Saturday, June 30, 2018

June

"June" (pastel, 10x10 inches) $390 unframed for a limited time, or $480 framed

It's still June! I painted this at the last minute to end the month. In other news, check out my website's updated design! It's been a long time in the making.

See progress shots below:







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Friday, June 29, 2018

Magenta

"Magenta" (pastel, 12x6 inches) $300 unframed for a limited time, or $385 framed.

I had prepped up a couple more cropped half-face underpaintings after the success of Black Jack. This young heifer was one of them that I finished today. I call her Magenta for her warm rusty brown coat. I believe she's some kind of crossbred Hereford/Whiteface/etc.

I came across an interesting pdf when looking up "mixed whiteface horned female cow" (just to make sure that this one was indeed a heifer in spite of the horn...) This issue of a newsletter called The Whiteface talks about cross-breeding for healthier cattle. (Note: it is written for the cattle business, so a warning to y'all vegetarians and cow lovers, you might not enjoy the reminder of the purpose of cows...) I admit I didn't read the whole thing because it's kinda long, but I found parts of it quite interesting; it reads like part medical journal, part genetics analysis, and part business report. Which, I guess, is what it is.

I apologize if the topic of the cattle business is upsetting to anyone, but as I've said before (way back during my "beef-names" period) I find the natural beauty and charm of these furry creatures to be dimmed not one whit by their purpose and fate in this world economy. Their attraction is perhaps even more beautifully poignant because of their short lives (although I'm friends with several longhorn "pets" who will never see a dinner table!) In addition, it's the intriguing paradox that if it weren't for the beef industry, we would have far, far less of these lovable and curious critters gracing our fields and brightening our road trips.

I prefer to "live in the moment" anyway, and I just think cows are beautiful, as are all animals (and plants, and rocks, and...)

And meanwhile, here are a few progress shots of Magenta:






How Magenta will look in her frame...
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Monday, June 25, 2018

Barker

"Barker" (pastel, 8x6 inches) click here to bid or buy

I'm a bit behind on a new batch of underpaintings, so I found this old from last year that I hadn't pasteled yet (is pasteled a word?..) and finished it yesterday.

This prairie dog lives in Lubbock, TX, at Prairie Dog Town (of course! Did you know that prairie dogs live in vast underground communities called "towns"?)

If you're ever traveling through Lubbock I recommend a stop at Prairie Dog Town for a short walk and a dose of cuteness!

Meanwhile, here are some progress shots of Barker:











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.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Toffee


“Toffee” (pastel, 7x5 inches) click here to bid or buy

I’m in Luling TX doing caricatures this weekend, and getting one or two little paintings done during the lulls. (Come on out to the Luling Watermelon Thump for some good old fashioned small town fun! Open til 4-ish on Sunday.)

See progress shots below:





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Friday, June 22, 2018

Cappie

"Cappie" (pastel, 7x5 inches) click here to bid or buy

I saw Cappie on the same drive as Opal. Different fields though, I think. Not sure what kind of sheep this is; I haven't learned as much about sheep as I have about cows over the years.

Here are some progress shots:











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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Timpani

“Timpani” (pastel, 8x6 inches) click here to bid or buy

Timpani is a cousin or sibling of Arietta. She’s not from around here, but lives in a wildlife ranch somewhere in the Midwest.

See progress shots below:






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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Diva Bovina

"Diva Bovina" (pastel, 24x36 inches) sold

This one was a special request commission for a good friend and client, who saw another artist's "cow on sofa" painting and wanted my own version. Since she's from Wisconsin, she requested a Holstein. I had just one good photo of a reclining Holstein in my files, and it was lying in the woods under dappled light. Since I love a challenge, and when it comes to lighting my subjects I must be logical, I had to include the dappled light... and the woods!

I call her Diva Bovina, which means Cow Goddess in Latin.

See some progress shots below, starting with my original photo and Photoshopped composition:

the cow in the woods (my friend said "polled please!")
my final composition
The sofa was 'borrowed' from the web, with the color and design changed to protect its identity. What I was looking for in a sofa was the light from above, and this one worked perfectly.

I get my drawing down on gatorboard which is primed with a single layer of my gold colored pastel primer mix, which is Golden (brand) Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold fluid acrylic color mixed into Golden Fine Pumice Gel at about a 1/4 (color/gel) ratio.
I usually build up more layers of the gold mixture to start my underpainting, but with more complex and large images, I like to start it with a terra cotta color which is the Art Spectrum (brand) Pastel Primer.

This helps me see the main pattern of the image better, and then I can build up the lighter and mid-values of the underpainting from that point.
When an animal has a considerable amount of black fur, I'll also use some of the black Art Spectrum primer.
Oops, I had almost forgotten the hooves! They were hidden in the grass from my photo, but when I referenced several other cow pics to find good reference and drew them in, I decided I didn't like the front hoof pointing downward to the corner, so I re-drew the front leg tucked under (which involved more additional references, but somehow I got it looking all right.)





At this point, the grasses got way overworked and fussy...
So... I wiped them all off and started over!
That's better. I'm calling it done!
"Diva Bovina" framed
Thanks for watching! If you liked this large project, consider signing up for my "Large Project" workshop in Ulysses, KS in September! (All mediums welcome!) Or if you know someone who would enjoy it, please share the info! Click the flyer below, or visit my website workshop page at RitaKirkman.com.


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