November 29, 2015
First, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Jack and I appreciate all of your sweet comments and wishes for the holiday. Now it’s time to get back to work. I begin with the distant trees behind the covered saddling stalls. I use cooler greens made of various proportions of Pthalo Blue + Cadmium Orange + White. A few brush strokes of Ultramarine Blue + White are made to add even more coolness to the background. As you read through my blog please remember, you can click on any of the pictures to see them larger.
Now I “Build” the saddling stalls. The back wall has windows with wrought iron rails in the openings. Allowing some of the distant trees to show through helps give depth to the painting. The stone arches are made with mixes of Cadmium Orange + Ultramarine Blue + White. MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) is added into the mixtures for the darker shadows.
It’s springtime in Kentucky, Dogwoods abound. I’ve got my colors all mixed and ready to go. #1. White + a little lemon yellow + a touch of Pthalo Blue. #2. White + a bit Ultramarine Blue. #3. Ultramarine Blue + White. #4. Dioxazine Purple + White. #5. Mix #4 + White and a smidgeon of Cadmium Yellow Medium. #6. Two shades of Pthalo Blue + Lemon Yellow + White. #7. A couple of mixes of Ultramarine Blue + Lemon Yellow.
VIDEO: Blocking in the Dogwoods.
The Dogwoods are completely blocked in and the trunk is added. You can see how the darkness of the trees in the background accentuates the creamy blossoms of this spring favorite. My plan is for the light color behind him to set off Secretariat’s head and alertly perked ears.
Standing sentry over the paddock is a stately Sycamore Tree. This tree was just a tiny sapling when the track was built in Lexington in 1936 and is an enduring symbol of Keeneland horse racing tradition. The silvery bark of the trunk reminds me of a dappled gray horse!
The Sycamore is just beginning to push small leaf buds out on the fingers of its long branching arms. Come fall the Keeneland icon will be covered in brilliant foliage, making the autumn race meet even more colorful. But now we have the subtle beauty of the delicate Dogwoods gracing the lovely paddock. Hugs,
November 25, 2015
THANKSGIVING……The calendar sets aside one day a year for giving thanks. But Jack and I are thankful for each and every one of our friends like you, all 365!
We also want to express our appreciation to all of those in the Military and Police Forces who keep us safe. We know you make incredible sacrifices in order to protect us.
God has so blessed us. Have a safe and Wonderful Thanksgiving and….GO COWBOYS!
November 24, 2015
Today I begin working on Citation, another triple crown winner. I’ve decided to make the numbers on the saddle blankets the ones the horses were racing under when they won the Belmont, the third leg of the Triple Crown. You can see I’ve changed Secretariat’s to the numeral 2. Citation came out of gate 4 when he won the Belmont.
Citation knows the race is imminent. His jockey, Eddie Arcaro, keeps the big bay with tossing head and rolling eyes under control as he circles the paddock.
The groom is having to step along pretty quickly to keep up with Citation! Please keep in mind as you read through my blog, you can enlarge any of the images by clicking on the picture.
In the background Seattle Slew is having to be held back by his handlers. These horses know they will soon be flying at full speed around the track at Keeneland.
Now I draw in Citation with the oil wash made of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin.
Jean Cruguet is adjusting his saddle in preparation of the race.
The oil wash sketch is complete. I’ve shortened Lucien Laurin and his assistant who is saddling Secretariat. I’ll begin painting in the next session.
But before I close for today I want to let you know our publisher is offering a special promotion just in time for your early Christmas shopping. You can save 20% on any of our books in PRINT. Unfortunately this doesn’t apply to the e-books. All of Jack’s art marketing books are available under this offer. All you have to do is enter the promo code HOLIDAYS20 when you check out. The offer is good through Midnight on Monday, November 30. CLICK HERE to go to our book store, make sure to check out all four pages.
This special offer also includes Jack’s newest book, ABRAHAM LINCOLN! Just remember to use the promo code HOLIDAYS20 at checkout. Thanks for following along! Hugs,
November 22, 2015
Secretariat’s trainer was Lucien Laurin. Here he’s going over some last words with Secretariat’s jockey, Ron Turcotte, before the race.
Ron’s silks are washed in with the same Cobalt Blue + Liquin mixture that I used on Secretariat’s blinkers.
After getting the wash in finished I realized I made Lucien a little too tall. One of my astute readers did also, she sent a comment reminding me he was no taller than a jockey. Cheryl is absolutely right, Lucien was a jockey in his younger days in Canada.
Here is a picture of Lucien with Penny Chenery (Tweedy) and Ron Turcotte. Secretariat’s trainer is a bit taller than Ron, who was also from Canada. I’ll make the adjustments before I do the finished painting of the famous trainer.
Cheryl also mentioned that the trainer usually saddles the horse. Again she is correct, my dilemma was I didn’t want Laurin’s back to the viewer. So I decided to have his assistant trainer, Henny Hoeffner, saddle Secretariat in my painting. I found this picture on Google.com, he’s in the yellow cap behind Secretariat. I’ll make him a bit shorter too. Then Laurin and Turcotte could anchor the lower left corner of the foreground. It’s a cool spring day at Keeneland, perhaps an old back injury caused by a fall in a race is bothering Lucien and he trusts his assistant with the saddling duties. But rest assured, I’m certain Lucien will check the girth before Ron is given a leg up! Hugs,
November 21, 2015
The building and trees in the background are sketched with a brush dipped in an oil wash made of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + a liberal amount of Liquin. Even though many of the archways of the curved saddling shed will be covered by trees or horses I draw all of them in. This way I can make sure the architectural proportions are correct. Please remember as you go through my blog, you can enlarge any of the images by clicking on the picture.
As I was planning the sketch for this piece Jack and I watched American Pharoah win the Breeder’s Cup Classic at Keeneland. That is how Pharoah is spelled, the owners misspelled it when they registered him, it has remained that way. I knew David was also watching and zipped him an email asking who his three all-time favorite race horses were. His reply was almost instantaneous, “Secretariat, Citation and Seattle Slew.” SO…..I had my horses for his Keeneland painting. Let’s start with Secretariat. Drawing him with the oil wash I decided to move him a little to the left so he won’t be so close to the edge of the canvas. You can see the shadow of the pencil sketch.
A wash of Cobalt Blue + Liquin is used to delineate the distinctive blue and white checked blinkers of the Meadow Farm Stables owned by Penny Chenery. It’s funny, I’ve always associated Secretariat with Claiborne Farms but he never raced under their silks. He stood at stud and was later buried there.
Eddie Sweat was Secretariat’s regular groom, I definitely wanted to include him holding the big red colt.
Secretariat and his handlers are roughed in, tomorrow the sketching will continue. Hope you’ll come back and watch. AND……If you’d like to receive an email every time I publish a new post you can subscribe to my blog. CLICK THIS LINK and scroll to the upper right side of the page. You will see a heading EMAIL SUBSCRIPTIONS. Just enter your email address and click the button “Sign me up!” It’s easy. And if you enjoy my blog please CLICK the FaceBook LIKE Button. As we say in Texas, “Much Obliged! Hugs,
November 20, 2015
One of my readers came up with a terrific solution for our SQUIRREL WARS! If you weren’t aware of our battle just CLICK HERE. But back to Fran’s VIDEO, it had Jack and I rolling on the floor with laughter. We definitely have to get one of these horse head feeders. Thank you Fran :) And Charlene, I always throw some extra seed down on the ground especially for Mr. Squirrel!
I couldn’t have a better lead in for my next collaboration. My collector lived a good portion of his life in Lexington, Kentucky, home of the beautiful Keeneland Race Track. This piece will go in his “Man Cave” along with other horse racing memorabilia. I’ve been so excited about this commission, those of you who have followed my career know I started out painting horses. To paint the Keeneland Paddock, buzzing with activity just before a race, is a dream! It was so fun going back through all of our race horse reference to plan the composition. The pen and ink sketch is shown above.
The painting is going to be 24 inches by 36 inches. How do I transfer this complicated sketch to the canvas? Well……here is the answer. I make a grid on a copy of my sketch. I don’t use the original, it will be given to my collector as a gift with the painting. The grid is quite simple, first I draw a diagonal line, using a ruler, from the lower left to the upper right corner. Then a corresponding diagonal is made connecting the other two corners. That establishes the center of the sketch. Next both an upright and a horizontal line are made, intersecting that center point. Each quadrant is broken down into a grid using the same method.
A grid is drawn lightly with a pencil on the canvas following the same system. To see this better you can click on the image to enlarge the picture.
I begin sketching the subjects up on the canvas. I start with the figures and horse in the foreground. The grid helps me get them in the proper place.
Now I draw the people and horses in the background, making certain they are in proper proportion to the ones in the foreground. The pencil sketch on canvas is done. The rest of the background will be drawn with an oil wash in our next session. Hope you’ll come watch. Hugs,
November 18, 2015
Jack’s newest book ABRAHAM LINCOLN: His Dark Side Exposed is now available for sale. Just in time for your Christmas gift giving!
That’s Jack’s painting on the cover! And….. as a special for all of our readers, collectors and friends you can save 20% on ABRAHAM LINCOLN: His Dark Side Exposed until Thursday, November 19 at midnight. Just enter the promo code PRESALE20 when you checkout.
Do your shopping early and avoid the crowds. This would make a wonderful Christmas gift for a special someone in your life. Or maybe even you! CLICK HERE to go to our bookstore page. Just remember to enter the promo code PRESALE20 when you checkout to receive the 20% savings. BUT don’t linger, the special savings ends tomorrow night at midnight! Hugs,
November 17, 2015
Jack and I love feeding and watching the birds that visit our garden. We regularly have Finches, Blue Jays, Mockingbirds and our Cardinals, Mr. and Mrs. Chippers. As winter approaches we’ll soon start seeing brilliant yellow Gold Finches. The feeder in our fountain courtyard has a weight sensitive perch so doves and squirrels can’t devour all of the seed. They are limited to what drops on the ground. An ideal situation for our feathered friends. You can click on the picture if you’d like to see the image of our fountain courtyard larger.
But that Mr. Squirrel is cagey, he figured out how to steal seed from our smaller feeder in the kitchen garden. So we put our thinking caps on and came up with an idea to make a baffle out of a clear Tomato Juice bottle. This should work, watch the VIDEO to find out.
Drat! That little toot got to the seed. Jack said I think if you could find a way to anchor the lower edge of the bottle to the cross bar of the feeder he couldn’t get down on it. So I cut slits on either side of the bottom and slipped them over the cross bar. The baffle won’t move, PROBLEM SOLVED. You can see in the VIDEO.
We fixed that little fella. Until I walked into the kitchen and looked out the window……….
GRRRRRRRRRRRR! Jack said, “This is WAR!” Then he went on eBay and found our solution.
A large, flat baffle. I wish I could have seen the first time Mr. Squirrel tried to get on the feeder. Must have been a hoot! All I know is he no longer steals all the seed out of our feeder. He politely stays on the ground and eats all that dropped by the birds. But I do have to admit, I miss his acrobatic antics. And that’s the news from Jack and Mikki’s garden. Hugs,
November 15, 2015
Sage is planted behind Roxie; its darkness will accentuate the sweet Dalmatian. You can enlarge the image by clicking on the picture.
Next the snow is completed. Notice how I’ve made that nearest the door a cooler blue made of Pthalo Blue + a touch of Ultramarine Blue + White. Moving to the middle ground mixes of Ultramarine Blue + White are used for the shadows. Then in the foreground a little Dioxazine Purple is added to the Ultramarine Blue + White mix. This makes it warmer, following that simple rule: Warm Colors Come Forward, Cool Colors Go Back. Surprisingly it works even when painting snow. A darker mix of the Ultramarine Blue + White is used for Roxie’s path of deep paw prints. Pure White is used for the sunny highlights on both the snow and snowman.
Roxie is painted with the same warm whites I used for the birch trees. To refresh your memory, they were made of Ultramarine Blue + a bit of Cadmium Orange + White. This makes her stand out from all of the surrounding cooler Whites. Ivory Black is used for the Dalmatian Dots. I just had to add a heart shaped tag hanging from her collar!
I’ve never painted a snowman before, it’s fun! The base color of the plaid muffler is Viridian Green + White.
The Cadmium Red Deep stripes are carefully “Laid” on top of the Green. This is so my brush won’t pull the underlying Green into the Red, making it muddy. Cadmium Red Light is used for the highlights.
Silent Sentry 14 inches by 14 inches Original Oil Painting
Gold stripes finish out the warm muffler. Roxie glances up at the Owl, a Silent Sentry keeping a watchful eye over everyone below. I’ve really enjoyed this piece, it’s neat to paint something a little different. And don’t you love all the special touches Jeana has added? Hugs,
November 13, 2015
All that muted adobe color on the walls makes the red door POP! The shadow part is Alizarin Crimson + Cadmium Red Deep while the sunny portion is pure Cadmium Red Light. There is going to be a Yucca in the planter to the left of the door. I go ahead and pull the dark red shadow into the wet Cadmium Red Light paint.
The green wreath, the complimentary color of the door, makes the red appear even brighter. Placing complimentary hues, or those across from each other on the color wheel, next to each other is a simple method I use to add vibrancy to my work. Now let’s move to the planter filled with Petunias that rests on the window sill. Blocking them in I leave white canvas where the snow will be. The perky blossoms made of Permanent Rose + White will peep out from under the white blanket covering them.
WHOOOOOOOOO is that up in the birch tree? A little barred owl has landed on the snow dusted branch. I brace my wrist on the mahl stick to steady my hand as I paint the fine details. You can click on this or any of the other images to see them larger.
The Yucca, Prickly Pear Cactus and a cascade of Mums nestle at the base of the birch trunks. Thanks for visiting our studio today. Hope you’ll come back for the next session. I’ll be finishing up Roxie and the Snowman! Hugs,