Beautiful artistic expression? or symptom of severe mental illness?
Hey, I'm the wrong person to ask. In any case,  below on the left you will see the photographs that I worked from, and
on the right, you will see the pastel artwork that I created  based on the photos. For those that are uncertain, there is
no fancy machinery involved. I look at the photos, then draw what I see. Enjoy!
This is a photo that I took in our hotel
room when my wife was showing Jagger
in Louisville a few years back. The
lighting was just right. I shot him with my
This is an 11"x 14" pastel portrait that I
started in 2005, and finished in time to
give to Nikki as an x-mas present last
year. It didn't really take more than a year
to do, I spent most of 2006 making
dogfood out of raw meat, and trying to
keep our crappy vehicles running.
This is an old photo that my wife found
when I sent her foraging for a good photo
of our employer's dogs. Our employer
was instrumental in helping me with my
first and only artshow, and I wanted to
show my appreciation by doing a portrait
for her.
This is the 11"x 14" pastel portrait that I
started in 2004, just prior to my artshow.
About a month later I went to work for the
lady I was doing the portrait for at her
dogfood factory. Sadly, I couldn't make
time to finish it for another two years on
account of meanial labor. Irony?
This is a photo of Scrimpy. I was driving down a
dirt road following a motorcyclist who was lost.
He pulled over to ask directions, and this very
short Corgi-dog came running out of the bushes
to my car window, and let out a plaintiff cry of
relief, as if to say, "At last, I'm saved!"  There
were no houses on this mining road, he had a
belly full of worms, we picked more than 50 ticks
off  of him. He was obviously abandoned. How
could I not keep him?
This is the 11"x 14" pastel portrait that I
did of Scrimpy. Unlike Scrimpy,  the photo
I worked from was far from perfect. I have
felt displeasure about the way this one
turned out. When I was working on it, it
began to seep through my thick scull, that
the Quality of my work may not be better
than the quality of the photos I work from.
take a look at the process!
This is a photo of Belle, one of Nikki's bitches. I
took it in the fall of 2004. It was the first time that I
had a photo session expressly to get a photo to
do a portrait from. I wanted to give it to Nikki for
our first x-mas together. I had to wait for a sunny
day in November, as it was important to me to
have sunshine on my subject.
This is the 11"x 14" pastel portrait.  It went
alot quicker than some. I think I did it in
under 60 hours. Perhaps because of the
lack of background. I was, "in the zone" at
the time,as I was fortunately laid off at the
time. In 3 months, I did 3 portraits, and
gained 50 pounds!
This is Penelope and Henry, from a photo shoot
for my first commissioned work. (God bless 'em)
This is the 11"x 14" pastel portrait.
I've always been drawn to the beauty of butterflies. When I was quite young, I'd take note of which one's I'd see the
most, and get excited to see the rare ones. I decided to collect them. There were no butterfly nets in our garage.
There was a metal-mesh fishing net. I'd sneak up on the butterflies, then whack! The ones that weren't smashed by
net, I'd put under by putting rubbing alcohol then pin them to cardboard. Killing them made me feel very
uncomfortable. I also found that they lost their brilliance after they were dead. My butterfly collecting lasted less than
a summer. As an adult, I get great enjoyment collecting butterflies in the field with my camera!
In the third grade, in art class the teacher showed us an oil pastel of a bluebird.  I was really turned on by it. My
mother gave me a small box of regular pastels, but at the time, I wasn't able to do much with them. I gave it another
try in highschool. I did a butterfly from a picture in National Geographic. I was turned on by it in much the same way.
I'd like to see it again, but it was lost like so many things in the torrent of my life. I continued to do some art after
highschool, a couple of undisiplined paintings, some fun mixed media drawings, some clay sculptures, (I had friends
that worked at a pottery, so I had access to clay and a kiln) at that time the thing I liked the most was stone-cutting
and making hand carved pipes.  I used to cut gems in a dark shed  with a dim light bulb, and the crappiest make-shift
equipment. Ah, the good ol' daze. Not long after that, my fun gave way to the drudgery involved with keeping my
head above water. I've had over thirty jobs, and none paid very well. Poverty takes alot of time, money and energy,
long story short, several years went by that I did nothing significant art-wise.
What? Oh yea, the butterflies. Somewhere in the mid '90s, my girlfriend at the time gave me a colored charcoal set  
for x-mas. In turn I did a butterfly picture for her. It once again, turned me on. The next year we  went to one of those
enclosed butterfly houses. They gave a little catalog with 1 inch by 1inch thumbnails of  the butterflies featured. I did
my next picture from one of those thumbnails (way too small!) After that I gave her one every x-mas for however
many years as there is butterfly pictures.
This is from a 2003 butterfly calender.
This is the 11"x 14" pastel. In case you are
wondering, I do 11"x14" because it's a standard
matte size, and it's the biggest that fits in the color
copier at kinkos.
This is from a different 2003 butterfly
This is my rendition. This is also the first one that
I kept the original and gave a copy for x-mas.( at
this point, the girl I'd been giving them to, and I
had been broke up and living in different states
for 8 years
This is from the same calender as
I kept this one as well.
This is from a 1999 calender. I generally name
these for the kind of butterfly they are. The name
of this one wasn't given on the calender, and I
couldn't find it in a book. Sadly, I call it, "hairspray"
When I did this one, we were living in a
condemned house way in the boonies, far
from anything like an art supply store. When it
was finished, I didn't have any fixitive. All I
could find around the shack  was some
hairspray. It wasn't even aerosol, it was a
pump spray. If you've done an intricate pastel,
you can imagine how I felt when the large
drops of sticky liquid rolled down smearing
my work. For damage control, I laid it flat. and
soaked it with a thick, even coat of the gluey
stuff, then promptly got drunk.
Besides using calanders, I've also used, "The Dictionary of
Butterflies and Moths by Allan Watson, and Paul E.S. Whalley.
How about that one with the, "89" on it? Weird stuff. If I had
done that one, people would have thought I made it up.
This one is known as, "Agrias Claudia
This one is known as, "Russian Heath"
This one is known as, "Purple-copper"
This is Gabby, a sweet Welsh Terrier. Her
people wanted her photo shoot the day
after she was groomed. Sunshine is
important to me, as it brings out the high
lights. January sunshine is a rare
commodity here in Ohio, so I bought a
halogen spotlight. These shoots have
made me a better photographer.
I told Gabby's people that it would be
about 8 weeks, maybe more, maybe less.
It took me about a year, pouring hundreds
of hours into it. The experience made me
rethink my pricing for commissioned Pastel
portraits. It also figured prominently in my
decision to join the daily painting
The Art of Jeffrey Puccini

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