Copper Paintings by Renee Lammers
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"Bee on Hollyhock" 3x5 oil on copper. Sold. Today after breakfast we all went to Stockton Springs Fort Point State Park! This is a great place to paint and it is only a few minutes away from my house. I sat down in a beach chair so I could be low to the ground. I painted this short Hollyhock. While I was painting, a hummingbird came up to the top of the Hollyhock. I heard a funny puttering noise, looked up, and there the birded hovered. The bird was so fast. I just watched!
Here is a close up of the bee! I would like to work a little more on this tiny painting. I think it is only two inches by three inches.
Have a great night. Get out and paint. I sure will.
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"Wicker Chair Amongst Orange Lilies" 8x10 oil on copper panel Framed in light gold wood. Shipped free! Sold.
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"Day Lilies At Somes Sound" 8x10 oil on copper. 400$ Framed in light gold wood, shipped free!
Today I drove to Mount Desert Island to paint with Jennifer Holmes. It was in the high 90's today! We drove all over Mount Desert Island taking photos but jumping back into the car to enjoy the air conditioner! It was beautiful at many places but neither of us could withstand the high temperatures! So we kept driving.
We had a salad for dinner. At about 7:00 pm, we saw this scene. I pulled over, asked permission to paint on their property, and so we set up to paint! The light was changing very fast. I knew I would have to paint very quick. I decided to just go for a color sketch and design. A sailboat sailed by so I painted it it! Here is a photo of the scene we painted.
As you can see I decided to delete the pine tree in the middle there. I only had about an hour before the sun was gone.
Here is a close up of the bottom of the painting, the orange day lilies! Such fun. I know I could spend hours rendering them to death at home from a computer monitor. Would it be a better painting? Probably not. I think this painting has emotion, much interesting brushstrokes, and plenty of color.
Speaking of color. This last week on Monhegan I felt I wasn't painting my best. I couldn't figure it out. I did figure out the problem today! I had run out of Cadmium yellow light. So I grabbed another tube, so I thought. But instead I was using Cadmium Lemon Yellow. No wonder each highlight was a strange color. No wonder all my greens looked different. My red house in the sun was not the same red I captured before. Now I can remedy the problem. Some painters do use lemon yellow for backlight leaves. I prefer my Cadmium Yellow Light please!
I am going to be busy tomorrow! My first ladies arrive at the airport tomorrow! I have lots of things to do in the morning before they arrive. I hope it will be cooler tomorrow! Have a great night. Keep cool.
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I still enjoy reading the book, "Copper As Canvas" by the Phoenix Museum. A few days ago I typed for days on Chapter four. This chapter may be the most interesting. But here are a few other interesting passages scattered throughout the book!
There are many wrong assumptions regarding oil paintings on copper. One assumption, intimidating to say the least when contemplating a major international loan exhibition, is that paintings on copper are inherently fragile. (assumption) Contrary evidence, however, is abundant. There are several hundred immaculately preserved 200 year, 300 year, and 400 year old paintings found in museums, churches, palaces, castles, and private collections throughout the world.
A thorough but not exhaustive survey of paintings on copper primarily in American and European museums has revealed more than 2000 paintings excluding the far larger number of portrait miniatures on copper by lesser known, unknown, or unidentified artists.
The actual handling of oil paint on copper does not vary much, nor do the results differ appreciably from painting executed on wood, and it could be manipulated swiftly on the surface of the plate in the manner of a sketch, leaving impasto from the loaded brush and traces of brush strokes visible to the unaided eye. But copper offered several advantages over other supports: Elaborate preparation of surface for painting was reduced; the surface was smoother and more uniform, ideal for working with fine brushes; metal is easier to shape into small or circular formats than wood or canvas; thinly applied oil paint generally adheres well to a properly prepared copper plate; corrosion of the copper plate itself unusually does little harm to the paint layer because the paint film isolates the copper from the air; and the small size of most copper plates made them suitable for easy transport, so that two painters could collaborate on one composition. And, as artists beginning with Leonardo da Vinci (Italian 1452-1519) suspected, paintings on copper that are well cared for are extremely durable and generally survive in excellent condition. Owing to the protection given the paint film by the solidity and durablility of the support and the absence of repeated structural treatments (lining or transfer) or restorations, they often appear as brilliant and fresh as the day they were created!
Yes, I did add the exclaimation mark there at the end of the sentence.
Cleaning of the house is almost complete! Daisy and Duke have been watching me work. Daisy likes to lounge on her leather couch proped up by three silk pillows that match her hair. Duke lays on his rug by my leather chair so he can be petted. He loves to be petted for hours.
Even though it might be hot outside, it is still important to get out and paint!
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I am reading a book called, "Sargent-His Portrait" by Stanley Olson. I thought I might pick out some stories from this book about John Singer Sargent. (The photos are of my recent trip to Monhegan Island)
John Singer Sargent attended the atelier of Carolus-Duran in Paris. " Carolus-Duran strickly forbade the practice widespread among the other studios. Hazing, and often cruel, gruesome, humiliating and savage teasing were absolutely standard procedure, save in another fairly new atelier, Academie Julien. John was repelled by the idea. It disgusted him as he wrote shortly after he arrived in Paris (23 May);
"... it appears that a newcomer is treated in the most brutal way in the studios of Gerome and Cabanel; he is obliged to sing them
a song, to do all their errands for soup and soap for the brushes, and sometimes they actually strip him and paint him blue all over, or shave one side of his head; you may imagine that I would not relish such jokes."
Julian Alden Weir had this to write about Sargent, "I met this last week a young Mr. Sargent, who was studying with Gerome.
"....one of the most talented fellows I have ever come across; his drawings are like the old masters, and his color is equally fine...He speaks as well in French, German, Italian as he does in English, has a fine ear for music, etc. Such men wake one up, and, as his principles are equal to his talents, I hope to have his friendship."
James Carroll Beckwith, a student at atelier Duran had this to write: "My talented young friend Sargent has been working in m studio with me lately and his work makes me shake myself."
