Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Making plans ...

Looking forward to the changing of the seasons has me hankering to paint some landscapes like these. 

Chilly and foggy. 

With no mosquitoes.

Plus I’m pretty excited that I got a commission today, for a painting of a sweet little Swedish Chihuahua. “A Swedish Chihuahua?” I can hear some of you asking, “What is that, I never heard of that breed.”

Well, sillies, it’s a Chihuahua who lives in Sweden. And his name is Tabasco. Just wait ’til you see him; he’s cute as a liten champinjon!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Colorado road trip series continues ...

I Love a Road Trip No. 3: Summer Light


Summer Light  © 2012 by Karen Mathison Schmidt
24 x 18 x 7/8 inches • acrylic on archival, museum-quality, cradled GessobordTM
private collection • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I finished this one yesterday but ran out of time for blogging, so here it is! This is actually composed from ... let’s see ... about five different reference photos. Gotta run for now, but I’ll show the photos in my next post!

Later, taters!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Biscuit finished ...

Her Function Is To Sit and Be Admired  © 2012 by Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 inches • acrylic on GessobordTM

in my eBay store (Look for ACEO Ltd Edition Art Cards there, too!)

The title of this painting, which went to its “forever home” this evening, is taken from a quote by Georgina Strickland Gates. When she received the painting, Biscuit’s servant Ramona was very pleased. And that makes me happy.

You can’t see it in the picture, but I gave this one a little subtle bling; I used just a few here and there touches of iridescent gold acrylic on Biscuit’s luxurious fur ... it’s noticeable on the painting only when the angle of the light is just so. It’s like a little secret built into the art. Fun!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dog Rules
... or maybe that should be Dogs Rule!


Favorite Chair  © 2012 by Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 inches • acrylic on archival, museum-quality GessobordTM
private collection • Poway, California

I ran across this list yesterday on Pinterest, and laughed and laughed. It describes our seven canine family members to a T.

All except for the last two rules. We’re not there yet.

At least not quite.

  1. The dog is not allowed in the house
  2. OK, the dog is allowed in the house, but only in certain rooms.
  3. The dog is allowed in all rooms, but has to stay off the furniture.
  4. The dog can get on the old furniture only.
  5. Fine, the dog is allowed on all furniture, but is not allowed to sleep with humans on the bed.
  6. OK, the dog is allowed on the bed, but only by invitation.
  7. The dog can sleep on the bed whenever he wants, but not under the covers.
  8. The dog can sleep under the covers by invitation only.
  9. The dog can sleep under the covers every night.
  10. Humans must ask permission to sleep under the covers with the dog.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Equal time for dogs


Napscape II: Buster  © 2012 by Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 inches • acrylic on archival, museum quality GessobordTM
private collection • Bozeman, Montana

A rainy day here in the Ark-La-Tex. A good day for an afternoon snooze in a comfy chair.

By the way, I fully intended to post work-in-progress pics of this one, but didn’t realize until I uploaded the photos from my camera that I had accidentally turned off the automatic focus. Now, I am perfectly capable of using the manual focus, but thinking the autofocus was engaged, why bother? Anyway, the bottom line is that my progress pics were fuzzy. And therefore uninformative. So there you go.

I will say that I had a lot of fun with the brushstrokes on this one ... yesterday I watched a 2008 video of a Carol Marine painting, so today I felt inspired to be even looser and quicker with my strokes, just to see what would happen. 

Well, let me tell you: fun happened.

I can hardly wait to try it again tomorrow!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tea Time for Moustachio

Tea for Three  © 2012 by Karen Mathison Schmidt
10 x 8 x 7/8 inches • acrylic on cradled GessobordTM
gloss varnish for UV protection • sides painted dark umber
can be beautifully displayed with or without a frame

from my eBay store

Here’s a whimsical glimpse of Moustachio, lingering after tea with friends. My inspiration for this painting was the photo I took of Moustachio waiting for his dinner on the front porch. I was struck by the similarity in shape between his legs and the table leg. As artists, we’re trained to notice these things. :)

It also strikes me now that I’ve finished the painting, that Moustachio’s demeanor is much like that of the Blue Dog in Louisiana artist George Rodrigue’s paintings. Maybe I should do a whole series of Moustachio in this exact same pose. I’m envisioning it now ... Moustachio at the Louvre, Moustachio at Tower Bridge, Moustachio visiting the Cathedral at Chartres, Moustachio sailboating off Nantucket, Moustachio at a vineyard in Tuscany, Moustachio visiting the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence (Impressed? Don’t be ... I googled it), Moustachio in the tulip fields of Holland, Moustachio ice fishing in Nova Scotia ... well, you get the idea.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tabasco Tabby

