26-07-17

Studio visit

Another quick peek into the studio.
I love what I do, no matter if it's large paintings, sculptures, lino prints or miniature portraits, they all make my heart sing!


New kitty cat

Working on a new commission today! A 4x4 inch cartoony cat portrait in acryllics on canvas! 




Timmy finished

There were other projects on my list today but I wanted to do a few things to Timmy's portrait and got so carried away that I finished it!
I'm really happy with this little painting, apart from the resemblance I think I got the hang of painting in the true impressionistic sense; with light and color. Before I would never have dared to use blue, purple and red in white fur but it brings it much more to life. I also like the suggestion of grass, dabs of color in quick and direct moves.
Still need to varnish him and find a simple wooden frame.


Second phase

Current state of Timmy's portrait. Haven't done really much to it since the last update; worked on the grass and water a little and started shading his fur. Needs lots doing to it still but he's slowly starting to appear.

All ducks...

Sold my last 'All ducks are equal' lino today so needed to print a new edition. It's been a while so in a way it's like meeting an old friend.
Got a commission for a new 4x4 inch miniature too, a stylized little portrait of a furry friend so my Timmy portrait will have to wait a while.


Second try

Some of you may remember that I started this portrait of Timmy before, same time last year to be exact, but on a much larger scale and oblong sized canvas. It didn't work out, the photo looked wonderful but in paint it didn't come out right. Part was the composition but also the detail in his fur caused me grief. Still it's a sweet image of our white/ginger boy so I'll give it another try on a small 20x20cm canvas. I want to keep the same direct and impressionistic approach like in the past few paintings so it's a challenge to not overwork it. Stay tuned!

Ruby

Finished my (first) horse painting today and I love her!
She's more impressionistic than Merel's portrait which is understandable as I wanted to create a much more lifelike resemblance in Merel's portrait and painted very carefully and controlled.
The style of painting of this beauty is spontaneous and direct which suits the setting of the horse with her manes in a breeze perfectly.
Planning to do a few more now I'm in the mood, maybe some smaller, maybe even larger!


03-07-17

In loving memory

Finished Merel's portrait today, wow, it's like she's back!
I am so happy with this painting. When I added the last highlights in her eyes and painted her whiskers she came to life.
Merel, I miss you.

Coming to life

Worked some more on Merel's portrait, far from finished but getting there, I think.
I already like her somewhat stern expression which was her random look. Haven't payed much attention to the rest of her body yet just added some highlights and shadows.
Will let it rest for a few days now to look at it fresh after the weekend.


Studio visit

Had a wonderful day working on my new paintings today! It was raining which makes my studio feel cozy, put some up beat music on and painted the day away. Loved it!
First day working on Merel and I think I came far in just one day, already love her expression and color balance. Far from finished but I'm not in a hurry. Worked on the horse too, started detailing which is always tricky not to get muddy and lose spontaneity but I'll be careful. Put some of the other painting up for style reference. Tomorrow is another day! 



Tribute to Merel

I can't have just one painting on my easel at the same time and while working on the horse (which I have to put away for a while every now and then) I decided now is the time to pay tribute to my Merel who passed away last December and whom I still miss every day.
First layers to establish composition and feel but already I see her. Working after an iconic photo of Merel on her high chair where she felt safe and could oversee the livingroom and watch the world trough the window. Every morning while I brushed my teeth Merel would jump on the back seat of this chair for hugs and cuddles, that's how we said goodmorning and started our day.
I'll show photos of the progress, should be a special one. 


Taking a short break from the cats

Wanted to do something on a flat surface again and discovered that from all farm animals I never painted a horse. First explorations of the anatomy and feel of a beauty I once took photos of. I'll keep you posted about the progress!

In loving memory of Ozzy

Yesterday my client received my version of her handsome and sweet tabby boy Ozzy which I made by request one month ago.
She is touched and loves this 3D life size portrait of her special boy.


Eventhough Ozzy was getting older no one could know that he would leave while my portrait of him was in transit; Ozzy unexpectedly passed away of a sudden illness one week ago.
It makes this commission even more special for me.

For personalized cat portraits visit my shop.




Up, up and away!

3 Minis done and ready to start a new life in California!

3x mini

Hadn't sold any of my miniatures in a while but today three of them have found a new home!
It's always extra special to work on my minis again, like seeing old friends.
Looking forward to be painting this trio so they can travel to California later this week.


Le Cat-tro Stagioni

Now there is a green cat for every season!
I created the Spring green cat today, may I introduce: Blossom!
I'll prepare a listing for his adoption tomorrow.


A green cat for every season!

While I'm still working on the new 3D portrait of Ozzy; the handsome brown tabby, I got an order for the green Winter cat Noël. It's more economic to cast multiple copies so I decided to create a Spring version too. I've got a green cat for every season except for Spring. So here we go! 


First 3D kitty commission!

Started working on the first new commissioned 3D kitty portrait today! A handsome and sweet ear tipped gentleman from Florida!

19-05-17

official photo shoot

Taking listing shots is the least fun aspect of the whole process, I feel. Even though I love to take photos, taking these images is a pain most of the time. It depends on the subject, is it flat, 3D, big, small, matt or glossy... so many different parameters make or break a good listing photo.
I'd love to take shots in natural day light but you can't depend on that in Holland so I use lamps and adjustments on the camera.
I think it worked again this time. I'll touch the photos up and prepare the listings tomorrow.


18-05-17

Continuing with Puck (the Tuxedo)

An annoying thing happened yesterday, I varnished Jelle and Timmy with the varnish I always use, Talens/Amsterdam Acryllic Varnish Matt, though a new unopened bottle. It turned out extremely glossy, spoiling the overall look of the sculptures. I sometimes use glossy for the eyes alone but this time what should have been a matte finish was terribly glossy. I was bummed. I searched the internet and found good tips, instead of dulling it down with a brillo pad I repainted them with Windsor and Newton Acrilly varnish Matt which worked perfectly! Phew!
I wonder what's going on with my regular varnish, they either changed the recepy or misslabeled the glossy bottle? Quite frustrating, though for some sculptures a more glossy finish is acceptable, these portraits really don't need all that extra sheen.


Update I've been in contact with the manufacturer of the varnish and it appeared the shop sold me a different kind of the varnish saying there wasn't a difference between the two brands (Amsterdam and Talens, same manufacturer). They will send me a new bottle of Amsterdam Acryllic Varnish Matt for free and requested I'd return the used bottle of Talens Acryllic Varnish Matt. So it's now clear what the problem was. I'm thankful and relieved. Thanks Royal Talens!


Jelle and Timmy

I'm actually amazed how much they resemble the real Jelle and Timmy considering that the basic sculpture is the same (I'll put a photo of the boys in the comments for comparison). I'm quite happy, the painting is much more impressionistic than my regular sculptures but resembles my painting style on canvas. I guess it's a natural evolution started with Merel and Ratje's sculpture.
I'll leave these two for now and will continue with the black tuxedo Puck. We'll see how I feel in a few days. Stay tuned!


I like where this is going!


First stages of painting, still rough and not nearly ready, but I'm so excited about this progress!
Planning to paint our Timmy, Jelle and Puck on these but I can paint any kind of marking on the sculpture so anyone can request a custom made kitty! More soon!


Using the new mold

Outer shell finshed too! First time for me working with plaster cloth, using it wasn't difficult but it took forever to dry! Not sure why it took so long, it[s just plaster and fabric which should have set within the hour, this took one whole day.
I've build it up in three layers, not too thick but sturdy enough for this use.
Now on to making the first cast! 


I placed the outer plaster cloth shell on a bed of rice to stabilize the mold when pouring the Duracast (stoneware plaster).

I sat the silicone mold inside the outer shell, ready for casting.

I poured the liquid Duracast inside the mold, adding the hanging hook at the same time.

Three identical copies of the original sculpture (first one). The silicone mold is sharp and every detail is visible. I'm impressed this brush-on technique gives the same results as making a solid mold. Next: letting the Duracast cure for a day or two and then finally painting!   

 

Time for something new!

Instead of making a solid silicone mold I'm going to brush it on this time, creating a flexible skin. I think a solid mold would work too but the ears are sculpted slightly inward which could cause a problem releasing it from a solid mold.
I'll brush it on in three layers creating a thick skin which I will reinforce with plaster cloth once dry.
It's an experiment but should work. Besides releasing the cast easier it also saves a lot of silicone. Wish me luck! 


I've added the first layer with a brush, pushing the silicone in every nook and cranny.

After the first layer cured untill sticky I added a second layer. I've applied two thick layers of silicone and I think/hope I can get away with it before I add the protection plater cloth. I'll leave it to set overnight. Stay tuned!

Yay! Success!
Brushing the silicone onto the cat sculpture to create a mold worked purrfectly! Today I'm going to reinforce the mold (which is too flexible to use this way) with plaster cloth, making a rigid cast around the silicone mold.
I really like this technique, going to use it a lot more. It's much more messy than pouring but doesn't take lots of silicone making the mold smaller to store.


 

Ready for the next step!

I think I'm finished. I'm quite happy now.
After yesterday's update I worked on his cheeks and eyes and lower jaw, well actually on everything  Eventhough I liked the smooth surface I added a bit more texture because that will make the painted version more interesting. Like in the green cats I want to let the paint speak and not paint fur and too many details. I also carved the pupils for the first time. I'll let him dry out and may work on him a little bit more but I can't wait to make a mold and start producing him!


On we go with the new kitty

I wanted to keep the surface rough at first but the more I looked at it the more it reminded me of the 1960s bronze baby heads which I didn't like at all! So I changed my mind and started carving, sanding and smoothing it out. I'm glad that I did because I can put in a lot more personality. He's still very basic without features of expression but that will come. I was stuck but I feel I can continue now. Very slow process this time but I think he's worth it.

Cat sculpture update

Haven't had much time recently to work on the new cat relief but I've picked up my tools again this week. Still in the sketching phase and deciding how naturalistic it will become but slowly his (I think it's a he) features are appearing.


Puck says 'Thank you'

Our old buddy Puck had surgery last week (he's recovering well) but his vet is sadly leaving the clinic later this week. To say our thanks for her care for Puck and his family over the years I decided to make a special 'My Tummy Hurts' box which I am sure she will love.

Puck wearing the e-collar to prevent him from touching the stitches. He has to wear the cone and medical-shirt for 12 days and is a good patient. His sister Trijntje looks after her brother purrfectly.

'My Tummy Hurts' Puck's cat treats box in the making.

 The thank you box for Puck's vet all finished (I'll put something sweet inside too).

Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, Figaro...

Why does this remind me of a 'Queen' song?
Green cats all ready for adoption!


Update on the new cat sculpture


I'm still sketching and let the cat tell me what s/he wants to become. I was planning to make a sibling to my green cat but somehow I like this rough surface. We'll see, have to let these new layers set before I continue. It's an adventure for sure!
 
 

Studio helper

While painting two new green cats this afternoon Trijntje decided to provide me with much needed inspurration.
We all need a studio helper, right?
Thanks sweetie!


At the fair (again!)

I've signed up for an 'Art and Food' fair in September and want to emphasize my animal portraits and photography so I'm working on promotional material (flyers, banner, business cards, website etc). Great fun but a lot of searching in the archives, can't believe how much I've done these past years! 

How it all began

 We moved to Friesland in May 2001 and when we arrived at our new little farm we found a sweet tuxedo cat already living there, he was a stray cat that got along with our then two cats Ratje and Merel. We decided to adopt him and named him Foppe, a typical Friesian name, and so Foppe's Acre was born.

The first year we settled in and made it our home, the second year we adopted more animals and in the summer of 2003 we asked my brother and family to look after our menagerie while we went on holiday.
As a present for my brother I painted this dish in Oklahoma City, USA. It was in a little shop that offered customers to paint blanc pottery they had on sale, have it fired and collect it the next day.
I remember sitting at the kitchen table at my parents-in-law sketching this scene of all our animals, the next day we went to the shop and I retraced it onto the dish. It took a couple of hours to paint but it was fun though. The scene shows our cats; Ratje, Merel, Foppe, Trijntje, Puck and Iris, our sheep Eddy and Patsy, our geese Hans and Grietje, Rudie and Felix and our Muscovies; Saartje, Snuggles, Socks, Slimmetje, Saffy and Sophie, and our house.
My brother and sister-in-law loved it and still treasure it today.


Later I drew a new version and have used it ever since for all kinds of promotional things. Over the years many of the original crew has moved to Foppe's Acre in heaven and some new residents appeared but this illustration will always have a special place in my heart and it's where Foppe's Acre Originals began.
 

Mystery reveiled! =ˆ..ˆ=

Some of you already guessed what would appear on my table after the last post and it's not really a surprise of course; a new kitty!
This is the first modeling session, I'll let the clay firm up a little before I continue not to loose these features which I already love. I think this will become a handsome sibling to my green cats!


Introducing Molly

I've finished Molly's miniature portrait this week and not only am I very happy with how this sweet wee Papillon lady turned out but Mim, my client, is also in love with it.
It was a joy and a privilege to paint Molly and I hope she will bring Mim many smiles every time she looks at it. Thanks for this joyful commission Mim!


Time for something new, at last!

Lots of Foppe's Fans will be happy I'm making this but what is sprouting from my table will be revealed in the next update! So stay tuned!

Timmy and Tommy continued

Timmy and Tommy are sound asleep and don't yet realise that their box is finished. I'm happy with this version, I think the colors of the box really enhance the kids coloring.
Available in Foppe's shop.

Timmy and Tommy

Timmy and Tommy treasury box coming along nicely. I have to squeeze in a few hours to work on it every day as soring has sprung at Foppe's Acre and there's lots to do in the yard and gardens. It feels good to be physically active again after being cooped up inside all winter and it gives me new perspectives and fuels my inspiration! I feel some new work coming up soon!

Silence is golden

It's been a wee bit quiet on these pages because there's not that much to report. Ever since my kitty Merel died I'm in a slump as far as creating new pieces are concerned, inspiration seems to be far away at the moment.
I'm working on my commission of Molly's portrait which is going to be precious and decided to paint another Timmy and Tommy box but other than that nothing new I'm afraid.
I'm sure it will come once Spring really springs, I'm running on solar power normally and living in Holland means you can't really rely on that.
So please be a little more patient, I hope to surprise you (and myself) soon!
Happy Spring!