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.

 

“Venus” a.k.a “Sooty” – Labradorable

Sooty (real name Venus) belonged to a dear friend for whom she was his best friend and confidante.   Sadly Sooty passed from this world suddenly in the middle of last year leaving her owner understandably bereft.

It has taken Anthony quite a while to send through his favourite photo of Sooty so I can record an artistic image for him to enjoy and remember her by and because she isn’t with us anymore, the photo choices are whatever he had available on his phone.

This one showing Sooty on the front porch of her former home was not a very high res image and much of the detail of her coat is guess work.   Nevertheless, it shows her as a characteristically gentle soul who loved her master and enjoyed bringing him toys for him to throw to her.

Teddy is obviously a favourite toy and hopefully Anthony still has it to prop up on the shelf over which her picture will hang.

Farewell Sooty – you touched many lives but we will see you again soon I know when we can continue to run free and play together.

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.

“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.

 

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.

“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.

 

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