Fundraising Auction

As many of you no doubt know, I am busy at work on an extended art project called Rare Beasts. This  project is a series of collages centred around the theme of rare and endangered farm animals. Click here to read more about the project.

 

In course of working on such an extended series, I have made a lot of unexpected connections with people who are actively involved in the preservation of rare breeds.

This is George the Newfoundland Pony. Newfoundland Ponies are critically endangered ponies native to the province of Newfoundland, Canada. George’s owner, Nathalie, kindly got in touch with me about my

George

my project and gave me a fine selection of reference photos to work from when making the collage. As I was working on the collage, I found out that George was ill with severe laminitis (an inflammatory condition) in all four feet and would need to be relocated to a Newfoundland Pony refuge in New Hampshire. You can read about the refuge, Villi Poni Farm, here.

Because George’s owner was so nice and George is SO VERY CUTE, and because the Villi Poni Farm does such good and important work in preserving these critically endangered ponies, I wanted to help George and the refuge in some way.

Tomorrow, October 1st, Villi Poni is holding an online auction on their Facebook page to raise funds for the refuge. I donated this charcoal drawing of George for the auction.


The portrait of George is 12 x 9 inches, unframed, charcoal and white chalk on blue paper. I hope you will consider helping out the sanctuary – and George! – by making a bid!

Some Exciting News

Shortly before the end of 2015 I received news that I had been awarded a regional project grant from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. My project is to create a series of collages depicting rare and endangered breeds of farm animals. The collages will be exhibited in numerous venues in the Haut-Saint-Laurent region of Quebec, and will also be compiled in a book. The title of the project is ‘Rare Beasts: A Bestiary of Rare and Endangered Farm animals’. I will be working on this project for the next eighteen months.

I have set up a separate website to house “Rare Beasts” . Click the link here if you would like to follow the progress of the project.

Bronze Turkey - pencil drawing

Bronze Turkey – pencil drawing

Horned Dorset Ram - charcoal and white chalk on grey paper.

Horned Dorset Ram – charcoal and white chalk on grey paper.

A note to subscribers of this blog. I have transferred The Chronicle of Wasted Time from its original home at alysonchamp.blogspot.ca and will eventually be deleting the blog at the old site. I hope you will continue to follow my studio news and farm goings-on here at this site. If you would like to receive this blog directly in your email, you will need to re-subscribe. Sorry about that, but there seems to be no way to import the subscribers with the blog. You will find the Sign Up button to the right of this post.

Some of the Nicest People I Know Are Dogs

I love dogs. I love dogs and I have three of them. And while they sometimes drive me crazy, usually I find them charming and entertaining. Happy, optimistic, and easy going almost to a fault, they truly make the best companions.

Cocker Head Study- 8×10 charcoal/white chalk on gray paper ©2009 Alyson Champ

Pretty much anything you would like to do is ok with a dog: You’re going to the store? Hey, can I ride in the car? You want to get the mail? No problem, I’d love to go for a walk. Roast chicken for supper? Great! I’ll just sit here beside you, you know, in case something falls on the floor and that way you won’t have to clean it up!

Just as my love of horses and my need to create often converge, so too does my artwork with my fondness for dogs. From time to time I get asked to paint a portrait of a family pet, usually a dog. Painting an animal portrait, just like painting a human portrait, is a tricky business. The most obvious problem is the question of getting a “likeness” – making the animal look the way it actually does. Photos supply most of the information required, but it is nice to actually be able to meet the animal, to see it move and to touch it. Dogs, like people, have character, and catching that individuality, that spark of life, or soul, is the hardest thing in painting any portrait. A painting can be accurate in representation and still fail to capture the “essence” of the subject. The result is a dead looking painting. Unfortunately, I’ve painted my fair share of those.

Once in a while though, I do get it right. I remember one particular case where I was commissioned to paint the portrait of a dog. The dog had recently died and I was given a stack of family photos to use as reference material. The owners told me a bit about the dog’s personality, the things he would do, how he behaved, and even how he had died. They then left me with my task.
I wasn’t sure how much success I was going to have: I hadn’t even met the dog! Nevertheless, the portrait was painted and when I had finished it, I invited the dog’s owners back to studio to see and assess the results- I was expecting to do a lot of touch ups. I had set the painting up so that it was the first thing they would see when the walked in. They were surprised to the point of silence, and then openly wept. Somehow, and I’m not sure how, I had painted their dog.

What’s on the easel

One of the projects I’m working on in the studio right now is a commissioned portrait of a cocker spaniel. This dog, thankfully, is very much alive and I was able to take the photos myself, so I had the pleasure of meeting him. He’s quite a guy: funny and goofy and full of mischief. The owner came here this morning to decide on the final pose for the painting from the three preparatory drawings which I have just finished.

She has opted for the pose directly below, as she wanted a full body pose, but she loved the head study above so much that, as a kindness, I offered it to her as a gift. Happy owner, happy artist. Now I just have to do the painting!

Cocker portrait study-8×10, charcoal on paper ©2009 Alyson Champ

Cocker portrait study 2- 8×10, pencil on paper ©2009 Alyson Champ