Tuesday, March 31, 2009

An Update on the Art for Animals Project

Why is this lady smiling and is that my hand holding a painting of Bingo?

Click on over to my other blog to find the answers and read other stories that will make you go, "ahhhh....".

Sunday, March 29, 2009

An Eye Witness Case Study

This is  not necessarily a composite success but an answer to a question I received recently about eye witnesses.  It's true that some eye witness accounts can be skewed and unrelieable but there are many things to help people lock in a memory.

I was asked to work with a victim who had been attacked.  She was living in an apartment alone and was probably being cased by a sexual predator.

He had taken off the screen windows of her apartment and forced open a sliding window.  He confronted her while she lay in bed and commanded her to "Shut up and roll over."  while he brandished a crowbar.  She screamed where upon he hit her on the head with the crowbar and fled after doing so.

The detective on the case had got leads on a possible suspect and arranged for the victim to look at a photo line-up.  This included a photo of the suspect that was on file from a mug shot taken  a month after the incident.  She was not able to pick him out of the line-up.

The detective, undaunted found out there was an earlier booking photo of the suspect closer to the time of the incident.   A month of starchy jail food had not been able to have their affect on his facial features yet.   

He showed a line-up of photos with this image and she was able to pick him out from the group of six photos and then later was able to do the same with a stand-up line-up in jail.  

A detective's perseverence was able to convict this suspect and give the victim a little peace of mind.

I don't know how I would be able to remember a face in the middle of the night, awakened from sleep, in the dark with someone ordering me with the threat of a crowbar but I think she did pretty well remembering his thin eye brows, average nose and prominent chin.  His eyes are a little bigger in the composite probably because of his state of excitement during the incident.  

Saturday, March 28, 2009

DSFDF Challenge

So I was showing my 11 year old daughter the Different Strokes from Different Folks blog.

She told me she wanted to participate.

I think her multimedia 10x8 painting turned out so much more interesting than my 6x8 oil on canvas board.... *sigh*  [okay I'm just a tad proud too. ;o)]

Thursday, March 26, 2009

First Pet Depot Commission

So I've let you know every step of my trying to make this art thing a new career.  Here's my first commission through the Pet Supply Store.

The customer read an email from the store and brought her daughter and several photos of the pooches she wanted a painting of.  These dogs [Rocky the Bichon and Louie the Dachshund] were her husband's babies.  She wanted to give him a painting for his birthday on April 4.

She had seen the sample of the Bichon I had displayed at the store and liked the style.

So you see one of three photos she had for me already bless her heart.  The other two were a photo of Rocky without his fluffy fur in his eyes and a closer photo of Louie.  I asked what color background she wanted and she said she really like the blue in my sample.  I told her I would send her a jpeg to make sure I was going in the right direction and another jpeg for the final painting.

I sent her the first image of the painting to make sure the composition was okay.  I sent it a day after we met and she said she thought I was almost finished because she thought I had already captured their personality.

I was unhappy with all that space on the left of Louie so I thought I would break it up with grass and because the customer and her daughter were obviously the masterminds on this I called and asked if it was okay if I painted ladybugs to represent them.  I also asked what kind of toys Rocky and Louie liked to play with so I could fill in some of the open spaces.

They sent me photos through the email of Rocky's lamb, Louie's ball and a toy they played tug-a-war with.  They also asked if I would paint bumble bees to indicate here husband and her son.

The first rendition had bumble bees hovering over Louie's head.  If anyone remembers the Saturday Night Live skit with John Belushi as a rebel bumblebee you would know how silly they looked.  Of course they were not happy with this and I changed it to the final rendition that they were satisfied with.  

I'm sure I brought on most of these snags on myself.  Any advice from seasoned commission artists is truly appreciated.

11x14 oil on gallery wrapped canvas

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Helping Fight Hunger

My fellow Bay Arean Chris Beck featured this project on her blog.

Bread Art Project is a joint venture between the Grain Foods Foundation and Feeding America.

Got to the website and have fun either by toasting art onto a slice of bread or making a bit of animation if you're patient enough to do so.

For every slice of bread art saved into their bread art gallery, Grain Foods Foundation will donate a dollar to the Feeding America organization!  This is my second slice I've submitted.  As of last night, there were just over 980 submissions.   I know just my blogger friends can get that over $1,000 in a couple of days.

It's fun, it's for a good cause, doesn't cost you a penny but helps feed hungry families all over OUR country.   Hugs....

You folks are too too sweet.

I'm extremely honored to accepted this wonderful Award from an artist I love and admire.   

Arthur Simo is a very talented young man with one of the most creative minds and the artisitic skill to share his stories and visions in drawings.  Please visit his site and I hope you enjoy and join in the adventures he takes us on during his magical trips through fantastic lands.

This time, I will list the seven things I love and then think about the seven other artists I would like to tag with this lovely award.

1. I love life even though it gives me curve balls and potholes along the journey.  I just makes me appreciate the sunshine and grassy meadows all the more.

2.  I love kissing my kids and tucking them in bed at night.  I know there are only a precious few years left to be able to do this.

3. I love that every day is an opportunity to make my life, my community , my world a better place.   I don't always accomplish anything significant but I feel by looking outside of myself does help me in the end.

4. I love making friends and seeing all the beautiful art, writing and causes my fellow bloggers create.   With this web thing,  it boggles my mind that I get to interact with people in my Bay Area and South Africa!

5. I love to bake and cook.  I think it's another creative outlet that I can enjoy with all my senses.

6. I love to love.  Even when your heart gets broken, it heals with time and maybe grows a little stronger. Maybe when things settle down a little more in my life, I will find that special someone who will want to spend a little time with me as we journey on the adventure called life!

7.  I love still being able to  be in awe of  the simple things in life.  A sunset, a bird that visits my yard, the way the clouds hug the hillside and all the other wonderful and fantastic things that are out there if we take the time to look.

Hugs to all  [I love hugs too, can you tell?]

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tiny commission

My 11 year old saw that I received a couple of samples when I ordered ArtBoard for the first time.  ArtBoard gave me four 2"x3" boards with different finishes [gesso, oil primed linen, Arches Hot Press and Acrylic primed cotton]

She took one of the samples and asked if I would paint something for her.  She didn't know the name of the flower but after describing it and looking for it on Google images, we confirmed it was a calla lily.  She was very explicit about describing the color background, the certain lily image she wanted the bloom in and how she wanted the stem to gently bend to the right.  I suggested one composition and she shook her head vigorously  "no".  This young lady knows exactly what she wanted.  

I painted this lily and when I asked if this is what she wanted.  She studied the painting for a few moments and then asked, "why is this purple?"  pointing at the shadow at the top of the bloom.  I explained I wanted to show the shadow and thought the dark purple would be good for this.  She thought about it and then indicated she was satisfied with the painting.  I'm grateful this young lady knows exactly what she wants and is determined not to settle for anything less. I'm also grateful this painting was not any bigger than a couple of inches.  I just pity the boyfriends she'll be involved with in the [hopefully far] future.

oil on 2x3 inch oil primed linen on ArtBoard

Monday, March 23, 2009

More Pet Shop stuff

I was thinking last night (I know scary thought) about some additional pros about trying to have a working relationship with a local pet supply store for artists who want to earn a little extra money.

1. They love to display your artwork and will sell them for you by setting up and account in your name. She does not charge me rent or what ever a normal gallery or co-op gallery may charge.

2. My store owner was HAPPY that I offered a 10% commission with each painting sold. I was surprised that she was so delighted.
3. The store provides a place where you can have your business cards and brochures available for customers.
4. The store can accept all sorts of payments, deal with the possibility of bad checks and be able to let customers purchase your work on layaway without you having to deal with the book or paperwork.
5. I've mentioned this before, but there is always staff on hand to answer basic questions about pricing and turn around time AND sell your services.
6. Of course the store in turn has something very unique. They have an 'in-store' artist "working exclusively" with that pet store that sets them apart with your regular chain store pet store. It really helps set them apart from the big chain stores and provide their customers with a very special service.
7. Again, the store owner takes care of all the advertising, emails promoting and even includes your work on their website. My store owner even provided cookies and espresso during the Saturday event I was doing "plein air pet painting" as Vern Schwarz eloquently named my experience.

Another item for today, I was awarded the "Passion for Painting" from my dear South African friend 
Elizabeth Pearson! She is a world traveller and has the ability to paint animals practically in her back yard that others like myself can only imagine doing if we were able to afford a safari vacation.

I'm supposed to and am delighted to pass it along. I wish I could pass it on to all my artist pals but here are mine for today. These wonderful folk really have a "Passion for Painting" and are always an inspiration for me:
Vern Schwarz: Vern has a generous heart but he also has the wonderful technique of minimal strokes that I admire and strive for.
Diane Hoeptner: Diane is a talented, prolific and energetic painter. I love her floral and toy subjects and am envious of her beautiful red hair.
R.Garriot A fantastically technically exquisite painter with a wry sense of humor evident within the painting on blog writings. Also I am forever gratefull for the generous teachings on painting and photoshop.
Irit Bourla: Another prolific, energetic and generous artist with a multitude of subject matters and works. Being a wife and holding a full time job and painting on a daily basis is the definition of Passion for Painting.
Judy Mackey: Another passionate painter who has been generous with her experience and tips on navigating this art world.
Dean H.: Deano has wonderful painting techniques that he generously allows me to study with his enlargements of certain areas of interest on his work.
Carol Nelson: Carol is a newer Blogger pal I began following because of her fantastic bird paintings. Lately, she's been blowing me away with her abstract collage work!!!

I'm supposed to list 7 things I love in addition to the artists I'm awarding but I think I just did!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My day at Nicia's Pet Depot

As the folks who have been following my blog for the past couple of months, you know I'm still transitioning from flatfoot to fine artist.  On top of these being not the best times for artists everywhere because of the economy, I really felt I was swimming up stream with lead weights tied to my feet.

My friends also know I try to think of innovative ways to get my art noticed because I don't know better.  Some of them work and some of them fall flat on their face.  This idea worked out better than I thought.

On a whim, I approached a smaller neighborhood pet supply store owner and ask if we could work together by the store having their own artist to provide customers with portraits of their pets.  After discussing it with the owner and working out what services I would offer, I also asked if she wanted to host a "meet the artist" day.  

I brought in samples of my work, painted their favorite store cockatiel and the owner did the rest.  She wrote a press release, emailed her customers and arranged to have refreshments during my time at the store today.  It was not a busy day for either the store or me but I did get one commission (yay) and while I was at my table I was painting the store clerks dogs.  That's Kimi with her owner to  the left of the painting.  The clerks didn't have to pay me anything but they insisted on buying me bags of cat food (for Meatball and Sami) and kitty litter.  I also had a couple of inquiries from customers that might lead up to a couple of other commissions.  The store owner liked the experience so much, she wants to hold an event like this every month.

If you're interested in trying something like this, email me and I can get into more specifics on how to approach and work the a store in helping sell your work.  

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Limber Linda's daughter

Thanks to Angela Elledge's encouragement, I'm posting a second sketch from my visit with my friends.  This is her daughter that I was able to bribe to sit for a few minutes so I could sketch her.  She's only 10 but she is very sharp.  She's currently learning Japanese and Mandarin and being home schooled by Linda.

8x10 graphite on paper

Friday, March 20, 2009

Limber Linda

[Thanks to Liz Holm for the title inspiration]

I went to visit some friends the other day.  Linda was just sitting so casually but in such an interesting position I had to try and capture her.   As I look at this again, she reminds me of a cat poised on top of the ottoman.  Then again, yoga guru and pretzel also popped up in my mind.

8x10 graphite on paper.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Misty 1995-2008

Please read about this wonderful pooch in the Art for Shelter Animals blog.

hugs to all...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Lucy is another cat from my local SPCA.  She was chosen by staff because she's challenged by being deaf.  They say she has a sweet disposition and those beautiful green and blue eyes but needs a special home to be sensitive to her challenges.

She's another part of our Art for the Shelter Animals project.

oil on 4x6 canvasboard. 

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Another Composite

Time for another blast from the past. [plus I don't have any new work to post today] 

If you read the Police Bulletin,[just click to enlarge] you can see this guy climbed into a young girl's room.  He removed some of his clothing and it was obvious what he intended to do to the sleeping girl.

