Saturday, February 28, 2009

Another Blast from the Past

Some times the composite does not look similar to the suspect. This is one I did for a County Detective.   Fortunately there are other features that make the suspect unique.  The suspect's arrest cleared 6 robberies.  

So the moral is, if you're going to commit a crime, stick with the traditional hairstyles. 

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Easily Influenced

Okay....maybe I should say inspired. I got my newest edition of Pastel Magazine. [It's their 10th anniversary issure by the way] It featured the 100 winners of their yearly contest. My eyes were as large as saucers like a kid in a candy store looking at all those wonderful pieces.

So, I went home and after making dinner for the kids made this last night. Just because I had to get my 'fix'. Then I ended up looking at more blogs and saw some beautiful work an artist does in a multitude of mediums. I think I'll try that next!


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Alla Prima Brushstroke Demo by Larry Seiler

This will be of little interest for the seasoned artist but as a novice, I really enjoyed his explanation of pre-mixing color [versus Karin Jurick's pizza pan circle one hundred dollaps of pre-mixed tube paint].
He also explains how he used to spend 200+ hours on his award winning wildlife paintings and now 'counts his brushstrokes' as an exercise to make each stroke count. These were a couple of things I will try out on my next painting.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My try at ACEOs

These are my try at selling ACEOs on eBay. Watercolor and a little bit of pen on 2.5x3.5 watercolor paper. In this series, I have two more besides Peace and Happiness. They are similar and are Prosperity and Love. They didn't make the cut for the blog. LOL

I had fun with these and now have a greater respect for artists such as Akiko, Gail, Erika, and others who do this on a regular basis.

Monday, February 23, 2009

for want of a nail...

Okay, so it's actually the opposite of wanting a nail. I didn't want the screw that I found in my tire and I didn't lose a kingdom but I did lose my temper.

The other day I just got out of the driveway to get the kids to school and I hear the "flub flub flub" accompanied with the car wanting to go to one side. Everyone one who's had a flat tire knows what that means.

It wouldn't have been so bad but after half a day of running errands, my spare went flat too. So I had to plunk down a bit of cash for another tire. That with a rock from a gravel truck hitting my windshield over the weekend I think makes three. Do you believe in bad luck coming in threes? I think I'm done for a while.

I did get some good news yesterday. My ex was talking with the new composite artist for my old department. She just returned from a school to get advanced certification. Carrie Stuart Parks and her husband teach agencies (city, county and federal including the Secret Service) around the country. She told the officer I am the second best composite artist in the nation. Pretty good since I don't do them anymore ! LOL. Now if I can transfer that kind of success (where I didn't charge anything for doing that work) to my fine art somehow......hugs!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Rediscovering acrylics

I don't think I've ever tried to paint with acrylics before. I have used them for posters and art projects for my kids but I don't ever recall using them to make fine art.

My high school friend, Hellenne Vermillion knows I'm kind of strapped for cash. She's not rolling in the dough either but she found it in her heart to send me a starter kit of acrylic paints that includes tubes of paint, a palette, brushes, palette knife , pencil and portable easel! It was like Christmas in February. She thought I could "whip" out some paintings in order to hopefully sell some.
These new acrylics are amazing. Not at all the poster paint consistancy I recall from years past. I'm still learning how to blend and manage them so last night I did a couple of experimental pieces.

The top one [both are 5x7"] I did first and I guess you can call it an 'intuitive' piece. I just call it doing what comes to mind without planning.

The second, just started with a silhouette of a face and then evolved to what you see.

So thanks to Hellenne, I'm off and running with a new medium. Please check out her work. She is primarily a silk artist [which she teaches] but she also does fantastic clay work and is going to be exhibiting some of her paintings at a local gallery. I always thought she was our High School teacher's pet because her art work was so unique, colorful and avant garde. Thanks Hellene!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Windows to the Words

Most of you know jovial James Parker with his hilarious comments and really wonderful works of art.  He started a new challenge called Windows to the Words -Art where each artist picks a choice of prose and paints or draws something based on it's content.  This 5x7 acrylic on canvasboard was based on the Moody Blue's song, "Lovely to see you."

Check out his and other entries to his challenge!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Another story

Got tagged again but instead of listing 7 things, I'd like to give you another story of my past life.

I was asked to help mentor a Shelter Director for our city facility that dealt with Animal Control and sheltering animals from three cities. There were internal issues identified and the City Manager decided to place the shelter under the police dept management instead of Parks Dept. The Chief asked me to help the director learn the model used by the dept to supervise people.

Unfortunately when I got there, the director went out on medical leave. I didn't know a thing about running a shelter but with the help of the employees and volunteers we got it turned around. You can read some of the things we changed in the article below. Some harebrained ideas of mine didn't work. [like the "adopt me" vest I got for our animals thinking we could walk them in the park located next to us.

Bottom line, I just have to say this was the hardest (physically and emotionally) assignment I'd ever taken on. It is also one reason I'm trying to help our shelters now. We're almost ready to launch our project with our local SPCA. More details on that when we're off and running.

Now the story. Animal Control has had the bad rap of being just a cruel 'dog catcher' just like cops have had the bad rap of being party crashers. People forget almost all the people who get in both lines of work do so because they want to help.

In the first month I was at the shelter we were so shorthanded I helped do everything from clean kennels, feed, pick up animals and assist at the front desk. One of the most dreaded tasks was euthanizing animals because of space or dogs being a danger to the public. I was already aware of the 'burn out' of these animal lovers for doing this.

Two people are required to euthanize dangerous dogs. My senior AC officer who was all of 24 years old asked for help because no one was available to aid him in dealing with a pitbull. This dog had bitten his owner and small children and was deemed dangerous and ordered to be euthanized. He had to tranquilize it in order to give it its shot of phenobarbital. We went to the quarantine kennels and as soon as we were in sight the huge 120 pound dog lunged at the gate and snapped, barked and growled.

The officer put a pole harness on the dog and took all of his strengh to get it out. We took it to the room for the procedure and I held the dog while he gave it a tranquilizer [ketamine] via a pole injector. I was amazed at the strength of this angry, all muscle dog who was now so furious that he was foaming at the mouth as he continued to try and attack us. In moments he started to calm down and then relaxed enough for us to muzzle him and lay him down.

I held the dog's foreleg while the officer shaved it and then injected the phenobarbital. I was breathing a sigh of relief thinking this "monster" was not going to harm anyone any more. I was taken aback when the officer knelt down next to the dog and started petting it. While it went to sleep and ultimately stopped breathing, the officer spoke to it while petting it. He said in a gentle voice, "It's okay boy. It's not your fault you're like this. You're a good boy. It's not your fault." He wanted to make sure the last words heard and last things felt that this angry and vicious dog were ones of love and kindness.

So this seasoned cop still cries when she remembers this act of love and uses it to look to see how we can lesson the burden on shelter employees and help our animals. hugs.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


is the name of one of our cats. He's a big boy and he was given that name by my daughter who thought the spots on his back looked like meatballs falling from the sky.

Meatball is strictly an indoor car. He tries to make a break for it if we keep the door open too long but he soon finds out he really isn't fit to be outside because of his spoiled life. That's Meatball in bed next to my son. Not only does he sleep under the covers but he appears to cuddle with a stuffed doll while he's there.

My daughter also knows Meatball longs to be outside so she boosts him on her shoulder and lets him look outside through our front door glass pane. I thought I'd make a quick study of that moment.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tibetan Terrier Tasha

I am unfamiliar with this breed and when I saw a photo of her next to Daisy the Maltese, I noticed she was quite a bit bigger than Daisy.

She was the size of a poodle and had this adorable big head thanks to the fluffy fur on this medium sized body. Her color is raspberry.

Thank you for all your encouraging and supportive comments on this series. HUGS!

Monday, February 16, 2009


This is the second in the series of three pets for my friend. Truffles is part Maine Coon so she is a big kitty. Her color is lime green which means her owner buys everything in her color.

Daisy's color is purple.

