Auspicious title don't you say Sheila? I suppose, but let me tell you why I say it.
December 21, 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar and Doomsday has been the conversation in the news for the past year. Some people believed it and prepared. Others wrote about the ascension of our consciousness. That's the path that I seemed to feel more strongly about and read more about that.
So, as you may know, the year ended last year as we lost our Chocolate boy Fergus to cancer then this year our sweet cat Blue. June brought the horrid news that my beloved Sophie too had cancer and I was loosing her. Our financed were being stretched but I kept going, painting and wishing. On Sept 11, Sophie went to the Bridge and no mater how I tried I couldn't seem to get out of my down hill spiral. My Grand Cherokee needed a new water pump, then new tires. Every time it seemed I parked at my studio a new nail was sucked into the treads. Then of course, bills, insurances and end of year expenses to keep afloat kept coming in.. This all accumulated in a sinus infection that wouldn't quit.
I need to stop grieving, I needed to get positive. During the year I found a book about Gratitude. I wrote things that I was grateful for down in a book and life started to turn but then as I do, stopped because it was allot of work. Too much concentration.
Christmas approaching I started to get that depression once more. I picked up the book and started to re read. Hmm. As I drive to the studio this past Wednesday, I said out loud, "I am so thankful and grateful to be seeing that beautiful water". I drive adjacent to the inter-coastal waterway and for the rest of the 15 minute drive I continued talking out loud and saying all that I was thankful for! Ok, this is where my world starts ending. That afternoon I received a request for a commission. I was thrilled. Thursday morning I drove again bright and early repeating my gratitude's aloud all the way. I was feeling good. Painting non stop til the piece was down and actually shipped it to the person and I was happy again. Said a quick gratitude for that and at 6:30 pm got a call from our vets office saying that someone had dropped off two Labrador Retriever collectible plates. They felt they had no room for them and the first person they thought of was me and would I like them. YES! (and they are gorgeous) One is a Black and Chocolate Lab sitting together. Perfect. Gratitude. Then, about an hour later a loud bang on the door, UPS dropping packages. Two I expected but not the heavy third package. To my complete surprise, friends and long time Collectors, sent me a case of wine from their local winery in Missouri. Gratitude and total surprise.
Has it ended? The call from my last commission telling me it was fantastic made my year and off I went today to get my hair official done in a salon! Many gratitude's spoken aloud on the way. I got home feeling happy about my new do and that the world really didn't end and opened the mail box to find a package from Scotland!!
My friend and also a Collector, Elaine, made this beautiful Rosette Ribbon in memory of Sophie. Pink was Soph's color and the Tartan is perfect since I love Scotland. I am so very very touched. I so want to actually wear it it so beautiful!!!!
I then started to think how wonderful I was feeling and so blessed and thought, AHA..that's what it all means. It IS the end of one world and the beginning of a beautiful new one!! There is so much magic in the air right now and I am looking forward to a wonderful prosperous New Year with my family, my Labs, my friends and my artwork. What more could I ask for this Christmas!!
Wishing you all the same Magic and all the same Blessings!!!! (And I think the key is saying them out loud. When I write my mind drifts..hahaha!!!)
Well I really doubt the Mayan Calendar was correct seeing how we have leap years and they weren't considered. So in 4 more days we hopefully all still be attached to the earth by gravity and not a rope.
Thankfully I didn't run about spending. In fact I have been quite frugal. I am making things for family as gifts or some paintings to give as gifts from them. That's where my painting today comes in.
My daughter's friend recently lost her beloved Chocolate Lab. 14 1/2. I know Sophie went to greet him, or at the very least had Fergus bring Sawyer to her since she is the Queen!
Sawyer is painted on canvas that is mounted on masonite. Luckily I recently bought a square frame and it fit perfectly! The red doesn't quite show up in places on the screen but there are bright streaks right out of the tube which just make the chocolate fur yummy.
I know, what came over me?? Hahaha...It was the start of a lesson in one of my classes that I teach. I had a reference photo of this cat in full light and said.."hmm, what if we just put him in a strong highlight and have the background dark." Voila'! In actuality he has more contrast. One of these days I'll get Photoshop and photography correct Not too far off though!
