Friday, July 31, 2009

The Quandry

"I am in a quandry," said Crow to Coyote (if my spirit guide isn't a crow, I'm sure it would be coyote! Another favorite of mine.)
"What do I tell of this life explosion? How much do I reveal? This is about the journey of art. It is not about betrayal and despair. But all of life's experiences make up what each being is and how he sees the world. What do I tell of this time? I need council, oh sly one."
Said Coyote, "I will think on it..."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lion WIP- the painting begun...

I began this piece by using a new technic I have just begun to explore- a form of grisaille. Grisaille is a monochrome painting using shades of gray only (sometimes brown). I, being self-taught, and not knowing I was using a technic used by the old masters, began with a blue-gray tone, which I happen to like.

I then began to add a bit of color...

and more color...

I am enjoying working in this way and plan to continue to explore with this technic.

Once Upon a Time...Lost

Then life exploded...

and art was lost...

the woman's spirit began to disappear...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Once Upon a Time...puzzle pieces

Do you realize life is like a jigssaw puzzle. We've lost the boxlid, so we just have to blindly fit the pieces, and as we go along if we look we can begin to see the larger picture. The old saying "with age comes wisdom" is so true.
Looking back over the years of the girl's life, one could see the need to be creative all along. Creativity and artistry come in many forms. The girl began knitting, doing crewel work, painting on barn boards, carving small figures, and creating her own recipes (entering them in contests, and sometimes winning! Pillsbury Bake-Off, 1988, what a wonderful experience!) That creative spirit came out in many forms over the years, but it was always a driving force.
The girl/woman was happy in her role as wife and mother but did not realize she was getting "lost" in other peoples lives. No where was she "someone", rather she was "someone's mother" or "wife". She did not mind this but as she became more known in the carving world and became "someone" herself, with people knowing who she was and giving her respect for her work, it suddenly became clear to her how lost she had been. The carving world became her life- she would live for the shows and classes, and work toward them in between times. She still loved her family just as much, but this world filled a huge void in her life. Art became her life.
Meanwhile, her second world was filled with joy and wonder. She and her family moved to 11 acres in the country, teeming with wildlife. Deer, racoons, turkeys, woodducks, pheasants, foxes, bobcats, 67 different birds seen from her own yard (jays, woodpeckers, warblers, quail, finches, sparrows, eagles, hawks, etc.) They fed the deer and enjoyed all the little creatures that ventured out for the corn, and laughed at the antics of the different animals that made their home right out the back door. The woman had gardens (sometimes sharing her bounty with the deer and bunnies...)- vegetables to feed her family, flowers to feed her soul. The flower beds were all around her home and extended out around the acreage. A large fishpond in the backyard attracted woodducks, turtles, and frogs. She would pick wild berries, feeling the pull of women of the past gathering for their families, remembering her pioneer heritage as she gathered in the goodness. She wandered those acres until even now she can close her eyes and follow the paths step by step in her memory, seeing each tree and bush as they were. She called it her "little piece of heaven"- and for 20 years she lived in joy...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lion WIP

I've started a lion- I am hoping to make him dramatic so I did a value study to fix it in my mind better. It was hard to photograph as it does not lie flat- I tried something new (a new toy!)- a water-soluable pencil- so since I didn't use wc paper it "wrinkled up" a bit. I ironed it (!) which helped... anyway, here's the beginning of the idea.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Meerkats completed

Finished. Thought they were, brought them up for an "overnight"- I didn't like the light (or lack thereof) in their eyes, just too dim, so back to the studio for a touchup. Onward to the next piece. :-)
Remember- these are miniatures. This piece is only 3" x 2". So you are seeing it pretty close to actual size on your computer (depending on your computer ofcourse).

Once Upon a Time... con't.

The young girl didn't know what she wanted to do as a "career". All she knew was she wanted to be a wife and a mother. Her younger years had been spent loving and nurturing animals and it was natural for her to want to continue that in a more personal way with her own family. Many artists speak of "painting or drawing since they can remember". This girl did draw, but the only things she can remember drawing were horses. And more horses. It was about the horses, not the drawing. She did not know she had a calling to do art. She only knew she loved animals and adored horses and dogs. She went off to college for a year- still not knowing what she would do for a major- taking her horse with her ofcourse. At the end of that year she was no wiser in where her path would take her and so she got a job, sold her horse- there just wasn't time for Cassie (the horse) any longer. She now lived in a grown-up world of jobs and dating and trying to catch up on sleep. She never went back to college. Her dream of wife and mother became a reality and for 25 years she was blissfully happy raising her family, caring for them, and doing all that entailed. When her children were very small she met a woodcarver. He encouraged her to try it as she was already doing small paintings on barnboards of wildlife. (What else?!!!) She was immediately hooked. Always looking younger than her actual years, the fellows, nearly all older men as it was seemingly an old man's hobby (this was many moons ago remember)- those fellows thought she was just a kid playing with knives! Boy, she sure did fool them. She asked questions, carved in the middle of the night (knives and small children don't mix), and kept on learning. She became just "one of the guys" and a buddy. Then slowly she improved enough that they began to come to HER for answers! She began instructing, competing, and judging the carving all over the country and Canada. It was a wonderful life...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Once Upon a Time...

