Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cows By The Lake - Framed Finally

                                                              "Cows By The Lake"
                                                                   Oil on Canvas

                                                    Detail from "Cows By The Lake"

You may click on the images to enlarge the view.

 Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of my Painted Plums friends!

This past year was a juggling match between various competing passions in my life.  Because of that I have painted fewer paintings this year, but hope next year will afford me more time to devote to my paintings.  I thank you all for your interest in my work!  You are my audience and I appreciate you more than you know!

Bringing the year to a happy ending, I finally have this one framed and on the wall.

From having to re-stretch the canvas, to framing snafus, maybe the lesson for this one was "never give up." The painting part was fun, getting it framed was an exercise in "try, try, again. It took nearly nine months from finish to frame, involving re-ordering a frame from some distant foreign location twice. At the moment it is hanging on the wall next to our table in our kitchen. Inspiring Beef Wellington? or Prime Rib?? These bovines are too pretty to eat, frankly. Better for milk cream and butter, I think. This was the largest painting I've done to date. I enjoyed painting it very much. The canvas was very fine and was a delightful surface on which to paint. Now I am having a hard time finding the same type of canvas. Leave it to me to find something rare, fall in love with it, and then have to search forever to find it again. Those of you who know me will have a good laugh over that.

Here comes 2011 faster than a freight train.....Happy New Year everyone!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Commercial Art - You Never Know

"Goin's Ad for ARK SAFE"
Acrylic on Canvas Panel

©Cheryl A. Pass

Click on image to enlarge the view.
Note: The actual painting is quite a lot brighter and somewhat larger in real life. I cropped it here just a bit.

In earlier years in my art career I was a commercial artist. So occasionally someone approaches me to paint something that is totally commercial and totally fictional and totally off the wall. Since I devote most of my painting time to contemporary realism, dog portraits, still lives, and landscapes, etc., I'm a bit out of practice in the commercial art field. Given the economic climate our socialist government has created today, a lot of galleries have gone out of business and fine art in some sectors has taken a pretty bad hit.

So when a businessman approached me recently to do a commercial piece, I was all too happy to give it a shot. I know the guy. He is the roofer who contracted to replace our roof last year. He and his crew did a great job and we were glad to have them. His business is doing well....and that's a great thing! But an artist he is not, so he brought me an idea and ask me to run with it. Yikes! The problems of the piece were many.

As a side business, he has set up an insurance consulting business for inspecting roofs for insurance companies. Being a devout Christian, he decided to use the Ark as his symbol. His explanation is that the Ark is awash in the stormy sea and the roofer is there to save the day. Hmmmmm....o.k so far. How to depict that, I was asking my creative brain. The only reference he gave me to go on was a comic book line drawing of an Ark and that is exactly what he wanted for his Ark. O.K. says I, the ever intrepid artist thinking I can do anything. LOL.

So the research began. I went looking for pictures of stormy skies, rainy scenes, oceans roiling in stormy weather, and for a roofer who would be working on a roof in a good position to show up in this scene. I immediately determined that if I did the roofer to scale, he would not show up at all. Mr. Goin's, the roofer, also told me he wanted this art to accommodate billboard size and letterhead size. Whoa...that means it has to be blown up huge and shrunk down to very small proportions. That means details could be good, but also could be totally lost on the small version. He's looking for manly colors and strength in this painting to convey confidence and ability to "save the day for his clients." But he only gave me a cartoon line drawing of an Ark? (Oh, brain did fry.) I hope the message is clear from the working roofer up there in the storm. Another requirement is to accomodate type to either be applied to the art or around the art. Sheesh...

Finally, today I have finished painting this completely fictional version of a roofer working on top of Noah's Ark in the worst of the storm. Whew. It took me a few weeks, off and on, to pull this off. He is coming this afternoon and I hope to heaven he likes it because I have stretched my brain and tried to put into this exactly his directions as to what he wanted.

I am picturing some family driving down the road and upon seeing this billboard, a child from the back seat will yell out...."Look, Mommy and Daddy, there is a man on top of the Ark!"

So, when faced with advertising and commercial art pieces, you never know what you are going to get. And I want to say that doing this was a small way of celebrating something that is left of our American economy! I was happy to have the job, and I am happy Mr. Goin's is doing well and ask me to do it for him.

Now you have the story of my side step into the commercial art kingdom for this week. Next up comes some more dog portraits that have been commissioned. I hope I can switch gears through and after the holidays. It will be fun to tackle those!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Oscar, Bella, and Odie Finished!!

Oscar, Bella, Odie
Oil on Canvas Panel
Click on image to enlarge the view.

...Ta Da!! I am finished with these babies!! I don't know if I remembered to mention that these are rescued dogs. Oscar, in the middle, is no longer with us. Bella and Odie, left and right, are the current lucky dogs belonging to a darling family in Florida. The next challenge here, besides hoping it dries in time to varnish it, is the shipping. I have a Fed Ex account, but have never used it...and since Fed Ex brought me the frame in good time and great shape, I think Fed Ex is the shipper of choice on this. Meanwhile, it will be sitting here drying until the last minute before Christmas. Fingers crossed!

It has been a fun painting to do. I was stretched to do this format with the solid background...not something I've done before. There was an inspiration picture of a painting with this type of format and background, so that was helpful.

Onward to the next challenge!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Oscar, Bella, and Odie WIP

Oscar, Bella, and Odie
Oil on Canvas Panel

After I posted this morning I spent the rest of the morning and two hours this afternoon working to get this more finished.  I leaned the frame up there just so I could get an idea of how that will look in the end.  Frames make such a huge difference.  The khaki background was not as hard to mix as I thought it would be. 

I have to say...I've been painstakingly slow with this painting.  I've not painted three dogs in one painting before, plus the format is different from anything I've done before.  I've been very tentative on the whole thing.  I still will tweak the edges of the dogs and add some more red to the one on the right.  But..I am glad to be nearing the finish.  I think it is turning out just as ordered, which is a relief.

An aside to this whole thing is that the person who commissioned this piece is a dear friend from my childhood who grew up with me all through school.  We had not been in touch for years and years, so we are catching up on a whole lifetime of experiences.  She became a culinary arts teacher for her career, another creative creature from our beautiful home town.  She is a very sweet person and commissioned this to give to her daughter for Christmas.  The pressure was on to make this over-the-top wonderful for my friend and her family.  I wish I could see the daughter's face when she opens this up on Christmas morning!

I'll post this one more time when it is dry enough to put into the frame and I have finished tweaking this and signing it.  Now I am thinking of what the next painting will be...stay tuned!!

Oscar, Bella, and Odie WIP

Close-up of Odie

I'm still working on this painting of the three dogs. Odie is not quite finished, but is coming along. I plan to finish him up today and then comes the ultimate challenge of adding the background color. We'll see how that goes....soon. I'll be back. :-)

Monday, November 08, 2010

Oscar, Bella, and Odie WIP

"Oscar, Bella, and Odie
Oil on Canvas Panel

Blogger is acting very weird tonight so I have no idea if this will actually post. First the photo upload would not work. And now I'm getting a message about an HTML tag being broken...which makes no sense. I think Blogger has bugs, but I'll try this anyway.

I have worked on Bella, the black beauty here, for the past couple of days. Black is always least I think so. Looking for the blue greys and the brown greys and the infinite value differences on black is just one of those don't know until you've tried it. In color is not the same thing as with charcoal or pencil where you just deal with the values. In color. it is a matter of noticing the way light plays onto the fur and brings in those shades of lavender or blue-ish grey...and then there is a tad of brown tones on the edges of her ears. Yes, black dogs are challenging...but she is worth it in the end. I like her. She looks so earnest, I she is trying really hard to stay still for her master's camera.
Now onto the cute, shy Odie on the right. We'll see if he comes across as well. Stay tuned...

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Oscar, Bella, and Odie WIP

"Oscar, Bella, and Odie"
Oil on Canvas Panel

I hope you will forgive the glaring photo. It is 11:00 pm and I just decided to take a progress photo to send off to the person who is commissioning this painting. This is the first commission for Christmas this year. I have not done three dogs in one painting before this...and we decided on just the head shots. Oscar, the one in the middle who is mostly painted, is gone now, sadly.  Bella is the next addition on the left. And then Odie came along on the right. They are all rescue dogs much loved by the owners. It may take me a while on this one...and I am hoping the background, when I get to it, will be subtle and the dogs will still pop. 

Long way to go...just thought I'd let you know I am still at the easel.  Stay tuned...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fall Art Show Time

"Mallards Cruising"
Oil on linen panel
Click on image to enlarge the view

I was informed this week that all three of my entries were accepted into our local guild show by the juror.  The painting above is one of them.  Our local guild has two major shows each year and one smaller show. The fall show, "A Visual Harvest," is always held at Gaston College in a large gallery area that is quite nice for viewing the pieces. The show is simultaneous to the student art show held in a different building. Since I don't do a lot of shows, these local shows make me motivated, excited, and nervous all at once. We have no galleries in town for selling opportunities, though we have quite a few really good artists who live and work in our area. Given the economic climate today, it is great to have a local opportunity to display art and meet art lovers who will come to the show.

Here is the information on the show for all who read this blog and would like to come:
"A Visual Harvest" Juried Exhibition
Opening Reception: October 28, 2010 6-9 pm
Gaston College, Jeanne Rauch Gallery
201 Highway 321 South
Dallas, North Carolina 28034

The show will run from Oct. 28 through Dec. 15

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Time Out

"Apples and Pewter"
Oil on linen panel
Click on image to enlarge the view.

I have not posted since early August for many reasons. Sometimes in one's life an avalanche of necessary duties comes crashing in. There are two art shows coming up in the next couple of weeks and at this point I am just hoping I can come up with some paintings for those. This past summer our lives have been turned upside down with various house repairs and the need to address the current political circus of impending communism. Both of these separate categories of life have overwhelmed me.

On the house repairs, as you probably know it isn't easy finding the right contractors to do the work both properly and within a budget. The search took long hard hours. Our repairs involve exterior siding, rotted molding, adding chimney caps, reinforcing structure, etc. Our garage interior was a disaster with drywall tape giving way and drywall coming down from the ceiling. And our garage was full...stacked to the ceiling with STUFF. All of this had to be sorted out and placed into a pod in our driveway to make room for the contractors to fix the ceiling and walls. The double garage door frame was starting to rot and was sagging in the middle. Then there is the old vinyl floor in the half bath downstairs and wallpaper that needs replacing. Then there was the shaky banister that had to be fixed. The downstairs millwork is all in need of painting....a job I have to tackle myself. My back screen door is also my job, needing wood putty, sanding and painting. The benches on the front porch need sanding and job again and I haven't even started that one. Etc. Etc. I did finally find some great guys to do the major exterior jobs and the drywall and tile work. But we are only part way through all of this. I am say the least. I have developed a lower back problem that keeps me from doing any of this without pain. That has slowed me down considerably. But all of these things must be done and have been neglected for the last several years while I have been in my studio painting.

On the political front, I am extremely concerned with the turn toward communism that our government at all levels has taken. This is beyond unacceptable. America is in great peril and being attacked from without and from within. For this reason I have been doing a lot of research and sharing information on my other blog, My Tea Party Chronicle I hope all of those who have been following my work realize that my art and our lives are depending on the freedoms found in the U.S. Constitution. Politicians for the last few decades have gradually, incrementally, and insidiously been undermining our freedoms and turning American into a socialist state. We cannot let this continue. It's time to go for the reset button and rid our government of all socialists and communists. So, besides working on the house repairs, I've been also doing all I can to help the cause of re-taking America from the clutches of these very evil un-American power elitists. I hope you are doing your part by getting involved in local elections and supporting those national candidates who are putting their lives on the line to save the country. That is what I have been doing.

So, while my mind and heart are still in the paints and canvases, my physical being has been taken away from my easel for a while. Not sure at this point how fast I can get back to it...but I hope you will hang in there with me. I plan on getting back to painting more regularly as soon as the way clears for me to do so.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Carolina Wren

"Carolina Wren"
Oil on Canvas Panel
Click on image for a larger view.

Hi all...finally back to painting, gratefully.
My dear husband loves to feed our backyard birds. Which, in turn, brings them in droves, which gives me lots of inspiration. In fact, just this morning there was a family of Carolina Wrens just outside my studio door, twittering and flitting about in the boxwoods and making me happy. Their little tails are so perky and I love the racing stripe across their heads. All of that made me cheerful as I painted this little one. Hope you like him...or her, as the case may be.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Life and Lemons - Just add Sugar

"Lemon Quintet"
Acrylic on Canvas Panel
Private Collection

Crazy life. I have had no time for painting of late, so this is a reprise of one I liked from some time ago. The postcards arrived and they look really terrific...not so blue like my picture in the previous post. Just right actually. Yea, Vista print.
Since I wrote last, my son, Matt, decided to pay us a quick visit to divest our attic of furnishings that I had saved for future children. Since he has three little ones, and has now come back from two years of Air Force service in South Korea, the time had come to get those things from storage and put them to good use. A toy box, two twin beds, a double bed, a coat rack, a bookshelf, and a tween sized desk. We had fun reminiscing on the early days when he had great use of these things. The toy box was hand built by a friend of ours for Matt. It needs a new coat of paint, but otherwise is in great shape. All of the rest of the things needed dusting and some furniture polish, but also were all in good shape. Hard to believe we have come so far.

Then Saturday evening a knock on our front door produced a waif of a darling teenager who said she was looking for her teacher, but didn't know the address. This darling girl was so sad. Her name was Ivory. She said she had no where to go, that her family didn't want her, that she had spent the night in jail for assault, had abusive parents, that she had Bi-polar problems, depression, and a Medicaid card. It's a long story, but we tried to help her find the teacher, who it turns out was out of town. We then took her for some food and we ended up taking her to the Salvation up to the word Salvation, they kept her for the night. I left her with my phone number and the next morning she called to say the Salvation Army couldn't keep her and she was being sent to a shelter for teens. But she had no transportation and could I come to get her. I did this and spent the next couple of hours with her and talking to the shelter personnel. Ivory gave them the phone number of her older sister and it was granted that the sister would take responsibility and take her in. There is more to it than this brief description, but I re-learned why I am not in the business of taking care of lost souls as a profession. I cried all the way home after leaving her and was stricken with sadness the rest of the weekend. She seemed to be fairly smart and liked school..probably her haven from home. She has my phone number and I just hope and pray she will be in better hands and survive the life she has been given. 17 yrs. old, a rising senior, and lost. Good Lord, protect this child.

