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Custom Pet Portraits Preserve Precious Memories

I have been doing pet portraits for about 30 years.  Like most things, it started with my pets.  Then when family members saw what I had done, they wanted portraits of their pets.  My Dad’s cats.  My sister’s dog.  And it spread from there.  I’ve lost count of how many I have done, but I can say they are hanging in homes across the country.  As time went on I expanded the media I employed.  First it was all watercolor.  Here are some the earliest ones:

This was my first one.  My two cats, Jessica (the grey

Jessica and Gizmo stole my chair

one) and Gizmo (the Tabby).  I really loved those two.  Jessica was with me for 24 years.  Two weeks after Jessica crossed the Rainbow Bridge, Gizmo passed.  He died of a broken heart.  I realized just now I did a second painting of them.  It is the second one below.

Playing Hide and Seek

They were always chasing each other around. When they weren’t napping, that is.  When my parents saw these, they wanted one of their cats.  They were the funniest pair I’ve ever encountered and capturing photos became the biggest challenge.  They were litter-mates and always together.  Cutie Pies.  I called this “Better Water Here”.

Better Water Here

 

 

As I mentioned, they it was my sister.  She was crazy about her rottweiler, Rip, and when she lost him, it was time to paint my first dog.  Fortunately she had quite few good photos, and she mailed them to me.  This is the result:

Krissy’s Rip

 

From this one, word spread.  I began to take orders from her friends, and my friends, then friends of our friends!  Since then, I’ve done portraits in Acrylic, Soft pastel and Scratchbord (TM).  Scratchbord portraits are some of my favorites, but are best with the pet is white, or mostly white.  Here are a couple of samples:

Ceasar: Ink and Sratchbord Black Pet Portrait
Little Bear: Ink and Scratcbord Black Pet Portrait

So, what is Scratchbord? It is actually white clay, baked on to Masonite, then coated 32 times with black India Ink. The manufacturer is Ampersand.

So that is how I buy it.  I then use a tiny knife, steel wool and various other specialized tools, to scratch through the ink, down to the white clay, leaving as much ink as is needed to create depth and texture.  Then I use ink to paint in features such as the eyes, and the pinks and blues visible in Ceasar (the cat).  I’ve done hundreds.  I have never had one rejected.  I know the owners love their paintings as much as I love to recall the antics of my cats when I look at those paintings.

Most pet portraits take a few weeks to complete.  Pricing is based primarily on size, but if you want a scratchbord piece remember it is really only good for white or mostly white animals.  I can use paper, canvas, panel/wood for watercolor, oil pastel, soft pastel or acrylic.  You can view how various media look on the pet portraits page here.

I need 5 or 6 photos of the pet.  You can choose to have me paint a particular photo that you love, or ask me to paint a composite with fully realistic impression of the pet.  I require a 50% deposit, with balance due upon final acceptance of the piece.  You can contact me with the form below to get a quote.  Standard sizes are 8 x 8, 8 x 10, 10 x 12, 10 x 10, 12 x 16, 12 x 12, 16 x 16 or 16 x 20.  I can go bigger but it starts getting expensive and takes up alot of wall space.

Save those precious memories!  Order a Pet Portrait!

[contact-form][contact-field label=”Name” type=”name” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Website” type=”url” /][contact-field label=”Message” type=”textarea” /][/contact-form]

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New Ideas for Gift Giving

Yes, I know.  I’m not the most prolific poster.  While I’ve said it before, I am trying to be more diligent on that score.  For this holiday coming, I’ve set up a page of smaller, less expensive works that fit well in the gift giving genre.  In addition, I’m working on more!  One of my new products are small boxes that are perfect for dried flowers or even wooden utensil storage.  I make them out of wood, then paint them with acrylic paint with some of the images I’m best known for…flowers of course.  There is only one left at this juncture, so I am making more as fast as I can.  They are very

Sunflowers Squared Box

affordable at only $30, so they have been selling quite quickly..almost as fast as I can make them.  So, check out the gifts page. You may just find the perfect gift for your loved ones.  Let me know if you have questions.  Just leave a comment here or fill out my contact page.

 

 

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Tech Savy and Art: An awkward combination?

