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Last month I had the pleasure of participating in a wonderful storytelling group where we all shared the adventures of dogs in our lives, both past and present. This was conceived by my talented friends by Fred Swan and Stan Peterson who are both well loved artists in Portland Oregon. The event, called Dog Tales was an intimate experience that lead to knowing more about my fellow artist that I would have ever learned during those brief conversations we’re able to have during gallery openings.

double-dogs
Happy Together No Matter the Weather (left) and A Friend for All Seasons (right) by Linda Robertson. Both 24 x 24 in., acrylic on canvas. $425 each, framed.

This event was the seed for the new show called Dog Park on view until March 21 at the Ford Gallery. I have two new paintings in the show which express my enthusiasm for my canine companions over the years. I created these in the same style as my recent encaustic paintings, but just to shake things up I worked in acrylic with which I have very little experience. The process was alternately fun and pretty darn awful, but I eventually found my rhythm and I’m very happy with the results.

dog-park-show-ipadI often try new mediums and methods to remind myself how it feels to try something completely new because I think it makes me a better teacher and artist. This project was an especially good reminder that sometimes I just need to keep working at a problem until I figure it out, no matter how frustrated I might get.

As an added bonus, a friend let me play with Illustrator on her iPad so I could quickly try different colors for the silhouette in one of my paintings. Very fun!

I hope you’ll catch the show if you can. More than 30 artists are represented using a variety of styles to celebrate the dogs that fill their hearts with love.

Ford Gallery
2505 SE 11th Ave, Portland, OR
Show runs through March 21

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Linda Robertson is a painter and the author of the Embracing Encaustic Book series and she offers live encaustic workshops in her Portland, Oregon studio as well as online encaustic classes.

Last week I had the pleasure of working with a wonderful people and pet photographer, Pauline Zonneveld, who booked time with me for a private consulting session to bring her vision of pairing encaustic and photography to life. She did her homework and  brought a variety of images she liked cut out from magazines. This gave us a good basis to start with and from there I helped Pauline decide on a process and we talked about how to start developing her own distinctive style.

I took Pauline through a couple of different ways to get a look similar to what she liked. She decided that image transfers would be the best route for her based on the equipment she already has, so we got to work.

Here’s what she came up with. This photo was taken right after Pauline did a great little dance saying “Yes, that’s exactly what I wanted!” Well done Pauline!

My August sessions are already booked but if you’d like to work with me in September or later check my website for ideas of what you might want to cover and how to register. This is ideal for artists who can’t make it to my regular workshops or those visiting the area who need to work within a specific schedule.

cls_private-pauline
BTW, Pauline is the photographer who took these amazing images of my 12 year old lab Sadie for her inspiring Good Old Dog Project.

Sadie   Sadie close up

I meant to share this a while ago but I couldn’t post too early and ruin the surprise, then it got lost in the shuffle of the holidays.

Take a look at what an amazing job Portland, Oregon artist Kellee Beaudry did on the portrait I commissioned of  my sister’s sweet little dog, Pikala! I was amazed at how well she captured her expression.

Original photographpikala-painting

Kellee also has a great video on her web site showing original photos and the paintings she’s made. I hope you’ll check it out and support this talented artist! Thanks Kellee.

I took a well deserved day off with the family today, and we went for a hike down to the Sandy River, near 1000 Acres.

Our newest addition to the family, Jack, hadn’t been to the water yet so we wanted to see if he had any interest in swimming. Let’s just say that mystery is solved! After some whimpering on the shore Sadie showed him how it is done and proved to be a great teacher. It was a perfect day of pure happiness.

This photo is of how the day started. “Jack, do you want to go play?”

Sadie and Jack found a friend with a stick. Jack was too nervous to try swimming himself so he whimpered on shore for a bit.

With lots of prodding from Sadie he finally tested the water but wouldn’t go past his ankles.

Our little show-off taunts Jack by getting him wet on the sidelines. He’s so close!

He finally jumped in after Sadie. He just swam a little at first, then he really got the hang of it. That’s my boy!

Happiness is…a wet dog in sand. The teacher celebrates her student’s victory!

Here’s our brave boy, now nicknamed Captain Jack!

Tired but happy! Our own little Olympian.

Grommett

Dear family and friends,

All of you no doubt know how over-the-top crazy we are about our dogs, and how much a part of our family they are. Knowing that, you’ll understand how sad we are to report that our boy Grommett passed away last night. His health had been declining for some time, as kidney failure and arthritis took their toll on his big frame. We had an excellent day together, starting with his breakfast of scrambled eggs and pork chops, a slow walk around the block, and a few hours soaking up the beautiful late summer weather at the park. He watched the other dogs play from his perch in the shade of a huge cottonwood tree, sniffed the breeze, and relaxed. He was exhausted after all that, as you might imagine, but wasn’t too tired for a t-bone steak dinner! He recovered some of his old verve when we asked him if he wanted to go to the park, and we were lucky enough to have a video camera present. To see real happiness, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLftJHljUx4 .

