Lilly

My apartment has few rooms and lots of windows. As a result, I have few walls. This situation has probably had quite a lot to do with the current state of my art making. I have made zillions of paintings and drawings in dozens and dozens of books and this decade or so of art all fits on three bookshelves. I rarely make anything to hang on the wall, because there just are so few walls to hang things on.

However, recently I decided to make a friend a painting as a gift, a portrait of her beloved American Eskimo dog, Lilly. She has ample wall space and I knew I’d not be imposing too much by presuming to take over a couple of square feet.

I bought myself a nice sheet of hot press water color paper, I think it was about 200 lb. I have taken quite a few snaps of Lilly over the years so I felt confident working from photos. There were a couple of challenges. It’s just a different problem creating picture to hang on a wall, hopefully for years, and I had to be uncharacteristically careful not to spray random bits of paint all over the place as is my custom. I also had to design the image I’d be making to stand out from afar, and to be viewed by people just coming into the room, not at all the sort of intimate relationship someone has when reading through an old journal in their lap.

Another challenge is that Lilly is all white and very furry and I wanted to represent her in realistic and tactile way. I also had to capture her expression and personality, which would be difficult with so few visual elements besides a black nose and eyes in all that white fur. I decided to do that by having no drawing in the piece, no ink, just pure watercolor, layered with a very light touch. The intensity comes from the colors that surround her and she is almost all negative space.

I am fairly comfortable with results of my experiment and my friend seemed delighted. The painting is at the framing shop now and I look forward to seeing it on a wall sometime soon.

7 Comments

  1. Gabrielle

    Lovely! I couldn’t make something on paper that has to be hang on a wall – I’m too used to my cahier holding all my drawing and collages, and to my canvas holding the paintings. It’s a different creative process, a different thinking. I’ve had difficulties accessing your newly redesigned website – I’m now on the computer of a friend. I don’t know if this is just my computer, or…
    Anyway, I love how you changed it, and the archives going back to 2003! wow! what a treasure!

  2. Janene

    You captured her fluffy coat really well and the brilliant background is the perfect thing to draw attention to her white fur. I am not surprised that your friends are delighted.

  3. Lynne

    Beautiful, Danny! Lilly seems ready to jump off the page and I love the delicious background colours. How could your friend not adore this?

  4. Sharon

    What a lucky friend you have! This turned out really nice/ You handled the fur superbly. Let me know when I can send you pictures of my dog, Bing! ha!

  5. Janet

    I think you captured the snowiness of her coat very well, as well as her demeanor – what a regal dog!

  6. nancy t.

    Lily looks lovely, and her name fits her perfectly. Your choice of background colors was right on, and she looks very soft and fluffy. Well done! nancy

  7. sandy

    This is really striking, gorgeous, the colors are beautiful.

    I have never commented – maybe once or twice but now feels like the right time for some reason to put down a comment…

    Maybe it’s because you said above you have nothing much to say to people, so I’m feeling like just a witness of your art..
    of which I like a lot.

    I just lost a blogger friend Crusty Crone, who use to enjoy your blog and linked to you way way long ago like 2006 I think, and that is how I had found your blog and then bought your book Everyday Matters. Don’t mind me, I’m just rambling.

    Anyway, she passed on 10/06 and just found out it about it the other night..

    Loss for a lot of people seems to be ever present.

    I wish you peace.

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