Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I didn't realize how much time has flown since I posted last!  I finished up some extra cards and other odds and ends for my last customers then attended an open house at the gallery (Raleigh Street Gallery) where some of my art is displayed.

The open house was very quiet with very few people but several sales were made.  I didn't see any original art sold but cards, prints and decorative items seemed to do well so it wasn't a complete wash-out.  I ended up working on a pear still life set up by a designer who displays at the gallery also.  The set up wasn't really to my liking so I changed some things around (on paper) and it still didn't ring any bells for me.  Of course, most still life set ups don't inspire me much as painting subjects,  but I feel that I ought to paint some if only for practice.  Anyway, never did finish the painting and probably won't. 

Now I'm trying to get ready for Thanksgiving!  I've done several dishes ahead of time and will do more today but it's still time-consuming to prepare a large meal like that! 

That's my excuse for not posting and I'm sticking to it!  My dear husband will be home for four days and it's so hard to do much when your schedule is disrupted so I probably won't post much until next week.  I'll do better after everything settles down though - I promise!

Hope everyone in the US has a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I'm very thankful for all of you!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Serious Thinking

It seems that when it rains, it pours sometimes and I've just received word that both of my recent commissions have had devastating news concerning pets in their lives.
I'm waiting to hear the outcome of a referral visit to our state vet school where Allee, the little female Coton de Tulears that I just painted was sent after she was found to have a tumor in her mouth.  

And, when I delivered the portrait of Kelly, the Golden Retriever/Great Pyrenees mix, the owner told me that bone cancer had so debilitated one of their dogs that she was going to be euthanized that day.  

I only met both of these ladies recently when they commissioned me to paint their dogs and both have become special to me.  Maybe it's because there's a bond to begin with because of our love of our pets but my heart is breaking for both of them.  It's especially difficult with Allee because I got to meet this little one in person and just fell in love with her and her "brother", Max.  I know how much her owners love her too and that makes it doubly sad.  

However, I'm really trying to stay positive here as I haven't yet heard how the appointment with the specialist at the vet school went.  There's a possibility that the tumor can be treated and that's where I make my mind stay.

And, while Kelly had passed across the bridge some time ago and I didn't know her or her "sister", I still feel the pain of my customer.  It's so difficult to lose one of your fur children and even more so to face the possibility that you might.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Max and Allee WIP Final Perhaps

I think I've just about finished the portrait of Max and Allee.  I've sent the photo of it to the client to see if they have any requests for changes and I'm going to let it "marinate" for a while but I think I'm pretty much finished.

This photo is cropped pretty tightly so only the puppies show, btw.

If anyone sees anything, please let me know!

Spent most of this morning at the Art of the Carolinas Trade Show put on by Jerry's Artarama in Raleigh and got some new art supplies.  Actually, I bought more at Jerry's store than I did at the show as I didn't need as much and it didn't seem that there were as many vendors there as in years past.  I only purchased from one vendor this year - Savor Faire - and I got some Cretacolor pastel pencils and some kind of mega white charcoal stick.  They had the sticks in several colors but I wasn't really into them enough to buy more.  I did play with them and liked that they went on smoothly but just didn't have a need for them right now. 

I also played with the Sennelier oil pastels there.  They only had expensive sets at the show and I don't know that I would ever get into oil pastels so I waited until I got to the Jerry's store and bought a few individual colors that I thought I'd use.  I also got some acid-free foam board which I can rarely find around here and it's way too expensive to order.  I wish Jerry's was closer as it's sure nice to be able to get items like that locally but ----. 

Derwent had a booth at the show but didn't have any of the new pastel pencils with them.  I was disappointed but stuff like that happens!  lol

The highlight of the morning was getting to chat with Brenda Mattson.  I've wanted to take her pastel pet painting workshop at the trade show forever but it's never worked out so I could.  I had hoped she'd eventually put her workshop on dvd but it doesn't sound as if she's much interested in doing that.  She also didn't seem to be interested in publishing a book.  She said her workshop this time had 21 people in it and she didn't like to have more than 10 so she could give everyone individual attention.  That's why it would be so nice if she had a dvd or book showing her methods.  She's a really nice person and I'm glad I was in the right place at the right time to meet her. 

Tomorrow it's back to the grindstone.  I have at least one more portrait to do and am still waiting on the pictures on another but I still may take a little time out to play!  lol

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Two Little Coton deTulears

This is Max on the left and Allee on the right.  They are Coton de Tulears and are what I am working on currently.  I got to meet these two little fireballs and fell in love with them instantly.  They're very active but also very, very sweet.

I'm using various pastels and pastel pencils on PastelMat from Clairefontaine for this portrait  Although I've worked on the PastelMat in the past and was beginning to like it, it has a little quirk that just popped up with this painting that I really don't like.  It dents very easily and the dents are hard to cover.  I used my Jack Richeson semi-hard pastel square sticks/and pastel pencils for sketching the two dogs and I had to bear down quite a bit in order for the color to show.  This dented the surface of the paper and it's been very difficult to cover.  Also, using the pastel pencils in the eye area for instance has also left "furrows" in the base of soft pastel and on into the paper.  The only way I've been able to cover them is to use the very hard white pastel stick that I received in the Derwent samples not too long ago. 

I guess it could just be this particular piece or maybe even color of PastelMat as I hadn't noticed this happening the other times I've used it. 

Anyway, it's going pretty well and I got so involved in working on it that I forgot to stop and take any photos of the progression.  It's still not finished as you can see so I'll try to be a little better about photos as I go. 

And, no, Christine, I don't have the eyes completely finished yet but I did add a little highlight in Max's eye just for you!  lol

Thursday, November 11, 2010

This is the second update on Kelly, the commission of the Golden Retriever/Great Pyrenees mix.  I think I'm getting into the short rows but am awaiting comments from the owner.

Kelly's portrait is for a Christmas gift and I want it to be perfect, of course.  Trying to determine her coloring has been a bit touch and go as each of the photos I received from the owner has been pretty different.  She also sent a link to a dog online that she said she thought had similar coloring.  So, I hope I got it right.  The biggest challenge has been the dark areas.

The owner said Kelly's dark areas had gotten darker as she aged and she didn't want them as dark as they show in the reference photo.  I've lightened them considerably and, again, hope they're what the customer wants.  It's really difficult when the reference photos show one thing and the client's memory is different.

I'm also still working on the Cotons and will be posting a wip of that painting in the near future since I told a couple of regular readers that I would.  I've just gotten the color choices for the bows in the little girl Coton's pigtails though so I haven't done enough on her for you to see much right now.  I've made a pretty good start on the little boy though.

I'm really staying busy right now but will update here as soon as I can.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Kelly - New Commission WIP

This is Kelly, a Golden Retriever/Great Pyrenees mix who crossed the bridge a while ago.  Kelly was much loved by the husband of the lady who commissioned the portrait and the portrait will be his Christmas gift.

This is pastel on velour with a mixture of various brands of semi-hard pastel sticks, soft pastel and pastel pencils.  I'm just in the blocking in stage right now so it looks very weird, I know. 

The reference photos were from hard copies which weren't the best in the world but I got the opportunity to talk to the customer at length about Kelly's coloring so I hope to be able to portray her accurately.  She looks to have been a beautiful dog with many features of a Golden Retriever.  That helps a lot since I've painted several Goldens.

I can see that she looks a little scrunched down here when in reality she has a very alert, proud bearing in the reference photos.  I'll address that as I proceed.

I'll also be posting a couple of Coton de Tulears that I'm working on.  I've started on it also but am not at the stage where you could make much sense of a photo of them!

So, don't be alarmed if you don't see much of me here - I'm busy working in the studio but I'll try to post more wips as I paint!

Friday, November 5, 2010

More on ColourFix Suede in the US

I just read that Art Spectrum (or it's distributors) is having problems getting the new ColourFix Suede paper into retail markets in the US.  It appears that it will be after the first of the year before it's widely available.  Bummer for an arts supply junkie like me.

I've also heard that it is similar to Clairefontaine's PastelMat as I suspected and which I'm beginning to like more and more.  Hopefully, the ColourFix Suede will be as good, in better colors and cheaper than the PastelMat!

I'll keep you posted as more information becomes available.