Saturday, December 31, 2005

Something New - Art card ACEO animals & florals

Well I have finally had a chance after the Christmas rush to sit down and have some fun creating art just for the sake of creating:) There are always so many things to inspire me, I don't think I will ever run out of inspiration for what to do next. LOL - the only hard part is deciding what I want to do first!

I did want to try something different, and seeing that there is such interest in miniature art - ACEO's - Art Cards, Edition's and Originals I decided to have a go at some just for fun. I even had a go at some florals and a bird!

If you have never heard of Art Card Miniature Art, there is a heap of information and a gallery of beautiful examples available at ACEO's started as trading cards that Artists world wide traded with each other, and eventually they were sold to the general public - affordable art for everyone! Many ACEO's are sold on Ebay - just search for the term ACEO and all the listing's will come up.

The main feature of ACEO's is that they are the size of trading cards - 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches (yes that is tiny!). ACEO's can be created from any medium that larger artworks are created from and can be framed in tiny miniature art frames or displayed in trading card sleeves or books. Some people even create special books using decorative scrapbooking techniques. (If you havn't heard of the craft of scrapbooking, check out - I won't go into detail as I don't really know much about scrapbooking and with my tendency to get sidetracked with new projects I am not going to start looking into it!)

I'm thinking of doing a series of 'Collections' with these ACEO's and selling them on Ebay. I'm still tossing around ideas but I'm thinking along the lines of a series of cards in each of the following (or similar) collections: 'Midnight Garden' - for florals on black backgrounds, 'Fur Babies' for dogs and cats, 'Feathered Friends', for birds, 'Down on the Farm' - for farm animals...and other things along those lines. I'd love to know what you think about this idea! I'm contemplating a personal challenge of completing one ACEO for a year. Now like I said I am just contemplating it! It sounds like a fun idea....but a huge commitment all the same. Definitely requires more thought, maybe seven cards per week as I am sure there will be days where I can't get anything done. Stay tuned, I will decide soon!

ACEO : Pelican in colour pencil and acrylic

Close-Up cat: colour pencil

ACEO Floral: Frangipani

Oh dear, those last two pics are showing a bit bigger than they should be. Oh well my computer time is up so I shall have to fix it later. LOL - Next year even:)

Anyway, last day of the old year and all that, I do hope everyone has a safe and Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 22, 2005

An Australian Kelpie for Christmas!

Wow Christmas seems to have come around so quickly this year! I've finished my last Christmas commission, a commermorative portrait of a beautiful Australian Kelpie called Tas who recently passed away. This portrait was done on Art Spectrum blue-grey Colourfix paper, 9 x 12inches with a pastel underpainting and all the top layers of detail done in artists colour pencils.

Breed Profile: The Australian Kelpie

The Australian Kelpie was developed in the 1800's by a small group of Australian Pastoralists from the inter-mixing of offspring of three pairs of working sheepdogs from Scotland.

Kelpies are an alert, eager, highly intelligent, loving, gentle, easily trained, loyal and devoted breed. Although devloped as a sheepdog - a job at which they excel, Kelpies also make wonderful family pets for people who can accomodate their mental and physical activity needs with pleanty of excercise and activities that allows them to use their intelligence, like Obedience training, agility, tracking or other dog sports.

The Australian Kelpie is of medium size, with males usually between 46 - 51 cm (18 - 20 inches) and females betwee 43 - 48 cm (17 - 19 inches).

The Kelpie has a moderately short coat (imagine somehwhere between a German Shepherd Dog and a Doberman), and has seven different colour variations: Red, Red and Tan, Black, BLack and tan, Chocolate, fawn and Smoke blue.

Follow the link below to see photos of different Australian Kelpie dogs:

Now I just have to finish and frame Amarok's portrait and I can have a short holiday over Christmas and do some 'non-commission' art for myself:)

I hope you all have a Happy and Safe Christmas and New Year, wherever you may be in the world!



Friday, December 16, 2005

Japanese Akita Portrait

I've just finished my second last Christmas commission, this one is a gorgeous Japanese Akita dog. I'm really pleased with how this turned out, combining a pastel underpainting with color pencil for all the top layers.

One more Christmas portrait to finish in the next day or so (another dog, this time an Australian Kelpie) then I can do some art for me! And at some stage I *will* get this blog fixed so that my profile/links/archive side bar is back at the side where it is meant to be and not down the bottom. I think its an IE thing as I have been told it works ok in Firefox.

This one is 11 x 14 inches on dark blue Art Spectrum Colourfix sanded paper - my new favourite support for pastels and colour pencils. And whats more its an Aussie product so easy to get here:)

Dog Breed Profile: The Japanese Akita Inu

The AKITA INU is a Japanese Breed of Dog, reputedly bred as a hunting and guarding dog in ancient Japan. The Akita Inu (which means 'big dog' in Japanese) were originally bred to hunt boar, elk and even bear but were also versatile enough to catch water fowl and other small prey. They were also used as a guard dog during feudal times and has always been regarded as a dog of luck - new babies and the ill are given Akita carvings even today. Archaeological evidence indicates that dogs migrated to Japan 4000 years ago, and since the 12th century drawings and artifacts depict a dog with erect ears and curled tail - the early ancestors of the modern Akita.

This breed is characterised by its noble and dignified bearing, its great beauty, aloofness with strangers, and unsurpassed courage. They are a heavily built, powerful dog whose devotion to their owners is typified by the legendary Haichiko - a dog who attended the railway station at Shibuyu in Japan every morning and afternoon with his master who travelled to work by train. When Haichiko's master died at work, he continued to visit the raliway station morning and night for teh next ten years.

The Akita is the largest Japanese native dog - powerful and heavy boned, with a big bear-like head and thick coat up to 5cm long at the withers and rump. They grow up to 71cm tall and weigh approx. 55kg. The Akita coat does require regular brushing but only infrequent bathing.
Akitas have a strong ego and will not tolerate abuse. They can be obstinate and rather jealous if treated harshly but will always co-operate and are incredibly devoted companions if treated kindly, and kept as one of the family.

Akita's are an active breed that require regular excercise. The Akita is a strong, large, impressive working dog - obedience training and a great deal of socialization as a puppy are required as they have a tendency to be aggressive towards other dominant dogs. Not a breed for the timid, first time dog owner.

Click the following link to view some photos of Akita's (to open the link in a new window, simply right click with your mouse and select 'open in new window')



Tuesday, December 13, 2005

'Waiting' Bullmastiff portrait in colour pencil

This is probably my favourite piece that I have done this year. The look in this dog's eyes just says it all, he is laying there patiently waiting for his owner to come back.

This piece was completed purely in colour pencils on cream Stonehenge paper and took well over 55 hours of work to complete. It was worth it though, because it was awarded First Place in the Painting & Drawings: Animals class at the second Art Show I entered last month - pretty amazing seeing as colour pencil is such a new Fine Art medium, and because the other entries included oils, acrylics and pastels!



Friday, December 09, 2005

Rhodesian Ridgeback - Graphite Portrait

This is one of the commissions I have just finished - definitely one of the hardest I have done due to the poor quality of the reference photo which I have posted as well. Unfortunately this beautiful dog recently passed away and no additional photos could be taken. Considering the lack of detail that was in the photo I am really pleased how this one turned out. What do you think?