Friday, January 30, 2009

Pets on Parade

Zoe thinks that the cats are enough
for her to deal with.

Over the holiday season of 2008, Miss Zoe and I were very busy with pet portrait commissions. The only commission that Zoe actually was excited about was the one we wrote about a couple of weeks ago of Derby and Petunia.

You can probably figure out why she wasn't that thrilled with some of the others, right?

[Hint: The portrait subjects were not bouncy with long ears. Well, actually, they may have been bouncy, and their ears weren't necessary short, but they were not rabbit-bouncy with rabbit-ears.]

Now you probably get the idea. Besides Derby and Petunia, all my commissions in November and December were dogs. Having a dog painting sitting on the easel staring at her for a couple of days can make Miss Zoe feel a little unsettled.

I love to paint dogs. They have so much expression and are so full of emotion, especially in their eyes. That's the hardest part for me: painting their eyes. I often go through 3 or 4 sets of eyes, trying to get them right. I sketch them, then, I paint them on the canvas, then, I inevitably paint over them. Then, I think they're good and then Blisschick comes along and says, "Not quite yet." Then, I paint over them again. Whew!

Eventually I get them how I want them, and from there the rest is pretty straightforward shape and color.

But those eyes.

I always want the person who ordered the commission to feel like they see the essence of their dog (or their cat or their rabbit, or their bird, or whatever) when they look at their portrait.

Anyway, here's a few of my most recent pet portraits that were shipped off over the last couple of months:

Trixie as the Goddess Lakshmi

A triptych meant for an altar
that I did for this blogger.

Tex, a local Erie dog

L'il Bit, a pet portrait contest winner
from the pet social media
site PetPop!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Art at the 'Berry

Misses Lilly and Zoe discussing their thoughts
on who might win this year's Caldecott Medal.
"Hmmm...." Zoe is saying. (Of course, she guessed correctly!)

Working at the public library can have its ups and downs. Everyday we hear lines such as: "Well, see, my girlfriend used my card when we were still together, but we broke up now, and, well, I don't think there's any way I can get those back."

OK, sorry to hear about the breakup. We still want the books back, friend.

Or how about this perennial favorite: "I couldn't have checked those books out." (Chuckle, chuckle-- quick glance around the room) "I was in jail when those puppies were checked out!"

Great. Pony up the books or the money, dude. Please, don't make my rabbit come down here and teach you a lesson. Really, you don't want that, do you?

And this: "I've never had a 'liberry' card. How did you get my signature on that 'liberry' card application???"

I'm just as confused as you are, believe you me.

But people and excuses like this are perfectly balanced with the people who are completely responsible and see the library as the wonderful and magical place it can be. A place where one can obtain access to a world of information and resources. A place where the Caldecott Medal exists.

Every year, when the Caldecott contenders are announced, our staff takes some time to pass around the nominees to see what everyone thinks. We all take guesses as to which book or books are our faves and/ or which one we think will win.

This year, the most Distinguished American Picture Book for Children was... (drum roll please)...

The House in the Night
written by Susan Marie Swanson and illustrated by Beth Krommes.

This is the second year in a row that a book with (almost completely) black and white illustrations has won the Medal. I think that's pretty darn cool, even though in my own art I love to use color. I think it takes a special talent to be able to make beauty like this with very limited color schemes. This particular book was illustrated with the use of scratchboard. Neat-o-neat.

The other contenders were pretty cool, too. Take a looksie. Better yet, go to the 'liberry' and take a look in person.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bisy Backson

Zoe sharing a moment from her busy day to let me kiss her.
I am so lucky to know this rabbit.

Last week was one of those weeks. You know the kind. Too busy. Between work and home tasks and meetings and other responsibilities, it seemed like everyday was a checklist of tasks to accomplish. I hate when that happens.

