Saturday, December 19, 2009

Painting resumed!

Winter Light work in progress ...

Here’s the one I’ve been working on ... a snowless southern winter landscape. From memory and imagination. It’s going to change some before it’s finished, I’m sure, so check back in to see the final version!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Joy, joy, joy ...

Like so many others out there this season, I’ve been a bit under the weather this week, but I saw my doctor on Monday and got a shot and a course of antibiotics and am well on my way to recovery. Thanks to all of you who keep checking in, and for all the lovely comments on the Dog Tired painting. If the Lord is willing and the creeks don’t rise, I’ll be back to painting regularly next week!

Meanwhile, we have 4 more performances of our Eastbank Theatre Christmas play, The Trial of Ebeneezer Scrooge, starting tonight. We opened last weekend and I’m happy to report we got a GLOWING review in last Sunday’s paper, and the writer had something good to say about everyone.

I’m trying to rest a lot, but we’re having a casual party here at our house Sunday afternoon after the last performance, and I keep thinking of things I need to do to get the house ready. Happily, though, all the major things are done; there is just a little cleaning up to do (like vacuum the carpet runner on the stairs - yuck!) and every time I pass the little hall table right inside the front door, I get a little burst of Christmas joy which keeps me going:

We got these Christmas carol singing dogs by Jim Shore last year, and they make me smile every time I pass the little table where they sit, singing their little hearts out. (They don’t really make any sounds, but I can imagine the music they’re making!)

The picture at the top of this post is our view off the front balcony, with the long winter morning shadows on the lawn. Then you can see the railroad which runs by right in front of our house, then the highway, then the river. I always thought it was kind of cool being able to see these three main forms of transportation right out front.

Because we live right at the intersection of our road and the railroad, we get to hear the train whistle long and loud every time one passes by. And whenever that happens, all our real-life hounds lift up their voices in chorus right along with the train. It always makes us laugh, because the dogs keep on singing for a minute or so after the train whistle stops blowing. And then, as if on cue from an imaginary choir conductor, they all stop suddenly together. It’s so funny.

I hope you all are finding many little things to be joyful about as this Christmas season rolls on!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A busy week

This morning when I looked in the kitchen cupboard to choose a cup for my coffee, all my usual choices were missing. I looked in the sink, the dish drainer, the living room. Hmmm. Where are all my cups?

I poured some coffee in a to-go cup and came upstairs to my office; when I saw my desk I said, "oh."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Stick a fork in it -- it’s done

Dog Tired © 2009 Karen Mathison Schmidt
12 x 12 x 7/8 • acrylic on cradled Gessobord
sides painted dark umber
cradling allows for hanging
flush against the wall

gloss varnish for protection
& easy cleaning • unframed

$300PURCHASE this
fauve puppy dog painting

FINALLY! Here are our four beloved redbones, stackin’ up a few Z’s on their favorite blue plaid blanket after a morning jam packed with a hearty breakfast, squirrel chasing time, seeing who can bark the longest and loudest, and running for the sheer joy of running. After about 2 hours they’ll wake up and do it all over again until suppertime. It’s a dog’s life!

Here are some brushwork details, and below these are all the work-in-progress pics:

(I'll add a few notes on these after lunch, so check back!)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Almost there ...

OK, this one is oh-so-close to being finished!


As I get closer to finishing, I’ve started working on each dog in detail, finishing that one before proceeding to the next. Now I think they’re all done, except for Matilda (far right), and I’m tweaking the blanket a bit. I’m contemplating the background, too -- I think it needs to be a little lighter, and maybe tinted a little more toward the teal. We’ll see.

I SO much wanted to finish this today; it was hard to stop myself from rushing through it, racing against the fading light. I was up a little too late last night (I have a part in a local theatre production of a Christmas comedy, The Trial of Ebeneezer Scrooge, and I was at rehearsal until 9:30, then a long drive home), I got a bit of a late start today (lazy, rainy Saturday morning, you know) and the light faded even earlier than usual because of the overcast sky.

I know, I know: excuses, excuses!

Here, let me distract you with a picture of some pretty lilies ... ooooo!

What? Lilies in November??

See ... you were distracted, weren’t you?

But anyway, hopefully if all goes well you’ll see the absolutely finished painting tomorrow ...