To see him on my web site click on the link. Oh..and feel free to browse around the site to see my other work and my latest blog on To Niche or Not to Niche. SEE HIM HERE
Roger and I went to my studio both days. Can you say tired? I have commissions to finish and ship and wanted to do smaller pieces for my site. Now we are home, soup is on and all I want to do is hit the couch and snug with the Labs. Can you say tired once again?
Not sure if it is what I had in my mind when I started. sigh. It's on my web site now but you never know when I could repaint the whole piece. Thoughts??
Well the new web site is off and running and I get to see how many people see it daily. In just one day it's been amazing!!! I am thrilled!
So let me show you what I posted today!! I had been working on this large bird on and off in my class so people could see my technique. I never really finish anything in the classes so I just stash it in my studio. Since we had an open house this past weekend I decided to finish him. I overheard a comment that " all she does is dogs?" so I was determined to show other work.
I call him "The Guardian" 24 x 24 framed ,ready to hang, acrylic on stretched canvas. You may find him on my newer web site..Right here!
Enjoy....heading to the couch again, still re-cooping from a sinus infection...sigh...Labs are awaiting!!!
I do get allot of traffic to my Lab Art website, but now with this newer web site, you will also get to see other art that I do. And here it is!!! New Website
I'm not giving up my my Lab site, but this new site offers to be open to more viewers. One needs to expand because I'll be Running across America behind someone else's RV if I don't step up and re group. hahaha.
I figure that maybe the 2% out there just may peek onto Fine Artists Sites Online and may just decide that.."wow..." they need a Lab painting!!!
So, visit, sign up for newsletters etc..if nothing else we can have a giggle!!!
Driving back from Gainsville this past weekend I took photos of this part of Rt. 50. I was excited since we took a tree painting workshop with Linda Blondhiem and I was ready to start. Believe it or not I actually had a frame and a panel to paint on so did this painting in oils. To put a Lab in or not to put a Lab in, that is the question. Maybe not this time unless asked. :-)
I'll be getting serious now since our goal is to be able to travel across America and paint with our two Labs and Spirit Muse Sophie. Oh and Spirit Fergus. sigh.
Today I had work done on my ever faithful Jeep Grand Cherokee,water pump, only to hear that it has another issue that may cost about $1000.00. Seriously?? Oh, and I need two new tires. sigh. Well, a glass of wine here and grabbing my boot straps, I am moving forward. Please feel free to let me know what you would like to see. That's part of the fun.
RV news? Well we have decided that we need to checkout the Open Range 5th wheel, 34 ft with patio. I know 36 sounded better but it didn't have patio capability. Need that patio. Great for the Labs and perfect for us!!!
Ok..if you are interested in the oil painting it is 8" x 20" oil on masonite and framed. The colors are better in person but the peaceful feeling is the same!!!
Ok, That was fast. Maybe because the image I used was a friends. I love the image. Be sure and ask me if you would like me to reproduce this one. However, you can be sure more swimming chocolates are coming soon!!!
Just one Chocolate today. I was sad over Sophie and then this is Fergus who went to the Bridge last year. Tough day. I'm thinking this is a 6" x 8" Acrylic on Stretched Canvas. Great price for this week's celebration too.
$30.00 plus $5.00 shipping.
What is Retro Week you ask?? Well, I was going through all my past photos of Lab art and thought I would do a retrospective book celebrating the years from 1999 to 2012. What fun to see the growth, or change in my work. In the early years, after I stopped traveling to out door shows, I started to show my work on eBay. I swallowed my pride, and decided to price my art low to get new clients. Starting out at $25.00 or $35.00, I sold regularly and found I not only sold my art but got long lasting friends from it even to this day.
So now my prices are higher, work a bit different, but there was a wonderfulness in the early art that I suddenly saw might be missing. The freedom of the strokes...Lord I struggled...Now with the experience I fly. I loved playing today with the color and light. So today is Black Labs...tomorrow Chocolate then Yellow the next. I did these quickly this morning and found myself smiling. So I may have two weeks of Retro Celebration just because it makes me happy!!!!
They are all original, Golden Open acrylics unless stated otherwise. If you don't get one and love it ask and I'll repaint. Just for you!!
So,,,here goes...Day 1.