Here is another interesting passage: "More often John was excited by the challenge of perspecitive; over and over again he returned to the problem of odd points of views. One of his most daring experiments was painted a year after he came back from America-Rehearsal of Pasdeloup Orchestra at the Cirque d'Hiver. John frequently went to concerts at a theatre. William Coffin witnessed John's enthusiasm:
Sargent who dearly loved the music, was struck by the odd picturesquesness of the orchestra...seen in the middle of the amphitheater, the musician's figures foreshortened from the high point of view on the rising benches, the necks of the bass-viols sticking up above their heads, the white sheets of music illuminated by little lamps on the racks...While he listened he looked, and one day he took a canvas and painted his impression."
Very interesting also was that Sargent did not have enthusiasm for doing portraiture. "He could not get away from the battle for likeness." He preferred to be outdoors painting landscapes!
I am busy purchasing new towels and a little white stand for the restroom! I also went to a farm stand to purchase large amounts of Maine vegetables for the Ladies Plein Aire Retreat! I bought 6 pounds of dirty little red potatoes that will need scrubbing! I hope to slice them and add onions for breakfast. I think they will be great with some parsley and butter to go with our lobster! I picked out 6 pounds of beautiful red tomatoes I will slice with mozzeralla cheese and basil! I may buy fresh eggs from the local farm nearby. They taste sooo much better.
Tomorrow I will start to clean the house and Daisy and Duke! Saturday the ladies start to arrive for the retreat! Very exciting. I will keep you informed as usual.
Have a great night. Get out and paint. If it is too hot, stand in the cool water and use a raft to set your easel on! Or come to Maine!
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Here are Kathi Peter's flowers she gave me for my birthday a few days ago. I put them on my wicker chair. They look great!
I am headed to Monhegan Island tomorrow morning very early. I am driving to Port Clyde, jumping on a Monhegan Ferry, riding on the ferry for an hour, and then I will arrive on Monhegan Island!
I am going to bring my lap top so I will try to blog each night and show you my latest oils and watercolors. Yes! I will be doing some small watercolors of Monhegan Island as well.
Should be great weather, so get out and paint!
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"Sailing Into Fort Point State Park" 8x10 I decided to scrap this one.
Here is my demo painting I completed today infront of Smart Art Gallery in Northeast Harbor. Today was one of those amazing days that just turned out right. I have done a demonstration in watercolors at the Central Florida Watercolor Society ten years ago so I did have some experience. I called up John Caggiano last night to ask for demo advice. Here are a few things John said to do:
1. Know the subject matter you will paint and make sure you will be able to paint it well.
2. Bring a frame to put the painting in after the demonstration is over.
3. Tell a few light hearted stories or a few jokes.
4. Tell people they are welcome to ask questions and talk throughout the demo.
5. You don't have to finish the painting, just do enough where people can get an idea of how you paint.
6. Dress nice.
7. When you are finished ask people if they have any questions.
I was going to bring my 10$ wicker chair to paint at this demo. I went to pick up the chair and one of it's legs fell off. I did slightly begin to panic. I had no idea what I was going to paint. I did dress up nice. I drove over to the gallery early. I bought many paintings in a box for show and tell. I set up my easel. I decided I would do something brave. Stapleton Kearns does demos of the ocean waves crashing on rocks. He does this from memory and people love it. He paints these seascapes without any photos or any references. I came up with the idea to paint birch trees, the ocean, and a sailboat just like I had done yesterday. I had never done this before. I had no photos. I couldn't bring my wet painting as a model. I just did it! It was a hit! People were in suspense as to whether I could do this. I was in suspense too! Ha Ha.
One of my Florida clients and blog reader and friend came up from Florida to see my demonstration today. I am sure they were there on vacation too. They bought this painting.
"Surrounded by Lupines and Buttercups" 6x6 oil on copper. sold.
They enjoyed hearing about how I have been painting this chair in different places. Today the chair just couldn't make it.
There were quite a few people who came to watch me paint. I was answering their questions. A newpaper reporter came up and introduced herself. I think she was from Bangor Daily News. She took a few photos and asked a few questions. She said the King used to give the painters their copper panels right? I think I said, that is right and if they didn't paint well, then it was off with their heads. We all laughed. Then I said, there is still a lot of pressure on painters these days!
Another art collector who purchased 14 paintings while I still lived in the airstream in the campground arrived. She said she had flown in from Virginia Beach to watch the demo. I think the newspaper reporter was amazed as another collector said she had driven from Florida to watch the demo. I was in disbelief. I am sure they were on vacation but it sure sounded great! It made me feel good.
There were many many other of my art collectors who came today. I was really impressed and honored. It was great to see them all in one place. I do have a fond spot in my heart for them. It is very flattering when someone buys a painting or two or 14. They are all very happy with their paintings still.
One Florida collector told the Virginia Beach collector, now she knew who was buying up the paintings if she saw one sold. There was some fun joking going on between them all. I just kept painting.
I have never ever painted something I wasn't looking at. This was new territory. Probably not too smart to do during a demonstration! But I am happy with the results. There were a few people who asked how much it was!
Here are a few watercolor paintings I will sending off in two days to clients at the Bar Harbor Art Show in June. They are for sale for two days to blog readers.
"Kathi's Flowers" 5x7 watercolor matted in white acid free mat and framed in light oak frame, shipped free! 75$
"The Flowers" 5x7 watercolor, matted, framed in oak. Shipped free! 75$
"The Roses" 5x7 watercolor, matted in white acid free, framed in oak, shipped! 75$
"The Gift" 5x7 watercolor matted in white, oak frame, shipped! 75$ These flowers were given to me by Kathi Peters on my birthday. she grew them in her garden and arranged them especially for me. They were so beautiful. I am still enjoying now in a watercolor painting!
If you would like to add one of these pretty watercolors to your collection, call me at (207) 479-9553 or you can email me at Theartistrenee@aol.com. You can pay by check or credit card or money order! Two days these are available! Thanks!
Daisy was looking so cute after having her frosty paws homemade ice cream treat. She had her personal air conditioner set at 60 degrees and is enjoying her hot Summer rather well.
She also enjoys a few personal silk pillows to rest with. She is so cute with her white face.
I am happy things went well today! I hope you had a fun time reading all about today. I sure hope you went out and painted! Don't be lazy. If it is too hot, put on your swimsuit and paint by the sea! Get out and paint!
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"Red Roses" 6x6 oil on copper. 300$ Framed in light gold wood, shipped free!
Now I resume from Chapter four of the book, "Copper as Canvas" by Phoenix Museum of Art, the only book regarding paintings of oil on copper.
Examination Of Working Method
To what extent did artists adapt any of their working methods in making a painting on copper? For the most part the styles, working methods, and pigments used are broadly in line with those used by the same artists on other supports, and are distinguished by school or nationality without difficulty. Characteristics of working method, such as use of underdrawing and outlining of forms, do not appear to be related to copper support, but rather to the scale of the painting. Our perception of these paintings having been worked to precision does not preclude instances of pentimenti (painted changes in the design). Even Jan Brueghel I was capable of bold compositional changes on rare occasions. In his "Crucifixion" a pentimento of a dog in the foreground is remarkably prominent. Claude, who painted a number of small landscapes scenes on copper made, numerous changes in the position of figures and various other elements in his composition in "Landscape with an Imaginary View of Tivoli".
The usual imaging methods of examining the planning of the design and changes in composition are not always appropriate for painting on copper and sometimes require adaptation. Infrared reflectography can be used to examine underdrawing, but mostly has not revealed design planning that could not be seen on close examination. As the paint films are usually extremely thing, close examination under magnification can often reveal subtle changes in the evolution of the paintings, such as preliminary outlines having been disregarded. More thorough examination of painted changes cannot be done using conventional X-radiography, since the copper support absorbs the radiation and dominates the image produced. Electron emission radiography allows the thin paint films to be seen without the interference of the copper plate. An electron emission radiograph of Annibale Carracci's "The Vision of St. Francis" revealed important changes in the architectural details in the background, oblinging the artist to enlarge the painting by adding copper strips to each side.
As the copper does not absorb any of the oil medium and the preparatory layers are very thin, maximum richness of color and saturation can be achieved within extremely thin layers of paint with economical use of pigments. This can be seen in the cross section of "Rest of the Flight into Egypt" attributed to Domenichino and already mentioned where the blue of the sky is created by the thin upper layer of natural ultramarine and lead carbonate, with the possible admixture of smalt. This thinness is carried to extraordinary refinement by Jan Brueghel I, for example, in "Christ Releasing The Souls in Limbo" where some cross sections indicate an overall average thickness of 10 mircrons for the ground and paint films together.
The amount of paint deposited on the surface is critical as a result of copper's nonabsorbency and smoothness. There is no possibility of excess paint settling as it would into the interstices of canvas fabric. In a painting on copper, buildup of paint layers can be observed when the surfaces catches the light, producing a sculptured relief effect of the forms in the painting. This is particularly evident where particular blocks of color have been used in thicker layers (possibly a more viscous medium in the case of glazes) to delineate forms, typically blue drapery shadows or conversely, where areas for forms have been left "in reserve" for very thin transparent paint, typically tree trunks.
In terms of durability, were the expectations of artists and collectors realized? Although some paintings can have severe adhesion problems of the paint to the copper, many survive in extremely good if not pristine condition. Structurally copper is a sound and durable material when compared to canvas or wood. It does not suffer from infestation, nor from cracking or tearing. Heavily beaten copper sheets provide stable and rigid supports for paintings although flexing and bowing will occur on handling in sheets that are too soft or thin or those that are too large to support their own weight. Defts in plane such as denting will always be the result of mechanically applied damage or shock, while other deformations, such as undulations or concavities are due to the method of manufacture. Consequently there has been no need for interventions to the structure that could affect the surface of the paint, such as lining in canvas paintings, which in the past was responsible for flattening of the texture of the paint, and sometimes darkening of tone due to impregnated lining adhesives.
Under dry or commonly encountered indoor conditions copper does not readily corrode. Moreover, copper is not sensitive dimensionally to changes in relative humidily. Dimensional change due to temperature is much less likely in copper sheets than the repeated swelling and shrinking that occurrs in canvas and panel paintings due to the combined effects of changes in relative humidity and temperature. Although copper is a good conductor and will respond quickly to changes in temperature, the thermal coefficient of expansion of the paint film is closer to that of the copper than to that of a wooden panel. This factor, combined with the lack of response to moisture in the support, the apparent abscene of glue size layer, and thinness of the paint film, account for the minimal amount of stress-induced craquelure that is found on paintings on copper, craquelure is observable only under magnification, and the absence of crackly pattern to the naken eye, such as would be seen on a panel or canvas painting, forces us to reassess our expectation of these signs of age in three hungred and four hundred year old paintings. The effect can therefore be startling, and although it is a separate issue, the presentation of the painting with respect to the condition of the varnish is all the more important to consider.
Got to love my Daisy. Here I set the wicker chair with the background of orange lilys. I placed a mason jar of fresh flowers on the seat. Daisy was curious if the flowers were something to eat? Maybe it is a Frosty Paw treat? Very cute.
Have a great night! Hope it is not too hot for you and I to get out and paint!
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"January in Jeffersonville, Vermont" oil on copper. sold.
These passages are right out of the book, "Copper As Canvas" by Phoenix Museum of Art. Chapter four by Isabel Horovitz.
Preparation of the Support Prior To Painting
Many painters also were engravers and etchers, and it seems reasonable to assume that they would have been familar with the tools and materials for plate polishing and cleaning. However, painters must have been concerned about the potential problems of adhesion between the support and the paint, and were aware that copper plates required special preparation prior to painting. Probably the most important requirement was that the copper sheen had to be roughened to provide tooth for the application of the paint. Almost all paintings on copper appear to ahve a roughened surface to a greater or lesser degree, which when carried out, would remove the layer of red cuprous oxide, cuprite (Cu20), formed by a reaction between the surface of the copper and oxygen in the air, and would increase the surface area available for bonding, to accept the paint. Under magnification, the roughened surface area of the metal is perfectly described by the early microscopist Robert Hooke, who notes the parts of a razor that had been finished on a grinding stone "looking almost like a plow'd field with many parallels, ridges, and furrows, and a cloddy, as 'twere, or an uneven surface."
Occasionally the surface may sinply have been scored at intervals, sometimes resulting in poorer adhesion of the paint.
