Saturday, January 26, 2013

My Art Class

I've been painting for about seven years now, but I don't always paint alone. I still take an art class every week and I LOVE it! We are a group of mostly retired people who encourage and inspire one another. Among the group, you will find a couple of watercolorists, several ladies who do intricate drawings in pencil, and painters using acrylics and oils.

The watercolor below was done by one of the quickest members of the group. Jeanne can crank out a beautiful painting in nothing flat! A native New Yorker, she often does scenes from the city and was kind enough to GIVE me a copy of this one. I had it framed for my daughter who will be moving from NYC soon; it will be a nice memory for her.

8.5x11" watercolor by Jeanne

While Jeanne is a speedy artist, Christine takes her time... and then some! She worked for months on this large, handsome drawing of her grandfather holding the reins of two horses. Meticulous, but oh so worth the time she spent!
"Doc and Maude"
pencil drawing by Christine
Christine won "Best of Show" in a regional art competition with this drawing of her grandparents. She worked from a small black-and-white photo... such patience she has! But recently, she's decided to hop over into painting and try out oils. She's started three large paintings. Do you think she'll whip out each one in a day? Me, neither!

"Grandma and Grandpa"
pencil drawing by Christine

A former member of our art class who is getting ready to move out of state... Boo Hoo!... has an upcoming art show in Nashville. Monica has artistic patience too. First, she makes a beautifully detailed drawing of her subject. When that's finished, she paints the same thing in oils. This is my very favorite example of Monica's work. It is of her now-grown daughter sleeping on the couch. The skin and hair are fantastically beautiful!

Monica's oil on canvas of her sleeping daughter

Art class is great fun; we laugh and talk and share creative ideas. There are many other wonderful artisits including some beginners with great potential. We help one another and that's the best part of being together. We give our teacher a hard time too!

Our teacher, Charles Brindley from his website
Charles Brindley is a wonderful artist. You can see his work HERE. Known for his intricately detailed drawings of trees, he also creates fabulous works in oils. However, in our class, he is known for being encouraging and patient! Charles has the ability to look at your work-in-progress and help you see how to improve it. Always calm, philosophical, and extremely kind, he is a wonderful teacher. You can read about his classes and workshops HERE and HERE and HERE.

If you have ever wanted to try your hand at art, I strongly encourage you to take a class. Art is not just for the talented. Almost anyone can learn to draw or paint and an art class is LOTS of fun. I've met some very good friends there! From time to time, I hope to share more of their work on this blog soon. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Growth Chart Art

When my own children were growing up, we always lived in the same house. We knew we'd live there for years to come... and we still do! So we charted the height of each child on the closet wall. The evidence is still there to this day. 

But in today's transient society, families don't always spend decades in the same home. Therefore, a more mobile way of charting the growth of children is a good idea. I've made artwork into growth charts for two of my granddaughters. The growth chart is designed to be hung two feet off the floor. There are markings along the left side and parents can record the child's height and the date with a permanent marker used directly on the art. If they move to a new home, the chart easily relocates too.

24x36 oil on canvas
It currently resides on the wall of my granddaughter's playroom.

Functional and fun, huh?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Charolais Cow

Here's a little painting I did of a Charolais cow on our farm. I had a little trouble getting the cow to look just right. Since my husband is a cattle farmer, he's my worst best critic and I trust him to help me with bovine anatomy quite often!
Charolais with Flowers
11x14 oil on canvas
I was finally satisfied with this painting and gave it as a wedding gift. You can't imagine how overjoyed I was when I received a thank you note from the bride. She said the painting was one of their favorite wedding gifts. WOW, that made me feel really good!

One reason I want to paint faster is so I CAN use my paintings as gifts. If I spend weeks or months on a single painting, it becomes too valuable to give away. Yet, it was such a pleasure to give this one as a gift and know it was appreciated and will be enjoyed for a long time.

Isn't that really what art is all about... making other people stop, think and then smile?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Chasing the Waves

Here's another painting of my granddaughters on the beach.

"Chasing the Waves"
11x14 oil on canvas

Today, I grouped most of the work I've done during the 30 in 30 challenge and snapped this photo. While I haven't finished a painting each day, I'm proud of myself for actually painting several things already this year!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Somewhere Out There

Today's painting is of my oldest granddaughter on the beach last summer. I painted my younger granddaughter HERE, and grandmothers do need to be fair!

