Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Dancing Cow (Mary Poppins)

After I finish a complex painting, I usually paint a cow next.  I guess it's just a comfortable subject for me.  As I was working on this pretty red mama cow, she reminded me of something... or someone... a flicker of a memory that I couldn't put my finger on until she was almost finished.

When I was a kid I loved getting to order books from the Weekly Reader forms each month.  I still have a few of those that I loved the most.  I think I ordered and read Mary Poppins when I was in fourth grade... (the first time when I was 10... although I've been in fourth grade - on the other side of the teacher's desk -  about 30 times since :)

Mary Poppins... the book, not the movie... is filled with chapter after chapter of completely wonderful, crazy, irrational, zany, clever stories that somehow tie together perfectly.

Chapter Five - "The Dancing Cow" 
Jane is sick in bed, and John is watching out the window when he sees a red cow walking down Cherry Tree Lane.  Mary Poppins explains that The Red Cow was a friend of her mother.  She tells the story: The Red Cow was raising The Red Calf in her perfectly normal field. One evening she began dancing and couldn't stop.   Eventually she went to see the king who noticed a star had fallen and become caught on her horn.  He advised her to jump over the moon. It worked, but then she wished she had it back.  The Red Cow now spends the her days looking for another star.

Like every other chapter, it's filled with all sorts of details... the lessons she teaches The Red Calf... the types of dances the cow does... the king who has an appointment with the barber...

I came across a blog post from Random Thoughts who asked whether The Red Cow's story was optimistic or pessimistic? She never gave up hope of finding another star, but she roamed the streets never feeling satisfied without it.

Any thoughts?

Original Oil Painting - 16"x 16" 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

:) Anna

It's always fun to watch the initial reaction of a little one to her portrait. (Of course there's the little fear that they'll burst into tears or worse, not recognize themselves!)

Anna  stopped... looked... stepped closer... looked... looked at me... kind of cocked her head... looked again... reached out to touch... said, "The flower matches!" 
What was going through her mind?  Maybe she remembered that she was holding a raggedy old dying dandelion when I took her picture.

She looks pretty proud.  Her Pop (my brother) and I share a birthday today.  Tonight we'll give this little painting to him.  I hope he likes it as much as Anna seems to.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


This is our Anna.  
What a sweetie!  
Every so often we get to have a playdate with her and her little sister and brother.  Ron and I have 11 nieces and nephews (on my side), and they’ve given us 24 great nieces and nephews who we love... and who happen to ALL be beautiful.  So, whenever I get in the mood to paint a little one, I’ve got plenty to choose from.

I've said many times that I like to paint children from the back or from the side because I like the way those images tell the story.  
That is very true; however, let me be completely honest... Views from the back or side don't have... eyes... or teeth... or nostrils... or dimples... or eyebrows... or lips... or ears... And, those are all just plain hard for me!

I'm a little sad that the pink rain boots (on this bright sunny day) didn't make it into the crop for the painting, but those eyes and teeth and nostrils and eyebrows and lips told the story this time.

Original Oil Painting - 9x12