Monday, January 30, 2006

The Dallas Zoo

Dan & I went to the Dallas Zoo on Sunday and had a terrific time playing with our new camera. It seems to be spring here in Texas and the weather was perfect for this fun outing. We took the train down to the zoo and snapped up a bunch of pics before the battery died in the camera.

I have never been a huge zoo fan, as I always feel so sorry for the animals that seem cramped in small cages. I would have to say this was the best visit to a zoo I have had in a long time. Over 80% of the zoo animals did not seem cramped or stressed in their habitats. There were indeed many new "habitats" at the Dallas zoo. The chimps and tigers had a pretty fun place to hang, as did many of the smaller mammals such as the meerkats,and gibbons. Still cramped were the elephants, cheetahs, rhinos, and giraffes. We can only hope that plans are in the works for these guys to get a much better crib. Dan says he only feels sorry for the animals that are accustomed to large ranges to graze on and the predators such as the cats. Many of the smaller and more docile critters are probably cool with being in a place where they will not get eaten. After all,in the wild your whole goal is to find a place where the food is plentiful and your enemies are few.

Also new at the zoo were lots of bronze sculptures, and groovy art-signage like the lighted murals below.

Maybe next month we will try to visit Fort Worth to see what is new at their Zoo. I am posting a very quick filter driven sketch of a chimp we shot while playing around. The Chimps were very cool and laid back. They were grooming each other, napping and having a very lazy Sunday.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Oh Those Puppy Eyes

As a portrait artist my favorite aspect of my subjects is of course the eyes. Working from ordinary snapshots I often face challenges with glow eyes, and even non glow eyes that just don't quite show off how adorable a pup might be. A recent project that we will be finalizing this weekend is one such example. In the case of Miss Ella the original snapshot was very nice, and the eyes showed up very well, no glow eye issues at all. This Boston Terrier pup however had a very slight sleepy expression. I thought the true nature of this sweet girl was probably one of unending curiosity ( she is a terrier after all ), and so to achieve a little of that attitude I lifted or widened her eyes just a tad. See before & after below:

By lifting those eyelids up just a little bit I was able to give her a questioning glance that I think really makes this portrait special. In the final version Ella ended up with violet highlights on a fun painterly background of oranges and reds. This piece is a 34 x 34 inch canvas print and looks pretty cool with a larger than life Ella.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Year of the dog

Wow, 06 and it is year of the dog. Time to get back to blogging. The holiday season was amazing. Not only did we do over 100 portraits this last Christmas I also got to meet quite a few clients, even a few from out of town. I did not sleep much in December, and my own pups had a few less romps at the lake, although they did get their 2 walk-a-day routine every single day. All in all we had a lovely holiday.

I have tons of creative ideas for the new year and so little time to attack them all. I am planning to blog more, and to start discussing process more since my tech savy clients seem very interested in how we do what we do. I just spent some time updating our Mascott area to finally introduce our new Scottie dogs. After loosing two pups in 05 it was tough to even think about writing in the Mascot section. Fortunately, I was able to pass the buck, and Dan actually updated all the doggy bios for me. Check out our new kids: Mascotties