Tuesday, February 27, 2007

just checking in...

Yeah, I'm still around. It's just one of those totally insane weeks. For some silly reason I agreed to host a poultry show meeting this coming weekend. Those are enough work normally, and in the midst of the wall-painting and room-rearranging adventure it's chaos. Gotta paint the last wall tomorrow and then I MUST get the furniture out of the middle of the room! I'd scooted the art table back into place last week so I could do some drawing, but nothing else is put away other than what I was working on today. I have not had time to work on the Aseel drawing at all since Thursday, just been too darn busy. I did take it with me to the show last weekend though and showed a few people and it went over well. I've found someone who prints giclees, so I'm gonna go for it when this is done.

I went to Utrecht Art today and bought a really nice easel so that I can be set up permanently for painting, and I'm totally rearranging the furniture in here, both studio and otherwise (my studio is in part of the front room of the house, along with the computer, a piano, couch, dining room, etc. It's nothing grand). Moving the piano is a challenge, dang that thing's heavy! I am also finally finishing a set of shelves that I inherited from the art department quite some time ago, and it's been living in the barn ever since (there was no room in here for it!). I sanded it today and will paint it tomorrow, and then I need to put the shelves in (it has support braces but no solid shelves, I think I'm going to use acid free foam board instead of buying and cutting wood). It'll be a place to store prints and sketches and paper and mat boards and anything else that needs to stay flat. I also use the handy dandy spaces under all the couches, and I had a bunch of stuff crammed behind the couch in here but now that I'm moving that into the middle of the room I have to relocate it. Fun fun fun.

So, I realize this has been a totally useless blog entry but I just wanted to say I'm alive and really busy but unfortunately not with art production.

Oh and I still haven't set up the bird breeding pens and quite frankly I don't want to hatch a bunch of chicks this year. There, I said it. What's wrong with me?! I'll have to hatch a bunch anyway because that's what it takes but I just feel like "oh geez, here we go again." I wish I could only hatch good ones, that would sure simplify it! ;-)

OH! Ha ha, yeah, so I went to a poultry show down in Fresno this weekend. Last show of the season for me, probably, at least in state (hmm.. thinking...) It was a good turnout there, lots of good birds, big class. I got Best RCCL and Reserve APA Bantam. I have to clarify that's APA Bantam because overall the Reserve Bantam was Mallard duck, but since the APA considers those to be waterfowl and the ABA considers them Bantams, it gets a bit complicated. My bird did well, that's what counts. It's that same black cockerel who has been doing well at the last few show, he sure did turn out nice. I wasn't too sure about him at first.

Gotta go to bed, tomorrow's another crazy day....

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Feb 22 work in progress

Well, obviously I did not meet my goal of finishing this by today. Shoot! Not that it's a hugely big deal, I was just hoping to show it off this weekend. It'll be done next week for sure, I think! I think if I hadn't been up to my eyeballs moving furniture and painting walls last weekend I could have gotten it done. Yeah, I'll blame that.

Not much drawing time today. I moved the lamp to a different angle for the photo tonight to try to cut down the glare. Remember, all these "Work In Progress" photos are taken LATE at night with no flash and are not color corrected. This piece will have to be professionally scanned when it's done, I won't be able to do it myself. But in daylight I ought to be able to shoot a good-enough-for-website photo when it's done.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Feb 21 work in progress

Criminy, how did it get so late again.

More work on the background today. The entire top area will be fairly dark graphite too, except for the lights, and there will be some gradation overall so it's not entirely one color and overly dark. The darkness concerns me a little, but... I think it'll be okay. So, why did I not do the background first if I knew all along what it would be? It's always tempting. I mean, the bird is the most fun part of the art, so why not get the rest of it out of the way. If the whole thing was in colored pencil I might have been able to get away with that. But graphite is very slick and very smudgy, and if I'd gotten smudgy parts on the undrawn bird area, it would have been hard to color over. Of course that just means I now have to be exceedingly careful not to smudge the background onto the bird! The background tone will have to be adjusted to fit the bird, which is another reason I didn't want to just block in a dark background right away. I may have to lighten or darken bits and pieces of the background to really make it work. It's not done... and likely won't be done this week, darn it! If I didn't have litho tomorrow I could maybe pull it off but oh well. The foreground is not done either, there is going to be shadowing around the legs and more color brought into the flat gray area. This is a difficult piece. Maybe the smart thing would have been to make the bird white, but dang I love the spangled color! :-)

I also spent a couple hours framing today. I don't talk about framing much but I do a fair amount of custom framing. It's very satisfying to be able to frame my own work for clients, I like being the one to decide how the work will be displayed! So these are three pairs of Standard drawings that are being delivered this weekend. Pardon Olin, the photo that he didn't walk into was blurry so I had to use this one.

