Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2012 Calendar

My 2012 Home on the Range calendar was very well received. I know this because I am sold out and is sold out as well. The only place I can find it now is on Ebay. Thank you for making my first calendar such a big success. Keep checking back and if more become available, I will post where.

Monday, December 12, 2011

It has been a wonderful year.  We had a wonderful 20th anniversary trip this year in Northern California, had some wonderful times with wonderful friends. We said goodbye to our beautiful companion of 15 years, Loki. We welcomed Bella, in the middle, two weeks ago. We met wonderful people, made new friends, and sadly said goodbye to some. All in all, we are truly blessed.
We hope this holiday season is filled with laughter and light.

Hugs to you and your family from the Schultz Zoo!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The making of a perfect Christmas Card

And so it begins. The dogs are groomed and decked out. My patient husband starts the posing. Remember, the middle dog, Bella, is our new 6 month old puppy...we are prepared for the worst.

She lays down and the light is wrong. Oh yeah, and her tongue is sticking out. Zoe and Dakota are looking for their treat.
Light is good, but wrong exposure, and again...looking for snausages. Notice John is dashing off to get out of the way.
Zoe makes a dash for freedom. Bella and Dakota being the youngest and the most behaved. My favorite part of this is, Burbank the cat was trying his best to get into the picture. We didn't even know he was in the room.
The final picture, the only picture. And all the time, Burbank is chewing on one of my ornaments. He is probably angry that he was not asked to be a part of the picture. But who would ever think that a cat would sit still?
I have a whole new respect for the mall photographers that take pictures of children.
Merry Christmas.

A short video before I had to get the lighting right...

Friday, December 09, 2011

Pardon me for my soap box...

I do not like to get political on my blog, in fact, I don't like to get political or preachy at all. But a recent conversation with a friend reminded me of how we have forgotten the power of gratitude. In an age where we text and don't talk, email and don't phone, where the post office is losing it's battle because no one can use a stamp...I am reminded that we have precious few privileges on this planet, and the ones that we do have, we take advantage of. It is not I pads, or I phones, or new cars, it is that we have each other. Do not send me a gift for Christmas that you put no thought into. I would rather you sponsor a hungry child, do an hour of public service, rescue an abandoned dog...or simply give thanks for all that we have. Wake up every morning and say thank you to who ever, or what ever you believe in, and spread the word.
I am weary of the everyday issues of society. I don't care who you sleep with, or eat with, or what kind of car you drive, or who you support politically. Just care for each other and the rest will fall into place.
Imagine a world where we think of others before we think of ourselves. How powerful would that be?

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Giving back...

There are times that we shine. There are times that we fail. Then there are times that we can give back. I was once asked by an artist, "How can you give up your secrets?", my response was "How can I not?"
I did not stumble onto this profession by accident. I called every artist I admired, I mailed every artist I did not have a phone number for, I emailed every artist I admired and asked them, how do you do it???? They are in every painting that I have ever painted. I would never think to keep what I have learned to myself, if I can help you, I will. I am here for you, new artist. Ask me and I will help you in any way that I can.

This video is a perfect example of how we can reach out to each other and change a life. What can be better than that???? Change a life, that is perfection. God gives us gifts, to keep our light hidden is a slap in the face of that gift.

Give up your ego, encourage that young talent...even if you know that they will plow you under as Mr. Buble says.

Talent or Skill?

My Facebook friend Jim Bortz posted this on his blog and I had to share it. It may be a should I say...heavy handed, but I appreciate his sentiment. I know that when someone who is not an artist comes to me and says, "You are an artist? That must be so relaxing!" (obviously never had to make a living at it), or "That looks just like a photograph" (Here, I must say, is always said as a compliment. But we do not paint like photographs, we paint. I appreciate the compliment, but that is not what I was trying to do.)

One of the hardest things I had to get through to my friends was that just because I work at home, does not mean that I do not work. I do not have time to go to a movie in the afternoon, or to get a pedicure just because you have a day off. I work, I work hard. If I am not painting, I am studying painting, or going through reference, studying anatomy, in the field up to my hips in mud watching how a cow moves, or a horse grazes. I once had to chase a wolf pup down who had one of my lenses in his mouth.  I sit on the back porch and dissect the light coming through the trees and how I can make that work on canvas. I am NEVER not working. Yes, I have the greatest job on the planet. I am lucky to be able to do what I do, but don't think that it comes does not. I am grateful that you like what I do, I am happy if I can make something for you that makes you happy. I am truly blessed, but I work hard for that blessing.

Here is Jim's post...

Talent... or Skill?

When someone tells me that I’m “talented,” I know it’s a term of admiration… though unknowingly misguided. Don’t admire my talent, for it is such a small part of what I do. Admire my dedication, skill, and sacrifice. Those are the qualities of which I’m most proud.

It starts out innocent enough. Someone at a show or exhibit will be gushing over my work, tossing complements about like rice at a wedding (no one throws rice anymore, do they?) and all but making me squirm with at having to say “thank you” so many times. Then the words come out that make my blood boil. “I wish I had your talent. This must come naturally to you.” Really? Like I eat a couple of tubes of paint for breakfast every morning and crap out finished 12x16 canvas later the same night (never mind how painful that might be. And I know they mean nothing hurtful by these words, so I just smile and nod hoping they don’t notice my white knuckles as I grind a fist into my leg. If they only knew the mind-boggling stack of past failures it took to get here and the paralyzing knowledge that there are many more failures to come... the years of study and frustration to achieve a level of competence where I wouldn’t throw up at the thought of showing my work in public... the amount of research and planning it takes before I ever dip a brush in paint.

I love what I do, but there is no “magic” in the process. It’s simply work. Not the kind of work you do with a wrench or shovel. I’ve done plenty of that in my time. And not unpleasant work, but a continual task of study, experimentation, evaluation, and then application of a learned knowledge. It’s a skill… not a talent. The magic happens when someone stands in front of a painting and says something like, “I’ve been there” or “I can almost smell that water.” Now that’s magic!

I don’t deny that it’s possible (maybe even necessary) talent may play a part in the stages of artistic development. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an obsession with drawing. Still, I didn’t understand much about it until I started studying the work and teachings of others who were highly skilled at the craft. To dismiss what any skilled craftsman or woman does as some whimsical gift by a higher power is an insult (though it’s almost never intended that way)

There will always be folks that disagree with me on this subject (though very few of them are professional artists), and that’s okay. I’m not really hoping to change anyone’s mind. These merely the ramblings of my own tormented mind (discussed in an earlier post). It’s fine that there is some mystery to art. It adds an element of romantic notion to what I do. But I’d rather that romance be directed toward the finished piece than any mistaken enchantment in its creation.

I think he says what we all think at some time or another. We have a tendency to dismiss the work that goes into a finished product. If you go to a restaurant and get a really amazing meal, your thought is not that the chef was know that he/she studied to combine those elements of the food to make it work. If your mechanic fixes your brakes, you know that he/she studied to learn how to do that. An artist is no different. We study, we learn, we fail, we flail, we recover, we have ah ha moments, and we succeed every now and then.

Just to let you know, we appreciate your comments, bad and good. We listen, and sometimes we learn, but you are the reason that we do this. If no one was there to look at our work, why would we do it?

Thank you.