Monday, November 28, 2005


I just updated my website. I added new stuff in "art for sale" (pets and poultry), added a section for poultry paintings, and split the cats and dogs into two pages. The website program is telling me that the site is full of invalid links, but darned if I can find them. If you find one, please let me know (leave it as a comment here or send me an email). There may be things that link to the wrong pages, I had to move a lot of stuff around.

That's all I got tonight!

Saturday, November 26, 2005


Did you see the clip on the news where a crowd was stampeding into Wal-Mart at opening time the day after Thanksgiving and people were getting knocked down and trampled on??

Oh my.... There are no words.....

I know some stores here opened up at 5am. Yeesh. There are few things in life worth getting up that early for. I can think of maybe one or two, and none of them include shopping. Then again I have a pretty strong aversion to shopping anyway.

Holiday Cheer?!

I love Christmas a much as the next person, and certainly more than some people, but for crying out loud it is November. I think it gets worse every year. I am just not ready for decorations yet, and there are TWO local radio stations now playing ONLY Christmas music. Stand aside, I am going to be ill. When it gets to be mid December I might tune in, but now I frantically skip those stations when I have my headphones on while working. I just think it's all kind of disgusting, and strays so far from the spirit of Christmas.

Yesterday started out gloomy and gray, windy and wet. We need rain though, so that's not a bad thing. Got a little over a quarter of an inch, and I'm hoping that will be enough to kick start some grass in the pastures (the horses are eating way more hay than normal for this time of year). I was looking at pictures I'd taken of Shylah the other day (and pics I took this time last year) and the difference in the pastures is really weird. Right now they are barren, not a green speck in sight, and last year there was a good couple inches of grass already growing. I read in the paper there were something like 12 days over 70 degrees this November, while last year had none. Mind you, the weather has been GORGEOUS and absolutely perfect for horse training and horse riding, but it's weird. The chickens are all out of whack too. This is the screwiest year for molts. Usually they lose and regrow all their feathers between, oh, July and October, depending on the individual, but I think there are some out there that never molted, and quite a few of them just started within the last couple weeks. Very weird.

Anyway, the rain cleared up and the day ended with breeze blowing enormous pink and gold clouds across a sunny sky. Amazing. I love this time of year. Today is sunny, windy, and cool.

I stayed up drawing til 11:45 last night. I really do well at night, which offsets my general lack of productivity in the mornings. And actually I think it's working out pretty well, because now I knowingly give myself "mornings off" to run errands, work the horses, read (I just started a book about art pricing!), etc., and I can still get my hours in by working really late (I may even try to push those hours back more, and go til after midnight...we'll see). Seems to be a good system, and since I pretty much have no life anyway, it's not like it infringes on anything. :-D

I oiled most of my tack today, which took several hours, and I didn't even finish because I ran out of oil half way through the saddle, so I'll have to get more on Monday. Not sure what inspired me to do that today. I was just going to oil the reins because they are still annoyingly stiff, but then I figured I may as well do everything. I guess having nice tack is inspiration enough to take good care of it!

Well, time to go feed the critters.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

(my first "poultry art"...done in preschool!)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Pictures Today

Ah yes, another exciting day: got up late, drew chickens, cleaned the storage room, drew chickens, drew chickens, etc. I think I am making some headway on the Cornish...we'll see... I "started" (anywhere from cutting paper to size and gathering reference photos to actually making progress with pencil in hand) eight sketches today I think. None are close to done, but I plan to get all those out asap, and then I have massive amounts of color drawings to do, which is the realllllly sloooooowwww part.

And for your entertainment, I took pictures today:

I think they were expecting something...

The Blue Brassy Back pullet is the most curious bird in that pen. She's cute!

Sun-Bathing Beauty! I would say this is probably the absolute best bird I have (and perhaps the best I've had in a while), catching some rays on a warm November day.

The oldest of the Cuckoo birds (remember these are NOT pure Rosecomb! They are half Dominique, hence the red earlobes and wacky combs). He is the typiest of the males (the others are getting pretty heavy-bodied). He has a horrendous comb.

