Friday, October 9, 2015

Plein Air in the Poconos

Last week, a small group of painters from the Susquehanna Valley Plein Air Painter's participated in an overnight "paint out" at Graystone Preserve in the Poconos. The preserve is located near Hickory Run State Park in eastern Pennsylvania.

The incredible views were mesmerizing and so were the gorgeous colors of the changing Fall foliage. It made it difficult to pick a scene to paint plein air. However, rain quickly narrowed down a painting spot - the big porch of our rented cabin. 

Here's the painting that came out of my hands onto canvas:

The "almost" Final:


The Inspiration:

So many other possible scenes to paint back in my studio:

From what I learned, the property was purchased in the early 1900's by the Trojan Powder Company to test dynamite manufactured for the military. The company no longer exists, but the heirs continue to operate the property as Graystone Preserve. 

Graystone Preserve is a members-only organization. Lucky for us, a fellow painter is a member. She has amazing childhood memories of traversing the 4,000 acre property with her grandfather, an employee of the powder company. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Christmas Tree Farm -- Illustrations for a Children's Magazine

Here are sketches and final illustrations for the December issue of Sparkle magazine -- a children's magazine reaching young girls ages 6 - 10.

The illustrations will run on the far left and far right of a full-page spread, with the story printed in-between the artwork. Illustrations are under-painted in gouache with pastel Prismacolor pencils and ArtStix.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

A Turkey Illustration for a Children's Magazine

Creating children's illustrations for Sparkle magazine is always a lot of fun! Here is a final illustration for the November issue, under-painting in gouache with pastel pencils:

The Process:

 The Thumbnail Sketch:

The Rough:

Figuring out the Gesture:


And, almost done!

I always lose my seat...

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Friday, July 31, 2015

"Letort Morning" - Pastel by Cheryl Kugler

A small, but talented group of artists from CALC (Carlisle Arts Learning Center) have been getting together once a month. In June, we spent a Saturday morning sketching out at Letort Spring Park in Carlisle, PA.  Here's the outcome and a few "behind the scenes" photos from my sketch pad.

Final Painting:
"Letort Morning", Pastel over watercolor, 11" x 15"

"Letort Morning", Pastel over watercolor, 11" x 15" by Cheryl Kugler

Reference Photo:

Rough Sketch on Location:

Back in the Studio:
The art critic weighs in.

Thanks for stopping by the blog. See you next time!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Painting the Delicate Delphinium

A delphinium is hard to grow. I know. I've tried. So, when my client wanted a painting of a delphinium I knew they'd be a bit hard to find out in a garden. But, I found one and painted it. Let's take a look at the process!

The Finished Painting:
The petals are delicate. The morning sun created back lighting and interesting shadows on the thin flower petals.

Delicate Delphinium by Cheryl Kugler, 30" x 30", oil on canvas
The Composition:
Working from photos I took out in the garden, I began working on the composition in art class at the York Art Association.

Roughing in Colors:
Oh, to me this is the ugly phase of painting!

Making an Adjustment:
After blocking in color and beginning to work the painting, a glaring empty space existed in the center of the flower that wasn't as obvious in the sketch phase. The solution -- add an extra blossom.

Painting, Painting, Painting:

One last peek...

Commissioned paintings are always welcome! Let's talk.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, June 5, 2015

A Flower-Loving Golden Retriever: Creating the Illustration

A client asked me to paint an illustration of her adorable golden retriever. My approach is to develop a scene that represents the personality of the pet and reflects interests of the owner.

It just so happens the owner enjoys colorful flowers and this beautiful golden has a quirky habit of pulling colorful summer blooms out of their planters! So began the idea of the illustration. Here's more on my creative process.

The Reference Photos:
My client provided me with several, yet I seemed to gravity toward this one.

The Rough Sketch:

A Tighter Sketch, with whimsy:

An Adjustment:
The flowers are now in a pot versus growing directly from the ground.

A Close-Up:

Considering Flower Color Combos:

My Client Selected Pink! (yay!!!)

Under-painting in gouache then color-building with Prismacolor pencils.
"Abigail and the Flowers", gouache and colored pencil, 5" x 7", by Cheryl Kugler
Shop For It:
Shop in my online artist store for super fun products adorned with this illustration such as quality cards, prints, plates, napkins, cutting boards and more. Find it here: Cheryl Kugler Artist Shop

Another sketch idea my client and I were kicking around because her dog loves belly rubs too... (maybe next time!)

Thanks for stopping by my art blog. Hope to see you here again soon!

Monday, February 16, 2015


"Without having experienced the cold of winter, one cannot appreciate the warmth of Spring." ~Chinese Proverb

It was 5 degrees F here in Central Pennsylvania this morning! Hope you are staying warm in your world.

Photo taken along the Appalachian Trail in the Cumberland Valley, Central Pennsylvania.

Thanks for stopping by~

Friday, January 30, 2015

5-Day Art Challenge - DAY 5

Hello Everyone! Today is DAY 5 of the 5-Day Facebook Art Challenge. (But, why let Facebook have all of the fun? That's why I'm posting it here, too). A warm thank you to Debbie Lamey MacDonald, a Nova Scotia artist, for nominating me.

For today’s post, I am sharing with you several commissioned pieces – two fine art paintings and two pet illustrations.

The Dogwood Blossom painting is a 30” x 30”, oil on canvas, painted from photographs that I took at a local nursery. I am super pleased with the oil paints by M. Graham that are based with walnut oil and offer such vibrancy.

The painting of delphiniums is a work-in-progress that I am painting right now for a client. It’s 30” x 30”, oil on canvas. Again, I am using my own reference photos that I took over the summer. Not only are delphiniums difficult to grow, they are difficult to find to photograph! 

My pet illustration, Cake Cats, was a pet illustration commission from last year. My client provided photos of her daughter’s cats and gave me a list of interest of her daughter and son-in-law. Her daughter loves to make cakes, loves Gerber daisies and her son-in-law is a Bills fan. In-progress photos and sketches of this project can be seen on my website. Gouache and colored pencil on vellum, 5” x 7”.

The Santa and dog illustration was a pet commission for a past Christmas card. The client provided photos of her mixed breed hound. Gouache and colored pencil on vellum, 5” x 5”. You can read about the process of drawing this illustration, here:

On my last day of this challenge, I nominate TatyanaStarikova, a talented illustrator who I met during a workshop at Highlights Foundation called “Mastering the Picture Book”.