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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Standard Poodle Portrait

This standard poodle portrait commission gave me the fun opportunity to use lots of thick, rich paint in the subject as well as the background. It is such a beautiful breed -- he already had a lot to offer the portrait: textures, expression and interesting features that translate well in a painting.

10 x 8 inches, Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson

Stage 1: The sketch. I loosely painted in the features with contour lines that would be easy to follow. My goal was to capture the likeness of Trio at this stage which made the rest of the painting so much easier. It was time well spent.

Stage 2: Blocking in. It helped to squint my eyes as I looked at the subject at this stage so that I could simplify what I saw and block in all the major shapes and values with a relatively large brush.
Stage 3: Completing the portrait. From here on out it was time to let loose and enjoy the creative process.  Using lots of paint and coarse brushes I wanted to communicate to the viewer Trio's gorgeous coat and contrasting marble-like eyes. He was a joy to paint.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Pastel Portrait Commission

I'm comfortable painting portraits in oil. Even though learning and growing as an artist is a never ending journey, I realize its easy to slip into a rut and do the creative process the same way every time. Therefore it was a nice challenge for me to work in pastel again. My brain had to wake up, look around and be alert. It was refreshing to pick up chalk instead of a press and rub and play with layers of color on paper.

Baby Girl Portrait Commission
14 x 11 inches, Pastel on Paper
Rita Salazar Dickerson

Painting a portrait with pastels seemed so appropriate for this beautiful baby girl. I was able to create soft lines and edges that matched the mood of this commission.

After lightly laying my first contour lines down, I began working with her eyes before moving down to her nose and then the rest of her face. It's so much easier not to smudge this way. I try to complete as much as possible the first time around so that I don't have to keep going in and reworking it.

 My client kindly sent this photo to me of the portrait matted and framed. A well chosen frame is such an important part of the completed pastel. I was so happy with the results.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

My Art Diary: August - December, 2016, Part 4

I like fun surprises and as a commissioned artist each Christmas season never lets me down. As I look back on this last holiday season I have sweet memories of painting on stage at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort. Traditional Christmas carols were played on a baby grand piano as I painted in front of a live audience. The event was a women's brunch; the air was filled with anticipation and excitement for the season.
Madonna and Child
36 x 48", Acrylic on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson

From this painting performance someone in the audience commissioned me to paint a second image of the Madonna and Child. The client wanted it to decorate her mantel at home and requested a smaller size. My challenge was to paint it with the same feeling and freshness that I painted the original.

Madonna and Child, II
30 x 24", Acrylic on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson

In The Shadow of His Wings
48 x 36", Acrylic on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson
This was my third year of having the privilege of painting at the Remembrance Service held at Woodmen Valley Chapel. Each December the pastoral care staff hosts this event for the community allowing those who have lost a loved one to grieve and remember. It is always a somber yet positive and comforting service. My challenge was to paint an image that everyone could relate to and take comfort from. I was asked to visualize Psalm 57:1, "...I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings..." Those in attendance were invited to come forward and write their loved one's name in the shadow of the wings.

I love my job.

Monday, January 25, 2016

My Art Diary: August - December, Part 3

One of the enjoyable aspects to creating commissioned paintings is the variety and wide range of work that comes my way. Though I do like painting my own dreams I also like the challenge of painting the dreams of someone else. Oftentimes it takes sketches, emails, conversations and more emails to land on that final vision that satisfies the dreamer. It's such a great feeling when everyone walks away happy. Mission accomplished.

In this post I'd like to share a variety of works that came my way because someone in each instance was inspired to give art as a special gift.

The following two acrylic paintings were given as personalized baby gifts. Isn't it fun to think about a newborn entering the world who is greeted with original art that honors him?        
16 x 20", Acrylic on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson

16 x 20, Acrylic on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson
 This next project was a birthday gift to a cadet pilot instructor. Who knew that one day I would be painting a flight jacket?
Custom Personalized Flight Jacket
18 x 18", Acrylic on leather
Rita Salazar Dickerson

Cedaredge Peach
6 x 8", Oil on panel
Rita Salazar Dickerson
This last piece was a gift to myself. After spending the day picking tree ripened peaches, my next desire was to paint one.