Another one of the three Cuckoo males. This one has the best ear lobes, but an equally horrendous comb.

More Rosecomb X Dominique birds. That Cuckoo male has the best comb. The black pullets will be useful breeding stock, since they can produce Cuckoo offspring (they are sisters to some of the Cuckoos). That's the Crele pullet in the back. She's totally adorable. None of these birds are showable though, that will take YEARS.

More Cuckoos and blacks and the two Crele males (neither one colored right, but it's a start).

Ha ha, Sampson has a leaf on his head!

"The Look"

Gwen looking cute while scratching an itch.

Shylah, a rare Canadian Yak... :-) She is SO soft and fuzzy, you really can't help but put your hands on her!

Black horses, like black cars, are hard to keep from looking dusty (especially when they make a point to roll in it). Gosh, can you tell which side she rolled on?

Saturday, November 19, 2005

another fascinating Saturday

As always it was yet another one of my thrilling and exciting Saturdays. The horses got to go to the vet this morning (thanks W!) for shots, and Gwen had her teeth filed down. If you don't like going to the dentist, be glad you aren't a horse. Horses have to be sedated to have their teeth worked in. Because of the way horses' mouths are shaped (and also depends on individual conformation, diet, age, etc) their teeth can get sharp points on the edges. These have to be filed down. It's pretty interesting to watch, and a sedated horse is really kind of amusing. I swear Gwen has the most flexible ankles. She'll lean and twist into these really uncomfortable looking positions, and so many times I've been sure she'll tip over, but she never has! (whew!)

So after coming home from there I worked on the cafepress store for a while (see post below this one), did some work outside, spent a pretty long time struggling with Large Cornish sketches (what is it about the Cornish!?), started on another set of final color drawings, and then watched "Death of a Salesman" which was depressing.

And what was my day. No doubt tomorrow will be equally exciting!

another cool thing!

Ooooooooh, I just added this. A tile mural!! Is that cool or what? I've seen similar things in catalogs and I like them. I hope other people do too! :-)

Click here for more info.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Some of my early work.

Late last night, I was trying to remember how I used to draw as a kid, like specifically how I used to draw the sky. I remember a scene in some movie where a kid (kindergarten age maybe) painted the whole sky blue (whereas the rest of the class would make one blue stripe at the very top of the paper) and the teachers were just amazed by this kid. I don't remember how I used to do that, and now that really bugs me. I looked through the old drawings I still have and none have a sky or much of any scenery at all (guess I got into my "no background" thing pretty early!). I clearly remember making the sun a quarter-circle in the top corner of the paper, but danged if I remember the sky. Mom says if she had realized I was actually going to end up being an artist she would have kept more of the stuff I did as a kid. There must be a zillion drawings that got thrown away, because I remember drawing all the time...specifically drawing horses all the time. And birds, and rodents. Oh man, I wish I still had all that stuff (note to parents, if your kid seems artistically inclined, KEEP EVERYTHING.)

But I do want to share with you some of my very early work, just for amusement sake. Keep in mind I hardly have any, but every now and then I'll stick one on here.

This is the "first real drawing" that I did, according to my mom, meaning it's the first one that was supposed to look like anything in particular. I can't vouch for that. I do remember drawing it, but I don't remember specifically what I had drawn before that.

graphite on a piece of note paper (like the kind you'd keep by the phone, pretty small)
age 4 years and 1 month
I remember being very adamant that this was a GIRL skeleton, of course, as you can tell by her lovely hair. :-) And the spiral lines on the body, those were definitely meant to portray the ribs.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

blah blah, same ole

It is 73 days til the start of the PPBA Show/APA National/ABA National. So let's see, how many drawings per day do I have to do now... AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!!! I feel like I am working a bazillion hours but not making a dent, and I don't really understand that. Maybe my time estimate is off a little. I remember years ago I used to keep really good track of the hours I spent on drawings (I have a rough idea now but it's a little too depressing to figure it out for certain) and I used to sit down and work for up to 4 hours at a time. FOUR HOURS! That incredible. After an hour now I'm in dire need of a break. I don't understand why that has changed--if it has to do with subject matter and deadlines (in which case you'd think it would be the opposite) or maybe I've just gotten cranky and more fidgety with age?? :-) Or maybe it's just that there are too many distractions here--the birds, the horses, the endless stream of email that goes "purrrt!" when it arrives in my inbox and gets my hopes up that it might be something good and then turns out to be ads for pharmaceutical products that I really don't need... Then again all those same distractions were here back then too, so, huh, I dunno... I just really need to focus.

Oh yeah, and my left eyelid is twitching again. This'll go on for days at a time sometimes. It's not really noticeable to anyone else but it drives me BONKERS. And then there's the major knot in my back from drawing... (no, really, it is! I know another artist who gets the same problem!) I really can't think of a truly ergonomic way to draw though, at least not the little detailed fiddly stuff that I am doing. Oh well, at I'm not on my back on a scaffolding working on a fresco, right!?

And yes, I would like some cheese to go with all this whine. :-D

Sunday, November 13, 2005

edition done

Well, I finished up editioning a series of prints from the etching plate I've been working on. I will post the image eventually. There is sooooooooo much updating that needs to happen on my website (all the plaques and paintings I did for the Auburn show, etc) that it's gotten a bit overwhelming.

I'm totally exhausted again, I really think there's "something in the air" in the print studio that wipes me out. Well, truth is there's all sorts of brain-cell-shrinking chemicals in there (the very same ones that make me walk in the door, take a deep breath, and say "ahh, I love the smell of the print lab!" Only fellow printmakers would sympathize with that, anyone else would think I'm nuts). And maybe it's just that the studio is on the third floor, but it is mildly disconcerting that I haven't ever seen a bug in there. There are bugs everywhere, right? Ought to be some spider webs on those high ceilings? Nope, not a one. Weird. Oh well, artists don't need brains anyway, right? :-D (oh no, not true at all!)

You know what, I'll just take a picture of the prints now. I'll deal with posting a GOOD pic some time down the road. There is an edition of 20 prints in dark brown ink on cream colored paper, and an edition of 4 in white ink on black paper (print # 1 of 4 is sold). Those are pretty interesting, but I think the "regular" ones will have more appeal at the horsey type shows that I do. We'll see! I have not quite settled on the prices yet. I'm thinking about changing prices all over the place (going UP). Though certain family members are fairly adamant about me already being overpriced, I really disagree with that, and a lot of the artists I show with have hinted that it might be time to raise prices. I mean, people can sell their "limited edition" offset lithographs (don't get me started!) for hundreds of dollars each, so why am I busting my butt to make originals and then pricing them at a fraction of that cost? Sure, a lot of that is name, and I certainly don't have much of a name, and I can count my "following" on one hand, but I sometimes wonder if higher prices would command a little more respect. I dunno, it's a sticky issue, and probably not one I should even be admitting in public, but hey, that's the point of this blog, right? Airing my issues! :-)

Anyway here's the pic.. I have them all out drying (etchings are printed on damp paper) on the dining room table, but I couldn't fit them all in the frame even when I stood on a chair and held the camera over my head.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

busy busy

I think I finally have the store done, except I keep tinkering around with it and adding/deleting/rearranging things. But I have "Chains and Leather" (Percheron horses) and "My Foot!" (cat) on there now. That takes a long time! Shop shop shop! The "holidaze" are just around the corner! And here's a special promotion! (geez don't I sound cheesy trying to market things?) ;-)

FREE Shipping Promotion - starts Nov. 15
Free Super Saver Shipping on orders over $50*.
Offer Date: Nov 15 - Dec 6
*Excludes bulk orders.

I plan to add a gazillion more things at some point but time is pretty tight right now. Ideally I'll get a few more things on in time for Christmas orders, but I'm not sure I can get it done in time.

I've been working with Shylah (horse) a lot, and hopefully will be able to ride her around the time she turns 3 (June). She's doing REALLY well, but is still so small and narrow-shouldered that she doesn't fit (well) into my saddle. I need to take some action pics of her in the round pen, she's a darn good looking horse (err, pony?)

I have applied to be a vendor at a show up in Northern CA in late April. It's a horse show. There was no real application procedure and no deadline given, so that made it pretty tough to know how to apply, but I gave it my best shot and hopefully will know within the next few months if I've gotten in or not.

Pretty pics I took today:

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Ooh, cool!!

Black t-shirts coming soon!!

I am still working on rearranging the store and I haven't had time to add more images yet.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

an accurate prediction

As expected, I was not capable of remaining upright and awake for the duration of the day, so shortly after getting home from several hours of printing, I did indeed zonk out. Gosh, what a shock.

The auction was uneventful, although I did get there a little later than I normally do and had to wait a half hour to unload the birds. Now I just have a couple of halfway decent BBRed cockerels and a few pairs of Brown Reds to sell...for now...maybe more in a few months. I'm keeping more than I usually do so that I can show about a gazillion of them at the National meet(s) in January. That is going to be so much work. Oh geez, I'll give myself a headache thinking about it.

So anyway, after dropping off birds I headed over to the print studio, got there at 8am.. I had some problems with the etching plate--lines I thought I had successfully scraped/buffed out were worse in places. I'd never done much with scraping a zinc plate before, but I now know there is a very specific way to do it! I didn't expect to be able to pull a lot of prints from this particular plate. It's so finely etched and such a subtle variations in tones I really thought it would wear out and lighten up pretty quick, but it totally held up til I reached the end of my paper supply....and I wished I had more paper! I am debating getting more and going in again to print more. I have 13 good prints (7 bad ones) but I think I could print more good ones. I always feel obliged to get as many prints out of a plate as I can. So, hmmm. Then again, I've never sold out an edition, so I'm not sure having a larger number of prints would even be beneficial. The higher the number of prints, the lower the price will be. I hate pricing art. Some people say I overprice, some say I underprice. Maybe I really should just double everything!!! ;-)

Anyway, I got home around 2, and decided to see how my bed was feeling around 3, and then the next thing I knew it was 5. And what did I dream about for those two hours? Printmaking. Over and over and over and over I saw my hand inking the plate, buffing off the ink, wiping it clean, over and over and over. Holy crap. As if I didn't see that enough in real life today, I then had to take a nap and dream it all over again? No wonder I'm still tired, that's like I did another two hours of printing!

Sleepy time.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

the chicken wrangler

It is perhaps one step down from the romanticism and intrigue surrounding the cowboys of the old west, but the chicken wrangler is nonetheless a force to be reckoned with. Dressed in frayed jeans and an old sweatshirt, various barnyard remnants stuck to her shoes, her hair twisted up into a bun (which inconveniently manages to get snagged in the netting covering certain coops, gaaa!), she ventures out just after sundown with her trusty flash light and gingerly picks "the chosen ones" off of their perches, taking care not to disturb the rest of the sleeping flock. It's a thankless job, this chicken wrangling, and one that can only truly be understood by fellow chicken wranglers (they're out there...).

There were twenty-seven birds to wrangle this evening, and I'll be off to auction in the wee hours of the morning. Being "the chosen one" in this case is not an enviable position, but a necessary thing in the chicken world. It means more room for the good ones, the hopefully-soon-to-be-champions who will be shown in the upcoming months...and hopefully kick some booty! :-)

And then after dropping birds off at the auction I will go work in the printmaking studio, where I will print the edition from an etching plate I started several months ago. There is something about the studio that just drains me. Even if I don't do anything strenuous, it's like an energy sponge. So despite my best intentions to come home and work on Standard drawings all afternoon and evening, I am predicting now I will zonk out on the couch for a least a while! But hey, I do have to get up at 5am...

On that note, sleepy time!

