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New portrait

>> Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A new bit of commissioned artwork.

That's Sadie and Lola.  I love the gleeful leap into infinity.

This piece was one I struggled with mightily.  I am an animal portrait artist... and not good at landscapes.  And while there are two dogs in this, there is a lot more scenery than dog.  I'm not thrilled with it, but it was certainly good for my skills!  It made me do studies of light and value and color that I usually just skip right over.  Boring to do, but very worthwhile, I grudgingly admit. 

I hope my next commissioned piece is a nice close up of a dog, cat or horse face, though!


A little texture in the woods

>> Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I am in the midst of my midwinter blahs.  I want snow (lots of it) because it's still sort of fun.  The fun factor will wear off before too long but not yet.  At least you can DO stuff with snow, like snowshoe.  But unfortunately it's been warm and melty and all we're left with today is some ugly clumps of snert.

Without snow, I am left just being SO SICK of the interminable gray skies of winter in Central New York!  Our summers are spectacular here, but we sure pay for it with woeful lack of sun in winter.

So, on Saturday, I saw the sun pop out from between the clouds for a few brief stints, playing peekaboo.  I grabbed my camera and rushed outdoors.  Because I'm me.  My shots were certainly not spectacular, but I did relish the ability to capture at titch of sunshine and the remnants of the snow, however briefly.

And also because I'm me, I found abandoned farm equipment in the woods to photograph.  I gravitate toward it.  I loved the laciness of the leaves, and the texture of the tire, and the brief sprig of life balanced precariously on rust.

I love textures in all seasons.  This moss was particuarly arresting since it was so bright surrounded by all the snow, dirt, and brown trees.  But I loved the texture of the snow, too, and leaves and grass in suspended animation in the water. 

I am hoping for more snow and colder temperatures in the forecast. Slightly colder. I'll probably get a lot colder. But so long as it comes with snow, I'll take it.




>> Sunday, January 13, 2013

My poor dumb Basset hound has clearly made the transition to relying on his new buddy Phoebe, the way he used to rely on his sister Lucy.  Which is great!  Mostly...

Now Simon and Phoebe sleep together and romp together much like Simon and Lucy used to.  I'm glad he has a buddy during the day when we're gone, and his anxiety levels are as low as they can ever be, for a supremely neurotic dog.  (Sorry about the poor quality of the pics, folks - these are just from my phone.)

Typical evening on the couch in our house:

Or on the futon in the attic:

They get into trouble together:

Are always underfoot together:

And this is what we tend to find a few minutes after we've gotten out of bed in the morning:

On the whole, I am vastly relieved that our having chosen Phoebe worked so well for our sweet nutty Basset hound, who cannot even begin to function as an only dog.

But Simon is getting old - I think he's 7 now - and he has classic Basset hound back problems that prevent him from romping as hard as he used to.  And that leaves us with a pent up hyperactive 2 year old Phoebe on our hands, which frankly isn't pretty.  We have actually been known to pay one of my husband's marathon runner colleagues to come and take her for 8 mile runs, because my pathetic 3 mile jogs don't even begin to take the edge off of her energy.  In short, she drives us NUTS.

Recently, however, we have discovered a new playmate for Phoebe in our next door neighbor's hound mix puppy, Boone.  We puppy sat for Boone on New Year's Eve and discovered he's cute and awful, as all puppies are.

He's just as hyper as Phoebe, and they adore each other.  The two of them can WWE wrestle for HOURS on end.

We have now begun taking Phoebe next door to our neighbor's fenced yard for lengthy play sessions.  After a good romp and wrestle, both we and our neighbors appreciate a little quiet time while our hyper dogs snooze.

But here's the problem.  When we take Phoebe next door to play with Boone and burn off some energy, Simon has to stay home so he doesn't get injured.  And while Phoebe has a GREAT time, poor Simon is pathetic about it.  This is what Simon does the whole time his Phoebe is gone:

Sigh.  I feel guilty every time he does it.  I guess there's only so much we can fix in our poor codependent dog.


A little snowshoeing is good for the soul

>> Friday, January 11, 2013

After last year's abysmal snowfall, I was delighted last weekend that we had enough snow to pull out my old snowshoes.  Camera in hand, I plodded around in a nearby patch of woods.  It was a gray day that wasn't particularly conducive to photography, but I didn't care.  It felt so damn good to be out!

So good, in fact, that I convinced a friend to go for a longer and more athletic snowshoeing romp the following day at Beaver Lake Nature Center.  I did not bring the camera for that - and that was nice, too.

Sometimes I enjoy the woods more when I'm just looking at it and breathing it in, not trying to capture it.  After all, fresh air can't be bottled, and photos never do justice to much of anything.  I thoroughly enjoyed that romp, too, so much so that I confess to being disappointed by this weekend's snow-melting warmth.  Oh well!  It's only January.  Hopefully there is more snow to come.

And finally, this little tidbit is not part of my snowshoeing adventure, but fits with the snowy theme anyway.  It amazes me how snow and ice form and move and melt and sculpt.  Lovely.


Belated Christmas Shots

>> Thursday, January 10, 2013

I am so woefully behind in posts!  I just finally managed to download a lot of random shots that have been living on my camera SD card for ages.  Since these are way past being seasonally appropriate already, I thought I post them first.  I've taken down the tree and decorations inside, but haven't gotten to the outside ones yet, so that's my excuse.  These are late, but not quite yet absurdly late.  Right?

Christmas Eve, a colleague of my husband's invited us to go ice skating in Clinton Square in downtown Syracuse with her enormous extended family.  I've wanted to go skating there for ages and hadn't made time for it, and Christmas Eve seemed like a perfectly romantic time to do it.

And it was a lovely time!  The weather was brisk and bright and calm, and the moon shone over the rink.  The crowd was a wonderful mix of folks from all walks of life.  Brand new skaters tottering out there for the first time, and experienced skaters (like my husband) skating circles around us mediocre skaters.  There were lots of children of all ages, adults, and even some elderly folks out on the ice.  There were people of all races speaking a delightful mix of languages, all just laughing and enjoying each other's company.

I skated until my toes were frozen, then put my fuzzy boots back on and pulled out my camera.  I couldn't miss the opportunity to try to capture the lights!  Photographing Christmas lights on a cold evening while listening to echoing sounds of laughter and scraping skates turned out to be pure magic.  I hope you enjoy a few of the shots.


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