Guarding the homefront -- that's exactly what our wonderful Adolf does daily. Adolf joined our family in January, 2007. He was 10 months old. The minute I saw him I fell in love with him. He jumped up on the leather sofa where I was sitting and put his head and paws in my lap, as if to say "Please take me home and love me." That was all it took for me to say "yes" and bring him home with us.
When you are filled with emotion, sometimes the creative energy just pours out. And, in this case, that is exactly what happened. My daughter, Kim, and her husband, Zak, have had "Oreo" since before they were married. He has always been a part of their family, and Oreo was there as their family grew and they welcomed the birth of their daughter, Reagan, in 2009. Oreo was always the one and only family pet. We all loved Oreo, and Oreo loved us all.
Sadly, Kim and Zak had to let Oreo go to Kitty Heaven yesterday after a long struggle with kidney failure and various other illnesses, but he had lived a long life. Oreo was 18 y/o, and like all of God's creatures, we get old and things start to short circuit and break down. Oreo held on, though, as long as he could.
As a tribute to this special kitty, and the love he gave my daughter and her family, I have made this pastel painting for them to enjoy in remembrance of Oreo.
"Songs of Three Islands" is a beautifully written memoir, representing the stages in the lives of the Carnegie family, one of the richest in America, and their struggle with mental illness throughout the generations. It shares the struggles of five generations of women who have struggled with an illness that had no cure, and the effects it had on the family.
I've been very busy. Holidays are fast approaching, and my house is a mess, laundry is piling up, and I've been preparing the grocery list for Thanksgiving. Craziness abounds this time of year at our house.
Still, preparing for gift giving involves, at least for me, painting. This year, I have completed two winter scenes in soft pastel for my daughter, Kim, and her family, to enjoy in their beautiful home.
As the holidays fast approach, I have always found that handmade gifts hold a special significance, especially if it comes from the heart. Sure, an iPad would be great, but since I never really grew up, and I like to play and craft, and sew, and quilt, and paint, and and and ... well, that's what I start to think about once November kicks in. I probably should start sooner, but November is about the time I really start thinking about what I want to give my family for Christmas.
Although I have done a few paintings in pastel in my career as an artist, I really did want to take the plunge and play with the medium. The first landscape painting I did was ... well ... in my opinion, "crap." But such is the learning curve with a new medium like this. My brain keeps wanting me to put away the pastels to collect dust in my studio and just stick to oil paints. But, for some reason, I'm getting brave.
Brave, because, as an artist, treading into new creative territory is like jumping off a cliff and hoping the parachute opens.
I'm going to try to do several pastel paintings a week, crap or not, we'll see how it goes ... or grows.
Something I am definitely NOT good at is trying new things, attempting new ideas, branching out and just taking the plunge into unknown territory. Today I did just that. For 2 hours anyway.
As an artist, with lots of artist friends, I know that venturing out of one's comfort zone of creative endeavors and trying something new is shaky territory. The problem with this train of thought is that we each see the work of various artists that we love and want to try to paint in the style that we admire. At least try it. Be Adventurous!
Of all the subjects I have tackled in my career as an artist, horses, sailboats, and people in their natural element are my favorite. I can't explain it, I'm just drawn to those subjects. So, when I first saw the image from photographer Aaron Huey's journey to the Pine Ridge Reservation in the Badland's National Park, South Dakota, I knew I had to paint it.