Friday, September 29, 2006

Oil and Water Don't Mix!

Yesterday as I was working away on a painting which was already up on auction I found that where I had rested my hand against what should have been a dry part of the painting I had smeared black paint onto the background. Hm, I thought, I must have put that paint on thick! I wiped at the paint and fixed the background with some fresh paint and left it to dry. Then I came back and sure that it had to be dry this time started painting again. Same story. I also noticed that the little brush I had been using seemed to be especially difficult to clean. How such clear undications eluded me I do not know, but after checking I found that a tube of oil paint had snuck in with my acrylics! Bah! I'm going to have to scrap the whole painting.
Meanwhile, my little silhouetted witch Dachshund is finally done and ends soon on auction at: Witch Weiner Dog Original Dachshund Halloween Painting. This is one for the calendar and I am very pleased with how it turned out. It has had little time on auction with a completed image, but hopefully people will find it. This one was a lot of work! Acrylics are still quite the learning process for me.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

In Memory of Spike

I have more sad animal news to report. My mother's rescue Dachshund, Spike, went to the bridge on Sunday, the 24th of September. I am proud to say that Spike was my brother. Spike was aged 15 or 16, and mom had him for 8 years. He had a good life after his rescue, and was loved and spoiled. He was a suspected puppy mill rescue, and when found was emaciated, had little hair and a host of other problems. He and his brother were wandering the streets alone. He never did take to toys, probably never having seen one before, but he was a "love sponge" and had a fondness for Taco Bell food and a comfortable bed.
Spike inspired my painting Weighty Weiner Dog, which is why I have that picture posted here.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Another Day...

I believe that anyone who has ever lost a much loved animal knows that you never cease to miss them. When you have several animal companions I imagine it feels a lot like being a mama animal, always mentally counting noses... Animals may not use numbers as humans do, but their instinctive radar for who is supposed to be there helps them keep track. I feel a lot like that now, as a small feeling constantly tells me "one is is missing..." Squirrel's absence hits me at odd times as I tick over the lives in the house and realize afresh that she is not here. Life does continue, and I know that she is not suffering, which is a comfort. It is difficult to believe that last Monday night I had no idea that in less than a week she would not be there, trying to lick my arm, reaching a paw out to request more attentive petting. The picture to the left is Squirrel with her beautiful son, Spot.
I have several works in progress up on eBay this week. I would have like to have put up finished works, but I just couldn't manage it. The one at right is a black and tan longhaired doxie with Halloween pumpkins. I have outlined the picture in paint. This has been my preferred technique lately. I sketch it with a hard pencil like a 3H, then paint the outline with a very small brush (my current favorite brush in the world is a da Vinci Maestro
size 1 followed by a Daniel Smith 44-14 Kolinsky Sable #6 and another Maestro #3 for those who are interested). I used to outline first with one of my archival pens, but I find painting the outline allows me to change the image a little as needed during the paint process, whereas once the ink is down there is not changing anything. I have tried from time to time not to outline in ink, but for me the image never looks complete until I have done that, so I guess that is just my style. Anyway, on the left here is another work-in-progress (WIP) of a pair of weenies on the beach. Many of the upcoming small paintings I do are going to be testing the waters for my calendar illustration ideas. The wine dachsie on the right is one I have had on the drawing board for months. I took a chance and put in the text - I am not a skilled letterer by any means. When I use this one for prints I will use computer fonts for the text. On the left again is another small painting WIP of a weenie roast. This one is definitely a test run for one of the summer months of the calendar. Those are the paintings this week on auction:
Last week I managed two paintings, already sold now, and the week before I had some others, interspersed in this post.
I also had two mis-fires - one a a longhaired red Dachshund on a square board that was to be painted in acrylic I had to pull from eBay because after Squirrel's diagnosis I knew I wouldn't have a chance to finish it. Look for it some other week. Another a smooth red dachsie looking at a heart I pulled because I hated the lettering I did on it in sharpie pen of all things. I've already painted about 8 layers over the text and the sharpie still shows through. I may have to just throw this one out. Never, never think you can cover up a sharpie mistake. I draw an illustration on each envelope I send with art purchases and I love them for that. But never again on art!
Well, it's 1am here and Kelly is still running wild. I'll try to get her up before 9am and perhaps she'll take an early nap. I would hardly call myself an optimist, so even I don't believe that. Kirk has been able to call from the boat a couple of times. They are not getting a lot of good video apparently.
I put him on speaker phone for Kelly to listen to the other night and that was a big mistake, because moments later it hit her that Daddy wasn't home. She began to cry and ran and got her socks and started yelling about the green car and daddy - meaning we had to go get in the green car and go get him. It was difficult to calm her down, and explaining why daddy wasn't there was impossible.
Kelly is making great strides in her speech and using more complicated sentences in an attempt to communicate. I am hopeful that she will soon catch up with her peers in language. She has gotten a little better at behaving when we go shopping, although we got the evil eye at a concert recently when a couple and their children sat near us and they clearly did not approve of Kelly's exhuberance. They kept an iron hand on their little girl who obviously thought that it would be fun to play ball with Kelly. What is wrong with these parents? They are so rigid that their children are supposed to be little robots, and woe to those of us with free-spirited little ones.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Trying to say goodbye...(warning, sad post)

