Thursday, May 31, 2007

Moving right along!

Morning Commute © 2007 Karen Mathison Schmidt
7 x 5 • acrylic on gessobord
Gloss varnish for protection and ease of cleaning • sold unframed
CLICK HERE to bid!

Another beautiful morning! I’m really drinking in these days before we’re hit full force with the heat and humidity of our deep south summer! Today’s painting shows some runners and a walker taking full advantage of this morning’s fresh, cool air after yesterday’s thunderstorms. In coming up with a title, I thought it would be fun to put the focus on the car, whose driver was not really driving down the wrong side of the road as it looks like in the picture, but merely giving the pedestrians a courteously generous amount of room as he passed by them on his way to work.

Here are a close-up detail and the underpainting:

No post tomorrow, as I’ll be going on a fun little jaunt to Dallas with some girlfriends until Saturday afternoon, an outing we've been planning for weeks. I’m taking my camera, too, just in case we run across some photo opp’s. Who knows – maybe some Dallas-scapes will show up in a painting or two in the not too distant future.

Don’t worry about Paul, who has almost fully recovered from his fall from the porch last week. He assures me he’ll be having a grand old time watching movies with Trixie (the dog) while I’m away!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Painting progress ...

I hope everyone had a wonderful and meaningful Memorial Day!

I wanted to show you all how this big one is coming along. After painting a few little ones, working on this big one (18x24) seems very, kind of, well ... luxurious. I think the feeling is akin to what it would feel like to practice ice skating on a tiny pond in your back yard for a few days and then being let loose on an Olympic size skating rink. I love the sweeping motion of the leaves, and all the movement in this one.

I’m still trying to come up with a title. Somehow, Day Lilies just doesn’t seem to cut it!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Listing on eBay!

Sunset Rose at Sunrise © 2007 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 • acrylic on gessobord
Gloss varnish for protection and ease of cleaning • sold unframed
CLICK HERE to bid!

I've posted this painting before; you can see progress photos on
my May 14 post.

I decided to post it again because I’m trying to get the hang of adding links to my eBay auctions, and I need the practice. I just listed this painting ... check out my 2 auctions! I haven’t forked over the moolah for any fancy shmancy features in eBay yet; I’m still working up to that ... although I did work up a spiffy html description for my listings, including a new heading I created in Photoshop. Check out my About Me page in eBay and let me know what you think! I may change it periodically, just to keep up interest.

And now here’s another little one I started today. It’s not quite finished, but I wanted to put something new up, so here you go!

I think I'm going to call this one Waiting for Saturday.

I'm still working on that 18 x 24 of the day lilies, too ... I'll try to show you how that one is coming along on Monday.

Until then, have a blessed day of rest!

Friday, May 25, 2007

The best laid plans ...

Psalm 121:7-8
The LORD will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and for evermore.

Coming In and Going Out © 2007 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 • acrylic on gessobord
CLICK HERE to bid!

OK, so here's what happened yesterday:

While Paul and I were down at the house yesterday getting our new phone line installed (and doing some more prep work for moving in) Paul stepped on a rotten board on one set of back steps (not the ones we usually use going in and out) and fell right through, about 4 feet to the ground, landing on his arm and hitting his head on the porch. Paul is a big man (6 foot 2, and 375 plus) so when he falls, he falls hard. As soon as it became apparent that he hadn’t broken anything (except the steps!) and he hadn't hit his head too hard, I literally dropped to my knees right then and there and offered up a heartfelt prayer of thanks to the Lord!

Even though he seemed ok aside from being banged up, we decided to go to the emergency room just to be sure. After a couple of x-rays and 3 hours of waiting, the doctor came in with a smile and said Paul was getting out of this with only minor contusions and hematomas (that's doctor talk for scratches and bruises) and he should just take it easy for a few days and put ice on the sore spots.

After we got home Paul said he felt like he had been trampled by a horse. And he would know because 30-some odd years ago he was trampled by a horse. Poor guy. So needless to say I didn’t get as much done yesterday as I had planned. But everyone is ok and relatively healthy, and I’m very happy about that.