Artists' manuals and treatises offer information on the preparation of copper plates and evidence of the methods described can be seen in paintings. Although the practice of painting on copper is often mentioned in conjunction with the use of other supports, it is in preparatory layers that some variations in practice and materials can be found. After the surface had been roughened, it was usual to apply one or more preparatory layers, prior to painting, as for paintings on panel or canvas. But artist using copper plates seem to dispense with an initial glue size and chalk ground layer, having no need to islolate the wood or canvas fibers from the oil, or to fill interstices of textured fabric or panel grain. In general, written sources imply that the preparation of copper plates was relatively simple which perhaps indicates that artists would prepare the plates themselves rather than buy them ready-grounded.
Some advice was offered by the Spanish artist Francisco Pacheco (1564-1654) in the year 1649 "metal plates, being smooth and clean, are primed only with one very thin layer of white lead and umber in oil which is put on and spread with the fingers and not the brush."
Another Spaniard, Palomino, gives more detailed instruction, writing in 1715-25. "Metal plates are prepared in the same way was the panels but to achieve smoothness and polish in the preparation, a priming color of white, umber, and a little red earth must be made and reground very well. Plates should always be rubbed first with garlic because they tend to have some slight concavities in which the imprimacion is slow to dry. After the color is well spread on with the brocha or pincel (brush) it must be evened by pressing and rubbing with the ball of the thumb (if the plate is small) and with the heel of the palm if it is large. The preparation is blended by alternatively rubbing on or removing imprimacion all over the surface until it remains even everywhere.
Then, either with a soft, bland pincel, or better with the tail feather of a dove...pass the tips of the hairs softly over the metal plate to leave the surface very polished and even."
There are numerous points in this passage that deserve attention. Clearly the choice of metal is related to a desire for "smoothnes and polish". Note the advice on the need to regrind the pigments, which might have appeared coarse and poorly bound within the medium when applied to highly smooth surface. The reference to "concavities" may refer to the localized dips in plane created by hammering. Slowness in drying in the concavities, where the film might be thicker, may have encouraged artists to restrict themselves to thin films. Whether garlic would speed up the drying process is not known, but it would have given some tooth to accept the paint film. Rubbing a sheet of copper with a cut clove of garlic 9or strained garlic juice for a smoother film) wets the surface and provides a sticky, mildly grainy base over which a thin film of paint is easy to control.
In a French manual of 1773, Watin raises a related point concerning wetting, an important factor for adhesion: "If you paint on copper, iron, or other pure materials...which are highly polished...which do not easily accept a paint film: which make paint glide over them, one must put a little turpentine in the first layers which helps the oil to penetrate."
The application of the priming with the thumb or palm is especially interesting, as finger or palm-prints have been observed in this layer on a number of paintings. It is also mentioned in a French treatise by Pernety, in 1757: "...one primes copper sheets with a layer of oil painting, which serves as a base for working. One gives it two or three of these layers, and when the last one is still tacky, one rubs it everywhere with the palm of the huand to give a tooth (grain) that accepts paint more readily." Applied like this in very thin layers, a smoother finish may well have been achieved than by brush, and which thin paints would not have spread so evenly and often results in a more regularly streaked appearance. Examples of fingerprints in priming layers have been noted in northern and southern paintings, ranging over different periods. In Cavalier d'Arpino's painting, "Archangel Michael, finger- or palm-prints are evident in many areas where the uppermost layers of paint are their thinnest.
Despite the attention to smooth finish, generally the written sources emphasize the relative ease of preparation. The English writer, Robert Dossie, in his Handmaid to the Arts, 1758, states, "When copper plates are used, there is no occasion for any other priming than one coat of oil, and lead, or oker, rendered of the colour desired..."
The near-pristine state of many copper paintings can give valuable information on the artist's technique, but it is percisely this state combined with the usually small size of these paintings that instinctively limits invasive methods of investigation. Although few examples have been analyzed, the materials seem broadly consistent with those mentioned in written sources and are often similar to those used in the upper preparatory layers on other supports.
Most paintings on copper appear to ahve a thin, pale-toned preparatory layer between the paint film and the copper support. In almost all paintings examined, this layer covers the copper completely, but the metallic nature of the support is evident. In some paintings it is very hard to see whether there is a ground or imprimatura layer, and the layer structure can only be examined by taking a microscopic sample and examining it in cross section. Even when the red glow of copper is visible, a ground layer may be present as in Von Aachen's "Entombment". In "Rest on the Flight into Egypt:, attributed to Domenichino, for example (examined at the Courtauld Institute of Art in 1981), the cross section shows how the smoothly and thinly applied ground layers echo the flatness of the support. The initial layers consists of lead white and earth pigments over the copper; the layer above represents either a second priming or underpaint for the sky and contains a slightly higher proportion of earth pigments.
The paint for the preparatory and paint layers consisted of pigments ground in oil. There has been very little investigation of media used in painting on copper during the period from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, but analysis carried out so far suggests that linseed oil was used. In contact with copper, linseed and other drying oils used by artist turn green due to a reaction between the copper in the plate and the fatty acids in the oil. Beneath the ground layer of most paintings on copper where cross section have been examined, a green transparent layer can be seen. It is extremely thin, typically between 2-8 microns, and its color does not affect the appearance of the painting. Its effects are uncertain, particularly concerning adhesion, but it is a common feature of the layer struction of paintings on copper, whether in good or poor condition. It is not clear if oil was applied deliberately as a separate layer or whether it was formed coincidentally by the prolonged contact of the paint medium with the copper. Reactions could also occur as a result of contamination from materials used to clean the plate, particularly as methods and mixtures borrowed from etching and engraving practices might have been employed. The use of garlic in preparing the plate is difficult to investigate, since its active components are volatile, but in contact over time with copper, its juice can also result in a transparent green film.
There appear to be very few paintings where a ground or thin preparatory layers has not been used, althugh De Piles suggests "for copper, there is no other preparation to make other than to cut a clove of garlic in to and to rub it on the side of the plate on which you wish to paint, unless you wish to have a color other than the copper itself."
There is no suggestion that the reflectance of metal could be used to enhance the image, by enriching or adding brilliance to the tone. De Lairesse, for example, in his discussion of colored backgrounds to flower painting, uses metals to denote color and "luster' rather than actual metallic reflectance. Yet any idea of a deliberate desire to hide the natural state of the support does not seem relevant, given the contemporary interest in the effects of supports such as marble, jasper, and porphyry, where the veining was used as an integral part of the composition. In Rottenhammer's "Coronation of the Virgin" (The National Gallery, London) although there is gray underpainting in certain parts, there are also many areas where the outlines of the forms have been brushed directly on the copper. The copper itself is allowed to show through, particularly in the gray clouds, which are very thinly smeared by his fingers with opaque paint. The effect is a warm, glowing tone, that gives depth to the clouds on which so many figures are resting.
Tomorrow I will type up the section entitled "Examination of Working Method" in chapter four by Isabel Horovitz.
I never use any medium while I am painting. I like to keep things simple. I also never use garlic either. I couldn't handle the garlic smell on my fingers while I was painting all day! I do sand down the copper panel and start to paint directly.
Daisy and Duke are tired from swimming at the beach! Daisy just loves to sneak up on seagulls floating around on the water. She gets very close! Have a great night. Get out and paint!
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"Copper As Canvas" by the Phoenix Art Museum can be purchased at the www.alibris.com used book website for 91.00$ and up! It is an important book for painters who paint on copper panels. I thought I would write some passages from "Copper as Canvas" for you to read. This is from chapter for by Isabel Horovitz.
"When Malvasia wrote in his life of Guido Reni that paintings on copper were "easily recognizable," he implied that there were physical characteristics that give paintings on copper a distinctive appearance. Even though many artists of different periods painted on copper, in a wide variety of styles and using diverse techniques, Malvasia's observation holds true, and it is in this technical context that we may search for some of the reasons why artists painted on copper and how they exploited its effects.
The application of paint to metals was well established in technical tradition and was allied to a number of other artistic activities. The painting of transparent glazes on metal leaf was first mentioned in an eighth-century collection of recipes known as the "Lucca Manuscript" and widely practiced in the Middle Ages.
The development of the use of copper is associated with the history of other unusual supports in Italy in the early sixteenth century. In a technical contest, artists were experimenting with materials such as slate and marble to produce durable paintings showing a range of effects that could not be achieved with the more conventional supports, such as wood or canvas. The availablity and accessibility of copper plates must have been related to their widespread use for etching and engraving.
The use of copper as a support is generally associated with small-format paintings, where copper can provide a highly rigid, nonabsorbent, and smooth surface. This helps to create a distinctively luxurious finish and richness of dark tones, and it facilitates the painting of minutely fine detail. Perhaps artists were consciously experimenting to find ways of interpreting images more intensely, and in particluar to create extraordinary masterpieces on a small scale.
Some paintings on copper are in pristine condition and thus are exceptionally close to their original appearance, especially when compared to paintings on wooden panel or canvas, where deterioration of the support and interventions to the structure by restoration, such as lining, distort the image. Many of the most exquisitely executed works on copper by artists such as Guido Reni, Jan Brueghel I, or Joachim Wtewael, for example are still in such fine condition that their mastery can be appreciated to the full.
This chapter will examine the production of the copper support and will highlight some of the documentary sources relating to its preparation for painting. By looking more closely as its influence on the handling, appearance, and durability of the painting, and its use by cetain artists to particular effect, it is hoped to give some insight as to why the support was chosen.
COPPER PLATES AS A SUPPORT FOR PAINTINGS
Copper plates were available during the sixteenth century for other artistic activities, such as enameling, etching, and engraving. Many painters also produced etchings and engravings and were therefore familiar with the materials and techniques of these arts. Some artists may themselves have carried out final finishings of the plates, following instructions with which many of them would have been familiar for etching. "At first you buy the copper rough, then you have it planished, if you cannot do it yourself."
A plate's level of finish can provide an indication of its original purpose of production. Some plates are completely frat, free of any clues as to manufacture such as hammer marks or rolls, and have very regular parallel sides with well rounded edges and corners. Such plates which typically measure a mean thickness of 2/32 inch (1 mm.), could have been produced for use as printing plates. But there appears to be only occasional reuse of a printing plate, where an engraving or etching can be found on the reverse of the painting. An artist in the circle of Pieter Gysels' reusing a Rembrandt etching plate to paint a landscape is one such example. It is even rarer to find a print underneath a painting, as in "Tobias and the Archangel Raphael" attributed to Elsheimer where an engraved image can be seen through the paint film when lit from the side. The state of the plate would have been obvious to the artist as he obtained it, and it is puzzling why some artist used plates that have a very high level of finish, almost like printing plates, whereas others seemed satisfied with quite roughtly produced sheets, with jagged edges.
The method of manufacture of the plate has an effect on the visual appearance of the painting and its behavior mechanically. Whether the metal have been heavily worked, as well as size and thickness, are relevant. A highly worked sheet of copper will be less flexible than one that is not highly worked, and this is why quite thin (0.5mm) sheets of copper can provide such excellent rigid supports for paint films.
In the battery (or beating) process, hammers weighing up to 500 pounds, usually powered by water, pounded sheets of copper from cakes or ingots. The sheets were cut with water-powered shears, and often then subjected to repeated battering in stacks. A very high level of refinement was possible with hammers. After a sheet was formed, it could then be smoothed by hand with a planishing hammer, which had a wide, circular, flat head, and if not too heavy would easily flatten only the surface of the copper.
The majority of paintings on copper are small in format compared to dimensions that were possible for wooden panels or canvas, the latter being particularly suitable for large-scale work. The size, combined with ease of preparation, may account for the popularity of painting on copper during the period not just for fine painting, but also for the large numbers of more modest portraits, devotional works for newly married couples, novice nuns, and papal gifts. The fact that the support was also durable made there paintings expecially portable. Some paintings had its own elaborately painted traveling case.
Occasionally large single sheets of copper were used-for example, by David Teniers II, who often used rolled sheets. His painting, "The Archduke Leopold willem in His Painting Gallery in Brussels measures 41-3/4 X50-34 (106x129). In rare instances, large scale altarpieces were executed on copper consisting of several plates that were joined by riveting and soldering. Domenichino's altarpieces for the Capella Del Tesoro in San Gennaro, Naples, measure 110-1/4 x 59 (280 x 150) and one is more than 11 ft x 8 ft. The difficulties of making and handling this size and weight of nearly 882 pounds are well recorded.
Sometimes copper plates were coated with silver-colored alloys. Despite references in catalogs to "Silvered" copper, when annalyzed, these coatings have been found to consist of tin or lead-tin alloys, not silver. Such tinning provides resistance to corrosion with minimal increase in thickness or weight. Thee are many medieval recipes for coating copper for decorative purposes.
The reasons why artists used tinned plates are difficult to establish. Relatively few paintings on copper appear to have been executed on coated sheets, though certain artists favored them. In some paintings the effects may not be obvious. A tin coating would have offered resistance to corrosion; however, under indoor conditions, copper does not readily corrode. Artists may have thought that an interlayer would prevent reactions occurring between the copper and the oil paint, or ensure good adhesion. In paintings examined, however, there is nothing to suggest that adhesion is influenced by the presence of coatings.
Certain paintings, such as Reni's "The Coronation of the Virgin" and Elsheimer's "The Stoning of St. Stephen" achieved an incredible luminosity through the use of a silver-colored metallic coating. An unusual tonal quality is created by the metallic brightness beneath the ground and paint, which intensifies the clarity and brilliance of these masterpieces. Paradoxically, however, the presence of a coating usually is not known unless a detailed examination is carried out. Indeed, some works provide no hint of being painted on coated copper.
"Monhegan Island's Swim Beach" 8x10 oil on copper panel. sold.
Tomorrow I will write more about the preparation of the support prior to painting. I hope you find this interesting.
I am taking Duke and Daisy to the beach now. They love to hunt for minnows in shallow waters. Have a great night. Get out and paint!
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This is the Corgi puppy, 12 weeks old. He lives at the Coco Vivo Gallery in Boothbay, Maine. Isn't he so cute?
I was amazed at how much personality he had for being so young! He has two lady Corgi companions to hassle all day long. He likes to bark at the customers.
One minute he was pulling on Molly's collar barking and growling, and then he was passed out. If you would like to meet the puppy in person, you can visit him at the Coco Vivo Art Gallery in Boothbay! Say hello to Mary, the owner of the gallery for me. You will like her. She is a very sweet lady.
Here is Molly who likes to perch high above the art collectors during the art opening on the stairway. You will meet Molly too if you go to Coco Vivo.
When I arrived in Boothbay, John was out front painting. I painted outfront of the gallery too. People walked by and we told them about the opening. I think it was good advertising for the gallery.
The gallery is located near the ocean and in the distance you can see this lighthouse. It was great to stay overnight at the gallery. I had a great time. I was able to paint for two day in Boothbay because of this. I will show you the paintings tomorrow.
I was happy to see they used one of my painting images for one of their newspaper articles with a byline.
I brought with me 16 more paintings to put in the gallery. She allowed me to have nails and a hammer. She pointed out a wall downstairs and upstairs to put more work. I had sold three paintings last week in the gallery. She seemed pleased. They are really great at explaining to new clients about the copper paintings.
There were amazing food and wine at the opening! Many people came out to see all of the "Postcards From Maine", the theme, a small works show. I was suprised how crowded it was. Many people had questions for me regarding my copper paintings. Luckily I brought with me my book, "Copper as a Canvas" by Phoenix Museum. People are shocked to see how many copper paintings were in this book. They had no idea how popular copper was long ago to paint on. They love learning about this. Some wanted to know which painting had inspired me at the Boston Museum of Fine Art.
We all went to a nearby restaurant to eat afterwards and talk about the show. I met many painters during the show and at the restaurant who were in the gallery. I even met Helen St. Clair at the opening. I met Tony Van Hassalt, a watercolorist, also in the gallery.
I am back home, enjoying visiting with my Daisy and Duke. Robert is outside making a Dutch door for the kitchen. I would like to be able to cook without my puppies watching me so closely! Have a great night. Tomorrow I will share with you more about copper paintings. I just thought you would like to see how cute Ricky and Molly were at the Coco Vivo Gallery!
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This is an oil on copper painting by Rembrandt Van Rijin done is 1629-30 called "Laughing Man". It is very small measuring only 6 inches by 4 3/4 inches.
I can see some copper shining through and although the painting is 500 years old the copper is still pink! Rembrandt allowed his brush stokes to be visible. I love how the copper can be seen from under the oil paint. This painting is in The Hague. I don't see any cracks! Amazing.
"An Old Woman at Prayer" by Rembrandt Van Rijin also from 1629. Rembrandt only painted two oil paintings on oil. They are both the same size, 6 x 4 3/4. Small portraits on copper were very popular during the 1600-1700's. I can't imagine this painting selling very easily during the 1630's. But who knows. Maybe there was a market for this type of painting. Amazing detail in the skin, material, and fur. This painting is in excellent condition.
"A Dead Hare" by Peeter Snyers (1681-1752) This painting measures 41. 5 cm X 30.9 cm
Painting hunting trophies were very popular in the 17th century. There is amazing detail throught the painting. Snyers had a high level of technical sophistication. Again there is no cracks or paint falling off. It is an interesting painting although gruesome!
Maybe Rembrandt's painting "An Old Woman at Prayer" isn't so bad after all.
"Samuel Ampzing" done in 1630 by Frans Hals. The painting measures only 6 1/2 inches by 4 3/4 inches. Frans Hals did over 35 small scale portraits but only painted 3 on copper. Copper was considered a favorite support for oil painting in the 17th century in Antwerp where Frans Hals was from. He didn't blend his painting's brushstrokes. He also allowed some ground of the copper to show through in various places.
"Fast-Day Meal" 1731 13x16 1/8 by Jean-Simeon Chardin. I really love this painting. Funny how timeless the subject is. I guess anyone can relate to eggs and fish with pots and ceramics. But I just love it. Maybe there is some copper gleeming through from under the oil paint in the background and foreground.
I wonder if you have seen some of these paintings in Museums or in books but didn't know they were done on copper. In many Museums, next to the painting there will be a note saying who the painting is by, the year, the size, and "Oil on board". Board can be copper, wood, or anything other than canvas. It is a shame they sometimes don't say copper. Sometimes they do.
There is only one book about copper paintings called "Copper As A Canvas" by Phoenix Museum. It is out of print. You can still purchase this book online but prices vary from 100$-300$. If you collect copper paintings or paint on copper, you may want to purchase this book. Tomorrow I will start to write about each chapter in the book. I have decided to put this information in my own words as it is very scientific book and hard to read! I think this information might be very interesting to you!
