Saturday, December 15, 2012

Snowy owl

Snowy Owl is one of the Holiday 2012 cards that I have designed.  It is designed to fit on both a 5 " square card and a 4.25 x 5.5 card. The original is acrylics on paper.

I thought that I had posted this, but when I went to find the post to use for "Illustration Friday" (The theme is "Snow"), I didn't see it. So, if this is a repeat, I apologize.

This got the most likes of all the cards when I uploaded the designs to facebook.  My most selective retail outlet ordered it.  And, my LMT ordered some to give to her clients.  How cool is that!

This design was not the one to get the first retail sale though.  That honor goes to "Skating with Dogs".

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Barb's new cat

I am not entirely sure this is done. Perhaps the eye on the left is a bit too outlined.  I will paint today and try to remove the starkness from the eye.

I need to get this in the mail, though. Tomorrow, I hope.

Now, back to dog commissions!  Happy day!

Thursday, December 06, 2012


This is Peewee, my sister's cat. I don't often like how my sister names her cats (we had kegger and miller growing up) or how she treats her cats (declaws them but doesn't spay them). Somehow, though, this cat, from a fuzzy out-of-focus film camera caught my eye. 

I'll be sending this as a holiday present.  Being the literal minded, realistic art sort of person that my sister is, she may not even think this looks like Peewee. 

What's that saying?  You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your relatives.  

Monday, December 03, 2012


I am still participating in Illustration Friday. It's actually a fun break from doing the more formal ( if you can call my art formal) pet portraits.  I have two commissions for the holidays.  I could do one more if you know of anyone who wants a whimsical pet portrait....

This is a morning calisthenics class in high meadow.  Everyone is supposed to be following the bird, but the raccoon just needed to stretch! 

This is mixed media, approximately 8.5 x 8.5 inches on 140 lb paper. 

It is for sale, but I have to find a mat for it.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Izzy Bee

Rats make great pets. Really. They are intelligent, social, and very entertaining. 
This is a portrait of a very special rat, Izzy Bee.  She was entertaining and very cute and was an ambassador at Ideal Pet Stop for what rats can be.
I had planned to paint this for years, and it had been laid out on a 4 x 4 canvas in my studio. When I finally decided to paint the portrait, it came easily.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


This is another of my winter cards. While others may think birds in snow covered trees represent winter to them, to me, it's sweaters on dogs.  But have you ever seen a scarf on a dog?
My dog, Penny. just got a new sweater that she loves . While I got it at Ideal Pet Stop, it's a Chilly Dog Sweater.  And they sell scarves too!  But I have never seen a scarf on a dog -- or a cat.
Here is my attempt to show scarves on cats and dogs.  I originally thought I'd dress the animals in Washington university scarves.  And the colors are nominally a homage.  I just needed to add more pattern that the scarves I saw on the football fans that I crowded next to while they were riding the light rail home. 
This design is available as a card both individually and as a set at my Etsy store. Soon it will be available as a 7 x 7 print, too.  I must get mats!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Skating with dogs

Once in a while, I am not sure how well I execute a certain idea. I first thought I'd do a card with couple's figure skaters, perhaps a dog lifting a cat in one of those complicated poses.  But, with the anthropomorphism of the skaters, I got stuck.  So I simplified the skating (and the costumes) and put three figures on the page in a simple triangle placement.

I was happy enough with the design to make it into cards, just like I did with the other holiday cards labeled on my blog.  I thought this design was the least successful, but it was the first card sold.

You just never know... 

Crazy Cat Santa

 Who knew Santa was a cat lover? With this many cats, he could even be considered Crazy Cat Santa.  Now, we know why his clothes are so furry! 

Living with Santa on North Pole, these cats are all a bit wary of new faces. They will all run if you get too close.

For this, and the last design I posted, my inspiration was "Santa Claws." I knew I had to paint Santa with cats.  I tried two different poses, both based upon my memories, and then imagining where cats would sit on Santa.  These cats like Santa's beard. And, one likes his head.

I do have a cat who sleeps on my head, but I don't have a cat who jumps on my head when I am awake.  But, then, I don't wear a hat too often. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Santa and three cats!

I am cheating.  I have tried for the past three weeks to participate in a creative work called "Illustration Friday" where a theme is selected and the participating artists create their interpretations of the theme.
The theme for Illustration Friday is "Whiskers" and this painting has plenty.  This is one of the designs I finished to create cards out of for the holiday season so it is not made expressly for Illustration Friday. But close counts. 
What's with the nose?  I love interesting noses, whether they are on cats, dogs, next door neighbors, or Santas.  Now that I look at this, I see that Santa's nose looks a bit like my husband's. But, don't tell him I said that!
One of my friends called this my rocking Santa, but I don't think he's rocking.  I think he's thinking!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Antarctic fashion

In our multicultural society, Christmas cards become holiday cards, which become winter cards.  What are our images of winter? Do we have common themes?  What animals are associated with winter? Polar bears, seals, and penguins!  My penguins wear scarves and earmuffs and mittens! 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Frenchie in sweater

I saw a friend's picture of her french bulldog in a monkey sweater while I was creating holiday card designs. The original photo was full of shadow, emotive. I originally was just sketching, playing with ideas, and when the personality emerged so fully, I decided to paint with autumnal colors. 
This painting is the only one I did this year in yellows and oranges. 
My lovely  dog got a new red sweater, so any red sweater I'd paint would have to have my dog as a model! 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cat in Tree

Hello. Sorry for the absence.  I bought a new printer that didn't have scanning capabilities and failed to recognize it before I gave the printer away.  I finally bought a freestanding scanner and now I've got lots to add to my blog.
I've spent the last few days creating holiday designs to make into cards for sale at Ideal Pet Stop and the new Munsey and Bayle in Seattle.  I also hope to create an Etsy store this week (Tips, anyone) where I could sell to more than just Seattle. 
This is just one of the card designs.  I also used it as part of a weekly challenge I have with an artist/illustrator friend of mine. We've committed to have illustrations done every week to show one another. 
I am posting this design first, not because I think it is the best, but because I also plan on showing it  as part of Illustration Friday, where a new topic is chosen each week and participants show illustrations related to that theme.  This week's theme is tree.  I think this covers it!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ad for Washington Boxer Rescue

A new friend gave me space in the Washington Boxer Rescue fundraising calendar and I spent a couple of hours this week designing a 12" x 2" ad. These are the two finalists. I asked for feedback from my Facebook people as to which color they liked as a background and got about 50% of folks liking the red and 50% liking the purple. 

I gave my new friend the choice.  We'll see what color the ad will end up and on what color of paper.

I am about ready to begin two more commissions.  But I am also painting a couple of portraits for fun: one is my sister's cat, and the other is a cute dog of another Facebook fan that had the happiest expression I'd seen in a long time. 

I am also painting some spirit animals...Currently, I am thinking about a series with attributes woven into the paintings.   Currently, I have plans for a coyote (my major power animal, according to Faye the Tattoed Psychic), a deer, and a crow.  I've got the coyote ready to paint. 

As always, you can see more of my paintings, by going to

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Louie in Blue

A couple of months ago, a gentleman for whom I had painted two portraits contacted me.  He wanted me to paint a portrait of a dog who accompanies a woman back and forth from Bainbridge to Seattle.  This gentleman is a state patrol officer in the K9 unit stationed at the Colman dock.  The dog, Louie, reminded him of his dear lab, Abby, who I painted as a surprise Christmas present for him from his partner.

This officer struck up a friendship with this woman years ago because his black lab was about the same age. As the years went by, the black labs' muzzles grew gray, their mobility decreased.  Eventually, his lab, Abby, died. It was two months before her 16th birthday.  He received one of my paintings for Christmas when the grief was still fresh.

But the woman still had Louie.  Eight  months ago, Louie could no longer manage the 1/2 mile from the ferry terminal  and so the state patrol officer didn't see him any more.  Then, Louie died. The woman, (and I think, the officer) was heartbroken.  The officer wondered what he could do for her.  He remembered how much it helped to have a painting of his dearest friend Abby and contacted me. 

I had to finish a couple of other commissions before I could start on Louie.  I then worked with low resolution pictures because the officer didn't want to ask for photos as a basis for a painting.  My usual tricks of changing the contrast and light values on the digital photos to see the lines better didn't work:  the picture became fuzzy.  Areas that I had difficulty with where the jowls as they moved toward the ear and the definition of the ear.  I  left this painting and tried a different layout that showed more of Louie's body (and, I hoped, where the "problem areas" didn't fall into the powerful area where, employing the rule of thirds, the horizontal and vertical lines met).

I tried again and got the curves right on the left side and the right ear. I then went back and fixed the same lines on the first painting. I asked the officer to choose which painting to give to the woman.  He chose Louie in Blue.  

Thursday, September 06, 2012

For Jillian

Jillian bid on a custom pet portrait offered at a Purrfect Pals fundraiser where she was a lab tech.  She wrote me a heartfelt letter about her cat, who had been an indoor/outdoor cat who had caught FIV, and then died, years later.
This cat was hard for me to finish because I wanted to capture the torn ears, the inside/outside life, and of course his personality. 
One of my cats was dying too while I was painting this and Jillian's story hit home. 
Indoor/outdoor cats don't live as long as indoor cats and are more succeptable to illnesses. 

