Posts Tagged ‘doodles’


In lieu of real art … you get this.

Umm …. sorry.

So my dear sweet Budda is just about the sweetest little cat (though Robert’s Ari may disagree) ever. He is so loving, snuggly, and oozing purring adorableness and would be in total kitten heaven if I just carried him around in a sling or baby carrier all day long.

During the daylight hours he is this cherubic little sweetie, who will break into a runbley purr if I just so much as look at him.

But lately I’ve been working until 10pm or so. There has been s a noticeable change that comes over my little Boodie Boo just about the time the sun sets.

He starts puffing up and spronking about like a Halloween cat. Leaping up and smacking the back of my head or popping out from behind objects flashing his “jazz hands” trying (and usually succeeding) at scaring the bejeebers out of me.

Now I’ve only had 2 indoor cats in my life so I think back to whether Oliver ever had mood shifts between day and night.

And … Uh … Nope. He pretty much had the same attitude no matter what the time of day.

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I'm Dog Paddling Like A Mad Woman

And no … I don’t mean that I’m spanking dogs
And just to be clear in case there are some PETA people going “What the? …. she’s spanking random dogs!?” By that I mean that I feel like I was thrown in the deep end of the pool and told to figure out how to swim. So I am dog paddling to keep my head above water. I am tired and have been working non-stop long days, thus my absence from the blog. But the good news is that so far I am still afloat. And following this metaphor to its contrived and exhaustive end I think eventually I shall indeed learn to swim in a relaxed manner. It’s just not going to be anytime soon.

Luckily for me, I am usually very good in a crisis.

Moving On
So today I leave for Omaha. This weekend’s scheduled event is Rockbrook Village Art Fair. This has always been a good event in the past so here’s hoping.

My Booth is #32C which is the art fair sweet spot of somewhere in the middle.

See ya’ll on the flip side.

Post Amended To Say:
Yeah okay … so as to the good in a crisis thing.

First I will probably sob inconsolably for awhile … followed by shaking my fists at the heavens and shouting “Whhhhyyyyy!” repeatedly.

But then … then, I am good in a crisis.

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Worst Art Fair …. ever.

Rant Warning
While technically this isn’t a rant because I’m not in any way angry, it does lean a bit on the vulgar side.

You have been warned!

Umm, yeah. So the event didn’t quite go as planned. It rained while we were setting up and then the sun came out and stayed out all day. It got hot.

Really hot.

The high heat coupled with sales so infinitesimal as to be non existent makes for seriously cranky 2-d artists. I say this because the jeweler next to me killed as did of course my beloved potter friend. I had a good friend (and fellow critter painter) as a neighbor which i enjoyed because I usually do only one event a year with him. He does awesome and delicate bird watercolors, though frankly his landscapes are stunning and my personal favorite. He doesn’t have a website so no link.

Why The Low Sales?

The Lakes Art Center event was larger this year than before and because like most art events looking to make a buck, when they discovered artists will pay more for a corner spot they created all these little island of booths and scattered them around the park. On the plus side this makes the event look huge but it also makes it more challenging to navigate and to return to any particular artist.

We (myself and the 2 other 2d artists in my booth island) were on the far end (as well as back side) of the fair layout. This is never a good location. A couple other painter friends of mine both had a moderate to good event and both were located closer to the heart. But who knows why. I’ve been doing this long enough that I don’t get bent out of shape. Though my neighbor swore he would never return.

I’m not sure why but I found it all lightly amusing. Usually earning next to nothing while I sweat off 20 pounds of water weight does not get this kind of response. Perhaps I’ve been doing this so long there are no surprises left. Or perhaps I’ve had much bigger trials in my life lately which make a bad show seem completely inconsequential. Whatever the reason I’m back in the gallery and itching to start a new piece of art. (read that as, I “want” to start something but I’ve spent most of my day ambling aimlessly and drawing cartoons for this post)

Sadly though I was so distracted with trying to remain conscious in the heat that I didn’t take any pictures. So I drew a before and after picture of myself to illustrate the trauma that was this event.

Buy Something Or Get The Hell Out!

