Monday, 30 November 2015

How I remember you - final work part 2

Continuing from previous post, the one on the left below is from the previous post.

I was making minor adjustments. I wanted to follow the photo but it made him looked sad (middle painting). Lighten the shadow on his head and leaving out the details and dark shades.

I used a different paper, they are both the same weight 280-300, I can't quite remember. But the previous one above is made in Taiwan and a lower grade paper for practicing. I bought it in bulk, so it was fairly cheap. 

The one below is Japanese paper, unfortunately they don't really specify what type or the differences. I only know the difference of origin. Not unless you bought it from a specialist store, they may know more. 

The paint I used was exactly the same, the mixture of color would be fairly similar. The colors on the Japanese paper are far more vibrant and transparent, and the different layers of color are much more obvious.

How I remember you - final work part 1

This is the draft from last post, the eyes are a little bit far apart or so I thought and the shadow on his face is not illustrated. It does capture his playfulness, the younger version of him.

Hence I painted the second one, with the eyes closer together. 

Turns out it wasn't the distant of his eyes, it was the size of the nose. The shadow on his face is illustrated but it is not quite right. 

The gaze looks like him, soft and happy, looking far away but very much aware of your present. 

He was always a little bit camera shy. In the past, when he spotted the camera, he would look away or walk away to avoid it. On odd occasions you get to catch him looking at the camera. 

I really like this one, the earlier versions I kept painting the younger him. The fur on his face has faded in the last few years, this reflect the period when the photo wa taken. Gentle and content. 

Here is the 3 versions next to each other, from left to right. You can see here that it the size of the nose and the improvement of the shadow on his face. Improvement

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

How I remember you - strive for improvement

This is rather embarrassing to be sharing this with the world as I feel the drawing below look like children's doodle but I wanted to show my work in progress. The strive for improvement. 

When my parents saw this, maybe because there are still in mourning as well, they really liked it and think that it looks like him.

But as I continue to get a little bit better understanding with the color of shadow, I realise I didn't have the right colors to do do the mix. Went to buy some paint because of it. 

In order for his face to pop, in needed a hint blue and violet that for the shadow. It is rarely something is pure white. 

It's getting close, it might be the portion of his head makes it not quite like him and I couldn't fix it because the more you overlap it would start to look dirty.

I overcompensate before with proportion face with this as it was meant to be an Labrador. But if you only look at his eyes it still looks right. He's got a really long eyelashes.

Something clicked, I don't know what it is, I decided to leave the background out as it is distracting. Finally, a draft that's good enough to work on. He looks like how I remembered. I'll talk about it more tomorrow! 

Sunday, 18 October 2015

How I remember you

After drawing those sketches of Dong- my dog, I went through my entire photo collection to look for something that would represent my memory of him. 

I'm not that familiar with watercolor, last time I had an lesson was probably when I was 7. But I had a few lessons few years back on Chinese painting. I thought the principle will be the same, however, unfortunately I find that it's more they both use water and color paint. 

I made quite a few attempts at first with my old watercolor paints I had, I could not get the color right. It's always a bit dirty and grey. Of course my skills and ability to sketch are partly to blame. ( I'll show you later in another post)

I used my Chinese painting paint instead, to find that it made a tremendous differences. Turns out they were artist grade watercolor. 

I'm still trying to capture him, so when I show my parents and my sister, they would say, " nawww~~that really him." 

Hopefully you are able to recognize that it's him after reading my last few post.

That's him questioning if the food is eatable for him. Head slightly tilt, food identifing, now he just have to pop the question. With this~ 

(Pretty please~~~~ MOM~~~ ) his head gets heavier the longer he waits, I don't know how he does it, because I don't think his head is actually that heavy!

This is his face when we say "No~~ sorry Dong, what we are having, you can't have!" ("你不能吃啦!") He understands in mandarin "不能吃", meaning it's not things he can have, it's either salty,  spicy or too oily. He just ages 10 years in a blink when he hears that and give you the face of disbelieve. Look at his cute sad face. 

However, I think there is nothing more fitting than our last walk at the park away from the city, this is how I remembered him. With the big huge smile on his face!

Friday, 16 October 2015

Recommendation on what to do with your dog

Here are some advises that I would like to share with you, what I wish I knew from the beginning when I had my dog. What I have realised and learnt with my dog who lived for 14 years and was ill for the last 4 months of his life. 

It is not something pleasant to be thinking about. They have a very short life span, depending on the breed, about 7 to 15 years, some may live above 15 but that is rare. 

1. Get to know the breed of your dog, there are some things that comes naturally with breed. 

And there are certain inherited disorder that you need to be aware off, so you can be careful while you have them, in order to prolong their life and make it easier on yourself while caring for them.

For example with my Labrador, they are breed to retrieve in the water. He was lucky that he didn't have a genetic hip issue, but as most large dogs, he had issues with the hip joint at the end. He was walking around till the last few weeks. 

2. Take lots of photos and lots of video of he or she doing anything, anything at all. You don't get to see it again and it is never enough.

It maybe the simplest thing, something they just do all day long. I miss the moments that he waits for my permission to enter my bedroom but I don't have a photo of that. And he does this purring thing like a cat when he wants what you're having, I don't have a video of that. Yes, general things in life, you experienced it and you will have the memories, but I would really just like to see it again. 

3. Get to know them.

I know this sounds silly, but there are a lot of people that doesn't know the pet. For example does he or she have separation anxiety? What do they do when you are away at work for eight hours? What is their favorite food? What do they want out of you, is it attention, play, food or exploring? They are a little bit like humans, have their own personality and are all different.

In general, Dong doesn't really want all that much attention, but he's interested in playing and food. So if I get him over for a belly rub, he probably only stays for a few minutes before he wanders off. But if we play games, like hide and seek, fetch, and tug-of-war, it can go on for hours. If it's food related games it will never end until I run out of food. 

(What do you mean by I can't have that? But I been waiting! )

4. Play with them and take them out for walks.  

The sole purpose of their existence in your life is to enjoy each others' company. Don't take it for granted.

5. Understand that they are pack animal and needs you to be the leader. 

A friend of mine has the little Chihuahua, he is simply neurotic and likes to bark and bite at random. She doesn't do any discipline because she thinks that is being mean to the dog, but in reality the dog is doing it because it is anxious and uncertain, that is why he is behaving that way. If you can help someone stop being anxious and uncertain by taking some actions and calming them would you still feel bad about it?

What I found that help me a lot is from Cesar Millan's video, here is a link to his website.

6. Training is essential, dogs shouldn't be caged animals (sectioned off in part of your house or chained)

There is really no need for that, they can be trained. It will take some time, some may need to go to puppy school, but to keep them in your life it is an investment that you should do. The dog training school normally takes 1-2 months, it depends on the dog, some doesn't even need it, as they may be low energy and submissive. It is definitely worth doing to able to enjoy the next 10 years together. The more they get to see you and more exercises, the calmer they will be.

(Dong roaming free on the old couch.)

Dong behaves the rules even when I am not around. He used to get on the sofa because my parents allow him, the sofa got worn by him. My parents are hesitant to get a new sofa, as they think the new one will be worm out by him again shortly. When I got home, I told them not to worry about it, we went out and got a new sofa. 

I stopped him as soon as he has the behaviour of sniffing the new sofa or coming close towards it. Dong understood straight away, not to get on the sofa, but as a spoiled brat he still have those attempts. Took less than a week to stop those attempts, he was never on the new sofa.

7. Plan your holidays with them. 

It may be a bit difficult, there are only so many places that you can take them with you. But I can assure you that it will be absolutely worthwhile and the trip will become memorable because of them. 

(Finally here, where are we? I don't care, I just want to get off the car to start exploring now!)

8. Simply do more of all the above.

You will be glad that you did. So would them!

(I'm so happy!)

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Quick sketches of my dog - Dong (冬)Part 2

I want to remember his happy face, as we last went to the large park away from the city. 

That's him grinning as he is about to get a treat.

Climbing on the sofa and rolling around because he is spoiled rotten. 

Giving me the look because he spotted my suit case.

One day I got up and didn't see him at my door. Looked around but he wasn't around, turn out he was upstairs, found himself a sunny spot to have a nap.

I hope he has found a sunny spot to rest.

Quick sketches of my dog - Dong (冬)Part 1

When I learned that my dog was ill, I began to do some quick sketches to capture the essence of him while I can. 

He is sitting by the table asking for treats. He was sitting on his leg, that's why it's missing from the drawing. 

