Hot off the easel

I usually have 4-6 paintings going at any one time for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s attention span (short), sometimes I’ve gone as far as I can for the day, sometimes I’m stuck and sometimes I just feel like starting something new. One thing I have found is when I’m interested in painting a species I haven’t done before is that I like to do a head study first to start to learn what the animal looks like. So that was the rather mundane motivation for this painting of a young Thompson’s gazelle that I photographed in Kenya. The horns were the most challenging part because I don’t like to dink and dork around with tight rendering but I had to understand the structure well enough to lay in shapes in the right hue and value so that it is drawn correctly.

I often start with a charcoal or carbon pencil drawing on bristol before I do a painting or even just felt tip pen sketches in a sketchbook.


Yesterday was quite a weather day. I did my third rescue transport in the morning. Ten five week old puppies, a pit/Am. bulldog mix and a 5 mo. old border collie puppy over to Willow Creek, which is about 40 minutes east of here. It was really, really, really windy at the shelter and I have to admit I was wondering what it was going be like going over 2800+ ft. Barry Summit in a Volkswagen Eurovan. There is one short stretch where the road is out in the open on the west side of the mountain, totally exposed. I was to meet up with two guys who live in Willow Creek who were going to take all the dogs on to Redding. The transport coordinator and I decided that if I couldn’t get over the mountain safely and didn’t show up by 10 am, that the men would drive west (in their nice solid Escalade) and look for me down in the valley. As it happened, it was pretty breezy at the summit, but no problem. As soon as I was on the other side though, I was in driving rain. Made the hand-off, went back over the hill, did some grocery shopping at the coop in Arcata and was home by noon. Within an hour all hell broke loose weather-wise. Howling wind, horizontal rain for the rest of the day. Lit a fire in the fireplace, kicked back and in the evening watched Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova win the Best Song Oscar for “Falling Slowly” from the movie “Once”, one of my all-time favorites. Check it out!

3 thoughts on “Hot off the easel

  1. What a volunteer you are! Wow. I’m glad you made it home safely, and the dogs are off to a better situation.


  2. This portrait is simply fabulous!!! I especially love the straight, head on stare of the animal which creates a powerful symmetry. Also, I’m particularly fond of the loose brushstrokes at the base of the portrait; a feature I’ve always wanted to incorporate in my paintings as I’d done that with my drawings for years. Wonderful painting! Jeanne


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