Thursday, December 30, 2010

It Was All About The Storm

The snow fell and blew.
  The week started with snow.Then more snow..... and then it blew around the farm recreating moguls and drifts, which made the path to the barn disappear from sight. The dogs did not want to go out of the warmth of the house. Ican't say I did either! Our cat slept thoughout the storm, getting up only to race crazed around the cottage, then curl up again and sleep. I wanted to just curl up and sleep too, but horses needed care and the dogs needed to be dragged out occasionally to take care of business. And then after the snow stopped, and skies cleared, came the shoveling out. Not much time was spent in the studio. More time was spent just trying to get 'life' back to a 'norm' for winter chores.....horses out,horses in...dogs out and about ....paths to and from it all.

View of barn after storm & my stars that hang on our deck...for my starry starry night enjoyment!

Duster and Dom enjoy their snow bath each morning.

The horses were more than happy to get out and roll in the new snow. Our neighbor came with his snowmobile and punched a path for Les to wend his way out to the manure pile. Life has taken it's winter schedule and yes, I will be getting back into the paint . I grab my studio time as I can.


In the meantime....All of us at Cob Cottage want to wish everyone a Happy New Year. Some exciting new happenings on my front.....more about that later. Now it is time to walk the dogs along their snow maze down to the barn!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas to All From Cob Cottage

Cob in snow
We awoke this morning to snow covered fields and woods. What a wonderful present for Christmas! The dogs romped their way down to the barn for morning chores and the horses were more than happy to roll and canter through the fresh fallen snow. But with the enjoy of the seasons new snow comes the reality that this needs to be shovelled and paths cleared before the next snow storm.

Our home is decorated for the holidays...a small Christmas tree befitting our 'cobby' cottage stand proud in the living room, in a spot where we can enjoy it's twinkling lights. The room smells of Christmas, with candles and tree.

Our tree with the small sleighs travelling around it!

The dogs are excited if they know a morning will come soon when Santa will leave them a present to open....Nellie thought that our Santa doll was hers. She was so sad when I took it away from her to put him on the shelve.She sat and stared at him....crying a sad that her 'chewy Santa" was out of reach!

Nellie inspecting Santa..

Addie just watches the silly JRT.

We are ready for Santa here on the farm. The studio has sat idle this week while we prepared for this holy and happy event! Christmas is a special time for us...for gathering with friends and family, but the animals are not forgotten on this holiest of celebrations. We remember that a barn was the place that the baby Jesus was born.....a humble barn. We always take a midnight trip to our barn with apples and carrots for the horses....We will this year again..And we wish you all a Merry Christmas ....Happy Hanukkah from our home to yours.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

On The Farm

Graphite study of Morgan      14 x 9 1/2"
Lately our winter has been a bit mild, gray....rainy. We had a lovely snow fall that blanketed the farm in white that lasted a while ...brightened our landscape for a while until the rain, winds and warm temperature began.

White snow to drape our fields

Now our farm sits surrounded by brown and gray woods, and today gray sky. In a spot in our woods, not far from the bubbling brook, there stands a tree that has nestled in its branches a huge squirrel nest. It fascinates me. I image cozy rooms inside....a bed room with leaf covered bed, a living room with games  for squirrel sized hands to play, a kitchen with a larder stuffed full of nuts and seeds.It makes me smile to think what might be taking place in this high rise homestead. It is a squirrel cottage on Cob Cottage Farm!

A Woodland home

During the bad weather I have been working in the studio, [ See the above graphite study.] with occasional breaks to walk the dogs and care for the horses. I have shipped paintings off to their new homes, hoping that they brighten someone's Christmas, and have finished Holiday commissions. I have news that I know I need to get sent out in a current newsletter to clients. You can sign up for my email newsletters just by going to my website and opting to take part.

I am headed out now.... out for a quick walk with the dogs, down to the barn to give the horses some hay. I know Victoria ,one of our Welsh Cob mares, is waiting for hers. She stands and looks up at the house, contacting me through osmosis...."FEED ME!!!"

"Feed Me!"

