Back In The Saddle Again – Work In Progress

Moving towards painting without drawing first. Didn’t say how I was progressing in that arena, just hoping that someday I might befriend proportion and scale without drawing first. Until then……

Willow charcoal is loose, ethereal, rubs off if you exhale too close to the canvas. Good for keeping loose, so I purposely remove some line work as the paint goes down or else the dastardly pitfall of filling in can ruin the gesture.

So just as Stella was getting her dormant groove back, I had to leave this piece and be away for a week. I’m going to seriously try not to muck it up since painting on top of already dried paint sometimes leads me to that dreadful trap of adding too much, playing the game of chasing values and almost reproducing an entire second painting over the dried one underneath. I said I’d try.

Please hope I succeed.

Now THEY have succeeded in convincing me that after a week away, walking them would have more merit than watching me twist in the wind figuring this stuff out. ” Oh, just take us for a walk and forget about your whining”……….

You cannot ignore 4 eyes and 4 ears of this magnitude of cuteness and continue your mission.

I tried.

Really, I did.

Trying to ignore them.

I know when I’m done for.

Walking, it is.

I am a sap.

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36 Responses to “Back In The Saddle Again – Work In Progress”

  1. Nancy Moskovitz Says:

    1. I love your looseness. 1. Coming back after a week is tough. Loosen up on studies or something first… if you needed my advice. 3. You are a very lucky sap. πŸ™‚

  2. Paz Says:

    Awww! SO cute! I’d leave everything aside and take them for a walk, too, if I were there. πŸ˜‰


  3. Carol King Says:

    I’m already liking your man and a horse. I have no doubt you will be successful. As far as those doggies go…are they getting cuter or what?

    Welcome back! We missed you.

    • Bonnie Luria Says:

      Carolla, the new queen of the blogoshpere with 41 comments 5 minutes after posting. OK maybe not 5 minutes but sheesh.
      Those doggies are so in need of video captures. When I get to NY, I’ll be asking the Lobo for editing help.

  4. solvay Says:



    Thank you!

  5. Donald Diddams Says:

    I see a masterpiece in the making here! And the dogs? Well, I think they are just trying to save you from that “dastardly pitfall of filling in.” Have you ever seen a dog do that? No, they are all gesture and heart, so a little time with those sweeties can do nothing but good! Welcome home!

    • Bonnie Luria Says:

      You’re right Don- they ARE all gesture and heart. To not overthink is a canine blessing and a human curse.
      It’s good to be back home, heat wave and all.
      That’s after a 58 degree week in Florida and hoping some of it trickled down this way. But No–oooooo-ooooooo.

  6. absurdoldbird Says:

    Very good! I like the earlier parts better, myself, (especially the horse), but that’s because I’m more about detail than overpainting. I used to use a 2B pencil for sketching before painting but would get stuck on the detail and then not want to paint at all. These days, when I use watercolour, I wait for the paint to dry and then ‘push’ it with a damp brush to achieve detail instead of sketching, but it’s a technique that really doesn’t lend itself to loose work.

    Are these from imagination or from life?

    And I love the dogs! What breed is the little one?

    • Bonnie Luria Says:

      Hi again Bird,
      I need to set a timer or recall those admonitions from school days: ” OK class, pencils DOWN”.
      You’re right about getting stuck on detail. Awful awful awful.
      I’m going to try painting without my glasses on.
      Hope I can read the labels on the tubes!

      The little dog is a Crucian mix. We have a huge feral dog problem here on St. Croix. As a result, every dog is a mix of multiple breeds including:
      Chiahuahua, Pit Bull, Ridgeback, Assorted Terriers and sometimes I think, Platypus. She’s long and short legged and completely funny.
      Thanks for visiting again.

  7. Jala Pfaff Says:

    Nice job on the drawing/painting!

    It is USELESS to even ATTEMPT to ignore such cuteness.

  8. Jala Pfaff Says:


  9. Sam Says:

    Jeez, pick any of the four “sketches” and call it a day! Our cameras may be chimeras, but without their evidence no one could imagine how multi-fabulous we all are!

    You are not a sap. Cuba and Cloud are running a racket. They are very very good at their chosen profession.

    I am a sap. Jala, blaming our dogs of course, made me go out on a forced march into the WORST weather I’ve ever seen. When I hollered at her above the howling wind-driven slush, “THIS IS THE WORST !#*@?#* WEATHER I’VE EVER SEEN!!!”, she shouted, “It must be worse in Maine.” “I wouldn’t know; no self-respecting Downeaster would go out in crap like this!”. Then her dog took another smelly dump.

    • Bonnie Luria Says:

      Sam and Jala, Sam and Jala, you two ramp up the comment quotient to the point of reconsidering that St. Croix-nicity just become a repository for dueling wit, snappy patter, and everything related to dog-dom.
      ( kitties may require a sub- blog ).
      Made my night.

