Friday, April 29, 2011

Doodles: A dalmatian pilot

I once knew a Dalmatian named Shirley. She was called Big Shirley by most, thanks to her thyroid issue. Big Shirley had a big black Dalmatian spot right smack on each of her eyes, so she always looked as if she was wearing over sized sunglasses, or maybe an aviator mask. Perfect for the fearless stunt pilot of a biplane.

You can see Shirley's photo & more pet portraits here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Thoughts on creative bribery


It’s seen by so many as a negative term, & I suppose in many instances it is… but when I am feeling overwhelmed with several almost-finished projects it becomes a very effective tool to “encourage” me.

I occasionally take on a bit too much, or get partway finished with one project & decide to start another one. It’s fine for a while but at some point there are really just too many things going on in this tiny little room. It’s official… I’ve reached capacity.

In an effort to “encourage” myself, I have purchased materials for a new project (seems counterintuitive, I know) but I’m not letting myself play with them until I finish the following:

Baby gift- due this week. Yikes! Ever tried to paint something plaid? No? Then no judging!

Family tree- I’ve been working on this one pretty consistently, but Baby Gemma has a big family (especially on her mother’s side :) ).

Gram’s birds- this is a thank you gift, I’m actually finished with the sewing bit of it, but procrastinating delivery because I’m not much of a seamstress & it’s a gift for a 90 year old who makes Martha Stewart seem like a bit of a novice. At everything.

I also want to list 5 items on Etsy- I don’t even have to make them. They are made… just take the photos, edit them & list the items so I can put the finished projects away.

So no playing with the stuff for the new project until this list is finished. What can I say? Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Write that down

This weekend we went to two of my favorite places: the flea market & the book store, two places where you really never know what sort of treasures you might find.

At the book store, I purchased a small package of notebooks (love the covers) to carry with me for blog & art ideas. New ideas seem to appear at inopportune times & if they don't get written down they beat a pretty hasty retreat. There are few things more frustrating than being left with a space in my head where an idea "was". I also have a "thing" for cute little notebooks... I have a sneaking suspicion it has something to do with my list-making habit.

I also picked up the newest copy of 'Artful Blogging', an amazing magazine full of bits from all sorts of creative blogs & some really unbelievable photography.

 At the flea market I purchased some vintage fabric, which means I really should stop putting off that whole "learning to sew" thing. What a great idea. Maybe I should go write it down in my notebook. :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

If you are lucky enough

If you are lucky enough, you will meet someone who will change your life; and that someone just might happen to have four legs and a furry coat. We fall madly in love with dogs and cats of all sizes and shapes, these amazing creatures we rescue, some with years of knowing and weariness in their eyes, others still new enough to this world that they carry with them that magical child-like optimism as they breathe puppy breath on you or “make biscuits” with their paws while purring a song for you. They may trust you immediately or not, but ultimately they will love you beyond measure.

If you are lucky enough, you will have the patience and do the work necessary to draw the terrified rescue dog from under the bed, or car, or house, one treat at a time. You will learn not to open the newspaper with a quick snap before you read it because the sound makes your seemingly tough rescue dog cower, remembering his life before you came along.

If you are lucky enough, the cat that showed up on your doorstep too sick to stand will always remember who saved him. He will rub his face on you every chance he gets, reminding you just exactly who owns whom.

And if you are really truly lucky, lucky enough to pick just the right day to go to the animal shelter, you will certainly meet someone who will change your life. You will show up on just the right day to pick out a border collie/cocker spaniel mix who got her beauty from the spaniel side and her brains from the collie side and she will be your very best friend. She will love you unconditionally and be thrilled to greet you every time you open the door.

She will chase ducks off your dock by the lake; sprinting down the stairs and out the dog door as if she has been shot out of a cannon- letting those ducks know they are not welcome on her dock. She will enjoy the lake and the sun and years later she will enjoy the beach and the Gulf, running out into the waves and chasing birds that might remind her a bit of those ducks on her dock years ago. She will roll in the sand while you laugh because at that moment she looks more like a powdered donut that the smartest dog on the planet.

On one very important day, she will wait expectantly at the door as you bring your miracle baby home from the hospital and she will spend the next nearly seven years dutifully guarding the child, because she inexplicably knows that child is part of YOU.

She will spend her whole life knowing that you believe you rescued her, when she has known the truth all along- it was really always the other way around…

if you were lucky enough.

Written for Mollie Bowden (1995-2011), and the people she owned- Gayla Bowden & Kat Crimmel.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

36 things list: 6 months to go

I love lists… so when I came across Michelle My Belle’s list of things to accomplish before her next birthday it really appealed to me. Sort of a short-term ‘bucket list’, right? Over the weekend I realized that I am six months away from my birthday so I thought it might be a good time to dust off that ’36 things to do before I’m 37’ list & see how it’s going.

Seven items have been “officially” checked off & there are several that are “in progress”. For instance, I have (34) encouraged people & (35) taken Maisy for more walks, but they haven’t been marked off yet. Maybe I feel like I haven’t done either quite as much as I should.

There are also a few that haven’t been accomplished, due in part to the fact that it is difficult to accomplish anything while paralyzed with fear. (30) Submitting something to an art magazine & (25) buying a fancy printer would definitely require movement in (at least) my arms.

The night before leaving on vacation, an hour after sitting down at my sewing machine to “quickly” hem some linen pants I found myself wondering if launching my new sewing machine out the 2nd story window would violate some sort of unwritten ‘birthday list’ rule. While I sat staring at the angry tangled knot of thread protruding from the bowels of that hateful sewing machine, I mulled it over… I would still be able to say that I did (11) get a sewing machine… it just might have met an untimely death before the end of the year. It would still count, right?

Don’t worry. I didn’t do it. The sewing machine is still sitting on a table in my studio. Clearly I still need it for (12)...
 Learn to sew.

Monday, April 18, 2011

2 thunder chickens & a character from 'Forrest Gump'

Wind damage (at my office) from the storm

During a late night storm last week, the personality of each of our pets became very obvious…

I was awakened around 2:00 a.m., although I’m still unclear what exactly awakened me; the sound of the hail hitting my bedroom window, or the face-melting heat from Maisy’s breath. Apparently the safest place for a ten-year-old rescue dog during a storm is on my pillow- never mind the fact that it is already occupied by my head. Maisy is the “needy” one.

Ralphie, the 20 pound cat was pacing by the bed. Once he realized someone with opposable thumbs capable of opening a can of cat food was awake, he decided 2:00 a.m. was as good a time as any to have breakfast. Also a thunder chicken & fearful of storms, he seemed to think a little food in his belly might calm his nerves. (Twice in the last week I have been startled into consciousness by the indescribable feeling of a large cat gnawing on my elbow as my arm hung off the side of the bed.) Ralphie is the “hungry” one.

And where, might you ask was Ron Burgundy, the youngest & smallest of the three?

He was downstairs, all by himself- front paws on the window sill, tiny nose against the glass, screaming at the storm. Ron Burgundy isn’t afraid of anything. Our very own little Lieutenant Dan in the crow’s nest, a la Forrest Gump…


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tank tops & flip flops

I love that teeny tiny little crooked palm tree in the middle. It lives on a private island in Mexico.
There are so many things to love about vacations… no alarm clock, no phone, no email, no meetings. Wearing shorts, tank tops & flip flops. Being in the sun, or on a beach. Experiencing new places & finding all sorts of creative inspiration. My hands itch with creative inspiration.

Want to know the funny thing? Guess what always seems to be one of my very favorite parts of vacation? Coming home. (Clearly there is something wrong with me.) It’s actually pretty simple… as much as I love all of the things I just mentioned & as much as they all make me smile, even as I sit here typing far away from the nearest beach, walking in the door to my own home makes me so happy.

I also loved the colorful houses we spotted from the catamaran, although
I spent most of the boat trip to the island staring at the water.
Mexico was beautiful & I have the feeling I’ll be incorporating a lot of blue in my art in the near future. The color of the water in Cozumel is absolutely mesmerizing. I’m still convinced that if you dipped a hard-boiled egg in that water it should come out looking like the most amazing Easter egg on the planet.
By the way, in my last post I mentioned a Feature Art Friday post featuring Ron Burgundy. Let’s just say there was a little calendaring mishap & the vacation was actually scheduled a day longer than I previously anticipated. Oops! Ron Burgundy & his ‘in progress’ photos will be featured this Friday. (I really mean it this time…)