Sunday, December 21, 2008

Our White Christmas is actually happening

Ho Ho Ho.

Byng Crosby's song is real at last in Vancouver.

It is snowing again in Vancouver. I think I will get outside with my camera to capture the beauty.

My Christmas tree lights are cheering up my place.

Tamara has a brand new red winter jacket. She looks like a miniature reindeer.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I have posted this on my other painting puppies blog as well. Why I have two blogs is a question I have for myself today. However, since I have not posted here for a while, this photo will keep me up to date here.
I am now working on a portrait with pencil crayons. My acrylic attempt at a Mallard sits beside it. I am still tweaking the duck and am not finished. But almost.
Outside tonight it is snowing silently. I was so surprised when I took my dog out for a last walk of the day. We have had such noisy rain for so long I forgot how silent snow is when it falls in the night around midnight. I did not expect the world to be covered in white powder snow, even thought the temperature had dropped today to freezing. Vancouver never gets as much snow as the rest of Canada at this time of the year.
Tonight the neighbourhood streets are covered with few tire tracks and the sidewalks were white and fresh with no tracks until we stepped out. The ground was sparkling against the many Christmas lights around the neighbourhood. My little dog seemed to be delighted with the snow as well. This is unusual for her. She always hates melting snow and especially slush. But I suppose the crisp cold powder was an unusual change for this city.
I imagine there will be many delighted children in the morning.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Favourite Childhood Book

When I was thirteen in the summer of 1954 my Dad gave me a book How To Draw Dogs by a man named Walter Foster. For me, this book was the most magical gift of my childhood. Pretty soon I was learning how to draw Spaniels and Retrievers and Boston Bulldogs and Irish Setters. I couldn't stop drawing. In no time I had to have another book about How to Draw Horses. I bugged my Dad about it because I didn't have much of an allowance and I thought I'd never save enough. I think I was really annoying. My Dad told me I'd have to wait until Christmas.

In the meantime I started visiting the library eight blocks away from our house to take out all the books about horses I could find. I started reading novels including Black Beauty and Green Grass of Wyoming and My Friend Flicka and my favourite horse book of all, King Of The Wind.

With all the reading about horses I was doing, I became obsessed with reading and drawing and the following summer I went to a ranch camp for kids called Arrowhead Ranch in Ontario. I spent the summer riding horses and drawing them and working as an assistant counsellor so I could stay the whole summer. It was a wonderful summer. I returned from camp with a sketch book filled with horse drawings. I knew I was an artist. And it was all because of that book my Dad bought me for my summer birthday, How to Draw Dogs by Walter Foster.

And you know what? There is a website for Walter Foster Books about Drawing. and there are more books about drawing puppies and dogs and cartooning and all kinds of things.

I guess there have been many others who started their drawing careers with a Walter Foster book about how to draw.
Note: The picture here is a drawing I did recently of Wally, a family dog. You can see I still like drawing dogs.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Worried Santa

At this time of the year I always start drawing Santa and his reindeer and all those familiar images. And I can't stop. I love drawing these silly little things for christmas time.
I put a snowman on my other blog and I think I will go back and forth posting Christmas stuff on both blogs as I play with my drawings. I am learning how to paint digitally as I go along.
I thought I'd come over and post a new illustration I have been developing for a Christmas card.
This santa looks worried. Maybe he is concerned about the stock market and how he's going to manage this year.
Or perhaps his reindeer have not returned this year for the annual trip.
Or maybe he forgot to bring home the eggs for Mrs. Santa's Christmas cake baking and she is giving him heck.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Virtual Sketch Date pears

I joined the Virtual Sketch Date this week.

I have posted my pears on both of my blogs because I have not yet figured out how to connect up.

Coloured pencil on bristol board 9 x 12.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Poodle Portraits

Working on some more ideas with Lily.
Today I came across this great song on YouTube about Vampires and creativity.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Time Passing By

I see I haven't been by since April.

In April my life was swept up into the life of my father who was in a seniors home suddenly after ninety one years of a long life.

He passed away in July and I am just getting back to normal everyday activity again. Blogging to myself has been the last thing I felt like doing. But today I posted a project process over on my paintingpuppies blog. So I decided to update this one as well. So what to say?

Summer is over and the fall has enveloped the city streets around me. I take my dog to the park when the sun shines. The air is crisp and the sunlight turns the maples to glorious golds and reds. I can't stop clicking my camera and loading up my hard drive memory with photos. I am addicted to taking pictures.

Maybe this is a good thing for an old soul to be doing with her days. I can't get enough of the visual beauty around me even though the news is full of gloom and doom.
This little photo is from a sidewalk garden along my dog walking route.
While Tamara was sniffing I saw this and could not resist it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dog walking weather and global warming

Last week my neighbourhood looked like this.

And then on Friday night I looked out the window to see about six inches of snow on the ground.

The daffodils were crushed along with new tulips and the next morning when the snow had melted the gardens revealed the damage. Some of the blossoming cherry trees lost branches and some went over and had to be removed.
But now the tulips have recovered and are stretching themselves upward to the sun. Things are getting back to beautiful again.
The daffodils are pretty well toast. But this is not so bad because we have had the pleasure of them for quite a while because of the cool weather.
I have been busy with a bit of travelling to Victoria on the ferry and a bit of looking through old photographs, and I also finished up some income tax stuff and I am also working on an archival project for the Vancouver Children's Literature Roundtable.
So as far as drawing goes I am missing it. But my head is percolating with a story idea and this is good I think.
I wonder if I can pull it off?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Work in Progress

This week I am working on a portrait of my son's dog Brie.

Graphite on Arches 90lb HP

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Drawings and getting started

Lately my heart is longing to get back to drawing. I have begun two drawings of the two beloved dogs of my son and his wife.
It's been so long since I got into a drawing like this and in order to convince myself that I am up to a new project of pet portraits I am posting a few of my past commissions.
This sweet faced cat is owned by a friend and it was completed a year ago. I can't remember the cat's name. But I remember the pleasure of capturing her with pencil crayons from a really lousy reference photograph.
My friend was really happy with the finished work. Nothing makes me happier than seeing the face of someone who enjoys what they see. And she loved it. And I am glad.

I don't know what happened to February!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Nothing like A Sunny Day To Raise One's Spirits

I found a way to change some of my photos with my software into different colours.I think I shall post some of them.
Today is a beautiful day because the sun is lighting up the bluest sky.We haven't had such a day for quite a while.It feels like spring is going to start today. And it probably will excite the trees and gardens into producing new growth shoots.
We had Dim Sum yesterday at the Pink Pearl Restaurant in Vancouver. Known for seafood, the place was Jacob's choice. It was his eleventh birthday. The dishes were tasty. Lots of shrimp. And noodles surrounding packages of pink shrimp.
Not so many pork dishes. (Good... because they are so greasy) I am not so fond of Dim Sum. But yesterday was a pleasure.
There was a tasty mango pudding and a tapioca that tasted like peanut butter. Light and fluffy and a nice dessert to end it.
Jacob was tired after his birthday celebration the night before with his school buddies.They played the Wii until late. They had managed to get together four Wii controllers so they could all play together. Jacob seemed to be having trouble keeping his eyes open.
Last night I rented a video 'Gone Baby Gone'. I found it to be an interesting and complicated story that in the end was most unsatisfying. And it is a long film and it moves slowly. Strange. It didn't ring true and I had the feeling that the writer was trying to make a point about child abuse in a bad home vs a better family environment. And in the end I wanted to change the ending. And perhaps that is exactly the point of the ending. Yet...
I wonder what you think of it IF you spend any time watching it.
Last weekend I took myself to the movies and saw JUNO. A delightful film. And some of it if not all of it was filmed here in Vancouver.So well done! A beauty of a film. It brought back memories of the teenagers I worked with for so long.
I should be outside in the sunshine.On the TV today at the moment, the cutest kids dancing in a British dance competition.And they are looking so strong and healthy and trim. Wow.What great exercise for kids! And it looks like so much fun.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

