Friday, March 30, 2007

March 30 work in progress

The background and coop are not done, that's just a "base coat."

not yet titled
colored pencil, graphite, ink
on gray Stonehenge paper
6x6 inches
sold, commission

Thursday, March 29, 2007

nineteen years ago today!

Nineteen years ago today my first chick hatched. I was practically glued to the little window on the top of that old incubator! He's a few days old in this pic but you can already see his little attitude! What a character he was.

March 29 work in progress

not yet titled (Aseel/Asil)
6x6 inches
colored pencil and graphite on gray Stonehenge paper
sold, commission

cat paintings

Some of what I've been up to over the last week:

acrylic and ink on canvas
6x6 inches

acrylic and ink on canvas
6x6 inches

acrylic and ink on canvas
6x6 inches

acrylic and ink on canvas
6x6 inches

Sunday, March 25, 2007

pictures today

It was sure nice this weekend! I set the first batch of eggs today. I did some painting... two cats that aren't varnished yet.

I took my camera around this evening and this is what I saw:

A horse that cute must be Shylah!

Mallards in the pasture (which is finally green and lush and so the horses aren't on it..btw Smithsonian's article about Barbaro and laminitis is really interesting.)

The Brassy breeding pen. Should produce 50% Brassy Back, 50% Blue Brassy Back. Time will tell!

Gwen! She looks good lately, I think she looks better than she did last year.

Fungus among us.

Oh sure, he may be pretty, but he's a mean rotten bird! Not to me but he was terrorizing his coop-mates (females included) so he's been banished from the coop until I haul his stripey butt to auction next weekend. I won't be using him in the Cuckoo breeding program. He's not Rosecomby type at all, plus I have a very low tolerance for aggressive birds. Gameness is not a virtue in this flock! I like them peaceful.

Pretty sunset tonight.

Friday, March 23, 2007

gonna be knee deep in dog art

Well! The meeting at the dog boutique went very well. I will give the name and location when I have work hanging, which will be soon. I went in and met the owner today and took at look at the space. It's a tiny store but there is a lot of wall space up high over the merchandise, so my plan is to do a BUNCH of 12x12 paintings (it's a good size) and a few larger pieces for some larger areas lower on the wall. I could easily put a dozen or more art pieces there. Probably I'll shoot for a dozen, I don't want to over-extend myself! It's in midtown Sacramento in an area with lots of restaurants and galleries, so they are open for the Second Saturday art walk, which would be way cool.

So, gonna be cranking out a bunch of dog paintings, I'd like to have the store full of art by the second Saturday in April. I think I may buy a roll of slide film and shoot these myself, I can't afford to get a dozen things photographed professionally. Arg!

So, as far as other boutiques go I'd still be game to immediately put art into maybe one more, and then give that some time to see what it leads to as far as in-store sales and referral commissions before I pursue anything else along these lines. Gotta leave time for chickens too! ;-)

Edit: I was thinking about the layout while I was supposed to be sleeping last night, and though it would look cool to have a ton of art high on the wall over the moulding, nobody would be able to reach it to buy it without bringing in a ladder. So I'm thinking I'll just utilize the open wall spaces and do some groupings of 12x12s, maybe one bigger central piece. That'll be easier, less to paint.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

here goes

I just turned on the incubator. :-0 I plan to set eggs Sunday or Monday. I would love it if I could get a good enough hatch to only hatch birds for 4-6 weeks. We'll see....

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

new paintings

Okey dokey, so I have been in touch with a pet boutique in midtown Sacto, and I have a meeting on Friday to discuss hanging/selling art there. They cater to mostly the small doggy breeds, so I am going to paint some small dogs, and cats too. These won't be done by Friday of course [laughs hysterically!] but they won't take tooo awfully long. I'll have to balance it out with chicken drawing.

So, top row left to right: "Bob" (Chihuahua mix), "Max" (Boston Terrier), "Beemer" (Yorkie) 12x12 inches
Bottom row left to right: "Mocha", "Patches", "Hardy", "Tempura" (cats and kittens) 6x6 inches
These will be paintings. Right now they are just sketched in pencil on the canvases.

I gotta order more canvas!

I have another email inquiry out to a boutique out of town, and if I don't get a reply I'll send a letter, and I don't get a reply I'll take that as a no. I am shooting for the most upscale places I can find in the best areas of town, within some sort of reasonable driving distance. I'd like to put work into just one or two at first and see how it goes and maybe try to expand it out a bit. We'll see. I am also meeting with an art director in early April to discuss options for me, licensing, ways to sell art, etc.