I can’t tell you how many people asked for a business card because it was “too hot to shop and decide on exactly which print they wanted.” This is frustrating because most of the time they never follow through and order online. Most likely they will buy the following year instead, which is okay but I’m pretty sure I won’t be back at least for a couple of years.

The heat and lack of sales did make me less than perky. Not cranky mind. Just not my bubbly effervescent self. I have been in worse moods (though doubtful any worse events) because I remained pleasant and when startled out of my haze by a passerby felt no need to glower at them. And when things go really downhill I get to feeling kinda of stabby and do not suffer fools well.

I’m all “No, you can’t charge that $2 greeting card,” and “Yes that original painting is $1200.00 and not a $12.00 typo” or when some comedic genius makes the oh so moronic “Horse’s Ass” comment (that I’ve heard for the millionth time,) I start fishing around for something pointy in which to end them with. A sure sign I’ve hit rock bottom is when it takes all my strength not to scream “Buy something or get the hell out!”

At one event several years ago my brother was at an event with me and he’s like “So you just sit here and watch the turds float by.” I’m like “Yeah, pretty much.” That is as good an explanation of what this event was like for me as any.

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click for larger image

FURminator Large Yellow deShedding Tool with 4-Inch Edge

So it is once again that time of year when the household pets start shedding their coats. The ironic (and by ironic I mean crazy making) part is that our in-house critters have double coats, so they have twice the hair (that they don’t need) to stay warm indoors during winter.

You may remember last year when I developed the BuddaBox (patent pending folks …. back off!) as a way to deal with the pet hair problem. But as of yet we are still in the developmental stages so this year we invested in a shedding comb. (Though mine is purple. When given the option to buy almost any item if it’s offered in purple I get it. If it sparkles or has glitttery dangles … even better)

So recently when the cat hair tumbleweeds were blowing romantically across the gallery room floor (and we started gacking up hair balls almost as much as the cat) we (and by we, I mean my hubby) started using the comb daily on Budda.

Here’s the thing, pet hair is bad in a gallery. It’s bad for both the picture framing side of the business as well as the printing side. Nothing is more frustrating than printing out a big print only to see a cat hair has caused the ink to splatter or some such thing. So something had to be done.

The shedding combs work two ways:
1. They remove already loose hair
2. They have a blade that actually cuts longer hair.

Because of the blade you need to make sure your animal is clean before using it or it will dull the blade. On the rare occasion (as in the one time) we used it on Cisco we washed her first. But for Budda we just go with the thought that the cat is already “clean.”

Now I want to be very clear I am thrilled when hubby takes an interest in grooming the critters. (It’s a wonderful, wonderful thing) But I think perhaps the old adage all things in moderation may well apply here.

As the days passed Budda seemed to be losing his markings. I’m thinking he looks kinda weird but figured no one else would notice.

Turns out the type of folks who come into a critter art gallery tend to notice when a critters coat looks weird also.

Customer: Ah … is there something wrong with Budda?

No why?

r Oh … well his hair looks a little strange.

And then I explain the thorough grooming he has been receiving lately and that his weird hair is just his downy undercoat because his longer guard hairs have been shaved off.

After a few more customer comments we have stopped grooming the cat. I am happy to report he has his marking back already and look quite normal now. On the plus side we really did cut waaaaaay back on the cat hair that was floating about the shop.

I wonder what our dog Cisco would look like if we used the shedder comb on her?

Okay, I’m sure this is not the advertising promotion the Furminator folks had in mind for their product. But it really does work well.

We do Cisco with a traditional brush because I’m way too lazy to bathe her every time I want to brush her, especially since I am brushing her daily. But if we did, here’s what she’d look like.

Oh yeah, the Furminator folks should totally pay me for this free advertising and testimonial don’t ya think?

You’re welcome Furminator company.

And Now For Something Unrelated … Me On A Marker High
Here’s one last drawing since it was a really slow gallery day. (So take note, all those who don’t want to see this kind of blog horrors again be sure to keep my gallery full of business at all times)

My hubby for Christmas two years back bought me a large set of scented markers. Ah brings back so many memories as a kid sniffing markers in kindergarten.

Note: One eye is bigger than the other because I’m on a marker high and my eyes are dilated.

UPDATED: PETA people no animal was harmed in the making of this blog post. All before and after photos are dramatic recreations designed to protect the innocent. Now if I was letting Budda sniff markers that might be something else.

: Okay okay, I let him sniff a couple. I mean come on … the red smells like cherry kool-aide. Who can resist cherry kool-aide? The yellow smells like pledge though. Frankly if I wanted to smell that, I’d just dust more often.

UPDATED YET AGAIN: (last time I promise.) You know I bet if pledge made cherry kool-aide scented furniture polish (or licorice or chocolate) they would sell a bunch more product (I know I would) and America would be far more dust free.

Just sayin.

You’re welcome Pledge company.

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I often dream about horses. Mostly I dream about my horse (riding him or whatever) and lately I’ve been having nightmares about him being stolen or getting sick (but that’s a story for another time.) I also dream a lot about being at horse fairs. Kinda makes sense I suppose since I do so much of that.

So anyway I had this dream about a big black horse in armor. I’ve pretty much forgotten what the dream actually consisted of though, but what I’m left with is this snapshot in my brain. The image is very dark. Like blackness or night time with a black horse (as already stated) and he’s wearing a shiny pewter colored skull plate and fancy tack. Mind you I went to bed pondering that buckskin in fancy tack so that may have something to do with it. The big horse is looking alert and perhaps a little tense, but not frightened. In the snapshot in my mind he rolls his eye back to look at me.

That’s it. That’s what rolling around in my head and I think it needs to come out.

So above was my thumbnail so I could remember this because dreams have such an ethereal quality I needed to put in down on paper.

Yeah, I know. I figured that probably wasn’t gonna do the job so I took a more serious approach to it.

And the result was this drawing. Now I know he doesn’t have any ears or actually tack (his skull plate is currently being held in place by sparkly unicorn magic.) It is slightly closer to what’s in my head, but not quite which is why I didn’t finish it. However it’s enough to keep the concept alive.

And just in case anyone is looking at it going “that’s all wrong” I had no reference photos of any sort when I scribbled this out. Just me on the couch with a scratch sheet of paper and a pencil so be kind. For the moment I’m not sure whether I’ll start a new concept drawing (using actual reference photos) from which to create a painting, or try to tweak this one into matching what’s in my head.

Did I Ever Tell You Guys …

that I have been pondering for a long time starting a t-shirt line. I’m not really thinking about using my artwork mind, but I may if I actually get into doing it. I’m thinking about these cartoon-y horses that I draw on occasion.

Quite often when driving to art shows (or while at them) I doodle a few out and add some sort of witty slogan or saying underneath them. I’m thinking the graphic would be smallish maybe pocket sized. Depending on how my year goes (as in time enough to devote to this) and my self confidence level at the moment when I’m about to do it.

ME: (upon showing mike my horse in armor cartoon) Isn’t he cute?

Mike: Yes

Me: Wouldn’t you want to buy a t-shirt with him on it?

Mike: Ummmmmmm ……. no.

Good thing Mike is not my target audience.

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Furry Issues

I’ve gone from Fur In The Paint, To Fur In The Paper, to Fur In The Everything.
Well the Budda is slimming down for summer. And by “slimming down” I mean dropping about 5 pounds of fur daily. It is everywhere. Rolling along the floor like some some bizarre cat induced tumbleweeds, sticking onto and into any fabric items, or floating like wispy snow flakes through the air. I often find a random hair in my mouth, up my nose or even less pleasant places. How can one little cat drop so much hair?

He is a double coated cat (as are nearly all of our barn cats) so we know this is what happens every spring. But somehow it is always a shock. The quantity is a bit mind boggling and even the vacuum cleaning is beginning to groan. It’s not like he doesn’t get brushed regularly. He does. And we even have a shedding comb that takes off enough hair to create a sweater with matching booties for an average sized Chihuahua. Despite all of these efforts there’s still more.

The Allure Of Belly Fur

We had a friend stop at the gallery and scoop up Budda for a cuddle. (Which Budda really appreciated because Mike and I had been ignoring his pleas for attention. Mike was working with the printer and I was shrinkwrapping prints. Both jobs where additional cat hair is not a plus.) I warned her about the “shedding issue” and she poo-pooed it and rubbed her face in his belly fur. (Honestly his belly fur is particular hard to resist rubbing your face in. It’s bunny soft and frankly how many cats not only let you, but “like to” have your face on their tummies?)

