It’s Show Time!

Here I am at the Residence Inn in Pleasant Hill, which is about a half-hour east of San Francisco. Tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday I’ll be about ten minutes south in Walnut Creek doing their spring art festival. We used to live here in the late 1980’s and come back for occasional visits, so I more or less know the area, which is handy.

The Residence Inn is nice because it is in a quiet area and the room has a full-kitchen. So, I hit the Whole Foods store this afternoon. I won’t have to eat out unless I want to, which will save money.

I have no idea what to expect with the economy heading into the tank. Gas down here for the premium grade I need for the Eurovan is running around $4.10/gal. Home foreclosures are off the charts. A well-known wildlife artist once described himself in a workshop I took with him as “a luxury goods manufacturer”, which is probably about right. Serious buyers of art tend to have fairly recession proof incomes, but there is so much uncertainty in the world right now. Food riots, for heaven’s sake. So, we’ll see how it goes.

On the (much) brighter side, I got a “VIP” personal tour of Andrew Denman’s one-man show at Pacific Wildlife Galleries this morning from the artist himself. It’s fascinating to stand in front of one of his originals and hear him talk about how he did the work. Very inspirational. Made me want to run home and get in front of the easel, but since I get home on Monday and leave for Montana and Colorado on Thursday for a week, it will be close to the middle of May before that happens.

But, this weekend, I’ll get to meet lots of nice people and talk about one of the things I love most, painting!

Feathers and Fur

Look who came to visit yesterday morning. She, at least I think it was a “she”, had accounted for at least one goldfish and two large frogs before she left. I’m a little concerned since I was able to go outside with my camera and she didn’t spook until I was about 50 ft. away. They usually take off at the first hint of movement.

ART TALK

Here’s my latest painting, which I’m calling “Morning Break”. It’s one of the cheetahs that I saw when I was in Kenya in October of 2004. Cats really know how to relax in the morning sun, especially after a big dinner from the night before. I like long horizontal panels and this pose was perfect. Spent a lot of time on those spots. I don’t want to paint every hair, but if the edges are too hard the spots look pasted on. It took four or five repaints to get them looking ok.

One sees a fair number of cheetah paintings in the wildlife art world, often with poorly drawn heads. The proportions of the head and the body are very odd. They almost have to be drawn “wrong” to look right. Their default ear position is with the ears down and back, but it is tempting to prick them up. However, that would be a giveaway that I didn’t understand how body part positions relate to behavior. This cat was clearly relaxed, so the ears needed to be down.

I used three basic references for this one. One for the background, one for most of the cheetah and one with just the front legs. In this position with the body parallel to the picture plane, the legs will be coming toward the viewer and must be done in correct perspective. I didn’t like what was in the main reference, so I hunted through the rest of what I have (371 images) until I found something that would work. With luck, you can’t tell from the finished painting.

FESTIVAL NEWS

I will be at the spring art festival in Walnut Creek next weekend, April 25, 26, and 27. I also just found out that I have been accepted once again into the Los Altos festival I did with great success last July.

Like many people, I’m trying to avoid buying stuff made in China. It’s not easy. But for any of you reading this who do festivals, I have found a good source of (Made in China, though) market umbrellas, Just Umbrellas. They are in Yuba City, which is not far east of where I live. Good prices, good products, fast service.