Tuesday, October 27, 2020

It's Been Awhile! Let Me Introduce Charlie!


Charlie is the newest addition to our family. Charlie is a Cavachon puppy - his father was a Cavalier King Charles and his mother was a Bichon Frise. Here is the whole litter!


Aren't they all adorable??? Charlie was the last one of the litter to be adopted and he was thrilled to find a new home - just as we are thrilled to have him in our lives. Talk about a great distraction from politics, the environment, and other earthly catastrophes.

So here are a few introductory photos of this little boy. Hope you enjoy this cuddle-bug as much as we do!

Charlie finds a discarded green tomato

And brings it home to chew on - 
and no, I didn't let him eat much 
because we don't need a sick puppy!

Charlie likes to sleep on the cool shelves 
at the bottom of our coffee and end tables. 
Today, he had his first vet appointment, 
so he was all worn out.

In the coming months, you'll no doubt watch this little boy grow up and fill our lives with laughter. Keep on smiling, no matter what. It WILL get better, sooner or later!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

An Unusually Eclectic Studio Tour

Above, acrylic on canvas, watercolor, and acrylic on a drum. 

There are times when I look around the studio and am surprised by the sameness of my work that hangs on the walls. 

And there are other times, like today, when I look around and think to myself,  "My goodness, what an odd collection of media and style of working!"

Below, silver foiling, painted silk mandala, memory collage, watercolor birds, and acrylic birds.

Above, a feather collection, library, art & craft supplies, plus two watercolors and a fabric collage.

Below, acrylic baby crow, gold foiling on black canvas, and a watercolor cat.

Above, two watercolors and a fabric African theme collage on black canvas.

As long as the Nasturtiums are blooming, there is at least one (if not more) little bouquets of them in the house - and often on my desk.

Above, the desk side - which has a large opening to the front entry hall of the house. The studio is in the "sun room" of our quad home, and the light from here fills the entryway, when the front door is closed. We keep it open a lot, just to let more light in.

My art table, relatively clean at the moment. Lots of stuff under it - pastels, colored pencils, other drawing supplies, and meal worms for the Bluebirds. I order them in bulk, as it more economical that way.

The sliding door leads to the covered porch, where I spend most mornings drinking my hot tea and swinging while watching the birds who stop to visit.

Below, I'm sitting on the wicker porch swing enjoying my morning tea.

And a few more nasturtium bouquets for fun & color!

Hope you enjoyed a little visual tour of my creating space. I love the light in this room - it really helps, especially in winter and on dark, gloomy days, to remain more cheerful and creative! Nasturtiums help, too!

Friday, September 18, 2020

Getting Back to Creating at Long Last

Stone Chats in Scotland ~ 10"w x 21" h ~ Watercolor ~ (c)Pat Dolan

Between the Pandemic and Politics, I've had a very hard time stepping out of time and space and into the altered state of creativity. However, after a few weeks off from the tragic news stories, I'm beginning to feel more like myself. I know many others find creating as their path to surviving the current situation, both personally and globally. But for me, it was as though I hit a wall and simply couldn't stop seeing the "black holes" in front of me.

But this week, my creative juices started to flow ever so slowly once again, and I've finally completed a painting I set up months ago. You see the finished painting above. I'll show my painting process below. All questions welcomed and will be answered!

First, here is the inspiration for this painting - a photo by a Facebook friend, Keith Clark, found on the Scottish Clans page. Keith kindly gave me permission to use his photo as my inspiration. As an aside, I have Scottish ancestors, Grant & Stephen, from the northeastern counties of Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire. When we visited in 2007, we saw a lot of wildlife, including birds. We asked the server at an outdoor refreshment stand in Banchory or Durris next to the River Dee what kinds of birds there were, she replied "Chirpy-chirpy, Cheep-cheep!"  We all had a good laugh!

                              Photo of Stone Chats by Keith Clark, Scotland

The drawing table with everything ready to go - the inspiration, the drawing on 300# Arches watercolor paper, brushes, paints, water, good lighting - and finally, the motivation to paint.

Before I put any color down, I did two things. First, using regular masking tape, I taped the slender stems of the branches in the foreground. Second, I completely saturated the paper with water, everywhere but the birds and the taped branches.

Next, I dropped in the pale blue in the upper left corner for the sky, then quickly added a lot of mixed greens (mixes of burnt sienna, Van Dyke brown, ultramarine blue, cerulean blue, and also some sap green) with various amounts of water to create a misty background scene for this pair of birds.  

While the paper is still wet, but not shiny, I drop in some Kosher salt into the sky and the trees in the background on the right. These larger salt crystals will soak up both water and paint, leaving little starry lighter spots to give the illusion of sky behind the trees, clouds in the sky, and depth in general to the background.

Adding more shades of greens, to add depth to the background and interest to the foreground. Also some blues and browns, to provide interest and contrast.

Time to remove the tape, so I can begin to add the shading to the various branches and twigs that pepper the foreground and give grounding to the birds.

Adding Paynes gray with either or both burn sienna, Van Dyke brown, plus a pale touch of blue, I begin to bring the branches to life. I also begin to paint the female Stone Chat on the left and give an eye to her partner.

Ah, now the fun of painting the brighter male Stone Chat in the foreground. He's plump and with a deeply rich black coat and a rusty (burnt sienna) brown belly with a white underbelly and white throat accents. 

I went back into the sky to add more blue in the upper left corner - not too much, with a little more Kosher salt. Also began adding the smaller twigs to the sticks in the foreground.

Now it was time for finishing touches, more detailed twigs, careful attention to the birds eyes, highlighting branches a bit with while gouache. 

And finally, adding a signature, when I'm satisfied with the painting. That's not to say I may not touch it up a tad here or there later, if I see something that feels a bit "off." But for all essential purposes, the painting is complete - ready for matting and framing.

Hope you enjoyed learning about the watercolor process of creating a wildlife painting. If you have any questions, please write them below in the comments and I will respond.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Taking a Ride Through Central Pennsylvania

This is more of a photo journal, today. It captures a recent drive in our local vicinity. I love the rural area, wild flowers, farmland, and animals. I hope you enjoy them, too!

 Joe Pye Weed in bloom
 Loosestrife is invading the banks of Spring Creek

 Teasle coming to the end of it's blossoming...

 Queen Anne's Lace - gone to seed, above,
in full bloom below.

 Teasle - when it's blooming!

A Turkey Vulture harassing a Bald Eagle overhead...