"Proud Heritage" (Asil) is currently getting digitized, so I should have an estimate on printing costs in the next week or so.

wild wacky polka dot Polish!

This is the painting I was talking about, the one I redid.

title..hmm, "Polka Dot Polish"?
8x10 inches
acrylic and ink on canvas
sold, commission

Sunday, March 18, 2007

another weekend flew past

Wow, Sunday night already? Good grief!

I spent much of the weekend in bay area, which was a nice change of scenery. I don't mind visiting cities but I could not handle living in one!

After getting home this afternoon I did a bunch of work on the chicken painting, and was hating it more and more with every brush stroke and finally decided that my best bet was to start over. I'd already changed the background color twice, and still wasn't satisfied with it, and the bird looked funky. It was supposed to be done by tomorrow but I think it's preferable to be a little late with GOOD art than to be on time with something that I feel is poorly done. I think I'm just too tired today to be too artistic. So.. I put three coats of gesso over the painting and when that's dry I'll start it again...differently. I'm not crazy about starting over but it's not a huge painting so it's not a crisis. I guess I'm still sort of in the experimental stages with painting, particularly when it comes to new subject matter!

Did I mention I'm tired? Zzzzzzzz.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

sunny days

I had been under the assumption that today was the last day of litho class (critique day) so I made a supreme effort to get up early and be to the studio at 9am. Well, I was maybe 15 minutes late, and surprised to find the doors locked. Hmm, that didn't bode well. I unlocked it and went in and found the place sparkly clean and absolutely empty of people... and a note on the board specifying what was needed for the final crit... two days ago. Crap! Nobody had told the the date got changed. ARG!!! So I thought well no biggie, I'll just print my stone today, I have my paper in the car! Walked out to the car...nope, I'd taken the paper out to make room for the portfolio the other day, so the paper was at home in the garage. Crap! But it was a nice sunny day so I figured I'd walk over to the animal science building (this is the UC Davis campus I'm talking about, by the way). I know some people there, figured I'd pester them for a bit. So off I went, alll the way across campus. And nobody was there. *sigh* So I walked back through the arboretum, which is stunningly beautiful right now. Oh how I love western redbud trees!!! I wish I would have had my camera there today. I wonder if they'll still be in bloom next week. So that was nice, I hadn't walked through there for a while. I used to spend a lot of time there when I was in school. If I had a break too short to bike back to the dorm/apartment and it was a nice day I would just go study in the arb for a while.

And then I came home, and worked with Shylah for a while (I've been having her jump some obstacles on a lunge line, she's pretty graceful, amazingly!) And then I did some invoices and contracts, tons of research online looking for places to put art (I think I've found some good ones) and then tonight I started a painting. I am going to have to add another category to the website- chicken paintings! Funny how just when I was about to start one for the heck of it someone commissioned one. It's commissioned as a gift so I'm not going to show any work in progress and can't post it til after the gift day.

And I figured out what to paint to go on the wall of the livingroom (I want some big bold color in here). A chicken, of course. It'll be cool, but I'm not sure when I'll start.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

dog paintings done

"Ella" (shelter animal series)
12x12 inches
acrylic and ink on canvas

"Kirk" (shelter animal series)
12x12 inches
acrylic and ink on canvas

"Rambo" (shelter animal series)
12x12 inches
acrylic and ink on canvas

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

about paintings

Since I've posted a few paintings in progress in the last couple days, there are a few things I want to say about them. Obviously they don't take as much time as drawings. :-)

People tend to either really like them, or really not like them. So if you don't like them, I'm cool with that. Personally I think they're pretty neat-o, and once I get over the initial "OMG I don't know how to paint" that happens EVERY time I start one, I really do enjoy it and it's actually VERY nice to do something other than super fine detailed drawings for a change. I like the funky paintings, and I feel like I can be more adventurous with bold colors that aren't totally true to life. :-) Although these pieces are certainly representative of their subjects, I don't consider them realistic.

The style is something that I started doing a little bit when I painted some pieces for a show in October 2005. And then I didn't paint again til December 2006 (the two dog paintings I did for Christmas) and that's when I really fell into the acrylic-and-ink mixed media thing that I do now. The lines! I love the lines! I love the final stage of inking them! I think a lot of that comes from my work in printmaking, it reminds me of relief prints (linocuts and whatnot). It's fun.