Good night, all!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dog Tired work in progress

Just a “hit and run” post tonight ... to show progress on this painting.

I have high hopes of finishing this one tomorrow!

Later, taters!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Love those dogs!


This is a 12 x 12 painting I started yesterday, and I hope to finish today. The plaid blanket is going to be a challenge, but I'll just break it down into shapes and colors and maybe it won't be quite so scary.

Last Friday morning after breakfast, Matilda and Buster (far left and far right in the painting) spotted some critter or other out in the pasture beyond our fence that got them really excited, and before we knew it they had dug a hole big enough to squeeze out under the fence and they were off on a grand adventure. Those stinkers!

We weren’t super worried about it, because they’ve done this before, but they always show up back home at the end of the day, sometimes tired and hurt, sometimes just tired, but they always come back. Blue and Sophie didn’t follow because they were too big to go through the hole, plus they’re not really diggers. I fixed the hole and put a big rock in that spot.

Well, Buster and Matilda didn’t come home for supper. We called and called and banged their bowl with the measuring cup (a sure fire come-to-dinner signal) but to no avail. And they didn’t come home at bedtime. And they weren’t waiting by the back door for their breakfast Saturday morning. I drove all up and down the road early Saturday morning to look for them, but saw only empty pasture with a smattering of cows.

Periodically since they had been gone Friday morning, I had been praying for God’s protection for our two wayward hounds. They’re just dogs, but we love them. And we have four others who weren’t missing, plus three cats, but we love each and every one of them. At lunch time Saturday, Paul and I prayed together for their safe return. And we kept reminding each other that, after all, these two had survived almost nine months on their own down by the bayou before they came to live with us.

In my Bible reading Saturday morning, I had read
I Thessalonians 5.
And all day verses 16-18 kept coming to mind.
Be joyful always;
pray continually;
give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

It was really hard, but I prayed for God to give me the heart to be thankful, even though sadness was the overall feeling of the day. God knew we were broken hearted, but He faithfully helped me to be filled with gratitude for my life, my work, our home, all our other pets, friends and family. And I knew whatever happened, He would help me through it. And I kept thinking, they’re just a couple of silly dogs. But they’re our silly dogs. And if they don’t come back, we’ll miss them terribly.

Then God put it on my heart to pray for people all around the world who have going through and are going through much worse, much more difficult circumstances. And I prayed for them. And I was uplifted.

Saturday at dinner time, getting ready to feed the dogs, I laid four bowls on the counter instead of the usual six, and I just burst into tears. They’ve never stayed away this long since they came to live with us, so we started thinking that they may have gotten hurt and and couldn’t make it back, or one was hurt and the other didn’t want to leave him or her, or they ran into a pack of coyotes (the last time they were gone all day, we took Buster to the vet because of a big scratch on his chest, and the doctor dug a coyote tooth out of the wound!)

Saturday we went to bed with heavy, heavy hearts.

About 5:30 Sunday morning, I awoke from a dream in which Matilda was barking at some cows, and I heard Paul saying, “I think I hear Matilda barking.” I sat up and said, “I thought I dreamed it!”

We hurriedly threw on our coats and ran to the kitchen door, calling “Hey dogs, hey dogs” (our way of collectively calling everyone at once) and out of the darkness and into the kitchen ran Buster, followed closely by Matilda, shivering and hungry and kind of scratched up, but otherwise just fine. Paul says that’s the first time in his life he’s cried actual tears from happiness. (I love that man!) We both prayed prayers of gratitude and joy and praise.

I fed our prodigals an early breakfast after which, without any prompting at all, they gratefully went straight to their bed in the laundry room with Sophie and Blue. Then Paul and I, wide awake and filled with joy, had ourselves a hearty early morning breakfast. Scrambled eggs never tasted so good.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I fought the color and the color won

Shady Road © 2009 by Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 • acrylic on Gessobord

SOLD • private collection, Salem, Massachusetts

Well, when I came to the easel this morning, I had the idea that I was going to tone down some of the color intensity of this fauve-a-licious little picture. When I started painting, however, the colors stubbornly insisted on remaining bold and bright.

As you can see, I decided to pick my battles and let the color have its way in this one. (Yeah, that’s it ... I let the color win.)

Here are some close-up details, and following that are some more photos I took during my walk around the park on Wednesday. What a glorious day!