Fortunately, the father heard something and was able to confront and chase the guy out of the room before anything happened.  

I believe the father described this picture.  Which is pretty good for the circumstances and for the little time he was able to see his face.  His identification was later confirmed by the DNA he had left matching to his on file.

The sketch is not great because the detective Xeroxed the sketch instead of scanning it like I recommended but this is the actual bulletin distributed for the suspect.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bingo the Test Cat

Bingo is another Art for Animals painting.  Read more about this remarkable feline in that blog.

6x8 oil on RayMar

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sad Max

Please read more about this poor pooch at Art for the Animals blog.

I plan to do double posting for a few days until we get AFA blog going.

Thank you for your understanding!  


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Romeo and Maribel and the launch to help them

Carrie Jacobson and I are proud to announce the official launch of our Art for the Animals project.

Carrie Jacobson has also been contacted by Art Calendar to submit an article about our venture.  

Please check out our new blog and read a synopsis in Carrie's first post of how we got started and the invitation to all of you to join us!

Hope to see you there! HUGS!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tish and Mark

This is for James Parker's challenge Windows to the World Art challenge. 

Check out his site and the works of other wonderful artists!

8x10 pencil & charcoal

Monday, March 9, 2009

The benefits of tagging

Tagging was a curiosity when I first started blogging.  I would visit blogs I'd discovered mostly from DSFDF.   Now that I'm more comforatble and getting in the groove of the blogasphere I've come to look at the benefits what tagging will do for a blogger.  First you find out why people read your blog, second you discover other talented people through your tagger's wonderful blog choices and most importantly your friends are giving you free exposure by tagging you! 

So today, I discovered I was tagged by R. Garriott with this award and that Sam Dolman and Martina Alberts also tagged me.  These artists are ones love and adore and I'm truly honored.  The  tags require I list five favorite blogs and Sam's asked for five things about myself.  I'm sure they won't mind if I combine them so I don't have to list 15 blogs (though I easily could with all those wonderful people out there.)

Sam also requires I list the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you
2. Post the rules in your blog
3. Write five random things about yourself
4. Tag random people at the end of your post and link to them
5. Let each person know they've been taggedThings about me:

1.                  I’m part Alaskan Indian.  My grandmother was the tribal chieftess for the Eyak tribe in Cordova.

2.                   My favorite cuisine to eat and cook is Italian.

3.                   I’ve dabbled in a lot of martial arts but never settled into staying with one.  Akido, Kung fu, Kali, Escrima, Tae Kwan Do.

4.                   I researched and developed the DUI checkpoint program for my former police department.  The best times were when we were conducting the checkpoints in freezing weather during Christmas season and we’d keep warm by doing silly dances while we waited for traffic.  [Yes, I’m talking about 6 foot brawny cops and me.]

5.                   One of my most embarrassing moments in my old job was when I was running after a burglary suspect and I slipped and fell into a puddle of mud.  We [ okay the other cops] caught the guy but I ended up having to go to the station looking like a mud monster.

So the blogs I'm tagging are.... 

Angela Elledge,  lovely lady and lovely painting style.

Gwen Bell   A wonderful artist I discovered through DSFDF.

Carol Nelson Another treasure find from DSFDF

Carrie Griesemer  Check out her McGiver set up for her plein air paintings!

Carol Horzempa  I love her work and the way she shares her thoughts and process with us.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

California Roll

Okay so I was a little intimidated with DSFDF's challenge and it didn't help matters when I noticed some of my favorite artists like Gwen Bell and Dean Haven whipped theirs out like it was yesterday's newspaper and doing a wonderful job at it.  I also loved seeing  Deb Keirce's adorable adaptation of the challenge.

So when I started this morning, I was repeating Karin's mantra, squint and paint the shapes..  Unfortunately maybe it was to my disadvantage that I've had this California roll many times and I knew that there was fake crab [Krab], avocado, cucumbers and tobiko [flying fish roe] sprinkled on top.  I think the soy sauce has a 'brown gravy' look to it and I'd be interested to see what you used to paint your soy sauce.  Thanks in advance.

