Owl #5 and Rudy #1

 I finished this piece, Owl #5 in my series for the 3X3 show, about a week ago but am just getting around to posting it. 

This was a difficult piece because of the white.  I am really happy with the sky – which may seem silly as it looks just like a pretty even patch of blue violet – but there are actually color variations and gradations which I think are quite beautiful.  The solvent worked very well on these blue and violet pigments.

On the other hand, I’m not too happy with the owl herself.  I was unable to achieve any rounded look to the body or more than minor shadows under the layers of feathers.  I began with white and then was unsuccessful in laying much color over it.  I really don’t understand why that happened because white is often used as a burnisher in colored pencil work, and other colors applied over a burnished surface are brighter.  So I’m completely mystified.

Overall, I like the composition and the beautiful color, and find her eyes riveting.  Perhaps it will end up being a nice addition to the collection, but I wish I had been able to do a better job on the white plumage.

Meanwhile, here’s my first layer on a pastel portrait of my friend Alan’s beloved dog Rudy.  Rudy passed away in September at the age of 15.  He was a noble and loving dog whom I had the pleasure of knowing only during the last year and a half of his life.  He had been with Alan since puppyhood and, as a Great Dane/Boxer cross, was quite a handful in his youth.  In fact, he probably would have been unmanageable in just about anybody’s hands but Alan’s, so both Rudy and Alan were very luck to have found each other.

I began this painting for a demo I did last weeked at the El Dorado Arts Council ArtSpace.  The demo was in conjunction with the Sierra Pastel Society’s Winter Member Show which is there through early January.  I took this photo I am doint this painting from the day Rudy passed.  That morning Alan told me how worried he was about Rudy, who had been declining for a while.  My sister Shelley and I went to visit him and he brightened.  Shelley was one of his very favorite people.  (A cynical person would attribute this affection to the regular provision of treats but we dog lovers know that they are actually motivated by higher concerns such as, quite simply, love.)  At one point during our visit, Shelley put her hand on Rudy’s shoulder, looked into his eyes, and said “I love you, Rudy.”  Rudy answered “a wuv ooo,” clear as day.  Later that evening, Rudy passed quietly at home with Alan.  We all miss you, handsome boy.

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