Portrait Marathon update: Harry DONE

Nancy’s Harry, staring with full attention out over the waters.  This was his first time at Dewey, as a fairly recent adoption.  His world was still revealing new things to him at every moment, at every turn, on every walk.  I’m always amazed at how well greyhounds hold up at Dewey (Greyhounds Reach the Beach is a huge, week-long event where greyhounds and their people take over a couple of beach towns in Delaware), but even more when I’m told, “Oh, we just picked her up from the track on the way here!”  Holy moly!

I’m managing *about* one a day, in case you’re working out when your turn is coming up.  Here’s who’s still on the list:

  1. Leslie’s Skye 
  2. Lori’s Tuck
  3. Jennifer’s Tiger
  4. Christine’s Hamilton 
  5. Carrie’s Morgan 
  6. Sara’s Bella 
So, Leslie’s next!  
Off to feed the dogs, cats, and myself.  Have a lovely evening!

Portrait Marathon: Who’s next?

Nancy’s Harry, a handsome black greyhound with a roman nose and toothy underbite, is up next.  We had some trouble to come up with a good reference photo, but she just sent me a wonderful one of him at Dewey Beach, DE, looking out over the waves.  I think I can make that work, so he’s next!  After that comes Leslie’s Skye.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves!

While I was waiting on Nancy, I did get some prep work done on Skye, so her portrait will be ready to go quickly when Harry’s is finished.

On to Harry!

Portrait Marathon update: Phoenix is Done!

Whew!!  Phoenix is finished, and I’m quite pleased with how he turned out.  I’m impatiently waiting for it to dry enough so I can scan it to show you.

*drumming fingers*
*checking dryness, checking time, adding 3 hours for the east coast*
*drumming fingers some more*
*checking dryness, huffing in frustration, and going to get a beer*
*squinting at it at an angle to check dryness, dabbing on more paint, and huffing in frustration again*

H just came in, and he said, “It’s better than the photograph.”  *doing small victory dance*

Well, while I’m killing time (yours as well as mine!), I’ll talk about it a little bit.  After the last update, I needed to work on the background a lot, and keep detailing Phoenix himself.  I dabbed in some red and purple-y colors, like my sketch, and almost died.  Augh!  Ick!  Well, I wasn’t too committed to those colors anyway.  More blues!  Layering in cool and warm blues, lighter and darker, then adjusting the lighting in the figure to reflect the blue light, I kept playing back and forth between Phene and the background.

Yeay!  It’s dry enough.  Scanning now …

Meanwhile, I was really liking the blues, layered onto the other purple-y reds and some browns I’d also washed in there.  Then I remembered Robin’s comment here that Phene’s color is blue.  Bonus!  😀

Okay, you’ve waited with me, and ….


*Grrr!  Waiting for the picture to upload!!*
Oh, for pete’s sake!  What’s the hold-up??  😛
Uploading elsewhere ….
Honestly.  Sheesh.

Okay, let’s try this again.

Heeeeeeee-eeeeere’s PHOENIX!!

What do you think?  It’s okay, right?

portrait Marathon update: Phoenix progress – The Scary Phase

Before I get on with it, I just wanted to let you know that the finished portraits have their own gallery page on my website.

Okey dokey.  When we last met, Phoenix was in a lovely, watery blue period.  The scary part is then doing something that might wreck it, or at least send it into the Ugly Phase, which is so nerve-wracking.  So, I put it off by doing more blues for awhile, deepening the shadows, and darkening areas of the background.

But color would not be put off forever by all this blueing around.

Girding my loins, and dabbing tentatively into some reds and browns (“Those aren’t artist color names,” I was scolded recently), I began washing in the warm tones in the ears and eyes.

Gaining a little confidence, I began brushing in warmer tones in his body, and in select places on his head.
Okay, those don’t look too different, do they?  I’m such a chicken at this phase!  
But, onward!  I kept working, adding in more browns, deeper shadows, more detail.  I realized it was time to clean my pallet (there!  that’s good for a few minutes to start breathing again!), and get some more colors going.  Specifically, a cool red, and some pale yellows.  I had to wait for my paint to dry before moving on, so I thought I’d try to take a photo, and get you an update.  Sorry about the glare on the wet paint, but you can pretty much see what’s going on anyway.
It’s getting close!
Okay, it’s probably dry now, so back to work!

portrait Marathon update: Phoenix progress – The Blue Phase

I had to salvage a website that went down in flames today, which set me back.  But Phoenix rises from the ashes!  All cool blues (for the moment).

Looks like Delft, don’t you think?
I really almost hate to go past this point, it’s so pretty.  But, the final product should be worth it.  Maybe I’ll do a whole series just in blues next time!  What do you think?  *sigh*  
*prolonged pause for moony gazing*
Okay.  I’ll go ahead and wrap this up tomorrow.  To bed, now!

Portrait Marathon update: Quilty is done

Had a rough day here, with a sick kitty, but enjoyed being able to lose myself in Quilty’s bossy barking presence.  She seemed to be demanding, “ME!!  PAY ATTENTION!  TO ME!!  

So, here’s Quilty, in all her bossy splendor.

Heathers, I hope you enjoy the portrait!
I’ve got Saturday-ish things to do today, but I’ll probably get started on Number 4, Nancy’s Harry, sometime today.
Have a wonderful Saturday, everyone!

Portrait Marathon Sign-ups are …….

Xan’s Portrait Marathon. n.  An event during which an artist or artists produce portraits in a concentrated fashion over a set period of time.  Participants submit photos for reference, and agree to purchase the finished portrait at a set price.  Great fun for all!  Fabulous gifts!

Here are the details:

This marathon will be a series of 10 (with the possibility of more, if I’m up to it) acrylic paintings on 5″ square canvasses, gallery wrapped around 11/2” deep sides for easy, frame-optional display.  Because of the size, these will all be head-shots, to allow for detail and expression.

If you submit a photo (instructions to follow!), you agree to buy the portrait for $70 + shipping.  Payment, by PayPal, to be complete before I can start work on your portrait.

I will go in the order photos are submitted, and that payment is completed.


  1. Choose ONE photo, clear and high-res, of any ONE pet (dog, cat, hamster, ferret …), attach it to an email.  (tip: If you have a really big photo file, but it’s of the entire pet, crop it down to just the head, down to the shoulders.)
  2. The email should have your name and your pet’s name as the subject.  
  3. Send the email to xan@xans-art.com with 
    • your name and your pet’s name
    • any notes about your pet you want me to know, to help me choose a mood for the painting

subject: Humphrey Blackburn; Wabi
message: Hi, Xan!

Wabi is a little thing, mischievous and cuddly. Her favorite thing to do is eat dandelions.  Attached is her photograph.  Can you put some dandelions in the painting, maybe?


When I get close to finishing one, I’ll send the next person an email with a paypal invoice.  When it’s paid, I’ll start work on that one, and so on!  If there’s a delay in payment, I’ll skip over to the next one.  If the delayed invoice is paid, I’ll do that one next.

****Oops!  Well, like a doofus, I’ve been sending out the paypal link when I acknowledged each arriving photo!  *rolling eyes at self*  You can hold off paying them ’til I ping you, or go ahead and pay them right off.  Either way works.  Main thing is, I can’t start painting ’til the payment goes through.

I know lots of you have more than one pet you’d like done.  I want to be fair, so I think we’ll do this as one to a customer.  Heck, some of you have 10 pets!  That could take up the whole marathon right there!  LOL!
Sign-ups are now …..
Wait for it  ……