Love this crazy redhead Alpaca. Yet another of the Alpaca gang I found on a rainy day in Northern Idaho by the little town of Sandpoint. I have now painted a brunette, a blond and now this silly little redhead. The rain ruined her usual fluffy hair-do into this wet mop, but it made for an interesting painting, don’t you think?
Meet my blonde Alpaca. She is from the same gang of Alpacas I spied in the hills outside of Sandpoint, Idaho. Alpacas are grown for their beautiful fur coats, but it was raining that day. This is what is called the wet-do as opposed to hair -do. I had so much fun painting Mr Pac Man, (go, see him here) that I was psyched to do another one. This time I thought let’s go bigger, the same process, but bigger. Well, I was in for quite a surprise. My little blonde girl was very much a challenge. I even had to step away from the easel the first day- so that she didn’t fly out the window in a moment of frustration. $%#*$!!! It was her fur, with the dark tips, that was giving me fits. I’ve painted quite a few critters to date and typically their fur is pretty much the same color from skin to tip. When painting that fur, I can give a quick flip of my brush to get the effect of fur. I had to figure out a whole new way of doing things for this blonde gal. After all is said and done, it is what I like most about this painting. Oh, and her teeth are pretty cute too.
Pac Man © 2014 Amy Hillenbrand
8 x 8 Oil on board
$160.00Doesn’t he make you laugh? I hope so, this is my intent with this light whimsical oil painting. Some of my favorite parts of this portrait are his fabulous 80’s hairdo, the exquisite highlights – his hairdresser added and of his wonderful, kookie, toothy smile.
Here is some background on how it came to be that I am painting portraits of Alpacas. The first of the month, my husband and I went on a refreshing trip to Idaho to visit family near the beautiful northern city of Cour de’ Alane. Refreshing, because is was nice to escape the brutal 100 degree temps of central Texas. My husband and I love exploring. So off we went to visit the little town of Sandpoint, Idaho. Beautiful country with great mountain views and soaring trees. As we drove the hills around the little town of Sandpoint, we came across several Alpaca farms.
Normally the Alpaca coats are fluffy like a poodle who has just been to the groomer, but as luck would have it, it was raining that day. So the usually fluffy glorious fur coats were matted down with the fall rain. There I was standing in the rain taking pictures of my new found critter friends. All the while, my ADD husband shouting “come on – aren’t you done yet, it’s raining”. To make it is even more pleasure-able, big logging trucks came whirling by, spaying me with more water. Oh, the trials and tribulations an artist goes through for their craft. These fuzzy little creatures, from the camel family just stared and stood still as statues as I snapped their pictures. In the end the wet soggy coats make for a more amusing subject. Even more amusing, was when my I showed my husband my photos, he said; “those are great; did you get any more?” Geeeeeeessshh!
True Devotion © 2014 Amy Hillenbrand
48 x 36 Oil on Canvas
I recently finished this commission. Boy, what a tough customer he was. He had a specific place in his new home and a specific subject in mind. I wasn’t to keen on the idea, it wasn’t quite my style. So I suggested x and no he wanted y.
I even painted what I thought would look good in the space in a smaller scale thinking it might sway him when he saw it. He was even able to see previews of it at different steps along the way. Each time he saw a preview, even before he really looked at it, he say nope that’s not it. I would say well, “just wait until it’s finished and then decide”. Sure enough, I finished it and his response was “Nope, that’s not it” . I thought it might get ugly during the process. I thought I might back out of the deal. But it was a big painting 48 x 36 and the customer ( have you guessed this yet) was my Husband.
So out of love, I caved and painted what he desired. I figured that he doesn’t ask for much and he really has never asked me to paint a specific painting for our home. Then I thought everyday when he sees it in our family room he would know that I love him.
So hard to understand the scale of art on the computer so I’ve included so I included the photo of the piece hanging in the room.