Tabasco  © 2012 Karen Mathison Schmidt
8 x 10 inches • acrylic on cradled museum-quality, archival GessobordTM
commission • Shreveport, Louisiana

This painting was commissioned by fellow Shreveport artist Robin Clawson, in memory of her beautiful Tabasco (Tabby for short), who she lost just about a year ago. I just love Tabby’s markings ... it’s been such a joy to paint all the beautiful patterns and colors in her coat!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Another cat painting work-in-progress

Tabasco (commission) 8 x 10 WORK-IN-PROGRESS

Yet another work in progress ... let’s see if I can finish at least two tomorrow!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Works in progress!

Two, count ’em, two works in progress I hope to finish tomorrow:

This one of Biscuit is already spoken for by her highness’ servant, Ramona ...

... and this one will be available for purchase in my eBay store.

Hasta maƱana, amigos!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Remembering Maddie

If you have a dog, you will most likely outlive it; to get a dog is to open yourself to profound joy and, prospectively, to equally profound sadness.

I have sometimes thought of the final cause of dogs having such short lives and I am quite satisfied it is in compassion to the human race; for if we suffer so much in losing a dog after an acquaintance of ten or twelve years, what would it be if they were to live double that time?

The dog of your boyhood teaches you a great deal about friendship, and love, and death: Old Skip was my brother. 
They had buried him under our elm tree, they said – 
yet this wasn’t totally true. For he really lay buried in my heart.


My sister Kathy and my brother-in-law Pat, who live in Long Beach, California, have three sons, now ages 20, 17 and 15 years. Yesterday Kathy told me that they just lost Maddie, their Australian shepherd of 13 years, which makes me very sad. I’m typing this with tears in my eyes. Maddie was a beautiful, smart, wonderful, patient, great dog. 

Today I thought I would share some of the pictures that Kathy posted on her Facebook page today, of Maddie and the boys through the years.

Scott (today a 20-year-old college student) with a young Maddie.

Michael and friends with Maddie and friend. 
Kathy says that if she had a digital camera back then 
there would have been a lot more pictures like this!

Here’s what Kathy said about this photo: Brian after a hard day of play ... what every boy needs – his dinosaur, a trusty weapon, an action figure, and a good dog for a pillow!

And here’s Brian a few years later ... the dinosaur and sword have been replaced by a baseball and a book, but the “good dog for a pillow” remains a constant.

When I told my husband about Maddie yesterday, one of the first things he said was, “Remember how she used to carry her dish around when she was hungry?”

Pretty soon she figured out that if she carried it like this, she could actually see where she was going!

A good night hug from Michael (from a few years ago; Mike is now 17)

Maddie, perfecting the art of begging. At first she was subtle ...

... in her old age, not so subtle. Here she is with my Dad on a recent trip to Long Beach.

Good-bye, Maddie ... we’ll miss you!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A continuous function indeed

Her function is to sit and be admired.



I took a small break from the landscape I’ve been working on to do start this little one. I was hoping to do it all in one session, but I started too late in the day and this is where I had to stop when I lost the daylight. If ever there was a cat of whom the above quote was true, it’s Biscuit, who is very beautiful and very fluffy, and who graces the home of our good friends Ken and Ramona with her presence. I always try to squeeze in a photo session with her whenever I’m visiting.

More on the Colorado landscape soon!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Is it morning yet?

Each day I go to my studio full of joy; 
in the evening when obliged to stop because of darkness 
I can scarcely wait for the morning to come ... 


A couple of weeks or so ago, while I was out on the front porch talking with the FedEx guy who was delivering a few paints to replenish my supply, and the dogs were going crazy in the parlor because I was out on the porch talking with the FedEx guy, one of them (I suspect Roadie or Andy) started pulling on the center divider light of one of the double-paned windows making up the bay window and with an eardrum-piercing crack the inner pane of the window broke in a giant star pattern from the center out to the frame. I said a hasty good day to the FedEx guy and ran back in the house to see what had happened, getting to the doorway of the parlor at the same time as Paul. Needless to say we were none too pleased. Paul shooed the dogs out and closed the door as I went for the broom and the vacuum cleaner. I picked up the pieces of glass that had fallen out on the floor, swept and vacuumed the area while Paul examined the dogs to make sure nobody was hurt. At the same time, both of us were going over in our minds how we could go about finding new homes for seven dogs.*

(*Not really. Both of us would be brokenhearted if we ever had to give up any of our motley crew. We just fantasize from time to time about how it would be to be a two-dog family.)