Friday, I was asked to be a contributing columnist for a North Carolina conservative website called PUNDIT HOUSE My articles are not there yet, but should be picked up sometime soon.  As some of you know I have another blog on the politics of the day (see the right side of this blog: My Tea Party Chronicle I am writing that blog in hopes to help some others learn the dangers of oppressive government, to give other patriotic Americans the courage to speak up, to share news items of interest, and lastly, to VENT! I am privileged to be asked by Pundit House to contribute to their discourse. I very much admire their website and writers! Take a look and see what I mean.
So there you are. Crazy life. I hope to get back to the easel again soon. Stay tuned!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Painted Plums Postcard

Painted Plums Postcard

I love Photoshop. (which helped me place the type on this card) And I think Vista Print is pretty good, too. I had run out of promo postcards and decided I should order some. It took me a while to decide which image I wanted to use and how to do the type on the front of the card over the painting. The last one I did was an apple on a blue plate. The plums seemed obvious since it is the image and name for my blog. Vista Print sends out emails offering deals on various promotional products. I honestly don't know how they come up with such good prices, but this artist is happy about that. The back of the card has my contact information, so mailed or hand delivered, this card has everything someone will need to find me. The cards will arrive in 10 to 14 now I am anxious to see them and start passing them around.

The picture at the top of the blog is more the real colors of the actual painting. That one was done with my camera. The picture for the postcard came from scanning the painting. I did that to get the 300dpi that Vista Print needed to reproduce the art. For some reason the scan came out bluer, even with adjustments in Photoshop. But I think it will work for the postcard. It just goes to show you how difficult it is to reproduce colors. So many variables come into play. Each time I go to reproduce a piece of art in any medium, I find it takes a lot of tweaking and time. Anyway, this is what I sent them. We'll see what comes back to me. Last time they did a terrific job.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Sunflower Nod

"Sunflower Nod"
Oil on Canvas

Click on image to enlarge the view

Contact to Purchase

Hat tips to Vincent Van Gogh who made everyone love Sunflower paintings. This is also my daughter's favorite flower and she grows them ever summer. They grow tall and heavy and nod over with the weight of the blossoms. (The goldfinches love them...yellow upon yellow.) She has loved the color yellow since she was little. Her bedroom was painted sunflower yellow, too. So painting sunflowers is always somewhat with her in mind.

Have a happy weekend...

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Contemplating Liberty Poster

"Contemplating Liberty 2010"
Oil on Linen Panel
Available / price unframed $525.00
©Cheryl A. Pass

Yeah, I know. The original tea party was ages ago. And tea party symbolism is ridiculed by leftists and progressives as so archaic and passe. Those tea party activists of today have been called terrorists, unhinged, delusional, every derogatory epithet the left can call them. But you know what? I've been saying to myself and to my family for about 20 years now that we need a tea party against the more and more oppressive government intrusions into our lives. About two years ago as the election (with no good choices) of 2008 approached I watched things go from bad to worse. I watched the media lie and create walls around the truths about Barrack Obama. I watched my country fall into an abyss of manipulated despair and vote for a cloak called "Hope and Change." That cloak was a ruse and a pathetic ploy to elect an anti-American to the highest office of our land.

Sometimes, as I paint, I listen to radio. Talk radio. Voices to keep me company in my studio and to fill in the blanks that are missing in mainstream news. While I try to keep my mind on painting beautiful scenery or still lives or animals, I listen. My head becomes two tracks. One on the subjects of my art. The other on the subjects of my heart. My country is indelibly imprinted into my heart. The original Constitution is the foundation of living in America and the blessings I have received by the fortune of being born American. This is something I never took for granted and have respected all of my life. Maybe because my father served America in Guam in WWII. Maybe because my son is career Air Force. Maybe because I know in my heart how lucky we have been to have been defended by courageous and patriotic men and women whose lives I revere for the privileges I have received.

So I paint. It is what I do. This one is for all of those who are working so hard to save us from the corruption and degradation of our founding principles. It is a tribute. And symbolically, it is also for God from whom our liberties come and for the Founders who recognized this so that corrupt politicians would not be able to take away those liberties. Unfortunately, tragically, I am seeing this basis for living taken away. First, it was inch by inch over many decades. Since Obama, it is mile after mile at breakneck speed.

And, no, to those liberal / democrat / socialist people I know out isn't "for our own good." (While it isn't my desire to insult you, or anyone for that matter, there comes a point when paths diverge) It isn't "for the good of the world." It isn't "for the sake of the children." It isn't "for saving the earth." It isn't "for the turtles and the whales." It isn't "to save our economy" (not even close) It isn't "to save jobs." (obviously not) It is for the sole purpose of taking our country down and for the corrupt power of a few very evil people who don't believe in individual liberties or even basic property rights. You have chosen a path that never ends well....a path that ends in government control of every breath you take. I'm sorry you've been conned, but America needs you to stop the insanity, wake up, and start fighting back with the rest of us. As much as I love some of you, I respected your freedoms and I am completely and utterly insulted that you would not respect mine or those of each individual American. The privilege to vote was not meant to vote away what you don't liberty. The U.S. Constitution was not meant to be spat upon, bent and twisted into contemporary socialist causes. It was written before Marx and does not hold Marxist tenets. It transcends Marx and every other failed state before and since. It is "Forever" because it derives from God's natural law and lives in the hearts of all who believe in the true America.

