I was contacted a few months ago, by his Mom, about a painting commission as a surprise gift for her husband. I haven't done many commissions in the past. Not that I am opposed to doing them, but there is more pressure to capture someone's likeness, than in a regular painting. Then you need reference photos to work from . Most dogs and cats aren't terribly fond of having their picture taken either. Here are a few of the photos that she sent.
(You can click on the photos and they will enlarge a bit).
He looks like a happy dog. And those ears.
Winston was 15 years old, and had to be put to sleep back in February of this year, as he developed nasal cancer behind his eye. Winston was her first dog. He looks like a chow mix, but those ears also remind me of a corgi. Could be a little German Shepherd in there too. I don't think I asked about his lineage and pedigree.
A few years ago, they lived in Germany and were hiking in the Alps.
Got to love this photo below, with the "hills" in the background.
I wonder if they sang "Sound of Music" that day, ala Julie Andrews.
And this was the photo that I chose to work from below. I liked the light in the photo and his expression. At the same time, I was a little concerned since his face was in the shadow, and his eyes were so dark. (Ok, I admit, I was a lot concerned : ) ) Trying to get them dark enough, without looking like black holes, or lumps of coal, etc.
Here's the painting, and a detail of his face. It is painted on Yupo board, 8x10 inches, so it has that slick, wet, fluid look to it, unlike a regular watercolor painting surface. It was varnished and framed in a dark wooden frame with a linen liner.
I enjoyed painting Mr. Winston. There is something special about one's first dog.
I hope they think of him often, and remember him happy, when they see the painting.
I plan on updating the dog painting on Christmas Day, so you can see the whole image. It arrived safely earlier in the week, and the person is really happy with it. I think she said she was speechless when she saw it.
I wanted to send this e-card, but can't since I am on a Mac using Firefox. Love the animation of this one. Here's a link- e card.
Best Wishes for a Healthy and Prosperous New Year-
The little red poinsettia painting is listed on ebay as a special holiday opportunity for one of my small original paintings (read- low low starting bid). It is about 6 inches square, probably more like 5.7 inches by 7 inches, as the edges aren't even.
It is gonna kill me not being able to show this painting until the Christmas Holiday since it's a surprise Christmas present. I finished it last night, about 1 in the morning, and rather than going to sleep, I kept wanting to turn on the light every 5 minutes and look at it. It's that good, but I am probably biased. :)
To not ruin the surprise, here's a sneak peek, I don't think anyone could recognize this.
The full image, and story will be posted as soon as humanly possible.
The full painting is 8x10 inches, varnished watercolor on yupo board, will just a few acrylic glazes added.
This painting I finished this weekend. The majority was done with watercolor on yupo board. 5 x 7 inches. I darkened and corrected a few values with transparent fluid acrylic glazes. Two coats of acrylic glossy varnish will be added on top.
12/12/07- on its way home. Hope the post office gets it there safe and sound.
The ornaments are now available. 3 designs. Signed, and dated on the back. Only available till Dec 31st. Listed in the Etsy Store at the moment.
For the past year, I have searched for an inkset and paper combination that could reproduce the brilliance and translucency of my yupo paintings. Some images looked okay, others not so much. I think I have finally found a combination that I am happy with.
Glossy photo paper mimics the slick surface of yupo, but the inks weren't quite right. Kodak has introduced a line of inkjet printers and pigmented inks that do the trick in combination with their premium ultra photo paper.
I posted about these a few weeks ago, and was working on the designs from my original yupo paintings this afternoon. Rectangular paintings don't always work when cropped to a circle. So I had to clone parts of the background to get a round shape.
I settled on these two, and was planning on putting them on the porcelain today, but 1 cartridge is low, so that will have to wait until next week. If the colors don't reproduce well, then I might have to change again. Still want to do a floral one too.
They will only be available as an ornament until Dec 31st. Snooze and you lose. Check back after Thanksgiving.
These earlier paintings are still available and at their original prices, making them much more affordable than similar sized new paintings today.