"Somewhere Out There"
8x10 oil on canvas panel

The day the photo was taken, the ocean was rolling with waves. It was just after a storm. Initially, I painted the water to reflect that. Then I came back and calmed the sea a bit so the focus of the painting was more on the child. I think that gave the painting more depth. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Palette Knife Painting

I painted some more tangerines today, but this time I used a palette knife! This is my first painting using only a knife.  I watched some of Leslie's palette knife demos HERE and then I gave the technique a try.
5x7 oil on canvas
Here's what I learned today:

I am a messy painter when I use a brush, but I'm even messier with a palette knife. 

Too much paint is not always a good thing.

Painting with a knife is different, but I think I'll try it again!

It's Day 6 of the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge and I'm lagging far behind those artists who finish a painting every day.  That's okay; I'm having fun!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

It's Roscoe, not Rosie

I live on a farm. In fact, my husband, Pa, is a full time farmer who backgrounds feeder cattle. Since I really like to paint cattle, he is happy to provide me with plenty of subject matter.

This little calf was born on our farm last spring and he ended up as a bottle calf. There's a funny little story to go with the painting too.
12x12 oil on canvas
In the spring, my husband checks the cows often to be sure they are all okay and having no trouble calving. He watches that the new calves are being fed and cared for by their mothers. Sometimes a heifer, a first time mother, will abandon her baby! One Sunday morning he found two calves on two different farms who appeared to be alone. Pa watched them all day but no mother cows came to care for them. He was finally able to identify one calf's mother and by putting them together in a stall in the barn, he got the cow to start feeding her calf.

The other calf was not so lucky. We could never identify the mother so we brought her home in the floorboard of the truck and started to bottle feed her.

We named her Rosie. 
Look at those long eyelashes!

Pa got plenty of help giving Rosie her bottle.

Rosie always wanted MORE!

What a milk mustache!

About a month later, Pa noticed something about Rosie. He said, "Peg, we're going to have to change her name to Roscoe." Yes, lifelong farmer Pa didn't pay attention to which baby calf he reunited with the cow. One was a bull and the other a heifer. The one we were bottle feeding was the bull. 

Rosie was a boy! 
I can't believe we didn't notice that sooner!

So Rosie became Roscoe,
and our daughter said, "Pa, you're slipping!"

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Fearless Frolic

Last summer my granddaughters had a great time playing on the beach. The two-year-old showed no fear of the waves. She ran and splashed with abandon, in spite of the fact that both her parents and various other relatives hovered nearby trying to keep her safe. 

"Fearless Frolic"
8x10 oil on linen panel

Grandma Peg was busy with the camera. I specifically took some shots that didn't show her face. I'm not a portrait artist, but I really wanted to capture the moment. I hope this little painting will remind us of the fun we had!

"Fearless Frolic"
8x10 oil on linen panel, unfinished
reference photo on the left

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Bowl of Tangerines

We've been enjoying those sweet little tangerines called Cuties. I brought a big bag of them home from the grocery and put them in a blue and white bowl. 

They looked pretty enough to paint... so I did.

They looked good enough to eat... so I did that too. Yum!

"A Bowl of Tangerines"
8x10 oil on canvas panel

This is another quick painting for the 30 in 30 days challenge at Leslie Saeta's Slices of Life blog.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Something to Crow About... maybe not

Finishing a painting in one session is difficult! Here is a quick little rooster I did yesterday to post for the Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days challenge at Leslie Saeta's blog. I'm not exactly satisfied with it, and I know I'll end up coming back to touch it up... but for now, it's a painting that was done in one day... Whew!

Colorful Rooster
8x10 oil on canvas board

A couple of years ago, I painted the rooster below. I like it much better, but I don't remember how much time I spent on it. The strokes are bold and free; maybe that's a technique I need to revisit. It's certainly a way to move a painting toward completion quickly.

"Something to Crow About"
8x10 oil on canvas
I hope you'll visit Leslie's blog to check out some of the other participating artists. I'm happy that I persuaded a painting friend to join in. You can see Jo's painting of her cute little dog, Wolf Man HERE. While you're visiting her website, check out the wonderful pencil and ink drawings too!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

With a new year and a new blog, I've decided to take part in the 30 Paintings in 30 Days challenge.  I love to paint, but so often life gets in the way. Perhaps the challenge will motivate me... at least, I will enjoy seeing what other artists are painting... and maybe, maybe I will find time to devote to painting myself! 

"Mr. Haynes' Cow"
24x24 oil on canvas
My resolution for the new year is to paint MORE QUICKLY as well as to paint more often! In the past, I've done larger, more complicated paintings that take a lot of time. I'll continue to do some of those, but I want to work on doing some quick little paintings too.

Life will get in the way, I'm sure! A new grandchild is due later this month and I will put down my brush immediately to rush off to see her. Still, I will paint as much as I can! Thirty new paintings in thirty days?... no way!