Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Thrilla in Manila

"Dad in the Phillipines" - WIP (work in progress)
on Canson paper
Near the end of WWII, my dad was stationed in the Phillipines.
He was in the Army.
Mom and Dad have these great sepia colored photos of him in their albums. I borrowed this one...and had to give it a try today. I have lots more to do, but I like the way it's going.
I think, although I am using black and white charcoal pencil, I will fill in the sky with a grey blue and the treeline with a shadow green - we'll see.
Caution - don't eat a handful of Frito's and then work on your pastel. My left hand left grease marks at the bottom. Argh! It will be covered.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Where I Stand Sunday

We tend to operate within 'windows' in the winter. Opened and closed this one just right it seems. Just returned from a 4 day trip to see family in Kansas City, about 5 hours away. We both had a great visit...always a good time! It snowed there on Friday night. We traveled back yesterday, clear roads - just cold - then it was snowing here this morning. Dogs in the kennel for the 3 days made for very hoarse or altogether gone voices...they are pretty much gone which made the barking at this critter still scurry, but not at the usual great speed...brrr, hunkering down today.
Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing.
Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on.
The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Pastel for Today

6" x 6" pastel on Canson paper
My friend in Idaho has sent me several of her great photos. Her hub took a photo of two fawns on her property. I needed to change the way the photo shoot showed the first one looking away, and the second one was cut off, so I combined the two to make
this one fawn in my pastel on Sunday. It's a quickie..I think it needs a little more work on his chest, and the brown background, although it's not as important as the animal in this one. Not a portrait, but I liked creating the light from the left and like sketching out animals.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

While I Was at the Easel...

The world is moving forward again...can you feel it? I can. It is mind boggling to think what this one event today has brought forth. What a mighty piece of history is being made right now. I am thrilled to be able to watch it, savor the moment and enjoy the ride to tomorrow!!

Also exciting for today, (and if my friend Vern hadn't told me, I wouldn't know..) Karin Jurick's portrait challenge is featured on Charley Parker's "Lines and Colors" art blog. Charley's blog is one of those "well written, specific to art and artists and covers the gamet of mediums" kind of blogs. He highlights artists with fresh in-depth insight and content. If you go to Charley's blog, you can see my portrait of Victoria (who lives in Okinawa) - third on the top row, and others...the portrait Vern did is there as well, middle of bottom row.
It gives me goosebumps when I receive this type of recognition.
It's not what it's all about, but it sure is nice when it comes along!
P. S. Victoria also recently organized her awesome studio. Take a look. She has inspired me to do the same, as soon as I get back from Kansas City. Thanks Victoria!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Another Portrait for Today

"Deep Thought"

9" x 14" soft pastel and pastel pencil on Canson paper

Again, I used a b & w photo and challenged myself to see the colors in the face, mainly the lights and darks, I made up the was very fair in the photo, you could tell, lots of white. Most interesting in the photo were her eyes - very thoughtful and sort of lucid. Looking for the darkest darks, it was her eyebrows, surprisingly enough. The angle at which the photo was shot was interesting too, from above - looking down. The 3/4 face turn is difficult for me. Another reason to choose this pose. I see a little area under the chin that I need to rework, otherwise it's done. I imagined this person to be having a private conversation in her head - maybe trying to figure out what to do next.

Lucky number 13 of 15 - almost there!

A Portrait for Today

"Dressed in Red"
9" x 12" pastel on Canson paper
If you are like me, you gather resource material from far and wide. Some photos leave you thinking about what could be...this one was the case. It was a fairly obscure- non-descript black and white photo. I imagined it in color - I love red!

Number 12 of 15 in the month of January.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Where I Stand Sunday

Today, I stand over a controversy. It's a controversy for ME and maybe for YOU?

