Why have I never written about Cascade of Mares? The painting is simple: Three Arabian mares of different colors scamper vertically down the canvas. Continue reading
The Story Of The Three Cows
The story of the three cows is one that is very dear to my heart. It started earlier this year when I decided to join a fundraiser project for Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary. The farm is a sanctuary for farm animals in Ontario, Canada. The farm is run by two wonderful young men, Steve and Derek, and is named after its most famous, most fabulous, and first resident, Esther the Wonder Pig.
The goal of the project was simple: each artist would select one of the many photographs of animal residents of the farm, produce their own artistic rendering of the photo, and sell it, with proceeds going to support the farm. Of all the photos to choose from, the one of the three cows walking home in the frigid sunset spoke to me the most.
Work began on the painting. Sketching out the scene, working out the intricate branches, and putting the first washes of color on the paper. And, as work began, work got delayed. The demands of Life got in the way, and painting projects got put on hold for weeks at a time. However, whenever the Cows came out, with every layer that was added, I fell more in love with the mood of the painting.
As summer drew to a close, another hurdle appeared; I had intended to enter my Cows into the Saxonburg Fine Arts Show as an entry to the theme of 2016, domestic animals. As I crunched to finish the painting before my September deadline, I came to the realization that I would never be able to sell this painting. Of course, this put me at odds with my commitment to sell it as the condition of my permission to use the photo. I decided on a compromise: I would hold on to the original forever. However, any earnings from products featuring the image would instead be donated to the farm. I think this may be better than the original plan because now the picture can be enjoyed by more people, and there is no limit to the amount of funds that can be raised. If you like this picture, and you would like to support the animals at Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary, I encourage you to browse the products featuring them on Society6.com. There are products available that fit every budget, from notebooks and mugs, to duvet covers and large canvas prints! I, for one, know I will never tire of seeing my Cows.
And of course, you can donate to them directly on their website as well!
Prints and other products featuring “Three Cows” are available at Society6.com.
Holiday Deals On Christmas Cards And More!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful holiday. However, after today, the countdown to Christmas begins in earnest! If you’ll be sending cards to your loved ones this year, how about something a little more unique? Head over to my shop: https://society6.com/laurelanneequineart/cards where I have these designs, and many more, for sale in packs of three, five, or ten. Starting today at 1:00 PM PST and through 11/28 11:59 PM PST, these and all my products will be 20% off AND feature free shipping! Don’t miss this opportunity to give your friends and family a gift they’ll truly treasure this season, and follow me on Facebook and laurelanneequineart.com to stay on top of all my newest artwork! Cheers, and happy holidays!
Peek A Boo
Way too long since my last post, and way too long to upload this picture! This painting was inspired by midsummer; tall grasses, butterflies, and blooming Queen Anne’s Lace. I named it “Peek A Boo” due to the black Percheron filly peeking through the tall grasses. This filly is Ivy, one of the horses at my barn. I took the reference photo of her for this painting when she was two years old and a very tall, very heavy toddler. Sitting on the ground under a tree, the curious young horse came to investigate, sniffing my shoes, providing the perfect opportunity to snap some shots!
The original painting of “Peek A Boo” is not for sale at this time, however, prints and products featuring the artwork are available at Society6.com
Finding Time To Improve Your Art: Drawing At Work
Hi everyone! One thing I never get tired of saying is how important regular practice and constantly challenging yourself is to improving your drawing. But what do you do if you can’t seem to find nice, long stretches of time to sit at your desk, listen to music, and practice your drawing? I’ve been having this hurdle with finding the time to improve my artistic ability ever since I started at my full time job.
One thing I’ve started doing is working on small practice sketches throughout the work day. It goes like this: at the start of a shift where I anticipate having a lot of down time, I take a small scrap of paper (no bigger than 4″ x 6″) and pick a photo. I’ll usually go with something interesting or challenging from Google Images. I’ll keep that window up on my computer to work from whenever I get downtime on the job. Typically, I can finish one whole picture, from blocking in the basic shapes to refining the details over the course of an eight hour workday.
I can hear you now: “isn’t it irresponsible to be drawing when you’re supposed to be working?” I don’t think so, for a couple of reasons. First, most jobs do not require your constant, undivided attention throughout the day. While this is not the case for delivery drivers, assembly line workers, nurses, and other jobs that are task oriented, most of us, especially in office jobs, have down time at the desk, which usually gets turned into web surfing and solitaire. Which actually brings me to my second point.
Drawing at work increases your productivity. Contrary to what you (and ALL my teachers in school) might have been led to believe, drawing or doodling does not distract you from paying attention. The opposite is true. Drawing helps improve your concentration, keeping you from getting too noted by giving you something in the present to focus on. It actually turns out eyes on the paper may be better for information retention than eyes on the speaker. As I mentioned before, many people turn to games or web surfing when they’re bored at work. When I draw at work, I am right at my work station, with my reference pic on my screen and my work program running at the same time. If the phone rings or a client walks up, I am right there to help, and I get to practice the skill I love in the meantime.
