"Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul." Vincent Van Gogh

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Surprise on my Doorstep

And look what arrived for me today! A lovely basket of gourmet treats and thank you note from my daughter's boss and his wife. This was to thank me for the painting of Guinness that I did for him! I am so surprised and absolutely thrilled!

And, in case you have forgotten, here is Guinness:

Monday, July 28, 2014

Coeur d'Alene Auction 2014

Each July the Coeur d'Alene Auction of Western Art comes to Reno and I always wait for it with great anticipation as it is a wonderful opportunity to view some really excellent and exciting art. The best part is that I don't have to travel to see it - it comes to me!My catalog and  event tickets arrived in the mail about a week ago with the catalog cover featuring a dynamic painting from 1943 called "Dodging the Lead" by William R. Leigh. Even though I was not familiar with his work, the beautiful brushwork evident in this photo really appealed to me as well as this moment of great action. I could not wait to see it in person!

Friday was the preview day and potential buyers from all over the US came to Reno to participate in and experience the excitement of the auction.

So much art to see - nicely displayed all across the room on long tables with overhead lighting.

  In this photo you can see the magnificent bronze sculpture by James Fraser called "The End of the Trail". It is perhaps the most famous sculpture of the American West and had a pre-auction estimate of $300,000 to $500,000. But when the bidding began there were two very determined bidders and when the dust had settled after about a minute of furious competition, the final sale price was over $900,000!

This is Frederic Remington's "The Story of Where the Sun Goes" which auctioned off at a cool 1.5 million and, on the right, the William Leigh painting sold for $850,000. It was magnificent in person with vibrant color and unrestrained energy and it did not disappoint! I am always amazed at the very high prices these paintings are demanding - amazed but happy as I continue on my own art journey.

  This photo shows the auctioneer with his arms spread wide welcoming the incoming bids and the man in the isle is the Yipper - he yips to alert the auctioneer of a new bid on the piece. The pace is fast and furious!

 And all the while, bids are also coming in over  computers and phones - here, over the heads of the people in the crowd,  you see the auction employees taking internet bids and manning the phone bank.

This large painting by Richard Schmid (36 x 48) titled Still Life with Oranges and Flowers sold for $37,500 and a smaller piece called The Last Roses sold for $17,000. It was a treat to see his brilliant brush work and be able to scrutinize it closely.

I love that the auction has not only old masters of western painting such as Charles Russel and Remington but new masters like Schmid and Robert Kuhn. Bob Kuhn's work hit a new world record here when his acrylic painting of grizzly bears fishing in a stream called "The Spawning Run"  went for well over $300,000.

Already I find myself wondering what delights next years auction will bring to Reno!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wednesday Portrait Studio

Hannah / oil on linen panel / 18 x 14

The lovely Hannah posed so serenely for us yesterday morning. It was a tall order to try to capture her beauty, youth, energy and vitality in paint - but I certainly gave it a whirl!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wild Mustangs

Wild Mustangs / 18 x 24 / oil on canvas panel

Painted using several reference photos that I recently took of wild mustangs. These two posed so beautifully for me!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Renoir as an Old Man

Renoir as an Old Man / 20x1 / oil on artboard
Experimenting with a new support from Canson called Artboard and I like it very much. Renoir was painted from an old black and white photo showinghim seated in his studio. I was fascinated with his hands which were completely crippled and distorted as a result of severe arthritis. I just could not bring myself to paint them however. I read recently that he actually tied brushes to his hands in order to paint when he could no longer hold a brush.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wednesday Life Painting

Santos Corral-Bandito with Sombrero / oil on canvas panel / 18x14
 At the Portrait Group session this morning we were so fortunate to have Santos pose for us wearing a very large and ornate sombrero.  I just loved painting him in this 3/4 profile, with the elaborate hat, his tangle of wild dark hair and that fabulous gray mustache and beard! The time just flew by. What a great morning, although the temperature outside had already reached 94 degrees by the time I left the studio around noon. Its a scorcher today!

Me and my Ballerina #33 after a few final tweaks
And here I am in my own studio by the side of my latest large ballerina after a final dab here and there.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Ballerina #33

Ballerina #33 / oil on canvas panel / 30 x15

Ballerina #33 in all her glory. This is the largest figurative piece I have done yet at 30 by 15 inches. I have done larger equine paintings but this is my first human of this size. And all that flesh was daunting! I have a new found respect for Lucien Freud since painting her. Small photos of larger paintings tend to diminish showing the vigor of brushwork and texture of the paint so I decided to add a few close ups for your scrutiny.

Ballerina #33 / close up 1

Ballerina #33 / close up 2

Study for Ballerina #33 / oil on paper / 25 x 15

And a quick study on brown paper done as a warm up before attempting her.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Danny with Guinness

Danny Wallace with Guinness / oil on canvas / 24x18
My daughter is a Manager for Price Waterhouse Coopers in the San Jose, CA, office where Danny Wallace  is a Partner and is her boss and mentor. He has been so very supportive and kind to her that she wanted to do something very special and unforgettable for him. She had recently shown Danny my website where he spent a lot of time looking at the paintings and told her that he loved my work. So after discussing it with her staff, she asked me to paint his dog Guinness as a surprise gift for Danny. I was delighted and could not wait to do it. Of course, I did not know at the time that Guinness was a gigantic all black Newfoundland with volumes of thick, black fur!  During the time that I was working on this very joyful project,  Guinness was sadly diagnosed with osteosarcoma and quickly underwent surgery - amputation of a front leg. And so this portrait took on a very special significance in the middle of painting it. After it was completed, sealed and dry, I framed and shipped it off to California. Yesterday afternoon my daughter and her staff presented it to Danny. I am very happy to say that he just loves it and couldn't wait to call me on the phone to tell me.Guinness is doing well now and Danny is delighted to have the portrait. I was on absolute pins and needles awaiting his reaction and could not be happier. Now I can breath again!