Friday, August 26, 2011

A Louisiana wildflower garden
plus planning for fall

Summer is fast coming to a close (except for all this 100-plus-degree weather!) and even though I haven’t been posting new paintings lately, I’m busy gearing up for fall.

I finally got a Facebook page up for my art, and I uploaded the images for my Landscape Paintings and Animal Paintings albums ... you can click on the “Like” button over to the right at the top of this blog to become a “fan” of my art there.

This week I’m finishing up some graphic design work for a poster, flyers and program for a women’s outreach event at our church in October, then I’ll get started on some major cleaning out (think “Spring Cleaning,” only in September) in preparation for a painting workshop I’ll be leading here on October 1.

The workshop is actually being organized and hosted by Robin Clawson, an artist here in Shreveport who teaches classes on an ongoing basis, who asked me if I would like to be a guest artist for a Saturday workshop. When we were hammering out the details yesterday we realized we hadn’t discussed location, so I said, why not here in my studio? So that’s what we’re going to do and I’m SO EXCITED! A lot of you have asked me when I’m going to start teaching workshops; this first workshop is mainly for Robin’s current students, but it will let me get my feet wet, so to speak, and soon I plan to start teaching workshops open to anyone.

So. Right now my studio/office looks like this ...

... complete with Ray, wondering what in the world I’m doing over here in the corner.

I realize it doesn’t look TOO messy in these pictures; that’s because it’s a spacious room with the mess all pushed over to the corners. Just wait ’til I show you the “after” photos!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A hard morning’s work ...

Here’s Roadie, almost 10 months old, still very much a puppy (a 65-pound puppy), napping on Andy’s bed, exhausted from a morning chock-full of puppy projects ...

... like this ...

... and this (notice how he made a little house with a chimney 
out of paper towels ... what a creative pooch!) ...

... and this ...

 ... and this.

After a morning as full of productive creativity as this, 
it’s no wonder he needs a nap!

I think I need one, too.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The teeny dogs next door

Our next-door neighbors have been away for a few days, taking their kids to the beach for a last hoorah of the summer before school starts tomorrow, and while they were gone we’ve been going over several times a day to take care of these cutie-patooties.

This is Miley, the miniature dachshund, who is a little over two years old and weighs maybe eight pounds. Just about every day she comes over to our back fence and gives our big dogs a good talking to, reminding them that they better just stay in their own yard if they know what’s good for ’em.

Here are Peanut and Champ, also miniature dachshunds, six months old and both just as full of beans as they can be. They’re waiting for their after-going-out-in-the-yard treat.

Champ is a long-haired mini, just beautiful. Here he is out in the yard, letting the wind blow in his hair:

I wonder what’s going on in his little bean-filled head.

And here’s little old Ramona, the chihuahua, about thirteen years old. Hard to get a close-up without my zoom lens. She values her privacy.

On the art front, my sister finally talked me into getting on Facebook, so I’ve been reading articles on how artists can promote their art on a Facebook page that is separate from their personal pages. Still trying to figure all that out, but I’m getting there!

I’ll put a link when I have it ready.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Introducing Rocky Road, aka ROADIE!

Meet the reason I’ve been pulled away from my painting for a few days; his name is Rocky Road, and we call him Roadie.

Roadie came as a stray a while back to a friend who lives in town. He came looking for a handout but what he found was a true dog lover who did her best to find his owners or a new home for him. My friend Kelly and her husband called him Bailey Blue, and gave him a home while they sent out flyers and took him to their vet to see if he had a microchip (no!), sent out e-mail blasts to friends and family, and even put him on Craig's list. They already have a senior lab mix named Shelby who has arthritis and two artificial knees and she would tire easily and get grumpy when Bailey Blue wanted to play and play and play and play. So a couple of weeks ago Kelly called me and started off our conversation with, “Y’all are dog lovers ... right? ...”

Even though I kind of suspected what was coming next, I (noble individual that I am) did not hang up on her. (LOL, Kelly, if you’re reading this.)

What she proposed is that maybe Paul and I could provide a foster home for the stray while she continued to look for a permanent home. So, even knowing that once we met the little rascal we’d fall head over heels in love and never let him go, I said yes, but we already have a Bailey and a Blue, so we’d have to come up with a different name for the newbie.

