Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy New Year!!!

Many people are kicking around the 'whatcha doing New Year's?' question.    So I'll just put it out here.  

First, I really don't make any plans, and staying home is just a fine idea.    And with no plan, that's usually the way it goes.  

One of my personal highlights on this night home is oiling my easel.  Oh, the excitement you say!    Ok, its not the crazy party of my past, but somehow its a thing that has evolved into a tradition for me and it makes me happy.   Starting a new year with my equipment ready says I am planning to be painting and working on my art.   Some years I even did a painting as well, what a wild night!
  Pretty simple really.   My plan for this new year isn't much different than last year's, just that I want to do more of it....and by it, I mean art and riding both.  
I have gotten a couple new books on drawing, as I would like to use these cold winter days for study, and improve my skills.   I plan to do lots of exercises, so I had the local print shop bind up some big newsprint pads into smaller, more useable sizes.  The first book I'm working on is by James Gurney and Thomas Kinkade.   (took forever to find an affordable one!)  I must say, wow, this book is fantastic!   Highly suggested, full of good stuff.

So I guess that's as far as I've gotten.   Not any big wild party or major happening, but it makes me happy, and that's what counts, right!?  

Sunday, December 28, 2014

on a roll with Tootsie

Now that the paintings have all been gifted, I can show them here.   This first is Tootsie, an elderly mare who was dearly loved.  Sadly she had to be put down this fall due to her failing health, but first I was asked to take photos for a painting.   This old gal did not want me around, no way, no how!   But I got in enough photos to work with, and with a couple from her younger days, was able to complete the portrait.    Once I started the painting I just couldn't put it down, and stayed up half the night, I was on a (Tootsie) roll!  
Tootsie, 18x24 pastel on uart600.    
Here is the start, you can sort of make out that Tootsie had some old-horse saggy lips, which I 'fixed'.   she also had some loss of muscle tone, also fixed.    I put in the darks first, and washed them in with alcohol.  
Now I started adding local color.   I use all manner of pastels, really couldn't say exactly which were used.    I do have that black tape on the paper, to keep me blocked in, else I wander too much.    And this is where I got so involved, I simply forgot everything and just painted til the painting was done, and I was burned out.  

I hope this little demo has at least been interesting if not helpful!  If you have any questions or comments, I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, December 26, 2014

I'm so tired of painting....

Hmm, maybe I better clarify this.   I am sick and tired of this kind of painting...
One more corner to prime and paint

ugh, the dust and clutter are everywhere!
I should've waited til the trim was on!    Its not as yellow in real life, either, but as least now its so cheerful and bright!   Much more energy from this color.
I don't think I'll ever tire of THIS kind tho!.......
River Ridge Trail   9x12 pastel on PastelMat paper.   $165

I had a few days that I could finally devote to repainting that dull grey in the studio, to a light, pale, sunny yellow.   This has taken so long as I can only do one area at a time due to all the 'stuff'.   But it'll be finished today, and then a New Year can begin with a spiffy studio.    Here's one corner, with a vintage hutch added to display my handmade goat's milk soaps, note cards and mini paintings....

The painting in this post was done on my wall-painting break.   It's a place I rode my horse several times this past summer-- a pickup trail that is at the top ridge of the west side of Missouri River.   The families who own the land graciously let me ride there any time, and its just such a pretty place.  One of my favorite rides.    More paintings will come from that area, no doubt!   I didn't make good time on those rides due to gawking around at how amazing that place is!

Also for this painting, I wanted to try out the new pastel surface, PastelMat.   This was done on a deep gold color from a 9x12 pad.     Its a nice paper, didn't seem to eat up pastels, and did take plenty of layers.   I did seem to feel it didn't do as well using harder pastels, I found using softer types like Unison and Ludwig worked better for me on this.   I think I am somewhat heavy handed if that makes any difference.    I would certainly use it again, but I think I will be happier to continue using my sanded surfaces .  

Our holiday was nice, we didn't go far from home and its most certainly white!    Got in a freezing cold bareback ride with Daughter, visited some friends, had supper with the family which now include 2 of the cutest sweet baby boys ever known!!    With some chocolates and the time for some art, I'd call that a well done holiday!   Wishing the best for you as well!!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

mounting pastel paper

Hello!   I am not able to show what I'm working on, as they are Christmas gifts and I'm not going to be the one who blows the surprise!   But, I thought today would be a good time to post how I mount sanded paper to a support board. 

Mounting it isn't something that has to be done, as sanded papers are usually heavy enough to stand alone.  I get mine in rolls, which lead to the problem of curled paper.  Not good!   I am currently using UART in 600 grit, and I very much like this paper.  Has lots of grit but doesn't seem to eat my pastels as badly as papers with heavier grit.   It handles wet underpainting well and getting a roll was more economical than sheets.   And, its just fun to have a half acre of paper, just waiting for me! 

First, figure out what you want to mount to.  I won't use products that aren't acid free, so I won't mention that at every turn today, just know, its all acid free.   So that said, you can use foam board, mat board, or mount board.   I chose foam board today.   I also chose to use grafix double tack film.   I also got my brayer and some black tape.

This piece will be 16x20, so I cut my UART to a size a bit larger, so I have space to scribble, try out colors, edges of sticks, etc.  I must have scribble space!   Then I cut the tack film to size of the UART, and the foam board is a tad larger on all sides.    I start by making pencil lines where the paper will go, then peel up one corner of the tack film, (its got slick papers on either side of the film). and smooth-smooth-smooth all the way across the foam board, rubbing with my hand, only peeling as much as I can smooth at one time.   At this point, I have a foam board with a tacky sheet on it, with a slick sheet still on top.   I now peel the top slick sheet, just a corner, and line up the UART and start peeling and rubbing down just like before.   Ta-da!   A mounted piece of sanded paper.

Next, I have started using that black tape to mark my borders.   It makes it easier for me to judge the composition this way, otherwise I seem to just keep going, then when I trim the paper to frame later, sometimes the design suffers as I now have cut off part of the painting.    This black tape fixes that problem.   I can take it off or leave it as its acid free.   (yes, I said it again!)   I run the tape about 1/4 inch outside my border.   
Ready to paint!    I put it on my main easel, using some cheapo (not acid free!) wide masking tape at the top corners, and a small clamp at the bottom.   The large white board is my drawing board, I made that with foam board on top of luan board, then painted it with floor finish poly so tape won't rip it.   I did this so I dont' have to keep adjusting my easel height--now I just tape/clip where I want the paper.  and sometimes I work big enough to cover that whole drawing board.   I also like my little quotes where I can see them.    Have a Great week!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Too Darned Cold!

All was nice here one day, then pow, next day winter has set in with a vengeance!  eek!  
Ah, well, that's ok, as my studio is very cozy.   I am hard at work doing Christmas commissions, but in between, I snuck in a couple smalls of my own.   Both 8x10, one is framed and one is simply in one of my 'package frames'....a very inexpensive document type frame that just snaps on, and makes for a very easy way to ship, store and view works.  

A hay bale in new snow, with a rooster pheasant on top.   framed with a rustic style and no-glare glass.

A view from a recent plein air trip to DeSmet, home of Laura Ingalls.  And I didn't make this up, it was really just this way!   "Breaking Thru" 8x10 pastel

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

My Happy Place

I hope everyone has one, as I really think its completely essential.   Especially if you create, having a place of one's own, where you can make a mess and leave it, make mistakes and not worry about what anyone thinks, the freedom to experiment, and somehow, it just feels good to be there, in that space.  Big or small, but it must be your own.

I love love love my studio!!  It was built to my spec's a few years ago when the whole house was built.  I got to say what lights went in, where the switches are, what color to paint the walls.    For that, I went with what I had read, a neutral grey, is best.  I painted both the frame room and studio a dove grey.   I kinda liked it, I lived with it, and about a year ago I came to realization that I hate it.   Truly despise it, as it feels like a prison.  So I think, as I've never actually been to a prison, but this is what I imagined it to feel like.  Dismal, gloomy, grey.   

And, I also came to the conclusion that my studio is MY happy place, and should be as I wish.   I have long loved cream/butter/yellow.   I love farmhouse style.   Simple off white elegance.   So why shouldn't my bestest happy place be the happy color I love?   So, without further ado, I went looking at swatches.  

You would think simple cream would be, well, simple to get.   There are tons of 'cream' colors.   I finally chose one that looks very much like the rich cream of my neighbor's jersey cow.    And a lovely sage green for the trim, which currently is also grey.   Sadly, I am really busy and didn't think I  have time to get to this project.  But, today, I succumbed and just did one wall.   I just couldn't wait another day!!  

I am sure the photos don't show how perfectly charming it is, but trust me, its now so much more of a happy place!
you can see how much brighter the cream is vs. the grey, I think my paintings will look better against it.   The cream is also semi gloss whereas the grey was eggshell and just ate any light it could get.   blah! 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Black Hills Ride

A few posts ago I mentioned a horse event and I'd like to share that with you now.   I have always loved to ride, and I tried different things like roping, barrels, and trails.   The trails won out, hands (or hoofs?) down.   My mom had me riding for miles and miles since I was little and its that kind of riding I still like best.  In fact, I seldom do anything other, except round up cows now and then.  

So it seems pretty natural that endurance riding has always appealed to me too.   Going long distances, on one horse, in a certain amount of time.   How I've drooled over the idea!!!   For years now!    But it seemed out of reach by now, and that was sad to me. 

I thought though, I could buy one of those nifty lightweight saddles.   So I did.  And it was good.   Then I thought, hmm, how bout one of those classy breast plates and a sweet little hackamore?   oh yes, I got those too, and it was better yet.   hmm.   Now I am thinking, maybe I can just go watch an endurance race, help out a bit?    Or, better yet, try it?!  Did I dare?   My horse isn't one of those streamlined Arabian beauties, but rather a big ol lug of a quarter horse.   So after MUCH encouragement from friends and family, I signed up.   And it was GREAT!!    I laughed, I cried, and I slept in the rain.   And I can't wait to try it again!

 The open area where we camped,
 we're in the middle there.
  My neighbors were some awesome 
gals who were helpful and fun.

Just ridin down the trail on ol' Copper....best view in the world!

the vet check area

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Sound of Silence

A few weeks ago I realized I was spending too much time on gadgets---phone and computer.   I decided to give it a rest.   So I let my friends know that I was going out of range for a week.  

I thought it'd be hard.  Nope.  I thought I'd go a bit stir crazy.  Nope.  What did happen is I got TONS done.  Tons of art, tons of riding, and even more contemplating.  
It was relaxing and energizing at the same time.   It was so good, I plan another soon.   But in the meantime, here's what I was working on.   Actually, its a *part* of what I'm working on, as I don't want to show the whole thing til its done.  

It's a commission from a very fun lady from Tennessee.   Ms. B asked me to do an 18x24 painting of her husband, his son, and their labs, out hunting during a hoar frost.   The challenges of this piece are first, the orange!  Not a color commonly found or used, and can be tricky to work with.   Second, that frost is also tricky, really messes with the values that are normally found.  

Ms. B did provide fantastic photos to work with however, and I'm happy about that.  
I'm working on Uart 600, with an underwash, that you can see bits of in the background especially.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

soap week

This has been soap week for me.  Not soap as in tv show, soap as in bubbly shower bars.   I make soap with my goat's milk, its luxurious!    I have several orders for soap and am out, so a-soaping I will go...
 This is 2 batches, cut into nice big bars.  One is basic without anything extra, one has a Sweet Meadow fragrance and my house smells divine!  

On the easel, I am working on a painting of a father and son hunting,during a hoar frost.    This is the last photo I took, and its in an ugly stage now, so I dont' post those!    This is 18x24 on Uart paper, 600g.
My time is short this week, I have a horse event coming up that is taking much of my time, and most of my thoughts!    More on that next time.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Rena the Bay Mare

I recently had the pleasure of painting Rena, an endurance horse owned by Debra J., from MN.   If I remember correctly, Rena was a rescue horse, who had some issues that were tough to overcome, but look at her now!   A beautiful deep bay with sparkling eyes!     Thank you Ms. Debra for the honor of painting this lovely mare!

Here's the start, on a piece of chocolate brown Colorfix paper.   I transferred my sketch, added a deep background with blues, browns and purples.   I hit the highlights and areas where her coat is the most rich in color.   And tagged on her tail, which she often has flipped to this side, love a mare with some 'tude!

Here's a close up of her face, almost done.  I went back in and worked her eyes a bit more, adding some sparkle.  

And the (almost)final.   I went back once more and added some definition around her muzzle, and yet again, didn't take another photo.   ugh, I would love to quit making that mistake!!     This painting has since made it to Debra, who was pleased.      Can I paint your critter?    Paintings are easy to ship and I've never heard anyone claim buyer's remorse from getting original artwork!!

Thursday, August 28, 2014


In between my art and horses, and goats, and garden, I try to make time to cook something decent.   I used to like those canned or boxed 'foods', but eww, not anymore.   I've spoiled myself with the good stuff! 

Take bread.   Staff of Life and all that.   The stuff in the store is both dreadful expensive and yet, not very good.   The store brand cheaper stuff is just nasty, fluff, and sticks to my front teeth.  The other, I still can't read most of what's in it, and why does it last sooo long?   I find food that doesn't spoil, well, odd. 

So several years ago I started buying those frozen loaves.  ok, not great, but better.   I swore I can't make bread!   Then I was encouraged to do so by a few of my friends.  Lo and behold!  I created BREAD!   oh boy!   Now I make all sorts of bread, and most recently found flatbread.   I am lovin the flatbread!   It has no yeast either, I think I like that.  Takes all of *maybe* half hour to make 12 pieces.  Great for sandwiches, and....PIZZAS!
This my friends, is no ordinary pizza.   I have goats, remember?   I make cheese.  Gooey, stringy mozzarella.   so this, is a goat cheese, hamburger (ranch raised) and fresh garden tomato, pizza.    I did buy the 'shrooms.   But, its pretty satisfying to make something like this, from scratch, and is was tasty!!   In case you'd like to try flatbread, here's the recipe.   Its so incredibly simple!! 
3cups flour (I use unbleached, unbromated or white whole wheat, or combo of)
2tsp salt
2stp baking powder
1 pinch baking soda
3T. shortening (I use only my own rendered lard for anything calling for shortening)
mix all this with a fork, then add...
1c. water.    mix with the fork, might need to add a touch more water, til its not dry but not sticky.   knead a short time, roll into a loose roll shape, cut into 10-12 pieces.
(*note...recipe said 4 pieces, but that would make these things soo heavy and thick.   I find 10-12 pieces yields large enough breads without being overly thick.)

roll out onto cutting board with flour, into a circle or I do ovals.   I roll very thin!   pierce with fork and plop down onto a hot pan on the stove.  no oil needed.   it will begin to bubble a bit, turn and brown each side.   (I roll my next one while its cooking).    place it aside when done, til all the dough is used.  I kinda place them around the cutting board, then when done, they're pretty much cool and put them into a baggie. 

At first, they seem too dry/crispy.   they will soften up.   these things are great for just as a sandwich bread, eating fresh out of the pan and hot, and for pizzas!   This would've been a bread I would've liked to make back when I couldn't, anyone truly can make this.    In the store, a package of 6 flatbreads is $3.   I would guess maybe $1 for a dozen, and without the icky stuff added.    enjoy!  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Days are getting shorter

Here's where I went riding the other day.  Lovely little spot, isn't it?
It was so pretty and peaceful.   I loved how the shadow areas were so blue!   I decided to snap a shot of it and paint it in studio.   I used a piece of Uart paper, 500g.   I used a nice warm red-brown under painting as I was planning for those cooler blues on top, and thought the warm under cool would pop.   The rusty tones also helped out with all those greens, which can be problematic in summer.

As for the composition, I had to be sure the road didn't fling the viewer out, so I made the grasses a bit taller at the upper right to keep the eye in the painting, going back to the treeline and the larger, main tree.   This is a little painting, only 8x10, I often find those a lot of fun as I can do them in one go, and not lose my excitement.    

I am experimenting with leaving a bit of the surfaces a tad 'unfinished', and I'm liking that.   I like the sketchy feeling of that.   I dont' want my work to look 'like a photo'.  (especially one of my photos! ekk!)   And I also then can allow some of my under painting work to show, which is nice contrasting against the more finished areas. 

This little gem is not yet framed, but is offered for sale at $100.   Framing available however, should you want to bring her home ready to hang!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rena's Ready!

This mare is a real lovely lady from Minnesota.  Her name is Rena and her owner is Deb, and they do long distance riding.   Deb sent me photos to work from and with those and her input, I created this portrait.   Its 16x20 on dark brown sanded paper. 

Here's the block in---The outline is there, the highlights are there, and a hint of the background.   Just to mention, this is the second time I started this.  The first start was all wrong.  and I just couldn't ignore it and move on, it had to get fixed.   So I washed it down with mineral spirits, creating part of the dark background Deb had asked for.   then re-sketched Rena and this time, it was right. 

here's a close up of her lovely deep eyes.   IRL (in real life) the eye is much more dark, guess I'll never make a good photographer!   
 The finished Rena, and will be on her way to Deb very soon! 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

lots to tell

summer seems pretty busy for everyone and I'm no exception--but today I will play a bit of catch-up with my blog.

In late July, I taught a 3day workshop in a lovely lodge near Platte, SD, sponsored by the Stagecoach Gallery, where I show my work.   I had 4 students, who did fabulously.   The first day we talked about materials and mark-making.   The second day was about value mostly.  The third was working on a painting idea, then some plein air.    photo by Mary Hunt, Stagecoach owner.   My youngest student was Torri, and the furthest-away was Vernita, from Texas!   A couple students had a very limited number of pastels, but look at what can still be done, nice showing of work here!

Then a couple weeks passed with me doing the stuff I left aside to prepare for the workshop.....until the DeSmet plein air paint out!   How I LOVE paint outs.

DeSmet is where the Laura Ingalls pageant is held and there is an area set up just like it would've been in her day, lots to paint!    We had most of the weekend as rainy, grey days, which isn't something I usually paint.  I did very much enjoy that tho., was different and somewhat a challenge instead of the typical sunny 'pretty' day, the grey days have their own serene beauty.   And, I'd much prefer grey to heat, any time!

I could easily paint there for a month.   I hope to return next year, as I feel I haven't even begun to paint the possibilities available there.  And, the Harvey Dunn Society was sooo accommodating to the 50 or so artists, making us meals, handing out water and fruit, a big thanks to them!!

Here I am starting a 10x10 on Uart paper, of a distance farm.   sadly, I didn't photograph it when I was done, and it sold at the wet-paint sale at the end of the weekend, which is good, but when will I ever remember to get those photos??!
this last photo is of inside the schoolhouse, it was misty/sprinkling so I went inside the building instead.   This was done on Uart, with some alcohol underpainting.   This was one of my favorites of the weekend.   My other and very favorite sold, again, without a photo of it.

