And here's a couple of pictures of what happens with those little discs that become beads:
Remember a few weeks ago when I showed you what was on my jewelry workbench? And I promised to show you some of the finished products? Well, here's the necklace with the cat giving a lift to a little bird:
The cat has a matte finish and the bird is shiny.
And here's a couple of pictures of what happens with those little discs that become beads:
Lately, I have been working on a portrait of Katie, my brother and sister-in-law's Jack Russell terrier, as well as a picture of a dwarf Netherland rabbit. They are both pretty much finished...probably just a few more touches, and the rabbit needs some whiskers. By the way...anyone wanting to clarify the Jack Russell/Parson Russell business is encouraged to comment! What's up with that?
I work on a drafting table, not an easel. I find it more comfortable, but that means that I have to get up frequently and step back so that I can check my work from a distance. You can't really judge what you're doing as a whole if you are hovering right over top of it. I also look at my work from different angles and directions, including upside-down, to see if everything, like eyes and noses, are in the right place. For some reason, viewing a painting upside-down can reveal if something is going wrong
I have a table next to my work table so that I can have lots of pastels within reach. It can get messy fast, but I do reorganize after every couple of pictures. The funny thing is, even in its current state, I know exactly where every pastel and piece of pastel that I want to use is located. And yes, that's Sophie curled up in a bed underneath the table. She's never far away. Teddy is lying on the floor in front of my work table, but you can't see him in these photos. I think they both like painting days better than jewelry-making days because it's much quieter--no hammering, drilling or sawing!
In my last entry, I said I'd show you some of the projects I'm working on. I thought I'd show you what's happening on my jewelry workbench this week.
I've been working on some cats destined to be pendants. The one with the bird on its back is going to a Cat Welfare auction in May to help raise some money for them. The little dogs in the center are going to become earrings. The two discs on the left are going to be made into a bead like the one above the discs. You probably can't tell in the photo, but the bead has tiny paw prints stamped on it and it says "dog lover" on it. It will probably hang on a chain for a necklace. All of the pieces are in progress and will be getting further finishing, like sanding and polishing, as there are multiple steps to making every piece of jewelry. I'll take more photos to show you when the pieces here are finished and ready to go out into the world.
This is my disc cutter that I use to make the discs pictured above. Actually, you can see the discs sitting to the left of the cutter. I'm very happy to have a disc cutter, because I originally spent much time sawing the discs out by hand. I still do that sometimes when necessary, but the disc cutter is great. To cut the discs, I insert a piece of silver between the block with the holes in it, then hammer the corresponding round cutting die through the hole, and a perfectly formed disc falls out the bottom. It takes two or three blows of a two-pound brass hammer to cut a disc, and this bothers my dogs. While they are usually snoozing away in my little workroom, they find the hammering too loud and violent. Even Sophie can hear the hammering (that and thunderstorms). She gives me "the look" and then leaves for a quieter spot.
Drilling really tiny holes for the "eyes" in my earrings-to-be. The smaller the drill bit, the easier it breaks, in case you're wondering.
Scrap! I always have a lot of scrap because I use so many tiny pieces in my work. It's almost as if nothing is too small to use eventually, somehow, like the tiny wing of a bird. Even the smallest pieces can be melted into a ball to use for a nose.
So that's what's on my workbench this week. I hope you'll come back for a look at the finished items. In my next post, I'll show you some of what's happening on my drawing table with portraits and such. Have a great weekend!
"Free dog to good home." Uh-huh....There's no such thing as a "free dog," but that's what the newspaper ad said. I think "Free home to good dog" would have been more honest. I didn't even read the ad. My mom did, and she called me immediately, "You have a big yard and a big house. You need a big dog." She was so sure of my need that she made the phone call for me. The next day, a chilly November afternoon, my dad, Sophie, and I searched the parking lot of a minor league baseball stadium to meet the current caretaker of a twelve-week old ball of golden fur. It wasn't hard to find him since the parking lot was pretty much empty and the guy was an on-duty firefighter, thereby forced to drive a vehicle from his station.
Have you ever seen a twelve-week old golden? Just fluff and face. And he was really shy, peeking out from behind the firefighter's legs, then hiding again. We learned his story: His original owner died unexpectedly. The family member that took him couldn't keep him because of allergies. The firefighter's wife took him because they raised another breed of dog and could accomodate him, but didn't want to keep him, so the ad was placed. Who says "no" to an orphaned twelve-week-old ball of fur? Not me. Sophie gave a sniff of approval (maybe it was more like acceptance, with a touch of superiority) and we headed home.
