signed me up to take a framing class at a local art store with him. I must admit that I didn't learn much more than I already knew, though I did pick up some ideas and had a good time taking the class with my Dad! Also, I walked out of there with a new matt cutter (thanks Dad!) which I use to this day. I'm sure there are better matt cutters out there now, but this one suits me quite well. Also, it sure beats the old method of taping down the ruler and praying you don't lose a couple fingers!

Another exciting piece of news is that on October 15th I may have a table set up in an outdoor art event which is being held outside Cool Bees! I think I may take some originals to sell there. I'll also be borrowing back a few portraits which I've done to put on display (heh heh). I don't have the whole booth set up so I'm not quite sure yet how I'm going to handle this but have a vague idea and I think it may involve the use of easels.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Draft Horse - Final

Draft Horse
Oil on Masonite
Detail #1

Detail #2 - Palette Knife Strokes

A while back I posted the first stage of this painting. After completing the painting I was debating about changing a section of it so I've been staring at it for a while. I have made the decision to leave it as is. So, finally, here's the final! 

I used a combination of paint brush and palette knife in this one and am happy with the affect. It was fun to use the knife as it allowed me to apply paint in larger quantities and to blend in a different way. I will certainly be using that more in the future.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Vito - Complete


My latest pet portrait is of a glorious sheepdog! I was very happy to use this aqua paint color which I had found right before I was contacted about painting Vito.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Morgan - Final


Morgan, Morgie, Magoo, Pumpkin, Pumpkin Pants, PumPum, Pajama Bottoms (Indian name), Baby Girl, Nellie, Nellie Nugget, Nuggie, Nuggie Bump, Naughty Norkin, Squash, Kirplunk...All are names for my beloved puppy. It's funny how we do that, I know I'm not the only one who dons my animals with a variety of nicknames. I don't know a more loving dog and I'm so lucky to spend my days with her.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ibis - Final

Prints Available on Etsy
Here's the final scan of the ibis which I posted a few weeks ago as a work in progress. When blogger when down, that post was lost and though they say they're working on recovering it, I'm not having a lot of faith that I'll see it again so here's the work in progress again.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Golden Retriever - Final

Golden Retriever
Available on Etsy

I've finished this puppy off and have posted him in my etsy store! I'm happy to finally have gotten an original painting up there! More to come soon I hope!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fancy Pants

Fancy Pants
Procreate on iPad
Available on etsy!
Here's another iPad painting. This one makes me happy. I had so much fun with him and I think I may paint him, or a version of him, HUGE, with oils. Huge for how I've been working anyway. I've also noticed that I need to change the dimensions I'm iPad painting at. I'd rather not have to crop off so much to get him into a 5x7 matt.

It's almost the weekend and I'm gearing up to do a lot of painting and to enjoy our new grill! The irony of this is that literally while I'm typing this post, the beautiful sun has been replaced with a black sky and the beginnings of what is sure to be a downpour. Darn it! Well, I'll still be able to paint! The grill, on the other hand, may have to wait until Sunday (though I'm holding out some hope for tomorrow).

Happy Friday!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Draft Horse - Work in Progress

I simply love horses! They take my breath away. Growing up I had a horse and was forced to find it a good home when I moved to Boston after graduating from college. One of life's many tough choices. I ache to own one again, in the mean time, I'll paint them!

This is of a horse I saw during a visit to Kentucky Horse Park.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Portrait of Marie

When I was putting my etsy store together last week, I remembered that I have a new portrait to share (it's representing human portraiture on etsy)!


Monday, May 9, 2011

Golden Retriever - Work in Progress

I was able to work on the Golden some more this weekend. Above is the second photo I took (the first one I posted last week).

I think he's done. I'm going to stare at it for a while longer to see if there are any other tweaks I want to make. If not, I just need to sign it, paint the edges, and get the wire on the back for hanging.

I had some issues with the wire last time, I can't be the only one, or maybe I am. I switched over to using Ampersand Gessobord painting panels. I prefer them because they're a bit deeper and I don't need to prime them as they come ready to paint on. The downside is that I have to put wire on the back.

I don't know how anyone gets the eye hooks into the wood frame on these panels, it takes someone stronger than I, that's for sure! Or, maybe there's a drill involved. If I did that as a first step then I could clamp the painting panel into a vice grip...hmmm, maybe next time I'll give that a shot. In the mean time, I came up with a pretty good solution, I used a staple gun to staple the wire in place on each side then doubled it back on itself and wrapped itself, same as you'd do with the eye hooks.

I'm pleased with the results and I don't think the wire's going anywhere, so maybe I'll leave the drill on the shelf.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I've Opened an Etsy Shop!

I've had artwork piling up around me for a while now, always with the idea of selling it but haven't found the venue which suited me. A few years back I looked into a few, including etsy, and for whatever reason brushed them aside.

Last week etsy was mentioned to me by a friend of mine from high school who has an etsy shop, and again by my sister. I took that as a sign that I should at least check it out again. So I did, and found that it does seem to suit my needs at this point. I'm not really sure why they didn't back then, or if I just didn't realize that it might work out well for me.

In any case. I've finally opened up my etsy shop where I will be selling originals, prints, and portraits. I have yet to finish sorting out the originals which I'll be selling and I have a few more prints to get online. For the most part though, the shelves are full and the shop is open for business! Stop by and have a look! Throw me a few hearts! And if there are any experienced Etsians out there who'd like to pass on your wealth of knowledge, I'd love to hear it!

Also check out my friend's shop! She sells wonderful, handpainted glassware! My all time favorite being her changing faces glasses! And her mugs with the cherry trees and Chinese lettering! And her dandelion dishes! And...ok, I like it all! She also has a blog over here and writes books. Phweww! She must have a lot more energy than I do...

Around here I'm usually pretty quiet, I post my artwork, say a few words, and that's about it. In person, I'm quite the opposite. As I took a look at the preview of this quite lengthy post, I think I may have blown my cover, just a hair ;)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Golden Retriever - Work in Progress

I haven't posted a work in progress in a while as I've been side-tracked with life and, ahem, my iPad. Here's the first stage of a Golden Retriever which I started working on this past weekend.

Monday, May 2, 2011

I'm a Featured iPad Artist!

Check it out! I'm a featured iPad artist on Just iPhone Art!

This actually happened a couple of weeks ago but I had company and then have been so busy I haven't had a chance to post this until now. So exciting! :)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Draw a Bird Day

Just a Bird
Procreate app on iPad

My friend Kathy announced yesterday on Facebook that it was Draw a Bird Day in the UK yesterday. So, I drew a bird. This is from a photo I took of a bird which landed on a branch outside my office window. I usually miss getting a photo of the vibrantly colored ones so I was happy to catch this guy.