Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A New Year's Pudu

I made this little painting as a Christmas present for my friend who shares my love of Pudus - the smallest deer in the world. The black background was inspired by a show of seventeenth century Dutch paintings I saw in Vancouver last month. This painting looks dramatic but is only 5x7 inches.

I don't know who took this picture but the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle had a baby pudu a while ago so maybe this picture is from there. Even if you don't like cute animals (really?) this baby has to make you say "aaawww". The mother is less than two feet tall.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Solstice

Huckleberry looked so wonderful and black yesterday on the darkest day of the year. Now it is the Solstice we can look to the sky again for warmth and light. Or, on dark rainy days like this we can at least eat sun-shaped traditional Scottish solstice shortbreads.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Huckleberry Shows How It's Done

After posting about Opal not camouflaging herself very well this morning, I found Huckleberry sleeping on my fake fur coat. He is so competetive.


If Christmas preparations are feeling hectic why not take a moment to hide away somewhere quiet? I spent the afternoon in the studio yesterday finishing this painting. It was so cosy and peaceful. I know just how Opal feels hiding away in the grass, though she isn't as well camouflaged as she thinks she is!

The painting is oil on birch panel and measures 12"x12".

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sweater Weather

I have been thinking about the sweater trees that I posted last month. They look a lot like Liz Tran's paintings which I saw recently at Monarch Gallery in Seattle. (Thanks Susan Melrath for pointing this out.)

Last night Isobel and I visited the Seattle Art Museum and saw the wonderful Nick Cave sculptures/costumes called Soundsuits.

(These images come from the Jack Shainman Gallery web site.)

There is a You Tube link to a film about Nick Cave's work here. The sweater soundsuits appear at about three and a half minutes.

Stay warm everyone and top up your bird feeders with food and hot water. Those little guys can't wear sweaters.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wow Cold

Does the record breaking cold this week mean that I'll have to replace my rosemary plants again in the spring. Grrr. Brrr. The frost is pretty though, and the sky is so clear that I feel energized.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Sky is Round Them Still

The Autumn (Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

Go, sit upon the lofty hill,
And turn your eyes around,
Where waving woods and waters wild
Do hymn an autumn sound.
The summer sun is faint on them -
The summer flowers depart -
Sit still - as all transform'd to stone,
Except your musing heart.

How there you sat in summer-time,
May yet be in your mind;
And how you heard the green woods sing
Beneath the freshening wind.
Though the same wind now blows around,
You would its blast recall;
For every breath that stirs the trees,
Doth cause a leaf to fall.

Oh! like that wind, is all the mirth
That flesh and dust impart:
We cannot bear its visitings,
When change is on the heart.
Gay words and jests may make us smile,
When Sorrow is asleep;
But other things must make us smile,
When Sorrow bids us weep!

The dearest hands that clasp our hands, -
Their presence may be o'er;
The dearest voice that meets our ear,
That tone may come no more!
Youth fades; and then, the joys of youth,
Which once refresh'd our mind,
Shall come - as, on those sighing woods,
The chilling autumn wind.

Hear not the wind - view not the woods;
Look out o'er vale and hill -
In spring, the sky encircled them -
The sky is round them still.
Come autumn's scathe - come winter's cold -
Come change - and human fate!
Whatever prospect Heaven doth bound,
Can ne'er be desolate.

This painting is part of a series of the seasons painted for my friend Nina. It is oil on panel and measures 9"x12". You can see the summer painting here. And the winter painting here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Going Nutty (and maybe barking mad)

I looked around the neighbourhood for autumn leaves and nuts. These sycamore trees are such fun with their pom poms.

Their bark looks just like dried mud.

I brought home some treasures for my studio collection - all picked up off the ground.

Bright pink acorns.

Glossy and prickly chestnuts.

A handful of chestnut shells looks a lot like...

...baby hedgehogs.
(This picture is making the rounds of the internet and I don't know who took it. Sadly this is not my hand holding baby hedgehogs.)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Snowberry Mouse

Winter is coming and I am looking forward to painting some snowy landscapes with animals in white fur coats. This little mouse looks like she is trying to shake some berries loose. Hmm. I don't know if they are edible. Be careful mouse.

My new snowberry bush survived the hot summer but didn't make any berries so I bought another one that has berries. It is still in its pot beside my easel in the studio. More snowberry paintings soon...
This little study is five inches wide and is oil on birch panel.