Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Star in the Mist

Star in the Mist, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 in.

It's been a good week of painting. Mainly because I decided to upgrade my computer. What does one have to do with the other, you might ask? Well, to make a really long story short, in the course of upgrading, I lost my internet connection in my studio. So the other day, I had a day of just painting...without any electronic distractions. And it's amazing how much you can get done without the computer.
However, online work must be done, so I have carted the computer into the house, to download necessary software updates, etc... I will have to get the internet problem solved, but in the meantime, I think I'll leave it in the house for a few more days.
Several new paintings are in progress, however, all have yet to be scanned or photographed, so I'll post some December paintings that have joined the inventory.
Star is a 25 year old Standardbred gelding that joined our barn last summer. He has a mane to envy--long flowing orange locks that hang below his neck, and a forelock to match. I photographed him behind the other horse on a misty summer morning. I loved the softness of the light. I'm not entirely satisfied with the way it photographed..I haven't been able to capture the true color in this painting with the digital camera yet.

Spotted Cow, oil on board, 11 x 14 in.

This second painting, "Spotted Cow" is an attempt to capture that beautiful afternoon sunlight that bathes the cows in the barn at the Brooklyn Fair. It lights up the pink in their ears, and and straw bedding just glows with warmth.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Great Chicken Adventure

It has been decided at Underhill Hollow that we will raise a few chickens. Now I have said for a while that I wouldn't mind raising a few hens for the eggs. Yet, it is only recently that my husband is on board with the plan. He has visited some folks who have chicken coops, and is now sold on the idea that this would be a fun thing to try. Of course, our reasons for wanting chickens vary greatly--I think chickens are beautiful birds, and of course, fresh eggs are the main goal. My husband wants to build a cool-looking coop, and be able to watch them free-ranging around the yard. Realistically, we have a herding dog who may not agree with the free-ranging idea. We also have a healthy population of hawks around. So we will build a coop with a roofed, fenced outdoor run, and hopefully be able to let them free range a little bit.
My other motivation is artistic, of course. I am envisioning a whole series of chicken paintings. So we'll be raising breeds that will be good egg layers, are docile in nature, and are colorful and inspiring to paint.
This little painting above is of a chicken at the Roger Williams Park Zoo. 5 x 7 oil on board.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Johnny Come Lately

Johnny Come Lately oil on canvas, 30 x 40 in. Private commission.

Johnny is a big bay half-morgan, half Appendix Quarterhorse. I thought he was a warmblood when I first saw him back in October, his glossy dark bay coat just starting to get the winter fuzzies. What had to be captured in his portrait was his kind eye. His owner had seen some of my newer work, the big close-up head images, and she wanted something similar for her portrait of Johnny. I experimented with various croppings, with and without halter, until we came to an agreement about this pose. I usually like to do commissioned portraits with halters or bridles, unless the horse has really interesting markings, or a really well-sculpted head, the tack usually adds a bit of interest and helps define the bone structure a bit. In this case, the halter gave me an opportunity to personalize the portrait by putting his name on the brass halterplate.

Now that Johnny is completed and delivered, my New Year's tasks are to finish up some previously begun projects, and start some new big paintings. With spring commissions and potential freelance work around the corner, I need to seize this opportunity to paint for myself. Christmas vacation was supposed to be the start of some studio productivity, but all of the holiday socializing and entertaining, then the clean-up and putting away of all the Christmas stuff sort of drained my energy.

Then there is the distraction of the Wii. Since the Wii is brand-new to our family, we are still in the honeymoon phase of enjoying all the basic Wii Sports, and creating lots of Mii's for the plaza.

So, now that the work week has started, I have checked off task number two on my studio list, which was, "Create a new blog entry!" Now, on to number three, which is "Paint!"