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pondering The Small Things

Oil painting  on Copper substrate....a work in progress.  10 x 10"
"There is a reason things happen the way they do in life. I truly believe we are in life, where we are for a reason....not just random happenstance . " I awoke at four a.m. this morning with these words rumbling around in my mind. I got up and wrote them down. Then I went back to bed and slept. I wonder what that was all about? But I am sure I will soon find out!

I have two paintings in their ugly stage in my studio now. My  holiday commission work is all done, except for one watercolor for a certain client, but that can wait until after the holidays. This is good, because I am really feeling the need to get into some original work. Outside a very gentle snow falls and earlier I was called out to the soft flakes to walk the dogs. We walked by our brook where the soft gurgling water welcomed us. Such a soothing sound.....I could sit and listen to it for hours...and often do to be honest. The dogs enjoy searching the brook's banks for bugs and mice while I just sit and enjoy the sounds of our woods.

By our brook stands a clump of birch. I love the white/gray birch year round, dressed in green leaves or stripped of their green, standing tall against the winter skies. I love painting birch. I have done several paintings of them....but now feel I need to approach depicting the birch bark up close and personal. One of our birch in particular is so interestingly different than the rest. How shall I approach it? Watercolor? Oil? .......

Our birch with its lovely coat.

While I ponder this....Nellie is telling me that she wants a walk. Maybe we will walk by the brook again,look at our birch and enjoy the brook's song. These pleasures are all there not by random circumstance.....they are there for our blessing.

Nellis says "Lets go out! Please!!"

Friday, December 3, 2010

Watercolor of Winter Belgians Done

"From The box - Belgians"   Watercolor    14 x 14"

The watercolor of the two Belgian Draft horses is done. A painting that started out as a summer scene ended up being a winter scene with snow flakes falling. The view of the horses as seen from the drivers seat , is one of my favourite views! Looking at the painting makes me want to get out and drive! But our weather is not so inviting. It has been cold,gray and damp...I prefer the warmth of the house,the cozy studio. So let it snow!!!
This painting is available for purchase on my website.....easy to do!

Now back to the studio where I am working on a still life in oil on copper..and  I am also working on a big casein.....of drafts....big driving horses!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cat For Sale

"Mittens is being very bad!!"

We have always had a cat. Sometime more than one.There was a time when we housed  [in the barn ...not the house!] 22 cats of different colors, types and ages. We had bought an old 200 year old farm in southern Maine and with it we inherited a plethora of cats and added our two house cats who we moved in with, into the mix. [We also inherited a flock of sheep with the farm,but that is another story!] Over the years the number decreased, attrition by condition! Needless to say, we cut down on our feline dependents and today find ourselves with just Mittens, a now 12 year old [give or take a year or two] Maine Coon Cat of dubious lineage. She was born on that old farm,nestled in a cozy den amongst the hay bales in the loft. A friend and I pulled the snarling hissing, scratching kittens out of their den.The whole "kitten -kaboodle" of them! My friend adopted two of the kits and I kept Mittens....the rest were picked up by cat rescue to be sent to their forever homes. Mittens is my buddy as I write and work on the computer. She enjoys the peace and quiet of the upstairs loft office space. It is where she does not get dragged around by a certain Jack Russell Terrier! It is her safe zone. We all need a safe zone where we can have peace and quiet....hers is here, beside me....she purrs her happy song while I work. I love her when this what is going on.......BUT of late she has started waking us up early in the morning while she enjoys her 'playtime'...she runs like a banshee through the house, over our bed.....very annoying to say the least! If this continues she WILL find herself on the side of the road with a sign attached : FOR SALE-FREE!
The winter watercolor I am working on of two Belgian drafts is almost is just needing the details....and it will be then good to go! I am headed down to the studio Mittens sleeps in the office....she needs her rest you know! She was up early.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thoughts Before Thanksgiving

"Bluegrass Baby"    casein on canvas    18 x 18"

Today I received the good news that my casein painting "Bluegrass Bay" had been picked to be published in the 25th Annual Polo and Sporting Art Issue of "Polo Players Edition" magazine. Every year they receive hundreds of quality submissions from very talented artists, and I feel very honored that my painting was chosen as one of the paintings featured!

