Friday, December 18, 2009
Tattoo is my sister and her husband, Paul's cat. Even in her late teens, Tattoo still maintains her youthful good looks =)
In the original photo that I worked from, Tattoo is sitting just a few inches away from a gift she is offering to her people: a
dead mole. After much reflection, I chose to eliminate the mole from the final painting for obvious reasons, but I loved the expression of self-satisfied boredom on her face, inches away from the little mole whose fatal misfortune was to underestimated her speed and skill as a elderly cat!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Combining two different poses together into one portrait was the challenge with "Sasha and Minque". We loved the pose of Minque with her paws crossed, but Sasha wasn't in that photo, so I combined two photos of Sasha - as a kitten looking right at the camera, and a more recent pose that had her eyes cast downward, looking out of the frame. My goal was to mature Sasha's facial features in keeping with how she looked in maturity, paying special attention to her eyes. The depth of color from kittenhood to 'grand dame' was striking, giving her the older cat's sage and wisdom she had achieved. There is a defined difference through the eyes as they mature that involves not only the color of the iris, but a wisdom from years of mousing, apparently.
Although I didn't get a chance to meet these two gorgeous cats (as the portrait was to be a surprise gift for Christmas), the provided photos allowed me to get a sense of the bond Sasha and Minque shared, as well as reference for their glorious beauty.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Poppy/Petunia isn't a commissioned painting, but I'm including their portrait here since their 'parents' are long time animal welfare advocates in the Chicago area. These two girls are indoor kitties, but they have cousins who are ferals, cared for and loved by their adopted people, Ron and Nancy. Because of the nature of feral cats, Ron and Nancy have provided a safe haven in their garage and back deck. They are fed, nutured and provided healthcare, and allowed to live their lives as they have become accustomed while knowing that they are being protected.'
Poppy and Tunie aspire to be outdoor huntresses like their feral cousins, but for now they are happy to live vicariously in the warm, sunny pool of light by the window.
Poppy and Tunie aspire to be outdoor huntresses like their feral cousins, but for now they are happy to live vicariously in the warm, sunny pool of light by the window.
Abby's family came to me with photos of a very sweet, intense chihuahua, to create a portrait for her beloved owner as a birthday present. Because of the surprise that this painting was to be for him, I wasn't able to meet Abby as I usually try to do with my subjects. Working strictly from a variety of photographs - most of which were long distance shots or taken at difficult angles - I was able to create this portrait of Abby as she looks now in her golden years.
What I loved about this particular pose, which actually combines the features of Abby from several different poses ranging from puppyhood to now, was the dear, sweet look in her eyes. It's easy to see that this is a very nice little dog, and very much loved. The bat ears, 'concerned' brow and little smile gives her a comically darling demeanor. By the end of the project, I felt I knew her personally. And how could you not love that face??
By all accounts her loving owner truly enjoyed his birthday gift!
Dusty was a feral cat when he 'adopted' a family who understood that this independent guy would never tolerate being an indoor cat. With their love and affection, they ensured that he lived a comfortable, sheltered life surrounded by his chosen family.
He was a gorgeous tabby with distinct markings that softened into a "dusty" glow of long, thick fur. His brilliant green eyes were wise and calm.
Dusty died last spring from an infection, and although he was treated and cared for, he never fully recovered. His family misses him dearly and commissioned this portrait to honor him and the love he brought them from out of the blue, literally.
Monday, July 27, 2009
My dog, Hazelnut, definitely needs some representation here. She is our sweet, 7 year old mixed-breed pooch that we rescued from the Westport animal shelter when she was 4 mos. old. As the story goes, she was rescued from a puppy mill in Kentucky and given the strangely discordant name "Bingo" when she arrived in Westport. I took my son who was 14 at the time to just "look" at the dogs there. I guess in my heart I knew we'd end up with one (or two, or three). We had rescued kittens and cats from this shelter, and this was the first time we even remotely considered a dog. Amidst all the barking dogs we found Hazelnut, sitting quietly in a corner looking at us with a gentle, forlorn gaze. I held my hand out to the cage so she could sniff it, and she gently, sweetly licked my fingers before resignedly walking back to her corner. Needless to say, she became a member of our family 24 hours later.
Hazel is a wonderful companion and an entertaining member of our family. She's fiercely protective of her home against those who dare walk their dogs a bit too close to our sidewalk - barking is a thing we're still learning to start and stop on command. (Where's that dog whisperer when you need him?!) Her gentle brown eyes and expressive ears are pure, signature Hazel, and I tried to illustrate those wonderful characteristics in this painting.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Moose was in the first litter born into the Stratford Cat Project. His mother, Haley, was rescued into the project in March 2007 on a very snowy cold day. She was pregnant and alone. On the morning of April 9 2007, Haley gave birth to a litter of 4 balls of fur. Moose, named for his size, was the biggest puffball in the litter. He grew quickly, resembling the beautiful Maine Coon breed of cat with his large size, gorgeous coloring and lush coat of fur. He was the leader of the litter and became the favorite at SCP with the volunteers for his loving nature. He was adopted by SCP volunteers Dave and Fran who fell for Moose's handsome features and his sweet, social personality. Now two years old, Moose loves his family, and greets everyone who comes to the door with the air of a perfect host. When I met the cats in Fran and Dave's household, Moose was my guide - he stayed close to my side and planted himself in front of my camera - this is a boy who loves to be photographed!
