Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Raven in the Woods

8X9 inches
Watercolor on Yupo paper

In some cultures ravens are associated with healing. I hope my raven helps to heal my friend who is ill. I've not painted many birds, so this was quite fun to notice all the differences in his eyes, compared to horse's, dog's and cat's eyes. And then there are all those wonderful feathers and finding the best way to portray them...I enjoyed the challenge and painting the raven was great fun.

The day I began this painting, Robert and I installed a row of cedar board fence behind our house. By the time the day was finished, and I got into the studio it was late.  I was so tired I had a time walking to the studio.

But I joined the dailypaintworks to create a painting a day and that painting had not been created yet! So I slogged my way to the studio and sat down to make a painting...I feel quite committed to this process.

So here is a raven for you....

Saturday, September 26, 2015

As it goes, I'm still painting flowers.

For a while, as I was painting flowers, they tried to become more and more real! I didn't want that.
I wanted these to be kind of impossible and fun looking! Preposterous flowers! :)

So I found working in abstract is just as difficult as it is trying to recreate a form of reality. I have to work at it to keep the flowers crazy and abstract.

The flowers at the top of this post are so far away from reality I made a poem for them:

Are these flowers?
Or are they not?
And if they are.....
What kind have you got?
Donna Ridgway

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

More "Forever Flowers", floral paintings.

The Fire Vase
8X8 inches on gallery wrapped canvas

A bright red vase, full of happy flowers. I think that is some kind of fire weed in there with the flowers, it's very pretty!

I'm still painting a bouquet of flowers each day for my friend who is ill. I did not know I'd like painting flowers as much as I do. It's surprising to me, because I've always painted animals before. But I'm learning a lot, studying a lot, and enjoying the process of painting these flowers.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Inspiration comes in many ways.

I watched a video on You Tube by an artist named Sandrine Pelessier. Her work fascinated me, I couldn't get it out of my mind. At almost the same time, my friend became ill. I wished I could send her flowers every single day.
So one day I got brave and I painted some flowers after watching several of Sandrine's videos. I was happy with the result and learned I loved painting flowers! So I painted more and more and more of them!
And that is why you see flowers on my page now.  I call them "Forever Flowers" because you can send them to someone and they will not fade or die. What a lovely thing! 

You can purchase forever flowers in my Etsy store which is on a link to the top of the page and to the right.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Horse singing to a "dark moon", equine art.

"Dark Moon"
9X12 inch acrylic painting

The poor old moon! He feels like crying....all his stars have shrunk, you can barely see them shining in the sky. There is so much pollution in the air, he wishes he could make it go away so his stars could shine the way they should!
The horse is singing to him, trying to comfort him for the moon is very sad.
I sure hope it works and the moon cheers up soon.  

Floating watercolor on Yupo paper, horse art.

There's a technique I like to do on Yupo paper, where I lay down a color, let it dry, and then carefully "float" another color over the top of the dry color.  This is not easy to do on Yupo paper.  It's fairly simple on normal watercolor paper because the paint soaks into the paper and doesn't rewet that easily.
But on Yupo paper, the paint dries sitting on top of the surface.  That is because Yupo is plastic paper. It's surface is slick and totally non absorbent.
With this horse, I covered the paper with a very wet wash of Cerulean Blue.  It was random, and variegated in value. As that was drying, I drew into the wet paint, making marks that determined where the eyes were, where the nose was, where the ears went....As the paint dries, I am able to refine the drawing and create details.
After that layer  of paint was completely dry, I mixed a very loose wash of yellow ochre paint, making sure I had plenty of it to finish the painting. I knew I had to lay that color down without making one mistake, which is quite terrifying when you have spent hours creating a drawing you like!
I began laying the yellow ochre down in areas of brightest light on the horse. That went well so I continued with a very wet brush, laying the color over the blue in shadowed and detailed areas.
If this failed, and the color mixed, I'd get a green horse, if it was successful, I'd get a horse in which the colors seem to vibrate and have a life of their own.
The colors did not mix, they seem vibrant and lively and I loved what happend here. The horse kind of looks like he's ready to blink or move toward you.  I think those lively colors help to create that effect of life in this piece.
He was posted on the today and now he is sold. Thank you very much to those of you who purchase my work. It means the world to me. :)

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Wake up Mr Moon! Equine art painting.

"Wake up Mr Moon!"
9X12 inch original painting
Acrylic, inks, varnish on acrylic paper.

"Wake up Mr Moon! You gave your stars new slippers yesterday and they are driving me crazy now. Your stars like the new boots and they're so excited about them, they tumble out of the sky. They land on my back, dance their way up my spine and use my ears for springboards. I'm getting real tired of this."

"My mistress and I moved 200 head of cattle to summer pasture today and I'm tired! I want to rest!" The horse shook his head and neighed impatiently, " WAKE UP MOON!"

The moon raised one sleepy eye and replied," Yesterday you complained the pointed toes on my stars hurt your back. So I worked myself silly yesterday to create new slippers for every star." The moon yawned a big big yawn and rubbed his eyes. "Now! Appreciate the slippers and let me sleep!"

The horse bowed his head and thought. He felt terrible. He didn't know the moon had been thinking of HIM when he made those slippers for his stars. He slunk over the hill while the soft slippers of the stars danced across his back. The stars had heard his complaints to the moon.

Each star came softly to the horse's ears, and whispered, "We're sorry. We were just having so much fun." And they spun away into the sky.

The horse felt lonely after they'd gone, after all they were kind of cute with their new slippers and their goofy ways.

He shook his head and his mane fell softly over his neck, silvery in the moonlight that shone from the still sleepy moon.

"I'm sorry", he spoke to the moon, "Next time you do something like this, I'll ask you why you did it before I get angry with you."

Many low whispers echoed to the horse on the wind, "Apology accepted. Are we still friends?" And he knew they came from the moon -and the stars.
"Yes, we are still friends."

The stars went along to dance and play somewhere else and the moon and horse had the good nights sleep they craved.

copyright Donna Ridgway 2015

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.