Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Golden Retriever Dog Portrait

Howdy! I think I will live. Yipeee! Getting stronger every day. I know I'm feeling better because my blank canvas on the easel is screaming to me, "Paint me!"

Please don't forget to bid on my eBay auction for charity!

Things are moving along with my new website. One more month it should be ready and then I will start my quarterly newsletter as well. I'm quite excited.

I have a few commissions going at once right now. I cannot always mention or show them because often they are a surprise gift for someone. This one particular one I can so I thought I would share the process with you. The first photo is the picture the client sent me of their 12 year old Golden Retriever named Summer. She is just a joy as you can see. The second photo is my computer mock-up of what I am going for in the oil painting. I send this to the client for approval. As you can see I opened the eyes a bit and removed a little of the gray around the face. Both give her a younger look without changing who she is. Now I just wish someone would do that for me. Ha!

Today's thank you goes out to Mr. Numpti! Thank you for giving my heart a much needed jolt. No matter what, I'm all the better for it. Here's to being "fantabulous" and coincidence fairies.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Ebay Friday - Friends to the Rescue

Friday. Yay. I think I'm getting better. I'm like "the little train that could", I think I can...I think I can.

This Sunday's auction will be a little different. I have been selling note cards to benefit the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation. I will be auctioning a set of those with a low starting bid and no shipping charge. My desire here is not to make money (obviously) but to draw attention to the foundation and their needs. So please take the time to check out their site and what they do. If you do not bid on eBay you can purchase them directly from me. Just send me an email. Below is the info on the cards.

The original oil painting of "Friends to the Rescue", by Lori Levin, is now being professionally printed and boxed as beautiful 4" x 5.6" high quality note cards with envelopes. Soulful Studios will be donating $2.00 to the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation for every boxed set of 10 note cards sold. This image was inspired by the brave humans and canines of the NDSDF. It takes $10,000 to raise and train just one search dog that saves so many lives in disasters such as 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina.

Today's "thank you" goes to the lovely nurse at the emergency clinic I visited on Wednesday night. Despite my sad looking state she took the time to sweetly tell me that I have really lovely blue eyes. Now, I promise you they were probably a shocking blue because they were paired with some really red rims but I know complementing my eyes was not part of her job description. I mention this because you never know who's heart you might lift up with a few kind words. That was Wednesday and it still makes me feel good today. Didn't cost her a dime but it meant the world to me.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Freakin' February

Flaxen Mare by Lori Levin
I've had it. I've been sick almost the entire month of February. This is now just out of hand and ridiculous. Now, beyond still not feeling well, I am so behind on work. I have much to do and much to tell you all but no energy to actually do it. Didn't want to leave you without an update this week so here is a painting I squeezed out over the weekend before I feel back into the depths of hell!

This is "Cinderella". I was listening to my new Jon Michaels CD and the last song is called "Cinderella". It is so beautiful and more than worth a download. Anyway, I originally called this little mare "Marilyn" for the great Marilyn Monroe but because of the music I listened to, I changed it. It is 5" high by 7" wide. This is an oil painting on stretched canvas. I will show this at the Horse Expo but am considering holding on to my current horse pieces because there is buzz from a Canadian gallery that they would like to represent my horse art. At the same time I have a collector that has requested a list of my horse stuff as well. I need to paint more and much faster. I need to be healthy again. I need to go to bed. I need to be put out of my misery.

I know I should put my usual "thank you" out there but I just don't have it in me. Frankly, there is always someone to thank but today I don't feel very grateful at all. Forgive me just this once.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Ebay Friday - Red Poppies

TGIF! Well, sort of. I'm still down for the count so no excitement this weekend for Lori. Now I'm in a panic because I'm behind on my preparations for the Horse and Pet Expo. I know everything will work out in the end but if I were to take a few days off this is not how I would prefer to spend those days.

This painting was inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields" by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. The original photo reference and reminder of the poem was provided by one of the lovely artists at www.wetcanvas.com . I chose it for this week's eBay auction because following Valentine's day I wanted something red but then I thought of the many soldiers that would not be kissing their valentines' lips. Sorry if this blog entry went to the sad side of things. However, as an artist, I feel the need to bring to the surface the full range of emotions. One feeling can not be felt without knowing the other. Or, maybe I've had way too many antihistamines today.

"Red Poppies" is an oil painting on stretched archival canvas, 7" high by 5" wide. I'm starting this auction at a very low price to encourage bidding and to hopefully bring in new collectors of my art. This piece may sell at a loss but this is an experiment so I'm prepared for that. If you are interested in my "Buy It Now Price" please contact me before Sunday night.

Can't forget the "thank you" section. I want to say "hey" to all my friends over at "The Mill". You folks know who you are. I am always thrilled to receive emails from you guys and gals. When I left Mannington, I feared I would be left feeling lonely without the day to day banter that you have at a regular workplace. My fears have gone unfounded because my true friends there have not forgotten me and they always keep me laughing and feeling like I'm not alone. That means more to me than they will ever know. I would shout out names but I know this crew...they would prefer to remain anonymous.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Darn Turkeys

Mare by Lori Levin
I'm down for the count folks. The turkeys have finally gotten me down. Not for long I say! I've been fighting a cold or something for 2 weeks and today I've lost the battle. Not the war.

So, forgive me, this sketch for a small 5"x7" painting was all I could eek out before I hit critical mass. This will be a gorgeous sorrel mare that I have already named Marilyn. If a horse can be sexy she is. I was captivated by her flaxen mane and tail and couldn't resist a quick oil painting until I got too sick to hold the brushes. Who said blondes had more fun?

It wouldn't be Soulful Studios if I didn't take time to thank somebody. Today's "shout out" goes to Vicki Nixon. Check out her site: http://www.vickinixon.com . This woman has changed my life and my body in a matter of a few short months. She is a woman that not only knows her stuff beyond anyone I've ever met but shares it with the rest of us in a way that is just inspiring. She is more than a trainer to me, I call her a friend as well. Thank you Vicki for showing me the way and holding my hand while I get there.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Unconditional Love

I know, it is a little pathetic to put one's dog up for a Valentine's picture but what do you expect from this animal artist? Just wanted to wish everyone a day of love and happiness and a reminder that just for today at least, to try to love like a dog does. Unconditionally. It sure isn't easy but it does the heart good.

So, thank you Gracie for never being mad at me when I ignore you, for forgiving me for when I feed you late and for always knowing when I need a cheek full of dog slobber. Thanks for protecting our home as well. Let's face it, would you walk in on this dog uninvited?

Happy Valentine's Day Everybody!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Thinking of Spring

Foal by Lori Levin
As I sit here in the warmth of my studio, I am constantly reminded of the cold outside everything another chunk of snow slides off of the roof. It was beautiful to look at yesterday but today I'm longing for spring. I decided to paint my way there. Maybe it would fill the need for the scent of grass in the sun. Almost but not quite.

This little oil painting, 5" high and 7" wide on stretched canvas, is called "Foal Frolic". If you have never experienced watching a foal or filly run through the field and kick up its heels, you have truly missed a wonderful site. It really gives you the feeling of what the glory of living is all about. I was considering using this image for a much larger painting so I did this small study. After painting this little guy I realized I had nothing more to say about the subject. Therefore, there will not be a larger painting. Sometimes it is hard to remind myself to do the small works first to work out some of the issues but it is always to my benefit when I do.

Today's appreciation goes to the group of very fine ladies that I had the honor of dining with Friday night. They all made me feel so good about myself and my work. Those kind of moments feed the soul and I treasure them. Currie's awesome cooking fed my belly though. Now I will spend the rest of the week working to remove that goodness from my thighs. Sigh. :)

Friday, February 10, 2006

Ebay Friday - Winter Chill

Winter Landcape Snow
It is Friday again and that means yet another eBay auction. This was an easy one to pick because this weekend's forecast calls for some serious snow. Keeping with the impending flakes I'm offering "Winter Chill" for this week's eBay auction starting Sunday night. Remember to contact me now if you would like to purchase this before it goes to auction.

"Winter Chill" is a 10"x8" oil painting on stretched linen gallery wrap canvas (no staples on the sides). I painted this feeling rather cold and alone. It was one of those days that even when someone was close, I was still the only person in the room. These trees stand together but are really quite separate.

While I painted this, I listened to a song by Jon Michaels called "I Will". As I've mentioned before, music plays an important part in my process. So today's thank you goes out to Jon himself. Thanks for the music Jon and the "chats". I can use all the inspiration I can get. (You can check out Jon's music at:http://www.jonmichaelsmusic.com/ You can even check out the song I listened to "I Will" there.)

Have a great weekend! Brrrrrrrr!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Equines Eventually

Equines in the Field
Tah dah! It is finished. I knew it would be done eventually.