Anyway, I didn’t have the time right then to pull all the rest of the glass out of the window frame. Even though it was in shards, they were still glued in pretty strongly all around the edges of the frame, and the outer pane was still completely intact, so after I cleaned up all the loose glass I pushed a bookcase in front of the window until I could get to it. This morning I got to it. I gathered up some masking tape, a hammer and a trash can, went into the parlor and closed the door so none of the dogs would come in and “help” me, and, wearing safety goggles and leather work gloves, proceeded to pull the broken glass out of the frame. After I had finished working loose the smaller to medium sized shards, I was left with a large section at the top of the frame which I wouldn’t be able to remove without breaking it into smaller pieces, so put several masking tape X’s over it and proceeded to tap, tap, tap with the hammer until it cracked into more manageable pieces which I could then work loose. 

Well, in working one of these pieces loose, an adjacent shard which had somehow escaped being secured by any of the tape just jumped out and dropped, point down, straight onto the top of my foot. I told you that I had engaged in the proper safety measures of wearing goggles and leather gloves, but what I neglected to mention is that on this very hot morning I was wearing sandals. Not hefty sandals, like Birkenstocks. Skimpy sandals. The next-best-thing-to-being-barefoot sandals. 

So I watched this glass shard fly out from the window frame in slow motion heading straight toward my foot like a miniature guided missile. And the next thing I knew, my foot was literally standing in a pool of blood on the wood floor. I very calmly lifted the shard from the top of my foot where it had stuck right on top of the big bone that connects to the big toe, sat down at the little glass top table which is right there by the window, put my foot up on the table, pulled my phone out of my pocket and called my husband, who was in the den and who I knew would probably not hear me if I just called out. I very calmly told him what happened, and asked him to bring me some paper towels and a plastic bag from the kitchen so I could walk to the bathroom without getting blood all over the floor. Then I calmly waited, looking at my foot which I knew had just a little pinpoint of a wound in it but it was hard to see that at the time because it was covered in blood. 

When Paul came in with the paper towels and plastic bag he kind of freaked out a little bit, which I knew he would, but calmed down when I told him I was really all right, that it looked a lot worse than it really was. 

THEN, looking at the blood on the floor, and at my blood-marinated foot, he said, “Honey, you should take a picture of this for your blog!” I just busted out laughing, and said I don’t think so! Listen, Mister, what kind of a blog do you think I’m running, anyway? 

So instead, I offer you a picture of our sunlight-dappled driveway I took late this afternoon out my studio window. Much more beautiful and peaceful a scene. And suitable for any audience.

P.S. We cleaned my foot up, and sure enough, it was just a teeny little pinpoint of a wound which had been in just the right placed to cause a lot of bleeding for a very few minutes. We cleaned it thoroughly, dabbed on some neosporin, stuck on a bandaid and I was good to go. It didn’t even hurt after a few minutes. I thank the Lord, because it could have been a WHOLE lot worse. As it turned out, it was kind of just a reminder to WEAR SHOES AND SOCKS when you’re pulling broken glass out of a window frame.

And here’s where I am on the new Colorado landscape:

Happy painting, all!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I Love a Road Trip, continued ...

Here are the first couple of progress photos of I Love A Road Trip No. 3: Summer Light, a colorado landscape of a homestead nestled in a small river valley ...

First, the sketch I drew in pencil, then defined with mars black acrylic:

You can just barely see the pencil lines where I divided the surface into three sections vertically and horizontally; this one had a lot of nice strong shapes, and I wanted to get the relationships and relative sizes just right.

Below is the ever-popular wild-amd-crazy-colored underpainting, blocked in with various mixtures of cadmium orange, magenta, phthalo blue, and titanium white. That vivid red I made by mixing strong glazes of the orange and magenta.

Except for the river, I decided on these under colors by choosing (roughly) the complement of what the main finished color of each area will be.

Curious as to how it will turn out?

Me, too!

You can’t hurry love

Possess your soul with patience.



Wild Bunch  © 2012 Karen Mathison Schmidt
30 x 24 x 2 inches • acrylic on archival, museum-quality 2" deep cradled GessobordTM
private collection • Puyallup, Washington

I thought this one was finished a couple of days ago. But then I started to think maybe I was just in a hurry for it to be done. This morning I sat in front of it with my coffee and just looked at it for a while. 

And then ... I finished it. 

I’m glad I took a breather.