Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Bay Arab Filly Portrait in Pastels

I havn't done a portrait of a horse for a while, so decided to do one of this lovely Bay Arab filly in pastels. I'm quite happy with the way the horse turned out, but the background grass and trees still needs a bit more work to complete it. The horse itself is pretty much complete although I will leave it for a few days and see if any minor adjustments are needed. Pastels on Art Spectrum Colourfix sanded paper.




Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Wearable Art -Sterling Silver wire and gemstone Jewelery

Or maybe I should have spelt that jewellery, jewelry or jewellry. LOL who knows, and does it really matter - I'm sure you know I am talking about, no matter which way I spell it.

I thought I would post a few bits of my Art Jewellery, although I have had a brief hiatus from creating jewellery lately, I can feel my muse heading in that direction of late:)

The first photo below is a Sterling Silver, Turquoise and Red Coral bracelet that I made for my Mum's birthday in June. All the silver work, coiled links and clasp are hand forged. I just LOVE working with sterling silver and gemstone beads.

This second bangle is based on the wire weaving techniques taught by Brazilian Artist Eni Oken, and is probably my all time favourite. As I was working on it, the piece named itself 'Amazon Sunset', the turquoise focal bead represents the depths of the river, the faceted amazonite - the endless blue sky, the orange aventurine is the setting sun leading to the black onyx of a moonless night sky lit only by the silver twinkling stars. Its a hefty bangle - not for the faint of heart, but it is this style that I am being pulled to create...just gotta finish the Christmas Pet Portrait commissions before I let myself get distracted!

I probably should post some piccies of the jewellery pieces I have made that have won awards. One day. As a full time mother of three, and with working from home there just never seems enough time to do everything I should be doing. Which of course is why the housework never gets done - or at least it sounds like a good reason:)

I do have a temporary website for some of my art jewellery if you would like to see some more, the url is http://uniquelychelle.dgshosting.com/



Monday, November 21, 2005

A tribute to our Jack Russell Terrier, Harley

We lost our little girl Jack Russell Terrier over two years ago to a brain tumor. She was nearly 11 years old and such a gutsy happy little dog - a true Jack Russell in every way. It has taken me all this time to be able to do Harley's portrait, I never felt that I was good enough to do her justice. Yesterday it just felt right to start her portrait, and even though this is a new medium for me, I decided to do it in pastels on Art Spectrum paper.

This is one of those pieces that just seemed to paint itself and I am really pleased with the result. And now I can really understand why people who have portraits painted of their 'Rainbow Bridge' pets feel like it is almost like having them back again, that probably sounds strange, and in fact it feels a bit strange but in a way it does actually feel like that.

Here she is 'Harley' in pastel:



Sunday, November 20, 2005

A Portrait for Christmas On Ebay

As part of my website promotion I am offering a small number of Christmas Special Pet Portraits on Ebay and at well below the normal price, so if you are looking at ordering a portrait of your favourite pet now is a great time to do so!

Click this link for the current auction http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7367613399&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMESE%3AIT&rd=1 or go to my About Me page http://cgi3.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewUserPage&userid=uniquelychelle or you can search Ebay for my user ID uniquelychelle.



Saturday, November 19, 2005

Ginger Cat in Pastels

I needed a break from my graphite commission and decided to have a go at this ginger cat in pastels using the Art Spectrum Colourfix sanded paper I just got. I am quite pleased with the results and can see myself doing alot more pastel work on this particular paper! If anyone else uses this paper for animal portraits, I'd love to here your experiences with it.

'Ginger Megs' 9" x 12" on Light Blue Colourfix.



How to take Good Photos of your Pets

If you have ever tried taking a photo of your beloved pet, you probably already know that it is not always as easy to get the perfect shot. Whether you are taking photos to add to your family album, or a trying to get a great shot to use as reference for a pet portrait, hopefully the following tips will help!

The number one tip for great looking photos is take them from the subjects level - for pet photo’s, that may mean laying on the floor! By taking the photo from the pet's level, you will avoid the camera distortion that makes some photos look like caricatures.

Use natural light if possible, no flash or artificial lighting. The best outside photographs are taken on overcast days with light cloud so that there is plenty of light. If it is sunny, position your pet in the shade and take the photos with the sun behind you. Don’t take the photo in direct sunlight as this will make your pet squint (not to mention get impatient).

If you do need to take the photo inside, take it near a window that allows plenty of natural lighting, and try to avoid using the flash. Take the photo with your back to the window with the subject facing the window.

Take photo’s from a distance of 6ft or less. You want your pet to be the main object in the photo, not the surroundings, so zoom in and fill the viewfinder with your pet's image. This is really important if you are taking a head shot, as you really want to see the eyes and facial expression clearly.

Make sure you allow some space around your pet in the viewfinder so you don't accidentally chop off an ear or a nose!

Take as many photos as you can, a digital camera is excellent as you can keep taking multiple shots in the same pose to give you a good range to choose from.

When taking photos of pets, enlist the help of another person to stand beside you and get the animals attention with a toy or treat. A shot of the head looking forward and slightly to the one side usually makes a more interesting phot enlargement or pet portrait than a full side-on profile pose - try to take the photo from an angle that shows both eyes (for dogs and cats).

