Thursday, November 29, 2012

Horse ’n’ Hound

Threshold WORK-IN-PROGRESS detail:

Got to work on this one for about an hour today after my other work. Having fun defining the tree branches by painting in the negative spaces.

Well, I certainly can’t complain about a day that begins with a little squirrel watching, and ends with a walk in the pasture with the horses:

 Matilda, our smallest, with Roadie, our largest. You should see them wrestle. It’s hilarious.

 Andy, sporting a coat well-suited to these chilly mornings.

Long-legged Blue, backlit by the morning sun. 
Not the sharpest knife in our drawer, but sweet and handsome as all get-out. 

Sophie, trying to decide if the squirrel action out in the yard 
is worth getting off the back porch for. 

I guess she decided it was worth it after all.

* insert approximately eight hours of daily activities here *

And now, a lovely late afternoon stroll in the pasture:

When I showed Paul this one, he said, “How did you get them to pose like that?” 
He was kidding of course. I think. 
I hope he was kidding.

On the left is a horse who has already made the discovery that I have no snacks on me.
On the right is a horse who has yet to experience that disappointment.

 Hasta mañana, amigos!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A lurking kitten

For the last couple of days, when I go upstairs to my studio, Jo has taken to waiting for me here right at the top of the stairs so she can pounce on me as I pass.

This just cracks me up ... she totally thinks she’s hiding from me.

 What a beautiful little goofball!

A most productive day ...

Threshold • 12 x 16 WORK IN PROGRESS

I love days like today, when everything seems to flow so smoothly ... hallelujah!

Paul is making great progress toward getting on his feet again.

The dogs were pretty much well behaved all day and didn’t get into any recycling bags or anything. Even Roadie.

I’m working on an extra special commission that I can’t show yet.

AND I managed to squeeze in a good start on this landscape of a portion of a pasture down the road from us. Above is the completed underpainting; here are the progress photos so far:

First, the sketch in black and capuut mortem violet acrylic (the violet is a beautiful dark, neutral violet; it has the effect here of warming up the gray in the trees area).

Next, adding some glazes of Hooker’s green, raw sienna, Prussian blue and some burnt sienna.

Some more layers of phthalo blue, quinacrodone fuchsia, and raw sienna (for that neutral yellow back toward the horizon.

Then some more Hooker’s green, fuchsia, and a little vermilion to warm things up in the foreground and the sky. I did all this so far with quick, broad strokes, and used colors that would make for a little more muted underpainting than usual, to keep a “fall-into-winter” kind of feeling.

This started out as a field with different color swaths of grass, but now I think I’m starting to see a pond there, too.

Can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Let all things now living a song of thanksgiving 
To God the Creator triumphantly raise, 
Who fashioned and made us, protected and stayed us, 
Who guideth us on to the end of our days. 
His banners are o’er us, His light goes before us, 
A pillar of fire shining forth in the night,
‘Til shadows have vanished and darkness is banished, 
As forward we travel from light into light.

His law He enforces: the stars in their courses, 
The sun in His orbit, obediently shine; 
The hills and the mountains, the rivers and fountains, 
The deeps of the ocean proclaim Him divine, 
We too should be voicing our love and rejoicing, 
With glad adoration a song let us raise, 
‘Til all things now living unite in thanksgiving 
To God in the highest, hosanna and praise. 


Comfy coziness ... complete!

Here’s the finished painting!

Tabasco: A Long Winter’s Nap © 2012 Karen Mathison Schmidt
8 x 8 inches • acrylic on cradled GessobordTM

Commission • Norrköping, Sweden

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Re-creating the routine ...

Here’s Tabasco, my latest commission work-in-progress, nearly finished!

Over the past few weeks I’ve rediscovered something I already knew: once my work-a-day routine has been interrupted for an extended period of time, it’s REALLY difficult for me to get my rhythm back. Things are a little different temporarily around here because my husband is still basically bedridden while we’re working together day by day to build his strength and get his mobility back after an extended hospital stay recovering from a fall. Even though things are not quite back to normal yet, I’m extremely grateful to have him home again!

Meanwhile, it’s that time of year when the daylight hours are getting fewer and fewer, so as far as painting goes it’s taken a little figuring out but together Paul and I have sort of re-invented the daily routine so I can make the most of those mid-morning to early afternoon hours to get back to regular painting ... hallelujah!

My sweet client who commissioned this painting weeks ago has been wonderfully understanding and patient, allowing me to take my time painting her cute little Tabasco ... Thanks so much, Madeleine!

I haven’t forgotten my promise to show you all how I took her photo and, per her request, put her little pooch in a setting of quilts and comfy blankets, and I will do that in the next day or two, but today I wanted to introduce our newest family member ...

Here’s Jo, snuggling up with Ray for an afternoon nap. On a sad note, our beautiful old Bailey passed away last summer (I just couldn’t bring myself to post about it at the time) and ever since, Ray has been a little lonely. We had been thinking it was maybe time to adopt a new kitty companion, and then Jo showed up at our neighbor’s house. We have no idea where she came from, as their Socks and our Moustachio and Ray are all male (not to mention neutered!), and our two houses are surrounded by pastures and crop land. Eleven-year-old Morgin next door wanted so badly to keep her, but her mom and dad were afraid that their four miniature dachshunds would hurt her, so we said we would take her and she could live upstairs (my studio and office space) with Ray, and Morgin could come visit her whenever she wanted.

So that’s how she came to be part of our family. And here’s how she got her name ...

We were going to call her Mica, because her markings reminded us of the stone, but because she just wouldn’t stay away from my coffee, Paul suggested we name her Cuppa Joe. But Joe is totally a boy name, so we shortened it to Jo for a girl and it fits perfectly. And because we certainly don’t need Jo all hopped up on caffeine and French vanilla creamer, it gave me a good excuse to get a pretty new cup with a lid on it to drink my coffee out of.

Here’s Jo sleeping on my lap while I paint. I love her orange-and-white striped thigh-high. Very fashionable. 

On her first day with us, I explained to Jo the way it works around here: “You pose in pretty places, I paint you, sell the paintings and buy kitten chow and fun cat toys.” 

Now before you get all indignant and start quoting from the Kitten Employment Protection Act of 1973 (don’t bother googling it; I just made it up), I DID explain that these Studio Cat Duties are totally voluntary, and the kitten chow, fun cat toys and warm cozy places to sleep are in no way contingent upon her participation. Jo, however, said it sounded like fun, and proceeded from day one to jump into her posing duties with both feet.

And just when you thought it couldn’t possibly get any cuter ...

 I think she’s getting the hang of it!

I see many, many fun cat toys in Jo’s future ...