Sunday, February 22, 2009

Look At My Yard! (2009 Edition)

In a comment on my last post, Sandi asked me my take on the use of black on my palette. I'll address that question in the next post or so. Thanks, Sandi!

Ever Faithful © 2009 Karen Mathison Schmidt
5 x 7 • acrylic on Gessobord

As I was loading the photos for this post, I thought I'd go back and take a look at last year's Look At My Yard post. And I see that all the little flowers have faithfully returned, only a little earlier this year.

These daffodils were planted here in our yard over a hundred years ago, and they just keep on blooming without fail, year after year. When these little heralds start showing up, it reminds me that spring is close on their heels. Sweet!

I listed this painting on eBay yesterday, but I took it back off because I'm not quite satisfied with it. Something about it is bugging me. I'm not quite sure what it is, but I'll ruminate on it for a day or so and I'm sure I'll figure it out.

Meanwhile, just Look At My Yard!

For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.

Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour,
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon, and stars of light.

For the joy of ear and eye,
For the heart and mind’s delight,
For the mystic harmony
Linking sense to sound and sight.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild.

For Thy Church, that evermore
Lifteth holy hands above,
Offering up on every shore
Her pure sacrifice of love.

For each perfect gift of Thine,
To our race so freely given,
Graces human and divine,
Flowers of earth and buds of Heaven.

Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

– Folliot S. Pierpoint, 1864

Friday, February 20, 2009

Bailey ad infinitum

As some of you may know, I was asked several months ago by UK artist Gill Barron, Painter of Everything, to be a contributing artist in her how-to book on acrylic painting, to be published by Quarto Publishing. VERY EXCITING! I've been hard at work putting finishing touches on two large paintings with progress photos and text for the project, and I'm finally done. One painting is an interior/still life, and one is a portrait of our Bailey.

I can't show you the finished paintings, but if you look real hard you might catch a blurry partial glimpse of one in this photo I took of Bailey in my studio.*

While I was doing the cropping and sizing to get this blog-ready, I had the thought, what if I did a painting of this photo and took another picture of Bailey sitting in front of that painting? And then what if I did another painting of that photo and took a picture of Bailey in front of that painting? And THEN ... I had to stop thinking about it because I was starting to blow my own mind a little bit.

* The day after I took this photo I found this art card by Nicole Wong and I just HAD to have it. It's just, oh, SO Bailey.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Edgewood Renovation marches on: The Parlor!

I've been getting quite a few requests to show more pics of the progress on our house, so here goes!

Today I'll show the progress on the parlor.

I love that I get to live in an old house that has a "parlor."

Early in the wee hours one morning a while back, my husband and I were awakened by a crash, but we couldn't tell where it had come from. I said it was probably just Ray, knocking over some books or something. Paul went to investigate. He came back a few minutes later and sleepily climbed back into bed.

I asked, "Was it Ray?"

He replied, "It was Ray." Before I could ask where, he mumbled, "In the parlor."

And after a short pause he added, "With the candlestick." I laughed and laughed.

Those of you who have ever played the game Clue will get the joke.

Anyway, on with the photos:

Here's a before pic, showing the water damage and mold due to rain coming in, due to big holes in the roof. Last summer we put on an all new roof, so no more rain in the house! This room and the room directly above, which is now my studio/office were where we had the most damage.

Here, one of our hardworking carpenters, Winslow, is removing the damaged sheetrock. Right above his head you can see some red peeking through. That, we discovered, was the original 1872 ceiling.

Here you can see the original ceiling was eventually covered with cheesecloth and paper. Then sheetrock. But as you can see, the ceiling was originally beadboard, painted barn red. A red ceiling! Those zany Victorians. When we saw this, we decided to put new sheetrock only on the walls and keep this original ceiling just like it is, in all its worn and scratched 137-year-old glory. How This-Old-House of us.

Basically, the house is built entirely of cypress, which termites don't particularly care for. And it's still solid as a rock.

Here's a close-up of the antique chandelier, which we removed to have it refurbished and the wiring updated. And the mud dauber nest removed. As you'll see in the following photos, we put another, less chic, less interesting fixture in its place temporarily.

I don't know how this happened, but in the weeks after the new sheetrock was put up and before the walls were primed, this pile of books and junk somehow mysteriously found its way into the room. Get a load of that old TV down front. We found that on the sleeping porch upstairs, under a huge pile of junk.
Talk about a blast from the past.

This pic and the one below show the walls all primed and ready for a fashionable coat of "Venetian Dew" by Pittsburgh Paints.

Oooo. Aaahhh. Here's the room all painted, with furniture and what not. Really this table and chairs will eventually go in the dining room and this room will have a piano and refurbished comfy sofa and chairs. And coffee table. And side tables with lamps. Plus we still have to paint the trim and re-finish the floor. And get curtains. And a probably a rug. And hang pictures on the walls. But for now this is it. Plain and simple.

I think these old glass door knobs are so cool.

I put 2 photos side by side to show a more sweeping view of the room. To the right is the bay window which looks out to the front. Too bad we don't have a view of an actual bay. We do have the river, though, which is pretty cool.

This is an antique steam radiator (we have them all over the house ... when the propane heat was added, I guess they just left these because they're unbelievably heavy.) And paperwhites and yellow daffodils from the yard in an art glass vase my sister found out in the garage!! when she and her family were here over Christmas. The antique rocking horse ... well, it's actually a gliding horse ... belonged to the little boy of the family who lived here in the 1890's.

At first I wasn't too sure about this color for the walls, but now I love it. Sometimes it looks more green and sometimes it looks more blue. Here you can see the white crown moulding and the red ceiling with the wall color. The trim and the doors will eventually be white or white-washed.

