Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wedding Cake Portrait Painting

Detail of Wedding Cake Portrait in Progress by Jennie Traill Schaeffer
I had the good fortune to attend the lovely wedding reception of Mr. and Mrs. Craig and Tracey Ryan on October 2, 2010 at the Primavera Regency in Stirling, NJ. My husband, Lee, works with Tracey at a very small company where everyone is like family. Tracey invited the entire office and it was a chance for me to meet her, as well as spend the evening with Lee's colleagues. Not only was it a beautiful wedding, but we had a terrific time celebrating Tracey and Craig's special day.

In lieu of a registry gift, Lee and I decided, well mostly me since I would be the one spending my time, to present Tracey and Craig with a Wedding Cake Portrait of their cake. Since I am doing this on top of my other obligations, I've only just started it this month. Fortunately, wedding etiquette says I have a year, and Tracey and Craig told me to take my time. My goal is to complete this prior to their first anniversary (I think I can make that deadline)! 

Tracey and Craig's Wedding Cake made by Bovella's Pastry Shoppe
The cake was designed and baked by Bovella's Pastry Shoppe of Westfield. Tracey jogged my taste bud memory with this description: "it was white cake with cannoli cream filling, vanilla butter cream icing, and white and red fondant on the outside with decorative red piping." Doesn't that sound yummy? In many of my Wedding Cake Portraits, I've included textural or ornament details from the bride's wedding gown, and I'm awaiting pictures from Tracey to incorporate some aspects of her dress. 

Wedding Cake Portrait in Progress, 9" x 12", Oil on Canvas Panel, by Jennie Traill Schaeffer

Here's the painting in full view as of today. There's quite a lot of work to go, and some troubles with the structure, which I will correct. The whites will get brightened with more layers and I'll determine how to finish the background, probably with something from Tracey's dress. The last touches will be the arabesque piping, just as they would be on the cake. 

I look forward to sharing the finished painting with you, in the meantime, follow it's progress on Wedding Cake Portrait's Facebook Page. Next blog post coming soon - recent TraillWorks' commissions, gifts, and charitable donation work!

Friday, March 18, 2011

{For Japan with Love}

TraillWorks is joining in a blogosphere effort, started by UtterlyEngaged and Ever Ours, both wedding bloggers, to raise money for Japan through ShelterBox, one of the first non-profits asked by Japan for assistance immediately following the earthquake. It's a day of silence for participating bloggers, with the exception of raising funds and sending basic needs to the Japanese. Your donation will help send a green box with a disaster relief tent for an extended family, blankets, water storage and purification equipment, cooking utensils, a stove, a basic tool kit, a children’s activity pack and other vital items. Please visit For Japan With Love to learn more about how you can aid in the relief effort.

Peace and love to the country of Japan!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

3rd Annual TraillWorks Student Art Show Opens

There is a wonderful feeling when you walk into your own exhibition. You see the work as a true extension of yourself. Win or lose, your interests have led you to an accumulation of your personal expression, signed lower right, mounted to best advantage.(Robert Genn)

Works by Monica Solano, Alyse Delaney, and Laurel O'Rourke
Saturday night marked the opening of the 3rd Annual TraillWorks Student Exhibition, which happens to correlate with Youth Art Month. As talks of cuts to art programs are discussed around the country, over 15 student artists exhibited their works that they created over the past year. I'm so proud of their hard work, creativity and ingenuity, as well as the large number of students that wanted to exhibit. Creating artwork is certainly our focus of lessons at TraillWorks, but I deeply believe in showing student work and allowing students to experience in the process of a piece from creation to completion with it hanging on a wall or on display. We artists can spend hours toiling away at our craft, but if it artwork remains hidden, in my opinion, it doesn't much exist.

Students looking at the artwork
Some of my Saturday students

Student, Katelyn O'Connor, viewing the artwork

Students also need to see work of other students. My lessons are very intimate, with six students in the largest class. It's important to see what other ideas and techniques are being worked on, enabling their vision to widen. My students brought friends and family with them to the gallery to show of their accomplishments. For about three hours, students and their guests streamed in and out, looking at the work of other students, as well as their own. The students had an opportunity to meet and talk to the other students and learn more about each others' artworks. As part of the exhibit, students were asked to write a short reflective statement which I hung next to each piece. 

Heart-shaped Sugar Cookies by Maddie Chymiy - Voted Most Artistic
Food is always an important aspect of a reception and in this one I made it the secondary focus of the show. I invited attending students to enter a food item, sweet or savory, to be judged by the guests for its creativity and artistic presentation. This was a nice way of creating a participatory environment, but also avoided giving awards out for the artwork. We had over ten entries - see all of them on the TraillWorks Facebook Page. Three participants won for the most artistic, the top entry being one of my youngest students, Maddie Chymiy, for her painted heart cookies. Phillip Nezamis won in second place for his Rice Krispy castle, and Hannah Manning, Nikki Manning, and Jessica Sparling tied for third place for their individual entries. A fourth award was given to a guest who didn't personally enter, but voted. Dr. Kevin Shaw was randomly selected as the winner. All four winners were offered a choice of prizes ranging from a lesson credit at TraillWorks, gift certificates to local merchants, restaurants, a Dick Blick gift certificate, and an Art Gallery Cookie package from A Cake Dream

My husband, Lee, our son, Joel, Corrie Guddemi, and William Somma drawing during the reception
Joel and Me as he was leaving.
Families of the students
Being a family affair, my husband, Lee, and our son, Joel came by for awhile. Many of my students and their families have been around since I was pregnant and have watched Joel grow from a newborn, to an infant, and now a funny little toddler. My associate, Corrie Guddemi, my student, Will Somma, and my husband, Lee, all sat down with Joel to get a little creative. He loves coming to Mommy's studio, and he didn't want to leave. I'm ever so grateful for the supportive and loving clients I have that have embraced Joel since his very beginning. 

Many congratulations to all of the talented and eager students that I have had the joy of teaching, many for over five years now in Sussex County. I hope that TraillWorks will continue to be your choice for artistic growth, now into the future.
Visit our Facebook Page to view a full photo album of the art show.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Back in the Studio: Week of March 6th

Painting #2 of 68
Ringo, Oil on Matboard, 5.25" x 5.25", 
©2011 Jennie Traill Schaeffer
completed 3/6/11

Ringo is my 3 1/2 year old exuberant pup that joins me every so often at the studio, on days he's been sufficiently exercised! Last Sunday I was under the weather and walked the dog to the studio to work on the commission at the bottom of the post. After a few hours of painting, I wanted to work on a small piece towards my goal of painting two works / week.

Ringo was in the studio and actually posed for me, well, between intermittent treat doling. He'd walk away, come back, look up at me, lie down, sit, leave, come back. This is the end result! It was a great painting exercise in speed and immediacy. I would have liked to resolve Ringo's paw, but once I completed his head, Ringo decided he was done, and therefore so was the painting.

Painting #3 of 68 
Sugar Bowl, Oil on Matboard, 5.25" x 5.25", 
©2011 Jennie Traill Schaeffer
completed 3/11/11

Sugar Bowl features the same bowl that's featured in the commission I'm working on below. It's vintage, glass, and reflective; all things I love. I didn't spend much time planning the composition, but I did intentionally place the bowl in the upper left. Many of my recent paintings place the focal point near the center, so I wanted to explore other structures.  
The main colors used in the painting are oriental yellow, cadmium yellow, viridian green, quinacridone magenta, and pthalo blue. The painting is completed on a primed archival matboard, the inner panel left from cutting a window mat. 

Current Commission (in progress as of 3/12/11), 
Oil on Stretched Linen,
18" x 30", ©2011 Jennie Traill Schaeffer
During the week, I've made quite a bit of progress on my current commission featuring the sugar bowl, a percolator, Hoosier cabinet, and a vintage Cosco kitchen stepstool. Check back in soon for this week's paintings.


Celebrating International Women's Day at TraillWorks

My mom has been the most influential #artist in my success. Though she gave up her own passion for motherhood, she nurtured my artistic interests, supported art lessons, and mostly asserted that I should always pursue my own path. And, I did. Now, thirty years later, she is following her dreams, designing, making, and selling jewelry at TraillWorks, with much success might I add! Not only does she find the time to produce her jewelry, but she is a fantastic grandma (Marmee) to my son, Joel, a supportive wife to my father, and the best mom. Thanks for encouraging me mom, and happy International Women's Day

Silver Ginko Pendant with Pearls and Glass
Pearl and Glass Earrings
by Martha Traill Schaeffer, available at TraillWorks
Who is the most influential or inspirational female artist to you? Please share on our Facebook wall!