Thursday, December 19, 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy

It's been crazy busy for me lately -- and I'm happy about it!  I've had a little time to do a few paintings, but mostly I've been busy with the ceramic pieces.  I've even had to stop making them for the rest of this year, in fact.  But they'll be back next year.  The only ones I have in stock now on Etsy are the ones in the "Ceramics Ready to Ship" section.  These aren't "picked-over" pieces but ones from the last couple of batches that I made that I finally got around to listing recently.

I've attached a pic of a recently finished (early December) English bulldog painting I did for a customer -- I took on a couple of custom paintings recently and may do a few next year, too, but only a few custom ones due to other commitments.

Happy Holidays to all.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Pembroke Welsh Corgi Oil Painting I just Finished

This is an 11x14x3/4" original oil painting I just finished.  It's a Pembroke Welsh Corgi -- or just corgi for most of us.  I feel I've finally gotten the feel of oil paints; and, honestly, I don't think I could ever, ever go back to acrylics now.  I can't begin to describe the sensuousness of moving the oil paintings around on the canvas.  The paints feel almost alive.  It's just the most amazing feeling and experience I've had in art in a very long time.  If you've ever baked your own yeast bread, you know that wonderfully indescribable texture and loft of the perfectly kneaded bread dough.  I know they're two totally different things, oil paints and dough, but I get that same kind sensation with both of them, an aliveness that is exhilarating and awe-inspiring!  Okay, okay, I know I'm getting a bit carried away here, but I'm really enjoying painting with oil paints.  'Nuf said!

Regarding my quest to go to La France, I'm inching forward:  I am signed up for a short course of intense language study in December and am taking a full-length course starting in January.  Yesterday evening, I participated in my first group discussion among mostly Francophones and a couple of Francophiles (me included).  It was a lot of fun; a great group of people.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Finally doing some more Paintings! Jersey Cow

Here she is!  She was standing in a field near Corvallis, OR, along with many other cows, all Jersey milk cows, at a small organic farm.  Like all the other cows I saw that day, she was a sweetheart, very curious about what I was doing out in the field with them.  Both the original and prints are available.  The original is an oil painting on an 11x14x3/4" canvas.

It's good to be back painting again.  I missed it.  And I'm working pretty much only in oils now!  It's been a very slow learning curve, and I have a lot to learn yet, but I'm moving along on it now.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

France Travel Update

It's been a while since I've written about moving to France -- not because I'm not doing anything or not thinking about it.  It's what I do constantly.  I read, research, think, read some more, get really anxious, read some more -- well, you get the picture.  I'm having mixed feelings -- for many and varied reasons.  First and foremost, I am afraid.  Yes, it's scary as hell to be thinking about not only moving to France but even going to France -- alone.  Yes, I've been there before, even lived there for a couple of years a couple of decades ago.  But now I'm just past the 65 mark, and I plan to go completely alone, by my own little self.  Can I do it?  I don't know.  The more I read, the more frightened I become.

When I was in undergraduate college back a long time ago, I used to be a very brave (but still frightened) person.  This probably isn't something to brag about, but I'll tell it anyway:  I used to get my student loan every autumn, and off I would go to Europe and travel around (and have the time of my life, even though you can't imagine how scary it was at times) until I ran out of money.  Then I would come back to the US, get a part-time job to pay for school, and go to school and work part-time until I got my next student loan.  I did that every year for at least three years.  Yes, it took me a long to time to get my first bachelor's degree, but I had a lot more fun than all of my peers who went to school the "conventional" way.  And I believe I gained more by having done it the way I did.  And, yes, I think I got a better, albeit non-conventional, education by all my travels, too.

I haven't been writing on here lately because of my fears -- and my uncertainties.  What if I fail?  I feel that I would be letting my very tiny audience here down, my family, especially my little granddaughter who looks up to me so much, down, myself???!! down.  Yes, myself most of all.  And I guess the rest of you don't matter so much, but in a way, you do.  But even if I fail, I feel it's necessary to document my entire experience, succeed or fail.