Photos that capture the subjects personality and character are important. Be patient and be prepared to spend a fair bit of time, possibly over more than one photo session. Dog’s in particular will sense if you are getting frustrated or grumpy, and this will reflect in their demeanor. Try to make it fun – toys and treats usually work!

Always keep a camera handy and know how to use it in a hurry - candid shots can often truly capture the personality of your pet, but you usually don't have a lot of time to get your camera organised before the pet moves!

These two photos of Jess are examples of good close-up and detailed reference photos. I took these photos following all the advice I have have listed above - so you can see these tips will help:)

Of course, some pets are easier to photograph than others - I have taken several hundred photos of my own dog Tia, a black Shar Pei (you know the dog's with all the wrinkles) and only one is suitable for use as a reference for her portrait, so I shall keep trying for some better ones.

Happy snapping!



Thursday, November 17, 2005

Life gets in the way!

Well so much for daily posting! After a full week of all five of us having an awful gastro, then hubby being hospitalized for four days (unrelated but serious medical condition), I was finally able to pick up my pencil yesterday to do some more work on a graphite commission. I am reasonably happy with the way it is progressing, considering it is a shocking reference photo (the nose, muzzle and lips are a solid black blob when they shouldn't be - its a brown Rhodesian Ridgeback dog and the photo has very little definition of the eyes). Unfortunately the dog has gone to the Rainbow Bridge so additional photos are not possible.

I will post a photo of the piece later, I did take a couple of shots but the camera batteries are going flat and they didn't work. In the meantime I am off to do some more work on this portrait.

Bye for now!



Monday, November 07, 2005

Multi Award Winning Animal Artist

That would be me! I am very proud to announce that I received a number of awards for my artwork in the show I entered over the weekend - seven awards in fact!

I receieved First and Second for my two entries in the class for Painting/Drawing - Animals/Birds; First and Third for my two entries in the Painting & Drawing - Any Subject class, A Third in the Painting & Drawing - Portrait class, First in the Article of Silver Jewellery and Third for my entry in the Article of Beading class:)

I am feeling pretty pleased with myself as this was only the second show I have ever entered:, and like I mentioned before, the other artworks were something special!

Definitely a GOOD day!



Saturday, November 05, 2005

Patience is a virtue...

...or so I am told. I definitely need to develop more I think! I have entered some of my art and jewellery in a local art competition this weekend. Judging was yesterday but I will not find out until tomorrow how I went. Mind you, after the glimpses of the really outstanding artwork that I was able to see when I dropped mine off I am not expecting any awards at all, I just can't wait to have a good look at the other artwork!

I managed to do a little more on Amarok's portrait, havn't taken a pic of the updates as yet, I think I probably need to do a bit more before there is anything really noticeably changed. The white fur on her muzzle is still not to my liking - it has lots of colours, creams, greys and blues but it still hasn't got the depth that I am aiming to achieve. Time for a bit more painting I think. If it fines up later today I might be able to get a better photo of the portrait.

Bye for now!


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A progress pic of my latest animal portrait

Well what do you know, its day two and I am actually posting! Today has been one of those Blah type days, you know the kind that you'd rather forget? Seeing as I am quite please with this so far, I thought I'd cheer myself up and post a progress shot of Amarok's portrait...Amarok is a seven year old Siberian Husky. This started out in pastel and colour pencil but has ended up mostly acrylic, what can I say, I got carried away with my paintbrush:) This is my second attempt at an animal in acrylic so I am actually pleasantly surprised that it is looking pretty good. And I am really enjoying slapping the paint around. It still needs alot more work on the right ear (viewers right) and the large expanse of white fur needs further layers and modelling, and I am not yet happy with the mouth. Of course this is a pretty cruddy picture and the colours are not true to life - there is actually a good amount of cream fur above the eyes up to the base of the ears.

So here she is, Amarok in progress (after about 10 hours work)...hopefully I can finish her by the weekend.

My First ever blog entry:)

Yay for me, I've finally joined the rest of the world and started my own blog. LOL, I really have NO idea what I am doing, but I guess I'll learn as I go along, right? I'm not sure that I can manage to update daily (probably don't have that much of interest happening in my life on a daily basis), but I think I can manage acouple of entries a week:)

Actually, one of the reasons that I have finally created a blog is to keep a bit of a diary on my artwork, not so much the pet portrait commissions that I do, but on my personal choice artwork. Not only a visual diary, but also as a bit of a record of the thoughts and emotions that go into creating an artwork. I know that many artists who work by commission end up loosing their enjoyment of their art because it becomes a job just like any other, so I am setting myself a personal challenge to produce at least two pieces just for me every month. I'd love to be able to do more, but my style is highly detailed, realistic and very time consuming, so two pieces is a realistic goal at least for the rest of this year.

On the other hand, I'm determined to teach myself how to paint with acrylics and pastels, both of which should be much quicker than my main mediums, graphite and colour pencils (no, not the kind you had in primary school!). So when the kids go back to school in February and I have a little bit more time, I'm might just up the challenge to one piece per week. LOL - I don't think I will ever be one of these artists who can create a painting in a couple of hours, unless of course I start going abstract!

But for now, I guess I should have a bit of a wander around and work out how to set this whole blog thing up so it looks halfway decent!



Tuesday, November 01, 2005

'Intense' Tabby cat in pastel and colour pencil

An example of my artwork. This piece recently won an award in the first art show I have ever entered.