Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Geese Are Gaggling Along ...

I left our happy honkers here ...

In this photo, I have started on the shadows of the geese, and  have done an initial glaze of all the feet.

Here, I have added some detail to the feet. I have also gone over the goslings with another wash of aureolin and the dark brown mixture. And I have done a w/w application of a grey mixture on the goose bums.

I'll be working mostly on the adults, darkening and integrating the shadows, and adding some detail to the heads of the two on the right. So far ... so good! The background looks very nebulous, and I am not sure yet what I want to do with it.  I am thinking of just putting in their cast shadows, or that plus a dark diagonal suggestive of grass. Don't know.

As always, your comments are most welcome!

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Happy Easter to You

I wish you all a wonderful Easter. I hope the weather is finally Spring-like.
A new project is in the making. I am doing a painting of geese for a friend for her birthday.  Pat's birthday is April 5, so I HOPE all goes smoothly, or she will end up with an IOU for a gift!

Didn't want to, but I had to use masking. Here all the initial washes are down.  All the washes were graded  and/or irregular in application. First was aureolin, then quin. red, quin. burnt orange, and two separate washes of cobalt blue.

I've done a w/w application on the goslings - aureolin, then dropping in two different brown mixtures to get a soft, downy effect. I will probably have to go in again, and darken some areas, lighten others, and soften the outlines. Now for the geese.

As always, your comments are most welcome

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Am I Permitted to Say I Like Them?

This was supposed to go at the bottom of the post, but ...
Life ... painting going well, riding not so much. I finally had a lesson, after a few months without. I thought we were doing well. I could afford to "show off" a bit. But as I've said before, horses always bring you back to ground, to reality. I had been riding him at too fast a rhythm. It's easier to ride, but not desirable. It does not allow nor encourage the horse to push off from the hind legs properly, and use the back well. Riding in a slower tempo, more powerfully, has the horse using its back so much more - if you look closely, you can see Bruno's back slowly vibrating. It is a STINKER to ride. Following Bruno's larger movement, translated to my body, has me moving all over the place. I look like the Energizer Bunny up there, arms and legs wubbling all over the place. What it means is I am going to have to get much stronger in my core. 
At least the painting is going well ...

"I Got Spots"
I have darkened the eye a bit, to bring more focus to the head, and I have added a ground by dry-brushing along the bottom. It looks finished, and I actually like it [and you all know I am hard to please with my paintings].

This one I have taken as far as I can take it without mucking up the feathers. I have done some direct glazing with a thin mixture of a dark brown to suggest form shadows - any more, and she will look like a very cross wet hen.

  As always, your comments are most welcome!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Struttin' to the Home Stretch - Swedish Flower Hen

I have masked the perimeter of the hen, and done three graded washes - two of aureolin and one of pink. 
I have done a graded wash of quin. burnt orange which wubbled a bit on the lower left because I didn't get to it quickly enough with the hair dryer. 

I've done another graded wash of the orange, let it dry, then covered the hen and done a splatter with a brown mixture.

I am now in the final FUSS stage. The shapes of the masked out areas are not great, but that's the nature of masking fluid. In the past, I have even tried using a sewing needle, but that doesn't work for me - too easy to scratch the paper.
To finish, I'll continue directly adding thin washes of a dark brown mix to add depth and shadows. And then I'll set her off to strut!

As always, your comments are most welcome.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Struttin' Her Stuff

I applied masking, then wet the entire hen, and stroked in quin. burnt orange and a mixture of the orange with quin. red.

More w/w with the orange, red and quin. violet.

A bit of direct painting with a black mixture.
The first glazes on the head and feet are done.  

I got a little impatient, and HAD to take the masking off. Also, I didn't want too get to dark and intense around all the hard white edges, as I will have to adjust and soften some of them.
I think these are gorgeous chickens, and apparently are good layers, quiet in temperament ... and I STILL wonder how Bruno would like a room-mate!!!

As always, your comments are most welcome!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I've had the urge to go back into some of my older work - pieces that were all right, but  so-so.
This is the original portrait I did of my hay guy.

I stapled it on a board, and went to work. I have done a w/w varied application of quin. burnt orange and quin. red on the right, with indanthrone blue added to the mixture on the left.

I have just gone over it again with a wash of alizarin crimson, stronger on the left. I must say I really like the change.

This is another oldie that looks like it's been in a bit of a fight.
This one I had to tape to a board, as the edges were so uneven.

I have done one dark w/w wash of quin. burnt orange, quin. violet and indanthrone blue. It looks much more striking, but needs at least one more dark glaze.

As always, your comments are most welcome!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Trying to Turn a Sow's Ear into a Silk Purse

There aren't any steps because I deleted them form  my photo library [in frustration]. I think I am a bit obsessed with trying to interpret the dried hydrangeas. At least, I am learning with each effort. I want to create a looser, almost abstract background, and yet keep the detail and delicacy of the dead flowers. 

This is where I realized it was NOT going to work. So I dragged some dark blue across to see what it would look like - messy and wubbly, but there is an idea coming out of the experiment. Back to the proverbial drawing board for another go!!!

As always, your comments are most welcome! 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Another Wet and Blustery Day in Lala Land

This is Bruno, two days ago, after an earlier ride, and then a blissful roll in the mud. I had spent an hour grooming him before I rode - he is shedding like mad right now. So I gave him a quick brush before I put his blankie on for the night. It's been very wet and blustery for 2 days now, so no riding. I'll have to push myself outside to take him for a walk.

This is one of my favorite paintings by Nil Catalano. We followed each other's work for some time. He was truly an inspiration to me, and I am sure, to many others. I received an email yesterday, telling me of his passing. He will be missed greatly.

I have done a bit more work on Spotty. Just now wondering about putting in a ground - maybe a dry-brush effect, dragged along under his hooves???

Had to share this photo of Tuffy doing his moose imitation. He would do it on cue - hang his head outside his stall, and bob it up and down sideways, with his tongue hanging out. YES, horses do have a sense of humor!!! :) 

I have started another dried hydrangea. The first one was OK, but I'd like to paint another, with more "oomph".

I also have another hen on the board to paint. This, too, I'd like to paint so she really stands out.

I will probably use this breed of chicken as reference for color. It's called a Swedish Flower chicken, because of the varied pattern of its feathers. It is also a "heritage" breed, and has been brought back from a state of almost-extinction. I think it's an extremely attractive bird. I wonder how Bruno would get along with a few chickens???

Other than that, I am happily reading Ken Follet's 2nd book in his "Century" trilogy. Also reading a book on climate change [scary and depressing], Neil Turok's book, "The Universe Within" - a not-too-technical book about scientific discovery over the past tree hundred years, and a fascinating book about uranium - sort of a political, social, economic and environmental history. Yes, my painting habit of working on several at the same time extends to my reading habits. Thank goodness, I have only one horse.

As always, your comments are most welcome! 

Sunday, March 10, 2013


This is me - many years ago. I am blissed out, sitting on my first horse-love, Tuffy, aka "Semi-Tuff" or "I Am a Tuff One". Why a registered appy has so many names, I am not sure.  It could be a double registry as an appaloosa and a quarter horse. 

I am using Tuffy's glorious coloring as a reference for the spots on the filly. This is another painting that,  as I work on it, I am smiling. It's just so gosh-darn cute.

As always, your comments are most welcome!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


I had left this one for a while. I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do with it, nor did I have the courage to work on it, and risk mucking it up. Linda Roth  [blog friend] gave me the impetus to work on it again. She gave me some advice from her reading of R. Schmidt ... darker, more shadow.  

So I have darkened the background in a manner suggestive of falling rain, and I am now darkening the shoulder and neck of the horse, creeping up towards the head. I would like to achieve more than a "picture of a horse". I think I am heading in the right direction. Thank you, Linda!

I have also started another painting of the filly. My thoughts with this are to put together an ebook. So far, I have a lot of photos and no writing, but it will come.

As always, your comments are most welcome!

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Three [Tamworth] Musketeers

I've added more to the foreground grasses ...

... more shadowing to the piglets

I think, other than a bit of tidying up of edges, it's done.
This is where I have taken it, and surprisingly to me [because I did not look at my value study while painting ... uh-oh], it follows the values of the reference photo quite well. This breed of pig is English in origin, and is called Tamworth.  

I am leaving pigs as models for a bit to work on a horse painting.

As always, your comments are most welcome!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Pigs and a Chick

Here is Miss S-L Wyandotte, with all the glazing done and the masking off.

I have started to work on her head and feet ...

... and now the details are done [most likely]
I'd like Christine [the purchaser] to take a look before I put the ground shadow in place. 

I am adding more of a red/orange to their coats, and a violet/orange in the shadowed areas.

I've put in the start of a loose background, to give myself an idea of how dark to take the piglets.

Still darkening the pigs, and adding some detail to their faces.

I've been going back in my mind to try to figure out why I have such a strong love of animals. It might partly be my grandmother's doing. She used to put my sister and I to bed by telling us stories she made up, all about the adventures of Momma Pussy, Daddy Pussy and Baby Pussy. I can still hear her voice. And then I remember visits to the zoo in Toronto. As I recall, it had large natural-type enclosures for the animals. My favorite thing to do was to feed the animals pieces of bread and fruit and vegetable through the fencing. I LOVED to watch their excitement at the food,  happily munching away.
That's it for now. It's sunny, the ground is fairly drained, and my big muncher is waiting for some exercise and carrots.

As always, your comments are most welcome!