There you have it. My Fourth of July poster / painting. As an aside, I took some cyber trips to study Steve Penley's patriotic paintings to inspire this poster. I don't think I came even slightly close to his exuberant expressions, but I appreciate his work. You can see his work here

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Change of Scenery

From my yard to's that for a change of scenery? An unheard of extravagance for us...going to Jamaica. There is a story here..having to do with my husband's niece and her wedding, plus her mother. My husband's brother, sister-in-law, and their two children have lived in Chicago for many years...and thus have been far away from us with few visits due to the distance. So last year, the niece decided she was getting married and wanted a "destination wedding" with friends and family. Meanwhile, her mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and has been going through many chemo treatments and bravely fighting off this cancer with an indomitable spirit. She is really energetic and amazing, and we are hoping she will win this fight. So...there was no question that we would do all we could to go to this wedding and spend some time with all of their family and friends.

We've never been to the Caribbean. And I have to say it was a resort destination, so we saw only a glimpse of Jamaica outside of the Sandals experience. And what we did see was a rugged island with a poor economy except for the resorts. The area around the airport at Montego Bay looked more like a flourishing city, but the area in between Montego Bay and Negril was pretty rough. The pictures here are of the resort. I was surprised, for some reason, to find the resort looked exactly like the advertisements for Sandals resorts. It is a playground for water sports and young sunbathers. And I am not a beach baby, so I had to be careful to not get too much sun. First thing in the morning was slathering up with spf 90 sunscreen, putting on a bathing suit, and loafing around in the pool until it was so hot outside I had to go find shade. A good bit of the time I was looking for photo shots that I thought I might use for paintings. The resort is manned with industrious and energetic lovely Jamaicans who were gracious and did all they could to make our stay wonderful. I was very impressed with them and have to say, besides the scenery, those people were the best part of the experience. (aside from being with our family, of course.) The resort does a lot of commercialization promoting itself over the week which I found to be annoying. But I realize these resorts are the backbone of the Jamaican economy and they need to do all they can to bring it on every chance they get.

Now for the next adventure. We returned on Saturday evening, unpacked and regrouped on Sunday and Monday, and Tuesday I had surgery. Sooooo, though I can type, I am still on pain meds and recovering and not close to going back to painting yet. It is not life-threatening or too serious, but will take me a few weeks to get back to normal. I am hoping by the end of next week I'll be able to get back to it. From spring, with adjusting to my Dad's death, this trip, the yard and house, changes with my husband's job situation, and now this surgery, I feel like we have been on a roller coaster. Not dull..certainly. For now I am heading back to bed and sleeping the rest of the day....but I wanted to share some of the scenes of Jamaica. The colors were fabulous and I will always be glad we went there.

'Til next time...

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Around My Yard

I'm going to be out of range for a couple of weeks...down the rabbit hole, up in smoke, into the wardrobe, missing in action, behind the looking glass, somewhere else, etc. So I was thinking about what you might like to look at while I don't post for a little while. I thought maybe you would like to see some of the pictures I've taken this spring around my yard and house for painting references. I usually don't show the surroundings very much, but I do live in the woods. My yard is a lot of work and yet I love the trees, the rocks, the flowers...everything but that dastardly red clay that is impossible to dig. It's like digging in brick. We have a compost system and over the years we have built up the flower beds with some better soil to assist the gardening. That has helped tremendously. As you can see, we have had some beautiful flowers this spring. There are more to come over the summer. Some Dahlias, Zinnias, and I am hoping for a few lilies. The Hydrangeas have out done themselves this year.

There is a story behind the cupola which resides on the very pinnacle of my studio. I used to own a company called Wild Hare, the logo for which was a running rabbit. This gave my family and friends the opportunity to give me rabbits for every occasion for several years. When we built the studio with a 4 hip roof, the top needed embellishment. My husband built the cupola and had a local sheet metal company make a copper roof for it. And then my children bought me the gorgeous weather vane with a running rabbit.....the icing on the cake. Ooh la la!! I love both the cupola and the weather vane and each time I look at them...I think about my dear family and I also think I should do a painting of that scene up there.

So there you are...hope you enjoy the scenery!

Picture are as follows:
1. Peonies
2. Irises
3. Begonia basket
4. Rabbit Planter by the studio doorway.
5. Piracantha by the Driveway
6. View from the Second Story - Hydrangeas
7. Cupola with Rabbit Weather Vane

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Baby Watermelon

"Baby Watermelon"
Oil on Board

I've been more than a bit stuck on another painting, but wanted to put something up to let you know I am still here. (By stuck, I mean I got part way through it and can't seem to land on how I want to finish it. It is sitting there nagging me and I should probably just put it away and move on. I may do that.) I've been more than distracted and busy with too many things to mention. Family things mostly...and house renovations, mostly in the manner of refreshing paint in my dear 30 year old house. Also the garden work, which, if I don't do it, I will have no flowers to enjoy or to make paintings. Preparations for a trip in the near future, too, so I'll fill you in on that later.

