Sunday, August 2, 2015

The time, how she do fly

Time flies, whether you’re having fun or not.


Just about twenty or so years ago right out in front of this house in which I now sit, and which my husband and I are about to vacate, I took this photo of this little guy (my nephew) who was visiting from California, along with his Mom (my sis) just as they had put some pennies on the railroad track so that the train would squish them into little copper pancakes.

Two weeks from today that very same although now not-so-little guy, all grown up, and his beautiful fiancée will be married.

Congratulations, Scott & Julie!

A new chapter


Ellie commission in progress (detail) • 12 x 16 inches • oil on cradled GessobordTM

Exciting news! After eleven months working with our same buyers, we finally closed the sale on our house this week, so we’ve been busy packing and cleaning, and planning continued work on the little old farmhouse which is going to be our new home. 

Yesterday over breakfast my husband asked me what I had on my plate for the day. I told him that I was going to pack up the last bit of my studio stuff, but first I really need to scan the ‘Ellie the cat’ painting so I could send her mom an update on the progress. After a couple of seconds he said, “So what you’re saying is that you have a cat-scan scheduled for this morning?”

I laughed so hard coffee almost came out my nose.

Friday, July 24, 2015

More painting progress

 Ellie work-in-progress • 12 x 16 inches • oil on GessobordTM

Got a bit more done on Ellie today; I think I’m just about done with her face, which is the part I always spend the most time with. Toward the end of the afternoon I started venturing off into the stones on the edge of the patio, and some of the foliage in the garden. I want to do a little more in the garden and patio areas before I start painting the rest of her body and tail, to make sure I have her darks and lights just right. 

What a joy she is to paint!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Moving right along

 Ellie • 12 x 16 inches • WORK IN PROGRESS

We had word last Friday that we are AT LAST coming to the end of the process of selling our big house, and next week we hopefully will be able to get on with our renovation at the little old farmhouse we will be moving into. I’m so excited I can hardly stand it!

Meanwhile, I’m sitting myself down at the easel this morning to work toward completion of this commission, which is also exciting and a joy to work on. As you can see, I started with a fairly detailed sketch with a soft 2B graphite drawing pencil. This is less the method of the impressionists and more the method of turn-of-the-century Golden Age illustrators like Beatrix Potter, Elizabeth Shippen Green and Jessie Wilcox Smith. (As a side note, here’s a little window into the way my mind plays sometimes -- well, okay, most of the time: every time I went to pick up the pencil I would think, “2B or not 2B? That is the question.” I know, I know. A real groaner.)

I’ve just started layering in the oils over the underpainting of acrylic glazes. I love starting with the eyes. It seems to bring life to the painting right from the start.

And now, back to the easel to see what happens today!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A new kitty commission

This is Ellie. She’s a ragdoll cat who lives in Pennsylvania, loves to chase butterflies in the garden, and she is the subject of a new commissioned painting I’ll be starting in the morning. 

 Her “Mom” sent me lots of photos for reference. 

Painting progress pics to come ...

Can’t wait to paint those beautiful baby blues!

Happy Painting!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Sitting Pretty

Cats are mysterious kind of folk - there is more 
passing in their minds than we are aware of.


Cats are dangerous companions for writers because 
cat watching is a near-perfect method of writing avoidance.


(I dare say that goes for painters as well! - KMS)

Here’s my new original orange tabby oil painting, 
now available for purchase

 Sitting Pretty II: Pontoufle  © 2015 Karen Mathison Schmidt
24 x 12 x 2 inches • oil on 2" deep cradled Museum Series GessobordTM
gloss varnish (UV protective) • sides painted dark umber
can be easily hung with or without a frame

$295.00 plus shipping

from my ebay store

And here’s the new Limited Edition ACEO 
Collectible Art Card from this painting:

Sitting Pretty II: Pontoufle

ACEO (Art Cards, Editions & Originals)
Limited Edition Collectible Art Card
signed & numbered on the back by me, the artist!
comes packaged in its own archival clear sleeve for easy handling

$7.75 (free shipping in US)


from my ebay store

Monday, July 13, 2015

A Golden Oldie

Golden retrievers are not bred to be guard dogs, and considering the size of their hearts and their irrepressible joy in life, they are less likely to bite than to bark, less likely to bark than to lick a hand in greeting. In spite of their size, they think they’re lap dogs, and in spite of being dogs, they think they are also human, and nearly every human they meet is judged to have the potential to be a boon companion who might, at any moment, cry, “Let’s go!” and lead them on a great adventure.


