Friday, December 31, 2010

Three pet portraits for holiday gifts

This is Mac, a fox red Labrador retriever. I had a wonderful photo of him peeking under a garage door, so I made some changes so the painting would tell a story. Now Mac is looking under a fence at his favorite toy–every Lab's favorite toy–a tennis ball.

One thing I learned from Mike Sibley's workshop this fall is that if you tell a simple story with your art, it will have much more appeal. Most of his work tells a nice story about living on a farm. So I think this painting is a good step in that direction

This one is Buster, an Australian mixed breed who resembles a sheltie. This painting was shipped all the way to Australia. One friend told me her eye looks funny- that is because she is a blue merle, and has white patches in her actual eye. A friend gave me photos from their vacation in Australia so I could see what the Australian outback looks like. Very red, hence the vivid background. 

Both of the above paintings were done in acrylic and colored pencil.

And this is Fiona, an Alaskan Malamute. For some reason I always like to paint Mals in pastel. The chalk nicely captures their fluffy coat. (I can hear Malamute breeders screeching "It's not fluffy!!!!)  This piece of art had a harrowing trip to Denver for Christmas. Because I had insured it, the post office demanded a signature at delivery. It bounced around in the back of a truck for a few days before it finally got to its new home, and I was terrified the chalk would be smeared or worse. Pastels are fairly fragile, and even with careful packaging, I was nervous. But if arrived safely, finally, and the giftee loves it.

I have two more commissions to do in January, so I will be busy in the New Year, doing what I love!
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© 2010 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Holidays!

It is absolutely pouring outside, but the Christmas spirit is alive and well here in Poway. My poor ponies are soaked, but this is what they looked like last week:

Ari, Terry, Star and Sherlock
Star is at his photogenic best in these photos. He's a really flashy guy, except when it's raining! I had to move him out of his corral because it is under water:

It's safe to say he's still getting wet:

But here he is last week:

Much better, don't you think?

In California, we complain if it rains, we complain if it's hot, we complain about our lack of weather, or when we get anything resembling weather at all. So cuddle up indoors with your doggies and kitties, and have a Merry Christmas!
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© 2010 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A day at the dog show

Blue merle collies wait to go in the ring. Gorgeous!

I went to a dog show yesterday to interview some Boxer folks about their breed for my next book. I hadn’t been to a show in awhile and I had a blast looking at all the gorgeous dogs and checking out the vendor booths.

I no longer do booths at shows for my artwork. It was just too much money and too much work. And no profit. Now with the economy in the trash, entries are way down and it was very quiet at the show site. Every class was much smaller than I am used to seeing. Just 6 Labs and 7 shelties; the only large class was Golden Retrievers. How sad.

This makes me want to rush home and groom my dogs
I did manage to avoid buying an $80 dog bed and a $200 grooming table. Those fantasies have to wait until after the vet bills are paid. I’m just like everyone else: on a budget.

The highlight of the day was meeting several devoted Boxer lovers who kindly spent a few hours educating me about the breed. When you are “in dogs,” you make instant friends with total strangers. I can research dogs all day long, but talking to the experts makes a world of difference. And I especially enjoyed sitting on the floor getting snuggled and snuffled by a sweet boxer girl.

As always, the collies are so beautiful they are breathtaking. And a row of wirehaired dachshunds always makes me smile. It was a perfect day. 

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© 2010 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Aunt Charlotte

As my Aunt Charlotte's 91st birthday approaches, I think back to a couple of experiences we've had together over the years.

Aunt Charlotte was staying with me for a weekend. One morning I saw her down at the end of the hall, walking back and forth from the bathroom to the bedroom, mumbling, “What did I do with them? They were here a minute ago...” Having suffered through plenty of my own senior moments, I figured I better help her find whatever she had misplaced.

“My teeth,” she explained, “I JUST had them here on the nightstand. I’m sure of it!”
Aunt Charlotte enjoyed Beans and Tuffy, my dachshunds

As I turned to walk back into the bathroom to help her look, I spied my collie Emma, sitting in the living room chewing on something. Emma loved synthetics; no roll of duct tape was safe from her. Dog dishes and other plastics were fair game at my house, and any thing left carelessly near the edge of a countertop was gone in sixty seconds…or less.

There she was, happily munching on Aunt Charlotte’s teeth. I pried her mouth open and retrieved them, and luckily they weren’t destroyed, just gooey with dog slobber. I returned the dentures to their rightful owner, with the suggestion that she might want to wash them off before using them.

Another adventure with Aunt Charlotte

Aunt Charlotte accompanied me on a Sunday visit to Huntington Beach so we could go to my niece Kirra's birthday party. As we got off the freeway and headed through the concrete jungle to my brother’s home, I saw a guy jogging with his German Wirehaired Pointer. I used to see lots of hunting breeds in Seattle, but it was unusual to see any sporting dog other than a Lab or Golden retriever in the city.

“Wow, look Charlotte, it’s a German Wirehaired Pointer!”

“I was looking at the guy,’ she replied.

I need to get a life. 

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© 2010 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.