Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Josh and Joey

This is a portrait commissioned by a woman as a gift to her daughter, the mother of the two boys.  Children's portraits are always a delight to do. I did a few of my own kids as they were growing up, but of course they weren't really appreciated by the kids themselves. Still, I felt it important to keep my own artistic record of their lives. They grew up so fast. The last portraits were done about the time of high school graduation and they  both preferred photos. But I have discovered that portraits are most often made not for the subjects themselves but for the people who love them. There is something about the human touch and the expression of the soul inside the likeness that really speaks to their loved ones, and I am always working for that.

Portraits from photos of both pets and people are available.  I am pretty much booked up right now, but feel free to email me for information.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Lavender Blue and White Iris

Lavender Blue

The spring flowers bloomed a little later this year because of the very wet spring and an unexpected snowstorm in May. And I have been busy with commissioned portraits so my spring flower paintings are even later. But the greatest thing about flower paintings is that they never wilt, they just keep on blooming and we can relive the early days of spring all day long.

The iris is a most welcome early sign of spring to me. After a long, hard winter - and any winter in Iowa is long and hard, no matter how short and gentle may seem - anything with green foliage and bright color is a welcome sight. Of course we have the really early harbingers of the new season -  the hyacinth, tulips and daffodils -  but there is something mind blowing about seeing this gorgeous, exotic plant coming up out of the ground. They are regal and majestic and every bit as beautiful to me as orchids. They take me back to some of the happier times of my childhood. My mother loved iris. they were easy to care for and quite prolific, so there were always plenty around. Of course back then all we had were the purple and yellow varieties, and sometimes those that were a strange sort of mixture of the two. Most of them were small, some were downright tiny, but they produced a lot of joy for very little money. Usually they came from friends or were traded with others so no money changed hands at all.  Now they are available in every color imaginable - well, they may have been available then, but not affordable, at least not for us.  Every year I gaze with astonishment at the glorious array of pink, maroon, peach, blue, purple, white and yes, even black ones that suddenly appear in the garden. I think of Mom again and hope that there are flowers in heaven for her to enjoy along the way.  If there hadn't been, I imagine she has planted more than a few gardens by now.

This painting is acrylic on canvas, 8 x 10 and is available through my gallery, The Creative Spirit Gallery.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Beautiful Brittany Acrylic Painting

Acrylic on stretched, wrapped canvas

Beautiful Brittany, sometimes known as a Brittany Spaniel, but its features more closely resemble a setter or a pointer. I love the alert, intelligent expression and those wonderful eyes. This painting is part of my series titled, "When I Look In Your Eyes," inspired by the song of the same name from the musical Dr. Doolittle.  This one has a job to do and he is ready to get started.  Besides being a hard worker he is a devoted companion and a loving friend. 

In general dogs tend to be emotional and expressive people which is probably why we like them so much. You never have to wonder what they really think of you because it usually becomes fairly obvious within the first few minutes. And you don't have to worry about them criticizing you or talking behind your back. They would never do anything to hurt your feelings or even make fun of you. They are loyal and forgiving to a fault. All things considered they make better friends than we do.  

When it comes to loving perfectly and unconditionally, dogs have it down pat. But I still need a little work...

 Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, Doesn't have a swelled head, Doesn't force itself on others, Isn't always "me first," Doesn't fly off the handle, Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,  Doesn't revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,  Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.  Love never dies.  1 Corinthians 13: 4-8, The Message Bible

Look for the Brittany on Art Helping Animals and The Chisholm Trail blogs. To purchase or view that and other recent paintings ( a good idea!) visit my online gallery, The Creative Spirit Gallery

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Wolf Wildlife Acrylic Painting