I think as far as daring to take on new experiences, I have had a great life so far.  I can't let a lot of fear stop me now.  So even though I'm unsure, so very, very afraid, I must force (yes, force, if necessary) myself to go through with it.  I know in my most inner self that I'll never regret doing it.  What I would regret, I am sure, is not doing it.

I will say for now that my plans have somewhat changed (I think):  At this time, I plan to go first of all for three months and figure out where (and if) I want to live, just once again get the feeling of being slightly out of control, with no safety net if I really mess up, but gaining so very much more.  (You would think I'm talking about a trip to the moon and not just to France, wouldn't you?)  Well, everything is relative to something else, and that's where I am.  France, the moon, what's the difference at this point.  I know that's far-fetched, but it's kind of how I feel now.

So I continue to decide where I'll end up in my first foray there, how I'll fill my days!!! without suffering a terrible loneliness (I'm shy and don't strike up acquaintances very easily -- and I'm OLD!  To many of you, anyway, even if I myself don't feel old).  I've been studying my somewhat rusty French non-stop, watching French news every evening, reading only French novels (when I'm not reading about traveling), etc,. etc.

'Til next time . . .

Friday, October 4, 2013

And you thought you were having a bad day! Nothing to do with Anything on My Blog -- But it Really made me Laugh

  Here's the link to the pic:

I can't stop laughing every time I look at it.  My daughter sent it to me to cheer me up because I was indeed having a bad day -- still getting over a killer cold.

Poor guy, I can just imagine what calamity followed this photo.  Hope he was okay.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Am I too Sensitive? Or just ignorant about the workings of "online forum societies"? Maybe both . . .

I'm still searching online constantly, trying to figure out how best to go to France.  I went to this expats-in-France forum and asked a question about working in France, got a decent response.  Then I wrote today and described who I was, why I wanted to live in France, that I had lived there in the past, what "department" (region) of France interested me (Brittany/Bretagne), even a small town and a large city that I am considering.  I asked if someone who had any knowledge of that area -- and knowing my circumstances as I had described them -- could recommend either the city or the small town -- or could recommend any alternate places in the area.  Well, I got blasted big time, as in "Oh Lordy Lordy ... how many times do we get this nonsensical question ????"   . . . and so on.  

Anyway, it stung.  Someone, the moderator, came on later and kindly gave me some pointers that I have found very useful.  But I had no idea people could be so nasty.  I had heard stories, of course, and I'm not a naive person, but really, I just don't understand why someone would behave in such a way.  

Is this sort of behavior on forums typical?  Do I have to be an expert before I ask questions on a forum?  I don't understand it.  I'll continue to try, of course, and see what I can learn.  If I get another similar response, I'll look for another place to get information.

Oh, if I haven't already mentioned it, I am going to be taking language lessons through Alliance Francaise very soon.  I'm close to having a good working knowledge of French but haven't had anyone to speak with in a long time, so I think this will help a lot.  I'm also taking a really great free online course through the "Open Learning Initiative," from Carnegie Mellon University.  They offer full university courses completely free online.  If you don't mind not interacting with a professor or getting grades, it's a great way to learn something new.  Here's the link of you're interested:

Now to my work:  Another good thing is my ceramic pieces have suddenly taken off!  I'm getting several orders a day, nearly all I can handle, so that's great.  I want to have as much money saved up as possible before I leave.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Already learning moving to France isn't so easy

I've been doing a lot of research on my move to France, and there's a lot to learn!  I've found that most likely I'm going to have to apply for residency when the time comes as a self-employed person.   I want to continue doing my paintings until I can no longer hold a brush or see the canvas!  And of course, not being too keen on being a "starving artist," I want to continue to make my income.  I'll be contacting the French consulate here in Portland soon to be able to iron out a few more details about what's involved in applying for residency as a self-employed artist.  (I don't know if I'll be able to do my ceramic work there or not, so I'm just focusing on my paintings at this time.)

