Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March 31 work in progress

See, I told you it would start to make more sense as I progress! One or two more days and I'll be done.

I had the irresistible urge to bake something today, so I made chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. New recipe. Yum. Probably could have used a little more flour though, they ended up flatter than I wanted. Still yum!

The pageviews on my website were double the average number yesterday. Hmm. I have no idea where the referrals are coming from. Weird.

Hey, I should probably do my taxes! (*SIGH*)

Monday, March 30, 2009

March 30 work in progress

I did a whole bunch of research (aka looking up photos) today for my next scrim project, which will be that beautiful knife I posted a few days (week?) ago. I'd been totally undecided about what to do with it but it hit me day and it's going to be awesome! I have until early May to get that done.

It's actually looking like life is going to be "all scrimshaw all the time" which is, as they say, freakin' awesome. Another project is on its way to me today. I'll talk about it later!

I would like to balance this out with some drawing projects too, but hey, this rocks! :-D

Sunday, March 29, 2009

March 29 work in progress

Twenty-one years ago today was the day my first chick hatched. Wow. That was "Pheasant."

I had intended to do a lot of horsey stuff today but it was horribly windy and annoying, so I didn't get done as much as I had planned. But I did do more scrimshaw!

It's on odd place to stop for the day with one ear floating in space, but hey, it'll get there. Since this piece is going to be done with a LOT of lines, I decided to try out a different tool for that, since making lines with the etching needle always makes me grumble and the lines never seemed to hold ink all that well. I'm using an X-acto knife for the lines now and very happy with it. The dots are still done with an etching needle. I ink it with etching ink as I go. There isn't a right or wrong way to use lines or dots, in my opinion. Some people seem to think that one or the other is better, but really I think it just comes down to what the image is. You can make any image entirely out of lines (but it's hard, I'm not really into that). You can make any image entirely out of dots (can also be hard). Some need one or the other. This one uses both! I will post closeups when I'm done.

And I forgot to scan it with the penny yesterday! D'oh!

scrimshaw engraving on pre-ban elephant ivory
30 by 40 mm
sold (commission)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

March 28 work in progress

Okay, so I'm working on a new project. This is a portrait of a Sheltie dog named Molly. It's scrimshaw on a 30x40mm piece of pre-ban elephant ivory. It'll have a lot of line-work in it. Today I put in a "base coat" of light gray in some areas. These are the tan patches on the dog (but this is a black and white scrim). This'll all make a lot more sense as I get farther into it!

Here's yesterday's progress (tee hee!):

And what I did today:

Friday, March 27, 2009

my beautiful horses

I started a new scrim project today. I just have the image transferred and a little bit done, it's not much to look at right now. So I didn't scan it.

My horses looked soooo bored today. Nice sunny day and they've been cooped up in the corral for months (I want the pasture to go to seed so I'm keeping the horses off it). Anyway, I felt sorry for them so I let them out for a gallop and a little grazing. They were so eager to graze it was hard to get them to MOVE for photos, which is why they have grass hanging out of their mouths in these pics! Classy, I know. Gwen is a 22 year old Morgan X Shire. She's the black one with white socks. Shylah is an almost 6 year old Canadian Horse (yes, that's a real breed). She came down here from Canada from the PMU industry when she was just a little stringbean of a weanling.

I took way over 100 photos. I narrowed them down to these. There are more of Shylah because she moves around more! :-)

Olin, meanwhile, maintained his usual level of enthusiasm.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

blah blah

Where did today go? I'm not sure.

I sent press releases to three local newspapers. I addressed a bunch of postcards, they'll go out tomorrow.

I'm thinking of an art sale. Spring cleaning. Big discounts. :-)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Winter Gold

I know, I know, it's springtime now, but that's the title of the piece I just finished. I'm pretty darn thrilled with this one. :-)

"Winter Gold" (Golden Phoenix)
8 x 11 inches
colored pencil and graphite on white Stonehenge paper
sold, commission

Rosecomb eggs for sale

Yup, I'm sellin' eggs! All the info is HERE.

I plan to have them available til maybe early June but there tends to be a substantial waiting list so "act now" as they say.