Lastly, drawing while I work improves my mood. Picture how you feel when you have to go to work: tired, grumpy, maybe resentful at that huge block of time when you can’t do what you want. Maybe just reading that sentence gets the cortisol churning through your bloodstream. Now think about how you feel when you’re making art and in the flow: rhythmically applying large areas of color or shading, the intense meditative state you feel when shuting out the rest of the world to work on a small detail. You may not be able to get as far into the zone when you’re at work instead of your studio, but what you do get will probably be a lot nicer than you usually feel at work. I notice that a day drawing at work makes me feel a lot better about coming in the next day, plus I’m more likely to draw some more that night!
So go ahead and take your colored pencils to work and make something beautiful. If your boss says something, show them this article and have them take it up with me. Or just check out what I drew at work yesterday!
Sketch Practice, Drawing What You See: Dewdrops
Part of being an artist is constantly challenging your abilities and trying new techniques. I mentioned before in my article about my experience learning to draw cats, that the most important part of learning to draw a new subject is drawing a photo of it exactly as you see it. If you are new to drawing from references, it may seem overwhelming to concentrate on all that detail, and that’s perfectly normal. Drawing what you see is a learned skill. It takes time to develop that concentration skill, as well as time time to sketch out those practice pictures! One thing I’ve been meaning to learn to draw for a while is dewdrops. Here’s today’s effort! What have you been trying to learn to draw? Let me know in the comments!
The Pony Set: Three Musketeers
I probably should have posted about this piece of art ages ago, considering it’s the profile pic for my Facebook page and all, but… here we go. Way back when in 2014, Continue reading
Faerie Lunar New Year
Good evening, long time no post! Back on 8th February we ushered in the Lunar Year of the Monkey. Scrolling through pictures of flowers with Chinese New Year on the brain, I couldn’t help but notice how much bleeding-heart flowers (dicentra) look like Chinese lanterns. The vision of the little flowers glowing in the night made me think of the tiny garden people that would live under those flowers, the faeries. After setting up the flowers as the framework of the scene, I added little faerie magic fireworks and ribbon dancers to add to the festivity.
Faerie Lunar New Year is available as prints and other products at Society6.com!
One aspect of equine behavior that we don’t see much in domestic life is the sparring fights that occur between mature stallions. Occasionally one bears witness to more casual, playful sparring, often from young geldings. Whilst it’s probably for the best that our domestic horses don’t fight seriously, it is worth appreciating the place of these fights in the heart of the equine psyche.
True fights for dominance occur between mature stallions over the possession of mares. In the wild, young colts live in bachelor bands where they hone their horse-etiquette with other youngsters and are kept in line by the oldest stallions. Although these older stallions are past their prime at defending a band of mares, they are no slouches when it comes to educating the whippersnappers, and their lifetime of surviving the hazards of the wild makes them wise teachers.
After a young stallion has spent some years learning the subtle intricacies of equine body language and the toothy and hoof-y consequences of challenging these boundaries, he may attempt at gathering a few mares of his own. All horses, even domestic ones, communicate dominance through body posturing. The young stallion will usually get his first mares by stealing them from a larger band. It is a testament to the dominance of a stallion if he is able to command a large group of mares because inevitably, some will range a bit farther from the group and possibly be snaked (google it 🙂 ) and stolen by a young go-getter. The herd stallion can repel these advances by using his body posture to show his presence; head and tail raised high, neck arched, and nostrils flared, moving in a direct line towards the on-comer. The younger horse has learned by now that these postures signal serious intent and can decide now whether or not to retreat or stand his ground. If he chooses the latter, the fight will ensue.
Horses never fight to kill one another, only to intimidate the other into retreating. Rearing, to make themselves larger than their opponent, or pinning the opponent to the ground on his knees in a position of vulnerability. The fight is over when one party has had enough and gives up. These fights don’t last long and the combatants don’t usually sustain serious injury, but in the moment, we as observers can see all the power and athleticism of the horse in it’s natural state, and that’s the inspiration behind “Fighting Stallions.”
“Fighting Stallions” can be prints and products can be purchased at Society6.com, and the original painting can be purchased at Etsy.com
Only 5 by 7 inches, “Medicine Hat” is one of the smaller works in my collection. A Medicine Hat Paint is a horse that is mostly or completely white with dark hair covering only the ears and the top of the head, called a War Bonnet. The horse need not be completely white, horses with colored markings over their chest or flanks (shields) also fall into the medicine hat category if they retain the War Bonnet, and of course, blue eyes are preferred. Native American legend has it that a warrior who rides a Medicine Hat horse into battle cannot be hit by arrows, which made these horses highly prized by the Plains Nations. In my painting, I chose to represent the purer form of the Medicine Hat horse with only a black War Bonnet and blue eyes. He stands in the prairie lands of the Plains Indians, as clouds of those famous Great Plains storms build up in the background.
Prints and other products featuring “Medicine Hat” can be purchased on Society6.com, while the original can be purchased at Etsy.com