Someone has mentioned folks like to hear stories, be they history, folk, or perhaps even our own. So I decided to tell you a bit of my story. About how I came to do my artwork, how animals became such a huge part of my life, and how I seemed to "drink in" things like anatomy without knowing it. Since I am not an author (at least not yet!) what better way to begin than the old standby.

The photo above is my storyteller- I love crows, they are so intelligent, so maligned, and so successful. If I were an American Indian I believe my spirit guide would be a crow...

Once upon a time...
there was a little girl who was an only child (an "unspoiled one"!) who was moved to new homes a number of times and became very shy and withdrawn. (I know, I know- those of you who know me are beginning to think this really IS a fairy tale!) Her best friends became books and animals. She saw the animals in every setting she might encounter them and her total focus was on the animal. As she grew older she was lucky enough to have a horse as well as several dogs, and she brushed that horse and rode that horse so often and consistently that they became best friends and she learned to "feel" anatomy without realizing it. But she didn't know what she wanted to be when she "grew up"...

OK, that's enough for today. I'm not sure whether I should tell you too much of the early stuff or just fast forward. So I'll have to think about it- and if you read this and have a preference, just let me know! This blog is all about my readers and what might interest them- I definitely don't want to bore you all!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Meerkats Mini WIP

I've been working on a new mini of meerkats I saw while in San Diego last year. I have wanted to paint them ever since. Finally got to it- I have so many things I want to paint... so many subjects, so little time!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lightfastness test

I want to use only top quality materials so I can offer my clients/collectors only the best possible artwork that I can. I did a lightfastness test with some of my gouache paints- it's been a year- I painted 3 "swatches" of each color, labeled them (the ink disappeared on the labeling of the 2 that were exposed to the sun). One was painted only, one was painted and sprayed with a spray that was supposed to help protect against UV rays, and the 3rd was covered. I am amazed at the results. They really held well. The more major change was the lemon yellow which turned to more of a light ochre. The mauve (purple) lightened a tiny bit, and the sprayed rose lightened a bit! The unsprayed rose lightened a tiny bit, but less than the "protected" sprayed one! The rest of the colors held very well. This was direct sun exposure for over a year (to make up for some rainy/cloudy days)! You should never, ever put artwork exposed to direct sun, or even indirect (bounced off a wall for example- I learned that the hard way unfortunately, didn't even think about it). So I will feel confident when I use these paints. I intend to do the same test with my acrylics and caseins just for fun, but that will take another year!!!
Thought you might all like to see the results. The colors may not be totally true/perfect to what they really are- I did the best I could quickly, but every computer is different too. But you can see that there is very little change. It's a simple test for other artists to do and for collectors it's nice for them to feel that the work they purchase is as top quality as possible. This is more than a lifetime investment- it is hopefully an heirloom they can pass down for their future generations to enjoy as well.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Egret I forgot (deleted accidentally)!

I somehow got 2 Sammie photos and thought I had deleted one, must have also deleted the egret!!! Never noticed until now! Ooooopppppsss! So here he is. I just kept re-working the water until I was finally satisfied with it.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Taking the good with the sad...

Dec.15, 2000-June 24, 2009

I finally managed today to find time to finish the egret- I kept finding things I wanted to change on him- well, actually on the background. I do still have one tiny little thing I want to fix, but I'll call him done for now. I am finally fairly satisfied. Let me know what you think.
I was out of town for nearly 2 weeks, the main theme being "reference, reference"! I took a ton of photos so I should have something to paint this winter!!!
I spent last week out in the countryside shooting photos and re-connecting with the beautiful vistas to be found in the midwest. I drove nearly 1,000 miles doing it so I saw alot of vistas! I'll give you just a peek at some of the things I saw and enjoyed. I have "plans" for alot of landscapes- hopefully this winter.

While I was away, the day after I left I lost my best buddy- my Sammie must have had a heart attack in the heat or something, altho apparently he wasn't outside all that long. So I am without my little man and am heartbroken over it. I plan to do a painting of him when I can find the time. Meanwhile, his last babies are growing up fast. One has been sold- before it was even born! So 2 remain to find homes, and I'm in no hurry.