I received an order for five prints on canvas to decorate the waiting room of a veterinary clinic in New York. He said he'd been looking for dog art for three years, and when he found me he knew he found the art he'd been seeking. He chose the images he wanted and sent a photo of the waiting room with the three benches. I sketched the benches against the yellow wall and experimented with varying sizes of prints on the wall using the paintings he was interested in, and suggested that maybe he would consider three large canvas dog prints rather than five smaller.He settled upon the last image, three large canvas prints of dogs, and one cat.
I finally edited the video of a presentation I did last year as a "Pecha Kucha", a style of presentation where each presenter is given 6 minutes to show 20 slides for 20 seconds each. The presenter has no control of the slideshow. It was tricky! The topic was "Kitsch- Bad Art Gone Good", link below to youtube vid. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=557plP37R24
In this painting of Peapod, the feline, and Bella, the Bernie, the structural composition is pretty well decided, but the color composition is still unresolved and the painting is still very much in progress. When I'm working on a painting, I am not so much seeing a scene as I am seeing various shapes of various colors in an arrangement. There must be both tension and balance- harmony and conflict. Color shapes interact with one another to create this energy dynamic and cause the eye to "dance" on the painting. I am seeking this balance of energies in the colors now, using Photoshop to try out different color shapes and try to find this moment when it all gels together like a symphony. The first image in this group is the painting where it is at the moment I am writing. Soon it will be different. But the difference will go where?
The three images following are trials of different color themes, all applied with a Photoshop paint bucket, not an actual brush. Now I must decide what color composition "works" in the painting, an elusive goal but always the goal.
I had an interview appointment for a painting yesterday with Peapod and Bella. Bella is a youthful and somewhat goofy 9 year old Bernese Mountain Dog, and quite of inferior status to Peapod the cat, ruler of the home. Peapod, however, is 13 years old and suffering from blindness and loss of sense of smell, and has metastasized cancer. Peapod is still the boss, but everyone knows she will not be on this plane of existence much longer. She is still moving about, but is disoriented. She is so beloved, that her humans follow her around to ensure that she doesn't accidentally step off a stair and tumble, or hurt herself in some way. It is so hard to say goodbye, and her humans know that is coming very soon. I feel very grateful that I was able to meet her while she is still active, but it is obvious that Peapod is not herself. She only stopped pacing briefly for a short groom in the sunshine, but then returned to restless wandering. It was nearly impossible, as you can see, to sketch her. The final sketch in the group is for the painting idea, of both animals on the front porch, Peapod basking and Bella . . . deferring.
Past clients have told me that there is some way that the painting keeps their beloved animals with them, even after the goodbyes. This is the happy part of what I do, capturing the spirit of the animals, forever.
"We are there in sadness. We are there for happy times. We are there for loving. We are there to share life. " PETS (by Ron Henry for one of my early business cards)
And then there is Bella . . .
Proposed sketch for large painting of Peapod and Bella on the front porch.