Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Archie's World, a miniature commission

"Archie's World" in an early stage of progress, 3" x 8 1/4", egg tempera on panel
(click on the painting to see a larger view)

I have a special request to do a commissioned miniature painting of the lovely country estate of the Weiss family which is located in upstate New York.  It has been commissioned by Ricky Weiss, as a surprise for her Mom, Eve, (who is not on the computer often) and as you can see it will include lots of fun details, and the colors of Autumn. 

There is the house and pool fenced in with rose bushes, overlooking their own pond, and to the left, a bridge they have built across one end of the pond.  In the water are Rebecca and Daniel, Ricky's daughter and son, paddle-boating, and also Archie, a wild duck that their family nursed back to health, loved, and adopted as a pet.  Archie even had his own pool in the garage when the weather was too inclement, so it became 'Archie's world'.
The Weiss family and the Conners have known one another since the days when my father, Eve, and her husband Gus, all shared the same study group at NYU Law School.  In the 1960s we stayed with their family to enjoy the World's Fair in NYC.  So it's a great pleasure to be working on this painting for Ricky and Eve.

On another note, I formerly showed small work portraits on this blog along with my miniatures and other small paintings, but those have now moved over to my portrait blog.  Here is one of my small portraits in egg tempera, nearing completion, which you can read more about, along with others on Mona Conner Portraits

"Frances and Dylan", nearing completion

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The new best brush in my miniature painting repertoire

Da Vinci Maestro Kolinsky Sable Miniaturist brushes, 
L-R, #3, #2, #1, #0, #000
Comparing #0 brushes: 
 from bottom to top, #0 Da Vinci Maestro Kolinsky Miniaturist,
#0 Winsor and Newton series 7 miniature, and #0 (regular series 7 Winsor and Newton)

Comparing #000 brushes:
bottom to top, 000 Da Vinci Maestro Kolinsky Miniaturist, 000 Winsor and Newton series 7 miniature brush, 000 Winsor and Newton (regular series 7)

Along with a few varieties of small synthetic brushes, I've been a fairly loyal user of Winsor and Newton series 7 miniature and regular series 7 for several decades by now, yet over the years I've observed that the amount of hair in the ferules has decreased, the cost has gone up, and although they are still good brushes, for the price and quality I'm just not feeling 100% satisfied with their performance and staying power.  With all the interesting brushes out there to try these days, I thought it was time for some research on sables.  After looking over three or four lines of brushes, I decided to try Da Vinci Maestro Kolinsky 'Miniaturist' sables.   

My rationale was that of all the miniature brush lines I saw, the Da Vinci Miniaturist line has more hair (fatter at the ferrule, or base of the brush), and a shorter but still very pointy tip.  It's a round brush made of Kolinsky sable, (which means male winter Siberian Kolinsky sable, the best sable you can get), and I hoped a fatter pointy brush meant it would hold more paint without dripping, and give me more control and precision.

So far I am very impressed with these neat little sables!  Above are some comparison pictures demonstrating the difference between the two lines, especially since the brush sizes do not exactly correspond, and it took me a while reading over the brush dimensions provided online to decipher the sizes I wanted to try.  They are not inexpensive, but I got mine through a nice sale at Dick Blick online.  I've been using them on a commissioned miniature painting in egg tempera, and also on a larger portrait commission in oil.  As soon as I get a little further with the miniature commission, I'll post it in progress.