"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo

Monday, December 21, 2015

Catching Up

When publishing the Jack Frost post, I realized I hadn't written on here in well over 3 weeks!

There has been a ton of radio silence this month because I was swamped with Christmas animal portrait orders. Like these:

Dogs have been the most popular request, but there've been a handful of cats and horses as well. My favorite orders have been the ones where I'm sent a handful of photos and an entirely new image is requested. Like this one, which was especially challenging:

I had these photos to work with:

Love this photo.
The client wanted the two dogs together in one portrait. On black paper. The lighting on the black dog was perfect for the dramatic lighting I like to use with black paper but I was having a hard time with the yellow Lab. I asked the client for more photos of him and she sent me this one:

As you can see, having the two different angles of the yellow Lab's face allowed me to be able to see him almost in 3D, which made it possible for me to add the dramatic lighting required for the black background. 

Even the drawings that were near-identical replicas of the reference photos (per customer request) have had slight modifications: the Golden in the first drawing above looked very sad in his original photo: 

Such a sweet face! He adores the person holding the camera and is looking right at them. But I knew an exact replication  of this photo would come across as him appearing sad.
I also had this photo of him as reference, where he is looking straight at the camera:

His eyes naturally tilt downward slightly, which is what makes his expression look sad, but it's just the way he is. In this photo, however, I could see how his eyebrows move up when he's being playful.
So I combined them:

I modified his expression so that he'd be projecting love at the viewer. Still a soft expression in the eyes, but I lifted the brows a bit (created by the light effect) to diminish what could be interpreted as sadness. I love animal expressions. You can read so much into the most subtle changes. The shape of the eyes, the brows, the nose, the mouth, are all such an important part of what makes that animal's face his own. It's always fun for me to play around with what they're saying with their faces while maintaining their personalities when creating these portraits.
So yeah...most of my free time has been spent working on these. I had not had any chance to blog at all and gave up on even attempting to ride because I was not able to get any kind of consistency in and simply decided to give the girls the whole month of December off, even from groundwork. I've been going to the barn to feed and groom and then running back home to continue drawing. I was astounded by the boom of work and incredibly grateful! The amazing thing was that all of the orders that poured in were from word of mouth. Happy customers telling friends about my work and also recipients of portraits ordering for friends of their own! I meant to advertise here on the blog and on Facebook and...never needed to! I'm working on revamping the Etsy website and will post it here once I'm done. 

The girls are fine. They are both shaggy and with our mild temps so far, I haven't even had to blanket them yet. Since I haven't been riding, I simply did a bib clip on Lily and have done nothing else with her coat, which has allowed me to continue to leave her unblanketed when evening temps have dropped into the 20s. I'm thrilled with both of their weights going into winter. Both are maybe a body condition score of 6/9 but I'm fine with that, as they both will get leaner once they go back to work + temps drop in January. 

Lily's face has officially been declared HEALED. 

Remember this at the beginning of October?
And this?
I was covering the bandage with a fly mask for extra protection.

Modified bandage at the beginning of November. She was getting tremendously head shy from the figure-8 of Elastikon going behind her ears so I stopped doing that. It turned out the bandage stayed on just fine anyway.
I stopped bandaging the wound sometime towards the end of November and simply kept a fly mask on her to make sure she had some sort of layer of protection over the wound. 

Upon our return from Jack Frost in WV, I removed the fly mask to inspect Lily's wound...and realized the scab over it was loose and halfway off. I removed it entirely to discover a clean, fully healed, tight wound.

Can you see it?
The fly mask stayed off after that. FINALLY!!!

And that is life in a nutshell at the moment. :) HAPPY SOLSTICE!!!


  1. Your artwork is amazing!!! I'd love to do one of those of my pup in the future :) Glad Lily is all healed up!

  2. I've had a photo for you in mind of Baasha for a long time. I'm rather fond of photos though ....but you do such good work! I know you could represent his wistful (hungry) expression and soft (feed me?) eyes, and I know a black background would look better than what the photo has....I wonder what you charge. Oh, but I know you're too busy now.

    1. Lytha, I'm sorry it's taken me this long to get back to you! I'm done with the Christmas orders and down to what has become my usual steady trickle of orders. I charge $60 for the 5x7 full-color portraits. They come matted and framed already (which makes them closer to 8x10 with the matting). Shipping is additional, and you'd have to let me know how that works with Germany. I know when ordering things from overseas sometimes things get detained in Customs in the US. Tell me what the best shipping method is and we can work something out! :) You have my e-mail.

  3. So happy to hear the Lily update! Love all of your artwork, but the cat portrait is especially AWESOME. :D

    1. Cats are my favorites right up there with horses! :D

  4. Those are such beautiful portraits! You've done an amazing job of capturing the expressions...I will definitely be sending some work your way to get some done of my pups and ponies.

    Yay for Lily being healed!

    1. You can contact me via e-mail Ashley; I'd be happy to draw any of your 4-legged family! :D

  5. your portraits are gorgeous! also what a relief to declare the wound healed. hopefully Santa will bring the gift of telling Lily to *knock it off* with the injuries for a while!!

  6. Lily looks wonderful!! It is good to see an update and those portraits are lovely.