Gilbert & Sullivan Operetta Prints

I first saw a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta on television in the 1980s, when the wonderful Clive Revill played Koko in a BBC production of The Mikado. I was floored over how ingenious the patter song lyrics were, and how truly funny the humor was for something written a hundred years earlier. And the music itself was utterly sumptuous! I listened to as many G&S records as I could find in our local library – but since this was in pre-internet days, that’s about as far as my Savoy education went.

About 12 years ago my husband (who had been in HMS Pinafore years back) and I heard a Bucks County Gilbert & Sullivan Society was forming right here in our town, so we checked it out right away. Since then we’ve been involved in and entertained by many of these delightful musicals; and it is apparent many others in our area appreciate the madcap plots, colorful characters and buoyant music of these operettas too.

For the Bucks G&S Society I’ve created 8 illustrations so far of their productions, and now by request of a G&S fan I’ve made 8″ x 10″ color prints of each. These full color prints are on heavy, partially-recycled paper and printed in the USA. The prints are $8.00 each and may be ordered by emailing me on my Contact page for info on shipping and payment method. A discount price of $55.00 is available for a complete set of 8 prints.

If any G&S groups would like to lease my copyrighted images for their posters and promotional items, please send me a message on my Contact page for leasing information. The 8 images are shown on my new G&S page – click HERE – and all artworks are (c) Pat Achilles.

Watercolor pencil sketch

There are colored pencils made by Derwent that are soluble in water, so you can draw with them then paint with a wet brush to turn your scribbles more into color washes. I used them for this little sketch of our neighborhood park, years ago when there were a number of lovely pink dogwoods blooming in the spring.

My ‘Pirates of Penzance’ Poster Illustration

The Bucks County Gilbert & Sullivan Society is once again gearing up for one of the Victorian playwrights’ funniest, most lyrical and most popular creations, The Pirates of Penzance. I’m happy to again be illustrating the poster for this wonderfully fun musical. If you have ever heard the brilliant patter song I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General, this is the rambunctious show for which that song was written.

I started with a very rough pencil sketch of a group of the colorful characters – maidens, pirates, bobbies, the Major-General – in a classic triangle composition.

I defined the characters a bit more in the next sketch.

I scanned this sketch and did a rough colored pencil blocking in of the colors

I traced this drawing onto illustration board, outlined the characters and began to paint it in using acrylic washes.

And now the finished piece is dropped into the poster design, below. I hope you consider coming, this will be a terrific musical comedy!

Illustrations for a Montessori School

I am quite impressed with the variety of activities a new Montessori school offers its little students – Maria’s House, a traditional Montessori, opened in the fall in my hometown area. They asked me to draw a range of experiences that will be available in their summer session, from fencing to equestrian pursuits.

The summer session is a ‘bridge’ for the students between the end of this school year and the start of the next, so it is titled Ponte Montessori.

I am told that the art will be used in the advertisement below, and published in our local papers as well as the Philadelphia Inquirer, Bucks County Magazine and the New York Times. Included is another drawing I made of the lovely main house of the school.

A House in Ireland

My husband and I made a memorable visit to Ireland last August – we traveled around that beautiful country from Dublin to Kilkenny, Killarney and Galway, ending in County Roscommon, where my mother was born and lived until she came to the US as a child.

There, by the generosity and hospitality of some newly-met Irish friends, we were able to visit the place where my mother lived with her parents and four siblings. In the 1920s it was probably more a cottage than a house, but it has been lovingly cared for and renovated by a new family, and they were quite kind to us when we visited completely on the fly. I painted this watercolor of the home and sent it to our friends for a Christmas gift, and I just heard from them that it finally made it around the world (my tracking slip said it went first to NYC then to Japan, and from there to Europe). So now that the surprise is over, I’ll post it!

Brownstone Illustration for a Children’s Book

Another Brooklyn scene in Chrysa Smith’s book The Upside-Down Gardener shows our main character Dory and her Mom, with some neighbors looking on as the little girl tosses her baseball on their way home. First the pencil sketch –

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and then the finished art, painted in acrylic paint washes –

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I’ll post more as we progress.

Brooklyn scene

I’m working on Chrysa Smith’s new children’s book The Upside-Down Gardener, and just finished painting the first spread, taking place in Brooklyn, NY – kind of an unlikely opening for a book about a garden, but that’s part of the point. I started with a pencil sketch, after much photo research into city scenery  –

 

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Our lead character is the little girl, Dory, emerging from the subway with her mom.  Here is the finished scene, minus the text, which will be dropped in later.

 

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I’ll be posting more scenes as the work progresses!

Pastel Drawings of Dancers

I recently went through my Big File of Past Illustrations and came across some fun ones from before I had a blog, so herewith:

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When our girls were young they both studied ballet, which made it imperative for me to try drawing them in pastels in the style of Degas.

My Illustration for an Antique Store

I recently went through my Big File of Past Illustrations and came across some fun ones from before I had a blog, so herewith:

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I don’t remember the name of the antique furniture store now, but I painted these details from some of their treasures in india ink wash.

Wedding Prayer Watercolor

After seeing my illumination of the Lord’s Prayer a few months ago, an acquaintance commissioned me to illuminate a quote from scripture as a wedding gift for an engaged couple in their family. They asked for the traditional First Corinthians quote about love, weddingscroll_parshalland a floral border. The couple met at, and will be married in, the lovely St. James Episcopal Church in Collegeville, PA, so I thought I’d do a little painting of the church too.

I started with a pencil sketch. I told my clients right off the bat that I am not a calligrapher, but that I could set the type through my printer and print it on the art, which they were fine with. They found out that the bride likes the colors blue and red, so I planned on a red rose border with some forget-me-nots and one blue hydrangea at the top. They could not get any information on the specific flowers in the bride’s bouquet, or else I would have put in those particular flowers. As it turned out, the bride-to-be told me later that the hydrangea reminded her of Chestertown, MD, where she had lived, and so was a lovely memory.

I went onto a color sketch, done just with colored pencils.  I showed the sketch to my clients and they approved.

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I thought I better practice the flowers in watercolor, since that’s how I planned to do the finish.  I practiced half of the design on some bristol paper, which was all I had around at the time.

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Then I bought some 90 lb. Arches cold press watercolor paper – great paper for painting, but thin and flexible enough to easily go through my home printer. I cut the paper to size and printed the scripture quote onto the center; then carefully covered the type, so no water would get near it, transferred the drawing and painted the border and church. I bought a nice mat and frame, and the piece all came together for a meaningful keepsake for the couple.

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