I love how art brings out the story in each of us! When I paint live at events, I really enjoy the conversations I get into. People pull out their phones to show me photos of their pets, and this always sparks interesting talks. I might hear about a heartfelt rescue, or how a precious animal comforted through a tough time, or even how I can help them to gift a loved one with a custom painting.
A few months ago I was painting at the Modjeska Canyon Art and Wine Fundraiser, when a guy named Jim walked up and began showing me photos of his gorgeous dog. We had a pleasant conversation, he walked off, and I re-immersed myself in my painting. Suddenly, he returned and asked if I could paint a lion, to which I replied, "heck yes"! If you know me, you know I love cats- and the Texas in me believes that bigger is always better. Jim had a vision of a lion with a baby reflected in one eye and a camel in the other; a metaphor for someone's spiritual walk with God. So I teamed up with him to bring it to life!
I have a favorite store to frequent for horse supplies when I'm in San Juan- American Horse Products. Over the past few years of patronage I have gained a deep appreciation for the quality of products and the personalities of the employees. Because of this I always suspected great leadership. I found out Jim happens to be the owner of the store, and I now understand why it's such a pleasure to shop there! I really enjoyed working with him on this commission-- he's kind, patient, and when I was at the store I could see he genuinely cares about his employees. So, right before I left town for Thanksgiving, I delivered Jim's painting- the first commission delivery of the holidays! What a fun way to kick the season off.
This piece was unique because I worked on it in a number of settings. I enjoy getting out of the studio and painting around people, nature, and life, because it infuses energy into my artwork. I used the lion as a class demo for my young students at Terra Arts, took it up into the mountains for a few days to paint near a stream, and worked on it during a few artwalks.
This painting is oil on Belgian linen, and I loved the surface so much that I've decided to do all future commissions on the same type of canvas. It really helps get a lot of detail into a small area- perfect for painting the individual lion hairs with a small liner brush, and the paint flows across the smooth surface quite smoothly.
Do you have a special pet in your life? I'd love to hear about him/her! Why are they your best buddy? Are they a rescue? Share your pics and stories with me here.