Feb 20 work in progress

And so begins the background...

I'll talk more about it tomorrow. Oh, it already is tomorrow. Ugh! Bed time.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Feb 19 work in progress

Well, I'd had in mind to spend gobs of time drawing this weekend, but that didn't work out as planned, because I spent darn near the entire weekend painting. And I don't mean art painting, I mean painting the walls. UGH. Not my idea...though I will admit it's a big improvement. Also a real pain in the butt, and the room is in total disarray now (this is the room with my studio..) It's forcing me to sort through all my junk and move things and clean it and probably throw a lot away, which ultimately is good, but it's a pain. Might end up doing some major rearranging of furniture too. I want to set up a painting easel on a more permanent basis, I think that might inspire me to actually get some paintings done, rather than thinking "oh geez, have set up the easel and dropcloth and get out the paints and blah blah" I want it all right there ready to go. So I'll probably move the recliner and put the easel there. I'm also thinking I may just buy a good easel. I have one of those jullian box ones that folds up, and it's not very sturdy, doesn't hold a big canvas, takes a lot of floor space, etc. I got a gift certificate to an art store for Christmas so perhaps it's time to buy a real easel.... Hmm, I'll have to ponder this.

Anyway, I did get some drawing done, just not nearly as much as I had wanted. The "wax bloom" is really obvious in the photo now, see how dull black the chest and wings look compared to the tail? Don't worry, it'll all get polished off when it's done! The legs are not finished yet, and the background hasn't even begun to take shape. I want to get this done this week, so between that and putting the studio/living room back together, getting ready for another show, painting, etc, it'll be a busy week!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

check it out!

Hey everyone, be sure to pick up the March/April issue of Hobby Farms magazine! I was interviewed for the article about exhibition poultry! :-)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Feb 15 works in progress

Well, this being Thursday I of course spent much of the day in the litho studio. I finished drawing the image on the stone, and did the first etch. Next time I'll ink it up, and etch it again, and see how it looks, and some time after that I'll be printing it. Cross your fingers, it's a delicate process and it's been a while....

So, here it is. The figure is drawn with litho crayons, the background is solid ink (I first masked off the horse and rider with gum arabic, and then inked over that, I know this doesn't make a lick of sense if you haven't seen lithography). The background will actually be solid black. It looks gray here because I put a lot of talc into it to dry it out so that I could work on the drawing. But, here you can see the whole stone and everything. Remember, this type of printingmaking makes MULTIPLE ORIGINALS, it is NOT a print of something else. I drew that on the stone. Next Thursday that "original drawing" will be gone, washed out and replaced with ink, and later in the process the ink is offset onto paper. Nifty huh? This is real true honest to goodness limited edition printmaking. There probably won't be more than 20 or so images printed from this stone.

not yet titled
7x9 inches
price to be determined on completion of edition

I wasn't home much today so I didn't have a lot of time to work on this guy. Nooo, the tail is not done!

not yet titled Aseel (Asil), I'm open to suggestions on the title
14 by 16 inches
colored pencil and graphite (and more?)
$2240 if purchased before I finish it (may go up on completion, or may not, don't know yet).
Will likely be my first release of a limited edition print.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Feb 14 works in progress

Figured I REALLY needed to go ahead and start these dog paintings, so this is just the background base coat. It's not that I haven't wanted to work on them, I've just been pretty immersed in chicken art.

Yeah, chicken art, like this guy... Progress, but slow...this is a very complex color. The first stages of the drawing are starting to change, they have a dull waxy layer over them now, which is affecting how the light reflects. This is a totally normal part of the colored pencil process, it's called wax bloom (the wax in the pencils will "bloom" out of the drawing). I just let the whole thing wax over and very gently wipe it all off when it's completed. Not a big deal at all, but if you notice it starting to look dull compared to the freshly drawn areas, that's why. Once it has "fully bloomed" and been wiped clean it won't happen again, and I make sure of that by spraying a fixative on it (but the trick is to let it bloom first!)

the most depressing day of the year

Yeah yeah, Happy Valentine's Day...

It's been a pretty busy day. I had to go order frames for the two pairs of Phoenix drawings and the Buff Polish drawings, since I am delivering them all to their buyers at a show next weekend. And then I had to drop off the Phoenix and the newly-finished Japanese Bantam at the photographer's studio. There was a time not too long ago when I didn't get all my work photographed, and I regret that. Now I get pretty much everything photographed, at least all the drawings!

So, my evening is pretty predictably dull. I have some 80s music blasting on iTunes, I'm drawing the Aseel, maybe squeezing in a bit of painting (?), and as soon as the margarine warms to room temperature I am going to bake some sinfully decadent brownies. I feel entitled to chocolate, even if I do have to create it myself. ;-)

Oh one of these years.... *sigh*

Anyway, I've posted this before but if anyone is out there with nothing to do tonight, I highly suggest making these:


1 cup butter or margarine
1-3/4 cups brown sugar
5 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup cocoa
3 tablespoons canola (veg) oil
2 tablespoons chocolate cream liqueur
1 tablespoon Hershey's syrup
1 cup flour
pinch of salt

Cream margarine and sugar until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla, beat thoroughly. Add cocoa, oil, liqueur, and chocolate syrup, beat til smooth. Add flour and salt, and mix until combined.

Pour into greased 9x13" pan. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 27 minutes, or until top no longer looks "wet," toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, and edges are just starting to pull away from the pan. Serve warm! Yummy! :-)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Feb 13 work in progress

I took this one this afternoon just because black feathers in their early stages are kind of interesting.

And here's one from tonight. The lower part of the wing is not done.

I've been thinking a lot about limited edition prints, and as much as I dislike the gimmicky aspect (as a REAL printmaker, I know that the only reason to limit printing of "copy prints" is marketing), I think I'm going to go for it. Why? Well, exactly because of the marketing aspect. People expect limited edition prints, galleries accept them, they command a higher price than open-edition prints, and I can't do this on commissions alone. I certainly would not print every image I do, but in the future there will be drawings that go that route, and this Aseel is likely to be the first of them. And the original is for sale. Have I mentioned I'm totally excited about this drawing? :-) I am making him pretty darn perfectly-marked, more so than I intended but that just seems to be what comes naturally to me. I am not working from a reference photo. Well sort of, a hodge podge of different pics photoshopped together, but I do not have a photograph of a bird this color in this pose, or even or a bird this color in this breed, or a bird this color that's this well marked. It's all in my head I guess!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Feb 12 work in progress

I was going to work on this more tonight but I'm still really tired, so I'm calling it a night.

The back and shoulder area are not done..not even close. They will look like the hackle (neck) when finished. The hackle has eight layers of color. Right now the back and shoulder have only four.

hippies and hitch hikers

That could mean only one thing.. that I spent my weekend in Humboldt County! I left Friday morning for Eureka. ~310 miles. 6 hours. Rained almost the whole way up there, which is not my most favorite kind of driving weather. It wasn't bad though, traffic was light and the rain was never particularly hard. The worst thing is often the mist coming up off the tires from other vehicles!

It was a smallish show, only about 500 birds. I wish more people would go there, it always concerns me a bit to see a small turnout. It's a fun show, and a totally relaxing weekend for me. I went out for birthday dinner at Mazotti's Italian restaurant, and had the cannelloni, which was delicious. The only downside was being too full for dessert, because the tiramisu sounded pretty tempting...

I did well in the show, got Best RCCL with a Black Rosecomb cockerel. From what the judges said, I think the bird would have gone on to do even better than that but he has a pretty large chunk out of one of his tail feathers. That's nothing recent, he's had that for a while. It's always something.

I did take a bunch of pics this time. Mostly my own birds but a few others too.

The drive home was only 5.5 hours, and was only raining in Eureka. It was beatiful most of the way. I was sooo tired I almost pulled over to nap (I don't sleep well in strange places, so I'm always exhausted after shows!) but after stopping for lunch I felt fine.

There is just one more show that I will be attending this season, probably. I haven't totally ruled out going down to Ventura, but I'd call it unlikely. Time to start thinking about hatching. Aaaaack!

Sharing lunch with some of the pullets on the drive north (no, not driving at the time, I was stopped for lunch!). Is that morbid that it was a turkey sandwich?

Brassy Back Rosecomb pullet

The show, as seen through the cage of very large Embden goose.

Blue Brassy Back Rosecomb cockerel

Black Breasted Red Rosecomb cockerel in a weird pose

Black Rosecomb pullet

Blue Brassy Back Rosecomb pullet

Black Rosecomb cockerel (Best RCCL)

For A.R., I think your Aseel wins the "ugly face" award.

Friday, February 09, 2007

yes, it's today

Whaddya know, twenty-something again! ;-)

(here's a pic from my third, I remember that day...)

Blue Tailed Buff Japanese Bantam

Blue Tailed Buff Japanese Bantam female
5x7 inches
colored pencil, graphite, ink
on tan paper
sold, commission

Approved! :-)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Feb 8 work in progress

Maybe done, pending client approval. When you see the final scan you will understand how truly horrible these photographs are. :-) Better than nothing eh?

