Odds and Ends of the year.

This is a horse with tattoos, everyone has them now.

Ink and marker, 8×10 inches.

This is a lino print with Brusho (a watercolor product). 5×7 inches.

A quick drawing of a guy named Steve.

A cat that I embroidered on my apron because I like to be fancy when I’m cooking. This design is an original and is about 5×7 inches.

A photograph of a shadow from a lamp that looks like the Eiffel Tower.

A sepia self portrait, titled “Closer than she appears.”

The Chicago Waterfront.

And the Wells Fargo Bank reflected in the windows of the Figge Museum in Davenport, Iowa. My favourite painting ” Blue Horse” by Marc Chagall lives at the Figge.

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©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog.com, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

The heat is on..

Recently I participated in an ATC trade. An ATC is a small card about the size of a playing card, that is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches.

Most trades have themes, for this one the theme was “Warm Weather”.

I used ink and watercolor to make some scenes from various festivals and other warm weather activities. These will most likely appear bigger in your screen then they are in life.  The color looks better in real life as well, my photography brain left me stranded when I took these.

“The Carousel”

There is a Carousel in Port Dalhousie, Ontario. The price is still only 5¢.

That carousel, has one of the five Loof lions that are left in North America. Their lion is the only left that has its head turned to look at the spectators, which for some reason has always made me happy. 🙂

blog carousel summer merry go round.

“The Cherry Blossom Festival” is usually one of the first warm weather festivals and is the best smelling one to boot.

blog cherry festival.

“The Flea Market”.  My Dad, was not a shopping/ clothes minded guy . One day he wandered off at a flea market. He came back with a gigantic bag of factory castoff socks. He paid $2 for all those socks and it made him sooo happy. My mother who had just accidentally shrunk his pea green plaid suit by putting it the dryer fifty times was not so happy. Coincidence? I think not.

blog flea market sale ATC.

“The Hiking Trail”. With the upsurging popularity of the Parks system, it will be only a matter of time before Yeti becomes a bearded, top knot wearing hipster.. If he opens a coffee shop and hires a groovy ukulele playing singer, it could work out well for him.

blog hiking trail moose.

“The Campground” where you go after hiking. It is also where the raccoons go. Once when we were out on a canoe trip, our campers were getting a little freaked out by raccoons who were making various.. um, love songs, let’s say. We told them to scare them off by making noise. Not too long afterwards, we heard an especially long “love song”. As soon as it stopped all our campers burst into claps and whistles. I swear that raccoon walked right into the clearing and gave a bow..

blog camping tents outside.

“The Strawberry Field”. I should have added a couple kids pelting each other with soft strawberries because as anyone who has been strawberry picking with my brothers knows..that happens.

blog cherry picking farm.

“The Music Festival”. Those prices are getting out of control, man.

blog musical festival.

“The Garden Show”. I once spent a summer slightly adjusting and moving  my neighbors gnomes every day. Ended up getting the whole neighborhood involved so she couldn’t figure out who was doing it. Drove her crazy….good times, good times.

blog garden show.

“The Craft Show” where crafty people while never admitting it,  go to get more ideas on crafts to craft..Crafty crafty crafting crafters.

blog craft fair arts ATC.

“The Farmer’s Market” where the pies are sweet and the birdies say tweet.

blog farmer's market.

“The Waterfront” or “Why I love boating”.

blog waterfront boat beach.

“The Renaissance Fair”. Cheers good Knight!

blog renaissance festival.

©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog.com, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sheep Squatch, Sammy Squatch and Little Green Men.

Recently I watched a very serious documentary. In this documentary, two charming young fellows, let’s call them Crackalackin’ and Sippin’Shine, fell prey to a mysterious and elusive creature deep in the Appalachian forests of West Virginia. One day while wandering through the woods, misfortune befell them when they came upon this dastardly, devilish, despicable, degenerate of a demon.

Even though they were terrified, petrified, paralyzed and stupefied, they were able to give a clear and concise description.

The creature was gigantic! Nine feet tall at least! It was a slovenly creature with disheveled wooly white fur. It had a damp rank smell.
It had flaming red eyes that gleamed with malicious intent, much like my Siamese, Minou’s would glitter if I did not obey her every command, may she rest in peace. (or at least rest under the large rock and brick memorial I built for her, I told my neighbors that it was to keep the coyotes from disturbing her grave but I really did it because I still think she was part vampire and I didn’t want her digging herself out)

See what I mean..

