Archive for February, 2012

Spotted – Giraffes
Watercolor pencil on museum grade suede board.
Image Size : 15 1/2 x 40

Yup it’s done … and sold. Just gotta get it profiled for prints and then I’m ready to move on to the next one. Not sure what that’ll be yet. Haven’t heard from the horse portrait (she was scheduled for surgery just before we talked last so …)

At any rate I am getting ready to move forward. I have sent off several art fair applications this week and so I know my remaining creative time is limited. Today being Sunday I plan to dig around my photos and see if anything pops out at me. Also plan to learn a little more about WordPress and see if I can’t customize this thing called a blog better. I’d like to add another sidebar and then plug in a few things like an archive, a zazzle product link and perhaps a feeds link for Facebook and Twitter.

Since my husband built the blog it’s inner workings are very much a mystery to me. Just thinking about “trying” to learn it, gives me headache. Maybe I’ll go for a walk and then eat some chocolate covered peanuts or cheesy poofs to gear up for my brain function and because I’m all up into the healthy like that.

So without further ado … the start to finish on my giraffe painting. Followed by my first Zazzle product in several weeks as well. Featuring … you guessed it … the latest painting.

The image is a perfect fit. Nothing is cropped off. I think it makes a really cute mug with the matching rim and handle. What do you think?

Forgot to mention you can see a larger example of the finished painting on my African Wildlife Art squidoo page.

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Snow Day!
It’s gonna be a snow day today Which is usually a whoohoo! event. But this snow day started at 6am of choking down some breakfast, feeding the critters and running up town so I could clean out the gallery cornstove and get it crankin’ for a few days.

Yeah okay I know that if I had cleaned it out prior then I wouldn’t have had to rush this morning. But … I’m only a think ahead kinda gal on certain things.

Anywho after I finish cat proofing (i.e. removing all plants and breakables and anything that may intrigue a bored cat to naughtiness) the showroom gallery part so Budda can run wild and eat himself into a stupor (because unlike everyday with a specific diet controlled ration, he gets free range cat kibble in these kind of situations) just in case I can’t get off the farm tomorrow.

Though I’m guessing I will be able to but your never know. They are predicting up 10 inches in the next 24 hours. That’s more snow than we’ve had all year so far. Weird.

About The Painting

So I almost have this piece done. You can see what shape the last (and smallest) giraffe will take in the close photo. Then I just need give it a good coating of fixative and remove the protective film in order to finish the edges. Had the weather cooperated I would have gotten it completed today but for now it will just have to wait another day or two.

Time to finish the Budda proofing and then maybe I’ll go build a snowman … though it is far more likely to be a snow pony.

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So when I asked a friend (who’s also a good customer and dear to me like family) whether they still had Hereford’s he said no, but offered to keep an eye out for me. I really didn’t want them to go to any trouble and said as much. Partly because I had something very specific in mind and partly because I hate to be a burden.

What I wanted was some hairy Hereford cattle. But the hair couldn’t be too long or too short. It had to be juuuust right.

Yup … it’s just like Goldilocks and the 3 bears. Except I’m not a cute little blond girl who’s into petty larceny. So I suppose my fairytale would be called Grayinglocks and the 5 cows. And instead of worrying about being eaten by bears, my only worry was about being slipping in the cow poop soup and then being drooled on by the curious cows. Yeah, it’s totally like a fairytale.

Low Expectations
So as I mentioned previously I went into this particular photo safari with low expectations. For many reasons.
1. I wanted hairy cattle but not so fluffy they look like toys. This late in the year that is what you usually get.
2. They are feedlot cattle which means nose to tail filth generally. Not pretty in pictures.
3. They are in a hoop building meaning poor lighting at best.

But in the end it was awesome. Awesome because the farmer was an absolute doll and had separated 5 head for me from his herd of over 700 cattle. I don’t know what criteria he selected them on but they all had white and clean faces unlike so many of the other feedlot cattle. They were in a smaller clean pen (well cleanish … keep a cow in an enclosure long enough it it’ll get covered in poo.) that I was allowed to enter and move about them. And they were in the open so as you can see by my photo they are struck ever so lovingly by the sun.

At any rate the farmer went well above and beyond what I was expecting and went to far more trouble than I deserved. So now I will definitely do a painting at some point, if for no other reason than to give him a framed print just to say thank you.

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Giraffe Painting (Giraffe #5 start to finish)

And That’s Why It’s Called Fur In The Paint

I had an artist in the gallery the other day having some framing done and while I was figuring things up Budda took a stroll across the giraffes.

Her: (with a look of horror and a squeal to her voice) “The cat is on your painting!”

Me: (look up at her and then casually look back to see that Budda is indeed walking over the giraffes) “Yeah he does that.”

Her: “But he’s ON your painting!”

Me: “Well technically he’s heading over to drink the water in my brush cup. My materials are all non-toxic but I still reprimand him when I catch him at it.”

Her: …

Me: “I had a friend who is a watercolorist and her cats knocked over her water and then walked all over her in progress painting. She brought it to art group once to show us the cat tracks. Pretty funny.” (chuckles at the memory)

Her: … …

Me: (because she clearly thinks something needs to be done here.) “Budda … get down”

Budda: Mreow! cranky he jumps down and stalks away.

Me: “Sorry little man, she totally narqed you out.”

Her: gives me an uncertain smile as she silently questions my sanity that only a non-pet owner could in this situation.

Just so you know Budda has many surfaces that he is not allowed on. My framing counter, the framing tables and shelves storing artwork, as well as the scanning tables and microwave. But for some reason my drafting table isn’t one of them. No I don’t encourage the cat to walk across my artwork and if the piece had been an oil pastel I would have been a lot more in his face. But the piece is dry and frankly the cat hair just kinda falls from the sky around here so ….

