Friday, September 24, 2010

Megan, Clumber Spaniel Puppy - a personal piece

Megan, Clumber Spaniel Puppy - Oil on Gessobord, 4.5" x 6.5"
Having quite enjoyed working on the greyscale oil painting of Frankie using just 3 colours (Gamblin's Torrit Grey, plus black and white,) I decided to do a second painting like this. Again using the same 3 colours, this time the subject was our dear sweet Clumber girl Megan at 11 weeks old. She's been gone a long time and the reference photo for this painting was actually taken back in 1987! 

Both this painting and the Frankie greyscale painting have been entered into Gamblin's Torrit Grey painting contest, the details of which are explained a bit more in the Frankie painting post. Win or lose, I'm proud of both paintings, they were fun to do and somewhat of a learning experience as well. Limiting one's palette like this and doing essentially a value study is always good practice as it forces you to really look at the lights and darks, which is so important in representing form and shape.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hayley - Cavalier King Charles Spaniel commission

Hayley Cavalier, 11" x 14" acrylic on birch panel
This piece was commissioned as a birthday gift, and when shown an assortment of potential reference photos I was drawn to the one I ultimately used right away. Cavaliers are such sweet dogs and it really showed in this particular shot. The owner concurred, as he said this was such a typical pose for her that they most often saw her this way. Having so often painted Bearded Collies it's always nice to do a different breed, and I really enjoyed painting this little girl. I'm pleased to say the owner loved the result, and it made for a wonderful birthday present!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Frankie Portrait in Oils - a personal piece

Frankie - Oil on Gessobord, 4.5" x 6.5"
It doesn't take much for an artist to find an excuse to try something new, and so when I read about a painting competition whose deadline for submissions was coming up soon I was inspired to paint this piece to enter. Gamblin Oil Paints holds the competition each year, and the rules are very simple - each painting must be essentially a value study done using only Gamblin Torrit Grey oil paint, plus black and white. Torrit grey is a unique promotional colour made available by the company each spring. It is made with pigments collected from their air filtration system - taking pigments that otherwise would simply be disposed of and recycling them back into paint. The colour is slightly different each year because of the different mix of pigments collected, but it's always some shade of grey since that's what you get when you mix all the pigments in the colour spectrum together!

Though I had heard about this competition before I had never entered. I very rarely paint in oils, though I do enjoy it, but it requires more patience and a somewhat different way of working than what is natural for me. It's definitely a bit 'out of my comfort zone' so to speak, but that can reap benefits in terms of learning too. I looked for a reference photo I thought would work well in a monochromatic painting, one which had lots of subtle value changes that would suit the 3-colour format. Frankie, being a blue Beardie, fit the bill perfectly, and this particular photo of her has always been one of my favourites. I'm pleased with how it turned out, and I quite enjoyed the process. In fact I've begun a second painting to enter in the competition. Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Frankie Agility Shirt - a personal piece

Some months ago I finally got around to doing a piece I'd been planning for some time - painting a denim jacket for myself, featuring one of my dogs, Danni, going over an agility jump. It was done primarily using an airbrush, and I was pleased with how it turned out and started thinking about what other pieces of clothing I could paint. With this summer being so hot I decided to paint another agility design on a light comfy tank top that would be perfect to wear at the hot summer trials. Since Danni had already been the subject of the denim jacket painting, it was her daughter Frankie's turn to be immortalized in paint. The photo reference for this piece was a shot taken by photographer Wendy Beard of Muddypawz Photography at a local agility trial, of Frankie going through a tire jump. Wanting Frankie to really stand out and wanting the design to remain light and loose, I opted to not include any part of the agility obstacle itself, but instead left the space blank where the tire had been, which provided a perfect spot to include Frankie's name.

Painting on a white shirt is much easier than the denim, because it takes many more layers of paint to cover the darker denim base (especially when trying to paint white fur!) Since this was a cotton t-shirt which of course is not going to be anywhere near as durable as denim, the design was intentionally kept looser and quick so I wouldn't spend so many hours on it that I would fear wearing it and getting it ripped or stained! Again like the jacket this was painted primarily using an airbrush. Clothing items are painted with my regular acrylics mixed with airbrush medium, with a base coat and top coat of fabric medium that is heat set to increase permanence and launderability. Basic washing instructions are similar to any somewhat delicate item - turn inside out, hand or machine wash in cold water, and hang to dry. Commission inquiries for shirts, jackets, or other fabric items are most welcome.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Puppy Fuzz, and Working Together - For Sale

Two new paintings to show off today, both of them smaller works and again featuring Bearded Collie puppies.

