Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, art, travel, make-up, cooking and the occasional rant!


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Animal & Pet Portraits

I finished my latest commissioned pet portrait and it has arrived at its new home in Alabama so I can share it.

This is Snowy:

Snowy Bowman Final

It was commissioned as a companion piece to another one I did of her “brother” Joseph:

Joseph Bowman 2

I do these freehand – sketch in pencil and then finish with Micron pen. These two were done on 7 x 10″ 98 lb Canson Mix Media paper.

The difference in the background colour in the images is because the top one was scanned and the bottom one photographed.

Here is a work in progress shot. Sketched in and starting the pen work.

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I am working on my animal drawing skills. I’ve always been pretty good with it, but practise always shows a huge improvement in my abilities. Capturing expression is the biggest thing – that is what makes a pet look like YOUR pet!

This is another cat portrait I did – this is Honey, my sister’s cat. This is also Micron pen, then coloured added with pencil crayon.

SFennellPetPortrait

I do dogs too. The breeds have so many variations that it can be a bit more challenging to work on, but I am improving with practise.

This is my buddy Brian. This one was done for one of those on-line challenges, which that day was “use only words”. So, all of the marks on the paper are words – written or printed words. The close-up of the nose shows this clearly. It was a fun challenge.

This one was done in my usual method, sketch in pencil and finish with Micron pen. This one was over two years ago when I decided to start working more seriously on improving my skills.

Jan 19

This is Brian in “person”

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I keep practising doing different creatures and adding colour. So far sticking with pencil crayons and watercolour. I really want to learn how to use the pencil crayons to create super realistic work – and that is a steep learning curve! I’ve been watching YouTube videos which is very rare for me, but it is something I need to see being done to figure it out. I’ve also picked up some excellent books at the used book store.

I am hoping to be able to work on lots of animal drawings over the summer. My plan is to take masses of photos on my trip to South Africa, eSwatini and Mozambique (I leave in two-weeks!) that I can then draw and paint. I hope all the creatures will cooperate.


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May Day

It is the first of May! Wow… that was a fast first four months 2019.

With college done for the summer I am looking for a summer job. I’ve been making the rounds, scouring the job postings, dropping off/emailing off applications, had appointments at some agencies about temp work.  It is a bit frustrating at the moment as I leave on my volunteer trip to Africa in two weeks so won’t be able to work a long term assignment or start work on a full or part-time job until I get back. I was hoping to have been able to get some day-to-day or week temp assignments but it took some time to get processed at the agencies. I might still get something temp before I go – fingers crossed.

I carry resumes with me and if a business has a help wanted sign out, I stop in to apply. I have experience in administration, retail, food service, event organization, volunteer management, amongst other things.

There have been several positions that are for the summer only that start after I get back from Africa, so have applied to all of those when I find them.

Ideally, I was looking for an official “Summer Job” in an Arts organization but all of those positions have age restrictions – you have to be between 18-30 years and returning to school in the Fall. I call that age discrimination. I am a full-time student that wants to get experience in the field I want to work in. I still sent off applications, but had to disclose I was over age 30.

There have been several jobs that I have found in my searches that would be ideal – if I was looking for full-time permanent work! If only I was at the end of my program rather than the middle of it. But that’s the way the world works so much of the time.

So enough about that – unless you have a lead on something?! I’m game for anything in Durham Region, Ontario.

The Annual Student Juried Art Show gets installed next week at the Station Gallery in Whitby. I will have three pieces in it. I was at the College on Monday getting them framed/mounted and wrapped for transportation. I shared photos of them in my last post. It will be open before I leave on my trip so I will be able to actually go and see them this time. Last year I was away the entire time of the show and don’t have any photos of the display.

My last Drawing project got tweaked after I posted in my last entry – the professor critiqued it at the beginning of class so I took her suggestions. She said a hard line of the black in the halo would make the detail of the food crown pop more, and that the rays needed black for balance. Here is the before and after – she was right. It was hard painting over the gold leaf though – emotionally, not physically!

Another project I’ve been working on wasn’t a class project, but was at the college. The First Peoples Indigenous Centre has all sorts of craft workshops and you can drop in to work on them when you can. I noticed a sign on the door back in March about the beading workshop. So once I was finished with my Work/Study employment for the term I stopped in. I learned flat beading and how to wrap a cord to make a necklace.

Beading is extremely time consuming! I spent, I estimate, between 50-60 hours on this. I’m very pleased with it given it was the first time doing these techniques. It isn’t perfect but I will wear it proudly! And I have lots of plans to incorporate beadwork in future art projects.

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My fingers are full of tiny holes from pushing the beading needles through leather and cord, but they were such tiny holes I only really bled once…  Next time, I will use thimbles.

I will get back to the job search now – have a list of sites to check out and see what new postings have been added overnight to the usual places I check. Tomorrow I will again go out in person to hunt – I do it by area, for example a large mall, or strip malls in a row – so I park in one spot and walk around.