Wednesday, December 16, 2015

My Ceramic Dog and Other Animal Masks

I've been receiving numerous inquiries about the ceramic animal masks I have done for years, so I thought I would finally respond here in hopes of answering some of the questions I've been receiving.

No, I do not have any available at this time.  I intend sometime this coming spring to make a limited number of them and will list them online when I do.  I'll let you know here where they'll be listed when they become available.

If you've lost or broken one that was really special to you, please get in touch with me and describe what it was like, preferably with photos, even of the broken piece if you have them.  I do my best to replicate pieces that were really special to someone.

Regarding my silence on my blog:  I am still working constantly on trying to master at some small level the landscape painting process.  It's a lot harder and much more complex than I had anticipated!  I work daily, so I am beginning to see small progress.

To give me a break from what I see as multiple disappointments in my landscape painting attempts, I am occasionally doing an animal painting.  I'll post them when I get a few done.  And eventually, I'll post some of my landscape attempts if for no other reason than to create a record of what I hope is a progression from not so good to some pretty good paintings.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Had an Artist "Melt-Down" last evening

Okay, as you know, I've begun trying to do landscapes, and I've found it's really, really different from doing animals.  In my defense, I see landscape artists who try to do animals, and for the most part, they do pretty well, but they just don't quite get it.  So I understand that there are "tricks to every trade," even when it's still the trade of painting images.

I'm a perfectionist by nature (no, I don't like it; I think it's a major character flaw), so I'm trying way, way, way too hard at these landscape paintings.  Last evening, I was painting pretty much for the third time (on the same canvas, by the way) a painting I'm working on of a pretty scene near where I live with a falling-down shack, sitting by a creek.  I was really having some problems with color and light and too much detail.  I keep a timer so I'm forced to stop every five minutes to step way back and assess what I'm doing and where I'm going with my painting.  But I think I need to shorten it to three minutes, maybe.  I made a couple of bad strokes with way too much light on my brush, got absolutely disgusted with myself, and slapped paint all over the canvas, probably saying a few words that I ought not to have said.  Then in a panic, I tried to wipe all the offending marks off, which, of course, made a muddy mess of the whole thing.  Anyway, I acted in a very childish way and swore that I was never going to paint again, that I was a failure, etc., etc.  And, of course, too, I was awake most of the night, thinking about what I should have done differently.

Yes, I have a love/hate relationship with painting.  But again, as I've said many times, I'm compelled to keep trying.  We'll see.  I'm giving myself one hour today to get some sort of painting done of this pretty little shack, and I will list my result.

Monday, November 9, 2015

A Painting of the Yakima River as viewed from the Iron Horse Trail, Ellensburg, Washington

As I've said recently, I'm going to be doing landscapes for a while now, with probably a few farm animals thrown in here and there.  I'm intentionally throwing myself into an area in which I have almost no experience, and it's hard.  But I'm going to keep working on it for quite a while.  For one reason, this beautiful area that I've moved to would motivate even a non-painter to at least pick up a camera.  It's astonishingly beautiful here.  Even the most ordinary pathway has a palette of colors that forces even the most jaded person to stop and wonder at the beauty all around.

The painting below is, I know, not a great painting, but I'm going to post it anyway, perhaps to document my (I hope) progress in mastering at least somewhat the landscape.  This scene we see every few days as it's along one of the many trails we take on our daily walks.  This particular trail is one that crosses almost the entire state of Washington.  It's called the "Iron Horse Trail" (or in this specific area, it has been named also the "John Wayne Trail), and it is one of the great "rails-to-trails" projects that have occurred in the past few decades, turning no-longer-in-use railroad tracks into trails for hikers, bicyclists, horse trail-riders, or just happy walkers.  We're lucky to have it pass extremely close to where we live.

The photo left the painting a bit blurred, and I'll be doing a better shot of it very soon.  I wanted to go ahead and add it, though, before I got too afraid to do so.  At this point on the Yakima River, there are various channels coming together and creating quite a bit of rough water.  Beautiful, though.  There were a couple of fly-fishers there, but I chose to include just one.

I am now working on another painting, also of an area near our property, of a really old, falling-down shack sitting next to one of the large irrigation creeks/ditches in this part of the state.  I'm really enjoying painting it and look forward to sharing it.

Friday, November 6, 2015

An Update on the Theft of my Images

I am happy to report that after my having contacted Amazon, they have had me file a formal/legal complaint against the people who stole (and altered by removing my name) my images.  I expect that at the very least, the stolen images will be removed very soon.  I don't know if any sort of charges will be filed against the people or not; I hope so because I want this kind of theft to stop.  We painters work very hard to create our paintings, and it's a personal violation (as well as a financial one) when someone stoops to stealing and even selling the stolen images.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

I've been pirated -- again!