8" x 10" Acrylic on stretched canvas. Painted on all sides and all set to hang. $35.00 plus $5.00 shipping
So my Spirit Muse Sophie said..."Need to do what you most love Mum"..."Dogs in water..and all dogs"
"Ok I said back...I'll send out word for pictures!! " And so the word is out to all of you who may read this. Please send me photos of your beloved Furries in water, near water, or shaking off water to ME That is no pressure to buy the art but you may like the book!! And..your dog will be remembered forever. Gotta like that!!
Here are a few that I have painted already.
8" x 8" x 1" oil on cradle board and framed with black frame. A sweet guy just floating along. $250.00
If interested please contact ME If you are interested in a print please go to My FINE ART AMERICA site
"Two Is Better Than Just One" 8" x 10" x 1" oil on stretched canvas. $320.00 Contact me for purchase or go to my Fine Art America site. Link above.
A silent sultry swim. 8" x 10' x 1" oil on stretched canvas. $320.00 Prints are also available on Fine Art America or purchase the original.
I am happy to say this one has sold already and going to it's new home in Scotland. I will be putting prints on Fine Art America of this painting soon. 12" x 16" x 1" Acrylic on stretched canvas. Two beautiful swimmers!!!
Be sure and come back to see up-dates. My goal is 36 paintings for the book. Why not make one yours??
Since Sophie became my Spirit Muse she has been sending me ideas to keep me occupied. This is one of them. #1 in a small series that I am putting together of how I paint a black Lab in water. I am offering the series on here for free now but will soon be doing a DVD and selling them for a minimum price.
This series will have 4 videos in it. Thanks for looking!!
So, we are still in the planning stage of heading out into America. Praying for the economy to turn so we can make our "escape" but in the mean time working towards it by painting.
Greens have been a bug-a-boo to me but I recently asked a friend what he used to get his greens. He told me a few colors in oil but since I am teaching acrylic painting classes, I searched for similar color in that medium. I love Golden Open Acrylics and found Anthraquinone Blue. Dark blue when mixed with Cadmium Orange and a touch of Cadmium Yellow and voila!! A whole range of greens.
I started this painting in class then took it to my studio to finish and frame. There is farmland in Viera near the wetlands and this was a scene from there. Quiet, secluded. The trail there leads to tributary of the St. John's River.
9" x 12" Golden Open Acrylics on linen on masonite. Framed. $395.00 plus $10.00 s&h
About two years ago we visited this zoo in SC and I took a cazillion photos of every animal there. One day in our class I brought in the photo reference of this guy but no one was really excited to do the painting. I thought it would be a great way to work on dark areas with a great high lit subject.
So today I decided to paint it and see what the outcome would be. Ha!! Fun painting! 11" x 14" oil on canvas. Framed..$475.00 Shipping included. Contact me!
The start of a new Zoo series ...this could be fun.
Update from yesterday, my friend's Lab came through surgery just fine and all looks good!!! I so needed good news today. It started a little weepy, probably from overload, but hearing good news helped. Ok...so a small trip to our favorite thrift shop helped too!!!
Have a great evening....I am taking a two day workshop this weekend so I'll do a show and tell come Sunday evening!!!
Wednesday and I teach all day. I arrive at my studio about 8am to prepare my morning class and open the back classroom. Have the remaining spot of coffee and maybe breakfast. The first student arrive at 9 am.
Today was a fun day of first doing a painting of a still life using yellows,oranges and reds. Shadows were to be painted using light blue.
One of the students ,also and artist, started to tell me about a mutual friend and artist who is now in the hospital possibly being diagnosed with lung cancer. My other friend and studio mate has been dealing with her partner having a heart attach then being re-admitted for pains.
Then I had lunch and my afternoon class started. One of the students is a delightful older woman. 85.Sharp and creative. As she was leaving she told me she was ready to die. Her bones are brittle and she didn't feel she was needed. I gave her a hug and kissed her cheek. I need her.
Sophie going to the Bridge, another friends Lab has cancer, another having surgery in the morning. Is it the age I am at or are things changing faster.? Everything seems to be happening so quickly and so sudden I feel overwhelmed and realize that I have to stop putting off telling people I care about how I feel about them, though I always do.
Hug more, put your arm in your friends arm more, smile, laugh, kiss your dogs nose more, the plans you are thinking about for vacation? Do it!! Life is as fantastic as you make it...as you want it to be.
Did I tell you that I appreciate you and think you are great!!!!?? You are to me.!!!
This piece is still in progress. I started it as a demo in one of my acrylic classes and now completing it. This filed is near the wetlands in Viera. As we walked around I felt his eyes on me. 24" x 14" on masonite panel. Hopefully to be finished next week. My spirit Muse, Sophie, will be insisting!!
Sophie October 30,1999 - September 11,2012
Today at about 3:15pm, my Muse and faithful companion, Sophie passed to the Bridge. She stopped eating last night and wouldn't take her pain pill this morning. The mass was growing quickly.
My mother was incredibly strong. I never saw her cry but twice. Then she splashed flour on her eyes to take away the redness so no one knew. This past week I prayed to her to give me that strength so I could let Sophie go and she did. I have to say I was steel. Of course I told Roger not to talk to me about the inevitable and I wasn't answering phone calls so that helped. I was steel until I got to the vets.
Our vet gave Sophie a sedative but I told him I was the one who needed it. She laid down and put her head on my knee as I was sitting beside her. Roger had his hand on my shoulder. I took her face and kissed her nose and told her I loved her and a job well done. Her passing was peaceful.
I thought it would have been awful but her suffering with the cancer outweighed my pain of loss. I wanted to stay with her, I wanted to take her home...we left and hugged outside and sobbed. Then drove to the beach, got ice cream and sat on the wall watching the waves and feeling the loss of our beloved Girl.
Our hearts are heavy and tears are flowing...but she is pain free and running with our Fergus.
Thank you all for your support and prayers...now I know Sophie is telling me to get back to work!!!
Well this morning I had a student and we did drawing for an hour then painting in acrylic. I strongly believe if you can't SEE and draw what you see, you will have a tough time getting things onto canvas. What are the angles? The spacial relationship from one object to another? After doing a drawing I pointed out light area in an eyeball and my student never saw it and was amazed that I did. Good lesson.
Then I drove to our favorite RV dealer Larry and picked up some artwork I wanted for my studio. Roger and I go back and forth trying to decide, 34'? or 37". Not much difference you would think but in an RV 5th wheel.it is. So Larry let me wander once more through both sizes. This time though, after reading so many books on what to look for, I noticed the worn rug and comfy chairs making them now not so comfy. I thought "replacement" $$. No island in the kitchen and the living room couch was across from the stove. Hmm. The 37' RV also had some wear on the rug and chairs but had a nice kitchen design. The bathroom was "downstairs" (they have stairs going up to the bedroom) and had a washer/dryer. Not bad. Queen size bed in the slide out.
We found on line RV called Open Range. One, a 37' 5th wheel, has the bedroom in back and where the bedroom usually is was a walk up living room. Huge windows. Ceiling fans an an optional patio. Ok guys....that;s the one we are letting the Universe know about. Check out The Open Range 38'
Today's RV art offering is 12" x 6" Open Acrylic on stretched canvas,ready to hang and painted on all sides.
I can see this hanging on the wall in your kitchen or even the bedroom. Even in your non RV home. :-)
Saturday! My alarm went off at 7 am and I hit the snooze button for it to go off 5 minutes later. Seriously? 5 minutes?? Oh well. Sophie needed her meds and her breakfast and I needed to get ready to go to my studio for a 9am class.
Shower and out the door to Dunkin Donuts for my iced coffee then I'm set. I finished a commission painting yesterday and was pleased and my three hour class went great.
I arrived home around 1 pm and Roger and I took off to yes, Dunkin for another iced coffee then to Viera to the wet lands. It was hot but a cool breeze kept us comfy, so we walked 2 miles around the area taking pictures of the different variety of birds. I, however, saw cows and a bull on the other side of the area and took some great photos of them. Roger takes his photos in RAW (???) so he needs to help me switch them to jpg tomorrow so I can show them to you. I'm excited since I can use them Monday night for my class in Viera for landscape images. After the wetlands we took a different road which takes you to a reservation where you can hike to the St John river basin and also a fantastic place for me to do plein air painting of Florida for my "Painting Across America" journey. A start!!!
The day ended with Roger and I getting frozen yogurt then coming home to play with the Labs! GREAT DAY!!!
The Causeway. Still in progress. Sophie was beside me at the studio sleeping as I painted then she stretched, opened her eyes, then wanted to go out back. She has a way of telling me she wants something. It will either be standing and staring at me, telepathy with the other Labs, or taps her paw on something that will make noise. If that should fail, my leg. I got the "tap".
A good thing as I watched her walk and realized I need to fix the Labs leg again in the painting. Good girl Soph! That's why she gets the good treats!!
Hopefully it can get finished tomorrow along with a few more commission pieces. :-)
Hope you like this. Painting Across America...(but still in Florida) 8" x10' Stretched canvas
As I sit here watching the rain fall and listen to Sophie snore, I changed a few things on my blog. Not sure how long I will have Ad Sense or I need to figure how to minimize ads, lol. They just pop up in strange places.
A dear friend, Michael, suggested I name my journey :"A Sojourn For Sophie" since she will always be with me. I liked that. Years ago I had a friend Medium do a reading for her and he said she's been in my "Lives' many times and always a black dog. I knew that.
I added a "Painting America Club" . $50.00 for one year with fun things. Check out the info in the box ,top right corner of this blog.
Ok..time to do more laundry and some art. The hurricane isn't near us here on the east coast but we get spirts of rain every so often and more tomorrow!!
So it's a start!! Purchased the domain name and now have my camera with me at all times. I figure I need to show the Universe I'm serious so it can do it's magic!!
Yesterday we drove up to Ormond Beach to collect my artwork that was hanging at the Ormond Memorial Museum for the Dog Days of Summer. The Museum said the crowds were plentiful. It poured raining when we arrived so it was a run in and a quick run back out. I am still honored to have exhibited there.
On the way up we took Rt 1. It's somewhat parallel to Rt 95 and so much more scenic. Stopping at a red light a truck pulled up beside us and then forward. The end result is my 6 x 8 Golden Open Acrylic painting called "Road Trip". #1 in my Painting Across America voyage.
$125.00 with a lovely frame to boot!! Ready to hang.
To start Sophie is doing ok. I am grateful everyday.
We went yesterday to look at large Rv;'s and as we were leaving, Larry the owner, said he'd like to see my art work and maybe I could hang it in his office for sale. Well, I'm all over that today. Those RV walls look a little bare so today I did a small 6x8 acrylic and framed it to bring over for him to see. My idea? Small affordable framed, or not, art pieces for RV'ers.
Here is my first offering. I know..it needs a Lab.
Then the other day I finished a 20" x 20" acrylic on canvas...with Lab!!!
This piece will be framed and if interested please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org $725.00 including shipping.
Yes I did..also a friend. Today Soph and I drove to the studio when a friend popped in to say she was bringing small canvases to goodwill, would I be interested in them? They are all under 10 x 10 and perfect for Plein air. At one time I counted over 40. I am doing a happy dance today. Sophie was peppy and happy and then the angel with a big container of canvases appeared.
Tonight I have a new student coming to sit in the class since we are finishing a painting started last week. He will start the new session next week. Wow. Is that all?? Oh no. A small paper from Tampa left a message on my phone wanting to talk about the article in the paper on Saturday of Sophie and I.
Things are starting to happen so I need to lift my feet up and go with it. So many times I want to apply brakes but not now.
Found a great site on the internet Fun Stuff about RV-ing and now Roger is excited. Seriously, look at 5th wheels. Some have kitchen islands! Roger's dream as he is a fantastic chef!!!
Ok..need to feed the kids before I take off for class. I am working on a paintng at the studio and hopefully it will be completed tomorrow!!!
I just posted this to my wordpress blog. I am so lax on that and it's connected to Kindle. Egads. Anyway, this is a part of it to let you know what is happening. Sophie is still fighting. She knows I give her the meds and now she won't take anything from me. Roger has to do it. You would think I was trying to poison her. To her I may just be doing that. sigh. She still likes to come with me to the studio and sulks if she's left behind. Our vet thinks that is what's keeping her going. :-) My Muse.