Here's a close-up view of that antique red ceiling.

We found this table at a neat place here in town called The North Market. It's made out of salvaged 100-year-old tin ceiling tiles and 100-year-old boards that Annette, owner of The North Market, salvaged from a home place that was being torn down. She commissions a husband and wife team in east Texas to make this furniture, and as soon as we saw it we thought it would be perfect for our house. We're going to have a piece of glass cut for the top, then use it in the dining room or upstairs on the sleeping-porch-turned-garden-porch. We also got a matching coffee table that's now out on the sunporch. (You can see that in the last photo in this post, below.)

The door on the right opens into the actual dining room (not ready to be shown yet!) and the one on the left opens out into the hall.

Here's the fireplace, which will have gas (propane) logs. All seven (yeah, 7!) fireplaces in the house have had propane heaters in them as long as I've known, and I don't know if they were ever real woodburning fireplaces.

Looking toward the hall door from the sunporch. The walls of the hall aren't nearly as blue as they look in this photo. You'll see when I post those pics.

Here are some framed vintage callligraphy pieces. Nehemiah 8:10 and St. Francis' Prayer for Peace.

And here's Ray, checking out the new arrangement out on the sunporch. The coffee table also came from The North Market and matches the table in the parlor. There are three different sets of wicker furniture which were scattered throughout the house and attic, most of it painted pink. I think I'm going to paint it antique white. And we'll have to get new cushions all around, and re-upholster the back of the settee and the chairs that have upholstered backs.

And that's the parlor and sunporch so far. Whew! I'll keep you updated ...

Friday, February 6, 2009

Lest you should think it’s all about the dogs ...

Notice that the following encounter takes place after Bailey has knocked over everything else on the desk.


Who said that?

Excuse me? ... Are you TAUNTING me?

Oh, wise guys, eh? Why, I oughtta ...

Take that, wisenheimers!

What? Well ... hey, THEY started it!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Missed Photo Op

OK. So I walk in the kitchen the other day and Henry is standing on the stove.

All four feet. On top of the stove. Licking out the frying pan.

Later on, when I told my husband about it, he said, "Did you get a picture? That would be great on your blog!"

I just looked at him.

Somehow, when I feel like I need a little break and I get up and go to the kitchen to freshen my coffee and get a muffin or maybe a bagel and the sight that greets me when I walk through the door is sixty pounds of bluetick coonhound on top of my stove licking out the frying pan, running to fetch the camera is not exactly the first thing that crosses my mind.

Although now that I think of it, that WOULD have been great on my blog.


Here's the stove:

And here's the dog:

Use your imaginations.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Ballad of Buster and Matilda

Bayou Road on a February Aftenoon © 2009 Karen Mathison Schmidt
5 x 7 • acrylic on Gessobord
gloss varnish for protection and easy cleaning • sold unframed
SOLD • private collection, North Attleboro, Massachusetts

This painting shows the road which runs along a small bayou about a half mile from our house where we first met our redbone coonhounds, Buster and Matilda.

They were abandoned pups then (we figured a few months old), living down in the rushes beside the bayou. We and some neighbors up and down the road took turns feeding them; my husband and I offered to take them in if someone could help us catch them (no easy task, since they wouldn't let anyone come near at first).

Almost every day I would walk our doggie ambassadors, Trixie and Henry, down to the bayou to visit them, and gradually we became friends, although the pups still wouldn’t let us humans get too close. Trixie told them all about how wonderful it was living at our house – two squares a day, various treats and toys, warm, dry beds, occasional TV time, lots of petting, a huge yard, all the squirrels you can chase, fun and games, etc., but Buster and Matilda were hard sells. We dropped off a couple of brochures extolling the virtues of luxury canine living at Chez Schmidt, and they promised they would look them over. Finally, several months later (and with the assistance of Farmer Bob down the road) they arrived at our house and quickly became full-fledged members of the clan. Almost immediately after that Matilda surprised us with 3 more big puppies, one of which was adopted by our house painter, leaving us with a grand total of six beautiful happy hounds.

Well, technically, as Trixie would be quick to point out, five hounds and a border collie mix. Fortunately, we have lots of room and lots of love to give. And rest assured that we have ... um ... taken steps to make sure that we won’t be blessed with any more puppies.

Here are a few photos:

Here's Buster, lounging on the back steps on a sunny afternoon. I think he's planning to write his memoirs.

Matilda's forehead wrinkles make her look like she's really concentrating hard all the time. Like she's trying to calculate the number of seconds until suppertime.

Here's Buster inviting Blue to put his entire head in his mouth. It looks like Blue is about to pass out from Buster's breath. Or maybe he's trying to guess what Buster had for lunch.

NOTE: this picture was taken some time back. Nowadays Blue is almost twice as big as Buster. Well, maybe not twice as big, but pretty darn big. And still growing.

And here are Buster and ’Tilda playing with Blue and Sophie, while Trixie makes sure nobody wanders too far from the pack.

She loves her job.

And here's Buster trying to convince me that, no, I did not just give him a treat, and I should probably go ahead and give him one now.

We just got through watching the AKC/Eukanuba Dog Show, and now Matilda goes around practicing her show dog stance.

Here Buster and Mailda make sure the cows in the pasture don't get too close to OUR yard.

Anyway, today's painting is a picture of the old bayou, which Buster has said he doesn't miss at all, and ’Tilda says she would never wish to go back to.

Nope, not for all the chew bones in the world.

And to wind things up, here are some details of the painting: