Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A new work in progress
plus studio cats just chillin’

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 ...


Oak tree painting WORK-IN-PROGRESS • 24 x 30 inches

I never get tired of painting trees. I finished the vivid underpainting in acrylic, and I’ve just started with the oils. I was so sorry when the sun started going down today; I didn’t want to stop!

Ray and Jo kept me company while I painted. 

The life of a studio cat is a tough one, but they somehow manage to get by.

Meanwhile, Buster and Sophie were having 
just as rough an afternoon downstairs in the sunporch.
 (Poor things!) 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The difference a door makes

For the last few days I’ve been working on two commissioned projects (one involves 3 paintings!) that I can’t show because they are surprises for the recipients, so I thought I would show our newly refurbished and rejuvenated kitchen door, thanks to my Dad!

This is what this door looked like when we first started restoring our house. You can see where the old porch roof used to be, above the transom. That collapsed years ago, but we do plan to rebuild it, too, before we’re done.

And by “we” I mean Dad.
The day before Dad came to take the  door to work on it, I saw this picture in the May issue of House Beautiful. I love that blue door! I showed Paul and he liked it too, so then the idea was to do a kind of “cottage chic” look for the kitchen, like in the magazine photo, starting with painting the door that beautiful turquoise-y blue.

Daddy did a GREAT job (as usual) bringing this 100-plus-year-old door back to life. It had been badly beaten by the weather since the old screen door got blown off last year, and every time the door was opened and shut, more little chips of paint would fall off. Plus the doorknob had gotten so loose that the outside knob fell off almost every time the door was shut. Very Green Acres.
But just look at it now! (By the way, Daddy also restored the old screen door, and is now putting the newly cleaned and painted screen guard on it, so we will be putting that in soon.)

Dad, Mom and I put the newly-turquoise door in yesterday, and now Paul and I really like the look of the turquoise door with the terra cotta colored walls, so we’re going for a “southern farmhouse chic goes to sunny Mexico by way of Santa Fé” feel for the kitchen.

A happy kitchen!

Here’s how the door looks from the inside. Just a note: the plant with the little purple flowers is real; the wildflowers in the tall pitcher are fake. When it comes to flowers, I like mixing it up with the real and the fake. Twice as many flowers and only half the work. And nowadays, most times the silk flowers look just as real as the real. And if you look really close, you will notice the can of Febreze peeking out from behind the purple flowers. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Febreze is a household essential in a family with seven dogs. And three cats.

And my next kitchen rejuvenation project will be painting the cabinets. Here you can see where the 1990’s French blue is peeling off to show the 1940’s light green.

I’m loving the fresh feel of our new door ... I just can’t stop looking at it. Here’s how it looked while I was making dinner (tacos!) last night.

Notice how great it looks with the cover of the new art supplies catalog that came in yesterday’s mail.

And I love the way the orange-y light shining out the transom at dusk complements the blue. Very inviting. It says, “Time to put away your gardening tools, brush yourself off, and come in for a glass of iced tea.”

At least that’s what it says now that it’s starting to be summer. I’m sure that in the winter it will say, “Wipe off your boots and come on in for some snickerdoodles and hot chocolate”!

Thank you, Daddy!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Designing kitty


Princesse des Fleurs  © 2013 Karen Mathison Schmidt, artist
6 x 6 inches • oil on museum-quality, archival GessobordTM
private collection • Connewarre, Victoria, Australia

Here’s Jo, pretending she’s queen of the woodlands. Unfortunately, her flower crown is just a smidge too large for her. That’s okay with her though; she’d just as soon sit inside it as wear it any day.

I painted this one from a photo I took right after she came to join our family, when she was still a kitten and cute as a little multi-colored button.

Now she’s very grown-up, a tall and graceful “teenager.”

She’s also getting very bossy.

While I was in the planning stage for this painting, she took it upon herself to supervise the cropping.

I’m sure she’ll be wanting to apply for admission to design school next fall.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Ray, cat of ... well ...
approximately two expressions

Yep. He’s got this one ...

Lavender Sweater  © 2013 Karen Mathison Schmidt, artist
6 x 6 inches • oil on museum-quality, archival GessobordTM
gloss varnish for UV protection

from my eBay store

and he’s got this one ...

Sweet dreams, all!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Flowers, flowers, flowers

I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.



Springtime Medley  © 2013 by Karen Mathison Schmidt, artist
6 x 6 inches • oil on archival, museum-quality, GessobordTM

private collection • Salem, Oregon

I’ve been plugging away at my new website design; I’m excited about the way it’s coming together. I’m getting really close to being ready to take it out for a test drive, but today I took a break from computer work to start work on a new commission, and to indulge my spring fever with a couple of flower paintings. Enjoy!


Single White Poppy  © 2013 by Karen Mathison Schmidt, artist
6 x 6 inches • oil on archival, museum-quality, GessobordTM

private collection • Shreveport, Louisiana

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A dog, four guppies and a mean-spirited goose

Wow, I didn’t mean to be away so long ... I guess time flies when the weather is beautiful and spring projects beckon me away from the computer!

I have tons of photos yet to download from my camera, some of which show how my Dad has restored our 140-year-old front door (I’ll try to have those ready for tomorrow), but for now I just have to share this conversation I had today with five-year-old Nora, whom I was spending some time with while her mom was attending a Bible study.

Nora lives out in the country with her Mom and Dad and three-year-old little brother, who, the last time I talked with him back when he was two-and-a-half, said he didn’t want the rest of the sausage stick from his packed lunch because it was “too feisty.” (I tasted it, and sure enough, it was a little feisty.)

Anyway, today Nora and I were sitting together on the floor, drawing with crayons. I drew a picture of our dog, Matilda, and she drew a picture of her dog, Isi (pronounced “I see”). Then we started drawing various flowers to make a garden.

Me:  Are you the one who feeds Isi?

Nora:  Yep. That’s my job. Wyatt’s job is to take out the trash. The LITTLE trash. My dad takes out the BIG trash.

(She pauses to study her flowers, chooses another crayon and continues her coloring.)

Nora:  I love drawing.

Me:  Me, too. Do you have any other pets?

Nora:  Yes, four guppies. They’re in my room. It’s my job to feed them, too.

Me:  What else?

Nora:  Ummm ... we have some geese.

Me:  Geese! How many?

Nora:  Four.

Me:  Cool.

Nora:  Yeah.

(a few seconds of silence while we color our flowers)

Nora:  One of them bit me.

Me:  One of the geese?

Nora:  Yep.

Me:  Where?

Nora:  On my thumb.

(She holds up her thumb and we both inspect it closely. It looks perfectly fine.)

Me:  Hm.

Nora (going back to coloring):  God healed it.

Me:  Oh. (going back to my coloring) It’s pretty amazing how He loves us.

Nora:  Yep.

(A long silence as we each concentrate on our artistic endeavors.)

Nora:  (without looking up from her coloring) Now it’s Mom’s job to feed the geese.

Me:  (secretly congratulating myself on keeping a straight face) Mmm-hm.