Miniature Schnauzers

The two boys

The two boys

I have been able to start on the first of my commissions this week- the dog one.  I am putting two miniature schnauzers onto the same board so I have to work on both at once.  I did do those three red vizslas dogs at once a while back so I have done this before, but these are hairy guys and I need to get that right.

I started the pencil up Monday and worked on it some since then.  I like the left one more than the right.  The right guy has a little too much of Lady and the Tramp in him yet, so he may have to sit a while for me to gain some perspective.  The inside eye is is almost totally in shadow in the photo so I will have to kind of fake that, but I am more concerned with their whiskeryness.  I don’t want to overdo or underdo the wiry hair with the inks.  We shall see.  They both also have cute scarves around their necks which will liven up the colors from the basic grays and browns.

Pawpaw Painting

Pawpaws

Pawpaws

I was inspired by finding of all of those pawpaws last week so I decide to try and paint a grouping of them.  I had a nice photo of a triad and used it.  The pawpaws turn a yellowy green with black/brown spots when ripe and the leaves start to turn yellow.  I think I overdid the shadows on the lowest pawpaw. When in multiples, they seem to grow out on a single plane, rather than hang down and I don’t know if I made that clear enough.  However, I am pleased overall and I think I’ll list it in my etsy shop.  If I had more confidence in my lettering skills, I would label it as a botanical print.

We went out last evening to walk the path to check out some of the ones I found and ended up picking eight.  We could probably have picked more, but we ran out of hands.  LOL   Plus it was getting too dark to really see them easily.  It’s kind of like picking mushrooms.  Finding the first one sometimes seems to take a while, but after that, it’s a lot easier.  We picked the mother lode group and sure enough, the biggest one was 5.5″.  The rest were all 4+”, so it was quite a haul.  There are plenty left.

I hope to  finalize a pet portrait and home portrait commission this week so the rest of September and early October should be busy.

Do you even know what a pawpaw is?

A single paw paw hanging down

A single paw paw hanging down

I sure didn’t until earlier this summer. When I was out picking blackberries with a friend, she noticed that there were a lot of small pawpaw trees in the field we were in.  There was no fruit on the smaller trees she pointed out, but I knew I had seen them before.  As we walked our path around the property, I saw literally hundreds of pawpaw trees.  We started looking for fruit and sure enough we finally saw some.  It is not like domesticated fruit trees where there are dozens hanging down.  Most trees had none and when we did see some, it was usually only one or a very few.

The mother lode

The mother lode

Still, with so many trees we have found dozens. I got myself dizzy walking the path and looking up at the same time. LOL    The tree trunks are slender and very bendable.  I could grab the trunk and literally pull it over to reach the high hanging fruit. I managed to pick one that was ripe a couple of weeks ago and the consensus was that it tasted somewhat like a ripe banana.  I picked a few more today.  The smallest  one is ripe but  I am not quite sure about the other two.  Still, I picked them just to experiment on how soft they need to be before they can be eaten.  I am going to go on line and look for some recipes later.  I am not fond of ripe bananas, but John liked the way they tasted.  I’m thinking that I might make a banana bread recipe and use the pawpaws instead.  The consistency was about the same.

I picked these today

I picked these today

The size variation is pretty big as you can see.  And in the picture above with the four, the largest one has to be close to 5″ long.  The pawpaw is the largest native American fruit according to Wikipedia but I hadn’t ever noticed them before.

I have been working outside some and straightening up in the studio lately, so not much creative work has been accomplished except for a few gift tags and cards to list in my etsy shop.  I have been talking to several people about commission work so maybe the holiday season purchasing has begun.  With any luck we can work out the details and I can start something very soon.  Or maybe I’ll just paint the these.  There probably aren’t too may paintings of pawpaws out there, do you think?

Home portrait update

The Nashville house

The Nashville house

After a short delay due to the end of summer and finishing the last commission, I finally got back to the last house portrait in process.  I worked on it several days and it is just about done.  I need to work a little bit on the shadowing still, but since I had not posted in a while, I wanted to get it up.

I worked hard on the colors of the siding and the brick.  They are a bit unusual and I had to mix and blend several pastels to get the hues I wanted.  I also want to re-delineate with some more ink.

In an update on the pieces I had accepted into the gallery show, we went to the artist’s reception last Thursday.  I didn’t win any awards, but the Nashville scene I submitted was used on the face side of their advertising postcard.  They lightened the colors so the informational writing could be easily seen, but they showed almost my whole painting.  The back side had 1/2″ thumbnails of some of the other artists.  The artwork exhibited was good so I felt honored to be accepted too.

Texas, colored

Pastel, colored pencil, and watercolor additions

Pastel, colored pencil, and watercolor additions

I have been working on the coloring of this one for a couple of hours each of the last few days.  The house is a pale-ish orange red and I didn’t want to over color it so I took it nice and slow.  Today it was so hot and humid outside that I was unable to take  photographs without the lens totally fogging over in about 5 seconds.  I had to take this under the studio lights which is never quite as good. I corrected color somewhat so it’s not too off, but I really prefer to photograph outside in the morning light.

This is a combination of ink, pastels and a bit of colored pencils and watercolors.  There were so many tiny white flowers in the beds that I decided to use watercolors for them.  When I spray the fixative, the pastel and the pencil whites tend to fade out.  The opaque watercolor stays right there.  I think the mailbox and the expanse of lawn turned out fine.

This week I drop off my accepted gallery works in an all day trip that will include taking some more small town photos on the way.  I wish it were going to be less hot and humid for the journey, but the weather tends not to ask me what I want.  It has been a surprisingly cool summer overall – almost an extension of last winter’s weather.

I have to get this into the mail too.  Maybe tomorrow if I can find the right box.

I’ve finally finished the inking

Texas ranch house

Texas ranch house

After a mishap in laying out one of the windows and having to redo, I finally finished the inking.  I rather like the little courtyard in the front.  I will delineate more of  her extensive flower bed plantings with the colors.  She has some nice hanging baskets on the garage eaves and just off the front door that I want to make more visible.  There is also a colorful petunia pot on the stoop.  We shall see what happens.  It is at rest until tomorrow when the colors come into play.  She specifically wanted their mailbox in the portrait, so the house is set back a bit more than I would ordinarily have done.  I have to make sure that the lawn doesn’t overpower the house.

I have left the front door partially undone.  She has a large initial hanging on it and I will use the watercolors.  It is too delicate for the pastels and quite important to her.  That will be the last thing I do on it.

Another architectural switch

Texas ranch house

Texas ranch house

I was about one third finished with the inking on the last architectural when I received a surprise commission in my etsy shop. Usually, before someone decides to have me draw a portrait, we have some back and forth e-mails on the project. Last Friday morning when I checked my etsy stats page, I saw that a Texas lady had bought a portrait listing. What a nice way to start the day. I contacted her back and gave her some hints on taking the photos for me. By evening I had her jpgs and was ready to start.

The pencil up is basically finished. I only have a few questions for her and then inking will start.  Sorry the picture is a bit dark.  I had to take it inside.  It is so humid outdoors that the lens fogs up immediately upon exposure to the warm air.

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