I don’t know if the situation on Long Island is still news to anyone who doesn’t live on Long Island, but we are still cleaning up from last week’s tropical storm Isaias. The last 4,000 homes without power were restored yesterday, and all the trees that fell into roadways and onto houses are cleared, but all this means that there are enormous piles of firewood stacked up at every curb, and even bigger tree trunks decorating front yards:
I’ve seen utility workers from Michigan, North Carolina, Texas, and New Brunswick Canada working in our area. They are so cute: they travel in convoys of 4-5 huge trucks, like flocks of duckies, following the leader because god forbid they lose their way in the wilds on the Isle of Long. And by the way, what with the 24-hour generators, the power line crews that start at 7am, the landscapers with their chain saws who start cutting at 8am…the noise level around here has been deafening.
But I want to thank everyone of these guys for coming to our aid. And one day, I hope to have internet access for more than 30 minutes at a time.
This handsome fella is a long-haired dachshund named Pippen. Pippin, along with our Dear Reader Alexandra, hosted The Stromness Rock in the great state of Washington and for that, we are going to immortalize him in watercolor.
The first thing I do is I study the photo reference. I look for where I will be leaving the blank whiteness of the paper to show, where I will need to bleed, and figure out what layers of colors will go on top of each other from light to dark. I can’t stress how important it is to have a plan before you start to paint.
Then I make a few light pencil lines on my favorite 90-lb. Carson paper:
I start with the eyes because in the past, I’ve gotten a portrait almost completed when I went in for the windows of the soul and loused it up so that I had to throw away hours of work. So, lesson learned; start with the eyes.
I tested a blend of yellows and browns and burnt umber (up there in the corner)before I had a correct shade:
So I got the eye pointing in the right direction…whew.
This handsome fella has a complicated coat of many colors, so I’m going to start with the lightest colors first:
I love my 90-lb. Carson paper because I’ve been using it for over 15 years and I know what this paper will do. So here, I’m going to let the paper and some very watery paint do a light bleed:
I have to work fast because I want to work “wet’ here, and then I want to let it dry for a few seconds so I can drop in some very deep black without letting it run:
I was telling Top Cat about Pippin, here, and I mentioned that Pippen has a brother, another handsome long-haired dachshund named…named…and I couldn’t remember.
“But I know it has something to do with Douglas MacArthur.” I said.
Top Cat started guessing, “Doug? Dougie? Mac?”
I suddenly remembered.
“Truman!” I shouted, feeling very pleased with myself for filing his name (the dog’s) in a place (under “American General, Korean War, fired by”) where I could access it.
Pippen has very expressive eyebrows, so here (below) I am adding some black to re-shape his eye socket into more of a raised-eyebrow kind of “look”:
I also widened the pupil. See what I mean? It’s subtle, but necessary:
I am adding light gray here, because even though it’s a shadow (of sorts), it’s not a dark shadow:
Ears next. Ears, oh ears…they are hard. These ears are long and silky and quite glamorous.
Let’s try to mix the colors with less water this time:
And now I can go to town with the excellent black paint I have (Winsor Newton):
Lay in an undercoat of gray:
And let’s compare:
These are the smooches next in line for portraiture: Kitty, Gypsy, Dudley, and Sophie.
Each of them has their own challenges — I mean, Sophie is mostly shades of black and dark gray and how in the world am I supposed to do that — so it should be interesting. For me, any way. I hope you’ll enjoy watching the paint dry.
In the meantime, various Trumps and all the Republicans have been working hard this past week to make sure life in America really, really sucks, so let’s review:
And others were also outraged:
And then Joe Biden announced his running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris:
In case you forgot who Eric Trump is:
Stay sane until next Friday, Dear Readers.
In the meantime…