Tuesday, September 04, 2012


 I have painted all of my friend Kris's cats.  They were early paintings, created to make sure that I could capture unique personalities on canvas.  And, they were easy... Three different personalities, even if they all wearing the same color scheme.  I knew them too -- I've even cat sitted for Kris, because she, like me is very particular over who cares for her animals.  We've talked about being the caretakers for our animals if the other dies -- because we each trust the other to do the right thing for our animals. 
I would do most anything for Kris.  Recently, her cat, Simon, ran away from home.  Naturally a skittish cat with feral roots, Kris has been worried for over 20 days.  She has tried to trap him.  When she thought she had him cornered, my husband and I stopped what we were doing and ran over to help. The attempt failed and I ended up driving Kris to the emergency room in her new car. 
I think Kris would do a lot for me, too.  She buys me thoughtful "just because" presents and keeps my dog and cats well stocked in toys, treats, and aqua filters.  She even thinks of my paintings when it's time to give othters special presents. 
This is a painting of Kris' friend, Mindy's, dog Bailey. 
Bailey was a girly dog and loved very much.  Kris imagined the painting to be in pinks and purples. The background was originally lavendar. I thought I had finished the painting, but it didn't feel done. One day, I took it with me "to finish" at another friend's house.  I was inspired by the bright colors that her very girly children were wearing and put a few brighter colors in the background. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Becket, for Charlie

I had my husband scan this painting, thinking it was done, but I think I want to add more green to the eyes, more whiskers in the ears, and more shadow around the nose.

That's what scanning sometimes does, highlight the imperfections.

But, this blog is not meant to be a meditation on how I fail as an artist, it's meant to provide a little background into inspiration, and to give you, the reader, a sense of my connection with the animal. I may not know the animal personally, but I know what his person tells me.

Becket was one of my husband's cats. He showed up at the front door one day, greeting my husband, who had his arms full of groceries.  When my husband turned the handle of the door, Becket was the first one in.  Clearly, he had found his home.

Of course, we took him to the vet, who neutered him and told us he was a healthy adolescent boy. He was very affectionate; he was one of those boy cats who knew how to cuddle. He was a delight.    But, he soon got into a territorial war with BeetleCat, the cow cat that my husband had rescued as a kitten. They started wars as to who could mark the most territory, and my husband went through many gallons of enzyme cleaners.  Becket needed to find a new home, though, after he sprayed my husband's bare legs. Ugh. 

Thankfully, the next door neighbor loved him just as much; in his house, he only peed in the bathtub.  He lived happily with Charlie for about 13 years and died  on his front porch.  My husband asked me to paint a memorial to give to Charlie, who still talks about Becket.

Becket, by the way, is a short length of rope used for securing spars,  and other nautical devices. A becket has an eye at one end and a thick knot or a toggle at the other.

I'll post the finished piece, too. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Horse at Red Barn

One of the women I met through a VERY active email alias at Microsoft asked me to donate to a fun fundraiser called HeART of the Horse, which benefits Save a Forgotten Equine (SAFE) Horse Rescue.

I don't have the opportunity to paint many horses. As a Montana grrl, you would think I grew up around horses. but I really didn't have much opportunity to be around them except for summer visits to my aunt's farm. I loved horses, but there were also cats at the farm, and cats I could take home.

But, I loved horses and their power and their agreement to work with us. So, when I got the chance to donate to this organization, I definitely wanted to donate. This is a painting based on a picture taken from the woman who told me about the fundraiser. Very generous.

Now, I'm waiting to get my 6x6 canvas so that I can start on my piece of the Select Sixty-Four part of the Heart fundraiser.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


It's spring although right now it's snowing in Seattle.

Crows and robins have been greeting me in the morning when I take the dog out. One robin is so fat that she looks like she can't fly.

I thought I'd paint a rabit, an ancient sign of spring.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Winken was painted as a Christmas present for a woman who lives here in the Rainier Valley. Winken is not her cat, but her mother's deceased cat.

We were unable to get a picture of Winken with his eyes open, so we punted. Jen agreed that these look pretty close.

The background is the color of Winken's favorite chair.

I especially love his jowls.

Valentine cards

These are two cards that I recently delivered to Ideal Pet Shop for Valentine's day--a little break from pet portraits. My next portrait is a lovely black cat. I am looking forward to it.
I'll post the most recent pet portraits next,