I have been working away on Christmas commissions. Unfortunately, I can't show you any, but I can show you a detail of one.
My new calendar is dedicated to my sweet studio pup, Chumley. I decided to honor him after having a very close call with HGI, an intestinal disorder spawned from some holiday ham. After several hundred dollars, lots of meds and a very disoriented pup, Chummers came out of it despite the dire prognosis.
Moral of the story... never, ever give pets holiday ham! I have learned my lesson. Unfortunately, Chummers has no regrets and would do it all over again to enjoy some sweet holiday honey baked ham....
Lately, I have been busy, busy trying to keep up with holiday portraits. In the last few months I would say I've painted about 60 portraits and I still have more which is so exciting!
I was really happy with this portrait of Dexter. It wasn't a very good photo which I guess allowed me to improvise. I liked it so much, I wanted to keep it and it's not even my dog! But, I had to send it out yesterday because someone is getting a very special present this year :)
I also wanted to let you know I have a 30% off sale going on in my shop - here's the link:
"Bridgett Rowley adopted Scarlett O'Hara, a Maltese/ShihTzu mix, two years ago from a puppy mill bust in Brunswick County. Her life began in an outdoor cage where she and her littermates endured harsh sun and rain, unprotected. She lived there for six months, never once walking on grass or interacting with humans, save for sporadic feedings.
"When I met Scarlett, you could see it in her eyes — her soul was broken. She'd been neglected and ignored and she didn't know how to act around people. With rescues like her, you have to be patient."
And Bridgett was taking her time to get Scarlett accustomed to being petted (cuddling took a little longer — a year, to be exact — but now Bridgett reports that Scarlett is both a cuddler and bed sleeper) and introducing her to the world. Raised in a cage, Scarlett knew nothing beyond its walls: She'd never walked on grass, chased a squirrel or seen a tree.
Scarlett still holds a few habits left over from her early days — she devours her food as quickly as possible, and at times she's shy — but her new life is a breeze. She has every toy in the world, but her favorite is an old sock (of course). She sleeps with Bridgett. She has her own wardrobe. She goes on long walks. And now there's life dancing in her little brown eyes."
"Duncan came to my vet through a Golden Retriever Rescue in N. CA. My vet asked if I could foster him. She knew I would take care of him and I lived close to her practice and that was a plus because Duncan needed lots of Medical Attention. He had been abandoned in a home that was foreclosed on, Best guess is that he was there 2 weeks without food or water and he was tied to a post. He pulled so hard on the rope he was tied up on that he hurt his neck & shoulders, his hips were damaged probably from being kicked or beaten. He could barely walk when he came to me, but with lots of love and care he came farther than anyone imagined, as you can see from these pictures. That Boy had a Family and a Place to call Home and he lived each day to the fullest, every day was "The Best Day Ever!" for Duncan!"
October 25, International Artist Day, is to honor the contribution artists have and are making to society. Use this day as the opportunity to take an artist to lunch, buy that painting that's been haunting you for months, visit a gallery, go to the symphony or participate in something creative that is “outside the box” of your day to day life.
For International Artist Day I am honoring the well know painter Vincent Van Gogh's "Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear" with my own spin...
Although everyone knows the name Van Gogh, it's sad to say that during his life, he was pretty much unknown and passed over, but despite this he continued to paint feverishly driven by a passion the he himself probably did not understand. I understand this - It is who we are, all we are. We HAVE to because it is what we do and I believe the world is a better place because of this.
This is Rosie.
She belongs to Stacy who runs an awesome rescue called New Rattitude Rescue. I follow her rescues on Facebook and she played a big part in helping me save one of my own, Frida… I am forever in her debt.
Stacy rescues these lost dogs from kill facilities, takes them into her home, nurses them back to health, trains and socializes them like one of her own. She posts on Facebook their stories and progress all the way up to going to their forever homes - with so much bad in the world, it's comforting to know there are angels among us like her.
Rosie is Stacy's inspiration for her efforts in rescue.
Thank you Rosie for inspiring so much good for so many.
