Wednesday, December 29, 2010

White Christmas - Bad Doggy in Snow

This is what Christmas morning looked like! While I took some gorgeous landscape photos, I decided to post the ones that made me laugh. This is Izzy. And, as you can see, it's never a dull moment with her around! She is my latest acquisition from the local shelter (Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society - the one I donate to each year for their art auction fundraiser). Izzy is the pup that I brought home when I went to OLHS to photograph some of their residents for the donation portrait. Today, when going through the many snow photos, the bad doggy common theme running through these snapshots caught my eye. It is very typical of Izzy's personality and noticeable lack of training on my part! Maybe I will get to that next year. In the meantime, I am enjoying her spontaneity and total lack of discipline. If you can get past laughing at the dog, the scenery is beautiful! Generally, when taking photos of doggies running and playing you get just a few ears-up shots. Not true with Izzy, they are more common than not. In the last shot, she is looking at me like: what are you laughing at?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Dog & Horse Group Portrait - Collection of Animals

I love painting these group portraits. They are a collection of animals that belong or have belonged to one person or family. The finished size is 20 x 8 1/2. I tend to prefer non-standard sizes. Anyway, Merriam-Webster defines group as 1) two or more figures forming a complete unit in a composition or 2) a number of individuals assembled to together having some unifying relationship. Both definitions fit the way I feel about this piece. Interestingly, the 2 horses are the ones that I rescued a while back. [They have since been adopted into a forever home (YAY)]. When I first rescued them, I needed a place to park them for a while to have a vet determine whether they had any communicable disease before putting them with my horses. So, I found a "foster" home just up the road from me, as they say. This "foster" family thoroughly enjoyed them and ended up keeping them until they were adopted. I was honored to paint this group belonging to the family that so generously provided a home for these horses in such desperate need.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Saint Bernard Watercolor Painting

Have you ever met such an adorable face? This is Beau (Beauregard) (July 29, 1996-July 27, 2010). When I was asked to paint Beau, I was given an entire photo album filled with loving memories. The most evident fact was that Beau was truly a member of this family. Seems he was loved by all including a big white spotted flop-eared rabbit. This is another Christmas present.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Early Morning Gang

This is the view from my front porch. These guys watch until they see me walk outside. They are waiting for their morning feed. They are beautiful to watch and make every day more interesting. They will be in this exact spot every morning and also every evening.

End of the Day in December (Mississippi Sunset)

Dog Watercolor Painting Labrador Retriever

One more holiday commission finished! I have two more to do for a total of 5 in about 2 weeks. I have learned never underestimate the time it takes to paint a black dog (or cat). I find that black is the hardest color to work with. I generally do an underpainting of blue then followed by a dark sepia. I use very little black and then only in the darkest areas. If you look hard, you can see some blue and the sepia.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Meet Tigger. This is a commission for a friend of mine who said, "There is something magical about Tigger. No matter what's going on, a few minutes talking to him makes everything better." Indeed, my friend doesn't know that this painting has been commissioned as a Christmas gift for her.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Some of us get into Christmas...

This is my niece's dog. I'm quite sure it wasn't the pooch's idea to don the hat. Guess it runs in the family!

...and some don't

I have many Christmas commissions! Thank you, thank you, thank you. I so enjoy painting these canine family members during the holiday season. Above is Archie (another Wildrose Kennel pup). He was totally more interested in the imminent afternoon hunt. However, I did manage to get a good photo or two.

In the top photo, he is watching the hunters get their gear ready. In the bottom photo, Archie, realizing he is stuck with the girls for a minute, patiently watches the preparations for the afternoon hunt. I just love his pensive expression here.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Landscape Painting

Just playing with color (again). Trying out the properties of the Golden Open Acrylics on canvas. Love the color!

