Sanhill Crane Quartet

Sanhill Crane Quartet
OIl on 18x24 inch canvas

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Now available through Fine Art America

This beautiful young lady, just pushing a year and a half, is Jinx. According to the vet, she's 99 percent Lab, if not pure. She's starting to show a bit of chocolate in her coat, when the light hits just right. Jinx nearly lost her life on Route 1, when a man tossed her out of his truck window. He tossed her siblings out as well. Dusty saw the event, and, while she wanted to chase down the abuser, she had to get the puppy off the road. Another driver stopped to assist and to tell her that he was going to follow the truck. He rescued the other puppies. Then he headed off after the truck. We don't know who he was or why he did this.

Jinx's hind legs were injured in the fall, but she's coming along beautifully. She loves the water, runs and plays, and is, of course, a lap dog. Freckles adopted her, and she and Sasha and Romeo play with Jinx. It helped that Freckles wasn't more than an adolescent dog when Jinx came into the family. In six months, the Gres had lost two dogs, Tammy and Jack, and gained three, Freckles, Romeo, and Jinx. For Sasha, Repeat, and Trouble this was a traumatic time. The transition was unsettling; there was scrapping. But they are all family now. 

Please keep in mind that people give away and abandon dogs of all breeds to local agencies. Have patience. If your local Humane Society doesn't have the dog you're looking for, you can go on line. For a small fee to cover shots and food, you can have the breed of your choice. 

Jinx's portrait was completed with Derwent pastel pencils on black pastel paper. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Now available through Fine Art America

Romeo's is a sad story. This loving dog probably started out like most puppies, but at some point he must have ended up a yard dog, and. with the speed with which he can chew through rope, he escaped that life. Odds are he was treated cruelly and not feed regularly. Of course, we are just filling in the blanks. 

Romeo showed up on the Gres' property when Freckles went through her first and only heat. For some of that time, Freckles came to stay with me and Renard since he (Renard) had already done the responsible thing because of his close relationship with Freckles. At some point another dog showed up and a pregnant female German Shepherd. Those other dogs went away, but Romeo stayed. It took some time, but he began to accept food from Dusty and Wright. The other dogs stopped trying to run him off. One day Romeo let the Dusty and Wright pet him. Soon after he was in the house, sometimes. 

Romeo has appointed himself guardian of the estate, and he looks poorly upon interlopers. Renard has run afoul of Romeo, but having shown respect for the latter's position, has been accepted as a guest. When I was hospitalized this past August, the two were great friends. Romeo, who might weigh 25 pounds, has come a long way. No longer afraid of his people or Granny or me or the relatives who visit, Romeo has become accustomed to being petted, to jumping onto laps, and to curling up on the bed with the people. He and Freckles and Jinx (the puppy you haven't met yet) love to wrestle and chase around the yard. 

This portrait was done in Derwent Pastel Pencils and chalk pastels on pale gray pastel paper.

Friday, November 21, 2014


Now available through Fine Art America

Anyone who knows Jack Russell terriers knows they are a handful, but to dump a young dog, still a puppy, at a boat landing is wrong. That's what happened to this young lady. Freckles Gres, princess of the River Rats, jumped into Dusty's truck, and that's all she wrote. Of course, Dusty tried to find the dog's people, but to no avail. Freckles was named by Granny because of the freckles on her nose. 

Still a young dog, she has taken over the household, demanding first abuse of all squeaky toys and not relinquishing them until they are dead, squeakless, buried. Freckles does suffer a bit from separation anxiety, is always jumping into cars (family and friends, not strangers), is friends with Santa and his dog (they stay at the same hotel), and does not like shovels. Something happened. For the past few months, Freckles, Granny, and Freckle's girl, Dusty, have been traveling to a pet-friendly hotel in a distant city once a week. Freckles, aka Hotel Dog, is very popular and very brave. She has, in fact, killed a garbage truck. There are witnesses. Santa and his dog are staying at this same hotel, so they have become great friends, and she is putting in a good word for her barks.

This portrait was executed in pastels on charcoal paper.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


This beauty is Fiona, pup of my sister-in-law Mary. Fiona came from mixed parentage. Dad was a Yorkie, and mom was a Chihuahua. Her people were and still are very loving people, who follow the rules and laws concerning breeding dogs. No puppy mill here. Just a nice family with cats and dogs and kids and only one litter. Fiona who is blonde now, started out looking like a tiny German Shepherd pup. She loves clothes, is allergic to grass, so she has bubble baths every week to help her skin. She loves the outside and was taught by her cousin Renard how to use the backyard to do her business. She lives with six cats and does get along with them, unless Renard comes to visit. Then it's a free-for-all.

I've known Fiona since she came to the family and taught her the joys of the morning cuddle and full-body massage, something her girl has never forgiven me for. Well, what are aunts for?

This portrait was executed in Derwent colored pencils on brown card stock.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Merry Christmas Card

This year's Christmas card features a colored-pencil portrait of my prince gazing up at the star in the east. I exaggerated the reds and yellows in his fur and made sure that his lovely white head and belly were apparent. Once again the computer image took some tweaking to give the color a vibrancy that matches the actual art piece.

Now available through Fine Art America
 This is Renard in all his glory: proud, inquisitive, and celebrating his third Christmas with me.

Sunday, November 9, 2014


Now available through Fine Art America

This happy fellow is Brewster, dog of my sister Rose Marie. Rose Marie adopted Brewster from a "kill" shelter in Casselberry, Florida, about three years ago. She kept going back thinking that if he was still there she would adopt him. She just couldn't believe the shelter would put this adolescent Chihuahua down. But she didn't take any chances. Rose wanted a Chihuahua or a Yorkie, a small condo-size pet. When you go to a shelter you can find many pure-breed animals, animals people can't afford, can't take to their new home, got tired of, and, of course, couldn't take in after a relative died.

We believe that Brewster was owned by an older person, since he always walks behind, never in front, when he is in the house or going down the stairs. Brewster and Renard got along great as soon as they met, and you would never know that Brewster had been on death row; he just doesn't dwell on it. He scares people sometimes because Chihuahuas are scary dogs, just ask Trouble, and he seems a bit standoffish. He is a bit of an old man, but he's a good dog, finally getting used to his new environment and all of his family.

This portrait was done with Derwent Drawing Pencils and Pastel Pencils and chalk pastels on pale gray pastel paper.

Friday, November 7, 2014


Now available through Fine Art America

This is Sasha, sister of Repeat and Trouble. Well, not biological sister, but pack sister. I don't really know Sasha's history beyond her being adopted first by Kyle, who lived in an apartment, leaving Sasha alone all day while he worked. Kyle was a good daddy, but it was obvious that Sasha preferred life in South Georgia to life as a city dweller. So she moved in with Dusty, Wright, Repeat, Trouble, Tammy, Jack, and Peta. Sasha loves the water, and thinks living on the river is great. When she sees any body of water, whether puddle or river makes no difference, she dives right in. That she can swim at all is amazing considering her physique. She has short legs, a barrel chest, a small head, and long body. Aside from being part Lab, the rest of her background is just a guess. 

Sasha is easily distracted, loves to eat and loves to play. But most of all, she loves the water, unless it's a bath. For her, the water is like a pile of sand is for Repeat. She's the only dog in the family not really afraid of storms. She gathers in the bathroom with the others, but I don't think she really understands that she's supposed to be afraid. Sasha thinks she might be a lap dog, and while she does fit in your lap, she doesn't stay long. She is a love.

I used pastel pencils on pastel paper to complete this study.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


This lovely fellow was Axle. He passed away the Thanksgiving weekend before Renard came into my life. I heard about it a few days later. Axle was my neighbor and my walking buddy. Every morning he joined me for my walk around the acres. He greeted me when I came home, used to steal the rug from in front of the kitchen door, and played with me. I bought him toys, like the lamb in this drawing, kept Milk Bones for him and a water bowl.

Yes, he's a Pit mix, though he looked like he was part boxer as well. He was part Lab. In Georgia, 70 percent of the dogs are mixed with a Lab or a Pit. He was a sweetheart. He had the soft mouth of the Lab, gently taking your hand to make you play with him or pet him. He was only two years old and started out his brief life tossed into a dumpster as a puppy. He had a brother I never knew. The owners speculated that Axle's brother was hit by a car.

Axle hated being penned up and cried for release unceasingly. His people told me that if he bothered me they would keep him away, but he was no bother. And he was a softy.

Axle was mortally injured when he ran under the wheels of a car in the dark of that Monday morning. The driver ran back to tell the family that Axle had run away toward their house. They found him under one of the outhouses, and he passed quickly. Axle was an angel.

About the art: This study is done in colored pencil on gray textured pastel paper.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Nobody Knows the Troubles I've Seen

Now available through Fine Art America

" . . . but they call her Trouble for short." Pastel pencils and chalk on black paper were used for this portrait. I'm sorry about the apparent smudging. It comes from lightning the scanned image. The background is black pastel paper. It works really well when portraying a dog with black features like Trouble or her sister, Repeta.

Little Trouble, although she is half Great Dane and half spaniel, has the soul of a pocket puppy. What they say about Great Danes being lap dogs is certainly true of this little dog.

It was a rainy night, and all the dogs were barking wildly, when Dusty got home from work. In the culvert that runs between the property and the road were two black and white puppies. Dusty was only able to get one out, and she took her into the house. When Dusty got back, the other was gone. Someone had dumped the helpless puppies like so much trash. But to add to the horror of the night, at least from the pup's perspective, the puppy was taken in and given a bath even before being given nourishment. Dusty is always giving the new dogs baths. Renard will confirm that.