That was six or seven years ago. Today, Teddy, like most goldens, retains his puppy playfulness and happy countenance, although his face is starting to show that mask of white that forces most retriever-types to be honest about their age and the unfair fact that "middle age" starts at around five years old. Teddy loves to go for walks and car rides. Some of his hobbies are barking from his fenced yard at passersby, "gardening," unstuffing stuffed toys, and following me around everytime I get up from a seated position. His goals include eating as much as possible as frequently as possible, getting wet and muddy every time he goes outside, and carpeting the world with excess golden fur, which he sheds with life-altering abundance. He is one of the most gentle animals I can imagine. Most of the time, if someone tells you a story that starts with, "My dog found a nest of baby bunnies," it ends in tragedy. Not with Teddy. He found the bunnies, but he just carried them around. He brought one through the doggy door onto the screened porch. I guess he thought he would leave it there until he went out the next time. To Teddy, everyone's a friend.
Teddy is a big, sweet, hug of a dog, and even though I spend an unimaginable amount of time vacuuming my carpets, polishing my floors, and rolling my clothes with one of those sticky-roller things (don't even mention the sticky-roller thing to my husband, who has to try to escape the house every morning in a dark suit...), he is worth it all. He's a great dog, and I love him very much.
In case you're wondering, Sophie and Teddy get along very well. Teddy would love for Sophie to run and play, but she never has. It seems that she doesn't know how to play, although we have tried to engage her for years. Teddy tries regularly, thinking "today may be the day," but it hasn't happened yet. Sophie is a dog of leisure, and I see no change in her future. Fortunately, Sophie and Teddy have bonded over their mutual interest in treats, car rides, and sleeping on the "big bed."
In my next entry, I'll show you some projects that I'm working on. Please come back and check it out!
Meet Sophie. She is 15 and 1/2 years old, probably a poodle/terrier mix, and, if you ask my vet, some dachshund, too (ok....she is pretty long...) I found her on Petfinder.com at the Richland County Dog Warden's in Mansfield, OH when she was 8 years old. I tell her that it took me eight years to find her. It was worth the wait, as she is a TERRIFIC dog. Apparently, she was dropped off at the dog warden's, and her name was originally FeeFee. My husband couldn't deal with that, and I didn't really like it, but I felt bad changing it after eight years. We decided that "Sophie" was kind of close to "FeeFee" (yes, that's the way it was spelled, too...probably some foreshadowing of the vet bills to come...) and it suited her, so we called her "Sophie."
She is super smart, gets along with other dogs, does pretty much whatever you want her to whenever you want her to do it, and is ridiculously cute. She does snore, even when not actually sleeping, and in her later years she has taken to raiding the pantry whenever the door is left ajar. She doesn't eat much when that happens, but she does hide throughout the house anything she can carry. She will do anything for food, and she will go to great lengths to find it. She loves car rides and walks, and she could find the best pillow in a warehouse full of pillows, and then claim it for hers. She is the only dog that I've ever really "dressed" because I honestly thinks she likes it. No one can rock a bee costume or an Ohio State hoodie like Sophie.
Most recently, Sophie battled cancer. Thanks to the good people at Annhurst Veterinary Hospital (especially Dr. Mark Harris) in Westerville, OH and at the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Sophie is winning her battle. She had two surgeries to remove the tumor (a squamous cell carcinoma on her mouth), fifteen months apart. After the second surgery, she had a three-week course of radiation. We started her on chemo, too, but had to stop due to some negative effects. She finished her radiation last November and so far, so good. She is a very special dog, and I hope to have her with me for quite a while yet.
I will introduce you to my other dog, Teddy, in the next entry. I hope you'll come back to meet him!
The "Two Dogs" of Two Dog Studio were here long before there was an art studio. They were two miniature dachshunds, named Ollie and Emily. Ollie is my "poster puppy" and is the little black and tan doxy that appears above, in the heading of my website. She is also on my business cards. Before I took up art full-time, I was an attorney, and at the end of a long day, I looked forward to seeing my two dogs when I arrived home. I would open the door to the house and both Ollie and Emily would run to greet me with the frenzied excitement only a dog can offer. I didn't want to show favoritism by saying one name before the other, so I would say, "Hi two dogs!" while they wiggled and squirmed around my ankles and I bent down to pet them. That was always the best part of the day.
I lost each one of them in their fourteenth year, two years apart, after the inevitable decline brought about by age-related ailments that come way too early in the life of a beloved pet. I feel connected to them through my artwork and the name I chose for my business. On some level, I still feel their presence. They were great dogs, and I will always miss them.
In my next post, I'll introduce you to the current dogs of Two Dog Studio, Sophie and Teddy. They had some really big paw prints to fill, and they have exceeded all of my expectations!