Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spring Lamb - New Oil Painting

"Spring Lamb" oil painting study on linen panel

The week before last I managed to get back in the studio and started a painting of one of the lambs that we photographed on our Easter trip. I didn’t get very far, but it’s a start. Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy, and I’m setting it aside to work on another painting in progress from last year, the polo painting.  

The lamb painting will be just a simple study. My intention is to capture the freshness of Spring and the renewal of Life that it brings. I also want to experiment with getting a lot of non local colors into the painting which should be fun working on the lamb’s almost white coat. You can see a lot of colors in white in Nature if you really look. 

“Local Color” for you non artists refers to the color an object appears to be: grass is green, the sky is blue, a fox is reddish orange and black, etc. But, local colors contain all sorts of other colors too if you look closely, and artists can take artistic license in adding them where they don’t exist in Nature in order to create a richer, more interesting painting. 

It’s been so cold and windy that I pretty much lost interest in doing any gardening, but the plants are progressing slowly so I mustn’t put that off too much longer. Another tulip has bloomed, but none of the daffodils even have buds on them which means we’ll have to wait until next year to enjoy their happy little faces. And to paint them! 

I have big plans to get outside and paint this year, even if it means just around the yard or from the deck overlooking the lake. I did sign up for a plein air painting group through the Parkside Arts Council, though. It will meet once a month all summer and should be fun to be out with others. Doing some painting in the yard will give me a chance to do dry runs on using my french easel and figure out what works best for transporting supplies. 

In the meantime, I’ve been busy going through hundreds and hundreds of photographs from my camera cards, throwing out the useless ones and sorting the rest into folders by subject. They are all backed up onto CD’s now, and next I tackle the project of setting up Time Machine on the new computer so that it can back up regularly without me having to do any of the work. Since I haven’t yet backed up this new computer (from last summer!) it’s a task I don’t dare put off any longer. 

On the horse front, I’ve been riding regularly, and we’ve gone on a couple of more trail rides. Scottie is going so much better on these last few rides that I ‘m very encouraged about riding this summer. I was afraid that he woudn’t be able to handle trail rides anymore, but if I continue to ride regularly and build his muscles back up, I’m hopeful again. 

"Kaia" six week old German Shepherd puppy

There is a new dog at the barn now. The owners have a six week old German Shepherd puppy, and I’ve been able to get a few good shots of her. Here’s one of them. Such a sweet face! I hope to be able to do many paintings of little Kaia as she grows up and becomes a beautiful German Shepherd, my very favorite breed of dog. 

That’s all for today. I must get back to figuring out this Time Machine thing so that I can rest easy again. Hasta la Vista! 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Little Lambsey Divey

Spring lambs on the farm

 We had a pretty nice Easter this past weekend at our house. Both of our adult kids were home with their new cars, and now Mom doesn’t have to worry about them breaking down on their long drives home. 

On Saturday we took a drive over to the old family homestead near Gaylord to see how the place had survived the big storm of a few weeks ago. All was well as they didn’t get the heavy snow and wind that we did. Because it was so much colder inside the unheated house than outside, we ate our picnic lunch beside the pond and then drove around the two tracks looking for wildlife. We flushed two partridges, but that was all. 

I was happy to see a poppy plant in the old flower bed which I had missed digging up last year. There were also some daffodils that were missed, so I’ll be digging them all up and moving them to our house some time later. 

My favorite part of that trip was when we stopped at a farm on the way home to photograph a herd of ewes and their lambs which were right up by the road. I got lots of photos, and some of them are good enough to turn into paintings or drawings. I can’t wait to paint one of those cute lambs! And what could be more perfect than lambs at Easter time!

For Easter Sunday, we all went to brunch at a local restaurant, and since it was another gorgeous sunny day, we took another drive afterwards over toward Lake Michigan this time. We managed to find Rex Beach, a beach on Grand Traverse bay that another artist had told me about, and I was thrilled to find that you can drive practically all the way to the water! I’m looking forward to doing some plein air painting there since it’s so much more accessible and at the same time more remote than any of the beaches we explored last summer. Since it was extremely windy and very cold, we didn’t linger long before retreating back to the warmth of the car and heading home. 
Rex Beach, Lake Michigan

When we got home, my husband took some photos of me outside and in the studio to use on my website and so forth. I don’t get dressed up and put on makeup very often so this was a good time to do the photos. The old photo on my website is about 20 years old now and needed to be changed for something more current. 
The artist, April 2012

Both of the kids have now gone home, the taxes are completed and waiting for our signatures and the house is clean (for a change). I am now looking forward to resuming daily activities and getting into the rhythm of Springtime activities. And, I’m determined to start back with some artwork again to refill my meager inventory of completed works. 

It was quite disappointing that the painting class I had looked forward to had to be cancelled for lack of interest, as was the acrylics class I’d hoped to take. Maybe when the snowbirds return for the summer, they’ll try again to fill those classes. I’m hoping so, anyway. 

After our record-breaking hot spell last month, it turned cold again, and all the plants that had begun to green up and grow went into a holding pattern waiting for the return of more warmth. This is the perfect time to get out in the yard and clean out the flower beds and plan where to move plants this year before they all get too big and in the way. I was pleased to see that the daffodils and tulips I planted last Fall have come up and some even have buds on them. So far we’ve had one lone yellow tulip bloom, but I’m hoping for more. 
The artist in her studio

A couple of weeks ago, Scottie and I went on our first trail ride of the year; a short one; but it felt awfully good to get out of the indoor arena. Scottie wasn’t as enthusiastic as I, but I hope that will change, and we can have another summer of good trail rides. He will be 27 next weekend, so every ride is a plus at this point. 

That’s all for this time. Be back in a week.