My Italian Fantasyscape

Wally thinks this is a big yawn, but I’m thrilled to finish this painting!

Today I finally finished this oil painting that I started in March. It’s a composition based on four different photos of the Umbria region of central Italy, that I shot while on a 6-day bike tour we did in 2018. Yes I’m the slowest painter, but I also had a lot of diverse projects all going on at once in the studio this spring and summer. It’s 48″ tall, made specifically for a wall space in our dining room.

This is the main photo that inspired the painting. It’s a hill town called Calvi dell’Umbria.
Here’s a different very small medieval hill town, where I got my reference for the vineyards in the foreground.
This photo has the church and its bell tower, plus good refs for building shapes.
And lastly, a photo I took in the town of Assisi, just because the clouds were so perfect. And begging to be painted.

The Last Third

The big shock of my husband Paul getting lymphoma cancer in February was an immense life wake-up call. He’s so fit and healthy and there is no cancer in his family. He was the last person I’d expect to get cancer at age 59. It fundamentally rocked our whole idea of how our lives were going to go. (He’s done with chemo and thankfully found to be cancer-free for now, and he is getting back to his normal life.)

Having to helplessly watch him go through that—and then the covid19 crisis hitting at the same time—left me with large amounts of time for introspection and soul-searching. I’m now a 60-something and I have known in the back of my mind for awhile that I’m probably going do something different with this last third of my life. (I hope I will get another third!) I crave something new to focus my creative energy on. 

I will always be making things. It’s part of my DNA; the art has to come out. But the big surprise is that I do not care about horses any more. Not like I did in my childhood; that horse-mad girl is gone. Collecting Breyers and china figurines, painting horses, sculpting horses, sustained my love for them… but in an entirely visual way. (I’ve never owned a horse and still don’t know how to ride.) 

Now I’m done with sculpting horses. I will never say never-again, but I have nothing left to say on the sculpture side. I’m so happy that I got the Denderah sculpture finished. The resin edition met all my goals, and I’ll be able to order bone china pieces as needed, as long as Donna Chaney is willing and able to make them for me. (I don’t think I’ll need that many, Donna!)

My current painting (in progress), inspired by a cycling trip we did across Umbria, Italy.

I love love love landscape oil painting, which I started doing about 8 years ago as a way to get entirely away from computer/phone/screens—and horses—in art. I’m gaining confidence with each new canvas and I think THIS might be that last-third life-track for my creative soul. I guess the walls of my house will be covered with paintings because I can’t bear to give them up!

I’m still very interested in ceramics and glazing. There are so few people able to paint chinas right now that it would be very sad to just sell off all the white ware. My studio is beautifully set up for this work and I love working here, so I will continue to finish china pieces. I have viable molds for a few of my older sculptures (can you believe Boreas and Optime are nearly 20 years old???) and making pieces from them is fun work when I feel like doing it. I want to experiment with new art glaze finishes.

I have achieved everything I could want in the hobby, received so much more than I ever dreamed possible. I know what it’s like to be at the top of the game and I am so very grateful for having had the opportunity. I will be a collector of horse models until I die. I love Breyers and the company’s ongoing story. I will be found lurking around BreyerFest every couple years.

But I just can’t think of any more ways to help, contribute to, or give back to the hobby, other than throwing more money or donations at it. I don’t feel needed. I know I’m not a great teacher of equine art. I don’t like judging or holding model horse shows anymore, I don’t care about many of the popular trends, and have zero tolerance for the stupid recurrent drama. 

I’m deleting the Westerly Design Facebook page. I do plan to keep my Instagram presence. It is: @traveldogartpony. I love IG; the non-confrontational/non-controversial stream of pure imagery is perfect for me right now. I randomly post my travel, dog, art, and pony photos there. With emphasis on Dog… always way too much Wally pix! I hope you will look in. 

Any studio news or sale items I come up with will be posted to this blog/email list and to IG. You can still use FB messenger to talk to me.

That’s all for now. This seems right. I feel positive. Thank you for being with me all this time.

New China Pieces to be Auctioned This Month

I will be selling a few new custom glazed china pieces at auction this month. The first two to go on sale are:

CMG Callahan

CMG Juniper

The Juniper is at auction right now over on my studio Facebook page. It ends Saturday August 22 at 3pm mountain time.

I’m slightly undecided whether the Callahan will go up for auction via an email auction web page here on my site, or again via FB. I’d like to hear from you if you can NOT do FB auctions. That will help my decision. Email Karen

Thank you! I’m working on other pieces, including the first bone china Denderah, which will be up for sale in the coming weeks.

Denderah Resin Nearing The End!

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Denderah Resin, painted in oils by Karen Gerhardt

Hello and welcome to summer!

I know this isn’t the summer we expected or wanted. But like everyone else, I’m coping. Some days better than others. I did want to give my heartfelt thank you to everyone who has been so supportive regarding my husband Paul’s lymphoma cancer journey. He completed his last chemo on June 8th and now there’s nothing more to be done except HEAL! Yay!

Today’s message is mainly to let you know that the Denderah resin edition only has 5 pieces left to reserve, in the edition of 40. So if you had any thoughts about ordering one, now’s the time. I’ve been ordering the resins in batches of 10, slowly, as those who have reserved pay for them. There’s no deposit required and I don’t have any difficult or restrictive rules about payment schedules.

As of today, I have two in stock. I don’t plan to order any more until I hear from more people that they are sending payment, so please do let me know if you are getting close to being ready!

Here is the ordering page for Denderah resins.

I think I will be receiving one or two bone china Denderah’s next month! So stay tuned for that! All of those will be custom glazed by me, and when I have one for sale it will be auctioned via my website. I don’t have a set number in the edition but I’m guessing it won’t be all that many. They are proving somewhat difficult to make in bone china, so far.

I plan to start glazing some other chinas in my inventory this summer, and I may open one or two for a commission. Watch my Facebook and Instagram page (@traveldogartpony) for news about that.

Thank you as always for your support!

Denderah resin ordering simplified, and other news

Because of the current economic situation many folks are in an uncertain financial place. In sympathy to that, I’ve eliminated the June 1st order deadline for my Denderah Arabian sculpture in resin. You can now just send in a reservation for a resin and when you can pay, there will be a resin for you. No matter how long it takes you to have the money. There is no deposit, down payment, or time payments schedule required.

The resin edition is still limited to 40 pieces. I’m so happy that the pace of orders picked up in April and is more than halfway sold at this time. But there’s no need to feel rushed. I’m currently out of stock on resins but I’ve got another order in for 10 pieces with MVS, who is casting the resins. If you are ready to pay by the end of May I think I should have a resin for you by then.

Here is the link to the Denderah Order Page.

I remembered to update my website and have made a gallery page for Denderah. You can see many photos of him at this link. When you have got YOUR Denderah painted, please send me a photo and I will add it to the gallery!

I am in the process of painting one in oils, to a chestnut color:

Denderah, a painted resin (in progress)

The English bone china edition continues in production, the molds have been made, and I hope to start glazing them this summer. The “First-Dibs” promotion I held for the first glazed chinas has been cancelled because I am not going to be in Kentucky for Breyerfest (nobody is). So when I do have china Denderahs finished I will offer them for sale online, probably via an offers auction. I’ll let you know when the first whiteware arrives! That will be a great day to look forward to, in a not-so-great spring.

Thank you SO much for your support of my work. It means so much to me! Please take care of yourself and your loved ones. I hope the world will be back to normal very soon.

Email Karen