Saturday, June 29, 2013

Black Dog

Portrait of Zeke, 8 x 10" mixed media on cotton paper. This is a commissioned birthday gift for his person -- so I finished it a few days ago but couldn't post it yet.

I like black animals; my own horse is black. They're challenging to draw and paint, though!

I lucked out with Zeke: the person who commissioned the portrait had two excellent photos of him for me to work from. That's often not the case -- and there's often nothing to be done about it, because so many of the portraits I do are memorials of animals who are now gone.

I've said this before, but get photos of your creatures now; you'll want them, and wish you had taken them, if you don't. In this age of digital photography, we really no longer have excuses. It's not as though we'll be wasting expensive film.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Tribute to a Sweet Sheltie

Portrait of Lady, 11 x 11" mixed media on cotton paper. This elegant little girl passed away earlier this year, and I had the honor of capturing her from a few photos her owners had.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Horse, Flowers, Owl -- Days 5 though 9

 Cocoa in Motion, about 3.5 x 8", for Day 5. Day 6 I chose to create something less tangible -- a new game with my own horse; Day 7, I went walking and came home with Stolen Lilacs, below.

Day 8 was probably technically Day 9, and is titled Sleepless in the Kitchen. A portrait of my little owl kitchen timer, done at *mumble* last night while I was entirely too awake.  This and the Lilacs are in the same small book, about 6.5 x 6".

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Fear is Unrelated to Ability

So I signed on to do the 30 Days of Creativity Challenge.  What you're seeing here are days 1 through 4.

 You'd think, for someone who makes art for a living, pledging to create something every day for 30 days straight would be a breeze. And you'd be mistaken. But, you say, amateurs and students have to fight with distractions, self-doubts, and fears! We struggle with the feeling that all the other times we got it right, were flukes somehow, and this time it's going to suck. 

 ...and that is basically what I go through almost every time I pick up a brush or even try to decide what I'm going to do next. 

Promising to create daily means I have to do something even (especially) when I do not wanna. And the "don't wanna" almost always turns out to be fear. Sometimes I'm just tired, but mostly, nah, fear.

So far this is what I have. Four small things, each of which was an uphill battle just to get started. Keko, the horse at top, was moving around; I'd never drawn a bird's nest, let alone in watercolor, and it was so complex and subtle; my inner censor screamed at me for the black horse silhouette because "isn't this cheesy" and all kinds of accusations; the pond edge was a complicated jumble of rocks and grass and how on earth would I make that look okay?

 Almost everything I do is that way. If you're learning any kind of creative endeavor and you think that you must not be very good or have much potential, because you still find it scary to try, just know that nope, your ability and your fear are unrelated. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Wisconsin in May

My little sketchbook went with me, and my watercolor set. This was a hiking trail I was on; I stopped and sketched the scene in terra-cotta colored pastel pencil, then added watercolor back at the lodge.

Shortly after making this sketch, I saw a Scarlet Tanager for the first time; shortly after that, I discovered that the trail signs became progressively fewer and less helpful the longer I walked, and that I was ... not lost, exactly, but making an unplanned detour in the heat of the day.

Also there were bloodsucking bugs out. I will spare you the details.

The walk was still worth doing, though.