Their theme this year was “History.” Their aim was to show a range of equine sports in different forms. My painting is now exhibited at Gallery B in Lexington, KY. and is available through them.

 Here  at Cob Cottage.....the turkey awaits roasting. The apples are setting on the kitchen counter waiting to be peeled,sliced and baked in an apple pie.....It is that time of year again when a day is actually set aside to thank the good Lord for all the blessings in our lives. Believe me, I have MANY blessings.....and I take the time to give thanks everyday. Not just one day a year! That being said... I do like Thanksgiving Day and all the foods that are associated with it's celebration. I will enjoy the day.
Nell and Addie doing what they do best!

Today is sunny but very windy.The horses are standing against the barn to cut the winds.From the office window I can only see the tops of the trees as I sit at my computer.....the spruce dance and bend in the wind. It is a nice day to work in the studio....and work I must! My watercolor of the Belgians is almost done.....and I need to finish the watercolor of the Morgan. [see past blog posts] The pups are sleeping in their bed in the sun. I think they know how easy they have it!

I want to take the time to wish all a very Happy Thanksgiving....a day full of good food.... with good friends and family..... and good vibrations!
God bless!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Watercolor And Water Coming Down

Watercolor I am working on today.

Mid week and rain is coming down. It comes down in sheets, beating against the south of the house, running down the window panes...and the dogs do NOT want to go out. I don't blame them. I spent the morning painting in the studio.Today I am working in watercolor....a painting of two Belgian drafts as seen from the box. In the studio easy listening jazz is playing, and the atmosphere is cozy. I will stay here and work while the pups sleep upstairs ....Nell has taken to sleeping on the big antique chair,all propped up on a fluffy blue pillow. I am letting sleeping dogs lie.

Cozy Nell
The rain drums against the studio windows, even under the deck that shields those studio windows. One of these windows is decorated with our winter squash,.... each squash waiting to be picked as the squash of the evening....fall dinner fare. I think I need to do a painting of them....they look so good! [While they last!] 

Rain on the pane.

Addie does not like rain down her ears.

Then when  the weather cleared a bit, the pups and I headed down to the barn. I turned the horses out and cleaned the stalls. Addie ,our Corgi, still was not too happy about the drizzle. The rain runs into her lovely pointy ears, you know....not a nice feeling. So we hurried and cleaned the stalls and made them ready for the horses to come in to for the night.....Then headed back to the house for the warmth and to dry off. We had to stop and enjoy the brook that runs by our it wanders through the woods towards our back pond. It is really bursting today.....I think it is a lovely sight...even if it is a bit gray today.

Red fallen leaves dress up the gray day.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Work Published .....Again

A page from the new book written by Lynda McCann, illustrated by me.

Years ago I worked as the advertising manager for a Maine Equine publication,  The Horses Maine . I also illustrated its monthly story that was written by Lynda McCann, the  paper's editor. The stories were about an adventurous welsh pony called Tink, a Jack Russell Terrier named Frado, and a whole array of barn yard characters...a fun bunch to draw and to capture their personalities. I looked forward to each episode,as did the readers of the monthly equine newspaper. I stopped illustrating the stories when I went full-time into my painting career.Lynda continued writing the stories that went unillustrated over the years. Last winter Lynda told me she was going to start publishing the stories in book form. We decided some of the old illustrations should be used....And Lynda's book is now out and available... just in time for Chistmas gift giving to young horse crazy kids everywhere. Go Tink!!! Go Frado!!!

I must admit Frado looks a bit like our own JRT, Nellie......I guess Nellie came to our house for a reason!!
And even though the persona of Tink was based on a welsh pony from North Yarmouth, Maine...
at the time that I was illustrating Lynda's stories, we had a handsome welsh pony named "Frolic" , who was loved by our granddaughter,Jackie. It made my job so much easier having the characters right there to draw from! The drawings in the new book were done years ago...but still work today! Take a look at "The Mis-Adventures of Tink and Frado"!!!

