Saturday, April 26, 2014

Dogs are like potato chips ...

… it’s hard to have just one.

A picture this perfect hardly ever happens when I have my camera in my hands. 
It seems too good to be true.

In fact, it is. Too good to be true, that is. This was the photo I actually got:

See Blue standing at the top? 
I was just holding my breath, waiting for him to decide to lie on that top step …

… and he did! 

But not before Matilda left. Bummer.

So I took out my trusty Photoshop skills and put them all back together. 
From the top: Blue, Sophie, Matilda and Buster.

Is this a painting waiting to happen or what?

Happy Painting!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Buster, King of Hearts


King of Hearts © 2014 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 inches • oil on 1/8" Gessobord
private collection • Poway, California

Here’s Buster, putting on his best soulful expression. Yep, he’s a real chick magnet.

Here are my work-in-progress photos:

First I went over my sketch with phthalo blue acrylic, then I applied a phthalo blue acrylic glaze over the whole picture.

 Next I added a layer of purple glaze on Buster’s ears and muzzle, and green glaze on his face and chest area.

 Now I switch to oils and start on those heart-melting eyes.

For this painting I used the same colors on my palette
as in the poppy painting of a few days ago.

Because of the slow drying time, using oils allows me some time to go back and blend certain areas. I like to try for a balance between side-by-side colors (or broken color) and blended edges. It makes for a more interesting finish painting.

As much experience as I’ve had painting dogs, it still surprises me sometimes how much real estate their noses take up in the area of the face.

I love painting the redbones. So many luscious color variations in their reddish coats. Buster is darker overall than our others, but as he ages he’s getting lighter and lighter around his cheekbones and the sides of his muzzle. Very distinguished.

Happy painting!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hold the bus! … plus an exciting announcement. Well, exciting for me, anyway!

Debutantes (detail) © 2014 Karen Mathison Schmidt
12 x 36 inches • oil on 2"deep cradled GessobordTM

I only thought this one was finished, but I was looking at it again today and I see just a few minor details I would like to add and/or change. So the final final version is still to come.

Meanwhile, I had some very exciting news today. Back in February I submitted my application to the Red River Revel annual arts festival, the largest outdoor arts festival in North Louisiana, held every October at the riverfront in Shreveport and attracting 180,000-plus visitors over an eight-day period. It’s a pretty big deal around here. Visual artists are juried in, and I’ve been holding my breath waiting to see if I got in. Well, I got my acceptance letter in today’s mail and I’m SOOOOOO excited!

So, okay kids, mark your calendars for October 4-11, and plan to come to the Red River Revel for food, fun, music and ART! Be sure to introduce yourself when you get to my booth, so I’ll know it’s you. 

It’s going to be VERY busy summer; I’ve got a LOT of painting to do by October.


Did I mention that I’m excited?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Smack-dab in the middle of spring


 Full House  © 2014 Karen Mathison Schmidt, artist
6 x 6 inches • oil on archival museum-quality GessobordTM
private collection • Baton Rouge, Louisiana

A very productive day today: This morning I warmed up with this fun little painting to celebrate the mid-spring arrival of the poppies, I also finished the large daffodil painting (pictures to come) and started a new commission, a dog portrait. Whew!

Must be the Cheerios and banana I had for breakfast.

Here are my work-in-progress photos on this one:

I hardly ever start with all yellow. But this time I did. 
Cadmium yellow light acrylic to be specific.

Then I added a couple of layers of phthalo blue glaze, making the background a transparent deep green. The deep green background will give those bright red poppies a lot of visual energy.

Next I started with the oils on the poppy blooms. I’m practicing quick color decisions, loose strokes with a well-loaded brush. Only one or two strokes before wiping the brush and loading again helps keep the colors clean and bright.

I brought all my reds and all my yellows out for this painting; my palette was:
dioxanine purple
bright violet
French ultramarine blue
turquoise light
Sheveningen green deep (similar to phthalo green)
Sheveningen yellow medium (similar to cadmium yellow light, but non-toxic)
Shev yellow deep (similar to cadmium yellow medium)
cadmium yellow extra deep
cadmium red orange
Sheveningen red medium
Rose dore madder lake antique extra (LOVE this rosy red!)
brilliant pink
quinacridone magenta
burnt sienna

Here I added the unopened buds and stems. I added one more bud at the upper right which was not in the initial sketch. I just thought it needed to be there.

After I added some highlights and shading on the stems and buds, I ditched my reference photo and started kind of abstractly adding color to the background to suggest the other flowers growing behind the poppies. The blues, purples and magentas around the yellow poppies really make them sing. And lastly I added my signature by scraping through the wet paint with the handle of my brush.

Check back tomorrow for a look at that large daffodil painting ...