My Friend Liz told me

" I want you to draw animals wearing clothes" she says to me over the telephone. So here's a horse in high heels looking pretty silly.
But at least being silly is a way through the blocks to get creative again.
The cats appeared out of the blue. They closely resemble my cat's shape and size. She is round and fat even though she doesn't eat all that much.
I am sure the vet would like to see her. I'm sure she's worth big bucks to fix.
But she's been with me for eight years now since she was rescued by a group my friend Liz calls 'The Cat Police'. I saw her hiding in a cage at the market where she was on display with a number of other rescued cats. But she was the shy one.
They told me she wasn't a good one to choose because she was only there because they wanted to keep an eye on her. She hadn't been well and they expected her life to be a short one because of all she had been through.
But I fell in love with her eyes peering at me from beneath the quilt square coverlet in the cage.
We did see a vet to get checked out.
But since then she's been an indoor cat living happy and safe with me.
Why did I go on with that story?
Perhaps it is on my mind because she is getting older. The vet thought she was six or seven and that was eight years back. Oh my. I hadn't thought of that for a while.
In any case, Babette rules this place.
Tamara is terrified of her eyes. She actually shakes in her paws if the cat gets too close.
Of course they are both drama queens.
I wonder where they get that from?
Meanwhile the horse in heels is ready for a story I suppose.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Further Exploration

To continue this experimentation with images using my computer software in new ways and out of my comfort zone I tried out a couple of things today.

I designed a cow.

Oh great.

What on earth does one do with a cow?

I'm thinking about designing a bunch of characters living on a farm. The previous rooster will probably fit in just fine. And today a cow.

And last night while watching TV I sketched a bunch of kid characters in my sketchbook.

I scanned them into my computer and coloured them.

I think I am getting a little more control with my wacom tablet.

The cow is more of a vector file style.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A weekend sketch

On the weekend I popped in to wet canvas and the weekend drawing event. Since I have a soft spot for dogs I decided to sketch this Golden Retriever from a reference photo posted by this week's host.
I scanned the sketch into my Corel Photo Paint and tried to add colour. I got very frustrated. I haven't yet figured out how to do layers and transparencies so I ditz around not knowing what I am doing.
This is the best I could manage with it.
I wish I knew how to make my colours transparent so that the line drawing doesn't get washed out as I work.
I hope I get a better control of it. I am trying to stay light and not too serious about this. It is more of an experiment and a way to play and learn a little more about the possibilities. And besides it keeps my brain working. 'They' say at my age it is important to keep on with new stuff. I have friends who do crossword puzzles. I have decided to experiment with my software instead since crossword puzzles have never been my thing. And there is a lot I haven't explored sitting in my computer.
I think I will go over to and post my doggie over there as well. It has been ages since I joined in.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

Well here we are at 2008.
I wish all of my friends best wishes for a happy year ahead.
Last night I experimented with my painting program and a Wacom tablet that I have never really tried before. I have owned it for about a year now but I just never got down to trying it out. Up to this point all of my work has been with CorelDRAW and a mouse. And using a mouse to draw is like drawing with a brick.
So last night, New Years's Eve, I played with the Wacom Tablet and pen and I painted a scanned line sketch I did a couple of weeks ago in pen in my sketch book.
I have posted it here.
I am amazed at how much fun it was. I have a lot to learn but this is a start.
I can't yet bring myself to take down my Christmas tree. I guess I will do it tomorrow.
I am trying to think about making some resolutions.
But so far I am not quite ready to make any commitments yet. This year I do hope to keep up with this blogging.
Even if I am the only one to drop by.
Blogging keeps me moving forward I think.