Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Wild blackberries! ... and robins ...

This week I’m preparing for my trip to Savannah, Georgia, to teach as a guest artist in two workshops hosted by artist/teacher Rebecca Kahrs the first two weeks of April. I’m still in process of putting final plans in place for a few workshops I’ll be teaching closer to home, and I’ll be announcing those details soon.

Meanwhile, just wanted to share these photos of wild blackberries which are blooming all around the unmown areas of the pasture, and even trailing off into the woods all around. 

Here the hundreds of little white blossoms remind me of falling snow.

Now I’m glad we didn’t get around to mowing the whole pasture before spring.

Looking forward to some delicious berries later this summer ...

... and I have a sneaking feeling that we’re not the only ones!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Leaves of grass

My husband cracked me up when he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror this morning on his way out of the bedroom and said, “You know it’s time to go to the barber shop when you start looking like you just stepped out of the movie The Revenant.” So now he’s gone to the barber, and I’m taking advantage of this beautiful weather to do some spring cleaning, inside and out.

Taking a little break just now, I noted that even though the yard is in desperate need of a good mow, it does make for some pretty fabulous kitty pics.

I just love Jo’s forehead flames.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Country road painting finished!


The Road Home © 2016 Karen Mathison Schmidt
16 x 20 inches • acrylic on ¾" cradled museum quality GessobordTM

private collection • Shreveport, Louisiana

Friday, March 18, 2016

More painting progress ...

Almost done!

Untitled work in progress • 16 x 20 inches • acrylic on Gessobord

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

New painting in progress

I'm crazy for color. Color embraces you.
It wakes you up and keeps you present.

TRACY REESE, fashion designer

16 x 20 inches • acrylic on cradled GessobordTM

Here's the view down the road from the end of our driveway. We're high and dry, right at the top of a hill, but our highways to Shreveport have been blocked due to flooding for almost a week. Not being able to go anywhere (except the local small town grocery store) has done wonders for my productivity!

Woodland Walk


Woodland Walk  © Karen Mathison Schmidt
24 x 18 inches • acrylic on museum quality ¾" cradled GessobordTM

private collection • Three Rivers, California

Monday, March 14, 2016

Woods painting in progress ...

Few things are as enjoyable to me 
as a walk in the woods on a fine spring day.

untitled painting in progress
24 x 18 inches • acrylic on cradled GessobordTM

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Ellie cat painting finished!

Ellie  © Karen Mathison Schmidt
12 x 16 • oil on Gessobord
commission • Pennsylvania

What a joy to get to paint this one of Ellie, who lives in Pennsylvania, loves to hang out on the patio and chase butterflies.

I have been taking progress photos along the way, so will post a step-by-step on Monday.
Don’t forget to “spring forward” tonight, so you’ll be right in tune with Daylight Savings Time starting tomorrow.

Sweet Dreams!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Daisies for a rainy day

I love this window by uber-talented mosaic artist Stacie Walls

Stacie traded it to me for one of my paintings a couple of years ago. 
It was the perfect trade, because each of us feels we got the better part of the deal. 

It makes me happy to have it in our house. 

Especially on Day Number Four in a run of stormy, rainy weather.

Weathering the storms

This commission is oh, so close to being finished, which I was planning to do yesterday. That was before our electricity went out midmorning, in the middle of a raging thunderstorm, and it was so dark all day that we could barely see to get around the house, let alone paint!

Our power was restored last night -- hallelujah! -- and today when the rain finally started letting up (and in spite of televised advice not to go out on the roads if you don’t absolutely have to), I ventured out to get groceries. I ran into flooded roads in three directions (yikes!), but after a little more exploration I finally found a little grocery store I could get to -- again, hallelujah! -- about 25 minutes north of us. I figure they must be getting more customers than usual (like me), because the shelves were completely bereft of some basics like bread and milk, but I was relieved to see that they did have the most important items on my list -- whew! -- dog and cat food.

Tomorrow I plan to have this painting finished, and another little one available for sale.

Meanwhile, here are some photos I took on today’s adventures.

Here’s one of our neighbors stepping out on his front porch, which has been transformed into a dock by the flood. See how their propane tanks (over to the left of the photo) are half submerged.

This is a double wide just up the road from us. We almost rented this while we worked on our house. To give you an idea how high the water is, the garage is an extra tall one to accommodate an RV and the bottom of the front door is about five feet off the ground. The family that lives there now had to use a boat to evacuate!

Loggy Bayou, now up to the bottom of the overpass.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Tuxedo Tabby Cat painting step by step


Jo  © 2016 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 inches • acrylic on museum quality GessobordTM
private collection • Poway, California

Getting back into the swing of painting every day, working on finishing up a commission, some large landscapes for a show coming up at the end of the year, and challenging myself to finish at least three or four of these smaller paintings a week.

Here’s a fun one of our Jo lounging on a comfy teal blanket on this stormy day. And it’s been a while since I posted step by step progress photos, so here we go!

Starting out with a pencil sketch, loosely blocking in with washes of black mixed with ultramarine, bright blue and naphthol crimson. Her eyes look mean here, but not to worry, it’s early yet!

Blocking in more areas, and starting with a dark green (a glaze of phthalo green mixed with orange) as a base color for her eyes, knowing that as the painting progresses I will add lighter colors and highlights.

As I continue adding layers, I keep sort of painting around her whiskers, and her “antennae.”

Notice how her expression is softening up now, even though the shape of her eyes are basically the same as when I started. The different is in the position of the pupils and the highlights. This never fails to fascinate me. Remember, the eyes are never just one color. In addition to the color of the iris, there will be reflections of color from nearby objects. 

I love the looseness of the turquoise blanket, so while I continue lightening up the background, I make sure to keep my strokes quick and loose.

Lastly, I do the really fun part of adding a little loose definition to her whiskers, and adding the bright white to her nose blaze and her fluffy chest. And speaking of blazes, see how her forehead markings look like a flame? That’s our Jo!

Happy painting!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Tess, portrait of a Rhodesian Ridgeback


Tess © 2016 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 inches • acrylic on ⅛" Gessobord
private collection • Poway, California

Friday, March 4, 2016

Glimpses of spring

Spring is when you feel like whistling 
even with a shoe full of slush.


Today I’m working on a painting of our road, and I plan to post progress later on tonight.

Meanwhile, even though we still have a little over two more weeks until the official first day of spring, there are already plenty of glimpses of that glorious season all around us ... 

Hmmmm. I wonder how this one got in here?