Blue Ribbon Winner

"Pleez", 11" x 14" pastel on velour

“Pleez”, 11″ x 14″ pastel on velour

A big surprise at the 2017 Art of the Horse, Horse Expo art show. They opened the show up to dogs and other western art, so I thought what the heck. “Pleez” did well in some prior shows, winning “Excellence of Show” in the Sacramento Fine Arts Animal Art Show two years ago and a 3rd place ribbon for pastels last year at Art at the Classic Draft Horse Classic Art Show. And now the painting takes first place in the pastel Division at Horse Expo.

I’m particularly fond of this painting of my girl Dakota as a nine week old puppy giving me ‘that PLEEZ look!’ The bed she’s laying in has long since been destroyed and replaced… and she has grown into a beautiful, very tall lady, currently 2 1/2 years old.

The painting is now retired from show business and will hang in my home as part of my private collection. It is available as a print or printed on various items at my online Pixels Store. And as always… I’m available for commissions and would love to talk to you about creating a portrait for you to hang in your home.

2017 Calendar Featuring Dogs of WAG

2017dogcalendarcoverHot off the press!! My fifth annual 2017 Calendar featuring the Dogs from WAG (Western Agility Group).

Sometime in 2010, I thought it might be fun to paint a few pet portraits. I had taken art classes and workshops and painted my own dog, Jasmine, many times. I asked Susan Rappillus, one of the owners at WAG (Western Agility Group) if I could paint her agility champion Fritz. Well… that’s where my life changed! As my list of commissions grew, I happily quit my job in 2013 and became a full time artist! The group at WAG has been extremely good to me… in fact, to date I have painted over 80 dogs from WAG. Every one is a part of a large, happy agility family.

Dogs are a passion for me and what a joy that I’m able to spend my time capturing the character of each individual in pastel. Calendars measure 4.5″ x 5.5″ and cost $10, plus tax. Please choose the option of including dates of agility trials at WAG, or without dates. Please contact me if you have any additional questions.

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Bow Wow Meow

"Labrador Express", 12" x 16" pastel on velour

“Labrador Express”, 12″ x 16″ pastel on velour

It’s been some time since my last post in December, so thought I should take the time now to give an update. I’ve been happily painting away on several commissions and a few show paintings during the first half of the year. Today I would like to share this painting, along with the background of how it came to be.

I envisioned this painting for a couple of years. I own the cute little red wagon… an ATW (all terrain wagon) that my husband bought me some years ago. It was one of those gifts you would never imagine getting… but it’s one of my favorite possessions… and I love those ATW wheels. And I’ve been wanting to paint it with some puppies for some time. Last October I had opportunity to photograph three different colors of Labrador puppies. It was a fun photo shoot following these pups all over trying to get photos that would work with my wagon. It’s nearly impossible to get all three pups together long enough to take a photo… so I took my best photos into Photoshop and created the composition… then on to my velour board. And… viola… Labrador Express came to be.

I should also mention that two of these puppies are family members. The chocolate pup is a little girl named Kona Bella who was adopted by my brother and his wife. The yellow pup is a boy named Duke, now living with my cousin in Grass Valley. They are currently just under a year old now… and no doubt would not fit in the wagon any longer.

“Labrador Express” is currently hanging in the “Bow Wow Meow” art show at Alpha Fired Arts, 4675 Aldona Lane in Sacramento. The show is running now through August 27th. The painting is also juried in the “Art at the Classic” art show at the Draft Horse Classic at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley, CA from Sept 22nd – 25th.

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Happy Holidays

"Kona Bella Christmas", 8" x 8" pastel on velourHappy Holidays! I have been so busy creating Christmas commissions that I never found time to send out Christmas cards. But… today is Christmas and I didn’t want it to get by without sharing my Xmas card for this year. Kona Bella is my brother Joe’s newest family addition. His dream dog has always been a chocolate lab… and I was excited to be part of finding this girl for him. And what a joy to paint her with a Santa hat on.

2015 was a bittersweet year. Bitter because we started the year mourning the loss of our girl Jasmine. Sweet because we found our new girl Dakota… a very sweet Shepherd mix of some sort. Also sweet because I had so much to do with my art. I completed 42 paintings in 2015, far more than I would have thought since I didn’t paint for the first six weeks of the year. I participated in several art shows and even won a few ribbons. I set up my vendor display several times throughout the year and met a great deal of fun animal-loving people. I also taught some classes for the first time… which was both terrifying and extremely rewarding.

So bring on 2016… and all the new paintings I will have opportunity to create. I have so many ideas in my head I just wish there was more time each day so I could make them all a reality. I’m also planning to teach a few workshops throughout the year… so stay tuned for dates. I know the first one will be March 11, 12 & 13 at Gallery IQ in Rocklin, CA. Until next time… I hope everyone has a very Happy New Year!

2016 Calendars Are Here!!

calendars

UPDATE: I only have a couple of calendars left. If you have an interest, please email me and I’ll let you know what I still have available. Thanks to everyone who purchased calendars from me this year. I really appreciate your support.

Now available!! My 2016 calendars have arrived. This year I have two options to choose from. One is my fourth annual Dogs of WAG calendar which comes with or without agility trail dates at Western Agility Group. The second is a selection of miscellaneous paintings that I have created. Both calendars measure 4.5″ x 5.5″ and cost $10, which includes tax. Please contact me if you have any additional questions.

Girlfriends

"Girlfriends" 11" x 14" Pastel on Velour

“Girlfriends” 11″ x 14″ Pastel on Velour

I know… I’m an animal artist. But once in awhile a reference photo becomes available with a cute little girl and her dog that I just have to paint. And here it is! This is Emma and Rogue. Emma is my grand niece and Rogue is her girlfriend. And that look on Emma’s face as she hugs her dog reminds me of… ME!

Painting children is a frightening venture. Forget the fact that if you get one small line wrong it no longer looks like your subject… but the skin tones are incredibly hard, especially with pastels where you’re not free to easily mix colors to get that perfect skin color. And it’s so easy to get a blotchy look as well… so as I learned from the two workshops on painting children in pastel I took from my friend and mentor, Lesley Harrison, smooth is the secret. My success with this painting has opened up a whole new venture for me as I start practicing more humans to include with my animal paintings. So now the search is on to find those adorable kid with pet moments that I can capture with my art. And I would like to put another thank you out there to my artist friend Kay Witt for sharing her knowledge of skin tones to help me with this piece.

UPDATE: “Girlfriends” has sold.

Jasmine

Jasmine, 14" x 11" pastel on velourA couple months ago I painted Sierra at nine weeks old. I call the painting “Puppy Power” and it can be seen in an earlier post on this blog. Since then I decided to take some time and paint my other girl at the same age so I would have a matching set of my two girls. This is Jasmine. She is one of the best highlights of my life. My husband and I adopted Jasmine into our lives 12 years ago. The day we brought her home, he told me she was my dog and he wasn’t going to get attached. It took Jasmine all of one hour to snuggle her way on to his lap… and in to his heart… and of course mine!

Jasmine became my first agility teammate and together we made our way to a couple of championship titles. Through Jasmine, I was introduced into the wonderful world of agility… a place where I have met so many great people, and painted so many beautiful dogs. Jasmine was also my first subject to paint in my art… and there are many paintings of her around our home as a result. But this painting is going to remain special in my heart as it is a reminder of the time when she first came to live with us, and change our lives for the better. She loved chard and would play with a leaf until she finally decided to eat it, and then come looking for a new leaf.

Jasmine was diagnosed with a couple different types of cancer. The vets told us to expect only another eight months. That was two and a half years ago. She is still making us smile… and cry… at times. And she is still bossing us around all the time! She still runs a little agility with me and we still go for short walks. She oversees Sierra’s training sessions and gets after her when she doesn’t pay attention. She is a dignified lady… and still one of my favorite art subjects. And I’m sure this is not the last painting to be created of this beautiful girl.

UPDATE: It is with heavy heart that I report that our sweet girl Jasmine lost her battle with cancer on December 20, 2014. She was a true highlight in our lives and we will miss her forever. RIP my sweet girl.

 

Smokin’ The Barrels

Smokin' The Barrels, 14" x 11" pastel on velour. SOLD.

Smokin’ The Barrels, 14″ x 11″ pastel on velour. SOLD.

A lot of excitement surrounding this painting. I was invited to have my art booth at a Barrel Racing Futurity at the McCourtney Road Equestrian Center in Lincoln last month. While there I took around 650 photos of horses. As a result I decided to paint this beautiful palomino from one of my reference photos. I spent some time deliberating about the rider. I really only wanted to feature the horse in the painting… but couldn’t really delete the rider. I spoke with my friend and mentor, Lesley Harrison, and she suggested I try this method of vignette where I fade the rider out… something a bit outside the box for me. I pushed myself a bit with this piece, but I’m very happy with the outcome. I was after the excitement I felt when I watched the horses speed around the barrels and run as fast as they could to the gate… and hopefully I accomplished that. As a matter of fact, I was so excited with the outcome of the painting that I simply couldn’t put it down until it was done!

I sent an image of the painting to the manager of the ranch, and was asked to paint the four winning horses in their summer series, which I agreed to do with pleasure… and she posted the painting to the ranch website. After discovering the horse’s name as Last Thing Smokin’, I decided to name the painting Smokin’ The Barrels. I’m really looking forward to more Barrel Racers in my near future… in fact, I believe there’s one on my easel at this moment! 🙂 Oh… and I’m happy to report the owner of this beautiful horse has purchased the painting.

 

First Kiss

"First Kiss" 16" x 20" pastel on velour

“First Kiss” 16″ x 20″ pastel on velour

One of my latest paintings and entries for the upcoming Draft Horse Classic “Art at the Classic” This is ‘First Kiss’. I was inspired to paint this beautiful moment when I first saw the reference photo by Sarah Mae Beatty on the Draft Horse Facebook page. I immediately contacted Sarah for permission to use the photo as reference, which she gave me. Unfortunately, the horse… a white Draft named Dolly… had recently passed away and Sarah thought it would be a spectacular way to remember her. That said… I wanted to create as grand a memorial piece of this tender moment for Dolly and Sarah’s daughter as I could.

I tried a few new techniques with this painting, using colors that I normally have not tried with a white horse. I started with some yellow and purple colors in the base layers and slowly added different shades of grey and finally a layer of soft white to bring out the highlights in Dolly’s coat. Since there were so many cool colors in the background and on the horse, I decided to try to warm things up a bit with the girls dress, adding a small amount of the orange to the horse. I was really excited to see it all come together in the end and I feel very good about the outcome of the entire painting. I’m entering it in a couple of upcoming art shows… so we’ll see what the jury and judge think about it.