Steppe Horse Revisited

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Drawing and drawing colored in with Photoshop of Steppe Horse. The horse was inspired by the Land of the Midnight Sun painting by Eyvind Earle, and this has always been one of my favorite drawings I’ve done. Not just because of the subject matter (though I do really love horses and the steppes), but because I feel like my style really came into its own with this one. I always knew I would revisit it in watercolor, and I’m excited to be working on that piece now.

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I like stylizing horses this way because I think it compliments the expression of their movements and personalities. It’s easy to focus on line when depicting horses because, for me, that’s really what makes a horse a horse. I like making them a little stockier (like Mongol and Icelandic horses) too because I find that shape more aesthetically pleasing.

I’ve been collecting images of the Mongolian Steppes with mountains and hills in the background, but I need to do a little more research to find some steppe plants I’d like to depict in the painting…I feel really good about this one 🙂

New Works and New Domain Name!

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Finished a new painting for my sister-in-law’s engagement party invitation! Also works for Doodlewash’s May Challenge and sailboat prompt! Ocean/bay/sailboat themed! I completely winged this one, and I like how it turned out–I especially like the minimalist pelican and fish in there. And I love painting boats; I think it’s because of the lines–sleek and following the wind, beautifully shaped. The same reason I love drawing and painting horses. Here’s one I’m working on in acrylic, for a change:

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This is just the underpainting, plus a few layers here and there, but I really like the way it’s going. The plan is to do two more horse-themed acrylics and hang them up in the house somewhere. Also working on a little pencil drawing inspired by our chickens! Need to blacken some of the chickens, add some more detail to the ground and color in Photoshop.

And I finally got a personal domain name!! Instead of my name, which is hard to spell for some people on hearing it, I decided to go with wildcountryart.com–using some of the descriptor words in my blog subheading 🙂

Work and Leisure…

…pretty much the same thing for me 🙂

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Working on a snowshoer. This one is inspired by Eyvind Earle, one of my absolute favorite artists. Our family recently went to Truckee around Donner Lake, and we did a bit of cross-country skiing. I hadn’t been skiing in 20 years, so I fell a lot in the beginning…but by the end, I had the hang of it!

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Don’t my kids look thrilled?

Also went hiking in Sunol, probably my favorite nearby park. And lucky for us, the Wildflower Festival was going on, so we brought home a mason bee house, some seed bombs, and some pressed flower bookmarks. I have a lot of pictures, a few of which I’m going to post later when they get uploaded, and many of these pictures are going to be interpreted into paintings. I’ve found that I really enjoy painting landscapes in the style I’ve developed.

I tend to get distracted by things and have been doing a lot of late night reading recently instead of more painting (which I want to do). I’m finishing up Wendell Berry’s The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture, after just reading Bill McKibben’s Deep Economy: the Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future. I’m also getting into David Orr’s Earth in Mind…and I have to say, all of these books, while having Jacques Ellul’s The Technological Society, Merchants of Doubt, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, Manufacturing Consent, and The Overspent American under my belt to name just a few, are not making me feel too optimistic about the future. But, these books are also getting me pretty fired up about teaching, and I hope after completing my credential program I’ll land an Environmental Science job.

Paradise Country Progress Pics

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A work that has been picked up again and again over the past few weeks and finally finished today! I always start with a rough picture in mind, but I never sketch it out. The foreground and focal points are the first to be paint-sketched in.

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Next comes the broad strokes and general shapes of the middle ground. I gradually build on these, adding more and more detail. I always take a step back and look at the painting after each layer I do.

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More detail and more interesting shapes are added. I wanted to add one deciduous tree for a load of OCD-like detail, just because it’s like therapy for me–when I can get lost for a few hours. I was going to put in a windmill to the right of the house, but the tree overtook the space a bit.

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Next I add the tree-topped mountains in the back, along with the night sky. The darker value of the sky really sets of the shapes set against it.

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And…finish up with the details of the details: chicken feather colors and patterns, greenish-gray rock foreground and middle ground, ground cover next to the house, and all the little details of the house itself (which I LOVE). AND I add the stars: first I just dot the already-colored sky with plain water, let it dry and bleed to make a very shimmery, translucent area. Then, I dot some of those spots with white acrylic, to really make a glowing effect.

I’ve really been rediscovering the differences between liquid watercolors, like Dr. Ph Martin’s, and tube watercolors, like Grumbacher or Daniel Smith or Da Vinci. Also, the quality of watercolor PAPER really makes a difference too!

Drawing and a Trip to the Farm

I’ve become an early riser this week in order to get more drawing time in during the day. By the time early evening comes around and the sun starts to go down, I’m beat and I don’t want to do anything other than drink tea and read a book. So, all this week I’ll be setting my alarm clock for 6, maybe even earlier if this is a successful venture.

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This past Friday, the girls and I went to Ardenwood Farm. I LOVE going to farms: so much inspirational material! The girls love the chickens and the goats, but my littlest is not very fond of pigs in the flesh–she loves the movie Babe, but stand her anywhere near a pigpen and she’s not a happy camper. I love them, though. They have the life (at least until they get to be optimum size).

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I love going to this farm in particular because of the eucalyptus trees and old farmhouse with its cottage gardens and gazebo. I like the mix of plants: there are a lot of traditional cottage flowers, like irises and columbine and roses, but there are also a lot of tropical and subtropical specimens. I’m planning a drawing of a cottage garden for sometime in the near future–they are just so magical. You can almost see the fairies fluttering around the leaves and petals!

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I need to find my little Canon Elph camera for our next excursion. I like that better than using my phone, and combined with a little Photoshop Elements, I really like how the pictures turn out.

Hopefully will finish the “Stillness” drawing this afternoon!

THROUGH the ample open door of the peaceful country barn,
A sun-lit pasture field, with cattle and horses feeding;
And haze, and vista, and the far horizon, fading away.

–Walt Whitman

Getting There…

Finally got to work on my painting today and am making some progress! Hopefully, I’ll be done with this one by the end of the night!

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I’m going to try and condition myself to paint more often, even though my free time only comes in hour-long bits of time. If I can paint an hour a day, that would come out to a 5×7 painting a week! So, even if I have to work on smaller pieces, I’ll be able to see the work I put in come to a complete painting in the span of a mere week 🙂

I’m going to try to aim for 15 new pieces over the next 3 months–HOWEVER, a lot of pieces that I’ll be including in that tally are already started and just need to be finished! So this is a project for tying up a lot of loose ends 🙂

Ostara Paintings in the Works

It’s been too long between posts! Time to get back into the painting groove for me. I’ve been busy studying for my teacher credential tests, and that has been taking up a lot of time. I feel a little bereft at not spending as much time as I normally do on painting.

So, I’ve decided to do a few small ones in honor of this coming spring…Imbolc was a week ago, so I missed that one, but Ostara is coming up! And that means rabbits!!

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It’s a little dreary out, right now, but spring is coming…

Quiet but Busy

Hello! I haven’t updated my blog as often as I would like, but that’s because I’m having a bit trouble staying focused on one particular project. I tend to get bored easily and switch my attention on a whim, but this time, I would like to concentrate and follow through with a project.

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I am now working on a deck of oracle cards, this being my first image. When I complete 5-7 cards, I will explain meanings and the method behind the deck. I want to focus solely on this project and dedicate myself to watercolors, with a few commissions thrown into the mix.

I am also working on opening up a Patreon account, which is very exciting for me!

Home Sweet Home

Finally finished a commission! It’s been tough finding the time to work on this one; Anthony has been working like crazy and traveling everywhere, Mena has not been consistent in her naps, and we just had a giant ant infestation. I kind of feel back about that last one: it was total genocide in our house this past weekend.

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Going to send this one off in the mail soon!

Now I am ready to start a special project I’ve been pretty stoked about…I’ve done a lot of research for it already and will post the first paintings for it soon.

Finishing Touches

Finished the 5″ x  7″ unicorn painting. I took a few progress pics to show those who are interested my process. Most of the time, I just make things up as I go, stopping periodically to look at the composition and deciding how to continue, which shapes to integrate, coloring and tone, etc.

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I thought I was going to take a more asymmetrical approach with this one, but then I decided to add similar gingko shapes to the other side in order to create an arch.

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After I finished up the background, I needed to distinguish the unicorn a bit more, make it pop. So, I added some black foliage in order to really contrast with the white. I think I’m going to make this a limited edition of 25, hand-embellished with metallic bronze paint, matted to 8″ x 10″. I’m really excited to be painting again!!

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Pumpkins in the garden are getting orange!!