Happy painting!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A new redbone painting

6 x 6 inches • oil on GessobordTM

I‘ve got a few projects in the works this week, and I managed to get a little more done on this one today. I’m planning to do a larger one of Buster lounging in the sunporch, but using this close-up of his face as a study for it.

As you can tell, Buster is rather high-strung and has a really hard time relaxing …

… NOT!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

More daffodils!

A Jocund Company  © 2014 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 inches • oil on 1/8" GessobordTM
gloss varnish for UV protection

Auction ends April 21

Three different kinds of daffodils gathered in the aluminum pitcher I use for my spring treasure outings.

And a sneak peek at what’s coming next:

Happy Painting!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I wish it would stay like this all summer …
(plus a not too subliminal ad)

I haven’t forgotten that in a couple of months it’s going to be a hundred degrees in the shade and humid and steamy and mosquito-y …

… but that just makes these April days all the sweeter!

We interrupt this beautiful April afternoon to bring you a blatant attempt at marketing:

Don’t miss out on this auction ending tonight:


Coffee, Tea or Me  © 2014 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 inches • oil on 1/8" GessobordTM
private collection • Salem, Oregon

And now, back to our 
regularly scheduled gorgeous spring day:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Misty morning light painting … finished!

Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.

PSALM 96: 1-2


A New Song  © 2014 Karen Mathison Schmidt, artist
12 x 12 x 3/4 inches  •  oil on archival, 3/4-inch cradled Museum Series GessobordTM
private collection • Shreveport, Louisiana

On a chilly early spring morning I was sitting on the front porch having my coffee, when suddenly the sun broke through the trees, taking my breath away. Literally. 

After a few seconds I started breathing again, snapped a photo with my phone, finished my coffee and headed inside to the easel to try to capture the scene. Well, an impression of it anyway!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A beautiful spring day!

Every spring is the only spring –
a perpetual astonishment.


I just walked out to retrieve the mail. What a gorgeous day -- Hallelujah!

Also, just a reminder:

Don’t miss out -- these auctions are ending tonight and Thursday:


A Study in Ray and Purple  © 2014 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 • oil on 1/8" GessobordTM
private collection • Seminole, Florida 


Coffee, Tea or Me  © 2014 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 inches • oil on 1/8" GessobordTM
private collection • Salem, Oregon

New landscape in progress ...

If I were called upon to define briefly the word Art,
I should call it the reproduction of what the senses perceive
in nature, seen through the veil of the soul.


12 x 12 inches • oil on cradled GessobordTM

This one is almost finished. 

I think. 

It’s a little more abstract than I had intended, but I like the feel of it. Don’t have a title yet, but I’m sure it’ll hit me in the morning.

Sweet dreams!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sophie heads west ...


Concerns  © 2014 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 inches • oil on GessobordTM
private collection • Poway, California

in my eBay store

Sophie never was one to stay put for very long (unless she’s snoozing, which is more often than not). This one was snapped up while it was still in progress, and will be heading to California as soon as she’s dry.

Sweet dreams, all!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Heart for the Arts!

Art must be an expression of love or it is nothing.


A while back I got a very nice email from two students at Lawton Chiles High School in Tallahassee, Florida, asking permission to use my art in a school project, “Heart for the Arts.” The students were to choose an artist they like and re-create one of that artist’s pieces on a section of sidewalk at the school.

I was very honored that Brooklyn and Alyssa chose my art for their project. Here they are with their beautifully executed rendition of “Poppy Garden.”

FABULOUS job, ladies, and a very sincere thank you for choosing me for your project!

Happy Painting!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Things that make you go, “Awwwww!”

6 x 6 inches • oil on GessobordTM

Sophie’s face is one of those things. Everyone who meets her for the first time almost involuntarily has to say, “Awwwwww!” because her expression is always full of concern, and she’s so aggressively affectionate. Here she is all grown up; hard to believe she and Blue will be senior dogs (seven years old) next year. Seems like just yesterday that Sophie was just a Puppy of Concerns.

Okay, all together now: 

Midnight painting gone fauve


Coffee, Tea or Me  © 2014 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 inches • oil on 1/8" GessobordTM
private collection • Salem, Oregon

Another alla prima painting; I’ve been trying to train myself not to be so nit-picky by giving myself a goal of finishing all in one sitting – well, not counting taking time out for dinner, that is. This means also learning to see more clearly, to simplify and make quicker color decisions. This one was mega fun, with all Bailey’s beautiful markings. Some of you who have been following me for a while will remember that Bailey is no longer with us, but I’ve got hundreds of photos of her that are a remembrance and continuing inspiration for fauvalistic paintings like this one!

I’ve also been continuing work on the larger daffodil painting … I’ll be showing that one again when it’s finished.

Later, taters!