So on her day off from work, Kelly brought him over and helped me introduce him to our pack, one by one. I let everybody out in the back yard, except big Andy, who I took on a leash out to front yard where Kelly was standing a good distance away from the house with the newcomer. They met very cordially, touched noses gingerly, and did the usual canine I.D. checks, then we walked into the house together. After a few minutes Andy started getting agitated that there were strangers in the house, so I made him go out in the back, and I brought in Trixie, who is the alpha female (after me, of course) of our growing pack.She LOVES company, and didn’t know who to be more excited about, Kelly or the dog. After a few minutes I put Trixie back out and I let in, one at a time, Buster and Matilda, who were very curious, but very timid and kept their distance, Sophie the Drama Queen, who barked and barked at the newcomer from a safe distance until I let her back outside and finally our big Blue, who, sure that it was my Mom and Dad who were here, barreled down the hall and into the parlor to get hugs. When he realized that no, this was not Grandma and Grandpa but A TOTAL STRANGER, and not only that but A TOTAL STRANGER WITH A STRANGE DOG, he went and hid behind the sofa.

After a while, Kelly said a tearful good-bye to Roadie (as we came to call him on about the 3rd day, after trying a few names that didn’t quite fit) and I let all the dogs in, one by one, ending with Andy, whom I kept beside me on a leash while we all sat in the parlor with Roadie. He was excellent at making friends, advancing little by little, but lying down or rolling over on his back whenever any of the dogs acted afraid or skittish of him. Eventually, after about half an hour or so, everyone started napping in various places around the parlor. Even Andy relaxed enough for me to feel comfortable letting him off the leash.

Later that day, supper went very smoothly, with Roadie’s eating place established at the end of the hall between kitchen and back porch, while Trixie and Andy were in their usual places in the kitchen and the redbones in their places on the back porch. That evening Trixie was the first to break the game-playing ice, and she and Roadie had a good wrestle on the den rug. And now, finally, we have a dog who will actually fetch a ball more than two times in a row. Here’s Roadie after an early morning game, relaxing at one of our “dog cooling stations.” These days, even as early as 7:30 a.m. it’s already close to 85°F!

And, just as I expected, after a couple of days my husband suggested we call Kelly and tell her to stop looking for a home for Roadie because he was “one of us now.” Now, after a little over a week, Roadie is fitting right in like he’s been here the whole time. We went for his first visit to our vet yesterday, and though I thought he might be an Australian Shepherd mix, the doc says that if he’s not a pure bred Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog (formerly known as a Catahoula Cur), he’s close to it. His head shape, coloring, body type, tail and eyes are all typical of this rare breed, and he’s probably about nine months old.

Roadie’s First Free-For-All

Here are some pictures of the first time Roadie joined in on a family free-for-all in our back yard, about a week ago.

The match is initiated by little Matilda, who issues an invitation to Andy.

Soon Trixie, Blue and Buster joined the action.

Here come Roadie and Sophie!

Roadie makes a surprise lunge at Blue as Blue advances on Andy! Excitement abounds!

Matilda goes for one of Blue’s hind legs! The crowd goes wild!

Wow! What action!

Matilda is holding her own amongst the big dogs ... what a trooper!

Suddenly the free-for-all separates into two camps:
Sophie and Matilda vs. Blue, and Roadie vs. Andy!

And then, as quickly as it began, the game is over, Trixie heads out to the yard with Roadie on her heels (Trixie and Roadie have become BFFs); Matilda heads for a drink of water.

So ... what do you think of the new kid?

Well, I don’t know where he learned his stuff,
but you have to admit he’s got some killer moves!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Napscape finished!

Napscape © 2011 by Karen Mathison Schmidt
10 x 30 inches • oil on museum-quality, archival 2" cradled Gessobord

SOLD • private collection, Poway, California

Here is the finished painting ... yay! For a larger image you can click here to view the painting on my website. This one was kind of a milestone for me: the first time I’ve sold a painting while it was still in progress! Woo-hoo! One of my collectors spotted the progress photos on my blog and e-mailed me to make sure she was first in line to purchase it when it was done. As soon as the varnish dries it will be winging its way across the country to its new home.

I’ve been taking some time away from painting for the last few days to integrate a new canine member into our family. This is dog number seven. Yep, seven. Only one more and we’ll have a team big enough to pull Santa’s sleigh in case Donner, Blitzen and the gang decide to retire. Good thing we have plenty of love and plenty of room! Look for more details in my next post later on today.

Meanwhile, here are some close-up details of today’s painting: