Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Newfoundland OSWOA Card

When we were at the Sun Canyon Lodge, west of Augusta, this weekend, we saw a Newfoundland dog in the back of a pickup. He was about the happiest looking dog I've ever seen and I worked on this painting of him today.

His tongue looks wild in the scan but it isn't that bright on the painting, I don't know why. Some things just don't scan like you wish they would! :)

This is an OSWOA card, an original small work of art, 6X4 inches in size. I hope I caught something of the happy personality this dog had. What I didn't catch, was the way he slobbered all over himself. I had a Great Pyrenese once, she slobbered like that also. It's just a trait of these dogs. I spared you that in the painting. :)

As always, if you'd like to see more paintings of horses and dogs, or Montana scenery, feel free to explore my website. I'll be posting this dog on ebay when the painting dries. It's an oil painting on canvas so it's going to take a while.


Monday, May 28, 2007


I've laughed ever since I took this photo yesterday! I think it's so funny.

We were driving around the country on a photo shoot for Memorial Day weekend when we saw this herd of horses and mules near the Sun Canyon Lodge, just west of Augusta, Mt. I've never run across a more entertaining herd of animals as the weather was chilly, and they were playing. I took hundreds of photos and in the batch, was this one. It took the cake!

Feel free to download this photo and pass it around to your friends but I ask that you keep my website and copyright information on the photo. I hope it gives you a laugh like it did me!

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Antelope, originally uploaded by Montana Artist.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Free art lesson. Value study.

This is pretty crazy. But I'm showing you what a difference value can make in a painting. The reason I show it isn't to set myself up as knowing something, it's to maybe help another person while they're trying to learn to become an artist. I learned everything the long hard way. I didn't have many resources, there was no internet back then and art lessons cost money I didn't have.

I've often thought, if I could just "pay it forward" maybe someone else could become a good artist from what I've learned, and it would save them a lot of time.

The point of this lesson in values is this, look at the way your eye is drawn to certain points in each of the four examples above. The reason your eye goes to those places is this, that is where the lightest color in the example meets the darkest color in the example.

When you plan your painting, think ahead and decide which part of the painting will be where you want people to look the longest. That will be the point of the painting that helps to tell the story of what's going on. That is where you'll place the most intense value change of the entire painting. Save your lightest light and your darkest dark for that particular place and you'll create what's called the "focal point". Every great painting has one.

Don't place your darkest dark anywhere else on the painting, and don't place your lightest light anywhere else on the painting. Save them for this exciting thing called the "Focal Point". The human eye can see the smallest variations in value changes so you still have plenty of value ranges to use in the rest of your painting.

If you scroll down that jpg I placed above, your eye will follow the focal points of each demo. Proof that it works!

Watercolor painting, little girl fishing.

Here's my daughter, looking at the fish she caught on a horseback fishing trip into the Montana mountains. I wonder what she's thinking?

The real painting is much brigher, this is a low resolution image.

This painting is one of the first times I tried watercolor painting and I really enjoyed it.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Blue by You, horse hiding in the trees.

When I was growing up, we'd go get the horses on my cousin's ranch. They hid in the trees to avoid capture. So I'm calling this painting, Blue by You, because he's hiding and who knows if you'll find him or not?

Check the Zig Zag painting page, or my ebay, he'll appear at one or the other for sale.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Zig Zag paintings

This is the first painting offered for sale on my new Zig Zag paintings! The price for this painting is one dollar. When this painting sells, the next painting will sell for two dollars. The next one will be three dollars! When the top price gets to $200 the price will start coming down again. When it gets down to one dollar, the price will once again start to climb!

To be part of the Zig Zag painting plan, see my website at Montana Horse Gallery.

You can purchase the first of the Zig Zags for one dollar! There's a convenient paypal button there for you to use!

Hope you have fun with this as it gives you a chance to begin an art collection at reasonable prices and a fun plan! As always, let your friends and relatives know...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Donkey, quick sketches

Being's Pedro is kind of lazy little guy, I thought he'd be the perfect subject to sketch. I thought I'd go out, sit in the pasture, and draw donkey's to my heart's content. No such thing. I found out you 'd have to be a quick sketch artist to draw Pedro! He moves every two seconds! Changes position of his ears, constantly, moves his head, moves his feet, switches his tail, goes to another patch of grass....

I'm going to have to get better at gesture drawing a donkey. My cats are better subjects than Pedro as they sit still for a couple minutes at a time.

Oh well, I did get some donkey-like poses onto my paper and some of them, I kind of liked as they resembled Pedro. If I wanted to do an improved sketch of him, I could take anyone of these and complete them by watching him some more out in the pasture. Or I could just take my camera out there and get a still picture in a pose I like, and draw that!

I was using a large sketch pad paper, and vine charcoal. The breeze was blowing, so I laid the paper down on the driveway, and weighted it down with rocks to take these pictures of the sketches.

Hope you're enjoying the warm sunshine wherever you live, it's surely nice to have spring arrive here.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

How to draw fur, lesson five.

This could be the fur on a long haired cat. Notice how I've added a middle value to the layers of fur. The middle value goes between the dark and the light color of the fur. This long fur has many breaks in it.

As you're drawing long fur on an animal, observe the animal closely and copy the breaks and layers of fur. That's what makes the animal on your painting look like the real animal. They're all different.

Drawing fur is much easier than painting fur. When you draw in black and white, you only need to think value. If you're painting, you must think of the value of the color and keep it in line with the values in these drawings.

I hope you've enjoyed these demonstrations on drawing fur. If they've helped you, let me know. If you want more demonstrations or art lessons, let me know that also.
Thank you for stopping by my blog! As always, tell your friends and relatives where it is...:)

How to draw fur, lesson four.

When you looked at my last example image, you might have found yourself thinking, that really doesn't look like fur, because no animal has that smooth a coat! You were right in your thinking. Animal fur has "breaks" in it. It breaks when the animal moves, and changes shape. It breaks because some of an animals fur might be longer than other fur, or it might have dirt, mud or other matter sticking it together. A medium haired coat looks a little bit like this example of fur.

How to draw long animal fur is coming next.

How to draw fur, lesson three.

This image is an example to help you make the transition from thinking about drawing plates and boards to drawing animal fur. As in drawing plates and boards, the value of your drawing is what gives you the illusion of fur. Darker values are down next to the animals skin. The reason is this, there's less light there. As the hair sticks up higher, it catches more light. As this layer of hair comes against the next layer of hair, the edges are created by the change in value from light to dark.

On to lesson four in how to draw fur.

How to draw fur, lesson two.

Here's lesson two in how to draw fur. We all know the shape of an animal isn't square like the boards in my first example. Animals have a softly rounded shape and their fur follows the form created by their skeleton and muscles.

The way light falls on an animals form is what gives us the ability to see how layers of fur lay upon each other. These plates demonstrate this principle. The shadow will move as the light changes so we have to take that into account as we draw fur, it might not always be shining down in the same direction as it is in this picture. So take that into account when you draw fur.

I'm using boards and plates (very familiar items) to help you make the transition to fur. These examples help you to see what's happening in a very simple form.

On to lesson 3, how to draw fur!

How to draw fur, lesson one.

When you first begin to draw fur, it's easy to get lost in all the layers and colors of an animal. I've devised a way to think of fur, that takes the mystery out of the process. See the image above. Imagine it to be a stack of lumber out in the yard. The sun is above the lumber and it casts a shadow around the top of the boards where one board lays against another. As this light hits the boards, the top of each board is lit up where it's closest to the light. Then you see a shadow that's formed when the edge of a board blocks the light from falling onto the next board.

The light has created a pattern of shadow and highlight. This same process will happen in an animals fur.

Lesson two is coming next.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Scarlet, crying at the studio door.

Here's how Scarlet let's me know she's outside wanting in. She sits on the steps and hollers for me to open the door. She's kind of spoiled. She has food and water and a litter box in here just like she has in the house. I can hear her meowing to get in because the walls in this house are pretty thin. They don't build these things with 2X4's!

Everything here is temporary until we get it set down and skirted so I have pallets for steps. They work perfectly. I drive the four wheeler up to the steps, when it's loaded, and I can drag the items off it's back and right into the doorway.

So that's a typical day in my studio. I paint, I play with my animals, I paint some more. I post some things on my blog, then I paint some more....:)

I have to get a bunch done because Robert is likely coming over at 10:00 to talk about car titles some more....

Pedro leaving

This Pedro leaving! He walked right up to me when I called him, but then he gave me a dirty look and kept right on going. I had the camera in my hand. He doesn't like people when they have something in their hands. He really gets scared of a bucket or a pair of gloves. I think someone threw a bucket at him once and maybe slapped him with a pair of gloves. He sure lets us know what's happened to him in his life.

Studio again, Pedro's coming.

We let Pedro out to roam around our whole place at night. He was up in the front yard when I called him so I could take his picture coming out to the studio where his pasture is. He actually came when I called him! He's getting so tame and he's so much my buddy. I need to show Robert some of the horse whispering techniques so Pedro will come to him too.

You can see our 56 or maybe 57 Chevy pickup in this picture. That's Robert's fun. He loves the old cars. He has a 56 Buick he's working on too. Someday, we hope to have them good enough to run around in. Our vehicles are old, but they're paid for and they run most of the time. I'd rather not have payments so I keep my old Dodge Shadow running too. I love that car. It has so many memories in it. It hauled my kids animals to 4-H shows, and it took them to the vet. The off driver's side door is dented in because my daughter's horse Patch kicked it one time. He died of colic, and it broke our hearts so I can't even replace that awful looking door because I think of him and how she loved him everytime I see it.

Studio from outside.

This is the studio from the outside. I can't imagine a 14X70 studio and I almost have it full. How did I fit all of this into a 10X12 bedroom? I think I have to many art supplies and I'd better get busy using them up!

My four wheeler is parked out side my door, it's my carrier! I use it to haul furniture around, and to carry all the supplies over here from the other house. It makes lots of trips. It's name is Nemo. That's because when I get into the mountains on my four wheeler, everyone is saying, "Where's Nemo?" I'm a psycho in the woods, I love exploring. Hard to tell where Nemo and I might be.

The studio is parked in the horse pasture and the grass we planted last year has grown. It's finally green somewhere on this place! Pedro loves that green grass. He doesn't care much for his pellets now that he has all that green.

More studio

This is looking into the kitchen area. There's a bar in the middle where that fan is. During the day, it gets hot enough now to use it. I've closed off the back of the trailer so where the hallway goes, there's a big piece of cardboard right now.

The small bedroom is where I'm keeping frames. We have a big shelf structure in it for storing frames we keep in stock. The back bathroom will be for storage also. We're taking out the toilet and shower and we'll put shelves in their space.

The back bedroom which is the second largest bedroom in here, will be for framing and holds all the framing supplies and the totes for carrying the paintings and poems to shows. It also holds the packing materials so it's easy to frame a painting and pack it right into a tote for a show.

We're trying to think of everything to make this handy as we go along.

More of my studio.

This is looking toward the front door, still in the living room. It sure is dark, I'll try to get a better picture here after the sun comes up. It's daylight, but no sun yet.

I'm starting to get the paintings on the walls, and the equipment organized. It sure takes time to get it all done. Maybe that's just because I'm slow!

Pictures of studio in horse pasture.

I'll show you some pictures of how my studio is coming along. It's a little dark in here as I like to get out here early. This is my main work area, in the living room of the 14' wide trailer house that's become my second home! Robert and I both love it out here. You can see Silver's World hanging on the wall and on that cupboard is a painting I began this morning of the Rocky Mountain Front. It's going to be of my Grandpa's ranch when it's finished.

Am I Blue? Oil painting of a donkey.

There are people who tell me I have a warped sense of humor and maybe they're right.

Yesterday, when I was in the middle of painting Pedro, my beloved Robert came over to the studio to talk. Maybe some artists can talk and paint but I can't, I need to be alone unless I've got my painting all planned out and know where it's going. I was in the middle of something great happening with this one...I just know it....:) when my concentration was totally broken with talk about getting a title for an old abandoned Honda car someone left on our place.

How can you paint seriously while you're discussing something like that!? I found myself putting orange behind Pedro and thinking, now what will happen here? Can I make those orange colors recede and the blue ones come forward? I'm always trying to break the rules, I hate rules. (in art, there's a rule that cool colors recede and warm colors come forward) So in between comments about the Honda title and how we might be able to get one, I was slapping paint around on this canvas.

It turned out, the more I painted, I started thinking of that song, Am I Blue? That might not be the title of the song, but those are some of the words. And I got to wondering, is this donkey blue, as in sad? He doesn't look blue, but he is blue! So to me that was funny. And way more fun than trying to get a title to an old car.....

My mind can put me in more than one place at a time as you may guess.... I'm sure I was carrying on a coherent conversation about the Honda car while all this was going on with the donkey painting..... Don't ask Robert, he'll just tell you some wild story about the dumb things I say sometimes.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Painting Pedro

My scan went a little bit crooked. But here's the start of my painting of Pedro, our new donkey. He's a very interesting donkey. My take on his actions is this, he had a wonderful home when he was growing up, then I think he was sold to someone who maybe wasn't so nice to him. We bought him from some people who were very kind to him so he doesn't totally expect the worst from you when you want to feed him pellets, or brush him down. But he's extremely shy and wary...very afraid you'll throw a bucket at him or hit him with it. He doesn't like buckets at all.

He doesn't like gloves either. So we hand feed him his treats and we don't wear gloves around him. He also jerks away from you when you try to lead him somewhere. Only if he doesn't want to go, or if he gets scared. Rest of the time, he leads like a dream. He's 10 years old so who knows how long it will take to get him to trust us.

Pedro let me brush him down the other day, he really liked it. I walked up to him carrying the dreaded bucket full of pellets under my left arm and the curry comb was in my left hand. When I reached into the bucket for pellets with my right hand, to get the pellets, he had to come close to the curry comb. He gradually accepted the idea of what I had in my hand. I knew he'd probably seen one before and he knew what they were for. It took about 15 minutes for him to decide I could brush his dirty little hide. But then he really liked it.

We're loving Pedro, he's very much a member of the family, along with Sing Song and Scarlet, and the wild rabbits and squirrels.

In this painting, I've just drawn his shape with my paint brush, onto the canvas and blocked in some forms behind him. I added a little burnt sienna to white to create the highlights on his form. I don't usually like the color that mixture makes, but on this painting, it's right because it is the color of Pedro.

Thanks for stopping by this blog and looking at my work in progress. Come back to see more! :) Donna