Friday, February 15, 2013

Pawcasso 2013

Grand Entrance

"They made their grand entrance together, but Miss Ginger Kitty and Rex had fought like cats and dogs all day. They would make their peace later, but for now Rex was only interested in showing off his new Arrow collar and nibbling on imported biscuits with the retrievers from Good Dog Park. It was no matter to Ginger. She had already made eye contact with a svelte American Shorthair standing near the ice sculpture. " 

“Grand Entrance” is a painting I created to be auctioned at Pawcasso 2013 to benefit our local spay and neuter clinic, SANS. It's based on a painting by J. C. Leyendecker that was part of an ad campaign for Arrow collars in the early 1930's.
Pawcasso has grown quite a bit over the past 7 years and, while it's not necessarily black-tie, I really wanted to portray the essence of the elegant event it has become. Leyendecker's “Couple Descending Staircase” seemed like the perfect fit.



I started out with a rough sketch and a sheet of photo reference to work from. I did a black outline in acrylic paint on Gessobord.





Sketching out the scene was fun and even kind of relaxing. I was really happy to be getting back into a bigger painting. But the whole time I was working on it, I was pretty sure that painting the staircase might kill me. So I started out with the black background to ease into it. Then I worked on the cat. By the time I got to the staircase, I was pretty nervous about it, but I'm really happy with how it turned out. 




As always, I had lots of studio helpers assisting me. I don't have pictures of the cat helpers this time, but I promise you, they were there.


I ended up doing the chandelier last. Once I worked out how to do the staircase, I figured I could handle the chandelier. 



Here I have the tassel on the chandelier in red, but I didn't like it. I changed it to a gold color.


And here is the finished product, framed by Tarn's Place with my Valentine's Day flowers!



Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Little Piece of History Comes Home

I spent a few hours at the Pompey Historical Society today going through a newly acquired collection of artwork. John Calvin Perry, my great great great grandfather, was an artist who lived and worked in Pompey, NY. The New York State Historical Association had recently agreed to give most of the John Calvin Perry Collection over to the PHS.


It's so exciting to see all of his work back in the town where it was created, waiting to be displayed and looked at by the many, many relatives who still live in the area.





The round painting and the one of Niagara Falls hung in the home of my grandparents until they were donated to the NYSHA.


As much as I love the paintings, my favorite things are the diaries and sketchbooks. To me, this is where the true spirit and character of the artist is revealed... what he was writing about and what he was drawing just for fun and practice.



I LOVED this little painting that I found in one of the sketchbooks.


A sketch of Perry's studio. I wonder if it was always that neat?

These are some of the ladies that work at the PHS that spent hours today showing me every little piece of the Perry Collection. It's tough to describe these crazy girls in words- you have to meet them. Pompey's past is in the most capable of hands. They work so hard and are so dedicated to preserving our local history. That black binder on the table is an illustrated catalog of the entire Perry Collection that they put together because the first binder wasn't quite up to their specifications. Years ago, a group of them typed up (on typewriters) all of the Perry diaries. I don't even know how many diaries there are, but there are a lot. And they're long. Today we came across a journal of a Perry relative in one of the filing cabinets that hadn't been typed up. One of the girls said "Oh, can I bring this home? I'm going to transcribe this tonight." I looked at her to see if she was kidding. No one else batted an eye. This is what they do. Now that they have computers, there will be no stopping them!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Paintings, Paw Prints and Proud Poultry



A few more pictures of the American Gothic painting...



I needed a pattern for the cat's dress. I really wanted it to be a paw print, but I didn't want to paint one over and over, so I carved a tiny paw print stamp!



I tested it out before using it to see where it needed some trimming,


I'm really happy with how it turned out! Check back for the finished piece!! Coming VERY soon.


It was a busy weekend. Dan and I also took a trip to Watkins Glen to visit Farm Sanctuary.



Every year they have a "Celebration for the Turkeys" where they set up a feast and let people feed the turkeys. Dan and I have been to this event many times, so we generally hang back until the crowds disperse. I like visiting with the turkeys after everyone else has gone off to the other barns.



Pictured below is Queenie who escaped a slaughterhouse in NYC and fled into the streets. Fortunately, she ended up here and has been happily grazing with the herd ever since.


And this is Lawrence, one of the sanctuary's newer additions. Lawrence is very interested in the cup of cider I am hiding behind my back.


Lawrence came to the sanctuary with Alexander and Blitzen, pictured below. Blitzen was a bit of a spaz in his early days. Check out the video. I promise, it will make you smile.


We like to participate in the Adopt a Turkey program that Farm Sanctuary promotes during the celebration. This is Skip, our adopted turkey. He was having very proud day. There was a lot of strutting and showing off going on.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

New Paintings

Just thought I should take you on a little tour of the studio to see what's been going on recently. I have been working on a painting for the 2012 Pawcasso Art Auction to benefit the Spay and Neuter Syracuse clinic. SANS is "a non-profit clinic devoted to the sterilization of unowned cats and dogs (shelter animals, feral cats) and pets belonging to low-income persons."
This will be a little different from my previous donations to the event. The image is going to be printed on t-shirts and posters and the current plan is to have a live auction for this piece at the end of the evening. Kind of exciting! And a little nerve wracking. I'm used to the silent auction process where I can quietly sneak a peek at the bids throughout the night!
So anyhow, here is the piece in progress...
It's based on the Grant Wood painting "American Gothic"





My helpers are always ready to assist...


Lately I've been doing complementary under paintings when I start a piece. I put down a layer of the opposite color first. I find it brings a little extra richness to the colors.



I will post more about this painting as it progresses. The next pictures are from Veteran's Day. I decided to take a break from "American Gothic" (which will need a name of its own soon and I am WIDE open for suggestions) and paint something just for me. It was a cold and kind of snowy day. The cats wanted to go out, but they didn't stay long. And here I must explain- I realize there are two schools of thought on the subject of outdoor cats. While I understand that outdoor cats are more likely to get injured or killed, and it also puts small wildlife in danger, I have a hard time looking at them staring out the window knowing how much they just want to soak up some sun. So I have a rule that they can go outside as long as they stay near me or at least within my sight. They have always been pretty good about this.


They're much less excited about going out in the cold, so as the storms started to roll in, so did the cats. I love the way the snow clouds look look so ominous...



I started this painting of the view from the studio window. Cinders is assisting.



Bandit doesn't like to stay out for long either when it's snowy.




You can see the tree with its yellow leaves that was the inspiration for this painting through the window. I loved how it looked with the purple-gray sky behind it.


Another storm appears on the horizon...


Just a few final touches...


It was a beautiful day. But I always find Veteran's Day a little distressing- everyone in my family has the day off except my father- the VETERAN.


Monday, October 10, 2011

What's left in the fall gardens...


What a gorgeous weekend!! We had sunny skies and 80 degree weather for three days. For upstate New York in October, that's pretty awesome. I spent a lot of time in the gardens today and thought you might enjoy a little tour...


There are mums, of course...

and ornamental grasses.

This is a ceramic fish that I made. He's swimming through the sedum that usually looks nice even after the snow falls.


I love the berries on the flowering crab trees.


This is what most of the gardens look like right now. Some people cut down all the dead stuff, but I like to leave some things for the birds. They like to eat the seeds on the liatris plants and the coneflowers.


There are still annuals left, like the impatiens. My new mini hosta "Twist of Lime" has a little blossom waiting to come out. I hope it has time!


Hydrangeas...

Sweet peas...


And a sweet old dog keeping an eye on everything. Welcome Fall!