Minou©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013>

Man I loved that cat.

Anyway.
It had ram’s horns, not the musical instrument or the plant, but horns similar to those one might see on a ruminant animal.
It’s muscular arms were outstretched as if it was channeling Frankenstein’s creation. At the end of it’s arms, raccoon like paws with eagles talons reached for them.
And it had a possum bottom. With a prehensile tail.

It was the platypus of monsters.

That’s right it was the…the…

Da Da Da Dum…..

The SHEEPSQUATCH!!

(a distant clap of thunder is heard)

Or a large albino platypus. Take your pick.

But in the moments before Crackalackin’ and Sippin’Shine noticed this smelly, white, towering, wooly, horned, Siamese eyed, raccoon pawed, eagle taloned, Frankensteinian creature with a possum butt…

they innocently mistook it for a tree.

Which begs the question. What the hell kind of trees do they have in Appalachia?

Are they like this tree? I call this photo “The Mad Tree” because that tree is mad. I didn’t’ stop and ask why. It didn’t seem like the type of tree to appreciate any kind of neighborly concern.

treemad©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013

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Not to cast aspersions on the tales of Crackalackin’ and Sippin’Shine but I live with a Sammy Squatch.

A Sammy Squatch is a rare but not so elusive creature.

While the Sammy Squatch (Minimus Canis Squatchacus) is one of the smaller members of the Squatchie familiaris, he does share some of the distinguishing features of his larger cousin, Sheep Squatch, (Grandis Gluteus Bestia).  He too has wooly disheveled fur and sometimes smells rather cadaverous. He, however, does not have raccoon paws with eagles talons but instead has mole feet. He does not have a prehensile tail but indeed has a tail that Sammy Squatch grooming books describes as carrot like, yes he has a gluteus vegetablis (that being the scientific term for carrot butt).

The Sammy Squatch prefers to hang out in brand new recliners that nobody else has actually sat in yet, not that I’m bitter or anything, while drinking his beer.

sammybeer©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013.

And even though I’ve been hanging out with the Sammy Squatch for six years, never once have I ever mistaken him for a tree. I’ve never even mistaken him for a shrubbery.

I mean it’s not like they saw a Triffid. I could understand mistaking a Triffid for a tree.

It can be noted that they ran as soon as they saw it so how they saw it’s Frankensteinian arms with it’s raccoon hands and eagles talons while also noticing it’s possum butt is beyond me. It must have been standing in a very awkward position (or maybe they interrupted it’s yoga session). At this point I lost all faith in this “documentary”. I’m starting to believe it may not have been an actual documentary.

I was about to turn it off when they went onto a tale about aliens and a shootout in Appalachia. Now who can resist that.

So these people are in a cabin playing cards (poker) and of course they weren’t drinking at all (really) when one of them noticed a creature in the woods. He described this creature as hunched over with front arms as long as it’s back legs and the arms were touching the ground. In other words it had four legs. It had big brown eyes, velvety skin and soft pointy ears. So of course they shot and shot and shot (p’ting! p’ting! p’ting!) breaking all the windows and yet it never once returned fire.

Because it was a deer.

And as everyone knows, deer don’t use shotguns, they prefer slingshots.

But that is heck of a story to come up with up with just to avoid paying for all the windows they broke while doing lord knows what. I’m only telling you this just in case you break a window and need an excuse for doing so. You’re welcome.

Meanwhile in my own backyard, a rampant invasion has taken place. All over the lawn there are dozens of little crop circles, swirly ones with holes in the middle. They look exactly like the marks a skunk would make when searching for slugs. They also look exactly like the landing marks a miniature fleet of little tiny UFO’s would make. So either I have skunks or I can go with the more likely explanation which is that little tiny aliens are invading the planet nightly.

grass©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013

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Okay that last photo may be a wee bit tampered with.

My apologies, I’ll go stand in a corner.

Meanwhile, fancy a flaming inferno photo?

fire©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013

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Have a good one. And watch out for mad trees.

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©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013

Procrastination, Corruption and Weird Animals..

And no, I’m not talking about Congress.

Alas and alack, my computer is corrupt. Not surprising really, I do live in Illinois after all. Yes, the State that was just charged with securities fraud which I guess makes all the Illini and our puppy dogs too, felons (allegedly).