The 50-50 Show

Well, I dropped off my work at the 20th Street Gallery today and got a little glimpse of some of the other art, and this is going to be a great show! I also got a peek at the price list and noticed most people were priced pretty low, so I decided to drop mine down a little in order to stay with the pack. Trust me, I understand the economic woes here... So my stuff is now priced at $120 each. Remember, I only get half of that... :-/

But hey, I can't wait to see the whole show! It opens April 8th and closes May 30th. The gallery hours are noon to 5pm Wednesday through Saturday. Receptions are as follows:

"Artists Reception" Thursday April 9th at 5:3pm. PLEASE RSVP to me asap if you would like to attend this.

"Second Saturday" April 11th, 6pm - 9pm

"Second Saturday" May 9th, 6pm - 9pm

I have put all the paintings on my website HERE. This also gives the gallery location and phone number. You can purchase over the phone from the gallery, they'll ship work for $5.

Now go look at the paintings! :-)

Monday, March 23, 2009

March 23 work in progress

I'm tired. A good tired, it's been a very productive day.

A pic from the weekend:

I spent my weekend down in Ventura helping with the Avian Bowl competition at a 4-H field day. It was fun and I'm glad I helped out, but it really ate up a lot of time, hence the loooong hours today.

The paintings are done and varnished and scanned. You can see them all here. I will write more about this another day.

The drawing in progress (D, I am going to try to finish this tomorrow):

This is the knife I received. It is a Don Cowles knife with ivory scales. I don't know yet what I'm going to do with it, but I have about a month to get it done (so he can take it to Blade Show) and that doesn't leave me a lot of time to think. I feel like I don't even have time to think right now.

I have not even started working on my taxes. Aaaaaack.

Stressed, I am.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

up and running!

Woo hoo, a successful move! I may still tinker with the layout a bit, I'm not sure. How fun that I actually CAN change it now!! Update your bookmarks, subscribe, etc!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I'm in the process of moving this blog. I hope it doesn't get completely screwed up in the process. It should have more nifty features when it's done. If I lose anything I'll croak. I'm a little clueless, but I was just informed this could take up to 48 hours, so I'll twiddle my fingers until then.

March 18 work in progress

First of all, American Idol... I am aghast.

In other news, I finished painting today!! (Happy dance!!!) I still need to varnish them, but the subject matter is all painted, woo hoo!!! I did rearrange the order a little. There had ended up being some unintentional groupings of bird colors and I did not like that. I will scan them individually and post them all next week.

Next up: Chicken drawing! Dog scrim! And there's a knife on the way that I'm going to scrim on spec. Not the one I mentioned a few weeks ago, that apparently didn't pan out.

Monday, March 16, 2009

March 16 work in progress

I have not had much time for anything other than PAINTING CHICKENS. So don't misinterpret the lack of WIP photos. Busy busy! Two more days to go (plus varnishing, signing, labeling, and packing).

Sunday, March 15, 2009

where did the weekend go?

How did it get to be Sunday night already?

Yesterday was so fun. :-) I was only nervous for a few seconds while standing on the steps to go on stage. Aside from that, I pretty much felt awesome.

After finally managing to pry myself out of bed today, I spent the day painting and drawing. Three more days of painting to go, then I have to varnish and label them. I have to admit I'm getting tired of painting. I'm not tired of chickens, I don't think that's possible, but I'm tired of painting. Or maybe it's just that I prefer projects that take longer so I can really get into them. That might be it, because I've really enjoyed the big paintings I've done. Huh.

The Sheltie sketch is pending approval. That's for an upcoming scrim project. And I'm sending off some sample drawing sizes to a client who is considering a chicken drawing.

I need to engrave, and I've had to neglect my scroll studies for lack of time lately. Only three more days of painting to go, woo hoo!!!

And the ground is drying out, I'll be able to ride soon. Not that I have any grand plans or anywhere to go.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


I'm sooooo tired. But it went great! I was able to get someone to shoot pics on my camera too, yay!

The intro (I'm second from left in photo):

Dancing the Marco Polo dance (I'm on right in photo):

I'm not sure which dance this was (I'm second from left in photo):

The troupe afterwards (I'm second from left in photo):

Oh yeah, these girls are always trouble ;-) (I'm on the right in case you really haven't figured this out yet)

A totally hammed up pose from the intro dance (taken afterwards):

Friday, March 13, 2009

wish me luck!

