Friday, February 29, 2008

More playground tidbits

-Sticks. I cannot stress enough the importance and status of having a good stick. It is a symbol of power. "He who hath the stick, hath the power." The bigger the stick the greater the power. Basic pirate style sword fighting with sticks has been replaced first, with Star Wars lightsaber fighting and more recently with Naruto (anime) style fighting.
Sticks are also essential for poking and turning over dead stuff, and poking and flinging dog poo at your enemies.

-Kids that eat gross stuff. Mainly worms. At our school it is an angelic looking six year old girl. Other kids are excited and yet repelled by this, but of course are always there to encourage it. Once a worm has been devoured, it is an unspoken rule that you must keep a distance of at least three feet in case of wormy upchuck or just being touched by wormy fingers.

-Biters. Most of the time they seem normal, until they freak out and become pitbulls. Cute pitbulls but just as tenatious. Every child knows who the biters are, what sets them off, and gives them a wide berth, keeping limbs away from the mouthal area. Except for the new kids, they usually find out the hard way.

-Firestarters are pretty much at the pinnacle of kids the grade school bad boy scale. They often lure easily duped kids behind the bushes to watch them burn something. It could be anything, and probably it belongs to someone else. Often they are discovered, sometimes because of a telltale waft of smoke, but more likely because other kids really love to snitch about something that is considered quite bad in the world of elementary school no nos.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Little Known Facts of The Playground

I wrote this a while go. I supervise at a school at noon hour so I am an expert, yes I am.

1. In a playground, when there is gravel (or some similar ground cover), if there is a "deposit" left by a wayward dog, rather than tell someone that there is poop on the ground so you can remove it, kids will bury it in the gravel, rendering it invisible.

2. Some kids like to pee and watch it go down the slide. We call these kids Scott.

3. Throwing up after twisting the swing around and around and around and around, and then letting it go to spin around and around and around, is common. This vomit on the ground can also be rendered invisible with the "cat- litterbox" method of covering it up.
::Note to nervous moms:: Throwing up like this is no sweat for a kid. They do it all the time, wipe their mouth with the back of their hand, wipe their hand on your pants when you go to check on them, and they are good to go.

4. In the sandbox, water, milk, juice, and ...uh...tinkle, all make acceptable sand-bonding agents for building a castle.

5. Surprisingly, swing seats with dried bird poop on them, will not be used. They are icky. Kids do have their limits. You can however flip the swing seat over, or rub it off on a nearby unsuspecting student.

6. If you are a kid on a swing, even if you have been on long enough to lose the feeling in the lower half of your body, if another kid comes up and wants a turn, you "JUST GOT ON". Time apparently stands still the moment you climb on a swing.

I may add on to this sometime soon.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cats vs Dogs

The cats have stepped it up a notch.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Anybody else having problems getting on to Etsy right now?


Okay, that was a short lived crisis. It's back.

It really hits home when something like that happens. Panic sets in....did I get booted out?...did Etsy suddenly decide to not be there anymore? ...did my computer go nuts?.. is my firewall stupid? long will this last? ... what am I going to do now? I going to have to do housework to keep busy?..what is housework?

Without fail, when I am really wanting to do something online, either posting something or uploading something I think is important, it will happen then.

The other thing that happens is that when I am getting into a good discussion or getting some serious artwork done, the family starts coming around asking when dinner is going to be ready.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pet Portraits.

I sometimes do pet portraits.

This was my old dog Monty:

This is my current dog Tira:

One of my current projects is a painting of someones dog. As with ...well most of the pet portraits that I have done, this beloved pet has passed on.

I can't think of any other paintings that I do that give me both the fear and the excitement that pet portraits do. These are hugely emotional for those that ask for them.

I know some people think.."You paint dogs! Where's the creativity in that?" Well it's not so much creativity as it is sensitivity. You have to find the special quality in that pet that the owner will recognize.
It is scary. I can paint, say a wolf, and if I forget to paint his ear or give him a lump on his head, well who's to know that he wasn't just attacked by another wolf. I can do what I want, because it' s just a random wolf. If I were to give someones loved dog, a gimpy eye, or a weird shaped nose, they will notice. What you really need to nail is the expression. If you get that right, and luckily so far I pretty much always have, you will get a reaction unlike any other art buyer. Smiles, joy, tears. A lot of times tears. That's the big payoff in doing pet portraits.

(I don't mean that I like to make people cry)

(Also just so you know I don't usually give my wolves bumps on the head or missing ears)


Am I the only one that seems to get a pile of projects and ideas all at the same time, and doesn't know where to start?

Right now I have a couple already on the go.
I have a little duck ACEO in pencil crayons, that I started and carry to work with me hoping that I will get a few minuties to work on it.
I found an old picture of a tiger, in pastels, that I had pretty much finished except for some details, and I am going to finally finish that one.
I have an idea that I am excited about, that I can't wait to start, but haven't decided what medium to use.
I know I will be doing a series of marine mammals...for someone soon.
..and now I have a pet portrait comissioned, in acrylics, on wood. So my other stuff will go on the back burner for now. Sometimes the decision on where to start, is taken out of your hands, when you have an actual, real client to do work for.

That's all for now.

Except for one final question.
Why am I the only one in my family of five, with the apparent physical ability to change the toilet paper roll?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Classificus Animalia Humanus

Continuing from the note in my previous blog about "if otters were people". I remembered what I was thinking.
This is kind of my two worlds colliding, working with kids, and painting animals.

If otters were kids, they would absolutely be those adorable little charmers, that say "Don't you look nice today Mrs. S", and then as soon as your back is turned they wing a paperball at the back of your head, or stick something on your back.

Fawns, well that's a no brainer. They would be the sweet, shy girls that you can't help but liking.

Squirrels, most definitely are the loopy kids that can't stay still. They also rush through their lunch and stuff food in their cheeks so that they can continue to eat while they are playing soccer, or chasing the girls around while weilding a worm. There are a growing number of squirrels at school these days.

Most kids fall into the puppy category. Both good and bad sometimes. Do what they are asked to, hoping to please and do well. Bark worse than bite, occasionally get cooties, and look at you with sad little eyes when they want something. Then they do something that makes you laugh or go "awww".

There are of course always one or two that remind me of those big, hairy cats that get poop matted and dangling from their bottoms, but I won't go into that.

This is in no way meant to be derogatory by the way. I love them little squirts.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Middle of the night notes

I suppose a lot of people do this...

I find that the time when I get ideas, are when I am just going to sleep or just waking up. I often used to repeat things over in my head so that I would remember them the next day, but that definitely didn't work. So what I do now is always have a pen and paper beside the bed so that I can write it down, in the dark, and let my mind rest at ease that the idea will be put into action in the near future.

Except sometimes I wake up to find notes like this one.

I can make out -cute girl cards...okay, - paint (some kind of ) dog...okay, if otters were people..huh?, and aliens (doing something ) to my head...double huh?

Monday, February 11, 2008


....and here we go!!

Sort of softened it all up using my secret magical voodoo.

He kind of looks like he is praying for something.
Maybe a big crab.

I call this painting.

9" x 12"

Stage 6

Just about done!!

Continued to add details light and dark.

I just love otters. My daughter loves belugas, but otters have the personality I think.They just look like little rascals. I found another picture that I think is freakin' adorable....

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Stage 5

Just added light colour detail to the arms and more detail on the stomach.
It occurred to me that I have never painted anything like this and don't really know what the heck I am doing!
The fur is dry and wet, it goes all over theplace in every my brain, and I'm sort of winging it.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Stage 4

I added some dark colour to the armsies and stomach.
...uh....yeah...that's it.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Stage 3

Not really a stage, just where I am.
I added some golds and browns to some parts of the painting first, and then started filling in fur in a light tan colour. More dark and then light details will be added later, this is sort of a base coat to fill it all in and get the fur going in the right directions.
Even though I have this project on the go, I absolutely have to start on my beagle picture, I can't wait any longer, then I can switch back and forth between the two so paint can I can sit somewhere else and I can leave one and come back to it later with fresh eyes. It's amazing how often you can be kind of unsatisfied
with a painting and not know why, but if you leave it alone for a few days and come back to it...WHAM!, right away you can see what the problem was.

Stage 2

I added a medium blue to the water, and then over some parts I put a green wash overtop.
I am not big on doing backgrounds, I just can't wait to get to the animal..
I have a whole list of pictures I want to do, and it's kind of overwhelming sometimes, trying to figure out which to do first. On my list right now, is a beagle puppy, a group of jack russell pups, a rotti-lab, (aaack I'm in a cutsey phase right now, and can't help myself!!!)
I also have some ideas for some cartoony note cards.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


I am doing an acrylic painting for a change. I am doing a sea otter from a photo that my daughter took (she works at the local aquarium)

After I drew it out, I went over it with dark paint so I wouldn't lose my lines.

So this is step one.
I am a little punchy because it was a really tough day supervising kids at lunchtime today.
With snow still on the ground and a lot of slush as well, it's a struggle to get across the big field and catch the little ....monkeys...that are throwing snowballs (against the rules).
I am glad that I am home now, can relax and lose myself in painting this day.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Under construction

...and also under considerable stress.

I have learned how to post stuff (and edit it) and now I'm ready to go.

Except what to blog about.

My excitement about blogging is starting to wane now. Is that normal?