Oops I did it again – I signed up for another painting Challenge. Considering the chaos of my daily life, I am really not sure how I will do it, but, that’s the challenge of it, eh?
I realized today that I have been participating in these daily painting challenges for about a decade now. A decade! I first started out with the Forgotten Works Challenge in Seattle, and brought the concept with me to Idaho when I moved there in 2011.
My Theme this challenge – Moths on Patterned Backgrounds. Please follow along, either here, on my blog, or on my FB/Instagram Pages (@DanaAldisStudio) or on the blog Leslie set up for the Challenge (under my Space Invaders promo)
My focus was drawing in school. I didn’t start painting regularly until 2008. My preferred medium is oil paint. My preferred subjects are dogs. Or at least, one I keep going back to paint.
For 5 years, I was a Chartpak/Grumbacher painting instructor for the Michaels store in Moscow, ID. If you don’t know the program, it offers 2 hour classes where you paint a 9×12 canvas, from start to finish, in one sitting. The interesting part is how they divided up the subjects into four categories – Still Life, Floral, Landscape, Seascape.
So that got me thinking – what do I love? What to I want to paint? It took a couple months, but then I realized that my passion was painting animals. Specifically, dogs. I’ve been painting dogs (and everything else with four legs or wings) ever since. You can check out some of my pet portrait commissions in my page section – I’d love to paint your pet!
I spend waaaay too much time on social media. (Why yes, I am on FB and Instagram @DanaAldisStudio) But, in my (weak) defense, that helped me make art and family connections as well as follow different animal rescues. One that caught my attention was Leave No Paws Behind, Inc. They take the last chance dogs, the ones that have been often horribly neglected, or dumped because they were too old. As frustrating as it is to watch, there is a silver lining, these dogs get the care they desperately needed.
Brian and Millie were two dogs I followed on FaceBook. Their page, The Life of Brian, is one of my favorites. Unfortunately, Millie passed away in 2016, and Brian also passed last month. They are terribly missed. I’m not sure how it happened, but in the last years, Brian became one of my muses. Dana (Brian’s “mom” takes great pictures)
My tribute to Millie & Brian is this painting of the two of them sharing a tender moment, “The Kiss”. I offering prints of the painting, with 25% of the sale to a local rescue near where I live. The 8″x12″ prints will be $45 plus shipping. They are fine art prints on beautiful printmaking paper.
And in non-art but all dog related news – introducing the new member of our “pack” – Dorothy the Goldendoodle. She’s 12 weeks old, not breed standard color, runt of the litter. She’s a little shy, and neither of us have had a puppy in our lives for over 15 years. All my friends expect to see paintings in the near future. 😉
Below are links to some of the Animal Rescue pages I follow on FaceBook, as well as some of my favorite animal artist pages.
An Act of Dog – Artist Mark Barone created a a staggering 5500 shelter dogs https://www.facebook.com/anactofdog.org/
A great dog rescue organization – Big Fluffy Dog Rescue – also good for snarky commentary and imaginative breed descriptions https://www.facebook.com/bigfluffydogrescue/
And I have a lot more, but my FB page froze up (because I have so many liked pages) so I will post more later.
I finished my last set of 30 Paintings – A Parliament of Owls, last month. Right now, I’m finishing off a couple commissions before launching into the next couple projects. If I am able to follow through on my projects, I will have painted around 100 small paintings (6×6 or smaller) this year. Not including commissions.
There are over 200 varieties of owls. I painted 30 6″x6″ oil paintings of a handful of owl species. This time, I decided to handpaint the backgrounds – something I haven’t done in a while, because, though I LOVE pattern, I DON’T love painting pattern. I really enjoyed combining the colors and patterns with the owls, and I think I accomplished what I wanted to do – create works that weren’t just studies of owls. I am quite pleased with the results.
I have been a part of a couple types of “Art Challenges” over the past decade, usually involving a finite amount of time (30 days, 15 days) to create x number of artworks. I found in the more recent challenges, I was very interested in developing Series/Bodies of work, rather than a smorgasborg of different images. Painting in series helps me develop ideas, and help me power through the days when I really don’t want to go into the studio.
If you are interested making one of these paintings yours, please email me. $100 each. (Danaaldisstudio@gmail.com) All paintings are unframed, unless requested.
When do I find the time? Well, I guess I just have had to buckle down and paint when I find the time. I am a new-ish mom – Penelope is three and a half now. We are able to afford daycare, so she goes for about 6.5 hours, four days a week. The commute, though, is a doozie – approx 45 min each way. So I lose at least an hour and a half driving. And since my husband works 4/10h days, I am usually in charge of dinner, groceries, household errands. So realistically, IF I do get into the studio, it’s around 3-4 hours of painting time. But, if I get my household things done efficiently, it can be up to 5 1/2 hours.
I used to paint at night for a couple hours but Penelope has been going through a transition phase, waking up around 2am or so and coming into our room. During the week I am the one in charge of sheperding her back to bed. Because I like to sleep, I tend to go to sleep around 9:30, and wait for the inevitable pitter patter of little feet tearing across the length of the house (she’s terrified of the dark, but more terrified of being alone). Yes, we could do the cry-it-out method. It could happen.
So, I do my very, very best to stick to “the Plan” – come home from dropping Penelope at daycare, and head into the studio, paint until I have to leave to pick her up. I sometimes leave NPR on, or more often, put on a podcast or an Audible selection. I use the ToDoist App to list what I need to do – because I LOVE ticking off checklists. Seriously, I really do.
I haven’t started the next series yet – I’m slowing down a little, but it’s happening. (Hint -Chicks,Bunnies, Flowers) Maybe Penelope will start sleeping through the night again.
During the month of January I painted 31 paintings of Chickens. All are 5x5inches on panel. The theme was the Celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year – Year of the Rooster. I matched my chickens with the Phases of the Moon during January.
You can see the full set on my FaceBook Page – Dana Aldis Studio. (only the first 28 are pictured above)
In late August 2016 my little family made a move back to the west side of Washington State. We settled in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island. It’s been a good move. The past year was hectic for me. I was teaching more than ever and trying to create for two art shows, as well as balance family life with a very active toddler. I hope I am able to post more regularly to this blog this year, and share with you my adventures on the west side.