WIP – Summertime Fun

Whitetail Fawns

This is a crop of a new project I’m working on. This is an acrylic painting of two whitetail fawns (twins) that played in my yard one summer afternoon. The doe lived in the woods behind my house and for the several years that I lived there, she had at least one fawn. Most years she had twins. This was the second set. The painting is 12 x 16 in acrylic and was originally to be a quick little “sketch.” True to form, I got rather involved in painting the details and now it is anything BUT a quick little sketch. So I will work on it as a detailed painting so far as the fawns are concerned and we’ll see how it turns out in the end.

“What Was That?”

“What Was That?” The lynx painting is finished! I’m pretty pleased with the results, although I may tweak a little thing here and there.

Lynx

 

The reference photos for this painting were taken in Montana, but lynx are native to Illinois, where I live. In fact, two of them live at the local wildlife park. The painting is 14 x 18 acrylic on canvas – available for purchase. There is a larger image in the Mammals gallery. © Marti Millington 2016

 

I Need a Break

Little PrincessLately, it seems like everything I try to do turns to dust. I’ve started 3 paintings and have not liked where any of them are going. One is oil, the other two are acrylic. Thankfully, its much easier to wipe off the oil painting and begin again than it is the acrylic. After several scrap-offs, the acrylic canvas turns slick and the paint dulls. At that point, its time to throw it away. And it was such a great start, but somewhere along the line, it went awry. So – I will start over – but not just yet. I need a break. I need to do something that I can be happy with when I’m done. When I run into this “art” problem, I go back to my family history research for a few days. I don’t always find anything new, but every so often I find a clue that breaks through a brick wall. Other times, I find information that adds to my understanding of who I am. And that is satisfying. And it gives me time to clear my head. So, I’m off to research for a day or two – then I’ll return to the easel, hopefully refreshed and ready to overcome those stumbling blocks that kept getting in my way. In the mean time, meet the “Little Princess.” This is an oil painting I did many years ago. Sorry – it’s not for sale.

Two New Paintings – 6 x 6 inches

I’ve been working on a 15 x 30 painting of a leopard and its been tedious so I thought doing some small 6 x 6’s might boost my energy. I was right! They are so fun to do, because you must focus on the subject. My realistic painting style makes a large painting a very slow process. But these 6 x 6’s go much faster, even with the level of detail I like to put into each piece.

Both are done in acrylic on stretched canvas and are available for purchase – unframed. Contact me if interested in either painting using the Contact link.

Hunting the Fence Row - Fox 6x6 Acrylic $300

Hunting the Fence Row – Fox 6×6 Acrylic $300

Mt. Moran

Mt. Moran

“The Hunt Begins” Juried Into IAA 2015 Wildlife Art Show

Canada Lynx

The Hunt Begins

The Hunt Begins” has been awarded 2nd Place – Water Media at the Irving Art Association’s 2015 Juried Wildlife and Domestic Animal Art Exhibit in Irving, Texas.

This is one of my larger paintings – 18 x 24 inches – and features a Canada Lynx in a winter scene. The lynx wasn’t the most time-consuming part of this painting – it was actually the snow! There is a lot of snow! I photographed the lynx at Animals of Montana while there for a workshop in 2000.

The show will feature wild and domestic animals in oil, water media, pastel, pencil, and photography. Many thanks to juror, Helen Bailey, for selecting my work for an award!

The show opens on August 30th at the Association’s gallery, Jaycee Park Center for the Arts, 1975 Puritan Dr. Irving TX 75062 with a reception and awards ceremony on September 13th from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. To see a preview of the exhibit, visit Irving Art Association’s blog by clicking here.  To learn more about juror Helen Bailey, you can visit her website by clicking here

Requiem for a Lion – Requiem aeternam

2048As long as I live, I will never understand how killing an animal just so you can chop off its head and mount it on your wall can be considered anything but barbaric. Some of you may have heard about the firestorm over the killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe by a trophy hunter from Minnesota, Dr. Walter Palmer.

