Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ruddy Duck Drake in Acrylic

 Yesterday,I posted a pair of Ruddy ducks, but I felt I needed to do another one this time showcasing the drake in his breeding plumage. They are really quite striking in their shades of red and, yes, their bills are really that blue. In the winter this bird is roughly the same color as the hen and only turns this color in the spring and summer. I noticed on my walk today that the drake was still here sleeping in the quiet back waters, though I did not see the hen. Perhaps she is nesting nearby. If that be the case I hope I am present when the ducklings hatch and they bravely swim out into the world. That would be such an awesome treat to see!!

This little guy is also for sale at my Etsy store. This is another miniature painting, 4" x 5" and is in acrylic also. The price for this one is $45.00. The two paintings would make a wonderful gift for a bird lover or waterfowl hunter. Maybe a great Fathers day surprise?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I See You - Ruddy Ducks in Acrylic

Sitting in a quiet pool amidst the reflections of the overhanging foliage is a resting pair of Ruddy Ducks. The male sports his reddish-orange breeding plumage, while the female is dressed in soft grays and browns to disguise her from predators when she's nesting. Though they appear totally at peace look are being watched! Your presence has not gone unnoticed!

I saw this pair last week resting in a backwater slough along the river where I walk. They were there for at least three days and let me approach fairly close so I took lots of photographs. I was quite taken with the males beautiful red feathers and also very intrigued by the patterns of the foliage reflections in the water. I decided to try and combine the two into one painting.

Ruddy ducks are one of our smallest ducks weighing in at a little over 1 lb. and are sometimes called "stiff tails". The females are unique in that they lay the largest eggs relative to their body size and one clutch of eggs can outweigh the hen! A clutch can be from 6 to 10 eggs. Yikes!

This painting is a mere 5" x 5" square and is painted in acrylic on a hardboard panel. It is available for purchase through my Etsy store for $55.00. Just click on the link and it's yours!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New Collage - Bluebird

I found some time this week to create a few more collages. I've had some ideas that I wanted to try and this was one of my efforts that turned out well enough to post. The others...well let's just pretend they don't exist!!

This is a 6" x 6" x 5/8" collage on stretched canvas. It is mostly an acrylic painting with a few items collaged on to it. I was trying to create something a little more contemporary and decorative( the background mostly) while still including my signature realism and detail(the bird). I think this one turned out pretty well. I enjoyed this one a little more I think because of the simplicity of the design and that there are fewer elements glued to it. I have discovered that acrylic matte medium( the adhesive I was using) coats fingers very well and does NOT come off easily. Using vinyl gloves designed to fit my husbands hands only compounded the problem so less gluing makes me much happier! I also completed another collage at the same time that included lots of gluing, but I will post that at another time when I can think of nice things to say about it!!

This piece is available through my Etsy store for $35.00 and might be just the thing to cheer up someones day!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Three Schnauzers

Here is the surprise painting I last spoke about! I really wanted to post it sooner, but was afraid it would ruin the surprise. This painting was for my friend, Dana, and her husband and I had to do a lot of sneaking around to get photos. He was not confident that he could get the poses I needed and we were working with a couple of deadlines. First, there was the deadline of the anniversary. Then there was the more pressing deadline of not knowing how long one of the dogs was going to live. You see, the dog in the middle, P.C., is quite old and was really starting to have problems. And as those who have pets know it's so hard to decide when it's time to let them go. But P.C. hung in there, living a good life and even having a little adventure a few weeks back. He tolerated us through all the picture taking ( actually slept through most of it!), but was very alert when the treats came out so I was able to get a few good shots with his head up and eyes open. 

I really enjoyed creating this painting not just because it was for some great friends, but because I had gotten to know all three Schnauzers over the years.  Each one was so different from the other and the two younger ones, Jasmine, the black one, and Mia, the one on the right, loved it when my husband and I visited. They especially love my husband and we joke that it's because of the mustache. He has a great, thick one and we think the dogs look at him as one of them!!  P.C. was a pretty old gentleman already by the first time I met him so he was just content to greet you at the door, give you a good sniff and then find a good spot for a nap. 

When creating a painting for someone I try to get to know the dogs as best as I can through my clients photos and their memories. If the dogs are alive sometimes I get to meet them and that helps me to capture their personalities better. Knowing all three of these dogs helped to some degree to get it right, but some of what I do just happens as I paint. Some of it is intuitive, some of it is just knowing my materials and how dogs are put together.  Often times I feel that I have a lot of help from an unseen source because I'm able to capture a look or snippet of personality that I can't possibly know about. Some people call this their "muse". I know that God has gifted me with this ability and I believe he's the one guiding my hand as I paint. He helps me to add that special "something" that really touches the ones receiving the painting.

Dana called me last night to tell me how pleased she was with her surprise painting. It was especially meaningful as P.C. passed away just the week before. She told me how much she loved the arrangement of the dogs, the colors in the background, how I had captured each dog perfectly. She loved everything about it and if she had commissioned it herself would have wanted it to look just as I made it. Of course, I'm always happy to hear that I've done a good job, but I also know that it's not all me. I'm just grateful for the gifts I've been blessed with and always appreciative of that unseen help!

So now it's on to some other projects! This was my last commission and I have already started on some other small works that will be for sale. Hopefully, in the next few weeks I will be posting those. Thanks for joining me here today and hope that you enjoyed the Schnauzers!