Saturday, December 7, 2013

Casallo with Hazzy & Blanche #2

Casallo with Hazzy & Blanche #2, originally uploaded by debifitz.

Back ground coming along. I just love the fall colors! We do not get much of that here in Florida… probably why I like this background so much! You may also notice that when doing this drawing I tried to mark some of the white in this horses dapples. He is a really beautiful animal… but those dapples are going to drive me to drink!! My friend Bob, who owned this horse at the time, mentioned to me that he had a special horse he wanted done while I was at this horse show in Va.. While visiting with a friend under the main tent, we saw this magnificent dappled gray horse coming up to the ring. We could not see the rider because of the other tents. My friend commented that I should take a photo and just do a pastel of it… I of course said "NO WAY! All those dapples will drive me crazy!" And then it occurred to me that it might possibly be Bob's horse… sure enough! I walked out and there was Bob sitting on top!! The only thing harder than a gray dappled horse is a bay dappled horse… you have to be much more subtle with the bay to get that richness.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Casallo with Hazzy & Blanche #1

Casallo with Hazzy & Blanche #1, originally uploaded by debifitz.

Here is my next progression… I took the photos in Virginia while at a horse show in july… it was 104 degrees in the shade!!!! I was so surprised to get any decent photos. Everyone (I mean everyone!… canine, equine and human!) was panting. I did not even want to take photos!! I managed to get these guys though. The portrait was commissioned by a friend. He did not want the horse show grounds for the BG. But did want it to look like the hills in Va. This BG is actually from the Tryon, N.C. area… close enough!! Love doing the purple/blue hills!! I have used this exact BG in 2 previous portraits… I guess it is one of my favorites!!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Danny and Ron's Rescue calendar cover 2014

I have been playing catch up with my work lately… jumping from one piece right into another… my only excuse for not posting! But that also means I have a bunch to put on here!

But first I want to share the 2014 calendar cover for Danny and Ron's Rescue. I do this for them every year. They are wonderful people and great friends! I believe this is the 5th cover I have had the privilege of creating for their cause. To date they have found forever homes for over 5300 dogs! I have also completed a christmas card for them. But they have decided to wait until next year to market it. It is my first Christmas card attempt and it was lots of fun! I will be very curious to see how it does. A lot of their big donors had already purchased their cards for this year… so they opted to wait. They are also going to sell it by the box of 10 at their horse shows. I will post it here next!!

This cover is from their little pontoon boat that they have down in Wellington, Fl. And as usual, I packed it with their dogs and a few visitors. I took the photos on the lake behind their house last april… always a good time!

If you would like to purchase a calendar, go to their web site…

They are $25 each or 4 for $80 each… they make a great stocking stuffer… the months high light dogs that have found their forever homes because of them!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Petey, originally uploaded by debifitz.

Petey Done!…. sorry for being such a bad blogger! Went to a big family wedding and have been off track ever since. Picked up a couple of commissions along the way…always a good thing! And now trying to get back into my routine… although I can not seem to remember what that was!! I was busy working on the calendar cover for Danny and Ron's Rescue before the trip. And I also did a Christmas card for them this year and a logo for the humane society that they work out of in Camden,S.C.. BUSY! Although they are going to hold off the Christmas cards and promote it next year… a lot of their big donors had already ordered their Christmas cards for this year… so it was decided to save it for next year where they will have more time to market it properly… I will post them here though!!.. next blog!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Petey #5

Petey #5, originally uploaded by debifitz.
So sorry I have been bad about posting!!!! I can not believe that September is almost gone... my mind is still in August! Which between that month and February... can't decide which I dislike more! I am also doing my taxes :/ I have always filed in Oct... nothing like waiting to the last minute! Especially when you LOVE doing them (NOT!) I will try to get the rest of poor Petey's pics up soon!! He will be getting a complex from only being half complete for so long!!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Petey #4

Petey #4, originally uploaded by debifitz.
Working left to right... top to bottom. Usually I do this pose vertically, but the client wants it for a space over her fire place where a vertical will not fit. This background however becomes a subject in itself and makes up for it! I have been taking my time with it because the client is extremely particular about everything!! Do not want it coming back for touch ups!

I have also been working on the 2014 calendar cover for Danny and Ron's Rescue. The iPad and it's brilliant new Spider Arm has come in quite handy. I took some photos of it in action.... I can't show the calendar cover until the first of Oct... when it comes out! But you get a little sneak peek here! Also a glimpse into my studio...

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Petey #3

Petey #3, originally uploaded by debifitz.
Sorry I have not been on in a while... I just acquired an iPad!!! Been pining for one for a while now... to use in art work of course!! NO really! I have seen that a lot of artist are using them in place of photos for reference. I have started having issues with the co that does my printing. The photos always come out darker than what I am uploading from my computer. And my home printer's color is off. Not to mention, I was seeing the possibilities of using the iPad on the road as a portfolio and to show clients the photos that I take. I have a lap top that I have been using for a while now and I am worried about it dying on me. This way I have a back up for that also. But every time I save a few pennies, something comes up and empties the piggy bank! Well... Danny and Ron's Rescue to the rescue!! I got the most wonderful care package from them in the mail the end of last week.... an iPad 4!!! So I have been playing around with it all week. And I have started using it on their 2014 calendar cover that I am working on at the moment. I ordered an iPad armature for my work space... so that I do not have to hold it while I work. Got that yesterday and it is working beautifully! You should have seen what I rigged up while waiting for it to arrive!! I will post a pic of the new set up soon! Still getting used to the retina display instead of a photo. I will probably use both. But it is great for getting close ups for detail like hands and feet!

Back to Petey!! I do love the way this bg has turned out! In reality, the horse could not be standing on flat ground... there is a steep hill going up to the client's barn and home.  The client asked me to make it more realistic by changing the perspective of the ponds and fencing. That would have bunched them all up in the bottom third of the portrait. But compositionally, I like the way the fencing and ponds break up the piece horizontally. Petey and the pine tree are such strong vertical elements. And then I love the diagonal lines from the tree shadows soften it all.  I think this is one of my best back grounds!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Petey #2

Petey #2, originally uploaded by debifitz.

I am usually good about saving what I write for this blog before I upload it... just in case I lose it in the upload.... well I wrote this totally brilliant entry, was in a hurry, did NOT save it... and yes, I lost it!!! All about the composition and what the client wanted and how I ended up doing it... I don't have it in me to retype it... next post!!!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Petey #1

Petey #1, originally uploaded by debifitz.

19"X26" pastel on PastelMat

Here is my next work in progress to share. The horse is Petey. A hunter/jumper from Southern Pines, N.C.. Sweet guy... The back ground is part of the client's farm. Part of this is now owned by someone else, but was originally part of the family farm... so it is important to my client. So I am being a bit crazed about getting it just right. The client is a bit particular also... so I want her to be happy!! I actually love the way it is turning out... I love the sun light coming down through the trees. It gives lots of depth to the portrait.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Deya & Majee

Deya & Majee, originally uploaded by debifitz.
16"X20" pastel on PastelMat

This is a cute one I did not too long ago... I ended up doing back ground similar to a portrait I did of a springer spaniel last year.... the leaves became more pattern than realistic. I like this affect for small portraits. And believe it or not it is a little easier. I took the stepping stones from that portrait as well. I had the little dogs sitting on a outdoor table in their photographs... helps to keep the little guys from running around! And I do not have to lay down on the ground to take their pics!!

Friday, July 12, 2013


Dad&Me, originally uploaded by debifitz.

Over the years I had started making cards for my Dad. I would usually find great quotes or even borrow the sayings on father's day or cards (I always bought them before using!) I would go thru old photos and either cut them up and make collage cards or print them out on card stock and hand print the messages. This is all fine when I have the time... which I haven't in the last few years! And I am really bad about remembering Dad's birthday! It is the end of October... which is not close to any other family member's... not a great excuse... but that always helps! When I was in college, it was generally right before mid terms... I always forgot! Luckily he never failed to forgive me! Fathers are like that. One year while at school I was so proud of myself for finding the perfect card... well I did not read it very carefully... it was an Easter card. That was back in the days when they did not clear out the old cards from the stands! He got such a kick out of it! For my birthday (first of April) he sent me a money card for my barmitzvah! I have become known for being late with all cards. In fact it is usually considered a gift when they arrive on time!!

This year for father's day, I decided to do something a little more. I did this drawing from an old photos that I believe my grandfather took. He always loved taking photos of everyone all the time... nothing too exciting... just family lined up in front of the car or large flowering shrub! And you can tell he drove everyone a little nuts taking them all the time for every little event. I cherish each and everyone of them!

