Monday, April 30, 2012

Today, I "Carpe'd the Diem"!

I played with the leaves around the goose's head, giving a bit more shape and detail.

I also shadowed him a lot more, darkened his feet, and added detail to his face. Done? - I think so, unless I play with the leaves some more.

I have named her "Grim". To me, she looks like a cross between a gargoyle and a flying monkey from The Wizard of Oz. My aunt came out for a visit yesterday, and brought her for me. She said this is how I am when I am working as much as I am now. NOT very nice!! Downright grumpy!!!

Cute 7/8 profile


And this is Majesty. The photo was given to me by Mary Sheehan Wynn, a good blogging friend. Gypsy Woman [my nickname for Mary] is about as horse-mad as I am. Hard to believe! She goes down each winter to Florida, to paint and teach. While there, Mary visited an animal rescue home, Kowiachobee Animal Preserve. A couple there loves animals, and are caring for a menagerie of mammals, reptiles and birds. Majesty had been abandoned by his owners, and left tied to a tree. He had dropped about 400 pounds when he was rescued. Now he is fattened up, safe and LOVED. Mary would like me to do a painting of Majesty. I'm THRILLED! What a handsome, noble and gentle face.
As for the "carpe diem", today I did my income tax, and mailed it [last minute as always], picked up some flax for Bruno at the feed store, visited a horsey friend nearby, picked up some watercolor paper at the art supply store, and rode BrunZ. I am trying to pack as much into my days off as possible!!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Buddy's Home ... and ... What a Small World

There he is, up beside Birdie, whose portrait "The Laughing Labrador" I did seven years ago. And down below, the hockey game. [Duncan is a big fan; Pat and I just groan and shake our heads.]

I asked Pat and Duncan to pose by their painting. They are both so happy with the portrait.

The mad conductor, directing "The Rite of Spring".  At least, he looks like a conductor to me. He is coming along nicely - should be done soon.

I had an unexpected day off, as the dentist with the broken arm was told to take it easy; her arm has been quite painful. So I got some painting done, worked on ideas for the bridge painting, and went for a two hour hike in the woods with Pat and four dogs - her two, and the Boxer Girls. Yes, they are staying with me again this week. In crossing a narrow bridge by one of the water jumps on the trail, Shayna [the cute, scruffy one] got loose, and took off. I went off in pursuit, through bog and mud, and came home sloshing in my boots. Ah yes ... country life! We did manage to retrieve Miss Shayna, too.
I also picked up the painting today. And in conversation with the owner of the gallery, we discovered we are neighbors. She and her husband moved a few months ago to a property almost right across the street. We didn't know it till today. She admitted that she and her husband are quite quiet. Pat and I, in passing the house on one of our many walks, thought the home was deserted; there was never any activity. Now I know. Denise badly broke her arm riding two years ago, and has just started again, so there will be activity and horses there soon.

Monday, April 23, 2012

So Far, So Good ...

I've started on the goose. And for the background, I put in a wet, thin wash of aureolin, and then drizzled thin strips of a green mixture with vertical strokes to suggest grass.

This photo, and the ones below, are some references I'd like to use for the Vancouver scene. It's of the Burrard Street Bridge,  one of three bridges connecting Vancouver south with the downtown core. For me, the view of the water, the mountains and the old bridge give a strong sense of the city. I like the softening effect of the fog.

Slightly different angle, and I LOVE that old ship in front.

I'd like to get the colors of sunset in the painting.

Another angle. I like the feel this photo creates of looking up at the massiveness of the bridge.

Vancouver really is beautiful - over-developed, but beautiful.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I'M BACK ... for a bit

I didn't like where the last rendition of this was going, so, OF COURSE, I started again.

It's a narrower format, with a softer [hopefully]  positive/negative space effect of willow leaves.

I am here now. I'll probably bring a very thin yellow wash in front of goose, with drizzles of the leaf colors flowing vertically, in a wet-in-wet wash.

Bruno looks like a giant anteater here. He's actually reaching down with his choppers to scratch at some obnoxious insect. I even had an opportunity to ride the lad today. OH, I'M IN HEAVEN TODAY!!!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I WILL be Back Painting SOON!!!