Monday, July 20, 2009
This is Kringle, a beautiful tabby with double paws who was rescued recently and awaiting adoption. He's very sweet, not much more than a kitten and has a playful, yet shy nature. He is one of several at the foster home that loves to play "chase the laser dot", but tends to enjoy wrestling with the kittens most of all. Kringle is somewhat shy around humans, but he is warming up to us as he finds nothing but kindness, food, and doting attention.
Coming up this Saturday, July 25th, the Stratford Cat Project is having a fundraiser/art show event at the Perry House near the library. My artwork, both portraits and still life, will be part of the event that runs from 12-4pm.
Friday, July 10, 2009
My friend, Mary Beth, is a writer of young adult novels and lives in Texas with her family and a menagerie of animals (including fainting goats!). Sweetie Pie, her chestnut and white paint mare, gave birth in May to Ghostwriter. Ghostwriter is a visually reverse copy of his mother - a white paint with splotches of chestnut, and blue eyes.
I love this portrait of mother and colt taken just hours after he was born. The nuzzling of noses, the sweet face of Ghostwriter combined with the contrasting coat colors and hints of color in their bridles all made for a stunning portrait.
Some of my first memories of drawing were of horses. They are gorgeously eloquent animals to paint, with their lean, muscular lines, shiny coats and flowing manes and tails - the perfect artist's muse.
Friday, June 26, 2009
I was struck by the sweetness of this kitten's face, which compelled me to paint him! How can one resist such a face? All kittens are darling, but this one is just gorgeous. I loved the expression he has - one of our cats used to relax with one eye slightly squinted much like this kitten's left eye is - I always took it as a sign of contentedness.
He came to SCP very shy and very quiet along with his brother, both clinging close to mom. The kittens were born in a backyard and brought to the cat project to be socialized and adopted. They are doing quite well!
Monday, June 22, 2009
Such a gorgeous cat to work with! Puffy is my first officially commissioned pet portrait. Her family, Fran and Dave, rescued her as a kitten through the Stratford Cat Project.
Puffy wasn't initially as outgoing as some of their other cats, but she had a sweet presence (along with her fabulously voluminous coat) that drew your eye to her. When I met her, her pale yellow eyes shone with a quiet intelligence and alert calm - I wanted to bring that out in the painting. She studies you with a calm eye. She is not a timid cat, just as she is not a supplicating one. She is coolly gorgeous, and knows it. To best catch the overall demeanor of Puffy, I wanted to highlight her muted tortie coloring, the rich, soft thickness of her fur, while allowing the sheen on the edges to come through.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Dusty is a shy older cat that came to the Cat Project a few months ago. For weeks he stayed in his crate, peeking out from his cat condo, and all I could really see clearly were the calm, beautiful light green/blue eyes he has. He is a sweet boy, but still timid - although he ventures out more now. He abides my stroking his head and scratching his ears, but he is still a shy cat with eyes that show intelligence and serenity. This is a gorgeous fellow.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
A baby possum peaks up over his bedding while at the Wildlife in Crisis sanctuary. The opossum is largely misunderstood and usually maligned, which is why I'm including a YouTube short video that gives a bit more insight into these little creatures......
Camden is one of gorgeous twin brothers at Stratford Cat Project. Sweet, and gloriously attired in blue/gray puffery, these boys are two of the prettiest cats I've seen in awhile. These guys love playing laser tag and like to follow me around and talk while I'm at the shelter. This pose is typical of how these big babies relax!
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
These two small works are two of six paintings I'll have showing at the Bendheim Gallery in Greenwich. All works are priced under $500 - a recession show, of sorts =). The Opening reception is May 16, noon to 4pm. Please feel free to visit any day during the month of May to see the show!
The gallery is located in Greenwich, the directions are posted at this link:http://www.greenwicharts.org/directions.asp
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
My mother, Ruth, passed away 5 years ago last week, just shy of her 85th birthday. The days right before she died she griped in her hilarious, self-deprecating way about how she just COULD NOT accept that she would actually live to be 85 - to her, this landmark age went beyond being an "ancient old relic". There's no doubt in my mind that she might have smiled as she moved into the next world, knowing that she needn't face that frightful age officially. For Ruthy was ready to go; in fact beyond ready. Her heart was slowing down to the point that moving from one room to another was a workout, and her world had narrowed down to a pinpoint. This robust, unstoppable force of a woman, with a big heart and bigger laugh morphed to a tiny, fragile old lady - the too-big heart being her undoing in the end. Through it all - the hospitals, rehab centers, progressing from her proud independence to a cane and then to a walker and wheelchair, she never lost her remarkable sense of humor.