At any rate, summer weather has arrived here. Our dog, Bosley (in the previous post) just had a merry chase around the yard after a raccoon. We believe the raccoon lives next door, but wanders over here at night to steal bird seed. He's a pretty big one, too, so I hope Bosley doesn't get too close to him. (or her) We took the flashlight out there and sure enough that raccoon must have been really scared because he (or she) was in the very top of one of our very tall oak trees.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend. God bless our service men and women!!! And remember those who have given so much to keep us safe.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bosley, the Fleeting Poser

"Bosley at Four"

I was thinking I wanted to do another portrait of Bosley. This time I wanted to do one shoulders up and a dignified profile. Ha Ha Ha. Do you think I can get him to pose still enough for that? I get out my camera and sit him down. I tell him to stay. Which he does for about 45 seconds. Then I get him to sit and stay again, but he won't hold his head up and still in the right pose for the shot. Next, after my husband came home I tried to get my husband to help. LOL We end up scooting around, here and there around the kitchen floor, and still can't get Bosley to give me that pose. The picture (a little blurry) above is Bosley after we went through that circus. You can see that sweet, imploring smile, as if to say, "What would you like me to do next, Mom?" (who could not love that face!) The only time this fellow is really still is when he is down for the count. And I've already done a portrait of him asleep, so I didn't want to do that again. I have new found sympathy for all my clients who go through this process to get the right picture for a painting of their dog or cat. It isn't easy!

Anyway...that's what we did today. I'm searching around for subject matter besides Bosley, too. I'm still tired a good bit after my Dad's death and it is taking me a while to get back in the saddle. Working on it though...
Stay tuned!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Patch And Beau Finished

"Patch and Beau
Oil on Canvas


Click on image to enlarge the view.

Finito. I still have my ear, but it's likely that most of my hair fell out in this process. It was the background that drove me crazy. I'm wishing I could have done this differently...possibly a square format that would have eliminated a lot of the trees in the background, more like the top picture. As it is, getting the little guy to pop from that background is near impossible. I opted for a standard size in order to make it easier for the receiver of this painting to get a frame. At any rate...I'm glad to be finished. It took a lot longer than I wanted it to, but that is just what happens sometimes. I hope the owners will enjoy this painting of their two buddies.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Patch And Beau WIP 2

"Patch and Beau" WIP
Oil on Canvas

Here is some more progress on Patch and Beau. I have to say this one contains thousands of conundrums, mostly because of the background. Excuse the glare from the lamp on the left side. If I don't cut off my ear, I'll be back with the finished painting in the next few days.
Thanks for stopping by...

Friday, April 09, 2010

Patch And Beau WIP

Close Up of Patch - WIP

So....this is the painting that is commissioned by way of the Cancer Society Auction. The original idea is a painting of one pet...but the people who won the bid decided they wanted to give the painting to a relative who has these two cute canine friends. The border collie is Patch. The miniature pinscher is Beau. The pictures were a bit difficult, having been emailed to me by the owners...only because the background is very busy and I want the dogs to stand out as the major focus. Patch has one blue eye and one amber-yellow eye and since that is one of his unique traits, I am making sure that shows up also. I usually just do one dog (or cat) at a time, so this is a larger painting and more challenging to keep the composition cohesive. We'll see if I get there!

I'm finally back to the easel and getting back to work after a few weeks of working on my Dad's passing and the paperwork of winding up his estate. It has been a sad time, but you can keep reminding me that he was 92 and that is a good long life. At this point it all seems surreal. I'm sure others who have gone through this know what I takes a while to sink in.

"Patch and Beau" WIP
Oil on Canvas

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Take a Flyer....All the way to heaven

Dog Portrait Promotional Flyer

Click on image to enlarge the view.

Well, I'm trying to cover the bases and convey a couple of good thoughts today...though it is hard to try to move forward at the moment. My Dad passed away Tuesday morning and we are so sad to lose him. One of the things he asked for in his last few days was to see Bosley...he is the napping fellow on the lower left of the flyer. We took Bosley over to Dad's assisted living apt. on last Saturday so Dad could pet him once more. It was a tender scene and we are very glad we did that. When my Dad could still come to our house, Bosley would promptly hop up on the couch to sit by my Dad, so Dad could pet him. It made them both happy. I'm writing this for several reasons. First, my experience with our dogs has been so totally enriching and wonderful. Dogs give us so much joy and love. Today I am trying to think of our blessings and keep from crying over the loss of my Dad. We are missing him so much.

Another reason is to say something about cancer. It is such a hideous and ravaging thing and we can feel so futile in the fight against it. My Dad had prostate cancer and that is what killed him in the end. He also suffered through a melanoma several years ago and had surgery which saved his life then. My little contribution to our local cancer society is donating a pet portrait to their fund-raising auction this Saturday. So the first painting I will do after my Dad's death will be for the cause of helping to fight cancer.

The last reason I'm publishing this is to give other artists a possible idea for promoting their work. I have a program in my computer called Freehand which lets you import pictures and type copy without too much hassle. The picture importing is easy and there are selections of fonts to make your page look great! I have used this "flyer" to promote my work at various venues, leaving them with galleries, etc. Maybe this idea could work for other artists reading my blog.

