Friday, October 31, 2008

IF : Vacant

Heart Vacancy

Occupancy available.

Previously damaged, needs

loving restoration.

Only thoughtful, kind, and

gentle people need apply.

Honesty is a must.

For Illustration Friday's prompt : Vacant

Acrylic, colored pencil, collage on patterned scrapbook paper / click to enlarge

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Animal Wednesday: Au Revoir Mon Ami Zuby

Today I'm dedicating my post to a little patient of mine who was my friend for a year. She was a tiny, twenty-one year old tabby cat from Paris, and her name was Zuby. I became her nurse for the same reason I see lots of cats; kidney disease. I gave her fluids every other day and she never made a peep until the very end, which is one sign we knew it was time to let her go. She always sat there and purred, and often times she'd lift a paw to my face as if to ask "So how are YOU doing today?" When the weather was nice I'd carry her out to the garden and lean her into the roses. We'd talk about the birds that stopped by, or the little squirrel who used to like to check her out. Zuby would put her face up to the sun and smile, I swear. She had a wonderful, loving home. As she started to slip away, the home became too big and overwhelming for her. She paced and howled and became anxious and unsettled. She spat at me for the last three treatments as if telling me not to bother anymore. So finally, I didn't. Zuby's mom Marilyn always said she'd never force a situation on her, and my philosophy is to continue treatments only if the quality of life is still there. She was like the energizer bunny though! Sometimes Zuby's mom and I would get all choked up thinking "today's the day" only to have Zuby rally and look at us as if we were nuts, and then she'd go over and eat a whole dish of food!

Clearly though, Zuby was different on that final day. Her eyes were hollow and vacuous. She only wanted to be held. Her body had given her twenty-one great years and it had nothing left.

The vet came to the house and I gently assisted him. Her mom and another friend were there and we all raised a glass of wine in celebration of her life. She left us the same way she lived, with amazing grace.

A tiny cat with a huge capacity of love for life. She left her pawprints on many, many hearts.

Her mom is going to bring Zuby's ashes back to Paris one day to complete the cycle. Tell me that isn't love!

Happy Animal Wednesday, my friends. Here's to Zuby!
(For Marilyn and her family, with love.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cactus Monday : Short-sheeted

Someone's making a big fuss because he was short-sheeted!

I barely squeaked this one out in time before heading out the door. Pretty rough and sloppy, but still here! I'll be back to visit all of my spooky Cactuteers later.

Happy Cactus Monday my prickly pals!!

Boocaw! Boocaw!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

IF : Repair with flair

I was all over the map with ideas for this topic. I thought of some good ones, but for the most part I didn't feel like drawing any of them or I just didn't have the time because a few of them were elaborate and would be time consuming. I found myself scanning the room for inspiration, and there it was. A mural in my living room in the style of chinoiserie. I usually end up renting old places with character, but along with character comes wall cracks and blemishes that need repair. I'm lucky to always find landlords that allow me to go wild! What I love about chinoiserie is you can make it go on and on, adding branches and flowers, bugs and animals...whatever you need to cover the imperfections in the wall. Of course, I added ravens and pears! We have a few pieces of black furniture, so what better compliment than ravens? So there you have it, my way of repairing hairline cracks. Let the next tenants spackle! (Click to enlarge.)

(I've also included another painting I did on canvas with a chinoiserie wallpaper inspired background.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Animal Wednesday : Awwww Autumn Kitten

This is an oldie but a cutie pulled from my greeting card design archives. Another one that was never bought by the big guys! (That's okay, they sell on Etsy:)

This little kitten is safe and secure with his stuffed squirrel who's just about as big as he is!

This one's for Mim because it's on a baby quilt. (Even though I made it up!)

HAW to all of you out there! And watch out for those crazy squirrels who run into tires while they're busy gathering nuts :P

Monday, October 20, 2008

Cactus Monday: Guess who?

Orange you glad it's Cactus Monday again?

HCM everyone!

Friday, October 17, 2008

IF : Late October Reflections

I love sitting by the marsh late in the afternoon, especially in October.

Maxfield Parrish skies reflected on the glass-like surface of the water, and for a moment I was convinced I saw hundreds of shimmering Koi. Since this wasn't likely the case, I took a closer look and realized it was fallen leaves. They looked like tiny flames on the pond's surface, extinguishing themselves by eventually sinking to the bottom.

As I looked across the marsh I smiled at the reflection of three cypress trees together. Those of you who know my work know they represent my three late cats. I honor them in my paintings whenever I can.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone. Thanks for stopping by my 200th post!

(For Illustration Friday : Late)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Animal Wednesday: 2nd Blogiversary!

Wow, I can't believe it was 2 years ago (yesterday) that I began participating in Illustration Friday! I also can't believe how much it has changed my life. It was just the kick in the pants I needed to start illustrating again. The friends I've met along the way have been an integral part of this journey, for without your encouragement I would have felt defeated again. This Friday will be a big day for me too, because it will be my 200th post. Stay tuned!

My thanks to all of you who make me want to be here and share art with you, and to those of you who have been there for me in deeper ways, bless you.

I feel like this is only the beginning!

Let me also mention the two splinter groups that I joined; Cactus Monday started by Teri C (yay Teri!) and Animal Wednesday started by Mim (yay Mim!)

It's been a delight to have these extra groups to join to share common interests. The cactus one is a challenge for me to try to keep it creative and fresh, and the animal one is a natural for me because I draw animals 90 percent of the time! Please check out their blogs...we're always looking for new members!

Today's painting is a tiny piece of a 33 foot (22 panel) mural I painted for a bank in Carmel, California. That was a tough, but rewarding job! I don't have a picture of the entire mural anymore. It's in a drawer somewhere! Someday I'll find it and scan it for you. The scene was a mother bear and her cub nestled among the Monterey Cypress trees with the Carmelite Monestery along the Carmel River in the background. This bear is one of 2 curious ones that were approaching mom and her baby. This is my favorite bear of the bunch!

Happy Animal Wednesday everyone! This is a nice anniversary day for me!

Friday, October 10, 2008

IF : Broken Strings

The wind gust came out of nowhere. I lifted my hand to free my tangled hair from my pearls and clumsily broke the strings in my haste. Pearls sailed everywhere and pelted my heart like hailstones.

Supplies are still packed in boxes! This is another paper bag with paint, a number 2 pencil and color pencils. Yup, done at the table!

For Illustration Friday : Strings

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Animal Wednesday : Mother Goose

Man, I really dug one up from the archives! I found this while I was cleaning out my art supplies. It's an illustration I did in 1991 when I took a night course at Rhode Island School of Design in children's book illustration. My books had just been published (without my illos!) and I wanted to see what I was doing wrong.

Anyhoodle, the assignment was to draw our version of Mother Goose. I pictured her as a hipper version riding a carousel goose. This isn't really a very good scan because the piece is laminated. I must have used it as a placemat or something rather than throw it away!

So...HAW everyone from 1991!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Cactus Monday : Presidential Sighting

Hello Cactus Monday friends! Could that be Teri, our founder and president of Cactus Monday?? I think she's lost in the beauty of the butterfly migration and the dazzling needle-eating birds. Or maybe, just maybe it's a spoof!

HCM Cactuteers!!

Friday, October 03, 2008

IF : Sugary

He talked a blue streak about how wonderful things were gonna be.

Damn, I swore I wouldn't fall for those sugary promises again.

Dining room table sketch on a paper bag, graphite and paint.