Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Very Odd Thanksgiving!

This past week - a week containing our American Thanksgiving holiday - has been a wild one and one very different from past Thanksgivings!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it seems to be the one most unaffected by blatant commercialism.  (I won't even comment on starting "Black Friday" on Thanksgiving Day this year!)  This year the kids (we have a son and a daughter) had other plans and I didn't have to cook a conventional Thanksgiving dinner.

This ended up being a good thing because the Saturday evening/night before Thanksgiving I kept violently up-chucking and ended up in the ER at our local hospital for several hours on Sunday morning.  It was some sort of bug and some IV fluids and anti-nausea meds got me back on track.  But, it took several days to get to the point where I could do much more than sleep and cooking a big dinner would have been nearly impossible!

So, we decided to get together this past Saturday (the Saturday after Thanksgiving Day) for a "Build Your Own Pizza" party.  I made my "famous" homemade pizza dough & sauce, set out every topping that anyone even mentioned and let everyone make their own pizza.

The top photo is one of the pizzas and the bottom photo is of three of our four grandchildren - aren't they all beautiful?  Our oldest granddaughter is just as gorgeous and is married and now lives in Maine.  It would have been perfect if she'd been able to join us also.

We may have had a very unconventional holiday but it was a fun time and maybe something we'll do again in the future!

We're so very thankful for our wonderful family and I'm very thankful to those of you who visit my blog and have become my online family!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Shawnee Update - German Shepherd Dog Acrylic Portrait

This is the latest update on the portrait of Shawnee, the German Shepherd Dog.  I'm still blocking in color and it seems to be going slowly because I'm trying to build layers.  With pastel, you can immediately go over the top of previously put down color, but with acrylic, you must wait for it to dry.  It doesn't take long but is just different from the way I usually work.

Shawnee had a lovely buff colored undercoat that I really want to get down right as bits of it will show through the succeeding layers when I begin to build the silver and black colors of her top coat. 

Soon I'll begin to texturize her coat so that all the subtle colors will work together to make her fur seem touchable and real.

A long way to go still but it's getting there!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Shawnee Painting Update

Not much of an update on the painting of Shawnee but it's been a pretty busy last few days.  As usual, I see several things to be corrected already and I'm just blocking in color at the moment.  One of the wonderful pluses for acrylic paint though is the ease in correcting mistakes!

The most exciting thing that happened lately was a trip to Raleigh (NC) for the "Art of the Carolinas" trade show that Jerry's Artarama puts on every year.  We got there shortly after it opened on Friday figuring that it wouldn't be too crowded on a Friday morning - Wrong!  I picked up a few items I needed  then stood in a check-out line that didn't seem to move.  I was told by the artists in front of and behind me that it was the worst time to visit the show!  I guess everyone tries to get there early to buy supplies for the different workshops along with trying to get frames and canvases before they get picked over!  Since I wasn't in the market for either of those items and wasn't taking a workshop, I wish I'd waited to attend the show! 

As it was, I bought a few things at the show for some good prices but still ended up with a small bag of stuff and about $60 poorer!  Not only that, but we ended up going just down the street to the actual Jerry's store (which blessedly was nearly empty of customers) for some acid free foam board.  I also saw some Rub'nBuff which I had heard was great to transform frames and picked up a tube of that.  I'd looked for it in Hobby Lobby and our local big box building supply store but hadn't found it. 

Since it's so rare for me to get to go to a large art supply store, I really wanted to look around more.  But being at the show with all that crowd was really wearing.  It was shoulder to shoulder in the huge room that contained much of the show and trying to see what was available was nearly impossible.  At the store itself, many of the shelves were empty or depleted because the stock had been taken to the show. 

Oh, well, I got pretty much what I went for plus a little extra so it was certainly successful in that regard!

It's back to work on the portrait of Shawnee today and I think I may get the colors all blocked in and a good start on the detailing if all goes well.

I'm also starting a portrait of two beautiful Golden Retrievers and have the sketch pretty much worked out for that.  It will be on a full sheet of PastelMat which is the largest size pastel portrait I've done.  I'm looking forward to starting it but feel I need to wait until Shawnee is finished so pastel dust won't contaminate the acrylic portrait. 

As always, I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New Pet Portrait - Shawnee

I met with a client about a week or so ago to meet her elderly and ill dog so she could have a portrait done.  She wanted the portrait of a younger Shawnee and we gathered up photos to use as painting references.  I started the portrait after receiving an art order on Saturday with some needed supplies and found out this morning that Shawnee had passed away yesterday. 

This is another of those times when I almost wish I had a different occupation.  I know the owner is hurting badly at this time and viewing any progress on the portrait will just hurt that much more. 

I want my pet portraits to evoke good memories yet it's possible that the owner will look at the painting and remember only that Shawnee left this earth during the time the portrait was being painted.  Shawnee's mom and I had talked of a portrait many times and I wish she had commissioned it when she first thought of it.  I would encourage any pet owner to get a portrait done when your fur child is strong and healthy if you want one.  Don't put it off.

I met Shawnee when she was ill and in some pain but her photos show her to have been a gorgeous black, silver and buff German Shepherd - very regal and almost wolf-like in her coloring.  I'm painting her in acrylic and so want to do the best job possible with this painting.  Of course, I always want to do that but I feel even more obligated to present Shawnee at her best in this portrait for the sake of her grieving "mama".

Run free at the Rainbow Bridge, Shawnee and be assured that your memory will live on in the hearts of those who loved you.