Rescued horses - photos

These are a pair (mother & son) of horses that I rescued back in August of this year. Their progress is remarkable. And, even more amazing is their amicable attitudes. They are very loving and trusting! They were starving and had been staked out on short ropes through the summer sun. They are of a very forgiving nature. I hope I can find them a home where they will be showered with the kindness they deserve and have earned. If you are reading this and know of such a home please contact me.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Watercolor painting - Court Square Tulips

This is watercolor on aquaboard. It took many, many layers to get the depth of color I wanted. Anyway, I don't usually paint flowers but I will be part of a show in a building on our Court Square next week. Each year the square is planted with beautiful tulips. So, I decided to paint a few of these for the upcoming show.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Photography Labrador Retriever

What a handsome boy! This is another lab out of Wildrose Kennels in Oxford, MS. These are a few photos I took for a commission watercolor. I just love the colors in the backgrounds especially in the top photo and it doesn't hurt to have such a lovely subject! I can paint a portrait from any photo (non-flash) or if you are close enough I take the photos and give them to you! If you are interested in a commission of your pet, please just comment below and it will come to my email inbox.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sweet Potato Farming - Acrylic on Panel - Painting

Still playing with the new paints... acrylics. This was about a mile up the road from my place. They were harvesting a sweet potato crop.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dog Painting - Acrylic - Labrador Retriever

Again, trying something new. This is an acrylic on unprimed canvas. It was a little more difficult than I thought as I had never seriously painted with acrylics. Also, I usually have such colorful subjects that I leave the backgrounds very plain. Here, I toned down the color a little in the dogs face and put some color in the background. I liked the way these acrylics (Golden Open) handled but did take some getting used to. I also used brushes (I only had 2) instead of painting knives.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Watercolor painting horse MAGGIE

Maggie, again. What an intelligent expression. She is actually a liver chestnut Thoroughbred and a pleasure to be around. She is one of my rescues that decided that this would be a great forever home. I had painted this in a much smaller version (below) to work out some of the expanded range of color that I am attempting. This one is quite large on a fairly smooth surface (new product of watercolor paper laminated to a lightweight board). I bounce between watercolors and oils. I find that I really like the movement of the paint and the water on the surface that you don't get with oils. The water allows some really nice unexpected results. The hard part is to learn to just leave it alone.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Billy is a Bad Bad Doggie

The title says it all. Billy is a LabraPit or Pitador (not sure which... neither is he). He became very sneaky when he realized that my bed was far better than his. He knew he was treading on thin ice but I guess he felt it was worth the risk. (I tried something new and painted this on a different brand of paper and learned that each brand accepts the paint and water very differently).

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Watercolor painting horse MOSE

This is Mose. He's everyone's favorite. He is larger than any of my other horses and seems to know it. He does just kinda mosey around (which is what he is doing here) and at his own pace. Webster says that mosey means to move in a leisurely or aimless manner. I'm surprised that his pic wasn't next to the definition.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Dog Watercolor Painting American Pit Bull Terrier YOGI

There are some subjects that I am drawn to paint. This is Yogi and he is one of my favorite subjects. His face seems to tell his frightening story and I have painted it many times. I have never been disappointed. This particular one did not reproduce well here. The colors are much more striking and a bit warmer in the original.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Watercolor painting horse

I am working with color. This is Maggie and I find that I paint her more than any of my other horses. Maggie is a Thoroughbred and her lines are so silently graceful. Her movements are quiet and I watch and admire the fluid grace from her head through her tail. It is impossible to capture. But, I continue to try.

Watercolor painting horse

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mississippi Cow - Animal Landscape Oil Painting

This scene is in Paynes, Mississippi with a slight population. I have no doubt that there are more cows than folks living there.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Landscape Oil Painting - Mississippi Delta

This is just up the road (as they say) from my place. It is a field next to my uncle's house and is indeed part of his farm. It is just off the paved highway and there is actually a gravel road that runs alongside the treeline.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Landscpe Oil Painting

Its hard to reproduce here the rich deep colors created by oil paint. This is a typical scene where the hills meet the delta in my hometown.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dog Oil Painting

This is a commission piece and will be shipped out of state. I really enjoy painting the small oil pieces. I do, however, find it difficult to go from watercolor to oils and then back again.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Polar Bear in Snow Storm - Oil Painting

Polar Bear in Snow Storm
Just trying something new. I generally paint smaller oil figures because I use just a painting knife (and no brushes). I was unsure about using a painting knife to cover a larger canvas. It took a little more time, obviously; but went okay. My painting surface for oils is unprimed canvas mounted onto a wooden panel with 3/4 inch cradled sides. I find this gives significant tooth for the paint and excellent support for the pressure of the knife. I then tack down the back and edges of the left-over canvas with the old fashioned copper tacks, my favorite part. As a last touch, I usually brush on a coat of varnish. These can be framed or left bare.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Labrador Oil Painting

My son and a friend came by this weekend. Ezra, above, belongs to his friend and was making himself right at home in my yard. He scavenged all the toys and treasures (other people's belongings) that Wylie had worked so hard to bury. This is an oil on unprimed canvas. I finish the edges with copper tacks and varnish the image. I really enjoy painting with intense color. And, they do not need a frame.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Catahoula Cur - "Rufus" - Watercolor

Catahoulas are one of my favorite dogs and I have been wanting to paint this guy for a while. I tend to find that the collars worn sometimes tells a bit about the personality of the dog. Rufus, above, wears a heart for his vaccination tag and has some tattered area at the top of his cloth collar.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

In the Box...

