Monthly Archives: March 2011

Painting Under the Influence

Oy, I am so disappointed that I wasn’t able to participate in Illustration Friday this week. I had every intention of submitting something, but the days just kept flying by in a mess of fevered delirium, missing dog searches, and…well, more fevered delirium.

And then there was the Tylenol PM incident.

When I finally decided on an idea for my illustration, I started writing a little story to go along with it. And, it was actually a pretty good story. Unfortunately, my writing was interrupted by the onset of a near-deafening crackling sound in my right ear. It seems that the plague I have recently contracted has decided to manifest itself as my first-ever ear infection. And so, I grudgingly dragged my pathetic self to the doctor in hopes of quieting the fiery demon who has taken up residence in my middle ear.

Two hours and a prescription for Amoxicillin later, I was back home and settling in to my studio all ready to get to work on my illustration. The pain in my ear still plaguing me and my bedtime only an hour away, I decided to pop a couple of Tylenol PMs before getting to work.

Yeah, I’m sure you can see where this is going.

When I look back on this week, most of it is a blur – mostly because I have spent a good portion of it in a fever-induced haze. There are several things that I know I must have done, but I absolutely cannot remember doing. Last night’s foray into art is one of them. I started out okay – sketching a few ideas, playing around with watercolor pencils, etc. Then, I started getting sleepy and things took a bad turn. At one point, I thought it would be a good idea to try mixing some gouache and ended up with something that was strikingly similar to Pepto Bismol both in color and consistency. I then spilled some funky old paint water all over. I also  may or may not have fallen asleep with my head on a still-wet watercolor blob…I really don’t know for sure. I can’t remember.

Eventually, I must have realized that creating anything even remotely recognizable was far outside of my realm of capability and I lurched my way to bed like a semi-conscious zombie. And so, for this week, I’ve got nothing. Bah.

Also, my Friday Favorites post will probably be late, as I haven’t even made it through all of this week’s submissions, let alone narrowed my favorites down to fifteen and the monster in my ear seems to be stirring again.

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Limited Edition Prints : Izzy the Dog

Well, the stats speak for themselves. My readers are tired of missing dog posts and are ready for a return to normalcy. I can truly sympathize and I plan on doing my best to get this blog back on track. Please bear with me.

With that said, here is a post about art (and my missing dog…sorry).

Losing Izzy has been very hard on us and she sneaks her way into everything I do right now. I’ve never been very good at making the best out of a bad situation, but I am really trying now (mostly for the sake of my family’s mental health). So, when I sat down to work on Illustration Friday last week, out popped the character Izzy the Dog.

Like the real Izzy, Izzy the Dog is a cute, friendly, (mostly) happy hound. Fortunately, unlike the real Izzy, Izzy the Dog doesn’t smell like a hound (anyone who has ever lived with a Basset, beagle, or other hound knows exactly the smell I’m talking about – it’s stinky, but it grows on you). So far, I have only finished two illustrations in this series ‘Izzy the Dog Picks a Flower‘ (for the Illustration Friday topic ‘cultivate’) and ‘Izzy the Dog in the Rain‘.

Originally, I had no idea what I was going to do with these illustrations. But, as more and more people assist us in finding Izzy, we have realized that not only do we want to give a significant reward to the person or persons who bring our Izzy home to us, but we also want to give as much as we can to the people who have been helping us. So, I am offering limited edition prints of my original ink and watercolor Izzy the Dog illustrations on Etsy to help boost our reward offering and provide a donation to the agency that is helping us track Izzy.

The prints are very reasonably priced at $10 each. Image size is approximately 5×7″ and each print is numbered and signed.

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Izzy at Large

Izzy the dog is still missing.

We spent the whole weekend doing everything we could to find her. We have distributed nearly 300 flyers with another 300 ready to go out today. We did a tracking sniff with Dogs Finding Dogs on Saturday that gave us a general idea of where she has been and focused our flyer efforts there. We also put down a scent trail leading to our house and set up a feeding station on our front porch. Still, no Izzy.