I didn’t get anything listed on eBay yet, and I didn’t work any further on the larger piece in progress, but I did manage to snatch some time late yesterday and this morning to paint this little one of some cheery geraniums on a neighbor’s front steps. As much as I’m looking forward to living out in the country, I sure am going to miss this neighborhood. We’ll have to come back every now and then to walk the dog around and visit with the neighbors – and see what new pictures there might be to paint!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Busy Days!

Magnolia © 2007 Karen Mathison Schmidt
7 x 5 • acrylic on gessobord
varnished for protection and easy cleaning
CLICK HERE to bid!

After working on a large floral for a couple of days, I wanted to do a little one, loose and quick. The only part of this one I blocked in before starting to paint was the blossom itself. Everything else kind of emerged as I went along. The colors on this one have a Christmas kind of feel to me.

Short posts these days while preparing for our move into the house in the next 2-3 weeks. (Exciting!) I'm also planning to start listing on eBay tomorrow. Maybe. At least that's the plan ... we'll see how the day goes!

Have a great Thursday!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Day Lilies!

Psalm 92:1-4
It is good to give thanks to the LORD
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning
And Your faithfulness by night,
With the ten-stringed lute and with the harp,
With resounding music upon the lyre.
For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done,
I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.

Yesterday I started a large floral painting, inspired by the day lilies blooming in gardens all around here. This will be the fourth of my series of “Neighborhood Paintings.”

I’ll post progress of the painting tomorrow, but here are some photos to whet your appetites!

Pleasant dreams, all!

Girls Rule!

Girls Rule! © 2007 Karen Mathison Schmidt
12 x 12 • acrylic on 3/4" cradled gessobord
Private Commission

I just put the finishing touches on this one this morning; here's the formal introduction to these cuties, from my post on May 10, Working from the Inside Out, where you can also see photos of the painting in progress:

“Let me introduce you to Paris and Milan. In this picture, they've just arrived home from the beauty salon virtually oozing cuteness, and you can tell they just know how adorable they are, from their fancy shmancy new top-knot bows all the way down to their sparkling fresh pedicures. I'm not normally a big fan of little bitty dogs with underbites, but I have to tell you that while I was working on this one, every now and then I just laughed out loud – these girls were just cracking me up!”

I just showed this finished piece to Paris and Milan’s “Mommy” and she's thrilled. And if she's thrilled, then I'm thrilled.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Laughing Out Loud

Hey kids! Another lovely Saturday ... Paul and I, along with my brother, were working hard down at the “country house” all morning, we had a late lunch after we got back home, and then Trixie and I went for a long walk. Rounding one corner a couple of blocks from our place, I spotted this big wheel where the resident little tyke had parked it a few feet away from some blooming hydrangeas of the exact same colors. I laughed out loud at the sight, and returned with my camera a few minutes later to snap this pic so I could share with you.

More paintings on the way in the next few days!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Happy Friday!

Short post today ... lots to do and busy weekend coming up!

I just wanted to post progress for this painting (scroll down to Thursday, May 10 post to see beginnings of this one). Here's Milan ... I think she's finished; now I just have to finish her sister and this one will be fini!

Later, taters!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Peaceful Simplicity

Psalm 16: 7-8
I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;
Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.
I have set the LORD continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Days Gone By
© 2003 Karen Mathison Schmidt
9 x 12.75 • watercolor on paper

Whoa! Thursday already? This week has gone by in a blur, but rest assured I haven't been neglecting my painting - I've been working on the Paris and Milan portrait some (almost finished!) but instead of posting another progress photo right now, I'm sharing an older piece that I love. This is from my foray into watercolors a few years back: an old house out in an overgrown pasture not too far from the house we're preparing to move into. This house was on the verge of collapse (in fact, it's probably not even standing any more!) and I was intrigued by this point of view, standing directly in front of one window and looking straight through the house and out the window on the wall directly opposite. Standing right there in that spot I could imagine that the house was two-dimensional.

I love the spontaneity of watercolor, although I find it a little disconcerting - but exciting, too, all at the same time. Kind of hard to describe the feeling. I was really just beginning my exploration of the medium at the time I painted this (aside from the watercolors we did as kids), and this piece is full of happy accidents. I remember in particular the way the sky came about: I had planned for it to be a clear blue sky; I wanted to do a wash of cobalt blue at the top merging into a light turquoise toward the horizon, but I applied it a little too heavily and it was way too wet, so I tried blotting it with a handful of cotton, and that's when the clouds happened. It was so cool - I love it when stuff like that happens!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Sunset Rose at Sunrise

Sunset Rose at Sunrise © 2007 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 • acrylic on gessobord
Gloss varnish for protection and ease of cleaning • sold unframed

Here’s the little painting for today. I sure am enjoying painting on these smaller boards! This started out as a pink rose, but I decided at the last minute that the sunset colors better balanced the bluish colors I wanted to use in the background. I used a palette knife some on the background (fun!) so lots of texture there, juxtaposed with the soft brush work on the rose.

I also did some more work on the Paris and Milan portrait this morning (I posted the beginning photos a few days back). I should be finished with that one by the end of the week.

Oh, by the way, the answers to what changes I had made to the Study in Vanilla painting (in the last post) are in the comments on that post.

And now I must go cook supper for my husband Paul and myself -- tonight is something fast and easy: stir fried chicken and veggies over rice. Yummy!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

You only thought it was finished.

A Study in Vanilla © 2007 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 • acrylic on gessobord
Gloss varnish for protection and ease of cleaning • sold unframed
CLICK HERE to bid!

Well, as often happens with me, after living with the “finished” painting for a day or two, I saw a couple of teeny adjustments I wanted to make on this. That’s why I never varnish right away; if, after a few days, I see nothing to change about a painting, then and only then do I consider it truly done. Every now and then I’ll see something I wish I’d done differently a year or so later, but oh well.

So here’s the final final version. See if you can tell what I changed (one thing is totally obvious, the other thing may take a little more study) and I’ll reveal what I did in the next post. Fun, huh? Kind of like an activity in Highlights!

And now, on to another little piece ... I love it when I can spend all day painting!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Tribute to the Daily Painters: A Study in Vanilla

A Study in Vanilla © 2007 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 • acrylic on gessobord
Gloss varnish for protection and ease of cleaning • sold unframed

It’s been a while since I painted on a panel this small ... it sure was fun! I had the idea for this piece one morning while I was making my usual breakfast. (See the No. 1 random fact on my I’ve been tagged post from a couple of days ago.) I noticed that my coffee (with French vanilla creamer), my Malt-O-Meal, and the kitchen countertop tiles were almost exactly the same color. I don’t know why I found this interesting, but I did.

Orange juice is usually a part of this stunning breakfast combo, but I decided to leave it out of this particular composition because
a) it wouldn't really go with the palette I had in mind; and
b) we were out of orange juice.

I had so much fun with this painting, I’ll definitely be doing some more of these smaller ones. Plus the gessobord came in a 4 pack and I have three left. Hmmm ... maybe the next one will be a breakfast burrito ...

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Working from the inside out

Romans 12: 1-3a (from The Message)
So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. I'm speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me...

A New Commssion:

Yesterday I put aside the Trixie painting to start on this commissioned piece – it’s not quite finished, but I wanted to show you all that I haven’t been goofing off (much) during my studio time this week. I laughed when I came across the phrase I’m going to use as a title for this piece - you’ll have to check in later to see what it is; I’m saving it as a surprise for when I post the finished painting.

As usual lately, I’m using acrylics on 12 x 12 cradled gessobord for this one. After I sketched the outlines in purple colored pencil, I covered the whole gessobord with a wash of burnt umber.

After I had developed their furry little mugs a little, I added a glaze of dioxazine purple over the whole piece, and went on from there.

So this is the painting so far. Let me introduce you to Paris and Milan. In this picture, they've just arrived home from the beauty salon virtually oozing cuteness, and you can tell they just know how adorable they are, from their fancy shmancy new top-knot bows all the way down to their sparkling fresh pedicures. I'm not normally a big fan of little bitty dogs with underbites, but I have to tell you that while I was working on this one, every now and then I just laughed out loud – these girls were just cracking me up!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

I’ve been tagged!

... and the magnolias are in bloom!

A big thank you to Melanie at Redhead Art for tagging me! I now feel like a genuine member of the community of blogging artists!
So here are the rules (or “guidelines,” if you will, for those of you who shiver in your boots when you hear the word “rules”).

• List seven random facts/habits about yourself
• Choose another seven bloggers to tag and list their names in your blog
• Leave your seven tagged bloggers comments to notify them of their tagging and to direct them to your blog for tag instructions.

So here goes:

1. Almost every morning for breakfast I have orange juice, Malt-O-Meal, and coffee. But today I had a home-made breakfast burrito (eggs, cheese, onions, green peppers, tomatoes in a flour tortilla).

2. I've never been afraid of aging, I've always loved every age I've been while I was being it. I can especially remember loving being 17, 32, my forties have been awesome for the most part, and I'm even looking forward to turning 50 this summer!

3. I'm definitely a morning person. As soon as my eyes open in the morning, I'm ready for anything! But please don't ask me to do anything involving heavy thinking or intense creativity after 6 pm.

4. I love adopting things and furniture that other people are tired of having in their houses. About 78% of my home office set-up (i.e. my computer desk and keyboard table, my scanner table, and my writing desk) are found objects that we fixed up. The cute little chest of drawers that our tv sits on was a curbside find, and also, just last week I brought home (well actually, our across the street neighbor, a middle-schooler named Derek, carried it most of the way for me, since I had Trixie on the leash!) a really cool, big coffee table, which, after I paint it, will go great in a garden room in the country house we're fixing up. And not too long ago a neighbor down the street was cleaning out the trunk of his car and gave me a blanket from Mexico that he didn't want any more ... I aired it out and washed it, and it's absolutely beautiful! Now it's draped over the back of our sofa, and so far none of the cats has spit up on it. Bonus!

5. April is my favorite month.

6. Right now the objects on the computer desk right in front of me, in that catch-all area between keyboard and monitor, are:
• my work notebook.
• a coca cola cap left from when my husband was entering the codes on the coke rewards website last night.
• a tape measure.
• my empty coffee cup (I'll have to get a refill as soon as I finish this).
• some cherry blossom hand lotion.
• scripture art of Isaiah 30:15.
• reading glasses (another found object from when I was cleaning out the big house).
• four almost empty tubes of paint I brought in to refer to as I ordered art supplies yesterday.
• a huge paper clip.
• a bright pink flair pen.
• 2 “gratitude rocks” given to me a couple of days ago by my 7-year-old neighbor, Hannah. For those of you who don't know what a gratitude rock is, here’s Hannah’s definition: “every time you look at the rock, or feel it in your pocket, you have to think of something you’re thankful for, and say a little prayer to thank God for it.” Hannah’s very cool.

7. I love road trips. I’ve driven from here to California and back more times than I can count, and most of those trips were by myself. Just God and me. And my camera. It’s really fun. (Those solitary trips were before I was married at age 46, which is another fact about myself I'm sneaking in here, since this is No. 7 and there are no more after this). Now I love road trips with my husband. And I love driving through the desert. You can see sooooooooo far!

This is in west Texas, on a little road from El Paso to Midland/Odessa.

And now I'm supposed to come up with seven people to tag, but I don't even think I know that many bloggers yet, so I'll tag some of the ones I regularly check in with (besides Melanie, who already tagged me!):

• The extremely talented, hardworking, hilarious, wise-beyond-her-years and often informative Maggie at Greywaren Art, my main inspiration for starting an artist blog of my own. See her How to Juggle & Other Parlor Tricks post on March 6.

• The prolific (and thereby inspirational) and fun Kelley MacDonald, who recently got back from a painting trip to Holland, so these days you might find her here.

• An encouraging artist whose comments have spurred me on, and whose daily paintings I love to look at over and over: Kerri King.

• Another artist who has been very encouraging to me in her comments, a busy woman whose paintings I look forward to whenever she has time to post: Leslie Pease.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Neighborhood Watch

Just wanted to show everyone the beginning of the Trixie painting. It's acrylic on 16 x 20 cradled gessobord.
This one has been really fun so far - it has an old-time illustration-y feel to me, with the big, bold shapes.

This has been a very busy Saturday, and I'm fading fast, so good-night everyone, have a great Sunday, and I'll be back on Monday.

Friday, May 4, 2007

A Change in Plans

As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.

Psalm 42:1

Yesterday I had an abrupt change in plans, art-wise: I'm going to postpone Study in Vanilla to do another piece which I started sketching yesterday, Trixie: Arrangement in Black and Tan. The idea for this new painting came unexpectedly yesterday afternoon when I walked into the living room and saw Trixie standing with her chin on the window sill, just watching the rain. Goofy dog. Standing there watching her, it suddenly struck me that this subject would lend itself more readily to the tonalism of the Whistler project (see yesterday's post). After a couple of sketches, I'm getting kind of excited about it.

So until I get far enough along in the project to have some progress to show you (hopefully today) I'm cheating a little by sharing an older piece - I painted this one way back in 2001. That was the year I got my digital camera (a Canon EOS D30 - really high end at the time) and that summer I went kind of nuts taking hundreds and hundreds of photos just because I could. Because I wasn't wasting film! NO FILM! NO DEVELOPING! I've calmed down since then. A little. Kind of.

Anyway, that summer I went on a camping trip with my sister and her family in California, and our campsite backed right up to a deer trail. Every evening the deer would emerge from the woods at the top of the hill which rose up from our site, and come down the grassy slope to eat their dinner. I captured a photo of this little guy as he was standing at the edge of the long shadows cast by the trees, and he was backlit by the setting sun. As soon as I snapped the shutter my inner photographer let forth a triumphant, "Yes!" and I knew this picture was something special.

This is one of the first paintings I did where I used a lot of glazes of different colors layered over each other. (I had been studying the techniques of Maxfield Parrish, one of my favorites.) This is also one of the first pieces I painted on masonite instead of canvas, and I've been painting on board ever since. I haven't had the heart to let this one go; it will probably still be in my collection when I "let go this mortal coil."

Cheerio, everyone, and tune in later for progress on Trixie: Arrangement in Black and Tan.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

A Quick Sketch

Just a quick little post for those of you who check in every day ... thanks for reading!

I just found out from Maggie Stiefvater’s Greywaren Art post for yesterday, May 2, that the Fine Line Artists are studying the art of James McNeill Whistler in May. I think I might try to participate; I had an idea this morning for a new painting along those lines (pun totally unexpected) entitled Study in Vanilla. I'll start on it today and post progress later tonight.

Yesterday while I was sitting at my desk waiting for some files to upload (a "snazzy" Рcoworker's word Рbrochure I designed for a new store opening in San Jos̩, in case you're wondering) I did this little 30-second sketch of Ray, who was snoozing in his favorite spot by the window. This is all I had time for before he yawned, got up and did the halloween kitty stretch, and lay down again facing away from me. A perfect example of the reason we use reference photos for pet portraits!

Just a note: I've added a link right under my About Me section called Just the Paintings, which is a blog where I'll post only finished paintings (in addition to posting them here on my daily blog) so you can more easily see examples of my finished work, including pieces which are available for purchase.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Fabol's Irises – Finished!

Fabol's Irises © 2007 Karen Mathison Schmidt
16 x 20 • acrylic on 3/4" cradled gessobord • sides painted dark brown
The cradled back allows for hanging flush against the wall
Gloss varnish for protection and ease of cleaning • sold unframed
CLICK HERE to bid!

I was so moved when I heard history of these flowers, I asked my neighbor Penny if I could share it with you as she shared it with me a few weeks ago.

These beautiful flowers are growing in Penny's garden, a couple of houses down on our block. They originally came from the garden of her mother, Fabol. (isn't that a great name?) Fabol just loved these flowers, so when she got a little older and moved to an apartment, she took them with her and had them in the garden there. A few years ago right around Christmas Penny had to move Fabol to a hospice care facility; she remembers being at Fabol's former apartment a few days later on a rainy, bone chillingly cold New Year's Eve, digging up the iris bulbs and planting them in pots, tears streaming down her face. When her brother called her and asked what in the world she was doing there, she told him, "I'm determined that the last thing Mother sees in this world will be these irises!"

Penny took the pots and put them all around her mother's room. Fabol did get to see her beloved irises in full blossom once more; she passed away on March 31 of that year, one week after the irises started blooming.