School has started back up, where Daughter is a senior.  oh my.   How did this happen?   But it leaves my days a bit more open to my own devices, and I've been working steady on some commissions, of horses!   I think this is just awesome, painting people's beloved horses.   And riding my own, weather permitting.   I can ride in rain, but not heat.  blah!

I am making sure to set a goal for the week or day, or even monthly.   Otherwise, nothing gets done.  I find lists to be my best helper in that dept.   If its not on the list, its pretty certain NOT to get done.   I am happy to report today's list has been filled, with the completion of this blog post.   Sometimes an entry gets booted to the next day or further, but I feel best when I can cross each thing off.  Yea!   Makes me feel useful.  

Saturday, July 5, 2014

ok, NOW its done.

Just a quick post, I just wasn't happy with 'something'.   I got a pointer from dear ol mom, and dang, she was right--the dark creek bank was just too straight.   so I 'messed' it up a bit, added some more rocks to break up that area, added some flecks of color for those tiny weed tops and things.  NOW I feel done.  I think.  
close up of rocks, water and the flecks of weeds.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Creekside Aspens

I've finished the piece from my last post--I think its finished.  That is a tricky part, when to say when.   I usually feel its finished when I begin picking at it.   I think my work is better when I just hit and run. 

I may come back to tinker a bit more, but then again, maybe not.   For now, it'll be placed on my 'simmering easel', a smaller easel in the corner of my studio that works stay until framed or shipped or stored.  Gives me time to live with it, and decide once and for all, is it done?

The purple wildflowers are simply the underpainting left alone.   As I was working, I just thought it looked good as it was, I look at those moments like a little gift. 

I often find my work being the kind of place I would like to be--either riding or hiking.   This is no exception, I'd love to ride down that little rocky bottomed creek, but it doesn't really exist like this, so this is the only way I can I guess!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Bad Blogger

I admit, I've not kept up my end of this.   In good weather, I can barely stay away from horses.  I love horses. I love their smell, their soft coats, their spirit.   I love the new saddle I bought, and aim to wear it out in record time!   

I went to my first Est Fest.  An all women trail ride weekend.  I was lucky enough to get my good friend to come along.   We ate out of coolers and slept in my gooseneck trailer.  Our horses each had a stall to relax in, under the trees. All the comforts of home!    This one was held at Turkey Creek Ranch in Newcastle NE.  If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend it!  
 Taking a break at a little cabin.
 Copper (r) and Nibbs (left) having their hay after a day of riding
 Copper doing a great job of the  obstacle course.  Love that guy!
Just one of the many views we all stopped and took in.  

But, its time to get back into the studio.    I am starting a small piece of one of my trips to the Black Hills.  I love it there, especially all those fall colors.    I decided to use Uart paper, 500 grit, and mount it to 8ply board (acid free of course!!)   I used spray and a rolling pin to make a nice board to work on.   That was my mom's rolling pin, so I like using it, but had one for the kitchen already.  Works great for smoothing papers!
 Next in my process is a thumbnail.  I use the grey markers to make light, mid, and dark zones in the sketch, to be sure my value pattern is working.   Instead of printing out large photos, I keep myself from being a copy machine by printing them small.  My program does 9 on a sheet, and I use good paper, so I keep these printed sheets for later use.   Easy to store tons of images in folders, easier to thumb thru rather than on a computer file or disk.    My printer does a nice job with color, too.
 Alrighty, here we go....I used a warm purple Nupastel to block in my darks.  I really can't tell you why, I just did it.   I used alcohol to wash it.  then started in with whatever color I wanted.  Skies are one of the few places I might use a bit of blending by fingers, but not much.  Today I used a piece of pipe foam insulation as I want this sky a bit smooth, but not too much.  I love the strokes of pastel to show here and there.  I am not making a photo, I want it to look like a painting, like art!  
What I am doing here, is I love the basic idea in the top, larger image/photo.  but, it has this paved road, which I do not like.  I am replacing it with the creek in the lower small photo.  Lucky me, it has the light coming from the same direction, making my job tons easier!   Even the shape is very similar!   I may add some rocks from another of those small photos, I'll figure that out later.   This painting is 10x16-ish.   