These are very lucky pets.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Daisy the Maltese

This is the first of three portraits I did for a friend. Her Maltese was rejected as being "showable" because of her pink nose. We made a couple of changes along the way because she wanted her to look more like "Elmo" from Sesame Street.

These are all oil on 6x6 gallery wrapped canvas.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wonderful thing the heart... There's a reason it's the strongest muscle in the body. Working night and day without a break so to speak.

Symbolically the heart can be "broken" or "filled" when it comes to love but it keeps on going.

I hope all of you have a wonderful Valentine's Day by counting all the people you love and all who love you. [include me in there for the latter group]


Friday, February 13, 2009

Creative konk on the head

If you saw Wednesday's posted video on Elizabeth Gilbert's new way of thinking of creativity, you'll know what I'm talking about when she described how different people get their creative ideas. I especially love the description of the poet who felt the poem come at her like a thundering train and she would run to get paper and pencil before the poem barreled through her and left her forever.

Gilbert also told us not to be so hard on ourselves. That not every creative idea is going to be great. So I decided to embrace that philosophy.

My ideas come to me in dreams or as if an apple fell from a tree and konks me on the head. Depending on what I'm doing, I'll either look at it briefly while I continue to do what I need to do or I'll pick it up and examine it to see what I can do with it. Do I take the time to peel, season and bake it in a pie or do I just go ahead and take a big bite of it.

My elephant ballerina painting was one idea. Here's one that came to me last night. I have no clue what it means but it is what I saw in my mind's eye.

Maybe Erika can help me decipher it again.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Creativity... blessing or curse

An author of one of my very favorite books talks about the creative process
and how we have the choice of not having to feel cursed if things don't
magically reappear after our last masterpiece.
It's about 20 minutes long but her humor makes it seem like 5.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I hate it

when I have to drop my kids off at their dad's. My eleven year old asked if her dad was going to be there. I told her no and that he was working late again. Yes, his wife was going to be there but I know its not the same.

So my vibrant, goofy, happy child became quiet and serious on the 5 minute trip over to his house. My fourteen year old is pretty laid back and wasn't complaining. We unloaded their school bags, their soccer bags, her basketball bag and their suitcase full of school books and a couple of items that they like to have with them. For my son, its a Hot Wheels car and for my daughter a teddy bear.

I pile all the bags on the door step; I kiss my son and tell him I love him. I hug my daughter and am caught by surprise because she presses me close burying her head in my chest.

She is not a physically affectionate child and usually makes goofy faces when I try to kiss her. I tell her I love her and I feel her little hands grab my coat and press me closer to her. She holds on for a few more seconds and then wipes her tears on the sleeve of my coat so she can appear brave and not be sad in front of me.

It's cold but as my son walks into the house, she is still outside. She waves to me as I get into my car. She waits while I make a u-turn and is still on the doorstep to wave to me until she can no longer see me. I was able to be brave until I turn the corner and then I let myself cry all the way home. I hate moments like this.

My daughter doesn't like to pose for me but she did for about 30 minutes yesterday. She was just out of the shower and her hair was wet and uncombed. She had the bath towel draped around her shoulders and played with her DS while I painted on a 6x8 Raymar. I miss her so I finished this tonight from memory. I miss both my kids.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Dali Llama

Okay, so it's been a couple of heavy posts so I'm back to my goofy self. An ode to one of my favorite artists and animals. It's funny but I've seen the Dalai Lama spelled this way on the web also.

So I'm still working on a couple of things. I was wondering if the DSFDF crew were actually doing the "homework" Karin assigned us. I should do it. I've never done an outdoor painting on my own. Maybe I'll try it.

Hugs to all.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Dalai Lama

Thank you so much for the outpouring of support yesterday. I do have bad days but it makes me appreciate the good so much more.

I'm no Dalai Lama because he is a quintessential example on how to remain happy and hopeful in light of China invading and attempts to destroy Tibetan culture. He is not a door mat either. He is "fighting" his culture's destruction by seeking help from other countries to put pressure on China.

I know I won't be able to financially win the battle with my ex but I will always be richer with friends and with an outlook that the world is good. As in painting, you must have the dark to bring out the light.

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
Dalai Lama

This painting I whipped out this morning is oil on 6x8 Raymar.

Friday, February 6, 2009

"Quick(?)" Study

I worked 2 hours straight on this study of another Tibetan Monk on a 6x8 canvas. It just felt good to do something different this morning.

An then to pour a bucket of ice water on my day, my ex emails me and tells me because I'm having financial struggles maybe he should keep our kids full time. This and the fact that I don't want to be around his wife as being silly are being backed up "by a bunch of experts" he's spoken to. I replied I'd like to meet his platoon of experts and I'll see what he says.

It's ironic he's consulting "experts" now because for the year after he moved out he would not allow me to take our daughter who was 8 at the time to go see a counselor even though she was having nightmares and anxiety.

This also means I may follow up on an offer to work for a new extradition company. I got a call last night with a former fellow officer who is part of this new company. It would mean a lot of travel and dealing with transporting prisoners from county to county or even across the nation. I'm going to spend the rest of the day trying to think of a reason why his email this morning would have a positive outcome. [ okay after I feel sorry for myself for a little bit first] need hugs...

Okay maybe I should explain. He had the affair, he left me but I had to pay him more than 165,000 for his half of the house and my other assets. He also got a big chunk of my pension so a portion of it goes to him every month until $200,000 is paid off. With his wife's $300,000 from her husband and him paying her child support and her full time job, he's wondering why I'm having financial issues.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

More on Forensic Reconstruction

Some of you were interested in the reconstruction I posted last month. Click here if you missed it.

Some of you wanted more information on the process. Here's one sheet that is used in determining the skin thickness to measure marker for placement on the skull.

For drawings, we place them on the skull and then work off a "to scale" photo to render a 2 dimension drawing. For clay, you work directly on the skull or a casting of the skull.

I've done both and I prefer the former because clay rendering are manikin-like and I don't like the fact agencies have the person's skull displayed at a press conference. A drawing naturally has the viewer fill in the blanks when identifying someone just like a composite. That is why the computer generated composites have never been as successful as the hand drawn ones. More on that if you're interested.

What's a little funny on this sheet that was handed out during my class at the FBI academy was the instructor felt the need to show the cops and other students the difference between a millimeter and a centimeter when measuring and cutting the markers. Oh, and the markers we cut and glued to the skull? Not a fancy government or forensic material...just the long white Pentel erasers. Easy to cut, glue and take off after the process.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Your Opinion Please

Actually your help in pricing this would be greatly appreciated. Etsian or not, what do you think of $45.00 for a custom mini-portrait of your pooch or kitty on a matching mini-easel?

Would you pay that price for a 2 1/2 x2 1/2 inch gallery wrapped canvas with matching wood easel?

Give me your two cents on this. I would really appreciate it.

More hugs!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Newton's laws of physics...

can be applied to life many times. "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." I learned this from studying traffic collision investigations but the longer I go on this journey called life, I find it can be true in events that occur and affect me.

So I get off the phone
in tears after talking with my ex again and the reason is not important. I think I am most upset about how I let him and his wife upset me more than their actions. I go to check my favorite blogs and find that Akiko and Linda tagged me with this adorable and precious "I x o your art blog" award. So thank you for being the opposite and equal reaction to my morning tears ladies. I am supposed to list things that I love and then tag other artists.

1. My children Donovan and Malissa. I was fearful that I was too old to have kids but God blessed me with two miracles. Their presence is worth every torment my ex and his wife put me through and each day they teach me how love is boundless, how wonderful the world is and how important to see each day as a gift.

2. I love life. With my former job, too many times, I've seen people die or killed at the prime of their life. Say "I love you" every chance you get and get in a hug if you can.

3. I love my pets. With my kids prodding, we have a rat (Zumi), hamster ( Snowball), two cats (Meatball & Sami) a lizard, (Charmander) and turtle (Squirtle) . Can you tell my boy collected Pokemon? We're saving for the day we can add a dog to our clan.

4. I love the smell and beauty of fresh flowers. I used to work for my cousin's flower shop when I was in college. Amazing creations.