New Rattitude Rescue accepts donations for the care of these rescues and if you are looking to give your home to an awesome terrier, contact her - It'll be the best decision you've made all year! http://www.newrattitude.org
"The photo I sent you was of her first day in our household. She is a standard poodle, named Indy (short for Indiana...my home state. Her mother was named Montana.) Indy looks sweet and she is very affectionate, but she is also a very rowdy tomboy. She loves to go to the park and run as fast as she can...which is faster than any other dog she's met so far. She loves her toys...carefully distributes them around the rug in our family room, and takes her big ball upstairs and pushes it down the stairs so she can chase it. And she's developed a close relationship with the squirrels in our backyard...they get close enough to the ground to chatter at her, and she runs around like a maniac."
"I got Madison (named after the Madison Scouts of Drum Corps
International) in 1999 when my roommate and best friend very suddenly
moved back to her hometown. I had no TV or living room furniture, but
decided a dog would be my next big purchase.
As a severe asthmatic, I did a lot of research on dogs that don’t shed
and made a few appointments to see the various breeds. At my first
“go-see,” a tiny – and very vocal – black puppy peed on me, and I knew
she was mine. I had nothing to carry her home in, no food, and no
doggie supplies…but she was mine. I wondered what I had gotten myself
Fifteen years later, she is still mine. We picked up her brother – an
ornery cat named Sid Vicious – along the way, and we make a peculiar
team. But it works for us. She has been by my side through everything –
a move to Washington, D.C. (and back home two years later), countless
trips to the beach and Nana’s house on Sundays, and the illness and
death of my father. She was the first grandchild, and even with four
“real” grandkids now, she acts as if she still comes first.
She is a quirky animal – she won’t step on doormats, and cries when you
say the word “yay.” Her hearing is going, she can’t jump onto the bed
anymore, and she is covered in “old-lady warts.” But at fifteen, she is
healthy, extremely active and alert, and still plays like a puppy. My
hope is that she sticks with me for a few more good years…I can’t
imagine my world without my Maddy girl.
Thank you so much for doing this, Clair! It will mean so much to me to
have this at her old age! I know I don't have long with her, so this is
Remember the Artisan Market that was rained out?
Well, it's rescheduled for this Sunday!
Come by see all the great artisans in the parking lot, get a hot dog at the TROLLY STOP cart, visit with the CANINES FOR SERVICE dogs and drop in the gallery to see me and the dogART - it'll be a fun day!
"Bodhi is our little man in a dog suit. He came to us after our last
love, and rescue, Ziggy, lost a long and hard battle with liver cancer. I
knew that I wanted a healthy puppy with a long life span. I did a lot
of research and found that Tibetan Terriers fit the bill. Bodhi is now
10 and owns our hearts. I can't imagine loving a dog more than I love
him! He is a character and comedian and adores his cat brothers."
"Here is Lexi, returning from a day over on Masonboro Island. This once
stray/ lost puppy was found this past Valentine's Day and put in foster
care. She joined our family this past May and has warmed our hearts.
She is a Terrier Mix and sometimes a Terror, she likes to thieve
anything she can get her hands on. I think that might stem from being
lost and hungry and having to hunt for food. She loves car and boat
rides, feeling the wind in her hair. She is playful and loving. She
already had her first modeling debut in Salt magazine. She was the Model in the ad for Uptown Market.
However she came to us, we can't imagine our family without her. She is
our Sexy Lexi! Who apparently looks a lot like Benji!"
