An example of a Gallery page between chapters.
GALLERY – ART ‘MY ANIMAL FAMILY’ After Chapter 4, ‘Magic Moments’
Livvie, my angel German shepherd was wonderful on her own, but even better once she had Seurat as her partner and playmate. The two became inseparable and both moved to Costa Rica with me. Four parrots also came along. I’ve painted my animal family sparingly. How to get the spirit and depth onto paper with paint.
In this painting I wanted to show the pure joy of two dogs playing. I also wanted to prove the point that the three transparent paints – Cobalt Blue, Rose Madder Genuine and Aureolin Yellow could be useful in painting subjects that contain some darks. Often these paints are useful for painting white objects, like white pigeons or puffy clouds or snow. In the painting of Livvie and Seurat, various mixes of these three paints created all the effects and depth and color I needed. Of course the grass was mostly Aureolin yellow with some Rose Madder Genuine mixed in and the dogs’ tongues were pure Rose Madder Genuine. But also, I was able to achieve the grays and blacks and shadowed areas on the grass with no additional paints added in to the triad. Just the three paints. Three single pigment paints that were highly transparent. The secret was in the amount of water. If black was desired, all three paints could be mixed together to create a neutral using very little water and a lot of the paints. The less water used, the darker the neutral. The shading for Seurat’s white fur, Livvie’s leg and the background was done with pure Cobalt blue mixed in water as a glaze or wash over the dry underpainting.
For me, the feeling of the painting was more important than variety of color or dazzling details. The simple color scheme with three paints gets out of the way of the joyful, two dog play.
I’ve painted portraits of my animal family a few times. My two joyful conures, Xena and Beak were different species, best friends and life mates. Their loyalty and friendship was a joy to witness through their lives.
Sage, an African Gray parrot was an entire education in bird intelligence and intuitive understanding. I got him when he was a baby, and he remained close to me during my time in New Mexico as well as Costa Rica. His understanding of my emotional state went far beyond anything I had ever been a part of and I could always count on his words when I was feeling down. ‘You okay?’. And then once in awhile he would say, ‘I love you.’
Xena and Beak were two birds who were best pals, even though they were different kinds of conures. Xena was a maroon bellied conure—clever and opinionated, yet quiet. Beak was a half-moon conure, totally devoted to Xena. He was energetic, talkative, funny, and anything but quiet. The two of them shared a cage and their lives together.
I painted Polly in an effort to express this soft spirited and even softer furred cat. I adopted her after my father died in California – and she lived out her remaining years with me in New Mexico. Polly glowed – and the three transparent paints, glazed repeatedly over one another were perfect. I could almost hear her purr.