An aside:  I took a virtual tour of my so-far preferred city to live, Fougères, in Brittany, and it's a really, really great looking place.  I'll describe it in more detail in my next post since it's pretty late now.  But I'll say it's a rather small town, about 23,000 people.  It has a really fantastic medieval castle, the  Château de Fougères, (a link if you want to know more about the castle.)  But it also has pretty much everything else one would need on a day-to-day basis, including a train station in case I want to do some traveling.  I'm hoping to be able to do without a car if possible since I'll only be there 3 months this first time.  I expect to be renting a small house or apartment in or near the city so I can bike or walk everywhere.  And it's a clean, beautiful looking town.   Not too large, not too small, just right.

On to another subject now:  Regarding my ceramic artwork:  The holiday season is flying madly toward us, as usual, and I have to make some adjustments in how I take orders for ceramic pieces.  Currently, I have a general listing on Etsy, and you, the customer, have a lot of freedom in choosing how you want your particular piece to be made.  Unfortunately, it takes me about two weeks (or sometimes more) to make a new piece.  So sometime probably around Thanksgiving, I'll have to stop taking orders for pieces to be made (in time for Holiday delivery) and only list pieces that I've already made and have ready to ship.

So if you're thinking about having something made, be sure and place your order before the latter part of November -- and if I get too many orders earlier on, I'll have to stop taking them even earlier than I've stated here.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Checking In -- and Updating

Well, I've decided that Denmark probably won't work for me -- but France will.  I've been doing research like mad and have found out that I can make it work.  I have a tentative "no-later-than" date to leave of around the end of May 2014.  I've found a region that most appeals to me -- kind of east and slightly southeast of Paris, in the Brittany region.  With my daughter's help, we've been both researching different regions and have found that we both are gravitating toward that part of France.  When we lived in France nearly 20 years ago, we lived in the south in a wonderful city called Toulouse.  It was a great place to live, and I made many friends there; but the heat in the summertime just isn't something I handle very well.  I've always preferred cold-weather climates (such as Colorado and Wyoming in this country, where I spent many years), so at this time anyway, Brittany it is.

There's so much to do between now and then to be ready to go that I stay a bit overwhelmed, and it's still eight months in the future.  Oh, by the way, my trip there the end of May is to go to the areas we've found to be most desirable, check them out, and make a decision on where we want to move -- yes, we, because my family will be following me later on.  This first time, I'll only be there three months so I won't have to apply yet for the "visa de long séjour." the long-stay visa.

Regarding my art, yes, I'm still painting -- and am finally getting some landscapes done that I'll be happy to show.  We took a camping trip along the Oregon coast a week ago, and I did some great sketches and am almost finished with the first painting, a small 8x10" on canvas panel, around Cape Lookout.  I'll be doing a series of them and then will list the best ones.  And I am finally!! getting the hang of oil paints.  I even did a small long-haired doxie painting in oil a few days ago, my first dog painting in oil.  I'll also be doing some more animals in the not-too-distant future, too.

Okay, now I have to go put on my other hat, my "ceramics" hat, and finish up too many dog mask orders that all have to go out on Monday!  Yikes!  Fortunately, I'm nearing the completion of all of them.  I built them all at approximately the same time, bisque-fired them all at the same time, and am now painting them all together, etc., etc.  So, unless something unfortunate happens in the glaze-fire, they'll all be ready to ship by Monday morning.  Then on to the next batch!  It's fun, though.  After my long break from doing them, it's fun again.