Liam's story… "We brought Liam home as an 8 week old pup this past May. 3 months later and 65lbs heavier he is becoming quiet the character. He's just what we all needed. After losing our 4 dogs over this past year it had left a huge hole in all our hearts not too mention an emptiness in the house that was unbearable. We were missing Lilly curled up next to us with her long naps. Chubby little Sid with his constant wagging tail. Harvey's soft curly coat talking to you with his big brown eyes and Mr Quinn. My big beautiful sensitive boy. So loyal and always right by my side. I swear he knew everything I was thinking. Losing them all so sudden was heartbreaking. 'Never again' I said. the pain is just too great. Well I lasted 2 months. The hole in my heart was too big. I was actually getting depressed. It was time for a new Best friend. We found Liam. Living with his 8 brothers and sisters just a couple of hours away. We decided to 'Just take a peek' But as soon as I held him I knew he was coming home. Liam with his crazy spots and black and pink nose. His goofy personality and always somebody's shoe hanging from his mouth is just what the Dr ordered. Literally. "
"Ethel, my sweet girl and her story... Ethel was adopted into our home from a local shelter outside of Memphis, TN. She was a mere 8 weeks old when she came home with me and her canine sister, Lucy. Yes, Lucy & Ethel! To say the least, that pair emulated their namesakes. Whatever shenanigans Lucy would get started, Ethel was most assuredly right alongside! For seven years these two were the best of friends, and the best companions for me.
Ethel, even at nine years old, possess a childlike curiosity for the world around her. In her younger days that inquisitiveness found her in the vet's office several times. She learned the lesson after the fourth spider bite to her face. Between vertigo and vertebrae issues, I have watched this precious dog overcome each one with nary a whine or whimper.
Don't let her size fool you! Ethel may be small but inside that little body is a huge heart. She glances at you with pure compassion, which sometimes it feels greater than that I receive from humans. She has a sense of humor too! She is witty without words, it's as if she has a sense of discernment and knows when I need a laugh.
In making two moves within the last year (Memphis to DC and DC to Chicago) she has been quite the trooper. Her ability to seamlessly acclimate to each new environment, her constant curiosity, and willingness to tag along wherever I go... She makes my life full beyond words!!"
"Unsuspectingly, I walked in to a neighbors garage to see a litter of English Springer Spaniels; it was a dark time in my life as my marriage had disintegrated unexpectedly and I was facing an uncertain future as a former stay at home mom with as a friend said "no marketable skills." (You gotta love friends!) A small liver and white bundle of cuteness wandered over, the neighbor commented she was the only of the litter yet to be sold, and well, I guess she needed me and I needed her. My teenaged boys donned her Ledy Zeppelin of Hillside - I shortened it to Zephie. A true velcro springer, Zephie literally saved me - hours of walking the energetic Springer was therapeutic, her unfettered joy at the very sight of me, and her enthusiastic personality buoyed the spirits of both me and my boys. My groomer, describes her as "the person at the end of the party with a lampshade on her head." To me, she is the purest joy, constant friend, love of my life - Zephie!"
Note: some paintings are completed out of order in this series - I have 2 or three in the works that aren't ready to be completed. So if you haven't seen your painting, not to worry :)
"Huckleberry belongs to my friends Elmer and Jesse. He kept me company when I was visiting them last February and was sick enough that I didn't want to leave the house while everybody was at work. Jesse and Elmer have paintings of their other pup, Dizzy, and the late great Dashiki...and I figured that I could add one of Huckleberry to their collection."
From his human: "He was a rescue dog. We got him from an organization that specializes in smaller dogs called pup. He's from a shelter in Stockton, CA."
Shortly after Bandaid's passing, Alene wrote this for her beloved best friend…
The last night of your life was the hardest of mine. It was a slow, but natural death. I prayed all night for God to take you, to end your pain, to give you what I couldn't. I begged you to forgive me for not giving you peace days before.
I wanted so badly for you to live..Maybe it was the last lesson you were to teach me. I'm sure I'll never be the same. It has taken me two months to write this because I'm sure no words will be good enough to explain to the world what you meant to me.
You were my protection, unconditional love and loyalty. I slept at night, knowing you were watching over me. When I needed someone to love me unconditionally, you did. When life was just more than I could handle, you licked my face and made me handle it.
You always had my back. I am who I am today because you came into my life.
As I write this and try to come up with the right words, one song keeps playing in my head and has for the last two months, even the night you were dying. The Dance, by Garth Brooks. And the line, I could have missed the pain, but I would've had to miss the dance.
Bandaid, I would've spent that night a hundred times over (as hard as it was) to have the dance we shared. What an awesome dance we shared. :) I only hope you feel the same way.
