Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas!

This is a short post to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. My blog is such a fun part of my art, and I so appreciate your support, comments and emails. I am grateful for all of my readers, my collectors, my friends. Thank you all, and I'll be blogging again after the New Year.

I updated my What's Going On In My Studio This Month page, and you'll see a painting of a Louisiana Swamp that I just completed. It will show you a few progressions of the painting in progress. The painting is 24 inches tall by 36 inches wide, which is really large for me. It was a wonderful challenge!

Thank you again,
Jean

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Vineyard Painting and Oreo Surprise!

This original oil painting is titled "Fall Lavender Fields - Cloudy Skies." It's been misty and progressively colder today, and this painting seems to fit the mood for blogging. It is 8 inches by 10 inches, and available for purchase on my website for $200.00. This link will take you to my Available Works page there.

The reference materials for this painting are from Becker Vineyard's lavender fields, just outside of Fredericksburg, Texas.
I visited Fredericksburg in November for a workshop. ** an aside: I've taken an art workshop from Guido Frick at the Fredericksburg Art School every year for the last 3 years. He's a fabulous artist and a fabulous teacher**


And now, here it is, The Oreo Surprise!
Isn't this the most fun cow you've ever seen? I drove past this pasture of oreos each morning on my way to the Fredericksburg Art School for class.

This month, I was in Fredericksburg again for their Christmas parade and festivities. I simply had to drive by the pasture again, and to my surprise, they had baby oreos! It was just too cute. So, now there is another thing I love about the Texas Hill Country.
And thanks to the Internet, I can tell you that these are Belted Galloways, or "Belties." Their first recorded history is from the 16th century of Galloway district of Scotland. You can find out all you ever wanted to know at http://www.beltie.org/


Until next time!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

December 2, Red and Green

I've been thinking about Christmas, time to decide on decorations and such (which is minimal at my house.) I was browsing through my photos, and thought it appropriate to use a red and green painting in this week's blog.
Here is a close up of the focal area. This is an original watercolor painting on 140# paper, measuring 16 x 12.
This is a short post, but I have a surprise for you in a few days....having to do with oreos. You just won't believe it!
Till next time!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Blue Jeans and Teenaged Chickens!

Please excuse my absence! I was in Fredericksburg, Texas, for a week long painting workshop that I take once a year. It was fabulous, as always. I have studied under Guido Frick for the last 3 years when he teaches in Fredericksburg. He paints outside exclusively, so we have the beautiful Texas Hill Country scenery to paint. We painted still life setups outside and painted along the Pedernales River 2 days. Along the Pedernales is my favorite. It is a beautiful waterway, flowing all through the Hill Country. The weather was warmer than most November workshops I've taken.



The next week I taught a workshop in Uvalde, Texas for their art league. It was a good workshop, and I had a great time teaching. This is the second workshop I've given this fall. That will be all until next spring. I truly enjoy teaching. The painting below is a quick demo that I did for the workshop I gave in October for the Fort Clark Art Studio.




I've been doing a few little paintings of a series I'm thinking of calling "Heavy Starch." Isn't that fun? Yes, paintings of blue jeans! These are 8x6 oils, and I'm planning on doing several more. After they are sufficiently dry, they will be listed on my Etsy website.




The baby chicks are growing up. I have officially deemed them "Teenage Chickens." Look how big they are getting! The rusty red colored ones are the teenagers. The light tan ones are our older chickens.



I've updated my website, both What's Going On In My Studio This Month, and my Available Works page my since my last posting, as well as my My Etsy Store.
Be sure to check out both, and I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving day.

Until next time!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New Oil Painting, and Old Man's Beard

Monday, October 29, 2007

This painting was done on location in Fredericksburg, Texas. I had been in a workshop all day, and most folks were packing up from the day's work. I was painting with my dear friend Vanaly Palmer, and we saw the late light falling just perfectly on these trees. We set up quickly and did a small paining of the trees. I touched it up in the studio later. This original oil painting is 9 x 12, oil on board. It is available on my website . I have a new featured painting, Bluebonnet Path on my website this week, also. I updated my My Studio This Month last week, in case you missed that. The Texas Hill Country is just beautiful. I love to show it off!

















This unusual clump of stuff (technically speaking) is commonly called "Old Man's Beard."








