Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Libby Commission Progress (or lack thereof)

I don't know what it is about some commissions but when I really want to do my best, it seems that the opposite happens. This is the commission that's due for Christmas and that I had a really good start on but I ended up hating it!

This may look awful at this stage but the colors are just being tried out and laid in and I don't think it will look this colorful when it's finished - certainly there's a lot more detail to do. However, once I just turned loose and decided that I was going to do it the way I first saw it in my mind's eye, it's begun to go more smoothly. I hope it goes smoothly to the finish!

My customer is a wonderful woman who has ordered from me before and who has always said to paint the way I want to. She believes that the end product will be better if I'm given that freedom. I don't know whether she's right or wrong.

On the one hand she knows my style of painting so she knows about what she's getting. On the other hand, she knows my style of painting based on other pet portraits! What she doesn't know is that realistic pet portraiture is pretty strictly regulated by what the owner/commissioner sees as their pet. In other words, most owners don't give me free rein - they want a portrait that looks very much like like the photos they give me only a little more painterly.

So, when I'm told to paint it the way I want to, I tend to tighten up and wonder if that's really what's meant or if they think I've painted other portraits "the way I wanted" and are basing those words on those portraits! I've told others to do something the way they wanted and it ended up being something far, far from my mental image of what I thought it should be. Can you see my dilemma? Mostly, it's just that I really care that the commissioner is blessed by what I've done and I'm never really sure what will please them. Sometimes it's better to be told what is expected!

With this portrait, I really see it as a realistic portrait and I have problems doing much else other than realism anyway. However, when I first saw these photos, I was struck by all the luscious colors in the coat of this "white" dog and I literally itched to put them in.

At first, I didn't and I wasn't pleased with the portrait at all. Now I've gone back and put in those golds and creams and lavenders and peaches and blues in the base and the dog is coming to life. Or, at least she is in my opinion!

I hope this turns out the way I see it in my mind. As I said, this is for a wonderful woman and it would crush me to disappoint her in any way. I'm sure she has a mind picture of what this should look like and I can only hope my vision matches hers!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Painting with the Grandchildren

Well, I got the house cleaned up (except for the studio and I just closed the door to it!) and the grandchildren arrived as promised. It was rainy so they couldn't be outside as they usually are. We went to a little park near us for a few minutes between rain drops then went to a brand new Dollar General store that opened in the tiny little town about 5 miles from us.

We'd given the kids some money and to my delight our granddaughter chose to buy a small paint set. So, when we got home, we sat at the kitchen island and painted. Our grandson is almost 5 and our granddaughter is 3 and it was a real hoot to watch them paint. I would post their paintings but they took all but some squiggles home with them. I was using some little pieces of Arches with the very cheap paint and managed to produce the goldfish above.

It came strictly from my imagination, no reference at all, and I think it came out pretty well. Of course, as pleased as I am with the fish, nothing is as good as spending quality painting time with the grandchildren!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

I received the Kreativ Blogger award from Dors the other day and have been very remiss about thanking her for it. I want to rectify that right now and say "Thank you!" to Doreen for the lovely award. You all should see Doreen's art - it's so beautiful and you can find it on her blog HERE. Thank you so much again, Dors!

Today is a busy day as my step son and the two grandchildren are coming. My house is fairly clean but needs a good pick up and vacuuming again. Of course, with a dog in the house, it always needs vacuuming! The main concern is that I have my art supplies scattered about my studio and the little ones love to check out anything to do with painting or coloring! Fortunately, I can just close the door on the mess - plus, it's all on a table that's out of their reach (I paint standing up and use a cabinet height art table.)

Anyway, it's been a few weeks since we've seen the grandchildren and I'm delighted they're coming. The bad part is that it's rainy today and although we needed it badly, Tanner, our grandson will be so disappointed if he can't ride on Granddaddy's big, honkin' lawnmower or the tractor! Our granddaughter hates the noise of both the mower and the tractor so she won't care about the rain but both love to go into the orchard to pick apples and grapes at this time of the year. They also like to go to a little park not too far from us. Like us, they're very much outdoor children and the rain may dampen our outdoor plans!

So, I guess I need to get busy and get the vacuuming done and do a little picking up of stuff I've left lying around! If I were very rich, I know about the first thing I'd do would be hire a housekeeper! No, I think it would be best if I could hire a mother - a good, old-fashioned mother who would take care of everything and yell at me to clean my room!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hello Again! Updates and News!

Life has been weird lately so I had to forego writing here in my blog. I don't want to get too far behind though and thought I'd take a minute to get you up to date with all that's been going on.

First of all, my wonderful husband had to make a trip to Florida as his mom's house sold and he and his sister had to get all the furniture and everything cleared out quickly. (Many of you know that his mother moved to an assisted living home a few months ago.) With the housing market so glutted with homes for sale, we were thrilled that the house sold so quickly and at a very good price. Well, my husband flew to Florida then rented a U-Haul to bring back almost another house full of furniture! He also brought his sister as a buffer to keep me from killing him!

His sister was a true God-send as she not only kept my husband alive, she was also able to arrange all the new furniture so that it fit into our house and not only fit, but actually looks pretty good. We had to store a couple of things upstairs but they will probably be used eventually.

Then I had the small show I had told you about in a former post. That was last weekend and it proved to me again that street fairs like that are not conducive to selling art. However, I did give out many business cards and hope to receive commissions in the future.

So, I think we're pretty much caught up on all the news for now. I'm working on a commission but just haven't taken the time to stop and scan/photograph the steps. It's a Christmas gift and even though there's plenty of time, I want to get it finished and delivered. It seems that I've been interrupted with it so many times that I don't want to take any more chances that it won't be finished in time!

Oh, one more thing - I'm sure you've seen the little Zazzle shop panel here on my blog and also on my website. I'm excited about being able to offer some of my paintings on different items so please go take a look and tell me what you think. Even if you don't like something, I'd like to know about it.

BTW, you can click on the different items and to go to the shop itself and see everything I have so far. Of course, more to come in the future!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Different Direction

One of my goals, especially as I've gotten older, is to keep growing as an artist and as a person. Landscapes are totally different subjects for me as is gouache as a painting medium. So when my sister sent me photos of their vacation in the western states of the US, I decided to stretch a little and try to paint one photo that was particularly inspiring. I also decided to paint it in gouache since I've only done a couple of gouache paintings so far. I know this isn't perfect but I'm especially fond of the sky and proud of myself for pushing beyond my comfort zone.

I want to do that as a person also. Yesterday was the 24th anniversary of my husband's and my wedding and I got to thinking about wedding vows. In this day and age, it's pretty common to go get a divorce at the least little provocation and for a marriage to last even a few years is getting to be very uncommon. Wedding vows, as well as other legal contracts, just don't mean much any more.

It takes a lot to make a marriage work. I'll admit I failed to hang in there with my first marriage. It lasted twelve years and fell apart when we left the support system and old-fashioned, small town values of our home town. We came from an area where we were expected to honor our vows and stay married no matter what. When we left that area, the pressure to stay married was also left behind. I won't go into the reasons for leaving my first husband, they were sufficient for me at the time, and I also don't regret it as I'm now married to a man with whom I'm far more compatible and with whom I share more goals.

But, even with the perfect mate (and no one has one!), marriage is definitely not easy! That's when you have to go back and remember your wedding vows, remember the words and also remember the solemn ceremony used to seal those words of promise.

Not only did we take communion at our wedding ceremony, but we also took a covenant of salt. Biblically, salt represents purity, seasoning and preservation or commitment. So, the words of our wedding vows were seasoned with commitment and meant to be preserved. That is not to say that a person should stay in a marriage that is damaging to them, but it does mean that you don't give up and run at the first little disagreement. It means you work together to overcome any obstacles and that you compromise to bring harmony into the home.

Fortunately, I have a husband with whom it's easy to get along! But mostly, it's to his credit that he puts up with me! He really is a wonderful man and I look forward to at least another 24 years should Jesus tarry!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Show Preparation

I've decided to participate in a charity event by our local animal rescue organization and will share a booth with my friend, the owner of the pet food store near me.

To be honest, I really don't like doing events like this - it seems that you expend a tremendous amount of time and energy in preparation, then you sit for hours while people file by and comment on your work as if you weren't even there! I don't mind honest critiques and I don't even mind if people don't like my art, but I don't like thoughtless rudeness at all. And, after all the time and trouble you've gone to, most of the time at the end of the day you find that you haven't even covered your expenses!

But, this organization is one of my favorite causes and while I usually donate a gift certificate for a portrait, this will be the first time I actually set up a booth at the event.

So, now I'm scrambling to get an assortment of items together to display (and, hopefully, sell!) as the event is in a couple of weeks! I'm thinking of unframed work since that will be easier to display and more affordable also. And I'll be promoting pet portrait commissions also.

Jerry's ArtaRama
is having a pretty good sale on their mat show system items and I just bought some mats, backing boards and bags. I received the black mats for the OSWOAs yesterday and matted this cat in the black mat. I hope the white mats come in today and I'll see which one looks the best on each of the pieces I have done so far.

So, wish me luck in the preparation and good sales on the day of the event! I'll let you know how it goes!