"Rumors in the Field" is an oil painting on panel 24"x12". To refresh your memory the concept of this work started as my own personal thoughts about relationships. Horses have ever changing relationships much like people. Sometimes an old friendship can be torn apart by a new flame. Equines are certainly not human but they do make you wonder if we are really all that different.

As mentioned before this will be shown at the Horse World Arena at the Greater Philadelphia Pet Expo. Check it out at http://www.horseandpetexpo.com/ . Let mem know if you are going, I believe I can help with discounts! Great stuff for pet and horse lovers!

Today's "thank you" goes out to Julie Evans from the Horse and Pet Expo. She went out of her way to make it possible for me to show my work at this event. Her kindness and encouragement will not be forgotten!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Feline Fun

Finally I can post the final painting of this kitty. Thank you Leah at www.wetcanvas.com for the great photo reference. It was a joy to paint and to create this feeling of drama and intensity. This was one of those paintings where I just couldn't paint fast enough to catch up with my brain. (Scary thought to those who really know me.) This kitty reminded me a few felines I have known that shared that same look of "greatness". Cats are just neat animals. Some of them are as difficult to get to know as people!

"Feline Attitude" is a 5"x7" oil on stretched canvas. What is interesting to note and not quite visible in the photo is that I textured the canvas before painting to add an interesting dimension. This painting will take a few weeks to dry because of the very thick paint used in the white areas.

Today's appreciation goes out to Joyce Carmeli (you can see her dog in a previous post called "Patches Is In the House"). Joyce is working on the new and improved Soulful Studios site. She spent her entire day with me today hashing out the details. I don't know about her but I'm exhausted! I'm sure her ears are tired from listening to me chatter for hours. (I get lonely sometimes here in the studio; it was nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of.) Thank you Joyce for all your hard work and the tasks to come! Wait until you all see what we've come up with!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Purrrrrfect - Drawing of Cat

Cat Drawing by Lori Levin
Thought I would tease you a bit. Here's a sketch for a little cat painting. Frankly, I like the sketch as is because it reminds me a little of some of the ink work I had seen in Asia. However, I coated the sketch with a textured medium to give the final painting a more interesting quality. Therefore, I had to finish it up. Well, I just finished the painting few minutes ago but did not have time to photograph before I lost daylight. Sorry, all you get is the beginning. You will have to check back tomorrow to see the rest. I should post late in the evening tomorrow. Hey, it's "blog sweeps week", need to keep you interested!

I want to take a moment to thank a really great portrait artist, Jocelyn. She was kind enough to mention me on her blog and I really would like to return the favor. Her work has such a gentleness about it, I think you will enjoy it. http://artbyjocelyn.livejournal.com/

Also, I like to send a "shout out" to my friend Jeff at the Pennsville post office. He went out of his way to make sure that I had the boxes I needed so I could ship my eBay paintings. Awesome!

There really are some great folks out there. I think I will start a new Soulful Studios tradition of thanking someone new each day for their kindness. I have so many people supporting me that I don't think I will ever run out of names! I'm sure you will see yours.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Horses Still In The Field

In case you thought I forgot about this painting, no I did not. It is near completion. I feel I only need one more session on it. Thought I would post it for those of you asking for it. Please feel free to comment.

I need to finish it this week so that it has time to dry and to be framed. I'm very excited to have been kindly invited to show my work at the Horse World Arena at the Greater Philadelphia Pet Expo, March 10th-12th, at the Ft. Washington Center. I hope to have 4 originals for sale there and to start the commission push for this coming Christmas season's pet portraits.

I will be working hard this week on my new and improved Soulful Studios website. Keep an eye out for that. I certainly will post a message when it is launched.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Just Ducky on Ebay Friday

Ducks by Lori Levin
Did you think I fell off the face of this earth? To those of you who emailed me worried that I died because there were no updates to my blog, I'm on the road to recovery. Little flu-bug but I'm back on track now. Thanks for your concern!

It is that time again. Ebay Friday! Woo Hoo! This weeks painting to be auctioned starting this Sunday is called "Mamma and Babies". Oil on stretched 5"x7" canvas. This piece is quite unique because I used a different style than usual. Hard to see on the screen but I used textured paint underneath the oil to give it a special 3-dimentional quality. I really love the colors and drama in this painting. I was going to save this for a local competition but I think I might paint more with the same technique. Don't forget to email me for my BUY IT NOW price if you would like to purchase it before it goes to auction.

I have a lot of things going on with Soulful Studios right now. I'll be telling you all about it in the next week or so. So please stay tuned but for now...