Thursday, July 23, 2015

Having the time of my life, painting horses.

Have you ever had a revelation?
Well I just had one. I felt like I just learned the most amazing things! by watching the Mimi Bondi videos.  It is so wonderful to have artist's who share what they have learned over time, with the rest of us.  You never know when something you see will strike a chord within you.  I feel like I've been turned out of the corral to run around the pasture!
I don't need a reference photo to create an equine painting any longer.  Just sit down and paint what comes straight from my heart.  It feels so good.
I hope you enjoy these paintings too. The originals can be purchased by inquiring at or as prints, laptop skins, phone skins, tote bags, shirts, skirts, leggings, etc on my Red Bubble site.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Journal pages

Do you sometimes wonder if anyone really sees who you are?  The person you are deep down in your heart?  What would it be like if you could be totally understood for your intentions, not for how people perceive you to be?  So many times in this life, you say or do something that is totally misconstued and there you can't fix it, you can't convince them you meant no harm...and it goes on forever.  The page above was made, thinking of those things.

This page was created after a round of visit's to doctors, the ER, and medical people for my husband's health issues.  I felt like I was drowning in phone calls and frustration, trying to get him the care he needed.  I think we're finally on the right track again.  Hopefully he'll feel better but that's going to involve more surgeries and doctor visits.

And this was created because of all the medical issues also, I was feeling the call of the wild, I just wanted to run away and head for the mountains to find some peace.  I could have spent a month there easily.  But life doesn't work out the way we want it too, so we make the best of it!  Make some more journal pages!  It's great to have time in the studio for this.

We watched a show about a woman who had a husband who could not be happy and he could not allow her or their children to be happy either.  It was called something like, The Contest Winner from Defiance, Oh.  That was a super good show and it made me cry, just watching her trying to make a life from an impossible situation.  I spent 25 years that way so I guess it seemed real personal to me.

Same thing with this page, if your instincts are telling you to run, Do it!  

I met Robert in 2003.  We fought fire, worked for a dynamite crew, drove semi across country, worked on a car crushing crew that toured the state, drove log trucks.  In a few short years we hopped around to so many jobs and adventures.  In 2005 he got hurt and our lives changed totally.  Now we stay home and go to doctors and work on our place.  Everything is still good, it's just different than we had it planned.  You never know what's in store!

This page came about from thinking of all the pets I've lost in my life.  I was looking at their photos, and missing them.

This page is purely an art experiment.  I liked how it turned out, it was fun to create and I'll probably do more similar paintings.  Sometimes journal pages are just for creating new ways to make art.  Sometimes they are for helping you to get things off your mind.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Working in a junk journal.

If you are like me, I saw artist's working in junk journals, and wondered the big question-WHY?  Nothing about the junk journals are archival, who knows how long they will last?  You can't sell each individual painting if you create one you really like.

I started creating junk journals anyway!  I gesso over any kind of junk mail we get.  I paint on the pages of books I create from junk mail envelopes and card stock type materials.  

And here's what I've learned...
When you are not worrying about the expense of good art materials, you gain a freedom in expression.  It does not matter what you paint!  You begin to paint for the pure joy of painting.
You do not care how it "turns out".  You do not worry if it "works" or not.  Because there's always another batch of junk mail coming in.  You can make another book and fill it up with ideas!

As you practice over and over you gain experience and knowledge about yourself and what you really like to paint.  You get very comfortable inside your artist "skin".

I've also got completely away from using reference photos, I was always a slave to those photos.  I think artwork created directly from your heart is so much more "artsy".  I love being able to sit at my art table and do nothing more than react to each color or brushstroke.  Just sit there working and let one idea flow from another.  It frees your mind in a way that creates a type of euphoria and let's the world float away.

In my journals, I make my own gesso, I use house paint if I feel like it, I try out the cheaper brands of gel mediums, I experiment making my own texture pastes.  I glue paper to pages, I paint over it, I try anything I feel like doing.  Because it just doesn't matter!  I'm not trying to create a work of art, in which I use archival, expensive materials trying to have something a collector would buy that would last a lifetime and more.

I'm having so much fun, my archival materials are collecting dust!  When I decide now to dig out my watercolor paper and archival paints, I create something totally different than what I used to create, but I feel like it's something that is really "me" and I love it!
Donna Ridgway

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Veils of Time, horse art, watercolor painting by Donna Ridgway

This painting was a great learning experience.  I've done what I call my dribble paintings before I created this one, but the others were much brighter.  I kind of liked the earth tones in this one, it gave the painting an ancient feel.

I'll try some with brighter colors, and probably do more like this, with the earth toned back ground.  It seems there's always something to learn and something to experiment with!

Monday, December 01, 2014

Turning into a Witch's Knot, horse painting.

I kept painting away and this seemed to turn into a witch's knot in Murphy's mane.  I never know when I start painting, what will happen next.  It seems every painting has a mind of it's own and you might as well follow along with the plan and let that happen.

I'm still working on this one, kind of feeling my way into it.  Not sure what the background wants to be at this point.

And I also hope I don't do something that wrecks the entire painting ...there's always the chance of that.  That's why it's sometimes difficult to post your progress as you are painting.  It's much more a sure thing if you take your photos as you go along and only post after the entire painting is finished.

Once again, wishing you a lot to be thankful for in the coming year!
Donna Ridgway

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Another update on the horse watercolor.

I'm working to portray, I think, a wild-windy mane on this horse.  I can see I'll be changing a lot of things about the mane, I'll just keep working on it until it becomes what I want it to be.

I used one of my photos of a horse named Murphy to begin this painting.  He was my cousins' horse, he's no longer with us.  I rode him up behind Split Mountain, west of Dupuyer, Mt, one time on a cold, windy day.

Murphy had large ears, and a very expressive face.  I've used his image in several paintings just because he had such "presence" in the photos I took of him.

Hope you enjoy the updates, leave a comment if you wish!
Donna Ridgway

I'm working on a horse. Water color on Yupo paper.

This is the very beginning drawing, just laying in color with a brush, in the general shape of a horse's head.  From this point, I'll begin to refine the lines, fill in the mane, fix things I see that need fixing.  My favorite part of  creating a painting is this lay in stage.  I love to take a blank white page, to the point where it begins to come to life.  Where there was nothing, you now see a horse.

Because I've created paintings since I was 5 years old, I've refined my process to the point where this step takes from 15 minutes to an hour to complete.  If you counted the total of hours painting to get to this place, I'd probably have 20,000 hours in painting!  I really have no idea, lol!  But I know it's a lot of hours, a lot of lessons, a lot of work.  To coin a cliche, a labor of love. :)

Watch for updates as the painting comes along.

This is the last day of the Thanksgiving holiday for 2014, I'm wishing you will have many things to be thankful for in the coming year.
Donna Ridgway

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Come see the dog with the crooked nose snarl!

"Will I bite, or will I not bite?  That is the question!  Let's ask Ceasar Milan, he would know!  Is this dog mean or is he just insecure?  

No matter what he is, he's really fun to see with his snarfy attitude and funny face.

This was another TAG!!! painting from my art page on facebook.   Come by the page, tick the like button to see the updates and take a chance to win a painting like this. 

My Etsy shop, Stormy Ridge Studio, has other fun things you might like to see!