Feline Friday + The Family Dog

I’ve got a rather intense project under way, about which more soon, so for today I thought I’d just share some photos of our family critters, three cats and a collie. The cats all came from a shelter, Niki from a responsible breeder.

Alexander, a Really Great Cat, relaxed
Eowyn, who in her younger days probably could have slain the Nazgul, is now happy to help me out with paper support
Michiko, our tamed feral; we couldn’t resist that face; she brought us a dead gopher last week
Niki, our tri-color rough collie boy, self-appointed guardian of all creatures great and small

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.

PLANET SAVER TIP OF THE DAY

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.

To Finish Yesterday’s Post….

I ran into serious problems posting the images of the kittens yesterday and finally gave it up and wrote to tech support. Turns out, doesn’t it figure, that it was something I had done with a setting that I shouldn’t have. But the reason I bring it up is to pass on how quick and great the tech support was! Three Cheers for WordPress!

So, since it’s the next day, here’s a new ART THOUGHT FOR THE DAY, one of my all-time favorites for truth and pithiness, from Edgar Degas, who knew a thing or two about painting:

“Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.”

NORTH COAST OPEN STUDIOS

Had a good turnout this year. Lots of nice people, many of them first time visitors. Here’s a photo of the studio ready to go, with Niki also ready to help with hosting. He appointed himself Official Escort To And From The Cars, much to the amusement of the attendees.

HOT OFF THE EASEL

Just finished this one yesterday. The reference was a print photo that I had been meaning to paint for ages. It’s important to see the warm tones in the snow leopard’s coat, which is similiar to polar bears. It’s an oil on canvas on board and is 24″x18″, so the head is life-sized or maybe a little larger. If you are interested in snow leopard conservation, check out the Snow Leopard Trust at www.snowleopard.org.