Sunday, December 29, 2013

Things to be Thankful For

As 2013 comes to an end I look back at the year and count my blessings.

This past year was a super year for art sales, with 75% of my sales going to patrons in the prairies. Thank-you for your support.

February found us on the warm beaches of Mexico, re-energizing and making plans for the new year.

In April we hosted a Mike Svob workshop. Attending one of Mike's classes has been on my 'to do' list for many years. We also hosted workshops with Janice Robertson and Carey Anderson. I picked up a few tips from each, adding to my bag of tricks. Thank-you Mike, Janice and Carey.

In the spring I was honoured to be asked to do a commission piece of these furry family members. It was fun challenge and the owners loved it. "Puppy Love" now hangs in a loving home in Alberta.

In May I had the opportunity to go on an "Arts and Culture" tour to Santa Fe, New Mexico - a place that has been on my wish list for many years. It was a super trip and I met some fabulous folks. Back home I managed to do a painting or two. This one was delivered to a high-school chum in Saskatchewan.

The summer on Vancouver Island was absolutely gorgeous, with each day being nicer then the next. We had the best flowers and garden since moving here. In August a created a painting a day for two weeks, as a way to capture some of the bounty.

September brought a beautiful fall trip to the prairies. The days were warm, the colours brilliant as I spent a week in the Qu'Appelle Valley visiting family and friends, and sketching en plein air.

In October I completed my first YouTube video of my artwork. It was a great learning experience and was well received at our annual Island Arts Expo in November.

As the year comes to an end I am grateful for:
  • the new friendships I have made over the year
  • having the best clients ever
  • the workshops I have attended and the master artists I have learned from
  • my artwork that has been sold and has found new loving homes
  • the support from my patrons, family, friends and my partner Jeff
Wishing you a Happy New Year, filled with Artful Adventures and Colourful Choices.

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Why do We Paint?

I've often questioned myself as to why I paint?
It's a ton of work; taking workshops, reading books and studying to improve my skills.

It is costs a lot of money; paints, canvas, books, mediums and brushes, not to mention the costs of framing your paintings.

It takes a lot of courage, especially if you are a serious artist having exhibitions and shows.

It is often frustrating as hell when ideas don't turn out the way you imagined them in your head.

So, why do I paint?
  • because it reminds me of when I was a kid and I got to muck around in the paint
  • because I love the feel of the paint flowing across the canvas 
  • because I love to capture a memory of a place where I have been - like keeping a visual diary
My mother says that I am blessed to have such a gift (but that's what mothers are suppose to say).

Bottom line for me is that painting makes me happy, keeps my mind busy and yes... it is a heck of a lot of FUN.

Why do you paint? 

"Not Forgotten", 10 x 12" acrylic

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...

Monday, December 9, 2013

The 5 Stages of a Painting

Have you ever noticed how we repeatedly go through the same emotional ups and downs while working on a painting? I have broken it down into 5 stages.

1) You are having trouble sleeping because you have such a GREAT idea for a new painting. You can't wait to get started.

2) You are excited about the first few brush strokes going on. You are feeling fantastic and can hardly get the paint down on the canvas fast enough.

3) Oh oh ... running into trouble. I call this the "Oh what was I thinking" or "it sounded like a good idea in my head" stage.

4) This is the tough stage where we are tempted to get out the white gesso, paint over it and start again. BUT at this stage you MUST push through. Some say it is about the journey, not the destination, that we learn something from every painting. Myself, I am usually just too darn stubborn to call it quits.

5) There is light on the other side and this is the "Oh my gosh, this is the best painting EVER" stage.
At this point your spouse just rolls his eyes, as he recognizes each stage and patiently waits for the outcome.

I would be much happier if only I could eliminate stages 3 and 4 ...

FYI: This painting is of the Hoodoos in Drumheller, Alberta, one of Canada's natural wonders. In the Blackfoot and Cree traditions the Hoodoos are believed to be petrified giants who come alive at night to hurl rocks at intruders.

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Still Standing

Recently I have been working on a series of prairies paintings. I really love the subject matter. Having grown up in Saskatchewan, this is very close to my heart.

I love driving through the prairies, as the gentle warm winds blow, stopping often to take photos of sway-back barns, and old sheds...still standing through years of use and changing seasons.
  • start out with a warm background colour
  • I sketch the outlines of the barn, sheds and trees
  • next comes the sky and the clouds
  • at this stage I often forget to take more photos as I get excited about the process, until the final piece is finished
"Still Standing", 12 x 24" acrylic on canvas
To purchase this painting or other prairie scenes, please visit my online gallery.

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...

Monday, November 18, 2013

Susan Schaefer's paintings and process

It took some time to organize the images, but boy was this ever fun to make.
Hope you enjoy it.

