As many of you probably know by now, my little Rat Terrier buddy – Ranger – is one of my favorite subjects.  He is my faithful sidekick….especially when I have food.  One evening my son had some friends over and my hubby bought them some junk food as a snack (what a dad – eh?).  I couldn’t resist eating a few of the Cheetos and, of course, my little buddy was right there to mooch.  He looked so dang cute in his earnestness to have a bite that I had my daughter shoot some pics….knowing that it would make a really cute painting!

What I learned on this piece:

It is very important to have a really good sketch before starting the “painting” process.  If the dimensions of the subject are off even the slightest bit in the sketch, then it is going to be glaringly obvious in full color.  Trying to correct the sketch while filling in the color can cause more problems.  Therefore, taking the extra time to make sure the subject is sketched out appropriately is worth the time and effort!

8-1/2 x 11 Stonehenge paper.  Prismacolor, Luminance and Coloursoft pencils.


Sworn to Protect

I’ve been working on this piece off and on for several months.  I made a huge mistake and was very close to throwing it away.  My family begged me not to, so I just set it aside.  A week later I went back to see if I could repair the damage.  After many days of careful, painstaking work I was able to fix the problem.

Things I learned on this piece:

1.  At a certain point, Prismacolor pencils stop layering and start coming off of the paper!  This goes along with the thing that all artists need to remember:  don’t overwork a painting!!

2.  The Icarus Board is an invaluable blending tool.  It is also useful for layering color and making repairs.  In order to fix the above mentioned problem and layer color over the areas where the Prismacolor was coming off I did the following process:

– sprayed the piece lightly with fixative

–  let the painting dry thoroughly (about a day)

– turned the Icarus board to the highest setting

very gently stroked the pencil tip in a single direction over the area

The reference photo for this painting was used courtesy of courtnaxho on

11×14 Stonehenge paper. Prismacolor and Luminance colored pencils.

The Trio – Finished

As predicted, I finished “The Trio” on Monday afternoon.                                       Details:  11×14 Stonehenge paper.  Prismacolor and Luminance colored pencils.

What I learned while working on this piece:

1.  That tracing paper does not serve as a good barrier between the hand and paper.  I used it to try to prevent smudging.  It actually created quite a bit of smudging.

2.  I love the Prismacolor pencil “Black Grape.”  It is what I used for the final layer on the background.  The background is actually composed of several different layers of color: indigo blue, violet, sky blue and black grape.

3.  Fantastix are great color blenders.  They are cheapest when bought in a bucket on

The Trio – WIP

Happy Belated Easter Everyone!

Here is my latest work in progress (WIP).  “The Trio” is my daughter, Hayley, and the family’s two rat terriers, Ranger and Scout.  They love to “sing” together quite frequently, so I thought that it would be fun to capture in a painting.

The first step was a photo shoot of the singers….which was fun, but eardrum splitting!  Scout (the dog on the right) has a nice, cute little howl.  However, Ranger (the one in Hayley’s arms) doesn’t really know how to howl.  It’s kind of a cross between yapping/howling.  Quite comical – yet noisy!  By the time the photo session was over my ears were ringing.

After looking at all of the photos on the computer, I discovered that there wasn’t just one photo of the three of them that I liked.  Three separate photos had qualities about each subject that I thought were cute.  Therefore, I took the three separate photos and used them as a reference for a sketch.  The sketching phase of this piece took quite a bit of time.  Especially since I’m not at all good at drawing people.  For some reason I have a mental block when it comes to the human figure.  My professors in college constantly told me “Michelle, if you can draw horses as well as you do, then you can draw people!”  I guess I just need to practice more.

Quite a few colored pencil artists will work on one little area of the painting at a time.  Some start from the center and work outward, while others work from left to right.  They do this to prevent smudging.  However, I cannot do this.  I simply cannot focus on one area at a time or I quickly become bored.  Not only that – I’m afraid that I won’t be able to keep the colors in the piece balanced.  To prevent smudging, I carefully lay the dusting brush across the piece (like a painter’s maulstick) and rest my hand on it.  It helps to have the brush right there anyway – so I can brush away crumbs quickly as they appear.