Click here to go to my Online Store- look for more holiday gift items to be uploaded in the next 2 weeks, along with the limited edition ornaments.
Have Grandkids? the furry, four-legged kind? What to send wishing them holiday greetings?
Crunchkins Cards or Purrfect Greetings, of course.
Crunchkins are flat pieces of rawhide that are printed with a non-toxic ink. They come with instructions, and an envelope for mailing. Yes, mail them.
The cat cards are a regular paper greeting card with a catnip toy attached to the front.
I have scanned the selection and will be uploading them to the store. They are also available here at the office. Themes vary- christmas, greetings, get well soon, welcome to your new home, etc.
The designs I have are all placed in the STORE- under the pet products category.
My show went up this past weekend at the Conservatory. Here's a few photos that I snapped in the lobby and in the conservatory. I posted them into a flickr set. Click here to go to flickr.
The show hangs until the weekend after Thanksgiving- November 25th for non-US readers.
This little painting is painted from photos I took of my nephew and niece, probably 3 years ago now. I stole, (err. . . borrowed) BMW's red wagon (BMW- the other nephews, Ben, Mitchell, and Will) and hauled it to a family reunion.
Amongst, the "It's hot", "I'm hungry", "It's heavy", "Are we done yet?", I got a few photos.
This painting looks very washed out on my monitor. But I combined two photos as I couldn't get a perfect one. I wish I could get more detail in Retta's face. It's mostly in shadow, and she has no neck, it's just impossible to capture detail without it sliding all over the place. It would be easier if it was a larger painting. Click on the images and they should enlarge. You can see what I am talking about- the detail in her face.
Cafe Trumps at the Gardens serves a Sunday Brunch buffet downstairs in the Conservatory. from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. Soup/Salads/ Made to order omelets/and a carving station.
You can make reservations, by calling this number 706-542-6359. The lady said reservations are not required, but you might have to wait a little if they are busy without a reservation. It is also Homecoming weekend at the University.
Here's the Link.
I hope the weather is nice on Sunday. There are lots of hiking trails around the gardens, for those who haven't been. So you can stuff yourself with cheesecake, and then walk it off. Or have 2 servings of cheesecake. ;)
My show hangs on Monday afternoon and will be up for most of the month of November. Here's the details again. 50% of the proceeds go to the botanical gardens, Sundown Surgery Fund, and Grace Fund at the UGA Vet Med Teaching Hospital.
People often ask about pics of patients, so here's one that has been boarding for a few days. (click on the photos and they will enlarge a bit).
Can a dog get any skinnier? Not sure about his story. He was found out in the middle of nowhere. Most lab puppies weigh 10-13 lbs when they come in to start their vaccines at 6 weeks old. Here's one that weighs 14.5 lbs at 5-6 months old.
He has been here for the past 3 days, he was quite wormey, but this is more than just worms. Not sure if he was lost, not fed, trapped somewhere, etc.
He's eating and has gained a lb. already in 3 days.
Oh, and his name is Lucky. as he is lucky to be alive, lucky to be found, lucky that someone didn't shoot him, etc.
Mutts and Mom has chosen to temporarily inactivate their website on Petfinder.com because their email inbox and voice mail are overwhelmed. Petfinder has 11,000 shelters and rescue groups posting over 260,000 pets that need homes. We do not dictate the adoption policies of our members. We do work with them to educate their volunteers and hope to professionalize the industry as a whole, providing a positive experience for adopters. Petfinder advocates for all parties: the pets, the adopters, and the shelter and rescue group workers and volunteers.
Pet Return Policies
Many shelters and rescue groups insist, through their adoption agreements, that if a pet cannot stay with his adoptive family, the adopters must return him to the group. Why do they do this?
Between 500,000 and 1 million pets adopted from shelters and rescue groups find themselves homeless and in the shelter once again.
