From the happy family who lives with Casey Jones and Mr. Poppers and received the painting that I shipped to them last week."Dear Nancy We unpacked the picture and hung it in our kitchen. We truly love it. You have captured our special pets perfectly. It is a true treasure. We cannot thank you enough for this marvelous tribute to our furry friends. Again many thanks!"
Casey Jones, Mr. Poppers, and the neighborhood bunny as an actual painting, alongside the digital painting which preceded the final painting on canvas. I work out most of the composition and colors in the digital painting, but an actual painting has it's own life and dictates, so it never looks quite like the digital version- as it should be. Casey and Mr. Poppers are standing at the front porch entryway to their home just outside New York City, where they, the family, and the painting all live. The neighborhood bunny likes to taunt them. They give chase, but never catch up.
Izzy and Justus crossed the bridge ahead of Phil, and I'm pretty sure, they were there on Saturday greeting him as he joined them. Celia is doing ok.
A funny little story about this painting: Phil and Celia brought the painting back to my studio a few weeks after taking it home. They noticed a problem which they wanted corrected, and which I remedied. However, I had already had the painting photographed so Celia is still missing her sock in this version.
I have been using the iPad application "Brushes" to create preliminary color sketches of paintings coming up. These are two versions of a painting for a book project that I am working on with a writer/photographer. I've started the painting, and so far it's not either of these arrangements. I've yet to see how useful the iPad will be as a tool. It would be perfect if the layers could be moved around and re-sized. Anyone know of an iPad application that allows for more manipulation of individual layers? I can move the image to Photoshop, but would love to do it all in one application.
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.
Seattle based pet care company "All the Best" is producing tote bags for the Christmas season with images from my paintings displayed on the sides- "Lindsey and Sydney" the cats on one side, and "Vincent" the Chow dog on the other. There will be a limited number of them available, and they will be given as gifts to the first customers during the Holiday season. You know what happens right after Thanksgiving- it all begins. Get in early!
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.