Friday, February 29, 2008

Horse Easter Cards

My oil painting, "Pal O' Mine", with a mare and foal saying hello to a calico kitty, has translated pretty nicely into an Easter card. The colors are so spring-y. It's wishful thinking as I sit here looking out the window at a blizzard, but I know it's just around the corner. Really.

Anyway these are on eBay.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

New Dating Site?

Has there been a site invented yet called

If so, please let me know.


A New Season

My book, "Return to Manitou" tells the story of how my best friend of 23 years, Kimmy, was given six months to live. She survived only a few weeks past this prognosis in 2003.

During those precious last weeks, she and I discussed what should be done with her pit bull, Pooh Bear. Pooh was living with her in California at the time, and I was willing to take her although the adjustment would have been difficult. Pooh had been a couch potato during all ten years of her life, and though she had met me a few times, wouldn't have known me from Adam. She wasn't well socialized. Her world consisted of Kim, her couch, and daytime T.V.

When Kimmy died in April, her mother flew to the West Coast and immediately made the decision to adopt Pooh. She brought her back to Northern Michigan. Janice was living alone with no other pets. The adjustment was still tough on Pooh, as she had to contend with a plane trip and leaving the only home she had ever known -- plus the stress of losing Kimmy had taken its toll.

She bounced back remarkably well, and lived out the next four years with few problems. Janice really came to love her, and she and the dog bonded strongly.

Time as always took its toll last year, and Pooh was laid to rest. Her passing was terribly hard on both of us, as this was, we felt, one of our last connections to Kim. I went up to see Janice after Pooh died. We talked about another dog, but Janice was firm -- there would never be another dog, as there could never be another Pooh. End of story.

Then today, I received a letter, with news that I have a new doggy "niece"! She's a mixed breed, part Boxer, from the shelter. She's six months old. Janice says she has learned a couple of tricks already, is well house trained and loves to jump and play in the snow. She enclosed this picture.

The new pup is "Winnie".

I just look at the picture and I can see how Janice couldn't say no to that face! I am sure she will be a great comfort to Janice, as she already is to me.

Janice, a woman in her seventies, is a great inspiration to me. She embraces life as it marches on.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Today's Project - Black Horse in Oil Pencil

Trying to keep up my horse sketching trend. Here is a profile of a dark horse on black charcoal paper. The drawing is in oil pencil/conte. The original is about 9 x 12" and currently listed on eBay.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Do Dogs Have a Sense of Humor?

Lewis gets to star again in this article I wrote for my hub about Dogs and Humor. There are a couple of cute anecdotes in it about him and Scorch. I did this watercolor of Lew some years back -- my folks still have it hanging in their living room. It's called, "The Joke's On You" and has been my most popular piece in the Newfie circles.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Today's Watercolor - Kestrel

I had lots of fun last year when I saw a kestrel coming and going from a hole in the barn overhang. I stuck my head up in the hole and found four eggs. A few weeks later I took the ladder, stuck my head in again and found four little puff balls staring back at me.

I didn't interfere with them, even though I SO wanted to grab one and raise it myself. But they did come out and they spent the rest of that season shrieking and calling to each other while the parents fed them. It was so wonderful and I so hoped they would come back this year... Alas. Maybe in the spring?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Today's Best

So I am sitting here loading some art work for note cards on Zazzle, while I work on a new watercolor. (I've learned that, with dialup, multitasking is the only way to go.) Suddenly, an email from Zazzle pops in:


Your product, Newfoundland "Patience", has been selected as one of Today's Best on Zazzle!

This means it will appear on the Zazzle homepage for the rest of today and it will also be added to the Todays Best Awards Showcase. Keep up the great work!

Bask. Glow. The honor is yours to enjoy.


This is pretty cool! "Patience" is a watercolor I did several years ago, starring Dad's beloved Newfie, Lewis. I hadn't been spending too much time loading stuff on Zazzle for the simple fact that it takes too long. Finally today I started investing the time. They sure figured out how to reward me!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Excellent Blog Award!

Many thanks to my fellow blogger, Gecko the Aussie, of Geckomusings, for the award! I am so honored. It's funny too because I've had Australia on the brain a lot lately. My cousin who has a farm in New South Wales is currently visiting. My friend Kristi, who lives just down the road, has taken a trip there and is Down Under today. Last year I was contacted by an old friend I knew in Alaska, back in the eighties! Guess where she lives now... Right! Australia!

Then of course, there is my lovely Aussie shepherd, Ms. Ripple, although I hear they don't really hail from Australia. And I just finished blogging about Skidboot, the famous half Australian cattle dog.

I suspect there is a trip to Australia in my future. I don't know when or how... But I'll get there!

Thank you Gecko for the award!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Today's Watercolor - Whitetail Buck

This is a gift for my cousin who is visiting from Australia. He collects my work and usually takes something back with him when he goes. Bill's dad died in WWII and he spent a year or so with my parents when he was a boy. He has a lot of fond memories of Drummond Island, and gets back whenever he can. The deer herd on the island isn't what it was, thanks to overzealous hunting, but it can bounce back if given the opportunity. This watercolor is 9 x 12".

Sunday, February 17, 2008

"Now I Can Run" - Equine Sympathy Poem

Now I can run on the wind
My skin like a velvet shiver on the breeze
My hoofs passing over the grass
In leaps too great to be measured
My mane tumbling like the boiling clouds
You will feel my breath
In the warmth of summer
You will hear my heart beat
In the sounds of the sky
Now I can run
In these great, wide rolling hills of time
I am truly free
Here in the spaces of your heart

I finally made the card available online. Here's the link.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Today's Project - Kitty Doe

Kitty Doe is still alive -- YAY! Her folks were kind enough to let me select from a bevy of pics. I chose this one with the fern because of the delightful array of shapes and colors. This is watercolor, 9 x 12". This actually turned into a two day project due to a lot of masking and layers. I made a video of this painting while it was under construction -- hope to have it edited and available for viewing soon.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Thinking Horse - Part 2

Ironically, I was investigating the subject already when something happened in the barn. Clifford, who often lets himself out of the stall if I leave the door unlatched, did so that day. I was busy with the water bucket, and didn't really mind. He often wanders loose around the backyard. There was a blizzard outside, though, and the snow was really piling up. Since I was down at the end of the aisle, I couldn't do much about it when I heard Trudy's hoofbeats clopping across the rubber mat on Clifford's floor. She had walked in through his open Dutch door, and then let herself out into the barn aisle. She took off out the door after him.

I had two loose horses in a blizzard, snorting in the cold and geeking each other up. I had been wondering just what goes through their little noggins anyway. In my online searching, I found out that there hadn't been much research done on the cognitive skills of horses -- but what I did find was no surprise.

I wrote this article about it for my hub.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Today's Project - Kobra

This is Kobra, a high drive working German shepherd with her well-loved ball. Sadly, this is another postmortem commission, as Kobra died last month due to a spleen problem. She was only seven years old. This is pastel on pastel board, 12 x 16".

Keeping the Farm

I know a few other people in Michigan who are in the same boat as I. I have a couple of friends who are struggling, and we just kind of whisper amongst ourselves because it's not PC to whine publicly -- even if we feel like screaming. Here are some facts about my particular situation:

1) I stayed married for 7 years longer than I wanted to, so I wouldn't have to sell my horses.

2) The marriage finally ended and I kept the house because I didn't want to have to sell my horses. Honestly, there is more sentimental value attached to the barn, which was built specifically for Clifford and Trudy.

3) I have not worked outside of the home since 1989.

4) The economy in Michigan is the worst -- or perhaps second worst -- in the nation.

Nobody in Michigan is hiring. I mean, nobody! I've been duped already by a pyramid scheme but continue to search for avenues of income. I've been trying to use my gifts, thinking this has to be the right way to go, and meanwhile, quite frankly, I'm trying not to panic.

I have had so many people tell me my life would be simpler if I would just let the horses go. I just have to laugh. Those are people who can't possibly relate.

I know that in a struggling economy, the arts are the first thing to go, but I just have to believe that I'll be able to take care of us, and we will be okay. There's a reason for everything. So to other artists and writers out there, take heart! You're not alone. Stay true to your gifts, and do good work, and the answers will come to you.

“The universal law states 'create or disintegrate.' Therefore, you are either growing or dying — there is no staying the same.” — James Arthur Ray

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Today's Project - White Horse on Purple

Still doing my quick color experimentations amidst other bigger projects -- this one is pastel and conte on heavy textured purple charcoal paper. I've listed it on on eBay.

Cognitive Skills (Or, What Clifford Did Today)

I just told my friend Ellen a little Cliffy story. It is cold and windy up here on the hill. The horses are SO HAPPY. They weren't even voracious for their hay as I imagined they would be. I had left a few carrots in a bag in the barn and they were frozen. I dropped one as I went into Clifford's stall, and since I had a bucket in my other hand he was focused on that and didn't notice the carrot on the floor.

"I dropped a carrot," I pointed at it. "It's right there. Pick it up."

He immediately left the bucket chase to follow the direction of my pointing finger and get the carrot.

Sure, he can fetch a cone and other stuff, but this shows that he has a complete understanding of the whole "point and fetch" concept -- because he didn't know the carrot was there. I was pretty flabbergasted.

Monday, February 4, 2008

My Horse Art on eBay

I decided to draw a white horse to illustrate my Ghost Horse Poem which is on my hub. I like working with charcoal and conte so much that I sketched a buckskin as well. Commissions are great, but drawing horses is really my first love. Kinda takes me back to the old days when I used to sit up in my room and write hundreds of pages of horse stories, and draw illustrations for them. I guess I never grew up!

I was giving a talk at the Drummond Island Library a couple of years ago. The hosts asked the audience if anyone wanted to say something about my work. To my surprise, my oldest brother Jon (the mountain man) got up and went to the podium. He told the audience that when I was a really small child, I used to draw pictures with "text balloons" next to them, like they have in the funny papers. I was too young to write, so I made little dashes that were supposed to look like words. I was writing before I could write! I was really glad that he said this because I'd never heard it before. It was such a terrific affirmation of who I am, and that I have been doing the right thing with my life.

Anyway -- here are eBay links for this art work:
White Horse

Friday, February 1, 2008

Elk Spirit

"Teach me, oh Shaman, the lessons you know, the wind in your nose and the high country snow..." I walked up in the Cascade Mountains with my brother Jon and we found a herd of elk. The sight of them inspired this poem. The painting was a gift for my mountain man brother, 18 x 24" acrylic.