5. I love a good movie. My preferences are scary ones because I think I'm an adrenaline junkie and ones that make me cry and/or appreciate the basic goodness in people or a deep love between two people or a person and an animal.

6. I love fresh baked bread. The smell of the dough, the feel of the glutten making its magic and the crunch of a crisp crust encasing the sour or sweet baked spongey dough.

7. I love all my friends I've discovered and who have reached out to me. [I know I'm getting sappy again - DEAL with it!] HUGS to all of you.

Artists that I'll tag are:
Tom Pohlman
Douglas Hoover
Stephen Gardner
Michelle Burnett
Suzanne Cabrera
R. Garriott
Diane Hoeptner

Thanks again to all my friends

I know you may be getting tired of me gushing about how wonderful you all are but I must gush again. I have never met or worked with more generous and wonderful people than I've met through DSFDF and my blog. I've always worked in environments where people were so proprietary with their knowledge and experiences because it is competitive. I 've learned that old mindset really dragged you down. There is something about helping someone and encouraging someone that lifts you and your spirit. I have to admit, I didn't learn this until I was promoted to sergeant in my old job and I'll blame it on having to double prove myself as a woman, [back when we were less than 7 % of the work force] and triple prove it because I am Asian. [first Asian female to be hired at that dept.]

Today I want to give special thanks to Michelle, (my first follower on this blog) Akiko, Erika, Judy Mackey, Diane Hoeptner, Paulo and all the others who have exposed me to

I set up shop last week and think I won my first bid. It's the acrylic on 8x10 canvas on this post. She agreed she wanted it but has not paid me yet. LOL. It's not much money because I just wanted to get a positive review on something I sold. That may have been foolish on my part but I figured it is such a cute painting, I may be able to sell it if she changes her mind.

I was also unexpectedly contacted by another Etsian who wanted to feature me on her blog. She did a really nice job so if you want to drop by Wendy's blog, please do so and check her out.

Thank you again friends. I know the folks who have been following my journey for about a month know its been very difficult these past years. Every one of you has helped me embrace this second half of my life as confirmation that it is the right path. Like the phoenix, I feel I can start to dust the ashes of my past life off, heal my wounds and start to grow new feathers. Love and blessings to you all.

Monday, February 2, 2009


I've been following, admiring the art of two great artists who have a delightful sense of humor.

Douglas Hoover and Tom Pohlman dared each other to post their college era rock band photos. I was amazed to see this other side of them. So often we have a preconceived view of fine artists in a Queen Anne armchair with a pipe in one hand and a thick leather bound book in the other. These guys were the cool kids on the block!

They always want people to jump into the pool so I dug up a college era photo of me. My friend on the right is now an ICU RN at Stanford Hospital married to a surgeon. Me on the left is trying to look cool in her huge Gloria Steinem glasses and even bigger bell bottom jeans. Sorry guys I never had a picture taken of any of my "disco" outfits.

Poor Punxsutawney Phil

I was browsing the news on the web today and realized it was Ground Hog Day. I was struck by the AP photo of Punxsutawny Phil that memorialized the fact he did see his shadow and thus predicted 6 more weeks of winter.

If I was jerked out of a deep sleep and flung undignified up in the air in front of a crowd of 40,000 I'd probably predict 6 months more of winter.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Another Composite / Sexual Assault

Okay, so I'm "copping" out by posting another piece from the past because I don't have anything completed to post today.

This man attacked a woman while she walked alone along a relatively desolate street in a neighboring city. He tackled her from behind, threw her into a clump of bushes to sexually assault her.

What I always have is deep admiration for a victim willing to force herself to revisit that event in order to help the police catch the guy and prevent him from doing the same to others. It is not a pleasant experience and we both are emotionally drained after the session.

As you may or may not know there are people who chose not to help with a composite. I found that the most reluctant were not sexual assault victims but bank robbery tellers. For some reason tellers were most reluctant to sit and provide a description when cameras had failed during the hold-up. Most cited that they were afraid of retaliation [ which never occurred during my 26 years experience] and trauma from the incident.