Orion Art at White Dog Studio

Welcome to the Orion Art at White Dog Studio Blog!

Look around...Enjoy the sights.

All artworks are for sale, contact me via this blog or at
maryann@orionwhitedog.com for inquiries. To see more of my paintings visit my website at http://www.orionwhitedog.com/

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dream Chapel

Last week I dreamed of the shape of a church or a chapel against a dark sky with a  light glowing foreground.  The chapel shape literally seemed to glow and shimmer against the sky. 
I like to think of this shape as a Sanctuary.  Which according to Dictionary.com is among many definitions; a sacred or holy place, a place of refuge, asylum.

I'm reading Sue Monk Kidd's new book, Traveling with Pomegranates.  Sue Monk Kidd is one of my favorite writers and I'm so happy to be immersed in her new book which is co-written with her daughter Ann Kidd Taylor. What I like about her writing/thinking is through her various quests to gain understanding about areas like the Feminine Divine or The Black Madonna is the honor she gives symbols in her life.  Whether they be from dreams or  'chance' encounters.

I've been thinking about the chapel image from my dream.  The word Sanctuary is meaningful.  What shall I place in  this holy, sacred Sanctuary?    Why have a Sanctuary?
To have a place of refuge, not a place to hide, but a place of serenity.  A place to lay out ideas, joys, sorrows, dreams, laughter, troubles.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Painting from a Dream

About a week ago, I dreamed of a landscape somewhat like this.  It had a mauve sky, and a dark green treeline.  I don't recall the foreground so I improvised.

(In real life this painting's sky is more of a mauve, the camera doesn't relay the color accurately.)

oil on panel 8 x 16

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Legacy from my Father (Christmas Gifts)

My Dad wouldn't like it if I was "making a fuss" over his work. But, I have to! I love his drawings. As far back as I can remember, he was always sketching, especially comics. He created characters and played around with the punchlines. He taught us how to draw our own comic characters. There was a steady supply of scrap paper and pencils on hand. My sisters drew paper dolls and designed outfits for them.

My Dad went to The Cleveland School of Art before it became The Cooper School of Art (now closed) for a year.  Then our family started growing, so he set aside art school but he continued with a lifelong interest in art and in bettering his skills.  About 15 years ago, he took a pen and ink class at BayCrafters (now BayArts) in Bay Village, Ohio. The works shown here were produced during and after he took the class.  He loved Pen and Ink!  After Dad died, I was given his sketchbooks.  This year for Christmas I framed 8 of his drawings and gave one to each of my siblings, keeping one for myself.  I loved how they turned out and I wanted to keep all of them!  The hard part was deciding who should have which piece.  Eventually I fugured it out; matching the drawings to personalities and interests.  It was so exciting to give everyone their drawings and see their reactions!  Which were wonderful!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Skeleton in the Classroom

This friendly fellow (seems male to me, don't know why) is part of a still life that is set up for my AP Studio Art Students.  I decided to work alongside the students.
What I re-learned....Sketetons are hard to draw!!
The one on the top is done in watercolor and oil pastel on gessoed backing board and the Smiling Fellow  is done in waterbased oils and oil pastel.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Collage in 3-D

This artwork was created for the DiscARTed show at the Geauga Park District.  I could only submit two entries and I made four.  The two that were entered are a cigar box which I call Bird Box and a book which I altered with collage, painting, stitching and sketching. Pictures will be posted when the show comes down in January.
For this one I assembled pieces and parts of old paintings, collage materials, and plexiglass.  It's mounted on a stretcher frame from an old canvas.  The little popsicle stick figures were made by my daughter when she was about ten years old.  They're meant to symbolize us--the human race, the owl represents wisdom. I placed the people behind the plexiglass with the idea that it represents a barrier.  The barrier for when we aren't connected to earth.   The circle in the background symbolizes  the circle of life, our life path. The hands are painted with symbols which I read about in a National Geographic magazine.  Hand prints were discovered on a cave ceiling in a remote area of Papua New Guinea.  They are ancient and thought to be ceremonial, ritual handprints of an ancient culture.  The amazing thing is that each handprint was painted with a different symbol.  Who knows what they represent?
So I was trying to link the ancient world with the 21st century (popsicle stick people); the birds represent our beautiful earth and the inhabitants of the natural world. The Owl being wisdom, linking the old with Now.  My prayer is that we are wise enough to honor and love our earth.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gray Day

After spending an hour or more working on this; the commission piece that is taking its good old time reaching any sort of resolution, I switched over to a fast painting over an old painting. 
(a side note about the commission:  the buyer saw one of my smaller paintings (8 x 10) that is soft and moody.  She wants a larger work, about 42 x 36--soft and moody.  At this point, I'm beginning to get the softness, but its been a challenge to take what is so easy to capture in a small piece and bring it to a large format.  There are some compositional kinks I'm working on, and I'm struggling with the trees in front.)

