Tuesday, January 06, 2009


The Last of the Herd

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The days at the Grand View Ranch are shorter now, and we have experienced a taste of the winter snows. Before the landscape is completely covered by a blanket of snow, we are taking advantage of the sunny, crisp days, and are burning fallen oaks and shrubs. This is the last opportunity that we will have to prepare the ranch for winter’s frozen gifts. The deer have migrated to lower pastures in Shasta Valley, and the bear have found their dens where they hibernate through the long winter nights. Except for a few squirrels, all the wildlife have disappeared from the ranch, and Shasta, our Border collie, is bored.

In today’s painting “The Last of the Herd,” I have painted a deer from one of my sketchbooks. I focused on the expression of the deer’s head and the human qualities found in the eyes. So many gardeners hate deer, but I like seeing deer in a field or forest because they make the landscape seem tranquil and peaceful.

Winter shadows and long, dark nights, the end of the holiday rush, and even colds and flu that have miserable symptoms can affect our energy and mood, and create a type of hibernation in our spirit. At times like this, our passion is subdued and an interruption in the interest to create art can result. If you do not feel inspired to create, you must rely on your commitment to practice artist skills and stay intimately involved with your brushes, paints, and canvas. Act as though you are eager to express yourself through your painting, even when you feel like you have nothing to say. An artist’s commitment to take action can evoke and stimulate passion, and passion can carry both the art and the artist to the next spurt of inspiration.

This cycle is similar to those found in nature; winter’s season rests the earth, so in spring the warming earth can bring forth new inspiration and new life, allowing passion to create plentiful summer fruits that are harvested in the fall as the earth prepares to share it’s bounty with thanksgiving. Humans share similar patterns of life ~ patterns of stillness, inspiration, rebirth, and creation which are vital in renewing and reinventing ourselves as artists. Whether you are feeling still and subdued, or you feel excited and love what you are painting, the canvas reflects your emotions. Start painting or keep painting, and once you put your brush to canvas, your inspiration just may follow.

If you are interested in experiencing a breakthrough weekend that will take your art to the next level, visit our new website at http://www.thegrandview.com/, and you can download my FREE BOOK where I share “Everything I know About Painting.”

I hope that we can build a community of artists that can share information with each other.

If you know of any artists that might appreciate being included, let them know about this blog.

I hope to offer more painting tips as this conversation continues. If you have questions that you would like me to answer, please don’t hesitate to email me anytime.

I welcome your feedback. Stefan_Baumann@yahoo.com