Sunday, June 30, 2013


"A voice cannot carry the tongue and the lips that gave it wings.  Alone must it seek the ether.

And alone without his nest shall the eagle cross the sun."
                                                 -- Khalil Gibran
Visuddha, the Throat Chakra, is the chakra of communication, of expression, of honesty (with yourself and with others), of your declaration of your place in the world.  It is associated with the color blue the element Ether, and the expression of your highest truth.
I think this is my favorite so far, which is interesting because it's the one I have the most difficulty keeping open and healthy... I'm pretty quiet and reserved.  It's funny too because the stones I am most drawn to are the ones that are blue and associated with the throat chakra.

I managed to steal a few minutes from a very busy weekend to get this one painted, and I have the panels for the last two ordered.  They should be here in a few days, hopefully :)

Friday, June 28, 2013


"When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object."  -- Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Anahata is the heart chakra.  It is the source of peace, love, brotherhood and joy.  When your heart chakra is open, it seems that all the world is a place of love and joy.

I've painted the 12-petaled Anahata in oil and outlined it in henna impasto.  I think the dots around the petals are a nice, henna-esque touch, personally.  The picture below is kind of awful but you get the idea... they're shaping up. :)   Still don't know how I'll mount them.  I had an idea to make a stone background with crystals (stone chips)  that correspond (like, garnet for root, carnelian for sacral, etc).  Kind of a marrying of my 2 crafts.  Still not sure if that's what I'll do.  Russ says I should paint a silhouette of a meditating person and mount them on that.  Hmm.
Unfortunately after the Throat Chakra, which I roughed in today, I'm out of 4x4 panels.  I just ordered some but I picked the slow shipping so it might be 2 weeks before they get here and I can finish the last 2.  Argh... I'm in a groove and I hate to leave these unfinished, so... what next?

I have an idea I'd like to try some realistic paintings but with a henna'ed border/frame on the edge of the panel, so I might try that... plus I have A and B to finish up, but I'm petering out on those, not sure why.  Honestly I could call the Appy done and move on.  I hate being indecisive and wishy washy.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


"Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie
Which we ascribe to heaven."
                    -- William Shakespeare (All's Well that Ends Well)
Manipura is the solar plexus or navel chakra, the third energy center in the body.  It is involved with creative energy, self worth, identity, and associated with the color yellow and fire.  
This makes my third in this series; I did Muladhara (root) yesterday and Svadhisthana (sacral) several weeks ago.  They're painted in oil on these nice little panels and then the raised portion of the design (the outline) is done in my signature "henna impasto" technique.  I'm not sure if you can tell that the "henna" is sparkly on this one (and the root), but I used no paint for this one, just PearlEx powder and impasto gel.

I thought to leave them to be hung separately but unfortunately I painted the one last night sideways for the nail slot, so... darnit.  I'll either need to put hangers on the back or mount all of them on masonite or something.  If you've got any ideas for mounting I'd love to hear them :)
I'm hoping to also finish up my little Appaloosa today, too.  I have the next 2 chakras in the series base coated.  Unfortunately I'm out of panels after that so I'll have to order some more.  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Change of Plans

I'm so unpredictable. Even to myself.

I had this cool idea for "Camargue" for C. But that wasn't what the muse wanted."C" is for "change of plans."
You might also have noticed that "A" is for aaaaallllmost done (it still needs some finishing touches) and "B" is for "barely started."

But one does not disobey the muse.  So rather than Camargue, "C" is for Chakras.

So, today I had loads of day job work to do, so I didn't get to the studio until pretty late.  I had this idea a month or two ago and got started, then petered out (imagine that!).  But this is what I felt like doing tonight. These are the symbols for the first two chakras, the root chakra (Muladhara) and sacral chakra (Svadihsthana).  "Chakra" is Sanskrit for wheels of light.  They are the energy centers in your body and you have many, but there are seven primary ones, each corresponding to a color of the spectrum.  I have seen really cool chakra flags (if you follow my chainmaille at all you might already know I just love rainbows).  But I wanted to do some paintings.  So, these are 4 x 4 little panels - with a place for a nail in the back, I was happy to see - and so far I have 5 so I need a couple more.  I had done the orange/sacral one when I started this project, and base coated the first 3.  So today I finished the red/root chakra and base coated the green one.  They're oil painted backgrounds with my signature "henna impasto" - I load paint thickened with impasto gel into the same kind of cone I use when I do henna, and pipe it onto the canvas with the cone.  It's quite fun, actually.  I think I might be getting a better handle on the consistency, too.

So, yay!  Who knows where the muse will take me tomorrow.  The key is to show up at the studio.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Don't Wanna...

