Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Art as a Gift

Sometimes when I am with someone, I see my relationship with that person through pictures in my head. I imagine what picture I can create to capture the moment or the feeling I am have when I am with that person. In my head, I can see the picture and can envision the look on the person's face when I give him or her the art I have created. I often gave such gifts to my friends and former boyfriends as a token of my affection for them. But I have found that as I have gotten older, my visions have not been coming to fruition due to lack of motivation, forgetfulness, or other commitments in my life.

Since embracing art again, I have been determined not to lose these precious visions. I had such a vision when I walked into my friend Shannon's office. Her office is bright and cherry and she has pictures of her dogs, Buddy and Bailey, proudly on display. She affectionately refers to them as "the boys." And I have gotten to know them better since carpooling with Shannon last year and walking with her and her dogs after work two to three times a week. Each of these dogs has a unique personality despite the fact that they come from the same litter. Seeing her affection for these animals made me want to create a portrait of them for her. Not only are they precious, but I knew Shannon would appreciate the gesture.

I could see the layout of the portrait in my head. I would display the boys as they look now and also display them as puppies. What mother could resist seeing her boys as the puppies they once were and the doggies they have become?

These are Shannon's Boys

These are the boys how they look today.

These are Shannon's Boys as Puppies

These are the boys as young pups. How cute!

So I began the process of creating an ink drawing of my envisioned layout. As I worked the pen to paper, I began to accept the limitations of my hands to produce the exact vision in my head. But despite this limitation, I am always surprised by the product that is produced. I tried to make sure to capture the shape of their noses and the expressiveness of their eyes and the personality that is uniquely theirs.

In the end, I produced this bare bones layout, adding a quote that Shannon was particularly fond of by George Eliot:

These are Shannon's Boys in Black and White

Then I began the process of adding color. I typically like to use water color pencils to establish a base color. I usually follow up with regular color pencils to enhance the base color, using shading techniques. Here is the end result of my efforts:

Shannon's Boys in Color

I think the boys will approve of the tribute. What do you think?




  1. I think they would too. I think you are a wonderful artist.

  2. WOW!! I will treasure this always. Thank you so so much!

  3. Ah, thanks! It was an honor to draw them. :)



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