Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Rattle me bones, it's nearly Halloween!  I love the spooky, magical fun of this time of year. Not the artificial gore and horror.  I don't know where that belongs, but it will never be part of my Halloween.   It's great when the Halloween Wreath on the door swings in the wind and scratches against the panels, making you wonder, 'Is it the wind, or is it a visitor  who isn't there!'   I love the dry, scratchy leaves as they skitter across the road, and the long, slim, black tree trunks against a rain spattered sky.  In the rain, the pumpkin patch turns very, very spooky.  Anything can happen!  Does that peculiar looking tree have a sinister expression on it's trunk?

It's a different story on a sunny day, when the orange glow from thousands of Pumpkins can be nearly blinding.  So are the smiles from the visitors, young and old alike.  There is just something joyous about  a Pumpkin Patch.

Halloween in the country is filled with the old time delights in seeing fields of pumpkins glowing in the sun or shining in the rain, of watching and listening to skeins of Canada Geese winging past the icy white moon, of handing out treats to little ones as they go Trick or Treating door to door with their parents, and  the wonderfully spine tingling spookiness of black nights lit only by pumpkin light as a backdrop for rattling tree branches and the country night sounds.  If you're lucky, you may even see a little ghost.

Have a safe and HAPPY HALLOWEEN everyone!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Golden Days

As you know, I love Autumn, especially in the Country.  It's my favourite time of the year.  I love the colours, the scents, and the sounds, and well, just the feel of it.  Late yesterday afternoon gifted me with a very special  Country Autumn moment.  You know the sort - when everything comes together to make a beautiful memory.
Yesterday, we were visiting friends, a wonderfully casual Country type visit when many sentences are not quite finished because there is so much to catch up on and you want to tell and hear everything. When we left late in the afternoon, we stood outside for a few minutest because none of us wanted the visit to end.  There was my Sweetie, one of my dearest soul sisters and her wonderful husband, an old friend whom I hadn't seen in years, and we had our dogs with us.  We all stood ankle deep in the crisp, rustling leaves  breathing in their intoxicating aroma, with the autumn sounds of distant geese and dry, rattling leaves in the air, encircled by friendship, while the light slowly turned opalescent for that magical hour before the sun begins to set.  It was one of those golden moments you tuck away in your memory to warm you on a day when things are not going as well as you'd like.
Keep your senses aware and enjoy all that Autumn has to offer.  Wishing you joy!!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013


           I think I can be called a Dog Person. We've had many dogs over the years, mostly Shelties, but we've had Collies and a couple of mixed breeds as well. Both my husband and I love taking care of them, love living day to day with them.  And I love working with them, seeing what I can teach them and finding out what they can teach me. We try to be responsible pet owners.  Our pets are always neutered/spayed, micro-chipped, on leash when out, and supervised every time they go out in our fenced in back garden.   We take them to Dog School and work with them at home because we  want them to be good Canine Citizens.  Just because we love our animals, doesn't mean that other people will, so we don't want super-exuberant  dogs who leap at people in a frenzy of friendliness.                                                                                           But animals are not just pets for me.  They are the inspiration for my art as well.  I have always been attracted to their beautiful shapes, textures and colours.  I have always loved watching the way they move and the way they interact.  Over the years of having multiple pets, I've been fascinated to learn how they interact with each other, and I'm always intrigued, watching how they work out the little problems they come across in their day.                                                                                                                                       It's a joy for me to paint these lovely creatures and so much fun to fit them into my genre  paintings of life in the country.                                                                                                                                           

I've been blessed to realize my dream of having a horse of my own. We had a marvelous little Morgan for 19 years. He taught me so much, and we had such wonderful adventures together.  And our house has always had a cat too.  As Colette said, "A house without a cat is not a home."  For us, this is true.  And do all our cirtters get along together?  Of course.  Our one major house rule is that we all must get along.  Ours must be a Peaceable Kingdom, and somehow, give or take a minor spat or two now and then, it always is.
  I've always loved animals, and from the time I was a little girl, I wanted to know more about them, to pet them, to understand how their minds worked, to learn how to work with them, and of course, how to draw and paint them.   I've always been entranced by the sheer beauty of dogs, cats and horses.  They are beautiful to look at, and they have a beautiful generosity of spirit and a sense of peace that shines out of them that speaks to so many of we humans.  I know a lot of folks are puzzled by us  wanting  several animalsat a time in our daily lives, and I guess it boils down to, either you get it or you don't. Thank God we both do.  We couldn't imagine our lives without them.                                                                                                  


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Brilliant Orange

I am MAD about ORANGE!  LOVE IT!!  I love every juicy hue, tone and shade of it.  I couldn't live with it indoors - it's much too strong and active a colour, but outside, in the crisp, clear Autumn air, against a background of burning blue or mysteries-of-the-ages green,  it fills my soul with a frenzy of delight.


