Saturday, July 23, 2011

Summer fashion

Here’s Andy.

He’s built for cold weather ...

... see?

Here he is one chilly morning last February,
playing keep-away with Trixie.

Go, Andy, go!

Now, in the middle of summer, this is just about as fast as he gets.

Until yesterday, that is.

He just went to the vet for his summer haircut, which will help him stay cooler through the hundred-degree days of August and September ahead.

Here he is, sporting his fresh summer ’do.

But don’t worry, his coat will have plenty of time 
to grow out nice and full by the time cool October arrives.

Now he looks like some rare, exotic breed.

Or like he’s sculpted out of fine Italian marble.

Or like someone was playing 

Hey, Andy ... how are you liking your new look?

Fine! Just fine!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Plodding forward ...
plus Sophie and the snake.

Napscape work in progress detail:

Today, Elizabeth McCrindle, Scottish equine and landscape artist extraordinaire, posted this quote on her blog:

“Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?” ~ Winnie the Pooh

My response: Yes, frequently ... in fact lately, once a day at least!

Maybe that’s one reason my progress on this painting this week has been excrutiatingly S-L-O-W, but I’m sure my pace will pick up. I mean, it can’t get much slower, unless I stop altogether, which I definitely will NOT do. Besides, I have a potential buyer already waiting in the wings, so I’m DETERMINED to finish by the weekend, “if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creeks don’t rise.”

Plus, I already have ideas and sketches drawn out for three new large-ish paintings which I’m pretty excited about. One is a subject I’ve tackled only once before, but I’m more than ready to go in that direction now. I feel like this Napscape painting is sort of a milestone for me, confidence-wise.

There’s a photo of the entire painting thus far -- PLUS an extra added bonus: the account of Sophie’s snake adventure -- after these photos of the work-in-progress for this section (I was having fits trying to adjust the color of the photos to be consistent with the actual colors in the painting. The blues and turquoises -- especially the underpainting color -- looked different depending on the time of day the photo was taken. But if you just kind of ignore that these photos still give a good idea of the forward progress of the painting):

Here you can see in addition to painting the blanket I also adjusted the shape of Blue’s tail area. 

In case you’re trying to figure out the difference between the previous two photos, it’s the little strip of blanket under Blue’s head.

Here, in addition to working more on the quilt and blanket, I corrected the shape of Blue’s snout. This part of my reference photo was really dark and shadowy, but the morning I was working on this part I knew that there was a near-90-percent chance Blue would be napping somewhere, so I tiptoed downstairs to see. Sure enough, I found the real-life Blue asleep on the sunporch settee, and studied his head shape for a minute or two before heading back upstairs. This is a better, truer representation of his straight snout.

Here’s the whole painting so far. I’m getting so CLOSE to being finished ... meanwhile, here’s

The Adventure of Sophie and the Snake

We had a bit of excitement this week when our Sophie was bitten on the ankle by a snake Saturday morning.

I didn’t see the snake up close, so I don’t know what kind it was; probably a copperhead, pretty common around here ... it was all I could do to get all the dogs in the house once I realized that it was indeed a snake they were all barking at in the corner of the yard. And I knew that after I got everyone in, that snake would high-tail it out to the pasture. They don’t like to stay around where dogs are.

After we all got back in the house, we noticed Sophie was limping, but no swelling of any kind, and we couldn’t see a bite mark anywhere, so we figured maybe she got stepped on by one of the bigger dogs. But I called our vet and took her in, just to be on the safe side. The waiting room was plum full when we got there, but soon Sophie’s leg started swelling, and then the fang marks became visible, right on the top of her ankle, so they took her back to the treatment area right away and started the standard snake bite treatment: steroid shot, antibiotics, cleaning the bite area, etc.

While I was waiting, I starting chatting with the woman I was sitting next to in the waiting area, a fellow dog lover who has ... wait for it ... EIGHT dogs! AND three cats.

Man. And I thought our clan was huge. She and her husband have rescued corgies and beagles. Not as big as our dogs, but EIGHT! Whew!

After a while Sophie was cleared to go home, with some antibiotics and pain meds. When they brought her out her whole right front leg was swollen up. It looked like a stuffed Teddy bear leg. She was still able to walk, though she was limping, and she was really happy to go home. We went by Chic-fil-A on the way home and got her some chicken nuggets to help her make it through her ordeal. Poor Sophie.

I didn’t even think about taking a picture of her with her leg swollen up, and it was back to normal by Sunday night, so no stuffed Teddy bear leg pics. But as you can see here, she has recuperated nicely and is back to her beautiful Sophie self, none the worse for wear, always on the lookout for more adventures.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Love Mercy

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.


I had just finished up watering the plants on the front patio a couple of evenings ago, walked around the side of the house to turn off the water, and when I came back around to the front of the porch, my breath was taken away by this view of the pasture under the rising, not-quite-full moon.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

The continuing adventures of Napscape

Napscape work-in-progress detail:

Just a quick post to show the latest work-in-progress photos, 
then back to painting!

I started off by painting the section of quilt behind Blue, 
then moved to his head.

And here’s how the whole painting looks so far:

Later, taters!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Napscape ... the saga continues ...

Napscape WORK-IN-PROGRESS detail:

Tired of this painting yet? Not me! Every section is like its own little painting, and putting it all together is getting more and more fun. I’ve really had to be patient with this one, and there have been a couple of days the bursitis in my right shoulder was really acting up (a little painful, a LOT annoying!) so I would only paint for a couple of hours at a stretch and then come back a little while later.

If you’re curious, I have been logging my hours and as of the end of today’s session I’m right at 22 hours actual painting time on this. Not TOO bad a pace when you consider that what I’ve done so far is sort of equivalent to approximately five or six little 6x6 paintings. And the more work I put in on it, the faster it seems to go.

Here are my progress photos since the last post on this:

Here’s where I was when I left off last time.

Now I’m starting with the part of the quilt draped over the back of the sofa, remembering this part is in shadow, so the colors will appear grayer and not as saturated as the colors of the quilt falling over the front of the sofa, which is in light.

I paint all the beige colored squares first. They’re not all the same exact color of course, but all in beiges and grays, with some subtle highlights added to indicate the way the fabric puffs up around the stitches. Look how light the paint appears on the dark underpainting ...

... compared to how much darker it appears on my palette. Hard to believe those neutrals on my palette are the same as the ones on the painting.

Now, one by one, I paint the patterned quilt squares in between the neutral squares, painting loosely to let the purple of the underpainting show through in places, and again adding highlights to give the quilted fabric some depth.

At this point I started with a fresh palette of paint, and I began painting the part of the quilt hanging over the front edge of the sofa. This section is in slightly lighter and brighter colors. Notice the “lost edge” at the left edge of the quilt, toward the bottom. This was where the light color on front of the sofa arm sort of blended into the piping on the edge of the quilt. Look for “lost and found” edges of objects where they go in and out of shadow or bright light wherever you can to add interest.

As I paint this little section from left to right, again I let the underpainting show through in some places.

Here’s another lost edge, where the light hitting the soft green blanket at the right of the picture causes it to blend in with the light color of the quilt at that spot.

Here’s the entire painting at this point. Next I think I’ll do the arm of the sofa and Blue the hound dog. Then I’ll finish up with the rest of the quilt in the foreground.

Here’s how my palette looks at this point, and below are some close-up details, so you can see how the underpainting is showing through in places.

Check in again for the continuing adventures of Napscape!