Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I like to try new things.  I have bound books, upholstered furniture (even convincing my darling husband to make furniture frames to cover, including a full size sofa, back in the day!).  I love to cook, dink around with photography, and show and train dogs.  I've had a dog training business, which was very successful, as well.  I like to can my own foods, sew, play around with carpentry (I wield a mean pneumatic nailer!) and even do a little graphic design.  I'm also one hell of an organizer.  I can organize a lot of things into small spaces, and still keep them functional.  I love any organization that gives dual purpose to an item.  It's the ultimate sign of organizational success, IMO.

I'm of the mind I can do anything I choose to try, and more often than not, that's true.  Of course, I'm reasonable about what tasks I take on, and I usually limit myself to my attention span, the tools I have on hand (or those I can acquire for little to no cost) and the space necessary to do the work.  Oh, and the willingness of my husband to provide some muscle power, when needed.

Several months ago I dabbled in sketching.  I shocked myself at just how good I actually was.  The first sketches were rough, and while I knew who my subjects were, they were anything but fantastic.  But I got the basics, in very rough form, and went from there.

I thought I might share a few here.  Sadly, sketches don't scan well, but at least you can get a rough idea of what I did.  These were all done within a month of my first effort.  Do I have some latent talent?  I doubt it, but I certainly impressed myself...and even some of my friends.  In looking at them now, several months later, I can't say any of them are particularly fantastic, but they were all fantastically fun, and I really enjoyed the experience of sketching each subject.

One of my early attempts.  This is my heart dog, Jet, doing his most favorite thing.  I sketched this from a photo I had that was horribly faded, and I knew if I didn't capture it in some form, I would lose it forever.  Good prints are photos printed on cheap photo paper don't last.  This I learned the hard way!

Things got a little less rough when I sketched Angie Hall's lovely blue dog, Levi.  I found the muzzle the most difficult part, and don't feel that I got it right here, but other areas of my technique improved over the jumping sketch of Jet.

I then decided to try a really dark dog.  Enter Kathryn Horton's Belgian Tervuren, McGwire.  This dog had passed young to a tragic accident, so I wasn't just working on the shading technique, I had to work on the emotional response to the sketch.  I was most worried about this.  I struggled and I struggled.  I just didn't feel I got it right, even after several attempts.  I put down my pencils, and just sat and studied the dog.  When I picked up the pencils again, it just came together.

I don't know that I got all aspects of the dog, but I nailed the eyes, and it was so dead on, it rendered Kathryn a good way.  I'm really proud of this one.

For my next sketch, I chose a subject from a photo I took.  This is Am/Can/UKC CH Wistwin Equinox.  One of my most favorite little dogs.  Such sparkle, and joy this little guy imparts.  I just adore him.  As it turns out, the body would be very easy, but the eyes, and the expression, once again, would prove very difficult.  I never felt that I got this one exactly right, but I got fairly close one time, and decided to stop there.  Sometimes it's about knowing when to stop.

I'm 100% sure there are others in the world who are better artists, cooks, bakers, seamstresses, dog trainers and book binders than I, and for me, it's not about being the best.  It's about challenging myself to learn new things, and push myself to a rewarding result.  To me, that's the essence of the journey of life.  You don't have to be the best, you just have to appreciate and accept your best.

Here's hoping you have a wonderful Wednesday, and a wonderful leap day!

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