Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Rough-Coated Collie Painting just finished

I just finished this painting a couple of days ago.  It's a beautiful tri-colored rough-coated collie, and the original, an 11x14x3/4" acrylic painting on stretched canvas, is still available.

Also, the original of the cav that I listed yesterday is available, too, and it's the same size as this painting.  Both are in my Etsy shop, along with prints.

Lately, I have been given a fairly large number of photos from a loyal customer, and I plan to paint as many as I can after the holidays.  Many of them are some of the most adorable goats I have ever seen.  I can't wait to get started!  But my family members come first during this holiday season.

We celebrated the fifth birthday yesterday, in fact, of my little precious granddaughter (my only grandchild!), and we did it in as grand a birthday style as we possibly could because, being a close-to-Christmas birthday person, her birthday often gets passed over in all the busy-ness of the holiday season.  Oh, and a happy birthday on the same day to her Aunt Eileen, too!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A new Cavalier King Charles spaniel painting

This is a tricolored cavalier King Charles spaniel painting I finished recently.  I'm quite happy with it -- another painting I've done fairly recently that makes me happy.  Sometimes for me painting is such a struggle, and sometimes, such as lately, it's become a pleasure.  I wish the pleasurable days outnumbered the difficult ones!

Friday, November 21, 2014

I have a problem with a photo thief

Not my typical blog post, obviously, but I feel I need to warn people and to vent a little bit.  From time to time, I search my name on Google; just curiosity, just to see if I'm even a bit relevant in the big wide cyber world -- and I'm usually kind of okay with my level of relevancy.  However, I did such a search a few days ago and was upset at what I found:  Several pages into my "Dottie Dracos" search was a site that said something about Dottie Dracos Art, and I knew it wasn't someplace I had listed any of my work.  So I clicked on the site, and there were what appeared to be listings of my work.  I clicked on one of my photos of MY artwork, and I was taken to some pornographic images and videos.  I am appalled!

I did a little research online; and from what I can learn, there's probably nothing I can do to stop this outright theft -- and embarrassing theft at that!!  I do not support pornography in any sense at all.  I find it reprehensible on so many levels that it would take me weeks to even begin to scratch the surface of my loathing for such despicable exploitation of all that is (or ought to be) decent in this world.

I generally just create my posts of my artwork and move on to my next painting and hope that from time to time, someone will be interested in some of my artwork and buy a painting or a print.  But this time, I'm asking if any of you who read my blog if you know of anything I can do to stop these people (and I realize it's probably nothing I can do); or if I can't stop them, things I can do -- or stop doing -- to prevent their stealing and illegally using my images.  Is it because I post my images on this blog, on Pinterest, on Twitter, sometimes on Facebook?  How about my posting my artwork for sale in such places as Etsy and Fine Art America, where they're supposedly safe?  And I store my artwork in cloud accounts; can it be stolen from those, even though they're supposedly for my eyes and use only??

I know -- because I've tried it -- that one can steal the small files I upload to, say, Etsy, etc., but I thought my large images were safe.  And maybe that's what these people used, were the small images that anyone low enough to want to steal my artwork could easily take.  And I think the photos I saw on this site were this smallish size, by the way, although I didn't do any thorough checking to see.  

So if you have any advice on what I might do, please let me know.  And, please, if you're trying to sell me something to stop the theft/piracy/whatever-it's-called, don't bother writing.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

An absolutely beautiful Holstein cow painting I just finished

Holstein Cow Lying in Field Original Acrylic Painting 16x20x0.75"
I have been working on this girl fairly steadily - and lovingly for a change - since I was in France, where I roughed her in.  But today, I finally finished her.  She was such a great pleasure to paint; every paint stroke was well thought out and deliberate.  I am quite proud of her and hope I can continue to work in such a comfortable and relaxed manner.  (Well, I can't call this painting "work." It was too much fun.)

Hope you like her.  I'm still on a farm animal kick, so I'll be adding even more new paintings over the next couple of months.

And I also let in a couple of custom paintings to regular, long-term customers, so I'll be showing those, too, in the next few weeks.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Back in the USA

Well, the excitement, exhaustion, fun, and all the rest are in the past now, and I have only memories of my month's stay in beautiful Paris, France.  I hope, too, my experiences there helped me grow as a person - yes, even at my age!  I feel they did.