So, after a year or so, okay, emphasis on the “so”, I moved my old blogspot blog to this site, en toto.  I did the first steps all by my not so big self, though it did require an hour and some minor cursing from my tech guru husband.  At any rate, it’s done! Wahoos are in order for me, as I left the old blog unattended while I was working on this website. So, for those of you who were following the old blog via RSS, the links in RSS will now bring you right here, and you can even look at the old posts and photos contained in them.

Now, with a few more tweaks, I can return to painting.  Yes, being an artist is hard work. While skill and passion is a known requirement, these days, so is discipline and marketing savy.  Ouch.  It’s a work in process.  Of course.

There will be some notable changes coming here.  While the emphasis of being a gallery has lingered, it will be changing soon, to my personal work. However, there may be “popUP” times when I’m promoting someone else.  We’ll just have to see how it goes. I get it, you follow me for me. For who I am and what I do, and from here, I’m beginning again, starting anew. I hope you’ll come along.  And let me know what you’d like to see?  I’d love that!  Thank you!

 

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Pondering the "Markers" in My Life

I’m not entirely sure why, but I have found myself pondering some of the more memorable “markers” in my life, that led to some kind of change. While there were some big ones that occurred in my late teens and early twenties, it is the more recent experiences that have been running through my mind, impacting my dreams too.

First, comes the whale.  John and I were on holiday in Mexico and we decided to take a trip out in a small boat with a guide in search of migrating whales.  It was a gray, rainy day.  Cold too.  We were given rain ponchos and off we went.  The small boat smacking hard against surf churned up by the wind made me hold on tight, fearing we’d be thrown out of the boat.  I was thinking, “what were we thinking?”  when the “scout” shouted and pointed.  The boat turned in the direction of his point and then abruptly came to a stop.  Not 50 yards away, a Mother Humpback was playing with her child.  Up out of the water she would come, splashing down soaking us all.  Then up came the baby, repeating the action of the mom.  Closer they came, and closer.  I’m not sure exactly how close, but when I could see her eye it was like looking into the vast stored memories of history.  All of it.  It was only a second, but it seemed like forever.  Off they sped, surfacing and diving, till they were gone from sight.

I can’t explain how incredibly Spiritual it was. In my heart there is no other word to describe it.  As we rode back to the shore no one spoke.  The rain suddenly felt like a cleansing shower.  I have no photos.  I had the camera but was so struck in the watching that I completely forgot to pick it up. 

I’m not sure why I’ve been thinking about that.  But this I know…I’ll never forget it. 

It was a similar experience with a Bald Eagle.  I was headed to the gallery one day, about a year ago.  It was fall, the air was clear and the sky was that bright cerulean blue.  I turned from our road on to highway 64 and a few moments later something caught the peripheral vision of my left eye.  I glanced at the window, and there, flying beside my car was a Bald Eagle.  It caught my breath.  I slowed (I hadn’t come to full speed yet) and glanced in my mirror to see no one behind me.  I looked again, the magnificent bird was still there, flying right beside me.  He stayed with me for about a mile.  Then he swooped up and around and disappeared.  I pulled off the road.  I had tears running down my face, and was filled with a sense of awe, of hope, of courage, of strength. 

What did that mean? Why did that happen?  I don’t know.  I do know the overwhelming feelings that it (the experience) inspired.  I am grateful.  Always seeking more, intent on always watching for the sweet moments of healing, hope and encouragement.  Seeking to understand the markers and the impact they have had on me. 

And I am blessed.  That such gifts have touched my life is overwhelming, humbling and still fills me with a sense of wonder and gratitude.  I hope sharing it blesses you too. Happy Sunday.

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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Jumping thru June

