Keeping A Record…

Yesterday, March 16, kind of feels like the first day of the rest of our lives. And, as is true for so many, we’re now sheltering in place due to the coronavirus. Fortunately, we’re in a northern California county that had one confirmed case back in January (a person who had just arrived back from an infected area of China) and none since then. But people here are preparing just the same since it’s almost sure to make another appearance.

Not sure why, but I’ve found that I want to record what it’s going to be like between now and when the “all clear” is sounded. I’ll be posting whenever I have something to say or show you. My husband and I are fortunate in that we are in good health and we work at home. He’s the Executive Director of a tech consortium with members in a variety of countries. Their April meeting has already been pushed back to June, now with the expectation that it will be pushed back again to fall at the earliest.

I’ve been an art professional of one kind or another (sign painter, graphic designer, illustrator, now fine art painter) for over forty years, so my art will be part of this record. I’m also an avid gardener and have an acre to play with. All our travel is cancelled so the garden will get my full attention, including the vegetable part of it. We also have six apple trees, three dozen blueberry bushes and a raspberry “patch”, so I’ll be posting photos through the year of all that. The blueberries are already flowering. We get between five and six gallon bags of berries from them every year.

Right now the clematis armandii and wallflowers are blooming, along with crocus, grape hyacinth, daffodils and early tulips.

Clematis armandii in full bloom. The fragrance is wonderful!
English wallflowers I grew from seed
Daffodils in bloom

We share our home with two rough collies Hailey and Peregrin (“Lassie” dogs) and two cats, Michiko and Alexander A Really Great Cat.

Hailey, our seven year old tricolor and Peregrin, our 3.5 year old sable merle
Michiko in front and Alex in the back; dog toy box to the left

In other news, I’m participating in a fun art event this year called Inktober52. The original event, Inktober, calls on artists to create one black and white piece a day in the month of October. Inktober52, in its first year, is about creating one black and white piece a week for the entire year. I’m going to do my best to not miss a week and so far so good. All the finished art is posted first on Instagram here with the #inktober52 hashtag, including mine. I’m also posting to my Facebook public page here and on Pinterest here. Jake Parker, who invented and runs both events, sends out an email on Thursdays with the prompt for the next week, so everyone is doing the same subject, but in their own way. Hundreds of artists from all over the world are participating. So, sheltering in place or not, I’m able to connect with other artists.

Inktober52: Prompt: Tower

This is what I had to say about this week’s drawing: “After thrashing around I decided that I could use “tower” as a verb, but then what was towering over ? I tried a couple of different ideas and then “towering redwoods” came to mind. I grew up, and live in, Redwood Country so I dug out a photo I had of me standing in front of a huge coast redwood right by the road in Prairie Creek State Park. I started out intending to fully render the trunk, but had the thought of doing a “reverse”. Less time (a LOT less), maybe more visually interesting and different. I also create downloadable pdf coloring pages that I sell in my Etsy store and maybe this piece will end up there. I used a Gillott 659 crow quill nib (Joseph Pennell’s favorite), Platinum Carbon ink on Clearprint vellum⁣.”

Ikh Nart Sunset, Mongolia

Finally, for now, the 12×16″ oil painting above has been accepted into the Fusion Art Gallery online exhibition “Sunrises and Sunsets”! The location is one of my favorite places in Mongolia, Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve. I own my own ger with all the furnishings and have been allowed to set it up in the reserve and live there for a week or so and that’s when I get to see sights like this and take photos that I can turn into art.

Inktober 2018: Michiko

Michiko 2 900

Michiko held this position just long enough for me to sketch in her head and basic body position. She’s a 13 year old tamed feral who we’ve had since she was 3 months old. She recently went deaf and has some arthritis in her hind end but otherwise is in great shape. Created on my iPad Pro with Tayasui Sketches Pro using the pen and watercolor brush tools. #inktober #inktober2018 #catsofinstagram #catartist #animalartists #calicocat #tayasui #ipadproart

Juried Show Deadlines Coming Up! So Here Are Some Pictures Of Our Cats…

Eowyn (2)Eowyn is the senior of our three cats at age 12. She’s mellowed over the years, but could probably have killed a Nazgul in her time. Her nicknames have included My Mean Widdle Cat and Mistress Mayhem. We found each other at the local humane society when she was about four months old, having been picked up as a stray on the street. (I was facing the full-length mirror behind where I sit in front of my easel, so that’s how I ended up in the shot.)

MichikoMichiko means “precious” in Japanese. She’s a tamed feral about age ten. We got her from the county shelter, where she was part of a feral litter that had been brought in. It’s been a long road for her to become a house cat and learn to trust. Her behavior was strictly patterned for many years. Recently, and we think it’s because of the calming energy our collie, Hailey, has added to the mix, Michiko has finally started to relax and even have little crazy fits, dashing around the house and batting at a catnip mouse. She’s so pretty I didn’t really care if she ever became a lap cat or wanted to be petted. Just having her around and giving her a safe home was enough. As it happens she sits on my lap and likes pets and skritches now.

Alex (1)This is Alexander A Really Great Cat. He was born at the county shelter and fostered in a home with other cats. He’s the first one we’ve had who actually has social cat skillz. He was a scruffy little thing who needed a bath immediately, which he took without a blink. He’s five now and has grown into this quite handsome guy who weighs around 16 pounds. He goes limp when picked up so our vet figured out that he is part ragdoll. He also has the long body. He’s a big lug of a cuddle bunny who has also killed black rats with a single bite to the spine….

And a BONUS! Here’s our two year old tricolor collie girl, Hailey, looking pretty down by the pond. She watches over everything that goes on on the property, including the kittys, who all trust and like her.

Hailey by pond