We see it often in summer and fall in small clumps adorning shrubs, fences, and fence posts. This year it has taken on a life of its own! It is making huge clumps all over small trees, and drapes along expanses of foliage and fences. Again, our wonderful and plentiful summer rains give us an abundance of growth and beauty. I don't know what this plant is. It isn't in my book on Texas Wildflowers, nor my book on South Texas shrubs, and I don't have a book on Texas Hill Country weeds! If any one knows, please let me know.

Here's a close up, you can see that it takes tons of those little "beards" to make those huge clumps!










We have this beautiful mustard yellow colored brush lining the roads in the fall. It doesn't seem to grow too far in from the road sides, so it must not like to compete for space among the other plants. This plant too, is taller and more abundant this year. It looks almost like yellow baby's breath. It is very airy and light, and makes a beautiful show. I'm not great on identifying some of these flowers, but I think it is either Slender Headed Euthamia, or Downy Goldenrod. Both bloom September - November, and both are members of the Sunflower family. They both tend to edge growth. Another sign that it is fall! They are pretty until our first freeze. So much of our landscape is hard, prickly, and sticky, it is a bit of relief to see the open and delicate.

Next week, you'll get to see how the baby chicks are turning into teenagers! They are getting quite big. I had so much to show you with our fall foliage, I thought I'd save the chicks for the next post. Until next time!


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Poplars at Oak Creek, and few Monarch Butterflies!

October 23, 2007. Tuesday




Fall is really here now! We've had some cooler nights and mornings, but the heat of the day hadn't significantly changed. A very strong north wind blew in, and it was 42 degrees this morning. Hopefully this means that we won't have anymore temperatures above 85. This is our fall. Widely varying temperatures can still mean several clothing changes between morning and evening.

The Monarchs were decidedly disappointing this year. Their numbers were few, but I did get a photo of one butterfly clump in the mesquite trees at the pond. The north winds simply came too late. This happens many years. So, I'll wait for next year!

This oil painting is "Poplars at Oak Creek." A few years ago I was in the Sedona area with my sister. We drove along Oak Creek, north from Sedona on a misty, cloudy day. The poplars were just beginning to change to their golden color. I've seen many poplars before painting in northern New Mexico, but I'd never seen them in the season's change. It was a gorgeous site. This original painting is 14 x 11, oil on board. You can see a larger version, and purchase information on my website.


I've added paintings to my Esty Store, so be sure to visit for Christmas shopping! I have small works and studies posted on Etsy priced from $25.00. I'll be adding more of my original art soon!


My website has been updated, so be sure to check out my newly posted works. A friend came by and took photos as I was painting, and I'm sharing some of those shots with you. You can see those on My Studio This Month. Thank you for visiting,

until next time!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Migrating Monarch Butterflies, and Painting at the Pond

October 14, 2007
This original oil painting is titled “Palm at the Pond.” It is 10 x 8, oil on canvas panel, available for purchase on my website.

I painted this last fall at our pond, which is named “Lake Jean.” For true – here’s the sign!!

Now “lake” is a stretch, it is entirely a pond. At the time I was painting the palm tree, the monarch butterflies were migrating through this area. While painting, the butterflies started clumping in the mesquite tree overhead! I took a bunch of pictures. It was really a neat experience; they didn’t seem concerned about my presence at all.
I kept track of their migration dates for a number of years, and they came through this area on the average on October 11th, although http://www.monarchwatch.org/ shows the peak time for our latitude to be October 18th. I’m sure their research is more accurate than mine. So, my eyes are peeled for their arrival. Some years have been fantastic, with huge numbers of monarchs coming through. It is amazing to see them late in the evening making clumps in the trees. They are quite a sight when you can see clear to the horizon and watch them flying north to south. It truly is a delight to see, and a signal that fall is here. They travel from Canada to Mexico, with the adult lifespan of 4-5 weeks.
Generations make this journey to Mexico. They head north in the spring.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarch_butterfly has a great article on them, as well as www.Monarchwatch.org.

Until next time!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Original Oil Painting, "Taking Her Walk"

September 30, 2007

This painting is "Taking Her Walk." It is 24x12, Oil on Gallery Wrap Canvas. I painted this from a reference photo that I took at Wildseed Farms, just outside of Fredericksburg, Texas.
Wildseed Farms is a wonderful place with fields of flowers in explosions of colors in all seasons. They cultivate many varieties of wildflowers, and produce 88 varieties of wildflower seeds. You can find lots of information about planting wildflowers at their website: http://www.wildseedfarms.com/. I love to go there and photograph the views. Their poppy fields are outstanding, and I've painted many poppies from those photos.