So keep in touch on my big, big move in the next eight months.  I know everyone and their cousin blogs about moving to another country -- but, hey, there's always room for one more, though.  And I'll try to cover as much of the "nitty-gritty" as I possibly can.  One of the things that I'll definitely cover in great detail is getting pets moved to another country.  We did it when we moved to Denmark a couple of years ago, mostly my daughter's work, and it was quite a daunting task --and the "importation" fees they charged were something we overlooked, and they were massive!  France has no such fees, so it's at least going to cost less.  Anyway, if you have any specific questions you want to ask as I post more, please do so.  I'll try to cover any moving-overseas subject I'm able to.   I'm so excited now that I've made my decision of where and when I'm leaving!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Getting Old - er

It's amazing how life just continues moving on -- faster and faster.  I'm considered to be -- (looking around to see if anyone sees what I'm writing!) -- a "senior" now.  How in the world did this happen?  Why, just a week ago, I was thinking that I better enjoy life more, do more, play more, experience more, love my family more, you get the picture -- and now, I'm thinking I'm nearing the end, what is there left for me to do in the relatively short time I have left.  I figure, if my health continues to be tip-top, I've got around 10 good years left.  Notice I said "good years."  Who knows how long I'll live -- or if I'll want to live so long that I'm miserable and waiting for the end to happen.  In my family, you either go early (my grandmother was 56, my mother 77, my father 53) or very, very late (both my great grandparents that I was fortunate enough to know lived into their late 90's.)  I'm shooting for somewhere in between.

Well, reality is what it is.  One of my favorite (and existential, I realize) sayings is:  "What is, is."  It's that simple.

So what am I going to do about my "good ten years left"?   I'm still thinking.  But I can tell you one thing:  It's time to consider very seriously my "bucket list."    Twenty years ago, I lived in France as a graduate student.  It was a really difficult thing to do.  My husband had just recently died, I had a nine-year-old daughter, but I was given the opportunity to study in Toulouse, so despite a lot of reasons why maybe I shouldn't have done it, I did it.  And my only!!! regret is that I came back to the USA.  It's not that don't love the USA; I do.  But I also love the adventure, the thrill, the "being alive" feeling of living in a totally different environment.  And, let's face it, no matter where we go in the US, everything is pretty much the same as it was "back home."

I also had the opportunity to be able to live, albeit a much shorter time than I had anticipated, in Denmark a few years ago.  (The length of time there is another story I don't want to talk about -- or even think about.)  But being there just shy of three short months was glorious.  We, my family and I lived on a small island called Langeland.  I'm hoping that someday before too long, we'll be able to get mended what got broken and I'll be able to go back, at least for short periods of time.)

With all that in mind, I am hoping, and planning, to be able to return to Europe again in the fairly near future.  Remember, for me, the clock is ticking louder and louder all the time.  There are many, many details to figure out for this to work, but it's the highest item on my to-do list, so I just have to make it work.  I will.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

It's been a long time . . .

It's been a really long time since I've written anything.  I'm afraid there's nothing much interesting or new to report.  We're (my daughter and I) working away on our ceramic artwork and are really enjoying the process.  We're selling them at art shows and amazingly well online, on Etsy primarily.  We still have several bugs to work out regarding selling them online, but we have a pretty good system going now.  It is just awfully hard to keep up with what's going on and getting the purchased items, which nearly all of them end up having to be made as they're ordered, out in a timely manner.  Closer to the Holiday Season, I think we'll be listing only one-of-a-kind items and not taking any more "custom" orders until things slow down in January.  As it is now, a customer can make many customizations on each piece, so it's really keeping us jumping.

Regarding my new landscape painting venture, I'm plodding along a lot slower than I had expected.  That's partly because I've been too busy with the ceramics work and partly because it's turned out to be much, much harder than I had expected it to be.  Yes, I can copy what's before me rather well; but I don't feel that's enough.  I feel that I have to put more of me and my personality into, well, into what's before me.  I hear that will come with experience, but for me it just hasn't happened yet.  There have been a few times in my life where I have been doing something where I felt a "shift" into another mode of behavior as I was learning something new.  The way it was for me is the shift happened and then some time later, I realized that it had happened.

