Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve Day

   I just got in from a good 1 1/2 hour walk in a huge development up the street, designed for horse owners. The area is surrounded by a beautiful well-maintained riding/walking trail, and has other shorter trails running through the homes and acreage. It is too lovely not to share.   
This, and the 2 below, are of my favorite home at High Point.  Its design gives the impression of a French chateau.

I took the next 4 photos to show the views of the mountains, visible from the higher areas of the development.


A Most Happy and Healthy New Year ... and the Chinchillas Made Me Do It

FB enjoying a moment
   First and foremost, I would like to heartily wish all of you the very Best of New Year's wishes. It is a time for a bit more thought and reflection, and hope. I will also take this opportunity to thank my new "followers", who have helped make this enterprise worth pursuing.
   Secondly, I fear I must do a little rant and rave, and foam at the mouth. My rant was spurred by reading a blog I follow, by Mark Kohler - markkohler.blogspot.com. I found his article to very strongly echo what I have felt for years. And it does reflect the increasing antipathy I have felt towards the manner in which Christmas has come to be celebrated in the western world. This period of pre-Christmas spending is, however, only the most apparent manifestation of our mindless and senseless greed. Yes, it sounds brutal, but I think it's true. A largely predominant proportion of the  civilized human race has come to believe that mass consumption is the way to go.
   I encourage you to take a step back to see how you are spending your time, your energy, your self. Most certainly, I am not advocating a "sackcloth and ashes and begging bowl" type of change. Nor an idealistic, 1960's "return to the earth" style of life. With the world population as it is, these modes of life are neither viable nor desirable.
   As an example, on a personal level, my "change" slowly became manifest with my involvement with horses. I lied; it wasn't the chinchillas. Most thankfully, this deep-seated passion led me along the way to changing my life-style. It also uncovered my long buried love of art, of sketching and painting. For this, I am deeply grateful.
The Brunz and me

   So GO AHEAD!!! be wild and weird and wonderful. Give some deep thought to that about which you feel passionate. And in whatever small way, start breathing some life into it.

Monday, December 27, 2010

I HAD to Do It

   Yes, I had disappeared off the face of the planet, the art portion of it anyway. I've been focussing my energy on Bruno, who I was rapidly turning into 3/4 ton of spoiled horse. I suffer from a severe case of "Black Beauty" syndrome, and I blame that on the fact that my parents would not buy me a horse when I was young. I studied the piano for 15 years instead of riding. I don't regret the lessons, as I have a great love of music, but a horse would have been great. Consequently, I had to wait till I was 30, and then buy my own.
   However, the result of this delayed gratification of my passion for The Horse, is a very strong tendency to spoil them rotten. A spoiled horse is a dangerous horse, with little or no respect for their person. Add to this, the fact that I do not have quite the intestinal fortitude [guts] at this time of year to be as disciplined as I need to be, and you have the beginning of a rebellion on the part of the horse.
Bruno, being a good lad

"What the ... ?"
   Yesterday was THE day. I steeled myself for the confrontation, and worked hard to maintain a calm and non-reactive bearing. Bruno was a bit of a turd, and there were some scary moments, but I won the upper hand, or "hoof".  I was NOT brutal; I could never be that way ... just firm in my demands. And I am pleasantly surprised at how his quieter, better-behaved manner has affected ALL his interactions with me.
Cindy Redux
Bee in asters
   I am painting. Working on a re-do of Cindy [I just don't like the green background] and a close-up of a bee in some asters. They are both in warm colors; I seem to need that right now.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Painfully Prolonged Tale of Miss Cindy ... or ... IT"S FINSK!!!

Initial sketch

Dog outline masked, then play with background

First glazes on dog

Close up

Many, many thin glazes to build up coat texture

More texture, and some face detail

It's there, in essence, but needs depth. This is where Anne's help came into play.


Senorita Cindy

   This portrait took much longer than I had anticipated. True, I did want to go slowly with her coat's glazes, to achieve a sense of wooly depth. But I also suffered my usual dose of the "winter megrims", and quite often did not feel like painting. [or anything else] 
   Cindy was painted with my favorite animal colors - quin. burnt orange, quin. violet and indanthrone blue. The background grass was glazes and sponges of aureolin, phthalo. green, quin. gold, quin. burnt orange and indanthrone blue.
   I must add, at one point near the completion of the painting, I contacted Anne Zoutos, a painter who creates marvellous dog portraits. I took her advice, and it has really helped the painting. Thank you very much, Anne!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

This Is a Good Thing to Mention ...

Barn Study   10x10 in.

Pink Passion   11x16 in.

Clematis   12x14 in.

Cool Cows   14x11 in.

Coming Home   17x11 in.

Working It   10x12 in.

Tree Study   11x7 in.

Oomochs   15.5x10.5 in.

Old Timer   10x13 in.

Daylily   10x14 in.

The Laughing Labrador   17x12 in. 

Denise in Venice   22x13 in.

Tobias   13x10 in.      

Paulina   12x12 in.

Bruno   13x10 in.

Roses:White on White   16x20 in.

Rose and Bee   8x10 in.
   I have forgotten to mention that I applied to The International Guild of Realism earlier this year. My submissions were juried, and I was accepted as a member on May 26, 2010. Needless to say, I was ecstatic! I am very proud to be a member of this group of artists. I submitted ten paintings, I think, and the above collection contains these paintings.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

... and Now for Something Completely Different

   Well, not really. This is about my niece, Paulina [Julian's sister] They are alike in that they are both bright, beautiful, [or handsome] athletic and determined. Julian spoke like Elmer Fudd till he was six. Paulina [aka "Chickie"] added and embellished her consonants; instead of cream, it was pream; in lieu of Ripley, she called their dog Bripbrey, and so on. Julian will quietly assess a situation, and usually come to an "agreement". Paulina seems to argue just for the sake of arguing.
The model

The painting

Paulina, a few years ago, with Lucy

The determined artist

Riding Bruno, a few months ago

Halloween 2010, she has "Bieber fever"

Wearing my birthday balloons last summer

Working her fabulous fashion sense on Ralphie
   But she is her own woman, that's for sure, with her own fashion sense. I'll never forget her taking dance lessons, and insisting on wearing her tutu well below her "root beer" belly. She does her own thing. She has also been one of my models.

Jules and Me

Jules and I, enjoying a moment. He's about 2 years here.
Jules at 9 years, form a photo at my 50th birthday

Julian, with his 1st fish. He's 14 years here.

Julian at 15.

Bond, Julian Bond - 16 years old
   This is my nephew, Julian, soon to be 17 years old. And like most of us older folk, I still see him in my mind's eye as being 2 1/2. WHY is that??? From the time I first saw him, I have felt an ease of relationship. [unusual for me, a lone wolf] I could always make him laugh as a baby. He was always an interesting person to be with, and is still so. I suppose the reasons are partly that he came along at a very traumatic time in our family, and that he is quite a bit like me in some ways. I remember my mother bringing him to see my horse, when he was about 8 months. He was fearless, though her head was bigger than Jules' entire body. He had his arm, to the elbow, up her nose, and Good Ol' Sweetie just stood there with a slurpy look on her face.
   Now, soon to be seventeen, Julian is very handsome, bright, thoughtful, athletic, [a great hockey player] and artistic in the literary arts. I love him to bits. That's my Jules!