Tricia Griffith – Fine Art

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Screech Owl & Black Bear

Screech Owl & Black BearI haven’t done a wildlife illustration in quite a while, so I thought I’d share this one I’m pretty happy with from earlier last month. This was a custom illustration of a screech owl and black bear for a friend. The medium is graphite on 11 x 14 Bristol board. This is a rather hastily taken mobile phone photograph, so it’s not the greatest quality, but it gets the idea across.

My pencil of choice for graphite illustration is actually just one of those plastic mechanical pencils. I like not having to stop and sharpen it, and it stays nice and pointy, which is particularly handy when drawing fur and feather details. I coat the drawing in a fixative spray, usually about half way through to prevent excessive smudging, and then at the end to prevent smudging and fix the graphite and protect it from fading.

Self-critically, the proportions are off a bit, particularly for the bear, and drawing that much fur is always a bit painstaking and sometimes I get lazy. For the owl, again, it was the details in the feathers and maybe it could be a bit more detailed, but I think that part of my style across the board is never to be hyper realistic, and maybe just a bit stylized. So, overall I am happy with the results, especially since it had been a long time since I had done a wildlife illustration. (I’ll put up a wildlife illustration page on the site soon, so you can see some older works still available as prints).




Corrugated Art: Barred Owl

10363853_10152801580177356_3186119471248526327_n (1)This is the second of the bargain 8×10 stretched canvasses that I scored at Goodwill. For this one, I thought the small size of the canvas was suited to a little barred owl.

This one was tricky in that I made some efforts to manipulate the cardboard to represent the direction of the feathers, which meant figuring out how to make the facial disc common in owls. For this, I actually peeled both sides of the paper off the cardboard and used only the corrugation for the face. I folded it into a fan shape and then quickly glued it into place before the fan unfolded itself.

10462714_10152499254162356_7182690841487077412_nI waffled for a while on what to do with the eyes, and finally decided to deviate from the use of cardboard in order to get a more of the effect of shiny, bright eyes. I ended up making them with a high grade polymer clay, which I baked and painted with black acrylic, then a coating of clear acrylic to make them more shiny. I carved out a bit of the cardboard where I was going to place the eyes in order to sink them into the face a little bit more.

10537333_10152585497977356_8626621735022915593_nA coating of white gesso, and then many, many layers of paint in order to try to capture the color pattern of the barred owl and a feathery feel. I gave him a little tree to hang out in and a few leaves as embellishments. In the photo to the left, I included my hand to give a feel for the size of the art.

The original of this work has been sold!




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Pet Portrait: Shelby, Lacy & Shyla


Another Christmas of 2014 pet portrait commission. This special portrait included their current pups and one they had lost. I love doing portraits like this, bringing the whole fur family together, past and present.

This a colored pencil portrait on 11×14 bristol board. It was also one that made me decide that more than two pets on 11×14 is a bit too snug. I like the pets to be big enough to get some good detail, and I kind of feel like I need to cram them in too much on smaller paper. I’ve since added a larger sized 14×17 option for multiple pets.

As far as the colored pencil goes, I am happy with how this one came out. I managed to avoid getting carried away with the layers of color and kept the lighter pencil feel that I like. This was a fun combination of colors to do, though I think the liver colored Lacy was my favorite. I’m also a big fan of spaniels, which made this one fun!


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Pet Portrait: Maggie

1911747_10152808866222356_8675961473465011288_nNovember and December 2014 were crazy busy. I ended up with several pet portrait commissions, along with a trip in early December which meant I had to draw, draw, draw to get them all done in time. One of the first ones I completed was this pretty little girl Maggie.

954740_10152790808142356_6640141157932612391_nWhen I was starting this one, we were in the grip of some particularly nasty weather, and at one point I was working on the sketching and blocking out for colors in the dark with my iPad for photo reference and book light to draw by.

I am kind of fussy about my colored pencil portraits, since I feel like I tend to get too carried away laying down the color and they end up looking a bit too heavy to me. Fortunately, people who get them do seem to love them, they just tend to have different character than the graphite drawings. Each medium I use tends to add its own personality to the work, though.

10171645_10152806695107356_4707720726084763737_nFor Maggie, I was determined to keep the color layers super light. She has beautiful layers of browns and golds in her coloring and I wanted to capture that without getting to heavy. I started with the lighter cream colors and then gradually added in golds, red-browns and darker browns to create her honey brown and chocolate tones.

I find that when I treat the colored pencils more like a graphite pencil, I’m much happier with the results. These lighter colored animals are easier. When I draw animals with a lot of black, that’s when I start to get a little more carried away, because I want them to be nice and black and shiny. Overall, I am super happy with this one! 10406419_10152805682977356_1868249901571629304_n

My kitten Isabeau was a great supervisor for this piece. She helped make sure I wasn’t using too much colored pencil! She is more than a year old now and much bigger. But still good at supervising and keeping me in line.


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Corrugated Art: Sea Horse

I 10730878_10152801578332356_3077132377593481515_nhappened across a two pack of 8 x 10 stretched canvasses for a whole dollar at the Goodwill one day, and decided it’d be fun to do a couple more small 3D pieces, since I enjoyed making the small leaves for the All Small exhibit.

I decided to try a sea creature for this one, and thought that the texture of the cardboard might lend itself well to the seahorse. I had a little fun using some texturizing medium and a piece of the corrugated cardboard to make wave-like background.

10583881_10152610699132356_2323826002776020375_nThe first layer was cut out in a whole seahorse outline and attached to the wavy background and added a few more layers of cardboard. For the last layer, I used a similar technique to the autumn leaves, turning them to create an angle similar to the patterns on the seahorses I was using as a reference. A piece of the peeled cardboard paper was cut and folded fan-like to create the back fin.

10584026_10152612926582356_5992984927651180830_nI painted the seahorse in layers of yellow ochre and orange to create a color similar to that of the model seahorses. The tail of this particular species of seahorse is transparent, so I incorporated the background color into the tail to create a transparent effect.

Once I was happy with the seahorse and the background water colors, I knew I wanted him to have his tail wrapped around something in the signature seahorse pose. I created some 3D grass for him to hang out in and add a little more depth to the work. The final result was kind of fun!

The original of this work is still available.


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Corrugated Art: Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves by Tricia Griffith I have a bit of catching up to do here with the works created over the last year. We’ll start out with this Autumn Leaves set. It was created for a special winter exhibit in November and December 2014 at The Rock & Art Shop in Bangor, Maine called “All Small”. All the participating artists received three six by six inch wood art blocks to create whatever artwork we liked. I decided to experiment with the cardboard 3D art for this exhibit.

10659136_10152735910552356_2410146723214438179_nFor the leaves, I played a bit with the direction of the corrugation of the cardboard to represent the natural pattern of the veins and contours of the leaves’ serrations or lobes.

I learned the hard way on this one that I really need to apply a layer of white gesso over the top of the cardboard before I paint it, or else it absorbs the acrylic paint and the color is less vibrant. Once that was corrected, the colors were much better!

10368228_10152774861272356_2002741547230652868_nThe finished pieces represent Oak Leaves, Birch Leaves, and Maple Leaves, decked out in their autumn colors. The birch leaves have a light yellow-green tone with a red-orange background. The maple leaves have a purplish background to complement the orange-red of the leaves. The oak leaves float on a blue-green pond surface.

The originals of this set are still available. Feel free to contact me for details!


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Corrugated Art: Great Blue Heron

great blue heron in progressThis Great Blue Heron was my second adventure into making a 3D corrugated art piece. I did the tree first, to kind of get the feel for what I was doing with the cardboard, its corrugation, and the assorted layers. I new that what I wanted to be able to do with the heron might be a bit tricky to just dive into unawares.

With the tree I went a little crazy using many small bits of random sized cardboard. For the heron, I decided to go with more planned pieces and shapes, including deciding what direction the corrugation would go, to kind of simulate the direction of feathers and the wing. great blue heron cardboard art

For the fringe feathers I took a sheet of the cardboard peeled off the corrugation and cut it into the rough shape I was looking for. I then attached it by one edge and painted it white. I used scissors to slice the sheets of cardboard into the fringe-like feathers.

Added touches include the cattails and a little texturizing medium to create a bit of “depth” in the water the heron is wading in. Painting took a bit of time, given all the little detail bits, but the final result came out quite well, I think!

This original is sold!