The beloved lion of Hwange National Park in western Zimbabwe revered for his jet black mane, was lured out of the safety of the park, and only injured by the arrow from Dr. Palmer’s compound bow. Palmer and his guides tracked Cecil for about two days before he was killed with a gun, conservation officials said. He was beheaded and skinned, his corpse left to rot. So far the investigation has revealed that – contrary to what Dr. Palmer claims – there was no license for the hunt and it was ruled an illegal kill by Zimbabwe officials. Dr. Palmer’s guide and outfitter in Zimbabwe have been arrested and face charges of poaching. Authorities there and here want to speak to Dr. Palmer, who has thus far, not made himself available.

Palmer’s exploits in Africa and the US have been widely shared thanks to social media. And this isn’t his first run-in with the law over his hunting practices. He has a felony conviction stemming from a 2006 killing of a black bear in Wisconsin after lying to authorities about killing the bear outside of a legal hunting zone.

I can only hope that the death of this lion has shed much needed light on the barbaric “rich-man’s sport” of trophy hunting, but equally important, the exploitation of wildlife for “sport,” and the poaching and illegal ivory trade that threatens the very existence of many of the great icons in Africa and elsewhere. Extinction is forever.

Although I welcome comments on this post please know that all comments are moderated before they are posted. I ask that you keep them civil and on point.

Shades of Gray – St. Augustine 6th Annual Nature & Wildlife Art Exhibit

Shade of Gray

Shades of Gray has been juried into the St. Augustine 6th Annual Nature and Wildlife Art Exhibition. The exhibit will be held at the St. Augustine Art Association Art Center, St. Augustine, Florida. The opening reception and awards ceremony will kick off the exhibit on July 25th, and the exhibit will run through August 31, 2015.

Shades of Gray is a 12 x 16 painting of a gray wolf created in acrylic on black canvas. The only “color” in the painting are the wolf’s eyes. Reference photos for this painting were taken at Animals of Montana.

Life.Is.Hard – Bobcat

Bobcat

My goal with this piece was to show another side of the animal kingdom. It isn’t always pretty out there in the wild; animals struggle every day to stay warm, find food, and shelter from the elements. This little guy is cold and miserable, wet, and most likely hungry. And that is the way of the animal kingdom. It’s an uphill battle to stay alive, and most times, Life.Is.Hard. The painting is 12 x 16, acrylic on canvas and is available for purchase.

Back at the Easel

WIP-Bobcat

It has been over a year since I painted anything. Several personal life events, a lot of confusion, and uncertainty about my skills as an artist, have all kept me from even thinking about painting. The passion for painting had disappeared. It wasn’t fun anymore – it was more of a chore. Artists are full of self-doubt, and while we may receive tons of positive reinforcement, there is always one who constantly comes at us with negative critiques that adversely impacts our self-confidence.  I was far too focused on whether my work was “good enough.” And listening much too much to that “voice.” I had a long talk with myself, and came to the conclusion that the negativism wasn’t about me, my work, or helping me to advance. It was about that person’s own insecurities.

Steve Jobs said it best:  “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

And he’s right! The only way I’m going to improve is to stop listening to the naysayers, and pay more attention to the people who are TRULY trying to help me grow – and there are many of them. I found a sketch and reference photos that I have always wanted to paint. And what a joy it is to be painting again! It’s exhilarating too that, instead of looking at my painting and thinking if it will be “good enough” for this or that exhibit, I look at it and ask myself, is that the right color, the correct attitude I want, etc. I find that I am much more focused on the actual act of painting, itself.

The painting above is a Bobcat that I’m currently working on. This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve progressed quite a bit on it. I just can’t post it yet, as it will give away the “surprise.” The painting is done in acrylic, and is 11 x 14 inches. And it such a pleasure to be Back at the Easel!

 

 

Spring – Where ARE you!!???

Mother Nature gave us another 2.5 inches of snow yesterday; not a lot, true. But now we are waiting for the next TWO storms, the first of which is supposed to bring another 6-8 inches of snow. We are used to snow in the Midwest. But we, like everyone else, grow increasingly weary of winter, cold, snow and the biting wind. While we haven’t received anywhere near what Boston has (kudos to Bostonians for having to deal with that!), I frankly cannot wait until Spring arrives. This next storm is coming in on March 1st – and as the saying goes, “If March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb.” If that’s true, by the end of March, perhaps we’ll see pretty spring flowers, like this Iris after a gentle spring rain.

Iris

After the Rain – Iris