Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New painting

I have been invited to do a prestigious museum show next month called COWGIRL UP!!  There are several museum shows for Cowboy Artists of America which is a men only group.  About five years ago the Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenburg, Az came up with the idea of doing a show with "western" women artists.  The show was an immediate hit!  I am the first "wildlife" artist that has been invited to participate and I am really quite excited to try this new venue for my work.  This is a painting I am working on for the exhibit.  It is 20 x 24 and will be a cougar in an old snag overlooking a red rock valley. Here some of the background has been started.

Monday, February 22, 2010


James and I will be exhibiting at NATUREWORKS this weekend in Tulsa at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center. This is really the top wildlife art show in the country, drawing exhibitors from all over the U.S. and several other countries.  Hope if you are in the area you come by and see us!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dallas Zoo

This is an African Wood Hoopoe at the Dallas Zoo Children's area!  We walked in and she immediately flew over and landed on my shoulder!  How fun is that!  I got lots of great photos of her - can't wait to paint her!

Lord Derby Eland

I have been commissioned by African Hunting Gazette magazine to paint a Lord Derby Eland - also called a Giant Eland for an upcoming article.  Since I have not been to Central Africa where they are found I needed to get some reference.  While I much prefer photographing animals in the wild, I will use zoos and other captive situations as well.  A wildlife artist has to be aware of how being captivity can change the look of an animal such as being overweight or lack of muscle tone. So I always do a LOT of research in my vast library of books, videos and on the internet to make sure I am doing everything correctly including making sure the habitat fits with the animal.  I was lucky in that we were in Houston visiting clients and found out that the Houston happens to have Lord Derby Elands - including a MAGNIFICENT male named Winston.  We got special permission to get up close and photograph through the fence.  You can can how huge this animal is next to me.  Actually this species of Eland is not any larger than the other ones - but their horns are much larger than the other species.  The eland is the largest antelope in the world.  I'm not sure when I will actually start on the painting but I will definitely post on my blog when I do!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wall Street Journal!

I just found out that the Wall Street journal did a story yesterday called "There's Little Room For Artistic License" in which I was quoted quite a lot!  This is from an interview I did for an artist's magazine that must be where they got it.  I didn't know ANYTHING about it until people started emailing me!  Here's the link to the story: 



Here's my office - full of orders we are processing from our past two conventions!  Good problem to have - but space is getting tight!  :)

Monday, February 8, 2010

"The Grasshopper Catcher"

The finished Lilac Breasted Roller painting.  This bird kept flying up and down from branches catching insects, which is how I managed to get the photos I worked from for this.  At first I wasn't going to put the grasshopper in his mouth - but I decided that made it more interesting.  Thus the title "the Grasshopper Catcher".

Roller in Progress

In this photo I have blocked the bird in with a neutral gray and transfered my drawing on the painting surface using white seral artist transfer paper.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Worked on roller Today

I worked on the roller today but unfortunately I can't post any photos right now.  My iPhoto crashed and I'm having to rebuild it!  Hate it when that happens!  I should be able to post tomorrow.  Actually the painting should be done tomorrow.  I'll probably just post the finished painting.  It's going very well!  

Supposed to snow AGAIN tomorrow here in Oklahoma!  I actually like snow - I was born and raised in Colorado.  But it's VERY unusual for us to have so much snow here.  Anyway, should get lots of painting done tomorrow - won't be much else to do!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Flying Roller in progress

I have started on my flying roller painting.  The image on the left is the photo I am working from, and the painting is on the right.  The bird in the photo is not in good focus - my husband James is MUCH better than I am catching birds in flight - my reflexes are just not quick enough!  But while this wouldn't make a good photo for him - it works fine for me.  Using other reference and my knowledge of bird anatomy and rollers in general I am able to work out the areas that aren't clear in the photo.  

I have started the painting very wet and loose - like an oil painter would do.  It's much harder in acrylic but can be accomplished.  While the background was still wet I also blocked in loosely the leaves of the leaves.  These bushes are found all over Africa and are very unique in having little orange leaves scattered amongst the green.  I knew that I knew what the bush was, but I always want to make sure so after checking all my reference books I emailed one of my experts in Kenya (my guide Preston) and he confirmed they were Croton Dichogamus.

Once this dried I went back in and detailed the leaves a little.  I didn't do to much though. They are not the subject of the painting, and, they are a little in the background. I have then transfered by my drawing of the outline of the roller onto the painting with white artist saral paper.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Getting ready to start a new painting

I'm getting ready to start a new painting - a flying Lilac Breasted Roller.  One of the most beautiful birds in Africa, and one I've painted many times. . . but never flying!  I just haven't ever gotten good enough reference photos before.  But last June in Kenya I got some really great ones so I'm going to give it a try.  I'll post in progress photos!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

New Painting

A new painting hot off the easel!  It's a 9 x 12 and is called "Into the Light".  It will be going to the Settlers West American Art in Miniature exhibition in Tucson February 13.  I keep huge files of photos I take and I have 26 years worth!  This photo I took in Montana over 20 years ago.  When I needed a second painting for the show I went into my old files and found the photos I worked from for this.  I LOVED the light and textures of the rocks and old logs.  Both are pretty much hallmarks of my work.  I would love to hear what everyone thinks!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

James and I out looking for eagles

After our marathon 3 weeks on the road going to exhibitions James and I were ready to get outside!  We had another big snow storm (very unusual for Oklahoma) and so we decided to go out photographing eagles.  Saw 7 but only three were mature (white heads and tails) and we didn't get any good shots.  But I got some really wonderful snow and landscape reference.  Here James is trying to sneak up close to a tree that had two eagles in it.

New Beginning

After much thought and prompting by friends and clients I have decided to start a blog.  I think it will give greater intimacy and I will be able to post more frequently than updating my webpage.  I will post my creative process, natural history and art musings, travel and research in the field with my husband James.  Check back frequently!