I call this one "In the Box" for obvious reasons. This is Gumbo at the end of the day. He's ready to go home.

I never get tired of taking photos of animals (even if it is hot, sweaty and buggy). Pictured here are Gumbo, Gator, and Heather. Below is the portrait of Heather. I have her story completed and am waiting for final approval from her owner before I post it.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Lady Heather -Labrador Watercolor Painting

This is a commission piece. I will be adding the story and hand-print it on a mat prior to framing. This is another lovely dog from Wildrose Kennels, Oxford, MS owned by Sandra Summers and Franz Schneider. Here is Heather's story:


Wildrose Lady Heather Bracken of Oxford is the name scribed on her AKC registration papers. Born on April 2, 2006, she is the last female in lineage from one of the most well-known dogs in the UK, Pocklea Remus, and the only female in the last litter of her mother, Astraglen Sprint. She was a prize pup of Wildrose Kennel and its owner Mike Stewart.

Sandra Summers had been explaining how she came to have this small lab in her home. Heather is one of three black labs belonging to Sandra and her husband, Franz, and Sandra’s obvious favorite. “I first saw Heather when she was about 6 weeks old. Franz and I had returned to Wildrose to bring our male lab, Gumbo, for training. Gumbo was about a year old and we were regularly traveling from our home in Santa Fe to Oxford, Mississippi for visits during his training.”

“On one of those visits, I started walking Heather on a puppy lead. Everyone at Wildrose had been calling her Bracken but it just didn’t seem to fit and I started calling her Heather. I knew that heather is one of Scotland's most beautiful plants and that she is of Scottish ancestry. It didn’t take long before everyone was calling her by her new name.”

“When she was about 5 months old, we had really been missing Gumbo. So, with Mike’s permission, I rented a car and took Heather back to New Mexico with us.”

“We kept Heather for a while and I started her training ‘the Wildrose way’. I worked her every day in empty lots, in scrub, on roads, and in ditches. We worked with hand signals and on socialization skills. I took her on a ski-lift up Santa Fe Mountain and we walked all the way down in the first snow of the season.”

“In October, we went back to Wildrose and I noticed that Heather did not seem to be feeling well. She was taken to the vet and unfortunately diagnosed with hip dsyplasia. She was not able to be bred and was spayed at two years old. After that she was really my dog,” Sandra said with a little bit of a sad smile.

“We moved to Oxford in December and decided to adopt Heather. I got her papers on my birthday that February. That was indeed a special day.”

“Heather is very intelligent and intuitive. She is always making unusual faces and funny expressions with her mouth. We now have three labs from Wildrose. The others, the boys, Gumbo and Gator, are very laid back. Mike Stewart selects the dog he thinks will fit you and your family best. Heather would not have been a match for us. She is a bit hyper and intense —different from the other two. Still, she is the best behaved. She is the fearless one and she stands her ground with the boys. She is a seasoned hunter and has won several hunting awards. However, she does sometimes move too fast for her nose and gets ahead of herself.”

We had been sitting in the kitchen as the three labs dozed on their cozy round beds in the next room. Each separate from the other but the lofty beds tied them together into a single unit. I noticed that only one had eyes resting intently on Sandra. The other two slept soundly.

“Its weird. I named her, trained her, and most of her ‘firsts’ were with me and even though she wouldn’t have been a perfect match I think she has always been my dog.”

Some days Heather can be seen walking along side Sandra on the court square or waiting patiently just outside the local ice cream shop. Sometimes a small crowd of children gathers, even the ones that smile and say, “I’m afraid of dogs,” as they proudly pat her head. Heather just sits and watches Sandra waiting for that familiar signal for them to take their next step together.