"Puppy Fuzz" - As Beardie pups get a bit past the cute 8 week old stage, the hair starts to grow and grow, and with the typical soft 'flyaway' texture of most puppy coats it tends to make them look like plush toys! Brushing them all neat and tidy lasts mere seconds as a shake of the head instantly returns them to their fuzzy puppy glory!
Puppy Fuzz - 6" x 6" Acrylic on Birch Panel
For Sale - $100

"Working Together" - Well, I'm not sure if they were actually cooperating, or both wanted the frisbee and neither was willing to let go, but it sure looks like teamwork!

Working Together - 6" x 6" Acrylic on Birch Panel
For Sale - $100
Both of these paintings are 6" x 6", and were done in acrylics on birch panel. The panels are 'gallery style' with a depth of 1 1/2". The edges are painted black, and no framing is needed. They come ready to hang.

These paintings are for sale, $100 each plus shipping.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Black on Black, Bearded Collie pup - For sale

Black on Black, Bearded Collie Pup - 11" x 14" Acrylic on Birch Panel
For Sale - $275
I liked the look of the pups against the black background in the previous painting of 4 pups running, but wanted to try a more subtle look, with a black/white Beardie pup against the solid black background. Having the pup trotting towards the viewer made the contrasting white markings really stand out while the black body coat faded into the background.

This piece measures 11" x 14" and was done in acrylics on gallery panel which has a depth of 1 1/2". The edges are painted black as well, and the piece needs no framing, it comes ready to hang.

It is for sale - $275, plus shipping.  

Friday, July 30, 2010

Bearded Collie Puppy Race - For Sale

Beardie Puppy Race - 12" x 24" Acrylic on Birch Panel
For Sale - $350

I loved the atypical dimensions of this panel, and wanted to come up with a design that would work well in the long narrow rectangular shape. It didn't take long to think of Beardie puppies running en masse! Though it's usual to stick with 3, and the 'rules' suggest odd numbers work best in terms of subjects in a painting, I decided there had to be 4 of them so they could show off the four colours Beardies come in - black, brown, blue and fawn. Hmmm, does my bias show with the brown pup leading the way? :-) In order for the pups to truly stand out I opted for a solid black background rather than putting them in a scene. I feel the solid background and the hard edges on the pups gives a nice balance between a realistic portrait and a more 'artsy' look.

This is a somewhat large painting, measuring 12" high x 24" wide, and is on gallery panel which has a depth of 1 1/2". The edges are painted black as well, and the piece needs no framing. It comes ready to hang. The painting has been given several coats of a UV protective gloss varnish.

This piece is for sale - $350, plus shipping.

A larger image of this painting can be seen on my website, on the following page:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Exotic Hardwood Bearded Collie Pins - For Sale

Occasionally I like to dabble in different creative areas other than painting, and working with wood is one of those areas. These are Bearded Collie pins, made from various exotic hardwoods, and they are for sale. They were cut from 1/8" thick wood, sanded to an ultra smooth finish, and then waxed and buffed. The pin back was attached with a strong glue. The standing Beardies measure a little under 2" wide overall and 1 1/2" high, and the moving Beardies measure approx 2 1/4" wide and 1" high. The woods used for these pins are cocobolo, honduras rosewood, padauk, and purpleheart. Please note it is normal for some colour change to occur over time as the wood is exposed to sunlight, with most becoming slightly darker/browner.

Pins are $35 each, plus $3 shipping within North America, or $6 for shipping Internationally. I will have these with me at the BCCC specialty in August if someone prefers to pick one up in person and save the shipping. Though I may do more of these in the future from time to time, they will remain an 'occasional' item at best so if you like them, get one now! Contact me if you are interested.

Friday, July 2, 2010

And now for something completely different!

