Friday, January 20, 2012

Looking back, looking forward... Funtry Friday!

Wow - there was so much crazy busy-ness at the end of 2011, that I am still trying to get caught up in 2012.  Here's a little look back over the last couple of weeks so you can see what Country Fun I have been having...

I watched the pets for my daughter and her family while they were traveling.  The Phoenix Greyhounds were *brrrr*shiver*cold* up here.  Sooo.... can't quite call this "hogging" the heater... how about "dogging" the heater.  Glory and Gotcha have an entire room, but they both wanted to huddle up to the heat dish.  So much so, that Glory has her foot on top of Gotcha.

I had way too much fun cleaning the rat cage.  Do you like the little sculpture I created here?  Chip did!

Here she is taking a break from playing in the maze.  Food was more interesting once it arrived.  Chip is a Hairless Rat.  Yes, I know - but I think she is cute.

We had some cold, icy, foggy days.  Brrrrrrr!  Check out the ice all over Billie Jane.  Hershey was covered with ice, too, but it shows up more on the redhead.  Funny thing was, all the ice was on this side of her - with nothing on the other side.  Go figure...

Cynthia and the girls came up to gather all their pets and take them home.  Of course, the girls wanted to do chores with Grammy, so Mama stayed long enough for them to do that.  Here they are taking turns feeding Bethie her grain.  They all, I might add, braved a very cold wind, too!

Today, in my rearview mirror, I was looking back at the cool 1940s grain mill that is part of Olsen's Grain.  I made a stop here to get some hay, salt, and, well - some grain.  Have to keep all the critters, happy around here.

And what am I looking forward to now? 

A little studio time! 

Yay and yes!  The bookkeeping is done for a while, the errands have been run, stuff stowed and stored so time for some more fun.  Tomorrow I will put a pot of soup on to cook and then grab my paint brushes. 

Hope you all have a fun day, too!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Oh, yay! Look what's happening in my studio!

I have followed Sharla's Beaded Tail blog for a long time.  Her critter *tails* and strolls with Sadie are soooo much fun!  Sharla donates a portion of all of her sales from her lovely shop on Etsy, Beaded Tail, to animal charities.  She was able to donate almost $900 last year!  WOW!  Congrats to Sharla and the charities!

So what does all of that have to do with what's happening in my studio?  Well, I am honored to be selected by Sharla to do a portrait of each of her delightful furries! 



Sadie got to be first and here she is with some splashes of color where here darkest darks are...

I love the photo of Sadie that Sharla sent me.  Sadie has such a wonderful personality and it really looks like she is grinning.  Quite often when I am painting animals, I will work on the eyes first.  I like to capture the expression there which really determines the entire "feel" for the painting.  See?  I think her eyes are smiling!

Sadie is a Husky and in this photo you can see some of that great Husky color showing up.  I will bet that there was a cookie on the other side of the camera when Sharla took this picture!  She is definitely grinning.

To see photographs of these precious critters and to find out more about Sharla and what she does to help animals, visit her blog, Beaded Tail.  Bet you will find yourself strolling over there on a regular basis!

Stroll back here, too, and watch the progress on these three adorable furries.  I'm sure that Isabella and Angel will catch up to Sadie pretty quickly!


Friday, January 6, 2012

On the 12th Day of Christmas... in the Funtry Friday zone!

I once led an entire Girl Scout Brownie Troop in singing this song *a capella* and it has never been quite the same for me since then...  Nor have I ever led any singing anywhere, for which, I am sure, there are many grateful (now adult) Brownies!

I still enjoy the song and often find myself humming it during the Christmas season all the way to the 12th Day of Christmas.  I would tell you exactly when that is, but I would have to resort to math.  Not happening!

But, in honor of Epiphany (the day that celebrates the coming of the wise men to worship Jesus) which finishes the 12 Days of Christmas ( somewhere close to this date), here is my Funtry Friday version of this beloved ballad.  Once again, it will never be quite the same... but at least you can't hear me singing!

On the 12th Day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me...

12-ish Chickens pecking...
11 Bales of hay...
10 1 Bunny bouncing (looks like 10!)
9 Cans of grain...

8 Grumpy goat looks...
7 Days of ice...
6 Sacks of feed...

5 Guineas singing...

4 Critters playing...
3 naps a day...
2 muddy shoes...

And a Greyhound in a water bucket!

Happy Epiphany!
Hope you enjoyed your 12 days after Christmas.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What is this blank-ness of paper that I see?

Ah ha!  An experiment is happening!  An adventure into a new technique... a fanciful flight of mixed media splashes...

Or, could it possibly be the beginning of a large mess in the sink that will feed the round file?

Well, follow along with me and see what you think...

First step is to securely tape some 140 pound watercolor paper to a sheet of plexiglass - well, at least that's what I did.  If you try this technique, you will want a nonporus surface that can be soaked in water and a paper that can take the soaking and will work well with mixed media.  I like a sized surface, so 140 pound watercolor paper was my choice.

The second step is really fun.  Take some permanent ink - Dr. Ph. Martin's Black Star matte waterproof India Ink was my choice - and, using the little dropper deal in the lid, paint the ink thickly on your paper.  It will look something like this...

Wait a little while until the ink puddles start to dry up a little bit.  Then, take your board and your paper and dive into the third step - literally - as you spray or pour water over the paper to wash off part of the ink.  How much ink stays depends on how dry you let the ink get before you wash it off the paper.  Don't forget to wash it all out of your sink, too.  *ick*  When the ink is washed off, it should look something like this...

I think I may have let my ink get a bit too dry before I washed it off of this one.  On some of the others, there is a more dramatic difference in the line quality, whereas this one is a bit more subtle. 

Step four is where I added a bit more line work using the same ink - keeping my lines very sketchy and resisting the temptation to make this a detailed drawing.

And, step five, I *literally* spashed color all over in a very loose style - using a big brush so that I could not be tempted to put in any tight little details.

I think the result is a very bold and exciting little painting.  The expressive line quality and bright colors blend nicely to create the mood that I wanted.  For those of you who like a bit of the "element of surprise" when you create artwork, the unpredictability of the ink washing away will be fun.  This is very different from my usual painting style, but I like it.  What do you think?

Have you tried something new in this New Year?  *laughs*  This was lots more fun for me than making a list of resolutions!

Happy Creative New Year!

PS This was a challenge from the Blogging Business Artisans - a fun group of creative bloggers!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

I hope that the New Year brings many blessings your way that keep a song in your heart!

God bless,
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