Friday, March 28, 2014

First Adult Portrait (of sorts!)

Those of you who know me or even read my blogs, know that I just don't paint human portraits!  I've done all kinds of pet portraits, of course, and one of our granddaughter as a baby and one of a toddler. 

Grown up adult humanoids are a whole 'nuther story!  However, I convinced my darling other half to dress in his western clothes so I could take some photographs to possibly use as painting references since we're going to participate in that art show in Colorado this summer.  It's supposed to be a show of Western art but this year it's open to all kinds of subjects.

Anyway, I wanted some western type art and that was the reason for the photo shoot.  My idea was to maybe use my husband leaning against the gate but paint him full length from enough distance to be able to blur his features.  In other words, I wouldn't have to paint a realistic portrait!

But I liked the photo with this close up of him and figured I could fake what few features are showing!  And I plan to fake the background and add a few head of cattle since we've long since sold all of ours.  So far it's going pretty well but there's still a ways to go with it.  BTW, this is gouache and 11 x 14 inches in size.

I'll keep you posted on the progress!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Angus Calf - Finally Final!

Black Angus Calf - gouache
I wasn't really happy with the background of the previous photo so I changed it again!  I'll still let it marinate a bit before varnishing but I think this is it although I may add some darker color in the corners.  This being gouache, any paint put on top of paint already there will soften that paint layer and blend into it so I'm naturally a bit reluctant to do any more to it.  We'll see.

Backgrounds are the bane of artists and one fellow artist said she switched to painting landscapes just to avoid them!  I don't think I'm quite ready to do that but backgrounds certainly are a PITA!

3/25/14  Hi all!  I've come back a day later to say that I added some darker color to the corners which made the background pop more.  While I did like the blue background, I thought it was too bright and intense and overshadowed the calf.  This gold background makes the painting look a bit flat in this photo but looks much better in real life.  It complements the blue in the calf (which also doesn't show well here) and I think the painting is improved. 

Black Angus Calf Revised

Black Angus Calf - gouache on canvas panel

I changed the background on the calf and think it looks better but am still not sure about it.  I'd like to be able to varnish it today since the weather will be unsettled with rainy patches for the next several days but I'll just wait until I've had time for it to "marinate".

In the meantime, I've let the house go since I've been painting and really need to give it a good cleaning.  I remember back in the early days of television when it was predicted that our homes would be "self-cleaning" by now - ha!  Don't we wish!

That's the dilemma for me - I'm not "ambidextrous" enough to paint AND keep up the house and if you don't keep up with either, you tend to get so far behind that it seems as if you'll never catch up.  We did have a cleaning lady at one time but my husband decided that since I wasn't painting pet portraits any longer, that I would have time to take care of the house myself.  He also said he would help and the money saved could purchase more art supplies.  It turns out that he doesn't like to clean any better than I do, plus, he doesn't have a clue as to how to do it!

His idea of cleaning is to buzz through as quickly as possible and just make it look good.  I like the house to look clean but it has to be clean as well.  He does the same rush job when brushing the dog - she looks really good but there are still mats and tangles under that top layer of fur!  What is it with men?

But I won't complain too much - he's very supportive and as hard as it is to live with him sometimes, I would hate to live without him.

So, I guess I need to go get started cleaning!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Mooooving On To Another Cow

Black Angus Calf
I just hate not being able to do something I want to do and right now, I want to paint a cow.  I know practice makes perfect so I tried again.  This is still not quite finished plus I'm debating the background and whether to change it or not. And I think I want to add the brand of my sister and brother in law's ranch to the ear tag.  Those are the major things plus a few tweaks here and there.

I really like the background as it is as it helps to show the calf plus it echos the colors in the ear tag.  However, I certainly don't want it to appear as if there's a fire behind the calf or become the focal point instead of the calf!

Decisions, decisions!  If any of you think painting is easy, I invite you to just try it!  BTW - this is gouache on a 6" x 6" canvas panel.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Red Angus Painting Update

Here is the latest update on the Red Angus cow painting!  lol  It just wasn't working so I scraped the paint off the canvas and covered the "ghost image" with a coat of white paint.  One of these days I'll go green, recycle or whatever you want to call it and paint something else on this canvas.

When my husband saw that I had scraped off the cow, he said he was glad.  He said he hadn't said anything before because he wanted to give me time to either fix it or realize it wasn't fixable.  But since I've "erased" it, he admitted he thought it looked very amateurish and almost as though a kindergartener had painted it. 

Please don't hold back, my love!  lol  But he was right and nothing I was doing to it was helping but seemed to make it worse.  I've always said he's my best critic!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Narcissus Flowers in Water Soluble Oil

Although I haven't done any more to it, there was some paint leftover from the Red Angus cow that I wanted to use but didn't want to paint anymore on the cow.  Did you get that?  lol  In short, I was bored with the bull but didn't want to waste paint!

I had a photo of these narcissus so decide to see if I could paint them.  This is still the water soluble oil paint but on a 6 x 6 inch canvas panel.  It came out a little better than the cow, or at least I thought so.  Maybe I should just stick to painting flowers in the oils or maybe I should just practice painting animals!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Thank You, Anastasiya!

Anastasiya Malakhova at Cat and Bear Studios ( has selected some of my art to appear on her artpicks page

Thank you Anastasiya for considering my paintings worthy enough to appear on your website, I do appreciate it!

As for the Red Angus cow painting that I showed you all yesterday, it's still sitting on the easel as I just haven't had time to do any more on it yet today.  To be honest, I'm hoping for a mighty blast of "Oomph and Inspiration" as I think I can finish it in just a few hours if I just knew what to do next.  It will come and I will be patient!

As always, watch this blog!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Finally Back Painting

It's been something of a long haul getting back to painting and I'm not feeling too successful with the comeback!  I have all these ideas floating around in my head but it's as if I'm learning to paint all over again when I try to get them down on paper or canvas.

I saw this photograph at a public domain photo site and immediately wanted to paint this big girl (well, I think it's a cow and not a bull but I really don't know!)  It's on a 12x12 inch square gallery wrapped canvas and I'm using the water soluble oils as I got some new brushes that I wanted to try.

The brushes are great but the person trying to use them is more than a little rusty!  After much time, work and a few less than nice words, I just got it out of the really ugly stage to this "it's getting there" ugly stage!  I know I'm on the verge of finishing it but I'm already tired of working on it!  I know the number one problem with artists is they tend to quit too soon.  I know I need to push on with this and get those lovely twirls of winter fur tamed and she really, really needs some eyelashes!

OK, someone give me that kick in the tail that I sorely need and make me finish this!  Or, is it so bad that I need to scrape it all off and paint something else?  So many of my recent paintings have ended up in the circular file - it would be so nice to paint something that works!