Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Painting progress ...

“You can’t look at a sleeping cat and be tense.”  -- JANE PAULEY

Someone to Watch Over Me • 6x6 • oil on Gessobord WORK-IN-PROGRESS

Almost finished with this one of Ray napping in cozy security while being guarded by the ever-watchful felines on one of my Laurel Burch kitty pillows ... my painting day was cut a little short today because of rain moving in, taking away my afternoon light, so I took the opportunity to do a little updating on my website.

We’ve been getting quite a bit of rain lately, and the pasture pond is overflowing. Makes for sloshy walking, but wonderful photo ops ...

Monday, January 30, 2012

Spending time with a friend ...

Here’s Ray, hanging out with his little ceramic buddy. I promise I did not put the ceramic cat there beside the sleeping Ray just for this photo; they were like this when I walked in the room. :)

Just got back from Olive Garden, where we had dinner with my parents and brother in celebration of my Dad’s 80th birthday (Happy Birthday, Daddy!). I did get quite a bit of painting in today, but no photos downloaded yet, so I thought I’d share this link to a fun little video by one of my favorite folk artists, Tascha Parkinson ... her art always makes me smile!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Must have been the pizza ...

Color! What a deep and mysterious language, 
the language of dreams!

PAUL GAUGIN (1848-1903)

I was so full of painting energy today, I finished two underpaintings and had time left over to plan the composition for a large landscape.

Must have been the leftover Papa Murphy’s pizza I had for brunch. :)

WORK-IN-PROGRESS: Tabasco 8x10 (Commission)

WORK-IN-PROGRESS: Someone to Watch Over Me 6x6 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Stopping in an interesting place ...

Oak Tree and Daffodils • ©2012 by Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 inches • oil on archival, museum quality Gessobord
gloss varnish for UV protection • unframed


I racked my brain trying to come up with a less literal title for this, but finally decided to let the painting speak for itself. So, Oak Tree and Daffodils it is!

When I started this painting a couple of days ago, the daffodil leaves had just shot up everywhere, but no sign of blossoms. Today, after a couple of stormy, rainy days there are yellow buds just coming open everywhere ... in a couple more days these beauties will be busting out all over!

Here are the work-in-progress photos:

First, the underpainting in acrylic glazes of fuschia, 
cadmium yellow light, phthalo blue.

Next, I start to add the oil colors, leaving generous gaps 
for those bright undercolors to show through.

Here it is, almost finished ... I just need to add the foreground daffodil blossoms.

I love the effect of adding in a few random little suggestive dots indicating single flowers apart from the little groups ... I was having so much fun doing it I really had to make an effort to make them look totally random and not to overdo it.

And ... the finished painting. I was having so much fun with this one that I kind of had to remind myself to coast to a stop, keeping in mind that Paul Gardner quote, “A painting is never finished - it just stops in interesting places.”

Monday, January 23, 2012

Home again, home again ...

Oak Tree and Daffodils WORK IN PROGRESS:

Even though they aren’t quite in bloom yet, I couldn’t wait to get started on some daffodil paintings. Here’s the underpainting for a little one I made a start on this afternoon.

Paul and I just got home this weekend from a trip to California: first Long Beach, where we stayed with my sister and family while Paul attended a guitar workshop with Paul Gilbert; then up to Fairfield and San Francisco, where we visited Paul’s parents, sister and niece, and an old friend whose band Paul used to play in; then back down to Long Beach and a couple more days with sis and family. A whirlwind trip full of fun, but good to get back to hearth and home (not to mention cats and dogs)!

On our last afternoon there, my sister and I visited Rancho Los Alamitos to wander around the historic gardens and take pictures. By the time we finished the guided tour of the ranch house, the light was fading fast, but we managed to snap a few before dusk.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The finished Andy painting,
plus a little piece of inspiration


Andy © 2012 by Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 inches • oil on museum-quality, archival Gessobord
private collection • Poway, California

We’ve been having a few problems with our internet; the tech people seem to think that our dish may be just a touch out of alignment. The service guy is supposed to come out and check in the next couple of days or so. So hopefully I can post work-in-progress photos of this one maƱana.

Meanwhile, 2012 is starting off with a woosh ... I’m finishing up one commission, I’ve got two more commissions for large-ish paintings lined up, and a possible third in the offing as well. 

And ideas for my own choice of subject just keep on coming. I’ve been reading The Art Spirit by Robert Henri (which I read from cover to cover every couple of years or so), and he mentions more than a few times how our art isn’t created in a vacuum; it flows out of a life well-lived. 

Here’s a little sample of the kind of inspiration that surrounds me every day:

Yesterday the thermostat on our central heat went out, so we’ve been using only our gas logs for heat until it could be fixed (which it was this afternoon ... hooray!) This morning Sophie, Blue and Buster were cozying up with Paul on the sofa ... maybe because they love Paul, maybe because there was a little electric space heater on the coffee table right in front of them, or maybe because Paul was munching on a piece of toast spread with grape jelly. 

Anyway, I was really taken with the soft morning light coming in the window, how the green blanket complemented the dogs’ reddish coats, and the bright red plaid blanket draped over the back of the sofa (barely visible in the top right of this photo). I tiptoed out of the room and back in again with my trusty Canon complete with zoom lens, and, totally unnoticed, snapped a few pictures from across the room. I was holding my breath, willing the dogs to be perfectly still because of the low light and slow shutter speed (I imagined I was a stealthy National Geographic photographer capturing some kind of wildlife on camera) ... I owe a big thank you to the grape-jelly-covered toast for holding their rapt attention. This photo was a total gift; it’s not often that such a pleasing composition just happens.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Sometimes ...

Sometimes I set up cozy little vignettes around the house ...

... in hopes that someone will come along and make the picture a little ...

 ... more ...

 ... interesting!

Now, THERE’S a painting waiting to happen!

Glad to oblige!