Oct 26, 2006

I've been busy!

Sometimes I need a little break from my commission work. Although I really enjoy doing it, it can be a little tiring when all of your drawings have to be perfect. So every once in a while, I like to do some of my own work to add to my portfolio. And it gives me a chance to try out some different techniques and mediums.

This is a drawing of my cat, Tully, that I've been working on. It's my first attempt at coloured pencils in years...I think since I drew my Shelties in 1996, actually! She is done in Prismacolor coloured pencils on blue pastel paper. I'm not sure of the size, I just cropped it to about 5x7 I think. I'm obviously not finished yet.

And this is my first ACEO. I've only just learned of these recently from the pet portrait forum that I frequent. ACEO stands for Art Cards, Editions and Originals. ACEO's are 2.5 x 3.5 in. in size (the size of trading cards) and they are a cheaper way of collecting artwork. The trend originally started as trading cards among artists, where one artist would trade one of his/her works for another artist's work. Eventually people began selling these small works of art on Ebay, and now it's a huge market.

I've checked out ACEO's on Ebay, and apparently everyone and their dog thinks their cards are worth selling, but there are quite a few really good quality works on there too. People sell originals and prints.

So I thought I might try my hand at selling some of these ACEO's. The one below is done in graphite pencil, on 2.5 x 3.5 (obviously) 110lb. acid free white paper. I haven't named it yet, so I'm open for suggestions!!

Standard Poodle - stage 2

Here's an update on Mercedes. I think she's coming along nicely, and I'm happy to report that I kind of like doing curly hair on a black dog. I originally thought that it would be quite hard to do, but as it turns out, I find it kind of freeing. Usually fur lies in a certain direction and is very straight, but the curly hair goes in many different directions and your strokes can be a lot looser. It doesn't have to be as perfect. It's a nice change.

As for my waiting list, it's pretty short now:

1. Mercedes (in progress)
2. Shamus

And that's all I've got for now. I'm not taking orders for Christmas, but any that I take on now should be finished shortly after Christmas.

Oct 19, 2006

Standard Poodle - stage 1

This is Sadie, a standard poodle. I'll often be calling her Mercedes, as that is her full name, and I also had drawn a Sadie earlier this year (golden retriever). She is owned by a friend of the family, and is for the husband for Christmas. I actually know Sadie and she's a really nice, friendly dog.

I'm drawing her in pencil on 8x10 110lb acid free white paper. The eye looks a little funny because I started it, then wasn't happy, so I erased some of it. Being a black dog, and quite hairy, it's really hard to see her eye in the picture. I'm going to try and exagerate it a bit more in the drawing so it doesn't look funny. Here she is:

Oct 18, 2006


I'd like to introduce the new addition to our household. Her name is Seven (yes, the number) and she's pretty darned cute. We already had an 8 year old cat, named Tully, and we thought we'd get a kitten to liven things up a bit. Tully is none too pleased with the new addition, but each day she lets Seven get just a little bit closer. My hope is that Tully will eventually lick the grease spot off of Seven's head (who knows how she got it, and it's impossible to get off), but I think I'm asking a bit much. I'd just be happy if Tully would stop hissing at Seven, but it has only been 4 days since we got her.

She is quite the cuddly kitten too...annoyingly so sometimes. If she is not within 1 foot of your head, she's not happy. She follows us around constantly, which can be quite cute, but I hope she eventually learns to be a little more independant. Regardless, we are really enjoying having her around.

Oct 13, 2006

"How Could You?"

I found this story on the Fredericton SPCA website recently and thought I would post it. It is such a sad story that it made me cry. I expect that most of you who read this blog are pet owners also, and I hope this story touches you like it did me. It breaks my heart when I hear of people giving up their pets because they are moving, or just don't want them anymore. In my opinion, a pet is for life, and you should be prepared for that when you first adopt them. I could go on and on about this but instead I'll let the story speak for itself.

"How could you?" by Jim Willis

When I was a puppy I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was "bad," you'd shake your finger at me and ask "How could you?" - but then you'd relent and roll me over for a bellyrub. My housetraining took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed, listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect. We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because "ice cream is bad for dogs," you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.

Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love.

She, now your wife, is not a "dog person" - still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy. Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a "prisoner of love."

As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them, especially their touch - because your touch was now so infrequent - and I would have defended them with my life if need be. I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams. Together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway.

There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few years, you just answered "yes" and changed the subject. I had gone from being your dog to "just a dog," and you resented every expenditure on my behalf.

Now you have a new career opportunity in another city and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You've made the right decision for your "family," but there was a time when I was your only family. I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and said "I know you will find a good home for her." They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog or cat, even one with "papers."

You had to pry your son's fingers loose from my collar as he screamed "No, Daddy! Please don't let them take my dog!" And I worried for him and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life. You gave me a goodbye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too.

After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked "How could you?" They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you - that you had changed your mind - that this was all a bad dream...or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me.

When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited. I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room. She placed me on the table, rubbed my ears and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days.

As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood. She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured "How could you?" Perhaps because she understood my dogspeak, she said "I'm so sorry."

She hugged me and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn't be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself - a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place.

With my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my "How could you?" was not meant for her. It was you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of. I will think of you and wait for you forever.

May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.

Oct 10, 2006

Ghira is finished

Here is the finished copy of Ghira the chocolate lab. I'm not sure exactly how much time she took me because I always forget to keep track of that. I'm guessing somewhere in the vicinity of 10 hours...maybe 12. I'm just waiting for the ok from the client before I spray the drawing with fixative so it won't smudge. There's no changing it after that, so I want to make sure they're completely satisfied before I do anything.

Ghira was done in graphite on 11x14 acid free white paper. Since it's too big for me to do a proper scan with my scanner, I'm going to take it to be scanned professionally and have a copy made for my files.

Almost done!

I am almost finished drawing Ghira. I hope to get her finished in the next couple of days. I will post the drawing when I finish so I can get the ok from the owner. After that I will start on Sadie the standard poodle and then Shamus the cat.

Oct 1, 2006

Ghira - Stage 4

It's been a little while, so I thought I'd better post another picture of Ghira. I'm getting close to being done. I just have to finish filling in all the fur, then go back and darken everything and touch it up. I hope to complete her in the next couple of weeks (hopefully). Life has been a bit busy lately so I haven't been able to work on her as much as I'd like.

On another note, I ordered a couple of sets of Prismacolor coloured pencils on ebay a couple of weeks ago, and I also ordered a couple of technique books on Amazon.ca. I've been frequenting a forum for pencil artists lately, and I've been inspired to do some work in coloured pencils again. It's been a while since I did my last coloured pencil piece, but I'm confident that I will have no trouble getting back into it. I've learned some tips too, so I think I may end up improving my style. The last piece that I did was in 1996 of my two Shelties, Piper and Cailiegh. You can view them on my website. When I get a chance to work on something in CP's, I'll post it here.

In case I don't post again this week, I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving!