Archive for December, 2007

All Decked Out

All Decked Out draft horse painting completed So here it is as promised. I had to rush to complete it in time to actually use for this Christmas, and not the next one or perhaps the one after that. And to top it off, I actually got most of my cards written and mailed off, with a whole 7 days to go before the big day.

I had a dream last night about a flamingo. Not being one to often ignore my muse. I think I may give it a try. I have yet to do a bird in oil pastel so it may prove interesting. Plus I am in need of painting some insane colors like pink and turquoise. (They apparently aren’t found all that often in horses.)

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So … umm… it is Sunday. And today, no matter what, My 2007 Christmas card design will be called complete. At least as far as using it for a card. I settled the red thing by adding purple and removing both the pink and the orange. I fell back to using my old mantra which is, when in doubt…add purple. And it worked. Well it worked sufficiently. I will post a picture as soon as I scan it for the cards.

I am sitting here, occasionally blowing on my fingers. I just came into the gallery and the place is still quite chilly. I’ve got Oliver the gallery cat draped over my left shoulder for moral support and proof reading. My warm and purring fur muff.

Speaking of frostbite in the gallery. Yesterday I had my art group over for our get together. I had the heat cranked way up and yet everyone had their hands clasped tightly in their armpits as they hunched over in the fetal position, swearing repeatedly that the room temperature was just fine. (Sigh) The problem with a big brick building plopped on a large cement slab in the middle of winter, is that it just doesn’t warm up. I can have the thermostat at 80 and the room temp in the front room will be 65. Now, I have been in this building for almost 8 years, so I just take it in stride. Sorry girls. I should have provided thermal undies or something.

Anywho, back to group. It is officially called 20/21 which has to do with women artists creating in both the 20 and 21st century. We are around 10 artists (some come and go) of all very diverse backgrounds and artistic styles. I am the only self taught amongst them. This can occasionally become uncomfortable for me. But that is only because of my issues, not anything anyone else does. We try to get together every month but lately it is closer to every 2-3 months. Most of the time it is a real joy. We bounce ideas off each other, show our latest work and talk art in general. It not only gets me in the mood to create, but to create better art.

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Finding the Right Red

Well I am getting closer. I am two days in and with any luck (silent plea to the painting gods)I will complete it tomorrow. Definitely the next day. And absolutely positively by the day after that. Guaranteed no later than this weekend.(Fingers crossed)

I am putting in the red tassels and the red coloring looks so strong and vibrant against my somewhat muted color palette. I started making it more pink and that just didn’t look right. (my husband concurred) So then I started making the highlights orange. Yikes! Not right either. So at the moment I have a strange (slightly revolting)little mixture of pink and orange going on. Not pretty, but it will have to wait until morning for better lightening before I try to fix it.

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Guilty Pleasures

I recently watched Kathy Griffin – Straight to Hell. She is getting to be one of my favorite comedians. I usually avoid people who get enjoyment out of trashing others. But somehow she makes me laugh. Maybe it is the whole D-list thing. She comes across like a friend spilling the latest gossip. Also she makes as much fun of herself as she does of others.

One of my other guilty pleasures is Gordon Ramsey. Again I started out really disliking this guy. He just berates and verbally beats up vulnerable people to entertain the masses. Kitchen Nightmare’s is my favorite show on his growing list of programming. Recently, I was reading Decor magazine (a trade publication for the Art & Framing industry). And low and behold, there is an article talking about Kitchen Nightmare’s. In essence it states, even though the main purpose of the show is to feed the audiences desire to see other people struggle and belittled. It actually performs a real service. (Which I’m sure was never the networks intention.) By looking at a failing business. Assessing the problems and offering up real solutions for improvement. Just substitute restaurant for gallery and follow accordingly.

So the good news is, I can now watch Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares and feel good about it. I mean it can actually be a part of my business plan. Now, all I have to do is figure out how to make Kathy Griffin mocking celebs relevant to the art business and I will be guilt free.

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Christmas Card Crunch

Working on my Christmas cardEvery year I try to come up with a new image for our business Christmas card. This year I have fallen behind and it is early December already. Which means I have to complete the painting, profile it for cards, print the cards and then of course write them out and mail them. Sigh. I better get cracking. I have an idea in mind. Nothing too original really. A pair of gray drafts in winter coat with red padding and decorations. The Greys Percheron Draft Horse PaintingActually it is just a current version of The Greys from several years ago. This means I have to set aside my latest paint horse study for a few days.

After rummaging through my draft photos, (no small feat there) I find exactly what I want. Well, not quite exactly. I find basically what I want. I mean they are two draft horses with heads about where I want them. The only things that I am going to change is their tack. And the horses color and markings … and …oh yea, their hair coat from summer to winter, and lastly I will add red decorations and padding … and … ummm … crop the image. I think thats about it.

I projected this image because of my time constraints. I am a lousy tracer. I really suck at it. (really, really) And have since spent around 6 hours drawing it out more fully. Since there were so many changes it took me awhile to finish the drawing despite the projecting. But, I am sure it still saved me another 6 hours of draw time. I have always drawn out all of my paintings. I think it makes them have or more me kind of feel to them. Plus it helps me to better see. But I really needed to get going on this, so I did it.

Here is a snapshot of the work so far, complete with a couple dozen reference photos and smeared oil pastel all over. (I am not terribly neat). It is kinda washed out but you get the idea. The photo that is almost touching the left side of the painting is my primary reference photo. Hard to make it out here. I will try to get it scanned and posted by the time I complete the painting.

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Dog and Pony Show

So this past weekend was the last time to pack up and take my dog and pony show on the road. In typical Iowa fashion,the weather was uncooperative. It rained and sleeted with intermittent bouts of snow thrown in. Needless to say sales were not as good as I was hoping for, but it still topped our last event. The last one really sucked! (or maybe it blew?) Anyway, hope springs eternal and I just move on for the next event.

5 things I don’t like about artfairs.

  1. Inclement weather
  2. All that hauling and toting
  3. Emotionally crushing low sales
  4. Sales tax collection
  5. Obnoxious or rude people

5 things that I like about artfairs.

  1. Being out in beautiful weather
  2. The hauling and toting keeps me in shape (sort of)
  3. The positive feedback and high sales (Okay maybe money should have been 1.)
  4. Travel
  5. People. Meeting animal people and hearing their stories as well as making friends with other artists whom I would not have otherwise met.

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Patchwork Ponies

Well I was able to put in a few more hours on my latest study of the paint mares and foals. I am liking this composition so far. I got it past the ugly stage. That is where I can barely tolerate to look at it and want to tear the painting up into little pieces and set it on fire. This happens with nearly every painting. So knowing this, I just have to push through until I feel better about it.

I have been experimenting with this herd of horses for some time and I am pretty sure I will paint them many times more. I found this group of about 30 paint mares and nearly all had foals at their sides on a trip with a friend. Since both of us were horse painters we pulled over and hopped out camera in hand. I find the interactions and herd dynamics fascinating. I think what attracts me most is the way that the spots kinda make them all blend into one another. Hard to tell who is who. Anyway, I am doing several small studies and may (or may not,) redo the studies I like into paintings of size. Or who knows I may just burn out on doing this idea and move on.

My only uncertainty on this painting is the foreground horse. I think this piece might be considerably stronger if I put her at the same 45 degree angle as most of the others. I’ll wait until I’m done to make that call. I’ll try to get an image posted of this soon.

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