Monday, February 24, 2014

Five Cows

This is a painting I finished a few days ago.  Now I wish I had done it in a larger format.  It's five cows on only an 11x14 canvas, so I had to use really, really tiny brushes for too many of the details.  However, it is finished, and prints are available.  As the original painting is in oil, it is not ready to put up for sale.  It should be dry enough in a couple more weeks.  Hope you like it.  I don't think I'm going to do more than two or three cows to a painting in the future . . .

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Bracco Italiano Completed

Sorry I didn't post any interim shots; I worked straight through to the end after my last post.  He's finished, but I still may tweak him a bit, of course.  I always do until they go out the door. 

Anyway, the original is for sale, and it'll be listed on Etsy, along with prints, in the next day or so.  The oil painting is on 11x14x3/4" stretched canvas, with the sides painted the same dark green as shown in the background.  I'm pretty happy with him. 

Oil paint is so much easier to use than acrylics and the colors are just amazing, so clear, clean, and bright when I need them to be and dark when I need dark.  But I am having a bit of difficulty with the medium I'm using with the oil paints.  I've been getting headaches, burning nose, itchy hands, and runny eyes.  However, I believe I have already come up with a solution:  a diluent/medium/brush cleaner by Gamblin that supposedly has no toxicity.  I'll see how it works for my next painting, which I think may be of some adorable little Oregon juncos that were at our feeder just outside the window during our recent heavy snow storm.  We got some really good photos of them, so I may give one a try for my next painting.  There are many other paintings I should be doing, but one of these little birds will give me a bit of a break from the really heavy paintings.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

French Language Studies Progress

I've been seeing pretty good progress in my French language studies, and it's really encouraging.  I'm taking classes at Alliance Francaise and really enjoying those.   Every novel I read - and I am always, always reading, every single evening for at least an hour - is in French.  That helps immensely with my vocabulary.  I might add, also, that except for one two-month beginner class in French, many years ago, I had no knowledge of the language at all.  Even then, after taking the single summer two-month class at the University of Wyoming, I began struggling with reading novels in French.  And it was a struggle, too:  I read with my book in one hand and the dictionary in the other.  I didn't even have any comprehension at all of sentence structure, my vocabulary was in the low hundreds of words -- well, you get the picture.  It was bad.  But I really, really wanted to learn the language, and I could at least get the basic gist of whatever it was I was attempting to read.

When I went to live in France the first time, in the 1990's, that's the level at which I was 'NOT' speaking.  In other words, I was completely helpless and pretty much understood nothing and could only say sentences like "my name is . . .," and "where is. .. ." - but I couldn't understand the answers.  So in the very beginning, the person talking to me and I did a lot of hand gestures.  More than one person speaking, forget it; I understood nothing and found my mind wandering elsewhere.  But I kept struggling, and by the time I left, around a year and a half or so later, I was at least slightly communicating -- getting by, in other words.  While there, I studied a French grammar book every evening, kept flash cards with me at all times, very, very shyly tried to speak with people I worked with, and had to speak with service people in shops, etc.  It was tough, tough.

Over the intervening years, my interest in studying French has waxed and waned -- and is fiery hot now, of course.  And I've finally found one thing that really is seeming to work for me now:  at the suggestion of my Alliance Francaise instructor, I subscribed to the French language TV channel (TV 5 Monde), and I've started doing some paintings in my bedroom - where my TV is located - as I've mentioned before.  While I paint, I have the TV going constantly, where I'm totally immersed in hearing the language, even if I'm not really paying attention.  I find myself later, however, telling my daughter about something interesting I heard on the TV during my painting times.

As anyone who has studied another language knows, the last thing to come is speaking, and that's the case with me.  My vocabulary is very extensive now, I hear and understand most everything, but I'm still very hesitant about speaking.  My Alliance Francaise classes help with that a lot because that's what they emphasize, is speaking.  And with that and with hearing the TV French constantly, I'm beginning to speak more freely now, too.  There is hope, in other words.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Bracco Italiano pup painting in progress

Sorry, this photo is a bit blurred and has some real lighting issues (I'm painting this one in my bedroom instead of in my studio, and the lighting isn't as good in here.)  Why in my bedroom?  Two main reasons:  One, I do mostly acrylic paintings in my studio at this time, and I don't like to have the two media in the same place.)  Two, I like to have a painting nearby sometimes so I can see it even when I'm not actually working on it; I look at it as I do other things during the day and see things that need working on.  I don't do this all the time because it becomes a bit of an obsession.  I study it before going to bed and will actually jump out of bed, turn on the lights, and fix whatever I saw wrong with it.  Not at all good for getting a good night's sleep!   But sometimes I like to do it.

Below this in-progress photo is the photo I'm working from.  Yes, I do get a bit "photographic" in my paintings sometimes, but it's a bit fun to do so from time to time.

I'll try to take a photo at the end of every couple of sessions so you can see the progress (I hope!)

Okay, got it! ... in a way -- Again, "Two Cows Revisited"

Google Chrome is giving me problems again.  I love it, but it really has a lot of bugs, especially in the last few months.  I'm writing this time from Windows Explorer.

Some time ago I painted these two beautiful girls on just an 8x10" panel.  I've always loved the painting, but the original was just too small.  (It has sold, by the way.)  So I decided to do another similar painting, but this time it's a 16x20" on stretched canvas.  It is at this time for sale, along with prints in various sizes.

I'm also working now on a precious Italiano Bracco puppy painting.  I'm working from photos given to me by someone who was showing this particular puppy at the Rose City Classic dog show a few years ago.  If you are that person or know that person, I'm so sorry, but I said I would contact you when the painting was done, and I have lost your name.  I know it's been years, but I do eventually get to most all the paintings I have told people I would paint.  I'll be doing a progress series of shots on the painting, I've decided; but I have already gotten a bit into the painting before I decided to do so, so there won't be a whole of progress to show.  The process is just too beautiful not to share on this particular painting, though.  (Hope I don't jinx myself!)  The pup is beautiful, the photograph is excellent, and for some reason, I'm working well -- that's a bit of a change from the difficulties I've been having on some other paintings lately that aren't ready to see the light of day yet!  I'll post the pics very soon of this little guy.

Two Cows - Revisited

NSomething is wrong with Blogger.  I can't see a word that II'm typing, and there's no way to upload a photo.  I guess I'll have to check with Google.  I need this blog.  I noticed afew ddays ago (sorry if I'm flubbing up; I really can't see a single thing I'm typing)  I noticed, again, a few days ago that when I tried to post, I couldn't.  I thought it was a passing thing.  Now I'm really concerned.  I'll see what I can do; don't know if this is posting or not.