Lucy – what a darling!

This is my first painting this year and it’s almost the end of August – I can’t believe life has gotten in the way of my artistic life, but I’ve finally picked up the brush and painted this gorgeous Staffy cross – not sure what is the cross but she looks completely Staffy to me.   It is a gift for a special lady Leanne commissioned by her partner’s daughter.

I know not a lot about Lucy other than she was such a pretty thing with a deep soul – look at those eyes!    Sadly she passed away recently – I hope this gift will be a healing balm to Leanne.

Lucy is lying on a rug which is short piled with what appeared to be part of a deep blue couch in the background.    I didn’t want to fuss with either element too much removing the couch altogether – instead preferring to concentrate on Lucy and her brindle markings but especially those eyes.   They’re talking to me.

As a bit of whimsy I’ve included her name in the carpet pile – a ghost of an image confirming even though she has left us for the time-being she will always be around and continue to touch her owner’s heart.

 

Alan and His Best Buddies

Alan lives on a farm at Mt Barney, a beautiful part of South East Queensland which he shares with his wife Sylvia and his two pals Rex and Wally.

Alan endured a horrific accident some years ago when he was crushed by a falling tree and endured excruciating pain and months of rehabilitation while he recovered, but eventually he was able to return to work and build his new home and farm in this idyllic location.   While the trauma and long term damage never goes away,  life is always made easier when you have a great wife and family – and especially if you own pets.

Alan’s two furry friends certainly make cuddle time even better and this painting captures him in a thoughtful moment sitting on his veranda at the top of the steps while the dogs clearly enjoy spending time with their master.

Commissioned by Sylvia as a gift to him for Christmas 2017, this painting is a special thank you to him for his strong resolve, tenacity and endurance – and especially his love for her and his children.

Not to mention Rex and Wally.

Two Black Labs – Guide Dog Raffle

I was invited to support the Guide Dogs stand at the last Dog Lovers Show at the Brisbane Showgrounds back in November and provided an animal portrait prize as the major fundraiser for them.   A lovely lady called Claire contacted me a week later to say she had won the prize and was very excited about what it might mean.   She lives in the northern suburbs of Brisbane and at my request sent through a number of photos for my consideration.

The prize was for a picture of one animal of the winner’s choice but Claire has two beautiful black Labradors – one is around 2 years old and the other is an almost grown up puppy.   She couldn’t decide and neither could I, so I’ve gifted her with a picture of both.

I used two photos to come up with the picture attached – I hope she likes it.

Black Labs are flavour of the month it seems – I am starting another one soon.

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!!!!

“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.

 

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