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:
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?|
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!!!