Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Dog Story

As we walked down the driveway in the slanted evening light, I felt a bit sad watching Stewie come to terms with his disability. For a pup that was born with a hole in his head, he's really not dumb at all. His poor vision is an impediment. He is working on honing his other senses, but the way sound tends to bounce is often confusing to him. When a situation gets beyond his control, he makes the choice to just sit still and wait for rescue. I find this incredibly wise, especially at his tender age of four months.

Though he possesses a generous helping of terrier bravado, he has enough sense to know he's not immortal. Tonight when we were walking we met the neighbor's new German shepherd pup, who is about Stewie's same age, but an elephant by comparison. When he saw her, he immediately had to run up and say hello and offer to play -- but then quickly realized she was going to be way too much dog for him.

The GSD, named Celine, thought Stewie must be her own personal squeaky toy. She wasn't biting him as much as wanting to flatten him with her paw. Stewie could see well enough to tell that I was crouching down, and he made a beeline for me.

But he was never in any real danger, because Big Sister was there. Ripple helps me in puppy classes, as she has a terrific sense about how to put a stop to inappropriate stuff. She was on this German shepherd like a bullet! It was amazing to watch.

Celine tried to rassle with her at first, but that went over like an anvil. This wasn't a game. That pup was going to learn some respect, and that was that. When Celine flashed around in a game of dodge, Rip simply outran her. She body slammed her and sent her rolling. Every time she hit the pup, she snarled. Pretty soon Celine decided that her best option was to bolt for home! Once again, that was not an option! Rip ran her down and hit her again, this time circling to drive her back to us. Finally, the pup learned that her only acceptable recourse was to lie flat in submission.

Once Rip had established the rules, they got along just fine. They even sat together for treats, and Rip even played with her! Who knows... It could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship!

Today's Equine Art

Today’s project is a portrait of my hero, the one and only Secretariat. I was so excited to learn that Disney is making a movie about him this year!


Saturday, March 28, 2009

My New Book!

"The Horses Who Inspired Me", a new book featuring my equine paintings, poems and essays, and a coupla sneak peeks at the Clifford Book #3! I'm happy to say it is live and online at:

And you can get $2.00 off if you order this weekend with the code:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Horses Who Inspired Me - Preview

I am working on a book featuring some of my equine art, and a preview of some chapters from the third Clifford Book. Here is a preview with a questionnaire:


Feel free to share the link with anyone you know who loves horses.


All Stewie, All the Time

He can run like the wind; he just can't see where he's going!

Here comes trouble!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


...Got to spend a fun Monday with Amanda! We went to the movies.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mexican Stew

Yesterday Stewie experienced a haphazard meeting with the neighbor's Chihuahua, whom he figured was showing up just for him...

The Chi was less than thrilled...

Stewie is all terrier, for sure. The poor Chi didn't stand a chance. Stewie is doing a little better with the house breaking, although still seems to have some issues with bladder control. He seems to be getting the idea to go outside a little bit. He's four months old now and it will be two more weeks before typically a dog can really hold its bladder anyway.

He has been doing some food guarding, and in fact growling and snarling over the bowl and he even nailed me and drew blood! So I've started sitting with him every day while he eats, and dropping little pieces of boiled liver into his bowl. Stewie is so food-crazed that he gags himself sometimes. I think it is due to the competition he had as an infant. Anyway, I am giving him more meals now, in an attempt to decrease the value of food a little bit. He loves the liver and is getting a little less defensive about his bowl now. He has learned to "sit", "down", "come" and "dance". The dancing is his favorite trick -- he spins in a clockwise circle. The hungrier he is, the faster he spins. When he smells that liver, he really whips around.

I want to teach him to "roll over", but he's so excitable it's going to be tricky. I have gotten him to go over on one hip when he's in a down, but so far that's it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Today's Note Cards - Australian Terriers

I posted some more horse notes the other day and yesterday some German shepherds. Today I found this old watercolor of some Australian Terriers. I took a photo of the adult dog at a dog show. For some reason, I decided to paint it decimating a petunia bed with some puppies! The original is long sold, but divvied up, it makes a cute set of note cards for eBay.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Stewie Update

Housebreaking was getting nowhere. I was getting worried the constant peeing, peeing in the crate etc. might be due to Stewie's congenital problem. I met Lori and we took him to her vet. He has a BAD bladder infection. Both Lori and the vet COULD NOT BELIEVE the difference in him after three weeks. He was doing sits, downs and his little dance twirl for treats. He was happy and attentive. Lori said it was amazing. He has gained ¾ of a lb (now up to about 5 ½ lbs), and is a little thin but I imagine it is because he’s burning it all off right now. Lori couldn’t get over how much his coordination/movement has improved. That’s all muscle tone. She also kept commenting on how quiet and happy he was in the crate.

