Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sucker for Punishment! Cat Portrait

 I've been asked to paint a portrait of a recently deceased cat and the following (& a couple more that are similar to these) are the only known photos of him.  The first and last photos are the best, of course, but none are really great references.  The first photo is of the cat when he was younger and the rest are from the last years of the life of the cat.  And these are all at the size the client emailed to me.  When I asked for larger resolution photos, I got enlarged versions (not higher resolution) of the ones sent - very pixelated and worse than the originals. 

I guess I'm a sucker since I said I'd TRY to do this portrait.  This is a favorite client and she's commissioning it for a friend of hers who just lost this cat.  So many people think an artist can look at bad reference photos and immediately paint a superior portrait. Fortunately, this client is not like that but she would still like a miracle, of course. 

To all others who give me reference photos like these I'd like to ask them to drive down to the corner store and get me a soft drink - oh, and by the way, have them wear a blindfold.  Then , if they protest, I'd say, "Oh, don't worry, you've driven there hundreds of times and I know you can do it! and please can you be back in about 10 minutes?"

To me, that's much the same expectation many people have of a pet portrait artist.   Just because we've painted a lot of cats or dogs or other animals in our life doesn't mean that we automatically know what your pet looks like nor can we paint it in a short amount of time.  Animals are like people and one ginger cat does not look like another one!

Fortunately, I'm to paint the younger version of the cat before he got his ear mangled. I don't think I could paint that ear and have it look right - there's just not a photo that shows it clearly enough to paint accurately. 

I know, I know, I could have refused to even consider this commission but hey, I'm a sucker! 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

ATC/ACEO Pastel Paintings

I've been on a little kick of painting ATCs/ACEOs lately.  There are a couple (or three) reasons - we're having an exchange on a forum I belong to, I haven't had time to work on a full sized painting (although these little paintings can still rack up the hours) and I've been wanting to challenge myself to try to get as much detail into this small size as possible.

These are both pastel pencils on PastelMat and both regulation ATC/ACEO size (2.5 X 3.5 inches).

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lakefest - Clarksville, Virginia

The days are flying by again as we've been pretty busy lately.  We took a "quick" trip to Florida to see my DH's mother and his sister and her family,  I say it was a quick trip because it actually takes about 12 hours to drive and we were only gone a total of four days!  Of course, it took two of those days to make the drive!

DH took the rest of the week off and we've gone here and there locally doing things we normally can't do when he's at work.  One thing we did was attend Lakefest in Clarksville, Virginia.

My daughter and her family were spending the weekend near there on Kerr Lake on the North Carolina side so we met them and went to the festival.  It was a mad house!  The festival stretched for what felt like miles on a hilly street.  The photo above was taken from atop one of those hills and was about mid-point of all the booths.  If you click on the photo, it will enlarge and you can see how many people thronged this event!  Unfortunately, this was about as far as we got as both my husband and I were seriously tired after about the first mile.  We took turns carrying our little dog in her mesh carrier but the day began to really heat up and we were concerned that she would get too hot and since we were already tired, we just left before getting to see all the offerings there.

Although it was advertised as an arts and crafts festival, we only saw one booth with actual art in it.  There were many craft booths but the food vendors probably outnumbered everything else!

Maybe we'll go back someday and take the time and effort to see the whole event - my husband says I can do it if I want to but he's not going to go through all the heat, the jostling and up and down walking again!  I think they have another festival in October and it should be much cooler by then!  Think I can change his mind by then?  lol

Thursday, July 14, 2011


 Well, darn!  I can't get the photos aligned right but maybe you can still get a sense of the closet off my studio.  I've finally gotten it somewhat organized, or at least to the point where I'm not too terribly embarrassed to show you photos of it.  This closet is about 8 feet deep and over 6 feet wide with a little niche that adds another 2 feet on one wall.  That niche is the perfect place to put the treadmill so the closet isn't strictly for my art supplies.

Unfortunately, because it's so big, it became the storage area for things we didn't know where else to put and got very messy and disorganized.  It still has to store a few sewing supplies, the treadmill and my saddle (not shown).  I plan to advertise my saddle though and hopefully will be able to sell it - do any of you need a nice Stubben saddle and other tack? lol

So, as you can see, I'm getting there with organization but still messing around with the placement of things in the studio.  I'm thinking of moving the desk that used to house my computer stuff into the closet and use it for a mat cutting area.  I don't think that would work though as the desk would have to sit out from the wall far enough to allow a full sheet of mat board to be cut and I don't think there's quite enough room for that.

As I said, still exploring the possibilities!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

WARNING from Susan Roux - PIRATES!

I was browsing the comments on Sue's (pencilpix) blog and one of the comments came from Susan Roux.  The post mentioned that she was from Maine and that's where my granddaughter lives so I wandered over to her blog to see if she had done any paintings of Maine.  Well, I didn't really get to look as her post about Modern Day Pirates caught my eye.  You can read her post HERE.

Many of you know that copyright violations are a pet peeve of mine anyway and to have an artist be so blatant about copying from another artist really burns me up.  Not only that, but the pirate artist (Hugo Diaz Mapi) claims to have painted his paintings using PhotoShop.  As a digital painter myself, it was a double insult as I felt he also gives a bad name to digital painting. 

Anyway, Susan, thanks for revealing this fraud.  I hope all artists are on the look-out for copyright violators and will report them to both the original artist if possible and also to the rest of the artistic community as Susan has done.  And I do hope the original artists will file charges - there are copyright laws in effect for most of the countries in the world. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It's Dog Days

I don't know about anyone else but we're having some really hot and humid weather right now.  I don't know if the term "dog days" can be applied officially but any smart dog is cooling off anyway he can!

Even with watering, the garden has nearly quit producing and the landscape is looking more like late August than early July.

So, how hot is it?  Hot enough to wish I were with this dock diving dog in the photograph right now!