Book available at

Our Nellie could have posed for this!
I have new work in the making now...a watercolor begging to be done and I am back into a LARGE casein on canvas of three draft horses ,that was supposed to have been  a "work in progress" example, when I got waylaid and running off into another direction! Easily done these days!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Life In Progress

'Tug' in progress

The past week flew by too fast. I saw the studio occasionally, but not so much I could really do anything that took a concentrated effort. So I did one small casein painting of a tug...a painting I have been wanting to do for a long time.....and sketched out a head shot of a Morgan...a work that I also have been meaning to get into. Both works were done while sitting at my drawing board....and I am finding I would rather be standing up and painting on my feet. So that means bigger works...and room to dace around a bit! That should make the pups happy...they like it when we dance....sort of like dancing with the 'stars'!

Addie likes to watch me work.

The girls pups and I go down to the studio each day....some days are productive...some not so much. Such is life.We take our 'brilliant days' when we get them and chalk the others up to "practice"!! No time wasted!!! We learn from our triumphs and our least I think so.

The graphite sketch below is the one I worked on today, for a bit .I really think I want to do this one as a watercolor.....we shall see. In the mean time I will continue with works in progress...and my life that is still in progress...!!

Graphite sketch of Morgan mare.....should it be a watercolor?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mooooo-ving Paintings

"Number Two Cow"    casein       10 x 8"

Two casein paintings done ,one not so small...and both are available on  my websiteOur weekend was busy, but I did get time to work in the studio and get these done. I love looking at cows. Their eyes are sooo big, liquid and sad. For years we raised beef cattle....mostly Herefords. We had one cow who was always going right through the fence , and heading down the road towards a farm a mile away where some bulls lived. A lady with a mission! But how I hated chasing that lady, trying to get her back into her pasture. She was the reason we stopped raising our own beef. The 'girls' in this painting are dairy cows from a local  farm just down the road from us ......We will not be having cows on our farm again. I will enjoy them at neighbors farms, thank you. 

Today the sun keeps peeking in and out of the gray fall clouds. Today I will spend mostly in the studio.  But first my barn chores must be done. Everyday has barn chores...........I do not get into the studio everyday. But I have some ideas that I need to get formulated and today is the day!

I have work in an art show that is opening this week in Cazenovia, NY.  " Le Cheval:" the horse exhibition, is an invitational  exhibition of national artists ...and I am honored to be one of the artists. The exhibition will open with an Artist's Reception & short artist's lecture series on  Wednesday, .Nov. 3rd @ 4 - 5:30 PM. at Cazenovia College in  Reisman Hall Art Gallery, 22 Sullivan Street, Cazenovia . NY . 13035  I have all casein work hanging in the show...not many artists are painting with casein,,,,,,I hope you will check out the show if you are in the area!

Heading down to the barn now...pups tagging along! We have a mission!

"She Was A Cow"   casein     7x 5"

Saturday, October 30, 2010

After October

The summer hammock is gone.

I enjoy the 'September side' of October.....when the days march forward with the forest cloaked in its ever changing cloak of many colors. Now we are in the 'November side' of October...the forest sits striped of its coat, standing gray and brown. All business and no frivolity suggested, it waits for winter.The yard is cleared of its summer furniture.The old ash tree stands with all its color at its feet, tall and gray, with no hammock swinging in the fall wind.

The reading nook by the garden pond sits empty.

Our  tiny garden pond needs to be emptied of it water-plants, the plants heeled into the empty veggie garden until spring.The weeping cherry is the last to shed it's fall red.....but today is cold and gray, so I enjoy its color from the warmth of the cottage. The sun comes and goes as clouds appear.

Tamaracks stand tall.

When the sun does peep through the gray clouds, a burst of yellow appears behind our barn, the Tamaracks' last song of color.

Addie and Nell cleaning up.

The farrier came and trimmed the four horses hooves. Addie and Nell love to see the farrier coming for a visit. They know that there are treats galore awaiting them on the barn floor after the trims. Smelly treats ...but they love them! Sort of their Halloween treats! The horses are now ready for winter layoff...? I can't say that they had a very busy busy summer.It seems that is their lot in life lately.

One chubby Cob doing what she does best...eating!

