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I have been creating things since I was old enough to hold a pencil, a crayon or a needle. You may be surprised what you find here.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Apple Annie's

I created this small (5"x7") painting to commemorate the last days of autumn. Last year a friend of mine and I spent hours looking for an apple orchard. The one we used go to for years had closed and we were determined to find one in that area.

The story is that we decided to one morning to go to the orchard in our old neighborhood, about 30 miles from where we now live. When we found the orchard closed, we thought we would go find some of our other favorite places in the area. Much to our dismay everyone of them were no longer in existance. We spent several hours driving around looking for various businesses and getting very discouraged. And to top it off - we didn't have our apples or our cider yet.

Thank goodness for cell phones. We were in the neighborhood of another friend, and I knew she had a local orchard that she went to. So a phone call to Lynn saved the day as she directed us to Apple Annie's in Brentwood, NH.

Apple Annie's has apples, pies, cider donuts and apple cider that hasn't been pasteurized taking all the good flavor out of it. You can pick your own, or buy them already picked. There are other baked goods, fresh vegetables in season, recipes and lots of other things to make it interesting. The friendly farm dog can be seen eating apples in the yard and the place is very photogenic. It's owned by a couple in their retirement and they are delightful. It's a little off the beaten path but well worth the trip.

Remember the old adage about an apple a day....enjoy!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mindy an American Spitz

This is my father's dog. Although he says she is a pain in the butt, he would be lost without her. She keeps him moving with her frequent demands to be either let in or out.

Two weeks ago, he heard her barking and barking, but she wasn't coming to the door. Since this is not a particularly unusual behavior he didn't pay much attention. Finally at some point, it got closer to the door and became annoying, so he went out to speak to her. He found her with a bloody chin and totally unable to use one of her hind legs. It was dragging on the ground and she hadn't yet figured out how to manage with just three.

She spent the weekend at the vet. They ran lots of tests but didn't find anything dislocated or broken. She had no feeling at all in the leg or any muscle control. Ultimately they sent her home with antibiotics and steroids and a wait and see attitude.

When I last spoke to my father, he said he did see her attempting to use the leg here and there, which seems to indicate that she is getting muscle control back, and maybe some feeling. We have high hopes and still a lot of questions which will probably never be answered.

I painted this particular painting nearly three years ago as a gift for my stepmom when she was going through chemo. When I started painting again, she provided tons of encouragement and support. I miss her dearly.

Life is short, and the people and animals we love sometimes pass through much too quickly. Embrace life, embrace love and don't forget to show them all how much they mean to you. You never know when your last opportunity to do so will be.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Treasured Companions

Nearly all of us who have pets, adore our animals. For many of us, they are our family and often loved as much as our children, perhaps even more, as children grow up and become independent, but our pets truly need us, rely on us and give us unconditional love. Who doesn't want unconditional love?

Over the years, my husband and I have had to say goodbye to many companion animals, but we have been very fortunate not to have to say goodbye to two of them within the same year. That is not the case for my boss. Over the past several months he has lost both of his labs due to advanced age and illness. That fact that they were older dogs did not make the parting any easier. In some ways I think it makes it that much harder.

He keeps a photo of the two dogs on his desk which prompted me to think about creating a painting. So a few weeks ago, when he was out of the office, I 'borrowed' the photo, had it scanned and made a copy for myself and began the painting.

My thought is to give this to him for Christmas. I don't usually give him gifts, and this wouldn't start a trend. But he's a nice guy, and a fair boss. By fair, I don't mean as opposed to excellent or poor, but truly fair in his dealings with everyone. I think he would like this.

A gift like this is tricky. What if he doesn't think it looks like his dogs? Then we are both in an awkward position. Me for giving him something that he doesn't care for or perceives as a burden, and him for having to pretend to like it. Of course, he can just take it home and tell me he hung it in a place of honor and I"d never be the wiser. But it could be even more complicated than that. The year my mother died, my dad had a photo of her enlarged and framed and gave both my brother and me the photo for Christmas. I was unprepared, it knocked me for a loop, and if anything my poor father got a less than delighted and totally unexpected reaction.

I may not have thought this through. Or perhaps I am just over thinking it all together. What do you think?

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Friday, October 1, 2010

George's cat

I am still playing with acrylic paints, and apparently, still painting cats! The colors in the photo are not as good as the actual colors of the painting, and I can't rephotograph it as it's already on it's way to the cat's owners.

Putting a pattern in the fabric was easier than I thought it was going to be, and painting all those little round beads turned out to be a lot of fun. If you look closely at the top of the painting you can see that the beads are part of the Christmas tree, with just one light and the tips of a couple of branches showing.

I am grateful to my friends who post their wonderful photos on their Facebook pages and then give me permission to paint them when I ask. For their generosity, they always get first dibs on whatever I do. Of course, there is always the fear that someone will decide that you didn't capture the essence their beloved pet, but I've been very fortunate in that so far, that's only happened once.

The next painting I have planned is of two dogs. The scale will be much larger, I'm thinking 16"x20", whereas the last three cat paintings have been 9"x12". I am also going back to oils on this one. It's going to be a holiday gift, so I need to get started soon.

On another note, my youngest cat has a new game - she loves playing with bubbles. We spend ten minutes once a day with me blowing bubbles and her standing on her hind legs batting at them. This has made me rethink the painting I just finished of her, I think I might add some bubbles. What do you think? Let me know, I'd love to hear from you.