I'm back to my beloved painting again now.  Here are a couple of  recently completed pieces:

Holstein cow, original on 16x20x3/4" stretched canvas

Sweet, Innocent Piglet, original on 11x14x3/4" stretched canvas

On another topic:  I've been receiving several requests daily for custom commissioned paintings for holiday gifts.  I have accepted just a few, from repeat clients, but I don't have space on my calendar for more for the rest of this year. 

I have several more paintings in the works now, all farm-based as that's what's been on my mind a lot lately, so I'll be posting those over the next week or so.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

One Final Post from Paris

I wanted to add one more thing before I leave:  I really liked my apartment here and feel the price was reasonable, the apartment very nice, comfortable, and functional (dishwasher, clothes washer, comfy bed(s), etc.), and the neighborhood very convenient.  With the owner's permission, I am posting his email address here so that if you're interested in renting the apartment from him, you can contact him directly.  His name is Alex, and his email address is

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My Final Post for my Vacation in Paris

This is my final post from Paris, and it's a bitter-sweet one.  I'm looking forward to getting back home and getting back to work, and I'm regretting terribly leaving my little Parisian apartment and this magnificent city.  But there's always next year.  Read my post in my "Paris Vacation" page -- off to the right side of this post.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A New Post on "My Paris Vacation 2014" Page

I've just created a new, long post on what's been going on in my world as I continue to visit Paris for a month.  Remember, let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A new post on my Paris vacation page

I have my computer now and will be posting hopefully daily about my vacation.  If you find it interesting, please let me know by commenting.  If you have questions or comments, I'll do my very best to answer or address them.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

See "My Paris, France Vacation 2014" Page to Follow My Trip Information

So I don't bore others who are only interested in my artwork, I've added a page about my Paris vacation.  I post on it pretty much every day, but it doesn't show as a new listing, so check it out daily if you're interested.  In it, I talk about jet lag, packing lightly, list of clothing for a month, traveling in general, upgraded tourist seats, what it's like to "live" in Paris for a month, etc.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Oregon State Fair

The empty horse arena.  It's an amazing building.

A beautiful sheep who is going to be in a painting soon.  I'll have to find out what kind she is.
A llama with attitude!

We took a break from everything yesterday and went to the Oregon State Fair, in Salem.  It's been something we've done since we moved here to Portland 20 years ago last month, so it has become quite an established tradition.  It was the first time we've gone on the opening day, so there wasn't much going on.  The upside, though, is that all the exhibitors were fresh, not jaded; the animals were clean and not bored out of their minds yet (though a bit frightened at being in a new place), and the entire place was nice and clean.  The big downside was the horse arena, where we go every year to see the same horses, the same wagons, the same everything -- and nothing was happening!  We saw a few miniature horse competitions, some with only one entrant - who always got "first place" - and that was about it.  We ate the same treat as we do every year, a caramel apple, but this year my little granddaughter shook things up a bit:  she bought some cotton candy, which everyone tasted and everyone except her, of course, complained that it just didn't taste the way it used to.  We all got way, way too much sun, walked -- no, ambled -- way, way too much -- and had a great, great day!  I've attached a few photos I took, some of which will become paintings.              

A brown Swiss Cow that I think will become a painting!

Friday, August 22, 2014

New Cow Painting Started

I started a new cow painting yesterday.  I haven't been doing much painting lately, and I was starting to feel withdrawal symptoms; so with all I have to do now related to my trip, I started a beautiful Jersey cow painting.  She's a Jersey cow that I photographed a few months ago at a very small dairy farm about 60 miles south of Portland.  I don't know if I'll finish her before I leave, but I'll do my best.  However, she probably won't go up for sale until I return a little after mid-October.

The painting is so far done with acrylic paints on a 16x20x3/4" stretched canvas.  If I feel I have time, I might finish the painting off with oil paints.  I love the simplicity, speed, and ease of clean-up with acrylic paints, but to "top off" a painting with oil paints really gives it an extra punch of color and vivacity.  This is not to say I can't achieve the same results with acrylic paints, but the oils make it a little easier -- and they go on oh so smoothly.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

My Paris Art Supply Store

Adam Montmartre Art Supply Shop
Amazingly, I have found a well-stocked (and reasonably priced) art supply store within a short walking distance from my apartment in Paris.  I was concerned about what art supplies to take with me because I'm not checking any bags, and I wasn't sure I would be able to take anything at all in my carry-on -- plus, obviously, I'm going to be short on space, too!  So I'll just be buying everything at this shop:  canvases, unstretched, of course, but I'm quite adept at stretching my own canvases when I return, paints, brushes, everything!  It'll be a lot of fun!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Speaking French

I've been noticing something recently that bothers me:  I have many friends who want to go to France, as I'm doing, but who are afraid.  They don't know the language, they might get lost, lonely, have their pockets picked, etc., etc.  Well, I share the fears above, all except for one:  I have worked on learning the language for years -- and for the most part, I've done it with no formal instruction.  And I'm not bragging here; I'm telling you that it can be done!  (Well, I guess I'm bragging a bit because, by golly, I've worked very hard at learning this language!)

I do admit that over twenty years ago, I lived in Toulouse, France, for nearly two years while I did some graduate studies in neuroscience.  However, when I went there, I had had no French language education at all -- well, except for about three weeks right before I left, which only made matters worse, not better, because those pitiful three little weeks gave me a false confidence that I knew at least something.  But here was the problem when I arrived there all those years ago:  I could ask where is something or other --- BUT when the other person responded, I had absolutely no clue about what they were saying!!  I bought a French language textbook before I went; and after I got there, I studied it every day, every chance I got.  And I got by.  That's all I did for at least the first year; I got by.  And I might add, too, that almost no one that I knew spoke more than just a few words in English, too, so I didn't have that "out."  I found out, too, that hand signals were powerful and that I could live with making a fool of myself, very often!  I got by.

After having been back in the USA for nearly twenty years, except for occasional European visits, I didn't study French at all until just two or three years ago.  Then I decided I was getting old and that I wanted to complete what I had started all those years ago.  But still being stubborn and wanting to do everything my own way, I decided, once again, to go it alone.  So I started reading everything I could in the French language.  That meant, of course, that I had to have a dictionary beside me at all times and that I spent more time studying the dictionary than figuring out what the heck I was reading.  And I'm not talking simple books, either:  To this day, one of my favorite French authors is Emile Zola.  I struggled with his novels, one after another, for many, many months at a time, each one.  Not only did I not know the words, but I couldn't even understand the sentence constructions.  But slowly, v e r y    s l o w l y, things started to fall into place.  Progress was very difficult even to measure for many months at a time.  But then it really began to pick up speed.  Today, I read without a dictionary present -- except for the occasional word I need to know.  I found out, too, that I didn't have to look up every single word, even back when I wasn't understanding much at all, because I could get the gist of the story -- and I could learn many high-use words by context after a while.

More recently, (in the past year), I upped the demands on myself.  I got a TV5Monde, French language, subscription so that I can watch French (nearly) TV every day.  I say "nearly" because much of it is subtitled, and I find that subtitles are counter-productive.  Even before the TV5Monde, I had discovered France Inter radio station online, and I listen to it anytime I'm painting, for instance.  (I especially like the channel "France Culture.")

I'll continue this discussion over the next couple of weeks and hope some of you chime in.  Are you studying French?   How do you study?  Do you have any tricks you can share?  Is not knowing the language of a country you love preventing you from doing something you want to do but are too afraid to do?   (I love the French culture, the food, the language, the people, the land, everything!)

Monday, August 18, 2014

A sweet Irish setter painting I finished a few days ago

This is a painting I did of a dog I knew many, many years ago.  Her name was Sean, and she belonged to a dear friend of mine.  I've always thought she was a beautiful dog, and I have intended to paint her for years -- and finally got around to it.  She was a real sweetie.

A custom painting I finished recently -- a Weimaraner puppy in his "SpiderMax" suit

This is Max in his "SpiderMax" costume.  He's a weimaraner pup who likes to dress up!  It's a custom painting I finished very recently and hadn't had time to upload until now.  Obviously, he's sold already!  He's a beautiful puppy, I must say.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Getting Closer to Being Ready for Paris

I'm a little closer to being ready to leave for Paris now:  I finally purchased my plane tickets.  I have for the most part always flown economy class, which is generally okay, being a part of the big crowd of budget travelers -- we all go to the same place, right?  But this time I decided that it's worth a few hundred dollars more to at least upgrade my seat to the "economy comfort seats," or some words to that effect.  So for my one long domestic flight and my two international flights, I have upgraded to more seat room and silly perks such as ear plugs, a sleep mask, I think a video screen right at my seat, probably a slightly upgraded meal, which I almost never take anyway because I'm vegetarian and almost always buy my meals before I board,  and unlimited alcoholic drinks.  Being a very, very lightweight drinker, however, I'm afraid I'll have to pass on that one; wish I could have a bit of a discount for not drinking, though.  Well, I'll  have one tiny glass of wine, though.  It's not that I don't like alcohol; my body doesn't like it, and I become ill after more than one drink. 

Back to the tickets:  I'll be sure and report how these comfortable economy seats work out and if they're worth the few hundred dollars more.  Most likely, though, anything that gives me more room to stretch out on long flights is worth it to me.  And maybe I'll actually have wider armrests, too.  That would be really great because for some reason, I almost never get "armrest rights" when I fly.  Too timid, I'm afraid.

Regarding artwork while in France, as I've mentioned before, I intend to paint while I'm there.  As I don't intend to have a checked bag on my flight over, I am taking only a few brushes and some prepared but unstretched canvases.  There's a really nice art supply shop just about a five minutes' walk from my apartment there, so I'll go there and buy my paints.  I intend to use acrylics only to ensure that everything has dried well before time to return.  If I want to add some oil highlights later, after I return here, that will be easy to do, of course.

I've been attending an advanced conversation group once a week here in Portland, and it concerns me a bit.  I realize just how not-fluent I am in French.  I struggle on as I try to engage in quite deep conversations at times, but from the often bewildered expressions on the faces of my "interlocuteurs," I fear that I'm not quite communicating as well as I had hoped.  We'll see . . . . .

My greatest fear (after the fear of not getting lost on my way to my apartment from the airport, of course) is that I will "hole up" in my apartment when I arrive, something which I have a tendency to do when faced with potentially frightening situations.  But fortunately, there will be no food in the apartment, so I'll be forced to go out at least for some wonderful bread, pastries (bien sur!!), and some essential groceries.  I'm going to do everything in my power to force myself - again - out of my safe zone and go out and explore -- tentatively, of course, at first, but with more confidence as each day passes.

I still have several custom paintings that I need to get done within the next few weeks, and then I'll have more time to spend on getting ready for the trip.  As it's been such a long time since I was last in France, I have a lot of things I'll need to catch up on, such as how my smartphone is going to serve me there, how to be able to charge all my electronics, which, of course, are now an essential part of every person's life, how to ensure that my debit card works well everywhere (and, of course, how to avoid exorbitant fees for its use).  I remember when I was in Denmark a couple of years ago, I was able to use my debit card everywhere, for everything from cash to groceries to parking "meters," without a problem and with little to no added fees.  I presume it will be the same in France, but I'll check beforehand to be sure.  Just lots of little details I need to cover before I leave.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Sweet English Bull Terrier Painting I Recently Finished

This is a fun painting I recently finished of a sweet looking English bull terrier with a bit of brindle markings.  It was a pleasure to paint.  I like the sort of dreamy background I put in.

Next I'm working on a couple of custom paintings:  A weimaraner in a most unusual outfit!  And a really sweet-faced, elderly, mixed-breed dog.  They're both due right away, so I'm going to be working hard, hard, hard.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Update on upcoming France trip

I don't know how much I've already posted about this; but for friends who are interested (since I don't touch FB anymore unless a family member tells me some nice family photos are there for me to see), I'll mention my plans a bit here.  As I may have already said previously, my plans have changed considerably because of a certain little child who doesn't want me to be away from her for very long.  Now I'll be going just to Paris for a month in the autumn, with the ultimate intention (if I still want to do it after having spent a few months there over the next year or so) of possibly moving there for at least part of every year.  For now, though, my plans are pretty much set in stone.  I'll be spending a month in Paris, half of it just myself and half of it with my family, except for my husband who can't go this time but will probably go the next time.  He's disabled, permanently in a wheelchair, so we'll have to make special plans for him to be able to go.  We're all really excited about the trip, and I feel quite confident about my French language abilities now -- hope I'm not wrong!!!

I'll be posting a few photos of my stay in Paris and will be doing a lot of painting while I'm there, so expect to see a lot of what I hope aren't touristy paintings when I return.  I'll probably do a few animal paintings, but I hope to spend a lot of time painting interest scenes that I find here and there.  

Now that I'm not going permanently at this time, I won't be talking much about how I go about getting there because anyone can figure that part out on their own.  And I'm kind of sad to say that I hear that since I was last living in France, over 20 years ago!!!!, many, many more people, especially in the large cities, speak pretty much fluent English.  So for that reason, although I'll be staying in Paris for reasons of convenience and ease, I'm staying far from the touristy areas in a quiet residential neighborhood, in the 18th arrondissement for those who know the layout of Paris.  I've found a smallish apartment and will rely only on public transportation while I'm there. 

The hardest, by far, part of planning for my trip has been finding an apartment; but that's finally been finalized.  Now I have to take care of the much less important things such as having Verizon show me how to get my smartphone to work there, which metro stations to take, etc., etc.   My sweet husband is going to be taking care of my online orders (and my precious dog Harry) while I'm gone, so that's a great relief.  But next time, both my husband and Harry are going!  Well, it might be too hard to take Harry the next time, I guess, but he'll get to go with me eventually.

A Guernsey cow painting that I finished recently

 This is an 11x14x3/4" acrylic painting on stretched canvas that I recently finished.  In the first photo, I painted her exactly as I saw her in the field, with horns.  Then I thought about it a while and wondered what she would look like without horns, so I digitally removed them in the second photo.  The original painting has the horns in it; but if you're interested in purchasing the painting and don't want the horns, I can remove them for you at no charge.

I've been doing a lot of paintings lately, but I don't feel comfortable showing many of them because, as I've said before, I'm learning to do landscape paintings, and I still don't feel confident enough to show very many of them.  But I will before long!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Rooster Painting! Something Bright and Fun!

This is a really fun rooster painting I just finished today.  He's going to grace my own kitchen until he sells because I love him.  He makes me smile; he'll definitely wake me up in the morning even before I've had my first cup of coffee; and he was a lot of fun to paint! 

The original painting is on 16x20x3/4" stretched canvas, with the sides painted the same color as the background.  The background shows up in the photo as a  bit blue, but it's more of a greenish grey actually.  I'm selling both prints and the original.

Now I absolutely have to start on my next custom painting, which as I think I've already mentioned, is another beautiful cat.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Puppy Portrait

Why do puppies often look so sad?  I've never figured that out, but they do.  And this little sweetie is no exception.  I just finished him today, and the original is 16x20x1.5, gallery-wrapped canvas.  I also have prints for sale, of course, as usual.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Cat Painting, Black and Blue Tabby with Green Eyes

This is another cat painting I finished very recently.  He's another custom painting, so the 11x14" original has already been sold.  I think he's a beauty, and I'm quite happy with the outcome of the painting. 

I have another custom cat painting to do and a dog custom painting, which I think is a Weimaraner puppy (can't remember exactly at the moment). 

Although ceramics are still taking up a bit of my time, I'm getting more and more painting done -- and loving it.

Spring is still struggling to take hold here in Oregon.  We get a few nice days, then back to nasty rain again.  I'll be missing rain, though, in just a couple more months when we get pretty much no rain until late September.  Wish it weren't so "all-or-none" here. 

I still intend to go to France in September and am still excited about it.  Just kind of waiting at this point, though.  Still don't know how long I'll be there, though.  We shall see . . .

We have my son-in-law's parents visiting from  Denmark at the moment, and everyone is having a good, but busy, time.  My little granddaughter is the most excited as all grandparents I think love to shower little ones with whatever is their hearts' desire at the moment.  They're up on Mount Hood for a few days now, and she reports that she's having a grand time!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Another Sweet Little Pig Painting

Several months ago I did another pig painting and found it so challenging that I decided to do another one (and I have some more planned, too).  This little sweetie is on a green background.  The original painting (available at the time of this post) is an 11x14x3/4" acrylic painting on stretched canvas, wired and ready to hang).   How any human being could eat one of these beautiful, intelligent animals is beyond me - but that's another post!

I am currently still finishing up the custom cat painting, which I expect will be done in just a couple more days.  Then I'm going to be doing a landscape painting, I think, one I've been planning to do for a long time - of a countryside scene in France, a late-afternoon scene with amazing colors in it!  It's a just-for-fun painting -- well, they'll all just for fun, but some are more so than others!

I'm still doing my ceramic pieces but at a slower pace than I was before.  I still like to do them, but I've been missing painting as much as I like to, so I've gone back to concentrating more efforts on the paintings.  I'll probably change again, though.  I always do.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Really Cute Cow Painting

I just finished this sweetie today, and I love it.  It's a fun painting to me, and I think his/her eyes are so sweet looking.  I have both the original and prints listed online if you're interested in having this sweetie hanging on your wall.

