Meet beautiful Maggie - doesn't get much more classic yellow Lab than this... *More of my animal portrait work can be viewed here.
Don't worry, there's a post coming with a birthday hat and meatloaf cake, but in order to see it, you'll have to start following Oscar-dog himself - now proud owner of his very own patch of interweb! With excitment, Oscar ate my muffin launched today (and will likely change often for a while, as I tinker and fuss with a very demanding art director persistently nudging me in the elbow). Who knows where this will go, but it seemed appropriate at this point for dog lovers to have their own channel for "all Oscar, all the time", and for my science and art friends to get a relief from my periodic canine insanity (refer to the first line of this post for reference to said insanity). Whatever the case, I'm guessing it'll be a great ride. Happy Birthday, my boy - this one's for you.
*The above photo - header image for the new blog - was taken by the talented Kimberly Wang of Eardog Productions.
I had a wonderful opportunity this winter to work with good friend Kimberly Wang on the development of a new logo for her media production company, Eardog. Eardog's current mascot is Kimberly's ever-faithful canine companion, Theo, and, among other important details, she wanted his likeness incorporated into the new mark. A fan of Kimberly's, a lover of dogs, and an illustrator with a distinct preference for animal subjects - I jumped at the chance to collaborate.
An artist in her own right, Kimberly had a strong vision for the look of the new Eardog brand, and though it took many rounds of refinement and tweaking to nail the finished mark, we are both thrilled with the end result. Eardog's brand new portfolio website and City Dog Country Dog blog were launched last week, incorporating the new logo - now that it's live, I thought it would be fun to put up a process post here, including a number of the steps involved in the evolution of the new logo. I have included a mere fraction of the project here - there were multiple directions explored at the start - but what I've collected here is a coherant stream of where the final idea began, and how it matured.
From the top: 1. Kimberly and I selected a handful of her beautiful photos of Theo, choosing one particularly dynamic image as a reference for the illustrated Theo. Since Kim has a real fondness for the influences of heritage, texture, and eclectic irregularity, I chose to generate original artwork by hand in black ink. 2. Our "mood board" was a bright collection of influences, including antique Chinese textile designs and contemporary logos that caught Kim's eye - a 60-second ballpoint pen sketch on graph paper sparked the melding of motiffs... 3. An inked first attempt at elaborating my sketch was converted to vector art and the emblem shape put through numerous stages of revision (notice the point at which Theo's scowl turns into a dignified, optimistic gaze - expression is everything!). 4. When a black & white design was finally approved, color exploration began... and eventually resolved in the black & periwinkle final at the top of this post. Voila!
My incredible friend Kimberly has a fantastic eye for photography - and a tremendous love for dogs (this is, in fact, precisely how we became such fast friends). The talent and one-woman whirlwind behind Eardog Productions, Kimberly is never without camera in hand, and Oscar and I were fortunate enough to find ourselves the subjects of her artistry this winter. While out and about on a flurrying late December afternoon, just days before the new year turned, Kimberly and I took turns pointing our lenses at the handsome red beast - my images can be found here, along with canine sketches from the day - and Kimberly's handiwork is above. I simply adore the way she's captured Oscar, and it's a treat indeed to have such lovely photos of the 2 of us... Thank you, dear Kim! More of Kimberly's beautiful work can be found on her brand new portfolio site: www.eardog.com. (and if you'd like to know who designed that handsome Eardog logo, look no further...)
With not 48 hours left in the great upheaval that was our 2011, Oscar and I joined some very special friends (of the 2 and 4-legged variety) for one final walk through Vermont woods before we returned to MA to ring in a bright, shiny new year. There was just enough thin, splotchy snow to declare winter, but the light, and the leaves, and the smell of streamwater made it feel more like November than the near start of January. Just cold enough for flurries, Oscar and packmates Theo and Fern were in obvious agreement about the necessity of outerwear, though the Christmas-colored coordination between the 3 was completely unplanned. Hiking eventually gave way to hot cocoa and warm conversation, and for the dogs - heaven in the form of a nap...
And just like that, an entire year was put to rest.
