Horse and wildlife art by Mona Majorowicz.

Wild Faces Gallery Wild Faces Gallery & Frame

Oil Pastel

Gallery


A Family Resemblance

White Rabbits on Handmade Paper

The challenge of this painting was to create enough contrast to keep it interesting. All this white needed some balance. However I didn't bump up my contrast too much because part of what draws me to this image is the confusion it brings at first glance. You have to “think” about what it is for minute. I am rather fond of images that challenge the eye.

These New Zealand White rabbits were photographed at a local tourist trap. They had about 30 rabbits of varying ages (and sizes) that you could pay a quarter for some bunny kibble to feed them. So of course I did. And that's why they are all circled tight like they are.

The original bunny painting was an oil pastel on handmade paper.

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A Fowl Look

White Rooster on Handmade Paper

My fierce looking rooster was a bird from the farm we lived on in Rapid City. He wasn't ours, (nor were the peacocks, ducks, geese, Llama, horses, dog, cats or giganto goat.) But we got to enjoy them as ours, without all the feed and vet bills. (Sweet)

They had about 20 or 30 of these type of chickens with about 5 roosters. This white one here was a nasty bird who dug his spurs into everything else on the farm including the dogs and cats. Eventually he disappeared under questionable circumstances. (The actual owners of the bird weren't that fond of him, as he wouldn't hesitate to attack people as well.)

At any rate, I really liked this white rooster because he was terribly showy. (Hey . . . what can I say, I’m a visual person.)

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All Is Calm

Sheep by Barn

This painting is based off a photo I took of our farm several years ago. We no longer have our flock of sheep. Now, years later, they still provide fond memories.

I loved having sheep. Our flock would range from around a dozen to upwards of thirty. They would always be there to greet us with a loud chorus of baaing when we drove in the yard. They were a mixed lot so their voices ranged quite a bit, from a soft lamb like baa to the deep baritone of the dark faced ones. Whenever we walked up to them, they would crowd around, snuffling, looking for a treat or a scratch on the nose.

They provided a sense of peacefulness to the farm. I'm not sure what it was about them that did that. I really miss "the old girls" as well as the spring lambs. My hope is that, someday in the future, when the craziness of life slows down a bit, we will once again have sheep.

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Blue Rhino

Rhino in Blue & Rust

Despite the title Blue Rhino this is actually a painting of a white rhino. The Blue refers to the colors used when creating the piece.

Rhinos have such and interesting shape and texture that I am often drawn to them for artistic fun. This particular rhino was an experiment with expressionism and color. I was trying to cathc the strength and personality of this massive beast with a minimum of strokes and colors.

The original rhino painting was done in oil pastel on handmade paper.

Please Note: The limited Edition Print of Blue Rhino shows the wonderful deckled edges. The smaller matted 11x14 open edition (poster) print does not. Also Note: The watermark that appears on this image is for online viewing only and does NOT appear on the actual artwork.

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Cool Comforts

Polar Bear



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Courage And Valor

Clydesdale Team

This is an excerpt from my Artist Journal entries regarding the creation of the Courage and Valor painting.

I was once asked by a friend what exactly is it that I like so much about horses. I am not one to spend a whole lot of time analyzing myself, so I had to give it a bit of thought. The truth is I like everything about horses. The way they look and sound and smell. The gentle manner of my horse and his sweet disposition.

I love to spend warm summer evenings sitting on his hay bunk in the barn just listening to the soft whisp and grind as he eats hay. Occasionally he runs his nose over my leg or foot just to let me know he is enjoying my company.

I think I was just born with the love of horses embedded in my genetic code. I don't remember when it all started, I have just always been "horse crazy". I don't know why I get so much enjoyment from just being with my horse. I don't know why I create horse paintings one after the other. Perhaps I should spend just a little time analyzing myself....Nah.

PLEASE NOTE: The watermark is for online viewing only and does NOT appear on the artwork.

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Cowgirl

Longhorn Cow

This is one of my favorite paintings. I had kept it as part of my personal collection for quite some time but eventually a buyer wanted her to badly for me to resist.

