Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Tickle the Pickle

December 16th 2003 – April 15 2019

I drove to Fort Dodge, Iowa to meet Tickle – on Valentine's Day 2004. She was the perfect little lady, even then.

Tickle went everywhere with me. That first winter, she weighed about 3 pounds, and I tucked her into the front of my parka to keep her warm. She came to the university with me, and would run to greet her favorite students. Then she would wait patiently in my office until class was over and she could play some more. 

I named her "Tickle", derived from the German word "teckel" for dachshund. She always pretended to be a little aloof. She would get close enough to visitors and then would scoot away before they could pet her. She enjoyed a good game of tag. She explored her yard tirelessly, checking beneath the bird bath and behind the day-lilies. 

When I brought Weema-pup home, Tickle ignored her for the longest time. The day Tickle took Weema's back leg in her mouth and growled, Weema was thrilled – a combination of joy and terror. After Tickle let go, Weema wiggled back over as if to say, "do it again!".

Tickle, chomping on her "dinosaur bone".

Picasso had a little dachshund named "Lump". David Hockney followed his dachsies around the house and made paintings of them. Andy Warhol took his dachsie, Archie, to galleries, on business trips and to photo shoots. John Wayne had a dachsie. 

And I had my beloved Tickle, also known as Tickle the Pickle.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Watercolor on Calfskin Vellum

This is a sample done in preparation for my workshop for the
GNSI - Carolinas Chapter, March 16th and 17th, 2019. 

Calfskin vellum was used before paper was available, and is still used for British Acts of Parliament, Jewish scrolls, and other special documents. Vellum is prepared by soaking the skin in a lime solution to soften and remove the hair, and it is then stretched on a wooden frame. A crescent-shaped blade is used to scrape the skin to achieve the desired thickness. 

The above study is done on a scrap of vellum, leftover from when pages were cut from the whole skin. Hence, the irregular shape. The blue swatches at the right show a solid blue, and a gradated blue. These were made by layering small strokes of watercolor. Because paint sits on top of the vellum and does not soak in, a relatively dry brush method must be used in order not to lift paint. A light touch and a good brush also helps.

Water can cause vellum to buckle, so working relatively dry is a good idea. 

I use Sennelier, Schmincke and Daniel Smith (mineral) watercolors. I prefer Winsor & Newton Miniature Series 7 Kolinksy sable brushes - sizes 1 and 2. 

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Workshop: Watercolor on Vellum

Illustration in progress, watercolor on vellum.

GNSI - Carolinas Chapter
March 16 & 17, 2019
Raleigh, North Carolina

Vellum is calfskin that is prepared for writing or painting. It has a smooth, translucent surface. However it presents challenges, as the surface is not at all like paper. This workshop will cover vellum as a painting surface and how to prepare it. The application of watercolor to this surface creates a luminous painting with fine detail. For more information, contact Betsy Donovan: bdonovan1@nc.rr.com