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Archive for August, 2010

My Trip
I’m back from my visit with mom. We had a lot of fun and now I’m plumb wore out from all the running about we did. We went to a small local zoo where I photographed some critters. I’m hopeful I’ll get a new totem critter (coyote) and a small duck painting out of my zoo time. We”ll see when I get the pics back.

We also went to visit an artist friend of moms who I hadn’t seen since I was in high school, Dale Bendel. I am absolutely annoyed to not find much of anything online about him to show you because this guy is just all kinds of brilliant. Hey paints women with the same sensitivity that I paint critters. But he also incorporates mythology and metal leaf into his paintings and wood carvings.

I know thousands of artists and rarely am I as impressed with the genius this guy puts into his work. Not to mention he carved a huge carousal horse which sits in his living room. Yup it took all of my personal restraint not to climb up and ask om to take a picture. It was stunning. Oh and he’s a sous chef in his spare time. (yeah I know right?)

The good news was the ghosties remained silent for my visit so maybe the next time I go back I won’t be dreading it quite so much. Okay enough of my trip.

And when I got back I had a box of the latest issue of Apples ‘n Oats waiting for me. So as my usual I’ll include an excerpt for your reading pleasure. To see the whole article rush on out and get yourself a copy. OR just check out the Apples ‘n Oats website. Yup my article is there too. Just peruse the sidebar.

Those Clever Girls
One of my favorite memories of these horses was several years ago when I awoke in the morning to the tell tale signs (manure piles and dinner plate sized hoof prints) of horses having run amok in the yard. After checking to make sure my horse was safely grazing in the pasture, I immediately called my neighbors to tell them the girls were out.

We received a call back a few minute later to say that all their horses were in the yard paddock. “Huh” was all I could say to that.

The following evening in the wee hours, I was awakened by strange noises. As I looked out my living room window, I saw giant black shapes moving about in the darkness. The noises were the horses stepping on the cellar door and it groaning under the weight. They seemed to be intrigued by it as a few moments after stepping back off it, they would step back on. Frankly it a miracle it held them.

So with the dawn came a repeat of the previous morning, where I call and again the horses are all peaceably waiting by the barn.

After the second call my neighbors did a more thorough search. As it turns out after a closer inspection, the fence was found to be weak in one area. The mares apparently pushed on it and just stepped over. How the whole herd managed this is unclear. Whether one held it down for all to leave and all to return or whether each horse did the same maneuver to attain freedom is still known only to them.

Whatever the case, the end result was they frolicked and cavorted in our yard all night long (probably taunting my horse and sheep with their freedom.) Then just before dawn they’d return, sneaking back in the same way they got out. Only to be found standing around waiting for their breakfast grain ration looking bored and hungry. And if it weren’t for my ratting them out, they’d probably have continued doing it for quite some time.

Those clever, clever girls.

UPDATED: Okay so maybe it’s help if I spelled the guys name correctly. Dale Bandel. His artwork is awesome and I really got to say the photos on his webpage do not (at all) do them justice.

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Here’s what I’ve done so far on my rhino. I’m kinda in a groove with it so I’m a little disappointed to have to leave it for a couple of days. I’m heading back to MN to visit my mom briefly. I won’t be gone long because a couple days after I return, we begin the last “big hurrah” of the art fair season. My September is completely booked so I have loads of prep work to get done for it.

Hopefully I won’t come home with any new ghost stories. I already have a story for this Halloween in mind and I don’t really feel the need for any new ones.

I was speaking with mom about my trip home and I was debating whether my air mattress still held air. Because there is no force on this planet that would make me sleep upstairs in any of the bedrooms, despite three very comfy beds. (Coincidentally this Halloween you’ll find out why.)

Mom: “You can always sleep on the couch it’s very comfortable and long.”

Me Yeah” not sounding too thrilled though.

Mom:You know Jo (my aunt) was sleeping on the couch a few weeks ago and …”.

Me:
“Don’t you dare tell me a ghost story!”

Mom:
“Um …”

Me: “I mean it! I don’t want to hear it!”

Mom: “Uh … well … oh … okay.” (a long silence)

See mom thinks waking up to something touching her or standing over her is quaint and charming. For me … not so much.

Hopefully I’ll return to my Iowa home normal (well as normal as my usual) and not be mumbling about trying to find my “happy place.”

UPDATED:
Yeah. Okay. So reading back through this I can totally see how the whole crop circle debacle thing happened. 🙂

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Despite the painting and prints having been done for over a month I am finally getting them available on my website. So check it out for more print information of Creature Comforts.

Tomorrow the latest Rhino WIP

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Angela asked me to explain about how I use Inktense as my base color on suede. And I thought “Heck why not get a post out of it.” Plus it’s so much easier to explain with pictures. I decided to just show the entire process while I was at it.



The Inktense Pencils are scribbled in (literally) dry. For the areas that I want to be lightest I keep the color to a minimum. Here I used Deep Indigo and Moss Green.



I imagine a brush would work just as well for this but I like the q-tip because I can scrush around the color if I want to. I am pretty sure this would ruin a paint brush.

Note: Once again whenever adding water to suede be aware of it’s wicking tendency so apply water sparingly to the edges.


While the suede is still wet I “impregnate” the suede by rubbing a dry pencil (or Neocolor ll) over the surface. Since Neocolor ll has a tendency to allow only so much pigment to be applied I started doing this with the wc pencil first. Though it turns out when used this way the Neocolor ll works just as well and doesn’t limit the amount of layers I can apply over the top. Here I used a orangey pink color.

Note: Be aware that the you’ll use a lot of pigment (pencil or crayon) this way.

After letting the suede dry completely I begin the dry work which in this photo is just the tips of the horns. You can see the subtle lightening of the image when the suede dries along the area at the base of the horn. I am using both wc pencils and Neocolor LL for this stage.

Note: The impregnation layers looks more intense when everything is still wet. It will lighten and soften when it dries.


And then finish the area and move on. I uses wc pencil as the last medium to cut through the Neocolor ll to create skin texture.

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So you may remember back in July when I did that demonstration at the Side Street Gallery in Okiboji. And I was like “Well it went well enough. I sold a few things but it wasn’t a smashing success.

Um … I can now consider it a smashing success. It just goes to show that you never know what will come of some effort.

Farewll My Friends
A couple of weeks after the event I received a check from Mari at the gallery for my Yellow Bear painting. I’m thinking “nice.”

A couple of weeks after that I get a call from Mari saying that the client who had met me at the event (in fact had actually come to meet me specifically) wanted my Bulls Eye and Cowgirl paintings.

Now I had told the patron at the event Cowgirl was mine and not for sale. (Truth is I actually have a couple of folks on a wait list, wanting the painting as soon as I’d part with it) When Mari called she was asking on behalf of her client if I’d reconsider.

The problem with my business being about selling my art is in fact, that it is created with the intent that it will be sold. I like to hang on to pieces that I consider to be bench marks for me. But in the end, apparently I can be bought.

I quoted a price 5 times what I’d normally charge for this tiny painting, I’m am quite sure no one on my wait list would pay that amount for it, but apparently this woman didn’t think twice.

So I’m feeling all “Yay” and “ah crap” all at the same time. Ah well I’ll get over it. I’ll buy myself another set of art supplies that I’ve been wanting and pay bills. After all the beast that is my business needs to get fed regularly and I should feel blessed that my original work is selling so well. The ones that is, that I don’t hide away in my gallery and claim they’re not for sale.




A Side Note:
The sale of these make a total of 5 original paintings in 5 weeks being sold. I seriously need to get creating some new art. Not like I haven’t been working it, but the unfortunate truth is draft horse paintings rarely sell. The prints do, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing them so much. But for the most part the paintings do not. So I guess what I’m saying is the last piece really doesn’t count toward seriously marketable art.

UPDATED:
You know I don’t know why draft horse originals don’t sell as well as my other work. If it weren’t for all the other things the work does for me I probably would paint less of them. But then again who knows. I didn’t really figure out draft originals don’t sell as well until recently when glancing around my gallery, it’s kind heavy on the heavy horses. But here’s 2 reason that keep me doing it despite this .

1. I love the big horses.
2. If you type in Draft Horse Art or Draft Horse Artist in google and not only is my website the very first out of 1,200,000 (for art) but also google images has two of my paintings shown out of 4.

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I’m Flying Without A Net Here Folks

So I began this with the knowledge that I really wanted to do a rhino painting, but other than that I had absolutely no idea what exactly I was going to do.

The trouble with being a portrait artist who doesn’t actually do much in the way of portraits (meaning I do essentially wild animal portraits that have no actual owner funding me) is, that I still have this artist side of me wanting to be creative. I don’t just want some rhino head. I want something with character and presence. In the end it will look to everyone else like just another rhino painting but I want to feel like I made it my own. I had a moment where I almost turned him into one of my Crayola Critters but fought it off (for now. Wouldn’t he look just awesome in pink, blue and green.) Nope not today though. Today I’m shooting for a more realistic look.


I like to think I set a challenge for myself every painting. And for this one I’ve set two. First I’ll be using my new Neocolor Water Soluble Wax Pastels for the majority of this piece. (We’ll see how that goes) And the other will be that huge expanse of background. Yikes!

I’m thinking a dark (not settled on the color yet. Mauve maybe?) horizon line and the foreground soft like the dust is billowing. Yup a totally new thing for me to try. And you know me, either play big or go home so this paintings size is about 20 x 32. So that way you can watch me succeed marvelously or crash in burn in grand style.

My biggest struggle beginning this piece was finding the color scheme. First he was too blue (big surprise there.) Then he was too green. Eventually I settle for all the colors of the rainbow. I realize it’s hard to see in these pics but he has all the primaries without turning Crayola. And that makes me a happy girl.

You Know Because Rhinos Are So Soft & Fluffy

When I took the second WIP photo Mike said that what I’ve filled in so far makes him look like a dinosaur. I’m like “yeah, but then rhinos look kinda prehistoric anyhow.” Really if i put a few spikes on his frill (which is actually his forehead) he could pass for a Triceratops.

And yes this piece is again on suede and no it’s not because he’s so soft and fluffy. My original intent was to use Inktense penciuls as my base colors and the Neocolos over the top. Which is what I’m doing. Since this has been a practiced technique for me I went with suede. ALso creating a soft dusty atmosphere seemed like it would be easier with the suede than on paper. Time will I guess.

So this is where I’m at on Sunday Morning I’m hoping to get a whole bunch more done today. I had a great time playing my horse this morning and now I’m ready to get after it. Mike is in the hay field and all the doors. There’s nothing holding me back . . . well, except the Budda needing love.

If You Want A Bigger Better Look please visit my The African Wildlife Art Squidoo Lens

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So here they are in all their glorious splendiferous color. FedEx brought me this little bundle of artsy joy the other day. They are those Neocolor II water soluble wax pastels that I have been planning on buying forever and just not gotten around to it. 84 sumptuous colors. Now they do have a set of 126 colors but it was $100 more which I would have done except 10 of them were metallics (which I never use) so it would have been an extra $100 for essentially 30 more colors. So I passed. If however I fall in love with them (which I think I will) I will buy the larger set anyhow.

As you know my Summer has been hectic as usual so I’ve not spent any time writing new Squidoo lenses or tending the ones I have already created. But I just had a few days all to myself and there is no art event happening for the next 3 weeks so I’m going to pop out a couple. The first being this one about (dah, dah da dah!) Neocolor Water Soluble Wax Pastels Lens

Squidoo How I Love Thee, Let Me Count The Ways (or rather dollars)

My squidoo earnings started out pretty slowly (as in non-existent) But they are currently depositing a nice little chunk o’ cash in my account each month. (despite my lack of attention the payment last month was $95) Now while the work I’ve put into them has been worth far more than the monies earned from them. Once a lens is created it needs some but in general very little tending. After I create over 50 lenses I will also receive a rank bump which should help increase earnings.

I have heard you can earn more money with hub pages, but at least for the moment squidoo is where I’ll stay. I really like the community here.

Oh and yes I did buy my new Neocolor ll off of one of my lenses. I looked at Cheap Joes and a couple of other places but when shipping got included (at the time of my purchase) an amazon affiliate was the best price.

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Okay so while I didn’t exactly make my Apples ‘n Oats deadline with this painting (the article was though) it did get finished shortly after. But it went to press without a title. In fact it still has no title. I am leaning heavily towards The Gathering What do ya’ll think?

Here’s the problem with this title. I have an artist friend who has a horse painting named the same thing (or at least I think she does, I couldn’t find it on her website) and another artist friend who has an entire art installation (which has nothing to do with horses at all) named the same thing. (sigh)

So …since you guys were so helpful last time I thought I’d try again. If anybody has any thoughts on what would be a good title for this painting, leave a comment. If I pick your suggestion (or even a derivative of your suggestion) I’ll send you a free print when they get done.

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Last week upon returning from the art fair I popped out the next day to restock the house with sustenance. Still exhausted from a weekend of hard manual labor and sweltering heat and humidity, I was much too tired in the morning to cook my usual breakfast of a veggie hash with fat free ham and fruit. So I settle for a bread roll . . . plain, and prepare for a day of shopping. (Note: not a good diabetic breakfast, at all.)

About 4 o’clock I’m feelin’ a bit peckish (because all I’ve had is that roll for the past 8 hours) and so I head over to a common fast food stop. Since this is derogatory post, I won’t mention it by name. Let’s just call it Kenlucky Freed Chuckwagon, or KFC for short. (I could totally write code for the government.)

Now I should say that I am primarily a diet controlled diabetic, meaning that I don’t take insulin and so therefor I don’t have to worry about coma or anything from my low blood sugar. The worst thing that will happen if I starve for a day is that I’ll get cranky. Occasionally really, really cranky. (Yeah I know, surprising huh? I bet ya’ll thought I’m all unicorns and rainbows all the time.)

So I order and sit down and wait. I tend to be a very patient person in general. But in this instance perhaps I should have acted just a little more quickly. It took me until somewhere around the 12th customer who came after me and got fed, before I get up. By now I’m feelin’s some serious cranky come’n on.

Me: Goes to counter which takes a minute or so to get a cashier because some off-duty workers come in and are chatting with those on duty. I make eye contact with one and say, “So where’s my food?”

KFC: Huh?

Me: “I’ve been waiting for a long time and about a dozen people have gotten their food. What’s the hold up?”

KFC “Uh,” Turns to kitchen “Where’s this lady’s order?” Mumbling and a lot of shrugging occurs.

Me: “It’s been like 15 minutes” Crankier and crankier.

KFC: “We need to see your receipt.”

Me: Presents receipt with a bit more of a dramatic flourish than was necessarily warranted. All the while wondering to self if they are aware of the beast in me emerging like a Werewolf in a full moon.

KFC: Looks through computer log in state of confusion. Chaos ensues for an additional minute or two.

Me:
Seeing that no one is planning on just filling my order, but rather are intent on figuring out the mystery of it all. I say “Just give me my money back.” Said really low in a threatening growl. (The rabid wolf is just barely restrained from lunging over the counter.) At this point I realize my attitude is is exceeding the severity of the situation. But for some reason I can’t quite rein it in.

KFC: cashier disappears into kitchen and fails to return. (Perhaps to find some silver bullets) A minute later another server appears and begins to refund my money.

Me: “I did get my soda so just refund the other stuff” By now I’m feelin’ incredibly stabby because nobody has once offered an apology for the problem. I didn’t need them on their knees begging, just a polite statement saying they regret my inconvenience.

KFC: Avoids eye contact (which is probably for the best because I am shooting him daggers with my eyes) Hands me my money and promptly dashes away without a single word uttered at all. Customer appears to my right.

Them: Um . . . we didn’t order this.” Looks sideways at me and offers a small smile. Yup my long lost lunch. They stuck it in with someone else’s.

KFC: Takes tray from customer and holds it out in my general direction like “Here you go. Whew crisis diverted.”

ME: Looking incredulous.

KFC: Seeing that I am apparently not grasping the simplicity of her body language says. “Do you want this?”

Me: I remain verbally silent But look at her like “Seriously? It’s been setting out for over 15 minutes and someone else has handled it. are you dim or something” All the while my mind was pondering the various ways I could commit murder with the plastic cutlery at hand. Eventually I settle on the spork as my weapon of choice. (Oh yeah, I’m a great multi-tasker.)

KFC: “Well What should I do with this?”

Me: (I know right? What an invitation) Proof that I hadn’t completely shifted over into kill mode meant that I just turned around and walked out silently, while she still held the tray in my general direction.

The Happy Ending
I then go to Hardees. A place I pretty much never eat. The cashier guy was incredibly friendly and helpful. So much so I was wondering if he was hitting on me, or perhaps he’s just skilled with rangling Werewolves. At his suggestion I tried their hand-breaded chicken strips with beer battered onions rings . . . and it was heavenly.

I noticed when I first took my food I was a little shaky. More so I think from my barely averted spork killing spree than low blood sugar. But upon leaving Hardees I was almost back to being all unicorns and rainbows.

Almost.

Driving away, I glance down to my glovebox, secure in the knowledge that hidden somewhere in it’s depths, is a shiny, new plastic-wrapped spork.

NOTE: I understand that my reaction (and by reaction I mean rage) was a bit more than it should have been. Tired from the weekend’s event and not having eaten all day pushed me over the edge. I have worked in the fast food industry when I was in college and I know it’s not exactly a thrilling job. But still, I did not yell or scream (despite really really wanting to) so I am surprised at the lack of customer service on their end. Perhaps they were just crappy servers. Or perhaps I wasn’t controlling the crazy as well as I thought. Most likely it was a little of both.

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Next is my long awaited rhino piece. (NOTE: This isn’t my reference photo.) That is if I can get a drawing I like done today. I had something else scheduled for painting but haven’t heard from the client so the rhino it is.

For some crazy reason (sometimes I have a hard time saying no) I agreed to do an equine portrait with a deadline of October. The client was quite eager and she assured this mare was a most beautiful mare, with the most beautiful eyes ever.. Yeah, I’m a sucker for a pair of beautiful eyes. But despite the client saying she would contact me in a couple of days to schedule me coming out to the farm or her trailering to my gallery for a photo op (the fact that she was willing to trailer the horse is why I took her desire seriously) I’ve not heard from her in a couple of weeks.

I have a small fear that she’ll call in a week or two wanting the painting done with the same time line. um . . . I will get over my inability to say no. it’s too late for that. If she’s still really serious maybe we can work something out by Christmas. But with my schedule even that may be a bit of a stretch.

Back to the good stuff. Yup I’m gonna do my rhino on suede but I plan on trying the Neocolor ll on it and see what happens.

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