Back to Miniature Painting

It's been a while since I painted these little miniatures. I've been sidetracked with birding and wildlife photography for a few years. I hope to post more of these tiny 4x4s soon. I have plenty of photos to work from.

Masterpiece Miniatures Project

Here are five paintings I am donating to the Pewaukee Area Arts Council for their Masterpiece Miniatures Project. These paintings will be on display and for sale at various events. They are only 4x4inch paintings. 

I haven't been painting for quite a while so this was a great way to get back to my studio and start a new project. I enjoyed painting small like this so much that I ordered a dozen more 4x4 mini canvases.

Snow Day

"Snow Day"
6x6 oil on canvas

This painting brings back memories of sledding on snow days. In the winter I always enjoy displaying this vintage sled next to my garden shed. I love how the late afternoon sun creates warm light on the shed and dramatic shadows in the snow. 

Winter Run II

"Winter Run II"
8x8 oil on canvas

I've been neglecting my blog long enough. With all the snow piling up in Wisconsin, I'm really in the mood to start painting snow scenes again. This is the second time I've painted Shawna running through the snow. I'm also happier with the results after using thicker paint and a larger format.

Our House

"Our House"
oil on panel 6x6

 This is my contribution for Daily Paintworks, "Paint your House Challenge" sponsored by Linda McCoy.

I've lived in this house many years, raised a family and watched the vegetation grow and surround our home. (I hate trimming hedges and trees). While painting I kept hearing the song "Our House" by Cosby, Stills & Nash. Finally I looked up the lyrics and found them very fitting. "Our house is a very, very fine house."

Doggie Drool

"Doggie Drool"
6x6 oil on gessoed panel

This painting was done for the Daily Paintworks Challenge. Artist were challenged to do a value study using a black & white photo of their pet and paint in color. I decided to further challenge myself to paint the entire painting with my left hand. I have done this once before and found I tend to paint looser using my left hand rather than my right.

On this particular day when I took the photo, Griff was stalking birds in the backyard and drooling at the mouth.


5x7 oil on canvas

Finally I'm posting a finished painting! I loved working on this little guy's face but struggled with the background. I'm sure I will be painting "Griff" many times in the future.

Work in Progress


I've taken a detour this past year focusing on nothing but dog training and found out I'm not very good at it. I made the mistake of getting another difficult-to-train Gordon Setter. How could you not love a face like that! He looks so innocent but don't be fooled. He's living up to his name "Griffin," now called Griff for short.

This photo of him was taken last summer when he was just a little pup. What a good model he's turning out to be when he is not getting into trouble. I have tons of photos of him that I would love to paint.

Portrait Study

6x8 oil on panel

I decided to get busy and do some major cleaning in my studio. I ran across this portrait study of my grandson I painted a few years ago. It had been stacked away in a drawer and forgotten. I never liked the composition but now I see all it needed was a little cropping and maybe a frame. I did this painting on a panel prepared with oil base gesso and used only one color, Chromium Oxid Red. 

In Memory of Shawna

"Blue Day"

I did this painting of Shawna a year ago, last spring. Sadly our sweet dog passed away yesterday at age 12. I've painted Shawna several times and no doubt will be painting her again. Sweet dreams Shawna, you will be sadly missed.

Shawna with a Smile

"Shawna with a Smile"
6x8 Oil on Linen Panel
Carol Horzempa

These last three paintings seems to have turned into a series of my dog. My husband suggested I paint Shawna with a smile this time. For reference I used a photo taken of her three years ago while hiking up a steep hill. She beat me to the top and proudly stood there enjoying the view while waiting for me. I was able to capture that moment with my camera. Unfortunately Shawna is in the midst of her senior years and can only take short walks on level ground now.

I discovered a linen canvas in a Sampler Pad from Jerry's Artarama that I love painting on. I used it for this painting. It is called Senso Heavyweight Premium Linen Canvas which comes in rolls and  pads.

By the way, I used my right hand for Shawna's face and the rest with my lefty. I really enjoy painting this way.

Zoning Out

"Zoning Out"
6x8 oil on gessoed panel 

Another painting of Shawna, this time using my right hand most of the time. In this portrait I focused on the values and tried to capture the way my sweet old dog looks just before falling asleep. I decided to submit this to last weeks "Lying Down Challenge" posted on The Daily Paintworks by Carol Carmichael. Carol challenged fellow artists to paint someone or something in the state of repose. 


6x8 oil on gessoed paper

I've always wanted to try painting with my left hand, since I have reason to believe I was born a lefty. At a tender age I was forced to switch to my right hand which eventually became my dominate hand. I wonder how many artists also had this experience when growing up? Well, today I found it quite liberating to paint with my left hand. This is my first try and I found it easier than expected. I didn't use my right hand for anything and didn't feel I needed too. I painted Shawna from this same photo in the past as seen here but I think I got the feeling down better in this one. I may try using my left hand more often in the future.

Dick's Drill

"Dick's Drill"
oil on linen panel 6x6

This painting is part of this weeks Daily Paintworks Challenge. Eileen McCoy challenged artists to paint a drill or any tool while observing reflected light and edges...soft edges on form shadows and hard edges on cast shadows. This was a good challenge since this is something I need to pay more attention to. 

Meat & Veggies

Meat & Veggies
oil on canvas 5x7

Sarah Sedwick of Daily Paintworks challenged artist to paint raw meat. I found this subject very challenging at first. Once I figured out the colors for raw meat I found it quite enjoyable to paint. Thanks for this great challenge, Sarah!

Eskie on White

Eskie on White
oil on gessoed panel

This painting is part of the Daily Paintworks "White on White Challenge" posted by Ann Feldman. I wanted to focus on painting dogs plus work on my values this week, so this weeks challenge was perfect timing for me. I painted this little Eskie (American Eskimo) in the past and thought his soft white fur would be a great way to study color and value in light and shadow.

Thanks Ann for this great challenge on finding color in white subjects.

Road Closed

"Road Closed"
© 2012 Carol Horzempa
6x8oil on canvas

This painting is part of the "Wheel Challenge" posted by Carol Carmichael on Daily Paintworks. For inspiration I used a photo I took several years ago of a flooded street in Pewaukee Village. Carol challenged artist to paint something with wheels and the freedom they give us. These two boys seem to be looking for a little adventure on just two wheels!

Old Sailor

"Old Sailor"
oil on canas
Carol Horzempa

Last year my husband and I met this old sailor while vacationing along the Florida Gulf Coast. He was on his way down to Sarasota in his sail boat and was kind enough to let me photograph him. I always wanted to paint this pose but was afraid it was too difficult. Now I have found I really enjoy painting the human figure, even hands and feet! This painting has been entered in this weeks Seated Figure Challenge on Daily Paintworks.

Shawna in Tangerine Sky

"Shawna in Tangerine Sky"
6x8 oil on canvas 
Carol Horzempa

Last Summer I took a photo of Shawna sitting on the shore of Lake Superior at sunset. The sky and water were ablaze with colors of Tangerine and red.  I decided to use the photo for inspiration in the "Color of the Year Challenge" on Daily Paintworks. Kathy Weber challenged fellow artists to do a painting based around the Pantone color "Tangerine Tango." Thank you Kathy for this great challenge!


oil on canvas 8x8
 Carol Horzempa

My Gordon Setter Shawna, waits every day for her favorite people to put on their boots and take her for a walk. She is 12 years old, gray in the muzzle and a little arthritic but still acts like a bird dog out in the woods. This is the third time I have done a painting of Shawna laying next to boots. This time I spent more time trying to capture her special look while waiting to go for a walk.

Polly Madel of Daily Paintworks challenged artists to paint "mans best friend" and their favorite thing. Shawna knows when my husband and I put on our hiking boots that means she gets to do her favorite thing!