I’m always on the lookout for flowers where ever I go, I was so excited to find these berry red Stargazers. They had the incredible fragrance of the white Stargazer that you normally see and had this beautiful bright bold red color. I was pretty tickled that I could literally match the actual colors with my oil paints. I almost titled the painting The Bold and The Beautiful. But my imagination had something else in mind.
When I look at the painting I imagine the flowers are all in a choir broadcasting their voices nice and loud. But the little guy in the lower right is younger then the others in the bunch. He’s like the little brother and he has ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). He just can’t focus and is busy gawking out the window while the others our practicing diligently for their upcoming concert. Go with me here…
It’s done! 30 Paintings in 30 Days, an art challenge hosted by Leslie Saeta. ‘That-there’ is a lot of painting hours, you’all. It was fun to put this collage together. It really gave me a sense of accomplishment. That is one of my favorite feelings in the world….accomplishment. On the other end of the spectrum, not following through on a commitment is one of my least favorite feelings. So Yay! (I am missing a few paintings, they didn’t fit in the collage and the designer in me didn’t want to mess up my design). What an interesting adventure it has been. I experimented with different subject matters and that was fun. I also experimented with how I approached the painting process. My typical process is to mix a few of the main colors of the piece, taking extra time to make sure I have the color just right. I feel this helps speed up my process of painting and I can focus on the strokes. A couple times I thought I would forgo that part of my process. Not good. It didn’t work for me so I went back to my old process. Another part of my process is I focus on one area at a time moving from left to right across the canvas. Tried different ways to do this and the same conclusion, I still like the way I was doing it. I’ve developed my processes over time and I found they work for me. This concentrated painting marathon help solidify that for me. At the start I thought I would write about my interaction with my friendly neighborhood commitment phobic gremlins. They were there indeed. But, I did manage to post most everyday. I did discover that my fear of commitment is not because I can’t commit, it is because I am so committed when I do commit. Make sense? So then those little commitment phobic gremlins get all excited because they knew I would stop listening to them and boy does that make them vocal. Yes they did chatter the entire time, “you tired today, why don’t you stop”, “no one cares if you finish so why do you?”…..on and on they went. Oh, and then they would try reverse psychology….”look at Leslie Saete she’s painting everyday”, “she’s remodeling a beach house” and “she’s teaching classes” and on and on they would go about that. Even yesterday they were fierce, “you don’t feel good. You should take care of yourself and get some rest”. I really did want to finish and I think the biggest reason was because I didn’t want to let myself down. There is a whole other post I could write about what it does to your sense of well being and self-esteem when you don’t keep promises to yourself. I know there will be some other discoveries after a little time has passed. Those haven’t come into focus yet. Another little surprise benefit to the challenge was interacting with people online. Painting paintings is a solitary endeavor and even though I enjoy solitude I also enjoy people. I received such sweet support and so many kind compliments on my blog and on Facebook. I could really feel them all cheering me on. This interaction made it, oh, so much more fun and it helped me cross the finish line. Thank you all. It made such a huge difference. So I loved the feeling of accomplishment and there are other things in my life that didn’t get done. One of the reasons I did partake in the challenge was because I wanted to kick start my painting and that it did, but my life got kind of unbalanced. So my next road of discovery will be to figure how to produce paintings at a regular clip and still keep my life in balance. I know there is a way. Stay tuned…
About the Painting
Well, the Snap Dragons are back. I think part of the reason I fell in love with these at the store is the wonderful association these flowers have for me. I can still remember when my Mom told me their magical name – the Snap Dragon. As a girl I had a very active imagination filled with fairies and brownies. So when I heard the name Snap Dragon, I immediately saw a magical dragon come alive in the pretty little flower. And then, when my Mom showed me how if you pinched the flowers it looked like they were opening their mouths. Great name, great memory, but I have to admit today as I was painting the flowers I really wondered why I choose such a challenging flower to paint. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment. No, I am glutton free!