It has been playing in my mind for over 19 years. It started when I went back to college to become a classroom elementary educator and was involved in making a learning unit on "Wolves". At that time, the U.S. was in hot debate about what to do with wolves - since they had been mostly eradicated from the lower 48 states. They existed in Alaska, on Ellesmere Island and around the Mexican border. I was passionate about protecting them. I was upset when I heard that farmers and ranchers had the right to shoot and kill any renegade wolf found off of the preserve area that had been established where they were being reintroduced to the US "wild", mainly Idaho and Yellowstone. Wolves don't know how to read physical boundaries created by man. If you have seen the movie "Never Cry Wolf" you understand that the wolf has an important job to cull the herd of the sick and unable animals - especially in caribou. In my unit of study, I helped kids gain the knowledge of the issues at hand and let them form their own opinions and form them they did. It isn't too difficult for a child living in the city to adopt the thinking of 'protection of wildlife' - at all costs. (BTW, nothing made the hair on my neck bristle so, as to hear Sarah Palin talk about aerial hunting for sport of wolves in the state of Alaska and I still read everything I can about the current affairs with wolves in Alaska and elsewhere.)

I have learned something about myself in the past few years. I now live in an area where wild animals are not appreciated, unless they are, of course, "hunter's bounty". Before now, I thought of them as the cute raccoon, the sweet looking skunk, the rugged badger, the awesome coyote that howls across the plains at night, these animals still remain - alway 'beautiful' to me. I have begun to understand the damage to livestock and livelihood that they can wreak at any given time - winter, summer, spring or fall. My thinking has been changed to "finding a balance" - watching how hard people work to make a living off of crops they plant and harvest and the livestock they raise for whatever reason. It isn't easy. It isn't cheap. It isn't something to take lightly or make fun of. It's the way of the American farmer.

There are four new vulnerable little calves across the road. I try to not think of them as cute...but I can't help it. I learned that this fellow (update: I guess I should say his 'carcass') was laying near the chicken compound, so I had to come take a look. Although - not a wolf, it's the counterpart in this area, the coyote. It isn't easy to stand here but I had to come see...I think I am understand.
One less song on the night's breeze.

Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Number 11 of 15

5" x 7" original oil on canvasboard
For Sale in my Etsy Shop.
I went to an artist's meeting a few months ago, where my friend had LOTS of cats. I took LOTS of photos of them and couldn't resist this one. She had followed us on our tour of their property, and I think she knew I was interested in taking her photo. We were in the dug out greenhouse and she stretched up to the sun with a big satisfied look on her face. Her owner says it's her "look at me, aren't I beautiful" - smile. She used to be a city cat and is now queen of the country.
I think this is number 11 of 15 - portrait challenge for myself in the month of January.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


5" x 7" original oil on canvasboard
I am having a love affair with mini-donkeys and mini horses right now. These minis - a Jack and a Jenny - look so friendly! Their fuzzy winter coats are just too soft and pettable (oh, is that a word? If not, I think I just made it one!)
Will be listed on Etsy in the morning. Thanks for looking at my blog!
This is number 10 out of 15 - I'm on a roll!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Hare for Every Tortoise

"The Hare"
7" x 9" original watercolor on Arches
SOLD - thanks!
I thought since Monday was the tortoise, today should be this guy.
Both of these pieces are featured in my Etsy shop. It's sold, but there are other paintings and notecards of mine there.
Number 9 or 15 for the month of January.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Snapping Turtle

Snapping Turtle - SOLD

One of three watercolors I did today. Didn't go out to the studio, I would have gotten blown away. Wind gusts of 60 MPH - makes for staying in the house and
painting in the kitchen a happening thing! The size of this one is 3 1/2" x 5".
It's amazing how you can open a magazine and get so many ideas.
Hmm, I didn't even take time to erase my sketch marks - oh well.
Number 8 of 15
Marc Hanson, an artist whose work I truly admire has posted a petition of a plea to Barack Obama - as he becomes President of the United States to create a post promoted by Quincy Jones called "Secretary of the Arts". If you go here, you can also sign the petition as I did. In these times of struggle and grasping for what's important - I feel this would help to create a platform to assist, preserve and promote 'art of all kinds' in this country.
P.S. Just so you know, they will email you and ask you for a $1.00 donation to Petitions Online, but that will probably help administer this plea...I noticed that my assigned number was about 71,000, so at least it's getting some attention.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Textile Merchant

"The Textile Merchant"

6" x 6" watercolor on Arches - SOLD

Guatemalan children (many of Mayan descent) help the family in many ways. One way is to sit at the marketplace and be salesmen of the wares. This boy was selling textiles. He didn't say anything and it seemed a little forbidden for children to look you in the eye, but he held his hand under the fabric to show it off and had his legs tucked underneath a lot of the open fabrics. To me, he looked to be about 4 years old. There wasn't an adult around in his booth. .

Number 7 of 15

Where I Stand Sunday and a Painting for Today

Hard to see my feet, but I am standing at my work table - putting a mat around my latest portrait. The thing that is eminent is that I have to clean and organize the studio. I know I have 3 rolls of repositionable 'art tape' and can't find a one of them. Makes for a lot of wasted time. Ergh!
"Beth and Wilson"
8" x 10" original watercolor on Arches
We lived in Kansas City when my cousin Beth was born, I was a sassy 18 year old. To me, she will always be that little cutie pie. Amazing how time flies - now married with three boys of her own. This Weimaraner pup belongs to my cousin Abby. Most of the photos I have of him - from the summer of '07, he is a snoozin' puppy. He looks a little different from my Weimar -
he has a pinker nose and his eyes are bluer.
I am getting more comfortable with each one of these watercolors and found it is more forgiving than I originally thought. Made some obvious errors in what I was seeing, the person who critques helped me and I was able to correct those errors fairly easy. Thanks hubster!
Number 6 of 15 - I better get to it!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

When Life Happens

About 3 days of no painting...several things that took the time away. The good thing is I am now a member of the Prairie Winds Art Center in Grand Island, Nebraska. That's a 91 mile drive, one way. Takes about 1 1/2 hours to get there. But - I needed to expand my horizons - in a regional sense and decided to start here. The members are VERY nice and friendly people! It will be a good fit! Here are some photos of what you see when you go there, and if you are in the area, I suggest you visit the gallery - it's very cool!

The street view at 112 W. 3rd St.. The building has been many businesses over the years. It has a nice antique interior.

This is what you see as you walk in the door.

The Member Show started on Wednesday. You can see my "Harness" painting on this stand!

Because I am new, I have a space on the wall near the back...gotta start somewhere. But as you walk around, you can see my art from most spots in the gallery because it is straight back from the entrance door.

Had to go the other direction on Thursday to get our car looked at and have some maintenance done. Here is the sunrise over Waconda Lake on the way. It was breathtaking!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Portrait Challenge Revealed!

As some of you may know, I was involved in Karin Jurick's portrait challenge for the last three weeks. There were 130 artists wishing to try their hand at painting another artist. Karin drew names and matched each of us up with an unknown person, only to be revealed when the portraits were posted on Karin's Different Strokes from Different Folks blog.

Please visit Victoria Culbertson's blog to view my portrait. You can revisit the portrait I did of her on December 22 on this blog. You need to know how much it looks like me! Hopefully we will be trading with one another.

BE sure to visit the DSFDF blog to see ALL the different and talented art there. This was a very enjoyable event and though I was hesitant in the beginning, I was glad I participated.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Portrait for Today

"Cora" - 4" x 5 1/2" original watercolor on Arches paper
This is my teaching colleague's little girl. I tried to capture the backlight. Had to go in with some white watercolor to help the wisps of hair. My daughter had the same kind of hair when she was a baby. My dad called her "Skeeziks", a name fondly used by my Grandpa.
Number 5 of 15.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Gouache Cat

"Cat" - 4" x 5" gouache on Arches watercolor paper
Lucky me, the art supply fairy left me a set of gouache in the closet...really I forgot I bought it over a year ago and just as I was about ready to try to justify purchasing a set, voila! It's like a cross between acrylic and watercolor. You can paint transparent - depending on how much water you add, and it's real easy to use it opaquely. I like the possibilities. Either way, it was extreme fun for a quick kind of paintsketch! I have tried several times to Photoshop it's values true, as I cropped it to size, and it doesn't quite read exactly right. Photo is from the Wet Canvas artist resource library.
For sale on Etsy, $35.00 plus shipping and handling.
Number 4 of 15 "portrait goal for the month of January".

