Saturday, January 31, 2009

"The Swordsmith"

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 :)

Your in paint...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Donny and Mae, pastel 18" x 24"

Latest Commission..."Donny and Mae"

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.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Is it Too early for Spring Fever?

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, 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....