Tomorrow's the big day! Rakkasah West bellydance festival! I'm on stage at 6pm. I've got everything all packed up, my fingernails and toenails are painted bright red, I'm feeling good about it! I hope to have photographic proof of this, but I can't promise it right away.

Think happy thoughts for me! :-)


I am thinking about transferring this blog to the blogspot server (it is currently hosted on my own site). I chose to host it myself because it seemed safer, no risk of blogspot losing things if everything is contained without in my own domain. The problem is there are a lot of features that I can't use. Like site feeds. Not that I really understand what those are, but you can't "subscribe" to this blog the way it is right now, and I know a lot of people prefer to do that so they know when a blog is updated. I also don't get the "newer posts" and "older posts" navigation, you have to go into the archives and that can be a a pain to pull up a whole month at a time.

This could be a serious pain in the asterisk, but I'm considering it. The other option I guess is just to set up ANOTHER blog but jeez do I really need to post this in FOUR places?

I'm open to suggestions from anyone who knows something about this.

And now, back to painting.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

March 11 work in progress

The paintings are coming along a good pace, but I have six more full (and by that I mean VERY FULL) days of painting ahead of me. Sigh. I really prefer drawing and engraving. It was the speed factor that made me decide to do paintings for the gallery show. They're pretty cute though, I must say! :-)

My favorite paintbrush has seen better days. I have a huge collection of paint brushes. I use about 5 of them consistently. I can see that I'm going to be in the market for a replacement. Hopefully it'll get me through the rest of the chicken paintings though!

And I finally got some time this evening to work on the drawing. The greenish areas in the tail... that's how black feathers start out. Looks weird huh!

not yet titled (Golden Phoenix)
8 x 11 inches
colored pencil and graphite on white Stonehenge paper
sold, commission

Cripes I gotta go to bed! Sooooo much to do tomorrow.

my second engraving

This has been done for about a week. I keep meaning to take a really top notch photo, but that seems to be eluding me, so I'm going to go ahead and post this mediocre photo.

This is my second engraving on metal, done in the "bulino" style. This image is created entirely with dots. The process is a lot like scrimshaw. This is on steel, and is 1 by 3/4 inch. I am trying to learn to use lines as well, but that does not come as easily to me. Stay tuned for lines. And scrolls. My scrolls look like drunken snails right now.

I wish you could all see these things in person, they're so different in person. So little!

These photos are taken through the microscope, which has better clarity in the center of the field of view.

And just to give you a sense of the dots:


I spent a lot of time outdoors today. It was nice, I've been pretty cooped up in the studio lately. I don't think I managed to get much of a tan yet though.

Today was a day of chickening. That involves bringing ALL the birds out and putting them into cages out by the barn (I should have taken a photo), sorting them by color, trimming toenails, powdering them for mites if needed, and deciding what to keep and what to sell. I found a few to go to auction, and the rest are now in breeding pens (Brassy/Blue Brassy, BBRed, and 2 pens of Blacks.)

The plan: focus only on Black and BBRed. Sell the rest ONLY if I find the right homes for them. I will start selling eggs in a couple weeks: BBRed and Black, and maybe more depending what's still here.

I will hatch some (hopefully 50-ish) for myself at the END of the season (rather than waiting til it's hot to ship eggs, since I likely won't be showing much in the fall it doesn't matter if I hatch them late). Pure Black, and Black X BBRed. No pure BBRed. They need serious work. However, since I think most buyers aren't looking to have to deal with a multi-generation thing, I'll sell pure BBRed eggs. If anyone wants BBRed X Black do let me know though.

If I sell what I want to sell, I will end up with less than 25 birds, woo hoo!

I let the horses out for a gallop this afternoon. They've been cooped up in the corrals so that the pastures grow some grass and they had WAY too much pent up energy. It was a blast, I run around with a lunge whip and they rip around the pasture bucking and farting. It amuses me that Gwen, despite her lameness issues, can still outrun little short-legged Shylah. Again, should have taken pictures!

Today is my 9th anniversary with Gwen. It's hard to believe I've had her that long, that's longer than I owned Thunder! Gwen's a rotten old horse but I love her anyway. :-)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

look out, I have a lot to say, maybe

This could be a long post. Or not. I'm never really sure ahead of time, just let it go with the flow.

I'm still painting like mad. I've got it all scheduled out now. Six more days of painting. One day to varnish everything. And a few days off in that time span to work on other things (so I don't go totally insane) or be doing something else altogether (like shaking my booty on stage on Saturday, you KNOW you want to see this!) According to my schedule I'm going to paint two more today though. Hmm. Well, hmm. Tomorrow is supposed to be a no-painting day so maybe I can squeeze in two tomorrow. Sigh.

I need to work on the chicken drawing and I must must must get the Sheltie dog sketched out, ack! I need more of me, some clones or something. Or maybe just minions.

My plan for tomorrow is to sort through all my chickens (the real live ones, not the paintings). Normally I would have set up the breeding pens by now. Obviously I've been a bit lax on that, and it's been this huge dilemma of what on earth do I do with the birds. See the trouble is I don't want to do anything with them. Don't want to sell them, but also don't want to hatch a gazillion of them. I've gone through this the past few years but it's worse now. Why? I guess it's kind of all changed for me, and there isn't one particular thing that caused that. Politics and stupid petty crap definitely played a big role now and totally changed my perspective on showing and a lot of the people involved. Raising a lot of birds is a lot of work. I'm really busy with other things and don't necessarily want to be tied down to cleaning brooders every week and feeding chicks every day for months at a time. It's really expensive traveling around and showing, and I think if I'm going to be spending money traveling around it ought to be for art/engraving shows. And of course there's the fact that my heart just isn't in it like it used to be. It's been 22 years. I still love the birds, I think a Rosecomb is the most gorgeous thing out there. And I still dearly love a lot of the people who I have become friends with over the years. I can't give those things up. I thought about it, and it still crosses my mind that selling out might be the wisest thing to do, but I can't do it. Not yet anyway.

So I haven't really formulated my plan yet. It'll involve barely hatching any birds. I raised about 75 last year. That was not a bad number at all, I think I could do that again. But I need to sort through all the birds and get a better sense of what I do have and how many of them are good breeding stock birds. I suspect I'll be selling off a variety or two, but I need to talk to the person I'm hoping will buy them. I don't take this lightly, I've worked so hard with these birds.

As for what to raise, well, there's another dilemma. I sure like how the Blacks turned out after last year's outcross. That should be continued. I'm horribly disappointed with last year's BBReds. I think I kept 2 pullets, and the cockerels were all crappy birds with wimpy tails. Could have been bad luck and simply the fact that I raised fewer over all (and therefore of course ended up with fewer good ones) but I'm not sure of the wisdom of repeating those breedings. Not that I have much choice, I have so few birds already.

The smart thing, to improve the BBReds (which still gets me kinda fired up, I would still love to win a show with one of them) would be to cross the Blacks and BBReds again (and also raise some straight Black). Trouble is there won't be any BBReds in the first generation of that, so it's at least a two year commitment. Can I stick with that? I honestly don't know. I also have to consider egg sales. I can't sell BBRed X Black eggs to the vast majority of people, they want instant gratification and aren't going to dig the whole "you gotta wait two generations" thing. So...eh? I don't know.

Maybe I'll figure it out tomorrow. And I find myself saying "it would be so much easier to let someone else deal with them." I can't do it though.


I'm surprisingly mellow about Rakkasah coming up on Saturday. I feel pretty good about the dances. Well, in the sense that I know them, not in the sense that I like all of them, but that's another story. After successfully shrinking my new bellbottom pants (they were too long) I tried on the whole outfit today and I have to say it's pretty hot stuff! I look pretty good! I need to do my nails and get everything all packed up on Friday, but it feels like no biggie. And that's nice, because I'm stressing out over enough other things in life right now. Like life itself.