The original is acrylic painted on an 11x14x3/4" stretched canvas, no staples on the sides, and it already has a hanging wire on the back so can be hung up just as soon as you receive it.

My next painting is a custom I've been working on for a few days.  It's another cat and a beautiful one, too.  I'm really enjoying doing the painting.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Finished Cat painting

Not a whole lot different than the one I posted before, but I brightened everything up a lot and made a few small changes.  I like it.  It looks like a happy kitten, who's thinking about mischief (aren't they all???)

Now I've got two more commissioned paintings coming up, so I'll be working on them for the next month.  Still trying to keep my commissions at no more than two per month so I have time to enjoy life. 

And spring is coming!!!  I can feel it!  Here in Oregon, it's v-e-r-y slow in arriving, but there are signs:  trees starting to bloom, bulb flowers in full bloom, a few days of real sunshine every so often, people out and about more and more, my thoughts turning to travel again (although, unless things change, my France trip isn't happening until September -- and as I think I've mentioned before, its length keeps getting shorter and shorter due to a certain little one who is too young just yet to go with me without both of us being miserable), just all kinds of signs that spring is, well, springing!!

I must close with:  An early springtime many years ago, my aunt was leaving her job at a neat old hotel (now destroyed, I'm sad to say) in Pensacola, Florida, called Hotel San Carlos.  She was standing at a street corner when an obviously a-bit-inebriated man approached her with a big smile.  She was a bit nervous, but then he said that he wanted to recite a poem for her.  Here it is:  "Spring is sprung, grass is riz, I wonder where them flowers is."  That's it!

We have enjoyed reciting it every springtime since then -- along with e. e. cummings "In Just Spring," of course!!!  One of my favorites!  Here it is if, one, you're not familiar with it or, two, you just want to have a warm, fuzzy remembrance:

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Pretty Cat I'm nearly finished with

Sorry about the quality of the photo, but I think you can get an idea of what the painting is about:  She's a pretty little tuxedo kitten that I'm doing a custom painting of.  Her name is Bea, and she's lying on her favorite blanket.  I'll be finishing it today, so I'll post a photo of the finished painting later on today or tomorrow. 

Okay, off to work now.  Just wanted to show her off because I think black-and-white ("tuxedo") cats are so adorable, and she's a particularly pretty one.

I've been away a while because I've been awfully sick with a really, really bad cold.  It's almost conquered now!!  I'm such a wimp sometimes!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Five Cows

This is a painting I finished a few days ago.  Now I wish I had done it in a larger format.  It's five cows on only an 11x14 canvas, so I had to use really, really tiny brushes for too many of the details.  However, it is finished, and prints are available.  As the original painting is in oil, it is not ready to put up for sale.  It should be dry enough in a couple more weeks.  Hope you like it.  I don't think I'm going to do more than two or three cows to a painting in the future . . .

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Bracco Italiano Completed

Sorry I didn't post any interim shots; I worked straight through to the end after my last post.  He's finished, but I still may tweak him a bit, of course.  I always do until they go out the door. 

Anyway, the original is for sale, and it'll be listed on Etsy, along with prints, in the next day or so.  The oil painting is on 11x14x3/4" stretched canvas, with the sides painted the same dark green as shown in the background.  I'm pretty happy with him. 

Oil paint is so much easier to use than acrylics and the colors are just amazing, so clear, clean, and bright when I need them to be and dark when I need dark.  But I am having a bit of difficulty with the medium I'm using with the oil paints.  I've been getting headaches, burning nose, itchy hands, and runny eyes.  However, I believe I have already come up with a solution:  a diluent/medium/brush cleaner by Gamblin that supposedly has no toxicity.  I'll see how it works for my next painting, which I think may be of some adorable little Oregon juncos that were at our feeder just outside the window during our recent heavy snow storm.  We got some really good photos of them, so I may give one a try for my next painting.  There are many other paintings I should be doing, but one of these little birds will give me a bit of a break from the really heavy paintings.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

French Language Studies Progress

I've been seeing pretty good progress in my French language studies, and it's really encouraging.  I'm taking classes at Alliance Francaise and really enjoying those.   Every novel I read - and I am always, always reading, every single evening for at least an hour - is in French.  That helps immensely with my vocabulary.  I might add, also, that except for one two-month beginner class in French, many years ago, I had no knowledge of the language at all.  Even then, after taking the single summer two-month class at the University of Wyoming, I began struggling with reading novels in French.  And it was a struggle, too:  I read with my book in one hand and the dictionary in the other.  I didn't even have any comprehension at all of sentence structure, my vocabulary was in the low hundreds of words -- well, you get the picture.  It was bad.  But I really, really wanted to learn the language, and I could at least get the basic gist of whatever it was I was attempting to read.

