Canine Crone

Today is our beautiful Sasha’s 14th birthday! It’s hard to believe she has been with us for so many years. She has been a wonderful member of the family. She is very caring and kind, especially to children and young critters. We always refer to her as our son’s nanny.

Sasha is a white German Shepherd and often receives compliments on her wolf-like appearance. She is as loyal as she is beautiful.


Happy Birthday Sasha! We are glad to have you in our lives. Thank you for being one of the greatest dogs a family could have!

Have any of your furry friends celebrated a birthday recently? Give them a shout out in the comments below! Thanks for reading.
Until next time,

“That’s the funny thing about birthdays. They’re kind of an annual thing.”

An Artist’s Library

My son and I took a well-deserved trip to a local bookstore today. It was actually, quite literally a warehouse filled with used books. All books for a dollar! Who can pass that up? At that price, it was easy to find one to add to my collection. I am quite proud of the books I have accumulated over the years for my artist’s library. I’ve acquired most of them from bargain bins and auctions; uncovering each one has been like finding buried treasure!

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Today’s find is Michelangelo and Raphael in the Vatican  compiled by a small group of hard-working individuals. There is detailed photography of the Sistine Chapel as well as descriptions of the artwork and what it represents. There are also stanzas from the 15th century, sharing the history from the time these paintings were created. I haven’t read much out of it yet, just quickly flipped through the breathtaking photographs. There is so much to learn and I can’t wait to see what this book has in store.

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I have another book about Michelangelo by Frederick Hartt. It has over 130 reproductions of Michelangelo’s artwork; each one is printed separately from the book and perfectly adhered to the pages. It’s a gorgeous book with gobs of information. A must have for any kind of art enthusiast.

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Another great one to have is Norman Rockwell and The Saturday Evening Post. This was a gift from my husband. It is another fantastic compilation of great works by a great artist. Every piece is accompanied with a paragraph explaining the inspiration behind each cover done for the Saturday Evening Post.

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An artist’s library isn’t complete without Van Gogh and His Art by Rosemary Treble. This book so far is the easiest for me to read for extended periods of time. It’s a biography but it reads like a story. Once you get started, you’re enticed to keep reading. So either the author is great at their job, Van Gogh had an interesting life, or both. I think I would choose the latter.

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To throw things off a bit, I also have a compilation of The Art of Todd McFarlane. He is a well-known comic book artist that is known for adding intense amounts of detail in his work. This is a solid book with a lot packed into it.

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Last but not least, we have another master, Leonardo da Vinci. An artist’s library has to have him on the list. This was a lucky grab. I got it for a steal at Border’s right before they went out of business. It was the last one and for good reason. This is one of my favorite books. I haven’t even read a fraction of this monster yet. I like leaving it open on my desk so I can read the same page over and over again. I feel like it will take me a lifetime to really absorb this 700 page beauty.

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I have many other favorites by artists Terry Moore, Claudia Nice, and National Geographic photographer, Annie Griffiths. You can never have enough books. Especially ones filled with pictures! I hope you enjoyed taking a peek into my library and hopefully there was something of interest to check out yourself.

Are there any books not mentioned that you enjoy in your library? Share a comment below! I’m always on the lookout for a good art book. Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

“Welcome to the library, young man. Don’t tell me. You’re here for a special book.”

Hearts & Hippocampus

I’ve completed my latest painting. I was commissioned to do a piece for a wedding gift of two seahorses in the shape of a heart. The newlyweds’ favorite colors are blue and orange, so this became the easy choice for the seahorses. The leaf in the corner is a little accent requested to highlight the date and to represent an Autumn wedding. My client wanted the background to appear wood-like, which I have attempted to capture before on other paintings. I’m quite content with how it came out. I didn’t want to put much detail into the wood grain in fear of taking away from the subjects. I adding the shadowing behind the figures to make them pop off of the background.

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Overall this was a very vibrant and lively piece. I have never drawn or painted seahorses before, which is surprising. I feel like I did great for my first go-around. I was a little disappointed at first because I felt the seahorses lacked detail. I need to keep in mind that my painting style is completely different than my drawing style. It’s not so much that my paintings lack detail. They are whimsical whereas my drawings are idealistic. They cannot be compared to each other; apples to oranges.

This was a special piece for me. I had decided that this will be my last painting commission. There are multiple reasons as to why. First of all, to be honest I don’t want to put money into anything else at the moment besides my drawing supplies and making prints. Paints, brushes, canvases, and the works adds up to a lot of money. All of which I would rather put into better supplies to better my drawings.

Also, I would like to further improve my paintings skills before offering anymore commissions. That’s a whole new set of lessons which again I would rather put into my drawings right now. I think this is the best choice in order to really boost my skills with pencils.

Before I bring this rambling post to and end, I want to send a special shout out to the newlyweds, Congratulations! I hope you can enjoy your painting for many years to come. Thanks for stopping by this week!

Until next time,

“Look, in my opinion, the best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you. The right person is still going to think the sun shines out of your ass. That’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with.”

Free Spirit WIP V

Boy, have I been slacking on my art! Well, not so much slacking as it is consumed with my photography the last couple of weeks. In the past month, I have taken roughly over 3,000

Little Friend
“Holifly”

pictures of everything I’ve been up to! That’s the beauty/horror of the digital age, you have an unlimited amount of pictures to take as long as your memory card is large enough! Mine can hold about 4,000 high quality photos, so I’m forever cursed with taking too many pictures of everything! I wouldn’t do it though if I didn’t truly love it!

Now that I’m done rambling, I can introduce my next WIP! In conjunction with my “Holifly” piece (initially entitled “Little Friend”), I’m creating another butterfly-equine relation drawing. I can’t wait to see how the finished product will look. I have a new pad of toned tan paper and I’m excited to use it for the first time. It gives a rustic, natural look in my opinion. I hope to have this finished in the next week or so. I also want to do a few more canine related pieces. Much work to be done in the near future! Stay tuned and thanks for stopping by!

Is there a specific kind of butterfly you admire? Or maybe a particular horse breed tickles your fancy? Share your favorites in the comments below!

Until next time,

“Do I have something in my teeth?”

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Alligator Fabricator

I am so pleased with how my latest piece turned out. When I first saw the reference photo, I was a little unsure if I should tackle it. There was so much detail in the scales. And I guess I’ll let the cat out of the bag…I started this piece the night before the birthday party, so I had less than a day to work on it! I know, I know! What was I thinking!? How was I going to pull this off? I had no idea, I just started drawing. To my surprise, it was effortless and flowed together, like water rolling off a ‘gators back. Now that I’m thinking about it, I didn’t erase one thing from it, either. I didn’t worry much while I drew it, I just worked. It just happened. It just came to life. Each scale, each shadow… it’s like I did the “I Dream of Jeannie” nod and the art just appeared on my paper!

Integration

I looked up the symbolism for the Alligator. It teaches us to roll with the punches of life’s hardships, like the ‘gator rolls with it’s prey beneath the water. The Alligator represents integration and seeing the whole picture before making a decision. Choosing to laugh at your own rigidness can help diffuse any anger and judgments you feel. The alligator will store it’s meat underwater to help tenderize it, teaching us that waiting patiently to make the right move helps us digest the situation better. If we find ourselves rushing, we miss the time to count our victories.

I’ve definitely been rolling with the punches these past couple weeks. I’ve had a lot on my plate but I’ve handled it better than I would have in the past. That’s progress, right? Maybe this piece was suppose to show me that even when things look rough, if I just step back and assess the situation properly, I can walk away from anything with confidence. I just need to remember to count my victories as I’m passing through life’s hurdles.

I brought the completed piece to the party and the recipient was thrilled! She absolutely loved it! Victory! I had a great time with my family and met a lot of new people while I was there. Victory!

Long story short, roll with the punches and remember to congratulate yourself on your winnings. We all work so hard for them!

Until next time,

“The first step to correcting a mistake is patience.”

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Related posts: Free Spirit WIP IV

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Alligator symbolism; sources: Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams & David Carson  ~  refence photo: pixabay.com

 

 

 

Free Spirit WIP IV

I’ve had the pleasure this year to be introduced to an amazing woman from England. I’ve been helping her in her gardens and doing odd jobs at various locations. She is also an artist and as she says “went to university” for fine art. She’s very smart and immensely talented. I admire her poise. You could say I’m quite smitten with her! She has been teaching me so much these past couple months; she leaves me thirsting for knowledge.

Her birthday is coming up and she invited my family and I to her party. My first thought, being we are both artists, was to do a drawing for her as a gift. She told me a couple weeks ago that she loves reptiles and dragons. I found a beautiful reference photo of an alligator and I knew it was what I needed to draw for her. I love reptiles as well and I’ve been eager to do a reptile eye piece for a long while now. Her birthday gave me the perfect opportunity to start it.

I’ve been taking pictures of this piece as it progresses. It’s been exciting watching it come to life. It’s also coming along quickly. I’ve put about four hours into it now and it’s nearly done. I’ll reveal the completed piece in my next post! Stay tuned!

Until next time,

“Mama says that alligators are ornery because they have all them teeth and no toothbrush.”

Totem Animals: What Does the Fox Really Say?

Terrible songs aside, what does the fox really have to say? I had mentioned in previous posts that the fox has been appearing in my day to day life quite often. I even saw a wild one for the first time recently. With the reoccurring fox image appearing to me, I figured it was time to do some research.Fox totem eye crop

In my search, I discovered that the fox is a great symbol of becoming one with your surroundings and observing in silence. The fox is cunning and adaptable. It blends into the background and learns all it needs to know for swift thought and action. Because of the fox’s ability to become invisible, it allows fox to weave through any situation without detection.

If fox has presented itself to you, then you should pay close attention to other’s actions, as opposed to their words. Learn all you need to but keep your ideas and reasoning to yourself. Fox is also a symbol of the trickster. Perhaps someone else has been camouflaging their true intentions from you?