I will post up good pics soon. I varnished them tonight so they are way too goopy to get near the scanner now, but if I have time I'll try scanning them in the morning before I haul a load of art to the photographer. I wasn't going to get everything photographed, but I have tended to treat my paintings like second class citizens and that kinda sucks, so from now on I think I'm going to get pretty much darn near everything photographed so that I have a hard copy of all my work. Why not take my own slides? I used to. I wasn't very good at it. It's pricey getting it done professionally but it's worth it to know it's going to get done perfectly in focus and perfectly lit every time.

And with that, off to bed I go.

Rambo in progress

Rambo is another shelter dog.

Kirk in progress

This painting in particular went through several stages of being enormously ugly, I am really almost embarrassed to show it. Actually I AM embarrassed to show it. But I will anyway, just to show that despite looking horrid there in the middle it came out just fine. Whew!

Monday, March 12, 2007


Let's see who "gets it." :-)

Shamo study
6x8 inches
colored pencil, graphite, ink
on tan Rising Stonehenge paper
$350, not including tax or shipping

Here's a detail pic of the head (this is MUCH larger than the real drawing):

Ella in progress

I still have to varnish this and make a few small adjustments. I'll be painting two more (hopefully both tomorrow, whee!) and will finish them all off at the same time so I only have to bust out the varnish once.

And then I got lazy about taking pics and just went nuts finishing it...

March 11 work in progress

Okay okay fine, I'll do the WIP thing again. This is a little one, I'll just scan it...

Shamo study
6x8 inches
colored pencil, graphite, ink
on tan Rising Stonehenge paper
price to be determined

Sunday, March 11, 2007

more chickening

I spent another day out working with the birds. I had expected to find 5-10 birds to get rid of, but surprised myself with 24 culls. Good grief! Some are actually not bad birds, but I felt I was able to be very picky. There is only one I'm iffy about- the Blue Brassy Back cockerel I showed all season. He's typy, his color is awesome, but he has white in his face and probably should have been DQ'd at the last show. If he was a few years old I'd let that slide, but he's not even a year old. Darn he's just so pretty though, and he has a much nicer comb than the older Blue Brassy cock. I guess I'm just going to have to send him down to the road too. No sense being sentimental about a disqualification. It's hard sometimes. So I set up 11 breeding pens (9 groups, two trios). They are as follows: 3 BBRed (will also produce Brown Red breeding stock), 3 Black, 1 Brassy/Blue Brassy, 1 Black X Brassy Back, 1 Golden Duckwing X Everything, 1 Cuckoo, 1 Black X Birchen&Blue Silver. I am keeping 59 birds. No breeding pen has more than 8. Most have 4 or 5. It's very satisfying to cut back. Now to figure out when I can go to auction...

So I'll leave the birds to "get acquainted" so to speak for about a week, and then collect eggs for a week, and the first batch of chicks should be out in mid April, same as last year.

I started a small drawing tonight, a color study of a Shamo (did the sketch yesterday). Not sure if I'll post pics in progress or not...hmmm.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

random thoughts

I spent much of the day sorting chickens and moving them around. While most people I know seem to be hatching chicks already, here I am running late again! I don't even have all the birds paired up yet! Of course a lot of this process is me sitting on a chair looking at the birds thinking "hmmm."

