Saturday, June 30, 2012

Got a Horse Crazy Kid?

The book is published!

My multi-year project of illustrating the equine-related riddles for children that were written and compiled by my book partner Dale Sue Wade is complete. In hindsight, the drawings were a respite from my usually formal painting. The goofy, silly me was given free rein to have fun and revel in the fact that I'm a fairly decent draughtswoman (yes that's correct, I looked it up). I'm learning to accept and honor the positive aspects of me. It takes an entire lifetime.

In a few days the book will be available at Extended distribution will take on countries across the pond and translations will occur: ¿QuĂ© tipo de caballo de Picasso se prefiere?

A bit of a snafu has occurred in transferring the files to Kindle but that will be handled later. Call me old-fashioned, but I still love the tactile experience of holding a book in my hands and thumbing the pages while inhaling the aromatic scent of ink.
Dale Sue is an educator and wasn't satisfied with the just the riddle and it's accompanying answer. She's compelled to teach and harnessed the riddles as a learning opportunity. You'll find puns, wordplays, idioms and homophones plus a history lesson or two thrown in for good measure.

Got a horse crazy kid and need a little gift? You can pre-order at the publishers website here. It's only $9.95 and I promise you'll love it as much as your kid. Think of me when you chuckle at the nonsensical drawings.

Drawing on life and love,

Friday, June 22, 2012

101 Whinnying Riddles for Horse Crazy Kids

Three solid weeks. That's how long it took me to format the children's riddle book I've been working on for years. Why now? An offer from the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame for a book signing during the Saratoga race meet was incentive enough to pull the project back to the front burner. Again.

Being a painter, my knowledge and understanding of publishing software is limited. A very old version of Quark, 5.0 to be exact, somehow keeps getting transferred over to the next generation of computers in our office. After a brief frustrating struggle, I downloaded the trial version of the latest QuarkExpress 9.0.

It was easy to import the text and images and compose the pages. However, the entire book had to uploaded to the publisher in one pdf file and that's where the insanity began. My book partner, Dale Sue Wade (who wrote the overly clever riddles that only children can solve), my VP of Sales, Research and Accounts Receivable (Michael) and I decided to self-publish. After intensive research, we chose CreateSpace, a subsidiary of Many, many revisions and several hair pulling sessions later, the book is in "review" as of this writing. I felt like I was trying to build a mansion with toothpicks, the toothpicks being my lack of knowledge about anything book creating.

Revisiting the ink drawings did put a smile on my intense grimacing. Humor me as I share this ridiculous drawing with you:

What do you say to a horse when they sneeze?

101 Ways to Drive a Horse Artist Mad,

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Please! Don't Go!

Experiencing a couple of unsubscribes last week has me wondering. Perhaps I've not painted a race horse in awhile, but this is a great gig for me and has me leaping out of my oil-equine-big canvas-wild eyed box. I know some of my friends are getting a kick out of my documented struggles as I gunk up acrylic paint while ruining good brushes and misting water on anyone who passes too close.

Or, maybe I've not been clear regarding the greyhound project. The subject of greyhound racing can elicit assorted opinion as I've discovered...some of them rather passionate. So, let me explain.

I have a client who has commissioned me to paint several fiberglass life-size greyhounds. These art pieces are being auctioned off across the country to benefit various greyhound rescue groups. Be happy for me as the project has mushroomed into opportunities that neither my client nor myself foresaw. For instance, remember Waguar, the greyhound painted with the team colors of the NFL Jacksonville Jaguars?

That number 32 was personally autographed by Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville's star running back. My client, who is an avid sports fan, not only experienced the fun of meeting the renown player but also went out to breakfast with him. Very happy client = very happy Sharon.

As a former race tracker I could be droning on and on about I'll Have Another's trainer and his drug issues or the threatened strike of NYRA's maintenance union right before the Belmont blah blah blah. But I'll spare you all that noise as I quietly create my own controversy...

It's a fund-raiser for greyhound rescue,

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Finished Chief Greyhound

This is an artist blog, after all. I've been remiss with my artwork updates amid the chaos of my website troubles.

Here's one of the last two greyhounds that I completed and delivered. In a previous post I shared some of the process of creating "Chief". Lots of research, kids, goes into fulfilling the requests of my client. However, I'm learning new things that make me go "huh" in an inquisitive way.

After finishing up this particular greyhound, I'm also understanding (finally!) how to handle acrylic paint. I have great admiration for artists who produce beautiful paintings with this plastic fast-drying goo that I've cursed during many a painting session. How do they do it? Check out my good friend Robert Stebleton who applies it with ease and agility. That's how they do it.

Four Indian Chiefs representing the Sioux (Oglala and Lakota), Nez Pearce and Cherokee, and seven clans of the Cherokee are represented. Also, lots of totems and traditional patterns.

Chief Joseph and Chief Sitting Bull were derived from historical black and white photos readily available on the web.

View from above looking down on the greyhound's head. The Eagle and Blue Sky are two Cherokee clans.

Potato Vine and Bear sometimes represent similar clans.

There is no word equivalent for goodbye in the Sioux language because it would break the bond of connectedness. Therefore, I'll meet you all again in the blogosphere.