Monday, August 31, 2015

Painting like crazy lately!

Robert and I were out taking photos one day near Gibson Dam. The mountain sheep rams were below us, near the river. I was peeking over the edge at them, taking photos of them from above, when they decided to climb the cliff and come up to where we were.
Most of the rams, as they walked by me, kind of hurried on by, this one stopped to look at me as I was looking at him.  I took several photos of him.
I liked the intelligence and curiosity I saw shining from his eyes.
I had to paint him!

 And once there was a horse named Bucky who loved the snow and the winds of winter. The other horses on the ranch called him crazy because he was running and bucking his way through cold weather!An early fall blizzard came. The cattle were high on the mountain on fall pasture.The rancher knew he needed his toughest winter horse to bring the cattle from the forests where they held up-not wanting to face the storm.
Bucky and the rancher headed up the mountain and through the long cold day-they moved cattle down lower and lower toward the ranch and good piles of hay. It grew dark but Bucky didn't lose his way. He brought the rancher and his cattle home.
Way way back when my mom was young, my grandfather's sister and her husband wanted a ranch. They worked in Billings, Mt at the telegraph office, saved every dime they had. When they had enough to buy another homestead, they'd send my grandfather the money and he'd go buy them some more land.Pretty soon they had land and cattle on the mountain, but they still lived in town. My grandfather went to their place and looked after their cattle and his own.A blizzard came, and there was no other way to get to the cattle at the other ranch, so my grandfather rode on his horse Bjorken, who was an Arabian stud, at that time, my grandfather wanted to raise Arabians. Bjorken was the start of his herd.He and the horse made it to the cattle and got them fed, but on the way home they almost froze to death. The horse saved my grandfather's life.
And that is a true story!
You can maybe see why I like stories, I grew up on them....

"Stars in His Eyes"
One night I went out into the pasture to visit my horse. As I came over the ridge, I heard him talking and more surprising to me-I knew what he was saying. He was talking to the moon and this is what he said,"I want you to start keeping your darn stars in the sky! You let them run wild and they fall on me! This one landed on my eye!" (He doesn't seem to like having stars in his eyes?)The moon replied,"I don't know why you are complaining-they don't hurt."
"I know they don't hurt," the horse spoke disgustedly. "But they annoy me!"So the moon said, "I'm sorry-it's something in the cosmos-they're very silly tonight. Why I have one with me now, trying to talk some sense into his head-trying to get him to behave himself. I can't spank them you know, the star police would be after me in a minute!!I walked closer to my horse. He saw me and stopped talking. The moon went silent and turned his back on us."If you will permit me...." I reached up and pulled the star from my horse's forehead. I pulled back my arm and threw the star like a frisbee-back into the sky where he belonged.My horse looked at me in star-struck wonder! He galloped round the field-grabbing fallen stars with his teeth-tossing them higher and higher!The stars shook star dust trails as they flew back into the sky. It became hard to know, which stars were falling and which were rising!I had the time of my life and so did my horse! The man in the moon nearly fell from the sky with laughing! And the stars...oh you should have seen them-glowing and happy in their stardust sky.
copyright Donna Ridgway 2015

I guess you can tell by now, when I create my "fantasy" horses, they tell me stories! I share them with you here, but please remember they are my own copyrighted work, the stories and the paintings.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Working on a painting of a goat with horns.

This is going to be called, I think, A Goat in Sunshine. I've got the front half of him blocked in, now to get the rest of him finished.  I think he'll look better all brown, I might not make his belly and rear end white as it is in the photo.
Once again, I'm not using my own photo, photo credit here goes to Angela Frank.
I don't trace my subjects, I like to begin painting and drawing with paint right on the surface of the paper.  I lay down some washes of paint, let them dry, then scrape out the form of the subject with a fairly dry brush.  After that, I begin to draw in detail after detail, working into finer and finer details as I go along.  Pretty soon, I begin to feel amazed that my painting looks like the subject at hand.
I'll post updates as this goes along.

She wants to be a star! Equine art acrylic painting.

"She wants to be a star"
9X12 inch
Acrylic on heavy paper

After working so hard to create my painting "Thinking of Cecil" yesterday, I wanted something fun and relaxing to work on today.  So I began to paint, and in my mind I'm asking this horse what do you want to be?  How do you want me to paint you?
She did not reply so I began painting blind, adding some colors, Creating some textures with my homemade stamp, adding some more layers of color....and all the time asking what this horse wanted to be!  
Finally I heard this little whisper, "I want to be green.  Bright green, I'm Irish you know."
Well that was a start!  "A bright green horse you will become," I told my painting.
Then I began to ask more questions, like ok bright green horse, "What are your hopes and dreams?"
Finally I heard a shout! "I want to be a star!"
What a funny horse this is...she takes forever to answer my questions, and when she finally answers I'm so surprised.  I thought maybe she'd want to become an Indian war pony, or a race horse...
No way, she wants to be a green Irish star!  So I made her a star, she's the star in this painting.
You see it never hurts to tell someone your hopes and dreams.  Speaking up and telling someone your dreams helps them come true!
Doesn't matter if you're a green Irish star of a funny painting, or a wild Indian pony running over the plains, it's your dream.
I hope all your dreams come true!

Thinking of Cecil, lion painting, watercolor, on Yupo paper.

"Thinking of Cecil"
9X12 inches on Yupo paper
Watercolor painting of lion

I'm in a group on Facebook called Paw Prints for Animals and in that group, there's a challenge to paint something depicting the sanctity of African wildlife.

I decided to paint a lion, using a photograph, which Heather Ward graciously provided. I was thinking of Cecil the lion the entire time I painted this and how his life was snuffed out for no apparent good reason.

It was a project that required all my concentration!  I slept like a log after I created this painting!
I hope you enjoy seeing it here today.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

LIttle yard bunny, watches me in the garden each day.

Cottontails are interesting little creatures, those who live with us, will sit maybe six feet away from us and watch us carefully as we work around the yard.  They seem to love it when we talk to them.  They're very good listeners!

In the wild, average age for a cottontail is about three years, I'd like to think maybe ours live a bit longer than that. We do help them in winter when the snow is deep and they can't get to the grass.  We have rabbit feeders we put out under our camper.

Hawks and coyotes hunt here, so we do see bits of fur in the yard at times.  It's sad to see but it's also nature's way.  Hawks need to eat too.

Our garden boxes are about 3 feet high, so the rabbits don't get into my produce. :)  Otherwise, I'd be limited on what I harvest!

Hope you enjoyed seeing this little guy.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Ledger art, new to me, been around for centuries!

Ledger art, I've always loved it, but didn't know it had an actual name and was an art form. It has a fascinating history. One of my friends told me my latest paintings reminded her of this form of art, so I had to look it up and learn about it.

I thought you might enjoy seeing it also.
Taken directly from Wikipedia, description of Ledger art:

  • "Historical precedents[edit]

    The Sand Creek massacre as drawn by eyewitness Howling Wolf(1874–1875).
    Ledger art evolved from Plains hide painting.[1] Among Plains tribes, women traditionally paint abstract, geometrical designs, whereas men paint representational designs. The men's designs were often heraldic devices or visions painted on shields, tipis, shirts, leggings, or robes. Before the Plains tribes were forced to live on reservations in the 1870s, men generally painted personal feats in battle or hunting.[2] Plains ledger art depicted communally acknowledged events of valor and tribal importance in order to gain status for the individuals who participated in them, and their band and kin. Plains pictorial art emphasizes narrative action and eliminates unnecessary detail or backgrounds.[3] Figures tended to be drawn in hard outlines and filled with solid fields of color.[4]
    These were all traditionally painted on animal hides – particularly buffalo hides. When buffalo became scarce after eradication programs encouraged by the US federal government, Plains artists began painting and drawing on paper, canvas, and muslin.[1]

    New materials[edit]