That's it for now...
I'll be baaaackk......hopefully soon.
Thanks for your visit!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Two By Two

"Two by Two"
Oil on Linen Panel


We are very fortunate in my local area to have a wonderful, judged and juried, art show each year sponsored by our art guild and The Schiele Museum of Natural History. We have only two other shows, one a miniature show and the other an open show at the local community college. I have been very fortunate to have been chosen to exhibit at the Schiele Show, titled "A Natural View," for the past few years. This year's show is on exhibit right now through April 2nd. It is at this address: 1500 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia, NC. So, if you are in the area, you are welcome to stop by and take a look at the show.

This year my painting "Two by Two" was purchased by a patron who also purchased my "Christmas Dove" painting last year. I am thrilled and so happy that my art has found a good home to a collector who likes my work. And also grateful to have the opportunity to exhibit in such a respected museum that is known nationally as a special resource for its knowledge on natural history. I have especially loved this show for the theme of it. All entries must reflect the artist's view of the natural world...and that is something so fun to contemplate and try to paint.

A couple of things....
One is that I really loved this painting. It was fun to do and expresses the cheerful, sheer happiness of being a duck in the water! It's a great thing to be in one's element...and that is what I felt as I painted this one.

The other is that I am not huge at marketing. I think that is true of a lot of artists, but I am not one to go around flashing signs and bragging about my work. I think I rely on the viewer to come to their own conclusions. If they like it...GREAT! If they don't, well...I didn't succeed at appealing to that particular person. Mostly it is easier for me to keep my head down and just do my work. The goal is getting it out there where it can be seen by a lot of people. That's why I do this blog and my website, so I can share my work with as many people as I can. When I owned my stationery company, Wild Hare Post, Inc., I had a contingent of 50 sales reps whose job it was to go about selling my work to retail stores. I will never get over how good they were and how grateful I was for them to do that job. They did what I just could not do.....national marketing. My relationships with them is something I will always carry with me as a great thing. I still miss them.

Now it is up to me. I forget to tell people that you can buy prints and cards of my work at Fine Art America. Here is a link to the page: Cheryl's Profile at Fine Art America From there you can choose a painting for either a poster, paper, or canvas print, or greeting cards (one or a box), where you can choose blank or create your own greeting.

Of course you can always contact me for availability of certain paintings or commission me to do a painting just for you.

Thanks for stopping by....

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My Funny Valentine - Dog Portrait

"My Funny Valentine"
Oil on Linen Panel

Click on image to enlarge the view.

Every time I paint a dog portrait, when I get it finished, I think it is my favorite. If you look closely you will see a marking in the shape of a heart on this fellow's nose. I didn't notice it when I first fell in love with him, but when I studied the photo closer I saw it. Hence, the title,"My Funny Valentine." I started him before Valentine's Day, but just managed to get back to him the end of this week.

The local Cancer Society Auction is coming up and, like last year, I am donating a dog portrait to the effort. I thought maybe another example of my work would be beneficial to them.

Adding a note here on March 5....My 92 year old father has taken another turn downward and has needed more care and help. Hospice was called in last week and we are doing all we can to help him through these hardest of times. Consequently my painting has taken a back seat to the necessary tasks at hand. I hope to get back to it as soon as possible.

Monday, February 08, 2010

My Funny Valentine

"My Funny Valentine"
Work in Progress

As I am oft to do, I stuck the unfinished work in progress into one of the frames I had lying around here to see where the face was landing into it. (see below) This funny guy is unknown to me personally, but as you know, I love dogs and when I saw him I fell in love. Infatuation? From the photo I am working from, and you will see this later, he actually has a tiny pink heart shape right on his nose...besides that his nose is slightly heart shaped. I love his black and white colors and there is a bit of reddish tan yet to will see that later, too. As he is right now there is a sort of intrigue and a rather modern sophistication. I hope I can maintain that, but if not I might just do this fellow again in just some abstract modern technique, if I can pull that know that isn't my forte usually.

"My funny make me smile when I am blue....."
More later!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Water Lily

"Water Lily"
Oil on Canvas Panel
Private Collection

On top of the skewed canvas, the sciatic problem and my Dad, we also had a recent electric gremlin hit our house which took out my printer and my USB hub. I guess when it rains it pours. Light bulbs blew, our rheostat in the dining room blew...all of this happened over about ten days. We called the power company and no one seems to have a clue what hit us. Had to be a other explanation and the power company was not taking responsibility. They checked everything out and said we are fine. Hmmmmmmm. Curious, eh? I have replaced the hub and the printer now. Expensive little fellow, that gremlin.

So....I needed a little something visual to cheer me up today, so I went looking around in my files and came across this Water Lily I painted a couple of years ago. My husband and I had gone up to Bass Lake close to Blowing Rock, NC on a beautiful September Saturday and walked around the lake. This was one of only a couple of the lilies still blooming. I was happy to grab a picture and have something to paint when we came home. Now when I look at it, I remember that happy September Saturday.

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

"Wynken, Blynken, and Nod"
Mixed Media

Private Collection

Click on image to enlarge the view.

I did this piece some time ago for my first grand-daughter. (We were so excited at the time and I was waxing romantic with thoughts of childrens' poems to share with a new child!) This was also just as I was finishing up a more commercial part of my career, so I was thinking about printing possibilities and other applications. Last year my daughter-in-law took this art to some South Korean who turned it into a three dimensional 'paper cut' framed wall piece for the third child's nursery. I don't know the name of the technique, but they do this in S. Korea. It's not exactly origami, but they use colored paper and glue cut pieces onto a backing to create a picture.

