Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A First-Horse Educational Experience

Almost every Saturday for the past couple (three?) years, my dad and I have gone horseback riding together. We ride out in Luther, OK. One of my dad’s colleagues lives out there and owns 3 horses. And I own one, which I bought from him, and which still lives at his house. One Saturday morning about two weeks ago we went out to catch the horses to go for a ride.  But once we got back to the barn, the horse my dad usually rides (Buddy) was breathing really hard. More specifically, his breaths were really shallow and fast. He was his normal ornery self (trying to bite everyone and trying to hold the knot of his lead rope in his teeth) but apparently about a week before that he had refused his feed. Other than that, though, he had acted fine even just the day before.
So Buddy’s owner called the vet who came out to check on Buddy and diagnosed him with pneumonia. (She ran some bloodwork, too…It was just plain old bacterial pneumonia.) She told us to watch the other three horses closely because they could catch it from him and left some antibiotic shots to give Buddy.

And then yesterday I had the vet come out to see my horse, Stormy. She had started coughing a bit; and I had noticed the last couple times I rode her that she had snot dripping out of her nose after.  It looked exactly like the horse in this article

She didn’t have a temperature and the vet couldn’t get her to cough (she coughed before the vet got there of course.) However her respiratory rate was faster than it should be, especially considering she had been standing tied for over 30 minutes. Luckily I caught Stormy’s illness way earlier than Buddy’s was caught, and she’s getting less strong antibiotics and should be well sooner.   

About 6 years ago I crunched some numbers and realized I had enough to buy a horse, and pay to board it somewhere AND feed it AND  get it’s shots and hooves done and all.  I resisted the urge at that time to buy a horse, because that would leave me with almost $0 left in each paycheck.  It was hard. It got harder as horses got cheaper and cheaper. But THIS is why I waited--these un-expected horse-sized vet bills! Now she just needs to not have anything else go wrong for a while. 

Don't ever dare Stormy to stick her tongue to a frozen flag pole 'cus she would totally do it

Monday, January 23, 2012

Coloring Pages

Four Cryptid Coloring pages are now available!
It's actually been a lot of fun to draw simple line drawings stuff for a change. I draw "linework" for my job as an embroidery artist frequently but then I'm having to constantly think about the path the stitches will take, and whether there be a lot of jumps. (where the needle has to jump from one line to the next because they aren't connected. Jumps have to be trimmed after the design is finished sewing. So a lot of jumps means some time-consuming trimming.) It was nice to force that part of my brain to shut down and just have fun drawing. These take more time to create than I had thought they would because I convert them into vector files after drawing them, so hopefully I'll be able to create 4 more this week, but I'm working on 3 paintings at once this week as well so that might now be possible!

Friday, January 20, 2012


Illustration Friday's word this last week was "prepare"

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cryptid Coloring Book

I'm working on several new things for my etsy shop right now. Most of them won't be listed for a while because they take time to make, but watch out for new pillow pets and necklaces and paintings. But one of the things I'm most excited about because its just been so much FUN to work on is a cryptid coloring book.  I'll list some individual printable pages in a few days, and after I have more pages finished I'll offer the whole thing as a printable pdf book. I'm trying really hard to create line drawings that are fun to color. Here's what one of the pages looks like:

And a close up:

I'm not usually a fan of watermarks...I think a lot of artists use them online because they are paranoid about their work being copied--and rightly so. But a painting is just really hard to see with a watermark across it (And most paintings already don't look as good in a photo as they do in real life.)
buuut I think I'm going to watermark my coloring book pages. I'm hoping people can still see them well enough to decide if they want to buy them.... 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I'd like to thank...

received an award! It's an award to help raise awareness of blogs with under 200 followers (which makes it sound like a disease that needs a cure..but hey, I'd love more people to read my blog so I am super honored to have received this award.) I got this from a fellow blogger/pet portrait artist/animal lover Helen at Whiskered Paintings. Go check out her artwork and her adorable dog and cat on her blog.

It's my understanding that upon receiving this award I'm supposed to award 5 blogs I like who also have under 200 followers. I have no idea how to tell how many followers a blog has, besides the little Google thing on Blogspot blogs. So I hope I haven't messed this up.

So without further ado,
the Winners Are:

Bitless horse: Science VS tradition - This is a blog about horse things and hoof things and training things and its just overall awesome.

I am Boyfriend - A beautiful grey horse and his human

Doodling Dogs - a blog  about a dog named Leila "doodling" about on her daily adventures 

Love and a 6 Foot Leash - more great dog blogging. I just found them.

So I Have This Dog - I love my vet and already appreciated them but this blog makes me appreciate them WAY more. 

Dear Winners, please read THE AWARD DIRECTIONS:

Liebster means "dearest" and "favorite" in German. The Liebster Award highlights up-and-coming blogs to help spread the word about their furgoodness. An award brings ceremony, too, and in order to accept the Liebster, you must do the following:

1.) Copy and paste the award on your blog.

2.) Link back to the blogger who gave you the award.

3.) Pick your five favorite blogs with less than 200 followers, and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they received the award.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Another Post About One of My Animals


Pedro is my second dog. (Bella is my first, I found her in August of 2006 and found Pedro May 2007) For a long time I thought Pedro must be Chihuahua mixed with some sort of terrier. He's energetic enough. When he was a puppy he had a looong body and short legs. Then all the sudden when he was about 9 months old his legs grew like 2 inches. He's pretty small and has springs in his back legs that he uses for leaping straight up in the air and for out-running every other dog at the dog park. I'm not kidding, he's freakishly fast. He also barks way too much and thinks he should be in charge. But Bella likes him so he got to stay because she really doesn't like any other dogs. He stands all the way under her when he thinks he's in trouble and peaks out from between her front legs.
I Digress.
Last year I got both my dog's DNA tested. For fun. And the folks and Wisdom Panel say they think he's part Sheltie, part Chinook, and 50% mystery mutt. 

Well maybe there's still some chihuahua in there but apparently not enough to show up on their test. Same thing with my terrier theory. Maybe he has a little teensy bit in him. (He sure doesn't look like a Chinook.)

But what about this extinct dog breed, the English White Terrier? Famous (among dog nerds I guess) for being the terrier breed that was crossed with a bull dog to create the Bull Terrier. 
Does this dog not look like he could be pedro's great great great great great great grandfather?

I think so.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Be Amazed

J.C. Leyendecker is one of my favorite artists--if you've never heard of him, you are in for a treat. (Unless you have terrible taste or just hate amazing art for some reason.) He is famous for illustrating Saturday Evening Post covers (just like Normal Rockwell, only earlier..) So when I stumbled on to this post from December 2010 on Scott Anderson's blog I was in awe. Scott was able to take some very close up photo's of some of Leyendecker's actual paintings and posted them there on his blog.  I could spend hours just staring at these close-ups in admiration. Every brushstroke is perfectly exactly where it should be. Click on the images on his blog and you can view them even bigger. 

And here's the link again if you missed clicking on the one above!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Drunk Cat with Clean Teeth

Gypsy is kind of a strange cat. I’ve had cats my whole life so I know, I know—all cats are strange.  But I’ve never had a cat before that is so absolutely determined to be up in high places (on people’s shoulders, on top of doors, the highest most wobbly shelf on the cat tree, etc.) Combine that with the fact that I’ve also never known a clumsier cat. Hilarity is inevitable. When I lived at an apartment that had stairs going up the second you walked in the door, I was always pounced on from the railing halfway up the stairs when I came home from work…and she would stay perched there for as long as I would let her, no matter what I was doing. She has fallen asleep and started snoring on my shoulders. She also has trouble jumping onto things that are only a couple of feet tall..its like she doesn’t judge the distance before she jumps. Or she has no depth perception…its hard to tell. She is a strange cat.
Strange cat, Gypsy developed some halitosis recently, so I took her to the vet  to see if it’s her teeth or what. Thankfully it was her teeth (halitosis can be a sign of kidney or liver failure). So she got her teeth cleaned Monday. They said she was good to go home when I got off work at 5. 
I have never gotten a cat back from the vet that was still this drunk from the anesthesia!
First, my already uncoordinated cat was seriously wobbly, but at the same time extremely restless. She would NOT just lay still.

Me: Gypsy, here, stay in your nice warm bed (which is on the counter in my bathroom)

Gypsy: whaaaaaatttts happening?? I don’t like this feeeelinnngg

*stands up and sways back and forth*

Me: Gypsy, lay down

Gypsy: I think I’ll go for a walk

*falls off counter*

*tries to jump onto the toilet and ends dangling by front paws*

*makes flying leap for counter and misses by a mile*

I locked her in her kitty carrier while I went and ate dinner so she wouldn’t get herself hurt.
Then the next morning her restlessness was gone. Instead she was a limp noodle who acted half asleep even though her eyes were open. I set her down in the hallway to see if she could walk. She slouch-ran to the bathroom and fell over upon rounding the corner. *sigh*
I was a little worried, but she was able to jump up onto the counter just fine (or at least as well as she normally can) and seemed to just want to sleep on her bed so I decided it was safe to leave her there and go to work. She was wide awake and able to walk normally by the time I got home around 5:30…I guess she just needed to sleep it off…
Last night she even had a wrestling match with her kickaroo and won so I guess she’s back to 100%

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Nursery Tree

This is what I painted over the Christmas/New Year holiday. This is my youngest niece's room. Her older sister already has some butterflies that match her quilt and her name on her wall. This niece has a quilt with dots on it, and the leaves on the tree match the dots. Probably would have been a better picture if I had draped her quilt over the side of her crib--oh well. Mural painting is really fun--the only problem is that since it's someone else's house it's usually a lot harder to wake up at 5:00 in the morning and get some painting in while you're still in your pj's before work. (Fortunately this was the room I was sleeping in while I stayed at their house for a few days.) Anyway, this makes me want to paint a tree in my own room. I plan on organizing my art studio room this week--maybe I'll paint one in there!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Trail Ride

Today was an excellent day for a ride.
This is cookie (the cat) and Stormy (my horse). This is stormy's first time wearing saddlebags...and the cat didn't really go a long for the ride. This cat is obnoxious (to say the least)--always wanting constant attention, so he doesn't mind getting stuck weird places if it means he's getting petted more frequently. I often end up setting him on top of stormy while i'm brushing her to keep him from being underfoot/climbing my leg to get to my hand. He is a sweet cat, just sweet in a very pushy sort of way.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Bernese Siblings

In the past I have always had trouble keeping the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Swiss Mountain Dog straight. I knew one had long fur and the other had short, but its just one of those weird things I had trouble remembering (like when I worked with both a Marsha and a Martha...sorry you two for all the times I probably called you be the wrong name first before getting it right.)
Anyway, after this portrait I'll be able to remember which one is the Bernese! It takes a lot longer to do long fur (generally) but it really is fun to paint. I hope the person that owns these two Berners likes it.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

An Attempt to start blogging again

So I went to the Deluxe Craft Bazaar last month and had a blast again. I sold a lot more than last year, but then I learned a lot since the year before. Lesson #1: Work harder on the booth

Here's my booth at my first ever Craft fair (not Deluxe):

I'm pretty proud of the amount of improvement. But it was a ton of work. And I couldn't have done it without help from my best friend, my boyfriend and my mom.

Lesson #2
Have some cheaper items. I did sell three paintings, but one was very small and therefore rather cheap and one was to my mother so that doesn't really count.
I sold Pillow animals and necklaces and postcards (not pictured):

These Pug Pillows sold out! and fast! That was a nice surprise. The necklaces didn't sell that well for some reason. Probably because there's already a lot of jewelry at the fair.

Lesson #3: Accept credit cards!!

I also dressed up more and worked really hard at greeting every person that came near my booth. But I attribute my rise in sales to those main 3 lessons.