Ok, so not exactly.  But when my husband came into the kitchen where I was finishing up the dishes and said, “I have an idea for you…’Jumping through June’ ….since you’ve not posted since ‘Meandering into March.”  “very funny” I smirked.  “you know how hard it is to type with one hand!”  Of course he does, since his hands are so disfigured by R.A.  None-the-less, he was right.  One handed or not, it is way past time to post.  So, here’s the story.  Short version.  I got my right leg tangled in a cable and when i moved forward, it did not go with me, knocking me off balance.  I reached for the couch to catch myself, but the couch slid and I was headed for the brick floor.  The sliding couch had sort of torqued me around and i was falling backward.  Somehow i got my left hand behind my head just before I bounced on the brick,instantly writhing in pain. Broken bones?  no.  Crushed knuckles. Crushed, mangled muscle,tendon and cartilage in the main knuckles of my thumb, index finger, middle finger and ring finger, pinky to a lesser degree.  It happened May 17 or 18..I’m not entirely sure which.  I did mange to get my rings off before my hand grew fat and puffy.  Black, blue, green and yellow.  Now its mostly normal looking, though puffy between the knuckles and between the index finger and the thumb.  Still sore, and weak, though I try hard to keep my fingers moving. Pressure, lifting, twisting or pressing all hurt.  So here I my still handed.  Jumping? Definitely not.

Despite that, life goes on.  newest news is that I am working with the Veterans Healing Retreats that are running in Angel Fire this summer, teaching watercolor as relaxation tool.  It has been fun and incredibly rewarding. Speaking of which, I need to get ready to go.  I’ll try to be more reliable here.  Thanks for hanging with me!

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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Happy New Year…It’s been too long!

It’s not that I don’t think about it.  I do, and alot.  So many things have intervened since the last post, it’s hard to remember them all.  Part of the delay was surely the laptop, which I breezed by in the last post. Out with the old, in with the new.  It still amazes me how long it takes to make that transition, but it is done and I love my new HP, though I’m not wild about the touchpad.  That said, it’s pretty much the only thing I’d change on the machine, and it is so light I actually don’t mind carrying it around! 

Then, Wooosh, the holidays were upon us.  Time literally seemed to fly.  The 7th Anniversary of the Gallery, that was in the planning for 7 months (or more) came off quite well, even though there were far fewer in attendance that I expected, it worked out well given the small size of the current venue.  I posted video on facebook, but here it is again, just in case you don’t do the fb thing.

 Not sure we could have packed in any more folks as it was!  The musician is Tom Perry and he was great!  So, that was December 17th, and then the march was on to Christmas.  Then New Years.  Now it is the 3rd of January and tomorrow is my sister’s birthday.  Happy Birthday Beckles!  I won’t whisper her age, cuz I’m much older!  

Ok, so I’ll be 50 this year.  I can hardly wrap my brain around it.  Likely though, it won’t be much different than being 49. I spent most of this day painting, and that was wonderful.  Particularly since I’ve kind of been putting it off.  Dily Dallying around.  Doing the drawing, throughing it away and doing it again. It’s a commission, for a friend of mine.  Those are generally hard anyway, but this involves the human form and though I know “how” I’m reluctant to delve in.  It’s his dad.  The complication is that I don’t know his dad.  Painting from a photograph is ok if it’s a flower, but people, well, it’s more complicated…or at least it can be.  I procrastinated, and last night, when John said, “are you going to paint tomorrow?” I hedged.  I finally said, “I’m struggling with this one”.  He said, “I noticed”.  

Then, this afternoon, something happened.  The house was quiet.  The studio, recently cleaned, bekoned. And there, on my table was a blank canvas and a drawing on paper next to it.  When I do detail on canvas, I do the drawing on my computer (in Corel Painter) and then print it, and if happy, transfer to the canvas, so that I don’t damage the canvas with erasures and extra graphite.   I got out my transfer sheet, traced the image on to the canvas, opened my watercolor palette and wet the paint.  I sat down, and painted. Didn’t look up, didn’t hesitate for a moment.  Lost in the painting and time did not exist.  When I stood up and stretched, I glanced at the clock. Two hours had passed.  I’m not sure it’s done, but I think it’s close.  Very close.  


I love it when that happens.  Happy New Year!

 

 

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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Quiet Saturday but for Loud thunder

Thunder is booming outside. O dear! On the other hand maybe it will send some Summerfest revelers toward this gallery! That would be a good thing. We’ll see.

In the meantime I’m doing some catching up. Bookkeeping, (ugh) up-cleaning, touch up here and there. Still need to stain one side of the front door, and stain the door between the two rooms, but it’s not to pressing. If it’s this quiet tomorrow maybe I’ll tackle that then. It’s kind of weird to be the only open business in the Centro Plaza on a Saturday afternoon. Hopefully as people get familiar with my new location and new hours they will come find me!