The sun is lower in the sky now, the days shorter, nights longer. My days are spent more in the studio now.....and I hope I have more to show for it. An oil painting, on copper substrate, sits on my easel and two casein paintings are being done on my drawing board..... and a watercolor commission awaits. I am busy.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gypsies....I LOVE THEM

"The Gypsy"      Casein on board             8 x 10"  

Consider this painting done. Now it needs to dry a few days. Then I will will varnish it. This Gypsy is one I saw on my Kentucky trip last September. She was at Gala Driving Center in Georgetown, KY. where we were given a tour of their wonderful grounds and carriage driving facility. I captured some other shots of this gypsy and also a lovely Irish Draught there.....more inspiration for future works.

A big box sits at our front door waiting for the FedEx driver. Packing and shipping is a time consuming evil when you make your living as an artist. [Or should that read 'try to make a living as an artist' !??]  This  box of paintings is heading to Cazenovia ,New York, where my work will be hanging in the Reisman Hall Art Gallery's invitational show  "Le Cheval". This  exhibit opens Nov.3rd with a reception from 4 - 5:30 pm and it will be there until Dec. 9th .

Life has been exciting heavens... I was picked by Blogger as a BLOG OF NOTE !! I am not sure what the criteria is for receiving such an honor, but it certainly has increased the hits on my blog!! I can't believe it was picked for the world shaking posts I make!! Now I am haunted by the specter of witty dialogue. Appropriate for the season, I being Halloween and all!!    

Which reminds me.....I need candy.  

Friday, October 22, 2010

Feeling The Cold

Nellie is a good mouser!

Weather has  been slowly getting colder over the past few days. I am dressed in my woolly orange sweater and still I feel the chill. I don't know what I will be doing when the real winter weather hits the farm! [ Dreaming of Italy.... I am sure!!! ]  Mice have been moving into the barn to get warm.The two pups smell them and  Addie, our Corgi and Nell, our JRT are all over the hay, trying to ferret them out! This chore keeps them busy, busy, busy while I muck out the stalls each day.
With cold weather, I will be spending more time in my studio. That is a good thing! [ As Martha would say.] I have big plans for new works, pushing the envelope a bit on technique,...eagerly waiting for painting supplies coming from Sennelier in France, as I have been picked to do a blind study of some products.....I  wonder what they will send?

Morning fog sits on the evergreen spruce.

Between taking care of the horses, walking the dogs and grabbing studio time when I can,  I have  been shipping paintings to shows, galleries and clients. Invitational shows have been coming up pretty often lately....I am always honored to be "picked" to exhibit in a show. So I have been getting up earlier each day to make good use of my time. The added perk,  to getting up early, is that I have been witness to some wonderful sunrise scenes in our own back yard!  I am sort of feeling like the early bird who has been catching the worm these days! I love the morning fog that sits over our back forest and I know that I will be painting that soon!

"Hello"   watercolor is sold.

So back to packing now....paintings being shipped ...and paint awaits me as it dries on my palette. I am wrapped in my happy fall sweater and have to get busy...following the example of my pups...busy, busy, busy!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Docent For A Day

Yesterday morning on Cob Cottage Farm
This past weekend the fall color was brilliant. Every year that we have been here on our small Maine farm, we marvel at the beauty surrounding us and feel so blessed to have this spot to call our own.

So having in mind that the driving scenery would be lovely this past weekend, we headed down to Skyline Farm and Carriage Museum in North Yarmouth, Maine to work as docents for the art and crafts show that is taking place there this fall. My art is hanging there, along with some absolutely beautiful pottery, glass work,quilting, jewelry and hand crafted furniture. There is art work from other Maine artists too.....a great show to be in or to see! Our dogs came with us. We had a busy day, but it was fun to talk to folks about the paintings and carriages that highlight Skyline Farm. I enjoyed be a "docent for a day"!

Skyline Farm's Art Exhibit has something for everyone!

One of the many interesting carriages at Skyline.

