Archive for January, 2010

The Art Books of Robert Vavra

Many of my Suidoo lens were created from gleanings off my blog. So I thought It high time for my blog to do a little gleaning of it’s own. And thus this post was born.

Robert Vavra is one of my art heroes and I have an extensive collection of his books. The biggest issue I have with them is NOT using his images as reference materials. Trust me, it is oh so tempting. His photos of horses buried in jewels and gold, or draped with chains or hundreds of ribbons are stunning. He also marvelously captures horses just being horses. LOVE the art of Vavra.

So okay enough waxing poetic. Here’s an excerpt from my Squidoo lense The Art Books Of Robert Vavra

When I was young girl (and that was a looong time ago) I begged my mom for this book. I had to beg because it was $40 and this was the early 80’s so it was a hefty price to pay for a picture book for a child. So the answer was no.

But I wasn’t about to accept that, so I set about getting the money myself. Eventually I earned enough through various odd jobs and working the fields in the summer to not only buy all my school clothes and such but also the book.

When it arrived in the mail it was truly the picture book to end all picture books. I spent endless hours flipping through the pages and reading all the passages. And still do on occasion.

I think in many ways Robert Vavra’s vision shaped my horse art from a very early age. His books aren’t just pretty pictures of pretty horses, they are indeed art. They are spectacular horses, in spectacular settings with choreographed movement.

From this very first book I was hooked on Vavra.

Squidoo Goal
So my goal for this year was to make a total of 20 lenses. I already had 7 so this was in effect doubling my numbers. It seemed like a rather big challenge but at this point I have 18 functioning lenses and two work in progress lenses. So yeah, shouldn’t be a problem to mark this goal off. Though one of the work in progress lenses is about my totem series so that may be awhile in coming. The other is a lensography which is kinda the mother of all MEMEs rolled together with compilation (or rather a directory) of all my lenses.

If any of you visit my lens I would really appreciate it if you took a moment to leave a comment. I think you have to be a member of squidoo to rank the lens but anyone can comment.

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Cougar Totem Painting Continued

Meet Samantha
(Sam for short)

I always love the intensity of big cats eyes. Even when at rest they have a stare that (perhaps because we humans are prey animals) speaks to the very primal mind. Here she is a sub-adult though in the wild she would be old enough to be on her own by now.

Sam is giving me a good stare because she is trying to discern whether I might be smuggling some haunch of elk or something. (I was not.) Mostly she slept out of view so zoo goers were often disappointed. Part of my job was to talk with people so I often would call her out. Of course she always came. After all she wouldn’t want to miss a meal on account of being anti-social.

The person I replaced was attacked by a mountain lion. Whether it was Sam or not, I do not know. They fell into the electric fence and that is pretty much what saved the keepers life.

I had only one “really” scary moment with Sam when she wrapped herself around my right leg and started chewing on my boot. Fortunately I had my trusty garden hose and all it took was a spritz to end her making a snack of me.

About The Painting
The body area is not done. Considering I’m not a fan of yellow I certainly have allot of it here. I am moving onto to the background now and then may play with the coloring of the cat again.

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Cougar Totem WIP

The photo here is a little dark as the paper should show white. This is a cropped view of the latest in the totem series. Tomorrow I will post my reference photos (and introduce you to my model Sam) and the full view.

This is once an again oil pastel on handmade paper. Kinda fun to play with the wild colors after doing so many realistic horse paintings. Trying to decide which to do next. Moose? Horse? I’m thinking also of a white buffalo sometime in the future. I want to change up my color palette some in the next few. Though I keep seeing the Moose as green.

I should finish with this one by tomorrow and plan to just jump right into the next one. Mike has left for his classes so I have 5 days to myself.

Make that 5 productive days to myself. (Whoohoo!).

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A Post About A Post

Well this is just to say that I haven’t forgotten about the blog. Between blizzards and being sick very little has gone on and most of my actual “awake and functional” time has been spent working on my article for Apples ‘n Oats.