 Jake  © 2015 Karen Mathison Schmidt
16 x 16 inches • oil on 2" deep cradled GessobordTM

Commission • Houston, Texas

Hey, everyone! I haven’t posted anything in a while because we have been busy making more preparations to move, but we just found out it will be roughly three more weeks and a bit before we close on the sale of our house, so today I’m back at the easel and the computer while we wait just a bit longer. (I’m reminded never to pray for patience unless you want a LOT of things to come up in your life to practice on!)

I’m also playing catch-up on answering art-related email. Thanks to all of you who have sent messages and questions; I apologize for the delay, but I’m answering each and every one, hopefully by day’s end tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I wanted to share this new painting of Jake, the Golden Retriever, which was commissioned by his “Mom” as a birthday surprise for his "Dad.” Jake LOVES to go swimming. Here he is after a good swim, dripping wet and grinning from ear to ear while he dries off amidst a crowd of cheery Texas bluebonnets.

My husband says Jake and the Bluebonnets would make a great name for a Texas swing band. I can hear it now: “Ladies and gentlemen -- LIVE from Austin City Limits -- it’s JAKE and the BLUEBONNETS!!”

And the crowd goes wild.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Studio still life auction ends tonight ...

If you are an artist you must keep open eyes,
because in every minute you can be inspired.



Studio Chair  © 2014 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 inches • oil on Museum Series GessobordTM

private collection • Anchorage, Alaska

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Jo, the Amazing Technicolor Dream Cat


Jo, the Amazing Technicolor Dream Cat  
© 2015 Karen Mathison Schmidt
12 x 9 x ¾ inches • oil on ¾" cradled Museum Series GessobordTM

private collection • Athens, Texas

Sorry, I couldn’t help it. Some titles just come barging into my brain and won’t leave.

Besides, our Jo DOES just happen to have a coat of many colors.

If you’re unfamiliar with eBay, it’s natural to be a little intimidated and maybe even a little frustrated with the whole bidding thing, but once you know how it works, it’s really a stress-free and, yes, FUN way to shop. Here’s a recent post in which I attempted to clarify and de-stress-ify the whole process:

Monday, June 22, 2015

Impressionist landscape step-by-step photos

Today in my studio I’m continuing work on a commissioned painting that has to remain top secret for a little while longer, so in the meantime I thought I’d share a few step-by-step photos for this impressionistic Louisiana landscape painting.

Oh, and a little reminder: 
the auction for this one ends TONIGHT, 
so if you’re interested you might want to check it out!


Lingering Light  © 2015 Karen Mathison Schmidt
12 x 16 x 1½ inches • oil on 1.5" deep cradled GessobordTM
private collection • Wilmington, North Carolina

If you’re unfamiliar with eBay, it’s natural to be a little intimidated and maybe even a little frustrated with the whole bidding thing, but once you know how it works, it’s really a stress-free and, yes, FUN way to shop. Here’s a recent post in which I attempted to clarify and de-stress-ify the whole process:

How eBay Bidding Works • STRESS-FREE BIDDING

And here are my progress photos:

The reference photo, which I took 
on an evening walk through the pasture.

1. I started without a sketch on this one. In the acrylic underpainting, I just loosely blocked in the placement of the sunny areas and the central tree. And just the merest suggestion of the placement of the purplish plants which run across the center of the foreground. My colors here are phthalo blue, cadmium yellow light, naphthol red and quinacrodone fuchsia. I kept them transparent by mixing with Liquitex acrylic matte medium.

 2. Here I added a glaze of vermilion to the lower sunny area. I just love that vivid orange which was the result!

 3. After the underpainting was good and dry (about 15-20 minutes) I switched to the oil paints, defining the horizon line and the three main trees. Using my titanium white, I started mapping out where the sunlight would be showing through the branches and leaves. I love defining trees this way, by painting in the negative areas. Using a viridian and white mixture, I roughly drew in the shape of the shadow of that central tree, and the shape of the sunlit grassy area on either side of it. With ultramarine and white mixture, I used some fun calligraphic strokes to start defining the stalks of the plants in the foreground. 

4. More definition of distant woods, keeping the areas immediately surrounding that intense sunlight warm, and working my way out to cooler hues toward the far edges of the painting. You can see that I left a good bit of the blue underpainting showing through at the left side of the center tree, and below center all across the painting.

5. Here in the finished painting you can see how the texture of the grasses in the foreground is barely suggested, and a few spare strokes of orange straying diagonally down left help carry that shaft of sunlight down into the foreground. And finally, adding just a FEW pinpoints of bright, pure color helps to convey that late afternoon sparkle of sunlight glinting off various surfaces.

