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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Paintings I've Not Done Yet--Animals

Copyright, Jim Lane
"Look how brave my dad is."
There's no two ways about it; animals are hard to photograph. About nine times out of ten they're at least somewhat uncooperative. Only the most docile will pose, and even at that how they pose is their own prerogative. I have a rather large file of animals taken over the years, yet only about ten percent (if that) even come close to being suitable painting source photos. Like most lifelong photographers, the vast majority of my four-legged creatures fall in the canine or feline categories, with the equines coming in a distant third. An exception to that is the oldest in this group (above), taken around 1984 when our son was about two years old. I'm thinking it was at a petting zoo, probably Cedar Point Amusement Park, near Sandusky, Ohio. Actually it's based upon two separate photos taken by my wife just seconds apart. I don't think Jonathan had ever seen a deer before, certainly never so up-close and personal. In any case he was in no mood to feed the damned thing. His image I superimposed over one of myself nourishing the wildlife. The two photos were always favorites of my mother, who thought I should paint them both. Only in editing the two into one do they begin to come together to form an image worth painting.
Copyright, Jim Lane
Fileena (top); our son's boxer and her "boxerettes"; one of
the impudent pups trying to "pull my leg"; and an artist with her
two fully grown collies outside a cathedral in Florence, Italy.
Over the course of nearly fifty years we've had quite a roster of pets--two dogs and four cats...that I can recall...make that six cats and three dogs. I just remembered some more. Of them all, our most beloved was Fileena, a slightly oversized Sheltie we raised from a pup. She died several years ago at the age of fifteen (that's around one-hundred in people years). Our son and his wife are partial to boxers--not the most photogenic dog in the world--even when they're pups. In Europe, far more than in the U.S., people tend to take their dogs along with them...even to work. I wonder if the artist above sells more paintings with her beautiful, sweet-natured collies along. I forget the name of the church they're guarding, but Michelangelo is buried inside.
Copyright, Jim Lane
These three came to pose for us in 2005. Only Feisty remains.
I've always liked cats; and as my wife and I have grown older, they've proven to be far more appropriate to our lifestyle than dogs. Dogs need to go "out" every hour on the hour (not quite but sometimes it seemed that way). With cats, it's, "Whadaya mean go OUT? We've got our litter box, thank you," (or meows to that effect). If the food and water bowls are big enough, a quick refill twice a week will suffice. Since we travel about six weeks out of the year, a nice neighbor lady sees to the standoffish felines in our stead. The only problem is that when we return, our cute little bundles of nervous tension spend the next month trying to find it in their hearts to forgive us for leaving them alone for so long. Feisty, our white tom, left alone for the first time in his life this spring, was downright neurotic when we got home.
Copyright, Jim Lane
Sorrento, Italy. How do you say "giddy-up" in Italian?
Although I've never been around horses much, now or "then," I've always enjoyed painting them (probably at least a dozen times). In going back through my files I found these two horse-drawn carriage photos I always intended to paint but never found the right context or the requisite time to do them justice. The rather ornate carriage (above) was on the appropriately narrow streets of Sorrento, Italy (not so appropriate for tourist busses). The somewhat more compact (high mileage) carriage (below) was parked awaiting tourists on the island of Malta. One of these days, I'm going to take a ride in such style (or at least inquire as to how much it costs to do so).
Copyright, Jim Lane
A Maltese equine taxi.
As the eighth group in this series, like the others, these photos are available free of charge for use by painters as source material for their own work on an individual basis. Simply e-mail me with a request to do so at and indicate which photo you would like to use as well as your full name (no nicknames) and geographical location. If you have a website, include the URL; and please, when finished, e-mail me a photo of your painting. These images are not for publication as photos (except on a royalty basis) nor are they in the public domain.

Copyright, Jim Lane
"Hello, what's your name?"


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