Once again I was exploring working in a expressionistic and colorist styles while creating essentially a cow painting thats reads realistically at first glance. It is with closer inspection that you notice she is filled with vibrant reds, oranges and purples.

The original cow painting was done in oil pastel on handmade paper. Add some whimsy to your world with a little cow art.

PLEASE NOTE: The watermark is for online viewing only and does NOT appear on the artwork.

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Cows Come Home

Purple Holstein Cows

These lovely ladies were me just having a bit of fun. I love to play with vibrant colors and frankly anything that is naturally black lends itself well to a bit of whimsy.

As so often these models were snapped by my camera on the side of the road. I really love painting cattle. There is something about their head shapes and angles that appeals to the artist in me. But there is also a solemn spirit that for some reason I tend to find amusing. It's like cattle just take life rather seriously and I like to play with that sombre aspect and make it fun.

The original cow painting was done in oil pastel and has been sold.

AND... I'm now on Zazzle so you can get some of your favorite art on various items that range anywhere from art tiles, to sketch diaries to coffee mugs and mousepads. These lovely ladies (the Cows Come Home artwork) are now available on a coffee mug. The image wraps around the mug for a fun and whimsical way to start your day. http://www.zazzle.com/wildfacesgallery*

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Days End

Belgian Draft Horses

This is an excerpt from my Apples 'N Oats magazine article regarding the creation of the Days End painting.

We recently have had many storms pass through, which has left our farm soggy and battered. After the latest, I was out walking the pasture, looking for downed branches and shingles. While doing this, my horse followed me about, taking nibbles of grass every few feet. I was rushing around trying to get done as quickly as possible. There were more chores to be done, than hours left in the day.

Chicory patiently followed me, as always the courteous gentleman. Whenever I would stop for even just a moment, he would softly nuzzle my back or arm. After a few of these gentle persuasions I finally got the hint and took a break. I just stood there in the misting rain, leaning against his warm body and watching the flood waters flow through the low spot of the pasture. I let myself get absorbed in the pleasantness of it all. It is a wonderful feeling to let the quiet and stillness get inside.

It was with this feeling of peace that I worked on "Days End". I wanted the horses to convey their harmony and contentment with each other and their surroundings. When working on my art I draw upon my relationships with my animals. It is often said that you should paint what you know. Which I do. But more so than that, I paint what I feel.

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Devotion

Mare and Foal

This is an excerpt from my Apples 'N Oats magazine column regarding the creation of the Devotion painting.

The main reference photo that I used . . . is in many ways exactly the same (as the finished horse painting) and yet it is completely different. I like the foal looking out at the viewer. And I especially like the tenderness expressed by the mare. On a compositional level I find the tension between them intriguing. The lines of their bodies and the way their heads come together to form a subtle heart shape--it is almost as if it is a hidden symbol reflecting their bond.

Not so long ago, I worked hard towards a more realistic look. But over time this approach no longer fed my creative side. The older I get, the farther I stray from it. I feel I am transitioning now. More and more, my paintings are being approached from a new perspective. My work is not so much about trying to recreate reality, as it is about filtering reality from an emotional and spiritual place.

The original horse painting was done in oil pastel on 100% cotton rag museum board.

Please Note: The watermark that appears on this image is for online viewing only and does NOT appear on the actual artwork.

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Dignity

Peruvian Paso


"Have the fearless attitude of a hero
and the loving heart of a child."
-Ancient Sanskrit Manuscript

This is an excerpt from my Apples 'N Oats magazine column regarding the creation of the Dignity painting. Leo is the model for Dignity and here I talk about his owner Shawn, and the impact horses have on our lives.

Shawn and I talked a great deal about how Leo came into her life and what he has meant to her. At that time she was still deeply feeling his loss. She said something that resonated within me. She said that she had given him a home and love, but that he had given her so much more. Through my art and travels I have heard variations of this story time and time again. "I thought I was saving him. But in the end, he saved me."

I have always been fascinated with the bonds people form with their animals. How some can view them as non-sentient beings, while others regard them as family. For those of us who open ourselves up to the friendship and solace that animals have to offer, they can have a profound impact on our lives.

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Earth Movers

Percheron Team 4 across

This is an excerpt from my artist blog regarding the creation of the Earth Movers painting.

I think there may be a colorist deep inside me trying to get out. Many of my paintings start out with all sorts of color and then I start toning them down until I finish with something that looks quite realistic with just hints of brightness.

Mike rolls his eyes every time, when I look at a near completed painting and declare, “It looks too purple.” Apparently there is something going on unconsciously and then I have to pull it back into reality.

Anywho, this painting started out as being quite realistic in coloring and then I was getting bored. (Yawn) So I thought what the heck, I doubt I will be happy with it as is, lets bump up the color. And here is the result. The sad thing is you can’t actually see the color that I am talking about in this scan of it. But trust me, it is just crammed with purples, periwinkles and gingers. (I just love that color combination.)

PLEASE NOTE: The watermark is for online viewing only and does NOT appear on the artwork.

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Enlightenment

Quarter Horse


"He who knows others is wise.
He who knows himself is enlightened."
-Lao Tzu/Tao Te Ching


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Ewekie

Sheep

This is an excerpt from my artist blog regarding the Ewekie painting.

Ewekie here, was my first purple sheep. ...And let me tell you she caused quite a stir among the locals in my dusty little rural town. People actually came into the gallery because they had heard about (a purple sheep painting) and I guess they had to see for themselves the insanity of such a thing.

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Flamin' Sheep

Brightly Colored Grazing Sheep

Often after I do a highly detailed realistic painting I like to let loose just a little and create a fanciful and fun piece like this little oil pastel piece of grazing sheep. Oil pastels are the perfect medium for me to release my wild side and color creativity.

This particular flock of sheep reside just outside my hometown village of Rolfe, Iowa. I stop numerous times each year to photograph them as they are ever a fascination of pattern and shapes while the form and regroup endless variations while grazing.

This original oil pastel painting of sheep was done on handmade paper.

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Griz

Yellow Bear Oil Pastel on Handmade Paper

After creating animal art that is very detailed and realistic I like to let loose with some vibrant colors and work in an expressionistic or even colorist way. Just embracing the creative flow to create animal art that is powerful as well as visually grabbing. Creating art in this way provides a nice balance for me.

This Grizzly Bear female was walking away from me and paused to look back for a second or two before ambling off. She intrigued me because despite the sheer size and raw power of a full grown Grizzly, when she looked back and we made eye contact, there was a serenity ... an almost peaceful quality to her that belied the sheer dangerousness of the animal. I tried to capture all of that in this little Bear painting. Size, strength. power and yet a calmness and peaceful intelligence.

Long ago I worked at an animal park where I worked hands on with young bears. It has left an impression even after all these years and bear are still some of my favorite animals even though I paint them rarely.

This bear painting was done as part of my Totem Series. The original painting was an oil pastel on handmade paper.

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Harmony

Gypsy Vanner


“Know the white, yet keep to the black.
Be a pattern for the world,
the Tao will be strong inside you
and there will be nothing you can't do.”
-Lao Tzu/Tao Te Ching

I love heavy horses. There just something about those rolling curves that gets my artistic juju all aflutter. Add some long hair, feathered feet and splashes of color thrown in and I'm in horse heaven.

This painting was done of the first Gypsy Vanner horse that I had ever seen. I had photographed my model at the MN Horse Expo. Since then I have been fortunate enough to photography Gypsy Cobs and Drum Horses as well as the breed is becoming far more popular in the US.

The original Horse painting was done in oil pastel on museum board as was created to be a part of this series.

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Inseparable

Wolf Duo

This painting of a mated pair of wolves captures the intimacy and close bond shared by the partners.

My models for this wolf painting were privately owned and I was lucky enough to spend the day with them several years ago. You may notice that the oil pastel painting called White Wolf bears a striking resemblance to this piece. It was a portrait study I did in preparation for the larger scale painting.

"Inseparable" Wolf Duo original painting was done in oil pastel on museum board.

PLEASE NOTE: The watermark is for online viewing only and does NOT appear on the artwork.

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Joy

Percheron Horse in Snow


"One joy scatters a hundred griefs."
-Chinese Proverb

As you may have noticed I have an affinity for painting draft horses. For many years I was lucky enough to be neighbors to a Percheron breeder who provided me with endless opportunity to photograph his two dozen brood mares and foals.

For this painting my model mare was showing off her stuff when we my husband was delivering some hay. Needless to say, having a new ton or so of hay plucked in their paddock tended to get the girls rather excited and provided me with a bounty of beautiful horses to photograph.

The original horse painting was done in oil pastel on museum board and was out Christmas card the year I created the painting.

PLEASE NOTE: The watermark is for online viewing only and does NOT appear on the artwork.

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Kindred Spirits

Horse Herd

This is an excerpt from my Apples 'N Oats magazine article regarding the creation of the Kindred Spirits painting.

I am attracted to repeating patterns. The curves of the necks and the backs, as well as the monochromatic coloring of having all bays and grays, intrigues me. The models were once again my neighbor's herd. It was made up of about a dozen broodmares with foals and yearlings.

When I started this painting, I again toyed with the idea of horses as landscapes. I envisioned their arching necks and gently sloping backs as rolling hills. Initially, my plan was to have negative space or a background along the top third of the painting. It would provide the skyline, so to speak. However, the problem with this was that it made the horses look rather squatty. It didn't work at all. So on to plan B. Fill it with horses. From my experience, This is always a no-fail plan.

The original horse painting was done in oil pastel on museum board.

AND... I'm now on Zazzle so you can get some of your favorite art on various items that range anywhere from art tiles, to sketch diaries to coffee mugs and mousepads. Kindred Spirits is now available on a coffee mug. The image wraps around the mug for a fun and whimsical way to start your day. http://www.zazzle.com/wildfacesgallery*

PLEASE NOTE: The watermark is for online viewing only and does NOT appear on the artwork.

Click here for pricing.


Lambs

This is from an excerpt from my artist blog regarding the story behind the Lambs painting.

These lambs are from our first year crop of lambs. A few years after we moved to Iowa we decided we needed to raise some livestock and we thought sheep were the critters for us.

We bought about a dozen ewe lambs of mixed heritage and let them mature fully. We like to think of our critters health in terms of the long haul, and waiting a little longer to breed them was they way to go. So when the time finally came, we went shopping for a ram. Since we had so few ewes, and since we intended to keep the ewe lambs, we picked out an older (cheaper) ram, which we would replace the following season.

He was a handsome stately gentleman, whom we named Chester. Chester was gentle, and there was nothing bully-like in his behavior at all. (You know, what you actually picture a ram’s personality to be.)

Well the girls loved him. He was always surrounded by two or three ewes, nuzzling his nose and ears, leaning against him and just in general following him around like a bunch of groupies. They never gave him a moments rest.

A few short weeks later we found him dead in the paddock. No coyotes or anything noticeable as to why he died. So we just surmised it was old age. Chester had done his job though. Every ewe had at least one lamb.

The following season we got a new younger ram. The girls wanted no part of him. He was course, where Chester was gentle. He harassed them while Chester just let them come to him. It was then that it dawned on us, that perhaps the girls had just sexed Chester to death. I mean he was older, but they really just kept after him the whole time. Nothing rough, just always gently touching him and surrounding him, grinning and winking.



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Making Waves

Swimming Tiger

This is an excerpt from my Artist Journal entries for the creation of the Making Waves painting. Below is from a time when I was struggling to finish the water portion of my painting.

So I think my problem is my reference photos. Or rather, that I am relying too heavily on the literal photographic reference they offer. I had made some minor changes to the tiger's positioning in the water as well as his physical shape. Also, this tiger was swimming in a zoo and there was a large concrete wall where I was standing with my camera. Because of this, the water did not flow backwards properly off the near side.

After some deliberation as how to research this, I decided to play in the bathtub. I created wakes and ripples and just watched how water moved. All in all, it really helped me sort out how to finish the water elements of this painting.