Now back at home today, I am working on commission paintings and some new ideas I have brewing, The wind is whipping the color off the trees out side. But the pups and I are cozy in the studio and will be here for the rest of the day. Galleries are asking me for new work..... I have my paint out on my palette...time to do what I was born to do, here on our small cottage in the woods.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Plein Air Equestrian

"Plein Air Equestrian"                oil on copper                 10 x 10"

When I first saw the reference shot for this painting, I knew it had to be painted. I can relate to so much of it's subject matter. Riding, plein air painting, side saddle.....just so inspiring. The photo that has these images [but not as actually depicted here] was provided by friend Yvonne Kauklija of Coldwell Productions from Sweden. Yvonne is a lady full of novel ideas and she never ceases to amaze me with her myriad of inventions. Yvonne's ideas have spurned me onto several paintings in oil, that needed to be done on their copper substrate...a substrate that lends the finished painting a warm and inner glow."Plein Air Equestrian , a sort of surreal depiction of a moment in available on my website.

The World Equestrian Games ,that are taking place in Lexington,KY, end this week. Lexington was a hopping place to be these past 3 weeks. I was there the week before the 'hopping' started,but did get to see some of the preparations that were going on for the influx of visitors for this equine event. I have heard from so many friends and collectors of my art who are down WEG and who actually went into Lexington city proper to see my artwork hanging at Gallery B and at the AAEA 's Invitational Exhibit at the Lexington History Museum.
Maybe I wasn't there physically ...but it's best sometimes to let my paintings speak for their selves!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Carriage Driving Painting Done

"Driving With A Friend"     Casein on board               12 x 12"
Over the years of our having horses, we have made so many wonderful friends and hold them all dear. One of those friends used to have a tack shop. I was there at her tack shop often as we collected horse paraphernalia. [ I bought my still much loved endurance from Mary ] We still have horses, but the buying 'stuff' and that "I need that" feeling is no longer part of our lives. Maybe because we have bought it all.....bought much more than we need... or use. The friend who had the tack shop, no longer has a tack show...but she does still play a part in the Maine horse scene. Mary was at this year's Maine Carriage Day, where she captured some lovely shots of drivers and their turnouts in carriage. She shared those images and this shot of a lady whip and her Cardigan Corgi captured my heart. I had to paint it. Mary was quick to give me an OK on the use of her photo...... and I asked for and received the go ahead from the lady whip and her Corgi. It was a go! I enjoyed painting horses really, just a happy lady and her wonderful Corgi...all smiling!
I hope the painting makes a lot of people smile too! I will be putting it up on my website soon.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fall Is Here

The sky at sunset from our deck last night.

Last week was hot and summer like. Yesterday the weather turned towards fall. And the end of the day blessed us with this lovely evening, purple and promising a bright day today.

There is the usual fall scrabble to get things cleaned up and put away for the season. The garden needs cutting back, fall tilling and garlic bulbs planted for next year's yield. I will take it all one day at a time. That is the best I can do. I have to paint....seasonal commissions need doing and the passing days press me to get them done. I always look forward to the new year, freeing me up for more "me" actually get the original works done that I so want to do. But for now I will work on the the work that needs doing.

Addie sleeps on the couch,waiting for a walk.

The dogs seem to know that this a busy time for me....that walks and play time has to be done around my schedule.....that I can't be bothered when I am in the studio and when I am in the middle of some important part of a painting. They sit and wait....sleep and snore..... just being  good dogs.

Nellie and her cleaned and bushy baby.

Nellie sits and waits for me, her baby [an unstuffed fox?] always by her side. The "baby" keeps her happy while I work. With the 'baby" washed and sweet smelling, she waits for a chance to play, throw that baby around and " shake it silly "......there is a time to play and a time to work.  To work!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Small New Painting & Big News

"Belted Cow # 4"               casein on board                 5 x 7"

In between working on bigger paintings, this little Belted Galloway painting was done and is now available and up on my website, easily bought through secure Pay Pal. I have a few of these small casein works that I will be putting up soon.

I also have some exciting work is now exhibited and available at the Freeport  Edgecomb Potters store. I am happy to have this Maine connection ...bringing my work back home to familiar ground! My work depicts one of Maine's highlights...Acadia National Park, is now showcased in this Freeport, Maine store. I just might have to get off the farm a bit more often and get some plein air work done now!! Good excuse, I say!
"Acadia - Duck Brook Birches"   casein on board    16 x 8"