Painted Ostrich Egg - commissioned piece

A couple of years ago I picked up an ostrich egg at a local farmer's market. I'd seen paintings done on ostrich eggs before and since I'm always interested in trying new things I thought it might be fun to do. It only took 2 years to finally get around to it! The paintings I'd seen done on ostrich eggs were generally images of wildlife or flowers that just happened to be done on the unique surface. Nice as those were, I wanted to really take advantage of it being, well, an egg, and so I came up with the idea of painting a Beardie pup to appear to be hatching from the egg. That first piece can be seen on the miscellaneous page on my website, at Shortly after I put the photo on my website I was contacted by someone who had seen it and was interested in having me paint one like it for her. The vendor I'd bought my egg from was no longer selling them, but I was able to find another source not too far away. Ostrich eggs come in a bit of a range of sizes and shapes, with some more oval and others more round. My original egg had been a smallish oval egg (about 5" tall and 3 1/2" wide,) so it was a bit of a surprise to see these new eggs being substantially bigger and more round in shape, not to mention a fair bit heavier. This one measures about 7" tall, and approx. 5" wide.

For this commissioned piece the client wanted it to be a brown Beardie pup, and sent a few pictures of one of her girls as a baby to use as a reference so I could paint it to look like her. Ostrich eggs are not difficult to paint on per se, but with the shell being a somewhat slick surface it does take some preparation to ensure the paint adheres properly, and the curved surface makes transferring the drawing a little bit of a challenge. Plus, there's always the worry of dropping it!

Once completed I sent a photo to the client for approval, and then packed it up to send it off - in a large box and using lots of bubble wrap and styrofoam peanuts! It arrived at its destination safe and sound and the appreciative raves about it from the client were music to my ears. Oh, and for those who might be wondering, I buy the eggs already emptied and cleaned.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Schipperke Pendant Commission

Painted fused glass pendants are something I began offering a few years ago. I use a special glass paint that cures in the oven for maximum durability. Recently a client from Australia contacted me to inquire about having a portrait of her two Schips painted on one of the pendants. She had taken an assortment of photos of each dog and emailed them to me, and we tried several different combinations to find the one that worked best together. With one dog being black and the other gold we ultimately decided on this greenish blue (or bluish green?) colour for the pendant which would allow both dogs to show up well. The pendants I had in that colour however were all about 1" in diameter, which would mean each dog would have to be quite small in order to fit both on. It would work, but people might have to look pretty close to see the detail! So I headed off to the glass shop to ask about having some larger pendants made. It's a really great little shop with wonderful customer service, and they were happy to make some for me. I was able to choose the glass, specify a size, and a week or so later I went back to pick them up - perfectly round pendants measuring 1 5/8" in diameter. That size was a much better fit for two headstudies. I completed the painting, sent a picture to the client for approval, then popped the piece in the oven for a half hour, added the large silver plated bail, and sent it on its way to Australia. It has now arrived and I'm happy to say she is thrilled with it! 

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cooper - Bearded Collie Commission

Cooper the Bearded Collie - 10" x 12" acrylic on birch panel

When I received an inquiry recently about painting a portrait of this young Beardie boy, the client invited me to browse her web photo gallery to see if I though any of the pictures would be suitable to work from. The photo I ended up using jumped out at me immediately. It apparently was just a quick candid capture taken by the client's son, but it was a lovely shot that would be a joy to paint. The client's only concerns were a slightly dirty beard and his right eye obscured by a fall of hair, both issues that were easy to fix in the painting. This piece was done on gallery style birch panel, which gives it a depth of about 1 1/2"  The edges were painted black, and it needs no framing. It was completed and mailed last week and I'm happy to say the client was very pleased with the end result, and I'm told the subject approved of the painting as well!  

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Might as well just start!

So here I go, the first post of my blog. I suppose I should begin by simply saying 'Welcome' and I hope you enjoy seeing and reading about some of the artwork I create. With the creative process generally being quite a solitary one, it will be nice to be able to share details of it with others as I go along, and show off artwork 'fresh off the easel' so to speak. I have several pieces recently completed or on the go at the moment, with more in the planning stages. Some of those are commissions, while others may be available to purchase. I'm always happy to answer questions about my work or discuss possibilities, so feel free to contact me.