Saturday, October 31, 2009

Post-rain dog pics

After so many rainy days, we (dogs included) were overjoyed to be able to spend a little time outside this Beautiful Saturday.

Here are Andy and Buster, soaking up a few rays.

Andy (100 lbs.) and Matilda (35 lbs.) standing in the mud pit we like to refer to as “the back yard.”

This is Buster’s senior pic, under the old oak tree. I directed him to look thoughtful, like he was daydreaming about his future. He actually looks like he’s zoning out a little.

Same location, Matilda’s senior pic.

And here are our 2 big boys, Andy and Blue ...

... standing on the peak of a big old upside down satellite dish we haven’t quite gotten around to hauling away yet. (OK, how many of you out there remember when satellite TV dishes were 6 feet in diameter?)

And here’s our Sophie, hanging back on the porch. “Hmmm ... do I really feel like getting my feet muddy?”

And finally -- because she definitely does not like to get her feet muddy -- here’s our Trixie, chill-axin’ in her favorite chair in the den.

I love painting.


I love to paint. I love painting animals. I love painting flowers.

But I especially love painting landscapes.

This one is bigger than my usual: 30 x 24 inches. It’s a picture of the overflowing pond out in the north pasture across our road, with the tall grasses along the roadside in the foreground. I think the finished painting will look a lot different from this progress photo. I’ll just have to see where this one takes me ...

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Perfect days ...

Farm Road © Karen Mathison Schmidt
5 x 7 • acrylic on Gessobord
gloss varnish for protection & easy cleaning

This dirt road runs through the cornfields and cotton fields about a half mile from our place. This was a picture perfect, crisp autumn day after nearly three weeks of rain. Hallelujah!

This one has a kind of a Southwest feel to it. If you squint and use your imagination, the tree line along the horizon could be distant mountains. So if you want this to be a New Mexico painting, go ahead and pretend it is. Viewer’s perogative!

Two work-in-progress photos, showing the underlying colors:

And here are some brushwork details:

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Vaya con Dios!

Royal Pair © 2009 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 • acrylic on Gessobord

SOLD • private collection, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I love monarch butterflies. But they don’t live here. We only get to see them in the fall, when they’re passing through on their way to sunny Mexico for the winter, and in the spring when they’re heading back up north.

When I was a kid, I had a book called The Travels of Monarch X, by Dr. Ross E. Hutchins ... I loved that book. That was such a long time ago, I was sure the book must be out of print by now, but I did a Google search and found the story here! (when you go there, scroll down a bit past all the scientific stuff for the actual story.)

One day last week, on one of those rare occasions when the sun was actually breaking through the storm clouds for a few minutes, I decided to head to town in hopes of accomplishing a few errands between downpours. When I stepped out onto the back porch I froze when I saw this little guy perched near the top of some tall grasses growing by the back steps (sometimes it actually pays to procrastinate on the weedeating), taking a little rest stop before continuing on his way south for the winter. As he sat there opening and closing his wings, just soaking up the sunlight, I held my breath and calculated how long it would take me to step back inside and run get my camera, which I had left upstairs on my desk, and trying to decide if I should stay here and try to memorize this painting op, or go ahead and fetch the camera on the off chance that this beauty would still be here when I got back. So I did a little of both. After burning this picture into my brain for a few long seconds, I ran to get the camera and when I came back he was still there! I had time to snap a few reference photos before he flitted away. When I was working on the composition for this painting, I decided to put two of him in it. Artist’s perogative!

Here are some brushwork details:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Painting Butterflies

WORK IN PROGRESS Butterfly painting

After a couple of weeks of thunderstormy weather, I was so looking forward to the perfect fall weather that was predicted for this week: 4 or 5 days of partly cloudy to sunny skies, highs in the 70's, lows in the 50's. Luverly.

But it didn't happen. It's been raining and raining and raining. And then this morning it rained some more. And now they’re saying we’re in for 4 or 5 more days of this. Bummer.

Plus we have this terrible rotten smell in our laundry room that started weak and has grown strong and is very yukky and we can't tell where it's coming from. We moved the washer and dryer to see if something was under there, but nothing. Except a bunch of Mountain Spring Downy scented dust bunnies under the dryer. I went outside and smelled under the house back where the laundry room is and it just smells like damp earth. Not rotten at all, but very pleasant compared to The Smell inside. We finally figured that some critter like a mouse or maybe something bigger, has died inside the wall, and we’ll just have to ride it out, until decomp has been completed. (This happened to me in the house I lived in before Paul and I were married; only then The Smell was in the kitchen ... way worse than having A Smell in the laundry room. And I was in the process of putting my house on the market, too. Very bad timing. In time The Smell subsided and went away, and I did sell the house and got married, so that smell story at least has a happy ending.)

I put a bunch of scented candles all around the laundry room to see if that would help, but I’m afraid the candles are fighting a losing battle. And now it looks kind of like a voodoo parlor or something. Except for the sign on the shelf above the washer that says “Dogs accept you as boss -- cats ask to see your resumé.”

Paul tried to creep me out by saying that even after the smell goes away, the bones of whatever it is will still be inside the wall. But I said that’s ok by me, as long as they’re odor-free bones.

The point of all this is to say that to counteract the bit of a bad mood caused by gloomy weather and annoying Rotten Smells, today I chose to paint butterflies. And to be grateful for a roof that doesn’t leak. And to try to keep my mind on the really important things.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Bailey, international cat of mystery

Birdwatching by Karen Mathison Schmidt
18 x 24 • acrylic on cradled Gessobord

I finished this one in February for Acrylic Secrets. You can see my step by step process in the book; the editors gave me a six-page spread for this one!

I had a lot of fun painting Bailey in this large format. I’m pretty sure she likes the finished piece, too, because while I had it sitting in my office she kept posing in front of it.

Here’s a snippet from a conversation we had while I was working on the painting:

Me: I wonder if I should have gone with the 9 x 12 board. This one is pretty big.

Bailey: Darling, when it comes to a picture of me, bigger is always better.

Me: You know, you should be honored that I chose you for the subject of this one -- this picture is going in a book that’s supposed to be distributed in four countries.

Bailey: Excellent. It’s about time the world knew of my beauty.

Ah, Bailey. So beautiful. So modest. Gotta love her!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Only God can make a tree ...

Oak Tree on a September Morning © Karen Mathison Schmidt
20 x 16 x 1 • acrylic on cradled Gessobord
sides painted dark umber
SOLD • private collection, Germantown, Tennessee

Here's the finished painting. This one has a lot of layered color glazes, and some interesting texture.

Scroll down past the brushwork details to see the work-in-progress photos

And here are the extreme close-up brushwork details:

Here you can see where I used a palette knife to scrape in the suggestion of stems for the flowers:

And here are the work-in-progress photos:

Here you can see a little of the abstract background, over which I've started to block in my composition in blacks and blues:

Here's a close-up view of the flowers in the lower right section of the painting. I added some dark green where I wanted the stems to be, then added a layer of a lighter color and scraped away the lighter paint to show the dark green as the stems of the flowers: