Posts Tagged ‘flamingos’


Keeping my options open.

I underestimated the length and depth of the grief I felt over the loss of my beloved Chicory. I took me far longer to feel like doing much creatively than I expected. Part of that is I tap into my emotions regarding critters when I’m making critter art. So being in a happy balanced state is usually best.

I did start an owl piece that crashed and burned a couple of weeks back and so I’m trying again. I chose a very simple graphic image, with happy bright colors and of one of my more favorite birds. The final piece will be cropped quite close to the beaks. There won’t be nearly as much negative space as I’ve currently got but I like to keep my options open.

It is once again on suede and since my intention for the background is to have just the suede I covered (thus the sheen.) I may change my mind and do some sort of green wash in the end. Hard tellin’. I’m fickle that way.

I’m not loving it but this is really quite early and pretty much just the base color washes in. It’s going rather quickly and hopefully I’ll have it finished by the end of this weekend.

What’s Next?

Maybe a couple of really cute goats or perhaps my next cow which is already have sketched out.

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Pretty In Pink (working title) watercolor pencil on suede approximately 10 x 16 inches

Pretty In Pink (working title)
watercolor pencil on suede
approximately 10 x 16 inches

So because we had yet another blustery, blizzardery ridiculously cold weekend I stayed at the farm and only sojourned out feed and water critters and check the pipes at the gallery. Happily it all went smoothly. But because my Longhorn painting is too large and too delicate to take out into that kind of weather, I opted to start a smaller piece at home. After all I didn’t want to waste a whole stuck inside weekend and not be creating.

And so this is what I did.

I Think I’ve Been Watching Too Much Project Runway

There’s lots of reason why I’m attracted to creating a particular image. For this piece it was the color story.

Uhm … not sure that the color story has ever been a reason for me before. But flamingos were calling my name and all I had were images from like a decade ago to work with. And as I was flipping through my photos I came across one of a large flock, where the light hit the water and I thought I could make something of it.

I would push the colors and challenge myself. Trying to paint water all by itself presents an incredible challenge. I want it to glow have depth and reflect off my birds.

This piece is going to be packed with blues, greens, golds and of course pinks, purples and reds.

So here’s hoping I can squeeze all that into one image creating a believable and yet vibrantly artful piece.


I will get back to the longhorns too. I have begun them though ever so barely. This piece is small enough that I am hoping I’ll get it done in the next 48 hours or so.

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So here’s what they look like all framed up. I gave this painting to a gallery to sell though I did take it to the Stookey show in Des Moines where it was rather popular and we sold all the prints I brought of it.

There’s not really much to the start to finish for this piece but here they are.

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I have been toying with what to paint next. i’ve had a nice slow couple of weeks where I slept in late and the hubby worked the gallery as I had wrapped up all my Christmas orders earlier. So after a sufficient rest I started getting a little ansty to start something new.

I toyed with the idea of some koi and did a sketch but thought “Meh …

I’ve got another horse in fancy tack that I’ve been wanting to do since last April. “Nope … Not yet.”

Some mule owning folks (3 different people. Mule people love their critters) I met at the Percheron congress sent me photos of their mules and “Tempting but no”

Flamingos my heart said. It’s been years and you love flamingos. Something simple I think. Very graphic.

It’s a sign
And then I get an email from my licensing agent looking for flamingo art. And while I know it won’t be done for what he needs flamingo images for I decide it was a sign that “yes indeedy, flamingos are what should be done next.”

So the plan is more than 5 and less than (probably) 20. Just heads and necks going every which way. It is to be done on suede (you know because I haven’t tried to do birds on suede yet and I just gotta do a new medium to death before I can leave it alone.)

So at the moment I’m drawing out separate heads on a 12×12 inch pieces of paper. I had toyed with the idea of actually doing a bunch of separate vignettes and then framing them together but passed. Anyhow that’s where it stands now. I plan to draw several heads and then lay them out in a row and create my design that way. You know because I can’t erase on suede.

It’s gonna be exactly like this, but just the opposite.
So I’m thinking of doing something very much in line with my In The Pink painting here. Except that it will only be the heads and a little neck and that instead of a dark background it will be either white or light blue. And instead of light pink Chilean flamingos they will be a dark reddish pink Greater flamingo. Other than pretty much the same thing just a whole lot more illustrator-ish.

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My flamingo painting was a failure. I didn’t even finish it. It seems the past few pieces that I have tried to do have ended up mediocre at best. Probably because I just do something to do something. And therefore I lack any real passion for it. I hate to keep bringing up my dead cat. But I think his loss has definitely affected my creative mojo.

So today, first thing I did was take a good look at what I had accomplished so far on my flamingo. I did learn something valuable when it comes to painting water and will use this information in the future. I pondered the possibility of saving the painting by trying to do this or that. And then I promptly snapped it in half and tossed it. Yep, thats right. After which I got to work completely cleaning house. I put away all the oil pastels that I had out. Washed off my drafting table, dusted, vacuumed and in general gave my space a thorough once over. I have now provided a place for the next great painting idea to be born.

I have come to realize it is best to just remove the offending image in order to move on effectively. Occasionally I save a painting that has potential but is being problematic. I may set it aside for as long as a year. But if a painting is crap then destroy it, don’t just hide it away somewhere. The act of destruction also has a bit of a catharsis to it. When I worked on watercolor paper I would tear the painting up into little pieces. I know artists who put a big red X through the painting and others who burn them (There’s no coming back from ashes.) I also know some artists who utilize their less than wonderful creations. They either make collages with them and one actually prints her business cards on them. Both of these ideas are unique and creative but both rely on destruction for their rebirth.

If you try to hold onto your creation with the thought… well maybe I can save it in the future. Make sure the piece is worth it. Otherwise, having them sit around just drains your creativity and positive attitude needed to move forward and start another project. How can you feel capable of creating the next great work of art when you sit, surrounded by failures. Accept failure as part of the learning curve. Be thankful for whatever lesson you may have garnered. Then promptly trash them and move on.

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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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