This delightful lady was looking intently at all of the fields. I found her posture so striking and chose to paint her walking on a path. She seemed to be the type of person that would take a daily walk and drink in all of nature's glory. This painting can be viewed on my website by clicking HERE.



I've noticed that many of my paintings have paths in them, something entirely unconscious that I have been doing. Paths are interesting to paint, you can add so many colors to the ground, shadows, etc. I do like to paint them, and I guess it is because they leave some air of mystery to a painting, such as where is that path going? Where will it take her? What's on the other side? It presents questions that the viewer can answer.


Baby Chick update!

The little chicks are finally with The Big Chickens! They are doing just fine, and seem to enjoy the big pen. AND, we have a new little hatch again from our chickens. That is two this fall, a record. Baby chick is doing well.

Until next week!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

New Oil Painting, Cactus and Bluebonnets

September 16, 2007


Texas' Warm Blue Quilt, oil on RayMar panel, 8x10
Original Oil Painting


I'm painting bluebonnets again. My recent series of paintings are of bluebonnets and cactus. We have prickly pear cactus here. I say "here," but I do have to tell you, I was in Maui some years ago, and there are prickly pear cactus there! Hawaii? Tropical beach? Cactus?? Cactus – beach??? I did not expect to see mesquite trees and prickly pear cactus in Hawaii. It is on the dry side of the island, and the ranching area there looks much like our part of the country. I simply was unprepared to see dry Hill Country looking areas in Hawaii.


OK, I got sidetracked there. The reference photos for the paintings I'm working on are from the patch of bluebonnets on our ranch. I just love it when I can get a bluebonnet framed by a cactus pad. Here is a close up of the focal area of the painting:


Look at how much the chicks have grown! With their growth, their cage size has grown, too. They're still in an enclosed area of the big yard, but protected from The Big Chickens. They are still too young to put with TBCs, but at their rate of growth, it won’t be long! Stay tuned.

This is a shot of a few of TBCs.


A new painting is posted on my main webpage, you can see it by clicking HERE, and a larger version of it HERE. Updates are posted on the "My Studio This Month" page, where I show you my patio painting adventures with my new studio assistant, and some of my paintings from this past month. You can click HERE to see that. The close up of the main painting shows you how I use my oil paints - a lot of texture, thick paint and rich color. Colors are often those of my imagination. I paint an impressionistic subject, and usually an abstract background. My personal brand of impressionism includes abstract colors, some realism, thick paint, visible brush strokes, and intense, saturated colors.

Until next time!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Oil Painting of a Sycamore Tree

August Sycamore 20 x 16, Oil/Panel


This is a new oil painting of the early August Sycamore. It is on Highway 90 West on the north side of the highway at Pinto Creek. It is 20x16, painted on gessoed panel. I plan to take photos of this same tree all through the fall and winter. A catalog of the seasonal changes will be interesting, and give me lots of painting ideas. My original blog post on Sycamore trees is on August 26 in the Flora and Fauna Report. You can click here see the original post and the reference photo.



Flora and Fauna Report







I love zinnias. I plant them every year on my patio. The large ones suit me best, but they really don't get too large here. The heat keeps the a bit stunted, which is perfect for my huge patio pots. I get all colors, but these are my favorites. Fuschia!

I'll have to paint them, it's one of my favorite painting colors to use. Generally it would be under the name of Alizarin Crimson or Thalo Red Rose in paint brands. Both are very strong colors and can be difficult to handle. I'm sure I'll use them both painting these. Our mild weather has kept them blooming, and I think I can keep them going until fall. I'm going to try to save the seeds of these and see if I can grow them next year.

I painted a 12x9 oil of my garden zinnias, wild cosmos, and marigolds last year. This piece is sold, you can see it on my web site here.




I do try to take good photos, but these shots below denied me time to wait for the perfect pose or find the perfect place to stand. A rainbow was over the field in front of the house, and the deer were out feeding a the same time.






I just grabbed the camera and got outside as quickly and quietly as possible, trying to not scare the deer. These are a bit grainy, I had to use the optical zoom to capture it. That is the chain to my porch swing in the middle of the shot. Again, these are not good shots, but the subject matter was too good to pass up. ( apologies to any photographers out there!)





