Thursday, December 3, 2020

Revisiting Christmas Past

I love coming across old fireplace chimneys.  I wonder about the house that it used to be a part of. I wonder about the family that sat by its hearth.
We discovered this one on a hiking trail in a nearby state park.
 I pass this one on the way to the grocery store.
Sometimes you just have to stop the car right in the road and snap a picture.
Christmas Past
 I painted this chimney twice in 2010 and decided 2020 was a good time to revisit it. 
Remember When...
When I painted this ten years ago, this is what I wrote:
This chimney sits along the road that goes between my two brothers' houses.  It just sits there in a little field all alone, but it's not lonely.  Imagine what this old chimney has seen.  I can imagine it kept  a family's cabin warm for years and years.  I can imagine the farmer who stacked the logs and built the fire.  I can imagine his wife who poked the logs and kept the fire going.  I can imagine the children doing homework in front of it.  I can imagine a cat curled up on the hearth.  I can imagine stockings hanging from the mantle year after year.  I can imagine... 

I knew that I'd revisit Christmas Past the moment I saw Sara's December inspiration image on Inspiration Collaboration. If the black birds could decorate a Christmas tree in a snowy field with lights and ornaments, then cardinals could hang stockings and garland on a mantle.

Original Oil Painting on 8"x 10" Wrapped Canvas
Click Revisiting Christmas Past if you'd like to purchase this painting.
Christmas Past is available in giclee or print. Contact me if you're interested.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Inspiration Collaboration - December 2020

Four new images have been chosen to inspire you to create art of your own.  Click HERE to read the thoughts behind each one.

It's easy to be a part.  Click HERE for instructions.  We look forward to seeing what you create!

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Sunflower Bouquet (Palette Knife)

I was in the mood to play with paint, and this felt like a good image for doing that.  
The only materials I used, were  palette knives and a cheap beginner's oil paint set because I wanted to let myself be lavish with the amount of paint I applied each time I laid it down on the canvas.

True, sunflowers aren't exactly in season right now.  That's okay.  I used so much paint, it may be next summer before it's completely dry!  Mmmm.... I can't wait until it does dry so I can run my fingers across the texture of the paint on the canvas.  And, yes, whenever I'm in an art museum, I have to remind myself not to touch!

What fun!  How long did it take? Oh, a little more than one football game. (Go Hogs! Woo Pig Sooie! Well, they lost, but we're loyal anyway.)

It was also fun to revisit a reference photo that I'd painted ten years ago.  

In 2010 I wrote, "A flower is just more beautiful if you put the seed in the ground yourself, watered the sprout, kept the weeds away, and noticed the first bloom."

Very true. I love that.

Original Oil Painting on 9"x 12" Wrapped Canvas
Click Sunflower Bouquet if you'd like to purchase this painting.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Flamingo on Water


Flamingos are so fun to paint... bold and colorful and swish-y, so I've painted several over the years.  This is actually the second time I've painted this guy... but... The last one was really huge, 16"x 16", and this one is really tiny, 6"x 6".

 I've been thinking about what I want to do creatively in 2021.  I know that if I write my thoughts down like a to-do list, that will make them real goals instead of just fleeting ideas. One of those ideas (which is about to become a goal since I'm putting it in writing) is to paint more small paintings, ones in which I practice putting a stroke of paint down in the right place, leaving it alone, and moving along. I need to play with paint more. That's what I tried to do with this one.

Original Oil Painting on 6"x 6" Canvas Board
Click Flamingo on Water if you'd like to purchase this little painting. 
Click Flamingo on Blue if you'd like to see the bigger one.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

A Sprinkle of Color

We face a very important choice before we dip... What flavor?
We face another decision after we dip...What will we sprinkle (or pour) on top?
Me? It's cake batter ice cream with almonds and Heath bar sprinkles... or French vanilla with almonds and raspberries... or soft serve vanilla with caramel and Snickers pieces...
What do you choose?

Original Oil Painting on 6"x 8" Wrapped Canvas
If you'd like to purchase this little painting, click A Sprinkle of Color.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Someone to Watch Over Me

I want each my paintings to tell a story on canvas. 
I feel like this one does.

I love it when out of the blue I get an e-mail asking if I might be able to do a special painting for someone.  Once I learn the reason... the story, I begin to bond with the story that the blank canvas will begin to tell.

Before I can begin, though, there are details to work out:  Which photo will be used? (The best photograph doesn't necessarily make the best painting.) What size of canvas will be right? (It depends both on the subject and on the commitment of wall space.) What shape of canvas will be right for the composition? (Square, vertical, horizontal) What is the timeframe? (A few weeks or as soon as possible?)

I want to make clear that none of my paintings is ever going to be an exact duplicate of a photo. I like having freedom to use my artistic license when needed.  While I won't make up random things, I can make tweaks. So the last question is always, "Is there anything you would like to see changed, removed, or added?"  
This time I got some pretty specific requests.
Could you change the neighborhood outside the window to a fall scene?
Could you incorporate a red heart or some red hearts somewhere?
Could you add a redheaded woodpecker?
Wow... ummm... okay... those are some pretty specific requests.  My e-mail reply probably said, "Sure!" My mind was probably reeling with, "How in the world am I going to accomplish those!"  But, because I knew the story... the reasons, I knew I'd find a way. And, I did.
I hope that the real story is honored by the story put on canvas.

We'll see if this works... 
I thought you might like watching the process. Let me know what you think!

Original Oil Painting on 11"x 14" Wrapped Canvas

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Beethoven's Fifth

When Sara and I were creating Inspiration Collaboration, we were careful to avoid the word “challenge” because we didn’t want to give a tone of it being work or that participating would be hard.  
That said, getting my first look (a few days early) of Sara’s inspiration image 5 + 1, all I could think was, "Oh, my... this is going to be a really... big... challenge..."  
My train of thought... 
    What!? Oh dear... No way... 
        Ok... I can do this... Think...
            Lines... black lines... five... parallel... continuing off sides...
                A bird... small like a dot...
                    Bold... beautiful... simple... powerful...
Sometimes the art fairy who brings great ideas shows up like a gentle tinkling of bells...
But other times... 
                    BaBaBa Baaaaaaaaaaaamph! 
                          BaBaBa Baaaaaaaaaaaaamph!

Original Oil Painting on 10"x 20" Wrapped Canvas
If you'd like to purchase this painting for your own wall, click Beethoven's Fifth.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Evening Walks

Autumn evenings are fine for walking the dog and enjoying the neighborhood. 
Some neighbors line up to say hello.
Others just go on about their business.
They might even offer a chair and ask you to stay a while.
Or they might show up back at your own house.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Inspiration Collaboration - November 2020

Four new images have been chosen to inspire you to create art of your own.  Click HERE to read the thoughts behind each one.

It's easy to be a part.  Click HERE for instructions.  We look forward to seeing what you create! 

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Peanut Butter & Crackers

Earlier this week I was looking over my to-do list where nothing looked very appealing. Let's see... Clean up the kitchen...  Switch out seasonal clothes in the closet... Vacuum the carpet... or other equally entertaining jobs on the list.  So, what's the best thing to do in that situation? Well, make a snack to give you energy to get to all those important jobs, of course!  Or, you could take a picture of that snack, head up to the painting room, and move the items on that day's to-do list to the next day.

My friend Sandra of mmmquilts  calls this a DrEAMi! project when you Drop Everything And Make It! 

Funny how these unplanned projects are sometimes more fun and even better than the well planned ones.

Original Oil Painting on 6"x 8" Wrapped Canvas
Click Peanut Butter & Crackers if you'd like to purchase this little painting.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Red Barn at Autumn Sunrise

It's usually cool blues, greens, and purples that give a calming, peaceful tone, but I wanted to try to create that with warm reds, yellows, and oranges. 
I think it does bring a soothing moment, but only a moment... because if it's a farm, there are jobs to start taking care of as soon as that sun comes up.

Original Oil Painting on 11"x 14" Wrapped Canvas
If you'd like to purchase this painting, click Red Barn at Autumn Sunrise.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

A Rainbow Worth Stopping For

You're driving down the road or highway when suddenly you pull onto the shoulder or roadside and slam on the brakes... 

How many reasons can you think of that would cause that scenario?
(Someone's carsick... you have a flat tire... there's an funeral procession...  your check engine light comes on... you're lost... you hit something... there are blue lights in the rear view mirror...
No, no, those are all negative  . How many positive reasons can you think of that would cause you to stop on the side of the road? None?
I have one.
Seeing a gorgeous rainbow that fills the sky is worth stopping the car just to get a better look.
That's what happened with this one.  A few years ago I was on the way home from my parents' house when I came around the corner and this beautiful rainbow stretched across the sky in front of me.
If you look closely, you'll see the rainbow's reflection in the cow pond.  You can also see a bit of the reflection in the windshield of my car in the bottom corner or the photo.

Original Oil Painting on 9"x 12" Wrapped Canvas
Click A Rainbow if you'd like to purchase this painting.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Under the Billowing Clouds

Sometimes I really miss having an art teacher. I want to keep learning new ways to be a better painter. Although not the same as having my favorite art teacher / friend close by, YouTube can be a good substitute. Before YouTube, however, there were these fabulous how-to-paint books.  I've collected a few of them from flea markets and eBay over the years.
Can you see the price tag in the top right corner?
Woolworth $2.95. 
I flipped through the pages of this one looking for a lesson on painting some nice fluffy, happy, summer clouds. 
I decided to follow the paint recipes presented as as exactly as I could.  This painting used only 2 blues, 2 yellows, black, white, and a brown (for the house).
French ultramarine, cerulean, lemon yellow, Naples yellow, ivory black, titanium white, burnt umber.
The biggest lesson for me with this one was that lemon yellow + ivory black make the loveliest greens.  Who knew!!
Here's a look at the painting before I found "happy" in the clouds.  They were pretty angry looking for a while.

The Inspiration Image of Sara's beautiful stormy clouds on this month's Inspiration Collaboration is what sent me on the search for a lesson on painting clouds.

Oil Painting on Wrapped Canvas, 12"x 16"
If you'd like to purchase this painting, click Under Billowing Clouds.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Fall Chicks

Just a few chick-pics to make you smile.

I had a couple of broody hens that just would not give up.  In the end, I gave in to them and got them some babies. (Or, maybe I should say that Ron gave in to me... and let me get them some babies.)

From two different farmers, we got some day-old chicks, waited until after dark, then slipped them under their new mamas. We had happy chick families the next morning!

These two are Ameraucanas,
so I'm hoping for blue eggs one day!  
(Look closely, you'll see them.)
The other farmer said these three were a day old,
Hmph... They got fluffy pretty quickly.
That farmer also said these were Easter Eggers,
but I'm not completely convinced.  We'll see.
Dolly's such a good mama hen.
These tiny littles blend in with the ground.  I have to be careful!
I just love seeing a yard full of colorful chickens.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Better Half

Buff showed up at our backdoor one freezing night last winter.  We gave him shelter in the garage for the night, then of course you know what happened... He made himself at home.

On one side, he's sweet and hilarious. He purrs loudly and cuddles in laps.
On the other, he's aggravating and annoying. He opens drawers and unrolls toilet paper! 

We love him, so I decided that his portrait should only show his better half!

I painted Buff's portrait in response to Sara's October Inspiration Image Purrfect Companion.

Original Oil Painting 5"x 7" Wrapped Canvas
If you'd like to purchase this little painting, click Better Half.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Painting Together in COVID-19 Times

Just look at those happy faces in that group photo!
Ok... so you can't see their faces, but you know they're smiling with pride under those masks!
And... it's not a group photo, but it's a COVID-19 safe group photo!

My painting partner Julie and I were scheduled to teach this class of amazing senior citizens in March. Well, we know what happened in March.  It was postponed until May when we assumed the coronavirus would be over. Well, that didn't happen, so it was postponed again.  This week we finally got to do it... COVID-19 style... Big open room, masks, extra distancing, separate tables, all supplies out ahead of time... 
We were a bit nervous about how it could go, but do you know what? We modeled, encouraged, explained, and encouraged again. And, you know what else?  The students watched, tried, learned, laughed, and ended up with beautiful paintings!
In many ways students in their 60s and 70s are so different from those 9-10 year old students Julie and I taught for so many years. (ha ha) In other ways, they're just the same. They want the teacher to stop talking so they can do it for themselves!  They want to be sure they're doing it right.  They need encouragement.  They are so proud when they've finished.  What a pleasure to get to be a teacher... but glad it's 2 days a semester instead of 72!

Prepare and
make examples.

Give everyone an "Artistic License"
and make sure they know they can use it! 

Lots of "how" and a little "why."

So they can watch what they're going to do.

Stop talking and let the magic begin!