Friday, January 22, 2016

My Art Diary: August - December, Part 2

Mixed in with the pets that I wrote about in my last post, I was honored to paint these portraits that were to be Christmas gifts for loved ones. Every portrait has a story and this first one had an additional aspect to it, I was asked to paint two pastels of the same subjects. Same size. Same everything. Each would be going to separate families. The challenge didn't come until I had completed the first one and had it approved. Then it faced me. I needed to come as close as I possibly could to duplicating these two handsome boys -- keeping them as similar to the first portrait as possible. (I got to know these boys really well!)

I am usually asked to paint in oil so this was a change of pace to create in pastels.
Reid and Eli, I
20 x 16", Pastel on paper
Rita Salazar Dickerson
Reid and Eli, II
20 x 16", Pastel on paper
Rita Salazar Dickerson
After I completed Reid and Eli, I began the portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Carlson. It was also to be a Christmas gift. An added bonus with my work is the opportunity to take pleasure in hearing the story behind the this case the special memories shared between two people of a time and place they both enjoyed.
Mr. and Mrs. Carlson
16 x 12", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson

Monday, January 18, 2016

My Art Diary: August - December 2015, Part 1

As 2016 begins, I look back with a thankful heart at all that has happened since I last posted in this blog. It has been an amazing "season" of creating commissioned art, sprinkled with teaching art. My days have been full with a variety of mediums in my hand...from pencil to pastels, acrylics and watercolors, to oils... and the common thread has been sheer enjoyment. Although the consequence to all this creativity has been the lack of time to write about my experiences until now, I am determined to start the new year with a fresh update of my latest art.

With this first post, I have to say, pet portraits are so much fun. Each one is a privilege to create. When I am invited into someone's story, I get to see beauty not only in the animal but in the special relationship between the furry friend and his or her owner. And without fail, portraits make great gifts that touch the heart. As you can see from the photos, during these past several months I was able to get to know some beautiful animals.

7 x 5", Oil on panel
Rita Salazar Dickerson
10 x 8", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson
10 x 8", Oil on panel
Rita Salazar Dickerson
10 x 8", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson
Stubby, II
8 x 10", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson

10 x 8", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson
10 x 8", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson

Monday, August 3, 2015

Beginners Drawing Class

I'm enjoying this new "season" of my life where teaching has been woven into my life as an artist. Almost everyone, it seems, wants to learn how to paint and last November I readily agreed to teach an introductory class to painting. One class led to another and it has been fun watching students find joy and satisfaction in the creative process of painting.

But many eager new artists are unaware of the fact that drawing is the foundation of painting. To become a better painter, one must learn how to draw. Rarely do I meet those who are wanting to fine tune their drawing skills. Learning to draw well requires time, concentration and dedication. And bravery. So I was excited to see such an enthusiastic response to a Beginners Drawing Class. Some were there to revive their love for drawing. Others had never taken a drawing class before but had always wanted to give it a try. After three action packed hours of instruction, I was quite pleased with the results. Students drew and drew well!
Photo credit: Annie Stevens
There were about 36 students that gathered on a Saturday morning in June to learn the basics of drawing.

Photo credit: Annie Stevens
Value scales were discussed and created.

Photo credit: Annie Stevens
And then I pulled out my radishes. Yes, radishes.
Photo credit: Annie Stevens
They were drawn quickly at first and then with more time and study.
Photo credit: Annie Stevens
Photo credit: Annie Stevens
And then, before I knew it, there were beautiful drawings of radishes all around me.
Photo credit: Annie Stevens
From radishes we moved on to hats. I placed a hat at the center of each table and using a single light source, everyone drew the hat in front of them. As you can see from this photo, the hat portion of my class was quite successful. Marvelous hat drawings surrounded me when only a short time before there was blank paper. Each person there experienced the challenge and beauty of creating something from nothing.

I am always moved by the power of art.