I was telling Miss Zoe about it yesterday when she gave me "the look." I'm sure you know the look I mean. Perhaps you've seen it yourself from your own rabbit or dog or cat. Even birds and guinea pigs can probably give that look. Here's what it looked like yesterday:

Miss Zoe feeling self righteous while perched on a little flower.
"Mmm Hmm," she said moving her neck.
"Don't you go telling me about Busy.

It can actually look a lot of different ways, but "the look" always means the same thing. Do you ever get this look from someone who loves you? The look means, "It's your own fault, silly."

Whenever I feel this way, I'm always reminded me of the book, The Tao of Pooh, which is a book I read for the first time back in college and have read many times since. In it, there's a chapter about Rabbit called "Bisy Backson."

[An aside: In case you're A.A. Milne challenged, the Pooh characters, like me, are notoriously bad spellers, so that means the words "Busy. Back soon," which are supposed to give an account of Rabbit's Whereabouts and Whatabouts turn into "Bisy Backson" when they are written and fixed to the door for the other animals to read. Hence the name of the chapter.]

Being a Rabbit, and a rather nervous Rabbit at that, Rabbit is always Doing Something. Rabbit is a busybody. He always feels busy and thinks that this Busyness is part of what makes him Important.

I guess this is what I was feeling last week. After a weekend on retreat with nothing but a woodpecker and a couple of deer in sight, after a weekend of just me and my fountain pen and my sketchbook, after a weekend of no noise or sounds of any kind except the swishing wind and creak of swaying trees, I got caught up upon my return to Life in Busyness and how Important Things can feel.

But, Miss Zoe reminded me: No matter how much hay she needs to munch in a day, no matter how many times she has to stare down a cat or chase a cat from her room, no matter how many times she is required to ask for a banana chip or run up and down the hallway in a day or an hour, there is always time for lounging in the willow chalet and rolling around on the floor with joy. There is always time to snuggle and to leisurely groom one's fur.

What's her secret, you ask?

Doing everything Mindfully.

She knows that everything she does is and can be a joy. She knows that even the most mundane and seemingly pointless tasks serve a function to you if done in the Right Way.

When Zoe eats hay, she is just Eating Her Hay. She's not thinking about next week, or earlier today, or how Scottie the Cat made her mad by meowing at her. She's concentrating on the flavor of the hay and the fact that this particular brand of hay has chamomile and rose hips in it. She's enjoying one thing at a time.

That's the secret. Even a checklist of tasks can be done in a mindful way. And that's what makes it fun instead of stressful.

Thanks for the reminder, Zoe.

Now, hand over some of those chamomile flowers.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


This morning as I was freshening Miss Zoe's hay, Miss Lilly jumped the gate into the room. She ran right over and leaped into the window seat to observe the outdoor goings on.

"He's a cute one," Lilly said to Zoe.

Zoe twitched her nose as she jumped into the pile of fresh, sweet hay with herbs (her new fave).

"What does he look like?" she asked.

"You know," said Lilly, "Brown. Fuzzy. Long ears. Cute hop. He might be good for this year."

"What are you guys talking about?" I asked, not sure I really even wanted to know. I should probably mind my own business.

"Valentine's Day!!" they yelled in unison. "Zoe wants to find just the right valentine this year," Miss Lilly said with a smile and a wink.

Far be it from me to judge the mating habits of a bunny. But they reminded me of one thing: V-Day is on the way. Which reminded me of something else.

New Valentine's Day stuff in my Etsy store, Ordinary Miracles.

Maybe you have a brown, fuzzy, long-eared, cute hopping person in your life that you need to buy for? Or, maybe you know one who needs to buy for you?

Here's some highlights:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Home again, home again, jiggedy jig

Mr. Pileated Woodpecker. He sure was a treat to see!

Well, I've returned from the Little House in the Big Woods. And what an adventure it was!

I saw no humans for about 50 hours. No music, no TV, no noise except the whir of the Frigidaire and the occasional woodpecker or distant woofing of a Golden Retriever (they have such a distinctive bark). Oh, and the bells from the monastery.

