The Unflappable Molly

A close friend commissioned me to make a drawing of every member of our dog walking group.

I’ve been stuck on Molly. I have many great photos from her Mom and friends, and I started a very different piece back in June (or was it July) of 2021.

That piece just wasn’t speaking to me. I’d started it in the style of another of the drawings I’d done, but it just didn’t suit Molly as well. So I dragged my feet…there was no joy in Whoville.

In the last month I decided to walk away from that drawing entirely, which was a first for me. It came with consequences in the form of self-doubt. Had I lost my mojo?

In the lead-up to walking away from that drawing I was also busy with my business, and I had not been sketching or collaging or doing anything creative outside of work. I felt a creative constipation of sorts.

The holiday break was good for me because I just started playing again. The value of play can not be overstated. As a creative, sometimes you need to make something really bad, or good, or somewhere in between with nothing riding on it. There’s no pressure, just “pure” creation. I use quotes because pure isn’t really the right word. It’s more about letting go of any preconception or intentional design and just seeing what happens.

All of Molly’s pictures are in an album and I would flip through them every now and then. Molly is very much her own dog. She was a stray that adopted her family, and she has ideas about when things should happen. She’s a private dog…preferring to go off trail a bit to take care of business. She doesn’t waste time with too much jumping around and wiggly butt greeting. She tolerates her pack mates and she is sometimes protective of the group. But she is an anchor to the group. She is a founding member, and she is solid and reliable Molly. Ever present but not overly affectionate to the group.

This means the photo I eventually picked is probably not her most flattering, but I does match my experience of her. Aware of me, comfortable with me, but ultimately not impressed by me. I’m also making progress on it, and this morning, the sunlight coming through my front door threw a rainbow on the endeavor. I must be on to something.

Beautiful Friday

The last honeysuckle, with the help of the early morning sun, was casting some lovely shadows. So bright against the drab concrete.
Clover framed herself very well in the curve of the hose.
Smithers in the garden (a.k.a her salad bowl).
Hanging out at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. The tent in the distance was being set up for a wedding. Service along the promenade, cocktails in the English Walled Garden, and dinner overlooking the lake and Carillon. I don’t know who is getting married, but they will have an idyllic start.

Commissioned Piece

This is Charlie.

He was a good boy, and he lived a happy life. His mom told me he used to love chasing chipmunks, so my version of his grooming scarf has a chipmunk.

This drawing has been in the works for a while.

My board dropped onto the floor in the midst of the drawing and folded the paper…argh! Hoping framing and time flatten it out nicely.

Some photos from the journey and the source photo.

Commissioned Piece

This is General Cuddles. He no longer has teeth, he does have cataracts in both eyes, and he does not walk steadily so he rides in a pram.

His ferocious demeanor upon meeting strangers remains intact. Meet him on the path and learn how he got his stars. Dogs in his own pack give him a wide berth. That may be because he no longer recognizes members of his pack so any dog brushing by—friend or foe—gets a good snarl.

Certain liberties were taken with his attire to suit his ferocity (the faux medal of valor) and clan affiliation (his snappy tartan).

Art Supply Test – Blick Illustrator Markers

On the trip to Chicago last week to sketch with the Urban Sketchers, I made a side trip to Blick and got a great deal on a set of illustrator markers.

Did a few tests in various notebooks and these babies bleed…even on 98 lb Canson mixed media paper.

The do put down a satisfying amount of color per stroke, and each pen has two nibs…brush and chisel.

The test: A ModriNan (ha!) on a false-start page.

And the flip side.

Special thanks to Smithers the cat for lending her behind as a specialty easel for photography. Smithers is currently putting in community service in an effort to make Santa’s “nice” list.

Thanks for stopping by!