“Jackson” – angel in disguise

Oh, how we miss Jackson.   Those who knew him felt something special in his presence – I personally think he was from another realm and I’m sure his owner agrees.   Mention his name and we all feel our energy alter somehow.

Jackson – a striking Samoyed/Golden Retriever cross, passed away a year ago today on 11 October 2016.   He was such a physically attractive animal, but also in another way – it was like he was a visitor from some higher place and I for one, certainly felt it.

I started the painting of Jackson when he was still alive after learning of his serious illness.    I had fortunately taken a photo of him a few years earlier when he was a regular ‘colleague’ in the complex where I worked and was resting under the Jacaranda tree just outside my office.  However, even though I started his portrait when I found out he was sick I couldn’t do anymore – maybe I didn’t want to think about what was coming.

12 months since his death have passed – while he was never “my dog” – in a way, he was.   I worked on his image – checked and rechecked not only the line and form but the essence of his character and personality.   I got into his psyche and I admit I cried when he died – I still get emotional remembering him.

How much more so the pain of his loss for his owner, Sonya?   Farewell beautiful Jackson……and acknowledgement to you Sonya……of your grief.

Prepare a place for us Jackson where you are – if you would?

We are also headed your way.

 

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Most Successful Exhibitor Award

Hello everyone – out-of-left-field, this award has come my way!

When I learned the annual Canungra Show was a couple of weekends away, I toyed with entering some of my paintings.   Believing they were already well known, I nearly didn’t bother.   Of course they are only known to those who know my website and on the basis I wouldn’t be boring everyone to tears I decided to bravely submit a few pieces that were already framed.   I also asked a few clients if I could borrow back their commissioned pieces.   At the last minute I had “Molly” framed as there was a Monochromatic category and she would be perfect for that.

Duly done, Friday lunchtime saw me lining up to register my pieces.   I saw some lovely work being submitted by truly gifted artists and was pleased the standard was high.

Judging took place on Friday night before the show opened on Saturday.   I wasn’t able to get to Canungra before 2.00pm on Saturday and when I did the show was fully underway.

It’s interesting the nervousness I felt as I entered the art exhibit building – it was like being a small child again and approval being so important and risking failure – knowing adulthood is attained through that experience.   I didn’t feel very adult to be honest.

Nothing prepared me for the shock when I turned the corner and saw nearly everyone’s favourite painting “Deejay” front and centre on the awards board with the ribbon displaying “Most Successful Exhibitor”.   That’s when surrealism clicked in.   Obviously I had to see which of my painting awards constituted that amazing outcome.   As I rushed around trying to find them all – it turns out they all did!

If this is my 15 minutes of fame…….I will savour the moment for a little bit longer.   Yay!!!!

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Doberman Pinscher “Rory”

The love of my Brother-In-Law Eric – apart from my sister to whom he is married – is his dog!

Rory is a beautiful, slightly crazy, full of life, engaging, Doberman Pinscher.   My sister Trudi asked me to portray him in a painting but because it was intended to be a surprise for Eric’s birthday in September I was unable to post it until now.

She was able to send me some photos he had on his computer without him knowing.   None were really good enough for what I needed and I had to sneak a photo when I was visiting with them earlier in the year.   Taken through a glass door without Rory knowing or he would have bounded up to meet me and with poor light, this was the resulting painting – I’ve had to add detail in where there was none in the photo.   I hope Eric will like it.

I include another painting of Rory – he appears as “Golden Velvet” in another post because of the low evening light on the couch where he was resting giving a rich velvety affect.   This too was not a particularly clear image but the result is quite dramatic.   What do you think?

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“Bear” and the amazing view

Dear visitors….you will already have seen my original Bear with grassy background and in that post I mentioned I wasn’t that happy with the very boring background I settled for because the original photo reference had the backside of a rather large four wheel drive dominating the top right corner.   I went for a safe and I have to say sorry choice of background because I wanted to see the finished work.   Haste is never a good thing and while it was OK, it most certainly wasn’t startling.

Bear lives with one of the most amazing views on the western escarpment of Tamborine Mountain and the vast valley below stretches all the way to the Great Dividing Range.   In Bear’s case he enjoys having Flinder’s Peak as a reference point and this peak is included in the new background.   You can also make out what appears to be a horse training track – the area is dotted with horse properties and horse training facilities dominate all over that valley.

Anyway….I’m leaving the old post and the new one just to show it is OK to change one’s mind.   I hope you prefer the new background as do I.

Border Collie – “Bear”

It seems that lots of pets I know are called Bear.

I have a black cat called Bear, I know two other dogs called Bear besides this one – they all have something in common – they’re very shaggy or woolly and generally mostly black.

This particular Bear belongs to a man who lives near where I work and when I met Bear for the first time, I knew he would be my next portrait.   He is such a charmer!

He’s a much loved family member – no reference to ‘mere animal’ please!   As far as his owner is concerned Bear is human and subsequently treated very well.   Bear obviously realises this and happily sat and ‘smiled’ for the camera when I took a series of photos.

