Monday, December 30, 2013

Gearing up for the new year

This morning I caught this one of Buster sitting out in the sun porch, which was more like a shade porch on this dreary winter day. I love sunny days the best, but there’s something irresistible to me about the soft light of a cloudy day filtering into the house through these big windows.

He was sitting in the perfect spot for the quilt behind him to crown him with a star, like some kind of Aztec King.

Or Las Vegas showgirl. I can’t decide which.

Today I’ve been busy gearing up for 2014: putting finishing touches on my new website and working on details of certain artistic plans I have for the coming year. Like, for instance, submitting samples of my work to a publishing company, applying to participate in a major arts festival, and teaching a few workshops. I plan to announce dates and places here on my blog in the VERY near future, so those of you who have been asking about a workshop, thank you for your patience, and keep checking in!

Meanwhile, I have three works in progress, so there will be new paintings soon, too.

Hasta maƱana, amigos y amigas, and happy painting!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Wishing you a joyous and blessed Christmas!

Midwinter Hope work-in-progress • 40 x 30 inches

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. … 

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. ...

Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen  God, but the one and only  Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

New painting progress on this Christmas eve

I hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas Eve!

I had a beautiful, quiet afternoon doing one of the things I love best. Yep, painting. Here are my progress photos of this new Ray painting. This one is 24 x 12 inches, and I really like getting to paint him larger than life!

 Here’s the initial sketch, in black acrylic, and my finished underpainting, using only three colors (in addition to the black sketch): phthalo blue, magenta and permanent green, in various transparent combinations.

The blanket is blue and green layered together -- I started with phthalo blue, then a layer of the green, then another layer of the blue, to get it nice and deep. Ray and the chair are magenta and phthalo blue layered together, and the space under the chair is only blue. I love the water colory effect of this stage.

 In these photos, you can see the development of Ray’s face in oil paints. 

So far I’ve used Mars black, titanium white, bright violet, French ultramarine, 
phthalo blue, turquoise, Hooker’s green, yellow ochre, vermilion, 
Indian red, alizarin crimson and burnt umber. 

And a par - trih - idge in - a - pear -- *big breath* -- treeeeeeeeee!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Fresh off the easel ...


A Long Winter’s Nap II: Andy  © 2013 Karen Mathison Schmidt
16 x 16 x 1.5 inches • oil on 1.5-inch deep cradled GessobordTM
private collection • Watsonville, California

After letting this one dry for a while, today I added just a touch of a warm sunny glaze to some of Andy’s coat, and made some of the highlights of his fur just a bit more high-lighty. And now (as my husband likes to say), “Zee painting, she is finie!”

Here are some close-up details:

 I kind of love this mini painting-within-the-painting.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

After the rain ...

After a warmish day of heavy rain and thunderstorms today, I glanced out the back door just in time to see the sun peeking through the clouds just above the horizon, right before setting. Hallelujah!

So I pulled on my boots, grabbed my camera and headed out into the glorious twilight. 

The whole pasture was bathed in a pink glow.

If you squint and use your imagination, you can just make out Roadie having a sloshy romp after a day of being cooped up inside, coloring and watching Animal Planet.

He wasn’t really coloring. I just wanted to see if you were paying attention. 

He was watching Animal Planet, though.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Top o’ the mornin’ to ya

Today, Friday the thirteenth, Moustachio is helping me look for four-leaf clovers.

We’re not having much luck.

Get it? “… much luck”?

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Okay, okay, back to work!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Problem solving

If you want the best seat in the house … 
you’ll have to move the dog.


Great Pyrees painting WORK-IN-PROGRESS
16 x 16 inches • oil on 1-1/2" deep cradled GessobordTM

So CLOSE to being finished with this one … 
just need a tad more detail on the throw and the fringe.

When I got to the point below, I took a breather for a day to work on a couple of other things, then came back to it this morning with a fresh eye. Before diving in, I took a few minutes to study the colors and composition, and made some decisions that I thought would strengthen the whole thing.

First of all, I didn’t love the door, so that’s where I started. When I got it to the point where I just started loving it, I stopped. Much more fun for the viewer if you leave some work just unfinished enough for their brains to finish it. Like the keyhole for example. Just the suggestion of a keyhole is enough.

