Thursday, April 02, 2009

Welcome To The Planet...

I have to admit at one point today I stopped and thought, "Okay...what was I thinking?" Today was a good example of what I'm dealing with this month. I did anticipate yesterday that it would be a challenge to get a painting done, so I did my sketch last night. Hope you all don't think that's cheating! I really wanted to paint this one, and I knew it would be a little complex so it was worth taking the time last night working through the drawing, after I posted yesterday's kickstart painting.

First I'll give you the details on this little oil. It probably wasn't the best day to experiment, but for the first time, I thought I'd try to paint...on paper! I've always loved the look of oil "sketches" on paper, and this was my debut attempt. The paper is 100lb Bristol Smooth, which is key - the paper has to be heavy enough to support the weight of the oil. I've worked in oil pastels for years, so seeing some of the oil leech through the back of the paper doesn't concern me. I'm fairly light-handed with my paints, so the coverage is pretty transluscent. Surprisingly, as I look at the back of it now, there is no oil showing through. It's approximately 11 x 8, and done with my usual limited palette of Burnt Umber, Cadmium Red Medium, Yellow Ochre, Ultramarine Blue and Titanium White. I worked with the white ground, whereas with a canvas or panel I would tone the ground.

The biggest difference between painting on paper and on canvas is that the paper is very absorbent by comparison. For one, that means drying time is much faster, but it also means the paint handles completely differently on the surface. That was the main challenge, and why this piece is, well, more detailed than I expect most of my work to be this month. I had to be very careful every time I put brush to paper.

Now, on to the story! While I would like to tell you this is Clever's new's not! Clever is still waiting, unconcerned. This is our boy Leo, shortly after he was born, February 9. Hard to believe he's seven and a half weeks now. He's grown up so much! When the foals are born I always find myself saying, "Welcome!" because they really are coming from another world! I joke that Leo made the wrong stop - he came out with that sleek racehorse coat, not very appropriate for Ontario in the middle of February. There's a song by Switchfoot that would be my theme song for today, and really a very good song for a horse racing story soundtrack, in my opinion. Check out the words and let me know what you think. Some of my favourite lyrics are in this song:

The tension is here
Between who you are and who you could be

Between how it is and how it should be...

So the day...if you don't want to know, feel free to stop reading now! First and foremost, it was beautiful! Sunny and clear. Spring! The vet was out in the morning to check Twine and Gladys to see if we might have some breeding to do anytime soon - and Twine is ready. Gladys had her first swab. I won't tell you about that if you don't know what it is - suffice to say we ended up sedating her for the procedure. I took advantage of that state to also pull her mane, because that's not her favourite exercise! Apparently then I was on a roll, and after taking a shedding blade to Monster, I decided I had to pull her mane too, so she wouldn't look quite as scruffy beside Glad!

They all got turned out, and I went into the house to see if I could get this breeding arranged for Twine. At first it wasn't looking promsing - the stallion is very busy right now, and the only time available was tomorrow morning, which I knew wasn't good for the van driver. Long story short...he's going to take her up early tomorrow morning, then she and Leo will stay at the farm for a few hours till he gets all his racehorses shuttled back and forth to Woodbine.

All right...probably more than you wanted to know. Add to all that my usual stall cleaning...I think it was about 4pm when I wondered why I felt so light-headed and realized I hadn't eaten since 8am...but that's the way it goes, most days!

Okay...enough babbling. Remember to check my online store at Etsy if you're interested in any of these paintings. I really like little Leo you'd better act quick if you do too...he might not be there for long!

See you tomorrow!


Margaret E. Dent said...


Leo is gorgeous. I was surprised to learn he was your first daily painting - like you said, very detailed. Just lovely!

Linda Shantz said...

Thanks Margaret - but he's not the first, just the first time I've tried oil on paper! It was more detailed than I expected but just decided to go with it!