Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Portrait of Grandma

Last month I lost my last grandparent.  My father's parents passed away before I was born so I grew up with one set of grandparents.  They lived in a different state so we visited them most christmas vacations and every summer...we loved going to grandma's house!

Grandma made the best waffles, had the biggest selection of dry cereal in her cabinet, and gave us plenty of soda pop (that is what she called soft drinks).  My grandparents lived in a log cabin style home with a porch that was high off the ground.  When arriving, we would find them sitting in the rocking chairs waiting for us with arms ready for hugs.  

My siblings and I have so many fond memories at "Grandma and Grandpa's house". We walked over the mountain to to the old country store where you could still get candy for a penny.  I can still close my eyes and hear the wood planks of the floor creak as we would walk throughout the store.  Beside the store was an old post office where we would fetch the mail for my grandparents (no mailboxes in that small town...not even house numbers).  If we were not walking to the small town store or post office, we could be found walking on the rail road tracks smelling the coal and tar that radiated from the tracks as a result from the hot sun.  Those were simple days... Hide and go seek, Simon Says, Mother May I, and Red Light Green Light kind of days.

My grandmother was 97 when she left this world.  She out lived my grandfather by 18 years, but is now with him, her daughter, and most importantly; her Savior.  She left behind two sons and a daughter (my Mom) along with many grand children and Great grand children.  We will miss her, but we are comforted to know that we will see her again!

Grandma Burchett
11x14 Oil on Canvas
Beverly Gurganus

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Self portrait study 1

Self Portrait Study 1
8x10 Oil on Gallery Stretched Canvas
Beverly Gurganus

I have found comfort in painting from photos... Lighting never changes, subject never moves, and I can work at my leisure.  As I continue to grow, I find myself dissatisfied with settling in my comfort zone.  I was inspired by another artist who is an amazing portrait artist with beautiful self portraits.  So...yesterday I dug out a large mirror from the attic, cleaned it off, propped it up, and adjusted the lighting as best as I could in my studio then got to work.  I tried to limit my time sketching and gave myself permission to just experiment without great expectations.

Most of my recent portraits have been of cooler flesh tones so it took me a bit of trial and error mixing my olive skin tones.  I think I will try a few more selfie studies; then I will start enlisting other models...better keep my friends and family happy ��

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Her and Hen

"Her and Hen"
11x14 Oil on Gallery Stretched Canvas
Beverly Gurganus January 2015

Out of the five people in our family, my youngest daughter (7 yrs old) has joined me in the love of raising backyard hens.  From the first day I brought those tiny fluffy chicks home she has been right by my side helping me take care of them.  She has become my Little Chicken Farmer.

I took a photo of my daughter with each of the 6 hens on their first day forging outside of the coop.  I fell in love with the photo of her holding our fluffy Buff Orpington and knew that it would make it to my canvas.  

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Still life with eggs and teapot

16x20 Oil on Gallery Stretched Canvas
Beverly Gurganus

I'm still thinking of a title for this piece.  Painting white is a challenge for me because my mind tries to talk to me the entire time making me question my use of color.  I find myself having to step away from the easel then come back with a fresh eye.  I never get a satisfied feeling about it until I have all the surrounding objects and background painted...then the color makes sense to me. 

 I was ready to do another still life using transparent glass, but I wasn't ready to depart from my egg/chicken theme.  I took 2 freshly laid eggs and placed it in the still life.  I'm really glad I did because I love the little pop of color these eggs lend to the painting.

Time to start another piece...  ��

Update:  The title for this piece is..."Table For Two".

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Chicken paintings

I have embarked on a new adventure of raising backyard hens.  I love collecting and eating fresh eggs from my own backyard as well as just sitting and watching the hens as they forge.  They each have their own personality, and they are much smarter than one would think.

I have been able to spend more time in the studio and that makes me Happy Happy Happy.  I decided to take this new adventure and use it as the subject matter for some of my paintings.  Below are three of my recent works that I have been working on.

Morning Gatherings
8x10 Oil on Canvas
Beverly Gurganus

  Buff Orpington
11x14 Oil on Canvas
Beverly Gurganus

Two By Two
16x20 Oil on Canvas
Beverly Gurganus


11x14 Oil on Canvas
Beverly Gurganus

Here is another painting inspired by another one of my daughters.  I took photos of my middle daughter last year before her formal, and this pose was my favorite.  The likeness is not on point, but that wasn't my ultimate goal...I wanted to capture the feel of the photo rather than the person of the photo.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


11x14 oil on canvas
Beverly Gurganus

I took photos of my daughter over 5 years ago before she left for her first formal.  There was one that I fell in love with and knew one day I would paint it.   That day has come!
The original photo was taken outside with lots of landscaping in the background, but I chose to eliminate the background in order to create a quietness in the painting.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Child Portrait Study

I am always creating...sometimes it is a project for my home, and sometimes it is on paper/canvas/wood.  Moving into a new home and trying to put my personal touch in every room has made it hard for me to find that balance of working on my growth in visual arts and learning and doing new projects for the home.  

I have been going through a graphite stage recently where I just want to draw...focusing on the mix of Zentangles and portraiture, but I decided to pull out those neglected tubes of oils.  Oh how the love of oils was rekindled in my heart...the smell, the way the brush felt in my hand, and the way the paint moved on the canvas.  

It had been a while since I attempted a portrait so I pulled an old photo of my daughter and proceeded to do a study of her.  Flesh tones remain a challenge for me...I still haven't established a good "formula" for them.  My flesh tones are never the same from one portrait to another.  I guess in time I will find my own method of mixing that works for me.   Happy Painting all!!!

Christina Rose
Beverly Gurganus
11x14. Oil on Canvas

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Another Zentangle Portrait

                                                          Graphite on paper
                                               Beverly Gurganus
I have been fascinated with the blend of Old Hollywood and zentangle styles.  In the previous peice, I incorporated zentangle within the portrait itself via the hair and hat, but I wanted something a little more subtle in this one so I only did the background.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Zentangled Portrait

9x12" graphite on paper
By: Beverly Gurganus

I discovered zentangle a few years ago and love it.   I like the random design from a single thread (similar to a scribble) and then letting the art take its own form, but lately I've been wanting to take it in another direction.  I have seen Zentangles incorporated with various subjects, and the zentangle/portrait draws my attention the most...I decided to give it a go.

Above is my first attempt.  I used a photo of Angelina Jolie as a reference and the piece developed from there.  Most of my Zentangles are done in fine tip sharpe, and I debated on using sharpe here.  I finally decided to keep the entire piece graphite so there will be an even flow throughout the piece and not letting the zentangle over power the portrait.