I have been noticeably absent from the blog lately, so instead of prolonging the silence I wanted to report that I will be taking somewhat of a blog staycation. I will still post, but with less frequency than previously and my posts will be smaller (quick little snippets of design, pet, products I love, etc…). So things may look and feel a little different!
Last week I finished up the above portrait of the cutest little couple – Bentley & Bailee. I found myself calling them B&B and their adorable little pose on the sofa in the photo I worked from was just perfect for a couple’s portrait! And, as you’ll hear about below, these pups truly are a couple, even soul mates, as they just had puppies together in February!
Usually, after I finish a portrait, I have the portrait subject’s family email me some information about their pup. Then, I write my post based upon that information. Well, B&B’s mama, Layne, provided me with her pups’ individual and shared stories, so I just going to let her tell it and so I am re-posting her word-for-word below.
Bentley came to live with me on Christmas day of 2009. He was 10 weeks old and very shy and sweet. He was one of 9 puppies and the runt of the litter. Once he came home he started to perk up and wanted to play. He was my first dog that I had bought.
I felt so bad that Bentley was all by himself during the day while I was gone at work that I decided it was time he had a friend in his life. Three months later, in March, Bailee was brought home at the VERY young age of only 5 weeks old. Though she was small she was a fiesty little thing and immediately showed Bentley who was boss! The two of them are now virtually inseperatable and love eachother very very much. They both have so much fun playing with their toys and running as fast as they can in the back yard.
Bailee always is carrying around her pink dragon where ever she goes. She also thinks she is a hunting dog and the second she is let out she sprints to chase every bird in the yard. A few times she has succeeded and has caught a few in mid flight. She loves to go on walks and play with kids.
Bentley on the other hand is a bit more reserved. He loves to fetch a ball or a frisbee in the yard. He would much rather be riding in the car though; his favorite spot to sit is on the center counsel where he balences through every turn and stop. Bentley loves to just follow me around the house watching my every move. He tends to have bad anxiety though every time I’m out of his sight. He is definately a “momma’s boy”.
Both Bailee and Bentley love to cuddle up and snuggle with anyone and everyone. There is not a person that they dont like.
In December of 2010 at a very young age, Bailee got pregnant purely by accident. Bentley had just come home from being neutered that day and I had let the two of them out to go to the bathroom. I had only let them out for about 10 minutes, and when I came back out to check on them they had “locked up”. I thought nothing of it really because Bentley had just been neutered. If anything I was more impressed that he had the engery and was feeling up to it after all he had been through that day. Well the weeks went on and Bailee started acting funny and her nipples seemed to be getting larger. I thought no way could she be pregnant, it just wasn’t possible. Then in the middle of January after she started to look like she was really gaining some weight I decided maybe I should take her to the vet just to be sure. Ultrasound came back showing a small puppy in her womb. I was shocked and excited and scared all at the same time. I had no idea how to deliver puppies; although it had always been a dream of mine to go through this process. I asked the vet how it was possible that she got pregnant and he told me that the male is still fertile up to 30 days after being neutered. So that explained everything. But even our vet was impressed that he got her pregnant on his first and probably only shot. Well 58 days later from the time she had mated with Bentley she started going into labor. It was February 5, 2011, fourteen days shy of Bailee’s first birthday. Babies having babies. She didnt want to leave her kennel and was panting very heavily. She started nesting and burrying food in her blankets. It was at about 9 am when it started and by 12:35pm she gave birth to her first puppy. It was a 5 oz little girl. Bailee did a wonderful job and knew exactly what to do. The puppy latched on right away and began nursing. It was a very proud and emotional momemt for me. Then about an hour later the second puppy started to come out. Immediately I could tell something was wrong. After she pushed it out I took the puppy away and peeled it out of its brownish green sac. The puppy was blue and not moving. I tried everything I could to get him to come to life but it was too late. The puppy never got to take his first breath. After his death I was very optimistic that if there were anymore puppies in there that they would be alive. But after an hour and a half here came the 3rd puppy. I was thrilled when it came out and had a nice and pink sac. Bailee took care of it and puppy number 3 was a healthly 5 oz little girl. Only twenty minutes later the next pup came shooting out! It was a healthy 6 oz little boy. I thought for sure that was going to be the last pup because Bailee was sooooo tiny there was no way she could fit FIVE puppies in her… but sure enough only 15 minutes later, out came another healthy 4oz little girl. Bailee was exhausted and Bentley was just watching her wondering what the heck was going on. I couldnt believe that she had five puppies. I was very excited that 4 of them made it out alive.
The next few weeks were amazing. Watching the little ones grow and open their eyes and take their first real steps was great. I was so proud of Bailee for being such a great mom. Bentley absolutely loved the puppies and when they were old enough to play around he had a blast with them and they loved him too. Bailee was so over them after they started getting teeth at 4 weeks old. So the pups started to eat puppy food and occasionally nurse. By the time the pups were 8 weeks old they went to their new families. They all went to my friends and so Bentley and Bailee still get to see them. Two of the puppies got to go home together which made me very happy. They puppies were named Jade, Daisy, Oliver and Ruby. Ruby and Jade now live together and Oliver lives just down the street from them. Daisy lives a bit further so we dont see her as much. Bentley and Bailee are now back to their old selves playing and running and having a great time. They sleep side by side and hug and kiss eachother every day. They are truly soul mates and the loves of my life. They are always making me laugh and smile. I couldn’t have asked for two better dogs.
Here are a few more photos of these adorable pups:
It takes maintenance to stay a white, fluffy powderpuff! Soleil, the Bichon Frise that I painted this week, goes to her hairdresser twice a month to keep her quaff beautiful. Unfortunately, when you a re white, fluffy powderpuff, it is also very easy to get dirty!
Soleil’s mom, Bev says that Soleil is known around the neighborhood as the cutest, most cheerful, affectionate, and sweetest dog. She is excited to see everyone from neighbors to the yard maintenance crew to delivery people. And, Soleil’s friends aren’t just limited to people, she has many doggy friends. Most recently she has become good friends with a cat named Scout. Soleil loves giving kisses and she is good at it: in April she won third place “best kisser” in the Ahwatukee Dog Show out of about 150 dogs there that day. Bev reports that Soleil is kind of the “goodwill ambassador” of their Tempe neighborhood.
Soleil loves going on daily walks with her Grandma Jill (Bev’s sister). These walks give her a chance to see all her friends. One of her favorite games to play is catch where she throws the ball back to Bev (I would love to see that) and she also likes a good game of up and down the stairs with the ball.
Soleil has her “Baby”, a stuffed dog toy that she has had since she was little. She loves Baby and carries her around before bedtime. Bev warns, “Don’t ever try to take her Baby away or she’ll never forget!”. This is true; one time when Soleil’s Uncle Joe was doggy sitting he, he decided to play a trick on her and hide Baby. Well, Soleil has neither forgotten or forgiven this incident and whenever Joe comes over, Soleil runs to get Baby not trusting that Joe won’t play his trick again.
When painting Soleil, I wanted to capture her powderpuff essence. The challenge here was painting the edges of her silhouette, where Soleil meets the background of the portrait. I am really happy with the result. I love the way the portrait turned out; I think her powderpuffiness was definitely captured, and I am especially loving how her eyes turned out! Bev sent me several really great photos to work from, and the photos even had some pretty flowers in the background and everything! However, I decided to “zoom in” with the portrait and have Soleil’s face take up almost the whole frame as opposed to having lots of background in there too.
Another cute photo of Soleil:
A full and proper post about Wolf, the pup behind the portrait, is still forthcoming, but in the meantime I wanted to share the side-by-side of the portrait and the photo I worked from. In talking with Brian, who commissioned this portrait of his dog for his Mom, we had decided the best way to “crop” the photo for painting was to not show the windowsill towards the top of the photo, but to add the rest of Wolf’s paw that got cut off in the bottom of the photo.
Wolf’s portrait is an 8×10″ and I am thrilled with how it turned out. The pillow and chair made for a gorgeous background in my opinion. And, as always, the super-cute Wolf sleeping on the chair (which I am told this is how he often snoozes) was captured as such a fabulous photograph, it made my job painting that much better. I always say, I owe the result of my portraits in part to the photograph-taker; a great photo to work from really makes the portrait!
I hope to post some more information about Wolf soon, so we can all get to know this Husky guy little better! So, stay tuned….
And, unrelated but oh-so worthy of sharing, I highly recommend checking out the first two chapters Jillian of The Noisy Plume has published on her blog. I love all things Plume, and in fact I painted Farley as a token of my appreciation for Jillian and her awesomeness. If you have not heard me gush about Jillian before, then check her blog, The Noisy Plume, out for yourself, or watch this video, “Quintessential Me” (don’t you just love the word quintessential? I do – I could write a whole blog post on that word!) And if you watch “Quintessential Me” watch for Jillian’s shout-out to her pups; I am totally with her on the pack. Did you know Mocha and I are a two-lady wolf pack? True story.
So, anyways, back on topic, Jillian’s blossoming story, seen in these first two chapters is right up my alley.