My artwork has been pirated recently and is for sale on Amazon.  If you see any prints of my paintings (my signature has been edited out, by the way), please don't buy them from these thieves!  I've reported the problem to Amazon, by the way, and am still awaiting a response. So far, I've found only my cow paintings, and I have no idea where the thieves found large files to steal.  I have a few ideas, but I have no way of knowing exactly.   Here's one of the listings:

Really, really depressing!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Why the high cost of paints doesn't matter

This morning, I did my quick sneaky perusal of Facebook to see how much greater my family's and friends' lives are than mine, and I came across a post that made me think a lot about why I paint.  It was a photo of a few tubes of paint, and the poster was complaining about their price, which paint prices can be quite steep.  I almost never comment on Facebook, but this time I had to say a little something.  I said something along the lines of "Think of all the wonderful paintings you can do with these tubes of paint; then they don't seem so expensive."  That made me think about why I paint at all.  There are many other "careers" I could still have, but I'm somehow driven to paint.  And the cost of the materials is relatively irrelevant.

Well, I still don't know why I paint exactly, but I can give a bit of insight into it.  I paint because I am internally driven to do so.  Maybe there's a kind of personality that causes some people to push themselves to excel at something, not to compete with others but for the sheer satisfaction of knowing they're doing their best.

I have two main activities that I pursue in this way:  One, of course, is painting.  Painting is as necessary to me as eating or breathing.  I don't think I'm a very good painter -- better than many and worse than many, many more -- but I truly don't compare myself to others.  But to myself I'm not good enough yet.  Maybe that's what drives me to keep trying and trying, that I don't think I'm YET a very good painter.  I want to be the best painter that I personally can be, and I think I can be better.

I also have this overwhelming drive to master another language, in my case, French.  Unfortunately, I don't know anybody well who even speaks French, so this pursuit is for the most part unknown to those outside my family -- whom I drive mad with my constantly speaking to them in French.  (I am teaching my little granddaughter to speak French, though!)  But I think the same drive I have to paint is what motivates me to continue to improve my ability to speak French -- even if it's for the most part something I do "in a vacuum."

So, yes, the cost of the paints and all the other materials necessary to create paintings is high, but the personal rewards far outweigh the costs.  Plus, on a more practical note:  A tube of paint can go a long, long way in creating many paintings.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Brown Cashmere Goat Painting

Here's our second cashmere goat that I've painted.  I think she's a beautiful animal, and I really enjoyed painting her -- especially that foreshortened ear above her eye!  That was fun!  Hope you like her.  I've forgotten her name, so I'll add it later.

Due to a lack of interest currently in my goat paintings, I'm going to hold off painting the other, grey, adult goat and get on to some other paintings that I've been getting requests for.

The next one I'll be doing is a painting of a Holstein cow (I'll have to go search for one around here because I don't think there's one in the field across the road) lying in front of the beautiful old barn across the road.  Obviously, I'll have to combine the two of them onto one canvas, which is always a bit difficult for me because I have to get the perspective done perfectly, or it doesn't work.  We'll see . . . .

Another "As Promised." Some Photos of our "Really Old Complex of Buildings we Call Home" now

 This is a shot from the back of the old white farmhouse, with some of the out buildings on the left side, while the photographer is standing in the field behind the buildings.
 This is the small front yard of the farmhouse from the front porch.

This building is what I'm calling my "Ellensburg Blue."  I'll explain:  If you look, you'll notice that this place is really, really in great disrepair! And that's an understatement, too.  This is the second large building on the property, and it was kind of "thrown in," with the likely possibility that it would have to be destroyed.  Well, to us, my artistic family and I, it was studio space, lots and lots and lots of studio space, lots of rooms to explore (it has around 30 rooms in it)..

So back to the "Ellensburg Blue" appellation:  We are just outside the town of Ellensburg, which is the unique home to a beautiful robin's-egg-blue agate.  It's highly sought-after and very difficult to find, but I'm told that if one is very diligent and tenacious and has lots and lots of time to search, one might find an Ellensburg blue agate (aka "Ellensburg blue")  in any of the myriad rocks lying all around this place.  The outside of the rock that houses the agate I hear is quite ordinary, often described as a shriveled up old potato; but when the rock is broken open, the beautiful wonder lies within.

So it's the same with this old brick building:  On the outside, it's not a pretty sight at all, but inside there are beautiful studio rooms to work in and lots of places to explore and someday fix up as the place deserves.

Here's a photo of one I found via Google from around here.  And, also, here's a story about the Ellensburg-blue agate, too, from the Seattle Times newspaper:

This coming summer, I'll be painting upstairs in an airy, very-well-lighted part of the building that needs a lot of work.  The basic structure of the building is sound (we've had it inspected after purchase), and except for some damage done by rain and snow and human mistreatment over the years, it's in pretty good shape.   Well, it has "good bones" for the most part.  It's going to need a lot of cosmetic work to get it pretty good looking, both inside and out, but it's worth the time and effort -- and cost!!  I have a ceramics shop in one room, and my other family members have several rooms that they've claimed for their studio space.

I'll add a lot more photos later when I have more time, including photos of the insides.  Plus, I'll be sure to include photos of the landscapes around here (breath-taking!) and of the old red barn just across the road (not a part of our property, but it is a part of the original complex of buildings here that go back to from the late 1800's to the very early 1900's.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

As Promised, Here's the first of the Cashmere Goat Paintings

Here's "Snowflake."  My granddaughter very aptly named her, I think.  And she's adorable, too, along with the other three:  another white baby, a tan-and-brown one, and a light grey one.