Be sure to check out available artwork in my new Creative Spirit Gallery


Wolf. The word evokes feelings of both terror and fascination. All sorts of human behavior has been attributed to this animal. We hear of the lone wolf, the wolf in sheep's clothing, the  infamous wolf whistle and the wolf at the door. Be careful of the wolf pack, and don't let anyone throw you to the wolves.  And of course the wolf is legendary not only for his spine tingling howl but for his relentless pursuit of the ladies.  Yet in spite of all his fame we really don't know much about him and it may be  that very lack of understanding which serves to perpetuate his myth. In truth, he isn't that much different from other animals. His focus is survival, which includes he search for food and protection from harm. Like many of us he is a carnivore, but  while humans will often purchase their meat from stores, he has to hunt his own.  Unfortunately the wolf can not recognize any difference between an elk and a domestic cow or sheep. Neither does he understand the concept of a loving pet yet he is believed to be the ancestor of our domesticated dogs. We have all seen similarities both in the appearance and behaviors of wolves and dogs. But in some ways they also resemble us. Wolves run in packs which might be said are similar to human families. They hunt, live and eat together just like a family, they work and even play together and they protect each other. Who is to say whether or not the bonds that hold them might be something akin to love?  I do not know and I don't believe anyone else really knows for sure, but I do know that he is a beautiful and breath taking animal, as are all of God's creatures, and he might have something to teach us if we would only listen.

This is an acrylic painting on stretched canvas 11 x 14.  It and other paintings are available through The Creative Spirit Gallery, my online gallery.  Click on the link to visit.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Family Portrait Graphite Drawing Commission

"Family isn't the most important thing. Family is everything."  Michael J. Fox

This is one of my favorite family group commissions. The photos, taken during the 1940's, fascinated me not only because of the era they portrayed, but also because of the beauty and vibrancy of the four young sisters. There is one sister still living who commissioned the portraits.  She asked me to copy a special poem titled "Sisters" in the center of the drawing.  It always blesses me to be able to create something that touches the heart and brings comfort to someone.  The two framed drawings are the parents, and the drawing of the four sisters had not yet been framed when this photo was taken. This is an informal snapshot and you can probably make out some of our framing tools in the background.

Webster defines family as "a group of people related to one another by blood or marriage,"or "a group consisting of parents and children living together in the same household." Although those words may attempt to define it, they do not begin to describe the magnificent, astonishing, and oftentimes volatile experience of living in a family group.  It is God's gift to humankind, and, like many of God's gifts, "family" is a growing experience.  As families are imperfect and, as they are made up of imperfect people, they are the perfect training ground for living in an imperfect world. There are times when we are the best of friends, other times we wonder what God was thinking when He put us all together.  We eventually grow up and some of us marry and begin the process all over again with families of our own.  Family ties are not static; they shift around to make room for more bonds - spouses, children, grandchildren but, whether we like it or not, they never completely disappear.  And that is the just the way God planned it. Because, as everyone who watches retro television knows, Father Knows Best - Our Heavenly Father, that is.
And Michael J. Fox is probably right!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Resurrection Day!!! Happy Easter!

My favorite Easter video!  A blessed Resurrection Day!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Little Girl in a White Dress

Little Lady in a White Dress
Watercolor, 10 x 14

Once upon a time, little girls dressed in pastel dresses and white shoes and pulled their hair up and they said "yes, ma'am and no, ma'am" and they played with baby dolls and were taught to speak only when they were spoken to.  In those days they were all expected to be good girls and never climb trees or get their clothes or faces dirty. They were supposed to do well in school and be ladylike at all times, and never argue or complain. They idolized people like Florence Nightingale or Eleanor Roosevelt or Jackie Kennedy and they hoped someday to marry a nice man and raise a houseful of kids. Other career options were somewhat limited, although eventually it was considered acceptable  to become a secretary, teacher or nurse. All the restrictions they experienced made them look and act pretty much alike.

Or so it seemed.  Those days were at the same time the good old days and the bad old days but they have disappeared forever.

Today little girls wear tee shirts and blue jeans or, for "dress up," brightly colored tops with tights or leggings, depending on the current trend. They have their own brands of lipstick and eyeshadow and  their ears and sometimes other body parts are pierced at a very early age.  They text and twitter continually, but can't write or speak a sentence that makes sense. Their hair can be any color of the rainbow and they don't have to comb it if they don't want to. They still don't climb trees much, but they do wrestle and play football and they don't particularly care if they get their clothes dirty because they want a new outfit anyway.  They speak pretty much whenever and whatever they want, and they don't have to listen to anybody. They have the opportunity to follow any dream they might have and become anything they want to be, but often don't set their sights much beyond Lady Gaga.  And, despite their freedom and individuality, they all still seem to look and act pretty much alike.

