Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Glorious Glory; A Horse Painting Update

Here’s an update on the Glory painting. 

I have finished Glory herself except for the mane, forelock and eye and some touchups once the background is finalized. She is coming along nicely, and I’m very pleased so far. 

It’s always nerve wracking to paint when I haven’t been for a long time and my self confidence suffers terribly the longer it goes on. But, what I’m finding with Glory is that I’m going a lot on instinct. That tells me that I know a lot more than I think I do and haven’t lost much ability in the intervening time. 

In other words, I’m better than I think I am. And not as good as I’d like to be. 

For that matter is any artist ever as good as she’d like to be? 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Holiday Horse Print, "Scotch Bar Lochinvar"

"Scotch Bar Lochinvar" limited edition  reproduction, $35

What with the holidays and all, this is a busy time of year. No matter what my good intentions are, it’s not likely that I’ll get in a lot of painting time. So, it occured to me this morning to actually do something rash and shocking; promote my prints for sale! I have plenty of them, after all, and they make wonderful holiday gifts. So, here goes. 

“Scotch Bar Lochinvar”, 13x15.5 inch limited edition reproduction on archival stock, $35. The subject is my own handsome horse, Scottie, in his much younger days. The print is a good size and looks wonderful matted in a wood or metal frame. 

It can be ordered directly from my website AND Free Shipping in the USA! Order it here, but please let me know if you have any difficulty ordering. 


While you're on the website, check out the rest of the prints available here;


Monday, November 11, 2013

A Real American Hero - My Dad

Captain Dean C. Baker
2nd battalion, 36th Armored Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Division (Spearhead), VII Corps. 1943-1945 

My dad wasn’t a hero in the Audy Murphy sense of the word, but nevertheless he was one of the many true heroes during the bloody battles of World War II. He won a Silver Star on the battlefield for “Gallantry in Action” and a purple heart for a shrapnel wound. 

As a journalist, my father could have chosen to serve his country during World War II within the Army newscorps, but he didn’t feel that was fair to all those who would be fighting on the front lines. Even though he had a new wife and two adopted daughters and another on the way, he chose the infantry. 

That’s the kind of man my dad was. 

The HBO series Band of Brothers has special meaning for me because watching it is like watching my dad fighting his way across Europe during the last years of the war. He landed at Utah Beach on D Day plus three as part of the 3rd Armored, the Spearhead Division, which lead the fight across France into Germany. Somewhere in France is where my dad earned his silver star. The award reads; 

“Lt. Baker’s platoon was given the mission of advancing in a field for the purpose of drawing enemy fire in order that their positions could be located”. 

“Rather than submit the entire platoon to enemy fire, Lt. Baker volunteered to perform the mission and with complete disregard for his own personal safety, advanced across the field in the face of heavy enemy small arms fire, thereby causing the enemy to expose their position.” 

“The courage, determination and personal bravery displayed by Lt. Baker was an inspiration to his men and reflects great credit upon himself and the military service.” 

That was my dad alright; always putting others before himself. Shortly after that, he was promoted to Captain.  

On April 11, 1945, the 3rd Armored Division liberated Dora-Mittelbau concentration camp near the town of Nordhausen. This was a work camp connected to the V2 rocket development where the prisoners were literally worked to death or left to die on their own. As my dad told it, the stench from the rotting corpses and the crematories was so great that the townspeople had to have known what was going on there. The townsmen were forced by the allies to remove the bodies of the dead and bury them in mass graves. The few remaining pitiful prisoners were treated by allied medics and evacuated. 

Toward the very end of the war in Europe, my dad was in a traffic accident and severely injured. He spent many months in hospital, and when he finally was reunited with his family, he wore a thick brace on his back. I was two at the time and was very afraid of this strange man with the odd shape. 

My dad was the only member of his original company to return alive from the war. 

My dad receiving his Silver Star medal on the battlefield from General Maurice Rose. Not long after that, General Rose was killed by a German soldier. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Getting Back On The Horse or Facing Easel Anxiety

"Tribute To Glory", 12x12 inch oil on canvas

Do you know that old saying about how you need to climb right back on the horse after falling off? Well, the same is true for artists after an extended period of not creating. 

The truth is that I haven’t done much artwork over the past ten years or so for various reasons, and that has taken a toll on my self confidence and creative abilities. Fear of failure blocks me so often when I even THINK about going in the studio to work on a painting that too often I turn around and leave or find something “urgent” to do instead. There are currently six unfinished paintings on the studio wall that have all been there for a year or more. Most of them I haven’t touched in over a year. 

Well, I finally had to face the truth that the only way to polish up my rusty skills and improve my art was to actually DO it, no matter the outcome. Reading all sorts of articles, going to workshops and listening to podcasts just isn’t going to get me anywhere but more discouraged and bogged down. 

So, I’m committing to putting artwork at the top of my priority list, right after healthy activities and riding. The housework will just have to suffer a little while longer. It’s never been at the top of my list anyway.

To start with, I've committed myself to finishing a couple of paintings before starting anything new although my brain is overflowing with painting ideas that are calling out. First up on the easel is “Tribute To Glory” because it is the closest painting to being done. 

One of the down aspects of not working on a painting for months at a time is that you lose momentum with it and you forget how you were going about it. Even though I’d written notes on what colors I used to mix the horse color and the background color, I still had to mix a lot of paint before I found the mixes that matched well enough with what was already on the canvas. 

The other issue that’s come up for me is wanting to work in another style but being unable to switch horses in midstream, so to speak, on one painting. That will never do, unless I want to start all over again. Nope! 

So here is the latest progress on “Glory”. I’m working in thin layers of paint on a stretched canvas in oils. You can see where I left off just under the jawbone on the neck. Naturally, the next session will involve some tweaking before continuing down the neck. 

That in itself gets to be discouraging. It seems as if I paint paint paint then correct correct correct, then paint some more and correct some more. I suppose that’s true for a lot of artists, but I do wish that I could get it right the first time most of the time, anyway. 

This image is a bit contrasty and the color is a bit off, but maybe next time the sun will be out and I’ll have a better version for you to see. 

That’s all for today. Thank you for taking the time to visit and read and look. I hope you enjoy.