Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fangs a lot!

Other captions could be "Happy birthday! You're not long in the tooth. Just toothsome!"
Or "I got lots to tell you......... Do you speak cat?"
This was given to Mr. R on this b day. Well a little late for his b day, but the intent was there.
And yes, the whiskers are missing.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Brindle Boy

Do you like paint when it's all thick and gloppy and almost three dimensional in its layering? Then most likely you'll like this and the accompanying girl pibble picture. Lots of layering, and lots of fun.
Brindles, like tabbies, calicos and torties, have so many paint colors that it takes me twice as long to paint. Like with all my paintings, I start with the undercolor, the color that I see under the colors and then pile other colrs on top of that. This has a maroon, almost purple undercover.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Another pittie

Waiting for you

This reminds me of a friend's pibble although the coloring is wrong. But the patient, almost put upon look is identical. Yes, we'll do that but only because you want to.

For some reason I was really liking the pibble's with the blaze between the eyes to the nose.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

5th annual Renton Art Walk

If you want to do something this weekend that involves strolling about a historic and walkable shopping district, looking at antiques and one of a kind artwork, and listening to music, consider checking out the Arts Unlimited Downtown Renton 5th Annual Art & Antique Walk, Saturday, August 28, 2010.

Animal Friends Portraits will be one of over 100 artists showing their best photography, paintings, pottery, jewelry, fabric art, sculptures, glass works, wood works and much more. There will be martial arts and robotics demonstrations, and music performances at multiple locations.

We're in front of a great little bookstore and right next to the talented watercolorist Madelaine Torchia so stop on by and say hello. Fun begins at 11 and lasts until 6. We'll be at Old Renton Book Exchange on 227 Wells Ave. S.,in Renton.

Information and maps to artists' locations will be at the corner of S 3rd and Burnett Ave S or online. Call 206-407-8719 for more information.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

For Anne

A year ago, I heard that a woman whose life was devoted to the rescue of square headed dogs had died in a death that could have been prevented. She was all gruff exterior hiding a very tender and loving heart.
She frightened me a bit because I could never tell how she'd react to me. But, I respected her and her dedication and her love for four legged beings.
I fostered Penny through her organization. And she's the one who made me realize that I'd never find a permanent family quite good enough for my Penny because Penny was supposed to be with me.
When she died, I had the time to help out getting food for the funeral. And at the funeral, I took time to be with her dog. I really knew no one and so it was a pleasure to hang out with this lovely gentle being.
So, when I was looking for pictures to base a painting that I was going to do for Bullseye Rescue Pitbulls on Parade, and ran across a picture of him, I decided I was going to paint him. I wanted a looser style than some of my other paintings and the goofy expression seemed like a great subject.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Whenever I hear of a cat named Gus, the little Broadway musical chanteuse hidden inside of me starts singing,
"Gus is the Cat at the Theatre Door.
His name, as I ought to have told you before,
Is really Asparagus. That's such a fuss
To pronounce, that we usually call him just Gus."
And perhaps that's why this cat got the green background. Or maybe it was to match his eyes.
This cat definitely was not:
"His coat's very shabby, he's thin as a rake,
And he suffers from palsy that makes his paw shake. "
This cat was beloved. And is still beloved even now that he's gone.
I delivered this to the customer on Sunday. You could tell by the look in her eyes that he is very much missed.
It is so rewarding to see the recognition in the customer's eyes when she first sees the portrait.
In gratitude to all the animal lovers out there!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

It's not a pony.

Meet Drum. A horse, not a little pony. What fun it has been to paint goats and horses. Of course, I love painting dogs and cats, too, but with animals I don't paint often I have new things to learn.

One of the challenges for this portrait was doing the braids.

I hope the customer likes it. I sent her a scan, but hadn't heard from her before her transport showed up.

On another note, I've been covering the scan bed with a gray towel. I think that is affecting the colors that are being scanned.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Angel, not just for halloween

I've finished four commissions this week, two that I am very happy with. This is one of the ones I really like.
This is Angel, who died at the age of 22. My customer's brother rescued her from a San Francisco shelter at age 14. I love it when older cats are adopted. According to my customer, Angel "had it so good she stuck around for a long time. "
She was called "Our little Lady"and was sweet, loving and devoted. She was also a huge talker.
This is a gift for her brother.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sweetie Goat

When I posted Keegan, I talked a lot about how alien a goat can look with their hooves and square pupil eyes. On the other hand, they can look incredibly docile and sweet, like this little girl.
And her fur was fun to play with. You could see from the picture that there was a lot to it. I tried to capture that same feeling in the painting.
It was fun!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Plato revealed

He's missing whiskers -- I was wondering whether I should change his background to yellow or orange or purple instead of blue....... but otherthan that, he's done!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Life of Keegan

I've been working for a long while now, on and off, on six commissions for a woman VERY active in rescue.
I love to paint personalities of cats and dogs, so I am happy to paint the two cats and two dogs. But, she's given me the opportunity to paint goats and horses too!
It's been so fun, especially to paint the goats, because their eyes, with a square pupil, make them look alien, so it's been challenging to make them friendly and cute, too.
I was even more inspired to paint them after seeing my friends Michael and Lorrainna's goats. Their girls are full of personality and very eager to get attention -- especially if you have a treat in your hands. In addition to their weird eyes, their cloven feet are weird too. Not quite a hoof, not quite fingers, they add to the alienness of the species.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

On a wire

I love it when the crows hold conventions on the wires stretched across the streets. They are so active and social and so interested in all things.
This is my attempt to capture their congregation.
Barbara liked the composition of the Oppossum and the crows. She wasn't thrilled with the raccoons. I of course liked the raccoons.
I'd love to hear your comments.

Another concept sketch

Of the concepts I created as part of an application to be considered to be a public artist, I drew three sketches, all having to do with animals. But instead of cats and dogs, here are some pictures of wildlife.

Is it a cat (Remember that email that went around that described a "cat" that had been found with long teeth and sharp claws?)? A rat? Or, what? The northwest's version of a kangaroo?

In this urban creatures theme, I would also include coyotes, people and their pets (the homeless youth with the pit bull pup, the guy who shops with his snake wrapped around his shoulders, the woman who takes her parrot for a walk.....) pigeons, crows, starlings, and even bats.

I will include the last rough sketch I did for the application next.

When I'm not doing pet portraits......

I am usually wasting time. I really have been working to be more structured with my time and having set hours in the studio.
But this past week, I was not wasting time - or maybe I was. Instead, I was creating rough sketches of ideas that could be used on a public art project.
My friend Barb had told me about the opportunity months ago... She reminded me again on Thursday. Said all they wanted was a letter. So in my copious spare time -- actually while I was avoiding doing other things -- I wrote the letter of intent and worked on a resume.
Then she offered to help, so over the weekend, we worked on a proposal. I did three quick sketches on copy of paper and scanned them.
Here is my favorite -- and Barb's least favorite. If I ever use this, I will change the composition.......... but, like I said, it's a concept sketch more than anything else.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


I have been talking a lot about my travails in painting. I've been making excuses about not good enough photos, not having enough time, being undisciplined.

Yesterday, after a particular trying coaching session, I went to Daniel Smith and did some retail therapy. I got a tube of Indian Red (look at the nose) and yellow ochre. Then, I dropped my dog off at Ideal Pet Stop and painted.

I went to get my dog a couple of hours later and came back into my studio and painted.

Around 11, I got a beer and banana, literally and figuratively stepping back from the canvas. I saw something very similar to this. I put a little highlights here and there, but other than that, I was done.

I am happy. We'll see if the client is happy.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Dog or Fox?

Is this a dog or fox? Or simply a failure?

In my effort to uncover my creative process, I feel I must show this painting.

I love pitbulls but with their wrinkles and heavy jowls, they are hard to paint. Some of them have less massive jowls than others but have the same wide head.

I was too close to finish when I realized that rather than making the jowls less heavy on this one, I made them non-existent.

I do like the color though, half way between yellow and red. I will strive for that in the redo.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Rascal with different colors

Last time I posted Rascal, I talked about a green smudge under his eye that was a mistake. It's gone. All other smudges that you see are not mistakes! Ha!

Really, I generally like to have smudges on my paintings. Look at a few of my past paintings and you'll see.

The smudge disappeared and more turquoise/green appeared.

This was mailed off on Tuesday.

Sketching Penny

As I was leaving the pet store the other day, a woman asked me why I hadn't painted my own dog. I stuttered and hmmmed, but the truth is she's very hard to paint. She's got floppy jowls and an expressive face that's pretty hard to capture.
But, I've realized lately that I've not been spending enough time sketching things that aren't commissions, so I decided I'd try a few rough sketches every day.
And that is what this is.
You can of course become her friend on Facebook. Search for Penny the BRD. BRD stands for Big Red Dog. Like Clifford. I don't call her PBRd because I don't want her confused for an alcoholic beverage.

Different eyes

I posted Minnie earlier this month asking whether she looked mean.

One of my critics, and fan, suggested that her eyes were a bit too stark and contributed to her mean look.

I toned down the eyes and I believe she looks like a gentler soul, which is what her owner said she was.

She was sent to the woman who commissioned her earlier this week.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pibble sketch

If you've read my last few blogs, you may remember that I've been struggling to paint a pitbull, but the pictures I was sent aren't high enough resolution for me to see the detail.
And the dog's dead, so I just can't offer to come out and take pictures. (I also have a broken camera but that's another story.)
I was told that the dog in the painting I really like, Roxanne, looked like a chihuaha. And the first painting I did of this dog really did look like a chihuaha, or, perhaps what my critique group said, a fox.
So, I went back to the drawing board, almost literally. I know that Roxanne's ears stick up, that she has a white chest and an assymetrical streak on her nose. She's beige.
So, I meditated about this, looked at some pibble pictures, and this is what I came up with. Notice that the drawing is directly on the 5x5 canvas.
I now am waiting for the customer to tell me whether this sketch looks at all like Roxanne.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rascal - 90 percent

Meet Rascal.

I thought she was done, but when I scanned her, I saw the blotch under her right eye.

So, I fixed it and she has much more blues/purple in the latest.

I'll scan that one too.........

Monday, March 15, 2010

Roxanne -- 90 percent

Can you tell that this pup is smiling?
I went through a couple of months of self-doubt when my beloved told me that I was painting mean looking animals in this picture, Minnie, and one other.
It's all the worse because these three paintings are of deceased animals and I can't ask for more pictures.
Well, I did for Roxanne. I initially painted her looking at the camera in a front shot. But for some reason, that pose made her look more like a chihuaha than a pitbull.
I am working with very limited resolution pictures, too, for some reason. It is the first commision I've gotten where the picture quality had an impact on the painting quality.
I will have to scan this again, cuz I painted over the green stripe on her face.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Sweetest cat?
On the picture I was given, her ears were flatter and she looked almost mean.
Leah Jackson, a dog portrait painter I truly admire, says she doesn't do cats cuz she makes them look mean, and no one wants a mean picture. Up until this painting, I had no idea what she was talking about.
My most vocal critic (and supporter, too) says now she doesn't look mean, just intense.
I think she looks a little sweet.............
We'll see what the woman who commissioned this says.