Wednesday, August 29, 2007


This sweet little Rat Terrier is named Lyle. He has endured many challenges in his life - having a leg amputated, radiation treatments for a brain tumor, and now diabetes, all with courage and dignity. Lyle's family and friends love him very much, and I feel so honored to have painted him.

The drawing, on 8 x 10 Ampersand Gessoboard:

The first layers of paint (underpainting.) I kept seeing these beautiful blues, lavenders and golds around him:

After building up many, many more layers of paint, here is the finished work. I enjoyed this one so much! Rat terriers are just the best little dogs in the world, but I may be biased because I have one, lol.

Monday, May 21, 2007

White Garter Snake

We have a white garter snake living in our garage. She’s been with us for at least three years now. Sometimes we go for months at a time without seeing her, so I’m always happy when someone catches a glimpse of her, to know that she is still blessing us with her presence. I've been told that she is very auspicious, and that she is a powerful totem, like the white buffalo. Snake symbolizes rebirth (shedding its skin,) kundalini (sexual/creative life force,) the cycles of life and eternity (ouroborus – ancient image of a snake swallowing its own tail.)

We never harm the snakes in our yard. They startle me sometimes, but I’m never afraid of them. Garter snakes have always seemed so pretty to me, with their stripes and cute little faces. I am so very honored to have her here!

Here are a few photos I’ve taken of her...

Last year, in the garage:

Not sure what's going on here. Mating? The other snakes were all around her. This was witnessed several times within a few weeks:

Sunday May 12th, 2007. I've only seen her outside in the daylight one other time, three years ago. Isn't she beautiful!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Backyard Royalty

Since I'm in between paintings right now, I thought I would post the story and photos of an older piece.

A few years ago, this handsome fellow came to visit me when I was in the front yard planting flowers. He proceeded to make himself at home, rather acting as if he owned the place. I asked him to stay while I got my camera, for he was just too perfect not to photograph. He struck a few haughty poses while I snapped some photos. When I saw this one, I knew I had to paint it:

Here are a few in-progress photos. Yes, I have dandelions in my yard...

Finally done! This last picture is from my scanner, which is why the colors are different. The final painting is more vivid than the scan, with the colors being closer to the WIP photos.

I've had so many comments on this one - a lot of people think it's a photograph when they first see it. After the many, many, MANY hours spent painting the grass, I'm sure I have a bit of a pained look as I assure them that it is indeed an original painting! It was an exercise in patience to be sure. Hope you enjoyed looking at it.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Lobo is finished!

Lobo is finished! I had so much fun with this one, trying to capture the mixture of wild and tame, as well as his magnetic personality. I also really enjoyed painting his collar and tag, and I feel like they add to the overall painting a great deal.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

More work on Lobo

I've added some background color behind the forelegs of the smaller portrait to separate it from the main one. I was planning to have them "merge" together in his shoulder fur, but this looks better to me. Starting to work on the muzzle here.

Refining the sides of the muzzle and working on the details of the nose, adding strong highlights to make it look cold and wet. I also started blocking in areas of the chest. I need to finish that before I paint the collar, to make it really "sit on top of" the chest fur. More to come...

Friday, March 30, 2007


I took this photo of my little Rat Terrier, Cloud today. I like the diagonal of the drain against the vertical of Cloud. I also like the splash of yellow. He won't stay out of my flowers.

Lobo continued

I've been working on the background the last couple days. I don't want Lobo to look like he was just pasted on top of the background, so I create "lost and found" edges. Lost edges are where the subject and the background sort of blend together, and found edges (obviously) are the opposite - they are sharply defined. I feel this makes for more visual interest in a painting.

I've also been working on the chest area a little. Not quite sure how I feel about what's going on in the lower left corner. I might decide to lighten that area along with the bottom of painting. I think I'll leave it for now and see.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


This is a pet portrait commission of a beautiful wolf-hybrid. He is half timber wolf and half White German Shepard. I had the pleasure of meeting this dog in person to take reference photos, and I must say that I was impressed not only by his looks, but by how "wolf-like" his behavior was. Observing his facial expressions and posturing were like watching a wolf documentary on TV. What a bright and charming boy he is!

This is the main reference photo. I'll be changing the angle so he's more upright. The painting will be of his head and chest, with a smaller portrait in the lower left corner. Acrylic on Ampersand Gessoboard, 11 x 14.

Here is the concept sketch.

Here I have the picture sketched out on the board and I am beginning the underpainting. The underpainting is like a map, it will show basic colors and fur direction. I'm not worrying about detail at this stage.

Here is the completed underpainting. It looks quite rough at this stage, although a friend did tell me that it already "looked finished." Thanks Andrea! :-)
This is only the beginning, now I start building up on top of the underpainting with many transparent layers of paint.

I am working on the ears here and starting the forehead fur. It can be a challenge getting the fur to convey the "fluffiness" of this dog, but I think it's coming along nicely so far.

I've been working on the eyes favorite thing to paint. I love to see how the eyes breathe life into the painting.

The painting as it stands right now. Still lots of work ahead!