“Jack and Lucy”
Norfolk Terrier double portrait
12 x 16 inches, original oil painting
These adorable dogs were the subjects of a recent portrait commission for a long-time client and friend of mine. Her two dogs are getting up there in years, and she thought it was a good time to have their portraits done for posterity. Lucy, on the left, is the younger of the two. Jack, on the right, is eleven, I believe. Jack had already had his summer haircut, but Lucy had not.
Now, there’s no way you can get two dogs to pose and hold a pose with the light on them “just so” … so every portrait begins with a photo session. That involves a fair amount of crawling around on the ground to shoot them from the right angle. My husband and I were shooting simultaneously, to maximize the number of reference photos we’d get before the dogs ran out of energy or patience with us. The next step was to edit the pictures in Photoshop to put together a composite where the light and direction of their gaze was consistent. After client approval of the reference composite, it just comes down to the painting, which was very enjoyable.
If you’re interested in having a portrait done of your favorite pet, please write.
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“Japanese Spitz Dog”
12 x 16 inches
oil on canvas
Interested in having a portrait of your pet? Please write.
When we were in Arizona not too long ago, and visiting a beautiful lake, my attention was suddenly diverted from the sparkling water by the dazzling fur of this little dog, who was being treated to a walk. I asked the owners if I could take some pictures of her, and they happily agreed. I explained that I was an artist, always on the lookout for an interesting subject. I almost always paint animals from photography (they aren’t the best at holding still) so I worked on this portrait when I got back home. More than a year later the painting found a new home with the owners of a dog who looked identical to this one. The Arizona folks called it a Japanese Spitz dog, but it greatly resembles the American Eskimo dog, an AKA breed.
“Defiance of Brunhilde”
12 x 16 oil on linen panel
This portrait was painted in conjunction with the performance of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, which is in its final week in Los Angeles. The model for this painting was a high school student in Orange County, who may have been about the same age as the noted Valkyrie.
Unfortunately the lighting on the model in my position was flat front-lit, and I was unable to move nor make changes to the lighting. Still, it was a good exercise and I”m satisfied with the outcome of the project. My portrait of Wotan (below) is currently hanging at the Cathedral of our Lady of the Angels until July 16.
This painting has been selected to be included in a special exhibition coordinated with the production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle in Los Angeles this May.
It will be exhibited, for sale, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of The Angels from May 10-July 16
For more information about the CAC’s participation in this festival.
This painting depicts a moment in the opera “Siegfried’ when an aged Wotan (Odin) takes on the guise of a wanderer to roam the earth. Weary and downtrodden, he seeks out wisdom from the earth mother, Erda, who sleeps in her cave. His two companion ravens, Thought and Memory, accompany him on his journey. His hand clenches his ash spear.
My model for this painting is a much younger man, but he is Nordic so I thought that this would be a good starting point for the exploration.
I’ve been gone on a painting trip to Central California with the California Art Club, and was in such a hurry to make preparations for the weeklong paintout that I didn’t have a chance to post this before. The paint out was fun, but marred by a rainstorm that hit on the 2nd day and continued throughout our time there. We stayed on, though, catching patches of sunshine and moving around San Luis Obispo Country to find places where the light was better. All in all, it was a wonderful trip, and I’ll be posting some of my plein air paintings here soon.
9 x 12
Along with my landscape painting, I’m getting interested in figurative work, and occasionally make time to paint from a live model as I did this last weekend at Randy Higbee’s studio in Costa Mesa. The assembled painters had the opportunity to paint this lovely woman, Toni, wearing one of her many period costumes. This one is reminiscent of a Victorian or Gibson Girl era. Rather than paint her in a contemporary style I chose to interpret her using a style more appropriate to that historical period. Painting out of my comfort zone is a lot of fun. It shakes things up and forces us to think differently about what we are doing.
Where my California landscapes might be right at home in a craftsman home or California bungalow, this one would probably fit in very well in one of those San Francisco “painted lady” Victorian parlors.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Puppy
6 x 6 oil on canvas panel
SOLD (please inquire about other animal paintings)
I saw this little pup last weekend and begged the owner to let me take a picture. I always enjoy doing animal studies and the challenge of fur and dramatic lighting made it a special treat. The long floppy ears look so much like Titian-style hairdos. If a dog can be glamorous, this one is.
This small study is preparatory for a larger work including both the pup and its young master. Wouldn’t this little painting make a wonderful Valentine’s present for a dog lover?
If you have a question or or would like to find out if a painting is still available for sale…..
“As the Parade Passed By”
12 x 15 watercolor on paper
Yesterday I was very happy to learn that this painting has been juried into the upcoming California Art Club exhibition, “Concertos in Color” at the historic Blinn House in Pasadena. The opening reception will be December 7, from 5-7 pm and it is free to all to attend. I hope that you will join me there to see wonderful works of art from painters all over California. I am thrilled and honored that this is the third time my work has been included in the biannual show.
I am also posting this as a reminder that the holidays are coming and I am delighted to paint portraits (and other subject matter) on commission. So if you’ve been thinking of a very special gift for a friend, family member or business associate, please write me. (firstname.lastname@example.org) … and put commission in the subject line.
“Strength is Beautiful” 15 x 22 watercolor
Yesterday I got the very good news that this painting (and an oil painting landscape, which I will post soon) has been accepted into the next California Art Club show at the Women’s City Club in Pasadena. The show will run for six months beginning Saturday, June 23 with an artists’ reception on July 12.
I am absolutely thrilled to have this portrait included. The theme of the show is Natural Beauty and I love the look of beauty and strength in her face, which I attempted to capture in transparent watercolor. I found it challenging to paint African-American skin tones because there is such a wide range of values. The light-struck side of her face is quite pale, but the deep shadowed side is rich with color. Making the transition work was the objective, without resorting to using many small brushstrokes and ‘overworking’ it. Her beautiful wavy hair was the most fun to paint as I used negative painting to separate the tendrils. I chose a blue background for this lovely woman because I thought the blue would be a good complement to the rich warm browns of her complexion. Her garment was left understated as all the attention is really on her face.
Well, that’s about all I can think to say about it, but if you have any questions about it, please feel free to ask.
And don’t forget – this weekend … The Sierra Madre Art Fair in Sierra Madre’s Memorial Park 9:30 -6 Sat and 9:30-5 Sunday.
Hispanic Man – 8 x 10″ oil on canvas
No, I am not putting landscape painting aside; I will continue with it as always, but I am interested in doing some portrait painting in oil, which has an entirely different feel and way of working than portraiture in watercolor. This was painted in one session, starting with a sketch and progressing until all of the canvas was covered with paint. I don’t know this man; he was listening to a speaker at an outdoor event and I liked the look of his face.
Female portrait – for practice – charcoal on newsprint
One of my goals this year was to take a life drawing class – working from a live model. I’ve drawn from models on some other occasions but i was never close enough to get a good look at the head, and the models were nude which encouraged drawing the whole form, not just the head. They were also uninstructed events with short to medium length poses, not conducive to a slow study.
So this was the result from class 2, as far as we took it. We worked for about an hour or so because some of the time was spent in demo and lecture and some breaks. With more time I would have made this a more refined and corrected image, but when the model is done, time’s up. For scale, the top of the head to base of the neck is about 10.5 inches.
By far the hardest part for me was the seeing. My eyesight was poor as a child and hasn’t gotten better as I’ve grown up. And although I’ve tried many different kinds of glasses with a variety of magnifications, there’s always some compromise. I was about 8-10 feet from the model, I’d guess. If she had been sitting at arm’s length or 4-5 feet I think I could have done considerably better. The model was strongly lit from the top and to the right (camera right, not her right) which gave good shadows to work with and model form.
Eventually I think we’ll be drawing her unclothed and I may or may not post them, it depends upon whether or not that’s ok with her. She is a patient and friendly person and holds a pose remarkably well. She was very pleased to have a looking down position because it allowed her to read a book last night!
My objective with this, of course, is to work into oil portraiture. But as I’ve been reminded by the teacher, all practice drawing shape and value helps improve any kind of painting – including landscapes and still life. It’s additive and no practice is every wasted.