As my artist's statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance. -- Calvin and Hobbes

Saturday, December 25, 2010

And to all a good night...

It was a wonderful week and a nice holiday with friends and family. We settle down now to watch Christmas Vacation, a light and fluffy ending to our festivities and a reminder to be grateful for those wonderful people in your life.

Merry Christmas to all!

May peace be with you and yours this night.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Raiders of the lost art (of stuffing stockings)

"Indiana Bones"
ACEO, Colored Pencil

How often do we say, "enough with the socks and tangerines, already!! Want something fun to put in a stocking? Go for tiny art! There is sure a lot of it to be found. Look on Ebay for "ACEO" (where the craze began), or or, to name a few.
Of course, it's so close to Christmas now that ordering anything would be out of the question, but I'd be willing to bet that there are lots of little treasures to be found at great local artisan boutiques, like those found in Seattle and Atlanta (two places I frequent).

This is a custom mini character portrait, but you can find all kinds of ready made, ready to stuff tiny art pieces with your favorite subject!

Here's to making Christmas fun, unique and hopefully handmade!


Monday, December 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday ...Drink and Be Merry!

"Abstract Wine Bottles II"
For Victor


Thursday, December 2, 2010

What stop motion animation taught me!

My friend over at the Gypsy Goods Blog said that it just isn't Christmas without Rudolph! I agree! That and the Grinch and Merry Christmas Charlie Brown and all the other movies from the 60's! Sometimes, It's good to be older, because these old movies beat the crappy 80's CG by leagues and taught us some important lessons about being a good person.

As for me, some of the best lessons learned in life came from stop motion animation! In my personal favorites, Santa Claus is coming to town, Mickey Rooney as Santa teaches the Winter Warlock the most important lesson of all: "Changing from bad to good is as simple as one step! Put one foot in front of the other!"

"Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you'll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you'll be walking out the door

You never will get where you're going
If you never get up on your feet
Come on, there's a good tail wind blowing
A fast walking man is hard to beat

Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you'll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you'll be walking out the door

If you want to change your direction
If your time of life is at hand
Well don't be the rule be the exception
A good way to start is to stand

Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you'll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you'll be walking out the door

If I want to change the reflection
I see in the mirror each morn
You mean that it's just my election
To vote for a chance to be reborn

Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you'll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you'll be walking out the door"

And, youngsters...

Remember, from the greatest Mailman ever, Fred Astaire, "Behave yourselves, because Santa can still look into his magic snowball and see what you're up to!"

Christmas is only 23 days away!
Ho Ho HO



Monday, November 29, 2010

Omg, 50,000 words in a month!

I feel a sense of relief getting to the 50,000 word goal of the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) but now, I really feel like writing!

What an incredible month this has been. I knew I could do it, I knew I could write a novel, I knew I had one in me, and now, I'm off to a good start. My story is far from complete, with lots of editing and rewriting to come. I hope that one day soon, I will have something you can hold in your hand or your electronic reader and enjoy. Moreover, I hope it doesn't suck.

Thanks everyone for being supportive and cheering me on along the way, and thanks to my good buddy Alexia for starting the book club that made me focus on making lofty goals achievable and really nailing down my daily writing routine, and mostly getting to me to commit to this project in such a busy month.

I'm a leaf on the wind! Now more than ever before, I feel unstoppable!

Action was the word I chose for the year because I needed to get moving, and a lot of wonderful progress has been made with my art career. I'll tell you though, this little accomplishment really feels like icing on the cake! I am pleased to have progress in my journey to share with others and maybe inspire, too.

Remember: Never EVER give up!

Thanks to a few awesome people who lead by example and sticktuitiveness and probably have no idea I’m referencing them here: Christy Dekoning, Curt of Keemo, Christine Kane, Carl at, Alexia Petrakos.

But Scarecrow, I thank you most of all. :)



Thursday, November 25, 2010

Hey Thanks!

I am thankful for a loving family, great friends, sweet dogs, a great dog sitter, awesome clients, our troops and volunteers and social workers and adoptive and foster parents, and people who care for other people and animals....and this internet connection that is allowing me to say to you all:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a wonderful and safe holiday,

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lure me with your smallness and baby breath

Bowl of Puppy
Acrylic on wood

Day 21 of Nanowrimo and 6813 words to catch up. I had a lot of painting to do this week, so I have not written in 3.79 days. Tonight may be one of those late nights that becomes a surreal writing experience likely to leave me feeling the carpal tunnel aches tomorrow.

I was thinking about smallness and the adorable quality of small. Take this little Westie puppy, for example. Don't you just want to feel his tiny tongue kissing you or smell his sweet baby puppy breath? I do. I think if I had this dog, I would simply not be able to let him down, except to pee, of course.

November is a rather large month, and it makes me wonder why the National Novel Writing Month happens in such a big month. Writing 50,000 words is momentous, at least it is the first time you do it. And in a month that also brings the preparation for the largest retail shopping days of the year, where artists and crafters alike are unbelievably busy preparing stockpiles of goodies for art and craft fairs and online sales. Then there is the added goodliness that I am also a portrait painter and I have lots of orders to fill. So, thanks Nanowrimo, just pile it on, why don't you?!!

Could be for a reason, though. If they did it in a metaphorically small month, we might not be up to the challenge. Through all of this, I have found companionship in my procrastinative obstinacy, and learned that writers are like me, they put things off and get distracted by dishes and sunshine and small animals. What I really mean is that in a small month, we would likely find no time at all to write a novel, because there is just too much 'nothing' to be done. And when there is nothing expected, you tend to go with the flow.

In November, when so much is due and the TV still has new episodes to watch (geesus, this is really painful), and everyone goes out of town or has plans for 3-4 days at Thanksgiving, why there couldn't be a better time to squeeze in a novel. Busy is what makes procrastinators move. This is the grandest time for a procrastinator who thrives on a deadline; Me.

So, bring it on, I say. You cannot discourage me! Bring on the kind of night that if I smoked, would be littered with visits to the porch in the wee hours to stare at the moon and think of new plot twists while stretching my neck. Bring on the late night pasty mouth (blech) and the dry red eyes. They will go unnoticed. For I am a nom de plum on the wind and my cup can always be refilled.

I'm off to make a French press and find a bit of ice cream.
I'll brush my teeth later.



Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nanowrimo or try try again!

Ink Leaves on Watercolor I

November is National Novel Writing Month. Really, it's worldwide novel writing month, or every other country's national novel writing month as well, however you want to look at it!

The goal: Write 50,000 words in a month, about 175 pages, give or take a few. My Storyist demo software says I'm on page 92. (Omigod, 92 pages! I totally rock!) That's almost better than selling a painting! Ok, it IS better than selling a painting, because it's the first time I've ever done this!

Half way day is tomorrow. I'm at around 20,000 so far. I honestly wondered if I would even get this far. I know I have a novel in me, but I didn't think I could get so much out in so little time. Each time to go to write, it just flows, and flows. Plus, I still like my story after 14 days.

I honestly thought my first writing experience would be a screenplay, and if you're into that, the same people who bring this fun contest also bring "Scriptfrenzy" in the early Spring. I have had oodles of movie ideas in my head forever so I'll be working on this one next year.

I have found this experience to be very liberating. The Nanowrimo people even come right out say that some of what you will write will suck. You aren't going to create a masterpiece with this effort, and you aren't going to publish on your first round anyway, so let it out and get it down, that's all that matters here. Why? Because some of what you will write will be brilliant! You don't have to share it with anyone. I wont even let my MF (Man Friend) read it, because I don't want any tiny iota of potential negativity to dash all my hopes and have me leave my novel career before it begins, which could happen with an eyebrow twitch. (ok, but probably not, because I am stubborn and believe I can actually do this. he he. rookie.)

So, with regard to writing the remaining 30,000 words, I have confidence I'll get through this, although tomorrow will only be week 3 and there is still so much to write and still a lot of time to get sidetracked and procrastinate. However, the Nanowrimo folks have thought of that too, with their daily blogging of motivation and the amusing "Procrastination Station" where, if you are short on words, you may find scene suggestions to add a thousand or two extra words to your story and maybe spark your story back into a flame. Daily I say my mantra: "Oh Lord, let my words flow, and help me from having to use the 'Shovel of death' scene to get an extra thousand words! (courtesy of the procrastination station).

For more information on Nanowrimo, visit

For the rest of the month, each post will mention my current word count. The daily quota to get there is 1667 words. I chose not to write this weekend so I could work on a few other important things that actually help me get paid. The rest of month will be some early morning and some late nights, but I am driven to succeed on writing my very first novel. I have always wanted to do it, so let's see where this gig takes me!

I will remember that great quote, "Write Rebecca, write like the wind!" (or something like that)

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Case of the Runaway JackaBee

Leopold "Butters" Scotch

This is the sweet young male Beagle Terrier Mix that has been roaming between owners in the Acworth area in the past few months. He is currently at my neighbor's house.

He's seems like a pretty smart, sweet little guy and he took a bath well. He likes to be on the leash and doesn't pull. He eats like eating is a luxury, a possible symptom of his chronic running away. Maybe he is trying to get back to his original owners, although I have searched every lost and found pet database in Georgia, and there doesn't seem to be an owner looking for him.

He is not neutered. His teeth are clean and his ears are pink, but a little dirty. The vet says he is healthy and is around a year old.

If you can, please post this on your blog today and someone, somewhere in the country may decide to adopt little Buddy.

Buddy after his bath and blow dry!

If you wish to give Buddy a better change of getting adopted, you can donate any denomination to help pay for his shots and to have him neutered. Dogs who come with no extra financial burden get adopted quicker! Thanks!

Tuesday, November 9th!
Leopold "Butters" Scotch has been placed in foster care and will be receiving shots and getting neutered tomorrow. Thank you to the wonderful Paige at Mostly Mutts shelter in Kennesaw, GA for taking in Butters and having an endless supply of love!

To donate to Mostly Mutts continuing care of neglected, dumped, abused and lost animals visit

Thanks everyone!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hope and Deliverance

"Princess Grace"

Can you imagine that someone would give up a warm bed to sleep in because the shelter wont allow a little dog? This is the dog. Now you can see why he would choose her over a bed. He is her protector, her best friend, her lifeblood. And she is his.

