Friday, February 27, 2009

February 27 work in progress

It can mean three things when I drop off the bloggy world for a couple of days. One possibility is I'm gone. The second is I'm totally slacking off and doing nothing. The third is I'm ├╝ber busy.

It's been option number three lately, so lest you think I've been a slacker I'll just correct you on that now. No!! I'm just not posting much of what I'm working on.

Here's the one I can show you (this is obviously an in-progress thing):

not yet titled
Golden Phoenix
8 x 11 inches
colored pencil and graphite on white Stonehenge paper

I am making very good progress on the 50-50 paintings, but have decided to hold off on posting them until all are done. I can't wait to see them all on display! Just fyi, it's the 50-50 show at the 20th Street Gallery in Sacramento. April 8 through May 30.

I am also working (feverishly, I might add) on another little engraving. This one (1 x 3/4 inch) is half the size of the tiger but is shaping up to take twice the hours. Smaller dots, more detail. Dang skippy. This is nuts. And I LOVE IT. I'll show you when it's done if it turns out like I am hoping it will.

Busy busy busy.

Monday, February 23, 2009

rain and skyscapes

It poured today!

When I say the light was magical, I mean it looks like it did this evening. I couldn't narrow these down, so here's a whole bunch of them. All photographs taken with Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS. Photos are not digitally enhanced!

Started taking photos at 5:33pm.

Stopped taking photos at 5:50pm.

bird nerd

I told someone I'm a bird nerd. I totally am. And I've been on this photo kick lately. The telephoto lens likes to see some action every now and then!

So these are some random pics from the last week that I keep forgetting to post. All photographs taken with Nikon D80 and Tamron 200-400mm lens (all shot at 400mm I'm sure!).

This is from when I went to the Cosumnes Preserve last week, for some reason I forgot to upload it then. Northern Shovelers:

Western Bluebird (male) in the foreground and a Yellow-Rumped Warbler in the background on the front fence. Photographed through the window:

Nuttall's Woodpecker (male). Photographed through the window:

American Goldfinch (male in nonbreeding plumage). Photographed through the window:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

poultry show and other things

It's hard to believe I was in Fresno yesterday (~160 miles away), but I was. I got up at 4am and was down there at 7:30am. I'd been considering just driving down there for the heck of it to see friends but figured if I was going to do that I ought to go ahead and show something so I entered three birds. I never even managed to see all the birds at the show, I sort of forgot to make a point to do that, which actually makes some sense because I really was there to see people. And with the exception of a badly-need 2.5 hour nap in the back of the minivan that morning I spent the entire time talking to people, it was great. I missed a few though, there are people I saw in passing once or twice but never got a chance to chat with. That's a bummer. Time flew, my Black cockerel that I like so much won best RCCL, and that made me happy. The show let out around 5:30 or so, I had dinner with a few friends, hit the road, and was back home at 9:30pm. Talk about a whirlwind. I'm glad I went though. I'm not sure when the next one will be or what all it will entail, and I REALLY need to figure out what the heck I am doing with these birds.

Blurry, but a sunrise nonetheless, just for proof I was awake early:

You know how some people always manage to blink when they are photographed? Well so does this bird. I took 4 photos and this slightly blurry and not well posed one is the only one where he isn't blinking!

It rained all day today. This afternoon I went down to the Woodbridge Ecological Preserve with GM to see the sandhill cranes. They are starting to migrate out, and today was the last day of the guided tours and I've been meaning to do that all season so I figured let's just go anyway. The weather kinda sucked and was not conducive to good photography, but it was neat to see all the cranes fly in at sunset. Next year I need to make a point to do that earlier in the season and on a day when there's more light. The pics are way gritty, but these are the best of them:

Two sandhill cranes:

Three snow geese and two greater white-fronted geese:

And last but not least, a little cuteness! All together now, awwww!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

February 18 work in progress and other things

Okay, first things first I finished painting all the backgrounds today, which was tedious beyond belief. Of the metallic paints I chose, I'd have to say that "rich espresso" is my favorite because it covers in *only* three coats. That seems like lot unless you've been dealing with having to put on six coats! Yes, it's the small things in life...

Anyway here they are, and this should give you inquisitive minds a better idea of what breeds we're lookin at here. Next up I will obviously be painting the chickens.

I had to be up at 4:45am this morning, not exactly my prime time. I did what I needed to do and was back home just after 7am, and this isn't a part of the day I normally experience so I loaded up The Beast (the big Nikon) and headed down to the Cosumnes preserve to see what sorts of wildlife I could rustle up. I have to wonder if newer lenses would give me sharper pictures at maximum zoom, but I love that camera nonetheless.

American Coot:

Black-Necked Stilt:

Northern Harrier:

Northern Pintail:

Ring-necked Duck:

Red-winged Blackbird:

Monday, February 16, 2009

sometimes I can't think of one

Another rainbow today! The light wasn't magical today though, then again it was quite a bit earlier in the day today. This is the view out the "studio" window.

So what am I up to these days? Well let me tell you, I am up to my ears in chicken paintings! I decided to do all the backgrounds first for the 50-50 paintings, and wow that's boring! They are all gold, in various shades, and I wish someone would make a gold paint that would cover in one coat instead of 4-6 coats. UGH. I am slightly over half done painting backgrounds, which has taken two days, so probably in two more days I'll be able to finally start painting the chickens themselves, and that's where it'll get interesting.

I am working on a drawing, just got the sketch approved and will transfer the image to good paper...tomorrow? I'll post WIP pics when I get going on that.