Busy day... Work to do, horses to play with, allergy shots to get stuck with. Finally had some quiet time this evening and then I didn't wanna paint!

So I worked on this.
It's not done yet, but it's time consuming. The black is all watercolor except those tiny spirals, which had to be inked.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

B is for...

 ... Barrel racer!

Since I couldn't put the finishing touches on my little Appaloosa baby (I painted on it yesterday evening so the layer isn't dry yet), I took the next step with my "B" painting, roughing in horse, rider and barrel.

So here's the scoop on this brave little rider.  Mahala is seven and she has Down's syndrome.  Thing is, that doesn't matter one bit to her buddies Dusty, Rainey and Grits (this is Grits).  Mahala competes in barrel racing and has quite a few wins under her belt. 

There's another picture of Mahala telling Rainey secrets that I want to paint another time, but for now I thought I'd paint her doing what she loves... going fast!

This is 16x20 so it might take me a bit to finish it and get on to C (darnit that one's not little either... D and E will be though, I have them planned at least that far). 

I'll finish up the little Appy tomorrow and maybe work on this some more, and I'll tell you about why Mahala is such a huge inspiration to me.

Here's a quote from Mahala's Facebook page that mom  (which you should be a fan of because she's awesome):  "I may not do things just like everyone else, and it may take a little longer for me, but I CAN do them. Besides what does it matter how long it takes?? We get in too big a hurry in life anyway and forget to LIVE!!!!!"

Ride on girl!

Monday, June 17, 2013


Does it look like an appy yet? Well, he is just a baby.

Painting time has been practically nonexistent toward the end of last week, with the usual crazy busy weekend, and today my hubby is home with a kidney stone (ugh, again... poor guy) and I had to go to Cookeville to get my CSA produce and run some other errands.  BUT, I sneaked in some painting time this evening, yay!  Only I didn't have time to go see my horses.  Seems like I get one or the other.

I think this guy is one session from being done.  What do you think of the background this way?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A is For....

This morning I logged on Facebook and my friend and art inspiration Crystal Cook had started a new painting challenge... one painting for each letter of the alphabet.  Go check out the one she did today :)

Since this isn't a painting-a-day challenge I decided to join in and play along.  Honestly, part of my decision was because the other one I'm working on can be B is for barrel racer.

This is A is for Apple-loosa.  Found this adorable image of an Appy baby. It was a tough decision because I'm partial to Arabs (and Andalusians) but I've never painted an Appy before and I thought it would be fun.  And this little guy was too cute to resist.  So, he's roughed in here, I should finish him in a day or two (it's 6 x 6 inches), then I can finish the one of Mahala and Grits. 

I don't know this lil foal but don't worry, I have an Appy story that I'll tell this weekend.  I doubt I'll get to paint tomorrow since the farrier is coming out to trim my horses' feet, which means I'll get to ride soon! :D :D :D

I haven't decided whether I want to include my horsey journey blog with this one, or make a different one on the site that's dedicated to my horses.  What do you think?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


See, this is why I need to practice drawing. I had a heck of a time getting the sketch for this painting on the canvas and ultimately I said the heck with it, I'm painting. And so I did. I know the pony's head is not big enough. It will be, though.

Background first. I wanted something not very distracting, but something that adds to the feeling of speed. What do you think, did I manage?

I'm going to tease you with the cool story behind this painting the whole time I'm painting it. Your tidbit for today: the girl is Mahala and the pony is Grits, and they are a huge inspiration to me. More tomorrow ;)

Monday, June 10, 2013

It's In The Details

Why do weekends get away from me so badly?

This guy is finally done. I was hoping to finish him Friday but I finally snuck in some painting time today.

Funny thing is, Russ's aunt has a horse she adores named Doc that she can't ride anymore and offered him to me. He's a quarter horse and that was all I knew. Well, they sent me pictures this past week and oddly enough, he looks quite a bit like this fellow. I'm excited to go out there and meet him some time soon.
And, just a sketch for the painting I'm working on next, which will be called "True Grits". There's a really cool story that goes with this one, which I will tell in the course of painting it, so stay tuned!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Settling In.... Right.

