Canvas Clones

I was talking with my husband over dinner last night.  I was lamenting that I had sold my second painting but I was finding it hard to let it go.   He said, “Well you can always do another like it.”

But really can you?  For instance, when I painted “A Jury of your Pyrs.”

A Jury of Your Pyrs: View from the Dock

I was watching an old British TV show called Silk, learning about the British Court system and inspired by the pun, “A Jury of Your Pyrs.”    Would I have the enthusiasm to do it all over with as much interest and attention to detail?  I don’t think so.

Another thing that moves on is abilities and techniques.

I love the image of a Great Pyrenees Mountain Dog happily rolling in the freshly fallen snow.  Such joy!   So I did paint one canvas to portray this about a year ago.

Spirit of the Snow Angel

Snow kept falling and I kept learning and painting.  I painted may other subjects and then returned to the same concept again.

I find that how you view a concept and how you attack it changes.  Below is this year’s take on the same concept.  I’ve refined my brush strokes.  I still have problems with perspective.   But it is a “finer” image.  Could I return and to the first over again, and if I could, would I want to?

Snow Angel of Joy

Perhaps I should paint a Pyr making a snow angel every year, just as a record of how my abilities and outlook change.

Part of what I love about painting is the exploration of different styles and topics.  I don’t think I made a post about my chaos paintings where you just paint as the spirit moves you and go back the next day and try to refine shapes you see into images?

Dance to the Music

These two images are done on canvas paper and are very free and spontaneous.  Interestingly enough, the Mermaids below were actually purchased from my Etsy shop, also called “My Muse Calls“.   So the first painting I sold was of mermaids and not a Pyr.  As usual, an unexpected turn!

I’ve recently discovered the visionary artwork of Alex Grey and much to my delight he has a center where he holds what he calls “Art Church” and workshops only 30 minutes from my home.   I’m going to take a workshop he and his staff offer on visionary painting this summer.

The road twists and turns and keeps taking me new and interesting places.  I don’t really want to do another painting exactly the same.  And I shouldn’t lament if I am able to sell a painting.  I can use the money to buy more art supplies.  And the person who buys it hopefully will be cheered on daily basis by having it around.   The more I travel down this road, the more doors seem to open and the more interesting the sights become.

Snow Angel of Joy

Dan took a wonderful picture of Tila making a snow angel.   Dogs have an amazing ability to live and enjoy the moment to it’s fullest.  It’s the sort of thing some people strive for with so much effort in meditation and more.   Snow!  Joy!  Roll!  Sniff!  Roll some more!  I must make a note to enjoy each moment as it comes.   Here is the painting that inspired.

Snow Angel of Joy

Return to the Flock

I was sitting and reading a book on modern art.  I don’t always “get” modern art.  I do try.  I was looking at a picture of a lamb in a tank of formaldehyde called “Away from the Flock” by Damien Hirst.  He also placed a 14 foot tiger- shark in a tank of formaldehyde called The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living.  Now if this sort of thing is up your alley but you don’t have room for a lamb or a shark in your living room, Carolina Biological offers some delightful preserved cats for only $42.95.  All you need then is a tank of formaldehyde to complete the exhibit.  The shark in the tank, on the other hand originally sold for 50,000 pounds and was 14 feet long.  But all that aside, let’s turn back to the picture of that lamb in formaldehyde.

Tila was reading over my shoulder.  “Humph”, he said, as Pyrs often do, having a complex language of huffs and snorts and whines and more types of barks than you can count.

“We must do something about this, free this sheep, return it to the flock.” he stated matter-of-factly.  After all he is a guardian dog.  And that is what they do, guard flock animals from dangerous and sometimes unusual predators.

“That might be a problem.” I told him.   “Someone did try to mess with it at one point, in fact a man called Mark Bridger poured ink into the tank and was convicted of an art crime.   He tried to say he was contributing to the art, and renamed the work ‘black sheep’. ” 

“Snort!” said Tila. “I wouldn’t call this art, supper maybe, but not art.”

“You know, this is funny, ” I said, ” Someone stole pencils out of a Damien Hirst installation and they may be charged 10 million pounds in damage to the artwork.  You think that someone would just buy a few more pencils.  And look at this, some other folks claim that Damien Hirst stole some of his ideas from other artists.  But really can you own a bunch of dots or a skull if you paint or use the image once? But it isn’t nice to speak ill of the dead as he died this year.  Oops, maybe they were wrong, he didn’t die in January 2012.  Maybe that is just the ultimate angry art critic.   The author did seem a bit wound up stating Hirst  “died last Thursday, January 12, in New York following complications from acute diverticulitis brought on by a swinishly speculative, grossly cynical, intellectually constipated effort to pinch out 11 concurrent exhibitions of rehashed expensive crap.”

This July he  offered a statue of a pregnant woman wielding a sword to a town in Devon England.   He appears to be alive and well. 

Tila sighed.

“This is why I find the modern art world so confusing.” I said.

“You know, this would make a great subject for a painting.”, nudged Tila the muse.

 And here without further ado is “Return to the Flock”, with apologies to  Damien Hirst and the modern art world.

 

Prints for Sale!

Yes I now have prints for sale of the two paintings below.  Click on Items for Sale!

No I Won't Come In!

 

Tila Meditates

 

A Jury of Your Pyrs: The View from the Dock

I could not resist the word play.   I have the greatest respect for the courts of Great Britain and no slur is meant.  I don’t think they are going to the dogs.   If you’d like to read about my background research you can read the post Inspiration from the English Courts

 

News update:   My Muse Calls and A Jury of Your Pyrs has been blogged about on Law Actually!

Garden Play

I have always been an avid gardener.   In the spring I love to start by filling colorful pots on my deck with fresh plants from our local garden centers.  When Tila was a puppy, I was happily potting away, turned my back for a moment and found my puppy in a whirl of lavender plants.   In reality, there was only one plant de-potting puppy, but in this painting I thought it was more fun to have two.

The Pyr in the Moon

In my imagination, Pyrs have a secret life at night we don’t know about.  They hear the conversation of owls and mice, smell the scent of moonbeams, and more.   This painting came out of that part of my imagination. 

A little Pyr puppy wakes in the dark of night and is frightened by the shadows and the sounds.  His mother comforts him with “Don’t be afraid of the dark, the Pyr in the moon will watch over us.  

 And look very carefully at the moonlight that comes in the window!   It lights part of the wood floor and lights the Pyrs up in its beam subtlety changing the colors of the rug as well.  I worked very hard on that!

No, I Won’t Come In!

It seems there is nothing a Pyr likes better than a full moon, a brisk wind and the soft delicate first snow flakes of December.   I took a photo of Tila shaking off the snow, reveling in the blowing snow and used that as the inspiration for this painting.  

In the same spirit of “Nothing is White” I tried to give this painting the reflected blue light in the snow we often see in moonlight. 

This original will also be available at the Great Pyrenee’s National Show 2012 at the rescue table with the money going to help rescue dogs that lack a “Forever Home”. 

 

My Muse Goes to Work

 

 

Tila Meditates

I have this wonderful photo I took of Tila.  On a warm summer day, after helping me garden and grill on the BBQ, he came in and parked himself in front of the candles and sat down and to my astonishment, looked as if he was sitting and meditating.  I’ve always thought Pyrs had a spiritual and mystical side.  And this proved it to me.  This is the photo I used as the basis for my first painting.  I have to say that this inspired the painting rather than me trying to copy it exactly.  There were things in life (like the drool and dirt on Tila’s chin from the garden) that I didn’t want to make into the painting.  I also wanted it to have a warm tone rather than the harsh dark background the photo has.  So I had a vision of the end result as well as a mystical pyr to help me find my way.

Of course Tila helped by nudging me for treats from time to time to make sure I took enough breaks to step back and take a good look at my painting.  He was absolutely right, you have to step back, assess and sometimes just stop until you figure something out.

The one thing I found out after “Nothing is White” is there are more shades of tan and brown and grey on a white Great Pyrenees than you can imagine.  Let alone mix the colors.  I had palettes with nothing but brown and badger and tan and various shades of cream trying to match those few hairs under the nose or over the eyes.

I did my planning and made a few preliminary sketches.  And finally after days and days of working on it and letting layers dry (believe me this Pyr painting has an undercoat) I was done.  Well not quite done…

Before I could start showing off my painting to my friends I had to get muse approval.

So after a proper examination, I was approved.

 

 

 

 

 

And at last I can say Ta Dah!  Done the final work Tila Mediates. 

 While I know I’m just taking my first steps as an artist, I’m happy to say that the original painting is going to the rescue table at the Great Pyrenee’s National Show 2012.  So hopefully some kind person will buy it there and the money will go to the rescue of Great Pyrenees Dogs that have not yet been located in their “Forever Home” yet.