Who Doesn’t Love Their Dog Raise Your Hand

I thought so. If you have a dog you love him or her to death. He’s a good boy; she’s a good girl. (So don’t ask them that anymore; just tell them already!)

My last post, the dog portrait, got a lot of attention AND a commission to paint another dog portrait, Lucy. What a beauty she is.

I love to paint; it is a joy. It’s like when you “throw the ball for the dog” kind of joy.

Painting a commissioned piece is a bit more stressful I find. It’s more like “sitting there with the biscuit on your nose waiting to be told, ‘Ok'”, kind of fine line between pain and pleasure.

So in the end I do my best see what happens.

Here is “Lucy”.

Lucy
“Lucy” 8×10″ oil on canvas

Don’t Tell My Cats I Painted A Dog

I’ve painted five pictures of cats—not all mine—and two with people walking their dogs but they are pretty small. This is my first portrait of a dog.

My cat, Buster, was rescued from a parking lot when a stray cat had a litter there. When I thought he needed a friend (he told me later he didn’t). I went to the Capitol Area Humane Society to find LeeLuu. She is a sweetheart.

The CAHS is having their annual fundraiser, the Fur Ball Gala, “Casabarka”. I am donating this painting for their auction. My photographer friend, John Diephouse, provided me with a photograph of his dog Cooper, to use as a reference from which to paint. I hope it brings in a good bid.

Casabarka

Surveying Her Subjects

She came in as the younger, smaller cat in the house, but soon took over as the one in charge. The back of the couch is the highest point in the room that is comfortable. She can see the whole room, the other cat, me, and the backyard out the window across the room. She has great color, sort of black and brown, some rust and white, a pink nose and “odd socks” as I call them, meaning each paw is different.

Quite a demanding little kitty, she yells at me when she wants something, but if I whisper at her, she will whisper back. She is a great model and I could paint her all day long. Now that the springtime sun is making its way into our home, and sunbeam naps are on the schedule, a new painting is inevitable.

Surveying Her Subjects
“Surveying Her Subjects”, 6×6″ oil on panel

Available at Daily Paintworks: http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/664015

Patience

When we are quiet, when we observe, when we are still, we let it in. We let in nature, as it will begin to trust us. We let in beauty as we see more. We let in peace as we connect with the heartbeat of the universe.

Or, like this little kitty, well, he is trying to let in his next meal I suppose.

watching
“Watching”, 6×8″ oil on panel

Available at Daily Paintworks: http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/660292

Bluebird

bluebird
“Bluebird” 6×6″ oil on panel

Late at night when the wind is still

I’ll come flying through your door

And you’ll know what love is for

I’m a bluebird

“Bluebird” is a song credited to Paul and Linda McCartney that was originally released on the Wings’ album Band on the Run.

These cute little guys don’t visit my yard. My sister is lucky. They even nest in her yard from time to time.

They’ve been used as symbols in songs by Paul McCartney, by David Bowie, by the Moody Blues, and Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow”. I remember a childhood rhyme that was something…”Bluebird, bluebird, in and out the window…”

Quite a popular little fellow.

Available at Daily Paintworks: http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/651926

Studio Ghosts

Originally posted on Art of Quotation: ? “Studio Ghosts: When you’re in the studio painting, there are a lot of people in there with you – your teachers, friends, painters from history, critics… and one by one if you’re really painting, they walk out. And if you’re really painting YOU walk out.” Philip Guston, painter

via “When you’re in the studio painting, there are a lot of people in there with you…” — M o o r e z a r t

“Untitled”

Creating a piece of art is not enough if you put it out into the world. A titled is required. Some artists think the art should speak for itself and “Untitled” is sufficient. Most viewers would like more. They would like to gain a little insight from the title. What was the artist thinking when they created this piece?

More likely, what was the artist thinking when they created this title?

Obvious titles such as “Apples in a Bowl” at least allow a way to inventory the work. I am guilty all too often of taking this easy way out. Other options are to pick a small, bright spot in the work, or the focal point.

Some artists look to poetry, songs, quotes, religion, books, or humor to find their titles. If you paint a lake you might avoid the name of the lake or you may turn off potential buyers because it’s not their lake.

Every once in awhile when I come up with my concept for the piece, I come up with the title at the same time. That’s the best. I feel like I’m on a first name basis with my art before I’ve even painted it. How can that not turn out good?

After much soul searching and staring at my new painting I came up with “Ethereal Glow” for the title. I didn’t want to be obvious—”Fish in Pond”, Koi and Goldfish”, or “Sunlit something”. They certainly did glow in the sun, and looked somewhat heavenly as they swam in and out of the green and blue depths. What do you think?

etheral-glow
“Ethereal Glow” 6×8″ oil on panel

Available at http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/643073

I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends

acrylic painting of cat at the old house
CAT AT THE OLD HOUSE

Painted branches in that upper left-hand corner 3 times and scraped them out 3 times. Grr-rr! Just don’t like it. So just keep painting.

Continued the siding on the house but, hmmm.

It’s great to have artist friends to get an honest critique. I often show my work in progress to my friend Tom Nelson, (see his work at http://www.nelsonfineart.com).

Yep, those lines are taking your eye right off the picture plane. Let’s lose some of those and also lose some of the edges on those windows on the left as well. Lost and found edges can be an important factor in the success of a painting. And maybe a bit of change in temperature of the color to push that area back.

Now you see what’s important—kitty, kitty!

Thanks Tom.

Stick a Fork in Me, I’m Done

Artists often get asked the question, “How do you know when you’re done?”

Painting is not like baking a cake. There is no recipe with a set time letting you know when it’s done.

But I like the food analogy. I think of it more like eating a meal though rather than cooking. When I’m satisfied, I’m done.

Or, if I’m full, I walk away. I may get hungry again later and go back for more. And maybe again (and again) until I find I’m finally satisfied.

OR, if I eat too much (overwork the piece) and get sick of it and don’t want to eat it EVER AGAIN! That’s when it (the art) gets cut up, or sanded and gessoed over, or pitched out the window, burned in the fire pit…you get the idea.

drawing on black gesso
Preliminary drawing on black gesso.

When I paint buildings I usually (not always) draw it out first. For this piece I decided to paint on a board prepared with black gesso so I drew in white charcoal.

Value painting
Value painting

Sometimes (not always) I block in the values in a few shades of grey. This is known as a grisaille. I like this effect and sometimes I am tempted to complete the painting in greys.

But I think I’ll get hungry later.