(sometimes it occurs to me that keeping a blog really is kind of strange... who on earth reads this stuff? They are addicting though aren't they? And mine's relatively "normal." (yeah, how scary is that if I'm calling my own chicken and art ramblings NORMAL)... I clicked on the "view random blogs" button the other day on the blogger home page...criminy there is some freaky stuff out there...and people say some mighty personal things!!!)

ha ha, whoops

This is what it looks like when I am trying to shoot a little video to show how bored the horses looked, and then a bee lands on my arm...

(probably requires a pretty fast connection to view this)

click here

ps--no, it didn't sting me, but at the end of the video I think Gwen is giving me a funny look! ("are you nuts??")

Friday, November 04, 2005

fun with horses

I was outside waiting for the chickens to go to bed yesterday evening (some had gotten out because bonehead Nellie (dog) made a hole in the wire while attempting to retrieve an egg, so I let the whole group of them out, then had to wait til they went in for bed so I could shut the door). While waiting, I decided to have fun with Shylah's mane.

She's not quite at her full winter yak hair mode yet but she's close. I don't know if it's a breed trait or just her personal history, but she seems to gear up for winter in Canada every year... which is slightly overkill for a place in California where we don't even get any snow. I'm sure Gwen wouldn't mind if Shylah went back to Canada! And, all that hair hanging off her belly makes her legs look even shorter than they already are. I wonder if she'll grow more. I've been thinking she's a bit bigger lately, but every time before that I've measured she's been the same as before, so I think I'll just let myself believe she's bigger and not get proof that she isn't. Even if she stays pony-sized, she's an awesome horse. Hopefully she will at least fill out enough in the shoulders that she can wear my saddle!!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Doggie Tales

We got this postcard in the mail the other day about a lost Jack Russell Terrier, with a pretty hefty amount of reward money. Yesterday I was walking up the driveway from the road and off in the far corner of the neighbors' field I saw a JRT! I was thinking "pleeeeease let this be the same dog!" Not that I really could have accepted a large sum of money just for happening to stumble across a dog, but it wasn't the same dog anyway. I walked out there and called the dog, and she came running up to me. I didn't recognize her as one of the locals, so I brought her to the house, snapped a leash on her, and called the phone number on her tag. Turned out she lives maybe a quarter mile away, and probably would have gone back home if I'd left her alone, but I didn't want her to go out on the road. So her owner came and picked her up, and now I've met another one the neighbors.


There is a gigantic, mostly deaf, obese, old black Labrador that lives in the neighborhood. He's not neutered. He's a nice dog, doesn't mess with my birds, and will come over to "help" if the farrier or vet is here and the gate happens to be open. Certain other neighborhood people don't like him much. Actually they hate him, because he wanders all over, craps in people's yards, and in his younger days would search far and wide and be very destructive toward fences and kennels in search of females in heat. Even in his old age, he still wanders. There is one person in particular who really bears a grudge, I think because the dog ripped up their fencing years ago to try to be around the female dog they had at the time.

They have a new female dog now, and I find it somewhat hypocritical that they don't keep her very well contained (she's something of an escape artist)...or spayed. So every now and then when I am sitting in the front window area working on my art, I see this female wiggling around the field out front, flirting for all she is worth with this ancient black lab. He'll prance around in his stiff-legged way and wag his tail a lot, but that's been all he can do these last few years....

...Until a couple days ago. And let's just say that if the old guy isn't shooting blanks, there may be puppies before too long... Wouldn't that be sort of like karma?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

November already?!

Criminy! Time is flying, this is just ridiculous! Less than two months til Christmas! Less than three months til my "deadline." OMG, there's something to really stress about. I will not have all the work done by then, but I've known that for quite some time now. I still have to get as much done by then as I can though. I may need to stop sleeping... I drew til 11pm last night. I work weird hours.

I read in the paper today that Michelangelo started work on "David" when he was 26 (hmm, kinda puts things in perspective...). I'm sure I learned that in art history too, but I've forgotten most of what I learned in those classes.