Pet Portraits for Christmas

I can’t believe it’s November. 2022 is nearly over. It was a pretty good year for me in a lot of ways. BUT, this post isn’t about that. This post is about Christmas gifts, because it’s that time of year AGAIN. ALREADY. WHAT.

I wanted to do something I’ve never done before, and that’s offer $25 mini portraits. These are wallet sized pet portraits, done in watercolors, inktense, and brushpen, and shipped straight to you at no additional charge.

The minis are a lot of fun, and I prefer doing fun things with them.

How does it work?

  • Place an order in my Etsy shop. You pay when you place your order. Let me know what I’m painting, tell me your pet’s name.
  • I’ll reach out for a good photo, preferably multiple good photos of your pet.
  • I sketch, then send you the initial sketch for feedback. These portraits are small, so are most likely going to be a bust or headshot.
  • I add color to your pet! My portraits usually don’t include a background of any kind, but sometimes a wash.
  • I will ship your original portrait to you, or to your intended recipient if you prefer, in a cellophane sleeve and a stiff card for protection.

To get a good portrait, I need a good photograph to work from–preferably multiple good photographs.

What makes a photo GOOD?

  • Clear, well lit, photos are best.
  • If you want a flattering portrait, send me a flattering photo.
  • If you want a goofy portrait, send me a goofy photo.
  • Multiple photos help me get a feel for the shape and true color of your pet. Maybe you have a great photo of your dog in action, and that’s the one I use for the primary reference–but I have to use one of the other photos to find out what your dog’s eye color actually is.
  • Multiple photos let me choose the one best suited for modeling, but also allow me to supplement for an even better composition.
  • If you keep a social media account for your pet, feel free to send me that.

What kinds of animals do I paint?

Cautiously, any kind! But, most often I paint birds, horses, dogs, and cats.

I make each portrait with a mix of media, primarily the water soluble kind. I combine watercolor, gouache, inktense, and sometimes brush pen, to bring each piece to life. I use a setting spray to protect the work once it’s finished.

Anyhow, that’s my Christmas experiment. Pet Portrait Minis! Be sure to check out my Etsy Shop and order yours!

The Coffee Cup Critters aka the “Cuppa” Series

I really love drawing animals. When I’m stuck for ideas, I find some reference pictures and draw an animal.

And then…..and then I give them a coffee cup.

I don’t know why.

It just makes me happy.

So, here they are (most of them, anyway). I hope they make you happy too!

If you aren’t a coffee person, think of them as giant, steaming, mugs of tea.

Several of these are up on my Redbubble shop already–the rest are pending! I’m also hoping to get some of them as stickers for sale on my Etsy. But that’s a project I’m *just* beginning. Let me know in the comments which ones you think would be the best stickers.

What animals would you like to see cherishing a nice steaming cuppa?

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Art in a Time of X

I did some sketching on my tablet–it’s been a while. Apparently, i’m better at it than i remember. This looks way better than I remember art on the tablet looking. I’ll have to mess around some more!

The CEO of Tee Public had a great reminder for artists, so I thought I’d share it here:

“Today, you don’t need to be Pablo Picasso and you don’t need to have something poignant to say. But you are an artist. You do have a sword to wield. Can you push through anxiety and find the space to be creative? Can you find your voice and whisper to us, a joke, an idea, or a memory of some better time? “

Adam Schwartz, CEO Tee Public

Read a book, look at art, make art…get out those coloring books, the beads you were going to do something with…If you can’t get outside, you can find solace in art or escape in stories. We’ll do our best to keep you supplied!

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gouache, coasters, and summers on the porch

Paint is funny. Colors come from mostly the same selection of sources, what changes is the binder. And that binder makes SO MUCH difference. Gouache is more opaque than watercolor, but shares some of my favorite features in that you can wet and reuse after its dried. This piece, the rearing rose gray, is me trying to get a better grasp on layering and start to mess with mixing wet paint again. With my watercolors, I have gotten so absorbed in my many little trays that I forget to mix the colors while they are wet. (Can you tell the horse is free-hand with no reference picture? I can :-P). I appreciate the way white gouache behaves. Makes dapples easy.

And yes, that circle was done with a coaster.

This particular coaster set belonged to my grandparents. It’s woven wicker inside wood. It was the outdoor coaster set which we used on the screened porch. After we made our sandwiches with deli meat and filled our plates with chips (a treat!) we’d take our soda (also a treat) out to the porch and eat on the blue stained furniture while we talked and watched the birds at the feeders. They had a lot of bird feeders. Thistle, sunflower, peanut butter, suet, and of course sugar water for the humming birds. My grandfather had built an elaborate baffle (or three) to keep the squirrels off. He also had a heated birdbath for the winter and every year asked for birdseed for Christmas. We’d easily spend hours watching the local wildlife–and there was plenty–besides a bazillion song birds there were the rabbits, squirrels, doves and fox.

Every time I use one of those coasters to draw a circle–or keep a drink from leaving stains–I think of those lazy summer days. A lot of my early fiction writing was on that porch, too, thanks to the advent of laptop computers. I cherished that time. Soaked it up like a sponge, and look at the memories with gentle fondness. I try not to wish to return to the past…but I would go back there.

Someday, I want a screened porch in the shade of my own. While I have invited quite a lot of wildlife onto my deck by attempting to maintain a container garden, it’s not quite the same. My kitchen, sadly, is not arranged for me to sit and watch the bird feeder.

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tall ship tattoo design

I have been playing with coasters recently. Yes, that’s the big secret behind most of the circles you will ever see on this blog. It’s probably a coaster or a plate.

I actually own a couple compass tools, but they both live (sensibly) in my studio, and (insensibly) I’m almost never actually creating art in my studio. Sometimes I do. But often I paint at the end of the day, in the evening, sometimes while watching a show or listening to a book, and the light in my studio is not great at night. It takes a special mood.

Or it takes the mood for acrylics. Because those aren’t portable. Not nearly so portable as watercolors.

Anyway. I was messing with circles, and more graphic design-like images because it is stretching for me. I greatly admire those who can make that type of art.

I feel like this piece is really close to how I wanted it to look, but it doesn’t actually look how I wanted. Things got skrewy with the flourishes. Flourishes are hard , you guys.

This makes me think of tattoos, but I think you’d have to be quite clever about placement, given the circle and flourish–or make it smaller. I don’t think I would get it as a tattoo, though.

Maybe if I were a sailor.

For all my appreciation of tall ships, I am not a sailor. I’ve only been out on teeny tiny boats on ponds, and never on a tall ships when it was, you know, actually moving. Though exploring the ships in harbor has always been a lot of fun to me.

I haven’t put this piece on Redbubble, frankly I’m a bit daunted by the thought of the digital clean up process on it 😛 Maybe someday. But you could get an art print if you wanted one, just message me.

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Let me know what you think in the comments, and if you like, subscribe so you won’t miss any art, incredibly profound musings, or other treasures from the Raven’s Landing!

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