But . . .I should have an actual post about something on Friday. Perhaps tomorrow but definitely Friday. I’ve got my new totem critter drawn out (inspiration courtesy of Robert Sloan.) And so may have some color in play by then. Or I may talk a little about my favorite equine photographers/artist inspiration.

Either way there will be a post with actual content. 🙂

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I'm not dead. I just feel like it.

Okay I apologize for being gone so long. Partly this is because I’ve got nothing going on artwise to talk about. Or at least to devote a whole post to. And I’ve been sick this time with a sinus infection. I’ll spare you the details but it involves me not sleeping because I can’t breathe!

Prior to my illness I went to see The Blind Side (with Sandra Bullock) and Avatar. (yes, I know that I am the last erpson on the planet to have seen these movies.) And of course they were both totally awesome.

I did agree to do the artshow with Barb. The director said they actually have two galleries available if we want them both. I’m not sure there is enough work for that for either Barb or myself, but we’ll see.

And lastly I’ve been putting effort in my Squidoo lenses again as well as beginning my next article (Spanish Gold) for Apples ‘n Oats.

That’s my week in review. I promise as soon as I’m feeling human again I’ll do a real post.

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After a brief period of being down the Apples ‘n Oats website is back up and running. The current issue is now available online but the archived past issues have yet to be made active.

At any rate for those of you wanting to read my current article about my Liberty painting or any other the other great stuff, you now can.

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Okay, I just made a post but I figured I’d get the word out to any locals who might be interested in participating in The Artisans Road Trip this fall, but are either out of the area or don’t have a space to show in. A.R.T. is a studio tour of Northwest Iowa. The group works hard to promote the event.

Jan Hersom of JH Designs in Laurens called me asking if I knew of anyone who’d like a place to display. She’d be willing to host more than one if there is a need. There will two other artists showing in Laurens so you should get good traffic because of the multiple artists.

The ART application deadline is fast approaching. (umm like tomorrow I think) so if you’re interested hop to it!

For more information on A.R.T. please visit their website.

You can either contact me or Arts on Grand to arrange for a space with Jan.

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Art Exhibit

A Rough Draft – Clydesdale Mare
This is an old painting but I thought the post needed some color.

Well I still haven’t begun anything new worthy of making a post. I’m thinking of doing a totem animal next. Something bright and colorful to perk up my mood. I’ve been in a bit of a hole lately.

Proof of that:

I had an Art Center from MN call yesterday offering me a one month solo show. And I’m all 21 questions with them. I mean this is something that most artists work hard to have the opportunity to do. They create bios and portfolios and solicit heavily. In the end, I did thank them and said I’d have to think about it. I’d let her know by this evening. (Yeah, I know. Seriously what is wrong with me.)

So I called my good friend Barb McGee and asked her if she’d like to do it. When talking with the director last night I mentioned Barb as a good replacement for myself. (You know me, I always point people to a friend when I can’t deliver.) The director thought perhaps we could do a joint show. At any rate when talking to Barb I mentioned we could share the show but I am not really “feeling” it right now, so would she consider doing it solo. She said she would love to, but would rather do it together because I needed to get out of my slump.

SO that is what I’m gonna do. (I think) I wish I could be more excited about it but at least this means Barb and I can get together. I haven’t actually seen her in months

BTW I did the exact same thing about 5 months back though in that case it was a weekend event. Barb had a great show and was quite happy with her sales.

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I Interrupt this blog for some gratuitous self-promotion.
I promise it will be brief.

Red Buffalo and Yellow Bear have now been added in their own special Totem Series gallery on the Wild Faces Gallery website. (And yes, I updated it all by myself.)

I really enjoyed doing these brightly colored expressionistic critters and plan to flush out the series with at least 5 more totem animals. (Including another try at Raven.)

If you are interested in purchasing a print or would like more information please click on the title in the box next to the critter of your choice.

Both prints show the deckled edges of the handmade paper in the Limited Edition version of the print. The smaller, open edition prints do not.

We now return to you to the blog.

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Ask The Budda: New Year Cat-acular

As a long time gallery cat, Budda has generously agreed to answers your art and/or cat related questions around the first of every month.

Note: Budda now has his own lens on Squidoo, featuring all the cat related questions from his Ask The Budda column. As well as a smattering of stories about Budda from other posts.

Before moving on to the questions, we have a note from Budda.


I know I’ve been away from the blog lately and I apologize. The instant celebrity fame got to be just a little overwhelming. I couldn’t go out to dinner or even just walk the streets, without being mobbed by adoring fans. So I kinda went underground for awhile. But I’m feeling better now. With some deep introspective thought, I’ve come to understand that this is the price I must pay in order to help those seeking advice for their cats or their art.

Also I want to thank all of you for the Christmas gifts. I am especially fond of the blue wind up mousy toy. Thank you.

Love and Cuddles,
The Budda.

Dear Mr Budda,
Why does my kitten follow me around and meow?
Signed, Kitten Conundrum

Dear Kitten Conundrum
Your kitten has just replaced it’s previous cat family with a new one. . . . you. So she wants something, probably attention though it may just be food or play time.

We cats struggle to communicate with humans. My own human is a little slow on the uptake and I find I must repeat myself over and over (and over and over and over . . . and over and over.) And even with all of this she sometimes looks at me and gets cranky. I assume because she just can’t understand me even though I am speaking s-l-o-w-l-y and l-o-u-d-l-y to her as if she is a kitten herself. (and trust me she’s long past being a kitten) So then I take a few minutes and walk the loop or two around the gallery and ponder how I can rephrase my desire and then try again.

So I guess what I’m saying is, your kitten is trying to talk with you using it’s best communication skills. If you still don’t understand, feed her. And if that doesn’t work, pick her and giver her a good cuddle.

For His Exalted Catliness, from Robert S and his daughter Kitten
How do you put an overweight cat on a diet when you’ve also got an underweight cat? And also . . . we’d like to know any dog training tips.

Dear Robert and Kitten,
I personally believe all cats should be a bit on the rotund side, or perhaps all Buddas should be. My human on the other hand keeps me on a diet so as to prevent me from becoming like my good friend Alister who when he stands up his tummy still touches the ground. She does this by feeding out a rationed portion twice a day. Plus a couple of treats that I must run after.

I can see that with two cats this can be hard especially if one is not eating as well as it ought. Alister’s house mate Nigel was as lean as Al was large. Their human fed Nigel a ration at the same time as Al and also free choice at night when Al would have the run of one floor and Nigel the other. I don’t know if this will work in you situation, but the only way to lose weight is to eat less or play harder. Preferably both.

As always, those of you who are googling for enlightenment . . . this ain’t it.

As to training dogs I tend to think of dogs as existing in a alternate universe. Parallel, but not often intersecting with mine. I firmly believe a dog must earn affection. (unlike cats who should be showered with affection just for agreeing to share their existance with yours.) Rules and boundaries are the order of the day for dogs. and affection is given after it has performed some task like “the sit.” Even for dogs, no punishment, yelling or spanking allowed. (unless they do something really bad like try to kill the cat.) This has worked time and again for my human and she has always had very well trained and respectful dogs that are loving and playful companions.

Dear Mr Budda,
Suppose we can’t touch a cat’s fur, what two clues do we have that it’s soft?
Signed Furry Thoughts

Dear Furry,
This sounds more like a riddle than a question. But let’s see . . .
1. it’s soft because . . . it’s a cat!
2. see number one.

Note: Some of these “questions” were based on search terms that brought people to my blog. And some were posed by readers of this blog. Most of the names have been changed to protect the innocent. If anyone has any questions they’d like to submit for Budda’s review, you are all welcome to do so. Just leave a comment here or contact me directly

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