The colorful paintings and whimsical musings of artist Kristy Tracy
Thursday, April 19, 2018
BUDDY & BINDI
Buddy and Bindi are the Smile Patrol. They make sure there are smiles all around wherever they go. If you are a sour puss, move along. They don't allow any bad vibes or moody blues on their watch. So lighten up and put on a happy face. Buddy and Bindi are in business to make life golden.
I had the opportunity to paint a portrait of this beautiful labrador for a Christmas commission. Her name is Shelby, and she recently passed away, leaving a huge hole in her family. It's always an honor for me to paint a gone-but-never-forgotten pet. I know from personal experience that their portrait will always bring a sense of overwhelming gratefulness and deep joy to their owners. That's a life calling that not many artists can claim. I thank the Creator of the Universe that He allowed a tiny bit of His creativity to rub off on me.
Although this is my first boxer portrait, I am not completely unfamiliar with the breed.
Over the course of my childhood growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, my father owned 2 different boxers. The first was an older rescue, who came to us with the distinguished misnomer of Plato. Plato would let any kid in the neighborhood shinny over the fence into our back yard. But God forbid the meter reader or the postman, or anyone of the adult male persuasion try to step foot on the property. Eighty pounds of pure hate and muscle would slam into the gate in an explosion of woofing, growling rage and slobber. Plato once ate the dozen hard-boiled colored eggs my father had hidden for us on Easter morning, then threw them all up in full technicolor at our feet as we stood aghast in our Sunday best.
Our second boxer was named Blitz. Daddy paid big money for Blitz, a full-pedigreed pup. He promptly had the pup's ears clipped to stand straight up in unnatural points. His tail was bobbed so short it could barely wag. When Blitz grew into a seventy-five pound dimwit with no manners, we realized my father didn't have a clue how to raise a dog. During our frequent southern thunderstorms, Blitz would bust the boards out of the back yard fence with his thick-sculled head and high-tail it down the street like a streak of lightening. My dad's solution to keeping Blitz home was to screw a 3-foot section of a 4x4 to a six foot length of chain and attach the chain to the poor dog's collar. The idea was to stop the dog from running once he had busted through the fence. The reality was every time the dog took a step in his own back yard, that 4x4 would bounce up and hit him in his stump-tailed rump and scare the living daylights out of him. He about wore himself out, frantically galloping in circles around the yard. If we hadn't been laughing so hard we might have felt sorry for him, dodging and yelping helter-skelter, trying to avoid that block of wood. We could have sold tickets, the entertainment was so gut-busting hilarious.
Not long after, my father took Blitz to a new home "in the country".
Hey. Where you been? Just kidding. Actually, it is I who have been out of pocket, so to speak. Over the past six months I've been blessed with two new grandbabies, I've co-written a Bible study on Ruth, headed up my church's women's ministry, developed osteoarthritis, and taken up quilting. Not necessarily in that order. My time in the studio has become compromised, and for that I should apologize, but instead I urge you to get a life. Because if your day consists of waiting for my next painting to appear in cyberspace, you are seriously getting the short end of eternity. This was my 2016 Christmas card. It's an Arizona-themed nativity. Somehow it looked so much better in my head. But that's what I get for allowing my time in the studio to become compromised. "FELIZ NAVIDAD" $200.00 / Unframed 9" x 11" / Oil on museum quality canvas panel Click here to purchase
Have you ever felt like you wanted to just peck somebody? Someone's invading your personal space. A perfect stranger is exhibiting unnecessary rudeness in your direction. Or just because you're in a fowl mood? Before getting your feathers ruffled, try out your best chicken glare on them. Chickens have perfected the stare-down. They cock their heads to the side, look you up and down with their beady little eyes, and utter some strange hypnotic chicken language under their breath, while surreptitiously sidling up next to you. It works wonders in effecting a quick departure of whomever is crowding the henhouse.
While reading one of my favorite books, All Creatures Great and Small, by James Herriot, I was transported back in time to the Yorkshire hills in lambing season. Spring is the time of lambs, and they are its heralds, proclaiming the release of winter's bitter grip. Appearing as if overnight, they dot the hillsides amidst the daffodils and primroses, like tiny puffs of clouds. With the lambs comes the promise of sunshine and fairer days.
"All animals are appealing but the lamb has been given an unfair share of charm."
Rosie is a pig who lives high on the hog down on the farm. She has one job and she takes it very seriously. It's a dream job, really. Her one soul purpose in life is to eat. And she does it well.
She's every inch a prima donna when meal time rolls around, because she gets the choicest slop and all the leftovers from the farmer's kitchen. And no one ever...EVER...asks her to lose a few pounds. Sigh.
Little does she know, there is method to this madness. Because when Autumn arrives, she will be escorted down the green mile to her new job: Bacon.
I received a commission from someone who had been given one of my dog portraits as a Christmas present. (See "IZZY & MAX".) The client wanted me to paint a portrait for a birthday gift to one of her friends. It was a bit of a rush to make sure the painting was dry in time to ship, but all was accomplished with a week to spare.
I contacted the client to make sure the portrait arrived safely, and she told me one of the dogs, Dottie (on the left), had just passed away from old age that morning. It made me so sad to hear this. She would be giving her friend the portrait as a remembrance of a beloved friend and pet who was no longer with them.
To be sure, I've done several portraits, placed around my house, of my own true friend, Spanky. Each time I see him gazing expectantly from his honored place on the wall, my heart is a flood of warm, happy memories of our time together. It makes me happy to have had him in my life. I can only hope this portrait has the same effect on its recipient.
I'm sticking a fork in this painting and calling it done. After pondering the similar values, I darkened up the background and concentrated on the outline of the rabbit to make him pop. Now he seems more ready to jump off the canvas. I'll just stick him out in the Arizona sun and let him dry a bit, then he's off to the races.
Now to nail down some fur so this hare won't feel hairless. I've increased the detail a bit, but something doesn't feel quite right. Perhaps everything is too much the same value? I'll have to give this some thought before I blunder on.