Ok, I Lied About the Week Off, ‘Cause I’ve Been Tagged

Thank you to Julie Chapman, for including me on your list of animal artists/bloggers. I’m in some very nice company. The least I can do is reciprocate and it’s been a fun thing to do on a rainy, REALLY rainy, evening.

Julie offers almost the only workshops with an emphasis on DRAWING animals. Highly recommended.

Here’s the rules:

1. Put a link in your posting about the artist that tagged you. Done.
2. Write 5-7 unusual things about yourself.
3. Tag 5-7 other bloggers and let them know.


Unusual things about me:

1. Sir Winston Churchill is one of my heroes. A few favorite quotes:
“This is the sort of English up with which I will not put.”
“Nothing is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.”
Lady Astor: “Winston, if I were your wife I’d put poison in your coffee,”
Churchill: “Nancy, if I were your husband I’d drink it.”

2. I first read the Lord of the Rings in 1968 (8th grade, age 14) and currently have (or am had by, your choice) a cat named Eowyn, which suits her. Pity any Nazgul that come around.

3. I’m planting a collection of striped roses in my garden next year. There’s more of them than you’d think.

4. My favorite client from when I was a freelance graphic designer was the owner of an oriental rug store in Berkeley, California. I created all his advertising for over two years and did many pen and ink drawings of carpets and other asian textiles.

5. I was the one who volunteered to have the boa constrictor wrapped around my neck at an animal park when I was about eight years old.


I’ve been digging around and there don’t seem to be that many animal/wildlife artists blogging and I don’t want to duplicate Julie’s links. So…..

Here are three animal artists not currently on my blogroll whose work I enjoy:
1. Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen – inspiration for those of us who are attracted to “off-beat” subjects. Always fun to see what he’s done now. If you love reptiles……check out his blog.
2. Victoria Wilson-Schultz – a real treat for horse lovers; she blogs on a variety of subjects
3. Val Warner– she lives over in California Gold Country, does interesting compositions of nicely-drawn animals and has painted BIG murals, too.
An enthusiastic plein air painter’s blog:
4. Ed Terpening – whose work reminds me that wildlife artists have to have a handle on landscape, too, and painting plein air is an excellent, maybe the best, way to do that.

And finally, arguably, one of the top three or four wildlife artists of the 20th century (One of the things Julie and I have in common that we have found in him and his work our major inspiration. The difference is that she got to meet him a couple of times. Previous sentence in green):
5. Bob Kuhn – Although he passed away last year, the website is still active and it looks like one can buy prints of his work, along with the most recent book and even some original drawings. He’s the master and forever an inspiration to us all.

Drawings from live animals and new painting

From the stats it looks like the post of my pet sketches was one of my most popular so far, so here’s more. These are done the way I usually work, with a fine tip gel pen. They’re done fast. Under five minutes, sometimes under two.

Niki, our tri-color rough collie

From the San Francisco Zoo. He really did hold still long enough for this head study.

These were ultra-quick, a minute or less, but I caught the gesture. Also San Francisco Zoo.

And, looking through my old sketchbooks, I came across the studies I did at Julie Chapman’s workshop in 2005. These are of Daisy, the badger, who alas, is no longer with us. Notice that I didn’t worry about eyes. I was trying to capture “badgerness”.

If you decide to try this, and I hope you do, keep in mind that every animal is an individual and look for what makes them them. If you like what I do, I think that’s a big part of it.

I’ll end with the bobcat painting, now called “Stepping Lightly”. I’m thinking of punching up the highlights on grass and maybe futzing (that’s the technical term, of course) with the logs some more, but that’s about it.


This one’s easy. Start to become aware of how you use energy. You can save money and help slow down climate change by using less and using it more wisely. Just little stuff to start- turn lights off when you leave a room, don’t leave the tv on if no one is watching, turn your thermostat down a couple of degrees or up, depending on the temperature where you are.

Now, you must know that this kind of thing, while necessary and desirable, is the “low hanging fruit”. It requires simple changes of habit, not real sacrifice. If you’re already doing the above and are ready and able to take the next steps, consider updating your older appliances to new, energy-efficient models. Change your incandescent light bulbs to compact flourescents or LEDs.

For more information and actions you can take, check out www.motherearthnews.com and www.builditsolar.com

What ideas would you like to pass on to me and my readers? We’re all in this together, after all.

Sketches from Live Pets! :-)

Julie Chapman recently posted a couple of sketches of her dog on her blog (no, we won’t go there). A series of comments followed about the value of drawing.

You can read my comments here: http://julietchapman.com/blog/?p=59#comments . They’re #5 of 6. She just finished doing her summer animal drawing workshop outside of Kalispell, Montana at the Triple D Game Ranch. I attended a few years ago and found it very worthwhile.

So, she challenged the readers of her blog to get out the charcoal and draw along. I accepted.  It took a few more days than I’d hoped, but here’s the best of what I came up with over about an hour this morning. One challenge was drawing kittens that are black and fluffy. A little hard to see the structure. I also found that they would get up and come running to the front of the crate every time they saw me watching them. The trick is to ignore all that and go for the gesture. These took maybe 15 seconds.

Then I went into the house and there was Persephone, aka The Princess, taking her morning princess nap on the bed. She then sat up and I got a quick start on a head study. Didn’t get all the stripes in, though.

Finally, next to the window on the floor, Niki the collie was zonked out. This one is mostly coat (he’s got a big one!), but the curves were nice.

I used a 4B Wolff’s Carbon pencil for all the sketches and a Canson Universal Recycled Sketchbook. The paper has a good amount of tooth for the pencil.


Today’s thought is from Edgar Payne’s seminal book, Composition of Outdoor Painting, which every artist who paints outdoors or anywhere else, for that matter, should have. It’s expensive and might be hard to find, but it is as good a presentation of the traditional craft of oil painting as you will find.

“While talent or genius must exist, at best they are merely embryonic factors and no one can guide these into productive artistry without the initiative, perseverance and determination of the student. To say that the artist is born and not made, is only partly true. Actually, while it is an important qualification, there is no proof of real worth in talent until it has been developed and expanded by a tremendous amount of serious study and hard work.” (Bold added by me)