One instance, oddly enough, was when I was studying statistics both in undergraduate and graduate school.  I was doing okay in the course and found it only mildly interesting; but being a good student, I kept plodding along at the subject, trying to find some "big meaning" in it all.  Then one evening while I was still in undergraduate school, as I was reading something, it hit me:  I saw the "big picture!"  I can't explain it now -- or you wouldn't want me to -- but I suddenly realized that I had, so to speak, put all the puzzle pieces into place, and I fully understood what had been eluding me for many, many months.  After that, I fell in love with statistics and even taught it not only to struggling fellow undergraduate students but to people far ahead of me in graduate schools who had to pass or do well in statistics to get their advanced level degrees.

Okay, that was really off-subject!

Anyway, I'll keep struggling with landscape paintings, and someday maybe I'll be pretty good.  I've put custom pet paintings on hold, as I think I've mentioned before, as well as any animal paintings.  I really needed a break.  I just finished, after a many months' delay, a final custom dog painting, which will actually be shipped tomorrow.  I think it came out quite well, and it's a high note to take a long break on.  He's a mixed breed, beautiful black dog with soulful eyes, and his "parents" love the painting.  That makes me happy.

Oh, one more word:  I am working in oils now on my landscape paintings, and it, too, is a struggle to master.  But I do love the feel of it and the way it moves on the canvas, and I am finally, finally getting a bit of a grip on how to hang onto it -- it seems to want to slip away from my grasp sometimes.  In the end, I think it is a very wise move for me.

Okay, I'll try to get back to keeping you up on what's happening.

Monday, June 10, 2013

I'm changing -- once again! At least I'm not stuck in a rut, I guess.

Well, I realized that I completely burned out doing the long string of large cow paintings in April, so I'm taking a break from animal painting for a while and seriously studying landscape painting, something I've wanted to do for a long time.  Also, I have decided --- yes, once again! --- to work on my ceramic animal masks and whatever else comes up while I'm in the clay studio.  This time, my daughter and I are working together, she on her porcelain projects and I on my earthenware animal masks.  So we're together in the studio but working in different areas.  However, I must admit that her porcelain and stoneware clays are mighty tempting sometimes.  Maybe I'll sneak a few handfuls from time to time to play with those, too!

It's good to be back to doing something that I feel safe with and that isn't so stressful as doing the dog portraits and other animal paintings.  Yes, I will be back to them eventually and will even continue to paint animals of my own choice for a while, too, but I do need a break.  I've been painting animals nonstop since sometime in 2007.

I'm actually having fun doing the clay work now that I have someone to share the studio with me.  Clay work can be very isolating (just as painting can, but paint is so all-consuming that I hardly notice that I'm alone.  Not so with clay work.)

I'm hoping that within the next few months also I'll have a good body of landscape work that I can show off. For now, it's lots and lots and lots of small paintings just to get the feel of working in an entirely new genre.  Oh, and I forgot to mention:  I've also switched from acrylic paints to oil paints and so far, except for the awful messes I keep making, I'm loving them.  With acrylics, I was always able to keep myself quite clean, except for the occasional smear of paint across my face or hair when I accidentally swiped my brush into my face or hair.  But with oils, which dry very, very slowly, I keep getting paint all over my hands, forgetting that the paint doesn't dry within a very few minutes after having been applied, and then I get these really embarrassing smears of paint all over my face, my hair, my clothing, my belongings!  It's quite a learning experience, and I'm either going to have to learn to wear throw-away clothing when I paint or I'll have to get an entirely new wardrobe -- hmmmm, that's not a bad idea!

So, please, if you are at all interested, check out my ceramic pieces as I list them on Etsy and let me know if there's something special you would like for me to make with my clay.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Another of my Seven Cow Paintings

This is another of the cow paintings that kept me busy all through the month of April.  There are five more I'll be showing.  This is a Jersey cow.  The original was 30x40 inches and has been sold.

Following this past month's marathon, I figured this is a good time to take a new direction in my artwork.  So in addition to still doing custom animal paintings, and the occasional animal painting from my own photographs, I am making two very (for me) big changes in my artwork:  I am going to be painting primarily landscapes from now on (suggestions welcome!), and I'm switching from acrylics to oils as my medium.

I've been practicing both the new medium and the new subject matter, and there's going to have to be a pretty sharp learning curve for me.  It's a whole new field (no pun intended!), and I'm really excited about it.  Please, if you've followed me mostly because I have painted animals for years, stay with me and see how my new work is going.  Wish me luck on this new chapter in my painting career.

One more thing:  For those of you who know of my past ceramic artwork, I am once again making some ceramic animal masks and will be listing them on Etsy within the following few months.  There will only be a few each month, approximately 10 per month, because I don't want to make them full-time anymore.  But I must admit that I am enjoying the several hours a week I've been spending in my clay studio; it's a welcome break from "my day job."  If you have mask requests, let me know and I'll do my best to create something like what you want.  I am going to be doing a few different types of animals this time:  In addition to the usual dogs and cats (and possibly a few fish), I'm going to be making some cow and rooster masks.  Should be interesting.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Done! The cow paintings are finished and out the door today

I have finished my group of commissioned cow paintings and am calling the shipper today, so they'll be out of here either today or tomorrow morning.  They'll be gracing the administrative offices of a dairy in California.

It's been a very long, difficult month, but it's done.  I'll be displaying the paintings (seven of them) over the next few days.  The first one is below.

For those of you who have contacted me about commissioning custom paintings -- or who have already received a response from me, saying I'll be starting your painting(s) in May, I'll be back in touch with you right away to get things started.  For those of you who are interested in having a commissioned painting done, I am fully booked for the month of May and am now taking orders for June and beyond.
Curious Jersey
Sorry about the "noise" in the photo; I'll fix it later to remove it.

All of the cows I painted in this commission live at a beautiful small farm down near Corvallis, Oregon, about an hour and a half south of where I live.  With permission, I went out into the field with them and had a most wonderful afternoon, taking hundreds of photos of them.  They were amazingly sweet-natured and very curious about what I was up to.  I guess I ought to have been a bit frightened as I was completely surrounded on all sides by them, but they were so calm and friendly that I was totally at ease with them.  I know I sound like a "city person," but I'm not.  I've spent years and years around horses and other animals associated with farms, but this really was my first up-close and personal encounter with a large number of cows.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Going to be a bit silent for a while

I've recently received a rather large commission, seven Jersey cow paintings of varying sizes, due within a month, so I'm not going to be doing much of anything else besides these Jersey cow paintings.  I've had the order for about a week so far and have roughed in (put down my base coats) all but the largest one, which is around 3 x 4 feet.  Believe me, I'm going to know Jersey cows when I'm done with this project.

Also, I might add:  I am doing extra Jersey cow paintings, too, as I'm finishing up this project, so I'll have some other Jersey cow paintings available for sale to the general public.  They'll be mostly in the 16x20" to 24x30" sizes, on gallery-wrapped canvases.  I'll publish them as they are finished.  Further, I have recently gone on a photo-shoot in a field of Guernsey cows, so I'll be doing some Guernsey paintings as well.  Plus, I was able to get some great photos to work from for at least a couple of sheep paintings.  I'll be going back to the field of sheep for more photos sometime this summer, so I'll be doing more of them.

Yes, I know it seems that my dog-painting business has gone to the ---- cows.  I am still going to continue to paint dogs, but I really, really do want to branch out and do more animals and more varied work overall.  I'm still just dying to do some landscape paintings, and I really hope this is the year I get to do so.  Some of my farm animal paintings, in fact, are going to be part farm animal painting and part landscape.   Painting is soooooo exciting!!!  How lucky am I to have such a stimulating, demanding, exciting career!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Couple of Precious Italian Greyhound Custom Paintings I just finished

 These two beauties are Pearl and Belle, and I just finished painting them yesterday.  They were commissioned paintings for a special birthday spouse, who I hope loves them.  They were a great pleasure to paint, both being very photogenic girls.

My Neighbor's Yellow Labrador Retriever

This is Harper!  She is a beautiful yellow lab belonging to my neighbor.  She patiently sits every day outside her home to greet every walker. Her "dad" gave me permission to do a painting of her, and I really do appreciate it.  She was a pleasure to paint.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Portland Saturday Market Opening March 2, 2013 for our 40th Year!

I'm back at the Portland Saturday Market starting tomorrow for its 40th season.  While I am a relatively recent market member (I started in 1994), there are many artists/craftspeople who have been there from the very first day back in 1973.   I'm excited about going back again and hope some of you come down to the market and drop by my booth and say hi.  My space number this year is #338, just up the steps on the first row nearest the red information trailer.  The weather is going to be pretty cooperative this weekend, so I'm looking forward to a fun, busy weekend.  I have lots of new paintings, including this beautiful rooster:

I just finished him a few days ago and just got photos taken of him today.  I'm always trying to do too much when there's a deadline looming, such as getting everything ready for the market again after a two-month hiatus!  Anyway, I really like the way he turned out.  He's painted in acrylic paints on an 11x14x1.5" stretched canvas.  He's also being listed on Etsy; so wherever he sells first, I'll remove him from the other venue.

Keep an eye out:  There are lots more farm animals on my "to-do" list.  They're a fun new direction for me.  Now if I could only get some landscapes in.  They're what I'm really, really excited about starting!

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Bichon Frise Custom Painting Just Finished

This is another custom painting I have recently finished.  This is Louie, who is now 13 years old.  Like some of us, he's beginning to show his age a bit, but I think he's even more beautiful because of it.

Louie's painting is on an 11x14x3/4" stretched canvas.

Shih Tzu Custom Painting Just Finished

This is an adorable shih tzu named Chase that is being given as a birthday gift to the spouse of a client of mine.  He's a beauty, I think.  He's on a 16x20x3/4" stretched canvas, acrylic paints.

Just Completed: Guernsey Cow Portrait

This is one of several paintings I have finished recently and haven't had the time to upload.  This painting of a Guernsey cow is an acrylic painting on an 11x14x1.5" stretched canvas and is available for purchase at my Etsy shop (on the right side here) and at Portland Saturday Market (Opening for the 2013 season on March 2!  I'll be there!).

I'm now working on a gorgeous rooster that will also be available as soon as it is finished.  All my original paintings for the rest of this year will be available both on Etsy and at Portland Saturday Market.  If they sell at Portland Saturday Market first, I'll do my best to remove the listing from Etsy just as soon as I can.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Vizsla Painting Finished Recently

This is a painting of a beautiful Hungarian Vizsla that I finished a few days ago, pre-flu, that is.

I might also mention here that in five more weekends, the Portland Saturday Market opens up again, so I'll be spending my weekends down there.  I'm so looking forward to getting back to it; I love meeting the people who like my artwork and just the general pleasant atmosphere of the place.  It's a great place to be on a weekend -- even when it's raining!  On those days, I just hunker down in my booth, drink lots of hot coffee and cocoa, and am especially happy to see those people who don't think they'll melt in our wimpy rain.  By the way, lots and lots of people from outside the Pacific Northwest even tell me that they like the rain.   Something for everyone here, I guess.

If you live in Portland, OR, (or are visiting here sometime), drop by and say hi.  If you've never visited Portland before, don't miss it; it's a wonderful, beautiful city, with lots of interesting things to see and do -- including, of course, Portland Saturday Market!

