Monday, May 30, 2016

Tiger Tabby painting finished!


Tiger Tabby  © 2016 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 inches • oil on ⅛" Museum Series (archival) GessobordTM
private collection • Highland, Michigan

I realized it’s been way too long since I posted a step-by-step, so here are the progress photos:

I started with my pencil drawing on the Gessobord, then started adding my acrylic glazes (for this painting I used Liquitex acrylic glazing medium mixed with my paints for transparency). I started with cadmium yellow light, ultramarine blue, cerulean blue. The eyes are a glaze of cerulean with a very transparent yellow glaze over that.

Next, I added glazes of quinacridone fuchsia and pyrrole red. The transparent fuchsia over the ultramarine makes a beautiful purply blue, and the red over the yellow is a wonderful vivid orange. I added another layer of the red glaze over the grasses on the right, making them more red than orange.

More layers of fuchsia and ultramarine glazes, and a bit of yellow glaze with a very transparent cerulean, making a nice light green for the sunnier part of his chest. I also darkened his eyes a bit, and added the dark outline of his eyes with indigo.

After the acrylic underpainting is dry (about 20 minutes or so), I started with the oils. I used a pretty full palette for this one: Prussian blue, French ultramarine, king’s blue, cerulean blue, Caribbean blue,  cinnabar green deep, medium and light, cadmium yellow light, cadmium yellow deep, cadmium orange, cadmium red light, and one of my very favorite colors: (get ready for this) Old Holland Rose Dore Madder Lake Antique Extra, quinacridone rose, quinacridone magenta, ultramarine rose, burnt sienna, yellow ochre and titanium white. Whew! 

And remember, the eyes always have way more colors than you would expect. In addition to the colors in the iris, they’re also glassy, so they will reflect the colors in nearby objects as well.

As I went along, I frequently stepped back to see how much of the vivid underpainting I wanted to leave showing.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Feline minds

Cats never strike a pose
that isn’t photogenic.



Getting back to this one this afternoon, after taking yesterday to work on another large landscape, and here’s the current progress photo. This is the point in the painting when I’m stepping back often, taking stock of the color combinations, deciding what and how much of the vivid underpainting I want to leave showing. The composition of this one also has sort of a craftsman feel to me, with a kind of stylized design to it.

Those of you who guessed “PONTOUFLE!” were correct: here he is, lying in some tall grass near the front porch. I like to imagine that HE’S imagining himself one of the big cats, a lion or tiger, deep in the heart of the jungle somewhere.

Kind of like Bailey in This Side Up, imagining herself tearing through outer space at the speed of light, in her own private starship:

This Side Up © 2011 KMSchmidt

Also I’m quite sure that Pontoufle thinks that he’s totally hidden behind those blades of grass, much the way Jo thought she was completely obscured by the geranium in Hidden Treasure. 

Hidden Treasure © 2013 KMSchmidt

Wouldn’t you just love to know what’s going on in those feline minds?

A Different Point of View © 2015 KMSchmidt

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sneak peek

Here’s a detail of a painting I started this afternoon featuring ...

guess who!

Check back tomorrow to see if you’re right!

Is it Bailey?

... Jo?

Annie. No? Are you sure? I mean, sure, 
she only has one eye, but maybe I copied 
her good eye in Photoshop and flopped it 
and pasted it in ...

Could it be Ray?  ... or Faux Ray?

 Maybe it’s Pontoufle!

 ... or Moustachio?

I know I already showed Jo and Ray, 
but this one makes me laugh, so I had to include it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A winding road ...

Painting is by nature a luminous language.



Almost Summer  © Karen Mathison Schmidt
12 x 12 x ¾ inches • oil on ¾" cradled Museum Series (archival) GessobordTM
private collection • Knoxville, Tennessee

The week before Mother’s Day I drove the back roads to nearby Ruston to deliver a commissioned painting, and what should have been about an hour drive turned into two hours because I kept stopping to take photos. Such a pretty drive! This painting started off being inspired by one of my Savannah photos, and ended up being influenced so much by these Louisiana country roads. 

So much fun painting the shadows in this. And the trees. And the sun spots.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Savannah Inspiration

I think that I shall never see
a poem as lovely as a tree ... 



Sunny Oaks  © Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 inches • oil on ⅛" Museum Series (archival) GessobordTM
private collection • Salem, Oregon

Last month I was in Savannah, Georgia, teaching a couple of workshops, and in between the two I had the weekend free. Sunday afternoon I was kicking back in the living room with a glass of iced tea and a book, when my hostess with the mostest (hey, Sue!) breezes through the room and says, “Come with me, there’s something you need to see. You can bring your tea. And grab your camera!”

So I picked up my glass of tea and followed her out, swooping up my camera as we passed by the hall table. We piled into her SUV and she drove me to a nearby neighborhood where she parked in front of the biggest, most jaw-droppingly gorgeous oak tree I’ve ever seen.

That’s me there in front, so you can see how GIGANTIC this old tree is.

 After I finished taking approximately one gazillion photos of the tree, Sue took me to nearby Wormsloe Plantation, where I took more photos, one of which was the inspiration for today’s painting. 

The tours were closed for the day, so we couldn’t drive in, but just looking down the oak-lined drive was pretty spectacular.

After that, we did some more sightseeing until the sun started going down. 

I enjoyed the afternoon immensely, and came back with lots and lots of reference photos.

All in all, a beautiful way to spend an April afternoon in Savannah. Thanks, Sue!

This last one I took when we got back to Sue’s house. 
From the window of my guest bedroom. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Just couldn't resist ...


in my eBay store

Sunny Dreams  © Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 inches • oil on ⅛" Museum Series (archival) GessobordTM panel
private collection • Athens, Texas

Here’s our big orange tabby, Pontoufle, engaging in one of his absolute favorite pastimes: napping in a sunny spot near a window in my studio.

Okay. I ask you. How in the world could I continue working on my landscapes while this cutie patootie was stackin’ up Z’s just inches away from where I was seated at the easel?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Out of left field ...

California Medley © 2016 Karen Mathison Schmidt
12 x 9 x 1.5 inches • oil on 1.5" deep cradled Museum Series (archival) GessobordTM
gloss varnish (UV protective)
sides painted dark umber • can be displayed with or without a frame


from my eBay store

This may seem like it came completely out of left field, and it did. While I was downloading Savannah photos from my camera, I came across some from our California trip last fall that were still on the flash card, and this painting was inspired by one of those. I really had fun playing with shapes and textures in this. 

Now I’m working on a large Louisiana woodland painting and a small Savannah landscape at the same time. Working with the different color schemes and textures is keeping me on my artistic toes, for sure!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Fresh off the easel: Great Dane!


Riveted  © 2016 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 inches • oil on ⅛" Museum Series (archival) GessobordTM
private collection • Southport, North Carolina

I’ve been painting and painting (and obviously not blogging at all), working on a few commissions for quite a while now, and I’m working on editing a couple of step-by-step posts to publish soon, so keep checking back!

I’ve also been busy downloading and editing the nearly 4,000 (not kidding) photos I took during my trip to Savannah in April. This big guy was just one of the dogs I met (along with their very friendly owners!) while out walking through the neighborhoods and in the parks, and his “Mom” graciously gave me permission to take some photos. 

This photo will give you an idea of how huge he really is:

I just love a dog that you don’t have to bend down to pet!