Years ago I saw a "Lost Dog" sign at the local convenience store. It read:
Has one eye, one ear, a bob-tail, and three legs and answers to the name.
Here is our Lucky. He wanders around the school playground on three legs licking little sticky fingers and playing keep-away with the red ball. He waits patiently at the end of the slide for the next potential petter to come flying down. He once set up a terrible bark at the fence around the playground—upon further inspection by the elementary teachers Lucky had "treed" a copperhead.
He has strong brown eyes that have seen more than their share of hurt. But he loves the children of the playground. He was there when a group started Kindergarten and that group is graduating next spring. So I don't know if Lucky got his name because he was lucky to have survived the accident that took his leg, or because no one could think of a more clever name but the students who loved him for those thirteen years were probably the lucky ones.
Chickens are the best companions! We let our chickens free range during the day in the summertime to look for bugs and crawly things in the yard. They are soulful little creatures that are fairly self-sufficient and are content to wander the green grass at a leisurely pace stopping to look around only occasionally. I am of little importance to them, barely more than the burned out stump next to the garden. A place to be safe and roost in the night, a little clean water, and a handful of corn once in a while is all they need to furnish us with beautiful brown eggs that taste like eggs. They follow me to the clothesline and they gather around my easel when I am painting outside.
This is Cisco--an adorable companion to a lady named Bridget. A friend of hers contacted me to do a portrait of him--he was sixteen years old. She managed to get a photo and sent it to me in August. I heard in September beloved Cisco had died. The portrait was finished so I sent it on to my client. She waited a few days, then arranged a time to give it to Bridget. Beyond the tears of sadness and of happiness a wonderful expression of gratitude came my way. I know what it is like to lose an animal--I have lost many in my years. I wish I had portraits of all of them. I was so glad to be part of that whole friendship. I am currently working on her new puppy! Here is the painting of Cisco.
This is a photo of Jerry sitting under the young oak at the corner of the sun room. It was one of those very hot and very sunny days in the summer of 2012. The sun was shining through the tree and the hat onto his face leaving patterns of sunlight that were mesmerizing and screamed for a painting. I downloaded the image to the computer, saved it, then printed it off for reference. As I prepared the watercolor paper and thought about how I wanted to express the magic I saw the day before under that tree, I decided he needed to be up close just like in the cropped photo. I use the computer as a viewfinder trying out different compositions. The picture library helps me make some decisions I used to use pencil and paper to accomplish. I work out the value here as well. I wanted the background to be very "watercolorish" with no details--only colors and hints of a green summer day.
Here is the finished watercolor now hanging in Les Bourgeois Winery in Rocheport Missouri. It was very sunny the day we hung the exhibit but I wanted a few photographs--though they were not the best quality.Thanks to James and Heather and of course my gracious model and best friend Jerry for helping to hang the exhibit.
This is a painting of my eighteen year old Maine Coon Cat. He was named Rage by a pizza delivery boy in Texas many years ago. Rage was found as a small kitten stuck to a screen door when the pizza was being delivered to a house. He loved sitting in the sunshine--I think it was a hard transition from warm Texas to sometimes very cold Missouri. Rage was my best friend when friends were few and far between. He will forever be sitting in that red chair.
Great happenings this month. Fifteen of my paintings are hanging at the Les Bourgeois Winery in Rocheport Missouri. And my first ever ad in a national magazine.
The showing of my paintings at Les Bourgeois is a result of the winery selecting one of my paintings to go on the label of their Collector Series wine. The painting of Bleu (a mixed breed rescue dog belonging to a couple in Ft. Worth Texas) has gotten a lot of attention from art lovers and dog lovers alike. He is in the ad in the December issue of FOLK magazine along with three of my other paintings of pets.
I was honored to be part of the Les Bourgeois winery and have Bleu's image on the bottle of Traminette. The opportunity to show my paintings was greatly appreciated as well.
The ad in FOLK magazine is beautiful and in a great location.
Amanda DeGraffenreid from DeGraf Design created the ad on very short notice. She did a fantastic job designing an ad that communicates how I feel as an artist and as an animal lover.
I can't say enough about FOLK magazine--I think it is simply fantastic. The stories make you think about the things that are really important in your life and the photography is well--magical. The Christmas issue is brimming with stories about real country artists and business people. The kind of people you want living in the house next door. People with whom you can share a cup of coffee and a laugh. People not exactly like you--but close enough.
The third panel in this triptych of great happenings was the Columbia Humane Society Auction at Les Bourgeois November 5th. I donated a watercolor painting of Bleu and a bottle of Traminette with Bleu's image on it to the auction. Someone attending the auction told me a gentleman was overheard saying "that dog is going home with me." And apparently it did! I am so happy other people find my work with pets compelling enough to hang a painting in their home because it makes them smile even though they have no connection to that particular dog or cat.
I will keep painting and hope people keep smiling!!
This is Bleu. He is a mixed breed belonging to a couple from Ft. Worth, Texas. They wanted a portrait of this very personable rescue dog that entered their lives with a playful nature and a loving heart. They did not want a traditional portrait because their house is mid-century modern with a minimalist bent. So we worked together to find the right setting for Bleu's portrait. I decided on a painterly approach, omitting shallow details that would detract from his expression. Bleu is of course not actually blue, he is more mottled brown and gray. But his owner and I (and Bleu himself) sat down and looked at dozens of photos. We wanted something to portray Bleu's rambunctious personality and sweet nature. Together we came up with this idea and the painting took on it's own life.This painting hangs in the foyer of their beautiful home— a welcoming face that greets guests. Before Bleu comes galumphing in to greet them himself.