His name is Albert Grace, and this is Princess, his daily salvation.

I fight back tears each time I think of this duo, with whom I spent quite a bit of time during my trip to Las Vegas in August. They live in the old downtown area, where the old casinos still bring a bit of luck to some. I spent a measly amount of money buying him some bottled water for Princess, gave him some cash and cigarettes, and together, we hung out on the sidewalk, enjoying chili dogs and cokes from Binion's food counter, (which were delicious, by the way.)

Albert and I talked about being homeless at great length, and he shared a few of his darkest moments with me, including his wife dying of cancer many years ago, leading to his homelessness, how he enjoys an occasional shower and bathroom visit at the apartment of a friend, since he can't go in the casinos, and life on the street. "I am person without a home, I am not a criminal. People don't have to be afraid of me. I don't ever ask for money, I just sit here with Princess and we get by. Being homeless is hard, but I have some friends. ..I do have to be careful at night, though, because the bums will sometimes threaten to harm Princess."

The police try to move the vagrants along to keep the area tourist friendly. Like shooing pigeons going to where the bits of food are.

I am not sure whether Princess came before or after his wife's death, but she has been with him ever since. He told me that someone had taken her to the vet recently, and she, too, has been diagnosed with cancer. You may not ever see a more loving relationship than the one between this sweet man and his tiny canine friend.

The street vendors told me they look out for the duo, because they are not "bums" and generous tourists help out with dog food and water. It's true, Albert never asks for a handout. He is only 57, but his years on the street have taken a toll on his body.

My spendthrift trip to experience the lavish decadence of the city that never sleeps brought me instead to the streets where I met the real Vegas. Princess and Albert mark the beginning of probably a year long series about Vegas, called Beautiful People, which will culminate in a show in the Fall of next year.

Look for Albert if you go to Las Vegas, and buy him a chili dog.

The portrait of Princess Grace has been entered into the one word show "Hope" on I invite you to visit the show, see and read my show entry and vote for your favorite!

*This image will be available as a print and on greeting cards, and I am working to make sure the proceeds will directly benefit Albert and Princess Grace, as long as they are still around.


Monday, October 18, 2010

You gotta put in the miles..

"Becky's barefoot trek took her to the old broken bridge, her secret fishing hole. She sat on the edge, concentrating with her tongue sticking out of her pursed lips, and readied her pole. A hawk surveying the stream below, her solitary goal was finding her next fish. At last, she imagined she had found an undiscovered lair of trout, and confidently cast her line in the deep pocket. Her pendulum feet swung like the stale marshmallows on her hook, keeping lazy time and giving her the pleasure of feeling the wind blow through her toes as she settled in for a long session with a bag of sunflower seeds."

I would rather be Michelangelo than DaVinci.

It seems that with any good intention, in order to see it through, you have to put in the effort, and this could take some time. Some time where it seems like not much gets done, where you don't see every day rewards, where you 'put in' but don't see financial gain. Even some time where you wonder if you are fishing in the right spot at all and if you will ever get to fry your fish, or if you will just keep replacing one soggy marshmallow with the next, thinking that a different color might change the fish's taste for it.

Many things, like parking spaces, just appear for me. I have good parking karma. It's a gift. I was listening to the Secret a few years ago and heard another person talking about his parking karma and it made me laugh. The suggestion has been made time after time, that if it is meant to be, it will happen without conflict or stress or difficulty. It will just happen. ..Maybe. Sometimes. (Hey you can dream, right?)

But, if we all just gave up on every good idea because it was going to take some work or time or money or effort, we'd live in an empty world.

We don't live in an age of King Patrons who marvel at our mere intellectual and creative genius, and long to merely be in our presence, so we don't have the luxury of being a DaVinci; more committed to the idea of perfection than tangible results. Never getting anything out where it might risk an imperfect existence, never to be finished, only abandoned. Maybe you want to be reserved in your limitless potential and spend years on just one masterpiece, who am I to argue? It's DaVinci after all! (In fairness to DaVinci, I think he understood his gift of attraction well and he evidently enjoyed being a mentor, scientist and intellectual more than a painter.) However, we DaVincis rarely get our feet wet, and that is my point.

Let's try a new approach. Let's instead think of ourselves as Michelangelos... great productivity machines of magic awesomeness! You see the block of marble and know it's a David waiting to come out!

I think you ought to hope for the big one. I think you should always hold on to that feeling! It's important to believe that greatness is possible. Why would I tell you to torture yourself with dreams that may never happen? Because the alternative is having an idea that never left the paper, or worse, what becomes someone else's Mona Lisa.

Don't know what to do? Well, you know that quote from Something About Mary: "I like meat on a stick! There should be more meats on sticks." I totally agree. Find what is missing and do that!

I knew a man who stated, "I'll never have much in life or be a rich man." This is true.

I believe that I will succeed at anything I put my mind to. Two results are possible. I will succeed or I will find the journey takes me in a different direction than I was expecting. At least I will have tried.

If you don't take the first small step toward something, then you will only live out your years wondering what things might have looked like. Here's something I read in the Artist's Way that made me want to put in the time and earn some band aids:

Q. "Do you know how old I will be by the time I learn to play guitar well?"
A. Yes, the same you'll be if you don't.
So, let's start!1

Have the Grace to be a beginner, and take the first scary small step.2

Anything worth doing is worth doing badly! (except for sky diving, maybe.)

You have to start somewhere. Just begin and see where it takes you.

1,2 Quotes from The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Side of building, Las Vegas, NV


Monday, October 4, 2010

"You make me wanna write!"

I always feel like writing in the Fall. It's my favorite time of year. I think the slightest change in temperature makes me perky and excited, even nostalgic.

The Summer was unrelenting this year. High humidity and temps created a bad biscuit out of me. I fluffed up and got cooked, but then I just sat around all Summer and got stale. A bad biscuit is not worth eating, empty calories and a waste of time. Regardless of what food product I may have resembled, the result was a hardened floury puck which could never result (no matter how much honey I used) in any kind of creative production.

I'm an Earth sign, and I probably need some more water in my life to make my obstinate behavior a little more fluid. The stubborn me said, "Hey, this road block was my idea, so I will just stay here and break out a six pack until the road clears. I prefer not getting a damn thing done for 3 months!" Except it was my road block too, so no one else was going to clear it.

Honestly, it's not that I intended to accomplish nothing, who does that?

My argument could be that I was nourishing an idea, "You mean you can't see the novel that is inside my head? I'm just working on the plot a little more before I write it down!" When you are blocked, anything that involves much more than passive regurgitation is a struggle.

1st step: Acknowledgement. Summer is bad for my productivity. That's when I should be playing outside and dreaming and lying under the stars and forming creative ideas. I am from the Northwest and cooler weather makes me productive. So, if I am to stay in the South, I need to travel during the Summer or get a job doing something mundane, or just do house chores and go to the beach every day. As long as I don't spend another Summer depressed, beating myself up for not painting!

Why am I telling you all this? Because you probably have a season, too. It may even be a day of the week. You have a time of year of when you are better at that creative thing you do. When you are at your worst productive period, may I suggest that there is something else you could be doing that will fulfill you. Some seemingly mindless activity, even, that will give you a sense of satisfaction. Go pull weeds, or caulk, or paint baseboards, or vacuum the ceiling fan.

You know, these blocks may come when we need to refill our creative wells. So, the light tasks can help us to get some dreaming done!

If Fall is not your season, try some chores and spruce up your place. Then, go for a walk and let yourself dream. Swing on swings. Go to the movies. Go to a coffee house at midnight, see a live band, make good food and enjoy it. Discover a wine bar.

Plan ahead to do something 'else'.

The biscuit picture comes from a nice little blog I discovered today on how to make a great buttermilk biscuit! Visit Pinch My Salt for the recipe! (Don't forget the honey)


Monday, September 20, 2010

It's My Life! From Disability to Independence

I work with 4 wonderful women.
Adult women living with disabilities. They have learned that their contribution to the community is very important, and that they can set and achieve attainable goals for themselves, including volunteering and creating their own income!

They also give back to their community by volunteering locally, spreading joy and good will every place they go. They have helped to make care packages for the troops in the Middle East, and have even knitted items and made food to benefit local folks in need.

I have the pleasure of teaching them art, and let me tell you, the lessons go both directions! I feel more love and more value as a person simply by working with them to help them achieve their creative goals!

Shown today are 2 of the women, Sandy Manfull and her sister Teresa.
Sandy, shown above, loves to make jewelry and is a talented abstract artist. Here, we are working on composition and technique, and she was delighted with the results and how much fun oil pastel can be (and messy)!

Teresa, her sister, shown below, is discovering that she has a remarkable talent with design and although this was first time using colored pencil on such a large scale, we were all amazed at how skillfully she completed her haunted house.

These two lovely ladies are going to be submitting their completed artwork in a show benefiting people living with disabilities, which will be held at Emory this Fall.

For more information about Teresa's or Sandy's jewelry or art or to donate your handmade items for the girls to sell to gain their own independence and help those in need, please email Natalie ().

Click on the images below to purchase one of these prints!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Things we can do with Nature

Japanese Gardens, Seattle, WA

Renton, WA. Aircraft Xing? hmmm. Careful, you might hit one!


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Sea otter couple. True Love.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Found on wall in a church in Woodstock, Georgia.
For some reason, I didn't get this posted. So, here it is anyway.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

All photos were taken by me at the Atlanta Aquarium.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Handmade Heatwave from the North Georgia Etsy Team!

Tomorrow, will once again go "Brick and Mortar", so to speak, as the members of The North Georgia Etsy Street Team host their second team show!

Come out and meet the artisans Saturday, June 26th from 10:00am – 4:00pm at the Brannon Heard House in Cumming. This show is a special summer show called Handmade Heatwave. It will feature arts and crafts by Etsy Team NorGA artist as well as other local artisans.

There is FREE admission to the show. Come meet your local artists, see their newest works of art and get some great unique items for yourself or for wonderful gifts.

This will be a great shopping event! Get a sneak peek of the participants & items by clicking the links below:

Artist Spirit ~ Glass fusion jewelry & plates

Caveman Pottery ~ Pottery

Chance Bramble ~ Jewelry

Classy Chic Boutique ~ Jewelry, Soy Candles, Coasters

Deep South Creations ~ Paper and Fabric Art

Duchess Designs ~ Jewelry

Glamit ~ Jewelry

Girl Sew Pretty ~ Art, Glass & Jewelry

Gnagey Gallery ~ Paintings & Cards

H20Colors ~ Art

Janiebee ~ Children’s Clothing

Jessica’s Jams ~ Jam, Jelly, Relish and Pickles

Jnelly Designs ~ Photography & Greeting Cards

Josies Beaded Jewelry ~ Jewelry

Lauren J Hill ~ Jewelry, art, hair flowers

Maria Luna ~ Jewelry

Prayerworks Studio ~ Prayer Beads

Priss Designs ~ Art

Fiber Felter ~ Fiber Art

Red Stilts ~ Paintings

Sharp Mountain Creations ~ Jewelry

Smelly Rhino ~ Paintings & Cards

So She Sews ~ Clothing & accessories

Spiderblue ~ Jewelry

Stress The Seams ~ Clothing & Metalwork

Sunshine Monster ~ Unique Crochet Creations

Trinity Soap ~ Bath & Body

Worthy Soy Candles ~ Soy Candles

Have a cup of lemonade and a snack while you browse all of the wonderful handmade goodies for sale… Enter your name to win a free handmade gift… Meet local crafters and talk to them about their creative processes… Stock up your gift giving stash and treat yourself to something special. We hope to see you there!


Directions from Ga. 400 South (Atlanta, Roswell, Alpharetta)

Georgia 400 to Bald Ridge Marina Road Exit. Exit to your left across the Ga. 400 Bridge and head down the hill and around a curve toward town. Turn right at the town clock/electronicmarquee onto Pilgrim Mill Road. The Brannon-Heard House will be first house on your right. You may park across the street or Go 1 block to School Street on your left and park at the Cumming Playhouse. It is located at the intersection of Pilgrim Mill and School Streets.

Directions from Highway 9 South (Atlanta, Roswell, Alpharetta)

Travel North on Highway 9 into the town. Travel past Dairy Queen. Get in far right lane and continue through the upcoming intersection. The road name at this point becomes Pilgrim Mill Road. The Brannon-Heard House will be first house on your right. You may park across the street or Go 1 block to School Street on your left and park at the Cumming Playhouse. It is located at the intersection of Pilgrim Mill and School Streets.

Directions from Ga. 400 North (Dawsonvile, Dahlonega)

Georgia 400 to Bald Ridge Marina Road Exit. Exit to your right onto Bald Ridge Marina Road and head down the hill and around a curve toward town. Turn right at the town clock/electronic marquee onto Pilgrim Mill Road. The Brannon-Heard House will be first house on your right. You may park across the street or Go 1 block to School Street on your left and park at the Cumming Playhouse. It is located at the intersection of Pilgrim Mill and School Streets.

Directions from Highway 9 North (Dahlonega Highway)

Take Highway 9 and head South toward Cumming. School Street is just before the town square on the left and right across from the entrance to City Hall. Turn onto School Street and go about one block. Turn right on Pilgrim Mill Rd. The Brannon-Heard House will be just before the light on the left. You may park across the street or park at the Cumming Playhouse. It is located at the intersection of Pilgrim Mill and School Streets.

Directions from Canton and points West of Cumming

Georgia 20 headed east toward Cumming. Continue on 20 to Highway 9. (Dairy Queen will be on your left as you turn left onto Highway 9). Get in far right lane and continue through the upcoming intersection. The road name at the intersection becomes Pilgrim Mill Road. You will see town clock and electronic marques on your left as you pass through the intersection.The Brannon-Heard House will be first house on your right. You may park across the street or Go 1 block to School Street on your left and park at the Cumming Playhouse. It is located at the intersection of Pilgrim Mill and School Streets.

(This post was nearly completely borrowed from the Team Norga Blog, making my job easier today!)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Baby Dove on a leaf
(at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens; taken from my iphone)

View from the car, middle America; Indiana


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Peachy Deals! Get a mint julep and shop!

It's that time again!!! Time to get your Southern on! Come over to, grab some peach tea and meet the crafty personalities of the Georgia Etsy Street Team for our 2nd Annual Summer Sale!

Visit these Georgia Etsy Street artists offering fantastic sales between

Sunday, June 20st to Sunday, June 27th!
Search etsy for key word peachydeals

Participating Shops:

Addy B's Cakes
Gourmet, homemade pound cakes in a wide variety of flavors
All cakes 20% off, use coupon code PEACHY. Discount will be refunded via paypal.

Amelia’s Soap Co.
Handmade Soap Products
15% discount throughout shop; Refund through PayPal

Fuzzy Butts t-shirts and folk art paintings of dogs
Free Shipping.

Glass Fusion Jewelry & Plates
All items 20% off

black tulip shop
handmade accessories
Peachy Deals sale section

Handmade Swarovski and wire jewelry
20% off any purchase over $10.00. Discount will be refunded thru Paypal.

Darcey Lane Designs
Custom made Birthday Outfits. Sassy ruffle panty (bloomers)
Custom Children clothes traditional with modern twist.
All purchases 20% off, use coupon code PEACHY. Discount will be refunded via paypal

Daughters Vintage
Repurposed vintage jewelry and accessories with sweet, Southern flair.
10% off everything, use coupon code PEACHY. Discount will be refunded via paypal.

Free Shipping. Peachy Deals Sale Section.

Deuce Goods
Handmade Beanies, Cozies, Bottle Cap Art & Badge Reels
PEACHY DEALS Sale Section 15% Off

Handmade jewelry
Peachy Deals section that is 15% off, price is already marked down.

Freckles Galore
Crayon Rolls, Ouchie Bags, Popsicle Wraps, Nerf Ammo Belts, Locker Magnets, Babydoll Diapers and Pee Pee Domes
20% off everything. Use coupon code PEACHY. Refund given via PayPal.

Handiworks by Janice
Exquisite one-of-a-kind handcrafted jewelry
Free shipping and a $5 gift certificate towards a future purchase included.
Enter Peachy Deals in message to seller upon checkout.

Hartley Soap
Handmade Cold Process Soap
PEACHY DEALS: Buy one Bar and get a free travel size bar!

Artwork inspired by Music. Fine Art prints, wall plaques
free shipping

K. Berlin Metalsmith
Handcrafted Artisan Jewelry – Sterling Silver and gems
Free Shipping on All items

Maria Luna
Handcrafted Artisan Jewelry and Photography
15% off purchase, refunded through paypal with keyword PeachyDeals

mod momME
Handmade accessories for mom and baby.
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Aceo, Faber-Castell colored pencil on Bristol Smooth

This piece is for Elsie. Her sweet Irish Setter Sophie loves attention and loves to tell you when anything is happening. I took this photo in her kitchen, and you may have noticed that I like the perspective of dogs with noses up front! Silly. It makes me smile! Last week, I drew a graphite illustration from the same picture, but I took some liberties with it.

Faber-Castell Polychromos colored pencils are nice to work with. Dick Blick has some great pricing on them, too. I bought mine at Sam Flax and paid a bit more, unfortunately, although my set is not yet complete! I think I'll finish it off at Blick.

Order a Custom Pet Portrait at Smelly Rhino Studio!


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Yea, yea, yea. I heard it all before!

In studio all week. Painting in Progress...

For quite some time, 2 years, actually, I have been kept away from any sense of normalcy when it comes to a workday in my studio. My desire to learn more about this internet/blogging/social networking/online selling world of ours has made, well, an addict outta me. It was innocent at first. I thought, "well, I'll just learn this stuff real quick like so I can do my own marketing!" Did I mention that was 2 years ago?

Monday, I decided to alter this freakish course of action because the perceived outcome wasn't lookin' good for my art career. I have no inventory!

So, I intervened on my own behalf, and legislated a self-imposed computer ban in my studio. I had to add (to myself) that I also have to BE in my studio (or it wont work). he he

Today was day two and I have made a lot of progress. I even wrote in my journal 3 mornings in a row! I know, unbelievable.

I told Eric I needed a little push toward that manifest destiny thing. I work on it constantly by saying aloud all the weaknesses I'm dealing with so that he can regurgitate them back to me at strategic moments. It's my own way of holding myself accountable.

I asked him for help and he gave it to me!

He said, "Ok, well, first of all, no computer during the day. You can get online at night while you're hanging on the couch with me! Pretend your boss is there and you can't surf!

The other thing: Stop making lists and plans. Just paint. You need to just paint without worrying about all that other stuff for a while.

You are doing what they do in the corporate world...lists and schedules and planning, it's like Dilbert, for crying out loud! Nothing gets done this way at the office either! That's why they wrote a cartoon about it. Just allow yourself to let loose and be creative. Let yourself see some progress that makes you feel good. This is your goal, after all. You are having anxiety about it, but once you start to see progress, this will pass."

I was listening this time.

Well, the reward the past 2 days has been real progress on a painting and a nice feeling of satisfaction after focusing for a change on what I really want to do.
He is really smart.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Drawing Day 2010

"Waiting for a scoobie snack"
Graphite on Bristol smooth paper

Today was Drawing Day!
Here was my little drawing.
I hope they got to 1 million worldwide!
What a fun goal, and to see the drawings everywhere, on facebook, flickr, youtube, imagekind, deviantart, you name it, they were everywhere!

Join in the fun next year! Until then, check out the results of the day here!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Prayer; admission of a semi-secular girl

"Saying Grace"
"Thank you for my Mommy, and my Baby Monkeys, and my Daddy!"
ACEO: Faber-Castell Colored Pencil on Bristol Smooth


I constantly say I am not a religious person. I often mention my distaste for organized religion and the hypocrisy that makes company beside it.

That being said, if I break down my day, hour by hour, and record my thoughts and utterances, (aloud and under my breath), the truth is that I pray all the time!

Wow. I pray all the time. And I mean, all the time!

"Thank you, Lord!"
"Oh, please, God, help that person!"
"Please, Lord, help me get through this!"
"Lord, Thank you for this day!"
"Thank you, Lord, for showing my humility!"
"I am so grateful for such an understanding partner!"
"Lord, Thank you for bringing what I need exactly when I need it!"
"Oh, Thank GOD!"

I am quite proud of my good parking ability to get parking spaces just about anywhere when I need it. I also have an incredible ability to win concert tickets. It's almost crazy! We only paid for one of the last 6 concerts we've attended. Positive thinking, praying, it's in the wording. The power may come from within myself, from the Universe, wherever...but it does come. I can't explain it, but I believe in good luck. I believe in goodness.

I am not one to discuss religion at all, and really hate when people try to shove it down my throat, but I think you ought to know what I take from all this....

What comes around, goes around. So, catch yourself next time you are about to yell at someone, or say unkind words to them or do something wrong. Instead, find one good thing to focus on and try a smile. It may get you a lot farther. If not right this minute, in the future. Take a breath and say "Thank you!"

I am so lucky!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Familiar, Funny, and Demonstrative

Buddy Giraffe
Faber-Castell Colored pencil on Bristol Smooth

Tonight, I read my friend Alexia's regular newsletter, full of daily wisdom, funny and familiar. She that she was writing her morning pages, and made note of the vital 2500 word a day challenge that is out there. She also mentioned having hurt her knee while attempting to train with the couch to 5k program.

She reminded me of a story. Well, 2 stories, really. My knee was defiled by a fucktard snowboarder in Tahoe 4 years ago. But more recently, my hip is suddenly WHACK! It's so tight even bending over can be a problem. (probably also the fault of the snowboarder). All this physiological self-discovery came to pass when I started my own couch to 10k program a few weeks ago so a bunch of us could do the Peachtree Road Race (the largest 10k in the country, I've been told). My hip is so tight the chiropractor said, "NO running!" Find a swimming pool instead. and YOGA; do some of those sunrise poses." So, now I have to nurse this aging hip, instead of just running on a whim, with no prior training or exercise, like I did when I was 25. I don't understand why Maker's Mark and TV can't prepare me for that kind of thing.

Back to the snowboarder, briefly. Whoever the hell invented snowboarding should have his own damned mountain to board on, and bring the rest of the boarders with him, because they don't belong with skiers. I don't say this to be mean, I say this to keep skiers safe and to keep the slopes uncluttered from the discourteous, etiquette thrashing, malevolent effing teenagers who just stop for no other apparent reason right in the middle of a downhill slope than to 'take a break' as skiers are actually attempting to use the slope for SKIING! But maybe worse still are the wobbly snowboarders who grab people and drag them down when exiting the ski lift because they can't control their own balance, and have to completely destroy the cartilage of totally innocent skiers because they are too fracking clumsy and self-absorbed to just fall on their own off to the side somewhere!

Soooo, the other story...yea, this is gonna chew off a few people, but here goes, (and this is the really demonstrative part): The fracking morning pages. That book, specifically. I stopped reading the stupid book on chapter 4 or 5 when it said, "don't read this book for a week!"...I never went back. Then, like 4 months later, I decided to start again. whatever! Stopped again after the second night falling asleep thinking, 'yea, see, now I'm bored.'

Hello? What book says, "Stop reading me for a week, now that I am sure I have your attention!"
I seriously think the writer or editor should change that part. New Editions are good, mkay?
Anyway, had a yard sale with a girlfriend a couple months later, and her book was in the yard. (I chuckled under my breath).

I liked a lot of ideas in that book, though. I have always journaled, and I liked the suggestion that you always do your morning pages, just get up and get it out right away. I rarely do first thing in the morning, but I do write, and I think that was more the point for me than getting out my expletives before my second cup of coffee. I thanked Alexia and said, "Now I am going to go put this in my blog. Thanks for making me write tonight. he he."

Have a great safe holiday weekend!
Ps. I really do still write the pages, just not every morning.

Alexia is a terrific person, has a great site and is a very intuitive and helpful observer, and coach. Read more about Alexia Petrakos.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Don't be Ridiculous!

"Fat and Happy"
Faber-Castell Colored Pencil on Bristol Smooth

I have often felt that I would never be taken seriously if I created only cartoon-ish-y art. In fact, that has been true, as I have been rejected at times as a serious artist. I have even canceled listings because when I looked back, I felt it just wasn't good enough. But, there is plenty of "serious" art that doesn't make me feel good, so what good is it after all?

Eh, who cares anymore?!!! I think the goal here is to do what makes you happy, and what you seem to be good at performing. I'm still not sure what I am best at performing, but I'm turning a new leaf and I am no longer going to pout that I haven't really painted a still life since college, (and I'm not upset about it.)

Also, I've been afraid to say I would begin my painting a day challenge just because I know I'd be bound to miss some days. Screw that charade as well!

So, to start small, I will create an aceo a day! Maybe I'll work up to the oswoa size for the Daily Painter's site! I will post some and throw in some more Rhinos and history lessons! yay!

My blog has moved to my website! I wont be posting here forever, so I hope you will find your way to it an follow for a little fun now and then!

Smelly Rhino's Blog

For all of you who are illustrators and whimsical artists, power on!

