Archive for April, 2012

Meet Kirkendahl

What his owners says about him.
KIRKENDAHL, is his registered Thoroughbred name. According to the owner, originally this big boy was bred and raced by “Dream Walkin’ Farms” (Toby Keith’s racing stable/thoroughbred farm). Due to some leg issues he had some time off and when he returned to racing he ran at Prairie Meadows in Des Moines then to Remington in Oklahoma City. The current owner acquired him in 2009.

Kirk’s owner says “His first crop of foals hit the ground in 2011 and this year, there are a total of 9 foals expected. 2 have been born already. He makes his foals near giraffes! Long Legged, Attitudes yet kind. The hope is for some wonderful runners.

“Kirkendahl himself is a site to behold. Kind eye, character of a champion. He loves peppermints, carrots, apples and Yes, Like Toby’ Keith’s song “Whiskey for my men, Beer for my horses”. He Loves Beer. He stands 17.2 hands tall and is built like a tank. He is long bodied and such so, that he takes two partitions in my trailer to fit. He is going to produce runners of runners. I think he will make a name for himself, and maybe even us in time. He is stunning. He certainly has personality. Nippy at times, but when he hears the rustle of mints, he takes it like a perfect gentleman from your hand.

He is an awesome animal, and at times, I am certain part human and understands exactly what we are saying to him!”

The Painting Is Finished

I sent her an email containing an image of the painting and she was thrilled.

In the immortal words of Homer SImpson “Thank you JeBus!”

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So I am uploading my final adjustments to my Kirk painting and I find this mysterious photo.


Perhaps it’s best if I don’t leave my cat and my camera alone together.

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So I had been sitting around thinking the Kirkendahl portrait was “fine.” (And by “fine” I mean okay.) It’s a perfectly adequate portrait and since it’s my first horse in God only knows how long … well, it was fine. Rather illustrator-ish but in general fine. (Do you think I could squeeze the word “fine” in any more?) However I had this niggling feeling every time I looked at it. Something wasn’t right and I needed to figure out what that something was. I had plenty of tweaking left to do but I knew whatever tweaks I had planned wouldn’t change what was nagging at me.

I tend to prop a painting up somewhere when I’m trying to figure this kind of thing out. That way when I’m going about my gallery business I can stop for a couple of minutes and ponder it. Also it helps to sort of “come upon” the painting. First impressions of the first glance, kind of thing. In the end I decided it was the mane that was the problem.

Well perhaps not the mane alone. But the fact that the mane was by far this big darkness that didn’t really have any balance anywhere else in the overall piece. Everything was so bright in comparison. So I imagine what the piece would look like in grayscale. Trying to suss out tonal value of the piece on the whole.

While I didn’t actually do a grayscale check in photoshop I decided I’d darken much of the background and some of the horse. Create more richness as well as contrast. I increased the shadows along the neck and shoulder.

At this point I am much happier with the piece. There is still tweaking to be done but I can look at it with a certain amount of pride now rather than feeling squeamish like I hadn’t put my whole heart and soul in to the piece. Honestly though only the first couple of days I found painfully boring. About the time I started the neck I was getting into it. This is only the second time I have worked off a photo that was provided rather than one I took myself. It was a good challenge for me.

So I know I have said this before but hopefully tomorrow I will consider it finished. Sign it and email the owner. Or I may delay everything and “live” with it for a few days.

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Horse Portrait – Almost Done

Almost But Not Quite Done
Still working out the kinks of the background as well as trying to get the horse to feel like it’s a part of the scene not just cut and pasted into it. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get it finished up. I figured I’d have it done by now but I’ve been working on creating a page for the website that deals with commissioning a horse portrait in between painting stints. (and by “creating” I mean building the page from scratch.)

I learned HTML for my blog. (and by “learned” I mean I have a tenuous grasp, but it’s enough that I can manage the basics) I’ve learned CSS for squidoo and now I’m learning to use PmWiki for my website.

Turns out I’m not just a pretty face with an awesome rack … but I also have a brain too. (Okay that sentence right there is why I’ll never be taken seriously as an artist.)

At any rate the Kirkendahl horse portrait is coming along. I may even be content with it when it’s done.


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I was really hoping to be able to finish this piece off today so I could start a new “something” tomorrow. But nope. I’m spending way too much time pondering and puzzling over all the minor details and mental minutia like “Do I have enough shine on his face to match the shine on his shoulder?” (not yet but close) or “Do I include the lead chain or pretend he’s at liberty?” (liberty)

The mane is just washed in to give me a feel for it. Next the background … Uhg!

Yeah I know right? How many decades of my life will I continue to dread doing the background. You’d figure someone who has done as many paintings of horses as I’ve had would have it pretty well nailed down by now. Part of the problem is I rarely do what is in the photo for backgrounds so it leaves a lot to figure out. Colors to be used, whether I want dramatic lighting or just some sort of soft wash.

And to top it all off I’m hungry. I don’t do my best thinking when I’m hungry. Fantasies of pizza’s and cheesy poofs are floating through my head. I may have some strawberries for desert because I’m all up into the healthy like that. Hmm … perhaps a quick grocery store run is in order. You know, just to get the creative juices flowing because right now all I can concentrate on is the gastric ones.

What? Too much information?

Have a good weekend ya’ll. Here’s hoping come Monday I’ll have the piece done and then will finally tell you all about the model like I promised to do half a dozen posts back or so. 🙂

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Kirkendahl – Thoroughbred Painting WIP

Well this piece has been a challenge. Partly because it is so terribly portrait like. (I seriously don’t know how you portrait artists do it.) Of course the great appeal of creating this piece was all his fluttering mane and that is yet to be worked in.

I set myself the challenge to make him as realistic as possible. And I clung to that notion for quite awhile. But today some violets, periwinkles and cabernets began showing up. Very subtle but his lower neck is a veritable rainbow. Still reads realism though.

I am getting close enough to finishing the horse itself to begin sweating the background. I had a plan but as things tend to go for me … I am beginning to doubt my plan. Maybe I’ll just put in a color wash or maybe I’ll try for that blurred tree look of photographers. I guess I’ll know it when I get there.

I’ve yet to send a WIP to the owner. Partly because an unfinished piece leaves a lot to the imagination. And partly because I could ruin it at any moment and am willing to wait until it is finished before I connect with them. Of course they could be privy to the blog. So that whole mental argument with myself may be for naught.

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Some Bunny Loves You - White Rabbits Magnet zazzle_magnet
Some Bunny Loves You – White Rabbits Magnet by WildFacesGallery
More Bunny Magnets

Bunny Joy
Oddly enough this image was never one that I was overly fond of in print but for some reason I am loving it on my zazzle products. I’ve slapped it on everything from t-shirts to puzzles, coffee mugs to magnets & stickers. And I even made a gallery card of it with and without the “Some Bunny Loves You” text.

Happy Easter White Rabbit Mug zazzle_mug
Happy Easter White Rabbit Mug by WildFacesGallery
Browse Bunny Mugs

White Rabbit Pillow mojo_throwpillow
White Rabbit Pillow by WildFacesGallery
Browse more Bunny Pillows

Happy Easter!

I’m heading to MN to spend Easter with a dear friend. So here’s wishing you all the warmest Easter Blessings.

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