Us out for a walk. He does his half wink with his right eyes, it is just so adorable.

Just happy to be around.

This is somethings we all do but don't say out loud to everyone, we talk to our dogs. I talked to him through FaceTime while on the call to my parents. Unfortunately Dong (冬) never quite understood the concept of video chat. How I know he knew it's me or that he heard me, is he when start looking around the house (we play hide and seek), or he would check the front door and my bedroom door, or he would bring the closest bath towel to the phone. 

When he responded, it's comforting. He sleeps a lot at the end, doesn't always come for the calls anymore. 

Monday, 12 October 2015

The world seems to be a better place when you are around

I remember vividly, the last time I saw him. He was at the door seeing me off. Looking extremely disappointed that I'm leaving once again. Because of work, I haven't been home for almost 2 years to see my families and my best friend - Dong (冬). 

The day before I left, my parents and I took him to a huge park away from the city as it did cross my mind, that it might be the last time I take him for a walk. He was very happy, the smile on his face is priceless. 

Thank you for coming into our lives.

Food always taste better when you are standing beside acting as if we are having the most delicious things in the world. 

I really appreciate that you were always willing to play with me at a moment's notice. Although we could never quite get fetch right, but you are really good at hide and seek.

Walking around the block becomes interesting through your eyes. 

Although you are really demanding when we travel but you make our trips memorable. 

The world seems to be a better place to be when you are around.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

In memories of my beloved Dong Dong(冬冬)

He is named "Winter"(in Mandarin) as he came to us in the winter in 2001. It is our first large dog, at first we really didn't know how to handle him, it wasn't until we sent him to puppy school that we got really close afterwards. 

Dong became a very polite dog, he would stand at my bedroom door requesting for entry. It's hilarious to see a dog asking permission for entry. He makes minor noise by clicking his nails on the floor as he walks up to my bedroom door or knock the door with his head to get attention and uses his puppy eye technique, " May I enter your room? ". He waits patiently if I don't notice him, he will not enter without me giving him a look. 

One look he knows, we communicated without words.  

He does the same thing when he wants treats, we put the treats on top of the frig. If you have had a Labrador, you know what they can do if the treat is not high up. He would stare at us until he has our attention, and then look above the frig. 

As he grew older, he became more demanding. Still does the same thing but he gets inpatient from waiting for us to notice. He bark once, just once, not loud, just a "Hey, I been looking at you for a while, I think it's time for my treat.". 

What I really love about him is his character, he is not exactly the happy go lucky type of Labrador, he is particular and eccentric. He love crunchy lettuces and fruits - if it's not sour. Here is him grabbing a piece of lettuce. 

This next theme is dedicated to him, to some, this idea may be obscured but to the dog lovers, they are family and we hold them dear to our hearts. 

I still talk about him in present tense. I haven't tell anyone yet or speak about it till now, because I wasn't ready to let go, it feels as if it hasn't happen if I don't think or talk about it as I wasn't by his side.  My family was with him, but I was 7205km away and 2 months too late from my scheduled flight back to see him. The scheduled flight is coming up in a few weeks, hence it is becoming a reality. 

I will not be welcomed by him at the door. 

No one is going to sniff my suitcase with this intense interest of where it has been. 

Not going to be stared at for attention or be asked for treats by those eyes.

Friday, 9 October 2015

The next theme - to be continuted

Another reason for my absence and hesitant to publish another theme is because during this period that I was not as active, I found a local artist used the themes that I've developed, yes, more than one theme. 

I understand the up most form of compliment is imitation, in this day and age, nothing hasn't been done, said or thought of, but it is recognisable to the untrained eyes, even the angle and position of the drawing is identical initially. 

Also, the object of my theme doesn't exist in Australia, I know this because I wanted to keep them as pets but it's illegal to introduce foreign species to Australia. Furthermore, other than my themes that artist has only sourced from local subjects. 

Initially I took it as a compliment, however, the artist has take-off with it. Does make me kick myself for not being able to come out on top when I'm the original.

I'm sure you all had similar experiences, I want to make a note here, in case my new developed theme or any other previous themes get copied by the same artist again. So the world would know it's from me!!

Not putting relating photos to point fingers, just enjoy a photo from my trip to Japan. Beautiful Kimono at the lobby of a hotel in Ito.