This is graphite on paper about 8"X12". But true to form... I have not given it to him yet!!! I decided to get it framed at the last minute and still have to ship it out! He knows something is coming and is being patient!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Char with Rita,Bruiser,Doc,&Ellie

I am sort of jumping right to the end of this one! The rock was a lot of "busy" work but it allowed me to use most of the colors that I have been working with in the subjects. Even a little of the greens from the back ground. Helps to tie the whole painting together. The dogs were easy but small... always filing down the pastels to sharp edges to get those little details in. Char's boots came out nicely also... I try to keep all those scuffs and scratches in there. Some people want me to make everything perfect... but I have had clients come up to me long after the portraits are done and hung on the walls to tell me that is one of their favorite parts... they KNOW that those are their boots! All those scuffs and scotches tell a story all their own!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Char with Rita,Bruiser,Doc,&Ellie #5

Sorry I have not posted this sooner... I have had family over and we have been building... or I should say rebuilding a hay and feed shed. We just got the roof and one wall up for now. But it is already SO much better than the one I had. Husband was fine with the old one... typical!! :) But the roof was gone and we just had a tarp to keep the rain off the hay. I would not let him repair the old roof... then I would be stuck with it forever! So handy brother-in-law came down and they tackled this.... I feed them and was gofer! We have tried to use as much of the old shed as was useable! And got wood from horse fencing to use as siding. The floor and loft storage will have to come later! But it is a start! and of course I did not get much work done!

This is what I have done with Char so far.... Luckily I am using the photo of Char that is actually with Ellie... makes life much easier when they have the same lighting.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Char with Rita, Bruiser,Doc,&Ellie #4

Finished up Rita. Next to work on Char.... I try to do the subjects, back to front also... And since Char is behind Ellie and the dogs, she is next. Dogs will be last. You also might note that there is some of Rita's colors in the background. It helps to pull everything together.

On a personal not... we made it through the first storm of the year... Andrea! The storm was not too much here (north central florida)... just a rainy windy day. But we did end up losing power for about 8 hours! But most of that was during the night! A good dry run... out of kerosine and batteries! Did not have to start the generator... probably should check it out too! Hope Andrea is not a harbinger for the season to come!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Char with Rita,Bruiser,Doc,&Ellie #2

I love doing grass that has lots of sunlit patches and shadows... it helps to give more depth to the back ground which in turn pushes the subjects forward... where they should be!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Char with Rita,Bruiser,Doc,&Ellie #1

This is one I did back in march... A little behind here!! It was a complicated one... started with Char the dogs and the horse on the left (Rita). Char was suppose to send me photos of a horse that had been retired up in NY state. Never could get a good shot that would work with what I had taken. Then she got this new mare... Ellie. So I convinced her to do this one in the group and that maybe later we could do one of the retired horse by himself. I took all the photos while she was here for the winters showing. Luckily the rock was still on the show grounds, so I could keep the light consistent. The back ground was from a different photo entirely... the show grounds were not very pretty this time of year. As you will see, it does all come together in the end! And she is happy!! Which is what matters the most! Well Char and me!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Naomi and Amazing ME (Maggie)

Naomi and Amazing ME, originally uploaded by debifitz.

Sorry I have not been blogging as of late. Got back from my last trip and jumped right into work. And I have been having a few computer problems the last few days... but have finally given in and have called the computer doctors! What a pain! But I thought I would share a few sweet photos that I took on the trip. I do have a few more wip's to share from before the trip.... just have to get back into the routine!

These pics are of a good friend of mine's mare with her first foal.... a beautiful little fillie! You may remember in earlier posts that I mentioned a friend and client that lost her battle with cancer... well this was her mare. I did a portrait of her when she was showing her.  Her mother was a partner in her horse business and has continued on for Margaret.  The sire of the foal is named Amazing... so the foal is going to be "Amazing ME" (the ME standing for "Margaret Edge" my friend!  Maggie for short!)   I will be doing a pastel portrait of one or a combination of photos! I got to the farm for the shoot and Naomi was covered in dried mud! And of course, no one was around. So I managed to find a curry and brush and did some work before I took the photos! She had been a princess show horse, and LOVED the grooming! Someone forgot to tell her that brood mares do not necessarily get groomed so often! This first one is my favorite with a few tweaks... open Naomi's eye and maybe move little Maggie back a bit.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Live Oak Inter 2013

