Thursday, October 19, 2006

It's been a while since I had a chance to blog. This entry may, in fact, be a little short. I am preparing to send several matted prints to the Dream Dachshund Halloweenie picnic in Georgia, where they will be selling them for me. I provided the art for the logo and for their event t-shirts, and will also be sending some prints for them to raffle or auction: If you are in Georgia I hope you get a chance to attend this rescue event and say hello to the hardworking volunteers there.
The picture at left is one that will go on auction tonight. I am painting several square and small rectangular pieces with the view of using the images for ornaments and cards in my Cafe Press store. Some originals that are up on auction this week are already available there: I also have two 12 month calendars up - the regular Dachshundicity and the Longhaired version. Reds and black and tans will be up soon.
The new paintings include this wirehaired snow Dachshund at left, which is also now available as a card. coat.
The painting at right cracks me up, and I am very gratified to see that others have found this image funny as well. Be sure to see the description in the auction for the whole story:
I have once again had eBay's feedback system lose all of my feedback. I try to come up with personal, original comments when I leave feedback, but many times now I have spent time typing in fresh feedback only to have eBay give me an error page when I try to submit it - losing up to 20 at a time. Ugh. Right now I think I am all caught up, but I had to re-write everything. Thanks, eBay.
Well, I better get back to work. Those prints aren't going to mat themselves, and if I don't clean the house soon the producers of "Cops" will be calling to ask if they can use it as a set. We also think they should do a new realty series and use our house as the pilot - they can call it "Smell this House!"

Friday, September 29, 2006

Oil and Water Don't Mix!

Yesterday as I was working away on a painting which was already up on auction I found that where I had rested my hand against what should have been a dry part of the painting I had smeared black paint onto the background. Hm, I thought, I must have put that paint on thick! I wiped at the paint and fixed the background with some fresh paint and left it to dry. Then I came back and sure that it had to be dry this time started painting again. Same story. I also noticed that the little brush I had been using seemed to be especially difficult to clean. How such clear undications eluded me I do not know, but after checking I found that a tube of oil paint had snuck in with my acrylics! Bah! I'm going to have to scrap the whole painting.
Meanwhile, my little silhouetted witch Dachshund is finally done and ends soon on auction at: Witch Weiner Dog Original Dachshund Halloween Painting. This is one for the calendar and I am very pleased with how it turned out. It has had little time on auction with a completed image, but hopefully people will find it. This one was a lot of work! Acrylics are still quite the learning process for me.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

In Memory of Spike

I have more sad animal news to report. My mother's rescue Dachshund, Spike, went to the bridge on Sunday, the 24th of September. I am proud to say that Spike was my brother. Spike was aged 15 or 16, and mom had him for 8 years. He had a good life after his rescue, and was loved and spoiled. He was a suspected puppy mill rescue, and when found was emaciated, had little hair and a host of other problems. He and his brother were wandering the streets alone. He never did take to toys, probably never having seen one before, but he was a "love sponge" and had a fondness for Taco Bell food and a comfortable bed.
Spike inspired my painting Weighty Weiner Dog, which is why I have that picture posted here.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Another Day...

I believe that anyone who has ever lost a much loved animal knows that you never cease to miss them. When you have several animal companions I imagine it feels a lot like being a mama animal, always mentally counting noses... Animals may not use numbers as humans do, but their instinctive radar for who is supposed to be there helps them keep track. I feel a lot like that now, as a small feeling constantly tells me "one is is missing..." Squirrel's absence hits me at odd times as I tick over the lives in the house and realize afresh that she is not here. Life does continue, and I know that she is not suffering, which is a comfort. It is difficult to believe that last Monday night I had no idea that in less than a week she would not be there, trying to lick my arm, reaching a paw out to request more attentive petting. The picture to the left is Squirrel with her beautiful son, Spot.
I have several works in progress up on eBay this week. I would have like to have put up finished works, but I just couldn't manage it. The one at right is a black and tan longhaired doxie with Halloween pumpkins. I have outlined the picture in paint. This has been my preferred technique lately. I sketch it with a hard pencil like a 3H, then paint the outline with a very small brush (my current favorite brush in the world is a da Vinci Maestro
size 1 followed by a Daniel Smith 44-14 Kolinsky Sable #6 and another Maestro #3 for those who are interested). I used to outline first with one of my archival pens, but I find painting the outline allows me to change the image a little as needed during the paint process, whereas once the ink is down there is not changing anything. I have tried from time to time not to outline in ink, but for me the image never looks complete until I have done that, so I guess that is just my style. Anyway, on the left here is another work-in-progress (WIP) of a pair of weenies on the beach. Many of the upcoming small paintings I do are going to be testing the waters for my calendar illustration ideas. The wine dachsie on the right is one I have had on the drawing board for months. I took a chance and put in the text - I am not a skilled letterer by any means. When I use this one for prints I will use computer fonts for the text. On the left again is another small painting WIP of a weenie roast. This one is definitely a test run for one of the summer months of the calendar. Those are the paintings this week on auction:
Last week I managed two paintings, already sold now, and the week before I had some others, interspersed in this post.
I also had two mis-fires - one a a longhaired red Dachshund on a square board that was to be painted in acrylic I had to pull from eBay because after Squirrel's diagnosis I knew I wouldn't have a chance to finish it. Look for it some other week. Another a smooth red dachsie looking at a heart I pulled because I hated the lettering I did on it in sharpie pen of all things. I've already painted about 8 layers over the text and the sharpie still shows through. I may have to just throw this one out. Never, never think you can cover up a sharpie mistake. I draw an illustration on each envelope I send with art purchases and I love them for that. But never again on art!
Well, it's 1am here and Kelly is still running wild. I'll try to get her up before 9am and perhaps she'll take an early nap. I would hardly call myself an optimist, so even I don't believe that. Kirk has been able to call from the boat a couple of times. They are not getting a lot of good video apparently.
I put him on speaker phone for Kelly to listen to the other night and that was a big mistake, because moments later it hit her that Daddy wasn't home. She began to cry and ran and got her socks and started yelling about the green car and daddy - meaning we had to go get in the green car and go get him. It was difficult to calm her down, and explaining why daddy wasn't there was impossible.
Kelly is making great strides in her speech and using more complicated sentences in an attempt to communicate. I am hopeful that she will soon catch up with her peers in language. She has gotten a little better at behaving when we go shopping, although we got the evil eye at a concert recently when a couple and their children sat near us and they clearly did not approve of Kelly's exhuberance. They kept an iron hand on their little girl who obviously thought that it would be fun to play ball with Kelly. What is wrong with these parents? They are so rigid that their children are supposed to be little robots, and woe to those of us with free-spirited little ones.

Friday, September 8, 2006

Trying to say goodbye...(warning, sad post)

Squirrel came home from the vet on Wednesday night. I wanted her to be home for some pampering, for a chance for me and the rest of her family to say goodbye. The vet gave me some painkiller for her, and it seems to ease her a little. She will eat Gerber chicken baby food, and when I take her out from under the bed she will lie on my chest and purr and be petted. But if I am not holding her or if Kelly is being rambunctious she goes back under the bed or into a closet. I have been told this is the equivelent of going under a bush to die. Her quality of life isn't good, though there is some life left. Kirk did not get to say goodbye since she came home from the vet after he left for his week on the water.
So I have a call in to a vet who makes house calls. My message was probably unintelligible as I am unable to speak about this with any composure at all. If she calls back perhaps she will see my kitty today. If not, perhaps Monday. My biggest fear is that Squirrel will worsen over the weekend when there really are few options for veterinary care for her. I do not want her to suffer. I am hoping that when the euthanasia is scheduled I can distract Kelly with some Oreos and the garden hose to make mud in the back yard. I absolutely can not have her right there, right then. She is too young.
For all of my friends out there that read this looking for my latest art, please know that I will be painting again soon and will post new work here as soon as I am able.

Postscript to the above:
I was able to talk to the vet, and she came out at 3pm. Kelly was in the backyard flinging mud against the side of the house and making mud pies and never knew what went on inside. Squirrel/Momcat/Golden Girl was sent to her rest peacefully. I will miss her always, but she will be with her son Spot, who was her best friend and passed away on Dec. 5 2004, in Kitty Heaven. Rest their little feline souls.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

My Poor Squirrel

I took my Squirrel, AKA Golden Girl, in to the vet today because she had developed a limp last night. I suspected that Kelly had been playing roughly with her, and had also been meaning to have her in to the vet anyway to look at her eye condition and do a blood test because she has lost some weight. She is only 10 years old, but her spine was becoming prominant while her belly was still round.
I just spoke to the vet at 7pm, who was so busy she was not able to examine her until after hours. Rather than hearing that perhaps Goldie had a break or a sprain, she instead has a massive tumor in her abdomen. The leg is fairly inconsequential after this news and has not even been examined yet. She will stay at the vet overnight and have the tumor tested tomorrow. The vet tells me that it does not look good for her, that either of the two types this tumor might be are generally inoperable and untreatable.
Kirk is leaving town tomorrow for a week and as he will be on a boat doing some 3D filming for of some underwater wrecks from a tiny submarine and he will be extremely difficult to reach. This reminds me of when Spot (Goldie's son) was diagnosed with FIP and died during another long-hours project. Kirk might not be home to say goodbye to Squirrel, our matriarch cat, our Grandma Kitty. I refuse to let her suffer, but we will do all we can for her.
Goldie is famous worldwide for the photo you see here. This picture has been all over the internet for the last six years or so, and every so often crops up in emails full of cute pictures. The kitten pictured in Bebe, also still with us and thankfully healthy. If you are reading this please think positive thoughts for our kitty.

Monday, September 4, 2006

Crikey, sad news

This morning when I turned on CNN the news that Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin had been killed stunned me and Kirk. I know that we are just two people among the millions who somehow thought Steve was invincible, and who are shaken by his death. I don't want to descend into cliche here, I just want to acknowledge that this is a shocking loss, and possibly more so because of the seemingly benign nature of that which killed him. We have followed his career for several years. His wife, Terri, is a native of Oregon just like Kirk. His son Bob is just a little younger than our Kelly. Steve Irwin seemed an accessible sort of person, even though he was internationally famous. His love of animals and his family, his unpretentious style...he will be missed. Our hearts ache for Terri and Bindi and Bob and all of his friends, human and animal. I know people will come out of the woodworks with unkind things to say. There will be a rehash of the ridiculous outcry when he held Bob as he fed a crocodile. There are the cheerful CNN anchors who treat the news story as entertainment as they report what happened with a little smirk. But I just wanted to use my little slice of Blog to say that we respected his work and mourn his death.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Party Recovery

Here it is Wednesday and I am still trying to dig out from under all of the stuff that ended up here in my studio when we cleaned the house for Kirk's birthday party on Saturday. But it had to be done - I believe you should clean the house once a year whether it needs it or not.
The little dog in costume is my latest ATC offering, up on eBay right now: Dachshund Hot Dog Costume Original Weiner Art ACEO ATC . At right is my Nibblefest Art Contest entry for this month. The theme was Butterflies. This is acrylic on 5"x7" stretched canvas: Butter Flies Over Cows Original Art Painting NFAC EBSQ . I like its whimsy and hope it finds an audience.
Last weekend I had three pieces close: the Soaring Dachshund, much refined from the last post; Home is Where the Hound is, actually a surprising complicated piece to paint but one which I am quite happy with; and Showered with Love, a cute little ATC. I have not had a lot of time to paint with the party and all, and Kirk has been ill since the party with some sort of flu. I dread Kelly and I getting it next, as it seems to be a particularly yucky one.
My art focus coming up really needs to be on the art for my 2007 calendar, and I am hoping to come up with a fresh Halloween idea soon. I am also trying to decide if it will be in watercolor or acrylic. Both have advantages and disadvantages. I also used gouache in Home Hound and the Hot Dog Costume above. I found out why it is so chalky - it is made with chalk. Who knew?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Soaring Dachshund

Here is the most recent scan of Soaring Dachshund.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Painting ending this weekend

I forgot to put this one in the last post, and blogger is very buggy about adding pictures at different points in the process. This is my first Goauche painting. As one reader asked "What is that - it sounds like an ethnic food" or words to that effect let me briefly explain. Gouache or Designer's Gouache (pronounced gwash, like Goofy would say it) is an opaque watercolor medium. It is often used by designers who appreciate its denser texture and stronger color and its opacity. So far I find it a little chalky and inclination to "lift" as I apply layers. In watercolor jargon, lifting is what happens when the paint you are applying on top of another color disturbs the paint below. Sometimes this is desirable, but often now. So there you have it. Like acrylics I am sure I will like this paint more as I get used to its personality.
This painting, a 2.5" by 3.5" art card is on auction here: Dachshunds Sick Day Original Weiner Dog Art ACEO ATC .

What a Knucklehead!

I did it again - I forgot to remove the bidding restriction on an auction after I posted the picture and description. I was wondering why there were no bids! Duh. I decided to relist the Soaring Dachshund in any case because I wasn't done and wanted it to have a full run on eBay. I am really pleased with this one so far. I love the landscape. It was so exciting to do one in acrylic - they are hard for me in watercolor because you really have to plan them out due to the transparency of the colors, but in oil or acrylic you can layer them on and make decisions as you go. I looked at a lot of pictures of Tuscany before painting this. In the end it could be anywhere, but I do know it is a place I would love to soar over. The Dachshund isn't finished yet, but already painting her coat is a pleasure - the underbelly will be a little golden with reflected light. I am still deciding whether to add small wings or any clouds. I believe this one is going to make it into my 2007 Dachshundicity Calendar, which I had better get going on. Soaring Dachshund is on auction at Longhaired Dachshund Soars Original Weiner Dog Art EBSQ .
I really enjoyed painting a landscape like this, so I decided to look at eBay to see whether landscape paintings make any verdict is that they might, but the market is so crowded that it would be nearly impossible to sell one. eBay has this thing called a "Featured Listing" which the seller pays an additional $20 or so for to ensure that their item comes up at the top of the search. In the case of landscape paintings these featured listings take up the first two pages before you get to any that are not featured. So an artist has to spend big bucks to even be seen; the artist who does not has little chance even at the end of the auction when their listing should be at the top of the page - because the two pages of features will be shown first. Many shoppers on eBay will not search through so many pages, and also don't realize all of those pages are artificially high on the search. So probably no straight landscapes for me.
In other eBay news I have decided to keep my store open but to reduce inventory by 50%. I have put the prints I will be eliminating on sale there. I will of course have all prints available on my website at as usual. I also took the big step of listing a print on Etsy, and it sold in a day! Yippie!!!! You can see my new store at Etsy here: I have only a couple of prints listed there so far, but I will be offering an introductory price of $11 for prints there. I may also be posting more of my women and fairies there since they are listed for several months at a time rather than a week and may actually find the right home that way. It is really demoralizing to list them on eBay, pay the 70 cent fee and then have them close without a single bid. I list them under my alternate ID, so they often go unseen by more than 10 people or so.
Remember, if you have feedback for me on whether to add wings to the Dachshund Soaring now is the time to tell me!!

Saturday, August 5, 2006

Star Gazing

I finished the star gazing Dachshund last night. I had decided to try gouache over acrylic, but it didn't quite have the depth and sheen of the acrylic, so the whole piece is acrylic paint. I did use black gouache to outline the eye. I must say - thank goodness for magnifying lights! I had to get in there really close to do some of the little details. This one was really fun and I expect I will do others on a like theme. Scanning the acrylics mystifies me a little - where the scanner does not pick up the texture of watercolor paper in most cases, it really pickes it up on the canvas. The actual paintings are much smoother in person. There is also a little more color correction involved. Be sure to click on any of the pictures for a larger version. This one is on auction through Sunday at

Friday, August 4, 2006

I have finished with the longhaired black and tan angel Dachshund, all except for extending the clouds out to the sides of the painting. I am really pleased, and excited because the more I paint in my "new" medium of acrylics the better I get at it. I do spend a long time because I keep thinking up new ways to improve each painting - a dab here, a brush stroke there...and the interference paints are really nice. Interference paints do not cover the paint underneath, but they react with it and enhance it.
My other work in progress, StarGazer, is a fun little piece. I am trying something new here - using gouache on top of acrylic. I'll post a more recent picture soon. I painted the background with ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson and interference blue - the affect is a slightly shiny sky, but more than that it has a real depth to it. I can almost feel the heavens wheeling around this small dog looking up at the stars. I remember when I was about 8 I asked my mom if dogs think. She said to they do, but not in real specific terms and not that deeply. She said that when dogs look at the sky and see stars they probably think "Hm, bright." For some reason that stuck with me. Maybe its part of why I feel the need to imbue my dogs with deeper lives, deeper thoughts. Don't blame my mom - she wasn't short-changing dogs, just giving a little girl an understandable explanation. I know she thinks her Dachshund Spike (my dog brother) is more intelligent than most of her
Another work on auction now if a Wine Dog Art Trading Card, here to the left. I am also working on a larger wine dog. This one is a red in a glass of Chardonnay with some figs and cheese. This one is destined to be a print. I had a thought when I was working on it today: how about a wine dog calendar this year? Maybe with a different breed for each wine with appropriate tasting notes. I would need to figure out how to design them in a horizontal format. Maybe if I included food pairings...
Oil painting class went much better on Monday. I was about 15 minutes late, and when I arrived the instructor had set up a still life, but this one included a skull. Yea! I am awful at things like bottles and particularly keeping things symmetrical, but something with life (yes, even a skull) always inspires me. I was so happy sketching away while most of the other students groaned over doing a skull. All of the acrylic painting the week before seems to have improved my oil technique and I am really pleased with how the painting is going.
Kelly gets to go to the speech therapist again next week. She is talking more and more. One side effect for me of exploring Kelly's late talking is that I have come to realize that some of what we have experienced is not "normal." Now, I don't want a normal child. I love Kelly as she is, a very, very special, bright and charismatic girl. However, perhaps I am realizing that sometimes it has been more a challenge, and that it is not just my failure that she can't be convinced to brush her teeth, use the potty or just let go of the kitty, please. One funny thing she did recently was go to sleep in a laundry basket. My attempts to get her to sleep having failed, she took her blankie, her big down pillow and stopped at the door to our room, said "bye bye!" brightly and then went out to the living room where she started one of her DVDs (Gumby, I think). I went to check on her later (this was around 2am) and she had put her pillow in the laundry basket, crawling in on top of it with her down comforter and fallen asleep. She's done that a couple of times now, and just gets a kick out of curling up in that basket and watching a little TV. My funny little girl. The picture to the right is how I found her, sleeping like a little laundry angel.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

It's been a long while since I updated my blog, so there are a lot of pictures to add! Many of these are already sold, but some are available on auction at eBay: The Dapple Dachshund at left is my first offering on stretched canvas in several years. I am quite proud of it actually. After a frustrating start I think I am getting my acrylic fingers back. A major difference in painting acrylic rather than watercolor is that you can correct, change, adjust, fiddle with and generally paint on one forever, whereas if something isn't right with a watercolor, especially a watercolor with an ink outline, there is no going back. You can to some extent lift a color mistake from a watercolor or add some white gouache to add back a highlight, but you can rarely paint over something you don't like, and there is no disguising a line out of place drawn in ink. I love watercolor, but I am very excited about the possibilities of acrylic paint and hope that sales on them will be good enough for me to continue painting them. Most will be on 8x10 canvas so that I can scan them for prints. Anything larger won't fit on the scanner and I don't trust a digital photo to capture the image well enough for a printed reproduction.
The painting at right here is the first acrylic I offered, which closed tonight. After a rough start I think it also turned out well. It is painted on a gessoed masonite board rather than canvas. I don't think the scan did it justice. The acrylics scan a little darker than watercolors. I think that is because the light bounces off the watercolor paper and transparent watercolor paint,
while it does not illuminate the opaque acrylic the same way. I'm sure I'll have to adjust my settings to show the paintings on canvas "in their best light."
My newest offering is the work-in-progress to the left here, of a longhaired black and tan Dachshund sleeping in the clouds. This is a revisit to work I have done before, and this coat has been much requested in this pose. I had a lot of fun painting the clouds and hope to have this one finished soon since it is already on auction! Be sure to click on any of these to see larger pictures!

I have some ideas for other canvas paintings and will probably mix them in with more watercolor Art Trading Cards. I was pleased with the interest in my theme park Dachshunds so I will very likely do more with that. My husband thinks I should have all of them with the "You must be this tall" theme, but I think it would be fun to have them in tea cups or sky cars. I am always happy to hear ideas if you have any!
Only three weeks left of my oil painting class. The biggest thing I have learned is that I am better off painting in acrylic! I simply do
not have the patience to wait for oil to dry, and being a poor planner I do not compose my art with that in mind. Unfortunately much of the class has been painting swatches of colors on canvas sheets and painting still lifes. I have seen no improvement in my technique, and as I already know how to mix colors and make gradients this has not been a big learning experience. I spent $200 I didn't have to take this class and I am going to eek every last thing I can out of it. When you are three months' behind on your bills like we are it can be hard to justify something like this. I do like the instructor very much. He is very talented and I know it must be difficult to teach to so many levels of experience.
And speaking of bad finances, I belong to a couple of groups of artists and many are also struggling to keep doing their work and pay bills. Many of them, myself included, have seen sales dip 70% this last several months. My husband is starting to make more noise about me getting a real day job. If that has to happen I guess there will be a going out of business sale, because there is no way I can do art and hold a full time job outside of home. I don't want to sound whiny, but that is how it is right now. eBay just send a notice out last week that they are raising fees again. It seems they don't think they make enough from eBay Stores because things take longer to sell there.
They are doubling the fee to list in a store and will now take 10% of each sale in addition to that. They raised the fee to have an eBay store by 50% a year or two ago. I will deal with the latest increases by removing a lot of items from my eBay store, and I may yet have to close it altogether. I will still have auctions on originals , but at the high price just to list, the final value fee, and the fee from PayPal it simply makes more sense to sell mostly from my website at If you ever wonder why you can't get stuff cheap on eBay anymore it is because they are actively trying to rid themselves of the little guys. Some sellers have dealt with the high fees by selling items for a ridiculously low price and charging a silly shipping fee, such as selling the item for a penny and charging $20 for shipping, which eBay does not levy a fee on.
I will be opening another store soon on a site called Etsy. Etsy is all handmade items, and many artists hope that it will be a good alternative to eBay. I will post a link to my page there when I have it completed.
Kelly finally made it the speech therapy center for an evaluation. We did not get a lot of feedback yet except that she knows lots and lots of nouns, some verbs and is not all that interested in speaking in sentences when you get right down to it. My pet theory is that she actually has a mini Einstein Syndrome, which is when very bright children are late talkers. Kelly is exceptionally bright but is more visual and physical than verbal. Her dad, who is a very analytical and smart guy, also talked late. Kelly has many of the trademarks of Einstein Syndrome except that she is not physically inept or socially shy as many of those kids tend to be. She is a joyous, happy, funny child who happens to get exactly what she wants without bothering to say it. I have recently updated her website so if anyone is interested they can see pictures of my gorgeous daughter at