Saturday, July 27, 2013

On Deck

Actually this one takes place beside the deck and in the rhubarb patch, but I wanted to give my followers a glimpse of an upcoming project and how I'll be spending my Monday!
To order a painting or see more finished projects like this please visit LaPine Design on facebook!

More places...

Can you believe I keep on finding more of these! In a way these are a continuations of The Travelling Wilbury post because they were all taken when I was in the U.K. I'll do my best to label the locations. Here goes nothing!
Kensington Palace, London, England a.k.a. Will and Kate's.
This was at a group of standing stones in central Scotland.
Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland

The Highlands of Scotland, probably in the magical faerie glens.
Base on my shoe and tight combo, I'm going to guess this was at The British Museum in London
I think this was at the National Gallery in London, but I could be wrong.

Maybe the Lake District or St. Andrews. This could have also been at Stirling Castle or Linlithgow Palace 
Inveraray, Argyle, Scotland

St. Andrews, Scotland?

In the Quiraing Mountains, I believe...

This was taken from the tree house restaurant at Alnwick Castle.

And this was taken in the garden at the House for Art Lovers...or was it the Art House for Lovers? Either way, I was in Glasgow, Scotland when I took this one. Aren't those purples phenomenal?
I apologize for being so vague. My memory is already fleeing me.
For other posts like this you can check out On the Street Where You Live and Oh, the places I have been. This world is filled with so many interesting people in all these remarkable places, that I can't wait to see where my feet land next.


These signs I have created have been featured at Duluth's new boutique LOTUS ON THE LAKE
I used a photograph of my grandfather for this one. To see the original, click here.
 Oddly enough, the Firefly sign is actually the biggest of the three, but due to its dimensions, it appears to be the smallest on LaPine Design.
I also made this butterfly sign using Mariah Carey's font (That's right. She has her own font.) solely because my favourite MC album is entitled, "Butterfly." So, it seemed only natural to feature her font on a butterfly sign.
Then, this sign was actually hand-drawn. It is intended to signify that the scarves are on sale. I hope that is clear because we have a kabillion scarves available!
You can visit LOTUS ON THE LAKE in the Fitger's complex to see all of these signs in person at 600 E. Superior Street, Duluth, MN 55802 : 218-481-7110
While you are there, treat yo' self to something a scarf or a scarf! ;)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Alexander Mann

One of my assignments in Scotland was to select a painting in the National Gallery and not only sketch it, but to recreate a scene that would occur prior to the original painting and a scene that would follow the original composition. And if that wasn't enough, we had to compose a story that could coincide with our sketches.

I roamed the halls of the Scottish National Gallery which featured paintings by some of the Glasgow Boys like James Guthrie or the photorealistic work of Peter Graham. But, ultimately, I decided this painting by Alexander Mann was the most evocative I encountered. Can you feel what I felt?

Do you sense the grief?
I based my story on the topic of grief and the beautiful intuition that animals express when someone is struggling with loss.
(To preface the story I must admit that I completely ran out of steam while I wrote the story and subsequently worked the most on the first two drawings and rushed through the final frame to make the midnight deadline. Nevertheless, here is the story which is also featured in my articulated book.)
A Story in Three Illustrations inspired by an original painting at the National Gallery of Scotland painted in 1905 by Alexander Mann, entitled The Sheepfold.

"A wee south of Berkshire, the Blytons owned a farm.  For 33 years, Mr. and Mrs. Blyton worked their fingers to the bone tilling the 26 acres of fertile soil and maintaining a healthy flock of sheep.  Shortly after their five children had left the nest and long after crow’s feet had webbed its way around both of their eyes, the Blytons realized they had grown tired of each other. More or less they were just tired of their relentless life, but either way, the Blytons began to direct their dissatisfaction with their lot in life towards each other. On the good days, they bickered coarsely. On bad days, they were thankful the closest neighbors lived at the far end of the road. They behaved as if they made the mistake of marrying too young and bitterly regretted their spontaneous immature so called love. Both claimed that the years had changed them severely for the worse and neither hesitated to blame the other for the point at which the marriage began to decline.

                One autumn evening when the Blytons’ anger was reaching uncharted decibels, the neighbours who lived at the end of the road surrounded their Border Collie, Molley, as she gave birth to puppies. The last one born was unlike the rest. Not only was he the only boy, but he was as black as chimney soot and wore four distinct pure white stockings.

                Once the puppies were weaned, the neighbours’ daughter thought she’d introduce the wee pup to Mr. Blyton, the sheep farmer. When she found Mr. Blyton at the fence, he had been terribly angry for having just been scolded by Mrs. Blyton for trampling mud across her freshly washed dry store.  But as soon as Mr. Blyton met Molley’s youngest pup, his anger dissolved and he knew he had made a friend for life. He made arrangements with his neighbors to buy the black Border Collie from them. The little girl was ecstatic to learn that the puppy that her parents had been warning must be given up would remain so close to her if he was able to live at the very next farm. She would be able to see the Collie grow into a proper working dog!

                Over the years, Bennett, for that’s what they named the ebony coloured dog, brought the Blytons closer together. Bennett was a champion herder. He kept those sheep in line and was fierce when any predator attempted to infiltrate the Blytons’ pastures. The Blytons became very attached to Bennett, especially after they nursed them back to health when he had trapped his paw in a trap. Mr. and Mrs. Blyton grew to not only love Bennett, but they remembered how to love each other. Then one ordinary April evening Mrs. Blyton went home to be with Jesus. Mr. Blyton was so grief stricken that he did not know how to cope without his wife. Bennett knew something was terribly wrong and tried to cheer Mr. Blyton up, but he was inconsolable. Still, being the good dog that Bennett was, he stayed by Mr.Blyton’s side and was a constant reminder of how Mr. Blyton’s love for his wife had been redeemed.

                Not long after Mrs. Blyton passed, Mr. Blyton went to be with her and Bennett missed both of them, but had played an important role in the couple’s relationship. Bennett mourned for his friends, but was a smart dog. He ran back to his birthplace and to his mother’s family and alerted the family that they should take care of the Blyton’s farm."

Artwork Inspired by the Palace of Dalkeith

I'm chomping at the bit because a few of my recent projects cannot be shared yet, so in the meantime, I'll continue to share my articulated book and other stories from Scotland with you.
There was a stoic painting of a gentleman and his dog along the staircase. I really liked the obese dog at the man's feet. I even wrote a poem about it.

"Between Two Floors" by Jana LaPine

If you’re looking to travel from the first floor to the ground

I suggest the Grand Staircase, for it’s the finest around
With tartan clad steps and four windows cloud high

‘Tis a sight to behold for all who pass by

But if you’re not careful you’re likely to pass

Through some ancient portal into centuries past

See that cracked, oil painting trapped in a gold frame

That features a gentleman of reputable fame
Well, there by his side sits his trustworthy Corgi

A pudgy wee pup that the townsfolk called Georgie 
I’ve heard it been said, if you stare for too long

At that droopy-eyed dog, you won’t know that you’ve gone
Then the music will swell, you’ll ask, “Did I hear that before?”

While you stand there perplexed, guests will pour through the door 

All dressed in the latest fashions from Paris

Tuxedos with tails and gowns that drape at the knee        

You’ll quickly decide to hide within a dark spot on the wall

As couples ascend the wide stairs at the end of the hall

It would seem that some lavish event’s taking place

As bodies flock to the ballroom as if it’s a race 

Yet, this bodes well for you in some ways, I’ll admit.

For as the Marble Hall empties, you’ll be able to sit
As you sit and observe, you’ll find the Duke is still there

As marble as ever, with his vacant, blank stare
And, the gold chandelier, still incandescent and bright

Glows as if it was made to shine just for this night

 But ever so quickly the light flickers out

And you’ve suddenly returned to your decade, no doubt.

For the music has stopped and a chill fills your spine

Then you see that your classmates have fallen into a line
Outside of the servery, dinner’s moments away

And you’re faced with the question, “So, how was your day?”

 You begin tell them of your journey, but opt to decline

Instead, your secret stays safe with Georgie, the canine.
Here is the original painting if you are curious:

Here is the detail of a frame I thought I'd sketch. It's annoying to observe how little I actually sketched. Once the essay assignments started rolling in, my sketching significantly decreased. If my memory serves me right, these were all sketched within my first 2 weeks of living in Scotland.
This is a sketch of a room that was a lot more grand in person. It could have been used as a model room for the animated version of "Beauty and the Beast."
This is a 3 part collage. It includes a light from the grand staircase and the fat Corgi that I am so fond of. Also, the background is the marble cape worn by the Duke of Wellington who guards the servery 24/7.
A similar chandelier hangs in the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
 One of many fireplaces in the Palace.
Here's the Duke again. He was more handsome in person.
I guess I've been reminiscing about Scotland all day today. It's tough to think that I can't just teleport there to relive the experience.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


"The name on everybody's lips is gonna be Roxie!"
8x8 Acrylic on canvas paper
Roxie is the name of the latest pet that I was asked to paint. My friend Ruth gave me the honour and I was delighted to acquiesce to her request. I'm told it shall be a gift for her friend who lives with Roxie, the Schnauzer in Tennessee.  Seeing as I am awfully fond of German breeds, it was a treat for me to attempt to capture Roxie's likeness.
It was the first time I've used the coarse pumice acrylic gel medium. At first I thought I ruined the painting when I started slathering it on to make the carpet look more plush, but I rather like how it ended up. I'll have to experiment more with it. 
Also the funky background was mostly an accident. I dropped a giant glob of purple over the freshly painted trim and had to go with it. I like how it creates contrast with the white carpet, but I definitely still have my doubts. What are your thoughts? Does it work or did I Schrute it?
Also, do you think I am driving every reader away with all these posts about dog paintings?
"I find them all...dziekuje."

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Girl and Her Dog

Here's a sketch of a picture that was taken during Sawyer's puppy stage which I included in my articulated book. It's really nice to think of a time when I could pick him up. He is sure becoming a good lil' guy, although we're trying to tone down some of the "crazy, crazy," that is, in both of us.
Across the way from the sketch of Soy Boy, I included a post card of Beatrix Potter and her dog that I accumulated when I visited her cottage home, Hill Top in the Lake District. I snatched it because I love seeing people I admire with the animals they love.
Like here is the Black Keys frontman, Dan Auerbach with a best friend.
Shania with her beloved, German Shepherd, Tim. Man, I have such a soft spot for Shepherds! This dog was so loyal to her.
Ryan Gosling with George.
McAvoy with a little guy!
MC and Jack. Doesn't Jack look like a little toy?
Krasinski and pug...
Doris Day, an avid dog lover and her huggable, furry friend.
And here's my Soy Sauces as a puppy...It's his birthday today, you know. This picture on the left was taken the same day that the image of him looking over my shoulder was taken. He's definitely grown to be quite the gentleman. Plus, he makes me laugh so much. I mean, how could anyone keep a straight face looking at this lil' character? "YOU JOKE?!"
And here's my Snick. She had such a great smile. I loved this dog as I'm sure you all know.

It's Official

I have ordered business cards. This has been on my "To-Do" list for far too long. I feel especially productive today, now that this has been accomplished.

What do you think?

I'm really hoping to garner some new business! If you know of someone who would be interested in a Pet Portraits, please don't hesitate to let me know.
Also, feel free to visit

Monday, July 1, 2013

Houndton Tabbey

I discovered stunning dog portraits by brilliant artist, Kim Parkhurst on etsy while I was in Scotland. In a search to find some form of comfort after watching the last episode of Downton Abbey's third season, I stumbled on these gorgeous paintings that combine 3 of my favourite things: dogs, vintage clothing, and most importantly, Downton Abbey. I only wish I had come up with this genius idea first! But, I'm so impressed with the detail. I can only aspire to become as good as Kim Parkhurst.
And, as I'm still suffering bouts of withdrawals, I thought I'd share these with you to cheer up my fellow Downton addicts. Only 5 more months to go, loves!
If you are interested in purchasing a print, please visit or Toadbriar's Etsy page here. All images are copyrighted by Toadbriar or Kim Parkhurst.
I really should send her a request to paint my favourite characters: Lord Grantham and Branson ;)
Cora, Lady Grantham
 Anna, "Mr. Bates."
 Lady Sybil
 O' Brien
Lady Mary
 Matthew Crawley
 Mrs. Patmore
 Lady Violet, Dowager Countess
 Oh, and I almost forgot...Edith.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...