Here's to a very Happy New Year, for every and all. And going forward - a little reminder that optimism, joy, and an open heart will always be the best guides...
I had a nice opportunity to work with a friend recently on an illustration for a product label. I will reveal the final design when that product is off to market, but for now, I think it's safe to share the artwork. The image is a portrait of a gone but not forgotten childhood best friend - a black lab named Damon.
Oscar is a doll when he sleeps. Just look at him. I call the middle pose "the lima bean".
It's been a little while... but I'm awake again, and in new ways. It may be 60 degrees outside but it's nearly December - an epic year is drawing to a close, and looking ahead, there's a world of good work to be done...
Vermont is certainly not for want of more rain lately, and yet, chilly drizzle through the rapidly dimishing autumn foliage seemed utterly appropriate when Oscar and I trundled out for a walk this past Saturday. As the summer's bounty of leafy, green vegetation (cultivated and wildgrown) draws to a close, lush emerald carpets of moss have sprung up in the fields where tall grasses used to reign; bright, jaunty mushrooms bloom in place of daisies and buttercups; and fruit trees still cling to golding orbs of tart little fruit, even as their branches grow more leafless by the hour. Oscar is a big fan of apples - he usually waits for me to take a bite before his interest peaks, but as soon as the snack-source is confirmed, he'll sit patiently for a taste of his own, and even race after the cores I chuck to the side. Silly pupper.
I was once left in a car at a young age.
I don't know when or where or for how long, possibly at the age of four, perhaps outside Tesco's, probably for fifteen minutes only. The details don't matter. The point is that I wondered if anyone would come back. It seems trivial now but in a child's mind it is possible to be alone forever.
Martin Usborne's "MUTE: The Silence of Dogs in Cars" is an exploration into the fear of abandonment, through the eyes of loyal canines left waiting for their owners inside parked cars. Rejection, anger, anticipation, and anxiety are expressed through ear set, posture, and unsettled gaze - like the young Usborne, there is a very palpable possibility in the minds of these creatures that they will remain in their leather upholstered confinements forever - trapped, and alone... No matter how many times I leave and come back to my own waiting dog (in the car, at home, or otherwise) the look of pure, relieved joy that overtakes him when I return tells me his thoughts must be the same.
Above: Prospero; Below (clockwise from top): Bones, Prince, Peggy, and Bones again. Additional photos and projects can be found on Martin's website: www.martinusborne.com
No matter where you were on the East Coast this weekend, you were introduced to Irene... After a quick walk with her around our local Cambridge hood on Sunday, damp from spitting rain, Oscar, unnerved, decided he had had enough of this nasty tropical guest and chose to use me as an umbrella. It was truly a spooky day to be outside.
The only storm in history to prompt NYC to completely shut down the MTA, Irene may have been downgraded from ominous initial warnings, but she bullishly hit land on Saturday and made her way up the seacoast, battering cities and towns, through Sunday evening. Farther inland, my beloved home state of Vermont was hammered... with rain... Enraged rivers swelled in mere hours, spilling through backyards and across roads; downtowns were submerged, paved highways deteriorated in washouts, and tragically, multiple, irreplacable, century-old historic covered bridges were destroyed when roiling muddy-brown waters tore away their foundations and swallowed them on the move. In this clip, the Mt. Tabor Historical Society's Millbrook House succumbs to the torrent... aided by a backhoe, it crumbles and slips downstream under a bridge. Raw spectacle and wrenching loss... it just hurts to watch. The Weather Channel's Jim Cantore (a native Vermonter) gave an emotional report.
The Burlington Free Press is calling Irene "the state's worst natural disaster since the epic flood of 1927," and coverage of VT's state of emergency, and continued flood-warnings, made the homepage of the NYTimes online this morning. I'm so thankful for the safety of family and friends, but my heart goes out to all those who felt the damages of this calamatous event.
The images below are from the BurlingtonFreePress.com, and the Vermont Flooding 2011 facebook page (though I've run them through a filter...). Original photo credits are as follows, clockwise from top left: Paul Egan, Len Emery, Glenn Russell, Bess Watson, Glenn Russell, and Brody Stevens. And I can't possibly agree with that bottom right sentiment more...