Friday, November 16, 2007


I wanted to try painting a cow with twilight lighting. This gave me the opportunity to make the lights warm and the shadows cool. I like the contrast that happens in this setting.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Cow and Calf at Twilight

I started thinking about the evening light as soon as daylight savings ended a few weeks ago. I have never painted an evening scene so I tried this cow and her calf in the twilight and found it challenging and fun at the same time. I'm constantly going back and repainting certain areas that don't seem to work. I've done this so many times I think I should just start a whole new painting using the night time light.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Man from Kalispell

Here is a painting I've had in my studio for awhile that I decided to re-work. There was something about it that I felt if I changed it would make a better painting. I thought I would take a big risk and re-size it from a 9x12 to an 8x10 by cutting off a portion of the original canvas. After I'd done that I figured it was getting better but now the beard bothered me. I had it so dark on the left side it was hard to see that he was holding a pipe in his hand. I lightened the beard but I still wasn't happy with the look of the hair itself. It wasn't fuzzy enough. I pondered how to make the hair fuzzier without a lot of brushstrokes and came up with an idea. I got some coarse steel wool, mixed some "hair color" on my pallet and got the fibers coated. Then I started daubing the steel wool on the face and I got the hairy fuzzy look I was going for.
By the way, he is the same model with the dog that is in my last blog posting. I have more reference photos so you may see him again in the future.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Man's Best Friend

I love painting animals and people. When I got this image of a man and his dog that a friend of mine sent me, I couldn't wait to get my paint brushes out and get to work. I wanted to capture the love and devotion there was between the two of them.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Morning light on the Tetons

A recent trip to Jackson Hole inspired this painting. One morning we got up at 6:00 a.m. with our group taking a bus ride out to see the wildlife that live in the area. We did indeed see plenty of wilderness creatures but what really captured my eye was the sun rising on the Grand Teton mountain range. It was breathtaking and I'm glad I had my camera at the ready to be able to take lots of photos.

Friday, September 21, 2007

There is no greater fun than painting something for my family. I especially love it when my Grandson wants a particular subject. I think he will enjoy this red train to hang on his wall in his bedroom. I may noodle on it a bit more before I give it to him.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Two French Bulldogs

I loved the posture of this women and the similar look on her pet dog. I've heard that some people resemble their canine friends and this is what I wanted to capture with this portrait.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bearded Old Man

I thought this bearded man had such an interesting face that I just had to paint him. The reference photo was black and white which showed me all the values I needed to complete the portrait. It's a small 6x8 which I completed in a day.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Neck and Neck

This time I wanted to catch the look of the horses running straight at the viewer. I guess I just didn't want to deal with all those legs and hoofs with this painting but still wanted to create a lot of tension and action. A jockey has a lot of balancing to do to keep his weight over the saddle as the horse runs at breakneck speed down the track and this was the look I was striving for.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Down the Final Stretch

I love trying to capture the excitement of a horse race. Because the Del Mar horse racing season is under way right now there are many collectors who enjoy this subject matter too. I hope this one finds a a happy home.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Colt and Jack Russell

This is a little 6x8 inch painting of a colt and jack russell dog playing together in a pasture. They really seemed to have fun with each other and went on with their game for quite awhile.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Red Fox

I love the challenge of painting red hair so, in this case, I used a photo of a red fox as my model. They can be so camouflaged in their habitat that I tried to capture that too on a 6x8 inch canvas.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Shetland Mare and Colt

This 8x10 inch oil painting was almost completed at a function at the Rancho Santa Fe Inn on Sunday. A group of painters from our Art Guild worked on their art forms as music was playing on the lawn in front of the Inn. Guests would walk around our easels and watch and ask questions as we worked. We started at 4 and worked until 7 which was very tiring indeed. I think next time I would take a brake when the musicians took theirs.

Friday, June 1, 2007

To the Starting Gate

Another race horse painting. The Del Mar track season will be starting soon so I guess I'm in the mood to paint track scenes and hope to sell them to horse racing fans.

Field of Flowers

One of my favorite flowers is the daffodil and I thought this cute little boy in a field of them made a fun subject to paint. I tried to keep everything very fresh and not overworked.

Monday, May 21, 2007


It dawned on me that as many animals as I have painted I've never tried painting a kitten. I found this cute photo of two snuggling ones and knew I would use them as my models. What I wanted to capture was the softness of their fur. I also wanted them to appear so cute that the observer would want to pick them up to listen to their purring.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Card Players

I loved the pose of these two friends playing cards. Guess who has the better hand and is about to say "GIN"?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Farming Family

I guess I'm a farm girl at heart. I so enjoyed painting that last little girl on the farm, I had to do another farm theme. This time it's Mom, Dad, the three kids and their plow horse doing the work all together as a family. I think the kids are having the most fun in this scenario. It looks like hard work to me for the other three but I'm sure the fruits of their labor will be delicious corn on the cob for dinner.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Little Farm Girl

I love painting people and animals so I had it all with this subject. A little girl with her dog and her Dad plowing the field on their farm. It was lots of fun to paint!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

First Haircut

In this painting I wanted to get the "look" just right on this little boy. Apprehension but not fear and his eyes had to say "I better not move a muscle". Hopefully, this is what the viewer will see and all the Mothers and Fathers who have taken their sons for a first haircut will remember the memory with a chuckle.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Artist

Dick Blick had a sale on their acrylic brand of paints and you could buy 12 2oz. tubes for $33. Since I haven't used acrylic paint in years, my old tubes were as hard as rocks so this sounded like a good deal to me. For a couple of extra dollars I could also buy a chart that was designed to show you just what happens when each color is mixed in equal amounts with the rest of the colors in the chart line. Of course, I'm the proud owner of 12 colors and the chart has 40 colors. I got the feeling the acrylic painters don't like to mix much and would rather buy a bunch of premixed tubes. For my first project I wanted to do a 6x6 portrait of an interesting face. I chose a photo of an artist with a Beret who is standing in front of his painting. After penciling in the face onto the canvas board, I got to work with the acrylics. I think I painted 90% of the portrait before I started in oil. Acrylics are so fast drying and so opaque that the subject can be completed very quickly. I was ready for the application of oil in no time. I would guess that the finished work is 60% acrylic oil and 40% oil. I think this gentleman turned out quite handsome.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Harvest

Harvest time on farms all around the country is a very intense working period in the lives of the farmers and their families. This is what this painting is all about. A family all working together to bring in their crop which is their livelihood to provide for the family.

Friday, April 13, 2007


I love the challenge of painting bright light. I was able to use a blacksmith and the red hot metal in a painting I did not so long ago and was trying to come up with another case where red hot light would be necessary. I was in a board meeting this week and was sitting next to a friend of my who is a glass blower when occurred to me that that would be a wonderful subject to paint. Now, all I needed was a photo of someone actually blowing glass. I think this young man fit the bill. I might go back when the painting is thoroughly dry and see if I can get the molten glass to look a little hotter and brighter but this is where painting is right now.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Dancing with the Stars

I love the TV show Dancing with the Stars and when I found this photograph of an older couple enjoying a whirl around the dance floor I had to paint it. I love the difference in their size and the sheer delight they are having gliding around in each others arms. I had a smile on my face the whole time I was painting it.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Old Master Method

I have always been intrigued with Old Master paintings so I wanted to see if I could do one. I started with a drawing of a girl, transferred it to a 6x8 inch canvas and did a full acrylic under painting. Because acrylic dries so fast I was ready for the glazing of oil paint in no time. Now is when things slow down. Glazes need drying time but I did put the work in the sun to speed the process up a bit. Now, rather than watch paint dry I started a landscape. I thought I'd try the acrylic under painting on this one too. The background of the forest I painted in darkest value, the rocks in middle value andthe water in lightest. With this painting, I was able to go almost immediately go to opaque oil. I put in cool and warm shades of forest leaves and then worked on the mossy rocks and fallen trees in the background. Then I went back to the portrait and added more glazes and finally opaque oil.
Doing two paintings at a time is fun.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Cow and Calf

I love painting cows. There is something cute about these bovine animals that is very appealing to me. Their eyelashes are wonderful! I remember taking care of twin calf's one summer whose Mother had died at their birth. My brother and the ranch manager's son and I were in charge of bottle feeding them several times each day from a huge glass bottle with a nipple made from the finger of a rubber glove and rubber banded to the top. We filled the bottle with milk we got from the other milk cows on the ranch. They were eager feeders and could polish off a bottle in no time. They progressed, gained weight throughout the summer and were eating grain by the time we had to leave for home.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

West Highland Terrier

Dogs are always sellers at our Gallery so I painted a West Highland Terrier which definitely has that ahhh appeal. I know a woman in town that owns one so I'm hoping she'll be at the opening night and snatch it off the wall.

Saturday, March 31, 2007


With Easter coming up next week, I thought it was timely to see if I could paint a rabbit. I thought the challenge was going to get the fur to look soft and furry. I painted a young chick once and was faced with the same dilemma. Wanting the little bird to look soft and downy I worked and worked until the result was convincing. It was well worth the effort. The lesson carried over to these rabbits and was easier because of it. The fur looks , well, like rabbits fur.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


I heard from an art friend of mine that there is a request from Scripps Hospital in Encinitas to hang artwork on a wall down a hallway that patients and visitors use They want "pleasing" paintings I was told. I'm not exactly sure what that means but assume animals would qualify. They are good recognizable subjects and are enjoyable to look at. I want to start a series of paintings of the cutest animals I can think of . The panda has that "pleasing ahh" look so here is my painting of a cute panda.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Snoozing Burro

I've had some success with painting burro's so I thought I'd try another one. I'm fascinated with these small pack animals with long ears, a short mane and adorable little hoofs. Although they only reach a height of up to five feet at the shoulders, they seem to be able to carry huge amounts of weighty goods on their backs. I painted this little guy taking a short break while the tourists in the background are busily going in and out of all the shops hunting for more treasures to take home. The burro's owner is probably in the local bar having a cerveza before getting back to work.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Winning Jockey

I've given myself a break from painting racing horses to a portrait of a winning jockey. It must be a thrill to race around a dirt track on the back of an animal weighing at least a thousand pounds with other such animals all around you (hopefully not in front) wanting the same goal. Getting to the finish line first. I'm sure this is why a winning jockey has the look of immense relief and a smile that lights up his face from ear to ear. Hopefully I've caught that moment.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Horse Race ll

OK, here is my next racehorse painting. Horses are painted larger than my last attempt with a simplified background that frames the jockey's helmets and silks. I painted the inside and outside horses separately and unattached to the middle three which made for a very different composition than my last painting. Those two horses have to be painted more carefully because they can't be massed in with others where body conformation can be suggested. I have the feeling that the inside, rail horse, is going to win the race.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Horse Race

I like to pick out a subject to paint and since I'm tired of painting sheep, I've decided to tackle race horses. Since the Del Mar track is close to our home, I have lots of photos to work from. Del Mar doesn't have these wonderful post markers but I've seen a photo of a track that does, so I decided to add them for interest and color. Because the Del Mar track is changing to an artificial surface this season, I'm not sure if this wonderful rich dirt color will become a thing of the past.
Now, I think I'll try another horse race painting.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Each year our family goes to the Del Mar Fair. This year will be no exception. Of course, since there is a generation gap, there are differences in opinion which part of the fairgrounds we should see first. This painting shows where this family is going before seeing the mineral collection or the art show or the quilt display.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Hay Bales

I love farms and all the activity that takes place there. Hay baleing is fun to watch and photograph. This photo was taken late in the day when the sun was low and shinning light on entire left side of this subject. The trees in the background also helped create that value contrast. I'm pleased with the outcome of this painting.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Herding Dogs at Work

I keep thinking that if I do just one more flock of sheep I'll have the technique securely in place. The right value changes will go in their proper places so the viewer gets feeling of what I'm trying to put on the canvas. The herding dogs are lots of fun with flicks of three values and three color changes. I loved painting this one.

Sheep Shearer

I love doing figurative paintings. Since I had done a flock of sheep and a herder I thought why not try to paint a person doing the shearing. This is the result of this effort.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Santorini Burro

Donkeys and mules were the only the means of transportation in Santorini till about 1960. Still today for all the transportation of goods and materials within the caldera pathways is carried out by our charming friends! They really are tireless workers,carrying huge loads of items on their backs. You can see them trudging up and down the very narrow cobbled streets all day long. I loved this photo because of the beautiful cast shadow that was on the wall in back of this little fellow and enjoyed doing this painting of him. As cute as they look, they must be biters because most have little cages around their mouths to keep them from nipping tourists who want to get too close and be too friendly. I chose to eliminate that from my painting of him though.

Monday, March 5, 2007


I painted these sheep much the same way I paint a bunch of grapes. Mix a big batch of, in this case, sheep wool color and mass in the entire silhouette of the flock. Then I refined the sheep in back to look like, you guessed it, sheep's behinds. Then I indicated the animals in front with a slightly grayed value and popped in the ears where I felt the tops of the heads would be. It gives the impression of a flock of sheep without laboring over each one. The last application of paint was adding pure white on the top flanks to give them just a little more shape.

Saturday, March 3, 2007


I wanted this painting to be more of a sketch and not an overworked portrait of a little girl and her dog. I worked back and forth carving background and foreground at the same time and being very aware of the values. I think the background trees got a tad too much like arrows pointing to the main subjects but now enough to make me want to go back in and rework it. My whole thrust was to have freedom of brushstroke and indicate a cute little girl happily playing catch with her faithful dog.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Crayon Portrait

A friend and I were talking a while back about how many Crayons we had when we were children. I told her that I recalled my friends always seem to have enormous boxes. Way more sharp pointed Crayons than I ever had. Maybe that was because I really used mine and they were peeled back and down to stubs.
At a book club luncheon recently, she brought me a present of an enormous box of 64 colors. I felt,as I looked at this childhood dream come true, that some fine art could be created from this childhood art supply that would be my thank you gift for her. After two failed attempts, I hit on an idea for a third try. Using clay board and an embossing heat blower I was sure this was going to be the magic solution. I lightly sketched an interesting bearded mans face onto the clay board and then started laying on the Crayon. When I had covered the entire board with wax color, it was time to see if the heat blower would do the magic I wanted it to do. Melt the wax just enough to blend and soak into and adhere to the board at the same time. Tentatively, I worked my way around the 6x6 inch surface and was pleasantly surprised with the result. There are some downsides to this technique though. The values are very hard to control because you can't keep layering crayon onto crayon. The other downside as I see it, is if the surface gets scratched it will remove the color and you will be down to layer one.
Would I do it again?....Don't think so, but it was fun.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

City Boy and his Dog

I've been working on a new 6x8 painting of a "City Boy and his Dog". I wanted to express a look of friendship and love between the boy and his pet. Changing little nuances in the human and animal emotion for each other until I was satisfied. I've reworked it now to where I either have it right or I should just start over on a fresh canvas. I indicated a cityscape in the background that was kept in values of grey because that seemed appropriate and kept all the color on the focal point. I'll not look at it for a few days and then get a fresh eye again.

Friday, February 16, 2007


A friend of mine is crazy about elephants and wondered if I would do a painting for her. I've painted lots of animals but never thought to do an elephant. Again it was a 6x8 canvas board so replicating all the winkles was not going to happen. Luckily she already had a photo she wanted me to work from. I loved the photo of a Mother and baby walking down a muddy road and got started right away. Stressing lumbering movement rather than wrinkles the painting came together and I was happy with the result.

She loves the painting which is a big sigh relief to any artist taking on a commission!

Dog Show

I was watching the Westminster Dog show the other night and got inspired to do a painting with this very theme. I love all the action that goes on at these "dog beauty contests" that I wanted to get as much action into the painting as I could. Since I'm a small image painter my workspace was limited to 6x8. I took extra care with the woman on the left because I wanted to get a look of disdain and jealously on her face. The look of movement of the presenter was indicated with some swipes of a fan brush with Liquin Light Gel added when the paint on the man's paints and the dog he is showing were almost dry. A blurry little movement was what I was looking for. I had lots of fun painting this.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

My new adventure in blog posting

I'm excited about creating a blogspot. Hopefully I will be sharing interesting information about art and the creative process that other artists (and non artists!) may want to read; how I choose what to paint and the techniques that I'm currently using.

My son, Alex Schaefer, an accomplished artist, also has a blogspot which not only demonstrates his abilities as an artist, but an accomplished and interesting writer and teacher. I can only hope to do the same. Stay tuned for more.