"The Red Clyde Mare" 11" by 14" oil on canvas. On a farm in Trempealeau County I found this lovely red chestnut Clydesdale mare. At the time I had never seen a chestnut Clyde before. She glowed in the sun. I noticed the tips of her ears were rough and torn looking. Maybe frostbite? I have never seen that in a horse before.
"Fly By" 18" by 24" oil on board. When my cousin and I were in our teens we rode horses from sunrise to sunset over gravel country roads and through hay and corn fields. This painting didn't start out with this memory in mind. But yesterday as I was scanning it I remembered those hot summer days. We had a horse named Beauty, a big bay mare with a heart of gold. We road her double and bareback, usually me in front and her behind with her hands around my waist. When the corn was about knee high, we would take Beauty into the corn field and gallop up and down the rows. We were pretty good about not knocking down the corn and stayed between the rows. The field was hilly and there were a few times I didn't warn my cousin that I was about to give Beauty my heels and urge her into a gallop. She never fell off, we were both glued to the back of the big bay mare, having the time of our lives. The corn rows and the long leaves of the corn in this painting brought that back to me. Pretty close to flying.
A better scan of "Whitehorse II, Ghost". I rescued a small white part Arabian mare a number of years ago. I had been told she was found in a kill pen in Iowa. Blood running down her face and all over her white chest. She was taken to a wonderful farm and very well taken care of, except the other horses shunned her or picked on her. The gal felt sorry for her, she had a loneliness about her. "Pearl" the mare was given to me as a giveaway gift at a spiritual workshop. We brought her home and it took months to gain her trust. She easily befriended our sheep and a few goats. She became a nanny to the young ones. So gentle, she would lift her hoof on its tip, before she would move it close to the lambs or kids. As if she knew she could break their fragile legs if she wasn't careful. She was a beautiful soul with white forelock and mane glistening in the light. She foundered repeatedly and after a long struggle of keeping her going, she died. The next morning I went out to feed the sheep and there she stood, like always, a pure white statue standing in front of her barn in the paddock, waiting for me to take care of her. But I had to shake my head, because I remembered she really wasn't with us anymore. What a gift that mare gave me. The mare in the painting comes from my Pearl.
Whitehorse II,Ghost, 18" by 24" oil on panel, a piece I've been working on for some time. Finished it last fall but it was "accidentally" carried off by a small grandson and needed some repair. I repainted quite a bit of it and am happier with it now.
Getting close to 30 days, time flies too quickly trying to get these paintings done and up online. Its a challenge for sure but I am enjoying the progress I am making. I am thinking of continuing the daily painting after the 30 days are up. We'll see how it goes.
Another hen..not sure which hen this is. Looks like my ZuZu but I had so many white hens over the years. I have forgotten most of names. Fast and furious but I got it done.
Sandhill cranes are the subject in today's painting. A couple of years ago on our way down a country road in a marshy area we ran across a pair of Sandhill cranes. Thankfully I had my camera with me that day. Cranes are very aware traffic but don't usually do more than watch your vehicle, that is if you don't open the door and step out of it. That day I felt pretty adventurous and slowly got our of the car and crawled slowly toward the pair of cranes which were closey guarding their chicks. I ended up within 10 feet of the male, who started to arch his neck and make a lot of sounds trying to threaten me away. I remember hiding behind a telephone poll and continuing to take pictures. It was pretty exciting and the reference I used for this painting is from that day's photo shoot.
Another crane today. Starting to dig through tons of reference and looking for more light and more subjects. Too much to do on the home front and tomorrow the little man(Nuri, my grandson) comes to spend the day with me. I need to be in the studio by 6 am or forget it. Those long, bright Alaskan nights would be helpful. Usually by 3, the best of the light has left my studio and it becomes a struggle to paint.
Red Crowned Crane, 6" by 8" oil on canvas.
Another crane from the ICF. Oh, my computer ate what I had written about the International Crane Foundation. I love that place and luckily it isn't too far that I can't go over on occasion and study the cranes. I love the colors of the last two paintings. I think they are posting a bit harsh. The yellow sings and is nicely balanced by the blues.
Check out Leslie Saeto's blog and the paintings from all the artists participating in the 30 day challenge.
Cranes, cranes, cranes..I guess I'm into cranes again. Can't write more because my computer eats the words as quickly as I place them on the page. I will not throw the beast on the floor, instead I will post this quickly.
This is just a simple view of a Whooping Crane from the ICF.I tls the one of the breeding pair in their lovely pond. I originally tried putting more reeds in the background but that didn't work out the way I wanted it to. I relaxed and just worked with the basic colors I saw and I like that a lot better. I had a great day painting. I worked on 3 other small paintings of cranes and then got back to an older larger painting I started awhile ago. I am thinking of continuing the daily painting after the 30 day challenge is up. Must be nuts! But it is giving what I was seeking..some confidence in myself and the paint.
Change of subject. I live in an area surrounded by wetlands populated with hundreds and hundreds of Sandhill cranes. From early March and through the summer I hear the echoing call of the cranes. Some days the calls are coming from all 4 directions,surrounding my house. They frequently fly over my house. My dog has the habit of barking at them. The cranes have found a path into my artwork and will stay there for some time. This a a 5" by 7" oil, the crane is a Whooping crane from the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, which is not so very far from where I live.
Check out the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge at Leslie Saeto's blog.
More sheep..I know they are starting to add up. I think its getting easier and I am looking forward to going up to the studio to work. Cicely Wigs had a fleece that felt a bit like a combination of a sponge and Brillo pads. Not a complement and probably not as bad as it sounds. There was a softness to it but it had this odd spongey feel to it. The color was not just black. A black sheep is rarely just black. Her fleece never grayed but it did bleach in the sun. Lots of variations of chocolate brown and lavender with tips almost an orange. I still have a large basket of her fleece sitting, waiting to be spun into yarn. Its not a terrible fleece but it always wanted to spin up courser and so it sits. In the painting I was drawn to the purples and color variations. The folds were so deep and dark. If you parted the wool on her back you would be amazed at how black the roots were. Wigs was part Jacobs, probably why she never grayed out.
I've been busy with life lately, lots of company and other life things to get done. I haven't had as much time I'd like to work on my paintings. But then one of my goals in doing the challenge is to paint and paint quickly and let it go...let it flow. My new word..flow. It isn't getting easier yet. I have high hopes. Day 7 painting has more color than I am used to using but I think I like it.
A quick portrait of Gateway Teasel, one of the ewes I raised as a lamb. Her mother was Pepper, a huge black ewe with an incredible spinning fleece. I enjoyed working on the piece and it flowed easily off my brush. Its a 4" by 4.5 in oil painting.
Speaking of flowing. I am inspired by artist, Kimberly Santini and her process of choosing a word for the year. I thought a lot about this and decided the "Flow" will be my word. I get stuck too easily for a variety of reasons. I am going to focus on flow...flowing through the process this year. I am hoping it can get me past my tendency to become too introspective and then stop the process.
I'm not sure if I'm behind a day or not. This piece feels scattered to me. It was too dark by the time I photographed it, but it was the best I could do. Been busy. Working on the small daily paintings is making me anxious about working on my already in process larger paintings. Going in circles because there isn't enough time or energy in a day. Maybe after dinner while I am avoiding listening to the Packer game, I can sneak back into the studio for a few more hours at the easel. I want to finish a Sarus crane and yellow canary painting. I'll post it as soon.
Okay..here we go. I took the plunge and over the cliff I go. The artistic free falling cliff into renewed inspiration and direction with my paintings. I signed up with Leslie Saeta's 30 paintings in 30 days challenge.
303 artists and counting will be painting like crazy to bring in the year.
At the moment I will focus on sheep, chickens and big birds with a few horses thrown in. The sheep and chickens are mostly from my old flock. Pepper, Gateway Teasel, Cicely Wigs and Sweetie Pie, the ex-resident sheep from our old farm. I still miss them, miss the farm with all its smells and sounds and the warmth of large furry animal bodies against my own. Nothing in the world so peaceful and fulfilling to the soul as watching and listening to content animals consume their daily hay, snow falling in a white world. You can't take the farm girl out of me. I miss it, I will always miss the small pleasures of a life with animals. Lots of joys and sorrows. The birthings, as tense as it got at times, but thankfully were always fruitful. You don't every forget helping a mare foal, a sheep lamb or a goat kid. Nothing in the world is as wet as that slippery sac encased foal, fresh from sliding out of it mother's womb. Tearing the sac open, who would have thought that sac would be so strong, so firm and so tenuous to life. I miss those days, my paintings take me back, into the barn and into the world that I fit so clearly, so deeply into to.
Back to the paintings, I'll be bringing back the barn in my work this month and see where it leads me. Here's the start. This is Cicely Wigs..what a great name for a sheep. I wonder if it would work for a cat? Here's my Wigs with her long bouncey fleece, so chocolate in color and such a wimp she was.
Animals and art have always been a passion in Leslie’s life. Early in life, Leslie discovered her love of animals and her need to put them to paper. Her love of line and composition are easily evident in her work. Her paintings become stories inspired by her experience observing nature, both domestic and wild.
Leslie has exhibited her artwork in solo and group exhibitions. Juried exhibits include, "Culture and Agriculture” in 2008, 2009, 2010,2012,2014 and 2015 at New Visions Gallery in Marshfield, WI,“Nightwalker 98” at the Fort Collins Museum in Fort Collins, Co., “The Horse Show” at The Art Gallery in Hotchkiss, Co. and at the Barrington Arts Council exhibit “Horses in Art” in Barrington, Ill, the American Academy of Equine Art Fall Showcase at the Museum of the Horse in Lexington, Ky 2000.2001,2002,2004 and 2015 , the Wisconsin State Capital, the Alexander House in Port Edwards, WI, the Winona Arts Center in Winona, MN., The Pumphouse in LaCrosse and the Heyde Center for the Arts in Chippewa Falls, WI.
Leslie was recently selected as one of 4 finalists in the Wisconsin State Fairtastic Poster Competition