Thursday, October 30, 2008

Look what happened last summer!

Aaaagh! How can so much time go by so fast? And again it's almost 2 weeks since my last post.

Anyway, just wanted to catch you up on a major happening that occurred during my vacation from blogging a while back ...


Our Matilda had her puppies and instead of many puppies, as we were predicting from her belly size, she had 3 huge ones. Two male, one female. They are very fast becoming out and out dawgs, but here are some old pictures:

Here’s Sophie.

Just look at these little guys, the folds of skin, the floppy ears ... I love em! The one on the left is Blue - named by one of the vet techs who work for our veterinarian - because he has the most awesomely beautiful blue eyes.

The one on the right is Jack, who used to be known as Micky because of his rolls upon rolls of skin, reminding us of the Michelin Man. This is one of the last pictures I have of him, because shortly after this he went to his new home with our painter, Charlie, and his wife. Charlie used to raise beagles, and he and his wife recently lost a 14-year-old Pomeranian, but Charlie says he's always wanted a hound dog his whole life, so they adopted this little guy, and their granddaughter promptly named him Jack. A very fitting name, I think.

Here’s Blue again. Doing what he does best: following a scent. We have no idea where his color came from. Maybe he has a Weimeraner somewhere in his bloodline.

And here are some even older pics:

I love this one. That’s Sophie up by Matilda’s head, Blue in the middle grabbing a snack, and Jack napping under Mom’s hind legs.

After 2 or 3 weeks, Matilda would give me this look, like, ”Now tell me again, how long do I have to keep this up?”

Don't worry Matilda. When this is all over we’ll take you for a little operation so you won’t have to do this again ... you can spend the rest of your life playing. And eating. And sleeping. And treeing squirrels and raccoons. And playing some more.

And now for some more recent photos:

Psssst ... hey, it’s the paparazzi again ...


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Bovine Intervention

Bovine Intervention ©2008 Karen Mathison Schmidt
7 x 5 inches • acrylic on Gessobord

sold • private collection, Milan, Illinois

After a few hours work on my commission piece today, I spent the rest of the afternoon painting this little picture. My very first cow painting. Ever. And what I discovered is that it’s fairly easy to suggest "cow" to the brain with a few basic shapes.

I love cows. They crack me up, don't ask me why. I came up with several ideas for the title. "A Penny for Your Thoughts" was the front runner, then Paul suggested "Bovine Intervention," which made me laugh. Quite heartily. I hope it makes you smile.

Which Austen Heroine Are You?

Hey, I just did this fun little quiz that Melanie of Redhead Art posted on her blog recently, to find out which Austen heroine I am.

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

I love that I turned out to be Elinor Dashwood, because the 1995 movie Sense and Sensibility (screenplay by Emma Thompson, who also plays Elinor in the film) is one of my all time favorites.

I know, I know, I’m wasting time when I should be painting ...

Ok, ok, NOW off to the easel!

Big Artistic News

Well, big for little ol’ me, anyway. I've been commissioned to do two paintings which will appear in a soon-to-be-published how-to book on acrylic painting by Gill Barron . The book will be published by Quarto Publishing in the UK, and eventually distributed internationally!

I’m trying to finish up the first of the two paintings today. I won’t be posting the painting here, but I will tell you that it stars our usually grumpy but always photogenic Bailey:

Today I was trying to calculate Bailey’s age, trying to remember exactly when it was that she came to live with me. I've had her longer than I've had Paul, and I think she’s getting up there in years, maybe 10 or 11. A granny kitty. I would say that might account for her general grumpiness, but she’s been that way since she was an itty bitty kitty. And even though she’s getting a little long in the tooth, I must say she’s managed to keep her good looks.

Here's Bailey’s first appearance in my blog.

And here's her official introduction, along with the other feline members of our clan.

And now, I’m off to the easel!

Have a wonderful Saturday, everyone!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Summer Song Finished

Summer Song © 2008 by Karen Mathison Schmidt
16 x 20 • acrylic on cradled Gessobord • sides painted dark brown

Sold • private collection, Puyallup, Washington

I think I’ve mentioned before that the natural landscape around here has a wildness to it, much different from the manicured beauty of the lawns and gardens of our old neighborhood in town. And I love them both. Walking through our old neighborhood, and walking down these country roads. Most of the time with one or more of our dogs.

I started this painting a while back, let it rest a while, then put it back on the easel a couple of days ago. It has everything I love about painting: a carefully planned composition, but with loose brushstrokes, lots of layered color – a complete joy to paint!

Here are some details:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Painting Large

After the Storm © 2008 by Karen Mathison Schmidt
24 x 36 x 2 inches deep • acrylic on 2" cradled Gessobord • sides painted dark brown

Sold • private collection, Puyallup, Washington

I LOVE painting large ... and this painting was so very fun to do, with my favorite vivid colors. I used brushes on the sky, and palette knives on the mountains, making for quite a bit of nice texture in the foreground areas.

Here are some close up details:

Hey, I have some exciting news concerning my art, which I’ll share in a post in the next couple of days!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Painting is not just painting.

That's right, painting is not just painting. It's also power washing and scraping and sanding and priming. Charlie the painter and his assistant, Randy, have been hard at work for 3 weeks now, and they’re almost ready to open the paint cans. Prepping this house for painting is a tedious, seemingly endless job ... I'm sure glad I'm not the one doing it! Charlie says he's beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, though ... just a few more non-rainy days should do it, then the actual painting will be a piece of cake.

Here’s Charlie on an awesome piece of equipment we call the "man-lift." It's pretty cool. Charlie can move it around and manipulate the position of the basket without leaving the basket. It moves at the heart-stopping speed of about 1 mile per hour, which somewhat lowers the danger of the operator getting thrown from the basket accidentally.

And here's the front of the house after power washing and sanding and scraping. Some of the trim has been primed already. Also, take a gander at the new half-round window in the attic. Notice the window guys forgot to take the label off the outside of the window. Never fear – Charlie can take it off when he goes up there in the man-lift to paint.

Our electrician, Stacey, is hard at work updating all the wiring on the second floor (my brother Alan did most of the work on the first floor already, enabling us to move in when we did last summer), and Charlie used a couple of rainy days a while back to paint the room that will be my studio/office, so it won't be too long before I'm able to move out of the breakfast nook where I've been working for a year and a bit. I can hardly wait! And even though the vista is beautiful from up there, I will miss this view whenever I look up from my work to gaze out the window here in the breakfast nook:

Holy Spirit, Peace divine!
Still this restless heart of mine;
Speak to calm this tossing sea,
Stayed in Thy tranquillity.

– Samuel Longfellow, (1819-1892)

Whenever we are outwardly excited we should cease to act; but whenever we have a message from the spirit within, we should execute it with calmness. A fine day may excite one to act, but it is much better that we act from the calm spirit in any day, be the outward what it may.

– J. P. Greaves

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Afternoon Encounter

Ha! You thought this was one of those abandoned blogs floating around in cyberspace, didn't you? Although technically I guess they don't really float around, they just sit there.

Well, I'm back. I know, I know, I've said that before, but this time I mean it. No, really. I'm serious. Really.

I walked out in my front yard this afternoon for a much needed break from working inside, and I saw these gals out in the pasture, enjoying the gorgeous weather we've been blessed with for the past few days. I ran back inside to fetch my camera, and as I walked over to the fence separating our yard from the pasture, they began edging closer and closer. I figured they thought the camera was some kind of oddly shaped snack item, and I was itching to share it with my equine neighbors.

Suddenly they caught sight of something which held the attention of all four for a good 20 seconds or so. I lowered my camera to see what it was that had them so mesmerized.


Can it be that I, Ray, am even more handsome than I previously realized?

I never would have believed it.

My magnificence is so awesome that it transcends even the species barrier.