After five years I still miss our daily talks and her ability to make me laugh out loud, and often. There are moments when I will pick up the phone, the urge still so great to call her that I forget she's gone. I miss how she always 'had my back', even from afar. But I have a sense she still does, that she has all of our backs and that comforts me.
And last Thursday, on the day she would've turned 90, I believe she was somewhere laughing at the notion that she didn't have to endure the 'torture' of reaching THAT ripe old milestone.
I'm currently working on a few small paintings for the "Under 500" art show at the Bendheim Gallery in Greenwich, CT. The show goes up at the end of April and on display through June 16. All the work will be priced at $500 and under, which is great considering the current economy. I'm hoping to include around 6 paintings for this one and looking forward to working again with the Greenwich Arts Council at Bendheim Gallery - it's a great group! More details and images included in the show to come.....
Saturday, March 7, 2009
I am currently working on small paintings for an upcoming show of former solo artists featured at the Bendheim Gallery in downtown Greenwich May through June. All work shown in the gallery will be offered for no greater than $500, framed. I will be hanging several new small works for the show, similar in size and content to Pear on Vintage (12x12 framed).
Please stay tuned and I will post more details as they come, and follow the link for information on the Bendheim Gallery.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
This is Amelia, a shy little kitten with beautiful tortoiseshell markings. She reminds me of my cat from years ago we named Gremlin - same luxurious coat and tiny white markings on the face. We brought Gremlin home as a kitten from a loving family with several little kids, so she was quite friendly and had a ton of character. In fact, Gremlin had significantly wonderful ATTITUDE, which I've heard is a signature quality among tortoiseshell cats. I don't know if that's true, but it sure was the case with Gremlin (who, by the way, was appropriately named after the wild little creatures in the 80's movie of the same name as she reminded us of their leader, Spike!).
Amelia is very shy, but coming into her own. She was brought to Stratford Cat Project as a terrified kitten, who's slowly warming to her environment and caretakers. She is gentle in her shyness, but I sense that somewhere hidden in that beautiful tortie coat is another fun-loving Gremlin. In fact, recently I found that she plays a wicked game of laser-mouse tag!
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Four of my paintings have been chosen to be shown in an upcoming GE's Third Annual Women's History Month Art Show. They will be displayed along with the work of four other artists at GE headquarters throughout March and April. Pretty exciting!!
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Meet Laughing Fox and Killdeer, my two new portraits of animals rescued through the Wildlife in Crisis group in Weston.
The back stories on these two are quite sad, especially for Laughing Fox, but the good news is that once they were brought in to WIC they were cared for, rehabilitated and set back out into the wild to live as they were meant to.
The ongoing issue with the majority of these injured animals is the encroachment of land development into their habitat. For injured birds like the killdeer, the issue is free roaming cats, usually domesticated cats - yet another good reason to keep our cats inside and safe!
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Another painting featuring my neighbor's glorious french lilacs. More magenta than lilac in color, the individual flowerets are saturated with deep red/purple hues. Each blossom is so profuse with flowers that they bring to mind a lush velvet, both texturally and visually. I've created set-ups with white lilacs and have worked with the lighter-hued violet lilacs, but there is nothing, in my humble opinion, quite as gorgeous as the depth of color you get with french lilacs!
I chose to showcase the blossoms and the color of the lilacs in this painting by using an offset of neutral background of white on white.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
The Wildlife in Crisis sanctuary in Weston, CT rescues injured animals and those who have been abandoned as infants. This little bobcat was one of the many rescued animals that end up at the sanctuary. The work this group does with the wildlife they rehabilitate is amazing - this bobcat is now back in the wild and living it's life as it was meant to.
I was drawn to this bobcat because of his sweet, but cautious eyes. It's still a work in progress, but most of the fine tuning will involve bringing out the whiskers from a technique that scratches a fine line in the paint, revealing the white of the paper. Since I don't utilize masking fluid, I rely on scratching sometimes for the tiniest element of the painting, such as highlights and whiskers.
Update: Babycat is done and ready to roll. He will be featured in an upcoming show featuring Wildlife in Crisis photos and watercolor portraits. Please stay tuned for details and new paintings!
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Sweet Fiona is a timid girl, but easily one of the most beautiful cats I've seen in a while! She is a soft, plush pillow of long, solid gray fur, with pure white accents that enhance the beauty of her face. In my opinion, her snow white bowtie of a mustache, and the golden/green eyes set her apart from the others. It's hard not to be struck by her gorgeous physical appearance.
Fiona is always very curious about me whenever I come by to visit, but likes to observe my presence from a vantage point above. She's one of those cats who seem to actually listen when you speak to them, and her expressive eyes will convince you that she understands! At any given moment I can look up to where she's perched and see her fixed, calm gaze following my every move. And listening. I do seem to fascinate her, but she's still a little shy about physical contact. However, lately I think she is becoming more comfortable with me, and comes down from her perch to enjoy a fast-paced romp around the room chasing a laser beam "mouse" with the other cats. Frankly, Fiona is the best beam hunter in the group - she lets it come to her, and then a lightning quick paw smacks it down [or at least, it would if the beam were a real mouse!]