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Buy 1 - Get 1 Free

At this time of year I like to clean up my studio and get ready for the new year. I am a prolific painter who lives in a very small house. I need to make room for some new work ...

I have decided to offer a special: Buy 1 - Get 1 Free

I have selected 12 of my pieces. These are all 8 x 10", acrylic and mixed media paintings on canvas board. They are perfect for popping into a standard size frame and onto your wall. They will also make a great Christmas present for someone special.

Some have been painted 'en plein air' while others are studies of a particular style or subject matter. They are all original Schaefer paintings.

Priced at $99. (+ shipping)

For a complete listing of titles and descriptions, please visit my online gallery.

Call or email me today with your selections.

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Remake - Three Old Neighbours

A few years ago I painted a piece called "Three Old Neighbours". I recall the struggle I had, often putting it aside for some time, before getting back to it. Finally I worked through my issues and completed it to my liking.

The original photo was taken on the prairies several years ago. I always loved the image and thought it would fun to try it again, having a few more years of painting experience, under my belt.

The colours of the first piece (on the top) are bold and strong, often being put on the canvas straight out of the tube of paint.

The painting on the bottom, completed recently took much less time to finish. It is also smaller then the first painting. Now I like to pre-paint the painting in my head before attacking the canvas. I might think about it for weeks before sketching it to canvas. That way I have worked out most of my issues, prior to putting paint to canvas.

I encourage you to try this exercise. It's fun to see the progress one has made.

To see more of my paintings, please visit my online Artist Gallery. 

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...

Friday, October 4, 2013

Hot off the Palette - October

This year think ART for your gift giving.

These three Top-Selling prints can easily be shipped anywhere.
They are 10 x 8", stretched and wrapped canvas giclées, ready to hang.
Only $80. each (plus shipping)

Old Relics

Taos Pueblo

Mr. Whiskers

: most paintings in my Gallery can be ordered as prints.

Think Commissions:
It's not too late to order a Commissioned Painting ready for Christmas.
It could be a pet portrait, a piece for a particular space in your home, or a place in time that you would like to this one I am working on...

sizes and prices for every budget

Think Gift Certificates:
Give an art lover a gift certificate towards a purchase of an original painting.
I have a huge and varied selection of work in my online Gallery.
Something for everyone!


Think Artists Cards:
I have a large selection of art cards, great for those who still like to write notes.
The cards are 5 x 7", come complete with a white envelope and priced at 6 / $20.

Or you can have a custom card designed with your message, using one of my designs.
Just let me know what you would like.

Think ART.

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Poppy Dance

What is it about painting poppies?

I have painted many poppies over the years - some in watercolour and acrylic. I love painting them and always find a similar thing happens.

I start out with a regimented design in mind - BUT somewhere through the process the poppies take control and start their dance.

This is how I started my most recent poppy painting. I did my drawing - carefully laying out all my shapes, thinking about the design. I slowly started colouring in some of the shapes.

Somewhere along the process, the painting had it's own plan...brush loads of luscious wet paint were dragged across the canvas. Shapes within shapes were formed.

I found myself drawn into the painting more and I went back many times "just to add another stroke or two'. I had to pull myself away before it was too late.

Here is the result...14 x 18", acrylic on canvas - looking for a title.

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Taos New Mexico

For the past 10 - 15 years I have dreamt of visiting New Mexico. My brother's to blame as he got me hooked on the Southwest Artists Magazine. I would go through each issue, savouring every page, admiring the colourful and diverse artwork, thinking "ah some day ...."

This past May I had the opportunity to join an "Arts & Culture" tour. For five glorious days we toured around the Santa Fe area. We were busy from morning to night. I took hundreds of photographs, as I tried to capture and experience as much as I could, not wanting to miss anything.

As I start putting the experience to canvas, I can relive the light, the colours and the essence of New Mexico, until my next trip.

untitled - 14 x 18", acrylic on canvas

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Hot off the Palette - August

The month of July on the West Coast of Canada was absolutely beautiful with record breaking sunny days. Although I spent much of my time outside gardening and walking the beach, I did manage to complete a few paintings.

(... and Jeff reminds me that I also completed and sent the Fall Island Arts Magazine to press and organized our exhibiting artists for the Island Arts Expo for November.)

This past May I had the opportunity to go on an Arts & Culture tour to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Here is the first of many in the series.

"Anywhere Santa Fe", 14 x 18", acrylic on canvas - Available for Purchase

"Old Relics", 28 x 22", SOLD
Within 24 hours of finishing this prairie scene it was sold to a collector in Saskatchewan.

Giclée Prints are available:
10 x 8" - $80 • 14 x 11"  - $110.