Well for the next 20 minutes and the rest of our conversation, she was wiping her face at phantom hairs.

Furry inventions (sort of)
Feeling badly about not giving Budda nearly as much attention and cuddles as he’s used to, Mike and I pondered a cat holding smock. Something to put on in order to cuddle the kitten and remove when done. This seemed like a pretty straight forward idea but lacked any real defense against the “floaters.”

Upon more serious discussion, we then came up with the idea of some sort of hermetically sealed box where you put your hands through the gloves to pet the cat. Thus containing all the cat hair that is set free from said petting. We dubbed it The Cat Cuddler (trumpets sound) aka The Budda Box

In the end we decided we’d continue to do as we have done, which is cuddle the cat at the end of the day. At least until his fur issue is brought under control. None-the-less we claim all rights to this idea. So I don’t want to see a bunch of cat boxes popping up in pet supply chains. You know I’ll be watching for them.

Note: I imagine The Cat Cuddler is “technically” not hermetically sealed sine it has air holes. Hmmm . . . I may have to do some rethinking on that.

The Cat CuddlerAlso Known As The Budda Box.

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For those of you who are distressed by this
visual, please invert. Then he looks like he’s
running happily, um . . . at high speeds and
with his eyes closed.

This is not something I’ve ever done. Paint a dead horse that is.

And by “dead horse” I mean a horse that has passed from this life into the next not (see artist rendering right.)

So this is my first go dealing with the issues that arise from doing a portrait of a horse that has left this plain of existence some 20 odd years ago.

Seriously, I don’t know how you portrait artists do it.

Step 1. Acquire as many reference photos as possible. In my case this was 6. Six very old, yellowed and definition-less photos from various ages and angles.

Step 2. Vent. How can there only be 6. She had the horse for like 20 years? Yes the horse died over 20 years ago but still . . . 6?

Okay maybe this is totally normal. I sometimes forget that I am a bit of a photograph taking freak.

Of these, two of them are impossibly blurry. Two of them are photographically distorted (see my drawing of Cisco to understand what I mean) and then the Two usable photos were shown in a previous post.

Step 3.Play with them in Photoshop to maximize the information that you can get from them.

Step 4. Look through mountain of my reference photo stash for horse of similar build to provide the missing information not available from incredibly old photos.

I want to clarify that what I mean is, I found a similarly built horse that I like the lighting and features of, and I plan too use it to help fill out my Buddy portrait. All the the reference photos I have of Buddy were pretty much without any definition. Basically the white is all blown out and the dark is completely dark.

Step 5. Begin.

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Preliminary Drawing Of New Horse Painting

My brother has requested a horse portrait for Christmas. (Mind you I got the incredibly old reference photos just 2 weeks back) At the time I said I would probably be able to get it done. (Clearly I adore my brother to even consider it with those parameters)

Me: But you know there are no guarantees here. I mean the gallery is hopping and I’m using incredible old reference materials and you know the stars in the heavens need to be aligned and . . . ”

He’s all “Don’t give me that shit. I suppose you want me to sacrifice a chicken over my toilet at midnight or something. And I am all out of fresh chicken you know! I mean I might have a few frozen breasts in the freezer . . . but I don’t think that would work !”

Mike describes my relationship with my brother as “rough and tumble.” I have previously said my family swears like a bunch of drunken sailors (or perhaps I said pirates? Truck drivers maybe? Whichever one is worse) and it has taken a great deal of self-discipline to stop most of my casual swearing. However after talking with family for even a little while, I kinda revert. (Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.)

Mike said he called yesterday (I was out sick) and said my brother just about had a coronary when he heard that I hadn’t yet begun the work. (Yeah, I know. But I have a really good reason. Well several in fact.)

So I thought it would be funny to email this to him as a little poke. Of course it would have been a whole lot more funny if I had the painting he requested done. However, this may in fact be the only artwork that gets done by Christmas. But heck, I bet it’ll frame it up nicely.

The words in the email:
Subject line: preliminary line drawing
Text: “I think the color needs tweaking.”

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