I was relieved to know that he is indeed growing. It’s hard for me to tell. I did know his muscle tone was better but couldn’t tell about size. Also vastly relieved about the infection. He's on Clavamox and we'll see how he does with the crate-peeing when his health improves!

We came home and Rip wore him out with some playtime.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Today's Equine Art

...Is a monochromatic piece on grey pastel board, 9 x 12".

Check it out on ebay.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Now that Clifford is eighteen, I have finally tracked down the person who had him when he was born. Today she sent me his baby pictures!

Boy, I'd know him anywhere!

Totally Terrier

Here is a pic of Stewie with the longsuffering Rip. She really is great with him, although I don't leave her trapped with him for long periods and she's never alone with him. The little guy is getting stronger all the time and developing a neat personality. Today he ran into his crate to ask for breakfast. He still bites but is showing a little more inhibition now with the amount that he chomps down. I'm working on gentling him in increments.

Housebreaking has been a different matter. I let him off the hook since even though he's three and a half months old now, he has the size and bladder of an eight week old pup. However, his random peeing and pooping all over the house is getting old. Plus, since he had never been outside, he prefers to pee on a flat surface and that has included the inside of his crate. I'd had this happen before with a toy poodle and I never was able to break him of this nasty habit. I decided this time will be different. I have assigned Stewie a smaller crate -- one he barely fits in. He spent the night in it last night, and got through it just fine. So far so good.

More Horse Notes

I listed these and another design on eBay. This is Gayle, a friend's mare. She's black, but I took advantage of the neat lighting to incorporate some other colors for a unique result.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Friday, March 6, 2009

Today's Watercolor - Golden Eagle

...Is a golden eagle. I never seem to have any time to paint wildlife. So today I decided to just go for it! Life is short.

This piece is about 8 x 10", Listed on eBay.

Today's Note Cards on eBay

Here is a Sheltie Agility design. The first letter of each line in the poem spells out, "Agility".

I also posted these collie watercolor note cards today.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Rerunning Old Art - Abyssinian, Siamese Cat

I have all these images sitting around doing nothing, so thought I would list some note cards on eBay.

This is a pen and ink drawing of Cos, an Abyssinian.

I am also listing this portrait of a Siamese.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Wholly Terrier

Now Stewie, given a breakfast of kibble in a bowl, thinks he would rather earn chicken or baby food. So he forsakes it to come and hang around my feet, sitting and waiting.

This is the calmest he has ever been, and it's early in the day! This is what I was hoping to see -- the cerebral cortex kicking in.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

God Loves a Terrier

Stewie's been with me about ten days now, and I've been just letting him be a dog. He runs a lot and is calming down a little bit. He shows no separation anxiety indoors, but fortunately for me he is really making an effort to seek and stay close to me (or Rippy) outside.

He had his first clicker session today. He gets absolutely wild when he smells food, so I decided to do it with baby food. He is so small that he can't chew anything quickly, and he can't see things well enough to find them if they hit the floor. (I've decided that he's nearly blind.) Besides that, he still bites so hard I thought eating from a metal spoon might deter that a bit.

I cracked open the baby food, and he was running around like mad, searching for the source of the smell. He was literally spinning, trying to find it. I clicked and stuck the end of the spoon right in his face. He went nuts! He clamped down on the spoon, hard. I just let him do it. He had baby food smeared all over his face and whiskers. I decided a smaller spoonful would be better. When I took the spoon away, he ran and dashed around trying to find it again. He paused for just a second to sniff the floor, and I clicked and immediately delivered the spoon again.

After a few repetitions of this, he had a, "Wah-wah" moment! He became very excited upon hearing the click, and I knew he understood. I started waiting for longer periods of quiet. First they started with just sniffing. Then, I began clicking only when his head was up. Finally, he settled down enough to pay attention, although he really couldn't watch. He would stand and turn his head, searching for any shadows. He used his ears, though, tipping this way and that, listening for a sign of movement.

Within twelve minutes of the start of the session, he had learned to "sit" on cue. He began doing it by voice command. Sometimes he would sit with his back to me, still listening -- he was that disoriented. I waited for longer periods of quiet from him, letting him think and making him really pay attention. With his handicap, he is going to have to learn to really listen.

I will do more attention work with him next time, but I was glad to see he was able to focus on this simple task.

Thinking is hard work, and tonight he is a much more mellow pup! I was able to get this picture of him when he stretched out for a few contemplative moments.

Today's Project - German Shepherd Plate

This is Sam, who sadly succombed recently to old age. The plate is black stoneware, about 11" across, with baked enamel.