The original acrylic painting is on a 16x20x1/2" stretched canvas, already wired on the back so ready for hanging.

Either the grey or the brown goat will be the next to be painted.  Also, I've come across a beautiful, beautiful Jersey cow, with those enormous, gorgeous eyes, in a field nearby, so I'll be doing a painting of her, too, very soon.

I'm settling in to our new country place, and it feels great to be back painting again.

Friday, September 25, 2015

A new Cow Painting - a Black Angus steer

16x20" Painting of Black Angus Steer

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We're finally settling into our new home, but it's been (and still is) tough -- and ongoing.  I'll talk about that in another post pretty soon.

This is a painting I did of a black Angus cow that I think is a beautiful creature.  Now that I'm living in the country (five minutes from town!), I have cows as neighbors.  This little guy I just fell in love with.  He's very shy, but I have sat outside his field and visited with him enough that he now will come up fairly close to me to graze.  Up until a few days ago, he was in a field all alone.  Now, there are many other cows there with him, so I think he's not so lonely anymore.

The original acrylic 16x20x3/4" stretched canvas painting (along with prints) is available on Etsy; so if you're interested, drop by for a closer look.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

How Time Slips Away!

I had no idea how much time has passed since my last post.  I've only done a couple of paintings since that time, too, and I'll post them later.  At this time, I -- and all my family, including spouse, daughter, her husband, and my little granddaughter -- and of course, all of our various pets, including Winry the horse -- are moving!

We have been looking for a forever place for a long time but didn't expect anything just to pop up!  Isn't that the way life often is?  We've been searching all over the entire country - and Europe, too -- for that perfect place.  It turns out that it (Ellensburg, Washington) was just a few hours north of us, smack in the center of the State of Washington!

We -- well, my daughter -- found a perfect old farmhouse on a few acres of land.  Of course, knowing us, it had to be a bit eccentric, so it also has a gigantic old red brick building with a really interesting history.  About a hundred years ago, it was the center of what was euphemistically called a "poor farm," a place where people really, really down on their luck lived (in apartments inside the building) and worked on the adjoining farmland to "earn their keep."  We're still doing research on the place and will do our best to try to preserve it because it, too, has fallen down on its luck over the past few decades.  I'll eventually post photos of it because it's really quite interesting inside.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Llama in Afternoon Sunlight

I just finished this painting today, and I absolutely love it.  I feel I'm finally getting the hang of warm and cool colors -- in their correct places, of course.  This was such a fun painting to do, and I feel s/he came out quite well!  

The acrylic painting is on an 11x14x3/4" stretched canvas.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Dark Red Cow at Sunset

Sorry, I don't know what breed this cow is.  Perhaps a Salers?  I've titled it "Just before Sunset."  I love the strong contrasts between the sunlit side and the darkly shadowed side.

I painted this cow painting, acrylic, on 11x14 hardboard, using a photo submitted by Gail Klett. Thanks! It was a pleasure to paint it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Italian Greyhound with Yellow Tennis Ball

This is a little cutie I finished up today.  (I had to take a couple of days off from my grueling landscape work.)  It's an Italian greyhound, I think.  I can't remember exactly as it's from some photos someone submitted to me years ago, and I'm finally getting around to going through some of the photos.

The original acrylic painting is on an 11x14" stretched canvas and will be for sale on Etsy in a day or so.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Several Practice Paintings I've been working on

I'm kind of busy these days not making money but trying to bring my landscape painting skills up to what I consider "good enough to sell."  But I want to keep track of where I've started and where I hope I'll be going, so I'm listing just a few I've done in the past few days.  

Let me say a bit about these little paintings (and they are small, some 8x10, some only around 7 x 8).  I'm painting them within a very strict 15-minute time limit, so I'm really, really having to think before I start, plan what's important, and try to get it down in a fairly believable way that quickly.  I just scanned these little paintings for the sake of saving time in getting them up, and for some reason, they seem just slightly out of focus.  Please, if you have any comments, positive or negative, kindly let me know by commenting.  I would really appreciate any feedback I can get.  My family are the only ones who have seen them so far, and they are a bit blind to my faults!

Bathing bird, 15 minutes about 6x6"

Bull Run River study, about 6 x 8"

Langeland, Denmark, Beach with Vacation House,  8x10" This painting is the only time exception:  I couldn't get enough info in within 15 minutes, so I took 25 on this one.

Bird sitting on Twig, in Sunlight, around 5x6"

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Revisit to a Painting I did a Few Years Ago

Guernsey Cow Painting on Teal/Turquoise Background.

This painting is prettier in person, and I'll try to get better photos of her in a few days from now.  It's a 16x20x3/4" acrylic painting on stretched canvas, no staples on the sides, and is wired and ready to frame or hang as is.

The earlier painting I did was similar to this one, but it was on a smaller sized canvas.  I've had many requests to do a painting again from the same photos I used for the first one, so here it is -- at last.