Irish Winter Frolic

Irish Winter Frolic

Oil on linen – 16 x 25 inches – Private Collection

Pat’s Irish Draught, Dillon, was a pretty laid-back gelding.  But one morning he was turned loose in a paddock deep with fresh snow and luckily there was a video running.  He dug in and went into his big dressage trot as he charged along the fence.  Even though he was in winter coat, Pat decided this was perfect for a portrait of him.  Frankly it was fun to paint fuzz.

Goose and Becca

Goose and Becca

Oil on linen – 20 x 16 – Private Collection

I met Becca’s husband at the Arabian Scottsdale show and we talked about a portrait.  From then on it was all long-distance but many commissions are.  We were able to work back and forth by email and phone until his present to her was finished and ready to ship.

Kara

Kara

Oil on mounted linen –  10 x 8 inches – Private Collection

Most portraits I paint are larger with fairly detailed backgrounds. This painting of the German Shepherd reminded me of how simplicity can be all you need if the subject has as much life and expression as Kara.

Freedom Solstice

Freedom Solstice

Oil on linen – 24 x 36 inches – Private Collection

Max, the young man on the floor, believes in local, nutrient-dense real food and the freedom to acquire it.  Because he delivered raw milk to his customers, he ran afoul of the state government.  The other four men are nationally involved in the defense of a person’s right to decide what foods they eat or feed their families; they came to the small Wisconsin town to show their support for Max.

Dr. Mike and Emery

Dr. Mike and Emery

Oil on linen – 32 x 34 inches – Private Collection

Mike and Mary and I had all been in high school together but hadn’t been in touch for decades.  They, however, always wondered how far I had taken my art.  When they saw my ad in Southwest Art Magazine, they called and we reconnected for two big, enjoyable commissions with their champion German Shorthair hunting dogs.  And friendship – did I mention the friendship??  The process of creating this painting is explained in detail in A Portrait in the Making.

Six Little Ladies – Daughters of Emery

Six Little Ladies - Daughers of Emery

Oil on linen – 25 x 36 inches – Private Collection

When the reference photo arrived by email, Mike had written above it, “I trust you can improve on the background.”  I certainly hoped so!  The puppies were in a bright, white box, indoors, with a chain link fence behind them, all taken with a flash.  To be able to use the photo, I knew I’d better keep the lighting pretty flat.  Putting them outside on a gray, overcast day with the light just a bit brighter on top of them and a touch darker below seemed to give the little ladies a good home.

Grandpa, the Artist Before Me

Grandpa, the Artist Before Me

Oil on linen – 17 x 12 inches – Collection of the Artist

My paternal Grandfather was an extraordinarily talented man who never got to pursue his art because of the time and place in which he lived.  He was also the kindest and gentlest of souls.  When he realized he had a granddaughter who drew all the time, he supported my dreams with all his heart.  I am grateful he lived long enough to see me on my way.  When I sign a painting “Maderich”, it’s for both of us.

Making Big Bubbles

Making Big Bubbles

Oil on mounted linen – 6 x 7 inches – Private Collection

This was an accidental portrait.  One summer I looked across the street and there was my neighbors’ young son making big bubbles, everything backlit by the sun.  I grabbed my camera and took a number of photos from which I did this small study.  It felt odd to think of taking it across to his parents – here, buy this –  so I hung it in my home.  Eventually I had a party and someone pointed it out . . . and it now hangs on their wall where it belongs.

Above All Else

Above All Else

Oil on linen – 30 x 42 inches – Private Collection

Susan and Gibraltar were an effervescent force, each making the other more happy.  It was a joy to watch them together.  We were only to the stage of the large preliminary drawing when Susan notified me that her beloved stallion had died.  We paused briefly, then kept going.  When I began the painting, in the first layer of his dark paint, I scattered a tiny bit of Gibraltar’s ashes.  Susan has concerned about having the painting after his loss but later told me she ended up talking to him every day.

Reflections in the Green Room

Reflections in the Green Room

Oil on linen – 58 x 45 inches – Collection of the Artist

In my fourth year at The Atelier I was supposed to paint a three-quarter portrait but somehow it turned into a life-sized depiction of my long-time friend, John.  Everything in the scene represents important memories in his life: the needlepoint on the footstool, the books, the table, the framed photographs, the plant stand, the framed art and the wine goblet.  I had never worked so large and struggled part of the time but it was a glorious experience, for both of us.

Hounds, Please

Hounds, Please

Oil on linen – 17 x 16 inches – Private Collection

Trish had lost her Belgian/Thoroughbred hunt horse, Gund, to cancer.  But with lots of photos and her comments on my pencil sketches and color studies, we created a painting of him.  She wrote to me, “The portrait arrived safely and I am speechless.  It is truly amazing.  Now I can’t wait until the framing is done.  It will be so good to have him be the first thing I see each time I open the front door.  Thank you, again.”

Words and Music

Words and Music

Oil on linen – 18 x 11 inches – Private Collection

I’ve known John since college.  After he sat for me for free so I could paint Reflections In The Green Room as a student at The Atelier, I thanked him with this portrait of him with Doug, his partner of over forty years.  They requested that I keep this looser than my usual work.  The title refers to Doug’s love of opera and John’s involvement with theatre as both actor and director.

Four Heads Down

Four Heads Down

Oil on linen – 24 x 46 inches – Private Collection

Lois and Jim had me come to their place in Texas for the better part of a week to photograph, spend time with, do studies of and even ride their four boys. It was as much vacation as business trip. They had previously lost a much-loved horse so they knew what they wanted in the portrait: if everyone is safe and calm, then all four heads will be down.

Belly Up to the Bar, Boys!

Belly Up to the Bar, Boys!

Oil on linen – 15 x 30 inches – Private Collection

While visiting in Texas for Four Heads Down, I had done some sketches of the way the boys lined up along the fence to wait for pets and treats.  Jim had me secretly design and paint a second portrait of that scene for Lois’ Christmas present.  It worked.  She said he’d never in all their years of marriage been so successful at totally surprising her.  She hadn’t had a clue.