Painting Fergie’s Portrait


Fergie is a Goldendoodle.

If there is a cuter new “doodle” breed, I can’t imagine it.

She is the fortunate 1st ‘child’ of my beloved cousin, who dotes on her every wiggle and bark.

Now that she has come of age,  I was commissioned to paint her official portrait.

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Fergie and her family visited while the leaves were still falling in October.

After exploring the woods thoroughly, she chose this scene for her backdrop.

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And I caught her sitting still, however briefly, in the driveway.

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To begin this portrait I painted the background landscape before adding the main figure. I am working in gouache and trying to stay loose. A lot gets covered up by the figure, but it still seems to make the whole more cohesive.

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To add the figure of Fergie I did a careful pencil drawing and used simple graphite transfer to position her in the scene.

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Once Fergie was in place I added lots of shadowing to push the landscape behind her and leaves in the foreground to anchor her on the ground.

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I paid the most attention to her face, trying to capture the sweetness and life-not to mention her glorious curls!

 

 

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Sleep

It’s late November here in Vermont ~ the time of year for hibernation.

Who hibernates? Bats, Bears,skunks, bees, snakes, and groundhogs to name a few.

Since moving from a mild California climate to the stricter seasonal progression of northern New England, I’ve become much more sympathetic to the concept of hibernation!

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On the last day of Baby Bear Counts One, Mama and Baby Bear are ready to curl up and sleep the winter away.

Showing the process of sleeping is relatively easy, but showing dreaming was a challenge in Only The Cat Saw.  When I was a child I often dreamed of being near the ocean or swimming when I really needed to get up to urinate!

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Enter a caption

Holly Taylor modeled as the sleeping Amy, way back in 1984

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Amy, dreaming in Only The Cat Saw. Acrylic on paper

Of course, we sleep all year long, and humans enjoy it as much as animals. Mostly sleep happens when it is too dark to draw, but sometimes a nap overtakes us, and when it does I seize that moment of daylight stillness to draw.

Since the late 70s I’ve drawn people and creatures I love while they were sleeping.

Here is a selection.

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watercolor sketch of my sister Peregrine, asleep on the couch after wisdom tooth removal..

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watercolor sketch of my sister Peregrine.

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this drawing of Rowan reminds me of Amy’s pose. Colored pencil on brown paper

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Brennan, asleep. Colored pencil on brown paper

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Rowan, asleep. Colored pencil on brown paper.

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Sabin, asleep. Marker on brown paper.

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Tula napping. Watercolor on brown paper

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Nutkin, sleeping. Acrylic on paper.

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Wildridge kitten, sleeping. Gouache on brown paper.

Dia de los Muertos

A year ago I lost my beloved Tula to lymphoma-@*&%$#@Cancer!

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Tula

I was hit by the triple whammy of mourning, autumn and the dreaded “Falling Back!”

It was dark, rainy and cold.

So what does an artist do to raise her spirits?

Paint skeletons!

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My 1st painting was done in acrylic on an old board with appliqued, dried, ferns.

I painted several memorial images of Tula, and other dogs and cats.

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PansyCat

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The ghost of Seabiscuit

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Northern Pike

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The solstice sheep

This year my Dia de los Muertos altar will be packed with color and light to honor my beloved dead.

Beech Face

Leaf Portraiture

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Beech Face/ Maria

 

In my first Vermont winter in 34 years, I am re-discovering the fashions of autumn. So many leaves!

I cannot get my hands on my usual Beach Face elements, so I’m deploying leaves instead. Inspired by another look at Lois Ehlert’s superbly clever Leaf Man, I have been using leaves in various ways to create portraiture.

The rhubarb plant can supply an entire wardrobe!

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Sabin in the autumn

And sometimes only one is needed.

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Tula tiara

With the leftover riches I made arrangements and left them in the woods

Pumpkins

Pumpkin was an affectionate nickname in my family, so I chose it as the name for my 1st Border Collie.

I love the word Pumpkin-how it fills my mouth and suggests the shape of the fruit.

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Yes, a pumpkin is a fruit- actually a berry. It is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, along with melons and cucumbers. The rule of thumb to tell fruit from vegetables is that: if it has seeds, it is a fruit, no seeds, it’s a vegetable.

As with every experience, Pumpkin stands in for me and is able to do things I can never do.HalloweenMaskweb 

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Lately, I have found a new, black, love object named Baby Bear. He is enjoying every bit of autumn in Vermont, especially the pumpkins!

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Full Circle with Baby Bear Counts One: Gobble, gobble, gobble

When I was young I used to find a thicket of these in my neighborhood, sit in the shadow of the vines, and eat grapes.

These are tiny and tart, but the intense grape taste makes them delectable.

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We called them “Fox Grapes,” According to Wikipedia:  There is ample evidence that the labrusca was growing wild in North America centuries before the Europeans discovered the continent.

If a wild grape is growing, a turkey is going to find it.

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turkeymaleAnd bears will follow…

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Surprise!
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Full Circle with Baby Bear Counts One: Crunch, Crunch, Crunch

Every September, the cow corn is harvested. This is not sweet “People Corn.” It is pure carbohydrate and is usually chopped and made into silage to feed to the dairy cows throughout the winter.

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Occasionally the harvester leaves a patch, meant to represent the quality of the whole harvest for insurance purposes, and a few stalks are left standing to feed the wildlife instead of the cows.

corn:webThe ears of corn looks pretty tough.

We aren’t going to eat them with butter anytime soon.

But the crows, and the deer, and the bears love them.

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The crisp edges and black lines of the linocut really lend themselves to cornfields and crows.

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And watercolor adds the autumnal burnish.

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