Spent a lovely and productive morning in the studio yesterday and put the finishing touches on my latest painting, "Goats Who Stare at Men"... I've been meaning to paint this old guy for a long time and the painting flowed effortlessy from start to finish (I LOVE when they do that). I feel as if I accomplished my goal of trying to capture Basil"s unique personality and the smile never left my face the whole time I was painting. I wished they all were like that!
Wow, it's been so long since I have blogged that I'm not quite sure where to begin. Apologising for my cyber disappearance would be a good place to start. I took what was supposed to be about a month off and seemed to develop a ridiculous case of Blogger's Block...sigh...and the more time that elapsed the harder it was for me to actually break through the block to share my paintings and processes. Go figure. It's great to be back! And I look forward to catching up with all of you....
I have been busy painting and showing during my computer walkabout, I was happy to be accepted into two Nationally juried competitions this past summer. Also recently, I was picked for a solo exhibition at the Liriodendren Mansion in Belair, Md. March of 2010. This was a huge coup for me both artisticly and personally, because it was a goal I hoped to obtain when I wrote up my bussiness plan last year. But it was under my long term goals...It feels really good to be checking off things that I've accomplished a few years in advance :)
I thought I would share a few of my photo's that I took yesterday morning as I was feeding the menagerie that inspire me on a daily basis. I've also included a painting I started yesterday of my oldest goat, a whether named Basil. He is 11 years old and the Elder Statesman of our farm. He's a genuine sweetheart, and refuses to eat his hay until he gets a kiss on the nose and a two minute back scratch...I guess he's got me trained pretty well eh?
This last painting from my studio is another from my trip to Ireland last February (Hard to believe it's been a year already)! We rented a car and drove to Dungarven, on the way we went through the beautiful area of An Rin. It's a quiet coastal community in the south east of Ireland where most of the people still speak the old Gaelic. I was amazed how green and fairly lush everything was in the middle of February, and then I heard that Southern Ireland even has palm trees!
I'm sorry to say that I didn't get much in the way of painting done last week due to social obligations, although I did have a blast chaperoning my son's field trip to see the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Maryland Historical Society. I saw some beautiful paintings!
This week it's back to painting.... I've just finished up a 8" x 10" pastel painting done from a photo that I took in beautiful Killarney, Ireland last February while on vacation with three other artist friends of mine. I had my friends on a forced march to find the "Standing Stones" in the area. I really wanted to see some history, I mean REAL history, not the 200 year stuff we lay claim to over here :) The sun had started to set and the shadows were getting long and slanted. But I talked my steadfast pals into tromping over both hill and dale in search of these stones I had heard about. On the way, we passed multitudes of sheep roaming the hillsides. This particular ewe caught my eye because instead of running away with the others she seemed fascinated and turned to watch the proceedings.
Just when I reached the point of thinking about retracing my steps and calling it a day, I crested yet one more hill and the stones were there. It was well worth the adventure!! And in retrospect, we all agreed that our mecca to find the Standing Stones in Killarney was one of our favorite times on the trip...
After finishing and delivering my last commission, I decided to do a painting that I had been mulling over in my mind for awhile. I thought the timing was right with it being the 250th celebration of Robert Burns birthday (One of Scotland's favorite sons). Last Autumn my husband and I were at a Celtic heritage festival and I took some photos of a blacksmith practicing his craft. The lighting was wonderful and I loved the play of light and shadow on him. As I was sitting down working on the painting, I decided to change what the blacksmith was working on (just a small lump of iron really) to a sword that would add more interest, tell more of a story and help direct the eye around the painting. Besides, swords are just, well ... cool!
I have found myself this last week or so, tending to work on smaller pieces and have really enjoyed finishing up a painting within a day or so. I think it helps to keep my work loose, especially working so small, (8" x 10") using blunt pastels. I think I'll do a few more small, fast paintings and then I'll have a yearning to stretch out a bit with a big canvas :)
This is my latest commission that I delivered to the clients last weekend. They were so very gracious and thrilled with the painting and they made me realize once again how very lucky I am to be able to do what I do, which is to paint that which I love and touch people's lives in a positive way in the process. It is extremely rewarding for me as an artist to see that instant emotional connection that happens when the owners see their painting for the first time. I've gotten hugs, tears and even a lovely bottle of french champagne. I love my job! So a big shout out to all my clients, you are truly the best. I have been so blessed to be a small part of that special and unique relationship that exists between you and your wonderful dogs.
With the temperatures being in the high twenties during the day and the low teens at night, it's no wonder I woke this morning with dreams of gardens and soft, sunny days in my head. As one of my many New Year's resolutions, I promised myself I would paint at least four out of every seven days. So this morning after seeing the children off to school and feeding and watering the goats and chickens, I went into my studio and revisited a painting from a while back that I had never finished.
Sometimes when I reach a point in a painting where I feel like I'm hitting a wall, I'll put the painting away for a while (say about a month) then bring it back out, put it on the shelf in my studio and live with it...I call this "fermenting" a painting. I don't paint on it right away, that's why it's on my shelf. But I look at it while I drink my morning coffee and in passing etc... and it seems to loosen up the "block" that I was experiencing before. I still wait a few days, sort of a psychological tease... until I can't wait to get my hands back on the painting. And when I do, it's a completely fresh experience, and from fermenting it, I'm approaching it from a much more objective, clear eyed point of view.
Such was the case with the pastel entitled "Spring" above. It's a painting of my goat, Fiona, who was the first goat born here on our farm about eight years ago. The picture that I took for the painting was taken in early Spring, just before she was due to kid. I just loved how iconic she looked laying there, content and peaceful, full with the promise of life. This painting was really fun to work on again and finish and in the process hopefully work off a little of this premature Spring Fever!
Welcome to my new blog! I thought keeping a regular update on my paintings, shows, commissions, inspirations and wacky goings on here at the farm, would be a great way of keeping in touch with those of you that are interested in my work. I hope to be able to share my ongoing projects with you and show some of my paintings in various stages of completion.
But first things first... I am an artist who paints mostly in oils and pastels. I paint all sorts of things, landscapes, figurative and animals, mostly dogs...'cause I love 'em! I do a lot of commissioned pieces for people of their beloved pets, and it's an absolute labor of love for me. The oil painting of the dog above, is my female English Shepherd called "Skye", and one of my favorite models. I was classically trained in the realist style of painting at the Schuler School of Fine Arts, after the teachings of the Old Masters. It is a wonderful atelier style school where drawing and form are stressed first and foremost and paints are ground every morning from pigment powders, just like the painters of old did it.
I have been married for 23 fantastic years to an artist and am the mother of three boys ages 17, 14 and 9. They keep me busy but more importantly, they keep me laughing. We live on a farm in North Harford Co., Md. where we have 2 English Shepherd dogs; Skye and Finn (which I'm sure you'll here plenty of stories about in the posts to follow) 13 Saanen dairy goats, a flock of laying chickens and a partridge in a pear tree...no, make that a cat :)
I feel very lucky to be able to live in a place where I can surround myself with the creatures and landscapes that inspire me on a daily basis and hope to share a bit of that, along with my art, with you....
I am a classically trained realist painter based on the traditions of the Old Master's style of painting. I paint to capture the emotional impact and drama that occurs somewhere in between the shadows and the light.
If you would like to purchase one of my paintings, commission a portrait or sign up for my free newsletter, you can contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org