Saturday, October 31, 2009

Doorway gossip

Pastel, based very loosely on a photo we took in Morocco. This, while not huge (approx. 14" x 12"), is about as big as I've ever worked in pastel. I'm starting to get braver. One of these days I'll try one on a full sheet of Sennelier.

Speaking of pastels, has anyone else out there (besides Casey) tried ordering the Huechroval book? Casey got his, I never got mine, and the Huechroval people are completely incommunicado (as of about six weeks now). I've tried voicemail and several different emails for them. Currently trying to get my money back from our credit card. Very disappointing and odd that they seem to have become a fly-by-night.

Went last night to the opening of Quang Ho's one-man show at the Gallery 1261 in Denver. I'm still reeling from the beauty of seeing his work in person. And I finally got to meet him, though it took a while--the place was packed, and everyone wanted to talk to him.

Lynx, lynx...or owl?

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Leaf 5 / What to do with all the snow

What to do with all this snow?!

You could...

Paint a leaf:

Run through it:

Stay indoors and catch up on your blogging:

Oh, and you can also eat it, roll in it, and/or wrestle in it:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fresh red chili (on a cold snowy day)

Something hot for a cold, very snowy day. The city is pretty much shut down. Lot of snow and more still falling. Giant branches keep crashing down, and there is regular avalanche activity from our roof.

Here's what I woke up to. At least some members of our family (that would be two Golden Retrievers) are enjoying it. Me, I'm just grateful that the heat is working and I have a generous chocolate stash in the house.

Mojito comes in covered with snow pompoms. He seems perplexed to find them stuck all over his body.

I've been neglecting my duties as chair of Lynx's Fan Club. He's spending a lot of quality time lately in his "condo" that The Husband made for him, complete with gadgets and such to play with:

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Water's edge

Pastel over acrylic on watercolor paper again (see my recent Reflections series).

I ruin a lot of these trying to get a successful one (actually, that could be said of a lot of different things in life...), but it's a great way to use up pieces of old acrylic abstract paintings, and when it works, it really works.

Domino effect. People, we have killer cuteness going on in this house.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Sonja's dawn

I know a woman, Sonja W., who was born far more fearless and with far greater fortitude than I. She's a scientist who does things like choose to spend the entire winter in Greenland collecting snow samples, living in a small underground bunker that has to be shoveled out every day. This is her idea of a fun job.

So, this is "Sonja's dawn." (It's hard already to photograph pastels, but photographing really subtle ones...that's something I think I'd need to get a master's degree in.)

Happy happy sunny day. Blissed-out kitten.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Havana harbor

This began as pure abstract, but after a while it morphed into a remembered scene: in Havana, you can take a ferry ride to an area that is some kind of huge Spanish fortress. When you look back, it's something like this.

You can see little Rumi here with his wonky left eye. I've been looking very closely at his eyes lately, and I feel like there's more to it than just eye herpes or eye chlamydia (very common in cats). I actually feel like his eyes are not quite aligned, that his face (bridge of his nose, cheekbones, eye sockets) is not quite symmetrical. I've also noticed you can always see the tear-duct corner of his left eye (the one which gives him more trouble and which is often squinty), but you never can on the right. Of course, it could all be just my overactive imagination. In any case, his eyes are still often watery (in this photo, they're remarkably clear).

I'm taking him to the vet this afternoon, so I'm looking forward to hearing her opinions on him.

UPDATE: Just got back from the vet. Apparently his face looks asymmetrical because his right eyeball is swollen. Both eyes are watery and the left one is squinty. She thinks he does in fact have eye herpes, and we're going to try more eyedrops and try to get a lot more lysine into him. On the plus side, she thinks he has "ninja vision" and is unusually precocious, agile and intelligent for his age. That's my baby.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Yellow pear 5

Last night's painting. I started out with two pears next to each other, but after an hour or so finally conceded that the second one just wasn't working, obliterated it (which felt good, I have to admit) and concentrated on the one that was.

A classic shot of Rumi. He actually looks like a real kitten here!

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Saturday, October 17, 2009


I've never been to Australia but hope to go someday. I've always been fascinated by the idea of Uluru and would love to go experience it (with a stock of pastels in tow). In the meantime, here it is in my imagination:

It's good to have an extra-long tail. For instance, it can even keep the inside of your ear warm.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rumi-only post

I've known cats all my life. I've known shy ones and bold ones, sweet ones and grumpy ones. But I have never, ever met any cat like Rumi.

Rumi is weird. I mean, really weird. Really, really weird. (In an extremely endearing way.) He rarely acts or even looks like a cat. He has a very strange little horse-trot when he comes running toward you. He strikes us as seeming more like (at various times) in looks and behavior: a ferret, a monkey, a frog, a dog, a lizard, a bat, a rat...

He's not "cute" (I can say that, he's my kid :D)--not in the way that poster-kitten Lynx is. Rumi is not very photogenic, and in fact is downright funny-looking, poor little guy, with his ridiculously long skinny legs and tail, his big pink unhearing ears, his thin fur, his often watering eyes and squinty little left eye, his small pinched face and concerned expression. But what he is, is hilarious. Weirdly hilarious, and hilariously weird.

When something first catches his attention, he'll make a really funny and loud noise (something like "Brrrrrrrmp!" and then he'll point and hold one foot like a hunting dog that's spotted its prey:

He sleeps in even stranger positions than Lynx. This is his photo advertisement for his upcoming seminar, Yoga with Rumi:

Often his mouth is slightly open as he naps, offering an excellent view of his bizarro dentition. I've hypothesized that he may in fact be an infant chupacabra:

He's got these strange little human-like teeth along the top, and his fangs already protrude though he's still awfully young to normally see that (perfect for Halloween, too):

Anyway, we love him. Regardless of what kind of creature he really is. (His cat masquerade is slipping, I think.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tomatillo husk

A small study to dip my feet back into oils after an all-pastel hiatus (I rarely have time to do oils lately).

The joy of new-brotherhood.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

The dance

Pastel from a couple of nights ago.

One (Random) out, two (Lynx and Miss Lemon) in. Look how big Lynx has gotten! He's on his way to being the gigantic cat I predicted when I first saw those huge paws on that little kitten. Consider: look at his size; he's only 6 months old!

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

And then she let go the balloon

Ugh. I am so not ready for this. 30 degrees F and waking up to this:

A small pastel from the other night. This was on my usual, Sennelier, but I have a question for you pastelists out there: I got a couple of sheets of Wallis paper to try, and cut some squares out to try prepping them with different colors of gouache underpainting (so, that includes water). I left them overnight and they curled up very badly, such that they are un-pastelable. Is Wallis not supposed to be used with water?

Miss Lemon just loves squishing her new adoptees. They never seem to mind.

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Cezanne in Taos

I like to think this is how Cezanne might've painted a Taos hillside...

I experimented here with a different pastel paper (St. Armand Sabertooth), and with crosshatching. The crosshatching, not my usual pastel style, came about because the paper seemed very weird to me and I couldn't figure out how to get coverage. I like the result and may try some more crosshatched pastels, though I fear I don't really have the required patient temperament.

Who's in there? It's Rumi (note he has a name now)! Rumi was a famous Sufi mystic poet. It seems an appropriate name for this bizarre, ethereal little creature who appears to be existing on an entirely different plane of reality than the rest of us, and is all white, like an entranced whirling dervish.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Blue hill

Pastel. This is a repost of the pic, but it's still a bit blurry-looking on the screen.

Little newcomer sandwich.

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Reflections 3

Here's the third Reflections from the other night. I will definitely be doing more experimenting like this!

Oh, how Miss Lemon adores kittens...!

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Reflections 2 / A new face

Here's the second Reflections.

And here's the new kitty face in our house. A little, skinny, scrawny, pathetic all-white boy who I think is deaf, and has some eye problems to boot. The Humane Society vet was not sure what was going on with his eyes, though they gave me some drops for them (and they weren't aware of his apparent deafness). We adopted him yesterday. I will be bringing him to my regular vet as soon as I can, to get his eyes checked out more thoroughly.

He doesn't have a name yet, though it occurred to me to possibly name him Keller (after Helen). He had an identical twin brother in the Humane Society with him, and yes, it was tempting...! I wonder if he is part Siamese--he is quite eccentric, bold, loud, and extremely long and thin. He doesn't seem to want to play much, which seems odd to me, as he is only 3 or 4 months old. Rather, he just seems to want to be tucked inside one's shirt at the neck, or cuddle up to everyone he meets, us, the dogs, anyone or anything that is warm will do! His fur seems to be very thin too, so perhaps he really is feeling cold much of the time. He also likes to follow people around, dog-like, screaming for them to pick him up; and he likes to perch on people's shoulders. He likes to try to nurse on Miss Lemon, and as is usual with her, she doesn't mind a bit, and is grooming him and treating him like her own. (She never had kittens, but has "fostered" every kitten we've ever had.) Our new little guy is really an odd one but very endearing so far.

The Husband holding little no-name.

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Saturday, October 3, 2009


This was an interesting new experiment and fun to do, and I love how it turned out. I took an old piece of abstract acrylic painting on watercolor paper, and added pastel over it, including some iridescent pastels, while thinking of pond reflections. I did three of these last night in related but slightly different palettes, so I'll be posting the next two soon.

Small (couch) potato.

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