I loved this little sign. Feet only!!

This tree-friend and her neighbor kept
an eye on the door all weekend. Thanks, trees.

It was a lot like being in Narnia for a few days. Narnia sans the mean witch, that is. Too bad I forgot my Turkish Delight. I had dried pineapple, but that's not quite the same.

This was the other tree who kept her eye on me.

It was all so beautiful and peaceful that it was hard to believe it was real. Blisschick and neighbor Bill dropped me off on Saturday morning about 10 AM. First thing after unpacking, I went out for a quick snowshoe. When the snow's really deep, there's just nothing like a pair of snowshoes. Just ask Pa Ingalls.

Snowshoes resting after their first workout. Whew!

The little path leading to the cabin from the Monastery wasn't plowed, which made it a little hard to lug my stuff when we first arrived. But with my snowshoes, walking that path up to my cabin Hildegard (I called her Hildee by Saturday-- we became fast friends) was a breeze.

At the crossroads. I went left.

After the morning snowshoeing, I was ready to get creative. But it was weird to adjust. The no noise thing was disconcerting at first. I don't think about it much, but I'm constantly surrounded by noise.

At work there's people and phones and computers droning and the elevator ringing when someone gets stuck in it, and, well... you get the idea.

At home, we always have music on. Or we're talking. Or we're watching a movie.

So, silence took some time to acclimate to, but once I did, I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, re-entering the world of noises and people today seemed just as strange.

Miss Zoe's snow representative. "Miss Snowy" was just as
disgruntled with me as Miss Zoe, but not nearly
as cute. Though, she was cute in her own way.

Miss Snowy surveying her land.
"Yep," she said, "snowy. Just how I like it."

I'll probably be writing about this trip for a few days. And, I need a little time to snuggle all these animals I missed at home.

In fact, I'd better get to that right now.

I'll leave you with a couple of shots of me with Hildee. What a nice cabin. What a nice weekend.

Monday, January 19, 2009

All I have to say is, WOW!

"What did you say?" Miss Lilly said while practically choking on a crunchy cat food morsel.

"I'm pretty sure you heard me," I said, pretending not to be totally excited. (One has to show some sense of decorum, after all.)

From the next room, Miss Zoe echoed a similar sentiment: "What are you talking about?"

Miss Zoe in an indignant pose.

"I know, I know," I said. "It's completely and totally weird and cool and crazy. But I just sold a little piece that I made up and painted and had on my Etsy store to Courtney Love Cobain. You know-- Courtney Love Cobain?"

"Yes, yes, of course," said Miss Zoe, her nose high in the air. "Of course we know Courtney. She totally rocks. I love Hole." Miss Zoe does have wide musical tastes. (Note her use of the royal we.)

Well, of course she knows. She is a rabbit of the world. And, she loves sassy female musicians.

Zoe is the one that told me to write up the slip to order Courtney's book Dirty Blonde for the library (where I work). It has since been stolen and reordered a few times. Who would have guessed?

She's also the one who sat with me a couple of years ago when I was devouring bios of Kurt Cobain. Zoe loved Kurt-- he had and loved a rabbit after all.

Anyway, that was a pretty major thing here in this little house. Rather surreal.

And just in case you need a little something for a special someone, check out the updates coming in another day or so to my Etsy store, Ordinary Miracles. Valentine's Day is fast approaching. And what else says "I love you" like an anatomical heart?

Not much, in my opinion.

Coming on Wednesday: News of my weekend past. Good stuff, that.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Weekend Getaway

Oh, it's a crazy day here in the rabbit room. A cat has decided to invade the rabbit space and sit amongst the salad bowls from days past. She somehow thinks this must be something cats do in the wild. I tried to explain to her that there's no Fiestaware in the depths of the jungle, but I think that little speech fell on deaf ears.

To add to that, the baby Jesus in our hand-me-down creche (pronounced "cree-chee" here at our house) seems to have somehow procured my new ipod shuffle. What's up with that?

I know-- it seems a little irreverent. But from what I heard from the shepherd boy, the angel suggested that Mary and Joseph play the baby a little Mozart. It will make him good at math. Though, he seems more of a people person.

With all this craziness in the house, doesn't it seem like it's time for a vacation?

Well, a retreat is more like it. This weekend, I'm headed off to Mount St. Benedict Monastery for a little time away from things like iPods, work, jungle cats, and general civilization. The Mount has these wonderful retreat houses where one can go to stay for a few quiet days. One can refresh oneself in a little hermitage in the woods at a place they call Listening Point.

When I made my reservation a couple of weeks back, the cabin that was available was the Hildegard cabin. I think that seems auspicious.

I know. It's supposed to snow, like, a foot of snow this weekend, and the wind chills are predicted to be 20-25 below zero. But, I'm a hearty Scottish-descended lass with a great pair of snowshoes and a propensity for making the best of things. So, I'm fine with that.

I'm certainly gong to be missing this little rabbit face plus all the other little faces in the house (including Blisschick's), but it will do me some good to get away. Just me, my journal and pen, the camera and my snowshoes.

It should be a delightful adventure, don't you think?

Baby Jesus, you can hold onto the Shuffle until I get back.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's All About Me

I was fairly unsure about what to write today. A little bird told me that Blisschick is posting an interview with me, so I wanted today's post to be good. A sigh escaped me. What to write?

I turned to Zoe to ask her thoughts on the matter. I'll bet you can guess how that went.

"Ah, hello?" she said with a flip of her ears and a fast and mischievous wag of her tail. "DUH!" She turned her back to me, but not before suggesting a title: "On the Importance of Rabbits"

Zoe, suggesting her idea.
She really does have good ones.

Don't tell Zoe, but I'm ignoring her idea today in favor of Blisschick's suggestion, which was to write about how I got started as an artist and why.

In my opinion, rabbits are way more interesting, but here it goes.

An early portrait of the handsome Ernie.
We called it "Ernie's Birds," and it was one
of the first paintings I ever sold. Occasionally,
we run into the woman who bought it,
and she always gives us an update on the painting.

I come from a family where The Arts were important. Growing up, I remember my Grandpa painting and drawing all the time. We used to spend hours talking about music. It's still one of the main things we talk about.

Then, there was my mom, who used to take me out into the woods to draw trees and leaves and just whatever. And, my dad who likes to "MacGyver" everything and instilled in me a love of making things and trying new stuff just for the sake of it.

I was encouraged to try everything that falls under the category of The Arts, and I pretty much did: drawing, painting, building things, taking pictures, writing poetry, playing instruments, singing, listening to all different kinds of music from pop to Latin to jazz, to opera to classical to show tunes to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass (that one deserves its own category).

This encouragement and allowance to roam where I pleased within any art and to try everything freely without pressure or judgement was my first step as an artist.

And, I thought everyone was like this. I thought this whole art thing was just what I did for fun.

It is what I do for fun. But that's not really the point.

Enter the Blisschick (a.k.a. Christine). She gave me the perfect combination of love, encouragement, confidence, and constructive criticism necessary to make art more than a hobby. She helped me to see the doodling and sketching I always did as a whole new thing.

Another early painting of North Park Row in here in Erie.
This one now belongs to the owner of the restaurant
with the red awnings in the center of the painting.

When Christine's niece, Abbie, was born in 2000, we went to visit her. While we were visiting, Christine's sister asked me to paint a little something above Abbie's crib. Right on the wall.

When they moved a couple of years later, Christine slyly said, "You should paint something for Abbie on canvas this time. You know, in case they move again."

(She, like Zoe, often has good ideas.)

And that is exactly what I did. I painted a little baby in a leafy sled thing being pulled by a team of butterflies mushing through a night sky past a big, fat moon.

I was in love with painting.

It seems that she created a monster.

Since that, I've gone through a lot of "periods." I started with buildings and animals, then I progressed to animal portraits. Then, I went on to whimsical and fantastical animals and sometimes whimsical and fantastical people. Then, I went back to animal portraits, but with decorative elements.

("Note," Zoe just said in between sips of water, "a certain theme of animals." Yes, yes, Zoe. I think everybody got that already.)

A decorative and representative Zoe
on a tabletop at the Whole Foods Coop in Erie.
(Zoe wants to point out that she is not actually
blue in real life. She'd also like to point out that
she likes the way the painting shows her all pimped out.)

I feel blessed and thankful for so much in my life: for Christine who helps and encourages me and gives me so many ideas; for the beautiful place where I live and the beautiful people and animals who surround me with constant inspiration; for the fact that I was taught from such an early age to see the world in my own way and as a place where things are not "just as they are" or as they "should be" but as a place where I see what I want to see.

A place where I create my own world with my own imagination, my own art, my own music, my own words.

Some people might call that a fantasy world.

I'm fortunate to call it my life.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The writing (well, drawing, really) on the wall

A scene from the hallway up our stairs.

Don't tell my mom, but I've always been a girl who liked to draw on walls. (Actually, you can tell her. I think she knows.)

When I was little, I had giant decals on my bedroom walls of Disney characters. I thought they were the absolute coolest. They were like big murals on my walls, and since then, and maybe because of this, I've remained attracted to murals and to really big paintings.

It's one of the first things that attracted me to Kelli Bickman's art work. She paints big. (She paints small, too, sometimes.) Something about that kind of bigness speaks to me. I love to feel surrounded by art, like I'm a part of the scene. (To read Blisschick's awesome interview with Kelli Bickman, click here.)

So, it stands to reason that I would find it impossible to not draw on the walls of our own house.

I started here, above this particular doorway, with this small painting of Ernie, our orange tabby cat. After he left his fur suit in April of 2007, I felt as though he needed to be memorialized somehow, somewhere. One day, I got out the ladder and some paint, and before Zoe could say, "Why are you painting a cat instead of a rabbit?" it was already done (sorry, Zoe).

I painted Ernie amongst some stars and birds. There wasn't much Ernie liked more than watching his birds, and that was what I wanted to be reminded of each and every day.

Over the next few days, these birds started to fly not only around the rest of the room (as you can see below), but they also began to fly up and down the hallways and down the stairs (hence the picture at the very tippy top of this post). Those birds were out of control. But, in a rather nice way. Not in an Alfred Hitchcock way.

Since then, Zoe has gotten her wish. I've painted a familiar looking, and very pretty little rabbit in her room. I also added our Jobie to the wall opposite Ernie after he, too, left his fur suit. (We call these their "ancestor tablets"). I'll post about these sometime in the near future.

For now, I need to head downstairs to punch down my rising bread dough. I wonder if any pink birds will follow me all the way to the kitchen?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Dirty Footprints: Part Deux

This morning, I awoke and wandered down the hall to say good morning to Miss Zoe. She was all business (as you can see above).

"Do you remember," Miss Zoe said with a coy and impatient look on her face, "earlier in the week when you promised to write more about Connie from Dirty Footprints? You promised to remember to take the camera to work and take pictures of your Dirty Footprints Art? Well, did you remember?"

That rabbit really is a task master. But she had a point.

"Yes," I replied, truthfully thinking more about espresso right then than anything else. "I remembered. I'll get right on it."

Zoe hopped away, triumphantly.

So, as promised, here is my Dirty Footprints, Connie-created conglomeration of beautiful art. These are my library office's windows on the world:

First, the trees. Above, you see "Just Before Night," and below "On A Walk."

I was content with just the pair of trees. They are so lovely and everyone who walks into my office exclaims something about their beauty. As well they should.

But then, my Blisschick ordered me another, and along in the mail came "Lunar," which you see below. Take a moment to really look at this one:

See them? In the upper left hand corner?

It just so happened that I was on the phone with a library patron discussing something about how she'd gotten a bill in the mail for overdue books she had "never checked out," and in the midst of what can only be described as her "rant" my eyes wandered over, as they often do, to my Connie wall, and that's when I noticed it: "Lunar" contains three moons (Really! Go back and look!).

I absent-mindedly mumble-whispered into the phone, "That is so cool!"

To which the woman on the other end of the line replied, "What did you say?"

To which I replied, "I don't think I said anything ma'am. Must have been some static."

The rest of the day, those three moons made me smile and sort of giggle as I wondered: what planet does Connie live on anyway? Has she been to Stargate Atlantis? If so, I am jealous.

Here's the three original ink drawings all together on my wall. Cool, huh? Thanks again Connie. I look forward to collecting more of your art.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Back to Basics: The Birds and the...Bunnies?

Zoe approving (sort of) of this post.

Obviously, we love bunnies at our house. Also cats. But another thing we can't get enough of is birds. An ideal summer day at our house includes a fair amount of time spent outside in a chair or on a blanket with binoculars nearby and at the ready. We have a small city park by our house that helps us to attract all kinds of songbirds, woodpeckers, and raptors to our tiny yard. And we love it.

So, it stands to reason that we also adore Birdchick's blog. On her wildly popular blog, she writes about birds, bees, and her bunny, Cinnamon (and the occasional martini!). Cinnamon has since developed her own Disapproving Rabbits blog and some totally awesome disapproving rabbit merchandise.

(In fact, I'm wearing one of my Disapproving Rabbit t-shirts as I write this. Yes, I have more than one. Zoe was so excited about it that she bit a hole in the one I'm wearing the first day I had it on!)

Go to Birdchick now and get your own!! C'mon. You know you want it.

This daily dose of disapproval entertained us immensely, so when Birdchick (a.k.a. Sharon Stiteler) asked for photographic submissions of "your own disapproving rabbits," we and Zoe answered the call. Before we knew it, our Zoe was being featured in Sharon and Cinnamon's book, Disapproving Rabbits. We received an autographed copy in the mail for our part. (That was a thrilling day!)

We felt really happy for Sharon and for the whole of the world's bunny population-- "We're finally getting the attention we deserve!" shouted Zoe when the book came in the mail and I held it up so she could see her picture. She followed up that sentiment by whispering in my ear with an idea to paint a portrait of Cinnamon to send Sharon and her husband, Bill. We only hoped Cinnamon would approve:

Thanks, Zoe. That was a good idea.

Sharon sweetly featured the above Cinnamon portrait on her website a couple of times. It still shows up occasionally in various pictures on her blog.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I got an email from someone named Carly who had seen that portrait of Cinnamon from a year or so ago, and she told me that ever since then, she and her husband, Art, had wanted to have a portrait of their bunnies done. Carly and Art are talented artists, too, among many other things. (See Carly's website here, and her etsy store here. See Art's etsy store here).

I always feel honored when I'm given an opportunity to paint for other artists. Zoe and I set to work on a portrait of Derby and Petunia straight away. The result is was mailed out this past week:

Petunia (left) and Derby (right).

My thanks to the bunnies of the world for being so delightful and for bringing so many wonderful new people into my life. :)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Life imitates art right here at home.

Lilly the Cat, painted 5 years before her birth.

I know, it sounds weird. And maybe it is weird. But, years ago, I was obsessed with the idea of writing a children's book about our wonderful cat, Jobie. (No, that's not the weird part-- wait for it.) I drew all different kinds of pictures of Jobie doing all different kinds of things. I thought up adventures for him. He was so smart as well as handsome that the way I thought about it, it was a little like writing a cat James Bond for children. (Still not the weird part.) I still have that idea in my head to write such a story, but I haven't worked on it in awhile.