I love it in a wild tangle, as in the Chinese Lanterns  above and below, spilling it's bright abandon where ever it feels like roaming.                      


And I love it tamed, well, (as tamed as Orange ever gets) in a glory of copper pansies.  Last year, I found some spectacular ones in Orange and Black!

Orange of course,  is the happy marriage between red and yellow.   You  can buy it in a tube or you can mix it yourself.  There's really no shame in using tube colours!    They have been carefully mixed by people who know what they are doing, and each quality company produces results you can count on.  But if you are the sort who likes a walk on the wild side now and then, you can mix your own secondary and tertiary colours.   ? ?  Many of you who read this are artists, but for those of you who are not, a Secondary colour is one that is created by mixing two Primary Colours.  A Tertiary colour is created by mixing a Secondary colour with a Primary.    Red, Yellow, and Blue are Primary colours, and you either buy them in a tube or you get hold of the correct minerals and suspensions and a grinding stone.  These colours can not be created  by mixing other paints.  But mix a Primary (Cadmium) Red with a Primary (Cadmium) Yellow, and  ORANGE blossoms forth!!!    Change the recipe a bit by using more red or more yellow, and the orange hue changes.  Add a little of it's complimentaty colour - blue - and you tone it down.  Set the complimentary colour beside it, and both colours blast.  I love colour magic!
I'm going to take a quick ramble through the garden now, to soak up the glory of orange. 

Cheers,                                                                                                                                            Heather                                                                                                                                           www.heatheranderson-animalart.com                                     *  All photos are copyright Heather Anderson

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Today's blog is about art rather than home.  I thought I'd address the subject of staying steady.  By that I mean keeping your career on a steady path and  keeping a flow going with  your paintings.  In art school, we were taught to be careful and thoughtful about where we decided to go with all things pertaining to our painting, and hard as it is, I've tried to follow that advice.
A starting point for me was to choose a reasonable (with some stretching)  goal of painting the best horse, dog and cat paintings I'm capable of doing and selling them to people who love animals as I do. My set of subjects and mediums are those that call to me . . . they are things I love.  I am a watercolourist first and foremost and always will be, but I also enjoy graphite and sometimes dabble in acrylics.  Experimenting with mediums is good, especially when you're starting out - you have to try things to see where your heart lies, but once you find that, it's not a bad idea to stay with it and work at developing your proficiency with that/those medium.  Each of our paintings need to proceed slowly, with a plan of where we are going, and with watercolours at least, thinking about each brushful of paint before we lay it down.
I paint domestic animals because I have loved and felt a connection to them from the first moment I saw them.  That said, I love the world of field, forest and garden as well, and those things fit into my animal work under the net of 'Country Life.  I try to keep my paintings authentic, to keep them about a way of life that I love, know well, and want to share with the viewer.

Hard as it is, we have to develop a style that is recognizable, and if at some point we decide to change that style drastically, some artists have chosen to present that parallel work under another name as way of keeping things straight for the viewer.  I've never done this, but who knows what wild hare I might try someday.
Pricing is another area where we need to hold steady.  Again, this is from my wise teachers from years ago; if we raise our prices too fast, it's pretty hard (although not impossible) to go back and lower them if the market of the day can't sustain those prices.  But if you are asking $1,000 for a painting in one place, you risk losing credibility, to say nothing of ticking off collectors,  if you then turn around and ask $100 for it at another venue.  Pricing is a mine field, and I'm still trying to get it right.
Another old adage is that if you put too much bad work out there (due to lack of real interest in the painting, rushing, or of reaching too far ahead of  oneself in one bound) you will be giving people a wrong impression of what you are capable of.  We all have a painting or two out there in the past what we wish was not out there, but as much as possible, we need to be seen at our best.
So in my view, if we are committed to being an artist, each painting and our entire career is a case of Steady as we go.