Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween at Howl-O-Ween

One of the best parts of Howl-O-Ween is seeing the crazy ideas people come up with for their pet costumes. For instance, what is it about a bull dog that makes a person think "mermaid"?

Ariel takes a break.

Who Dat? It's one of the New Orleans Saints... I'm so glad you asked.

Cutest bumble bee ever.

Big-horned sheep 

Winner of the most-creative costume category
I'll be back later in the week with 2 art posts... 'Quote of the Month' art & art-in-progress photos of a dog I recently painted in a tutu. No, I'm not joking.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Now THAT'S what I call "dog art"...

It's that time of year again... for 'Out of the Woods' big Halloween fundraiser! It was last Saturday & so much fun. One of my favorite things about 'Howl-O-Ween' is the Paw Painting booth, which is sponsored by Pinnacle Valley Animal Hospital. (Maisy's vet & groomer... LOVE the folks at Pinnacle Valley!)
 There was art created by teeny tiny dogs...
 Art created by giant dogs...
 And art created by every size dog in between.
 I love the floral quality they all seem to have...
And I especially love this one- if you notice the names at the bottom, it was done by TWO dogs.
  Sometimes I wish someone would help me with some of the art I make... I wonder if Maisy would be interested? Probably not... but I know Ron Burgundy would- he has been caught with his paws in wet paint already on more than one occasion.

Check back Monday for photos from the costume contest. Who doesn't love a dog in a costume? (I'll tell you who... Maisy. That's who.)

Monday, October 24, 2011

37 things to do before I turn 38

Well here it is... my new birthday list. It's my second year doing this & I had just as much fun making it this year as last. A couple of observations... I tried to list concrete things that can be easily measured. Yes, it's true... the statistics classes I had to take while getting my undergraduate degree made it nearly impossible for me to determine "when" I could mark something off if it wasn't well defined. I know- I'm a nerd. Having been a juvenile probation officer at one point in my life, I have been called worse things. Trust me on this.

If you saw my list last year, you may notice there are a few repeats of things I didn't get to. I'm just determined to make some of these things happen & if that means having it on my list for the next 8 years, that's fine. You can start heckling me sometime around year 4. There is even one repeat that I did accomplish... 'do something new'. Being a creature of habit, it is a good thing for me to have a reason to try something out of the ordinary. Yes, knowing it is on the list is enough motivation for me & YES, I know that is further evidence that I am a nerd. A list-following nerd.

Last observation... in retrospect, it appears that I must have been hungry when coming up with ideas. I don't think food made the list at all last year & this year that is clearly not the case!

Do you make a birthday list? I'd love to hear about it...

Friday, October 21, 2011

My first commission

I’ve been told that an effective way to determine what job would really make you happy is to consider what you liked to do as a child, before everyone started pushing you & pulling you in different directions. Generally speaking, it made sense to me but I didn’t realize just how accurate it could be until I was looking through some of my father’s things recently.

There it was… a tiny little pumpkin sketch. The drawing was no surprise to me, there are many of those in his things, tucked in pages of books & folded in neat little squares. I immediately flipped it over to see what he had written on the back & smiled as the surprise registered on my face. On the back of this tiny paper, he explained that he had placed an “order” for the pumpkin on the notebook I hung on my bedroom door, while explaining to everyone that I had placed it there in case anyone wanted some art. I was eight years old.

All this time I thought I had accepted my first commission for art in 2008, when it was actually 1982. And with that little note that my father took the time to write for me, I am reminded that making art was what I was always meant to do… even if my pumpkins could use a little practice.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Have you ever seen an elf house?

After a road trip last week I discovered this is actually a reasonable question, & one that I will now be able to answer with, “Well yes of course I’ve seen an elf house… hasn’t everyone?”

While driving in the mountains in northern Arkansas minding my own business, I rounded a corner on a curvy road in a rural community & saw a tiny little elf house made from a tree stump… with a roof complete with shingles & a tiny front door.

Imagine my surprise. Actually imagine the elf’s surprise if he has wireless internet in that tree stump & likes to peruse blogs. I just made him famous. Hope he wasn't in some sort of elf witness protection program.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thoughts on the '36 things' list

 Have art week (again)
 Get fancy camera
Go to ‘Gallery Walk’ in Hot Springs
Take photography class
 Go to ‘3rd Friday Art Night’ in North Little Rock
Have contest on my blog
Make my own Happiness Project
Read & review more pet or art books for blog
Host art-making party for friends
Make more mixed media projects
Get sewing machine
Learn to sew
Paint/decorate studio
 Make homemade holiday decorations
3 creative-biz things 5 days a week toward being a full-time artist
 Have OOTW fundraiser kids/art
 Keep a sketchbook
 Go hiking
Buy more handmade items (Etsy!)
 Comment on blogs I love
 List 100 items on Etsy
Make an Etsy treasury
  Paint Ron Burgundy’s portrait
 Reread my favorite children’s books
 Buy fancy printer
Get 250 facebook followers
Learn not to be afraid of the printer mentioned in #25
Give 5 handmade gifts for no reason at all
Make series of ‘Ralphie & Ron’ prints
Submit something to an art magazine
Sell enough art to donate $1000 to OOTW
  Paint a piece of furniture
  Do more yoga
  Encourage someone
 Take Maisy for more walks
 Try something new

Like most compulsive list-makers, I enjoy the feeling of marking something off as completed & most of my lists are things I need to do. It’s a bit of a nerdy high to finish these types of lists. The birthday list is a different story, as although it is made up of some things that “need” to happen, most of it consists of things I really want to do but haven’t bothered making the time for. Another difference is that knowing I need to come up with one item for each year I have been around makes me have to reach for things, sometimes out of my comfort zone. This is good because I have historically spent so much time in my comfort zone that I could potentially ask that my census form be delivered there.

For the most part, my ’36 Things’ list made me feel inspired & creative, although there were also moments of self-doubt & fear. I also felt a little anger (thanks to the sewing machine) & some physical pain (thanks to my desire to try something new, i.e. ice skating). Looking back over the things accomplished compared to the things that were left off also showed me where my priorities were during my 36th year.

Even though I didn’t make it through the whole list, I enjoyed it enough to make a new one. I’m working on it now & looking forward to sharing it with you.

Maybe during my 37th year I will be braver. Maybe I won’t. But I can’t wait to find out.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Feature Art Friday: pumpkins with a dream

Everybody has a dream... even pumpkins.

Here's to hoping everyone has dreams that come true...

Everyone except Maisy. I worked too hard on that pumpkin for her to have it as a snack.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

36 things list: Rocky vs. Queen

One of the things I was really looking forward to on my ’36 things’ list was ‘Go Hiking’. Not only did we pick a beautiful autumn day to go, but it would be the first opportunity to really play with my new camera.

In hindsight (& trust me… this trip was overwrought with opportunities to appreciate hindsight) bringing the camera was not the best idea of the day… unfortunately it was also not the worst. That honor was reserved for whomever it was to make the decision to abandon the (easier) base trail for another more difficult trail. Although I never actually saw the name of the new trail on one of those cute little woodsy trail markers, I suspect it was ‘trail leading straight up the side of the mountain’. I could be wrong.

Notice there is no effort on my part to accept responsibility for this little geographical blunder- that’s because you can’t blame me for something that happened when I was dragging up the rear of my hiking party, completely oblivious to what was going on up front.

Somewhere around marker 6 or 7, I realized as our hiking group was getting further apart, so were the soil & the trees which were replaced by giant rocks. It was at this point that I began to need both of my hands to climb the rocks. (This is where you wonder why I took my camera & roll your eyes. Go ahead, do it. You’ll feel better. I did.)

While trying to distract myself from the twitching in my leg muscles, I became acutely aware of a couple of things: the markers, placed maybe 1/10 of a mile apart suddenly seemed to have much greater distances between them & I was beginning to empathize with each & every crying child who was begging to go back down the mountain as we passed on the way up. I was really beginning to think they had a valid point.

While contemplating the recent decision to purchase a 2 story house & wondering how to clean myself without the ability to make it up the stairs to the shower for the next few days, I stopped walking. I put my hands on my hips & turned to look wistfully down the mountain. Then I turned & looked grimly up the mountain. I was much closer to the top than I was to the bottom. I made a decision.

At this point, you probably assume that the theme song from Rocky started playing in my head as I narrowed my eyes, got a second wind & charged triumphantly to the top of the mountain.

You would be wrong. This is not a movie, this is my life. I looked around, shrugged my shoulders & sat down on a rock & took pictures. It was lovely & I enjoyed myself immensely.  So no, there was no music from Rocky in my head, & as I sat happily taking pictures as all of the other summit seekers passed me by, if I had not been so busy enjoying myself I might have heard a more apt song for my hike.

Another one bites the dust. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Quote of the month: I need a new drum

The quote I chose for October is a reminder to be yourself, which sometimes is easier said than done. We are taught from a very early age what to think & what to believe & how to behave; not just by our families, but by our friends, our teachers, society, television, magazines...

Some people refuse to march to the beat of the proverbial drum from the beginning & some of us fall very quickly in line. Maybe if like me you fall into the latter category, maybe it's time to for us to get out of line. Make our own damn drums. Stop marching & start dancing...

Prints of this artwork available here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Art Week 2011 & practicing spontaneity

It's Art Week over here... an entire week off work from my "grown up job" when I get an entire week to make some of the art that has been rolling around in my head for the last year. I'm completely blissed out & probably seem intoxicated to anyone I come in contact with, which should make my impending trip to the art supply store pretty interesting.

It's amazing to me how quickly a few things can happen during this week off work: my stress level plummets, my energy level climbs & I become the most patient person on the planet. If I have said "hey, don't worry about it, no big deal" once, I have said it a million times. And it's only Tuesday.

One if the things I have really wanted to learn how to do, but haven't found the time to practice until now is this technique in the photos. You paint much of the background with the intent of painting around it & over it in a way that much of it actually becomes the foreground. I realize that didn't make any sense. Hey, don't worry about it... it's no big deal.

Tomorrow I'll post a finished project using this technique. I'm loving how it turned out!