Painting on Canvas

My Process


At shows, I sell original color pencil drawings.  My original works have a 5-step process: inspirational reference photo, color pencil drawing, background, mounting/framing, and naming.  I also sell prints of my original works.

1. The first step is taking the reference photo.  I love going to aquariums, zoos, and natural parks.  I grew up in Virginia Beach, VA right along the marshes of the Chesapeake Bay so my backyard was filled with turtles, snakes, and the occasionally fox and opossum.  I spent most of my summer days at the beach or trekking through mud.  Virginia Beach also has an amazing aquarium and the Norfolk Zoo across town.  I usually visit both once a year.  Being in wildlife is where I draw my inspiration from and taking pictures with my iPhone.    




2. The second step is the color pencil drawing, which takes the longest.  I use Prisma color pencils on mixed media paper.  While my work will sometimes be mistaken for digital work, I want my work to portray hand-drawn imagination.  My exaggerated colors and how I layer them using color pencils allows me to connect to my work on a personal level. 


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4. The fourth step is mounting the drawing.  For shows, I mount my drawings on wood panels, and they are sprayed with a protective acrylic coating and varnish.  The wood panels go great with floating frames or stand alone!  For custom works, I let you decide if you want me to mount it, take it to a custom frame shop, or let you choose the frame.  I have worked with custom frame shops before and they are wonderful for choosing the correct matting and style of frame, wooden, metal, etc. 


5. Finally, I name the animal.  My work is personal and after all the time I spend creating a portrait of these animals, I love giving them a name.  I usually come up with some story about what they would be thinking, their personality, and what their life would be.  Naming the animal allows the viewer to connect with the animal, to see them as I do.


3. The third step is creating a background.  Depending on the piece, I will use spray paint on Bristol paper to create a fantastical look.  With spray paint, I can create contrasting even-layered backgrounds.  Spray paint is so much fun to work with and allows me to give a crisp, imaginative look.  I also will choose to do backgrounds in color pencil.  This allows me to create a more realistic overall work.