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I had planned to post the Start To Finish photos of Giraffe #5 today, but for some reason my computer refused to talk to my camera, or perhaps it was the other way round. So no pics today. Perhaps tomorrow they will feel more like cooperating.

So joy of joys I am working on my giraffes with a happy heart. I know this shouldn’t really be a surprise, but it kinda is.

I started this painting because I felt an inkling … a tiny nudging deep inside. I started it because it was long past due and I needed to reclaim this important part of my self. And I started it because some extra bucks wouldn’t hurt. I did not start it because my creative spirit was crying out to be made whole. Nothing nearly so artsy fartsy as that. In truth I think I could have simply walked away (possibly for much, much longer) and not done anything art-wise except my logical side said … No, now is the time.

So I forced myself to select the photos and do the drawing and composition work. The gallery at that time was quite busy so it was easy enough to put off but as each Sunday rolled around, I reserved my day for art. There was no real joy to it. It was just another form of work that I simply had to step up and do.

Ah … The Magic Returns

Somewhere around giraffe #3 I began so settle in. To “open to the universe” is generally how I think of it. Sort of losing myself to time and my surroundings. You know when you look up and say “Wow, 3 hours have just passed and it felt like 20 minutes.” That kinda thing.

On Giraffe #4 I woke up in the morning and couldn’t wait to get back to the gallery to work on it.

Upon starting giraffe #5, I was wishing I had my drafting table set up in the house so I could take the piece back and forth between work and home and work on it in the evening if I wanted to. (I have a uber-huge drafting table my husband built for me before we were married that I plan to bring down in and put in what for a normal home would be the dining room. But it needs to be taken apart, hauled downstairs and then reassembled so is a real job that is on my to-do list. But kinda waaaay down on it)

I have worked pretty much all week on the painting not really doing anything but it. No framing, no squidoo and no zazzle. I need to take breaks every hour or two to rest my hand and my mind. I had thought I would squidoo in between but can’t bring myself to even open a folder. Apparently I only have so much creative juju and so I can only do one kind of creative task at a time. A bit of a bummer and perhaps that too will expand for me. But for right now I am just content that my muse hasn’t left me completely.

I went on a cow safari yesterday which again I was kinda dragging my feet on but some dear friends lined it up for me after I casually asked them if they knew anyone who had Hereford cattle. I only took a couple of rolls of film along because my expectations were low. Partly because they were supposed to be in a hoop building so no light, partly because feedlot cattle are generally covered head to toe in … mud, yeah we’ll call it mud.

But in the end it was awesome. As I was clicking away I had all sorts of painting ideas popping around in my head.

I’ll write about my cow safari experience soon … well as soon as I can find someone to develop the film. That’s getting harder and harder to do so today I am buying a new digital camera. One that is way more intelligent than I. I’ll be able to take HD video with it and do photo editing right on the camera itself. Supposedly it recognizes faces and when people are smiling or blinking and times the photos for it.

Crazy technological world we live in. The older I get the more amazing it all seems. I’ll spare you the “When I was a kid …” stories though.

So if I can get the camera to download the giraffe painting pics I’ll post the latest WIp images tomorrow.

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Giraffe Painting – 4 of 7 done

Progress Thus Far
So at least it is getting to the point where you can actually see the look I’m going for. The next giraffe is the closest to the viewer and the anchor for the piece. This is the one I really wanted to start with. I must say now that I have begun working, it is running along at a good pace. I may even get it finished on Sunday … though saying it out loud makes me think I may jinx it all.

I’m an emotional cutter

At any rate I had a V-day post all ready to go but opted to just not “go there.” I occasionally like to wallow in self pity and what a better way to wallow than to watch undying romance movies on the big day. But I passed. I played PS and watched a little Big Bang and read.

My day went as well as could be expected and a big thank you to everyone who sent me cards. I am truly touched. I particularly liked the Happy Birthday Mom card that was cleverly and craftily changed to Happy Valentine’s Day Mona. A little ingenuity and a sharpee and suddenly I have my very own custom made V-day card.

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Dr. Sues is rolling in his grave.
So I’m trying not to go all Dr. Sues on you. The title makes me feel like I’m channeling him. My inner bad poet is desperately trying to come out.

You know like …
A Giraffe And A Half towers over a mouse.
A Giraffe And A Half won’t fit in your house.
They are tall, they are spotted … they see you as squatted
A Giraffe And A Half will make your spouse grouse.

Yeah, I totally should be writing children’s books (except for my propensity for casual swearing. That might be a deal breaker.)

Working Title: Spotted
Image Size: 15 x 40 inches (partial image of the whole shown above)

What I’m Doing Here
So in case I haven’t explained the concept of this piece yet … the plan is to have seven giraffes at 4 different depths of field. They over lap each other and negative space plays a big part in the overall composition.

The end result will look a lot like someone took photoshop and superimposed a bunch of giraffe images which is normally a look I’d run screaming from. But it’s totally the look I’m going for here. Now you’d think with that description that perhaps that’s what I did … but alas no.

Me and photoshop are work buddies but not on a friendly “let’s go play together” kind of basis. So I did it the same way that I did with my flamingos, which is to draw each of them out separately, cut them out and keep moving them around until I liked what I had. It did mean one giraffe got drawn a second time smaller and that two more giraffes never made it into the piece, but that’s the way it goes.

FYI 3 flamingos were drawn but never seen the light of day in the finished Birds Of A Feather painting.

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