  10. Jala Pfaff Says:

    No, what I said to Sam (when she was complaining loudly about the weather) was, “This must be like Maine!” She said no, Maine’s weather was better.

  11. Sam Says:

    Yahbut, her dog’s dump was so smelly she left it there.

  12. Marian Fortunati Says:

    Such wonderful work, Bonnie!!
    Amazing to me that a wonderful artist like you struggles with the same issues as I do.

    LOVE LOVE LOVE those buddies of yours… just too cute… How could you NOT walk them???

    • Bonnie Luria Says:

      Hey Marian, the struggles are Herculean. How it is that the brain understands theory and concept but the hands have minds of their own.
      ” Stop ” , I say to the hand that holds the brush and dips it into a pile of stupid color. ” Stop”. ” How many times do I have to tell you that those colors are both warm AND cool and will cancel themselves out?”
      ” How many times ?”.

      Yup, that’s how it goes somedays.
      I’m going to put the brush in Clouds’ paw and see what happens…

  13. Melinda Says:

    This is such wonderful work! I hope you had a fantastic walk and that you will allow your pups to drag you away whenever you are in need of a break. I like your idea of putting a brush in Cloud’s paw. How ’bout pretending to be Cloud when you paint?

    I think you are painting with great skill and I hope you won’t be too hard on yourself!

    Love, love, love those animals!

  14. Bonnie Luria Says:

    Melinda, If I channel Cloud when I paint, I should consider painting ceilings on my back, belly up. Her favorite position. Every time I walk towards her, she rolls over and displays that pinky, peachy soft underbelly and I cave.
    Thanks for your very encouraging comments, as always, so welcomed.

  15. Jala Pfaff Says:

    Sam, you know better than that, it was because the bag was too small.
    (Oh, hi, Bonnie–what are YOU doing on this blog?!)

  16. Bonnie Luria Says:

    Oh, just bein’ nosy and enjoying the entertainment. I’ll stop by again.

  17. souldose Says:

    I love love love this painting, so beautiful

  18. Dar Says:

    Every stage of this is exciting. Your understanding of gesture and form is wonderful.
    Now, with you and Jala working your voodoo, I feel destined to adopt a pound puppy very soon.

  19. Bonnie Luria Says:

    Thank you Dar- sometimes it seems I fare better with drawing than painting although I know they’re related. But I crave painting and find drawing not as exciting.
    Glutton for my own form of punishment.
    The puppies are my rewards.
    There isn’t a minute of the day when I don’t love either looking at them, petting and kissing them or using them as the perfect form of procrastination.
    But to be sure, shelter dogs are the only way to go. I found Cloud in the bush here, on her own for days- all 7 pounds of her.
    She took to me in 5 minutes and 3 biscuits which I always keep in the front seat of my car.
    They are my very own health care programs.
    I encourage you so consider this my voodoo to you hoo.

  20. wrjones Says:

    I love the feel of all your drawing/paintings. This one is particularly appealing.

  21. Bonnie Luria Says:

    Thank you Bill. Your comments mean a lot to me.
    I know it’s said that to be a good painter, it helps to draw correctly, as in, seeing things correctly.
    Sometimes it gets muddled to paint on top of a drawing as the tendency is for the looseness to be compromised.
    What I’ve found, is that if I draw something enough times, it helps me get familiar with the structure of what I’m painting.
    One of these days, I think I’d like to try some more abstraction, just to loosen up the eye and brush relationship.
    Want to take one one together?

  22. Sharon Crute Says:

    Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes. Welcome to my world. Initiation rites fulfilled.

  23. lesliepaints Says:

    O’kay. I give up. I’ve been hanging on each day since I saw this. Love it as I was a horse person for many years. I love the looseness of your drawings and your paintings. I have dogs, so I know how important they are. I’ll wait. πŸ™‚

    • Bonnie Luria Says:

      Leslie, I’m honored by your patience and delighted that you loved the early stages. So here’s what I’m going to do for you- I’m going to mail you the unfinished, can’t get past stage 4 painting and you can finish it for me. I’m stuck.
      That way, neither of us has to wait indefinitely to see it finished.

      • lesliepaints Says:

        That would be a hoot! …seeing as I would really muck up this canvas with a bunch of watercolor! A friend of mine and I discussed doing some collaborative painting just to see what happened but have not taken the plunge as yet. I have seen other artists do that and they get some pretty nice paintings. I love what you have down, so far. Take your time. πŸ™‚

  24. w1kkp Says:

    As Bon Bon well knows, I am not a painter but I totally love the idea of following one canvas through multiple artistic hands! It would be like Meryl Streep in Out of Africa! Robert Redford”s character is asked to begin her story any way he wants in one sentence and then she proceeded to tell a fabulous story around that one sentence–character development, plot line, rising action, falling action, conclusion. The whole nine yards!

    I think this is my way of saying, Why don’t you collaborate? She got nominated (maybe even won I can’t remember) an Academy Award! Who knows where your collaborative piece could go?

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