Today this beautiful lap dog is healthy and playful and brave when she has to be, but she is afraid of little dogs. Trouble also has a talent for making herself small. She can curl up onto a small dog bed and sleep like a puppy. There was a time when a Great Dane would have intimidated me, but now that I know they are tiny dogs at heart, I just want to pick them up and cuddle them. Chihuahuas on the other hand. . . .

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sleeping Renard

This is a sweet study of my Renard executed in graphite pencil on white vellum paper. Unfortunately the scanning leaves a bit to be desired. More work must be done on scanning the images, but after adjusting contrast and brightness I came up with this rendition.

I enjoyed working in pencil, drawing each curl of his soft coat with quick strokes. It's almost meditative.

Renard is the sweet little dog who came to me from I-don't-know-where and I-don't-know-why. He showed up in my backyard on June 28th, 2012, and he just moved into my home and my heart. I've told his story before on this blog, so there's no sense in repeating myself. He remains a mischievous, sweet-natured alpha male, who can take any creature who invades our land.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Repeta Celeste

Now available through Fine Art America

This rare beauty is my BFF, next to my Renard. She is called Repeta at her home, but I call her Celeste. We, her people and I, are sure that in a past life she was an opera singer and a trapeze artist. When she finds an echo, she barks and barks because, we believe, she loves the sound of her own rich and melodious voice. In spite of Celeste's girth (she is zaftig), she can easily walk across a log without wavering. Celeste loves me, and I love her. Perhaps we knew each other in a previous life. Repeta is a Lab/basset mix, bringing the best of both breeds to the world.

Repeta found her new home next door to her old one, when her previous people deserted her, leaving her locked in the house. She dug, clawed, and chewed her way out and made her way to the Gres' family home on Thanksgiving several years ago. She knocked on the door and has been there ever since.

Perhaps because of the trauma of her past incarceration, perhaps just because she loves to sleep under the stars, Repeta stays out until the wee hours, 2 or 3AM, before coming in to join the rest of the family, human and canine.

Her hobby, her avocation is digging.  Repeta loves nothing more than to dig into a mound of sand as if on a mission. She emerges from time to time to take a breathe with the greatest look of joy. For her, digging is Zen meditation. The other dogs often join her and sometimes drop toys into the holes, but none are nearly as enthusiastic about what could be an Olympic sport as Repeta.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Winter Angel

This is Winter, owner of Jack, my previous model. He's very much alive, as all angels are. This drawing is executed with watercolor colored pencils, graphite, and a touch of pastel on white vellum paper. There was no water applied. I don't much care for watercolor, but I like the texture of the pencils. Jack is an adoptee. The right cauliflower ear is not from abuse or a fight but rather an illness. He's great now. Very healthy. He and Jack lived with the same foster parents until their new person was chosen for them. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Jack is a new friend of a friend of a friend. He is my friend's cat's cat. I've never actually seen him. He's a shy guy. His owner, Winter, on the other hand, is very outgoing. With humans. He liked me.

Jack and Winter came from kitty foster-care in Florida and finally have their forever home. Remember, if you want a cat or dog or even a ferret, check with local animal foster parents, rescue organizations, or just look out your window. That's how I found Renard the Wonder Dog. He just showed up in my backyard. Some dogs, like my friend Repeta, are abandoned when their owners leave them behind. Those dogs might just go and knock on a neighbor's door. Answer.

Remember, if you want a pet, they are easily found. But don't adopt if you can't care for your pet.  Like children, they are a long-term commitment. They need to be fed, given heartworm meds and flea repellent, and occasionally have their teeth cleaned. I'm saving up now for Renard's teeth cleaning. 

This drawing is executed in colored drawing pencils from Derwent on gray pastel paper. The pencils are charcoal like, but not easily smudged like pastel pencils. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Female Juvenile Red Tail Hawk

I don't know what she's being called now. My friend Dusty and I rescued her from the woods behind my house. Laurens Wildlife Rescue took her in, and she was soon transferred to Bubba and Friends for Birds of Prey. She was and is a big girl, too big for the flight pen. We heard she would be trained to hunt rodents. 

This image was completed in graphite on vellum paper. She's a beauty. "She" was the name of a movie. "She" was unstoppable. "She" was a goddess. I think "She" is a good name.

Both Laurens Wildlife Rescue and Bubba and Friends do outstanding rescue work, but need financial help. They are worthy, Georgia-based charities. Take a look at their websites to see their living, breathing works-in-progress.

Click HERE and scroll down until you reach the article about this beauty. It was May, 2013.  There's a video of her feeding, as well as photos.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Renard the Wonder Dog

This portrait of my familiar, Renard, is executed in Derwent colored pencils on 8 1/2 x 11 gray pastel paper.