Saturday, June 30, 2007

Daily Painting Still Life, "Queen's Cup with Strawberries"

"Queen's Cup with Strawberries"
Oil on Gessoed Board
Artist's Collection
Click on picture to enlarge it.

It's Wimbledon week!!! What more could you ask for but a bit of great tennis, some strawberries in a bowl, and a spot of tea with the Queen? Go for it!!

These are some more of my mother's dishes. The little bowl is ironstone with a tea leaf design in the center of it...covered up by the strawberries. The a gilded demitasse that she had for as long as I can remember. It's gorgeous. It honestly looks worthy of the Queen. I doubt anyone in my family ever drank from it. It's too pretty. I don't think I could ever do it justice in a painting, but it was fun trying and probably I will attempt it again in another still life at some point.

Now go watch Wimbledon and enjoy!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Mystery Dog Revealed

Oil on Canvas
Click on picture to enlarge it!

So finally, here is the "rest of the story," as Paul Harvey would say. This is a story about a dog, a couple in love, a talk show radio guy and an artist, and a surprise wedding present.

I will try to consolidate this, but I fear I will make a short story long because this commissioned painting has been a whole lot of fun for me.

The Dog: He is a pound puppy, one of the lucky ones who gets adopted to a good home to be loved and have good care. (This is a cause close to my heart.) He has, as you can see, that great marking around one eye that reminds people of the RCA dog, or Petey, the Little Rascal's dog. He has been named Fisher.

The Couple: Molly Grantham and her new husband, Wes Hyland, were engaged to be married when they picked out Fisher from the line-up at the pound. My understanding of this is that Molly wasn't too keen on getting a dog, but Wes, her fiancee really wanted a dog. Upon adopting Fisher, Molly fell in love with the little canine fellow, and has been really delighted to have him. Molly is the TV anchor for the WBT affiliate station, WJZY on channel 8 at 10:00 pm weeknights. She is beautiful and has an infectious smile that will knock your socks off! Besides that, she has abundant energy and is involved with "Make a Wish Foundation" and various other charity efforts in Charlotte. Wes, who I know much less about, moved to Charlotte from Kentucky to marry his beautiful Molly and begin a great married life upon their wedding last weekend. And, the location of their wedding was Fort Fisher, which is where Fisher, the dog, gets his name!

The Talk Show Radio Guy and the Artist: Keith Larson, the morning talk show host for WBT 1110 AM/99.3 FM radio, arrived in Charlotte in 2001 about the same time I closed my stationery company and moved into my new studio. Two people making a fresh start on new ventures.....he, with his new radio gig, mornings 9:00am to Noon, and me, with my change from producing stationery and commercial art to a complete focus on painting fine art.

So, there I was, sitting alone in my studio with brushes and oil paints, when I heard Keith begin to read passages from George Orwell's 1984, words I hadn't heard since studying English Lit in High School. He grabbed my attention at that moment. I was so enthused to hear this reading. Here was someone who really gets it, someone who understands individual liberties and found the perfect illustration to make his point regarding the erosion of our rights and liberties day by day. I was so taken by this that I emailed him that day and told him how much I appreciated his doing this. To my surprise, he emailed me back. That was the beginning of a friendship of emails and issues that I am delighted to have. And for six years now he has continued to amaze me with his range and ability to talk intelligently on so many different subjects that I wonder when he has time to sleep. Listening to Keith is like having a great conversation with your best friend. He covers the gamut from serious issues on the local, state, and federal levels, rips your heart out with a true reason to care about a charity organization....and then has you on the floor laughing over some silliness like his "lavender folder" or some hockey game he conjures up with all of his women media friends on the WBT ice rink.

Keith and his wife have two dogs, Murphy and Cooper. And Keith does commercials for Purina dog foods. Knowing his interest in dogs, at some point I emailed Keith some samples of my dog portraits for him to see what I had been painting while listening to his show.

The Surprise Wedding Present: Molly is a guest on Keith's show regularly. But one day she arrived in the studio with Fisher in tow, telling the story of "the pound" and how she and Wes had adopted Fisher. Hmmmm....what to get Molly and Wes for their wedding? A light bulb moment occurred. In March Keith decided to look into the idea of commissioning a portrait of Fisher for Molly and Wes' wedding present. (Smart thinking ahead of time enough to let oil paints dry, I must say!!) After finishing the portrait in April I published it with Fisher's name as the title. Well, Keith yelled, "Stop the presses!!!" He was very concerned that Molly would get wind of the surprise due to Molly's popularity and Fisher's name on the internet. So...I unpublished the blog. Then republished the blog using a "Mystery Dog" title so it would not be googled with the name and ruin the surprise for Molly and Wes! The surprise was saved and now Fisher's portrait is hanging in their home.

So, that is the "rest of the story," except to say just a couple of more things.

First, I loved doing this portrait. Keith had terrific pictures from which to work and Fisher is a good subject! But further, I have loved being included in this wedding surprise for these fun and interesting people who enrich my life by virtue of the Radio /TV media ....and getting to know Keith a bit more!