Today was a Gray Day.  Rain, rain and more rain. 
The fast painting over the old painting is below. I plan to work some lighter grays into the sky. 
I like to paint Gray Days. I find it a good challenge to capture just the right colors for gray sky.
(my camera hasn't captured the colors with accuracy)

We were driving to a Christmas dinner at dusk. The white barns in sillouhette against the white sky were striking. After painting for several hours today, my seeing eyes were charged up. I wanted to turn the car around and go home to paint the white on white.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

From Here to There (sketch to painting)

This summer I spent a few days with my sisters at the beach in Vermilion, Ohio on the shores of western Lake Erie.  I sketched a bit one afternoon, loving the variety of blues in the water.
For the last two weeks while "trying" to paint a commission piece--which isn't going so well--I started and finished the painting above.  I usually work on a couple of pieces at the same time, if a painting is too wet, I'll move to another.  It also keeps my energy for the paintings fresh.  This time I think I was using other paintings to avoid the commission, but also in hopes that I could take my enjoyment from the other works and infuse it into the commission.  So far its not working. ugh.  Fortunately there isn't a huge rush on the commission and I plan to get to it when I figure out what is blocking my creativity. (maybe I'll post a pic of what's happening so far)
So about the sketch and painting pictured here. In the painting I ended up turning Lake Erie into a landscape. Initially I had painted water, but I came back to the canvas a day or so after the water was in and it kindof morphed into landscape--which I know so much better than water--simply because I don't see the Lake on a daily basis, whereas I do study my little corner of the world everyday.
I painted a few pieces this summer which have a similar composition to the painting above.  I'm toying with the idea of painting a Horizon Line series.  I love the meshing of color, verging on abstraction; still landscape.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

How can We Eat THIS?

My Pastry Chef daughter made this wonderful work of art for Thanksgiving dessert.   YUM! Beautiful!!!

Plus pie?  My not the pastry chef son  (although, he did work with me  as pie maker's assistant when I was a pie maker) is making two apple pies and I'm making two pumpkin pies.

Gluttons?  Yes!  Lots of people to help eat all the wonderfulness, yes! 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Twenty Minute Challenge and a Bonus Bald Eagle

Not such a clear picture of a Bald Eagle, but, I had to share it!  My neighbor and I have decided to walk every trail in every park in our local park district; no set time limit for the walks or for when we complete the venture.  It is serendepitous in plan, we go when we can, weather permitting.   The mild November weather lingered for our walk today.  As we emerged from the woods into a large open meadow, one bird flew by (Bald Eagle #1), a second followed.  The second Bald Eagle rode the thermals for a long time.  We lingered.

It seems I can't stop with the Twenty Minute Drawings.  I'm loving it!  Its great practice. The two shown here were done during AP Studio Art Class.  It was a quiet day, the students were working with such intensity that I was able to sit (for the most part uninterrupted) and finish in twenty minutes. The top piece is oil on watercolor paper and the bottom was done in my sketchbook using mixed media; prismacolor markers, watercolors and pencil.
I guess I'd better enter  The Twenty Minute Challenge soon.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Peace on a Sunny Day

YES.       on this sun filled day.  easy to breathe peace.

it doesn't mean to be in a place
where there is no noise, trouble or
hard work.  it means to be in the midst
of those things and still
be calm in your heart.----unknown

(unfortunately i don't remember the name of the artist who made the awesome hand, but her work was innovative, expressive and spoke to me.  the hand sits in front of my studio.  love her work!)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Twenty Minute Challenge

While visiting Arting Around in SOVA I read about The Twenty Minute Challenge that Katharine A. Cartwright has set up.  I found the concept intriquing, enough that I sat for 20 minutes in two different art classes and produced these sketches.  The students were busily engrossed with monoprinting, so I let them fly while I sat and worked.  It was great fun to do this.  My students were intriqued, they love to see their teacher draw and paint.  Also it was a great exercise.
I plan to enter the The Twenty Minute Challenge in the near future,  tomorrow if there is time in class, I'll paint a few acrylics.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


the show in tremont this fall  led to a commission work.  the buyer is interested in a large work.  i started with some sketches, the first sketch was done this summer while sitting on the beach on Lake Erie.  i didn't choose the sketch for the commission piece but i plan to use the sketch in for a painting in the future.  i settled on the sketches done at a local park in here in geauga county.  i toned the canvas in purples, usually i tone in reds.  i thought this might lend an interesting effect.  i sketched the basic shapes in reds.  colors were then added in a broad, general way.  next week i'll work into the paintings further, softening the brushwork. 

the funny thing is, i don't intend to sell the buyer this painting; i don't think it's going in the direction she would like (weird how a painting assumes its' own identity)  i have another one started, which i'll post soon, that i think will suit her tastes.  right now its a poor sketch on canvas, i got so involved in this diptych that my art energy went solely into it, neglecting the other. often i work on two things or more simultaneously, in this case, the energy went where it needed to go!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Shadows, Monuments and Pillars

On Friday, my AP Studio Art students and I took a field trip to some great Cleveland locales. I took these shots at Lakeview Cemetary.
Here's a few pics, I like the juxtaposition of the tree and the massive grave obelisk (I guess it is an obelisk or a huge grave marker.) 
I had some fun with shadows inside the Garfield Monument.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Birds. It always comes back to birds.