Last night, we finally got our first leads. The first seems legitimate and we are following up on it today. The second was completely frustrating and heartbreaking.

Sir has been sick since last week and I seem to have caught his illness. Today is the first time in two days that I have been able to sit up long enough to blog. I had a fever of 102° and couldn’t manage to drag myself out of bed. When the calls about Izzy came in last night, Big Sir (who had injured his ankle on the tracking sniff, but was still pounding the pavement all weekend posting flyers) had no choice but to grab our neighbor and our dog Yofi and start searching.

The boy on the phone told us that he had seen Izzy about 2 hours earlier in a neighborhood a few blocks from here. As the search party departed, the phone rang again. The same boy, out of breath now, told us that he had been chasing Izzy, but couldn’t manage to catch her. With the search still going on and daylight quickly departing, the boy called again to tell me that he was still chasing Izzy (and now two other dogs) toward a park in Baltimore City. It was at this point that I finally heard from my husband who told me that my neighbor had run into the boy and spoken to him. Apparently, his story kept changing and he was very interested in finding out how much the reward would be, which leads us to believe that he had never actually seen Izzy and was just messing around in hopes of either securing some reward money or just getting a rise out of us.

And so, with darkness descending, they returned home without our Izzy girl.

As soon as I find the energy, Sir and I will be heading out to post more flyers. This afternoon, we’ll do another tracking sniff in the area where Izzy was spotted.

This situation has taken a serious toll (emotionally and financially) on all of us. Sir has been exhibiting some behaviors that we have never seen in him before and we can only attribute it to his little mind’s (and heart’s) inability to understand this loss. Any time we go outside, he looks around and calls Izzy’s name. It is heartbreaking to witness.

In spite of all this, the outpouring of support has been more than we could have imagined. Our neighbors have really stepped up to the plate – printing and distributing flyers and helping with searches. The Facebook page now has over 100 fans, most of whom are people we don’t even know, but who are helping to get the word out about Izzy. They come from as near as our own neighborhood and as far as Sweden. The Internet is an amazing thing. I just hope it can help us find our girl.

One last thing, I will be making a dedicated post about this, but wanted to get it out there now – I have made a limited number of prints from my Izzy the Dog illustrations and I am offering them at a very reasonable price on Etsy. We are hoping to raise money to add to the reward we are offering and for a donation to Dogs Finding Dogs.

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Happy Birthday, Izzy the Dog…Wherever You Are

Today is our Izzy girl’s 8th birthday…and she’s not spending it with us.

Even after shelter searches, flyer posting, countless phone calls, and many, many hours online filling out lost dog reports, posting ads, and scouring lost & found ads, we have not one lead. It’s like she just vanished.

I cannot begin to tell you how frightening and disheartening that is.

This morning, all three of us set out to check another shelter and pass out flyers at several animal hospitals and pet stores in the area. Sir is sick with a terrible cough, fever, and runny nose, but he rode along with us like a real trooper in hopes of being able to ‘Hug Izzy!’ again (he asks repeatedly to hug all of the dogs now and repeats ‘Hug Izzy! Hug Izzy!’ over and over again because his little two-year-old mind cannot fathom his favorite dog not being around anymore.). Sadly, not one person that we spoke to had seen her.

Yesterday, we created a Facebook page at the suggestion of someone we had contact with at a shelter. This afternoon, we will be meeting with a tracker from Dogs Finding Dogs, a local organization that comes HIGHLY recommended. We are hoping that maybe, despite recent heavy rains, Izzy’s scent trail is still out there and their dogs can pick it up and find her.

I am currently working on a quick project to help raise money for both the Dogs Finding Dogs services and a reward for anyone who might bring our doggie back to us.

If you live anywhere in the area (Baltimore metro) or in any of the surrounding counties (Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Carroll, Howard, or Harford), please consider sharing the link to our Facebook page or printing some of our flyers to share with local shelters, vets, groomers, pet stores, etc.  Thank you.

Happy birthday, Izzy! We love you!

