Monday, November 15, 2010

Sarah Emma Edmonds: Transformation, Step 2

Not a lot of new information to report; I've just added some additional Tuscan Red to some of the tree trunks and more patches of sky using the Light green. I have some symbolic imagery I'd like to add in the left foreground, but am currently unsure of how to do it without the viewer thinking it's part of the more literal, woods area. I'll have to experiment a bit, I think, away from the actual drawing.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sarah Emma Edmonds II: "Transformation"

Finally, I've gotten back to the second in my series about Sarah Emma Edmonds, the Canadian-born woman who took on a male identity prior to the Civil War, and as the war began, enlisted in the 2nd Michigan Volunteer Infantry as Franklin Thompson. At present, I'm calling it "Transformation", but that's just a working title.

This piece relates to the period when Emma left her home in Canada and worked on developing her male persona, hiding in the woods by day and travelling only under cover of darkness until she felt confident in her new role. I'm seeking an air of mystery and tension as I begin this piece, and those goals helped direct me to choose an apricot-colored acid-free mat board surface -- I believe the color is called Taos -- large enough for the composition I have planned. So far I'm working primarily with an Imperial Violet Prismacolor pencil, though I've also just begun adding a little Tuscan Red to see how that works on one of the darker tree trunks, and a little light green in the sky sections. It's all an experiment at this point, but I like the quality of surrealism I'm seeing.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Before I begin my posts of the stages of my latest piece in my Beyond the Battlefield series, I wanted to let you know about three miniatures that I have had accepted into an exhibition that will open this week. The show is the 26th Annual Miniature Art 2010 Exhibition at the Council for the Arts, 159 S. Main St., Chambersburg, PA. The opening reception will be held from 4 - 7 pm, Friday, November 5. The show will remain on display through January 8, and gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am - 2 pm. (They do recommend you call 717-264-6883 to confirm hours during the holidays.)

Miniatures are something I decided to challenge myself to do, given that most of my work is very large -- my "regular" minimum size is generally about 16" x 20" and most of my work is much larger. Working in miniature is a real change of pace: controlling the pencils strokes at that scale to create a smooth surface, getting details as needed, determining an effective composition. All three of these pieces are images of various locations on the Gettysburg battlefield, and they are approximately 2 1/2" x 4" in size. The first piece shown above is entitled "Pennsylvania Monument in November"; it's done on a vellum finish bristol board. The next two, "Seeking Shelter from the Sun" and "Trostle Farm in October", are both done on a surface I've been experimenting with -- PastelMat, this one a sienna color -- and have nearly fallen in love with! Unlike traditional, sanded pastel papers, it's not gritty; it has a smooth, almost suede-like feel. But it grabs the color in a way I've never experienced on regular papers, making excessive layering unnecessary. It also seems to erase quite well. I'm anxious to try this surface for larger works as well and have found that it is available in both small tablets and large single sheets from Dick Blick.

To see more of my miniatures and other categories of work, please visit