Thursday, February 27, 2014

A good listener

Nobody appreciates the very special genius 
of your conversation as your dog does.


Mike WORK-IN-PROGRESS • 6 x 6 inches • oil on GessobordTM

Meet Mike the dog. When he’s listening to you talk to him his ears stand straight out and that makes me laugh. I busted out laughing several times this afternoon while working on this painting. More about Mike when I post the photo of the finished painting.

Happy painting!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Heeeeeeere’s Jo! (again)

Basketful o’ Jo  © 2014 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 inches • oil on museum series GessobordTM

She’s finished!

The following is a blatant marketing attempt. 

Wouldn’t a Limited Edition print look oh, so CUTE in your kitchen? Hmmmm?

What a coincidence! I just happen to have some available!

on Ultrasmooth heavy museum-quality fine art paper, 12 x 12 inches
signed & numbered by the artist


from my eBay store

Also available in 8 x 8 inches ($37.50)
16 x 16 inches ($100)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Live a quiet life & work with your hands


Basketful O’ Jo (revisited) WORK-IN-PROGRESS
6 x 6 inches • oil on GessobordTM

After doing some more work on the large daffodil painting, I started working my way down from top to bottom on this one; I had just staked out my highlights on the basket when today’s light started fading. Along towards twilight when the natural light was too dim to see colors clearly, I flipped on the light switch and moved on to sketches for two new paintings so I’ll be ready to go on those as soon as this joyful one is finished.

A beautifully quiet day, filled with work I love to do.

Speaking of working with our hands, I recently discovered the work of lettering artist Dana Tanamachi (the image on the left is one of her posters available here). 

On her website, Dana is introduced as “a Texas-bred, Brooklyn-based graphic designer and letterer who enjoys living a quiet life and working with her hands.” 

She does a lot of work with chalk -- these time-lapse videos of her working that she has on her website are really cool.

I love the “FLOURISH” video she has on her home page. My favorite part is when she’s sitting in the chair contemplating the wall she is about to work on, and then she stands up and touches her hand to the blank wall. I LOVE that! I sometimes do that with a blank board that I’m about to paint. Just run the palm of my hand across it ever so lightly. I don’t know why. 

I love that precious moment right after the determination that it’s time to begin, and just before the first mark is made on the surface. Anything can happen.

And it usually does.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Painting déja vu

Basketful O’ Jo (revisited) WORK-IN-PROGRESS
6 x 6 inches • oil on GessobordTM

Remember this one from December? It was purchased as a Christmas gift for the buyer’s wife, but in the short trip from here to Richardson, Texas, it was damaged. He went ahead and gave it for Christmas, then returned it to me for repair.

In all the years I’ve been shipping paintings, I’ve never had a problem with them being damaged in transit until this past year, when I had two paintings returned to me for repair. The first one I was able to fix like new, no problem, and its new owner is very happy with it. This one, however, is being very stubborn about being glued to a second board for support, and just won’t stick, in spite of my trying several different adhesives -- maybe because of the cold or the humidity. Anyway, the very understanding new owner and I have agreed on my repainting the subject.

Once I knew I would be painting a new Basketful O’ Jo, I had the choice of:

A) trying to copy my first painting, or
B) putting that one out of sight and just starting again from my reference photo.

I thought option B would be the better choice. Mostly I was kind of curious to see how much difference there would turn out to be between the old painting and the new. One basic thing I’ve done differently is the underpainting: the first time I did the entire underpainting in glazes of phthalo blue and Prussian blue; and for this second painting I used vivid Naphthol red for the area which will be the green wall on the left and the bunch of flowers nestled in the basket behind Jo. I still used the phthalo blue everywhere else, adding just a touch of green to Jo and a glaze of the red to the door, making it a luscious purple. I can hardly wait to see how my Santa Fé blue door looks over that!

When I came to my stopping point today I put the paintings side by side and I must say I like the new one much better so far. (Whew!)

I’m still not quite finished with Jo’s face, and it may be my imagination, but I think she looks a touch less grumpy at having her nap interrupted.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Daffodil time!

A house with daffodils is a house lit up, 
whether or no the sun be shining outside.


Debutantes WORK-IN-PROGRESS • 12 x 36 inches • oil on GessobordTM

Still working on  the Fringe Benefits cat painting work-in-progress slide show. Meanwhile, here’s a sneak peek at my new daffodil painting in progress.

Love those sunny blooms against that purple underpainting!

Daffodil time is just about my favorite time of year. I really enjoy this last stretch of winter when fewer and fewer frosty days are scattered among more and more springlike days, and before mosquitoes take over for the summer. Over the last few years it’s become kind of a tradition that the first jonquil bouquet of the season goes to my friend Connie, so this one went to her last night. Sweet!

Monday, February 17, 2014


Fringe Benefits  © 2014 Karen Mathison Schmidt, Artist
24 x 12  x 2 inches • oil on archival, museum quality 2" deep cradled GessobordTM
painting will be finished with a gloss varnish for UV protection
sides painted dark umber • cradling allows for hanging flush against the wall
can be beautifully displayed with or without a frame

$625 + shipping

from my eBay store

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Approaching the finish line ...

A painting is never finished. 
It simply stops in an interesting place.


24 x 12 inches • oil on 2" deep cradled GessobordTM

Well, I’m still working on preparing step-by-step photos of this one to show with explanation of what I did in each one, and I’m also working on putting together a slide show with music. I haven’t ever done that before but it’s turning out to be really fun.

At least here’s the last photo so far -- only a bit more painting time needed to finish, then I’ll have to come up with a title!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

It’s been a LOVELY Valentine’s Day here at Edgewood, including date night with my hubby. Both his and my love language is pizza so guess what we had for dinner.

And our other love language is chocolate chip cookies, so guess what we had for dessert.

The dogs and cats had a lovely day as well, with plenty of romping and napping in the sunshine. They’re all sacked out for the night now, but before he would go to bed Roadie wanted to finish making this valentine for his foster mom, who took him in and took the best care of him while she searched and searched for a forever home for him.
Which turned out to be here with us. And we are really happy about that.
Thank you, Kelly, for bringing us Roadie!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ice Pics

I haven’t quite finished preparing and uploading all my progress photos for the cat painting yet, so instead I’m sharing these photos I took yesterday, in the aftermath of the ice storm of Tuesday night. 

Here’s the old oak tree out front. From this angle, with the branches weighed down with ice, they look almost calligraphic. Love this windswept look!

 This thorny vine on the pasture fence looks like some kind of avant grade sculpture.

The pasture gate.

Here are the spider lilies, which bloom in September. We let the leaves grow all winter to feed the bulbs before we mow them around the end of March. That way we’ll have even more blooms next fall.

By noon yesterday all the ice started to melt, and with all the water dripping from tree branches and the roof of the house it sounded like it was raining all afternoon, even though there were just a few clouds left in the sky. Today was absolutely beautiful, if a little chilly, and for the next four or five days the forecast says beautiful warm springlike days with just a bit of rain. Hard to believe that Monday and Tuesday were so wintery -- welcome to Late Winter / Early Spring in the Arklatex!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

New Limited Edition prints ...

A snowy, sleety winter night here in the ArkLaTex. I haven’t quite finished with the cat painting, but will try to post the work-in-progress with the finished painting tomorrow.

Meanwhile, here are some new Limited Edition prints which are available here, 

Evensong II

Limited Edition Fine Art Print on heavy archival Ultrasmooth fine art paper

Signed & Numbered 
Limited to 25 in each of three sizes

 12 x 9 inches • $45
 16 x 12 inches • $70
 20 x 15 inches • $100

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Looking forward

It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!



Afternoon Walk  © 2014 Karen Mathison Schmidt
12 x 9 inches x 7/8 inch deep • oil on museum-quality cradled GessobordTM

private collection • Houston, Texas

Painting this one on the eve of a few more freezing days (and possibly snow on Tuesday!) was my way of looking forward to some beautiful WARM spring days in the hopefully not-too-distant future. 

Tomorrow I will be posting some step-by-step photos of the sleeping cat painting. 

Sweet dreams of spring, and happy painting!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Take the plaid challenge!

24 x 12 inches • oil on 2" deep cradled Gessobord

Here’s where I am on this one today. Lovin’ that plaid blanket!

I used to be really intimidated by trying to paint anything with a plaid pattern. Whenever I would paint a scene with something plaid in it I would make the plaid item solid in my picture. The first time I attempted to actually depict plaid was in this painting of the redbones napping on their favorite blanket:

At first I was just going to make the blanket solid blue. But somewhere during the process I thought, what the hey, why not give the plaid a go? (I was painting with acrylics so I knew I could always paint over it if I didn’t like it. That took a little of the pressure off.) I’m so glad I made the attempt at the plaid. Now I know how much fun it is! 

Here’s my challenge to you artists: 

This week paint something that you’ve always thought was too difficult to attempt, be it an object, a pattern, a texture, a material (wood, glass, etc.), an animal, a person, an eye … whatever. Just let it turn out however it turns out.

Who knows? You may just surprise yourself! 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Faithful in every way.

Thirty minutes ago it was right at freezing outside, with the wind chill making it feel like 25°, and I was walking around the front yard with a teeny lantern, looking for an even teenier bottle of Old Holland Picture Varnish. Now I’m extremely grateful to be back inside with a steaming hot cup of cocoa, and for having the feeling creeping back into my toes.

Why was I walking around the yard at 11:00 at night in the freezing cold looking for picture varnish?

Okay, back up to 4:00 this afternoon. I was expecting a small box of art supplies to be delivered today, and in checking the tracking number on the FedEx website, I read that the package had been delivered and left at the front door. Hooray! I thought, as I headed downstairs to retrieve it. I opened the front door. No package there.

Maybe they left it next door, was my next thought, because neither of our houses which are right next to each other way out here in the country has a house number on it, and if it wasn’t our regular driver then our delivery may have gotten dropped off at our neighbors’, which is closer to the road. So I trekked over to their front porch in search of wayward art supplies.

Hmm. Not there, either.

Well, maybe they left it at the kitchen door.

So I walked back around to the back of our house and there encountered Roadie, having the best time, playing with some pieces of cardboard.

Hey, Roads!

 Whatcha got there?


And no sign of the former contents in sight.

So I walked back around to the front and sure enough …

 … there under the oak tree on the pasture side of the house were the scattered items of my supply order.

I gathered them up and brought them in, and it wasn’t until I was going over the packing slip tonight after I got home from choir rehearsal that I realized the picture varnish that was in the package was still missing. And that little bottle, ounce for ounce, was NOT cheap.


So I bundled up again and headed out into the blackness with my teensy weency little lantern to see if I could find it and bring it in from the soon-to-be-below-freezing weather. I had to hold the lantern real close to the ground because it wasn’t giving out a whole lot of light, and I walked back and forth and back and forth under that oak tree but to no avail.

Then I decided to start in the middle of my search area and walk around in ever widening circles.

Nothing but leaves and twigs.

Finally, when I couldn’t feel my toes anymore and my face was so cold from the stinging wind that I couldn’t move my facial muscles I thought, well, I better go in. But because I truly believe that God cares about even my smallest concern, I prayed out loud: “Lord, You made all the stars and You call them by name. You know where that varnish is, and I think the only way I’m going to find it tonight is if You show it to me.”

As I turned around to make my way back to the house, I swung the lantern in a wide arc way out to the side, away from the place I had been looking based on where I had found all the other things in the package. Something caught and reflected the beam of light from the lantern, and that something turned out to be bubble wrap.

Which was wrapped around my little missing bottle of varnish.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Cat painting in progress

A dreary wintery rainy day -- just the kind of day that makes me want to curl up with a French vanilla coffee and a cozy mystery of the Agatha Christie kind. 

But a French vanilla coffee and a sleeping cat painting is the next best thing, and way more productive.

So I took this one down from the fireplace mantel where it’s been sitting since Christmas eve, set it on the easel, and sat looking at it for a while, sipping my hot coffee. I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to go about depicting the texture of the cane chair back. I enlarged my reference photo on my computer to study the texture in extreme close-up. I walked across the room and studied the actual chair. I turned around and sat in the chair, sipping my coffee, closing my eyes and imagining that cane pattern. I walked back over to the easel and stared at the painting, sipping my coffee. I reminded myself that it’s impressionism, not photorealism, so I just need to suggest the pattern and the viewer will fill in the details from experience and know it’s a cane back chair without even giving it a second thought. I’m thinking that’s about when the caffeine started kicking in, because I suddenly knew just how to begin, and I jumped right in. Once I got going my painting time went so smoothly I could hardly believe it when I saw that it was time to stop. I feel like I’m getting the hang of this alla prima thing, and I’m incorporating it into the way I like to build up the color layers loosely over the deeply saturated colors of the underpainting. By the way, the blanket in the painting is a soft multicolored plaid with fringe, so tomorrow should be fun!

24 x 12 inches • oil on 2" deep cradled Gessobord

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Another fauvalicious painting

Praise the Lord, my soul!
Praise the Lord, my soul!
All that is within me, the deepest of my being
Praise the Lord, my soul!

Everything that breathes,
All that eyes can see,
Giving testimony to His greatness only,
Bless the Lord, the Maker of all,
Only He is worthy!
With the angels we must fall to our knees.
Even the rocks cry out His name,
All creation sings His praise!

words & music by Dick and Melodie Tunney -- © 1993


Around the Bend  © Karen Mathison Schmidt, artist
10 x 8 inches • oil on GessobordTM
private collection • Shreveport, Louisiana

Here’s another of my paintings using the alla prima method. This is winding country road which runs alongside a bayou just up the road from us. Even though we’re not quite there yet, season-wise, I’ve chosen to paint the trees in all their springtime splendor. 

One thing I’m discovering about painting this way (wet-in-wet) is that in order to keep the colors from getting muddy I have to apply the paint thicker and do only one or two strokes at a time before wiping my brush. At first this slowed me down a bit, but once I got a rhythm going this one moved right along, and I LOVE the buttery feel of the thick paint going on!