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This little kitty…

Meet Max.  He loves to hide under his favorite blanket and attack anything that tries to move in front of him.  It’s hard to believe that he was once a shy kitten rescued with his “sister” from the San Diego Humane Society. Now he is king of the household, photobombing his person’s Zoom concerts and keeping tabs on the finches that nest under the eaves… This portrait incorporates printed information about ragdoll cats, paper made from collected fur, folk songs about cats and other fun stuff. The whiskers were made from napkins.  Everything was glued onto a cradled wooden panel which has a wire on the back for hanging. It is 12 inches by 12 inches. This collage painting not only got into the juried online art show, 2020 Reigning Cats and Dogs, it won Honorable Mention!  This little kitty has come a long way indeed! Viewable from SEPTEMBER 5, 2020 THROUGH SEPTEMBER 4, 2021. Click here to see the show!

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To Catch a Tiger….

As an anniversary treat, my husband and I spent our special day at the San Diego Botanic Garden (a must-visit if you are in the area) and then stopped off at the Butterfly Farms just down the road. I took a ton of photos that day, but one that jumped out as something I HAD to paint was this Western Tiger Swallowtail on a red Pentas Flower plant. It started with laying in a ground layer of ephmera. I sponged deep purple and dark blue over the ephemera, then sketched the flowers in white chalk. I painted the whole plant with white gesso, then started adding color to the leaves. Then I colored in the flowers, noting that each petal is a triangle. Then I started adding in painted paper glued onto the leaves and stems. Then I started ripping petal pieces for each flower, careful to have a variety of shades of red. I figured there were more than 70 flowers with 5 petals each…that was a lot of ripping during our evening Dr. Who… This is a closeup of the flowers and how the petals are arranged. Finally, the flowers were completed! I painted a butterfly onto a piece of paper, cut it out and tried various options. I rearranged the butterfly several times before I found the right orientation. This was the version that most people on Facebook voted for. After deciding where to place the butterfly, I started gluing on the paper bits. And the piece is finally finished! This was a very fun piece to do.  I am very fond of Swallowtail butterflies and the pentas flowers were a really fun challenge.  Using a cut-out of the butterfly element really gave me a chance to try out placement to see what worked best.  In the

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Enough is enough!

It’s been a long few months.  Exhausting, emotional, trying months. Everyone has been stressed and on edge. And then we saw that video.  That awful truth. We watched as George Floyd was murdered, in cold blood, while other officers just watched and did nothing. That was the the last straw.  After so many years and so many people who have died, this was clearly seen and its visceral shock woke us all up.  We cannot claim things are all right, when we can see that they are not.  I’m not usually a political person. But I care deeply about human rights. And as the daughter of Dr. P, civil rights activist, math professor and photographer, I grew up on the campus of the historically black college, Fisk University in the 1970s. I was the only white person on the bus in 1971 when my neighborhood integrated the suburbs. (Imagine the protestor’s surprise when I got off that bus at age 7). I went to hear Angela Davis, Dick Gregory, Nikki Giovanni, and Alex Haley (who also spoke at Pearl High, my alma mater). I was in an interesting place during interesting times. Things weren’t all pretty and I was not unscathed. But I saw the racism in the system and I saw how my friends and schools were not seen or heard. I left the South for that reason. California isn’t perfect, either… I am a quiet person who is not an activist, but I must speak the truth when I see it. When the same situation repeats itself…over and over again…. it is time to change the situation. Too many people have died. I don’t condone violence of any kind. I am not justifying the riots or looting. I think the message of the protests is being lost in

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Happy New Year, 2020!

Wishing you a very happy Lunar New Year of the White Metal Rat! We have a tradition in our family of sending out our yearly letter by Lunar New Year instead of Christmas.  Christmas time is usually very hectic — end of the semester, travel to visit in-laws…. it’s just easier to write our year’s review in mid-January to early February — whenever the New Year happens to fall.  The Lunar New Year begins on the 2nd new moon after the Winter Solstice and continues for 10 days.  The Year of the Pig was most excellent.  A few highlights: juried into Spanish Village as a patio artist was a vendor at CatCon in Pasadena showed my artwork in 2 juried shows: The Small Image Show in January and the Reigning Cats and Dogs Show in October opened an Etsy shop under the Poppyfish label juried into the Southwest Artists’ Association The Year of the Rat promises to bring lots of change and travel.  The biggest item on the agenda is travel with my husband as he takes a sabbatical.  The Fall semester (starting in late August) will see us spending time in Chicago, Tel Aviv, and New York City.  My husband will work with colleagues in those cities on collaborative research.  I am still figuring out what I will do, but the current idea is to meet local artists, take classes and work on painting and collage. Our kitties will travel with us when possible, and stay home with our amazing cat-sitter when not. Alas, no CatCon this year since it is scheduled for the last week-end in August.  But I am on the list for 2021! Come on down to Spanish Village to see some of my artwork! Two of my pieces were juried into the 45th Annual Small

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Remembering Connie

On this All Souls Day or Dia de los Muertos, let’s take a moment and remember the life and love of Connie, my friend’s dog. Connie was born to be a service dog and spent several months in training.  She loved being helpful, and was very patient with people, but showed some aggression towards other dogs during the test.  She failed the service dog exam. The people who raised her already had 2 dogs and couldn’t keep her much longer, so one asked his co-worker if she’d like a dog, and when she said yes, Connie was delivered to her house that evening! At first Connie was a bit at odds with their other dog, Zero, but soon they became good buddies. Connie loved a Beanie Baby polar bear.  She also loved to play tug of war with knotted rope. Her favorite treats were carrots and dog biscuits with peanut butter. She was a faithful friend for 16 years and is missed dearly. The 1st step of Connie’s portrait, the underpainting. Adding in the collage to create the full portrait. Previous post, Story Portrait of Wacky October 2019, First Story Portrait September 2019, Adventures in Iceland August 2019, Rottweiler in Process July 2019, June’s Cats June 2019Merry Month of May April 2019, Studio Tour March 2019, Behind the Scenes: Miss Java’s Portrait

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Story Portrait of Wacky

This is Wacky’s story: Wacky was my best friend when I was a little girl in Missoula, Montana.  I don’t remember much of her kittenhood, but she must have been adorable – all cream with dark brown smudges on her ears, nose, paws and tail.  But by the time I was 4, she was my very bestest friend in the whole wide world.  She taught me how to climb trees, waiting patiently on branches while I scrambled up to catch her. She showed me hiding places in the raspberry bushes where we had secret picnics on summer afternoons. She was always patient and loving. Once, I had a great idea. I knew that birds hatched from eggs… and that chickens were birds and that we had chicken eggs in our refrigerator. Birds sat on their eggs to keep them warm so they would hatch. I thought if I just kept the eggs warm, they would hatch! So I got some eggs from the fridge, found Wacky’s secret sleeping spot behind the sofa, and put the eggs under her… so she could keep them warm and they would hatch into baby chickens. She was a little surprised, but she sat on those eggs (most of the time) for at least a month. Alas, there were no baby chickens and the eggs got brittle and cracked and smelled horrible! But Wacky never wavered in her patience and love. She was my confidante when my parents divorced. She snuggled with me after bad days at school. She never scolded or told me I was stupid. But would gaze at me with so much love in those big blue eyes, I couldn’t help but love her. One day she followed me to school. She had never followed me anywhere before and as a 6

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