When I went to live in France the first time, in the 1990's, that's the level at which I was 'NOT' speaking.  In other words, I was completely helpless and pretty much understood nothing and could only say sentences like "my name is . . .," and "where is. .. ." - but I couldn't understand the answers.  So in the very beginning, the person talking to me and I did a lot of hand gestures.  More than one person speaking, forget it; I understood nothing and found my mind wandering elsewhere.  But I kept struggling, and by the time I left, around a year and a half or so later, I was at least slightly communicating -- getting by, in other words.  While there, I studied a French grammar book every evening, kept flash cards with me at all times, very, very shyly tried to speak with people I worked with, and had to speak with service people in shops, etc.  It was tough, tough.

Over the intervening years, my interest in studying French has waxed and waned -- and is fiery hot now, of course.  And I've finally found one thing that really is seeming to work for me now:  at the suggestion of my Alliance Francaise instructor, I subscribed to the French language TV channel (TV 5 Monde), and I've started doing some paintings in my bedroom - where my TV is located - as I've mentioned before.  While I paint, I have the TV going constantly, where I'm totally immersed in hearing the language, even if I'm not really paying attention.  I find myself later, however, telling my daughter about something interesting I heard on the TV during my painting times.

As anyone who has studied another language knows, the last thing to come is speaking, and that's the case with me.  My vocabulary is very extensive now, I hear and understand most everything, but I'm still very hesitant about speaking.  My Alliance Francaise classes help with that a lot because that's what they emphasize, is speaking.  And with that and with hearing the TV French constantly, I'm beginning to speak more freely now, too.  There is hope, in other words.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Bracco Italiano pup painting in progress

Sorry, this photo is a bit blurred and has some real lighting issues (I'm painting this one in my bedroom instead of in my studio, and the lighting isn't as good in here.)  Why in my bedroom?  Two main reasons:  One, I do mostly acrylic paintings in my studio at this time, and I don't like to have the two media in the same place.)  Two, I like to have a painting nearby sometimes so I can see it even when I'm not actually working on it; I look at it as I do other things during the day and see things that need working on.  I don't do this all the time because it becomes a bit of an obsession.  I study it before going to bed and will actually jump out of bed, turn on the lights, and fix whatever I saw wrong with it.  Not at all good for getting a good night's sleep!   But sometimes I like to do it.

Below this in-progress photo is the photo I'm working from.  Yes, I do get a bit "photographic" in my paintings sometimes, but it's a bit fun to do so from time to time.

I'll try to take a photo at the end of every couple of sessions so you can see the progress (I hope!)

Okay, got it! ... in a way -- Again, "Two Cows Revisited"

Google Chrome is giving me problems again.  I love it, but it really has a lot of bugs, especially in the last few months.  I'm writing this time from Windows Explorer.

Some time ago I painted these two beautiful girls on just an 8x10" panel.  I've always loved the painting, but the original was just too small.  (It has sold, by the way.)  So I decided to do another similar painting, but this time it's a 16x20" on stretched canvas.  It is at this time for sale, along with prints in various sizes.

I'm also working now on a precious Italiano Bracco puppy painting.  I'm working from photos given to me by someone who was showing this particular puppy at the Rose City Classic dog show a few years ago.  If you are that person or know that person, I'm so sorry, but I said I would contact you when the painting was done, and I have lost your name.  I know it's been years, but I do eventually get to most all the paintings I have told people I would paint.  I'll be doing a progress series of shots on the painting, I've decided; but I have already gotten a bit into the painting before I decided to do so, so there won't be a whole of progress to show.  The process is just too beautiful not to share on this particular painting, though.  (Hope I don't jinx myself!)  The pup is beautiful, the photograph is excellent, and for some reason, I'm working well -- that's a bit of a change from the difficulties I've been having on some other paintings lately that aren't ready to see the light of day yet!  I'll post the pics very soon of this little guy.

Two Cows - Revisited

NSomething is wrong with Blogger.  I can't see a word that II'm typing, and there's no way to upload a photo.  I guess I'll have to check with Google.  I need this blog.  I noticed afew ddays ago (sorry if I'm flubbing up; I really can't see a single thing I'm typing)  I noticed, again, a few days ago that when I tried to post, I couldn't.  I thought it was a passing thing.  Now I'm really concerned.  I'll see what I can do; don't know if this is posting or not.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Chocolate Labrador Retriever in Forest Painting

This is a painting of a commissioned chocolate lab I recently finished.  She is a beautiful dog, and the photos were well shot, so it was a great pleasure to be able to do the painting.

As this was a commissioned painting, the original has sold, but prints are available for purchase in various sizes.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I lost my precious cat Mattie yesterday

I just had to say that I lost a beloved pet yesterday.  She was a most precious cat that we adopted about three years ago, and we loved her so very, very much.   Her name was rather complicated.  I'll explain:

We, my daughter and I, found her in a backwoods area in Central Florida when we were out on a walk in an area we probably shouldn't have been.  She was underweight, flea-bitten, mangy, and had only three legs.  We took care of the first three problems, found no information on why she only had three legs, but she seemed to get along fine without the missing one, and she immediately settled in as the best cat I've ever had.  She was proud, noble, no-nonsense, and very affectionate -- but not too much so!  She was perfect.

Anyway, I decided to name her Matilda for I guess a kind of coarse reason.  There's an old song, most popularly known in Australia, called "Waltzing Maltida."  Well, Mattie had three out of four legs, and waltzes are in 3/4 time, so -- well, you get the rest.  

We noticed about a week ago that she was hiding out a lot.  Then I noticed that she was thin.  Apparently, without my noticing for probably a week or two she had simply stopped eating.  The vet could find no cause, only symptoms, which he was unable to reverse -- and all his attempts at saving her were futile.  She died very quietly yesterday morning at home in her favorite sleeping place.

This is why I keep painting pets who are gone.  I only wish I had done one of her while I had a chance.  There's an empty spot in my heart today; I'm so very sad.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy New Year

2013 turned out to be my best year in a very long time professionally, but it left me exhausted!  The very short break after Christmas was a very welcome relief.  What surprised me most is that my ceramic pieces kept a pretty even pace with my paintings and prints -- and even surpassed them near the end of the month.

I'm going to have to figure out a way to make the ceramic artwork be just a little more efficiently done, though, because I'm spending way, way too much time in doing custom work for which I haven't been asking any premium -- they take more than twice as long to do as a piece that I create without custom input from a customer, and they're usually not as much fun to make.  So, as soon as I figure out how to do it, I'll be asking a little more for custom work but will be having a lot more pieces available that I've done for the sheer pleasure of making them.  Plus, there has been a large interest in the little bowls and dishes I've mostly been making and giving away to relatives and friends, so they'll be for sale as well.  So much to figure out!!!

Woe to the poor artist/craftsperson who thinks that they can make a product, a great product, and the world will beat a path to their door to buy it -- at a fair price!!  There is so much "behind-the-scenes" work to make any of the artwork ever be seen by you, the potential buyer.  Sometimes it leaves barely enough time to get my actual artwork done!  And that's working seven days a week.  Yes, being self-employed, getting to be creative every single day, is a very rewarding way to make a living -- but it's a whole lot more work than anyone working for someone else can possibly imagine.  Keeps me young, though!  And fresh!  My ideas come much faster than I can possibly bring them to reality.

My plans for moving/going (can't decide, so I'll take it one step at a time) to La France are still in progress, and I'm just thrilled with how rapidly my ability to speak fluent French is becoming a reality.  Will I ever speak as a native Frenchwoman?  No way.  Think of all the jillions of expressions, memories, shared cultural info, trivia, etc., that are a part of an English-speaking American's vocabulary -- that we've been absorbing since we first started to speak, and that can give you an idea of what one is up against in trying to learn as fluently as possible another language/culture, etc.

My son-in-law is from Denmark; and if you were to hear him speak for a while, you would have no idea that his native language wasn't English -- until he comes to one of our common idiomatic expressions based in probably centuries of history -- then he stumbles and comes out with some statement that doesn't quite mesh with a native speaker's way of speaking.  The only one I can think of now isn't a very good one:  when we state "knock on wood," we all know exactly what it means.  He's got a pretty good idea now, but it's still really odd to him and doesn't "trip off the tongue" as easily for him as it would for a native American English speaker.

Okay, back to work.  Happy New Year again to all, and Peace on Earth to all the world.