Dogs and drawings

It has been close to a month and a half that I wrote my last blog. Better than I have done before but still not up-to-par for what I want to do: about once a week.

Sometimes it feels as if life just steps in the way, we need to do all sort of things and then, before you know it, another week has passed.

For example, I am trying to draw at least 1 hour per day on my bald eagle head. Sometimes there are days that I just can’t find the time to draw at all. Could it be because I have SO many projects that I am working on? Maybe…

At the moment I am working on my eagle head drawing, found some pens that I wanted to cover with polymer clay so I am working on that (making flower canes as I go along), last week I’ve finished 2 commissioned dog portrait drawings, I am cleaning out my studio and am amazed at the amount of supplies I have and never used.

At the same time all the household chores come into play too like vacuum cleaning, dusting, getting groceries (one of my least favorite things to do!), cooking, cleaning the windows, and things like that. Next to these “never ending chores” the house needs repairs, renovations, and general clean-ups like cleaning out the garage. One half is cleaned out now so we have room to move stuff from the other half there and throw away what is either broken or not being used. Sorted out all the different types of wood too and finally had the room to put them flat instead of standing up, which can warp the wood.

Then there are our 4 fur babies who all need their care, 3 of them being considered senior dogs because of their age. Our oldest, Bonnie, is an almost 13 year old Westie who was diagnosed with Cushings and, as a result of that, is now diabetic too. I have to admit that I am not checking her as regularly as I have done with my Lab Ruby but she is a completely different dog character wise. She really hates having “stuff” done to her and I am just happy when I can get that syringe with insulin in her twice a day without having to stick it 3-4 times because she pulls away and the needle comes out. I do check her blood glucose levels on a regular basis, but not twice a day as I am supposed to do. Does that make me a bad “Mama”? I don’t think so because I do keep an eye on her and go more by her physical signals (with the occasional blood check), like peeing everywhere when her glucose levels are high, and take it from there.

Then there is our oldest male, Taz, a pedigreed Mutt who will turn 12 in 2 weeks. He has arthritic knees, has had knee surgery done on both knees because of torn ACLs, but that doesn’t keep him from running up and down the fence barking his little head off whenever he sees the neighbor’s dog in their yard. I bet the neighbor hates it now, pulling the old fence down and leaving nothing but the chain link fence when he moved in!

My Big Boy Smokey (Australian Cattle Dog and a rescue) is the youngest senior dog at almost 8 and I just received a call from the vet about his blood work. We brought him in last Thursday because he didn’t want to eat and he was just feeling miserable as far as we could tell. He has thyroid problems (hypothyroidism where it doesn’t work as it should) and during a visit to our own GP I read posters on his wall about thyroidism and everything pointed to his thyroid being over-active (hyperthyroidism) instead of not working (hypothyroidism). His belly is bloated and it looks like he is retaining his fluids in his legs. Now, taking Smokey to the vet is always an endeavor. He gets full-blown “grand mal” epileptic seizures going there and has to be heavily sedated -preferably asleep- when we need to bring him. They did a complete blood panel on him, checked his legs with a thumb print test to see if there was fluid in there but luckily there wasn’t. That also means he, most likely, doesn’t have fluid around his heart for which I am really grateful! As a result he has spots all over him where they had to shave his hair away; maybe I should make a checkerboard pattern on him?

Anyway, his T4-level is slightly high, meaning we overshot the goal with his medication so after we’ve finished this batch we need to go to a lower dose. He has a slight ear infection in the ear in which he had a hematoma last year so got some stuff to put in there. The one that really surprised me was that he has had Lyme’s disease… The Lyme’s disease marker, an additional blood test, was slightly elevated but since he is showing no other symptoms she thinks he has had it before and is now a carrier without having Lyme’s disease. That must have been before we got him, us being his 3rd or 4th family before he was even 1 year old. That poor pup has had a rough start in life, being beaten and stabbed with a knife because he was following his instincts and herding the horses the 1st family had by nipping at their hooves. ALWAYS check the nature of your dog before you get one!! If you don’t want a nipping dog, don’t get one from the herding group! And, of course, some people should NEVER be allowed to have any pets! You know, the people who love the puppies but not the adults and let them end up in the pound so they can get another puppy… Don’t get me started on them!

Then there is our youngest, Kender, almost 4 years young and a chocolate Lab, very energetic and I wonder if there is a way to bottle her energy and use it myself. She tore a nail all the way to where it comes out of her toe, had the nail removed, it got infected, got that infection taken care of and now she has an infection in the same foot but different toe.

My day starts with getting up at 06:00 or 06:30, let the dogs out, feed them, give their medication, fight with Bonnie to give her the insulin, then put stuff in both her ears, then onto Smokey to get stuff in his ears, then get some hot water and Epsom salt to soak Kender’s foot and that is the same with their evening food. It has become quite the ritual.

All this (puppies, house chores, renovations etc.) leaves not much room for my hobbies but trying to squeeze it in there every day.

Here is where I am now with my Bald Eagle Head; he already has the raptor glare of the eye and right now I am working on the grassy area between the eye and the beak where all sort of little feathers are sticking out. Still needs a lot of work but getting there like the tortoise: slowly but surely.

Hope everyone will have a wonderful day!

Eagle Head

Mustang logo done. Onto the bald eagle face…

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone! I hope that you spend it with your loved ones, fur babies included!

There isn’t much to say about my genealogy efforts, although I did find a number of family member on Facebook so that is great! Now I need to pick their brain for all the missing information….

I finished my drawing of the Mustang logo and it turned out rather nice if I can say so myself. Never drew anything metal-like so it was a nice change -and challenge- and something I can use for my dog portraits if they wear a collar.

astrid_mustang

Now for my next project I might be a little too ambitious but I’m going to give it a valiant try. It’s the head of a bald eagle and I would like to draw it very realistic; after all, that is what I am practicing for and practice makes perfect, right?

Set up the sketch and worked some on the eye yesterday evening. Instead of using a ball stylus to indent (something I am used to use for (white) dog hairs) I am going old school and do the real negative drawing to make the feathers stand out.

DSCF2265enhanced

This is the sketch. Not much to look at right now but I do hope I’ll have the eye done by next week; maybe more of the feathers that go around the eye and work my way around from there.

Hope everyone is staying warm with this cold winter. Time for Spring to spring!!

Thor on the back burner, show, gourds, and Chester

I should have posted last week, but I have been busy getting ready for a local Arts & Crafts show that we had last Saturday. Thor has been put on the back burner because I still had some gourd birds I needed to finish and had to put some flower arrangements together. Why I don’t know since this was the worst show I’ve ever been to. All day long we had people walking into our booth, telling us how great everything looks but we didn’t sell one single thing… Last year wasn’t that great either and with this year’s experience it shows that this is just not the venue for our art.

Here are some of the (small) birds I took with me. I have to take more pictures, also of the flowers.

Gourd birds

Gourd birds

The day was long, got up at 5am to pack everything onto the truck, extremely hot and we packed up before the show was over because there was a thunderstorm coming. It did give me time to work more on Chester, a Springer Spaniel I am drawing for a good friend of mine in the UK. I promised to draw Chester for her after he passed away last year but I’ve been too busy with other things. I reckon that big black cap was putting me off too! But, I am getting there now, started to give the basic black to the cap, still have to start on the gown and of course it needs a LOT of details still. Thought to show you though…

Chester

Finished JoeJoe

JoeJoe

 Finished JoeJoe’s drawing last night and I think he looks good. Hopefully his ‘parents’ think so too… I always believe that a black matte  brings the drawing out more, somehow it gives it more character?

Anyway, 1 drawing down and 6 more gourd birds to go before I should start on my Thor sculpt.

I say ‘should’ because I have already started a bit on it. Printed out some skeletal anatomy for the frame and think I will stick with the 1:12th scale. That will make Thor about 4.75 – 5 inches tall, but I have to include the chariot he stands in too and then figure out how tall, or small, his goats will be.

Today I got an UGLY pink envelope from my friend Mozelle but I love the contents. She had sent me some wool straight off the sheep that I can use for my sculpt 🙂 That was really sweet! I call the envelope ugly because I detest the color pink. Not sure why, but I just do…

Yesterday I got my ProSculpt clay in that I’d ordered. Never used it before but it is praised to be one of the best sculpting polymer clays. Reckon I have to put it to the test!

I’ll make pictures of my progress with the sculpt frame and will post them at a later date. Off to the gourd birds I go…..