Friday, October 03, 2008

October 3 - Pesto Finished, Buried in Paperwork!

Well, not completely finished, but surely further along than it was the last time I posted!
What's fun about this painting is the curving lines that all roll up to the focal point--Pesto Kitty--zonked out on the papers, paw extended. It's about 95% completed at this stage, and will get some softened edges (I never seem to have enough transitional edges!) and more detailing on the kitty-face.

I'm very pleased with the strength of the brushwork on the lower half, though. It's what I've sought to be able to do for a while.

Now I'm packing for a return to Arizona next week, for rest and rejuvenation listening to the elk bugling at night while I sit by my camp fire at Hawley Lake. Aspens are turning, the weather there is wonderfully crisp, and I'm rarin' to go--this trip with the THREE dogs... two little ones and the old, deaf girl. Good company while I paint, and they're used to the camper from my trip north last month.

I'll really enjoy posting the work from this trip--I so love to go there, and it seems to show in the canvases. Here's a reminder of the trip last year:

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

October 1 - Pesto the Studio Cat, Lesson #1

Started a new painting, this one is an 8 x 10 inch oil (the oils were still out from the dog painting!). It is from a photo I took of the studio cat, "Pesto" snoozing right next to this computer. I liked her relaxed pose so much, and the usual piles of papers on my desk, sooooo... that this seems a natural subject to paint. Plus, she's a good model.

The canvas is toned, (what I DIDN'T do for the dog painting--makes for a major headache if not done--so many "holidays"--tiny white specks of canvas showing through!) with a thin mix of red-gold and burnt umber. The first lay-in is here, roughly defining the edges of the large shapes, and also keeping the details until later on. I'm using mostly cools from my cool box, and since this is inside with just diffuse lighting, I'm going to have to put some "punch" in the colors and/or values to make it sing.

Pesto is a calico, and very friendly! And that's my Capresso machine in the background--can't live without my coffee! And isn't everyone's desk as cluttered as mine?

Now, she is usually not this shy, but when I told her she was being painted, this was her response:

Or maybe it is the Arts & Entertainment section she just read?

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sep 30 - Dogs Finished and Studio Improvements

Ah, beloved pets. Is there anything more comforting than to see them as they are today, knowing their short lives are going to become part of your personal history down the road? The black and tan is my beloved, aged Q, or "little biting dog"--LBD, who is 17 years old this year. Still spry, but with growths, totally deaf and cataracts are taking her once sharp eyesight.

Sparky is the "accidental" dog--I almost didn't get him, but at the last minute decided that Onslow needed a playmate. Dogs, true to their own needs, disrupted my best-laid plans. Onslow cares for and stays with Q, and Sparky has become my constant companion.

This is an original oil, 11 x 14, but not for sale. I like to keep some of my memories.

In finishing up this work, I was concerned again with the lighting, having sunshine coming in through a western window, and it being more late afternoon than evening. So any whispers of alizarin in the shadows are cancelled by the greenish influence of afternoon. But there is the whisper of cad orange in all of the lights. Even the thalo blue highlights on the dogs have that graying influence of the orange. Keeps the blues from being TOO strong. If you compare this image with the previous one, you can discern how much or little I did to finish it up.

On other news, I finished the installation of the new sink and counter/cabinets in the cleanup room of my studio. Here's a photo of the project...I'm happy that I got through the plumbing--it wasn't as tough as I thought! I'll need this for the workshops I'm planning for Two Trees (Riverside, California) in February of 2009.
Yes, those are paintings (the smaller ones) stored on the end wall and above the faucets.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Sep 29 - New Start on An Old Dog and Young Dog, too

Here's the first pass on an 11 x 14 inch oil, started for a fun goal of painting animals for a month that I started over on When I start a painting like this, I generally block in the large shapes to define the abstract structure of the work.

In this painting, I want the dynamics of value and the complimentary blue/orange color scheme to hold the reins. So for my first brushwork, I don't worry about any of the edges, knowing that I can come back later and "fix" and find those that need finding.

These two dogs are my old German Pinscher (now 17) and Sparky, the year-old Teddy Roosevelt Terrier. The title of the painting will be called "Watching Over the Old One".

On other news, I continue to drop the excess pounds and have maintained muscle mass by riding and hiking the new trails behind our studio/home. Here's a picture of the newest trail, in evening light, with our place visible in the trees in the upper right corner. I'm at about 1750 feet elevation, and the house is about 300 feet below. I worked until deep twilight making this trail horse-safe. It's a long way down with a misstep!

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