Wednesday, November 30, 2016

From Mice to Poultry

Working with roosters and chickens, as well as mice. The roosters are prep work for a piece that'll be in an upcoming show at Valkarie Gallery called Cock of the Walk. It's a show celebrating the Year of the Rooster.

I don't know quite what the end artwork will be, but preliminaries are never a waste of time;
I'm learning with each sketch, and the ideas will be useful down the road. Even if I don't use any of these ideas for the show, they will probably turn up in a finished work at some point.

Been working on tan and gray toned papers, with pencil, blue and crimson Colerase pencils, and white Signo pens for the highlights.

In the Chinese zodiac, the Year of the Rooster is the unluckiest year in the 12 year cycle, but the Rooster is confident, courageous, and best of all, honest--all three are badly needed in these times of ignorance, cowardice, and propaganda.

Hope this coming Year of the Rooster is filled with love, courage, and compassion for you and all people of the world. I will not give up hope, even in this darkness.

Thank you for reading

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Been goofing around with mouse sketches. Mice have been a constant inspiration for artists for years. There's Mickey, and all the other Disney mice of course, plus those of Beatrix Potter. And the  Merrie Melody cartoon rodents, and David Petersen's Mouse Guard. So it's not exactly easy to come up with unique-looking mice characters.
Nonetheless, I'm tryin'...
...and it is fun!
This fellow pleased me--I feel like he is pretty unique. The sketch at the top of the post turned into this detail of a larger acrylic work.
When I was a skinny little kid I had out-sized ears and got called "Mickey" for a time. So here's a less skinny self-portrait prelim in my own honor. I hope it doesn't look much like the famous fellow who inspired my nickname.
Thanks for checking out my blog!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The DYAO Painted Violin, er...Mandolin!

Copyright Tom Sarmo 2016

Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Vanishing Violin

This year I was again asked to paint a violin for the Denver Young Artists Orchestra. I enthusiastically accepted; the Denver Young Artists Orchestra is a favorite. It's a group of young musicians auditioned from all over the Colorado Front Range, and the music they make is astounding! I'd painted a violin for their 10th Annual fundraiser, and it was a blast! See it here:
My first Painted Violin

A week or so later, I was given this gorgeous mandolin, instead of a violin, to paint.  It had once belonged to the mother of a musician in the Colorado Symphony, and he generously donated it to the DYAO's Painted Violin.

Dating from about 1918, the mandolin was damaged, but still gorgeous!

I'm a sucker for the character of beautiful old wood--and for craftsmanship. And it about killed me trying to save both the patina of the wood and the decal on the front of the mandolin. I traced it, designed and re-designed it, pestered other artists for advice, and finally realized that sadly, the front had to be covered up.
A coating of Kilz, and then a coating of red acrylic followed. The design was drawn with a fine brush and black acrylic. I was able to save the decorative circle and edge.

A progress shot...

...and a detail of the illustration. I chose a Sherlock Holmes theme because it had somehow become the Year of Sherlock for me; I was in the midst of reading some, and was painting a large Holmes piece for another show.
Click on the link for more info about this mandolin:
And check out all the cool Painted Violins here:
Don't forget to visit the site of DYAO for information about all their sweet concerts and their worthy mission:

Thanks for your visit, and for your support of all of the arts!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A Tiny Bit of Peace

Shacks. Lawren Stewart Harris

I needed to see something new, raw, and beautiful this week. And I found it. 
There's a lot of good left in this world, and much more to come. 

Art gives me hope. Artists give me hope.

Thanks for the visit.

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