Live Oak Inter 2013, originally uploaded by debifitz.
Here are some more photos from Live Oak International Combined Driving Competition. The only thing that would have made these photos better, was the sun! The weather was suppose to be really bad. The event got lucky... all the really bad weather hopped right over us both days. So I guess I should not complain about clouds. It only rained for about 20 minutes on sunday. And only 2 classes were cancelled. Should have been so much worse! There were tornadoes just south of Live Oak... could have been so much worse!!! We did get A LOT of wind also! You can see it in the spanish moss whipping in the wind. I do think you get better color when you do not have bright sun... the best light is a hazy sky. This was a little darker than that...  And the trees.... so lovely!  This farm is known for their magnificent trees!  What a fabulous setting for a show!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Live Oak Inter 2013

Live Oak Inter 2013, originally uploaded by debifitz.

Two weekends ago I got to attend the Live Oak International Combined Driving Event. It is similar to a three day event, where the horse and rider do dressage, cross country and then a stadium jumping class. When driving, they have basically the same thing... first day is a dressage class. They get all dressed up and go through their paces in front of judges. Second day they do a cross country class. There are a series of obstacles that they must go through. Small tennis balls at set on top of the obstacles... if the fall off, it is like dropping a rail and is a 4 point deduction from their score.It is also timed.  This day is really exciting! The obstacles include bridges, water, ravines, and lots of in and out fenced in closures. It is like a big fair... lots of tailgating and cheering! The 3rd day is an in the ring obstacle course of cones with the dreaded tennis balls on top. Just like jumping, there is a course that the team must navigate through without knocking off the tennis balls. 4 points for every ball that gets knocked off. And it is timed! They usually dress for this class also. They also included a jumper class this year which was fun!  Luckily I knew someone who knew someone and I got a media pass... so I was able to get in the ring and take photos.  But I actually find some of the best shots are in the warm up area. Here are a few of my favorites. I will post more of these for the next few days.... I have a hard time picking my favorites!!   Hope you all enjoy! I am itching to do a few of these as pastels and oils!

Friday, April 5, 2013

MaryClara & Scout #9

MaryClara & Scout #9, originally uploaded by debifitz.
pastel on PastelMat
private collection

All done! I am just so happy with the way this one came together. I love how I could repeat the colors from the back ground to the subjects and fore ground. I think that this is the sort of thing that no one really notices, but makes a big difference in the final piece. For instance... the purple grays from the spanish moss in the trees are also in Scout and Emma's chest. Also some purples are in MaryClara's jeans. And then I also have some of the blues from her jeans repeated in the grass. When I am working I leave all the pastels that I have used in the back ground in a wooden tray so that I can keep track of the colors. When I am finished with a piece, I always try to put all my pastels away. They are stored in an antique printers cabinet... each color has its own drawer.  When I start on a new piece, I can start fresh and do not have to hunt for specific colors. Also give me a chance to sweep up the dust... to make room for a new set of dust!

Monday, April 1, 2013

MaryClara & Scout #8

MaryClara & Scout #8, originally uploaded by debifitz.

pastel on PastelMat
private collection

Coming down the home stretch! The tack took some work... lots of little details. Sometimes I get a little too caught up in those details... but I want the client to be happy and do not want it to look like I pile of leather in the back ground. Now I will just be finishing up the grass and pulling it all together. I like to make sure that I use colors from the back ground also in the subjects and vice versa! I think it goes a long way to making my work... work! I don't want to have a "green" back ground and a "gray" horse... In nature colors are reflected all around us. It is what makes my subjects "fit" into their back grounds.... they are a part of it, as they really are. Hope that makes some sense!!

Sorry I have lax in posting... I had a big weekend here... I was taking photos at the Live Oak International Combined Driving and jumping competition. It is a really big deal! I have missed it in the past 2 years because it conflicted with the Aiken Steeplechase, which I did the poster for last year and photographed the year before. But I made up for it this year! I also was lucky enough to get a media pass... so I could get in the ring to shoot. But my favorite is taking photos in the warm up area... of the driving competition. I got some wonderful shots even though the weather was a little ifie! Some wild weather went through here... but the show got lucky... on saturday there was an 80% chance of severe weather.. it hopped over us and drenched everything north. On sunday the same scenario... but add high winds and tornadoes and hail... It bounced right over us and all that horrible weather was just south! Only 2 classes got cancelled. I will post some of my favorites in the next few days. I am hoping to do some collage work and possible get my work on their 2014 poster/program. And there are a few that are just begging to be pastels or oils! I also want to set up my work there next year... so I need some driving work!