Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Nanbert had a little bull calf.

I'd been checking Nanbert multiple times during the day and night since about April 1.  I'd moved her to the birthing stall from the pasture, and it then it was just a waiting game.  A very sleep deprived waiting game.  Early Saturday morning, when I went to the barn, I found her in labor.  Soon after this boy came into the world.

 My daughter has named him Nitroglycerin.  We call him "Nitro," and he is very high energy and living up to his name.  He worries his first-time momma to death, and doesn't listen to her at all.  Most of the time he's zooming around the stall with his tail over his back.  It's been raining all week, but looks like the weather should be clearing.  That means they should be able to venture out to the pasture soon.

His ears are enough to make my heart swoon.  Can't beat the Brown Swiss ears on a cute little Hereford face.  It officially feels like spring now that there is a baby on the ground.  Next up should be Delcy (Nanbert's half sister), then it will be Lola (Nanbert's mom) to calve last this year.  If the goats are bred, they will round out the birthing season in July at the earliest.  Never a dull moment around here.

Artist Interview: Patty Voje.

 Today's interview is with an artist I discovered on Daily Paintworks.  If you don't know about this site, it is a nifty place where many artists post work on a daily basis (what commitment!).  I have high hopes of joining their ranks again someday, but for the moment my time is being spent in the barn (and the garden if it ever dries out).  Anyway, back to the topic at hand.  Patty Voje is a Minnesota based artist, and she skillfully paints animals, still lifes, and landscapes alike.  Her semi-looseness in her brush strokes is what drew me to her work--that and she paints Brown Swiss!  So let's get to know here better:

1. Were you always an art kid, or did you stumble upon it later in life?

I loved art as a kid. I remember being in elementary school and my Mom signed me up for a summer arts and crafts program. I could have sat inside all day and glued things together!

"#240 Miss World" 24x24 Oil on Cradled Gessobord. 

2. What style of art is your favorite and why?

I like alla prima oil painting, representational art. Because it’s telling a story without explaining everything. You get to fill in the blanks.

"#208 Stay" 6x6 Oil on Gessobord.

3. What do you use for inspiration, or how do you generate ideas?

Just taking in my surroundings. I have a hard time keeping my eye on the road anytime I’m driving through the country. I always keep a camera handy.

"#310 Big Prick" 6x6 Oil on Gessobord.

4. Walk us through your creative process from idea to finished project.

This one varies. But it usually starts with stumbling onto a scene I think I’d really like to paint. If I’m out with my plein air gear I can dig in, if not I grab my camera and grab as many images as possible. Then I decide my cropping. When I’m painting from reference photos I don’t worry about matching colors, backgrounds etc., I try hard to use them as reference. Normally my goal is to capture whatever light effect caught my eye. I don't methodically lay out my paints in a tidy organized manner and mix them in advance. I just put out colors as I go along and see what works.

"254 Big Shot" 6x6 Oil on Gessobord.

5. What is a typical day in your life?

I’m a bit of a workaholic. I don’t sleep as much as I should. I get up at 7, hit the gym, roll into my day job (I own a marketing agency) around 9. Work there til 6 or so, go home, have dinner, walk the dogs and PAINT. I usually paint about 3 hours a night. Then I post, blog, catch the news, read a bit and call it a day around midnight. I will say, when I say I’m a daily painter, I mean it. Unless I’m traveling. I paint Monday - Sunday. During the week I keep to my 3 hours, on the weekends I try for 5 to 6 hour sessions.

"#135 High Noon"  8x10 Oil on Gessobord.

6. What do you think draws you to other people’s work?

Color and brush work.

"#244 Lola" 6x6 Oil on Gessobord.

7. What are your interests/hobbies?

My schedule doesn’t allow much time for other hobbies, but my dogs and working out are important. I wish I had more time to read. I love, love , love music and always have it playing when I paint.

"#259 Lost In France" 24x24 Oil on Cradled Gessobord. 

8. Is this your full time job, or do you have a job out-of-studio?

I have a real job :) I own a marketing agency. I’ve spent the better part of my career as a designer/creative director. Now it’s more managing the business along with some creative direction. I very much enjoy both my day job and my art. It makes for a busy schedule, but they balance each other out. I need the day job for community and interaction. I think I’d be lonely if I worked in a studio all day by myself. Also, it gives me more freedom with my art. It allows me ample time and finances to travel for events and workshops and I don’t feel like I have to sell to pay bills or to make an audience happy. It allows me to really paint what I want to paint, even if it’s not well received. I will say though, I do plan to work less hours at my day job and commit more time to painting.

"#38 Pig Headed" 6x6 Oil on Gessobord.

9. What is your favorite piece you’ve ever made and why?

I painted a street scene in Cinque Terre, Italy last fall. It’s my favorite for a few reasons - first - it turned out :), second - I will always remember painting that scene. I had gotten up before the rest of the town and painted as the shops were opened and people started their day. I felt so lucky to be there and it was funny to set up my gear so early in the morning, sun not up yet, no one around, took some guts on my part, I must say.

"#175 Cinque Terre, Italy" 8x6 Oil on Gessobord.

10. What advice would you give to an artist just starting out in the business world?

Paint everyday. That’s been the most important thing I’ve done. That has really changed everything.

"#317 Snack Time" 6x6 Oil on Gessobord.

11. Describe your work space.

It’s a small studio in my house, probably only 10 x 11 feet. But, it’s mine to make a mess in. I have drying shelves on the walls that hold my small daily paintings. Windows that open. A space for still life set up and two easels and a work table in between the two. And there’s a dog bed for my bulldogs, who like to hang out with me in the evening.

"#149 Social Suicide" 6x8 Oil on Gessobord.

12. Did you face any setbacks on your path to being an artist?

It’s such an impractical pursuit, I don’t know a single artist who hasn’t hit setbacks or discouragement. First you have to get past all the people who think you’re being ridiculous, then you have to be able to give yourself permission. Get past those and you’re home free, sort of :)

The Lovely Artist Herself.

13. What milestones, goals, or achievements are you striving for right now?

I’d like to get into more galleries. I’ve got some ideas for shows I’d like to put together. Some that would be a departure from my beloved farm animals. Most importantly, just keep learning, because no matter where you are, that never stops. I’ll never perfect this and that’s the fun part!

Patty, thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions.  

If you'd like to see more:
Her gallery on Daily Paintworks.
Her Website
Her Facebook Page.
Her Blog.
Her Instagram.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Paintings Are Half Price!

This weekend only, the palette knife oil paintings in the shop are 50% off! Just use the coupon code "HALFOFF" at checkout. Sorry, but the custom pet portraits don't qualify for the sale. Coupon code expires Monday 4/11/16. Thanks, and happy shopping.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Farm Life Recently.

It's been awhile, but spring has had me busy. Started some seeds, found lots of wild critters, planted some fruit trees, bought some goats, and now I'm awaiting the arrival of the first calf of the season.
Rhubarb seedling poking through.

Salamander that was in the ground I was digging to plant some daffodils.

Crawdad, Tadpoles, and Salamander-tadpoles from the front pasture "swamp."

Peach and Apple Trees. We planted Plum too.

Our lovely barn.

New goat Daisy.

New goat Macy.

Husband put up a NetCam so I can check on Nanbert, the heifer, from my phone.