Have a great night! Get out and paint! Your hair will start to grow back! Possibly. The research is still pending.
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Today I celebrated my birthday. I had the most incredible day. I first drove by my favorite rescue donkey farm to see the baby donkeys. I watched them for a few moments. They didn't run away. They came closer as if I had something to feed them. This one lays down a lot. The other baby is always standing and runs more.
I drove to Bernard to Tremont Wharf on Mount Desert Island specifically to purchase 10 lobsters. No lobstermen in their boats had any lobsters to sell. There was a man buying lobster from them who wouldn't sell me any either. In the distance in a white lobsterboat I saw my friend and art collector, Daivid Thurlow in his boat. I could see him and his sternman unloading their catch of lobsters and then washing down their boat. I waved a few times. David saw me.
Here is his boat the James Earl. I have painted his boat many times. One painting I put inside of an antique port hole for him.
He pulled up to the skiffs. I was pretty thrilled. He said, "Happy Birthday Renee!". Pretty cool. What a way to celebrate your birthday! Way better than a singing telegram.
I said goodbye to David and drove over to Thurston's Wharf where David had just sold his lobsters. This guy here only had 9 lobsters to sell me. He said the guy who just left sold them to him. So here I ended up buying David's lobsters for my birthday celebration! How amazing is that.
Next, I drove home. I wanted to spend the day with Daisy and Duke at the beach.
They always look so cute in the rear mirror. They love to go for a ride.
Sears Island is fairly deserted during the week. Here is Duke chasing minnows.
I sat down on the gravel in my swimsuit just watching those two hunt for minnows. For hours they scampered around after those minnows. No they didn't catch any!
This is the cute part. Duke on the left always has to clean Daisy on the right after a day at the beach. He feels this is very important. She always loves it. It has always amazed me how well these two dogs get along. They are very good together.
I organized a birthday dinner days ago. I wanted to celebrate with painters and their spouses. Here are a few of my dinner guests. On the left, Gregory Dunham (here is his painting website for you too see his work: www.Gregorydunham.com )and his wife Pat Dunham. Pat Dunham is a wonderful realtor. Gregory is one of the best watercolorist in Maine, maybe the United States.
Kathi Peters is next, a great painter herself! (Here is her website for you to see her work! www.KathiPeters.com ) She paints many subjects. Her specialty is Casein, a type of water media. She might be most known for painting horses. Her husband Les. Les drives big horses in Acadia National Park.
On the right hand side is Robert Lammers, my husband. Then Sandy Dolan, a professional photographer and great artist. Here is Sandy's website: www.SandyDolan.com On the end is Sandy's husband. Sandy's husband is a musician.
Scott Moore arrived a few moments later with his wife Kathy. They also brought a long time friend. Scott Moore is also an amazing Maine oil painter. Here is his website: www.Scottmooreartist.com .
So there we were at the newly purchased dinner table, all eleven of us! Daisy and Duke were sleeping in their private quarters and playground upstairs. We only heard a few mysterious noises coming from upstairs through out the evening...
I let all of the guests drink wine and talk for a while. Then I went into the kitchen. When the water was boiling in two pots, I started to take the rubber bands off of the lobster's claws. One lobster bit my finger so hard it bleed! I asked Sandy to help. She came to my aid. Then Kathi, Scott Moore's wife came to show me how to put a lobster to sleep. She rubbed the head of the lobster for a few minutes. Then the lobster was out of it. Here I am with my boiled steaming lobsters!
I decided to stand at the end of the table so you could see how it all looked. After the lobster we had steak Robert cooked on the grill. We had such a good time talking. We were all laughing at one thing or another. Sandy was first to point out in the kitchen she thought the group was a great blend together. Everyone was having such a great time. I was very happy to be able to get to know my neighboring painter friends and spouses.
Sandy Dolan made three fabulous strawberry pies for us! Here I am cutting one! Everyone was so amazed at the food. I was hoping they would have a great time. We shall think back on this Summer feast during the Maine Winter time.
Daisy and Duke came out at the end of the night and waltzed around the table to say hello.
I found this hand painted card by Kathi Peters on my chair after all of the guests had left and the dishes had been cleaned. She also brought me an interesting chocolate wine. I sat down to read this wonderful card. I am so glad I moved to Maine and have such amazing painter friends. What a wonderful day!
Have a great night! Tomorrow will be a beautiful day because the sky was red. Red sky at night is a sailor's delight! So get out and paint!
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"The Somesville Bridge on 4th of July" 12x18 oil on copper. 650$ Framed in light gold wood and shipped for free.
I went to Mount Desert Island today in search of something to paint. I didn't have to drive far. This is a painting I did today of the Somesville Bridge. They decorated this bridge with a flag! I loved how the flag was backlit.
Here is a close up of the flags. I didn't want each line of red or white to be the same. I wanted to paint a painterly flag!
This was a very hard painting for me. It is difficult trying to draw and paint this bridge. I have painted this bridge four times now. I think this helped some. I knew not to paint the green in first and then try to paint the while bridge on top of wet green paint. This was a nightmare the first time I painted this bridge. I couldn't get a clean white for the bridge! Now I always paint in the bridge and then paint the dark greens within the slats of the bridge. Of course I always have to repaint the bridge a few times to get the lighter bridge's lines right. It is a dance! Paint the lines of the white bridge, mess up a little, then fix it with dark green, and then go back and repaint the bridge! I wanted all soften lines of the curved bridge.
While I was trying to tackle this dance with the bridge, a reporter from Florida, the Tampa Herald, to be exact came over to me. He asked permission to take my photo. He was talking about Maine and Florida. I told him I was from Florida. He was curious how I ended up living in Maine. I told him how I had lived in Orlando, Florida, lost our savings trying to get out of our house, lost two other rental houses to banks, sold our possessions at a giant garage sale, bought a new Airstream RV, and moved to Maine. He was in disbelief as I told him we camped in a Maine campground for two years even battling Maine Winters! But he liked the end of the story, how we had purchased a nice white house on a salt water channel, opened up an art gallery, and became a successful painter! "Wow!" he said. "That is a good story!". He told me these photos of bylines would be in the July 31, 2011 travel story in the Tampa Herald. He said I could see the story on the internet too. He was a nice reporter.
I was almost finished painting this painting. I had worked six hours straight. I heard a high pitch squeal. A young boy on a bike stopped near me. He said, "Wow! That is so good!" "Wow! he said, "You are a really good artist!" I told him thank you. He road off on his bike. He was still smiling. This made my day. Cute little boy with such enthusiam. I love enthusiasm. I knew then my painting had turned out ok.
This is what Maine fireworks look like when there is fog. There are sounds of booms and whistles. But no fireworks can be seen. The sky does change colors though.
I was really dazzled by this beautiful skiff in Bernard on Mount Desert Island today. At 6:30 pm the light was just right. It may be too dark of a background for a painting. But it was pretty!
This would make a fun painting but it would take so much work! 12 hours or more!
What nice pansies! A cat's head got into the photo! How could this happen?
Have a great night! It is so much fun to get out and paint! It is really exciting!
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"Barn Cat" 5x7 watercolor, white acid free mat, under glass with a light oak frame. Sold.
For two days I will offer these watercolors for sale. After two days, if they don't sell, I will be mailing each watercolor off to art collectors who purchased a painting at the Bar Harbor Art Show. If you like one of these watercolors, all you need to do to purchase one is to email me at Theartistrenee@aol.com.
"Apple Blossoms" 5x7 watercolor, matted with a white acid free mat, under glass, with a light oak frame. Sold.
"The Chair" 5x7 watercolor, matted, framed, under glass, shipped! 75$ Sold!
"Red Skiff" 5x7 watercolor
"Rockin Rooster" 5x7 watercolor, matted, framed in light oak under glass, shipped, 75$ Sold!
"Sail Away" 5x7 watercolor
"Two Skiffs" 5x7 watercolor
I learned how to watercolor when I was 14 in Okinawa, Japan. I took a class in Okinawa called Sumi for two years. I loved learning how the Asian people painted. It was a ritual to them grinding the black ink stone in a little water to create a black ink. We started out painting bamboo using only a few strokes. Then we progressed to pine trees clinging to a cliff. I learned how to dilute this black ink to create lighter values of gray. I learned how to have my brush loaded with gray color but then dip the tip of the brush in strong black ink. Then I could paint lines with many shades of black and gray.
I was hooked on learning Sumi. I checked out all of the books in the library. I spent all night trying to recreate many of these paintings in the books on my own. I would bring them to class the next day. My teacher would give me critics and then sometimes show me the proper way to recreate whatever it was I was trying to do. She brought me special rice papers to try.
The second year we started using color. Again each night I painted and painted! I would ask my parents if we could go into art stores to buy special rice papers.
I didn't have a desk at home to paint at. I painted on my bed squatting there bent over painting each night after school. Sumi was not easy. Once the ink was on the rice paper it was permanent. I learned how to see all the values and use the one brush well.
When I was 16, I started to watercolor paint. My first watercolor painting was a giant cropped section of a saxaphone with teal cloth folded. The still life was set up in class.
We moved back to the United States after a few years of living in Okinawa, Japan. I continued my watercolor painting sitting on my bed. I painted each night in high school. I won all the awards in competitions except for one at school at Montverde Academy in Clermont, Florida. My art teacher sent papers to Parsons Institute, an art school. I received a scholarship to attend. But I didn't want to tell my parents because I thought it would cost a lot to live there. I didn't think they would let me move to another state to attend art school. I told my art teacher to just forget about art school for me. I just didn't think it was possible. I wish now I would have gone. Not that it mattered much as I am still painting!
After high school, I started to do watercolors of houses. I saw a book on how to do buildings in watercolors. I was asked by many people to paint their business or home. I only charged 50$-75$ for a full sized painting. I was only 18 years old. I didn't even drive! So sometimes I took a city bus to the house. A few times my Mom had to drive me!
When I was thirty six I had enough money to go to watercolor workshops all over the United States. I took my Mom, who is also a painter. We had a great time in Oregon painting at a Jan Kunz workshop. I went to Italy and painted with Robert Wade for several weeks. There was 37 painters from all over the world. We traveled all over Italy. I learned a lot from Robert Wade. I went to Arne Westerman's watercolor classes for a few weeks in Oregon. I attended a Tom Lynch watercolor workshop were he was spraying watercolors. I actually had to go to a Doctor from all of the spraying watercolor fumes. Got a steroid shot and then I was back in class the next day. Barbara Neiche was a abstract watercolorist. I didn't know what I was getting myself into. She had a tearing paper towels, tracing them onto a watercolor sheet, and then painting them. Oh boy. Judi Betts had an interesting class talking about how to find popular color schemes from magazines, making sort of a plaid watercolor, then using that to create a painting. She had a unique style I liked. I was lucky to go to 12 watercolor painter's workshops over the next few years. I learned a lot from each teacher. In fact I still use some of this knowledge even though I have switched to oils! I have painted with watercolors for 25 years. I still love to do my watercolors!
Here is sweet Duke. He piled up his favorite bear dog toy and his snake toy for a pillow last night! So cute!
Have a great 4th of July! Get out and paint flags today!
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"McLoon's Wharf" 5x7 sold today at Coco Vivo's Gallery in Boothbay, Maine!
"Monhegan Sunrise" 5x7 Sold Today also in Coco Vivo Gallery in Boothbay, Maine!
I had a lot of fun today purchasing Ralph Lauren 300 thread count sheets for the ladies retreat! There is nothing like climbing into luxury sheets such as these! I decided to go with cotton blankets as it may be a little warmer in July. I purchased beautiful white bowls for our salads I will create for the retreat. I will make up four or five different salads to accompany our lobsters for dinner! I also now have all of the decorations for dinner time!
I decided on a hundred dollar per lady art related gift. These gifts arrived this week. I know they will be thrilled when they receive these gifts! I wanted to create an over the top experience for them. They will feel special.
Daisy and Duke have been invited to go to a barbeque at Sandy Dolan's house tomorrow along with Robert and I. I sure hope they behave themselves. We might give them Frosty Paws icecream and leave them home to take a nap!
I sure hope you have a wonderful 4th of July tomorrow. Eat a few hot dogs and hamburgers! Watch some fireworks with family and friends. Be thankful we are an independent nation! It is great to be able to paint anything we want!