There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honor your calling.  It's why you were born.  And how you become most truly alive."  -- Oprah Winfrey
"Hello Friend", 11 x 14 oil on canvas, almost finished! :D
I'd say he's come a long way since two days ago, wouldn't you?  In case you missed him two days ago, this is what he looked like when I roughed him in.  (poor muley-nose..)
Instead of sketching today I decided to play with some watercolor.  Last night I was contemplating a few gifts for birthdays and whatnot coming up, and I had a strong urge to play with watercolor.  So yeah, despite my recent profession that I have decided THIS (painting horses, in oil) is what I want to do, I can't resist dabbling.  Ever.  Nor am I sure I want to.  So I figured maybe dabbling, or sketching, or playing, might be a good way to warm up.   So, voila:  dabble.  It's not done, I'm going to henna the heck out of it.  With paint/ink, not actual henna.
So, once warmed up, I got back to the painting I'm working on, starting with his neck.  You know what I love about painting this way?  I'll enlarge my reference pic, zoom in on it, focus on right-brained patterns while (hopefully) shutting down the left brain, and time loses meaning, and then, I take a bathroom break and look at it from across the room, and my left brain goes, "Oh hey!  That's a horse.  Not bad, either."
Painting horses is good for me.  It feels like coming home.  It feels like I've stepped into the flow.
So, this handsome guy (I'm thinking he looks like a Quarter Horse, what do you think?) is almost done.  Some detail to muzzle, mane and eye, and probably a few background touchups, make his skimpy forelock match his make better, and we're there.  Huzzah!
I love painting equine profiles, but I think what I'd really love to paint is the relationship between people and horses, especially highlighting natural horsemanship.  If you're a horse lover and you've got some photos you wouldn't mind me using as reference, I'd love to hear from you.  I've already contacted some great people I follow on Facebook who have graciously agreed to let me paint them and their horses, so that's where this journey is taking me next. 

As Pat Parelli says, Keep it natural.  Love to you and your four-leggeds.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Hello, Friend

I worked on the background today, added his shadow, put in buildings and also shortened up his nose a lot and added a bit of mane. The rule with oil is, paint the background first and paint it over the edges of the foreground objects. I estimate two more sessions to finish him, maybe three.
And here is round one for sketches today - the ubiquitous gallop thumbnails. I may sketch some more later if I get my "day job" work done quickly.

Hope your day is full of horses, or art, or whatever makes your soul sing like those two things do mine.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Back to my Comfort Zone

People tend to play in their comfort zone, so the best things are achieved in a state of surprise, actually."  -- Brian Eno
This occurred to me last week....

I was thinking about life, and art, and painting.  There's a long story attached to the fact that I want to spend more time with my horses.  I'll tell it some other time.  But I was thinking about art, too, and I realized...

Horses are what I want to paint.  And skies, and other animals.  But mostly horses.

A few days after I came to this realization, I went to the Fragrant Mushroom Gallery where my jewelry and my art is sold.  Cherri, a fellow animal lover and the friendly face at FMG, had a group of great animal loving ladies there (I sort of missed what organization they were working with, I need to find that out... I offered to do a painting for them for a fundraiser).  While I was talking to Cherri they were fighting over the two horse paintings I had there at the gallery and one of them bought them both :)

More recently... actually after I attempted the horse the other day in watercolor... I decided I really prefer to work in oils.

Now that the weekend from hell is over and the dust is starting to settle (mostly), I'm back at the canvas, and today I roughed in this handsome guy who seems to see a friend over the fence.  It's 11 x 14, and this is the very rough, work in progress version.  I hope to finish it by the end of the week, because my goal for June is to finish at least two paintings a week.  The other goal is to do more sketching.  Mostly horses.

I started drawing horses as soon as I could hold a pencil/crayon/marker, and never took much interest in drawing anything else until I took painting lessons a few years ago (of course, I skipped a LOT of years of drawing in between... a little sad about that but better to start some time than not to start, right?).

I'm also extra extra excited because Rachael (the lady who bought the 2 paintings) wants me to do a commission painting of her 30 year old TWH mare.  I love the idea of painting a beloved horse for someone.  I'd also like to do a series of paintings depicting the relationship between horses and people.

So prepare for some horses.  And other animals.  But mostly horses.  I'm giving in to my obsession.
Part of the problem with drawing horses obsessively when I was a kid is that some of those left-brained "this is how you draw a horse" things still persist, so I feel like some of my drawings come out pretty adolescent.  Oddly enough, I'm so much more comfortable painting.  But I feel like my inability to draw and sketch is kind of a liability, so my other goal this month is to sketch 2-5 pages in my little index-card-sized sketchbook (I am not as intimidated by this little sketchbook as I am bigger ones).  So, I started with the bottom middle one and you know, I think even in six drawings that I did tonight, I think I made some pretty major improvements and challenged myself with positions and angles I don't normally draw.  Expect a little sketch collage like this hopefully every day, and we'll see where we get by the end of the month.  Since legs/hooves are my nemesis I focused on them a bit today.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

What a Day

My refrigerator broke and I'm sure I'll lose most of the food in it. My cat is stuck in the crawl space under the house.

How do I de-stress?

Paint. But just a little.
I have no idea how to paint a white horse in watercolor. We'll see how this guy turns out.

For now I'm off to bed hoping tomorrow is a fresh start.