Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Magazine Editor

James and I with Joshua Rose, the editor of WESTERN ART COLLECTOR and AMERICAN ART COLLECTOR magazine during the COWGIRL UP! exhibition at the Desert Caballeros museum in Wickenburg, Az. This was my first year but my work was well received having sold one nice piece and the museum expressing interest in purchasing another one. Had a really great time meeting some really wonderful people!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cowgirl up!

Yesterday James and I went hiking and bird watching at the Hassyamba River Reserve. Got some great photos of broadtail humming birds. The couple we are staying with have Gambel's quail in the yard every morning and I've been trying to get some good photos of them - but - so far they haven't been to cooperative.

Went to the exhibit last night - very strong show with a good variety of work. Then we went to a big party and met a lot of interesting people - including Joshua Rose who is the editor of WESTERN ART COLLECTOR and AMERICAN ART COLLECTOR magazines.

Today our hosts are taking us for walk and lunch in historic Wickenburg area, and then tonight is the big night with the patrons being able to put their names in on the paintings that they want. Having a great time and hope to post many photos when I get back home!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

On our way to Wickenburg

We stayed the night in Phoenix and are now getting in the car to head to Wickenburg for the COWGIRL UP! exhibit. It's really beautiful here and we will be stopping along the way to photograph cactus and other landscape/habitat for future paintings. I do that quite often. Combining photos I've taken of birds or animals (many times in captive settings) and then inserting them into the correct habitat in a painting. The challenge is watch that the light is coming from the same place. We only have ONE sun so light can only be coming from ONE directions! The trick to doing this is to find a strong shadow line and then match everything to it. If the shadows are all going the same direction you have solved the light source problem!

We are having lunch with the host patrons that we are staying with during COWGIRL UP! Then tonight is the first "official" event with a big BarBQue at a local ranch. Going to be fun!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010


If you haven't signed up on Face Book for James and my's fan page please do so!  We post to that much more often than my blog or webpage and it has information about both of us.  You can access it through my webpage at www.janmartinmcguire and click on the icon - or - go straight to Face Book and either search for McGuire and Hines Studios or click on the link under my profile.  Hope to see you there!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Finished painting

Here is the completed painting.  8 x 16" - "SNOW PHEASANT".

Add sparkles to the snow

To add "sparkles" and texture to the snow I cover the areas I want to protect and then dip an old paint brush in white with a touch of yellow paint. I then rub my finger across the bristles causing a random spatter.  I use this same technique to create dirt/sand.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Starting the feather detail

Now comes the FUN part!!! Sort of kidding there. . . . It's kind of like building a very complicated jigsaw puzzle!  I have taken a photo of the taxidermy mount to give you an idea of what I'm talking about.  Lots of colors, lots of patterns all overlapping.  I have a little bit of a break in that this bird is small in the painting - I can get away with giving the impression of a lot of the detail.  If it was a large painting and the bird was front and center up close I would have my work really cut out for me!  The painting shows the detail work I've done so far.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pheasant blocked in

The head of the pheasant is pretty much done, and the colors have been very loosely laid in on the rest of the bird.  Pheasants have very complicated feather patterns that I will have to closely observe once I begin detailing out the bird.

Getting ready to start the pheasant

I have blocked in the pheasant with a base coat of purple/brown paint in preparation for starting work on him.  I've done a little bit more to the grass and snow.

transferring the drawing

I have flipped the drawing on the tracing paper back over and using the white artist saral transfer paper I am now transferring the pheasant to the surface of the painting.

Pheasant painting continues

Although the snow isn't finished, I thought it was time to start adding the grasses.  It's always a question - "what comes first the grass or the snow"?  It's tough because there are many layers with snow piled on parts of the grass so you just have to work back and forth into it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Starting on the snow

Here are two pictures of the snow in progress.  It's all about lots of layers and also observing colors.  With this backlit snow there are lots of oranges and yellows where the sun is hitting it, and lots of blues and violets in the shadows.  Snow IS NOT WHITE!!!  I'm created the texture of the snow by "scrumbling" my brush - that is - taking an old brush and pushing it around all different directions.

New pheasant painting

I have not done a pheasant in years. I decided to give it a go. I went through my pheasant file (I keep file cabinets FULL of photos I've taken over the course of my 27 year career) and came across a nice backlit captive pheasant.  Since I LOVE backlighting I knew this would work well - I just had to find the right background.  I went to my "grass" file and played around with a bunch of ideas, including going out and photographing some grasses in the right light.  When I went to load the new photos into my iPhoto I saw a photo I taken this winter when we had a big snow of fallen over grass with lots of nice backlighting.  It clicked with me and I decided I would do it with this background.  Here I have drawn the drawing to size 8 x 16".  It also shows my two main photo references along with a taxidermy pheasant I will use for feather detail.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Please sign up as fans on James and my's FACEBOOK fan page - "McGuire and Hines Studios"!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

photos of the wolf girls when they were little

Here are a couple of photos of my wolf girls when they were pups.  The one in the kitchen is when they were 2 1/2 months old and we were still socializing them.  They were a BIG help at dinner time - NOT!! 
The other is me bottle feeding Denali.  Notice that I am wearing an oven mitt.  Even with her toenails clipped she would shred my hand when she feed, clawing vigoursly as she ate.  The oven mitt solved that problem!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Better picture

I had the cougar painting professionally scanned and the colors are SO MUCH better than the photo I had posted I decided to put the scan up so you could see what the painting really looks like!  

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Third painting for COWGIRL UP!

Here is my third and last painting for COWGIRL UP!  At the Desert Cabelleros Museum in Wickenburg, Az.  It features top woman western artists.  This is my first year being invited and I am very honored.  I look forward to attending the opening weekend which includes trail rides, BBQ's and dinners and other events bringing the artists and patrons together.  This painting is 11 x 14 of a Gambell's Quail called "DESERT DWELLER".

Monday, March 8, 2010

Working on new painting

Almost finished with my last painting for the museum exhibit in Arizona - COWGIRL UP! It's a gambel's quail with an agave plant that has really neat lighting.  Think I'll be finished tomorrow - watch for the post!

Friday, March 5, 2010


Here is the finished cougar.  The photo is to blue.  I had a heck of time photographing it.  If I didn't make it on the "cool" side the cougar turned out a neon orange!  But this will give you the general idea I hope

Our Wolves

James and I have two wolves - sisters - named Denali and Willow.  I have permits to keep them, but, in reality these are very high content hybrids as their grandfather had some dog in him.  We got them from a small zoo that had an unexpected litter.  They found another zoo to take the male, but there weren't any zoo's that wanted the females.  They contacted me - and after begging James (he bargained for a new lap top), we brought Denali home first and then Willow.  I had a long standing relationship with WOLF PARK www.wolfpark.org which is the only research facility in the U.S. that has socialized wolves.  I would have never undertaken the task of keeping the girls without having the biologists at Wolf Park to help me.  We keep them in the kitchen for 3 months, living with them 24/7, bottle raising them and socializing them.  They are NOT pets.  They are wolves that recognize James and I as part of their pack.  They live outside now in a large enclosure.  Here I am feeding them a road killed deer (yes, I have permits for that too).  I only feed deer in the winter because of parasites.  When I'm not feeding deer they get raw chicken and pork neck bones.  Also the occasional road killed rabbit and squirrel.  They will be 9 years old in April.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Final detailing

I am now going back over the cougar, doing all the final detail work.  

Next Step

The next step is to apply a unifying wash, in this case a mixture of Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna.  I rub the paint before it dries with a soft rag to get rid of any brush strokes.

Working on Cougar

I use a technique for fur that I learned many years ago from Carl Brenders (top wildlife artist from Belgium).  The purpose of the technique is to create "depth" to the fur so that you feel as if you could put your fingers into it.  It is VERY time consuming and at times I wonder if it's a waste of time.  However, I remind myself that it is like building a house.  You have to use studs and joists to frame it out.  In the end they do not show, but without them the house would fall down.
The first step is to literally "draw" out the hair coat in a sepia colored paint.  Paying particular attention to the way the fur lies and the length of it (in other words short on the face and legs, long on the body).  

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

More work on Cougar painting

I got the tree done yesterday on the cougar painting.  Had a little more trouble than I expected getting it to "stand out" against the background.  But a combination of using cool (blueish) washes to contrast against the warm colors of the background and bringing up the values (blacks blacker and whites whiter) did the trick.  I also added some more branches than were in the original drawing.  This happens many times in a painting, that once I get working on it it will "speak" to me about things that it needs.  This is one of the main reasons I work in acrylic - it is easy to make changes along the way!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cougar Painting

The background is now done on the cougar painting for COWGIRL UP!  I'm happy with the atmosphere and the feeling of distance.  Now to start work on the tree and cougar!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Best Overall at Natureworks

James and I just got home from the NATUREWORKS art show in Tulsa.  What a GREAT event!  50+ top wildlife, western and landscape artists from all over the US and other countries.  Opening night it was reported that the show did $225,000 in sales!  James and I were honored to receive the award for best overall exhibit!  

Now - back to the easel to get to work on paintings for COWGIRL UP!