Didn't have time to work on the Aseel today. Thursdays are lithography days, so I'll need to remember to bring my camera out to the studio some time and photograph what I'm working on. It got a few "wows" today, so that's good. Just have to cross my fingers and hope it etches okay!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Feb 7 works in progress

Getting there. So something I think I'm going to hear a lot is "that looks like a Standard drawing" and I hope that's a compliment when people say it, because I'm rather proud of them. :-) Yes, this does look a whole heck of a lot like a Standard drawing. The only difference is it's smaller and I get to put the © on it, yay! It seemed appropriate for this piece to stick with the same non-distracting "backdrop" since the purpose of this piece is pretty much standard-like (to show the ideal for this color of this breed) and isn't a portrait of a particular bird.

Now this guy is not going to end up being all that Standard-like. The bird himself sort of will be, but when the context becomes apparent..nope. Of all the lovely simple colors I could have chosen I just had to decide to make him Spangled, which is a hugely difficult color to draw. I'm trying to follow the Standard description, but keep him "believeable" and not follow the pattern quite as perfectly as the Spangled Cornish, for example. That's hard, because I want to make him perfect. In real life these often have a LOT of solid white feathers, and although that's pretty I do want this to appeal to fanciers, so it's a fine line. Has to look good enough to win a show, game enough to be more than just a pretty bird, aesthetically pleasing to look at, but a mean-looking critter. It's a challenge, for sure. But, I LOVE this drawing, I'm super duper excited about it. ;-)

Monday, February 05, 2007

Feb 5 works in progress

Just needs a background now. I couldn't decide if I wanted light or dark so I decided to think about it til tomorrow. K- do you want a darker blue? I know everyone has their own ideal shade of blue, and the feathers you sent are darker... This is my ideal blue. :-)

Can't see this one well enough to get much out of it yet but...
not yet titled Aseel
14x16 inches
colored pencil, (graphite, ink) on tan paper
$2240 if purchased before I finish it, may go up on completion (or may not, don't know yet)
price is for unframed art, not including tax or shipping

Normally I draw the figure and then the background, because I normally don't know at the beginning what the background will be (I finish the bird and then figure it out, like with the Japanese Bantam). But for this Aseel the background is a very important part of the piece. Wait, I'm not saying that right. The background is always important but for this one it's in a particular context/scene, which is why I know up-front what I'm drawing and I felt I needed to get that pale gray area in first. That area is not done. This will make a lot more sense over the next week or two.

chicken pics

This is the Silver Duckwing OE X Black Rosecomb cockerel. He's actually pretty darn impressive for a first generation bird.

Eating stale alphabet pasta. Or maybe trying to spell out secret messages?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Feb 4 work in progress

A note about these "WIP" pics I'm going to start showing often. These are taken late at night with no flash and I'm not making much effort to color correct them. The pics make everything look darker than it really is, my desk is much better lit that it appears here! :-)

I got the Asil sketched out on good paper today but I won't photograph it til I start the color work--the outline is too pale to even show up in a photo anyway.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

work in progress

I didn't have a whole lot of time for drawing today but am off to a good start on this one.

Blue Tailed Buff Japanese Bantam female
5x7 inches
colored pencil, graphite, ink
on tan paper
sold, commission

Friday, February 02, 2007

fifteen years!

Wow, it was fifteen years ago today that I got my first trio of Rosecombs. Time flies!

Today I made a chocolate peanut butter fudge cheesecake. Once again it cracked on top. Ugh!! That's so annoying. Oh well, tastes good anyway. It's for my not-birthday-dinner tomorrow. Tomorrow is not my birthday, but since I won't be home on the big day we're having the big dinner tomorrow instead. And since I am the only one around brave enough to make cheesecake, I made my own cake. :-) It'll be wonderful, crack and all. Also having turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberries, since I was sick on Thanksgiving. YES!

Look for works in progress on the blog next week. I actually toyed with the idea of a webcam for about half a second, as I was engrossed watching A.R. paint on hers. I think I work too slowly for that to be of much interest, and it would have to be wireless, and cheap. So..probably not going to happen. I'll just post photos.

Off to dream land!

edit- every time I post today it says "your blog published with errors." Does anyone see errors??? Looks okay to me. Weird.

Large Golden Phoenix

Large Golden Phoenix
8x10 inches each
colored pencil, graphite, ink
on tan paper
for the American Standard of Perfection

Large Silver Phoenix

Large Silver Phoenix
8x10 inches each
colored pencil, graphite, ink
on gray paper
for the American Standard of Perfection