Monday, September 19, 2011

Back To The Drawing Board

It has been back to the drawing board and also back to Square One this past ten days. 

I thought I was all done with twice daily trips to the barn since Scottie's lump has shriveled up to almost nothing, and I did have a week to myself. But, a little over a week ago, Scottie came in for breakfast very lame in his bad leg. We thought he had reinjured his tendon, so I resumed twice daily trips to the barn to cold hose his leg. The vet came out two days later and quickly diagnosed him as having another hoof abscess. She dug out a hole on his sole to let it drain and wrapped it and left directions for me to change the wrap every 48 hours or so. Since then I've been going to the barn daily to check on him, give him some sympathy and rewrap the hoof. As of yesterday, he is doing much better, and I'm hoping to stay home more again. 

Meanwhile, I've begun one new painting and am doing the preliminary work for another. These two are destined for the benefit auction for Second Chance Ranch and Rescue next month. I've got to hurry to get them done! The first will be a painting of our cat, Annie, which we lost three years ago. She was a beautiful cat, and this should be an appealing painting. I'm doing it in a quick, loose style like I've done the smaller paintings lately. I like working that way. 

The second painting is of two barn swallow babies, and I'm working from one of the photos I took at the barn. I had to do some work in Photoshop to compose the painting, and now I'm trying to figure out the Photoshop settings to  get a good print out of the photo. Yesterday was a small triumph in that I was able to use my big color printer for the first time with the new computer. I had to download a driver and was afraid that none would be available for this old printer, but there was one for the new intel based Macs. My Epson 2200 was a popular printer, and there must be a lot of them still chugging away. 

At the top you will see the photo of Annie that I'm using for the first painting. The canvas is toned, and I'll begin the painting today or tomorrow. Below is the reference photo for the second painting. The lighting and color aren't perfect yet, so it still needs some tweaking. 

It feels good to have new works started, and I'm also anxious to get back to work on the other three which were begun months ago. I'll keep you posted. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

How I Spent My Summer

Sketches of my horse, Scottie, from life

This past summer was certainly a busy one, and I am ready for a slowdown now that Labor Day is out of the way. Real Fall weather arrived with the holiday, with cool days and cold nights, and we even had frost in some local areas the past two nights!  

It seems as if much of my summer was consumed by twice daily trips to the barn to treat my horse's lump issues. As you may recall, Scottie had grown a huge, hard lump on the edge of his jawbone back in July which we thought was an abscessed tooth. But, a visit from the equine dentist ruled that out. 

Since my last report, the lump began to recede and then blew up again when he went off the antibiotics. To make a long story short, a second vet saw Scott, opened up the lump with a bigger incision and took tissue samples. He went  back on antibiotics, and I resumed twice daily trips to the barn. Fortunately, the tissue samples did not show any cancer cells or infection of any kind and I was allowed to discontinue the hot compresses and pulling off the scab each day to allow for drainage. Since then the lump has shrunken once again. I hope it's for good this time! 

The thinking is that Scottie got a sliver under the skin on his jaw at some time which festered into an infection. After nearly six weeks on antibiotics and the draining, it is presumed to be gone now. Good riddance, I say!

My trips to the barn were often rushed in an effort to keep up with all the rest of my duties, but I did manage to do some sketching one day while Scottie was in the cross ties. Sketching from life is not something I'm used to doing, but at least I made the effort and share my humble efforts above. 

On another occasion, I was lucky to get some good photos of baby barn swallows that were just learning to fly and hadn't acquired much fear of humans yet. They are gone now, but I have the photos to work from for some new paintings. I learned that the mornings are really lovely at the barn and plan to go out to ride then, take more photos and do some sketching and painting in the morning light. 

Speaking of which, I have committed myself to creating two paintings for a benefit auction for a farm animal rescue that our vet has established; Second Chance Ranch and Rescue. It's less than a month away now, so I must begin painting immediately! And, I'm really looking forward to painting for this really worthy cause. Normally, I don't donate art, but I do make a few exceptions for local non profits. 

Also on the Art front, I delivered two pieces of art to the Jordan River Arts Council for their upcoming exhibition, The Dog and Pony Show. "The Green Team" and "Kentucky Dreamer" will both be in this show which runs from September 11 to October 7. I got a sneak peek at some of the entries, and it looks like a good show. 

I have more to share from summer activities, but that's all for now. Perhaps I'll have a new painting to share with you next time.