Visiting an Old Friend

"Marketplace Chica" - 7" x 10" on Arches watercolor block
(I think it's 300 lb.)
I needed to stay inside with the dogs yesterday. Coyotes were out (in the daytime) howling and my dogs were going crazy, so I brought my WC stuff into the kitchen. Watercolor? Not new to me, but I am a bit rusty. So different from oils and pastels, in ease of use, I think I will do some more practice while I make my 15 this month.
I did this from one of my photos I took in Guatemala.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Painting for Today

"Black Lab Mix" - 6" x 8" original oil on Raymar board
I have a long and tender story about this dog, I will share it some other time.
He was our dog, a black lab mix named 'Cygnus', named for the song by Rush and the fact that Cygnus is a black hole constellation, I believe.
Yes, I just painted a white swan I named Cygnus.
We adopted him from a friend's cousin who had moved to the area from Seattle.
The dog couldn't live in the apartment she moved to.
Unbeknownst to us (but not for long)
we found out he was 'brontophobic', meaning scared of loud noises.
It made the rainy season - pure 'hell', along with those days around the 4th of July.
Such a big dog and oh so sadly afraid of thunder.
This is from a photo of him sitting on our deck. He was so very was hard to find a photo of him, where you could see some glimmer and change of color in the light on his fur. Thick paint in the light makes for a great shine.

Where I Stand Sunday

We don't receive a newspaper, like we used to when we lived (most of our lives) in the Denver area. There is a local paper which is published once a week. It is about 4 pages. There is a Salina and a Hays paper, two cities each about 100 miles away. Somehow, we can't relate too much to what goes on there, although I always find human interest stories and of course they cover the world news in them. Therefore, we spend most mornings on the internet to satisfy our need to read current events or for that matter - read! I spend lots of time checking in with the incredible blogosphere I belong to, networking in Facebook and reading about and viewing the unbelievable amount of art featured in cyberspace. Hubster spends lots of time looking at his automobile interests, reading news/interests and checking in with friends. All I can say is - thank god the internet was invented and that we have a fairly decent wireless connection! (I am not going to 'dis' my computer at this time, it seems to have heard my 'not so nice' language I had been using towards it lately, and is operating nicely as of this writing - knock on wood. Whatever glitch it had, it got over it - or maybe we both came part way to make amends. LOL)

Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing.
Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on.
The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell.
Check out the others who blog on this subject on Sundays in my sidebar.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

First Portrait of the Year

" The Wiener Boys"
6" x 8" original oil on Raymar board
Yep, that's what we fondly refer to them as. They are quite a pair! A couple of snuggle bugs in a rug at times and other times rough and tumble buzz saws. Dachshunds have extremely distinct personalities and are the perfect dog for an "in the house" dog. Caution on caring for them gently when it comes to their backs...their longer length puts them at a risk for spinal injury.
Chalk this painting up to my first "1" of "15" I am trying for this month.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Dachshunds - Work in Progress

These are my two dachshunds.
They love to sit on the bed and look out the window.
It gives them a good vantage point.
I am still working on this one.
Not too much further to go.
Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

When I think back, I am amazed at all that's been accomplished as the year whizzed by. I am grateful for the experiences I have had over that time. At times, I would love to freeze moments and I realize that writing about those moments on this blog help me to do just that.
I wish to thank all those who are so supportive, check in with me from time to time, and keep that lifeline
going. Your friendship is a valued commodity! A special thanks to my family - who encourage me and make life interesting and full of love.
Highlights from my art memories are the workshop with Carol Marine and Karin Jurick in Texas in March (where I met and am still in contact with several artist friends - love you guys!), my trip to Guatemala in August to paint with Kaye Franklin, monthly meetings (when I could make it to KC, which BTW was 8 trips) with the Mid-America Pastel Society, another workshop in December with Kaye in Kansas and the many activities with my colleagues and good friends in the North Central Kansas Association of Artists. I have made the transistion from pastel artist to 'proficient oil painter'. (Pair with that, a complete kitchen renovation and keeping up the farmstead grounds and buildings...and a new grandchild!)
As I look ahead, 2009 should be another great year to remember! Considering I traveled over 11,000 miles by car or RV and around 5,000 air travel miles in 2008, my plan is to continue forward with more of the same!
Longe range and monthly goals are on the agenda. My goal for the month of January is to do at least 15 portraits, animal or human. Hmm...that means I start today! Longe range? Branching out and about - juried regional (and maybe national) shows and competitions and gallery affiliation! Look out world, here I come again!