We've come a long way, Baby. But we still have a long way to go.

Funny, this isn't at all the blog I intended to write for this painting. Chalk it up to "mid-winter madness" and please accept my apologies.  It was intended to be a lovely, nostalgic piece about white dresses and summer and I planned on also reposting another painting, a pastel with a similar theme.  Think I will post it anyway, because it is one of my favorites.  By the way, Little Girl in a White Dress is a watercolor, 10 x 14. It is matted and ready to frame. It will be listed on Art Helping Animals, Daily Painters, Chisholm Trail Art and will be for sale in my Zibbet Shop.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Rose Floral Oil Painting by Della Burgus

Song of Praise
Oil on Gallery Wrapped Canvas
12 x 12 x 1.5

One of my favorite roses from the garden. The center is a a deep orangish red which quickly pales to a light pink salmon and then to cream colored outer petals.  I have no idea of the name of this particular variety but it is beautiful and the fragrance is out of this world. When I see a rose, or any other flower for that matter, I want to bury my nose in the blossom and fill my lungs with the fragrance. I did this painting with that point of view in mind. Did  you know that some of the modern varieties of roses, and many of those found in floral shops, have very little fragrance or even none at all? A number of the newer varieties have been bred for their size, color and long lasting blooms.  In order to gain all that, the fragrance has been lost. There is a lesson in there somewhere. Could it be that in our desire to create something bigger and tougher, we have lost its very essence? Is big and long lasting really better  than delicate and sweet smelling? Maybe, just maybe, God had the best idea in the first place.
And as I was thinking this morning, that goes for people too. We seem to waste a lot of time trying to remake each other into our own image, when we could be enjoying and appreciating all the wonderful, beautiful creations that God made. While it is true that we all could use a little work, it is really God's job to fix things not ours and, believe it or not, He can handle it. After all hasn't He  managed quite beautifully all these millennia without anyone's help? And the really great thing is, He knows our flaws and somehow manages to love us anyway. Maybe if we would try to do the same, it would be a happier world.

This painting is on gallery wrapped canvas, 1.5 inches thick. All edges have been painted, no fasteners show. It is intended to be displayed without a frame. It has been listed on Chisholm Trail Art, Daily Painters Gallery, Art Helping Animals and is available from my Zibbet Shop, Art by Della Burgus.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Simple Pleasures Cat on a Red Cushion

Simple Pleasures
My Favorite Chair
Pastel, 8 x 9

We can learn a lot from our pets, things like unconditional love, living in the moment, and refusing to let anything keep you from enjoying life.  One of the most important lessons they can teach us is the value of simple pleasures.  A favorite chair, snoozing in the sun, food when they are hungry, a spool of thread or a ball of yarn to bat around. I have seen cats entertain themselves for hours with nothing but their own shadows to chase.  In the overall scheme of things what really adds to the quality of life. Newer toys, more impressive cars, designer clothes,  a bigger house?  Is that what is meant by quality of life?  Sometimes those things only distract us from the real business of living and add even more stress to our lives.  Our pets have it figured out - as long as they have someone who loves and needs them, something to to with their lives, enough to eat and a favorite place to hang out, life is good.  This week I saw some photos of our grown son going sledding.  His dogs were also in the pictures and it was really hard to tell who was having more fun. I don't think they did any actual sledding themselves, though they might have, but really mattered to them was that they were outside enjoying the fresh air,  running in the snow and spending time with people they loved.  Now that is really living!

This pastel is matted to a standard 12 x 16 inch size for easier framing. It has been listed on Daily Painters, The Chisholm Trail Art, and Art Helping Animals and is available through my shop Art By Della Burgus in the Zibbet  Online Art Gallery