The very obvious conclusion is that I have way too many chickens. Way too many really good chickens, which makes it hard to cut back, because it requires finding REALLY serious breeders to purchase these chickens, and these people have to be able to easily acquire these chickens, which is extra tough since I haven't shipped anything for years and years. And since those two requirements aren't often easily met, I end up with too many good chickens. I am culling ruthlessly (definition of culling: getting rid of a bird). No excuses. I have enough birds that I ought to only be breeding from the absolute cream of the crop. Anything that has a bad defect will go to auction. Any extra really good birds... well, guess I'll see what I can do about finding some ├╝ber-serious breeders. I probably should have sold more at shows, but I've tended to sell myself short in other years so I was too careful this time. I sorted through all the males today, and all the Brassy and Blue Brassy females. I hope to get through the BBReds and Blacks and other colors tomorrow. I have 8 pens that can be used for breeding groups of birds (up to 7 or 8 females, 1 male) and 10 pens that can house pairs or trios. So it's tough to figure out how many of each color and what goes where. As always the main focus is Black and BBRed. I put 7 Blue Brassy females with a "sport" Brassy Back male (he's purebred black, but he ended up Brassy Back, this is not unheard of). That should give 50% each color, it's an outcross to help with the inbreeding problems (birds getting too small), and it should help with the green leg problem. I am going to put the Golden (?) Duckwing male with a few different color females: Black, BBRed, and Blue Brassy Splash. The theory there is I should be able to tell what's what. Offspring from Black should be birchen-ish, offspring from BBRed should be Golden Duckwing, and offspring from Blue Brassy Splash should be... I don't have the foggiest idea but they should be BlueSomething! But then how many pens of Black and how many pens of BBRed, and maybe breed Brassy Back to Black, or what about BBRed to Brassy Back, and what about the Duckwing females, maybe breed them to Black... It's crazy. Really crazy. I need to cut back. Oh geez and the Cuckoos. I am *really* tempted to get rid of them all now and not hatch anything. Maybe I'm just not that into the color or something. The males are all brassy from the sun...yellow cuckoo, yuck.


Oh, and the dogs and I killed two rats today. That was unexpected, just happened to flush a pair out while working in the coops. Jessie made the kill on both but it was a team effort for sure. Rats are gross. And huge. The male was 18 inches from nose to tail tip and the female was 17 inches. Yuck! Seems like no matter how many I/we kill there are always more.

In artsy news, there isn't much, I didn't do anything today, though the night is young. I got a bunch of good info about printing, and as soon as I get a price list and some shipping estimates I'll post notices about the Aseel wherever I can, and probably even get some postcards printed and mail those out.

I have a LOT of things in mind to work on. There are a few commissions in the works but nothing ready to roll right now. I sent the final Standard sketches (Dutch pair) out for critique on Friday so I'm awaiting suggestions on those. I think I'll have to make some revisions, but hopefully it won't be too arduous. Still not sure what color they are supposed to be... Blue Cream Light Brown I think, but I'm not going to do anything til I know for absolute certain. But anyhow, lots of things in mind. The whole chickens-in-context concept is endless. The background imagery is tough, the things I have in mind are enormously complicated. I don't want to divulge a lot of detail, I'd rather you just see them develop, but I'm going to have to do a "study" for the next one. The final project would be huge, a huge huge huge time investment, but if people don't "get it" then the piece would fail. So I think I'm going to do a smallish study of just the bird and no background to see if it gets the reaction it's supposed to get. If it doesn't, I'll scrap that idea because it would be a waste of time. Plenty of other stuff to do, no reason to waste time. The idea of doing some small studies actually really appeals to me. Not really small, but under 8x10, minimal background. Like the Standard drawings, but very very different. Actually almost spoofing them. And now you really wonder what the heck I'm thinking of. Bwah ha hahahaha! ;-) Oh great, now my eyelid is twitching again.

I think I'll go draw. Stay tuned!

oh no!

I just got word today that the Rising paper mill is closing in May. They manufacture Rising Stonehenge, the paper I use for colored pencil work... the absolute best paper I've ever found for colored pencil, the paper I dearly love. Craaaaaap! I wonder if I'm going to have buy a few cases of paper. That would cost a fortune. But I NEED that paper to do what I do! I can't possibly order a lifetime supply. OMG, I'm freaking out!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Jessie's photo shoot

I've been meaning to do this for a while, so today I finally did a photo shoot of our dog Jessie. Several years ago I did a portrait of Nellie (the other dog, Jessie's sister) as a "sample dog portrait." It's been a popular image, and as a matter of fairness it only seems proper that I do a portrait of Jessie too. She's 12 years old now and really slowing down, a lot. So today seemed like the right day to try to get some really good photos, and I did get several to choose from. Decision time, I have to figure out which one really captures her best. And then decide on graphite or colored pencil. Maybe I need a sample graphite dog portrait? She would look classy in black and white. This probably won't be an immediate project. But soon...within a few months.

Yup, that's mud on her nose...

pictures today

Horses on lawnmower duty around the coops. They get a limited amount of turnout time per day but are otherwise penned up off the green grass (google "laminitis" for more info on why).

Mooooo. Oops no, that's just Nellie grazing in the garden.

Nectarine blossom.

Daffodil from below.

Apricot blossoms.

A bee on the rosemary.

Homer's on the fence about some issues (ha ha).

More apricot blossoms.