Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spring Update

I haven't had the time to paint for a few days - I'm getting ready to install a small show in Granbury, and getting paintings varnished and framed is using up all my time.
We have had a couple additions to the farm, too, though one is just temporary.
Ron's 5th cow had her calf - at last. Another speckled bull - that makes 3 bull calves and 2 heifers, one white, 4 speckled. Yea, cows!
The horse belongs to friend and studio builder, Carl. I call his color buckskin paint - Carl said his owners called him a palomino paint. Regardless, I watched Carl ride him yesterday and I think he's a keeper. He'll be here just a week, though, but I'll get lots of photos before he leaves.
It looks as if Easy will be going to a new home, too, providing he passes his vet check up. More on this later. I need to go paint a new calf!

2 Corinthians 4:18
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Eat Crow

6 X 8 Experiment
Oil on Masonite and cold pressed water color paper

First image no longer exists
Still in progress

Somehow I hurt my back yesterday. I'm better today, but my brain just couldn't seem to focus on painting (nice drugs do that to brains, you know). I remembered my mom told me to "paint birds" and I came across this photo of a crow on our front fence. Even a bad painting is better than no painting, so I painted - and hated the results. Rather than wait for it to dry and "fix" it, I started to wipe it off. As I reached for a rag, I bumped the easel and the painting tumbled to the floor below. And just like peanut butter on bread, it landed face down. Needless to say, I was only upset because of the mess on the floor, not for "ruining " the image. I returned it to the easel and as I picked the dog fur off of it, I thought "Wait. There is so much paint on this board, I wonder if I could lay a piece of water color paper on it and get a print...."
So I cut a piece of cold press paper 2" wider than the board, laid it on the painting and used my print roller to mush it flat. Both the paper and the board turned out much more interesting than the original. I have plans to try another.....And, no, I will NOT use this as an excuse to take more drugs while I paint.....
Proverbs 30:8
Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Hiding His Tracks

9 X 12 Oil
Check with Artist for availability
For fun, fellow Daily Painter, Kay Crain and I swapped photos - she sent me some beach ones and I sent her cowboys. See what she did with the same photo here. I have not yet painted the beach - been too hot in Texas already and I don't need any reminders. Maybe I'll revisit my photos of Colorado mountains....My momma wants me to paint birds!
I am going to take this opportunity to explain what "oil on homemade canvas board" means - which currently is my preferred method of painting. These are not cardboard canvas panels that you are probably familiar with that we as children first learned to paint on (I still have a few of those left, though). Instead, I buy huge rolls of pre-primed cotton canvas and cut it to fit OSB boards that I (or Mike) have already cut to size (in this case 9 X 12). I use an archival acid free glue that is actually a cross between glue and paste. I smear the goop onto the board and then I roller the canvas into place using a rubber ink roller - and I can do this before or after I have painted the canvas (making sure the paint is dry, of course!) Both kinds of boards are quite good and will last generations, but I like this method because it saves me a little bit on expenses, and I can cut the size I want almost immediately, without having to wait on a postal shipment (I live pretty far from the nearest Hobby Lobby or Michaels).
The advantage of canvas board over stretched canvas that it is thinner and thus can be placed in frames that have a shallower inset (like those used for watercolors). I have had other artists suggest I seal the OSB with a primer on all sides before I stick canvas to it to prevent moisture absorption and to improve its archival qualities. I may start doing that on the next "batch", but so far I have had no problems with OSB warping. Masonite, if cut much larger than 9 X 12 can warp, however, if it is not secured in a frame well, so I will no longer use it for larger paintings. I still paint on stretched canvases, but I really like the firmness of the boards - sometimes stretched canvases just have too much "spring".
Psalm 46:2
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Youthful Dreams - She's Not Dead Yet

9 X 12 Oil on Canvas Board $175
Includes shipping and insurance
This is my neighbor John's oldest cow. I don't know her name, but I do know that when he sold his whole herd of mixed-breed-partly-Brahma cows several years ago, he kept this cow and her little calf. I think she was the oldest cow in his herd at that time and the buyer may not have wanted her because of her size and age. Now John has all new cattle - all black, with a handsome Angus bull. I've never counted, but there's at least a dozen black cows and they all have perfect 3 month old black babies by their side. And then there's this old girl. Still making babies and taking good care of them and standing out in that green pasture full of black cattle. I will miss her when she's gone, but I suspect John will honor her with a safe place to spend the last of her days. He's that kinda guy.
Proverbs 29:25
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Cattle Drive

20 X 24 Oil on stretched canvas
Contact artist for availability
I already painted a similar, smaller version of this painting, and I really liked it in the square format. I wanted to try it more vertical, though, so I eliminated the one slightly hidden steer and moved the lower one even lower - and aimed him in another direction. I also put the cowboy in a more interesting environment. AND made the whole thing more colorful and textured - there is a LOT of paint on this one. I still like the little one, though and will probably donate it to a silent auction for the Cancer Walk-a-thon that is happening here next month.
I remain stuck on the longhorns, it seems. I took some really cute rooster and hens-with-chicks pictures last week, so that may be my next obsession! Birds are always challenging, but I love them.
One on my collectors raises pigeons - and so did I back in High School. I had a Science Fair project where I taught pigeons to peck a spot to get rewarded with food. After the whole thing was over (and I did earn an "A"), we kept the birds in an outside aviary (in suburban Dallas!). We discovered pigeons to be very prolific breeders, and in no time there was quite a flock. Neighbors' and parents' complaints convinced me to take them off 30 miles or so and release them. The very next day all birds were back in the coop! It took a trip to Lubbock to get them far enough from home to stay away! They were pretty wild birds when I got them, and wild they became.
1 Corinthians 3:8
The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Stuck Easy


My regular sun down routine includes catching both cats and securing them in the garage (safe from the coyotes), one last toss of food at the koi, refilling hummingbird feeders if necessary, and counting horse and cow noses. I only counted 2 horses last night – Easy wasn’t within immediate view from the back door, and he wasn’t hiding behind one of the large shrubs that line the garden fence, which was often the case. Uneasily I loudly called his name “Easy!!?”

A loud whinny from the scrub oaks and hackberries that line the driveway to my left told me where he was and that he was in trouble, because he didn’t immediately appear. I ran to the woods and in the dim light I spotted him – caught in the brambles and unable to go forward or back without getting scratched and scraped.

I bolted for the house and hollered at Mike to get the pruners and gloves while I got his halter. We hurried back to the horse, and I haltered him and kept him still while Mike trimmed the brambles from around his body and those already caught in his tail. Easy calmly stood there and then took one step at a time as we trimmed the snares from around him. As I petted him, I remembered that as I returned from town that afternoon around 2:00 pm, I noticed him standing in the woods and I recalled thinking to myself, I didn’t know there was a path at that exact spot. Well, there is now, and evidently after he scratched himself and got his tail tangled, Easy just decided to wait for help. Aside from a few nicks and being covered in mosquito bites, he was fine. I felt bad for not noticing that he was in trouble 6 hours earlier!

I haven't painted much this week - the yard and garden has commanded my attention. I did get a lesson in horse hoof trimming - thanks, Trista! That reminded me how MUCH underpaid farriers are! (Oh, my aching back!)

Proverbs 22:5
In the paths of the wicked lie thorns and snares, but he who guards his soul stays far from them.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Three for Breakfast, Please

6 X 8 Oil on gessoed Masonite
SOLD to a California Collector

These three aren't usually so polite while waiting for feed, I assure you.
Recently we have discussed building a hen house - not only for the eggs, but for bug control. Every few years we have an influx of grasshoppers and we haven't had that plague for a few years, so I fear we are due. During the last episode (at least 5 years ago) I purchased a dozen Guinea keets and carefully fed and cared for them for several months in a cage before I risked turning them loose in the yard. The first couple days of freedom went well, but on the 3rd day, 12 Guineas went out and 11 Guineas returned. And so it progressed for a couple weeks until all had disappeared. We suspect an owl (Great Horned) was the culprit. Guineas are notoriously stupid, although they are demons on grasshoppers. So now the consideration is game chickens (smarter birds) that we'll enclose in a hen house every evening.
Year ago when the kids were little, we had chickens, but Santa brought us a yellow Labrador puppy one year and we could not convince him that the chickens were not his personal play toys. So we have not had them since (to Mike's relief - he wasn't particularly fond of them). Now he has agreed to build me a coop - so it's been added to list of a million other honey-dos.
Revelation 11:6
These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


It's raining in my part of Texas and we are feeling so blessed!
May you all have a wonderful and joyous Easter!


Friday, April 10, 2009

Freckles is Leaving Now

9 X 12 Oil on Canvas Board $200
SOLD to a Texas Collector
This is the look I get from "Freckles" when I venture out to photograph her and her calf. It's the "Screw you, I'm leaving now" look - she trusts no one. Last year Freckles was open (didn't have a calf), but Ron kept her anyway hoping that this year would be productive. I think he's pleased with this speckled heifer. I said I wasn't going to paint every spot, but I feel like I did!
This cow is always the most difficult to catch in the pen. Whenever you have a cow like that, the "suspicious factor" seems to be transmitted to the rest of the herd, and if you press the issue, they ALL become impossible to catch and you may as well give up until another day. Only when you act as if you DON'T want to catch her can you catch her. And using a horse never helps - she can outrun just about anything - and with her horns, you don't want to corner her. SOOOO the solution is to leave feed in the corral, keep watch and when she finally wanders in (last of course), run and beat her to the gate. Her aggravating tenacity is what makes her such a good momma, though, and she reminds me of some people I know......
Luke 5:11
Then Jesus said to Simon, "Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men." So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
Have a very blessed Easter!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Are You Following ME???

5 x 7 Oil on Canvas Board $115
Includes Shipping and Insurance
A follower of my blog requested a painting similar to one I painted nearly a year ago - of Easy standing over his feed pan with a rooster watching - both waiting to be fed. I told her I may paint another one similar - keep watching. That sent me on a search through my archives of chicken photos and I found this handsome fellow. I hadn't painted him yet, preferring those roosters with a little more red in their tail and body feathers. But he has such a nice collar of orange around his breast that I decided to give him a try. Now I think I'll paint him with a horse - and possibly a hen - back to the archives.....
Luke 12:37
It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Whose Fanny is Cuter?

8 X 10 Oil on Canvas
I have many talented people in my life - and not all are artists, in the strictest sense. Some are artistic with fabric, some are artistic with their heart. Some are just plain artistic at being a friend - all have gifts of the spirit and use them well. Among many things, Trista is an artist with horses - AND she has a cute fanny (as her husband Scott will attest to). Trista not only breeds and trains really nice horses, she takes care of them from head to toe. And she cares for my horses' toes, too. I couldn't resist getting this photo of her working on Easy last fall. She has promised to teach me how to trim hooves, and I think I will be ready with her next visit. If I'm lucky I may even be able to trade her this painting for her effort.....Trista? :-)
Exodus 35:31-33 31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts- 32 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 33 to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship.

Monday, April 6, 2009


9 X 12 Oil on canvas board
SOLD to a collector in California

In nearly every herd of cattle, there always seems to be one cow who is a bit more protective of not only her calf but all the other cows' calves, and she becomes the self-appointed babysitter. In Ron's herd, that cow is Freckles. I don't dare get closer than 100 feet to this cow, and I NEVER get close with Georgia, the Border-collie-wanna-be, unless I want some long horns shaken at me and the dog chased all the way home. This is mid-morning nap time at the Longhorn Calf Day Care Center, and Freckles seems to take her guardian job seriously.
I started this painting while in Granbury this weekend, but I got frustrated with it (actually I preferred visiting with the tourists more than painting, and I lost my concentration!). This is a difficult cow to paint, due to all her freckles, and her calf is no easier. But just like painting a brick building - you don't paint every brick, and here you don't paint every freckle. Through use of color, you hint at the freckles - and believe me, there's a million of 'em! And her calf looks just like her, so I'll be getting lots of freckle painting practice in the months to come....
Isaiah 30:23
He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Getting Hot Already

9 X 12 Oil on Canvas Board
$135 includes shipping and insurance in U.S.
In the space of a few days, our weather has gone from frost cold enough to waste all my potato plants to mid eighties to extremely high winds gusting to over 65 MPH. Texas weather is testing us already this year and we are making summer travel plans to head for the mountains. I don't think we'll be gone as long as we were last summer, and we can't go anywhere in July because HOPEFULLY I hope I'll have bushels of tomatos, beans and corn to put up - if it all doesn't burn up or blow away.
Matthew 7:25
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
Buy this painting on PayPal
Price: $135 USD
Or, send me an email

Friday, April 3, 2009

Catch Me If You Can!

16 X 24 Oil on Canvas
SOLD to a California collector
More roping pictures - this one is from a recent event held by the local university - Tarleton State. Not that Tarleton needs the recognition, but if you want your child to get a GOOD, solid education from professors that care and in a town that is still possesses a hometown atmosphere, send him or her to Stephenville, Texas. There is a world class Nursing school there as well as a great Business College and Agricultural College. And the pre-vet and pre-med programs are exemplary.
They ALSO have a superior horse production program and have graduated a number of world famous cowboys. Quite a few kids attend with their own horses in tow. Ye-haw! TSU is a part of the A&M system, and despite the fact that Mike and I went to Texas Tech, we are still Aggie fans - sometimes!
Ruth 4:14
The women said to Naomi: "Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Usual Suspects

16 X 36 Oil on Canvas
Check with Artist for Availability

I have just about enough Longhorn paintings for the Granbury Gallery and decided to return to the horses for a while. My friend and neighbor, Lee Clay, hosted a cattle working last spring. I wasn't there, but my other friend Pat Broeder, generously shared some photos from that event.
I rarely paint from other people's photos, but Pat has a very good eye for photography and seems to have an instinct for what I like - though I'm sure she isn't thinking about ME when she uses her camera!
This Saturday is "Billy the Kid Day" in Hico, Texas. Legend has it that a man named Brushy Bill Roberts lived out his days in Hico, Texas and was actually the real Billy the Kid. An old friend of mine, Bob Hefner, wrote a number of exposes on the subject and even opened a museum nearly 20 years ago - now run by the Hico Chamber of Commerce. New Mexico has never been happy with Hico "stealing" its outlaw (some believe that Billy was actually killed and buried there), but the story has started some lively debates as well as put Hico (pronounced with a long "I") on the map! I'll be at Sugar Moon Antiques and Gallery Saturday afternoon working on a painting and visiting with the tourists. Come see me if you're in these parts - or are journeying down 281 to view the Hill Country bluebonnets. You won't regret it!
2 Corinthians 7:10
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.