Thursday, November 29

Waxwing update...

There really is a full flock of Waxwings in the yard. About 40. Here is a better but not great view of some of them. The tip of their tails looks like it was dipped in cadmium yellow paint and the tips of their wings in cadmium red. You can see some of the more muted color on their bodies, here. They swoop down to the birdbaths about 10 at a time. Then back to the top of the trees and 10 more come down. We are all very excited about there visit. Pretty birds!


His legs were crossed last time I painted. His nose got short and he was looking an awful lot like Frankenstein. Last night I worked it out. His nose is long and legs uncrossed. He is looking good. This is a long slow process, but back on track.

16 +17

Geez, I hope this one is done. I am ready to move on. Last night things went very well. Each new color I put down turned the painting on a bit more. I think it is done. I will have to let it full dry to tell.

...The colors are really working together.

What is in the back yard...

This gang of Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis) and Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) seems to be hanging out together. I counted 8 Bluebirds and I couldn't get a count on the Waxwings but there are at least 8. They take turns at the bird bath and feeders. Some of the flock stay up in the trees, keeping an eye out for our friend the Harrier. I was hoping I would see a Waxwing and I got a whole flock of them. This is total anthropomorphism but, these are the beautiful people.

Last night Mr. Eleven was indulging in watching Kid Nation on the tube. The kids had to pick some chickens to kill. The little girls didn't want to kill the pretty chickens. One screamed: Kill the ugly ones! Yikes!

I am sure the little girls would save the Bluebirds and Waxwings. There is something very beautiful and magical about them.

Thursday is Kick Ass Chick day

Virginia is a mom now, with a lovely little girl. We had a lot of fun when she came to pose. She showed up with a bag of lingerie. This was my favorite outfit of the bunch. I took a lot of heat for this one. People thought it was too sexy. Too something. That I had taken advantage of her. I did make the boots white when they were actually black and I did make the lining of her coat red rather than the white it really was. But she did the rest. I love it. Like I loved the Gold-diggers on the Dean Martin show when I was a kid. I will always love Virgina for her sweet heart and times we shared. Part of that is, she knew how to turn it on! Meow!

Wednesday, November 28


"As for you girls" she said, "although just one or two sketches were submitted by most, one girl--and Room 13 should be very proud of her--this one girl actually drew one hundred designs--all beautiful. In the opinion of the judges, any one of her drawings is worthy of winning the prize. I am happy to say that Wanda Petronsky is the winner of the girls' medal. Unfortunately Wanda has been absent from school for several days and is not here to receive the applause that is due her. Let us hope she is tomorrow. Now, class, you may file around the room quietly and look at her exquisite drawings."
Excerpt from The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

Wanda wont be coming back to school. She moved to NY where she wouldn't be teased. I left Michigan for New York to find my way as an Artist too. When I told people I was a Painter, an Artist the typical Michigander response was often hostile. A laugh then: yeah right, who do you think you are, what are you going to do to make a living. It got to the point where I would lie about what I did, who I was.

When I got to NY, that changed. People in NY, a place where you just have to toss a stone in a crowed to hit a Writer, Artists or Actor,
responded differently. Usually a roll of the eyes and something like: ...and...big deal, who isn't.
Indifference was way better than hostility! It gave me room to grown and explore. The proof is in the doing. I learned pretty quickly that many of the people saying they were this or that never did anything but talk. I had something a lot of them didn't have, a model. The idea of, one hundred dresses all in a row. I had a work ethic like Warhol, like Wanda Petronski.

I didn't win any metals but I found strength in what I do and who I am. I still have my work ethic. When I meet people in my little VA hood, I tell them I am a painter, an artist. Mostly to favorable response. I did have one lady ask if I painted Ships or Landscapes. But rather than explain I just invite them to the studio. I will leave the judgment up to those who feel they need to judge. I am a painter. I paint pictures. I am painting one hundred all in a row.

Wonder Woman Wednesday

..I am just a Woman.

Tuesday, November 27

The globe

He is starting to come to life. I think the dogs nose got shorter last night. He is starting to look more like Frankenstein. The dog I see the most. Working on the slick surface is interesting. It is so slippery and shinny. I have to keep adjusting my view to avoid the glare. In some ways I feel like I am going backwards, like he was closer to where he should have been after the first painting session. Sometimes you have to go back a few steps to go forward.

16 +17

I worked on 16 + 17 last night. It is almost there, but not quite done yet. The holiday took me away from the studio for a few days. It is always hard to go back into a painting after not painting for a few days. You basically need to re-paint the whole thing in order to get the surface moving again. The weather has warmed up, so the paint was thiner than it was on the colder days. In spite of all that, I am feeling pretty good about this the trick is to not kill it...

Monday, November 26

A Man for Monday

Eric was quite found of drinking Port. I painted him in Van Gogh's bedroom with a plate of Lemons from Matisse. I was never in his apt.. But, I thought that if I were, he would offer me some Port and perhaps a plate of lemons.

Circus cyaneus in the yard

A different Northern Harrier came to the yard this weekend. It was smaller than the one that usually comes for lunch. This one slid into the area where the birds eat seeds off the ground, like he was sliding into home plate. All the birds hid. For the next hour the Harrier ran around the yard like a chicken. He wasn't going to leave without eating. So he stepped things up. He dove into one of the bushes around the yard. Most of the birds have homes in these shrubberies. They all hide in them when predators come. After some rustling. He burst out of the foliage talons full of bird. It was a Pipilo erythrophthalmus, Eastern Towhee, a migrating bird, who just arrived to stay for the winter. It seemed rather brutal. It is one thing to swipe a bird from a common eating spot, but going into the home, the safe place and just taking! He must have been very hungry.

Rhipicephalus sanguineus on your face

Frankenstein likes to sleep under the covers in our bed. This morning like every other, he wakes me with sweet puppy kisses. This morning was no different. But when my eyes opened I noticed his beauty mark on the side of his face was bulbous. Experience had taught me what this was..a fully engorged tick and not his beauty mark at all. The various kinds of ticks look about the same when fully engorged but I am pretty sure this one was a Brown Dog Tick.

When I ran my dog walking biz. One of my duties was tick removal. Alpha a Bernese Mt. Dog who weighed 110 lbs and was at least 10 times bigger than Frankenstein was my tick removal training grounds. It took 2 of us to climb over him and locate the suckers. Some days we would find up to 10 in different stages of engorgement.

The big difference here is scale. If the dog to tick size ratio was the same on Frankenstein as Alpha. A fully engorged tick on Alphas face would have been the size of a plum. Now consider plucking that from his face, before you have had your morning coffee. Good morning!