Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Vacation!


I took a week off. This is a major event, since I felt like all I’ve done is work, seven days a week, for the past several years. My trip to Portland with my high school girlfriends, Janis and Laurie, was a real treat, and we made the most of it. I came home invigorated and ready to conquer the world, which is exactly what vacations are supposed to accomplish.

The Northwest is where I am happiest. Give me some big green trees and cool weather and I know I am home. In Eugene, we hiked, ate wonderful food, tromped around the University of Oregon campus, visited art galleries, walked for miles (oh my aching feet), and spent hours talking, just like old times.

In Portland, we visited the wonderful Powell’s Books, which houses several floors of new and used volumes, right in the heart of downtown. I was THRILLED to find my new book, Animal Planet, Dogs 101: Labrador Retriever for sale! The book is finally out, and I was hopping around like a little kid at Christmas when I found it on the shelves. The salesperson had me sign it, and they stuck a sticker on the front that says “autographed,” like I’m a celebrity or something.

Our visit to Portland included lunch with my cousin and her daughter, and a visit to my aunt in her retirement home. Some antiquing, a visit to the test Rose Gardens and a stroll around Reed College finished off our trip. I came home tired and happy.

My excellent week continued when I discovered the book in Petsmart and Barnes and Noble. For the first time, I felt like a real author.

Home again
I returned home to some sad news. My sheltie Lily, age 14, had taken a turn for the worse, and she died the afternoon I got home. She had never recovered from her spell with vestibular syndrome, and her old body finally just gave out.

Lily came to me with Bonnie– both girls were rescued from a Texas puppy mill and brought to California. They had both weaned litters right before I adopted them. I’ve had them for seven years. Bonnie is now deaf and is also in fragile condition, so I treasure these last months with her.

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© 2011 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Australian Shepherd portrait by Terry Albert


My latest painting, this one of Gibson the Aussie, is an 11" x 15" done in acrylics on Strathmore board, matted to 16" x 20". 

I sure struggled getting started on this painting. I kept asking the client for more photos, and I got several that showed the proportions of the dog, but none I liked so well. I originally didn't want to use this pose because his nose looked way to long to me; camera distortion, I'm sure. I finally realized, once I started drawing, that his nose looked long because his tongue was hanging out so far-- optical illusion! So I shortened that tongue and am happy with the result. 

Many dogs, especially German Shepherds, have huge long tongues that look odd if painted the way they actually are. If a dog's tongue is hanging out that far, he's probably hot and tired, not  something I want to convey in a painting. Painting exactly what you see is not always a good thing. 

Gibson, "Gibbs" for short, is one of several pieces I have done for this family over a period of almost 20 years! I finally got to meet them last summer, and we were instant friends. Thank you Larry and family, for allowing me to paint the many wonderful dogs you've owned over the years.

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© 2011 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.