We have white tail deer in this part of Texas. I never tire of watching them.


Until next time!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

September 4, 2007


Red Flowers in Clay Jar, 14 x 11, Oil



I painted on site in Fredericksburg, Texas this past fall at Becker Vineyards. I painted the lavender fields and the delightful little house near the main building. The grounds at Becker are beautifully landscaped in every season. This particular day, there was a large clay jar of flowers. I had to paint it. I changed the shape of the pot and painted it from my photos. Vines dripped down all around the jar creating a wonderful backdrop to the clay. This painting is in the Gallery On The Square in Wimberley, Texas. Wimberley is another beautiful area of the Texas Hill Country.


We've had over three inches of rain in the last 24 hours! It looks like more is on the way. This summer is cooler than normal, and certainly the the wettest I've ever known. The landscape is pretty, the trees have more foliage than they do in drought years, our wildflowers are abundant, and the animals must be very happy with so much to eat. We have water in our creek, our pond is well out of its banks, creeks and streams are flowing all around the area. What a gorgeous summer!




This is a photo of Jimson Weed growing in my herb/naturalized garden. It came up early this summer, and I decided to let it grow. Normally I pull it out, it can get very invasive. It grows quite large, and the seed pods have nasty barbs on them. Every time I see a seed pod, I think of all of the little Jimson Weeds I'll be pulling out next spring! But I do love the flower. As beautiful as it is, it is a highly toxic plant, deadly in fact. I don't eat it.


The flowers open in the morning and evening, and are quite beautiful. As soon as the sun begins to heat up, the blooms close, then open again as the heat of the day subsides. The curve of the flower is graceful and create little points all around the bloom. The bloom pod is lime green and pointed. The flower breaks through with a creamy yellow cast as a tight bud. As the flower opens the yellow gives way to the creamy white of the fully opened flower. They are pretty for several days, and in a plant of any size there are some open every day. I think of it as Georgia Okeefe's flower! She painted a beautiful one.

I have added paintings to my Etsy store, and put 2 on sale. http://www.jeanhood.etsy.com/


Until next time!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

New Oil Painting of Bluebonnets

August 27, 2007


I’m thinking about bluebonnets again.... I was going through my photos this week deciding on my next painting. My spring trip to the Fredericksburg Texas area to see the wildflowers and bluebonnets gave me quite a batch of photos. The Hill Country is so beautiful, and you can never tire of it.



This was painted in June from that trip. I call it Big Oak and Bluebonnets, it is 12 x 9, oil on canvas panel. I like doing a small painting before tackling a large one, and I plan to do a large painting from this same reference photo for my next painting. Big Oak and Bluebonnets is available for sale on my website for $325 at this link: http://data.fineartstudioonline.com/dataviewer.asp?keyvalue=1584&subkeyvalue=127185&page=WorksDetail I painted several bluebonnet paintings in June, and they are now sufficiently dry enough to put on my website and in my Etsy store at http://www.jeanhood.etsy.com/ I sell my small paintings and studies in my Etsy store at a price range of $30 - $100.



Flora and Fauna Report



The Sycamore trees in our area are some of our taller trees. Their white bark is a beautiful distinguishing factor. It peels off in patches, giving a mottled appearance to its trunk and branches. It likes moist soils, so is normally found close to creeks and rivers in the Texas Hill Country area. The Sycamore has a maple like leaf that can be quite large. These leaves are the ones I wait for in August to break the landscape of summer. I watch the Sycamores every year, and at the beginning of August the leaves start their changing process, and the greens give way to golds.
Since Oak trees are also at our rivers and creeks, you often see these two trees together. The blue green of the Oak makes the yellow/gold/ lime greens of the Sycamore all the more obvious. This photo is one of my favorite Sycamores to watch. It is on Pinto Creek on Highway 90. I’ll be doing some paintings of Sycamore trees this fall. I’ve painted them on location on the Pedernales River, and at Rio Frio. The colors and shapes make beautiful fall colors to paint.


The baby chicks are growing! It is hard to get a good photo with the wire, and they refuse to pose for me. I hope you can see the changes in them. The largest chick is the one from our hatch. Remember how tiny it was on July 21?
http://jeanleverthood.blogspot.com/2007/07/july-21-2007.html
Now they are in the chicken yard with The Big Chickens. They are in a segregated area of the enclosure, still too small to be with TBC. I’ll do another update photo soon.
Until next time!

Monday, August 20, 2007

New Oil Painting of the Snake River

August 20, 2007



The past week has flown by. Of course they all do, don't they!


I've had some wonderful opportunities to travel, and I paint many of the beautiful places I visit. This painting is of the Snake River in Wyoming. What a gorgeous river! According to Wikipedia, the Snake River originates in Yellowstone National Park in northwest Wyoming, then flows into Jackson Lake in the Grand Teton National Park, from there it heads south through Jackson Hole and past the town of Jackson. It continues on from Jackson, but this is the area where we drove along side of it. "Snake" is very descriptive of this river, on our ride from the south going up to Yellowstone, we drove along side of it for miles, and it twists and turns constantly.


The water was turquoise, amazing at every view. I took photo after photo. With more beauty at every turn, I was happy to have a digital instead of a film camera. The sky was intense, the water swift, and the surrounding mountains and trees added to the drama of the Snake River. The road "snaked" with the river, and it was wonderful that there were many turn offs provided for sight seeing and photo taking.


This painting is in oil, it is 10 x 8.




Next post I'll tell you about the beautiful Sycamore tree. I love to watch them in August, that is when they first start turning colors from the spring and summer green. Now, I say "summer" loosely, because our summer generally lasts well into October. The turning of the leaves in August reminds me that for all of our summer heat in Texas, winter will come. It is one of my favorite trees in our area. I've painted it on location in the Texas Hill Country areas of the Pedernales River and the Rio Frio. I must stop now, or I'll tell it all to you this week.

Until next time!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Monday, August 13, 2007



Last week was really busy with out of town guest, and a wedding. I didn't have a lot of concentrated studio time, so I did "repairs" to paintings and cleaned. Organized chaos is how artist Linda Blondheim describes it! Very appropriate description for my studio too. I need some level of organization to function, but the act of painting creates a certain amount of chaos for me. In addition to my painting area, I have a place in my studio for framing and making cards, one for displaying paintings, another for perusing photos for ideas. These areas can all get really messy, and at times I simply must stop and straighten up.




Doing repairs to paintings requires a smaller block of time, and it is many times how I use shorter studio hours. Often, when a painting isn't quite right, I set it aside until I know what I want to do with it to make it pleasing to my eye. I will have a "repair" day, and work on a number of paintings. It's often quick gratification - short work time ending up with several pieces that I'm pleased with.




Flora and Fauna Report!



The bougainvillea are starting to bloom in my herb/naturalized/flower garden. They will be really pretty later in the fall. Just one little bloom is making me happy right now!




I love this color of bougainvillea, the deep fuchsia one. This is a painting from last fall, painted in my garden. These beauties grow so well in the Texas Hill Country area, it's able to stand our heat and dry conditions, and the harsh sun just makes it bloom more. This painting is a 12 x 9, oil on canvas board.




The baby chick is growing fast, and towering above the rest of the new family. We purchased a number of baby chicks, and they are getting on just fine with our hatch. (We don't have an incubator, so we rarely have baby chicks of our own, and usually purchase them.) They will soon be with the adults in the chicken yard.




'till next time!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

August 4, 2007, Saturday

My Rio Frio Series:


I have continued to paint from my Rio Frio series. I planned to do that for the month of July, but I not ready to put that idea aside yet. I have painted all of these paintings from one photo.

These two paintings were abstracted from the same reference photo.

12 x 16, oil on Gallery wrap canvas

14 x 11, oil on canvas panel

Both of these paintings will be available for sale on my website when they are sufficiently dry.

I am enjoying immensely the creative juices flowing from this series, and will continue to use this photo until I no longer see another painting. Larger paintings are in the plans for this coming week.

Marc McCord calls the Rio Frio "a gem." In his writing about Rio Frio, McCord says "....the Rio Frio is a gem of Texas rivers. Its water flows cool, clean and clear from underground springs that gush forth some of the purest water to be found in a Texas river, the bed of which is limestone and gravel. Rising above Kent in Real County, the Frio flows past Garner State Park and on down to Concan (the end of the section most frequently paddled, and which is covered in this report), then down to the Three Rivers area in Live Oak County where it intersects the Atascosa and Nueces Rivers." Quoted with permission of Marc McCord, http://southwestpaddler.com/ .

Garner State Park is where I have painted the Frio, and taken many photographs. This particular photo reference I'm using was taken under the bridge just before the entrance to the State Park.