Sunday, July 19, 2015

Four More Questions by Phyllis Wharton Smith to Pet Artist Adrienne Bea Smith

Phyllis:  Continuing from the last interview, I thought I would ask some more questions to you. What is your philosophy behind the process of drawing?

Adrienne:  First of all, I do not believe in blending and smudging. I feel pencil marks give a sense of spontaneity to the drawing. I love the aspect of layering which gives depth to the drawing. In life there are layers and layers to human or animal form and I wanted to show that in rendering. This therefore gives energy and an expressive quality to the art process. Most of my training is by observing what the masters did in the process of creating e.g. Rembrandt and Rubens. I also love Van Gogh’s energy in his marks.

Phyllis:  Have you worked in other media?

Adrienne:  Yes, oils and everything to do with paint and drawing. I don’t work with oils now, because of the toxic nature of them. I used to work very large but I find that it is hard transporting and crating them. I love large paintings because you feel like you can walk into a painting. I also love the feeling you get when you paint since you are literally doing a dance with the paint. Your strokes can be broad and expansive with your movement.  After all is said in done though I love working small as well. And it is great to work in a variety of sizes.

Phyllis:  I understand you lived in Europe. Where was that specifically?

Adrienne:  I lived approximately 20 years in England and went back to Art College in Preston England as a mature student at 37 years of age. I also lived in Lund Sweden and Paris, France. I started to paint after my children were born by painting a mural on their bedroom wall. Through several adult education classes, I compiled an art portfolio for acceptance to art school. While living in Lund, Sweden I also took art classes and was tutored by an art instructor. As you can see I am an advocate of art practice at any age.

Phyllis:  What were your influences growing up?

Adrienne:  My father was talented in drawing. I used to watch him do marvelous doodles (amazing cartoons). I also was fortunate to grow up in a home designed for my father by Frank Lloyd Wright. So in a sense I could say I lived surrounded by art. When my family went on vacation, we went to visit Wright architecture around the USA. I also like the expressive and performance arts like drama and dance having done a first degree in theater. My mother used to say I used to dance through houses when I was young. Having grown up in Chicago, the Art Institute heavily influenced me. I used to study the paintings at that museum which had a marvelous impressionist and modern collection of art.

Phyllis: Thank you so much Adrienne for letting me ask you these questions. You can see Adrienne’s work on    Also visit of Poodle Love Icon Series on Facebook

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Interview of 11 questions by Phyllis Wharton Smith with Artist Adrienne Bea Smith

Phyllis:  I have several questions to ask you about your work. First of all what is your experience and training?

Adrienne:   I have a BA Fine Arts Degree from University of Lancashire, Preston England in addition to having a BA degree in Drama for U of I at Chicago.  I lived in England for 20 years. I have exhibited in Europe and U.S.A in all painting media. I also have over 25 years teaching at community colleges in England, Arizona and New York State as well as community centers and private tuition in drawing and painting. My husband and I were owners and curators of The Main Street Gallery near Ithaca, NY having over 54 exhibitions giving the opportunity of showing other artists’ work in a gallery setting.

PhyllisYou seem to be doing a lot of pet portraits particularly poodles. How did that start?

Adrienne:  Well, first and foremost I have a love of animals. I always wanted to do portraits and since having poodles, first Gorky and then Lichen, it seemed to be a natural choice of doing pets as portraits.

Phyllis:  Did you leave teaching to do this?

Adrienne:  Lots of things happened all at once. We decided to leave upstate New York, sell the gallery, our house and move to Baltimore. I had to leave teaching, because I was experiencing a lot of pain in what I thought was my back. I had trouble walking.  Once we arrived in Baltimore, I realized, after seeing a surgeon, I required bilateral hip replacement surgery. I had the surgery which was successful. As I was retirement age, I wanted to work from home and it was logical to do art related to poodles and pets that I love.

Phyllis:  How do you start one of your drawings?

Adrienne:  First of all, I try and obtain clear photos of the subject matter for custom work. If not, I will work with what I am given. Then I use pencil guidelines to start the drawing.

Phyllis: I thought you used ink.

Adrienne:   After the guidelines in pencil, I create detail and form with hatching and cross hatching in ink.  Then I use watercolor to give color and more detail.

Phyllis:  Do you also render portraits in colored pencil?

Adrienne:  Yes, I do. This is a much more lengthy process of layering and detail of form to capture the essence and spirit of the pet subject. I love to capture movement, texture and the expressive quality of the pet portrayed.