Happy painting

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Lingering Light


Lingering Light  © 2015 Karen Mathison Schmidt
12 x 16 x 1½ inches • oil on 1.5" deep cradled GessobordTM
private collection • Wilmington, North Carolina

I love the light this time of year; the afternoons just linger on and on. Like a conversation between old friends, you just don’t want to see it end.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Uncontainable Joy

Faith is born and sustained by the Word of God, 
and out of faith grows the flower of joy.



Uncontainable Joy  ©2015 Karen Mathison Schmidt
10 x 20 x 2 inches • oil on 2" deep cradled museum quality Ampersand ClaybordTM
private collection • Mountain View, California

After working on my new commission for most of the day, I painted this poppy painting on Claybord, just for something quick and fun. (Not that the commissioned painting isn’t fun. It’s SO much fun and I can’t wait to show it, but for now it must remain secret.)  

Anyway, back to the poppies: using three poppy photos for reference, and starting without a sketch, I used acrylics for the underpainting, just quickly laying in a sort of abstract background, warmer on the left and moving to deep cobalt blue on the right, using a 1½ inch flat brush. 

One thing I’m learning with the Claybord is to use very light and quick brush strokes to spread the color on these first layers; otherwise it’s easy to brush off the paint you just applied. 

After letting the underpainting dry for about ten minutes, I loosely drew the poppy blooms in using dark transparent magenta. I used my No. 16 bright brush for this and for all the rest of the painting.

After I had all the blooms placed where I wanted them, I proceeded to paint in all those luscious reds: rose madder, permanent rose, cadmium red medium, vermilion, cadmium red orange and cadmium orange. The centers are mostly cadmium yellow medium and titanium white.

Last – keeping in mind that I wanted the background to have a really loose, abstract feel to it – I painted in the stems and loosely developed the suggestion of other plants and flowers in the garden, along with a few poppy pods, throwing in some gracefully curving grass blades to add to the movement and variety of visual texture.

Tomorrow I will continue with the commissioned painting, and then do a little more on the Pontoufle painting, so check back in after you’re done with all your Saturday doings!

Happy painting!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Pontoufle, Interrupted

I had been told that the training procedure with cats 
was difficult. It’s not. Mine had me trained in two days. 


I temporarily put this painting on hold to work on a new commission, which for the time being is top secret. I can tell you that the new painting I’m working on is of the canine variety, but other than that, my lips are sealed. 

Meanwhile, I was looking at this kitty painting this morning, and thought it would be interesting to make a one-of-a-kind signed art print from it at this stage.

Pontoufle, Interrupted
20 x 16 inches • unframed
One-of-a-kind signed fine art print on museum-quality, 
Ultrasmooth heavy archival fine art paper
SOLD • private collection, Athens, Texas

This is the ONLY print I will make of this painting 
at this stage EVER!!

Okay, I admit that was a little dramatic.
But it IS the only one. Just sayin’.

Here’s how the print would look with a wide black matte:

Happy painting!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Sneak peek ...


Here’s another Pontoufle painting in progress. This is a detail of the larger painting, which is 24 x 12 inches. I can hardly wait to continue painting on this one in the morning!

Sweet Dreams!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Adding tools to my box


 Enchanted Highway II  ©2015 Karen Mathison Schmidt
8 x 10 x ¾ inches • oil on ClaybordTM
private collection • Estancia, New Mexico

I love summer. Although technically it won’t be here for another couple of weeks, it started unofficially right after Labor Day and the end of school.

And summer always gets me thinking of road trips. And since road trips for us are usually in a westerly direction, when I think “road trip” I think Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, California. I’ve really enjoyed culling through all the photos I’ve taken on the road to use as reference for these road trip paintings.

This is another foray into painting in oils on ClaybordTM. These materials (and subject matter) seem especially suited to the Craftsman illustration style painting I love. The more I work with the Claybord of course, the more I learn about the interaction of these materials, and the more I get used to the feel of the extremely absorbent surface. Another tool in my mental box of painting techniques!

Midnight painting ...


Blue Roof Ranch  © 2015 Karen Mathison Schmidt
8 x 10 x ¾ inches • oil on ¾" cradled ClaybordTM
private collection • Watsonville, California

On our way to a family reunion in Colorado, we passed this ranch nestled in the mountains. All the roofs were bright sky blue. Of course they were begging to be in a painting!

This is another painting on Claybord. I’m really learning a lot about using this ultra-absorbent surface with oils, and I’m having a lot of fun doing it! I find it very interesting how the finished painting, before varnishing, has a look similar to a painting done with pastels.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

What’s an ACEO, anyway?

