Sunday, February 17, 2013

Whidbey Animal Stars

In early January, I committed myself to creating a 2014 calendar of Whidbey Animal Stars, domestic animals "nominated" by locals by sending photos (or asking me to take photos).  I've gotten dozens of photos, and have painted six potential calendar paintings so far.  Underlying this commitment is my desire to make myself paint more, and thereby learn tons.  It is a totally joyous endeavor, and I'm loving my connections with the Whidbey residents who are participating in this project.  Thank you, all!!!  The first painting I completed was Lady Gregory, a greyhound.

I painted her on a wood panel, 12" x 24".  I love the muscles in her chest, how she's "dancing" lightly on her toes.
Then, I painted Zyphyr, a super fluffy kitty in front of his living room window.  I enjoyed painting the flood of light, the fact that it's an interior "story" (one of my favorite themes to paint), the beautiful yellow eye.  Zyphyr is 12"x12," on a wood panel.

Next came Brandy, a Staffordshire bull terrier.  She was a kick to paint, with her enthusiastic smile, lulling tongue, brindle coat, spiked collar, white toes, half in shadow and half in light.....    I've learned so much with each painting!  Each has had it's own challenges and sometimes takes more than one start to get it right.  But, my challenge to myself is to only complete paintings I LOVE.  If I don't love it, it gets wiped out and started again.  9"x12"

Next came Lou, a super cool Staffordshire Bull Terrier/Akita mix with her huge shades.  I painted her on a 6x12 inch deep (2") cradled panel, which is a very cool way to present a super cool dog painting and it doesn't need framing.  I think it suits Lou well.  I love painting shiny objects, and her sunglasses gave me that opportunity!  What a star!

My next challenge was presented by Sugar, a very bouncy and curly-haired white poodle.  Her owner had presented a couple of photos, but I decided to ask for a chance to shoot some of my own.  I'm glad I did, because I have a fast camera

which shoots fast frames,
catching an active dog in stop action.  This was so helpful in capturing Sugar's enthusiasm.  I'm crazy about her fluffy tail and happy face.  This photo was shot in a grassy spot in front of 1st Street, downtown Langley, near Studio 106, where all these paintings have been done.

Driving around the island, near the local fiber farm (alpaca and llama paintings in the near future!), I came across a man in front of his home with his German Shorthair 3 month old puppy, Casey.  What a cutie-pie!  The challenge here was painting her silky short hair, representing the delightful perk in her ears.  I shot this photo of her, too ... she's curiously checking me out as I cluck like a chicken, meow like a cat, and bark like a dog to get her to perk up like this.  Ain't she cute????

After painting Whidbey Animal Star candidates, I decided to treat myself to a painting for my own home.  This is Manhattan, a cow who's photo I took last year.  I've painted her before, and delight in her image.  This time, I painted her 16" x 20" on canvas stretched on heavy-duty stretchers.  I usually paint on boards. so having the softer surface with the tooth of canvas was a nice change.  This is the biggest animal painting I've done to date, and it leads me to want to go even larger!

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