Monday, August 29, 2011

Art for the Animals

It's been awhile, but I'm once again participating in the "Art for Shelter Animals" project--a project where you create a portrait of a shelter animal and donate it to the shelter. They can do with it as they wish:  give it to whoever adopts that animal, sell it or auction it, and keep the money for the shelter. I also sell some of the portraits, with a portion of the sale donated to the shelter.  Since I can't possibly adopt all the shelter animals myself, this is my way of helping them--not much in the grand scale of things, but these days every little bit helps.  This painting isn't finished yet, but here's what I have so far:  lots of details still to add, but it's close to being finished.  I'll post specific information about this cat when the painting is finished.

Meanwhile, I continue to work on the portrait of the 2 Pekingese--and I'm working diligently on my Irish paintings too.  Sadly, Martin Driscoll, a painter of Irish scenery, whose work I recently became acquainted with and enjoyed immensely, died last week of pancreatic cancer.  Check out his work at the link above--reminds me of my trip to Ireland and how much I want to go back!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What's on the Easel: Pet Portrait WIP Update

Been working steadily on this pet portrait commission.  The client sent me over a dozen photos of the 2 Pekingese, and I've been trying to create a piece that shows both dogs' personalities.  I've been playing with the background a bit...not sure this is the one I'll keep.  Mostly I worked on Lucky's eyes (the black dog).  Buddy's eyes are blocked in but still need quite a bit of detail.  I like to get the eyes done first; everything else falls into place more easily after that. I love painting portraits, animal or human, and working with the client to create a piece of art that captures the "essence" of someone very special to them. 

I do have to work on some other pieces, though--getting ready for the Celtic Fest in September, in Eminence, Kentucky.  There, I'll be showing not only my Irish-themed paintings, but some Celtic themed jewelry as well.  For more info, check out their website!

Meanwhile, back to the easel!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

WIP -- Pekingese pups!

Took a break from playing with clay and beads to start this pet portrait of two adorable Pekingese:  Buddy and Lucky.  I'm using acrylics for this one, and I've just blocked in the images, not worrying too much about details yet.  Painting a black dog is very challenging--if you really look at black dogs, they aren't completely black.  This  dog also has very dark eyes--but we also know, don't we, that black eyes do have color in them--ya just gotta look! 

This is just the first pass with color. I'll be adding more details and have asked the client for his input--after all, who knows the dogs better than the owner?  I want to make sure the viewer gets a feel for the dogs' personalities. I will be lightening up the background a little, too, so the black dog shows better. 

It's good to be back in the studio. I have so many ideas for paintings as well as jewelry--I can't possibly do it all. I need to clone myself--several times! 

Check back soon for progress photos and maybe some new jewelry pieces. I've been experimenting with the Millifiori technique with polymer clay.  Will post photos soon.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I'm wearing cupcakes!

The other night I was playing with my new stash of polymer clay, and ended up making these cute little cupcake earrings. Had to remind the hubby that, no, they are not little candies and eating them could be detrimental to his health (in more way than one....but I digress...)  For the first time out, I don't think they're too bad, but the important thing is:  it was fun! Now I've got all sorts of ideas for other types of jewelry--so check back soon.

One of my co-workers commissioned me the other day to make a bracelet for her niece's birthday. The niece's birthstone is the ruby, but since genuine rubies are expensive, we opted for red wooden and glass beads, and pewter flowers.  Because I was enjoying myself so much (and being the generous person I am), I made a pair of earrings to match.

While I was making the cupcakes, I also made some more beads--swirls matching the frosting on the cupcakes, in round shapes.  I tried to make milleflora beads, but they didn't quite come out the way I wanted. I went ahead and finished them, and someday maybe I'll use them in something....don't Japanese artists deliberately leave imperfections in their work because nothing in this world is perfect?  Works for me!

I had to cancel my attendance at the art show in Somerset, Kentucky this weekend. I have a pet portrait commission that I need to work on, and the deadline is looming.  And did I mention I have yardwork to do as well?  While I've been playing, the weeds and grass (which is now mostly weeds) have been growing like...well....weeds!  Time to put on my "rocket man" pack and spray! Normally I don't like to use chemicals, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I'm losing the weed war, and I hate to lose--and besides, watching me wander around the yard with a big ol' backpack full of poisonous liquid strapped on, I'm sure, is quite entertaining to the neighbors.  Or maybe just plain scary. 

Anyway, I'll be posting pics of my pet portrait in progress in a day or so.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hey, Mom--can I have an Easy Bake Oven?

I always wanted one of those Easy Bake ovens....ah well. Now I get to play with the grown-up oven!  Yep, tonight I branched out and experimented with making my own polymer clay beads.  I wasn't content to make simple one-color beads--nope, I jumped right in and swirled two colors together (well, non-colors, actually--black and white), and made bicones and ovals, not just plain ol' round ones!  And here are the results! Not bad for the first time out.  I didn't coat these--just baked 'em and sanded them. (Caution! You might want to warn hungry hubbies that the cute little round thingies on the baking sheet are NOT special candies made just for him!)  They're very lightweight, and easy to make.  I have all sorts of ideas, and I feel like I'm really creating jewelry now! Still working on technique, but definitely making progress.

Good to finally get some rain here, which gave me an excuse to stay inside and play.  I'll be starting on the pet portrait commission this weekend, and will post pics of the work in progress, so come back soon!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It's hot--and these earrings are hotter!

These were fun to make--little swirls of copper hung from copper earring wires--like a little mobile.  Very light--you won't even know you're wearing them!

So did that sound like an advertisement?  I'm not a very good sales person--my approach is more like "would you like to buy some earrings?  Oh. Didn't think so..." and that's it.  I've never been very good at promoting myself--as an artist or a writer.  I'm still surprised when someone actually says they like what I've done, and even more surprised when they buy something.  I'm working on a better approach, but I keep thinking about how I feel when I walk into a store and a salesperson descends on me--and when I say I'm just looking, they shadow me, afraid I'll escape.  I prefer to take my time and look--and if I want information or to buy, I'll find the salesperson. And that's how I feel about selling my art. No pressure, just enjoy!

Heading back to the easel tomorrow--I'm still trying to finish up some mini-paintings for the God's House fundraiser on Saturday.  Wish me luck--40% of any sales goes to God's House USA.