I missed posting yesterday because I had somewhat of a 'technical glitch'. It seemed that some of the RAM (memory) in my computer decided to quit on me and it did so in stellar fashion. Earlier in the prior day, I began getting a couple of memory errors. That happens at times and I thought nothing of it. But when I tried to do my morning mail and received five "blue screens of death" in the first hour, I knew something was truly amiss.
My main board, processor and memory sticks are over five years old. I know the time is approaching to replace them, but with the recent car upgrade, I am hoping it can get me by for a couple weeks yet anyway. Besides, even a tiny particle of dust could cause problems and I haven't given up on things yet. But since this happened quite early in the morning and Kieth wasn't up yet (he is my main 'technical guy') I forged on. Finally, I got this screen:
and I knew the jig was up. There would be no blogging that day.
When he did awake, we began with the usual troubleshooting process (taking things apart and blowing out the dust with a compressor – which I had recently done, mind you, doing stress tests, and removing memory one set at a time.) Fortunately, after removing the first set of chips, things were up and running. The stress tests were passed without incident and I have been good ever since. Of course, I have a little less memory than before (don't we all?) but it buys me time to investigate and purchase a new board, processor and chips. I sing my praise to the 'computer Gods' (and Keith, too!) and that purchase has moved up several steps on my priority shopping list.
It is at times like this I feel compelled to remind you all to BACK UP your computers. Because I continually back my work up, this was not a panic situation for me. What could be a complete disaster if my computer were to fail is downgraded to a 'mere annoyance' of loading up the programs on the new system and reorganizing things the way I like them. Both Keith and I are in the habit of backing things up not only on other physical drives, as it is unlikely that all drives will fail at once, but also on an external drive and one that is stored 'off site' (meaning somewhere else in case of fire or a disaster such as that. ) It is smart to do and important and it saves many, many hours of work and headaches. Trust me on this one.
</end public service announcement>
Now on to something much more FUN!
Layla is my recent painting project that I am developing into a decorative painting pattern. I have never attempted to do this type of pattern before, because frankly it is a little be more involved than what I am used to teaching. So much of this process is 'feel' that I am unsure that I will be able to convey it properly in a written lesson. But I am always up for a challenge and I am going to give it my best shot and hopefully others will be able to recreate this painting without much issue.
I am creating the pattern for Painting Ezine, which is a wonderful online publication. For a very minimal price, you have access to many beautiful painting patterns. I was asked to contribute a 'big cat' painting for their August issue, as the theme for August is "Summer Safari". Sue had seen some of my other big cat paintings and liked my work and asked me if I would be able to create a pattern for them. The thought was a bit intimidating at first, as my methods aren't always organized and easy to follow. I tend to go back and forth a lot, tweaking my work as I progress. But I felt I was up for the challenge and I love teaching. So I wanted to try.
When it came to finding the right subject to paint, I knew I had to think it through very carefully. I wanted something that would have a lot of impact, but not be too complex or difficult. When the photo of Layla from the Wildcat Sanctuary Facebook page came across my news feed, I knew I wanted to use it. It was a beautiful head shot of the tiger and I thought it would work well with what I wanted to teach.
I contacted the Wildcat Sanctuary and asked them their policies for using their photographs. I also explained how I intended to use my finished projects. To make a long story short, they are very reasonable in their requests and we came to an agreement. I am going to donate part of my proceeds of the sales of the patterns as well as any other items that I create from this image. I think that is only right. I also plan to raise awareness about the Sanctuary and let others know of them and encourage your support. Each cat there has a story. The organization is one that truly cares about giving these abused animals a good life. I feel strongly about that. I invite you to go to their site and read about these lovely creatures and perhaps consider supporting them in some way. There are many ways to do so.
Now for the painting . . .
As I left you the other day, Layla was a bit pale:
Her under layers were completed, and she looked as if she was a white tiger. But I knew I had better things in store for her!
I began applying the glazes to give her some color. First a lighter yellow glaze:
(Now she looks a little jaundice!)
. . . then a more 'rusty' color:
These are more like washes, just to tone the groundwork that I alread painted:
She is beginning to look quite beautiful:
What a different a little color makes, right? Now I started working on her nose:
The 'trick' here is to not be too neat. The more irregular the markings, the better. Same applies to the whisker dimples and other markings:
She was looking good, but all of that glazing really dulled her dark stripes. I needed to reinforce the dark markings and also add a darker color to the deepest parts of them:
That brought back the striking contrast of her fur:
Finally, we needed to add the light highlights:
I had to be careful here – LESS is really MORE! It would be very easy to 'blow out' these light areas.
I also did some color correction on the fur. One reason I like painting fur is that it is very easy to change things up as you progress.
And after some more toning, shading and highlighting, the painting in what I will call "DONE!"
I am not unhappy with her. :)
Today I will be spending the day writing out the instructions. That will probably be a bigger challenge for me than painting her in the first place. But I took literally hundreds of photos along the way, so I think I will be able to teach the process without much issue.
This was to date one of my favorite projects. Not only because of the beautiful subject matter, but because of the story behind it. I hope that those of you who like Layla will stay in touch with me and see the plans I have for her painting. I am thinking of making note cards and prints of her, and I will be donating to the Wildcat Sanctuary with each one sold (I will also be donating a portion of the pattern sales to them.)
I also hope you go to the site and visit them and read about their residents and their mission. I commend them on their tireless efforts to save these beautiful animals and give them a better life.
It is another beautiful day here in Nova Scotia. The sun is shining and it is already warm. I am saying that a lot lately and glad that we are having such a beautiful run. I wish you a wonderful day today and I hope you have fun and do something creative. Thank you all for your kind words of support. I hope I did Layla justice.
Happy Thursday to you all!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"