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Friday Favorites : Cultivate

It’s Friday again and I am unsure how exactly we got here. This past week has been kind of a blur. I’m still in a bit of a haze, so please forgive any clumsy grammar or general nonsensical-ness in this week’s Friday Favorites.

It is spring now (at least, it’s supposed to be. It was snowing here yesterday when I dropped Sir off at school. Ugh.), and that conjures images of warmth and growth. Appropriately, this week’s topic was ‘cultivate’, which often brings to mind the same.

Again, I had a very difficult time narrowing my favorites down to a mere fifteen. There’s just too much freaking talent out there.

Here’s what I loved this week…

  • Cultivate by Ginger Nielson : I love the way that both the agricultural and the relationship aspects of the word ‘cultivate’ are represented in this piece. Check out the pattern used in the sheep’s wool – very nice.
  • Cultivate by Rita Balixa : This is just an adorable illustration all the way around. I especially love the chicken’s expression.
  • Was Once a Gardener by Keszeg Agnes Rajzai : A brilliant series of illustrations. The detail in the tree people is fantastic.
  • Cultivate by Lilly Blue : Beautiful and whimsical. Love.
  • Cultivate by Robert Dunn : The detail in this piece is wonderful. And the color – perfection.
  • Cultivate Your Dreams by Isabelle Cardinal : I love the concept and I especially love the execution. I have a similar dream of illustrating a book and I hope my dandelion will fly sooner rather than later.
  • Cultivate by Jessica M. Lopez : Tiny bulbs cultivate their dreams of becoming tulips. Aww.
  • Cultivate by Michelle Tessier : So fun – I especially love the trees and the water droplets.
  • Cultivate by Roshini Pochont : I am a closet Totoro fan (shhh!), so this illustration makes me all kinds of happy!
  • Cultivate by Angela Rozelaar : This little girl is just too adorable.
  • Cultivate by Roberta Baird : This is such a sweet illustration and the use of color is just great.
  • Cultivate by Dani Torrent : The composition and perspective in this piece are so interesting.
  • The Dragon by Maria Bogade : This piece really is flawless. I can totally relate to this dragon’s victim. I have felt very much chewed up and spit out this week.
  • Cultivate by Dave Palmer : Heh. Heh.
  • Cultivate by Ryan Hernandez : A totally fun homage to ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ – the look on Seymour’s face is excellent!

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Remodeling the Blog

Yesterday, I finally came to the conclusion that checking the lost & found section of craigslist every 5 minutes was not only obsessive, but also unhealthy. I needed a distraction, so I decided to bite the bullet and get to work on changing up the blog.

Despite my reluctance and aversion to change (and the stress of trying to get the new layout to not only look good, but also function well), the new template is starting to grow on me. I can do more with this layout and the plug-ins that wouldn’t work before are installed and working beautifully on this template. There are certainly more tweaks to be made, but they are minor and I’m probably the only one neurotic enough to even notice.

I decided to create a watercolor version of my logo. The other version is more representative of my mixed-media collage work, and honestly, I have kind of gotten away from that lately. I feel like the watercolor version works better with the new layout and the current direction that my work is taking. Any thoughts/opinions on the new look would be greatly appreciated.

This new layout has also made it easier to add more links. I want to be able to share more great art sites/blogs and the old layout was making it sort of difficult to do that. I have been working on a list of sites, but I still have a lot more to add.

As I mentioned, there is more work to be done. I would love any input that anyone might have on how things are arranged now and whether or not there are any issues with the new design. Feel free to leave a comment…

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It’s Rainy. And Cold.

More calls. Less answers. Endless disappointment.

Tomorrow I am doing what I have been dreading since this whole thing started – going to the shelters. They all say they don’t have her, but mistakes are easy to make. I cannot handle walking through those places. Seeing all of the animals that have no homes and no families and are confined to miserable cages just makes me sad and ill.

I don’t know how much more sadness I can take…but it looks like I’m going to find out.

Fortunately, we have amazing friends who keep going out of their way to help us. I’m pretty sure that is the only thing keeping me sane right now.

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