Have an inspired day!


Saturday, May 8, 2010

A reluctant trip to the casino

The Rice/Kusel Family
Circa 1998

Yesterday I woke up to the email you never want to read.

My cousin, in an obviously grieving state, sent out a broadcast to the family that her Dad had passed during the night. It was early in the morning, but I think even if she had been able to muster the will, 10 phone calls would have been beyond the abilities of a daughter who just lost her Daddy. Cy Kusel was her Daddy and my Uncle. He is pictured furthest to the right, nudged between his daughter and his wife.

Next week, I will drive to Indianapolis, pick up my Mother from the airport and spend the time needed to add a little love to the situation, and share some fond memories of my dear Uncle.

Cy loved to tell stories about how much his favorite niece (me) liked to talk. He said my Mother would constantly complain to her sister and brother-in-law (my uncle Cy) that she was getting impatient waiting for me talk. She wont say anything, Mom would say. I made plenty of noise, I'm willing to bet. But behaviorists will tell you that often the youngest child will be the last to talk as a result of the older children speaking on her behalf. I had 3 older brothers, who, I'm guessing, were able to look at me and tell Mom exactly what I wanted and needed, thereby making my work at communication quite literally, unimportant. This may explain many things, now that I think a little more about it... like, for example, my desire to be completely taken care of, not ever lifting a finger. (or is that a consequence of being female?)

Anyway, back to the story. So Uncle Cy would say to my Mother, "Don't worry, Carolyn, one day you will miss the silence. That one day came when I was 4, and all at once, I was speaking in eloquent and demanding full sentences. Uncle Cy was happy to recount the end of the story ..."Then, we couldn't shut her up!"

I'm afraid not much has changed.

On the way home from my unfortunate family visit, I'll stop by another cousin's, who is is near Louisville, and maybe play a slot or two at the Riverboat Casino there. Hey, you have to find the best in any bad situation.

Now, time for a little silence.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Joe The Thug

"Joe The Thug"
ACEO 2.5x3.5"
Acrylic on canvas

My friend Christy wanted her cat, Joe to be fat cat! So, in the spirit of Al Capone, with the gangster car, the city background, and the patent leather shoes, I painted Joe, immortalized as the lazy thug that he is.

Christy Dekoning is a watercolor artist living in Ontario, whose portraits will become an heirloom in anyone's family. Visit Christy's blog: Travels in Watercolors

Visit Smelly Rhino Studio or order a Custom portrait!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

#16 The New Yorker; 31 days of rhinos

#16 Ode To The New Yorker; 31 days of Rhinos
Prismacolor on Bristol Smooth paper

#16 in the series, yet another ripoff of one of the iconic images of the 20th century; The New Yorker's highly hatted Mascot!

The New Yorker first hit news stands in 1925, and part of the legacy of this brilliantly written and presented magazine are its cartoons, which have been an integral part since the very beginning. So much so that most identify the magazine with the cartoon logo! They recently compiled a book of all All 68,647 cartoons ever published in The New Yorker! That's a lot of cartoons!

Cartoons, in fact, have become such an important part of our culture, that their influence on us is barely fathomable. Consider that many of our greatest cartoonists perhaps were inspired by The New Yorker growing up, and that alone makes it formidable. Great cartoonists, illustrators and satirists abound here!
Regrettably, and it pains me to say this, but Wikipedia is down today, so I can't give you a fun wee history on The New Yorker and its indelible mark on art history. Perhaps I can add some more tomorrow. For now, below are some of the greats.

Roz Chast is one of many to influence us, and it's great to have a female cartoonist in the mix, because it seems that not many women take the path of cartoonist. Roz first contributed to The New Yorker in 1978 and became a staff cartoonist in 1979, and has contributed over 1000 cartoons to the magazine. [from "
Editor David Remnick wrote that her cartoons convey a comic sense of "domestic anxiety." ]

Robert Mankoff,
is currently the cartoon editor of The New Yorker. He captures that cross section of American business and politics with his humor, as well as every day life in the US. Robert is also the creator of The Cartoon Bank, which is the largest cartoon licensing business in the world. So, if you are a cartoonist, maybe you should start there!

Charles Addams, adored by many as the creator of the Addams Family, spent most of his career drawing for The New Yorker! It all started as the Gothic, dark, bizarre, macabre but humorous cartoon in the New Yorker, which resulted in the beloved TV series and 2 movies! Aren't tidbits fun?

James Thurber, humorist, cartoonist, writer. A distinguished figure of American Literature, He wrote
"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty", and others, which put him in the history books as more than just a cartoonist!
Saul Steinberg, among the most prolific artists of the 20th century, appeared in The New Yorker for nearly 60 years! Now that's a career! Visit his site and be awed by the archives!
Their cartoons were political, controversial and funny. Satire at its best! Maybe not that well known to the average person, but if you grew up with this magazine, you were influenced by them! And, well, maybe you do really know a few!

The New Yorker has had a profound effect of US Popular Culture since its inception, and I think it is fitting to mention in my 31 days of rhinos series.


Things to Ponder

Don't pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches. -Andy Warhol

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
-Walt Disney
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