Thursday, August 28, 2008

Happy Chessie

Happy Birthday, Maggie!!
Yesterday was my special girls 7th birthday. As you can see she got a nice new bone to chew and she was very happy. We usually celebrate with a Twinkie as the birthday cake, but had to make due with a shortcake, coolwhip and some raspberries. Not that Maggie cares...she eats just about anything. No food issues here! We wrapped the bone in paper and she excitedly tore it to shreds then proceeded to carry the bone everywhere. Surprisingly, she didn't chew on it at all last night or even today. I'm not quite sure what that is all about and she's not letting me in on the secret!

It's hard to believe she is seven years old already. She's starting to show just a little gray around the muzzle and she's developed that very distinctive Chesapeake smell that comes from the oil in their coat. I've had her swimming alot lately to get her ready for the duck hunting season so I'm sure that's encouraging the oil glands to produce extra. My SUV smells like wet chessie every day. To those of us who love this breed it's a delightful smell!!

Work at the studio is moving along. I'm trying to get as many current commissions done as I can in preparation for the upcoming holiday season. Usually, by October I am fully booked for Christmas. I am also trying to create a design for a state duck stamp that is due in October so I need some time cleared to work on that. I just finished a portrait of a boxer and am working on a much loved mixed breed dog that recently passed away. He was a permanent resident at one of the local vet clinics and spent his days curled up under the feet of the receptionist. We're doing a portrait of him there in his favorite place.

Time to move away from the computer and go grab a pencil. It looks like it's going to be a beautiful day outside and the garden is calling my name, too. Some days, as much as I love what I'm doing, I just want to run off and play. Looks like that's not going to be today! Sigh!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Enumclaw Dog Show

This past weekend my husband and I traveled to Enumclaw, Wa. for the Olympic Kennel Clubs dog show. I had a booth there featuring some of my canine art and was hoping to attract some new clients who might be interested in having a portrait done as well as sell some of my prints and note cards of previous work. On the way over we decided to take the scenic route and drove through the Mt. Rainier National Park. This was indeed a very scenic area as the photo shows. I didn't really realize it, but that's one big chunk of rock!! The whole area is awe inspiring and I did have the opportunity to play tourist and at least snap some great pictures which may or may not become paintings some day. If I'd have had more time I would have loved to do some hiking and explore a little more, but my main objective was to be at that dog show so I'll have to plan another time for fun.
The show was busy and exciting and the weather was unbelievably hot for that area. Most of the show is held outdoors and that's where the vendors were, too. We tried to keep as cool as possible with awnings, fans and lots of water and they had set up a place with misters and fans for the people and a wading pool for the dogs to splash in. I was thinking the pool was looking pretty good and wondered if the dogs would mind if I joined them! I took along something to work on and completed this black lab puppy while I was there. Under normal conditions this would have been a quick and easy drawing to complete, but because it was so hot my hands were even sweating so I had to take breaks and dry off.
The show itself was over three days and on the last day about 4 a. m. some thunderstorms started to develop and move through. The lightning was spectacular and it struck a transformer and put out the power in our motel. Ever try to shower in the dark?
Fortunately, we had flashlights and got packed and headed over to check my booth and determine if it was safe to stay. I'm not exactly excited about being out in thunderstorms and the sky was looking pretty threatening. My husband told me I had five minutes to make up my mind to stay or pull up stakes and go. I hate making quick decisions, but a gut feeling said to cut and run. Within minutes the wind picked up and as we ran to start packing our booth up things all around us started flying around.
Now, I need to back up just a bit and tell you that last year some local folks told us that the name Enumclaw meant "big evil wind" so we were well prepared just in case and my husband who is a stickler for things being strong and secure had anchored down our tent and then anchored it again with stakes and straps so that in the event the "big evil wind" made an appearance my artwork would be safe. And indeed it was. However, we were in danger of being hit by flying canopies, signs, and product out of other vendor booths that had not been secured. We worked quickly and efficiently and managed to get everything loaded and got safely on the road to home.
Sometimes God picks unusual times to speak to me and as we were pulling away He reminded me that life is often like the "big evil wind". If we are not prepared for the storms that come, if we are not anchored down, when the storms come we will be swept away. It amazed me that so many vendors and even the dog show sponsors had not considered staking down their canopies or covering their product and when the storm started moving through it was destroying everything that was not anchored down or protected. I also considered how many people go through life just this way, including myself at times, and how important it is for us to have our feet firmly planted on the rock of God's word. I'm always appreciative when God takes the time to remind me of what is really important.
Well, thanks for listening to my ramblings this day. If anyone is interested in this pencil drawing of a black lab puppy, please contact me.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Newest Painting - Dachshund

Just off the easel this past week is this little dachshund that I've simply titled "Doxie and Ivy." I have a dog show coming up this weekend in Enumclaw, Wa. and I decided I needed a few new pieces so I created this. It is done in colored pencil and I decided to try a few different techniques with creating a dark background. After applying several layers of color I dipped a brush in some turpentine and used it to dissolve and blend the colors. Then I added some other color over that to even it all out. I usually don't get too carried away with backgrounds in my portraits as I really just like to focus on the animal, but every once in awhile it's good to stretch and try something new. Keeps me from getting bored!
This piece is for sale. It's an 8 x 10 painting, matted and framed for $300.00. If you are interested in giving it a good home you can email me at
Thanks for looking! I'm off to organize and pack for the show!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Downtown Deer

Wonders never cease! This morning I got up and as I was making my coffee I looked out my window to see this nice mule deer buck jump the fence in my neighbors yard and walk down the sidewalk! I thought I was dreaming! I live in a downtown area although not far from a park and the river and bike paths along it. In 11 years of living here I have never seen a deer in town though they are sometimes in the park. For me it's always a treat to see wildlife and nature and even though I live in town I try to attract birds, etc. And even though I live in town my heart is always in the wild somewhere. I grew up in a rural area and that is always where I want to be...somewhere out and away where nature wanders through your yard all the time.
I guess I was missing this aspect of my life alot this weekend as my husband, Brian, and I took a trip to the mountains in Idaho to a place that we spent alot of time at quite a few years ago now. We drove around remembering hikes, hunting and time we'd spent together there. We located a small stream that we'd found some pretty rocks in once and tried panning for gold, though all we really found were alot more pretty rocks and lots of small garnets. It was a wonderful, relaxing time, but as I drove out of the area and headed back to town my heart started longing for the quiet and solitude that I found there. I truly miss that and lately seem to desire it more and more. I guess God knew that and sent this deer this morning to remind me He always knows the desires of my heart. I may not be able to live in the wilds right now, but God reminded me that His wild creation is all around us.... all we have to do is be willing to open our eyes and our hearts to it.
A while back I had a dream where people told me I was to make God visible to a world that can't see Him. Perhaps this is one way, by sharing little surprises like this. Thank you for this day, Lord, and thank you for this reminder!