    An increasing supply of ledger books and other paper came from traders, government agents, missionaries, and military officers.[5] With these came pencils, ink fountain pens, crayons, and watercolor paints.[6] These new tools allowed for greater detail and experimentation than the earlier tools, such as bone or wood styli dipped in mineral pigments, had. The compact ledger books and pencils were highly portable, making them ideal for nomadic lifestyles.[7]

    Fort Marion[edit]

    Drawing by Black Hawk (Sans Arc Lakota), c. 1880 depicting a horned Thunder Being (Haokah) on a horse-like creature with eagle talons and buffalo horns. The creature's tail forms a rainbow that represents the entrance to the Spirit World, and the dots represent hail. Accompanying the picture on the page were the words: "Dream or vision of himself changed to a destroyer and riding a buffalo eagle."
    The most celebrated ledger artists were prisoners of war at Fort Marion in St. Augustine, Florida. In 1874, in what became known as the Red River War or Buffalo War, a group of CheyenneKiowaComancheArapaho, and Caddowarriors fought the US Army to protect the last free herd of buffalo and to assert their autonomy.[8] In the harsh winter of 1874 to 1875, many tribal camps were forced to surrender to various Indian agencies, and the supposed leaders of the Red River War were rounded up and sent to Fort Marion.[9] From 1875 to 1878, the 71 men and one woman were under the command of Richard Henry Pratt, who used the opportunity to give the Indians a Western education.[10] He provided the prisoners with basic art supplies such as pencils, ink, crayons, watercolor paint, and paper.
    Twenty-six of the Fort Marion prisoners engaged in drawing. They were younger Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Kiowa men.[11] Some of the most prolific and well-known artists include Paul Caryl Zotom (Kiowa); David Pendleton Oakerhater or Making Medicine (Cheyenne); Tichkematse or Squint Eyes (Cheyenne); Wohaw (Kiowa); Howling Wolf (Cheyenne);Etahdleuh Doanmoe (Kiowa); White Bear (Arapaho); Koba (Kiowa); and Bear’s Heart (Cheyenne). Tichtematse, Howling Wolf, White Bear, and Koba all continued drawing after their release from prison.[12]

    Subject matter[edit]

    Battle exploits dominated ledger art. Other traditional themes such as hunting, courtship,[13] and religious practices were common subjects. Ledger artists also documented their rapidly changing environment by portraying encroaching European Americans and new technologies such as trains and cameras. Many ledger artists worked with ethnologists, by documenting shield and tipi designs, ethnobotanical information, winter counts, dance customs and regalia, and other cultural information. Dreams and visions inspired ledger art just as they had inspired earlier hide paintings.[14]
    The artists creating ledger art today often reference pre-reservation lifeways, historical transitions, and social commentary. They use this style to illustrate cultural continuity between historical and contemporary Native life.[13]

    As fine art[edit]

    The warrior "Low Dog" by Red Dog, 1884 ledger art
    Missionaries, anthropologists, and tourists eagerly collected ledger books in the late 19th century. Carl Sweezy (1881–1953) (Arapaho) and Haungooah (Silver Horn) (1860–1940) (Kiowa) both established professional careers as ledger artists.
    They inspired the Kiowa Five or, as they are increasingly known, the Kiowa Six. These artists painted with more sophisticated materials and met with international success when they exhibited their work in the 1928 International Art Congress in Prague,Czechoslovakia.


    Numerous modern Plains artists create ledger paintings. Many seek out 19th-century documents on which to paint, creating ironic juxtapositions between the printed text and the paintings. Dwayne Wilcox (Oglala Lakota) uses the style of 19th-century Lakota painters to express humorous views of modern realities for Lakota people. Arthur Amiotte (Oglala Lakota) builds upon the collage aspect of ledger art and combines text, photography, naturalistic painting and stylized Plains pictorial art in his work.Dolores Purdy Corcoran (Caddo/Winnebago) is a female ledger artist who uses bright colors and female figures frequently in her work.[15]"

End wikipedia text