Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Paintings, Paw Prints and Proud Poultry

A few more pictures of the American Gothic painting...

I needed a pattern for the cat's dress. I really wanted it to be a paw print, but I didn't want to paint one over and over, so I carved a tiny paw print stamp!

I tested it out before using it to see where it needed some trimming,

I'm really happy with how it turned out! Check back for the finished piece!! Coming VERY soon.

It was a busy weekend. Dan and I also took a trip to Watkins Glen to visit Farm Sanctuary.

Every year they have a "Celebration for the Turkeys" where they set up a feast and let people feed the turkeys. Dan and I have been to this event many times, so we generally hang back until the crowds disperse. I like visiting with the turkeys after everyone else has gone off to the other barns.

Pictured below is Queenie who escaped a slaughterhouse in NYC and fled into the streets. Fortunately, she ended up here and has been happily grazing with the herd ever since.

And this is Lawrence, one of the sanctuary's newer additions. Lawrence is very interested in the cup of cider I am hiding behind my back.

Lawrence came to the sanctuary with Alexander and Blitzen, pictured below. Blitzen was a bit of a spaz in his early days. Check out the video. I promise, it will make you smile.

We like to participate in the Adopt a Turkey program that Farm Sanctuary promotes during the celebration. This is Skip, our adopted turkey. He was having very proud day. There was a lot of strutting and showing off going on.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

New Paintings

Just thought I should take you on a little tour of the studio to see what's been going on recently. I have been working on a painting for the 2012 Pawcasso Art Auction to benefit the Spay and Neuter Syracuse clinic. SANS is "a non-profit clinic devoted to the sterilization of unowned cats and dogs (shelter animals, feral cats) and pets belonging to low-income persons."
This will be a little different from my previous donations to the event. The image is going to be printed on t-shirts and posters and the current plan is to have a live auction for this piece at the end of the evening. Kind of exciting! And a little nerve wracking. I'm used to the silent auction process where I can quietly sneak a peek at the bids throughout the night!
So anyhow, here is the piece in progress...
It's based on the Grant Wood painting "American Gothic"

My helpers are always ready to assist...

Lately I've been doing complementary under paintings when I start a piece. I put down a layer of the opposite color first. I find it brings a little extra richness to the colors.

I will post more about this painting as it progresses. The next pictures are from Veteran's Day. I decided to take a break from "American Gothic" (which will need a name of its own soon and I am WIDE open for suggestions) and paint something just for me. It was a cold and kind of snowy day. The cats wanted to go out, but they didn't stay long. And here I must explain- I realize there are two schools of thought on the subject of outdoor cats. While I understand that outdoor cats are more likely to get injured or killed, and it also puts small wildlife in danger, I have a hard time looking at them staring out the window knowing how much they just want to soak up some sun. So I have a rule that they can go outside as long as they stay near me or at least within my sight. They have always been pretty good about this.

They're much less excited about going out in the cold, so as the storms started to roll in, so did the cats. I love the way the snow clouds look look so ominous...

I started this painting of the view from the studio window. Cinders is assisting.

Bandit doesn't like to stay out for long either when it's snowy.

You can see the tree with its yellow leaves that was the inspiration for this painting through the window. I loved how it looked with the purple-gray sky behind it.

Another storm appears on the horizon...

Just a few final touches...

It was a beautiful day. But I always find Veteran's Day a little distressing- everyone in my family has the day off except my father- the VETERAN.

Monday, October 10, 2011

What's left in the fall gardens...

What a gorgeous weekend!! We had sunny skies and 80 degree weather for three days. For upstate New York in October, that's pretty awesome. I spent a lot of time in the gardens today and thought you might enjoy a little tour...

There are mums, of course...

and ornamental grasses.

This is a ceramic fish that I made. He's swimming through the sedum that usually looks nice even after the snow falls.

I love the berries on the flowering crab trees.

This is what most of the gardens look like right now. Some people cut down all the dead stuff, but I like to leave some things for the birds. They like to eat the seeds on the liatris plants and the coneflowers.

There are still annuals left, like the impatiens. My new mini hosta "Twist of Lime" has a little blossom waiting to come out. I hope it has time!


Sweet peas...

And a sweet old dog keeping an eye on everything. Welcome Fall!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Illustration Friday : Mysterious

"The small bed, the even smaller food dish... it was all very mysterious. Were they going to make him diet again? Whatever the situation, Max was certain it did not warrant a bow."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Beautiful Distractions

So... I had big plans to spend lots of time in the studio today tidying up and starting some new artwork, but there are baby juncos outside. How is one supposed to stay inside when THIS is going on right outside the window??

Susan Branch made me feel a lot better with her post today. She was having the same problem. I felt a lot less guilty about my messy studio and lack of paintings, but then of course I started missing Cape Cod again (She lives on Martha's Vineyard and I've been having beach blues since getting back- more on the trip later!). I am loving her blog.

Engine had a far more productive day in the studio. He is Chief Hummingbird Swatter. He spends quite a bit of time staring at the feeder and jumping at the window. This is funny once. Well, ok, maybe twice.

I also did some reading with Bandit and Cinders (also known as "The Old Man" and "The C".) But I did not one thing in the studio. And I am forgiving myself for that- no, I am COMMENDING myself for that. It was a great day. And I do have something to show you that I just finished recently....

You can see my faithful subject asleep under the easel.

Almost finished...

A few days it was cool enough to paint outside. I liked the picture below because Bandit is sniffing the air just like in the painting.

And there it is...

I titled it "Stories Told on a Warm Breeze". A long time ago before I even had Bandit, someone at a park told me that you have to be patient while walking your dog when they constantly stop to sniff things. "It's their version of reading a book," he told me. I never forgot that.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Traveling with me...

I love Martha Stewart. I love her crafts, I love her magazines, I can't get enough. So of course, I am a frequent visitor to The Martha Blog. For about a year I have been thinking about how funny it is that she seems to do the same things I'm doing at the same time. Of course, not exactly in the same way. When Martha does things she is efficient, organized and she does things on a much grander scale. When I was visiting some local garage sales, she was hunting for bargains in Palm Beach. When I purchased and planted a couple of trees from a local nursery, she started a reforestation project. See? Same thing, just on a different scale. It's crazy.

A recent entry that Martha posted was titled “What It's Like to Travel With Me”. She starts out talking about how she met her hair stylist at 8 am AFTER a vigorous workout. Her housekeeper makes her a lovely breakfast while she has a cappuccino, and her wardrobe stylist packs her outfits. If you click through the photos, there's a picture of G.K. her Chow, who has been beautifully goomed for her departure. She leaves her property director with a list of things to do as she climbs into her brand new SUV where her driver will be taking her to the airport. Here she boards her private jet and flies in quiet comfort to her destination.

When I read this, I was in the midst of getting ready to leave for a week long trip to Plymouth and Cape Cod, and this is when I decided it was time to start posting my "Just Like Martha" series. Like most things that will show up in this series, traveling with me is a far cry from traveling with Martha, but I have fun making the comparisons anyway.

My travel morning starts out with me scrambling out of bed and scrubbing down my shower for our house sitters. I do this while showering to save time. Then I put new sheets on the bed and vacuum the house for the 14th time in two days. It is still full of pet hair. I start some kind of petty argument with my husband because he doesn't seem to care that we didn't wash the windows or dust the piano, even though our house sitters will see this and know I am not Martha. Plus, I am really irritated that he is already finished packing. Maybe he has a wardrobe stylist that I don't know about! In between checking my list on the computer, I hop over to the Martha Blog to see what she's doing and I am surprised to see the travel article (even though it was reposted from an old entry, I still find this uncanny). There is no time to sit down for breakfast (even thought there WAS time to check the Martha Blog) and plus we are out of milk, so I eat a granola bar while I am unloading the dishwasher again for about the 4th time in two days. I am still trying to figure out how two people generate so many dishes.

Dan complains that the only thing he didn't have time to do before the vacation was get his hair cut. I restrain myself from reciting the list of things I didn't get around to, only because there isn't time. We cram our luggage into our rusting Subaru that has recently begun making strange and unidentifiable noises. We do have new bikes that we are excited to try out, but the bike rack is designed for mountain bikes and may or may not hold them. We go ahead and strap them on hoping for the best. The car so full there is barely room for the dog, who did not get groomed before our departure. He is sporting a big yellow stain on his currently off-white coat where we gave him his flea and tick meds, and he appears to have small mop heads attached to his feet.

I leave a list of instructions for my aunt and uncle who very generously offered to stay at our home while we're away. My aunt is deathly allergic to cats. We have three. We leave an hour later that we were hoping to, and I realize about 6 miles from home that we forgot to bring something. But, we're on our way and we're not turning back. I prop my feet up on the dashboard because there isn't room for them on the floor, pull out the old lap top and start typing. Ah, Martha. Could we be related somehow?