A camera is a must for me to collect the proper reference materials I need. But occasionally, I forget that I can't rely too heavily on what they show me. The camera can distort reality. It is important to be able to think for myself and to be truly observant.

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Natural Grace

Friesian Horse

I have a passion for heavy horses and the Friesian is at the top of my list. The model for this painting was based on a horse from the Minnesota Horse Expo.

This lovely horse was standing outside in the staging area being attended to by several people. They were brushing out the mane and tail, bringing his coat up to a high shine and polishing his hooves. And as for the question so many people ask, yes his hair was really that long. In fact it spread out on the ground as well.

As to what drew me to create this horse painting was the fact that I was particularly attracted to the rolling curves and ample mane and tail.I also like the almost deco feel to the piece.

In truth this horse painting was me just sort of playing around with oil pastels which for me at the time was a new medium.I never really expected it to be anything more than a study but when I finished it I kinda liked it. My husband on the other hand really liked the painting and convinced me to add it to the horse art prints that I offer. I have to say he was right. It's been the most popular horse art print ever since.

The original horse painting was done in oil pastel on museum board.

PLEASE NOTE: The watermark is for online viewing only and does NOT appear on the artwork.

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Power And Passion

Belgian Team

This team was a working pair at a draft horse pull in South Dakota. I was particularly attracted to the broadness of their faces and the expressiveness of their eyes.

They were such massive powerhouses. When the time came to pull, they threw themselves into it with gusto. I don't remember how they placed in the competition, but I do remember their willingness, and of course their power and passion.

PLEASE NOTE: The watermark is for online viewing only and does NOT appear on the artwork.

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Reflection

Horse in Water

This peaceful painting was roughly based off of one of my neighbors mare taking a cool drink on a very hot day. The creek runs along our property as well as our neighbors and is heavily canopied in areas so the horses love to wade in and splash about under the cooling shade.

As an artist water tends to fascinate me. It is a challenge to my artistic style to get it right. I love the limited color palette of this horse painting as well as the serene feeling it gives when viewing it.

The original horse painting was done in oil pastel on museum board.


“You must learn to be still in the midst of activity
and to be vibrantly alive in repose.”
-Mahatma Gandhi


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Serenity

Paint Horse Foal

This handsome little paint foal was relaxing in the shade on one of my many horse safari photography trips. Locally a friend own a rather large herd of predominantly paint horses and so I went out to capture on film tat year's crop of foal.

Now truth be told I have a real fondness for pink noses as well as for pattern so paint horse's art right up my alley of things I love to paint.

This original horse painting was done in oil pastel on museum board.

Please Note: The watermark that appears on this image is for online viewing only and does NOT appear on the actual artwork.


"However young, the seeker who sets out upon the way
shines bright over the world.
In him there is no yesterday, no tomorrow, no today.
Possessing nothing, wanting nothing,
he is full of power."
-Buddha/Dhammapada


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Show Girls

Belgians

This painting is a scene from the Britt Draft Horse Show in Britt, Iowa. It is the largest draft show in the area and most of the large breeds are represented. This image is pretty much the "behind the scenes" view. The actual motivation for the painting, aside from the fact that it amuses me, is the repeating pattern of the soft curves of the horses set against the strong vertical and horizontal lines of the stalls.

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Simplicity

Three Horses on Grass

These three horses were on the farm that we rented when we lived in South Dakota. At that tinme I desperately wanted a horse so I very much enjoyed having this three in which to live vicariously.

The original horse painting was done in oil pastel on museum board.


"Sitting quietly, doing nothing,
spring comes and the grass grows by itself."
-Zen Saying


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Strength And Glory

Percheron Team

This is an excerpt from my artist journal entries for the creation of the Strength and Glory painting.

It is a constant challenge to really “see” what I am trying to portray. In this case my reference material for this painting is several photos of a couple of different horse teams, taken at different locations, times and lighting situations. My mind struggles with what I actually “see” before me in the photo, and with what I “think” the color should be. Then I need to decide what color to actually put down to make it an interesting painting.