That night could not have been easy for you. I pray you will forgive me for it. I tried to be with you to the end, but at times I couldn't bare to watch nature take you. I would have gladly taken your pain, even as painful as that night was, and as much as my mind dwells on it.
I remember the good nights and the good times, and my arms around your furry neck and your sweet kisses. For that, I have to thank you for the dance.. the night you died (the last hour), you and God gave me a gift (even though I hated God many times that night).
I am grateful for that last gift. It gives me hope we will meet again. My sweet Bandaid, I can't wait to see you.
RIP my sweet, sweet Bandaid. September 2000-November 25, 2011. I love you always."
Handmade Wilmington is having an Artisan's Market in the Sun Gallery and Gifts parking lot to raise money for Canines for Service Sept. 14th. The gallery is filled with a lot of my dog paintings and I will be there painting if you are interested in dropping by.
Here is the information...
I have wanted to paint Chumley as Napoleon ever since we found him... I guess since he's so small, but has such a large presence to me.
Unfortunately for commissions and my 25 dogs list, I've been struggling with painting ever since I got back from my vacation… painters block…. I wanted to do something not serious and fun and this is the painting that came out.
Just wanted to let you know I'm taking a break for a week to celebrate my 50th birthday with my family in Florida so I won't be posting while I'm gone.
Here is Lyra's story…
"Lyra is a rescue from "Happy Paws Rescue" in Yuba City. We drove to Yuba City (about 30 miles away) in a torrential rain storm on Friday, February 28th and immediately fell in love with her. She weighed a little under 6 pounds when we got her, and is now about 23 pounds. She loves her big brother, Harry (an 11 year old rescue). We think she is a corgi/terrier mix. Her name comes from the book "Out Stealing Horses" by Per Petterson - it was the name of the dog in the book - and my partner, Jim, thought it was a great name for a dog, so three years later, when we got her, we used that name."
"Rhylee was our "buy one get one free" pup. She and sister Gia were total opposites. Gia very friendly and Rhylee shy and aloof. That being said, Rhylee was the one everyone wanted to pet and she received all the compliments! As she aged she became loving and was always begging for tummy rubs. This made losing her even more difficult. Your painting brings her to life....it's as if I can feel her beautiful fur through my fingers and the expression on her sweet face is perfect. My heartfelt thanks."
A few years ago I painted this in a small format and have always wanted a "do-over" in a larger size.
Well, here it is! This painting will be up for auction for three days to raise surgery money for my beloved studio pup Chumley who is feature in this painting.
I am sad to say that my Chumley's cancer has returned and he is going in to surgery Monday to try and remove another mast cell tumor. To generate money for the surgery I am offering my painting "To Have and To Hold" which won "Peoples Choice Award" in the Azalea Festival Spring Show in an auction.
I will let you know how the surgery goes - keep your fingers crossed for poor Chums.
This is Dexter's story…. "Dexter is our 4 year old English Bulldog..he has that perpetually, sad look, but uses it to fool us into spoiling him with love and affection. He lives up to his reputation as an affectionate, loyal, companion, who not only loves us, but other dogs and children.
His secret talents are his ability to not only skateboard, but skim board in the ocean, as well as being a great swimmer, rather Unusual for his breed....needless to say, he has our hearts.. He is a character!"
I love the look of this dog. Lately, I've been watching the series HELL ON WHEELS which is set in the old west when the railroad was being built. As I was painting her, I thought she looked like she could be one to the characters.
She just has that look.
Here is Zee Zee's story: "ZeeZee is a rescue, she became my pal at 12 weeks old when I was grieving about the loss of my husband and dog within a week of each other.
My daughter and I drove to get her in Mt Airy where she had been kept at a Veterinarians Office. They did not give us any history.
They called her Zig Zag, but I thought that sounded like rolling papers…….. she became ZeeZee, which is so much easier to say.
ZeeZee has a mind of her own . Two years ago she jumped the fence and was on the run for 9 days. Thanks to many friends and fliers we found her safe and were joyfully reunited."
Part cattle dog and part terrier, ZeeZee, keeps me throwing the ball and sweeping up hair !