Thursday, December 12, 2013

2,760 Miles

"The Friendly Wolf" 10" x 10" acrylic on canvas [Click on the image to enlarge.]
Okay, I hate to brag, but the average wolf does not migrate.  He might trek as far as 70 miles, following migratory prey, before he settles down again to join a pack, or establish his own new territory.

But this wolf has traveled 2,760 miles from Miami to a city north of Los Angeles.  He arrives today at his new home, hopefully in one piece.  He certainly should.  The bubble wrap is so thick that I could have used the wrapped canvas as a pillow and still not damaged it. 

Ah, the anxiety of shipment.

This was a commission, and a joy to do.  There is a lot of layering in this piece, and many colors.  In fact, the wolf had so many colors that at one point I had to put the canvas aside to decide what to do.  It was too much.  Eventually I knew what I needed, a transparent brown.  And lo and behold Winsor & Newton came out with a new color called, appropriately, Transparent Brown.  Voila!  It worked as advertised, to great effect.  And, like a few of my other paintings, I made liberal use of the rubber spatula tool towards the end.  So far, for me, it is much better than a palette knife.


One personal joy in painting this wolf was the knowledge that it is going to hang in the room of an autistic young man.  I hope that it brings him great pleasure.  I'm partial to the unique plight of autistic individuals because, as you may remember, my son is autistic.

And for the record, my son didn't show any interest at all in the wolf.  In fact he has never paid any attention to any of my art.  That is, until recently.   When he did, it was quite a surprise.  He walked to the dinner table carrying an illustration I'd done, saying, "Look! Look!" with a big smile on his face.  This is what he was carrying: 

10" x 13" Ink and watercolor
Sigh. 

26 comments:

  1. HAHA! You just never know what will catch someone's eye.

    Now there are *two* wolves living in California. http://www.californiawolfcenter.org/learn/wolves-in-california/

    He's beautiful, what a wonderful Christmas delight.

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    1. Ah, but wolf number OR-7 only traveled 300 miles. Child's play! And this one is not wild, but friendly. I am so glad you like him!

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  2. I have a collection of wolf art, some pen and ink, some prints, some watercolor… even a huge graphite wolf with (I think) colored pencil yellow eyes that follow you wherever you go in the room. I've been collecting them for about 40 years now. I really love your wolf painting…
    I wonder what connected with your son and that picture… does he know someone bald like that maybe?

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    1. Well if you ever want to expand your collection, let me know! It appears I am a wolf artist! What a wonderful collection that must be!

      We do not really know what struck him about the picture - maybe because it is cartoony. He knows no one that's bald as far as I know.

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  3. Dear Dan, Keep up your wonderful work. Only love can make a miracle on the earth, I believe. You actually made it. Your son showed interest. Let us celebrate it. Best wishes, Sadami

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    1. Well, I was really pleased that he liked it! Someday I'll make him something he can actually hang in his room! lol

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    1. Thank you Sue! It was great fun to do.

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  5. Love the Wolf, Dan. I can see the work and thought that went into it. I hope it is as attractive to the young man as your illustration is to your son. You certainly have a diverse range of talent, and that't for sure.
    A really nice post, which shows as much of your generous spirit as it does of your artistic skills

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad you like both the wolf and the post. I enjoyed the layering of colors in this one.

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  6. Wonderful wolf! I've never done one. I don't think I will either. wolves look like your forte. --wanted dead or alive? It's a phrase that gets everyone's attention. I'd love to hear why your son was attracted. You must of asked?

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    1. A wolf artist! What do you know?

      I don't think it was the phrase the got him - he wouldn't know what it means. We asked why he liked it, but it is the sort of question that he can't answer. I think he liked the cartoony quality of it. I had never done an ink and watercolor face that large.

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  7. It is a happy wolf. Probably knew that it was painted with love. Congrats on the commission.

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    1. A happy wolf - mission accomplished. The main request for the commission was that the wolf be friendly. Thanks!

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  8. Glad to hear your wolf is going to have a young admirer.... the bald man is a start in the right direction for your son!

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    1. I think it's great - on both counts!

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  9. LOVE the wolf...and I agree....it is great to know that it will have a good home on someone's wall! Your son likes bright colors!

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    1. I'm so glad you love it! Bright colors - it could be!

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  10. Wow...Dan, you are really stepping up your game.
    Wonderful painting mate!
    Thanks for the e-mail - I hope you got mine.
    Stew.

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    1. I try to improve each time, so thanks Stew! I've e-mailed you back. So glad to see your comment!

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  11. Hi Dan,
    Isn't it interesting what people respond to? Congratulations on the commission; I like the wolf's expression. (2760 miles?!) I've been thinking about starting to paint in acrylic and haven't quite gotten my head around doing it. How do you like the medium? It seems to suit you as I look over your recent work; they're splendid!

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    1. Thank you, Peggy! Here is a rambling answer to your question:

      Watercolor is easier at this point to pick up and do with a minimum of fuss, anywhere anytime. Acrylic is a bit messier. But I love it! I love working with it. Although I miss some of the transparent qualities (which can be easily solved when I finally feel like spending the money to get more transparent colors) this problem, is more than made up by the way I can layer (with colors from the lower layers peeking through here and there), by the textures I can create, and by the more bold vibrant qualities. Also I work bigger in acrylics than in watercolors.

      Watercolors has been frustrating to me lately, because it hasn't felt like the right medium for what I feel like doing. Not to mention the fact that I have never, to my satisfaction, painted in watercolor without ink lines.

      I have never learned to work large - not even a half sheet - in watercolor. All of my watercolor works are so small. Also they require framing and I am cheap so they end up in a drawer. They take every bit as long as the paintings on canvas. I like having larger works that I can hang right away with a vibrancy that watercolor cannot match.

      The only thing is that I seem to have to work myself up to painting in acrylics, whereas watercolor is like a friend that is always there. This may change with time. I am also excited about the possibilities. I just bought a 30" x 30" canvas just to see if I can!!

      And I hate to be affected by such things but frankly, (1) just as acrylics are not taken as seriously as oils (this is changing - and may, judging from the recent Art Basel, already have changed), watercolors are not given the respect of acrylics - I know folks will not like for me to say that, but the representation of watercolors vs acrylic and oil in galleries and shows is far lower I think; and (2) I am thinking to get more serious about sales of my work - assuming I can increase my output - and in that arena, size matters.

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    2. Hi Dan, Thank you for the reply. It's interesting how there is a perceived hierarchy of media. Like it or not, its there in the eyes of the public. From what I have read, works on canvas are often perceived as more valuable than paper, even though artist grade paper can last just as long. I started out with colored pencil and watercolor without a thought about the long term. They were just something I thought I would like to try. Lately I have felt the need to expand my capabilities. Perhaps its due to moving to a different town with a more robust art market. I am re-evaluating where I am an where I want to go. How's that for a rambling reply? :) These things do take thought.

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  12. A beautiful wolf and a wonderful story of where it will hang! Congratulations on your commission. I'm sure it's owner will cherish it for years to come.

    I love the illustration your son picked. Great colors and composition. I think it's magnificent he picked it out.

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  13. I visited about a week ago and thought the wolf looked like you. So I went in search of a photo of you--couldn't find one, and never returned to comment. It's a wonderful wolf and I still think it's you in a wolf's clothing. I'm glad you're friendly.

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  14. Love this post. I hope Christmas is good to you, bringing much love and fun your way. Happy Holidays!

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