Sunday, February 28, 2010


Finally finished! I am very excited to have completed the first Peony drawing of the series and also extremely pleased with the final image. The show opens Tuesday, March 2 and runs through March 21 at The Broome Street Gallery, 498 Broome Street, New York. The gallery is open from 12-6 Tuesday-Sunday, I hope you will be able to attend.

Image size is 25.5" x 19"
Colored Pencil on 100% cotton paper
Copyright 2010 Eileen Baumeister McIntyre

Monday, February 22, 2010

Luminous Layers

This image is a detail from the Peony drawing I am currently working on. This is about half of the total piece, the other half I will be working furiously on all week long. I have been on a mission to complete this drawing by the end of the month to get it into a show that opens in March in NYC.
I am also anxious to begin the next drawing in the series which is a huge close up of another white peony flower. Last summer I cut the flowers from my garden and photographed them outside as the sun was setting, my favorite time of day. The warm light and intense shadows work well with a pure white flower. The reflected light on the petals create gorgeous colors in the shadow areas. After at least two hundred photos with my digital camera I selected about ten that I wanted to use as possible references to draw from. I was looking for dramatic compositions as well as high contrast between light and dark areas of the flowers. I again used my computer as a sketchbook and cropped and altered the photos to create the reference material I wanted. Colored pencils are the perfect medium to capture the luminosity of the peony petals. The soft colors are slowly layered on top of each other building up beautiful warm velvety petals and the intense blue-violet background contrasts well with the ‘white’ peony.

Monday, January 25, 2010

White Peony Series

Over the summer I sketched out eight large drawings of peony flowers. My plan for this series is to use colored pencils, Prismacolor, on heavyweight Strathmore Series 500 paper, which is my favorite surface to draw on, and possibly add some watercolor washes-or not. Colored pencil is the art material that I am most comfortable with. Most of my portfolio consists of colored pencil drawings of still life fruit and vegetable subjects and a couple of beach rocks. I like the fact that I am able to control the medium any way I want. Colored pencil drawing is such a labor intensive material to work with and the slow process allows for a lot of thought as to what I’m doing. The dark areas may have 60 or 70 layers of color overlapping each other in order to achieve a ‘colorful’ dark value, so, with all the time involved in that process it is actually hard to make a major mistake that can’t be adjusted with the next layer. Although I don’t erase the colored pencils, by layering new colors on top of an area I am not happy with usually does the trick.
The image shown here is the Peony drawing-a work in progress. I started adding color to the flower petals and later I will go back and complete the background when I am satisfied with the contrast between the flower and the negative space.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Mt. Sinai Watercolor Studies

I just finished three small watercolor studies of Mt. Sinai harbor marshland.  It felt good to start painting again, I have been focused on silverpoint drawing and colored pencil drawing lately so this diversion was good for me.  It also forced me to update my website with six new pieces- a task that I have been neglecting.  

Friday, December 11, 2009

This time of year when the reeds in the water turn a gorgeous golden color is one of my favorite times to walk the dogs down to the harbor and enjoy the scenery.  I took my digital camera with me and took at least a hundred photos of various views of Mount Sinai bay area at low tide as the sun was setting.  I love the warm light and long shadows at that time of day.  I imported the images into iPhoto on my computer and actually use the computer as a sketchbook.  I do my cropping and color enhancements and corrections digitally then 

use my photos as references for my artwork.

For this series of work I already painted two small 6” x 6” watercolor paintings-one of them was sold at Gallery North at one of the exhibits I was in there. I think I am going to continue the series of small studies in both the square and rectangular formats and maybe also experiment with a few small silverpoint drawings of the landscapes as well.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

This is an ongoing series that I have been working on using silverpoint.  They are close up views of Peony flowers that grow every year in my garden.  I photographed the flowers with my digital camera, cropped the images in Photoshop and printed them out to use as reference photos.  I like to photograph in bright sunlight in order to get high contrast images-bright whites and dark shadows.  Silverpoint drawing has a limited range of values that can be achieved so a careful rendering of the image is required or everything will be gray.  I make sure to save the white areas so my value scale will be more dramatic.  And, silverpoint drawings do not reproduce well, the subtle nuances can only be seen on the originals,  jpeg's do not do the art justice.

Artichoke Silverpoint Drawing

I just finished this artichoke drawing today using the obscure art medium of silverpoint. Silverpoint is the art medium that the art masters, such as DaVinciRembrandt and Durer, used to draw with.  Before pencils were invented, this was the material that was used for drawing and sketching. I discovered this medium while taking a Botanical Illustration class at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.  The instructor, Laura Vogel, brought in an amazing drawing of a Locust bug that she created in silverpoint and I was mesmerized. Immediately I went and bought the supplies and got to work. The way it works is that a piece of sterling silver wire is placed into a mechanical pencil holder and drawn on a special clay coated paper.  The silver will not work on any other paper.  Traditionally, the surface for drawing was rabbit skin glue, but I have issues with that, so it’s clay coated paper for me.  Silverpoint can not be erased, any mark that goes down, stays down so careful planning is required before beginning.  Another interesting element about it is that the silver in the drawing will slowly tarnish over time creating a warm patina, which I love.