The office

The Bug and me, before a drastic and much-needed haircut

Shayna and Lucy

And the chins

They're so cute


Lucy at the paddock gate

One of the dentists with whom I work broke her arm, so I am doing more than twice the office time I usually do. And this week, the Boxer girls are here for a week.  So parts of my life are being a bit neglected, namely Bruno and painting. I miss them so very much I almost feel like I'm living in a gray, numbing haze. But this won't last too much longer. And I have some painting ideas percolating in my head, and the weather is improving for riding. So onwards and upwards, or as Crystal Cook says "HUZZH!!!"

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

YAY!!! Buddy Is Going to the Framer Today

I did a bit of touching up. I darkened the entire ear, as I found it stood out too much. I put in a bit more shading on his muzzle and eyebrows. I touched up a few spots on the perimeter of Buddy's image. And of course put on my signature.

Some close-up shots. I really am proud of his eyes. Buddy always did so intently speak to you with his eyes.

Well, it's done! What an effort. I so much wanted to capture the soul of Buddy. He was such a cool dog - a rescue, who just eased his way totally into all our lives. I will take him into White Rock to my favorite framers after I've played with Bruno this morning.
 Then I will start working on some ideas for a Vancouver cityscape. I must admit I found it difficult to find something about the city that I still found I loved, and that reminded me of the old Vancouver. It's changed so unbelievably much in the past ten to fifteen years. Right now, I'm thinking of doing something with the Burrard Bridge with the mountains [of course] in the background.

As ever, your comments are always welcome!  

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Black Russian Strikes Again ...

I started by laying in some graded washes - aureolin, quin. pink and cobalt blue. 

More cobalt blue.

It was looking rather sparse, so I put in an impressionistic sort of drape of poplar leaves behind the goose. I'm not 100% thrilled with it, but it will do. 

The lighting in the reference photo was not quite what I needed, so I used my sketch to rough in a plan for the shadows.

And here, I've started with shadowing, using quin. pink and cobalt blue.

It's not quite a Black Russian - more of a Dark Slav. That's my feeling about my painting right now.  And yes, pure imported borscht runs through my veins. All my grandparents came from the Ukraine just after the First World War. I attribute all my quirks to that fact!
Bruno is my Cossack steed. { He doesn't know it yet.  :) }
I love the old Red Army Chorus. A Welsh men's chorus is a very close second. I still have an old 78 RPM vinyl of the opera "Alexander Nevsky" buried in my closet, along with many other vinyl records.
Anyway, there it is - a bit more of who I am. The art will straighten out. I'm just going through what all of us artists go through from time to time.

And as ever and always, please be welcome to leave a note.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

What Do I Do When I'm Not Ruining a Painting?

He was well-groomed 4 hours ago. I spent about an hour getting hair and mud out of his coat before riding.

Bruno is shedding A LOT, and is itchy.

So he rolls in the mud.

The flip side is just as bad.

Then there is the pile of composted "horse essence" that is used in the flower gardens, but most will be harrowed into the field. It's covered over the wet season, so too much doesn't get into the ground-water.

Then there is the constant war with the blackberry brambles. I love the berries, but if not savagely cut back, they spread like the weed they are.

Blackberry all along the back fence-line.

Hah - back fence-line.

A parting shot of Muddy Mud Skipper, chowing down dinner.

This one is salvageable.

This one isn't. I think I'll have to plan the background more before I dive into it again.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

All Right!!! STILL More Geese ...

It's Pat's birthday today. So I ran out a few days ago to our favorite nursery, and bought a gift certificate. Pat LOVES gardening. And it's always so much fun watching her come home with a car-load of plants. Then all spring and summer, we enjoy the beauty of the garden - sounds a bit sappy, but it's gorgeous. Of course, I'm out there for hours, sketching and taking photos as long as there are flowers for "models". I was just going to give her the gift certificate, but did a decent sketch last night, put it on watercolor paper, and painted the background. I worked on the goose quickly this morning, and will finish it this evening after work.