Next I made the walls darker to balance the dark floor and the dark blanket showing from underneath the quilt at the very bottom edge of the painting. (That made me really love that white door!) I also added a few dark turquoise-y blue touches to that green blanket to better match it with the rich turquoise of the wall. 

While I was changing the wall color, I decided to lose the black lamp base to the left of the framed painting behind the sofa. This move was a good example of how, most of the time, simpler is stronger, because now that dark upper left corner is a better balance with the dark floor at the lower right corner.

Finally, I cooled down the color scheme of the landscape painting behind the sofa, to fit in better with the overall cool tone of the painting. 

I put another copy of the changed painting below so you can compare the two.

Happy painting!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Just the very beginning of a new cat painting, plus new Limited Edition prints

Here’s the initial sketch for a new painting of Ray. A bit of a departure, composition-wise, being twice as tall as wide. This one is 24 x 12 on 2" deep cradled gessobord, and I love what the different textures are going to be: the rattan back of the chair, the carved wood at the front of the seat, Ray’s fluffiness, and the multi-colored plaid throw draped over the arm. Fun, fun, FUN!

But wait! What about the Andy painting I’ve been working on? Tomorrow I’ll post the final photo on that one.

Meanwhile, I’ve been getting requests for larger prints of this version of the Raffles the Ragdoll Cat painting, Ol’ Blue Eyes, so I’ve just listed them in my eBay store.

These are Limited Editions, signed and numbered. (Limited to 25 of each size)

20 x 16 inches: $100

16 x 12 inches: $65

10 x 8 inches: $35

Happy Painting!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

New friends

Roadie made a new friend today.

Later I explained that, even though his new friend followed him home 

 … we couldn’t keep him. 

He’ll just have to wait until tomorrow to visit him again.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Bit by bit, putting it together ...

Great Pyrenees painting  • 16 x 16 • oil on cradled GessobordTM WORK IN PROGRESS:

… almost there … just a hop, skip and a jump to the finish line!

Tales of yesteryear

Ray, having had a lifetime of experience as an office/studio cat, has been regaling Jo with stories of how he used to take naps on top of the computer monitor, way back in the day when he was just a youngster.

She hasn’t quite been able to figure out just how he did that.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

More progress on the Great Pyrenees painting …

WORK IN PROGRESS • Great Pyrenees dog painting
16 x 16 inches • oil on 1-1/2 inch cradled GessobordTM

I got a bit more done on this one today; I loved doing the door, but now I see that the bottom panel isn’t quite right. Is it indented? Is it protruding? Hmmm, kind of reminds me of an M. C. Escher drawing -- I’ll definitely have to fix that tomorrow

Meanwhile, my new website is almost ready; I’m just doing a few final fixes and it will be ready to launch!

And the recently finished Free Indeed II: Sophie painting which will be winging its way to its new home as soon as the varnish dries, is now available as Limited Edition prints, as well as an ACEO Limited Edition Collectible Art Card:

12 x 16 inches • $65

15 x 20 inches • $100

2.5 x 3.5 inches ACEO (Collectible Art Card) • $7.50

Happy Painting!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Lest you should think it’s all about the cats

Great Pyrenees dog painting WORK IN PROGRESS
16 x 16 inches • oil on cradled GessobordTM

This afternoon I started back on this one of Andy that I started a while ago.

It’s the perfect portrait of Andy ...

… because this is how he spends about 85 to 93% of his existence.

How she came to be


Basketful O’ Jo  © Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 inches • oil on Ampersand Museum Series GessobordTM
private collection • Richardson, Texas

Here are my work in progress pics on this little one:

 The sketch in pencil, with the beginnings of the acrylic underpainting.

 I used Prussian blue (my favorite!), yellow and fuchsia acrylic glazes.

After the underpainting is dry, I start with the oils. I like to start right off with the eyes; it brings the painting to life right at the beginning!

You can already see how grumpy she is at having her nap interrupted.

 If you really notice, eyes are never just one color. They’re like colored glass. I love how adding just one little white highlight makes such a big impact.

Even though her right eye (the one on the left in the painting) is in shadow, it will still have a highlight, but not as bright white as the other eye.

As I add more colors to Jo’s face, I decide where to keep the vivid blue of the underpainting showing. 

 I still love my Santa Fe blue kitchen door.