The rest is history.   I didn’t know whether to copy the background Bear had in the photo which I didn’t like – a rather large rear end of a four-wheel drive dominated top right corner – or add in an enigmatic one – I ended up with enigmatic.    Hope it doesn’t look too twee.   I’m thinking however upon reflection I might add in the amazing view Bear enjoys out the back of his home – down into the valley below.   So don’t be surprised if the background changes.

Bear loves bringing twigs and branches home – his favourite toys are bits of wood, so Bear has a semi-chewed example in front of him in the painting.

“Bozo” – The Best Man

Bozo the Alpine Goat is no longer with us having gone to Goat Heaven back in April this year.   A very sad day for his owners but he was old and life just wasn’t fun anymore.

Bozo had his 15 minutes of fame however when he was “Best Man” at a local wedding a few years ago.   He dutifully carried out his tasks – the full details of which I have yet to learn – and then right at the end – as if it was payment for a job well done – he ate the bride’s bouquet!

Possibly he was hungry…….and those flowers sure looked tasty.

Bozo is painted with acrylic paint from a small photo with minimal detail so I needed to create information where little was to be had.   Acrylic paint is a new medium for me and one that requires me to work quickly to ensure the paint does not dry on the brush.   Having fallen in love with the fluidity and playfulness of oil paint many years ago this stretching of my skills and learning to make quick painterly decisions has been a good thing.   Of course the main advantage of acrylic paint is the fact that it can be painted over quickly and mistakes speedily remedied.   It can also be hung the same day – something oil paintings don’t permit.

Self-portrait – a study

Usual problem – I couldn’t sleep so decided to get up and work on another painting, except when I entered the studio, the work on the easel was almost finished and I wanted to try something new.   Looked in the mirror and thought – self portrait!   No make-up, hair all messy and me looking the way mostly only I get to see myself.   Started around 2.00am and finished around 5.30am.   Several coffees later I stopped and I think I’ll leave it as a study only.   The knitted jumper is only just indicated with lines but that’ll do.   Don’t know if I actually want a portrait of me on the wall anyway.

It is always a challenge I think to be very objective when painting the self – we don’t see ourselves at all as others do and tend to exaggerate faults (or worse hide them) so painting every line and wrinkle and dark circle had to be exactly as I saw them.

Wasn’t as scary as I thought posting to Facebook originally – although a friend thought I was very brave.

I thought it was cathartic!

 

 

“Silver Ghost” – the Barn Cat

His real name is Gaston – he has that  certain ‘Je ne sais quois – non?”

Gaston is a beautiful silver/blue Maine Coon and is completely unaware of his platinum good looks.

Gaston’s focus in life is to explore and find great places to climb so he can watch the world go by and he loves roaming the big outdoors and that is what Maine Coon cats need.   Large cats need big spaces.

Totally accommodating – a true Maine Coon trait – he is also a great friend to have and also loves to sit in on human activities.   Bed making is a favourite and it is always made more interesting when Gaston jumps in under the blankets or rearranges the sheets to something more interesting – mostly a mountainous and lumpy mess which he then plonks himself on and falls asleep.

Gaston in this picture was caught in the window of an old barn – the bleached wood perfectly capturing his natural colouring and making an almost monochromatic painting.

 

“Deejay” – a life saver

Deejay – a gentle Shepherd is no longer on planet earth but she sure is in heaven.

This beautiful dog saved a child’s life some years ago when she herself was only three.   She saw her two-year old charge, Adam, wander down to the farm dam (small lake) before his family realised he was missing.   They frantically searched for him looking in all the most dangerous places as on a farm there are so many places a child can get lost and hurt.   At least 45 minutes had passed when someone noticed frantic activity in the distance in the dam and raced down to see.   Deejay had Adam’s arm in her mouth and was pulling him out of the deep water and onto land.

A mischievous toddler – and unaware of his peril, Adam was determined to do what he wanted but he couldn’t swim and she sensed that – despite his protestations she succeeded in dragging him out of the water unharmed.   No sooner was he free of her firm mouth-grip and he raced back to the water but back she went and pulled him back again.

What the family originally thought was Deejay harming Adam turned out to be a remarkable animal’s innate sense of responsibility and care for those she loved.

Adam is an adult now and knows how to swim.

Deejay – another exquisite animal who shared her life with humans –  for a brief moment she came to earth, wove her special magic and then in a twinkle of starlight she was gone.

But……..only for a while until we catch her up – then tears stop and laughter begins forever.

 

Five-minute “Molly” – study in monochrome

Molly is my youngest cat – the mischievous teenager and a ball of energy and destruction.

She is also Ed’s taunter and how he puts up with her, Lord only knows!   Ed is my big Maine Coon and easily two and a half times her size.   She’s forever ambushing him and using him as a hurdle or as target practice.   Somehow he puts up with her just fine – none of the other cats would though.

Anyway – this is a quick sketch using only white pastel on black paper capturing her in an unusually quiet pose.   She is basically grey and cream striped with a hint of apricot sprinkled in the cream.

I’m not sure whether to leave it as a study or develop further.   If I do develop it further I’ll add in a little brightly coloured toy fish under her right paw.   It will break the monochromatic theme and add a spot of vibrancy.

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