5x7 oil on canvasboard.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Thank you James Parker

 I nearly choked on my lunch burrito when I read James Parker's post today.  He's such a sweetheart and I'm a little overwhelmed because I feel that he was thinking about someone else when he made and gave this 'keepsake' to me.  Edward Burton on the otherhand is a generous man, great artist and a perfect recipient.   James Parker doesn't know how his art wow'd me when I first discovered him after I submitted my first DSFDF challenge.  

Here is the poem James wrote to accompany the Keepsake.

I had some folks come visit, my humble little blog
And leave a thoughtful comment, 'bout the painting I had logged.

I don't know how to tell them, or even where to start,
Of the wondrous gift they gave me, bringing joy to my heart

Some days are dark and lonely...I feel that life's a bore
But those simple words of kindness, have brought sunshine to my door.

So as a recipient, I need to give this keepsake to two other bloggers.

Michelle is my very first follower.  I didn't even know what a follower was until her little avatar popped up on the side one day.  From that day, she has been my cheerleader and inspiration that has in large part enabled me to be as candid and open on this blog as I have been.  She is a wonderful artist and also awesome mom.  Her support and artistic sense have helped me arrive to this point in my blogging and altruistic abilities with my art.  Thank you Michelle.

Judy is someone who I went to early on because we went to the same High School in Japan and she is very successful with her art and marketing and networking.  When I asked for advice Judy went far and beyond what I expected.  She literally took me by the hand on somethings (such as selling on eBay) and given me example after example of how she's built her business up.  She also is using her art to help animals something I've drawn inspiration from.  I can never repay her for her advice and encouragement and just hope her Karma bank is always filled to the hilt.  Thank you Judy.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Kayla is a 7 year old pit bull mix awaiting adoption at our East Bay SPCA since November of last year.  She has been treated for benign tumors but is healthy now and ready for a home.  

She is also the first in my Art for Adoption project where I work with the SPCA employees who pick special needs animals to try and get them a little more attention.  Also my donated art gives the SPCA visitors a chance to do something specifically for Kayla if they don't have the means or capabilities for caring for a special needs dog.  Purchase of her painting will buy her a bed for her kennel.  

I'll also be doing Artist Cards for the shelter.  I  often visit the SPCA or County Shelter with my kids.  I feel frustrated because I'm trying to teach them to help our animals but without room or financial capabilities now, we go home empty handed.  Hopefully with the art and/or cards, the kids can take home a card and feel that they helped buy a day of food for their favorite shelter pet or other treatment to help them get adopted.   The SPCA folks and I are still working on getting an exact program in place but we wanted to start right away because we're both excited about it.  Stay tuned!

This is an oil, 6x8 on RayMar.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Not sure where I'm going with this...

It's one of those that I felt I needed to paint but now I don't want to say stuck but I'm not sure which direction I want to go.  So I will let it sit for a while until another thought comes to me.   

this is oil on a 12x24 canvas.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tagged Again...

Thank you Michelle for tagging me again.  This one is a little different.  She instructed me to go to the sixth photo folder in my computer, take the sixth photo and blog about it.  After that list six people to tag.

Well I had to fudge a little because my sixth folder didn't have but two photos ( I need to consolidate) so I went to a folder that did.  

The first is a photo my 14 year old son took of a string light in his room.   He shows his creative side with a pocket point and shoot digital camera.  One of these days I'd like to be able to afford a little more sophisticated one.  If he can take this kind of photo or like the one on the bottom of a farm in Livermore, California I can't imagine what he could do with one with a little bells and whistles.

Okay, don't run away....
Here are the folks I'm going to tag:

Sunday, March 1, 2009

DSDF challenge- wig out

Okay so it's I just so happen to post this the day Karin's DSFDF and internet connection are back. I shouldn't have looked at all the entries submitted but I did. So with a little trepidation I'm posting mine.

I think it looks more like an illustration than a fine art painting. It could be because of the size (8x10) and the fact I used acrylic for the first time for a challenge.  [yeah...that's the ticket, it's because of the size...NOT!]

I think I'll use different mediums depending on the subject matter from now on. Hugs!