I’m hoping to finish this piece up this afternoon.  Once I have it completed, I will do a post and put it in the gallery.  Until then, here are some photos that I took along the way (next time I’ll try to remember to take photos during earlier phases):

April 4, 2012:

 April 7, 2012:

My Studio

I have noticed that artists are intrigued by other artist’s workspaces/studios.  Therefore, I decided to take photos of my own studio to share with everyone. As you can see, I am blessed with a very spacious room in which to create my art.  It has two walls filled with large windows, so the natural lighting is generally pretty good.  This room was added on by the previous owners of our house as a “sitting room.”  I somehow doubt that they did much sitting out there…unless it was only in the summer.  This room is not insulated at all, so during the winter it is like a deep freezer.  Hence the space heaters in the photos.  I didn’t include a photo of the right front of my studio.  It is currently a mess and piled with various things that do not belong in there – like an entertainment center that will go to my daughter’s apartment after she gets married in June.

Here is a not-quite 360 degree tour of my studio.  I hope that you enjoy it!

Standing at the entrance of the studio. Can you spot the sheep outside the window? It's snowing, but you can't see the snowflakes in the photo.

Left rear corner. This used to be my colored pencil workstation, but since I took this photo I've rearranged a bit. Now I do my colored pencil work at my drafting table. It's better for my back/neck to work there instead of on the flat table.

To the left are the doors to the entrance of the studio. All of those bins/tubs are full of yarn. Yes, I'm a wee bit obsessed with knitting!

The view from my drafting table.

WIP – “Can I Have a Bite?”

Hello Everyone!  Thought I’d pop in and show you what I’ve been working on.  This piece is 16×20 and I’ve been using a mixture of pencils (Prismacolor, Luminance and Polychromos).  My sweet hubby got me an Icarus Board as an anniversary gift and I’m thinking about using it to help blend the background.Some people draw directly on the paper/board before coloring in the details.  With colored pencil you have to be very careful not to get too much graphite on the substrate – otherwise the colored pencil won’t layer very well.  Since I’m heavy handed when it comes to sketching, my process is to sketch the outline of the main figures on tracing paper.  Then I transfer the image with transfer paper.  If I don’t have any transfer paper available, then I lightly rub graphite on the back of the tracing paper and transfer the image by going back over the lines of the sketch.

Here is an example of the graphite technique:

the front side of the drawing on tracing paper

graphite lightly layered on reverse

the piece in its current state

As you can tell, I’m not one of those people who work one little area of the painting at a time.  My attention span is way too short for that.  I also had to change the layout from the original photo (moving my son’s head) because I messed up horribly while doing his face.  Perhaps someday I will be able to do humans….


I have a wonderful little Rat Terrier buddy – Ranger.  He is my shadow and one of my favorite subjects to paint.  This painting is a happy accident.  Originally it was much larger – 11×14 inches, but I messed up his right eye and had to crop it down.  I think the extreme cropping that I had to do makes the piece more powerful.  It really demonstrates how intensely Ranger feels about food.  He is an incredible mooch and this is what a person sees as he/she eats a snack on the couch.

In the lower right hand corner there is an area that isn’t very smooth.  That is where I attempted to use solvent in order to make the background blend in a unique manner….and the solvent ended up “eating” the paper.  This taught me the importance of testing out solvent on my substrate before using it on the actual piece of artwork.

Two things learned on this piece:

1) Carefully review your work before you decide that it is “ruined” and throw it in the trash.  Look at it closely and see if there is a way that you can salvage it in some manner.

2) Always test solvent on the substrate you will be using before trying it on the actual piece.

“Food?!?” is entirely done in Prismacolor colored pencil.  5×7 inches.  Strathmore series 300 Bristol Board.

Soli Deo Gloria

Hello Everyone!

Welcome to the Kellaneartworks official website!  For those of you who started following me on Blogger, please note that I will no longer be posting on that website.  I’m going to move those posts to this site in the near future so everything will be in one place.  I would like to personally thank each and every person who drops by and views my art.  Please feel free to make comments or send me a personal email….I’d love to hear from you!!