So... the dating thing. Yeah. I started doing the whole online dating thing last summer. Six months. My account expired last month and I did not renew, and I think I'm officially putting the ole heart up on a shelf for a while and giving all that a break. It's not something I talked about much (after all, I said I wouldn't) other than the occasional woe-is-me when things went south, but obviously nothing worked out. It's been a wild ride in the last 12 months. I have no regrets, I've met some interesting people and have at least one friendship that I know will stand the test of time (maybe two, time will tell!), had the most amazingly fantastic vacation ever (well that was before I did the online thing, but it's still related). I tried hard. And it didn't work. More than once. So I think it's time to kinda step a back a little and focus entirely on other interests. It's not that I'm off the market (oh no, far from it!) I just want a break from the effort of trying. I don't understand what the problem is. I ain't perfect but I ain't all bad! (there's a line in a Dolly Parton song that goes something like that, I like it). Really! I'm good people! In fact I'm pretty damn fabulous. I guess it's just going to take someone pretty special to see this. If you know him, wrap him up and send him my way okay? ;-)

And guys, and gals... it's okay to not be interested in someone. Really, it is. But don't be one of those people who says "I'm going to call you on Friday" and then not do it. Have the balls to say you're not interested. Sheesh. Common courtesy, peeps.

Rant over. Aw heck, I'd better do a little more painting. Crap.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

busy as a bee

Wow, I feel like such a blog slacker lately! I know you all must feel so deprived. I'll try to be better. I've been busy. I'm painting like a crazy woman trying to get back on schedule (oh yeah, you KNEW it would come to this). I finished the engraving a couple days ago. I'll post it, really, I will... I need to get a sketch out for approval this week, and this and that, woo wee.

Glorious weather! Too muddy to ride. :-(

Just a little reminder, I'm on Facebook. Feel free to add me. If your name might not ring a bell please add a little note to your friend request.

So yesterday, after getting up early for rehearsal down in Lodi, I spend most of the day at a framing workshop that the local art club puts on for high school students. It's a really neat thing they do. Long day, a LOT of framing. I've got a crick in my back that doesn't want to go away.

Today, after not getting much sleep (darn time change!) I went to a gun show in Sacramento with BV. I'd wanted to check this out and see if anything I do would be marketable there. Definitely not. It was an interesting show, I had fun, but much too "low end" to work for me.

Rakkasah West Bellydance festival is next weekend! It's at the fairgrounds in Vallejo. I will be on stage at 6pm Saturday March 14 on the Exhibit Hall Stage with the Arabian Jewels troupe. Come visit! :-)

It's gonna be a crazy busy week and I'm zonked. Sleepytime!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

March 4 work in progress and other things


not yet titled (Golden Phoenix)
8x11 inches
colored pencil and graphite
sold (commission)

Pretty flowers on a tree out back:

Frog on the back door (with dog hair stuck to its feet!):

Now where is Olin, it's time for his hairball goop. Hmmmm, all I can find is my fuzzy scarf....:

Oh THERE he is! (yes that was staged, and yes I do have a very patient cat. If I'd owned Olin when I was little I'm sure I would have dressed him up in doll clothes or something):

I didn't want Homer to feel bad, so I got a pic with him, but he looks grumpy:

Yep, I've always been a real trendsetter in the fashion world:

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

mew mew mew

I had to take Olin to the vet yesterday. He had not been eating or drinking well for a few days. Turns out it's a rather large hairball in his descending colon, so he is getting hairball goop three times a day (which he won't eat voluntarily, I have to syringe it into his mouth, thankfully he's the most mild mannered cat on the planet). And he has to stay inside the house until he produces, um... evidence that the hairball is no longer inside his body. Fun! He normally spends about half his time outdoors and he's been whining like crazy. Mew mew mew. Needless to say I did not sleep well last night. Animals, gotta love 'em!

Anyway. I'm still alive. I am very close to done with the engraving that I have been working on, and when I get close to finished with a piece it's ALL I WORK ON. Of course that means I've been neglecting the other 52 projects I'm supposed to be doing (that counts all 50 chicken paintings separately) so that's not such a good thing, but it'll all get done. Sigh. I cannot believe how long this engraving is taking. That's okay, I'm not tired of it, I'm just kind of astounded. It does take longer than scrim. The dots are smaller because you can get more detail on metal.

For your entertainment though I will leave you with more bird photos. These were all taken in the last three days through various windows of the house with the Nikon D80.

He's not a very good guard tiger:

Yellow-rumped warbler at the moment of flying from the tree:

Mockingbird + half an inch of rain = soggy!

White-crowned sparrow: