SOLD!! Woo-hoo!!

Skypads 4, finished?

Skypads 4

This is the painting that was accepted into the Box Factory for the Arts annual Michiana Area Art Contest. It didn’t win any “awards”, but this one sold! That’s the biggest validation I could expect from a competition/show. I’m happy to let the winners show off their ribbons; I’ll just keep the moolah, thank you.

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A few small changes

Approximately half way there...

My original thought was “approximately half way there”…but,

A bit of misty pushback

it only needed a bit of misty pushback to make me happy.


Besides the white “mist”, I added some transparent color splashes using a brand new tool–don’t laugh–a turkey baster. Will keep that tool in my arsenal next time I need some soft patches of color. Now calling this one officially baked, as opposed to “half-baked”…

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Sky Pads 6 — half baked

Approximately half way there...

Approximately half way there…

I noticed just before I shot this photo that I missed part of a pad near the top left. It shall appear forthwith. Now to decide how to layer more poured paint on this, and what colors, so the leaves aren’t so obvious and blend back into the the general mish-mash. There are also a few stray pond fronds and stems to be added here and there. Mostly I like them just because they contribute a little more to the break-up of the patterns.

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The Dark Universe brightens up a tad

A splash of white

A splash of white

It took a lot longer than necessary to do this simple second wash. First off, I had to spend a lot of time considering and discarding possibilities, which is also a great time-waster on the surface but vital to my slow process. Second, that horse show with the quadrille performances got in the way. And third, I poured this white paint over the canvas and loved it, but it was quite soupy and took days to dry even though I left it outside. (G)naturally, since it was outside for a few days, when it was finally dry enough to ink in the outlines of the lily pads I had to scrape off a lot of gnat bodies before I could do that. I don’t have any idea what drives gnats to suicide via turpentine, but am thinking I probably don’t want to know anyway.

If you look carefully at the photo you can see the outlines of the future lily pads, but they are much fainter at the bottom than the top of the canvas. The white paint was still very slightly sticky and didn’t want to take the ink, even though I went over it twice. It’s good enough for me to see it, so just take my word on that…

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Skypads6–the Dark Universe

A little on the "dark side"

A little on the “dark side”

Poured paint for the next Skypads piece last night. Maybe because I did it at night it got quite a bit darker than I had intended? Colors were also more saturated. No matter, the operating principle here is to take what the paint gives you and forge ahead. I will also ignore the extra helping of gnats that settled on the canvas when I put it outside to dry. They leave teensy gray trails when you brush their carcasses off, but nobody will see that when more layers of paint go on. Now people are going to start calling me a gnat murderer–but hey, it was their decision to land in wet paint…

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New! Improved! 2016 Quadrille!

First, a few words about our innovative new product!

The Rockin’ Riders quadrille is now in its third year. It was time to up our game a little, so our team leader (who is responsible for mainly our entire existence since she choreographed the movements, arranged the music, and designed the costumes) added some lovely new moves this time around.

Also this year, for reasons pertaining to pursuing those expensive blue ribbons, we entered our first show a month ahead of our previous schedule. Which meant we had less time to perfect an entirely new routine. So, of course, it has not been quite perfected yet.

We made our 2016 debut at Reins of Life in South Bend, Indiana. Long-time readers of this blog will know that I have been to Reins of Life in South Bend (they also have an over-the-top facility in Michigan City) many times as a vendor, but this was my first time as a competitor in South Bend. Our horses decided to make our lives a little bit harder this year, as if getting four people and animals together in synchronization weren’t hard enough without some snarkiness on the animals’ part.

The performance you are about to see was on last Saturday. We nailed it except for the entrance halt and the final halt. Everything in between was great. On Sunday, the two halts were perfect and everything in between was a little bobble-y. Since I am a video editor but not a miracle maker, I had to choose which version to show you. I went with the one that had the preponderance of good stuff.

For the curious, I am on my chestnut mare, Charm, who is third as we enter the ring and last if we are in a line doing anything else in the ring. She is also the chestnut with the very crooked blaze that creeps down the left side of her nose. When we enter the ring, the horse behind me is my horse’s mom, Lucky, and Lucky is the one in front of me in the rest of the routine. The chestnut gelding who decided he just wasn’t into standing still for the entrance, and was about to break out as we did the final salute, should not be mistaken for Charm, as she would be deeply offended if you did this. She had her awful moments the next day…

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Finally final

Final version of Skypads 5. I have made an executive decision...

Final version of Skypads 5. I have made an executive decision…

This photo more accurately represents what the painting really looks like than the previous photos which were just quick shots in natural daylight. The colors are more subtle here, not because I did anything to make them that way but because the lighting was set up under controlled conditions. Which, of course, takes a lot more time. So I save it for the final version. Before I went to all the trouble to set up this photo, I ran the previous “maybe final” version past my built-in art critic, Greg. Here’s how I remember our phone conversation–

ME: Did you see my latest blog?

G: What? Which one? I don’t think so.

ME: I thought you subscribed to it–don’t you get an email when I post?

G: No, no email.

(followed by a long pause while he subscribed to the blog and viewed the latest post)

ME: So, do you think this painting is done?

G: I don’t know, I haven’t seen the actual painting.

ME: Well, then is the virtual painting done?

G: I want to see the paint running.

ME: It IS running! Don’t you see all those runny lines?

G: Oh, yeah. The white spots make the background recede in perspective into the distance.

ME: Yes, they do.

G: Yeah, I think it’s done. You handle paint really well.

ME: No brushes were used in this painting. Does tipping a canvas around while the paint runs qualify as “paint handling”? (laughter)


ME: OK, then I think it’s done too.


Now for some real news. Skypads 4 got accepted into the Box Factory MAAC (Michigan Annual Art Contest). Yay!

Posted in art, Box Factory for the Arts, gallery show, landscape, oil paintings, painting techniques, photography challenges | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments