Friday, April 21, 2006

I have been alone with Kelly for the last five days, and we are coping quite well. We've either established a rythm to not having her daddy here or as Kelly gets older she is easier to handle. We made it to the park one day and most days have been going to bed about 3am. Tomorrow we are scheduled to have her bangs trimmed at noon, but it is already midnight now and no bedtime in sight. I will also have to rinse Kelly's hair because she had one of her favorites, sour cream, with dinner and the ends of her hair are coated in it.
Well, it's been a while since I have posted here. I continue to try to put my studio in order after combining it with my office. I got sick after Kelly and Kirk and it took a while to feel right again. Where to start? I got large (52 and 20 prints) wholesale orders from two rescue groups and found that my printer had gotten so terrible that I was having to throw out every other print for little ink smudges. I started to research new printers and after finally deciding on one I got it locally. Normally I would mail order, but the prospect of burning through more expensive paper and ink was more than I could take. I also timed the old printer after reading the specifications on my choice. My old HP 7350, which has been a work horse and very reliable for gorgeous prints for a few years, clocked in at nearly five minutes per color print and 1.5 minutes per certificate of Dachshundicity. Ouch. Add to that that every other print was ending up in the recycle bin and no wonder I had no time to get other things done. My new printer, a Canon i9900 uses 8 ink tanks, and has an archival ink life of 25+ years takes 6o seconds for a beautiful, flawless color print and about 30 for a certificate. 4x6 prints are about 39 seconds. It also does larger format and if I can find a way to mail larger prints I will offer them soon. The new printer was as high end as I could afford, but considering how much I was spending on ink and paper with the HP I think this one will soon pay for itself.

Friday, April 7, 2006

New Doxies

I have been able to paint today, and I finished my two paintings while watching the Pride and Prejudice miniseries again. My favorite movie.
You can click on the images for a larger version. I am quite proud of how both of these paintings turned out, which probably means they're doomed. The coffee hound one was very interesting to paint because I was painting on top of coffee-stained paper which tends to "lift" easily.
The best part was the steam swirls, which actually did cut through the coffee and created a very interesting effect in person.
"Doxie's" also turned out great. I haf think I should add a shadow, but that could ruin it very easily so perhaps I will leave it alone. This one is going to make a terrific print and great t-shirts in my Cafe Press store. I will need to do all of the coats in this sort of illustration. Both of these paintings are without bids right now, though having been up in an unfinished state until now, that is not surprising.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

New Works in Progress

Two new works in progress are up. Yes, I meant to get finished pieces up by Sunday, but as always I am behind, especially with my b-day celebration on Saturday and on Sunday I really got into sorting some of my old art supplies. I now have one storage box of abandoned craft materials - meaning I abandoned the craft but hope to return to it, perhaps when Kelly is a little older. I combined my polymer clay materials, my wood burning tools, and my wood carving tools together. If I find my clock parts they can go in there, too. I guess watching these "Clean Sweep" type shows helps a bit - at least I'm learning to make my mess more compact.
The first new WIP (work in progress) is a larger version (5"x7") of the hot dog with a black and tan dachsie. The fries will feature the logo "Doxie's". The auction is here:
Dachshund Hot Dog Fries Original Weiner Art Painting
The second is on 10"x7" coffee-stained paper and features a longhaired black and tan doxie relaxing in a coffee cup.
The cup will feature a coffee bean pattern. It is difficult to see the image unless you click on it since it is just penciled in right now. Longhaired Dachshund Coffee Weiner Dog Art Original I think I will paint this one first and outline it after, just the opposite of the Hot Dog painting above. I plan to do a series based on both of these with all different coats. I need to get crackin' on the wine series, too. That and the cave paintings are a couple of my most original ideas and I really need to keep refinining them and offer them as prints. That's it for today. It is 1am and Kelly is here with me playing a computer "edutainment" game. She is already a master with the mouse after only a week or so.

Monday, April 3, 2006

Kangaroos and Wallaroos, Oh My!

On Saturday Kirk, Kelly and I drove up to Arlington to the kangaroo Farm for my birthday. It started to rain hard on the way up, and we got to the farm an hour before the tour - bad planning on our part. We had some time to kill and were told it was okay if we went around to see the lemurs, which were actually the animals we most wanted to see. Apparently it had rained hard overnight at the farm, and it was still raining and cold. We found the lemur enclosure and Kelly found the biggest puddle she could. We had outfitted her in water-resistant clothes and rubber kitty boots, but they were no match for a puddle-stomping mud monkey like her. We were unable to keep her out of the puddles and took turns watching her or the lemurs. She had no interest in anything but the muddy water right then.
There were about six ringtail lemurs, including a mama and a tiny baby. They were sleeping in a cat bed with their long striped tails crisscrossed over each other. They did wake up and inspect us amid yawning and grooming. Eventually they did get pretty active and jumped around. They were very cute and endearing. We also got to visit with a young female llama who made these really adorable little noises. She obviously wanted company and would stand in the rain to get it. The farm itself is very rustic and is obviously not just for tours - they do keep and raise their Australian animals there as well as a menagerie of other pets.
The tour began and we were first introduced to the wallabys, wallaroos and Patagonian cavies.
The cavies are really sweet looking but don't care for being touched. The wallabys and wallaroos were happy to be fed and petted. They were unexpectedly soft and friendly. The owner and guide, Ray Strom, made sure everyone had plenty to feed them and went out of his way to show us the babies, even opening a pouch so that we could see a hairless joey. We also got to see the big red kangaroos. It is clear that the owners really love their animals. Kelly enjoyed feeding the smaller bouncy critters but was especially intent on making sure a bunny got some of the loot, too. Leaving the 'roos we encountered some turkeys, a muscovy duck, two miniature donkeys, a pygmy goat, nearly a score of peacocks and some pot-bellied pigs. We were able to feed and pet nearly all of these. There are two emus on the farm who were far friendlier than we expected. We always thoughts emus were bad-tempered but these were quite nice and hand-tame. Next came the llama and alpaca, two gelded boys who will take an alfalfa pellet straight from your lips! I partook of these llama kisses but Kirk and Kelly did not. I have always wanted llamas and my mind was not changed by meeting these nice boys and especially the sweet girl llama we first saw. At this point the tour was mostly over, but we got to talk to Ray about his lemurs for quite a while after everyone else was gone. We found out they do lemur tours for $20 each and we may do that some day. By this time we had gotten our two stuffed lemurs from the car and Kelly was giggling up a storm making them converse with the real lemurs. When it was time to go and hunt down lunch we removed Kelly's rubber boots and poured out about a half cup of muddy water. No wonder she had wanted to be carried on the tour! We stopped at a local restaurant for lunch. Wow, was that ever a mistake! Kirk and I both ordered the hot turkey sandwich for $8.95, and we got Kelly a corn dog for $2. The turkey arrived on a rather small plate with a small scoop of reconstituted potatoes and what at first looked like a heap o' turkey, but turned out to be thin, dry turkey shavings over dry but salty stove-top stuffing. Imagine the turkey has been in the fridge with a little plastic wrap draped over it, leaving some portions exposed to the air, making them drier, darker and well, curlier, than the rest of the bird and you have what appeared before us. A gravy boat accompanied our repast, no doubt to lubricate the meal and prevent any liability for us choking on the dried out food. Kelly enjoyed the chips and the lukewarm milk that came with her meal, and I convinced her to eat one little piece of hot dog. Then she and her daddy began to play "llama"; Kirk would put a chip in his mouth and Kelly would take it with her teeth. When he tried the same with a piece of hot dog Kelly shook her head vigorously and said "Yucky!" This is the kid who eats hot dogs (only all-beef kosher) with nearly every meal. So score zero for this Arlington eatery!