I'm showing you this retro piece because I have once again been stymied by my back problem (sciatic nerve pain) and have had to lay low. I've had a third steroid shot today and hoping this will help.

I also had an unusual experience the other day I had not encountered before now. The "Cows by the Lake" piece was nearly finished and I decided to take it over to a frame store to see if I could find anything suitable for it. And behold....the painting would fit into none of the standard 24X36 frames. I tried one after another and they were all off on one side of the rabbet by a half inch. Hmmmmm....says I. What is this? Turns out the stretched canvas on its stretcher bars is ....what is the word...whopperjawed! (Skewed) Unfortunately I didn't notice this when I bought the canvas and merrily went on painting without discovering the flaw. After looking into custom frames with filets to try to offset the problem, and finding that none of that was going to work, I came home deciding that the only option is to have some professional re-stretch the canvas onto straight bars...someday. It isn't going to happen now. No idea how expensive that is to have done. I've set it aside and it will wait for some other day if I ever decide to do it. It's a set back for the moment since I have a show coming up and thought of entering that one. Now I am scrambling to come up with another idea for the show and have three weeks to do it. So due to the back, the frame, and of course we always have my elderly Dad's needs thrown in for good measure....I have been up to my ears in other stuff..

Will come up with a new one soon...Thanks!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cows By the Lake - Nearly finished

"Cows by the Lake"
Oil on Canvas

Click on image to enlarge the view.

Larger painting than usual, which is why I haven't posted to you for a while. There are Work in Progress posts on this painting if you scroll down on the blog. I may still darken the water a bit and I haven't signed it as yet. Otherwise this is mostly finished.

Lots going on here with porch construction and taking care of my Dad's ailments, too, so the process has been slow. Since I love animals, painting the cows was a lot of fun. This time I gave them a nice place to be. At least if I were a cow I think I would like to be there.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Cows By the Lake -WIP - Stage 3

"Cows By the Lake" WIP
Stage 3
Oil on Canvas

Finally today I had some time to work on the cows. Between the putting away of Christmas...and my 92 year old Dad, who has been needing a lot of extra help for the past few weeks...and the porch construction (contractors coming and going unpredictably)...and my daughter and her dog adding to the chaos, it has been impossible to find any time to paint. I think I had more time when my children were little. At least they took naps and went to school. Now it is interruptions all day long.

It's very grey and rainy here today, so this is once again a photo under incandescent lighting in my studio. The blue sky got totally washed into grey somehow and I was not able to get it back with photoshop. Anyway, here is another WIP shot.

Tomorrow I have a funeral to attend. A friend and fellow artist died Thursday...a lengthy fight with breast cancer. She was heroic. And a really good artist we've lost her. Monday is when we are going to Charlotte to celebrate my daughter's birthday, which is actually Tuesday. Contractors are due back Monday afternoon, too.

So....I guess all I can say is I'll be back ASAP....

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Cows By the Lake - WIP - 2nd Stage

"Cows By the Lake - WIP
Oil on Canvas

Some more work on the trees today. Daylight photo, so you can see the colors better, but now the light from the windows in the back of my studio are shining through a bit...showing the stretcher bars through the canvas. Anyway...I'm about to dive into the cows and foreground.

More to come as I get to it...

Cows By the Lake - WIP

"Cows By the Lake" - WIP
Oil on Canvas

(Took the picture at 10:00pm and the light is awful...sorry. Will do better in the daylight.)

Nope...I didn't fall off the planet. The holidays are just as busy at my house as yours, and even afterward this year. We are having a new front door and new porch constructed at the front entry of our house. Because the weather is just so frigid, the construction guys are hit and miss with their schedule. And who could blame them? They can only work outside in the cold so long and are coming in short intervals. This is making for a long project that was supposed to be done the week after Thanksgiving. The work-stoppage around that time was due to torrential rains. Maybe I should re-think my ideas of construction next time and plan for spring and summer? Eh?? Ya think???

So in between holiday duties, taking care of things for the 92yr. old Dad, keeping all of us in food, clean house and laundry, tending to the two 4 footed friends, and the porch construction, etc., I have managed to get this far on a painting. It's the largest painting I have done to date. There is a reason for this. Some few years ago, as I love to do, I was shopping the local antique market and came across the most gorgeous painting of cows in a Texas large as this painting, but framed in a classic gold frame. The price was way out of my reach. So it haunts me. I remember staying a very long time studying it. And I went back to it two or three times just to look at it. The cows were white, relaxing by water, sky, trees, and depth with detail to make me swoon. A very adept hand had done that painting. I do not remember the artist, unfortunately.

So now....there is a wall in my kitchen that is telling me it needs a landscape with cows in the manner of that painting. This is the beginning of my shot at it. I expect this to take me a good bit of time due to the size....and including the interruptions. (The porch is not close to completion and with the cold weather I expect this to go on for a while yet.) So far I have been working in the trees and just sketched in the cows and water area.

Stay tuned...