Wednesday, May 16, 2007

"Blue Bottle Rocket"

Well, I'm currently having fun with antique bottles and ink wells. This is a small 3 inch long cobalt blue medicine bottle which I gave comparatively heroic proportions in oil on the 6"x8" inch canvas. I loved how playing with the light source did wonderful things to the reflected light. The glass bottle becomes, with a bit of imagination, a blunt nosed little rocket with jets firing small bursts of color as it rises against an ochre sky into the clouds.

"Hen And Chick"

I love the images this group of huge rock formations in the Jumbo Rocks area of Joshua Tree National Park made in my camera's image finder. I remarked in an earlier post about these marvellous geologic formations how the human mind is wired to look for symbols. At first I just saw a rooster lying stretched out along the skyline, and to myself called it "Dead Rooster Rock", which though morbid was nicely alliterative. Then I looked a little longer at the formation to the right, and there was a nicely stylized profile of a chick's head. So it had to be a hen and her chick, which is a much more heart warming image overall, don't you think? Trying to capture it in oil paint was a bit elusive for me however. I'm posting this 6x8 inch oil on canvas, even though I don't really see it as fully finished. I may, however, be done with it.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I Miss My Dog

I am painting again for a few days this week. I have a portrait of a Golden Retriever to finish, and when I'm done doing some antique glass ink well and bottle studies I will be working on "Gary" for his owner, and on Jazz, the dog I gave my heart to below. She lives on deep in my heart, and is still my comfort; I still feel her presence once in awhile now, though not as often. Her toy basket is still where she left it, neatly arranged; and her box of ashes is in a tonsu next to my bed, where she always slept, with her collar and kerchief and the silly but stylish muffler I knitted for her a year ago for cold days, all inside her memory box. Her pink piggy stuffed toy is safe on top of her box. That was her favorite.

I am looking for a Poodle. I said I would get one when Jazzie was no longer here, but I certainly didn't expect one for years yet, and was never in any hurry. I will know if it's right, I asked Jazzie to help pick. She inherited her lifestyle and a lot of good things from a wonderful Poodle, so the circle is going back around, and she will pass along some of her good stuff to another deserving dog.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Power of the Dog

The Power of the Dog

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie--
Perfect passsion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart to a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet's unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find--it's your own affair--
But ... you've given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone--wherever it goes--for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We've sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we've kept 'em, the more do we grieve:
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-term loan is as bad as a long--
So why in--Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

Rudyard Kipling

For Jazz, because we both know why.

Monday, May 7, 2007

The Only Love Money Can Buy

I lost my second best buddy (second best only by a hair) a week ago last Thursday to metastatic lung cancer. She was such an exceptionally good dog that we called her our Angel Dog. Now she really is an angel dog. Her ashes came home tonight, and I knew they were here just before the delivery even sounded the doorbell, we were always that connected, even with death dividing us. I was so tuned to that dog and her to me that I could call her in my head and she'd show up. There was no pain, physical or other, that hugging her could not ease. She would not leave my side in the mornings until I got up to take her out. Not even for her "Dad". She was "daddy's dog" but she was my girl. It was so unthinkably fast. I thought we'd dodged a pretty big bullet with the pet food recalls, but did not expect to see her go from bouncy to tired so fast, and so seemingly innocuously, just apparently old dog stuff and finally showing her age.
Not so, it was cancer that probably came from her stomach or intestines, and to me that means a lousy diet in the form of what really goes into our pet's foods! A few months back my vet said why isn't she on a "senior diet? You have to watch out for her kidneys." When I said to my vet that I didn't like senior diets because the food quality was so low, being mostly grains, and that dogs are carnivores, she said no, they are omnivores. I love this vet, she's awesome, but I'm thinking to myself, bears are omnivores! I did a lot of study over the years on wolves. The only grains wolves eat is what is in the stomachs of mostly small animal prey, and that is wild grains and seeds and grasses, not the stuff that is so genetically modified through our cultivation that it's not even good for people anymore! Wolves eat some wild berries too, and some wild grasses occasionally on their own, and that's about it. They are true carnivores, and so are dogs. Even though they are domesticated, they have not been altered at a basic biological processes level to where they can thrive on highly processed poor quality grain extruded at high temperatures and sprayed with rendered grease and preservatives. Talk about brainwashing by the pet food industry! Wolves don't hunt in rice paddys or raid corn fields! Canids don't digest grains well, and even most humans don't digest grains well, that's why everyone is getting so fat and sick, it's the cheap grain based extruded, pressed, flaked and processed food plastered all over our tv commercials as "healthy" snacks and cereals. It causes leaky gut syndrome and irritable bowel and immune responses that lead to allegies, diseases and cancers. It also apparently aggravates kidney disease! That "gluten" that was contaminated that now we're told was actually only wheat flour, (which is why the Chinese added the melamine, to boost the illusion of "protein content" to make it test like gluten, and what can we expect from people that sell deadly fake baby formula to their own countrymen at home for a quick buck?) wreaks havoc with dog and cat kidneys by itself. When I started researching pet foods recently because of the contamination (and I always read labels), I found out that ingredients are listed by weight, not volume as generally assumed, so a small pile of lamb weighs as much as a huge pile of rice flour! So even though lamb is listed first in the ingredients, which supposedly means that there is more of it, I paid good money to actually feed my dog mostly poorly processed rice flour!
So I started cooking for her and she loved it. Simple slow cooked chicken breast or ground turkey, brown rice cooked in salt free natural organic chicken broth and water, peas and carrots, and a superfood supplement called Missing Link for dogs for her vitamins. It cost per day as much as a can of Nutro Senior dog food. She did really well, but we were about 11 years too late. I only had her for the last four of those years, and she had been a kibble only dog for at least 6 or 7 years. When I got her under my care, she always got good table scraps like small pieces of meat, chicken, fish, veggies, some pasta, home made green veggies soup (as a "gravy"), and a little hard cheese once in awhile, along with a "better" (is there such a thing?) canned food and kibble. I just read that dogs that get healthy scraps like that in Europe along with their "pet" food live an average of three to four years longer than our dogs in the US! Don't believe the hooey the pet food companies feed you about pet foods alone being a "balanced diet". They have to add vitamins because the food value they offer is so poor. I imagine this helps keep vets in business though. And guess who underwrites the "animal nutrition" books for vets in school? Pet food manufacturers.....
I read the ingredients on a can of Science Diet special formula cat food. Cats are pure carnivores, even more so than dogs. The primary ingredients included soy, wheat and corn. Meat meal was at the bottom. Go read up on "meat meal"! The thought of feeding a pure carnivore all that crud just curled my toes. But because it says "Science Diet" and the vets sell it, we think it must be best for our dear companions.

Anyway, painting has not seemed very important these last couple of weeks, but I did do a plein air in Big Bear last weekend, and it was good practice. Both in working under less than ideal conditions, with wind blowing dirt and debris into my palette, and in moving forward, which right now is often hard without that comfort that only that dog could give.
Pat your resident fur ball for me if you have one!