Thanks to all of you who’ve expressed concern about him lately, and followed his progress on this blog. He was one in a million, that boy, and we’ll miss him terribly. We’re not up for phone calls at the moment, promise we’ll reemerge soon. In the meantime, send us your good thoughts, and Grom too as he heads off to his next big adventure.

Love,
Linda, Bill and Sadie

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My sister just sent this wonderful photo. Grommett was such a special guy who touched many lives in his 12 short years.

Aloha Grommett

Tonight after hearing the news, Alan picked plumeria and strung lei in memory of Grommett. We took Kula and Pikala down to the lake for a picture to let you know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.”

Our boy is SO stubborn. Try to tell him he’s sick and there might not be much we can do for him and darn if he won’t prove us wrong. That’s my boy! Now don’t get too excited (but yes, I am) because he’s not “cured” but we have solved the current crisis for a little while.

Grommett Update - Home Again

The fluid therapy flushed the toxins out of his kidneys and brought his numbers back down to what they were in May when they were still high but manageable. For reference, the number that should be at 27 was at 59 in May and shot up to 93 last week. After this round of therapy it’s back to 57. See how that’s still a problem? Yeah. The good news is that he very clearly feels better and is eating on his own again. He even wanted to go for a short walk last night, so we are VERY happy. And I must admit, the boy had steak for dinner last night. We promised it to him before he went in and we came through. After all, he’s a little anemic so he needed the iron, right? Yeah, right, it was a medical decision.

So for now G-boy is doing as well as can be expected. The vet tells us he’s living on borrowed time but we plan to make the most of it. Thanks to everyone who said a little prayer. I know it made a difference.

The fluid therapy seems to be working! This won’t cure him of all that ails him, but Grommett seems to be feeling much, much better. He visited the encaustic class I was teaching last night and was happy to get pets and hugs all around. He ate without us begging this morning, which is also great news.

When I took him in for his final therapy day at the vet today he was less than enthusiastic. He LOVES Dr. Becker and has been enjoying their “dates,” but he’s asked me to help him break up with her this afternoon. Grommett feel like she’s getting a little clingy, demanding to see him all the time! He says he needs some space.

More news as it comes. Thanks so much to the very many people who have written and called about our boy. We know Grom is a special guy but had no idea you all did too. Thanks. Really.

Grom with IV

I picked up a happy, perkier Grommett at the vet’s this evening. It was wonderful to see him wagging his tail, trotting around the waiting room. They said he was his usual sweet self all day, enjoying the attention lavished on him by the staff while he soaked up his fluids. To our surprise, he practically ate them out of house and home, tossing back half can of food every hour. Hmmm… drinking all day, binge eating, being fawned over by adoring women in an air-conditioned kennel… something tells me he won’t mind going back tomorrow. We’ve got our fingers crossed that this flushing out will jump-start his kidneys and give us back our old Grom for a while longer

He collapsed in a heap tonight, nestled in by his fan for a cool nap to recover from the day’s festivities. Thanks for all the good thoughts today, I think they’re working!

My little hot dogs

As many of you know much of my life is run by my dogs. The photo above is of Sadie (left) and Grommett (right) being “hot dogs” in front of the fan yesterday. And yes, Grommett has his own pillow that he carries around with him.

Grommett is 12 years old and has been having liver and kidney trouble recently. The short story is that he stopped eating several days ago and now his liver and kidney values are off the charts. He’s down from over 100 pounds to 84. It doesn’t look good. We have a wonderful vet who is both practical and hopeful so this morning Grom was hospitalized so they can do doggie dialysis to try to get his kidneys working again. We should know if it’s working by tomorrow or the next day, but any good thoughts and prayers you can send his way would be greatly appreciated. We’re all a little stressed out so you may not hear from me for a few days. Thanks for all of your good thoughts!

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My Books: Embracing Encaustic Series

There are now two books under the Embracing Encaustic title, Learning to Paint with Beeswax and the new title Advanced Techniques for Mixing Media, each focusing on specific encaustic techniques. Between the two books there are a total of 70 artists who share their work, reveal their personal painting methods and explain why they are compelled to make the work they do.Find out more and purchase them online here.

Embracing Encaustic: Learning to Paint with Beeswax
By Linda Robertson

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