Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Iris time again!

Irises Out Front © 2008 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 • acrylic on Gessobord
gloss varnish for protection and easy cleaning • sold unframed
sold • private collection, Carrollton, Texas

It’s that time of year again ... I just love how these beauties keep coming back again and again. These irises are growing in a front yard garden a few doors down from where we used to live in town. All the beautiful gardens along the sidewalk in our old neighborhood are among the things I’ve really missed since we’ve moved. If all goes according to my little plan, I’ll be planting some irises and day lilies in my own yard this fall!

Here are some details:

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

True Peace

Psalm 121:5-6

The LORD watches over you –
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

Irises – work in progress

I wanted to share my devotional today from Daily Strength for Daily Needs:
I rest beneath the Almighty’s shade,
My griefs expire, my troubles cease;
Thou, Lord, on whom my soul is stayed,
Wilt keep me still in perfect peace.

– C. Wesley

One great sign of the practical recognition of the “divine moment,” and of our finding God’s habitation in it, is constant calmness and peace of mind. Events and things come with the moment; but God comes with them too. So that if He comes in the sunshine, we find rest and joy; and if He comes in the storm, we know He is King of the storms, and our hearts are not troubled. God Himself, though possessing a heart filled with the tenderest feelings, is, nevertheless, an everlasting tranquillity; and when we enter into His holy tabernacle, our souls necessarily enter into the tabernacle of rest.

–T. C. Upham (1799-1892)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The painting, she is finished.

And now for something completely different: a pet portrait in which the subject is actually awake!

Annie in the Afternoon © 2008 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 • acrylic on Gessobord
gloss varnish for protection and easy cleaning • sold unframed
sold • private collection, Titusville, New Jersey

I came to the realization the other day that up until now I’ve painted pictures of all our pets except Annie, who is probably the oldest of our animal clan. I say probably because we can’t really be sure how old Henry is. Maybe 10 or 11. Or 12. Which is about how old Annie is.

Anyway, in real life Annie has only one eye, but I’m painting her with two. And hey, look – they’re open for a change! We always said that the reason she lost one eye is that Annie’s so beautiful that if she had two eyes she would just be so drop-dead gorgeous that nobody would even be able to look directly at her. We were joking of course, but she really is beautiful.

I have fewer pictures of Annie than all our other pets because she’s very shy, plus all the others are camera hogs. I caught a few nice shots of her a few days ago (using the telephoto lens of course) while she was basking in the late afternoon sun out on the back patio. I had fun painting her in these delicious, “fauve-a-listic” colors. I’m fascinated by the way the brain sees colors and shapes and puts all the info together to mean something to the viewer – in this case (hopefully!) “cat in light and shadows.”

Here are some close-ups:

Friday, April 25, 2008

Almost there ...

Annie work in progress

Here’s how the painting of Annie is coming along. Just a few details left to do (including her whiskers, I just noticed!) ... I’ll list the finished piece on eBay tomorrow.

No time to chat now – my husband, a mystery/thriller flick, and a slice of pizza with my name on it are waiting for me in the living room, so ciao for now!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Annie sketch, work in progress

Here’s the sketch for a painting I plan to finish tomorrow. This is the first painting I’ve done of our Annie.

Hasta mañana, amigos!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Just another day in paradise ...

Psalm 146:1-2 (The Message)

Hallelujah! O my soul, praise God!
All my life long I'll praise God,
singing songs to my God as long as I live.

In one of her comments on my blog not too long ago ...

Kelley MacDonald said ...

she thought I lived “in paradise.”

After a day like today ...

I must concur ...

with a hearty “Amen, Sister!”

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Wouldn’t it be lovely?

Antique ©2008 Karen Mathison Schmidt
5x7 • acrylic on Gessobord
Sold • private collection, Poway, California

Here’s good ol’ Henry, our bluetick coonhound, engaged in his favorite activity, except for eating and playing.

Oh, and barking and chasing squirrels. And going through our neighbors’ garbage.

And oh yeah, rolling around in cow manure or anything else really stinky he can find out in the pasture. You can rest assured that he always has to have a bath after this last one, before he’s allowed to plop down in his favorite napping spot, above.

As far as the composition of this one is concerned, you may notice that I added a throw that wasn't in the original sketch, draped over the back of the sofa. After I started painting the picture, I realized it really needed something there to break up that big space, and to repeat the color of the rug in that opposite corner.

I think it’s pretty cool that as an artist I can create a blue throw out of thin air right where I need it in a painting. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do that in real life?

”Hmmm ... I think I’d like a little antique blue finished table right here in this corner, with an old lace tablecloth and a pitcher of hydrangea blossoms and wisteria on it.” Et voila! There it would be, right where you wanted it. Or better yet, "I think I'd like a chocolate éclair on a little antique china plate with yellow roses right here on my desk, to go along with my afternoon coffee.” And there it would be, right there next to your keyboard.

Yep. That would be nice.

Anyway, here are some close-up details of the painting:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A hard knock life

Real quick – a sketch of the painting I’m working on now: our good ol’ Henry napping on an old sofa.

This will be the second painting I’ve done of Henry. Here’s the first, which now resides in Tucson, Arizona.

The title of this new one? Antique, of course!

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Dreaming in Color © 2008 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6x6 • acrylic on Gessobord
SOLD • private collection, Poway, California

I love painting Bailey. Her colors and markings are really beautiful. Here she is in all her napping glory, on a pile of books and paint tube boxes next to the little square ceramic planter where I keep my colored pencils, while the early morning light comes streaming through the window.

I love this cat, although some people, my husband among them, don’t get her. They think she’s grouchy and stand-offish.

I understand her.

Her needs and wants are simple, really; Bailey thinks of herself as the Queen of the House (nay, Universe) and all she asks is to be treated as such. That’s all. Totally understandable.

Here are my work-in-progress photos.
These first 2 show blocking in shapes and colors.

And here’s where I paint a burnt sienna glaze over the whole thing, to warm things up a bit:

And then add more detailed layers of color ...

Here are some details of the finished painting:

... and now, for an unnecessarily EXTREME close-up:

Cool, huh?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Sleepy Sketch

Way past time for me to be in bed, but I wanted to post this sketch for a new painting: Bailey asleep on a stack of paint tube boxes.

Since my cats spend roughly 97.982% of their time napping, I guess it stands to reason that in roughly 97.982% of the pictures I have of them, they're snoozing.

Speaking of snoozing (*yawn*) ... I think I’d better hit the hay myself.

Sweet dreams, everyone!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Italian Daydream

Italia Soleggiata (Sunny Italy) © 2008 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6x6 • acrylic on Gessobord
gloss varnish for protection and easy cleaning • sold unframed
sold • private collection, Puyallup, Washington

I’ve always wanted to visit Italy, and even though I haven’t made it there yet, I spent the afternoon on an enchanting hillside in Tuscany, thanks to my imagination (and a composition I put together from a few reference photos). I used a Napa Valley winery for the villa, and I added the sea in the distance. This one was pure fun!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Love like that!

Ephesians 5:1-2 (The Message)

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.

Honey Bunch © 2008 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 • acrylic on Gessobord
gloss varnish for protection and easy cleaning • sold unframed
sold • private collection, San José, California

Here are work in progress photos:

1. First layers of color blocked in:

2. Red violet color glaze added over entire painting:

3. Added more defining layers of color:

And then I think I must have entered “The Zone” because I complete forgot about taking more work in progress photos and the next thing I knew it was finished!

Here’s a close-up detail to show some of the texture:

Friday, April 4, 2008

Buster ’n’ Matilda

Let ’em Lie ©2008 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 • acrylic on Gessobord
gloss varnish for protection and easy cleaning • sold unframed
sold • private collection, Riga, Latvia

I love these dogs! (and when I say that I mean the actual dogs, not the painting - although I like the painting a lot, too.)

I know I said I would tell more of their story back when I first mentioned them, and now, a whole month later (did March blow by in a whirlwind or what?) I realize I haven’t done that yet. But I will soon (I’d say tomorrow, but you know how that goes), I promise!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I will sleep in peace

Psalm 4:8

I will lie down and sleep in peace,
for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Work in progress - not quite finished, but almost, I think!

And a quote from Daily Strength for Daily Needs:

We sleep in peace in the arms of God, when we yield ourselves up to His providence, in a delightful consciousness of His tender mercies; no more restless uncertainties, no more anxious desires, no more impatience at the place we are in; for it is God who has put us there, and who holds us in His arms. Can we be unsafe where He has placed us?

François de la Mothe Fénelon (1651-1715)

Snoozing pups, continued ...

I managed to squeeze in some more painting time on this today; here’s how it’s looking:

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Sleeping Dogs

Work in progress:

1. The pencil sketch:

2. The black and gray paint sketch:

3. Blocking in shadows and highlights with cool and warm colored glazes:

Check in again on Thursday to see the fun part!

I managed to sneak in another half hour on this today. It must be noted that all the while I was painting these sleeping pups, the actual subjects were up to all sorts of shenanigans, tomfoolery, rough-housing, horseplay and monkeyshines (yes, you heard me - monkeyshines!) in the kitchen, where they currently reside during these rainy days.

I feel I must be congratulated on my powers of concentration ...
I kept on painting while ignoring a solid half hour of pretend
growling noises, wrestling noises, bumping into cabinet and kitchen table leg noises, a minute or two of sudden suspicious silence (during which I could have sworn I heard puppy whispering), more puppy tumbling noises, ripping paper noises (I wasn't too alarmed, as I recognized the familiar sound of their doggie house-training papers being torn to shreds), dragging noises and more sliding into the walls and cabinet doors.

I should probably mention that this morning I complimented the little angels on the fabulous job they’re doing on demo-ing the kitchen floor for us. They’ve started pulling up the vinyl flooring over in the corner by the back door, which is going to save us oodles of time down the road when it’s time to put in the new kitchen floor. Hopefully by that time these two will be cozily ensconced in the back yard with a new fence and doghouse to call their own.