I like to deviate a little from what reality is. After all, if my goal was to produce hyper-realistic artwork, I would most likely become a photographer.

I very much enjoy collecting the reference photos that I use. But for me it is the use of my senses to filter an image into a painting, that makes it enjoyable.

Please Note: The watermark that appears on this image is for online viewing onluy and does NOT appear on the actual artwork.

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The Matriarch

African Elephant

The original oil pastel painting of this elephant is quite large. I wanted to give the elephant a strong presence, so I focused in on a small portion of the whole animal. I feel greater impact was added by leaving much of the animal "outside" the Image.

Elephant skin varies greatly in texture so when doing this piece I treated the skin like a landscape. This was my first oil pastel painting. I very much enjoy working in this new medium and I foresee great possibilities.

The original elephant painting was done in oil pastel on museum board.

Please Note: The watermark that appears on this image is for online viewing only and does NOT appear on the actual artwork.

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The Solace of Open Spaces

Horses in Snow

This oil pastel horse painting features three gray horses grazing in a wide open wintry pasture. The sparseness of the landscape and the warm golds set opposite of the cool whites and blues make this painting's winter feeling almost tangible. It is loosely based off from my neighbors herd of Percheron draft horses who have become much loved models and muses for me and my equine art.

The original draft horse painting was done in oil pastel on museum board and is being held by the artist as part of the Zen Horse collection and exhibition.


"Everything that lives,
lives not alone, nor for itself."
-William Blake


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Tiger's Eye

White Tiger



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Transitions

Appaloosa and Bay


“This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds.
To watch the birth and death of beings
is like looking at movements of a dance.
A lifetime is like a flash of lightening in the sky,
rushing by, like a torrent down a steep mountain.”

-Buddha

This little horse painting is one of my favorites. Created as part of the Zen Horse Series it symbolizes a great many things for me. Friendship, serenity the life changes we all experience that run though like the season.

This painting features two horses. An appaloosa type and a bay. I like the earthy warm colors which makes it right at home in any decor.

The original horse painting was done in oil pastel on museum board.

Please Note: The watermark that appears on this image is for online viewing only and does NOT appear on the actual artwork.

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Unity

Paint Horse Herd

This is an excerpt from my Artist Journal regarding the creation of the Unity painting.

I try to take my camera everywhere I go. You just never know when or where an opportunity to photograph something will present itself. I was traveling to pick up some matboard with a friend and drove past a large herd of paint mares with foals. After about two seconds of deliberation I turned around and hopped out, camera in hand.

It was a feast for the eyes. I was so excited about what I was viewing through my camera lens, I had several painting ideas even before I had finished shooting my first roll of film. All in all I took 6 rolls of film and most assuredly would have done more had I been alone and not on my way somewhere.

Please Note: The watermark that appears on this image is for online viewing only and does NOT appear on the actual artwork.

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White Wolf

This is an excerpt from my artist blog entries for the creation of the White Wolf painting. The original painting was done on handmade paper. And so this excerpt talks about working with this media.

The paper is quite soft, so my usual practice of drawing and erasing really can’t happen. To work around this, I could project the image. OR I could draw it out on something else, like tracing paper. Place the final drawing over the handmade paper and redraw the lines. This forms a barely visible indentation on the handmade paper. Carbon paper would also work, but the lines would be quite harsh and may not get completely covered by the oil pastel. (Besides, finding carbon paper these days, is like looking for something out of the stone age.)



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Wild & Wooly

Red Buffalo Oil Pastel on Handmade Paper

When we lived in Rapid City, SD I spent a great deal of time in the state parks hiking or doing the drive through thing. As a result I have hundreds of stunning buffalo reference photos.

I decided to paint this particular female because she wasn't a stunning representation or her species. But she is unique and I loved the wild-eyed looks. As a wild-eyed female myself I could relate and instantly bonded with her. I’ve always had a thing for imperfect critters. Somehow they seem more real and have more personality.

I created this buffalo painting in oil pastel on handmade paper. The deckled edges add a certain character and interest to the finished art. She is created in a colorist and easy expressionistic style and will add a vibrant rustic touch to any decor.

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