"The Line up", 24 x 12", acrylic on canvas - Available for Purchase

Reminder: book your pet portraits early to ensure delivery in time for Christmas.

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Old Car & Elevator

I knew that when I saw this image taken by Saskatchewan photographer Linda Kopp, that I had to paint it. For several weeks I 'painted it in my head' until one day I was ready to tackle it on canvas.

In the beginning: using a 28 x 22" canvas I covered the top half in warm colours; quin gold, ochre yellow and naples yellow, plus white - cadmium red and maroon on the bottom half.

Then came the sketch: using burnt sienna, I outlined the shapes, filling in some of the darker blocks of shadows. Not a bad days work at one of my regular TOSH volunteer days.

Filling in the colours: I did the easy stuff first, such as touching up the sky and painting the elevator. Next I worked on the car, spending a considerable amount of time, as I wanted it to be accurate.

The foreground with the tall grasses was FUN. I worked with vigour using a 1/2 inch flat brush blocking in colours and dabbing in the grass, not worrying about details. I just needed to give the 'impression' of tall grasses.

Finishing touches: mid-ground shapes, a few dabs of colour on the trees and little bits of bright colour throughout, brought it all together. I had to stop ... as I was in danger of overworking it!!

Now the hardest part: giving it a title??!!
Any suggestions?

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wrapping it Up!!

As you may know from my previous Dog Blog, I have completed this commission and am ready to pack it up and send it safely to my client in Alberta.

  1. After wiring the back, the first step is to wrap the painting in parchment paper. This is one of the few types of papers that will not stick to the painting and possibly lift some of the paint off.
  2. This next step involves putting cardboard protectors on the corners. Then we take a plastic roll and wrap around it, securing the protectors in place.
  3. The painting is then wrapped in the first layer of cardboard, but first .... I enclose a few cards of the painting that I have made for the client. This is a great opportunity to include some of your own promotional material.
  4. Now I build another outside box, bigger then the first, leaving at least a one inch buffer-space on each side. The first box goes in, paper is rolled up and stuffed around the outside making a nice cushion. Another opportunity for some promotion, by including a copy of a recent Island Arts Magazine.
  5. Tape, seal and address the box. Don't forget fragile stickers. All ready to get shipped to the client. I have found that Canada Post provides the best service. Their prices are great and parcels arrive earlier then expected. Just remember to buy extra insurance ... 

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...

Monday, June 24, 2013

Painting in the Garden Tour

This past weekend I had the opportunity to be one of 15 artists who were painting in a garden during the Bowser / Qualicum Bay garden tour on beautiful Vancouver Island. This was a fund-raiser for the Lighthouse Community Centre.

I was fortunate to have this glorious view to inspire me throughout the day. Although the weather was not cooperating, luckily I had taken photos beforehand to recall a sunnier day.

As I was taught be several instructors, always start with a sketch. I reluctantly did my due diligence and made several small sketches. "If it doesn't work on paper, it's not going to work on the canvas', echoed Mike Svob's words in my head. Don't you just hate it when they are right?

After a few thumbnail sketches, I had worked out some issues and had a plan to work from.

Working under an umbrella, I was able to capture the essence of the garden, while still visiting with the folks who were on tour.

At the end of the day, the painting was sold at a silent auction. Despite a little bit of rain, "that was a FUN day."

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Working on a Doggie Commission

I was recently asked to do a commission painting of 4 dogs. My first instinct was panic, but once that passed, I said, "I'd love to!"

I had my client email some images to work with, and with a little Photoshop magic I positioned all 4 pups on a big chair.

Working on a 16" square Gotrick canvas I covered the entire surface with a thin wash of quin gold. Then I started blocking in some colour, only thinking about breaking it down into simple shapes (as I learned in a recent Janice Robertson workshop).

I worked one area at a time, trying not to get panicky about painting in every little dog hair and detail. Every now and then I would stand back from the easel and say "Wow, that's not too bad," (a phrase that I picked up from my nephew, which means, ha that's good).

About half way through this project I realized that the painting was to be a gift to my friend's son, who has many ailments. It was to help him "Get out of his funk". That made the process even more special for me, so I added a few hearts to the painting.

In the third image you can see that the doggies are starting to be recognizable.

At this point I wanted to add the Mike Svob affect, as discovered in a workshop that I took with Mike in April. By adding small bits of colour you can push your painting to the edge (hopefully not over the edge). Can you see the "punch" that the final painting has compared to the the third image?

Last but not least - what will the client say? After sending a quick email with a picture of the painting to my client, this is the reply that came back...

"You are fantastic...That is wonderful...I love it....."

Now just a few more finishing details and it is ready to get shipped off to it's new home and make a beautiful present for a wonderful young man.

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...