Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I can scarcely wait for morning ...

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 ...


Garden of Grace (commission) WORK-IN-PROGRESS

16 x 20 inches • oil on cradled GessobordTM

This garden painting is such a joy to work on! Today the person who commissioned it suggested the title, and I love it. 

Here are my new work-in-progress photos:

 This is where I left off last time, just starting to add the oil colors to the vivid acrylic underpainting.

Here I defined the mid-ground shrubs in front of the shrubs and vines in the background next to the house and framing the front door, but I don’t like how it looks like a big cupcake, almost right in the center of the painting ...

 ... so I changed the shape of it and softened some of the edges. Here also you can see that I’ve added the old bricks to the walkway, along with the moss growing in the in-between spaces of the bricks.

Working my way from background to foreground, adding suggestions of detail and texture to the different plantings as I go. I was just starting the purple irises in the center foreground when it just got too dim to see. I don’t like painting by artificial light, so reluctantly I stopped for the day.

As the quote at the top says, I can hardly wait to get back to this tomorrow...

Happy painting, everyone!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

It’s all about the dogs

Dog Tired  © 2009 Karen Mathison Schmidt
in my eBay store

This morning as I headed to the express checkout at the grocery store, an older gentleman in front of me in line happened to glance down at my cart, which contained exactly three items: a small package of tortillas, a jar of peanut butter, and a 50-pound bag of Dog Chow.

“Well,” he said, with a twinkle in his eye, “at least the dogs are eating well.”

I laughed and laughed.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Painting tip of the day: Tread lightly and watch for something extraordinary to happen

Commission work-in-progress detail:

Even though I’m a little under the weather today, I couldn’t wait to get some more work done on this garden painting. So this morning I threw on a comfy sweatshirt, jeans and some thick wool socks, made myself some hot tea and dove right in.

Into the painting that is, not the tea.

First I added some deeper glazes to the underpainting, including mars black mixed with my transparent glazing medium in most of the foreground... 

... Then, after giving the acrylic underpainting a few minutes to dry, I started with the oil layer, beginning with the cottage and trees in the background:

At this stage, as I add more “realistic” colors, I’m still referring to my composition photo but also going with the flow and frequently stepping back to get the big picture and assess which underpainting colors I want to keep and which I want to tone down or change completely.

And trying real hard not to fall too much in love with that luscious red of the tree branches.

I’m treading lightly here, ...

... watching for something extraordinary to happen!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Beginning a new garden painting,
plus ... a sale on favorite prints!

Commission WORK-IN-PROGRESS • 16 x 20 inches

Here’s the first layer of a new garden painting commission. As you can see, the underpainting is really vivid, but tomorrow when I start adding the oil colors it will change and really start taking shape. The very nice person commissioning the painting requested roses, irises, and hollyhocks, among other flowers, and a composition similar to a previous painting. It was really fun arranging these plantings in my sketch (way easier and quicker than doing plantings in an actual garden!) Check back to see how those flowers begin to emerge.


Announcing a 3-day SALE in my eBay store on some of my most requested signed Limited Edition prints! 
These are 8 x 8 inches, signed and numbered; limited to 25 of each image in this size. Each print comes with a Certificate of Authenticity. The regular price is $35 each, plus shipping, but for this limited time I’m offering these prints at
20% off: sale price is $28 each and free shipping!
Sale ends Friday, October 18.
(Note that these are also available in larger sizes at the regular prices; just send me an email -- -- with any questions.)

Here are the links to these sale prints in my eBay store:

Friday, October 4, 2013

Playing with atmosphere


Lakeside Garden  © 2013 Karen Mathison Schmidt
5 x 7 inches • oil on museum-quality, archival GessobordTM
private collection • Ogden, Utah

I interrupted my work on the painting of Andy to work on a couple of commissions this week, but I'll be getting back to that one very soon!

Meanwhile, before working on a larger garden painting today, I loosened up by painting this little one of a different garden scene. The composition is based on a tiny photo I saw recently in English Gardens magazine, advertising Inverewe Gardens in Scotland. 

I wanted to have an abstract kind of feel to the painting, so I tried to keep the detail to a minimum and the shapes basic. I remembered the light colored path beside the lake, and the smooth green lawn, like velvet, on the lake side of the path. I wanted more variety of flower sizes in the foreground, so I plopped some large sunflowers in beside the smaller wildflowers. Playing with the atmospheric perspective, I made the distant mountains, lake and trees lighter and mistier looking than the colorful garden down front, and tried to keep the distance smoother looking while playing up the texture and contrast of the different sizes and colors of flowers in the foreground. 

Now that I’m finished, I think I want to do it again. LARGER. Like 24 x 36 inches. It would be interesting to see how that would change the feel of it. A beautiful experiment.

After I finish with the current projects on my list, that is.