Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Freedom of Innocence

'Freedom of Innocence' 
5 x 7 inches oil on masonite

"When we are children we seldom think of the future. This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can. The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind." Patrick Rothfuss

Something that always gets my heart when I paint a child is their innocent, but also very knowing expression. It's something that I think most people don't see, at least I know I don't see it until I spend a few hours studying their eyes. And it's something that never fails to amaze me. 

Listening to: Fall Out Boy
Reading: The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss
Watching: Gold Rush 
Snacking on: see photo below :) 

Greek Yogurt Brulee. Oh. My. Gosh. This is so yummy. :) Here's the recipe I adapted.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Bloom of Youth SOLD

'Bloom of Youth'  SOLD
8 x 8 inches oil on masonite
I have wanted to do an oil painting of this little girl ever since I first drew her sketch here. I really love the graceful tilt of her head, which seems such a precocious gesture for one so small. Her full lips and dark eyes caught my attention too. And of course those beautiful flowers in her hair and on her dress. And I have to say that I really like how this painting turned out. :) Reference photo, with thanks, by Ryan Lobo.

I've decided to try and have weekly themes for my paintings. I sort of feel like I jump all over the place depending on what interests me at that given moment, and then also when commissions demand it, and then I feel a little bit lost when it comes time to sit down and paint. Too many ideas can be just as paralyzing as too few in my opinion. So this week, my theme is children's portraits in oils. Here we go with number one. :)

*Sigh* I feel like a huge weight has just been lifted off my shoulders by making that commitment out loud here. It's already decided for me what I'll paint this week so no more indecisiveness (which is code for STRESS in my mind) about what to paint and what medium to use. It's all in the bag. The hard part's done, now the fun, easy part remains (Har har. I jest, painting be hard maties!).

This weekend our family went to a Bird Refuge that is about two minutes away from our house. We go every year and it is one of my favorite trips. Hardly anyone is ever out there, and honestly we don't see very many birds, but it's so peaceful and just fun to be together. Here's a couple of pics featuring our trusty 'Crocodile' (my four year old son's term for the navigator, which sounds like alligator, which he then confused with a crocodile) and our little family's quiet adventure. Happy Monday everyone. :)


Friday, April 26, 2013

Scritchin and Scratchin - SOLD

'Scritchin and Scratchin'  SOLD
6 x 6 watercolor on paper

Another foal to add to my series of 'baby horses with itches that can't quite reach them'. I'm not married to that series title so if you have something better lay it on me. I tried asking my husband and son for another title that was similar to 'Can't Reach' or 'Almost Got It' but their suggestions were less than desirable. 'Scritchin and Scratchin' was my husband's contribution which was actually kind of a cute.
In any case, this little guy (a Gypsy Vanner foal) is so darling. I love his soft baby mane and tail, and that gesture of him reaching around to scratch his knee with his little nose is so endearing that I can't look at it without my heart melting a little bit. :) He was a pleasure to paint and is owned by my friend, Sue Niesen, of Gypsy Lane Farm.

And how about a Huzzah for Friday hmm??? Huzzah!! See you Monday everyone. :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Logan - private commission SOLD

'Logan'  SOLD - private commission
10 x 14 inches watercolor 

Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to paint this beautiful little girl. Her mom sent me several photos and we both talked about which ones we thought would make the best portrait. We settled on this one of her in a lamb hat. :) She has the most beautiful eyes and lips and such a solemn and sweet expression. Commissions are easy when you have such beautiful subjects. ;) 

I am currently taking commissions, if you're interested click here for details.

In other news I got these babies all gussied up and ready for their prom date. (Er. . . that is, I gessoed some hard board panels that my wonderful husband cut for me so I can paint on them. :)

Huzzah for completed commissions, happy clients, and fresh surfaces to paint on!! And chocolate!! (Because chocolate is important right? ;)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Believe - SOLD

'Believe'  sold
5 x 7 inches watercolor

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.”  Roald Dahl

I was at the park the other day and saw this lovely little fairy dashing through the trees, almost too quickly for me to see. But not quite quick enough. :) Now here she is immortalized for all time as evidence that fairies exist. 

Mood: content
Listening to: The Raven Boys (audio book)
Reading: Apollyon by Jennifer Armentrout
Snacking on: chocolate animal crackers (yes they have sugar, but not that much, or so I tell myself ;)
Watching: Oblivion (last weekend while on a hot date with my husband)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Light of Foot

 'Light of Foot' 
9 x 12 inches oil on gesso board 
$275 plus $10 US shipping, or $20 International 
“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ”
― William Shakespeare, Henry V 

This is the largest oil painting that I've ever done so far and it was a lot of fun. The funny thing is that as I was painting it, it didn't seem that much bigger than my 5 x 7's. I wonder at what point I'll be able to feel a difference? Four feet by four feet maybe? Har har, I jest. ;)

 With watercolors I can always tell a difference right away when I go up in size, because the timing and control of your water all needs to change when you have a larger area to cover. 
In any case my goal with this painting was to give an impression of speed and power. I painted the horse's body very quickly, and I tried really hard not to go back in once I had put a stroke of paint down, hoping that the energy of my brushstroke would show through in the power of the horse.

I hope you all have a great weekend! It's a grey, chilly day here in Utah but hopefully tomorrow will be different.

Reference photo, with thanks, by Limit of Gold on deviantART

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Read Me A Story SOLD

'Read Me A Story'  SOLD
8 x 10 inches oil on gesso board

I have always been an avid reader. Some of my very favorite memories of my childhood involve my mom and me going to bookstores to track down the latest in a series of books I was reading (always something about horses). Or going to a local used book store (my favorite place) and finding old books that I'd never heard of before. My parents always made sure I had lots of reading material and they never, ever complained when I chose to stay indoors reading instead of outside playing on a bright summer day. 

I wanted to make sure my kids grew up with a love of reading too. I remember reading out loud to my oldest son when I was still pregnant with him. And now both of my boys who are old enough to read LOVE reading, and the littlest loves being read to. We listen to audio books in the car wherever we go, they love story time at bedtime (well, the younger two anyway, the oldest prefers his own books now), and after they've fallen asleep at night and I go to check on them it's very common for me to have to take a book, and a flashlight, out of little boy arms that were too sleepy to put them away. 

This is my middle boy, when he was about five (he's eight now), looking through one of his favorite books, "The Hiccupotamus" by Aaron Zenz. 

We read it so many times that he could read it along with me before he even learned how to read. His favorite line, which always resulted in lots of laughter was this one: 

"There was a hippopotamus
who hiccupped quite-a-lotamus. 
And every time he got'emus. . . 
He'd fall upon his bottomus."

Admit it, you lol'd didn't you? Me too. He he. ;)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tales From The Sketchbook

'Ever Watchful' 
9 x 12 inches graphite and white colored pencil
$45 plus $7 US shipping, or $15 International 

A few weeks ago I somehow ended up looking through a bunch of my old sketchbooks. I found one from 2004 that was my first sketchbook that I worked in nearly every single day. Most of my other ones were very hit and miss. I was absolutely amazed at the difference between the sketch on the first page of the book, and the one on the last page. Here they are: 

 First page sketch 2004

Last page sketch 2004 

Kind of a big difference don't you think? I almost couldn't believe it. 

As I looked through this book I could remember almost exactly how I felt with each sketch. The first pages were filled with insecurity and doubt, and a lot of not knowing what I was doing. But there was also such a desire to improve, to learn as much as I could, and most of all a passion for drawing. By the end of the book I remember feeling so much more confident, and also I remember it being more of an intuitive process, where my mind wasn't actively thinking about how to draw, I was just drawing. Where as in the beginning my mind was filled with 'rules' and what not to do.

After I closed that book I wanted to get back to sketching a lot. So when I saw that Strathmore had come out with these new sketchbooks with tan paper you can bet I snapped that baby up faster than Uncle Si could say 'Hey Jack!' 

But then when it actually came time to sketch in my new, pretty book I kind of froze. The first two sketches were horrible. And I mean Horrible. Un-redeemable. I ripped them out and threw them away, which was very liberating. 

I am pretty superstitious about my art creating rituals. I don't like to skip pages in my sketchbook because then I think I won't be able to make great sketches after that. I have a paint brush that is totally beat up and basically unusable but I always keep it next to me while I'm painting because I secretly think that it's the key to a successful painting. If I'm struggling with a certain area of a painting I have to put 'Hysteria' by Muse on my iPod and that will instantly make everything better. Yes I am a weirdo, I openly acknowledge this.;)

Then finally I did a sketch that I was happy with. The deer sketch is the first successful sketch in my new book. :) And I'm so excited to do the next one. Huzzah and onward to the next!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Prisms and a pep talk

5 x 7 inches oil on masonite
$65 plus $7 US shipping, or $15 International

Revisiting my favorite glass bottles again, this time in oils. The bottle on the left is clear glass but for some reason I saw lots of purple and warm reds in the glass. I don't know what it could be reflecting, unless maybe I was wearing a pink shirt again, which is actually very likely. :) 

In other news, my son came home from school the other day dying to show me this youtube video he had seen in school. So we watched it. And watched it again. And again. It is SO awesome and inspiring. So here I am sharing it with you in case you need some motivation on a Thursday (because really Monday's aren't the only days we need it right?). 

Enjoy, a pep talk from Kid President. Huzzah!! :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dodson - SOLD

'Dodson'  SOLD
10 x 14 inches watercolor on paper
private commission
“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
― W.B. Yeats
This beautiful little boy was a commission that I recently completed. I love his cheeks, full lower lip, and wide brown eyes. :) 

I sometimes think that our senses were never so sharp as when we were brand new to this world and we were not immune to the beauty and wonder of our every day lives. Lately I've been looking through photos of my kids from 2010, when my youngest son was not quite 18 months old. There are so many photos of him caught looking at something that utterly captivates him. I was so taken with his expression that I photographed him a million times, mostly close up zooming in to his face, and now I wonder what it was he was looking at that filled him with so much wonder? Probably something as ordinary as a turquoise sippy cup with the light shining through it. Which to him was not ordinary at all.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Vitality - Not for sale

5 x 7 inches oil on panel
not available 
Earlier this year I met an amazingly talented artist on deviantART, Amanda Drage. We became online friends, following the art each other made, and one day she mentioned doing a piece of art as a trade for another artist. I quickly commented "I wanna trade too!!" (because I'm subtle and tactful like that). So we decided to do it. We each painted a 5 x 7 oil of a horse (a subject we both love) for each other and here's mine for Amanda. :) You can see the one she painted for me here. Isn't it lovely? I can hardly wait to get it.

In other news, I was very pleasantly surprised to be featured on FASO Featured Artists blog series. :D You can check out what they have to say about me right here.

See you tomorrow everyone!

Eat some chocolate for me okay? ;)

Reference photo by Vikarus on deviantART. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Haven - SOLD

'Haven'  SOLD
5 x 7 inches oil on masonite panel

For a while now I've been wanting to paint a series of girls and horses. A reflection on my childhood and teen years I guess. And somehow when I was searching for photos of girls and horses I found this one of a girl cradling her dog (Italian Greyhound I think). They both looked so completely content. So safe and secure. Although the title could refer to the dog wrapped in the girls loving arms, I think it also applies to the girl finding a haven with her dog. At least, that's how animals have always been to me.  A refuge and a safe haven from the world.

In other news this weekend was cold and grey, but our family got to spend all of it together! We went to the park so the kids could drive their RC cars, but we also ended up doing some exploring. Littlest Cook started making his own little rock collection after finding a small abandoned gravel pit, and all three kids came home with pockets full of rocks. We saw a herd of newborn calves and momma cows (including a darling pure white calf which I will be painting), and a ginormous beetle (which I may be painting as well).

It was such a great weekend, I was sad to see it come to an end, but happy for the memories we made. Until tomorrow my friends. :)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Ambiguity in Red

'Ambiguity in Red' 
8 x 10 inches oil on gesso board

I think it's pretty clear that I have a thing for red/pink. I was at home by myself one day and the sun was in that perfect spot in my kitchen and I just so happened to be wearing a bright pink sweater. So naturally I sat in that spot of sun and took a picture of myself to paint. This is painted on purchased gesso board, not the masonite that I usually use and gesso myself. It was a challenge to get used to the super smooth surface at first. But I did find there was a lot more opportunity to use transparent colors with this surface, than the masonite, and I really loved that. The brightest areas are really thin glazes of oil color that I laid in at first as a block in but then decided to leave. 

Listening to: Writing Excuses podcasts (after a nearly two year block I finally feel like writing fiction again!)
Reading: The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Watching: The Colony
Snacking on: nothing :( In an attempt to run longer distances this summer I'm trying out an anti-inflammatory diet to see if it helps my knees, and apparently sugar is like totally bad for your health. Which means no cupcakes for me. :(((

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Cold Nose, Warm Heart SOLD

'Cold Nose, Warm Heart'  SOLD
6 x 6 inches oil on masonite

I've been going through a lot of old art magazines lately trying to decide if I want to cut them up and put the paintings that inspire me in a  journal, or leave them as is. I've found SO many amazing articles that I never noticed before. I've found a painting demo by Richard Schmid and Scott Burdick (two of my favorite oil painters), an article about why an artist would want to paint in more than one medium (can I get a Huzzah for that?), and an article about painting with passion by Alvaro Castagnet, who always brings out my inner fangirl. 

So I've decided to not cut them up for now. Reading through them was one of the main reasons why I wanted to do an oil painting again. I keep telling myself that I *should* just stick with watercolors, because that's what I know, but I just can't. I was feeling really sorry for myself yesterday about some recent painting fails (watercolors no less) and at ten o'clock last night felt this strong desire to try and put some of what I'd learned from the masters about oil painting in the art magazines into practice.Which lead to 'Cold Nose, Warm Heart.'

And now I feel happy about my art again. Isn't it funny how much our moods can reflect how we're feeling about our art? Or am I the only crazy one like that? :)
Reference photo by sskennel, thank you! 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Friesian in Technicolor

'Friesian in Technicolor' 
5 x 7 inches colored pencil on pastelbord
$100 plus $7 US shipping, or $15 International

"He has galloped through young girl's dreams, added richness to grown women's lives, and served men in war and strife." Toni Robinson

I may have taken some liberties with the color in this horse's coat. But her normally black coat had been sun-bleached, and there was light from the setting sun, and I'm a color addict. So there you go. :)

Reference photo by lumibear on deviantART. Thank you!
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