Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day Two; Ancient Egyptian Chariot Horse Sketch

Just a short post today to give proof that I actually did a little art yesterday.

Having wasted most of the day on Facebook, I didn’t get to any art until evening. I wanted to sketch an Egyptian chariot horse since I’ve long been fascinated by that ancient culture. I spent about half an hour looking through a thick book on ancient Egypt that I picked up from the bargain table at Borders, but only found one picture of chariot horses, and it was too small to see many details. So, I just went with memory of other pictures I’ve seen.

The sketch took another half hour or more with lots of erasing to get proportions right. I didn’t worry about being accurate with tack and just enjoyed the process of sketching like I used to do as a kid. Obviously, I’m a little rusty so a lot more sketching is in order. But, it was fun, and that’s the important thing; learning to just enjoy the process again instead of enduring the drudgery of getting the image “just so”.

For now that’s enough.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cat Painting Update and Ice Bergs

ice remnants on the lake
 Isn’t it marvelous that Spring is finally here?! The ice went out of our lake yesterday morning when there was a stiff breeze, so now we have open water again. Actually, the ice is usually broken up on a windy day or two in the Spring and just blows east down the lake from us. The marina to the west helps the process by going out in boats to make waves. This year they posted a short video on their Facebook page showing them using a boat as an ice breaker in the marina area. The ice was pretty thin by then so no danger to the boat.

The first photo is of an “ice berg” out in the lake in front of our house. I took the photo early this morning while the lake was still. It won’t last long with the warm temperatures as the lake waters warm up.

I feel so lucky to live on a lovely lake with all of its wildlife!

Now that gardening season is back, I decided that it’s time to get back to exercising; something I’ve managed to neglect all winter. After walking on the treadmill, I did my “legs and back” exercise routine, and later in the day went for a short spin on Scottie. This morning I had a hard time getting out of bed! Ack! But, if I keep it up, the stiffness will go away.

In addition to exercising daily, I’ve set a goal for myself of doing some artwork every day this week, even if only for an hour. This is in hopes that both goals will become established habits if I keep them up long enough.
"Annie", 6x6 gallery wrapped canvas oil painting
I managed just an hour yesterday on the little cat painting I started a while back of our kitty, Annie, when she was young. Most of the time was spent setting up and deciding what colors to use and then mixing paint. So, I was limited to working on just one ear and the forehead markings before it came time to clean up and leave for the barn. Otherwise, I would have painted longer.

Please note my painting setup here. I came up with this brilliant idea a while back when I noticed some scraps of pegboard out in the garage. Even though I’ve looked at those scraps for years, THAT day the thought struck me that they would be perfect to use on the easel to hold small paintings and paintings whose edges need to be painted. I’d been trying to figure out a solution to this problem for a while now since I’ve been working on smaller canvases lately. How DOES one paint the edges of those gallery wrapped canvases without getting your fingers in the paint?

I had my husband cut a couple of pieces to fit on the easel and cleaned off the garage grime. Yesterday, I used one of them to hold the Annie painting, and it worked great! As you can see, the painting is resting on pegboard hooks. It can be moved from side to side to get at the bottom of the canvas, and I can set the painting at a comfortable working height. In fact, I might just expand this for use with larger paintings, too!

Now, why didn’t I think of this sooner!?

I’ve just had a chat with my gallery owner (Adams Madams, Central Lake, Michigan) who has requested that all her artists replace their pieces which have been in the gallery for a long time with new artwork. She is readying the shop for the coming summer season when the summer residents and visitors will be returning. She tells me that she gets visitors from the Horse Shows By The Bay people each summer as they explore the area when they’re not showing. These people have money to burn, so that gives me incentive to get some horse show pieces done to put in the gallery during the four or five weeks of the show. A series of small paintings of horse show dogs would be perfect as well as some leadline class photos of toddlers on cute ponies.

Ah! I’m getting super inspired!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

An Equine Art Show and Getting Framed

"The Green Team" Belgian horse painting, oil on canvas

The last few weeks have been kind of a blur what with getting artwork sent off to a show and finishing up income taxes and all the usual daily activities.

First of all, I took a break from  painting to complete the income tax information and deliver it to our accountant. That is always such a relief to get that out of the way, but I still had plenty to do before I could relax and get back to painting.

When the Belgian painting was dry enough I signed it and then proceeded to spend a couple of days trying to get a good photograph of it and not succeeding. That’s a major disappointment as I really was hoping to offer it as a new print image. I had trouble getting both the horses and the trailer to look right. One or the other would be close to the painting but not both in the same image. I finally gave up and varnished the painting vowing to spend some time learning more of Photoshop so that I can isolate areas of images and change them without changing the whole. That is one of the beautiful things that Photoshop can do.

Next I took the painting to McMillen’s Custom Framing in Traverse City to be framed. The owner, Todd McMillen, and I go way back. We were in art school together many years ago, and his friendship is the only one that has survived from those magical days. Todd went on to get a four year degree from Kendall School of Design in Grand Rapids while I made a failed attempt at being a freelance graphic designer. But that is ancient history.

At any rate, Todd helped me select what turned out to be just the right frame for  “The Green Team”. I can’t believe how much that frame has enhanced the painting! You can see it above. At the same time, I took the drawing, “Kentucky Dreamer” in to have the mats replaced. I framed it myself years ago, but the mats were never quite right. Again, Todd’s suggestions were right on the mark. The drawing looks SO much better in its new mats.
"Kentucky Dreamer" Thoroughbred colt drawing

Good framing makes a world of difference in how well any work of art looks, and the professionals like Todd know what they’re doing.

My next challenge was to set up a new Fedex account (which was an ordeal in itself) and box up the two pieces of art to ship to the show. My shipping boxes were in the back part of the attic, and to get to them I had to move a whole lot of stuff that was in the way. The result was a mini  reorganization of some of the “junk” up there to make a path.

It took me close to a day just to pack up the art and make sure it was sufficiently padded against any rough handling. I did battle with Fedex again  when attempting to fill out and then print the shipping label and the return label.  All was finally completed, and last Friday we delivered the box into the hands of Fedex. Now I’m hoping that it makes it to the show on time and in one piece - or two pieces in this case.

So now I can formally announce that  “The Green Team” and “Kentucky Dreamer” were accepted into the invitational art show, “The Horse In Art”  to be held at the Seippel Homestead and Center For the Arts in Beaver Dam Wisconsin. This invitational show runs from April 17 to June 5, 2011 and is sponsored by the Beaver Dam Area Arts Association.

From what I hear of the other artists who will be exhibiting, I am humbled to be hanging along side their art. And the bonus is that the woman who is interested in buying “Green Team” also lives in Wisconsin not far from the show. She may buy it there which will be a win win win all the way around for her, for me and for the show.