About a week ago, I was cleaning thorough some of my cabinets of art supplies, and I came across the picture you see above. It was a rough sketch I drew that was supposed to be Jobie playing with a mouse. The only thing was, that unlike most of the other pictures I drew of him, this one did not look like him in the least. Jobie's face was rounder; his ears weren't that big and pointy; his eyes were set differently; his body was fuller (no, not fatter-- fuller); this picture made him look like he had too many fingers. I kept this picture, but it was separated from the others for those reasons.


What hit me as I held this picture now, five years later, was that this wasn't Jobie at all.

It was Miss Lilly.

Miss Lilly is our newest addition who came to live here almost two months ago. After Jobie passed away last January, we were devastated, understandably. We still miss him each and every day. But then in November he sent us a little piece of himself in the guise of a new black and white girl cat, Lilly. They are so much alike sometimes that it's scary.

And when I pulled that picture out of the cabinet last week, what I realized was that little sketch wasn't ever supposed to be Jobie. It was foreshadowing for Miss Lilly. As I looked at that picture I drew years ago, I saw Lilly's cute pointy ears, Lilly's closer set wide eyed look, Lilly's slinky slender body, Lilly's thinner face, Lilly's polydactyl thumbness.

Life at this moment had imitated art that happened years ago.

OK, that was the weird part, in case you missed it. Weird, but way cool.

(One of many portraits of our dear, sweet Jobie.)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Art is a window to a whole new world

Though my dream is to someday be only an artist and a writer, I am currently employed as the Circulation Manager at the Erie County Public Library. It is a lovely building located only feet from the gorgeous bay of Lake Erie, where at any time throughout the year, one can look out the window to see any of a number of astounding sites: Presque Isle State Park's Peninsula; sailboats; the Brig Niagra. Just the bay itself is a delight to see each day.

The problem is, from where my office is located, I cannot see these beautiful sights. I see four cream colored walls. So, Zoe suggested some art. "Hanging some art," she wisely said, "would be like having a different kind of window."

She is an extremely smart rabbit. Can you see the smart-osity?

After a lot of searching, Christine ordered me the most perfect art ever from a blogger and artist she had interviewed on BlissChick. (To check out the interview, click here.) Connie is an artist who lives and works in Arizona. She, like I, is a little in love with trees, and that is what Christine first ordered me from Connie's delightful Dirty Footprints Studio.

(A side note: I took our camera to work yesterday to photograph these very trees, and as I unpacked my bag last evening after work, I realized I'd forgotten. Sigh. Next week, I promise not to forget.)

OK, so this little house is where I want to live now.

This is one of Connie's works that we recently purchased (along with another small piece that I also took to work, which now hangs with my trees). Can't you just see yourself moving into this place? Well, you'll have to fight me for it.

More on Connie soon, I promise. For now, I just want to thank her for adding so much to my life by providing these "different kinds of windows." Her art has added immeasurable beauty to my day, and for that, I thank her profusely. I am a Dirty Footprints groupie.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Beginning with bunnies. Of course.

This morning, Miss Zoe said to me: "It's a new year. Start a blog." (Above, you can see a re-enactment of the moment. In this picture, she has just finished speaking.) "It should be about art and mammals," she said. "It should especially be about rabbits," she added with a wink.

And so, on this first day of January 2009, as I sit comfortably in a warm house filled with mammals and art, sipping espresso and wearing my fleecy rabbit pants, that is my plan. To start a blog that is about just those things.

And because Miss Zoe specified rabbits as a particular area of interest to be written about, my first post will highlight one of my favoritest (the superlative needed to describe) Christmas presents ever from Christine (a.k.a. the BlissChick). These woolen bunnies:

They are tiny and cute and colorful and fun to hold and fun to kiss and, well... they are bunnies. They were made by Jennifer Hugon; you can get them at her Etsy store.

In a day or two, I will post a photo of my most recent pet portrait: a painting of (you guessed it) two beautiful rabbits named Petunia and Derby.