David Bowie: Portrait in Pencil


David Bowie (pencil on paper, 9″x12″, private collection)

Watercolor Challenge November 2015 – Baddesly Clinton Manor


I did this watercolour today for the WetCanvas.com November challenge. The subject is Baddesly Clinston Manor in Warwickshire, from a reference photo from Google Street View provided by the group’s administrators. http://goo.gl/maps/TjvfL


Garden Home Project: Final Photos


Finally took a photo on site! Taken just before Christmas 2014.

Below: Old Folks at Home Mural, with residents from the Garden Home enjoying the scene.

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This photo is the Brighton View Landscape in sitio.

2014-12-18 11.13.40 Both works of art are on permanent display at the Garden Home on North River Road, Charlottetown, PE.

Brighton View Landscape in Stages


Here, in different stages, is the Brighton View Landscape painting I created for the Garden Home.

I made this rough sketch at the park before starting out. I was standing at the farther end of the enclosure of the Fort, so the view is more frontal than aerial, but when I did the painting, I shifted it so that the view would be more aerial.

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When I started out, I figured I’d make the cannons a central image, and based it on a photo I had taken with the cannons close up and forward.

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I should have gone with the preliminary sketch, which the clients really liked better, so I cleared out the large cannons and pulled out to get more of a bird’s eye view.

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The first detail I completed was Beaconsfield House in the upper right hand corner.

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Then, I did

the Lieutenant Governer’s Residence, Fanningbank,

which is visible between the trees from the park.

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Next, I worked on the rocks around the shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, in the Bay that leads to the Charlottetown Harbour, also visible from the park. I added the lamps and detailed them.

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Then, I worked on the flower boxes and the planters. Each lamp had flowers at the base. I decided not to include the planters that were used during summer to divide the left lane in two so that there would be a bicycle lane, because it would make the road too crowded and the lanes too narrow.

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Then I started on the new cannons, much smaller and placed in the bottom third of the painting, instead of in the bottom half.

       2014-10-19 00.20.19I changed the proportions a bit, so they look longer and thinner up close, but fit nicely in the bottom; I also changed some of the proportions of the fence so I could fit the cannons into the bottom third, so you get more of a view from up looking down.

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After the cannons, I added more details to the boardwalk–worked on the park benches and a seated woman. Then, when my friends Veronika and her daughter Viola were with me painting as well, I added a jogger so Viola would have her mom in the painting!

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The first time I did the lettering for Victoria Park in flowers, it was too upright, so I re-did that.

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Then, I did the viewing platform, added plants and flowers to the lamp post bases…

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This is the blurry shot of the viewing platform in the making, but clearer than the first one I took…

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This is the clearest shot of the three I took of the viewing platform in progress…

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Added plants and flowers to the bases of the lamp posts…

And one day, it was just done. I roughed up the water a little, broke up some of the rocks, then let it sit for a couple of days before spraying a finishing coat.

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I let it sit again for a couple of days before I decided how to do the lettering in parchment with gold outlining.

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Tried to get a diagonal shot to get the whole painting into my phone view with the biggest possible shot.


The whole painting is too large to take a close-up of, so I had to pull back halfway across the living room to take a full-width view. The actual shape is elliptical…

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Not enough back-up room. Hehe. It gets cropped on one side.

… and this is what it would look like if it were cropped into a perfect oval shape (which just didn’t happen when Peter was cutting it up with his jigsaw. If the clients want to trim the corners, that’s perfectly all right with me, but I deliberately made a wider ellipse to get as much painting surface as possible.

Brighton View

The Brighton View Landscape can be viewed at the Garden Home, North River Road, Charlottetown, along with my mural of the old farmhouse. I need to take a photo of this with a real camera with proper lighting.

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)



When I decide to do a portrait of someone, I have certain personal “rules” or criteria for deciding who my subject will be. I will do portraits of (1) a really great person I admire; (2) a really stunning or interesting image; (3) someone I really want to draw because the person is a good friend or is an interesting subject; or (4) a commissioned work. So far, I have done the following portraits: Obama (reason 1), Ellen de Generes (reason 1), Drew Barrymore (reason 2), Mandela (reason 1), my sister (reason 3), a holocaust survivor (reason 2), and myself (3.5 = I’m my own best friend and it’s sort of a “commission”–done for an exhibit.

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Nelson Mandela

9″x12″, pencil on paper

© cindy lapeña, 2014

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I, Colour (a self-portrait)


This is my very first painted self-portrait. When I was in 7th grade or thereabouts, I made a sketch of myself and I really liked it, but it was a very simple outline– no shading, and done very lightly because I was afraid to make mistakes and afraid to commit myself to my drawings. To this day, it remains that–a very light sketch.

When Peake Street Studios sent out the call for participants in an exhibit entitled “I, Defined,” I jumped in at once. Since the call, I had been toying around with ideas for what to do, how to incorporate as much about my art and me in my painting. Yesterday, the 8th of July, I decided to check the submission deadline–I vaguely remembered it was sometime in July with double digits–and realized, to my horror, that submissions would be accepted between the 16th and the 18th! When I got home last night, I hemmed and hewed, looking at the canvas that I had prepped with a light blue, because I felt strongly about that colour when I did it–over a month ago, when I was informed that I was selected as one of the participants in the exhibit–in preparation for the actual painting. (That light blue canvas sat on my easel waiting for me to work on it.)

I grabbed some old tubes of acrylics and gouache and unrolled the bottom ends, squeezing the paint out through the tube and using it to apply the paint. I painted straight on the canvas and finished everything but the dark blue lines and the highlights on the hair, which I did after having a close look at several recent photographs of myself. I had surprised myself, completely, when I noticed that even without the strong defining lines, what I had done actually looked like me! I guess I can say that I know what I really look like.

I call it a soul painting–it was my soul painting myself.

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Hon. George Coles Building, Charlottetown (final drawing)


…and now in full colour!


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I rarely do pencil and ink drawings because

(1) ink can get messy,

(2) you have a limited colour palette with coloured pencils and it takes a lot of combining and blending to get the exact colours you want,

(3) it takes a lot more time than painting with a brush,

(4) I like to colour outside the lines!

Still, because I do like to do some things just to see how well I can do them, or just to see how long I will last, I take the plunge!

At first, I thought I’d just do the pen drawing, which took me about 4 hours all told, and that was after doing a separate pencil drawing which I did not like because the lines weren’t sharp enough (I used an HB graphite stick), but which gave me the perspective and feel for the details. I started inking the pencil drawing freehand, but wasn’t happy with the less-than-perfectly-straight lines. So I started the new drawing in pen. I had to take my time to make sure that each line was in the right place before I drew it.

When I had finished the pen drawing, I figured I’d colour it, but didn’t want to use paints, so I chose to use coloured pencils–since I have a huge collection of them, anyway. I was prepared to have to do the whole drawing all over again if I botched anything up, but lo and behold! I’m very happy with the result.


As a point of comparison, I took several photos of the building in case I wanted to work on the drawing away from the site. However, I did complete the drawing from the actual building and not from the photographs. This photograph is the closest to my drawing:




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