And secondly, I have loved being part of something that may encourage people to take a look at the pound and adopt an animal that may turn out to be the best companion animal you could ever ask for. It's a good thing to do! My husband and I have a rescued dog from the pound whose name is Bosley and who we adore.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Daily Painting Still Life, Baby Watermelon

"Baby Watermelon"
Oil on Gessoed Board

It's definitely summer! This is one of those cute little watermelons, and a patient one at that. I bought it before the Florida trip and it has kindly waited around without rotting for me to capture it in paint. My Dad, "the ancient one," wanted to eat it, but I told him he couldn't yet, not until I finished my painting. Now it's his.

It sits on an ironstone dish which used to be my Mom's and one of the things we brought back from Florida. I have a thing about ironstone, I'm sure because of my mother's collection of antiques and the lessons as I was growing up about appreciating them. Ironstone. You can dress it up or dress it down. It goes with everything. Food looks great on it. It's classic and substantial, doesn't have to be babied like the fine bone china and delicate glassware, so I am glad to have it.

Off to go wash my brushes out. Hope you like this one!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

More or less the Drudge Report

Hardly moving in Orlando traffic snarl with storm brewing.

Hi all...and no I am not dead yet. Almost, but not yet. Moving "the ancient one," otherwise known as my Dad, has been a lot of work, otherwise known as drudgery, making me the "drudge" and this is the report.

"The ancient one" is nearly 90 years and has hips that are nearly 150 years, or so it seems, which is why we are moving him here. His house and belongings are/were old and dingy. We have begged and pleaded for years to get him out of there for a fresh start and closer to family. And we are glad he is finally doing it......BUT....I have had my hands in soapy water for days, carried heavy boxes for days (which once again has thrown my back for a loop), packed and unpacked stuff that should have been dealt with 30 years ago, and we drove for two solid days down and back, getting here at 3:00 am a couple of days ago, and THEN had to deal with sarcastic movers one of whom had a pierced lower lip with a metal pointy thing that looked like it would hurt someone really badly. This particular mover was drinking those triple caffeine energy drinks which turned him into a bouncing acrobat, jumping all over the furniture in the van and turning the unloading into Le Cirque de Soleil right there in the parking lot of the apartment complex. Broken lampshades and a few scratches on a couple of pieces of furniture are the worst of the property damage. Now we are trying to place family antiques within the family and my house looks like a bomb went off. Dad's apartment looks like a bomb went off, too, so both households are in such a mess that it is going to take some more time, or should I say more drudgery, to get this straightened out. (Maybe I need to drink that caffeine stuff the mover had.)

As for "the ancient one"..imagine a nearly 90 year old guy who walks around with a cane and cell phone with the ear piece in his ear all day waiting for calls. Also imagine "the ancient one" loves the attention of younger women, which at his age gives him quite a range of choices.

I have to say that my husband has stepped up and worked his tail off also, helping to make this move happen. We are laughing at the harangues we encounter during this transition and reminding ourselves that we will be old and decrepit and needing help someday, so a little kindness and patience goes a long way. I and my family went through 9 moves in 13 years in my earlier married life and I can tell you I do not look forward to ever doing it again.

I longingly glance at my art table and the still life that I have waiting for me and can't wait to get back to it. And I promise that will be the next couple of days I will begin painting again and that bliss will arrive in my heart and mind as I pick up my brush!

The "Mystery Dog" report is coming soon, too! Stay tuned!!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Daily Painting Floral, "First Hydrangeas"

"First Hydrangeas"
Oil on Gessoed Board

First love, first kiss, first smile....well, here are the first of my Hydrangeas this spring. There are actually a lot more out there now, but this is from the beginnings a couple of weeks ago.
I'm off for a week or so while I help get my Dad moved. This promises to be exhausting and difficult, but we'll get it done and hopefully, I'll be back next week in full force with my paints. It's hard to leave them right now. Isn't there a movie called, "Girl Interrupted?" I haven't seen it and have no idea what it is about, but the title always makes me think of my life...constant interruptions. Back soon....

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Daily Painting Floral, "Irises"

Oil on Gessoed Board

No, you are not having a case of de ja vu. (is that how you spell it?) I published this painting back on April 27th...well part of this painting. I have stared at this painting since then, telling myself it was wrong. Not grounded. Too busy. Needed something. Hmmmm. Finally, I realised all those things were valid critiques and I'd better fix it or throw the darn thing away. So this evening I got out the photos and my brushes and went after it. I am much more pleased with it now. It feels more like I intended, which is that the irises have just popped up and discovered it is springtime. And I am showing it here with a frame, so you can actually see the finished product.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Daily Painting Animal Portrait, "Bosley's Nap"

"Bosley's Nap"
Oil on Canvas Panel
Artist's Collection
Click picture to enlarge

Ha ha....silly me. I thought I would be finished yesterday, but when I sat down to paint I realised his coat needed a lot more work. He was too choppy and needed blending here and there. And then today I finally got to the hardwood floor. Ta da! He is done. If you would like a commissioned piece of your own beloved little friend, you may contact me and we'll do it!!! Thanks for sticking with me through this painting. I hope you enjoyed watching the progress. Dear Bosley will be hanging on our wall soon! He is also going to be published over at which you can access at the link on the right of this page.