And I'm working on my second bulino engraving, which I am not going to show in progress for reasons I can't really explain other than I sort of don't feel like it. I'll show ya when it's done though, assuming it turns out okay! So far so good.

I guess I need to wash some chickens (the real live kind) this week.

Thrill a minute, that's me!

Friday, February 13, 2009

little old lady

Pardon me, I have to rant. I was raised to believe that one does not open a can of whoop ass on little old ladies, which is why, at various occasions on my life, I've shown great restraint in not doing so. One of these occasions was on Saturday. I was one package of cream cheese short of what I needed to make my birthday cheesecake, and the local convenience store didn't have any so I drove down to the Raley's in Galt, picked up my one little box of cream cheese and was waiting in the express line while the couple in front of me wrangled a couple of kids and paid for their groceries. This little old lady got into line behind me, but stepped sorta in front me me and put her one little package of bacon on the checkout counter. I gave her a weird look but didn't think much of it, maybe it was a very heavy package of bacon or something, who am I to judge.

The checker, without looking, reached over and grabbed the pack of bacon and scanned it. And little miss little old lady marched her butt right around and cut in front of me. "Um excuse me!" I exclaimed. She didn't even bother to look. That b----! What a clever ploy! From now on I will always set my own groceries on the little shelf to avoid being scammed by little old ladies, or maybe I'll just start using a shopping cart even when I only have one item, that way I have something to fend them off with. Ugh I know it's ridiculous but I was SO mad, I just hate it when people do stuff like that.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

random crap

This evening was stunningly gorgeous. Unfortunately I was in a hurry to get down to Lodi (Stockton? the borderline thereof?) for a dance rehearsal so I really only got to enjoy it very briefly out the windshield of the Taurus. The sun was setting, so the light was coming in sideways all gold and pink, the clouds overhead were deep blue and it was raining, and there was a double rainbow off to the east. Wow!!! I generally don't think of myself as superstitious but at the same time I catch myself finding "signs" everywhere (usually in places I shouldn't, like hearing my all time favorite song while going to pick someone up from the airport and thinking that the stars are all aligning for me or something dumb like that). But really, this was jaw-dropping, I couldn't help but feel like it's a good omen for things to come. No pics, I neglected my own rule this evening ("Always carry a camera").

I've decided to go to Fresno. Last show of the season for sure, and it'll be day trip, so that's one looooong day. I still have no idea what to do about the birds. There are a lot of options.

So about the 30-30-30 project, what can I say. It was interesting, I definitely used some techniques I don't normally use and drew some things I don't normally draw, and that's all good. It was a good exercise. I was a little tired of it by the end, mostly because there are a lot of other things I ought to be focusing on, but also I didn't realize how hard it would be to come up with something every day! I don't plan to do it again. I also didn't expect it to become quite so personal, I was just going to be drawing random items, but sometimes even random items end up with some sort of deeper meaning. Oh well, you can't really predict those things in life anyway (or, actually, yes you can, but I won't get into that). That's all okay now, for anyone wondering. I've even got one foot in the stirrup. ;-) Hmm!

Anyhoo, here's a pic of all the 30-30-30's together. I'll start shipping them out on Friday, fyi to those of you have ordered (unless I'm still waiting for your moolah).

After about a gazillion hours I have finally finished sketching all the chickens for the 50-50 show. Yes, this is the thing where I'm theoretically supposed to be doing one a day but decided to sketch ALL of them and then paint a few a day. We'll see if that saves me any angst. That's a lot of chickens, let me just say right now. This has the potential to cure me of ever wanting to make chicken art again. ;-) I know this doesn't show up very well, and it was hard to photograph. Each of these is 6x6 inches, so the whole group together like this is 2.5 by 5 feet. I was up on a chair with the camera over my head!

Oh! I've been talking to a bunch of knifemakers lately, since I find myself wanting to focus on working on knives (scrimshaw for now, engraving when I am more comfortable with it, and I REALLY need to study scrolls and work on that). Of course nothing is ever for sure until it's here in my hands, but there might be a collaborative project in the works for this summer, and I've been in touch with a collector who is interested in having me work on a piece this fall. And another knifemaker is going to send me a knife that I can scrim "on spec." Not my favorite way to work, but the focus of that would be getting it published, so I'd really give it my all and do the most fantastic image I can come up with.

I'm happy about the rain, we need it. Plus it's always a good excuse to wear flannel and drink hot chocolate.

Monday, February 09, 2009

The 30-30-30 Project, Day 30

I am done! I survived this little project. :-) Today is my birthday, though as I write this there isn't much of today left. It's been a great day, I am blessed with the world's most awesome friends.

Day 30:

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The 30-30-30 Project, Day 26, 27, 28, 29

Yup, I'm still alive. I'm glad these things are coming to an end. I'll write something retrospective-ish soon. There are other things I need to focus on. I've had some interesting meetings and contacts, I'll write all about that some time too. Attention chicken people, I might zip down to Fresno for a day trip, I need to decide tomorrow. I'm wishy washy but DO miss people and have some birds to sell. We'll see. I'm a little freaked out about tomorrow but underneath that is the feeling that some really good things are about to start happening, so maybe this is the beginning of a new era, or something like that. And I have a day of good friends, good food, and good fun planned, so bring it on!

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled programming:

30 days, 30 art pieces, 30 bucks each.

Day 26:

Day 27 (sale pending?):

Day 28:

Day 29: