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.”

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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!”

 

A Farewell to Phantom

“There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.”

~Albert Schweitzer~

 

I’ve been sitting at my computer, at a loss for words. I really don’t know what to say. I have known so many people who have lost pets in the past six months. What can you say? I’m sorry for your loss, that sucks, or I feel for you.

Those phrases don’t cover it! We all know how it feels. I’m sure everyone has felt the heartache from losing a pet. They’re not just pets though. They are friends. Friends that adore your attention. Friends that want to be in the middle of your business at all times, just because they love spending time with you. They listen every time you need them. They sleep by your side every night. A friend that is literally always there! At that point, they become family.

That’s probably why it hurts so much when we can’t see them anymore. They were always by your side and then they’re not. It takes some time to get use to. You just have to remember the life you gave them. As much as they were there for you, you were there for them. They had a good life!

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I would like to dedicate this post to Phantom, a gorgeous cat with two different colored eyes(as you can see). A friend of mine recently said goodbye to him. That combined with his striking beauty compelled me to draw him. I hope I did him justice!

Rest in Peace Dear Phantom.

Until next time,

“Momma always said dyin’ was a part of life. I sure wish it wasn’t.”

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So Pugly

When I was in grade school, my friend had a pug. My dog at the time was Phoebe, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. I adored her. Corgis are the cutest dogs in the world; in my opinion at least. My friend believed it was pugs. PhoebeWe would playfully argue on a daily basis on whose dog was cuter. I would tape pictures of Phoebe on her locker and she taped pictures of her pug on mine. So devious we were.

I honestly never understood how anyone thought a pug was cute. I thought they were ugly. I still kind of do but it’s become more of a “you’re so ugly your cute” kind of thing. I saw more and more pictures of them and realized I needed to draw one. Regardless if they are cute or ugly they made me smile whenever I saw them.


They are hilariously cute…I guess. As my son would put it, they look derpy; their wrinkly faces, their big bulging eyes. To top it off, a nose that looks like they ran into a glass door. A face only a mother could love.


Ok, I’m sorry. I’m not calling pugs ugly. Although I don’t think I can really admit to them being cute. I’ve got it! They are pugly. Yep, that’s the one.

So in continuation with my last post, here is my pugly drawing. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it!


What do you think? Do you find them puggable or pugly? Share a comment below!

Until next time,

“Easy, pal. That’s canine profiling, and I resent it.”

Spread the Happy

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”

-Roger Caras

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I love how happy dogs are all the time! They truly understand how to be happy with what they have. They also love nothing more than the company of a good friend(…and good food). I love when dogs smile. Smiles are contagious and that is ever so true when looking at your chipper canine companion. We need to take a memo and spread the happy. There may always be problems but there are twice as many reasons to smile. Remember…the best medicine when you’re feeling blue is smiling faces and dog smiles are extra-strength!

Happy

Until next time,

“Let’s put a smile on that face!”

Beautiful Boa

The Emerald Tree Boa resides in South America. Their colors cover a wide range of greens and yellows with white spotting across their back. The boa’s scales are prominent on their thick bodies. Their heads are square with defined facial features. They have two rows of heat pits that run along their mouth. Because of their striking appearance, I was compelled to draw one.

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I thought it would be a great experiment to draw a snake on my textured, black paper I’ve been itchin’ to use. With the bright colored pencils, the texture comes through and gives the impression of scales across the boa’s body. It also helped with the bark on the tree branch. I’m glad to have finally finished this one. It was one of those pieces you want to keep adding to but shouldn’t. Less is more; especially against the black.

Thanks for slithering in and checking out my work! Hope you enjoyed this splash of green on St. Patrick’s Day!

Until next time,

“I hate snakes, Jock! I hate ’em!… Come on! Show a little backbone, will ya!”

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Pet Portrait: Jerzey Girl

Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet a great big fluff ball of lovins’ named Jerzey. Her human, Kristine, is a friend of mine I met when I was doing the Entrepreneur Boot Camp in Albany. I just finished Jerzey’s portrait recently and delivered it yesterday. I was unable to meet her before I drew the picture, so it was a delight to be able to rub her soft fluffy neck after staring at her picture for so long. It felt just like I imagined, perhaps even softer. She was a great pleasure to be around, as most dogs are. The more I would pet her, the more she would nudge my arm to plead for more. She could not get enough attention.

Jerzey

I used a few different mediums for her portrait. The majority is done in graphite pencil. I used charcoal pencil to get the darker contrast in the shadows. For her chestnut eyes, I used colored pencils and copic markers. Kristine was very excited with the end result and it is being displayed at her workplace at Jerzey’s Dog Resort. Yep, Jerzey was Kristine’s inspiration for her own business running a boarding palace for dogs, and I mean palace. There’s jungle gyms, a pool, and even kiddie beds to sleep in! It’s nicer than some of the hotels I’ve stayed in!

