Zeke and Ernie

Zeke and Ernie

Zeke and Ernie

I worked the last few days adding the colors onto Zeke and Ernie, the miniature schnauzers. I took it slowly because I didn’t want to overdo either the gray of the coats or the bronze on the muzzles.  That and having my glasses on the end of my nose wasn’t really conducive to long work sessions.  I think they both turned out just fine, although I prefer Zeke on the left a bit more.  I think he has a bit more character in his expression.  I wonder if he is the more opinionated of the two.  They sure are cute.

I was particularly pleased getting with this order.  It is my first return purchaser.  She had me do a friend’s pet earlier in the year and came back this fall for her own dogs.  Now it’s on to the home portrait up next.  It is actually two portraits of the same house to be given to different family members.

The Two Miniature Schnauzers

Schnauzers

Schnauzers

I managed to get the inking almost finished a few days ago. Because they have such wiry, spikey hair, I wanted to leave the final inking until after I did most of the watercolors. I don’t want to have them get overly dark and sometimes the best way to accomplish that is to make the final ink touches last of all.  I do think that their colorful neck scarves will liven up their grey coat colors and I am looking forward to painting those.

I have had to hold off on the watercolors for a few days though. While the drawing was in the rest phase after the preliminary inking, I developed a swollen right cornea and couldn’t see much out of my eye except a big blur. I went to the eye doctor right away and ended up getting some steroid drops for it.  We don’t know why it happened, just that it did.  I must have irritated it somehow and my contacts didn’t help.  It has improved and I can now see okay.  Unfortunately, I can’t wear my contacts until I am done with the drops on Thursday and my glasses have to be on the edge of my nose for close up vision.  As you might guess, that is not comfortable for an extended period of time.  Since I rarely wear them, I never had a pair made with bifocals, plus I can’t find a small enough frame.  I would be considered legally blind if I did not have corrective lenses.  The current fashionable frames are so huge, with my prescription, I’d look like I had beady little eyes peering out.  Not a great look for me.  I do think I’ll try to work some later today after the football games are over.  Maybe short sessions will work out.

I have 3 architecturals in the queue right now so I need to get this finished.  It’s going to be a busy fall, which is a fun prospect.

Ooo whee, I’m busy

It’s been a heck of a week. Not only did we get Alex the dog, but I got commissions for a dog portrait and an architectural of an office building as well as selling 2 of my shore bird linocuts.  I can see myself coming and going lately.  I have the architectural mostly pencilled up but can’t really start the inking because some of the detail photos are too small and I can’t print them.  I’m waiting for  her to retake some of them.  I will start the pet portrait soon.  Those file are small too so I’m waiting to see if she has a larger version of one.

Three toys are better than one

Three toys are better than one

Alex is doing well.  He is almost housebroken, although I wouldn’t trust him quite yet.  He is sleeping mostly through the night in his crate and we are taking daily walks up and down the drive for exercise.  Two trips up and down are over a mile.  I do it twice daily, once for the paper and once for the mail. That, including some fetch with a ball and frisbee, seem to tire him out enough right now.  He is so funny at times.  He likes to carry his plush Winnie the Pooh and try to to pick up his ball at the same time.  Occasionally he can do it but usually he just ends up kicking the ball around and chasing it, still holding on to Winnie.

He and I had a day excursion today.  My friend and riding teacher invited Alex and me to go along for her lessons so he could get some socialization.  We live out in the country and don’t have the opportunity unless we make it.   I am happy to say he behaved quite well – far better than I had expected.  He played with a corgi who told him what for,  learned to behave a bit better with cats, and rode quietly in the vehicle.  All in all it’s been a good week.  I’ll post some of the commission work next time around.

More pet portraits

Brandy

Brandy

After finishing the Nashville corner, I decided to make a few more pet portraits. I had a head shot of my sister’s collie and a nice picture of my sweet Lady in mind and over the course of two days I did them both.  Brandy, the collie, was a dark mahogany sable that belonged to my sister’s family.  It was hard to decide how much of her thick coat to show.  Too little would not give her enough definition, but to much ink would change her into a tricolor.  I probably should have used a bit more of a reddish brown, but I like it.  Her fur seemed to be black tipped which allowed use of the grey.  I think I need to work on the whiskers a bit for the future.  They are really hard to do realistically, especially with the nib pen which likes to skip on long strokes.

My sweet Lady

My sweet Lady

After the inquiry for a horse portrait in my etsy shop, I figured I better try one.  I had this picture of my sweet Lady in her later years.  She was mid to late twenties when I took this photo and starting to look her age.  It was late summer and some of the hair on her face was gone due to the fly ointment I used under her eyes.  I had some dilemma with her too on the amount of mane hair to include.  I didn’t want her to look as though she had a black mane as she was a glorious chestnut with the world’s most beautiful mane and tail.  I am not totally happy with her eye, but my daughter thought it was a very good likeness and that she would have known it was her even without the reference photo.  For my posts on Lady’s life and death, go to the following links.

https://ruthsartwork.wordpress.com/2011/11/05/my-sweet-lady/

https://ruthsartwork.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/filling-the-memory-basket/

Ding Dong Dog Again

Ding Dong Dog

Ding Dong Dog

I have been trying to do a few more animal portraits as samples for my esty shop. I found a nice picture Of Ding Dong Dog and decided to use it. The photo was taken when she was still a puppy – not that she ever really grew up. She was over six before she had much sense in any given situation.

It is okay, except I don’t like the head over much.  I have been thinking about what especially bothers me and I have decided that part of the problem is that the overall size is too small to detail the features the way I want.  I think that for full body portraits I will have to go up in size.  Between the ink work and the watercolor shading there is just not enough space to do it all so it ends up dark and a little muddy looking.  What I may try next is just a head/shoulder shot of her and see if that helps.  In the one featuring Perkins the crabby cat a few posts ago, the face was almost half of the painting and it allowed for a lot more subtlety.

But that will have to wait. Insert happy dance here.  Last Thursday I received two (!!!) orders for custom architectural portraits.  I have spent the last couple of days laying out the pencil drawings and am pretty happy with both of them so far.  One is an 8×10 pen and ink of a cottage and the other is a 10×14 of an old barn.  That one will be watercolor.  I usually use the pastels for the portraits, but this buyer specified watercolors like I did for a couple of barns in my etsy store.  I guess variety is the spice of life.  I look forward to spending the next weeks finishing them.  Stay tuned.

Black cat brotherhood

My fingers are a bit sore today. I have spent the last several days doing morning weeding in the flower beds, The weeds and crabgrass took over the hillside when I was too busy to attend to them and I am paying the price now. I try to fill up the wheelbarrow daily and have made quite a bit of progress. Maybe I will actually meet my September 1st goal of having it presentable. Not weed free, mind you, but presentable.  We haven’t had rain in quite a while so the ground is very hard.  I have to dig up the dandelions with the trowel, but the shallow rooted grasses seem to pull up somewhat easily.  Alas, my hands can only take so much and I don’t want blisters.

Black cat brotherhood

Black cat brotherhood

I worked inside on the two cat portrait during the heat of the afternoon.  They are rescue cats who found a wonderful new home and once the first one got over the shock of having to share his good fortune, they became good friends.  The bigger one does like to take advantage of his size and sits on his “brother” when he can, but all in all, they seem to enjoy playing together.  They can be a regular thundering herd as they chase each other around the house.

I think that, all in all, I prefer to do the dog portraits, but these haven’t turned out too bad.  I think I will try one more cat portrait of just the head and see where to go from there.