Self-portrait with Bliss. Just a forester and his dog.
I’ve been practicing pen and ink portraits lately. I find them uniquely challenging. Some I’ll post and some I won’t, but this one of Marilyn Monroe I decide to post. I’m fairly happy with it, but I didn’t nail it. I didn’t quite capture her essence the way I wanted. I liked the photo reference for the high contrast, which is conducive to pen and ink. Subtle shading is trickier than with pencil or paint. I have a tendency to overwork the piece. It’s been a pretty steep learning curve. Comments and critiques are appreciated.
I realize this isn’t as wildlifey or woodsy as what I normally do, but it’s good to mix things up. Besides, there’s people in the woods too. Although, I’ve never run into Marilyn in the woods, but that would make a heck of a blog post!
This was drawn from a pair of geese on the mill pond. Canada geese are great subjects for pen and ink. They’re already black and white.
This gaggle spotted Sailor and Bliss over on shore. They decided to come over and cause trouble for my goldens, who were minding their own business. Typical rabble rousing degenerate geese!
Sailor couldn’t take it anymore and swam out to say hello. What’s a boy to do.
What we have here is a failure to communicate.
This skull intrigued me with its bleached bone and hard shadows. I wondered what happened to cause it to be here. It was wild and dirty, and crying out to be drawn. So draw it I did!
On our way into camp we often stop in a particular landing to give everyone a break from the ride. A D6 Cat tractor was parked there for several months. A local logger had been using it for road repair and erosion control work. During one stop at the landing we found a bear skull. It wasn’t a large skull, probably from a young bear or a sow.
I couldn’t resist placing the skull in the tractor for the loggers to find. It sat there for weeks undisturbed. Until one day, while we were coming through, it had disappeared. Somebody or something must have taken a fancy to it and packed it off. When I first saw the skull I wondered what it’s story was, but it seems that it’s story may not be done. I wonder where it is now.
The Sierra Cascade Logging Conference is all over, but for the clean up. The Forestry Education Fund Auction was last night and it was a booming success. The final result of the entire fund-raiser was north of $100,000. Now if you’ve been following our blogs, you know that Mary (Sneaking Bliss) and I provide original art, which is bid in a competitive way. Both pieces of art are on the auction block together. The winning bidder gets to pick the painting of their choice and then bidding begins anew on the second place painting.
Here’s how things went down. Our paintings were items 18 and 19. This is a great place to be on the schedule, the early middle. There were fifty items to auction. Everyone was still there with plenty of money left for bidding. When our turn came they asked us to come up front and say a few words, but this auctioneer was a total pro. I didn’t have a chance to needle Mary with my witty comments when the auctioneer jumped right in and was talking so fast I could hardly keep up. The first bid opened at $1,000. This was a great start! Within seconds it shot up over $4,000. As it went above $5,000 things really got serious. A new bidder jumped in and one bidder got out. Then another dropped out and it looked like we had reached the end. Suddenly, the last bidder to drop out decide he wasn’t done and the bidding took off again. As it shot up to $7,000 then $8,000 I leaned behind the auctioneer and looked at Mary and she look at me with “what is happening here” looks on our faces. The auctioneer finally yelled “SOLD” and the bidding was done. One of our paintings just sold for $10,000! I was floored.
Now the moment of truth. The winner came up to claim his prize. We waited to see which painting it would be. Do you think he agonized over which painting to choose? Heck no! He beelined straight to Mary’s painting and snatched it off the display like he was rescuing a baby from a fire. Mary’s painting brought in $10,000 in support of forestry education! It was an amazing moment.
At this point my painting was back into the bidding and the auctioneer began searching for a new price. Long story short it fetched $5,000. Don’t get me wrong, this was a fantastic price. Higher than I’d seen before, but … she crushed me! Mary absolutely annihilated me! Together our art brought in $15,000. We were thrilled at its success and what it meant for the education fund.
Tonight I’m going to relax, lick my wounds and have a toast with my favorite competitor. Tomorrow will be soon enough to start thinking about redemption for next year. Congratulations Mary, you are an amazing artist!
Here it is folks, the final! It took me a bit longer to post because we were crazy busy, but it’s ready to go.
Tomorrow night it will be auctioned to raise money for the Sierra-Cascade Environmental and Resource Fund. This non-profit educates the public, students, and teachers about the wise management of our forests.They provide scholarships for local students interested in careers in the industry. Many of the programs supported are aimed at educating the urban regions of California, about practices that assure the health of our forests.
My painting will be auctioned in competition with Mary’s Painting. She also created a painting and you can see it here, Off-Highway Hauler. During the auction folks will be bidding on both paintings at once. The high bidder gets to pick the painting they want. The other is offered to the second place bidder who can take it or pass on it. Then it goes back to bidding. I beat her last year and now she’s back looking to take me down!
I’m continuing to work on the painting for the forestry education art auction. Here is the latest update. The inking is done and I’ve cleaned up most of the pencil lines. I find the pencil lines are very difficult to remove once the paper has been soaked.
The paper has been soaked and stapled onto the frame. Now mounted, it will be ready to paint as soon as it dries. It looks a little mottled from the moisture, but that fades as the water dries.
Nothing left to do but splash a bit of color on it! Hmmm? I wonder how the competition is coming along. Gee, I wish Mary, of Sneaking Bliss, would give me a little hint!