Monday, March 29, 2021

The Beginnings of a Commissioned Piece

 A few months ago I was approached online with a commission request. A possible client wanted me to paint her parents 'past' and present pets in ONE painting.  I thought, 'cool, I can do a few in a painting' - great challenge.  Lo and behold, it is 7 animals.  SEVEN...seven!  4 dogs and 3 cats.  OK.  I can do this.  Other life happenings have been filling the void..have had the photos of these pets for a couple of months.

AND..other commission work, matting and framing for a show, family issues, ME taking care of the homestead for the winter have taken precedent - not excuses - but many artists who work at home, will tell you LIFE gets in the way, very often.  

Yesterday I plowed through.  After working most of the day - my first sketch of the composition was completed.  Honestly, I was thinking - where do I start?  What have I done?  Questioning myself if I could do this and why did I take it on?  

I have to give some of the credit to the many places online that I get my 'nudging'.  I do these tasks daily - I listen to Danny Gregory's Podcasts, watch Ali Cavanaugh paint beautiful watercolors on Patreon, listen and watch Kim Casebeer and Kami Mendlik paint on Instagram - I get a world of encouragement just by watching and listening to others. (It's like that instrumental crescendo in "A Day in the Life" by the Beatles is playing all the while - in my head.)   

AND finally - there - voila - STEP ONE - completed (charcoal on newsprint).  Now I can go forward with getting the plan down on canvas and begin painting.  Only in one case, do I see any of these lovies side by side for comparative SIZE reference.  The client supplied me with who is the biggest and suggestions from there, that there is a three legged pooch that she wants shown (black and tan, up front). Most have passed, so the photos that she has, are the photos I will use.  Some photos show what I need, some do not..I have to make it up a little with research and artistic license - scary to say the least.  I am making the cats larger than they should be, but putting much smaller cats with dogs - bugs me.  Watercolor was my first choice on Aquabord but substrate choice of a bigger size calls for acrylic on stretched/cradled edge canvas.  It will be 20" x 30".  Sometimes DOING art seems so hard.  Why?  I hang a sign over my easel and refer to it so much these days..."It's Supposed to be Fun".  And IT IS, once I get past the 'heebie jeebies' of that first step.  If I can DO this one - I will have proved to myself, I can do anything.



 Quick photo, bad lighting


The Sun in the Morning, but OH That Moon at Night!

 For two evenings past - I missed the opportunity to photograph the rising full moon..but not last night.  Had my tripod at the ready and the camera waiting for the moonshine to peak over the Wet Mountains. The moonlight is so bright as it travels through the night.  









































Spring? Not yet...

Living in the Colorado high country after the first day of Spring has come and gone is like flipping the light switch ON and the OFF and then ON and then OFF.  And with each sunrise you don't know what to expect...dry deck and stairs or ICY deck and stairs once out the door.  Not to worry, after I shattered my left ankle in a slip on ice out the door several years back, I always 'cleat up'.


I love that days are like this.  Lots of layers of clothing to start out the day - then all the way to short sleeves by mid afternoon, only to layer back up later.  

For the past two years I have been involved in Project Feeder Watch/Cornell Ornithology Labs, a program that counts birds. By signing up you spend an hour or two each week observing birds and their behaviors and report them to the website.  

This past couple of weeks with weather changing we have had some new visitors to the feeders, as well as some antics by the frequenting birds.  Crows are a part of who visits often for the fact that I fill up the suet feeders which they command being in charge of - pushing/displacing the Magpies to the ground or away.  Hundreds of House Finches fly in every hour or two to make a mess of my deck - with their feeding frenzy. but I love watching them.  When they all come in - it's like a scene from the movie "The Birds".





Crows made these wing marks in the snow near my front deck, upon closer examination, there were also mouse prints in the snow.  I would assume the mice were scrambling from the field to the underneath of the deck where they frequent..also going under the house.  However, crows won on many counts it appears. I put 'redneck' mousetraps under the house - and catch up to 20 mice a bucket over a period of several weeks..but I will let the crows take care of it anytime they want to.


Monday, March 22, 2021

A New Beginning

 OK, pandemic has interrupted my life LONG ENOUGH!  I am making a pact with myself, ART will come back to life now.  I have never experienced such a 'downer' of a time - the daily irritation of poor leadership and corruption in this country is gone.  I have my second Moderna vaccine under my belt by a month.  Art venues are opening back up for the season. My 'trigger thumb' is getting well from that long break I have taken.  No excuses, no holds barred - it's time!

I entered my first show for the season at the gallery.  It is referred to as 'the calendar show' .  An outside artist judges the art and chooses 13 suitable pieces to be printed into the yearly 'Sangres Art Guild' calendar. I didn't enter my pieces for that purpose, I entered them, just as a way of getting back INTO the groove.  They are a few of last year's 30 in 30 Inktober/pen and ink pieces (see my sidebar for a postcard I made of them) but new to gallery EYES.  Looking forward to a new beginning.  More to come here on the blog, too! 

Just finished and am shipping out today a pastel commission dog portrait.  This was Bella - her owner's said goodbye to her earlier this winter.


Bella - 10" x 14"


The three archival ink pen drawings I entered in the calendar show.