One foster mom said it best, "I found the dog on the street, starving. I nursed her back to health. She slept in my bed. I sang her back to sleep when she had nightmares when she first came to me. Then I adopted her to a wonderful family. A year later, I got a call from animal control because she was at the shelter and she was going to be euthanized. The family had gotten divorced and she ended up on death row!"
This too-common experience leads rescue groups and shelter to put strict policies in place governing what happens if the adoption doesn't work out. In effect, the rescue group and shelters are promising to always be there as a safety net for the pets. This can be very comforting to adopters.
Finding a New Home for Your Pet
Some pet parents, who have the best intentions for their pets, feel that they can do a better job of finding a new home for their beloved pet than a shelter or rescue group. Their rationale is that they know their pet best, they can keep it in their home until the perfect new home is found, and they can help ease the transition for the pet. Often times, this is a natural transition - a family member, trusted friend, or a colleague gets to know the pet, falls in love, and the ownership of the pet is unofficially transferred to them.
This is a controversial point of view, even amongst shelters and rescue groups who may feel that they have more experience identifying pitfalls and risk factors when identifying new families. Research, however, suggests that there is no difference in the success rates of the adoptions between organizations that screen heavily versus those that have more open adoption policies.
It also bears noting that shelters and rescue groups, understandably, want to keep in contact with new families to be able to lend their support and continue to get updates about the pets they cared for. So we have two groups, the shelter and the pet parents, who both want what is best for the pet, but who may have very different points of view. The silver lining is that everyone really wants the best home possible for the pet. If we could ensure that same future for all the pets available on Petfinder.com, our job would be accomplished.
I still had this photo sitting on my painting table, so I decided to paint it again, since the first one was donated to Postcards from the Ledge in Asheville, the first of this month.
Calla Lilies Again- varnished watercolor on Yupo board, 5x7 inches.
Here's the prettiest part to me, where the blue bleed into the Quinacridone Gold and Italian Burnt Sienna.
I will be offering this painting for sale unframed on ebay later this evening- here's the ebay link. If you think you want it, I would suggest bidding on it. If it's framed and goes into the show, with the show commission, it will be $200.
I am often asked about painting on Yupo, specifically about the yupo boards. Yupo, in case you don't know, is a synthetic watercolor paper made out of polypropylene. That's a fancy word for plastic.
The boads are handmade, and while I was making some for myself, I pressed a few extra.
They have been removed from Etsy.
For a few years, I have wanted to offer a line of holiday ornaments. Signed limited editions that would only be available for that particular calendar year. For example, 2007 ornament available until Dec 31, 2007, and then retired.
I never have been able to decide on 1 image though. And then the question, would it have to be holly berries, snow, horse carriages, and santa?
I know that some people put up themed christmas trees around a design or a collection- all blue and white, all natural elements, etc. I like a more eclectic look. Choosing items that mean the most to me. Even if they don't all match a color or theme scheme.
Beginning the 2nd week of November, the 2007 ornaments will be released. I know they'll be a dog one, a cat one, and maybe a floral one. Still deciding, and they need some tweaking with photoshop, as rectangular paintings don't always look so great when cropped into a circle (You can tell by the mockups above).
If you have a comment, suggestion, or just want to root for your favorite, :-) ,
leave a comment below.
My postcards arrived the end of last week. The show dates were changed just a little (October 29 - November 26). The reception is still scheduled for Nov 4th. So be there, or be rectangle.
I tried to get a snapshot of Little Miss Sunshine this morning. But she will not be still long enough to get a pic with my digital camera, inside the building. Blurry!
So I shot a little 15 second video. She began eating on her own on Saturday. No stopping her now.
She had been eating, that's why she's licking her chops.
There aren't many reasons why someone would drive to the vet, on a Sunday, when the office is closed,without an appointment, with a kiten in a box. After talking to the guy, it became obvious that if I didn't take the kitten, Mr. SUV driver would dump her out in the woods, throw her in the river, etc., that sorta thing. Nice.
There is a little 30 second video of the kitten below this post, if you click on this link which will take you to the top of the page.