So, there isn't a title for this collage yet.

There is an Art show sponsored by our local park district using the theme "discARTed" as its basis for all entries.
The show was a motivation to finish what was started some time ago. I pulled out all of my collage stuff (lots and lots, eek...!)and was able to wrap this piece up.

It is about birds. The background uses part of a 1955 National Geographic article about a trip some ornithologists took to Papua, New Guinea, which turned out to be dangerous when they encountered the native people. Along with the danger, they were educated about a people who were a 'dying culture' The imagery features birds.
I'm seeking a parallel between dying cultures and species loss. But also, noting where we (the human race)have contributed to these losses.
I've got a couple of other collages/assemblages happening, with the same themes. It'll be tough to decide what to enter, since I can only enter two works.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Barn got in the Way

These poor Yellow Rumped Warblers flew into our barn/studio sometime overnight. We found them on the floor near the sliding glass doors this morning. There is a large barn door entrance on the front of the barn where they flew in. We covered the entrance so this doesn't happen again.

As I laid them to rest in a bed of pine needles and covering them in maple leaves, I could hear and see Yellow Rumped Warblers flitting in the tree branches above.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Eternal Collage

An eternal collage and I think I like it............
This piece (12 x 12 masonite panel) was started at least two years ago. Over time it has gone through several changes some subtle, some drastic.
It started as a demo piece for one of my AP Studio Art classes. I was messin' around with surface textures by using gesso in various ways; along with incorporating fabric and plastic wrap to show ways to build up a surface. From there we began collaging.
There was a point when I absolutely loved this piece, then I decided to make some changes. Ha. It went downhill.
I set it aside for a long while.
Picked it up a few months ago, worked back into it. Kept it around the studio, stared at it.
A few nights ago I added color and pattern. Its brighter than it was and I think I like it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Landscapes~~Oil Studies

When the Geode Gallery sent out the flier regarding my art show, within twenty minutes of sending it, the gallery owener received a phone call from an interested buyer regarding one of the works on the flier.
Wicked Cool and Wow!!
I met the prospective buyer at the opening. She had decided against the one she saw on the flier; the size wasn't right for where she wants to hang it, but expressed strong interest in a commission piece.
The pieces below are oil studies for a larger work. Which I'll do regardless of whether or not the buyer decides to buy one or not.




Each piece is smallish; about 8 x10 to 10 x 12. They're oil on panel and I used photo references after a visit to a local park. I know the park well and stayed for an hour or so taking shots. I prefer plein air painting, but for many reasons these had to be painted in the studio.

I came across an interesting article in The Artist's Magazine (Sept. 2009)about composition and design. The writer and artist; Ian Roberts, has outstanding reminders and pointers about achieving strong and dynamic compositions. I thought about the article as I worked on my thumbnails--working with value.
I worked on simplifying the compositions and for these pieces the buyer is interested in a 'dreamy' look; so I worked more with glazing than I normally do.
I enjoyed tinkering with the figure/ground relationships and found the areas where the light shows through the row of trees really captivating. This has always intriqued me, the abstract shapes made by the holes between trees; how the shapes are indistinct..the way light glows through from behind.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The opening at the Geode Gallery Friday night was lots of fun. Lots of people came, the night was warm and clear with a full mooon. The moonlight reflecting off St. Theodosius church next door was glowing.
The Geode Gallery is the building that was featured in the scene of The Deerhunter in which Meryl Streep worked in the market.
Most exciting is that the large painting I'm standing next to in the photo above sold before the show opened. A great way to start an exhibit!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Who does she think she is?

Opportunistic cat. With the studio in a state of preparation for an upcoming show, sweet little Junior Kitty, a.k.a. "Schnook" used the canvas that is being flattened (I hope) for the perfect napping spot---for the last few days!

(Isn't it annoying when canvases warp? Darned humid Ohio weather!)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What have I been painting lately... on a cloudy August morning and sketchbook inspiration.

okay, so there's plenty to look at here.
it was one of those clouds hanging heavy over the trees and earth kind of misty mornings.
i was hoping to go out and do some plein air painting but the weather kept me in. i was staring out the studio back door wishing i could go out to paint.
just looking out.
it started with a quick study (not shown) then led to another.

then another.

then this big one. 36 x 48. it's striking in real large life. i wish the digital photos conveyed how they feel like the atmospheric cloudiness of the day.

this is a sketchbook scribble paint drawing which

led to this.

i bought this canvas at a yard sale when i was in Chautauqua earlier this summer. it was already painted on and heavily textured, 36 x 36 in size. i had some fun messin' around with the surface texture--scraping away areas and adding my own lines, shapes and textures.

i call it Flight. i think of my mom and dad, not that they fled but are in flight, beautiful flight.