Let me know if you read the chapters, and did you enjoy them too?
Phew! I apologize for being MIA for a few days. I was in Phoenix, and on this trip I decided to severely limit my computer use, so I worked on my computer for only a couple of hours a day and on only most pressing matters. That resulted in my only getting one video (the “Pit Bull Blues” video) and one blog post up while I was there (about hypoallergenic dog breeds).
Mocha and I drove home from Phoenix today and now find ourselves comfortably nestled back home in Durango. I was excited to finish The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on audio book on the drive home. I had started to read it over a year ago and couldn’t get into it. Then, a friend of mine read it and gave it glowing reviews, urging me to pick it up again. I did, and then decided to finish it audibly on the drive home. Wow! I ended up loving this book! I had to do a little research this evening on Geurnsey; I had no idea this little channel island existed before reading this book. The book has a very intriguing plot with WWII, a little mystery, some love stories, a book club, and some lovable characters. I am definitely suggesting this title to my book club.
Once I got home from Phoenix and got all unpacked, I worked on finishing up a portrait of a Husky named Wolf while Mocha napped. I had started the portrait of Wolf before I left, and had to finish up the background. I still have a couple of last minute finishing touches, but the portrait is 99.9% finished, as you will see below. And, I hope to have a blog post up about Wolf sooner than later.
Now, I am going to try and relax the rest of the evening. With John gone (in China), I have a tendency to do nothing up sleep, eat, work, and run. How about a little reading time on the couch? That is what I am talking about.
Today I added three more framed portraits to my little show at Durango Bagel. Now I feel like the wall is nicely filled out! If you are Durango-local, please don’t forget to stop by and see my work (it’s a good excuse to take a lunch break and grab a bagel, too).
My show has been up for almost two weeks, and I am actually planning on adding a few more portraits to the show. I ordered a few extra frames, they came, and I plan to hang them up this week. If you have stopped by, thank you so much! I appreciate it so much. If you haven’t, and you are Durango-local, the show will be up through April at the very least, so please stop by, grab a bagel, and check it out sometime. In the meantime, here are some photos from the show:
I got to “show” you a little about Samantha in my blog post yesterday; those photos of here really allowed us to meet her!
Well, I got some more information about Seymore to share, as well …
According to Leslie:
“Seymore (I know, not really a girl name) was a surprise puppy that came from my dog I got when I was 4 (Little Dog). Needless to say, after Seymore came along, we “fixed” the problem so there would be no more puppies We had Seymore for 14 years until almost 5 years ago when age just got the best of her. She was one of the most laid back dogs and didn’t get worked up about anything. She loved going on hikes and spending time exploring the great outdoors, but she really was content just to hang out. As far as breed, she was quite the mix. Little Dog (poodle, cocker-spaniel mix) snuck out and met up with the neighbor dog, Frankie (I’m not sure what the breed was); I’m pretty sure there will never be another dog that looks quite like Seymore. ”
I had been wondering what breed Seymore was, and that settles it, we just don’t know!
Seymore back, Samantha “Sam” front.
Unfortunately, both of these pups are no longer with us. My friend Leslie asked me to paint them after Samantha passed away a few weeks ago. Seymore and Samatha were Leslie’s family’s dogs; she commissioned this portrait as a gift for her Mom.
Here are some more photos that Leslie shared with me, which I think show Sam’s personality quite well, and Leslie confirms that is true.
The one time I met Sam (I never met Seymore), I thought she was the cutest thing. She quickly put me in my place with a little snap, and as Lance, Leslie’s husband informed, Sam was a take-no-nonsense, somewhat crotchety old lady. Well, I thought that made her extra adorable; I admire feisty old broads.
The portrait I painted of Seymore and Samantha was very enjoyable because the photo was so beautiful with the rock formations. And, Seymore and Sam were practically posing so the composition of the photo and subsequent portrait is very cool. The rock formations were certainly more of a challenge to paint as I can say that I have never painted rocks like them before. I am happy with how the rocks in the portrait turned out.
This photo also happened to be Leslie’s Mom’s favorite, so I am very excited to hear her reaction when she receives this gift from Leslie.
In case you are Durango-local and in case you are interested, I am having my very first little showing of my work. Starting tomorrow, Friday, March 18th and continuing for about a month, I will have some of my custom pet portraits framed and on display at Durango Bagel.
If you like bagels and/or if you like me, please stop by grab breakfast or lunch and enjoy some of my work.
As always, I truly appreciate your support!
durango bagel is located at 106 east 5th street | where main meets the train| durango, colorado