I am getting geared up for my workshop, and hope you won't miss it!   There's only a few places left, the location is so pretty and class is small, so lots of individual help at your easel is planned.   Join me, you won't be sorry! 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Shipping an Unframed Painting

The only thing pastel is difficult with is, until its framed properly, its easily smeared.    But sometimes a client would rather see the painting and frame it themselves once it arrives at their home.    So, that leaves an issue to ship it without the protection of glass, and here's how I shipped Fizz out last weekend.
This is a painting 'booklet'.   I used a piece of acid free mat, from the middle of a previously cut large mat, and taped the painting down.  Over top the painting, I taped a piece of tracing paper, on all 4 sides as its the side to side that causes issues.   Then a piece of acid free foam board on top, using tape as hinges to make a book.

On the front of the 'book', I wrote directions on how to open it, and attached my business card.   I also wrote my name and phone number for the framer if there are any questions.  I also advised to not spray it with fixative as it very well may darken the painting, and this one in particular would be ruined without those brilliant light areas!

This book then gets wrapped in plastic bags, sealed with tape, into a priority box and sent off to the new owner.    
I am showing how it might look in a wide cherry frame, using spacers and no mats.   I am leaning towards this look more often, using glare-free glass, so the painting can be hung anywhere in a home without loosing it to glare.   I think it also brings out the texture of the pastel strokes, and the colors.   

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Fencing n Fizz

Today was busy busy!   Well, last couple weeks have been, as is usual for most this time of year.   I got my new endurance saddle, and its amazing!   It was custom fit to my horse, and fits him well.   Couldn't be happier with it.

Daughter went on her first out of town trip--to visit friends in Iowa for graduation.   I learned I am NOT ready for empty nest!  

But today she was a huge help in getting my garden fence up.   Without it, I may as well not bother as the hounds run thru it, the chickens peck and scratch it up, the cats, well, eww.   I like having flowers and vegs and berries all mixed, a rather eclectic garden.  
This last week also brought me 7 bottle calves to raise, using some of my goat's milk and some milk replacer.  

For art, well, with all this I've been slacking a bit.  I have about finished Fizz and he will be leaving to Wisconsin tomorrow!   His owner decided she liked it so much to buy it, thanks J.!  
I will be working on some sketches of another horse for a client, and I'm rather in the mood for some small 'quiet' pieces.   Everything is waking up, the birds are singing so much, and there is just a sweet feeling in the air, and sweet smells too--all that just makes me want to paint something small and sweet.  

There is still time and a few openings left for my workshop, but the deadline closes June 20th, so don't put it off too long!   I will cover materials, techniques, color and value.    This is NOT a class to be afraid of, it will be fun, you will learn in the process and there is room for both beginners and those who've worked in pastel before.   It will be in a quiet, beautiful location, so just join in, and spend a weekend having a good time learning with like-minded people!  

Friday, May 9, 2014

Saddle Day

As I mentioned, some of my blog will be related to things other than art.  And today is one of those--its saddle day!   A couple weeks ago a good family friend gave to us a very unique saddle.  After a google search, I learned its a WW11 Japanese Calvary Saddle, cool huh?!   He said he's had it 50 years or more and doesn't remember where he got it.   Stableboy and I looked it over and it doesn't look like any saddle we'd ever seen, nor does it look like its seen any miles on a horse.    But, it was dirty and has a nice wasp condo inside.  today is really nice out, so I got busy.  This thing comes apart right down to the tree, which seems like wood covered with a fiberglass type stuff--but since that wasn't around then, not sure what it really is. 

The under side has panels for padding, and are filled with horse hair.   its quilted with tough string.    
Here is the final project, clean, oiled and I added new leathers, stirrups and a wool girth.   hmm....here pony pony!