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Jerzey is a terrific gal and I’m glad I was able to meet her in person. It makes the work a lot more rewarding. Now every time I look at her picture I will always think about how lovey she was the first day we met. And even though her coat is black, everything’s brighter when she’s around.

Until next time,

“All dogs go to heaven because, unlike people, dogs are naturally good and loyal and kind.”

Jerzey Detail

 

Dog Days

I am definitely a dog person. Don’t get me wrong I love cats too. I don’t think I could live without a dog in my house though. I mean, they bring a certain cheer to the place. No db4matter what, you know that there is always a happy greeting when you get home. Whenever you are sad, they make an extra effort to make sure you know they love you. I love taking my dog with me everywhere. We go on walks through the woods. Well, I walk while he runs back and forth. DeSoto likes going on car rides with me. He’s my traveling companion. DeSoto truly is my best friend.

I have been in touch with a few doggy daycares that are interested in hanging my work at their location. I am excited. I am getting back on track with what I wanted to accomplish. So, in the near future, you will be seeing a lot of dog portraits. Here is my most recent one. It is a basset hound pup. They always remind me of those Precious Moments dolls, with the sad eyes. The reason their eyes always look like that is from their inherited characteristic of having “droopy” skin. There are a few different theories on why they are like this. One theory is their neck skin hangs low and when combined with their long ears dragging, it increases their ability to track a scent. Who knew? Saggy skin can be beneficial! If your a hound dog, at least.

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“Precious Moments” – 6″ x 8″ drawing

The expression on this puppy was, well, adorable first of all. I think it is adorable though because he (or she) is so innocent looking, so small and young. And someday, that precious pooch won’t be so young anymore. His eyes will start to sag. The patches of white fur will over power his rich color. All dogs become old dogs and all dogs leave us before we are ready for them to go.

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Dogs teach us that every moment is precious. Even the simple, youthful expression on a puppies’ face is something that can make a bad day into a good one. Give your pooch a pat and thank them for their patience with you. Thank them for protecting you and treating you as a member of the pack. And as they sit at your feet and look up at you with those big innocent eyes, remember, you have become the center of their universe. You are in control of how rich their short precious lives are. Make everyday a dog day. Without a dog, it’s just another day.

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Until next time,

“My name is Dug. I have just met you, and I love you.”

Oh, To Be King…

I have a strong connection with big cats. Lions, tigers, and cougars are among my favorites. They have a great power and strength behind them. Lions, in my opinion, live one of the toughest lifestyles imaginable. The lionesses are constantly on the hunt for food. Working as a team, so in tune with each other. If they weren’t they would never eat. Taking down prey large enough to feed the pride is hard enough as it is. The males, well, they spend their whole lives fighting to keep their family. And if they fail, their offspring will be slaughtered and the new king will step in and claim his ladies. They are bloodied, bruised, beaten, and broken. Yet they continue on. They keep fighting. They fail, and they fail, and they fail again. Their success rate in hunting is only 30%. Less than 20% for lions hunting alone. little lionIf they miss the kill, they don’t fuss and moan about it. Even if they did get injured they just keeping moving on, to face the next battle. Though they fail often, they still carry themselves with a sense of pride. That’s actually why a group is called a pride. They are regal and confident. They are the king of the beasts! Of course they would carry themselves with such self-confidence. Weakness is not a trait of survivors. That’s what lions do, survive. They care for their families, protect them, teach them. They do not dwell on life’s hardships or worry their children won’t live a cozy life. They know their cubs will face hardships but that is why they teach them everything they know. They prepare them to be strong on their own. Lions are a symbol of emotional control. They do not have time for self-pity. They do what they have to. They take responsibility and act! And though life is taxing, they still make time to play or enjoy the warm sun showering their coats. They fight day in and day out but never lose their compassion towards their pride.

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“Perseverance” 6″x 8″ pencil drawing (accompanied with color pencils, charcoal, and copic markers)

To look into the eyes of such a king is a gift no one can surpass. It’s as if they can see right through you. Those eyes carry so much strength and compassion. Ferocity and confidence. Wisdom and control.

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This latest drawing gave me the opportunity to study the vigilant glare of the king. It was remarkable yet unsettling at the same time. I felt I could relate. Like I was looking at my reflection. My life is nowhere near as tough as a lions, but they still remind me to keep going. Persevere. No matter how bloodied and beaten you are, you just keep going. It’s how you survive. I have so much respect for them. They live through what may seem as unbearable hardships, yet walk away like Kings! This inspired my title for the piece, “Perseverance”.

When you face hardships in life, what encourages you to persevere? Share your story below!

Until next time,

“Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures…”