"I wonder what the Universe has for us. Sophie is my Muse, the reason I paint Labs. What do I do when she goes? After the torrent of tears I stopped and needed to be her “mum”. She’s here doing well. I take her to my studio daily which she loves to do.
We had an article written this past week about us which was fun. It.s about Sophie!
My goals? Now, to become a damn good plein air artist, get rid of all the “stuff”, buy an RV and travel with Roger, Sammy and Ozzie. I’ll still do Lab and dog commissions but I’m feeling a change coming on.
We have a goal of a year. So I guess this blog now will be the daily paintings and ruminations of getting ready to live a simple life and painting my way across America.
When we moved to Florida, we had no jobs, no savings. Just enough after the sale of our condo to buy this house. Roger got a job on the last day of the month and our first mortgage payment was due. With everyone else, the economy going down took us with it putting our house underwater. Fergus illness last year set us back a bit more but we always believe that the Universe (God) gives us what we need when we need it.
So we “put it out there” and I have new students coming for classes and a commission to paint a mural in a bathroom. It’s in the works! We just have to keep the faith. Now I understand what my mother meant.
I search and research RV’s every day. We have no savings, no retirement, so the Universe has it’s work cut out. LOL. Do I believe we can do this..YES!!!
If you have any input let me know.
Back to read about living a free life on the road!!!!
First, thank you to all the people who have commented on the last post for Strength. It has worked. Sophie's vet called me tonight to confirm that indeed, Soph has malignant melanoma in the back of her mouth. To his best knowledge it hasn't gone into her lymph nodes. A positive. Best case, 6 months, or..2.
The shock has finally started to leave and my caring instincts taking over as they did with our Chocolate Fergus last year. Another positive, it's not effecting her brain so she knows us unlike Fergus. I'll be able to take Sophie with me to my studio daily so she and I can just be together.
You wonder sometime as your pets start to get older, how will it end. Now I know. I think in knowing, even though my heart aches, I can give my all to her and never question was there anything else I could have done.
Please keep the positive thoughts for strength coming. I know there will be many days I will need it.
Did I know? Maybe. When you love deeply you sense things others miss. I knew it with my two children and I now know it with my Labs. My Muse, Sophie.
She is why I paint Labs. She saved me from my grief of loosing my parents 6 days apart. We have ribbons from our agility trails that she hated but did for me. She waits for me to come home daily and when I come through the door she wags and smiles. I bend over and she gives me a "human" kiss hello.
She started drooling a few days ago and seemed to be in pain. I thought it was her legs or maybe arthritis. Then she didn't want her cookie or a cheese doodle I always shared with her. Two days ago she didn't want breakfast. That evening she ate her rice and chicken. It must be a sore tummy.
Today we went to the vets. My Muse, my Sophie, has oral cancer. She is having a biopsy in the morning to be sure. Our wildest hope is it's a terrible infection but I did see it in the back of her throat and I was horrified and knew it was something awful.
Oral cancer is fast growing and invasive and may already be in her lungs. After reading when I got home I did see that it could be from the foods they eat. The crap the big companies put in their food as fillers.
But that insanity doesn't change that my Soph is dying.
One week? Two? They say about 65 days. Fergus 1 year anniversary?
Tonight the tears flow , along with the wine. I mosshed her food and gave her more than she is allowed and she devoured it. Then I chewed some cheese doodles and shared those with her. I need to be strong for her so when it's time for her to be with Fergus and Ray's Mr. Shaq, whom she adored, I'll be able to do it.
So, commissions will be done, paintings will be painted. .I just won't be chatting as much. Please just pray that I get the strength to let my girl go with the dignity she so deserves.
Colors may be a but brighter but close to the original of this mixed media painting of "Turtle" . 8" x 6.25" on Arches board. Matted and framed.
I am getting ready for an open house at the studio I am in. Along with my Lab art I am having a selection of other matted and framed pieces. Also, if you are interested in cards of this or any other of my work please feel free to contact me.
A new mixed media of ink, watercolor and colored pencil. I am finding it takes me back to my roots when I first started art school for illustration and design. I get to draw, paint then get right into the details. It takes days and layers of pencil to get the rich color but it's worth it.
11" x 8" on acid free Arches watercolor board. Matted.