Squirrel came home from the vet on Wednesday night. I wanted her to be home for some pampering, for a chance for me and the rest of her family to say goodbye. The vet gave me some painkiller for her, and it seems to ease her a little. She will eat Gerber chicken baby food, and when I take her out from under the bed she will lie on my chest and purr and be petted. But if I am not holding her or if Kelly is being rambunctious she goes back under the bed or into a closet. I have been told this is the equivelent of going under a bush to die. Her quality of life isn't good, though there is some life left. Kirk did not get to say goodbye since she came home from the vet after he left for his week on the water.
So I have a call in to a vet who makes house calls. My message was probably unintelligible as I am unable to speak about this with any composure at all. If she calls back perhaps she will see my kitty today. If not, perhaps Monday. My biggest fear is that Squirrel will worsen over the weekend when there really are few options for veterinary care for her. I do not want her to suffer. I am hoping that when the euthanasia is scheduled I can distract Kelly with some Oreos and the garden hose to make mud in the back yard. I absolutely can not have her right there, right then. She is too young.
For all of my friends out there that read this looking for my latest art, please know that I will be painting again soon and will post new work here as soon as I am able.

Postscript to the above:
I was able to talk to the vet, and she came out at 3pm. Kelly was in the backyard flinging mud against the side of the house and making mud pies and never knew what went on inside. Squirrel/Momcat/Golden Girl was sent to her rest peacefully. I will miss her always, but she will be with her son Spot, who was her best friend and passed away on Dec. 5 2004, in Kitty Heaven. Rest their little feline souls.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

My Poor Squirrel

I took my Squirrel, AKA Golden Girl, in to the vet today because she had developed a limp last night. I suspected that Kelly had been playing roughly with her, and had also been meaning to have her in to the vet anyway to look at her eye condition and do a blood test because she has lost some weight. She is only 10 years old, but her spine was becoming prominant while her belly was still round.
I just spoke to the vet at 7pm, who was so busy she was not able to examine her until after hours. Rather than hearing that perhaps Goldie had a break or a sprain, she instead has a massive tumor in her abdomen. The leg is fairly inconsequential after this news and has not even been examined yet. She will stay at the vet overnight and have the tumor tested tomorrow. The vet tells me that it does not look good for her, that either of the two types this tumor might be are generally inoperable and untreatable.
Kirk is leaving town tomorrow for a week and as he will be on a boat doing some 3D filming for of some underwater wrecks from a tiny submarine and he will be extremely difficult to reach. This reminds me of when Spot (Goldie's son) was diagnosed with FIP and died during another long-hours project. Kirk might not be home to say goodbye to Squirrel, our matriarch cat, our Grandma Kitty. I refuse to let her suffer, but we will do all we can for her.
Goldie is famous worldwide for the photo you see here. This picture has been all over the internet for the last six years or so, and every so often crops up in emails full of cute pictures. The kitten pictured in Bebe, also still with us and thankfully healthy. If you are reading this please think positive thoughts for our kitty.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Crikey, sad news

This morning when I turned on CNN the news that Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin had been killed stunned me and Kirk. I know that we are just two people among the millions who somehow thought Steve was invincible, and who are shaken by his death. I don't want to descend into cliche here, I just want to acknowledge that this is a shocking loss, and possibly more so because of the seemingly benign nature of that which killed him. We have followed his career for several years. His wife, Terri, is a native of Oregon just like Kirk. His son Bob is just a little younger than our Kelly. Steve Irwin seemed an accessible sort of person, even though he was internationally famous. His love of animals and his family, his unpretentious style...he will be missed. Our hearts ache for Terri and Bindi and Bob and all of his friends, human and animal. I know people will come out of the woodworks with unkind things to say. There will be a rehash of the ridiculous outcry when he held Bob as he fed a crocodile. There are the cheerful CNN anchors who treat the news story as entertainment as they report what happened with a little smirk. But I just wanted to use my little slice of Blog to say that we respected his work and mourn his death.