Two Beautiful Golden Retrievers

This is a commissioned painting I finished recently for a birthday recipient.  With permission from the client, I have added photos of him as he received his painting.  They are below.

A note to Carol:  I'm sorry I've been so slow getting your painting listed on my blog.  My family and I have all been suffering from the flu over the past week or so -- I can't even remember how long because it seems someone has been sick forever here.  I was the last to catch it, and I think I am about finished with it now.  Listen up, Everyone!  I am a silly person when it comes to shots -- I am terrified of them!  Don't put off getting your flu shots, fear of needles or not!  Flu is not a pleasant way to spend a week; a shot only hurts for seconds.  Don't put it off; I promise you the flu is much, much worse than the shot.

Here's the birthday boy admiring the painting of his two favorite sweeties, Indy and Sadie.

Another shot of the birthday festivities and "the gift."

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Yellow Labrador Retriever Painting

This is a yellow lab painting I finished today.  The color is a bit off in this photo, but I'll put up a corrected one tomorrow with better lighting.

The painting is a 16x20x3/4" acrylic painting on a stretched canvas.  Both the original and prints are available.  Contact me if you're interested in the original, and you can buy prints on Etsy.

I'm still busy painting custom paintings, but I have about a week now before I need to start on February's orders, so I'll have a bit of time to do some paintings that I've been wanting to get painted. This beautiful dog was one of them, and I'm hoping to get a few farm animals done (well, maybe one or two at most).    Still loving my little studio.  I spent a couple of days last week completely insulating it.  It was hard work, but it's oh-so-cozy now that I can spend hours at a time in there.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Sweet Holstein (I think) little calf painting

I just finished this little sweetie this afternoon. It was a pleasure to paint.

Sorry, I didn't take progress photos of this one.  That has turned out to be a little more difficult than I thought it would be, so I won't be doing it on every painting.  First, I lose my momentum if I stop every 15, 20, or 30 minutes to take a photograph.  Then somehow, I get the order of the photos all messed up while I'm trying to organize them.  Then I never, ever seem to have time enough to post what I've just done all that work recording.

I'll try to do it from time to time, but for me at this time, painting is much more important.  I have many images that I intend to paint, and I never seem to have enough time to do them as quickly as I would like.  I don't know how more successful people do it!  Oh, I know:  They have someone who prepares their canvases for them, does all their computer and paperwork, washes their brushes at the end of the day, etc., etc.  That last one is what gets me the most:  washing brushes.  I learned the hard way how important it is, though:  Acrylic paints are like some kind of really great glue.  And if every single molecule is not scrubbed out of every single brush, the brush is ruined -- or becomes so very quickly, anyway.  So it takes me at least 15 or 20 minutes every evening to wash my brushes.  And I paint pretty much seven days a week now, so that's a lot of time spent washing brushes!  But they cost so much, and I have favorites that I just couldn't live without, so I have to do it.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Final Photo of Custom Painting in Progress - Jack

The Final Painting

 I finally got to finish the custom painting for which I had earlier shown all the progress photos.  As you can see, I made only a few small changes, such as I removed the collar, tightened up some things here and there, added more highlights and a few more shadows, and just neatened up and tied together the whole painting a bit better.

So this is Jack, who is, I think, a border collie mix, who is very, very beloved, I believe.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Australian Cattle Dog, Red Heeler

This is one of my some of my favorite paintings in a while.  Not only is the dog a beautiful one (he was a custom painting I did during December -- one of the many reasons I've not been posting regularly, by the way), but I feel I did a pretty good job at rendering his image.  I feel that it has a lot of three-dimensionality to it, and that's what I strive for.  Sometimes I get it; sometimes I don't.

I don't want to "jinx" my work, but I am moving into a period where I have a little more confidence in what I'm doing.  It feels to good be able to go into my studio because I'm looking forward to a good day there rather than endlessly procrastinating to get started because I'm so afraid I can't "pull it off" again.