Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Apollo’s Solar Flare—Oil Pastel

9x12inch oil pastel with coloured pencil and ink
I’ve been many oil pastels of late. Not all come out to see the light of day.  Since the medium is a bit of a departure for me (although not too much since I’m still using coloured pencil) I’ve been holding off. I have shifted my style as I have been joyfully exposed to so much great art on Etsy. It has pushed me to try new things, loosen up, get rough even. This one is probably one of the least rough, actually, but representative of how I’m using the oil pastels. 
What I do is lay on the pastels in thick layers, then scrape off with an art knife, repeat as much as required or until I make mud and trash it. Why is mud so easy to make? Argh. So it is an intuitive learning process, there are no nuts and bolts step by step instructions.  I just go for it and see what happens. For this one, I started with a sepia ink sketch, deeply inscribed so that the pastels would skip across the top.  I love science, and astronomy but have no formal knowledge but it’s fun to see the influence crop up in my art.
More delicious close-ups on etsy, Apollo’s Solar Flare

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Batman and Simba, an update, for catlovers only

Yep, I still have cats on the mind. These were going to be throwaway bookmarks, but now I’m trying to figure out how to compose them into one, or several linocuts.
I was asked for an update on Batman and Simba (their previous owners do care about their welfare) and I enthusiastically obliged. Why waste words on one person? So I’m sharing the update below.
To Batman and Simba’s previous owners:
Batman is coming around. He
and Simba sleep together all day on the top bunk bed (unfortunately,
too dark for pics) but it is lovely to see they are cuddle buddies,
and knowing that Batman has somebody to get him through the
transition.  I'm pretty sure they've been having a great time without
us overnights, as there is much rearrangement of soft furniture.
Somebody (Simba?) likes to drag blankets and pillows great distances.
On Friday, Batman played with Simba while we watched tv, with our dog
in the room. Dynamo, the dog, is being very good.  On Saturday, I had
both Simba and Batman chasing my Super Toy (a stick, a string, with
cardboard tied to the end; makes me think of all the money I ever
wasted on purchasing cat toys). Simba is NUTS about this, and I guess
Batman couldn't resist forever.  Last night, Randy and I played Cat
Fishing. We each had a super toy, and so had Batman & Simba going
after one, and Riker, our old cat going after the other. That's
progress from all three.  Oh, and Dynamo is in the room the whole
time, and Batman also took the opportunity to check out Dynamo from
All this takes place in the basement where we eat dinners and watch tv
so no pictures (we don't have great lighting).
This morning, I decided to give Simba some one on one time (no Dynamo
or Riker), and he was very enthusiastic in his affections. Batman
watched out in the open, circled me around, checked out my slippers,
checked out my hand, took lots of good long stares and walked about
doing normal cat things. So I think he's doing great, everyday getting
braver. He is such a gorgeous exotic looking cat.  I am very glad you
re-homed them together.
I think everything is progressing well. Introducing cats to multi-pet
households always takes longer. So many new things to negotiate.  New
environment, new people, big dog, big cat.  Taking it slowly is well
worth the wait.

Friday, April 17, 2015

I Have Basement Cats

9x12 inch Pastel/Coloured Pencil: Basement Window
Obviously, I have cats on the mind.
Simba has made great progress. He is friendly, he loves to play, both with absconded furry and large dog toys, and chasing madly after a toilet tissue roll I tied to a string (he loves that one).  He has explored his space in the presence of our dog, and even played about in front of her and not freaked out when she follows him around. I don’t see any issues there.
Unfortunately, our resident old-timer, Riker (cat) is Not Pleased, Seriously Not Pleased, and so has decided that the solution is to maintain his lordship over the upper story of our home, and ceded the basement to the newbies. So that's why I currently have Basement Cats, hopefully not a permanent situation. I’ll be bringing out the big guns to fix this—TUNA.  Will try some mutual treating sessions to build some positive associations up.
So still no good photo’s of the newbies. Oh yes, Batman is still in the batcave. He’s still hiding, but not so much, and I caught him watching Simba play. So that’s progress. Now I just need to worry about Riker. 
Nothing is ever simple.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Two Invisible Diva's, or, Three Cats I have once again

Once upon a time, I had three cats.  Time passed, and I lost one, and then another, until only Riker was left. I thought I would be happy with that, the old-timer is looking good, and all I need in catness, right?  He's friendly, cuddly, fluffy, and cute, and he LOVES the dog. I do mean LOVES, or, well, he uses the dog. Is that the same thing?  When I say loves, and or uses, I mean that he walks up to her, bumps her muzzle to solicit a spa session. He won't quit until until the dog complies with an ear wash, lick lick lick. One ear, his head, and then the other. So that's Riker.
But I and husband both felt there was room in our little house for more cats, and we wanted more cats, and why shouldn't we have more cats, so in January, we started checking the listings, and on Tuesday, the we brought home two gorgeous cats, and I do mean gorgeous. I would love to show you photo's, but they won't let me. Batman (yes, they came with names), has wedged his body behind the fridge. I thought he was stuck, but my husband has seen him, in brief flashes, in other places, so he's okay.  Simba is hiding under the couch. So I'm typing this in their invisible presence hoping they will make an appearance any time soon. Please.
I have tuna!
Actually, the tuna has been somewhat effective, so I've managed to see Simba today. Simba is a Lynx point colorpoint shorthair, but most of us would call him a tabby siamese.  So he's slinky, silvery and has wide blue eyes.
Batman is black.  He's shaped exactly the same, because he is an oriental shorthair, which looks just like a siamese of another colour. Simba is 8 months old, and Batman is just over a year. Until tuesday, they lived with an elderly couple and a bothersome dog. Well, that's as much story as I got.  So maybe they are used to hiding, and they don't yet know that our dog is old and gentle.
Ooooh! Simba just popped up. Wow! I can't wait to share pictures. Not today, but someday. For today, art will have to do. I started this on a day I was anticipating taking these cats home. This is where I start my pastels, with ochre pencils, followed by layers of yellow.  It's as close as you'll get to seeing my invisible cats, for now.


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