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

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

found on the web


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

So three Japanese Raccoon Dogs walk into a bar

One Tanuki, Two Tanuki, Three Tanuki..
Three Tanukis
8x10; acrylic on Masonite

I have painted a lot of silly things over the past four years. Really silly things.

People can ask me for something special and be confident they will get it. Occasionally, they know exactly what they want and I help them by interpreting their idea and getting on canvas. Most of the time, however, they know they want something but aren't sure exactly what that is. So, they come to me and tell me their story, and I ask lots of questions and get lots of pictures from them. Then, the creative process begins. They usually remain in the dark after that having no idea what they are getting until they open the package. That is part of the fun, the element of surprise. and it's not just for them, that is the really fun part for me!

This is one of those examples.

The client, Melissa, told me a great story about her honeymoon in Japan. While in Japan, they noticed that all the gift shops had this little figurine for sale, called a Tanuki. The Tanuki is actually thought of as a raccoon dog, even though they are their own species. Most people get a chuckle looking at the statue and noticing what disproportionately large, um, 'man parts' it has! Maybe that is what gets one asking, "What the heck is this little guy's story?"

Over the years, the Tanuki has become folklore, coming to symbolize good fortune, despite their reputation for being mischievous and shape shifting, being able to fool just about anyone for any reason, even sometimes sinister ones.

"The Tanuki has eight traits that are supposed to bring good fortune:
The eight traits are: a hat to be ready to protect against trouble or bad weather; big eyes to perceive the environment and help make good decisions; a sake bottle that represents virtue; a big tail that provides steadiness and strength until success is achieved; over-sized testicles that symbolize financial luck; a promissory note that represents trust or confidence; a big belly that symbolizes bold and calm decisiveness; and a friendly smile." -[wiki]

[Wiki...Statues of Tanuki can be found outside many Japanese temples and restaurants, especially noodle shops. These statues often wear big, straw hats and carry bottles of sake in one hand, and a promissory note or empty purse in the other hand. Tanuki statues always have large bellies. The statues also usually show humorously large testicles, typically hanging down to the floor or ground, although this feature is sometimes omitted in contemporary sculpture.
read more about Tanuki here

So, I can now say for the record, if anyone was ever keeping score, that I have painted testicles. Proud and loud. I asked the client if she wanted that part included in the painting...her response was, "Yes!-but I know you will do it tastefully!" I hope I did your bidding Melissa, the pleasure was certainly all mine.

This is one of my favorite commissions yet! (I always say that, so keep them coming, please!)


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday


Thursday, October 6, 2011


To all aspiring and successful writers out there, the countdown to November's NaNoWriMo has begun. That's the National Novel Writing Month, where you are challenged to write 50,000 words in one 30 day period that is November of each year!

With just 25 days to prepare your outline or decide you will simply wing it without one, I challenge you join in on the fun! If you have ever thought you may have a novel in you, now is the time to get that sucker out of your head! (even if you never intend to share it with anyone).

I learned plenty last year, about just letting it go, letting it flow--with abandon, without regard to quality, simply writing and writing and discovering some plot twists along the way. The characters I created kind of developed themselves as I wrote the story, which made it easier for me than I had prepared for. A friend of mine stated that writing a novel was sort of like channeling. I couldn't agree more. I was channeling my imagination!

Really, the brilliance of NaNoWriMo is in not worrying about whether it will be ready for the publisher at the end of the month....even the greatest story tellers still do rewrites, and I'll do plenty. Heck, this particular story may never get rewritten. But, I guarantee that I'll improve because I wrote it!

Try the exercise, for one month and see how far you can take it. 1667 words per day, about 5 pages. You will find yourself learning a lot about your imagination, how ideas flow, how discipline like this can help you with other tasks. The benefits are great! The only downside was that at the end of the month last November, I didn't feel like writing for a while. ;) This year, I will go for it again and I am determined to show an improvement in my discipline, and maybe I'll actually share the novel this time (after some good rewrites, naturally).

You can head over to for more information on writing your novel in November!

Have a great day,

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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