Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A painting of Rogan

Rogan is such a cool dog.  He shows us what can be done with an Irish Setter.   He has beauty, brains and a loving gentle personality.

http://www.dawnsecord.com

It always is so sad when people see me with one  of my dogs and say (something like this) - "Oh, I used to have one of those when I was a kid.  They are such stupid dogs."   It is always awkward - do I respond negatively as their statement is insulting, or do I try to be kind.   The kindness wins out everytime.  But, there is a little voice screaming inside me trying to get out. 

Irish Setters are very smart dogs.  Do they have a lot of energy?  Well, yes, they are sporting dogs - bred to work the field all day.   They have to  have the drive and build to do so.   As they get older, they quiet down.  Just like we do.   I remember as a child jumping on the bed with gusto and glee.  It was awesome, it was exhilarating.   Would I do that now?  No way - I'd  probably fall off  and break my leg or something.   Ha Ha.  Point is, Irish Setters are very smart dogs and can accomplish whatever we ask of them.   It comes down to the same thing for all dogs, the more time we spend with them, the more they are trained and socialized.   Our dogs, regardless of the breed, can do so much - it is up to us.

I asked Jeanne, Rogan's owner, to share a little bit about him and this is what she shared:

      GCh Ch Roclyn Rockafella, CD BN RE CGCA (Rogan) is a sweet, loving boy who excels in both the show ring and in performance events.

Thank you Jeanne for having me paint your boy.   It was my pleasure.   Below are the reference photos I took of him for the painting (plus one taken by another party).  It was a hard choice to decide which photo would be the primary reference photo.   When we are having a challenge  picking the photo for the painting, I like to put the top choices side by side.  It helps the elimination process.
http://www.dawnsecord.com/commissioninformation.html

Friday, August 17, 2018

A painting of baby Rowan

I remember meeting Rowan like it was yesterday.  The first time he looked at me I melted.    He is a wonderful dog.   It was very exciting when his owner expressed an interest in having me paint him as a baby now that he is a veteran.  

http://www.dawnsecord.com
My husband and I have paintings of our dogs when they were pups.  There is something special about having the adult painting of a dog and seeing our dogs as they currently are, but there is something that is very heart warming about capturing those priceless moments when they were wee ones.

A number of photos were considered when approaching this painting.  The direct eye connection with the viewer that was captured in this baby photo really touched me.   I knew it would make a great painting.   So glad Rowan's owner agreed.

Rowan's owner offered to share with us a little bit about her special boy - here is a peek into this special dog, Rowan....

  Rowan (AKA Darnella’s Autumn Riverdancer CGC) came into my life on a cold December day in 2008. Arriving on a flight from hot and sunny south Florida, this scared 12 week old puppy landed at O’Hara Airport to snow and cold. The Chicago cops who helped me load his crate into my van thought he was a blood hound puppy. Fortunately, his half-sister Katie welcomed him immediately into our small family with only a touch of the diva.  His show career never materialized but he is all and more that an Irish Setter companion should be. He is so sweet, gentle, and loving. He was a perfect therapy dog for my mom before she passed at age 97 - always gentle and loving. He was a favorite at her nursing home before she passed. He is, without a doubt, my Heart Dog and a Velcro boy to boot.  He is facing some serious health issues right now but I am hoping we still have some good times together.
 
 
Thank you to his owner Cindy for having me paint him again and for sharing his story with us!

http://www.dawnsecord.com/commissioninformation.html

Monday, August 13, 2018

A painting of Ray and Roderick

This painting was finished a few weeks ago. It has been shipped and in the hands of the lovely lady who commissioned the piece. Her two boys, Ray and Roderick, are at the hunt tests regularly and are awesome dogs. I was able to meet them both last year and take photos of them. 
http://www.dawnsecord.com
 

Their owner supplied additional photos of them actually out in the field. I always say, "The more photos, the more reference material for the painting!" The background for the painting is from an actual competition with Ray. (And speaking of Ray - the dog in front) he happens to be a pup out of my dog, Drew. So, he is Bling's half brother. The resemblance in their eyes is uncanny.

Huge thank you to Yana for having me paint for you. It was an honor!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

A Dog Bling - a Children's Book in the Making

Many of you know I've been working on writing and illustrating a children's book.  The dummy has been completed and is being sent out to agents.  Woo Hoo!!  The main character of the book is a dog Bling.   Bling is my dog and she is an Irish Setter.   Her best friend in the book is a goldfish named Sushi.  Sushi is a real fish too.  Bling travels the country with me - visiting friends, family, hanging out in my art booth as my mascot, and going to dog shows.  

When creating a dummy book, an illustrator does not complete all the illustrations.  The goal is to have a few illustrations to show an agent or publisher what your work would look like.   The agent or publisher may have other ideas for the book and it is a waste of time and effort to do too much before finding an agent or publisher.   My proposed cover is done and a few of the page illustrations.


The above image is the first illustration I'd completed for the dummy.   To promote the book and Bling's Facebook page, I am doing an art giveaway featuring this first illustration.   This original illustration was painted in pastel and is framed.

If you are interested in winning the work - please go to Bling's Facebook page at:

https://www.facebook.com/adogbling/

There is no cost and the shipping of the artwork is free as well.   All you need to do to enter is follow the instructions on Bling's Facebook page to enter.

Bling also has a website now and a fan page for children to receive messages from Bling (with the approval of their parents of course).   Bling's website is http://www.adogbling.com    Go take a peek!

For those of you interested in winning the artwork - good luck and thank you for your support of Bling and my children's book.   If you are an agent or publisher and are interested in seeing the dummy or reading the manuscript, please email me at  ...  adogbling@gmail.com

Thanks so much!


Friday, August 3, 2018

Thru an artist's eyes...August 3, 2018

This morning was another "pull over quickly and take that photo" day!  

While driving, I came across a huge cactus standing proudly in all its glory.   This mature majestic plant was flowering and had the largest soft yellow blooms I'd ever seen on a cactus.   Without hesitation, I threw the car in reverse, backed up to be parallel with the cactus, put the hazard lights on (sometimes the left side of my brain engages), and jumped out of the car.
http://www.dawnsecord.com

With cell phone in hand, I was looking up at the cactus in seconds.  The cactus was even more amazing standing next to it.   It was hard not to question the age of this plant.  Who had passed by it for how many years?   Had Native Americans ridden their horses by this cactus in years passed or was it just a place to find shade for the occasional road runner or rattlesnake?  My cell phone camera was clicking away.   The cactus had to be 10 to 12 feet high.   The morning light was illuminating the blossoms with strong shadows being cast in the folds of the plant.  The scene was mesmerizing.  Then reality snapped me out of my trance and I thought, "Wow...I wonder if the home owners are watching me?"   At that very second, about 6 feet away from me, the car door opened from the car parked in the circular driveway.   A man exited.  I jumped.  The beauty of the cactus was so fixating, the fact a person was sitting there watching me had completely gone unnoticed.
http://www.adogbling.com


Quickly explaining my art and quest to take photos for a blog, the home owner started laughing.   He didn't mind me being in his yard.   We had a wonderful conversation.  He confirmed the cactus was quite old and had been cut back a number of times.  He also told me the fruit was edible and offered me some.   Politely declining, he was thanked for his kindness and we both had a great laugh.  Walking the short distance to my car, I had to wonder...what was more beautiful - the cactus or the enjoyable conversation and laughter with a complete stranger.   Let's call it a draw.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Thru an artist's eyes...August 2, 2018

Our senior dog, Monet, is rapidly approaching her 12th birthday.   She hasn't changed a bit.  Yes, her face is white and her gait not quite as spry....but her eyes...they are still the same as they were 12 years ago.   She has this zest for life that shines through her eyes. 

http://www.dawnsecord.com
There is something magical about the eyes - notice with Monet's eyes how the wetness reflects the objects in front of her like a mirror.   Look closely.   We can see the reflection of the blue sky, of me kneeling in front of her with my cell phone to take the photos - even the driveway and surrounding foliage. The white hair of her face envelopes her darker eye which is the focal point of this photograph.   Isn't it fun to take the time to look a little more deeply into the photo and see these small finer points.   There is so much beauty in this photo.  The beauty of the dog, the beauty of the flowering Crepe Myrtle tree and the hints of the blue sky peeking through.

 Next time you look at an image, take a moment to look a little more deeply and find something you didn't expect to find.  There may be visual surprises in the subjects you didn't think would be fascinating or beautiful..

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Through an artist's eyes....August 1, 2018

I went to the post office today.  Really not a big deal.   I decided to drive the long way home through the city rather than on the freeway.  At the top of a hill, the view was spectacular.   It made me pull over, step into the middle of the street, and just admire it.  (thankfully it was a quiet street and no traffic)
http://www.dawnsecord.com

Standing there in the middle of the street - quite literally - I attempted to count all the colors before me.  This was impossible to accomplish for fear of traffic at some point.   Then it hit me.  This would be a great blog topic - how does an artist see things?   How often do we stop and just admire what we see?   What do the shapes created by cast shadows resemble?   How many colors are in the drop of water from the sprinkler on the rose pedal?  I am always stopping and taking photos of these little bits of beauty with my cell phone.  Right then and there an inner commitment was made.   Each day is a day to celebrate.  Each day I will find something beautiful and share it through the eyes of an artist.   So, today is my first day of sharing.

Here is the view that compelled me to stop the car and stand in the middle of the street like a fruit cake.  The mountains in Southern California are gorgeous.   It amazes me how different the colors are in the distance.   This is caused by moisture in the air - atmospheric perspective (a topic for another post).  The farthest hills are a deep blue while the next layer of hills are purple.   Looking at this scene, one can feel the words "Purple Mountains Magesties"  from the poem, America the Beautiful.   Do you know...."Purple mountain majesties" refers to the shade of the Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, Colorado, which, according to Wikipedia,  inspired Bates to write the poem.


Life is a journey - be inspired everyday.   Let beauty stop you in your tracks.   Take a moment and enjoy all that surrounds you.