In the meantime I’ll keep my hands busy getting things ready for Arts About Town and the next trail event (Labor Day weekend) Can you believe it’s less than a month away? Stunning how fast this summer has flown. Before that, there will be my 7th Annual MFAF Gallery Reception. It’s a bit later in the month this year. Mark the calendar for the 31st (it’s a Tuesday) and plan to come to the festivities. It’s always one of the biggest receptions of the year.

Speaking of which, I need to get to work on the invitations. Later, friends.

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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Brrrrr. Global Warming? Not here!

Let’s see, roughly 16 inches of snow. 5 foot drifts and it’s 10 degrees and still snowing. Open the door to let the (crazy) dog out and got blasted with snow and in 2 seconds I’m covered and white. The screen door won’t close for all the snow piled on it, under it and around it. I cleared it out last night…no more.

While it’s great for the Mountain, (yay) it doesn’t bode well for getting to the gallery soon. I’ll continue to hope so, but it’s 9:35 and I can’t see my neighbors house.

Brrr. Think I better go build another fire.

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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White Out

I’m largely settled in, in the new gallery. I love it…love the energy…it feels warm and elegant. I’d like to think I’m done, though there are still about 30 boxes of miscellanea upstairs awaiting my attention. I was going to do that today but was told to “go home” by the powers that be and many locals who watch out for me. The weather outside is frightful…it took 40 minutes to make the 15 minute drive home! White out. Which is funny because all the weather know it alls say “light snow possible.” In 4 hours Angel Fire village got 4 or more inches (at least, that’s what I trudged through to get to my car. And it was blowing at 40 mph all the way up highways 434 and 64. So much for going to the Rotary Club’s Wine Tasting Benefit tonight…I’ll forego that jaunt and pour myself a glass of my favorite budget red, Concha Y Toro Cabernet/Merlot blend.

I looked at the Resorts Snow total. No way. It said “0” inches in the past 24 hours. I know that there are about 50 micro-climates in 12 miles in this valley, but come on..really? If it was 4 or 5 inches around my car in the village…surely there’s more new powder on those slopes!

Anyway..the wind is still sending the flakes flying against the screen doors, turning them from black to white checked images reminiscent of a greeting card. Speaking of which..I haven’t got there yet. Sorry friends…maybe you’ll get a New Year’s card from us!

In the meantime, I think I’ll light a fire. Sounds toasty. Stay warm!

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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My newest paintings

Well, I finally got it done. Those layers and layers I wrote about a few days ago. I lost count of how many hours I worked on it, and to be honest there is a little bit left to do, but I will likely not get it done before we head home. Since it needs time to dry, I’ll probably wait. In the meantime, what I have to do will be almost imperceptible to most, so here it is. “Wrapped in Gold”. I still don’t know exactly how big it is, but I cropped the photo where the canvas will wrap around the edges of the wood.

That done (or done enough for now) I whipped out another sheet of YUPO paper and let the brush fly. I was having so much fun, I couldn’t stop, so John went to bed without me and I painted well into the wee hours of the morning. Then I fell into a peaceful sleep. When I woke up, the painting had changed so much in it’s drying (apparently the counter it was on is not perfectly flat!) that I ended up with a whole new course to take! Anyway, this is what came out of it. “Waving Goodbye” is 20 x 14 (I think) and is, of course, Watercolor on Yupo. I’d love to do another, but there just isn’t enough time for drying left before we have to leave. Sigh. It’s kind of wierd. We have been for a week longer than we normally are, but I managed to finish only 7 pieces…exactly half as many as I usually do. I honestly think that’s because I spent the first two weeks essentially brain dead. At any rate, I’m thrilled to be painting again, and resolutely refusing to think about what awaits me on my return!

I have decided, though, to NOT make a mad dash to put the gallery together. I will take my time and do it right. I need to walk through the newly renovated space (assuming it will be done!) and get the ‘feel’ of the space. Observe the energy and discern if I need to paint, and if so what color, and where to put what and so on. At the same time, I have a grant to finish for the Arts Council and paperwork to file for the Art Trail (Northeastern New Mexico Arts Alliance) and I’m sure, mountains and mountains of mail. While it did manage to wake me up in the middle of the night last night I’m keeping my eyes on the goal and soul in the free place that painting brings. Stay tuned.

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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