Phyllis:  Do you offer originals, prints or both?

Adrienne:  I only offer originals and I do not deal with print reproductions (giclees etc.) I want to keep the process of hand drawing and painting alive which promotes the human quality.

Phyllis:  Are your prices affordable?

Adrienne:  I offer different services at affordable prices to allow for people of all means to purchase an original.

Phyllis: What is a vignette?

Adrienne:  A vignette is a drawing that shades off into the surrounding paper. My drawings have a vignette quality.

Phyllis:  How long does it take to execute a drawing?

Adrienne:  I allow for two to three weeks considering I have other commissions to complete.

Phyllis: I noticed that you also render vignettes of pets in settings. How do you come up with your ideas?

Adrienne: Sometimes the customer is very precise about what they want for custom vignettes. The ones I create independent of custom work are taken from my own ideas and experiences.

Phyllis: Thanks for this insight into your work.  For more information check on

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cats, Cats, Cats

Well, it has been a long time in between writing. So many things have happened in my life. Today my Mum just happened to mention cats and I stopped dead in my tracks. I could hardly contain myself. My Mum said my eyes got really big. I would really like to have one to play with, but Mummy is very allergic to them (whatever that means). I think she gets very sick when around them.

Why am I fascinated? Well, first of all they give off a really nice odor. I can smell them a mile away. I can tell if they come on my porch and sniff the steps every morning to find the tell tale signs of them. Also, they run free and don't wear a leash. And they look at me as if to say catch me if you can. I am at a disadvantage, because I can't get out of my yard.  I cornered a cat in my yard one time but I didn't know what to do. Daddy came and took me away.  All I want to do is play with them.

When I go on 36th street in Baltimore there is this one particular cat that sits and lies down in a shop window. When I go on a walk with my parents I look for him. I can hear him hissing through the window. I always have to race to get to see him. I wonder what he would do if I managed to touch him.

I have not been brought up with cats so I suppose I will not get too near to them, but I can look and feel the rush of spotting one each day.

Cat in window on 36th Street. Jeesh!!!!

This is what I do when I do some cat watching.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tale 14 - The Snip

Hello Everybody!!! It's been a long time since my last tale. I have been very busy as only a standard poodle would be. This tale is a difficult part of my life, because I was very unhappy and in pain so I will try and relate my story.

One day in October, my parents took me to my doctor or vet as they called it. The vet took me in their back room without my parents. I was okay about this, but I felt a bit strange without them there. They took some blood from me. And then I just waited. Before I knew it my parents were there.

I was told later by my parents that I had a high liver count and that was why I went home so quickly. My Mom had been feeding me duck tenderloins as treats and she thought that was why I had problems with my liver. I absolutely LOVED them, but I could not have them any longer. Also Mum found out that they were from China which of course I knew nothing about. I only knew my home in upstate New York. My Dad who was good at baking started making me liver treats and I was very happy to have them. I soon forgot about the duck tenderloins.

Before I knew it I was back at the vets. I had some blood taken from me again. Everything was alright.  Then suddenly I felt a little prick and then I don't remember anything that happened. When I woke up, I felt tired, a little lighter on the back end with a little pain. I was walking but not so straight. The vet put on this thing on my neck.  Boy did I hate it!

My parents did not think that the collar was working very well so they put some fabric on my butt. If I could get to it I would chew it all up, because I LOVE fabric. They also sprayed the underpants with bitter apple which I DETEST. I had to wear these underpants for two weeks and my parents were always laughing every time they saw me.

I am so glad that I don't have to wear the underpants anymore. I can feel the wind between my legs. I still like to sniff doggies' butts,  and sit in the sun with my willy out.  After all that's said and done I still like a good bitch.

P.S. My Mummy thinks this is a little bit coarse, but what the _ _ _ _

This is me after the snip.

This is me on the catwalk
I must say I like a bit of trash

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tale 13 - No Picnic for Lichen (continued)

To continue from last week, I couldn't run for three weeks. I could only go out for potty breaks. What was I to do for all that time. For me, it was all the same  to continue playing and running. I would just hurt a lot. Because of the pain, I had trouble keeping my head up, but to give up play and running was not on my agenda. You see I was still a young thing and that is what young things do.

My parents had other plans however. They watched me continually. First of all, from the previous tale I told you that they took me on trips in the car down to Ithaca. I liked that very  much. One day they gave me a large box and I could tear it apart on the porch. I LOVED that. The box kept me occupied for a long time. I really took pleasure in tasting the cardboard in my mouth and seeing the box become smaller and smaller. It brought a smile to my face and I forgot about my pain.

My parents gave me bully sticks. My mouth waters every time I think of them. They also taught me lots of tricks like high five, paw, roll over, stay, back, leave it etc. in a training session every evening. I caught on very quickly especially since I got a treat after each trick. I LOVE those treats.

Also my parents started playing a game called Find Cheese. I had to sit outside the mud room and wait for either my Mum and Dad to hide the cheese. I then had to find it by my nose.

Before I knew it, I was better. I don't want to go through that again.

Here I am tearing apart the box.

 Here is a photo of me looking for bugs which is a favorite pastime of mine
Another of me with a bully stick
A video of me finding tasty cheese.
Here I am rolling over for Mum. I got tired of that.

And the last video is of me Turning on a Box.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Tale 12 - No Picnic for Lichen

Happy New Year everybody! I don't know what that means, but I heard Mummy and Daddy saying it to each other.

Well, I  have been avoiding telling this story, because just the thought of it brings back pain to me.  I LOVED the dog park so much, particularly the chase of all sorts of dogs. One day in early summer, I was having so much fun running at the dog park. There were so many dogs. I was having difficulty deciding which dog to play and run. I was flitting from one dog to the next. This dog park was especially big so I could really pick up speed. I was running around the trees which were in the shade. One very little dog caught my eye and I started running after him. We were running circles around the picnic table and kicking up dust. I only had eyes for this dog and all of a sudden WHAM I hit the broken side of the picnic table. I don't remember much but the pain was so bad. I screamed and screamed and suddenly Daddy was there holding me. I was in so much pain. My parents said the sound I was making was so horrible.

My shoulder was in such pain, but I managed to get up. Daddy and mummy were so concerned and they took me to what they call a hospital. Several people with white coats came to look at me. I was still hurting but I didn't want to show it. These people felt me all over and I was made to walk several times. I tried my best because I liked these new people.

My parents told me that I had to rest and couldn't play ball which I very much wanted to do. All I could do was go out to do my business, sleep and eat. BORING!!!! Even though I must admit eating is fun.

I then visited my vet the next day and she told my parents that I must rest for THREE WEEKS. One day is too long for me. I don't know what three weeks is but I think it is a lot of one days. The vet said I had a shoulder soft tissue injury. I said to myself I am going to be more careful next time if I ever get to run again. I think I have learned my lesson.  I have to take note of things like picnic tables while running.

My parents told me they were going to start a new program for me so that life would be more interesting without running and playing. The first thing they did was start taking me on round trips in the car down to Ithaca and the harbor. There were other things which they started doing which will take another story. So stay tuned. TO BE CONTINUED.

Here I am in the car with the windows open:

Here I am at the harbor after the ride. I couldn't take walks, runs etc. but I could look at the boats and the beautiful water.

Here I am under house rest. Hard to keep me down. I feel sorry just a little bit for my parents.

Here is a taste of what will happen next. Try to guess!!!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Tale 11 - First Playdate with India and Skye

I just heard that my friend Skye went to the Rainbow Bridge. I miss him every day since I moved from Upstate NY to Baltimore MD. This tale is in memory of Skye. .  My mummy told me that they were Afghan dogs and boy could they run fast. I was little compared to them and I was so excited to have them come to my house. When I saw them I just wanted to play and run. Skye took a particular liking to me so we wrestled and followed one another. India was the leader of the pack so I had to respect him. I wanted to play with India, but he wouldn't have it. He watched over Skye. One of the times I tried to come too close to Skye and I jumped high and actually went over his back. I just got up and wanted more fun. I also liked their mummy Mariann and daddy Bill.  I was very tired but happy after my first play date with them. Playing is such hard work. What great playmates they were! Skye can now play with my brother Gorky. I am sure he is having fun. India has a new brother Oz now. I think they must be the best of friends and India is watching over Oz like he did with Skye.
Here is India (in front) and Skye (in back)
Here are all three of us together looking somewhere I can't remember.

Here I am trying to impress the two of them. I only had eyes for the two of them. This is serious business to play.

What am I doing here? I wonder ha! There really is a pecking order going on here. I sure am last.

Here I am giving into Skye. I could lick him all the time. I have grown out of this, but I couldn't help it, I liked him so much.
India's smiling face.
Here is a link to our play together that day on