You may or may not have heard of ACEO’s, and if you have, you may not know exactly what they are. ACEO stands for “Art Card Editions and Originals.” They are 3½ x 2½ inches, and may be original works of art or Limited Edition Prints. Most of the ones I’ve seen have square corners, but some have rounded corners. They are mostly two-dimensional, but some collage artists have been known to push the envelope on that, and they can be made of just about any artist’s materials. There are even some fiber artists (like needleworkers, weavers, knitters, etc.) who are starting to make ACEO’s.

The small, standard size of these little pieces of art make them fun and affordable to collect, and as the movement has spread, ways of displaying them, like in single or multiple frames, or collector’s books, are becoming more and more easy to find. Some manufacturers of art materials are even starting to make papers and art boards available in this little standard size, for artists who want to create original ACEO’s.

For the past few years I have been making ACEO Limited Edition prints from most of my paintings. Sometimes the ACEO will be almost just an exact mini-version of the original painting, and sometimes it’s cropped to show a detail of the original, but each Edition is limited to only 25 cards on heavy ultrasmooth fine art paper, the same paper I use for all my fine art prints, so buying one of these little Limited Edition ACEO’s is an affordable way to see if you would like to invest in a larger print! I sign and number them on the back in pencil, along with the title and the date of the original painting from which they were made, and they come to you in an acid-free crystal clear plastic sleeve. 

They’re priced at $7.75 each, with free shipping in the US. (only 25 cents for international shipping)

Here are a few new ones I’ve just added. Just click on the title if you’d like to go to the card in my eBay store :

And here are a few new larger prints I’ve just added, too (each is available in two other sizes as well; 
you can email me or ask in a comment below):

Pontoufle • 12 x 12 inches • $55

Almost Spring II • 20 x 16 inches • $100

Mist Slowly Rising • 12 x 12 inches • $55

Skirting the Storm • 16 x 16 inches • $90

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Stress-free bidding on eBay


Rose Queen II  © 2015 Karen Mathison Schmidt
12 x 12 x 1½ inches • oil on 1.5" deep cradled GessobordTM
private collection • Shreveport, Louisiana

Stress-free bidding on eBay

It has come to my attention, mostly by observing my own collectors’ (and I love you all!) bidding behavior in my eBay art auctions, that not everyone may understand how eBay bidding works, and how easy and stress-free (and yes, even FUN) it can be if you actually take advantage of the way it works.

If you’re new to ebay auctions, and you start bidding on an item, it may look to you like someone is sitting at their computer outbidding you at every turn, and you may get discouraged. Most likely it’s just eBay automatically bidding for someone who has previously put in a bid that is higher than any of the bids you are entering.

Below I have attempted a short explanation, and have included a link to a very well-written and crystal clear explanation of how the whole process works, but here’s the bottom line and the best advice I can give: decide what is the absolute highest amount you would want to pay for the item on auction, enter that as your bid, and then WALK AWAY FROM THE AUCTION. 

Suppose the opening bid is $1. Instead of bidding $1 and then having to keep raising your bid every time someone outbids you, and then getting emotionally caught up in the competition so you may go over your limit, you say, “Hmmm. I would pay as much as $75 for that.” And you enter a bid of $75.00. 

Ebay then shows that you are the current high bidder with an opening bid of $1, and if nobody else bids on that item, you will pay only $1 as the final price (plus shipping). And nobody (not even I) will know that you would have been willing to go up to $75 for that item! But if a second bidder comes along and bids $25, then Ebay will bid for you, and the current price will go up to $26, with you still as highest bidder. And so on, up to your limit. If the auction ends with no other bids, then you get the item for $26. Get it?

Of course, if a third bidder comes along and enters their bid at, say, $100, then Ebay will put in a bid of a small increment over your highest bid of $75, and the current price would go up to $76, with that new bidder as highest bidder. 

Ebay will then send you an email notification that someone has just outbid your highest bid. Then you can decide whether you want to enter a higher amount. But since at the beginning you set yourself a limit of $75, it’s best to stick to that and let it go, so you don’t get caught up in the auction and end up overspending your budget. At least that’s my own personal rule when I’m trying to buy something on auction. 

And because that new bidder’s highest amount of $100 is kept secret, it may look like you lost the auction by only a dollar or two, and you may be tempted to kick yourself for not going up to just a few dollars more with your highest bid, in reality you most likely were outbid by way more than just a few dollars, as in this example, where you were really outbid by $25. 

Because even though that winning bidder will only pay $76 for the item, you would have had to go up to $102 to outbid their entered high bid of $100. 

Which was about 34% over your pre-decided budget for this item. So don’t be sad and don’t stress. There will always be something new that you want to bid on!

If you want to read more about the whole eBay bidding thing, here’s a link to a really good explanation:


And now: get out there, play nice, and have fun!