Saturday, July 27, 2013

A blessing for the whole day ...

An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.


An early morning cup o’ joe, followed by a walk, followed by another cup o’ joe, is a blessing for the whole day.



Expectation  © 2013 Karen Mathison Schmidt, artist
36 x 36 x 2 inches • oil on 2" deep cradled GessobordTM
private collection • Elk Grove, California

The inspiration for this was a road winding through one of the old neighborhoods in town. I changed the curve of the road in the foreground to suit the composition better, and somewhere during the painting progress the foliage beyond the far curve became a glimpse of a morning mist-covered lake.
Artistic license, you know.

 I’ve been studying the California impressionist paintings of William Wendt -- how he simplified the shapes and color of the landscape, and used large, bold brushstrokes -- and trying to incorporate some of what I’ve been learning into my art.
I absolutely LOVED painting this large size! 

Here are some close-up details:

 This part kind of reminds me of stained glass.

Loved doing these big brushstrokes ...

Happy Painting!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

and more progress ...

Untitled WORK-IN-PROGRESS • 36 x 36 inches • oil on 2" deep cradled GessobordTM

Here’s where I am on this big one. Gotta say, I LOVE painting large!

 And here’s Ray in his latest favorite napping place while I’m working.

Hey, just consider me your muse.

Hold on a second, shouldn’t that be “mews”?

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Shady Street work in progress

Untitled WORK-IN-PROGRESS • 36 x 36 inches • oil on 2" deep cradled GessobordTM

I’ve been working on this large landscape today ... a sunlight-dappled street winding through one of our old neighborhoods in town. Love those shadows!

Sometimes these big ones sell right off the easel, so if you’re interested in getting in line for first refusal, let me know by emailing me at

Now I have to run downstairs for a popcorn-and-movie date with my hubby.

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A cat is a poem

A dog, I have always said, is prose; a cat is a poem.



Garden Gem  © 2013 Karen Mathison Schmidt, artist
6 x 6 inches • oil & mixed media on museum quality, archival GessobordTM
private collection • Leonding, Austria 

I toyed with the idea of making the title Nap, Interrupted (which I still like, and may end up using for another painting down the line).

But after I finished I thought with the leaf design on the box, the swirly arm of the metal chair and the flowers in the background, Jo looks like she’s lounging in the garden.

I took lots of work-in-progress photos which I will try to post tomorrow; I had so much fun with the heavy, rustic texture on the box Jo has claimed as her latest favorite napping place.

Happy painting!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Unexpected treasure


At Evening Time There Shall Be Light  © 2013 Karen Mathison Schmidt, artist
12 x 12 inches • oil on archival, museum quality cradled GessobordTM
private collection • Shreveport, Louisiana

My reference for this is a photo I took last January out in the south pasture. The day had been chilly and overcast, and late in the afternoon I was walking with Roadie (and my trusty camera!) out amongst the blooming paperwhites and a few early daffodils when, just as we had decided to head back to the house (and by “we” I mean “I” -- Roadie didn’t have much input in the decision), the setting sun broke through the low hanging clouds and shone a shaft of glorious golden light on the pond and the distant tree line. 

It was one of those moments that make you: A. gasp involuntarily in awe, and B. make you extremely grateful that as you were heading out the door you grabbed your camera which just happened to be lying there on the kitchen counter.

While I was working on this several ideas for a title came to mind at various times, then, just as I was adding the final touches, the phrase I used came into my mind. 

Years ago I was one of the members of the seven-woman ensemble cast of a local production of Quilters, the Tony-nominated play with music based on The Quilters: Women and Domestic Art, an Oral History by Patricia Cooper and Norma Bradley Allen. One of the really cool things about it is that it’s based on real-life accounts of Texas and New Mexico pioneer women at the turn of the twentieth century. I hadn’t even thought about it in years, but while I was painting, a line from one of my favorite songs in the show came into my head, “at evening time there shall be light.” As soon as I thought of it, I knew I wanted that to be the title.

Then, I did a search of the phrase just for fun, and I found this poem. Just perfect.

At Evening Time There Shall Be Light

The day was wild with wind and rain,
One grey wrapped sky and sea and shore,
It seemed our marsh would never again
Wear the rich robes that once it wore.
The scattered farms looked sad and chill,
Their sheltering trees writhed all awry,
And waves of mist broke on the hill
Where once the great sea thundered by.

Then  God remembered this His land,
This little land that is our own,
He caught the rain up in His hand,
He hid the winds behind His throne,
He soothed the fretful waves to rest,
He called the clouds to come away,
And, by blue pathways, to the west,
They went, like children tired of play.

And then God bade our marsh put on
Its holy vestment of fine gold;
From marge to marge the glory shone
On lichened farm and fence and fold;
In the gold sky that walled the west,
In each transfigured stone and tree,
The glory of God was manifest,
Plain for a little child to see!

EDITH NESBIT (1858-1924)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

He’s done!

 Raffles  © 2013 by Karen Mathison Schmidt, artist
9 x 12 inches • oil on cradled GessobordTM

COMMISSION • El Paso, Texas

Here’s the finished painting of Raffles the Ragdoll cat, or as he is called by friends and family, “Ol’ Blue Eyes.” He’s 13 years old, lives out west, loves tuna (yeah, well, you know, who doesn’t?) and, according to his mom, is extremely helpful no matter what the project. In this portrait he’s assisting by keeping her fabric from sliding to the floor. Whether it’s laundry, computer tasks, a craft project, or whatever, Raffles is right there at her side making himself useful. What a wonderful personal assistant! 

I love the painting! So glad I found you. I’m thrilled with your work on the furful Raffles. What I really, really like is how well you've captured his personality. Thank you so very much.

– Pam in El Paso

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Birthday to Raffles!
... and Happy 4th, everyone!

Raffles • 9 x 12 oil on GessobordTM • WORK-IN-PROGRESS

Here’s where I am on this portrait of Raffles the Ragdoll cat, aka “Ol’ Blue Eyes.” He shares his birthday with our country, so his mom told me he was getting an extra special treat today, in honor of his 13th  ... REAL TUNA!

And here’s another work in progress: a row of little trees out in the pasture, with the late afternoon light glistening on the pond and the trees in the distance. For this one I started with a solid black/burnt umber underpainting, and a very loose sketch done with a wash of titanium white. Keeping it quick and loose, letting the dark surface show through to create an outline in varying thickness. It’s giving me a kind of a stained glass vibe. 

I hope everyone is having a wonderful and safe Fourth of July celebration ... 
be careful with those fireworks and have fun!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Oh, what a beautiful morning

All the windows are open in my upstairs work space, a light breeze passing through ... earlier this morning was downright chilly (almost unheard of for July in the Ark-La-Tex) and now, perfect, on our way to an 85-degree afternoon. 

Kick-started my work day with a sketch of the view out my studio window ... snapped a few quick photos of the view inside the window (this one went right into the folder on my Mac labeled “painting ideas”  cross-reference cats, cross-reference still life) ...

... caught a few of Jo napping in her favorite pretty box on my work table. You can tell by her ear that she’s just pretending to be asleep until I go away. What she doesn’t quite get yet is that I have a lifetime of cute pet stalking experience behind me. I don’t give up easily. And I don’t go away until I get what I came for.

Fine! Take your silly picture!

Silly paparazza ...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Cat painting work-in-progress

Raffles (close-up detail of larger painting) • Commission WORK-IN-PROGRESS 

Meet Raffles, who lives in El Paso -- personal assistant extraordinaire and one gorgeous cat. What a joy he is to paint! More photos to come as his portrait continues ...