Fox totem nose cropOn the flip side, fox could be telling you that you are too camouflaged from the world. It’s time to stop being a wall flower and show the world what your made of! Show them what you have to offer.

I’ve been keeping fox’s lessons in mind as I carry on through the days. I’ve been meeting many new people and learning more these past few months than I could have ever imagined! I’ve been listening more than talking. Although, I have always tended to be the quiet one. Maybe that’s why the fox has been following me. We both blend in, listening, learning, observing.

So to honor my fox guide here is the completed piece I did. I enjoyed creating it, although I would really enjoy doing a full color piece of the fox in order to capture their rich red fur. I incorporated the orange tint into the eyes to make up for it.

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I’ve decided to continue with drawing animal guides I come into contact with and learning their totem. I think the best knowledge to have is taught by nature and what better teachers than the animals. Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

“Goodbye may seem forever, farewell is like the end. But in my heart’s a memory, and there you’ll always be.”

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Related blog posts: The Eyes Give Life & Free Spirit WIP III

Sources: (1)Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams & David Carson (2)Spirit Animal Website

The Wedding Week

A good friend of mine, the best really, called me a week ago and says “How long would it take you to paint a wedding gift for me?” I had an idea of what she wanted and thought for a minute. “About a week. When do you need it?” I asked. “In exactly a week,” she says.

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That’s all fine and dandy then! Except for the fact that we live about 600 miles apart and it takes three days to ship! Ok, so now I’m down to four days. The day she called, I ran out and got the supplies I needed. I had the paint and brushes already so I just needed the canvases. Day two and three I completed the paintings. I used acrylics for the writing and spray paint for the background. The wedding colors were pink and navy, so that makes things easy! I went with an Old English style for the writing. I thought it was a classy look. By day four I had it ready to go and shipped to be there by the due date!


It was a cut and dry job! Get it, got it, done. I typically will never attempt to complete a commission with only a week notice but my “BFF” knows I love her and I’ll whip something good up!


I haven’t heard the bride and groom’s reaction to the piece yet so we will see. My friend however loved it!

It was a nice change of pace to get a painting done amongst all these eye portraits. It was something I could be a little loose with and have some fun!

So a special thanks to my “BFF” for the recent commission. Also congrats to the newly weds!

Until next time,

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love, and be loved in return.”

Boxing With Art

I have finally completed my Boxer portrait. It took me longer than I would have liked but you can’t rush art. I find myself using more and more charcoal as I keep creating new pieces. It makes it easier to get the contrast I like in the shadows. The only problem is charcoal is very soft and it spreads far. A little bit goes a long way. With this piece, I went a little charcoal crazy and the entire Boxer came out nearly black. I had to go back with my eraser and add a bunch of the highlights in the fur.

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The other challenge with the dark face was the eyes. In the reference photo I was using, the Boxer’s eyes were completely blacked out. I looked up other images on the internet. In nearly every picture, you could barely see any detail in the eyes. They are all very dark and the pupil appears to be huge, dulling the eye. Add the natural dark brown tint most of them have and the only thing left to see is the light reflection. The puppies seemed to have brighter, more colorful eyes. I tried to bring out the brown hues but it honestly looked odd if the eyes were too bright. So I slowly added more and more shading until I found a happy medium. I was able to make the brown, almost burnt sienna eyes pop out a little more but still keep the true naturally dark eyes that Boxers have.

With specializing in eyes, this piece was definitely a challenge. But with adding more tools to my belt, I’m able to continue working on bringing out the most detail. For this piece I used…

  • charcoal pencils (obviously)
  • graphite pencils
  • colored pencils
  • copic markers
  • Artist’s pen

The artist pen I just got a few days ago. It is so fine tipped that I can get the microscopic lines and hairs to make the image crisp and more precise. It’s my new best friend. It also helps keeps my signature neat and clean on the portrait!

Overall, this is not one of my favorite pieces. Although I did learn quite a bit while creating it so I can’t be too displeased. It’s definitely not my worst piece either.

What do you think? Leave a comment and share below! Thanks for reading!

Until next time…

“It ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward.”

Another Day, Another Dog

I have never had the pleasure to meet a Border Collie in person. They have become quite popular though and are deemed by most as the smartest dog breed out there. As well as intelligent, they also are highly energetic. They were initially bred to herd sheep in England and Scotland.

I decided to draw a Border Collie to go with the other pieces I’m going to be displaying at a local “dogcare”. They are very beautiful dogs with rich brown eyes. I couldn’t resist.

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I enjoyed drawing this piece. I used more charcoal than I usually do and I’m happy with the results. It is much easier to get the dark contrast with charcoal than it is graphite. Also, the more of these smaller pieces I complete, the less I am using my eraser. I mainly use my eraser to bring out highlights as opposed to correcting mistakes. This is a great accomplishment for me. Especially considering I have not been using grids either. It’s exciting to think where I will be in a year from now. Practice, Practice, Practice!

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I hope everyone got through another sluggish Monday! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for new work every week!

Until next time,

“Don’t eat the car! Not the car! Oh, what am I yelling at you for? You’re a dog!”