Vicki Wood, JD 6/10 ©

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pound Puppies and Road Dogs - Watercolor

This makes me sad. These are dogs and pups that have passed through my life at different times. Several are Hurricane Katrina victims and most were just put out on the side of the road. I still have some and others I took to Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society. Some had the mange and some were freezing and starving. One came with a litter of seven. And the last, little Izzy, came from OLHS (I had a weak moment while there taking photos). More about Izzy and that weak moment is posted below.

Friday, April 9, 2010

11th Annual Paws for Art Auction

Wow, another year has gone by! A better image of this donation piece is below but I wanted to post some pics of the actual auction. This piece sold for $1,000. It is a great feeling to help the unwanted critters. I appreciate all that Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society does and I especially appreciate the purchasers of this piece and the bidding audience.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

"...don't leave without me."


Every year I paint a portrait of an Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society "resident" and donate it for their annual fundraiser, "Paws for Art". I also write an accompanying story (which rises to the level of being compelled to do so). I usually leave home with one particular idea in mind but, after time at the shelter, always end up with something different. Here is my story about "Izzy":

I had heard that Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society was housing about 30 Chinese Cresteds they had recently rescued. I had not yet taken this year’s photo for OLHS’s “Paws for Art” fundraiser and decided that these hairless dogs might be good candidates for my annual donation portrait.

When I arrived I learned that the Cresteds were shy due to their past living conditions and I would need to wait while they retrieved a few of the more social ones. I had made up my mind prior to arriving that I would go through this as if I had on blinders in an effort to lessen the hurtfulness produced by the scene of any animal shelter. So, I planted myself on what I thought was fairly neutral ground. As I waited, I couldn’t help but notice an 8 x 8 portable pen full of puppies. They were the non-descript dogs —medium height, medium weight, medium black hair, with a long tail— the ones that are so often seen on the side of the road eating anything and looking worse than half-starved.

A kennel worker passed and saw me. “They have been here a while,” he said and I knew that meant their time was short. I stood watching and noticed that some looked to be about 3 months old while others were just babies. Lost in my troubling thoughts, I saw that the smallest one had pushed her tiny head through one of the squares of the chain-link fence. With her head lowered and chin resting on the wet concrete she rolled her eyes up and was looking directly at me. Trying to pass the time and shift my thoughts to thinking that this was cute, unsuccessfully veneering over the true sadness, I snapped a few photos. She sat very still by herself, close to me, body in the pen and head out with her pen-mates piled up in the far corner. She watched as I moved trying to break her gaze in a thickened time that seemed like hours. “Today will be their last day here,” said the kennel attendant nodding toward the pups bringing me quickly forth to the harsh reality of the situation. I lowered my camera, “Look at that little one with her head sticking out …what a shame.” *

I was shown to an area where I could photograph the Cresteds. For a moment, I was completely absorbed in the darting movements of these nervous creatures of only skin and a few puffs of hair. I knew that, unlike the pups, their uniqueness would find them in adoptive homes.

The afternoon was hot. I began to feel uneasy and wanted to leave. I finished the last photo of the Cresteds and walked toward the office. I again passed the pen of puppies. Only now it was different. It was empty except for the little one who had moved to the far corner where her buddies had been. “After you noticed her, we decided she might get adopted and, really, were hoping that you might take her,” the attendant said half smiling.

My mental image of blinders and hope for numbness suddenly dissolved. I thought of my too many animals at home and then of this tiny one with a remarkable ability to vividly express herself. I knew that in spite of her infancy, her plea was clear,

“…don’t leave without me.”

I didn’t.

Vicki Wood, JD ©

* I have worked with OLHS for years. I know they do all they can and it is inevitable that, as a single organization, they become overwhelmed at times by the shear numbers with which they are forced to deal. OLHS has taken approximately 30 animals from me over the years and most were the non-descript ones mentioned above that were abandoned on the roadside. Many have been so badly treated that they can’t be caught and wander the roadside and ditches for months and, unfortunately, produce litters forcing them into eventual captivity. OLHS knows all too well the prolonged starvation, freezing temperatures, and disease that these animals endure.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pound Puppies and Road Dogs - Watercolor

These are dogs and pups that have at different times walked in and out of my life. Most are "walk-up" dogs that have been abandoned on the road by my home or shelter animals. Some are even hurricane victims. Its a watercolor on paper and has been put on hold while I finish a commission and also my donation piece for the Oxford-Lafayette Human Society's annual fundraiser "Paws for Art".