Friday, September 24, 2010

Art, espionage & football

Because I live in Arkansas, where completely sober, reasonably intelligent and otherwise serious people occasionally find themselves involved in something referred to as “calling the hogs” I knew that this week would be my only shot to feature this painting. (I actually didn’t know- I had to go ask a co-worker who also happens to be a football fan. Arkansas apparently beat Georgia last weekend.) This pet portrait was commissioned by Courtney as a Christmas gift for her father, who clearly loves Georgia. This is his dog, Phoebe Sue.

You read it correctly the first time. It is a female bulldog named Phoebe Sue, dressed up in a red jersey & sitting in the middle of a football field. She is related to the real Georgia Bulldog & I am told that she often gets ‘borrowed’ to pose with football fans because of her striking resemblance to her…uncle? Cousin?

The painting was a surprise, which means Courtney had to take on some sort of interstate espionage to procure photos. Maybe her dad’s assistant already happened to have photos on her computer to send to Courtney, but I prefer to believe otherwise. I like to think she put the ‘Mission Impossible’ theme song on her ipod and army crawled across the floor of his office, hid behind a ficus tree & then snatched the framed photos so she could scan them & email them to Courtney undetected.

Plese see my website for other pet portraits.

Monday, September 20, 2010

This weekend in the studio: “hello 1978, how’ve you been?”

Remind you of anything? I’ll give you a hint; if you were born after 1980 you probably won’t remember the inspiration for it. I was born in 1974 & it is a faded childhood memory for me.

It isn’t finished, not that I have any idea exactly what ‘finished’ looks like. This is a pervasive problem in my life, but for now we are discussing art. Never one to recognize the blinking on my inner ‘edit’ button (another problem that reaches into every corner of my world) I occasionally run right past the finish line on a project & keep right on going; covered in paint & gasping for breath, miles after crossing the ‘tastefully done’ mark. Maybe the sign for the finish line should be big, with an arrow and blinking lights…

Surely I would know I was finished with a project if I had one of these... saying "Stop Here" instead of Holiday Inn. On the marquee, it could say "Put Down the Paintbrush!!" just for good measure. No offense to Dr. Virginia Apgar. I hope she enjoyed her stay.

The Holiday Inn sign reminds me of being four & being convinced that I must know how to read after recognizing it, which I'm sure only occured after berating a family member to tell me what it said the first five times I saw it. At some point it clicked & I would stand up in the back seat & shriek HOLIDAY INN! whenever so much as a billboard came into view, never mind an entire lit up blinking sign. The star was my favorite part, besides the fact that I knew what the sign said. Imagine how devastating it was for me, after successfully “reading” the Holiday Inn sign & then rushing to pull out a newspaper or TV guide only to realize it was all back to gibberish. I wanted to read so badly that my big sister knew all she had to do to turn me into a puddle of tears was to read something to herself & refuse to tell me what it said.

It would probably be finished, if I could figure out what it should say. I’m open to suggestion. I’ll post more photos when it’s done. Before anyone asks, of course it will have a star. Maybe more than one... remember, I don't know when to quit!

Friday, September 10, 2010

A yorkie & a carnival

Are you disappointed that the yorkie isn’t AT the carnival? Sorry if I misled you. This pet portrait is a cute little lady named Katie, and I still maintain that her hair is probably brushed more often than mine. I met the person she owns at a bakery to drop off the art & she liked it enough she sent an email later telling me how much she enjoyed the painting. I LOVE it when that happens!

View from the top of the ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier... or the carnival in my head. You decide.
On another subject, I have had a carnival in my head the last few days… we are leaving Saturday morning for California & we found out on Tuesday that the new flooring would be installed on Thursday. 48 hours before the trip. Everything would have to be moved off the floor upstairs. I momentarily forgot what the inside of my studio & my closet looked like and was under the misguided notion that this wouldn’t be a problem.

I learned a few things about myself & the pets this week:

1. My ability to cram large quantities of things in small spaces may not be the positive attribute I originally thought. Maybe it should even be considered a character flaw.

2. I have too many shoes & too many books.

3. It scares sleeping cats downstairs when you get tired & start flinging items over the rail.

4. Ralphie, the 25 pound cat can somehow make like Houdini & climb his chubby butt into the lining underneath the couch. I was so amazed by this feat that I kept peering under the couch, where the liner was straining to manage his girth. Even now I shake my head in astonishment as I type. Astounding.

You thought I was joking about his size, didn't you?
5. Ron Burgundy, the 10 pound cat is capable of moving a pet carrier across the floor from the inside, by throwing his weight against the door in an effort to escape.

Clearly exhausted after his failed escape attempt from the pet carrier...
6. Maisy, my dog does not care what happens as long as she has a chew bone & about 5 feet of personal space in any direction. Notice I didn't include a photo of Maisy with her bone. I don't like to be photographed when I'm eating either.

It has been an eventful week. I’m glad it’s almost over. California, here I come!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A mostly-done 'To Do'

Friday I posted a ‘To Do’ list for the long weekend & said you could throw rotten tomatoes at me if I had not finished it by today… so tell the truth, how many of you are sitting there with a tomato, tossing it back and forth from one hand to the other?

I finished the four pet portraits. One was picked up moments ago, one will be hand-delivered on Thursday and the two Meow Bark Minis are going to Tulsa, Oklahoma in the mail.

Do you still have that tomato ready?

I made a baby gift last fall for a little fellow named Henry & really enjoyed the project. Here are a few of the designs I’m planning to offer in my online Etsy shop. I’ll be happy to customize colors and patterns. Henry’s were shades of blue with lions, elephants & monkeys on the letters to match his bedding. The letters turned out really cute- just not as cute as Henry.

So the list has been completed, except I haven’t listed the items yet on Etsy, so I probably deserve to have one, maybe two tomatoes launched my way…

but don’t blame me when you are cleaning rotten tomato off of your own computer!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Finish the artwork and nobody gets hurt

This is my ‘to do’ list for the studio this 3-day weekend… please feel free to check back on Tuesday to see if it’s completed. If not, you are welcome to taunt, heckle & throw rotten tomatoes at your discretion:

Finish pet portraits:


Calvin & Sparky



‘Nursery Names’: (it will make sense to you when you see them…)

Finish painting first 4 patterns


Write description

List on Etsy

Other original art: (which can be seen in progress during art week)

Sea turtles- add hangers, seal, write description, list on Etsy

Swirly cat- photograph, seal, write description, list on Etsy

I have several new creative ideas in my head but I’m not allowing myself to buy any of the supplies until I finish everything on this list. That’s right… I’m engaging in some sort of hostage situation with my own creativity.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The queen of the mermaids uses a cane

Niki & Bene, one of my first pet portraits
This is a true story.

Bene and Niki live with my dear friend Lynne, whose phone calls often include the sentence, ‘Oh come on, it will be fuuuuuuuuun!’ She is one of my favorite people, because I truly never know what to expect from her. We met a few years ago when she was our landlady. Upon arriving at her house pick up the key, I waited patiently at the front door while she went looking for it. I didn’t mind, I closed my eyes and pretended that I was at the beach, which was easy because she had a motion-sensored wave machine on her front porch. She reemerged from the house a few minutes later with a small brown paper bag full of keys.

“One of these should work.”

There were 19 keys in the bag.

“Do you own other properties?”

She looked at me, confused. “No, why?”

And so it began.

Lynne’s love of flamingos and mermaids is unparalleled. Her house and yard were full of pink birds and mythical sea creatures. One more than one occasion, I have witnessed Lynne poking with her cane at a pile of recently delivered boxes, precariously standing in a corner and state confidently “That’s some of my new mermaids I bet, let’s open it up.”

She had a stroke some years ago and sometimes uses that cane as an extension of her hand, often pointing it at things or people. I can report accurately that she has scared at least one salesman with it- I was there, I saw it happen.

We once arrived to pick her up for dinner, only to be met at the door by her friend Tonda, who said in a stage whisper, “She painted her hair pink today. She wanted to do poor Bene’s too… if not for that knee replacement she might have caught him.”

When she bought a house and asked me to drive by and see it before she moved in, I had to resist the urge to put down the car window & shout a warning to her new neighbors:


At the end of moving day, she called and asked us to come over to help her get some ‘important things’ out of the garage, where all of the Rubbermaid bins holding her possessions were stored. Yes, you read that correctly, she moved everything she owned in plastic bins. I know this because I took her to the store to buy them out one evening after my yoga class. As she stood in front of a huge stack of bins, she reported to me that she had already bought them out and requested that they order more at once. I knew the salespeople were looking at us oddly when we walked in, at least now I knew why.

When we arrived to assist with locating ‘the important things’ on moving day, she went to work pointing her cane at bins she wanted moved into the house. The view of the contents afforded by the clear plastic bins brought forth the realization that the majority of the ‘important things’ we were moving in were, in fact, mermaids and flamingos. Silly me, I assumed we would be moving clothes and toiletries.

“Lynne, are we moving anything this evening besides mermaids and flamingos?”

She winked at me.

“Only if I can find the bin holding the booze.”

The photo used for this pet portrait can be seen on my homepage.