“Oh I’m a felon, you’re a felon, he’s a felon, she’s felon, wouldn’t you like to live in Illinois too!”

*sigh*

So anyway, I have 2600 plus error messages on my computer. And yet it keeps on going, generating error after error after error. I’d like to say I’ve never worked with people like that but sadly, I have.

At least I’m over my Hitchcock/Poe/Ansel Adams stage..

tree1©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013

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Almost.

whitetree©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013

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Okay I think I’m really done.

(I’m not making any promises mind you.)

I was considering going back to being a bird stalker (allegedly).

But my bird stalking desires were temporarily sated by finally being able to take a photo of the barred owl in my backyard. For almost four years he’s been back there yelling “Who cooks for you!’.  I don’t know why he’s so obsessed with what goes on in my kitchen but at least I now have his photo in case he breaks in and rearranges my pots and pans.

owl2©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013.

So at a loss at what to do with myself I went over to the local zoo.

Little did I know that they recently acquired a panda. Yes a panda!

It’s on their Endangered Animals Carousel.

This is the rare prancing, fanged panda.

panda©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013

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Then I meet the Tiger who was seems to be designed to make sure your child never ever wants to go back on a carousel.

tiger1©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013

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And just in case that didn’t scare them..

leopard1©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013

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Which explains why this one looks so nervous.

horse1©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013.

But doesn’t explain the supercilious grin on this one.

zebra1©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013

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Which is followed by my favorite, the not so rare naughty cat with a fish.

Cat1©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013

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And all this means is that I spent all day in a zoo and mostly took photos of fake animals.

Yeah, that’s how I roll.

I finally remembered how to paint again, thank goodness, I was getting worried.

This is an acrylic, of a pond near my house with ice on it as the sun was thinking of going down.

As you can see, I also remembered how to write run on sentences.

sunsetice©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013.jpg.

This is an acrylic that was done in a paint a long session on Wetcanvas (with thanks to Beth for putting her photo in Wetcanvas’s Reference Image Library).

palong5©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013.jpg.

And this one is also from a paint a long on Wetcanvas, which I hosted as a lesson in painting on a black background. My thanks to SBJ for the original reference photo.

Note: There’s no time limits on a paint a long, so if you want to join in, go for it!

pal7©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013

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My apologies for not being around too much, other then sheer procrastination, I have no excuse.

None at all!

Take care!

I’ll be back.

(Please read that last part in a Schwarzenegger type of voice.)

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©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013

Cemeteries and Black Cats…

It has been a chilly, gloomy rainy week.

A perfect time to clean the house or closets or..no no that won’t do.

We rarely have long periods of gloom here so in keeping with the atmosphere I have bravely ignored the housework and instead have reflected on our trip to Mount Moriah Cemetery in Deadwood, South Dakota.

Mount Moriah, a cemetery established in Deadwood after the old one filled up, is an interesting place. It’s the final resting place of the some of the most infamous of Westerners. Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, Sheriff Bullock and Preacher Smith. It’s been said that Calamity Jane was buried next to Hickok as a rather rude joke as she drove him nuts in real life. The more likely explanation is that interest in the cemetery was waning and they needed a tourist boost. They still charge admission to the cemetery to pay for it’s upkeep.

I had envisioned a much tackier tourist attraction, I mean really who charges admission to a cemetery. Being from Niagara Falls , Canada, I’m a bit of a cynic, tourist attraction wise. I’ve seen many wolves come out to try and fleece the tourists for all they’re worth.  But like much of what we saw in South Dakota, the spirit of the west, the charm and ruggedness of the scenery and the decency of the people overrode any modern attempts to exploit it.  I wish we had taken the time in Niagara Falls to care for, maintain and respect both our natural beauties and history as the people South Dakota have.  Hats off to them.

This is an acrylic miniature (4×6 inches) of a path that leads up to Sheriff Seth Bullock’s grave. The Sheriff, a Rough Rider under Roosevelt was a tough, rugged and fair man. He managed to stabilize the rough lawless town of Deadwood and surprised everyone by doing it without killing anyone.  His grave is up on the mountain, 750 ft above the rest of the cemetery facing Mount Rushmore.

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I took many photographs of Mount Moriah as well. Don’t worry they encourage that, the visitors and admissions pay for the upkeep of this absolutely beautiful resting place.

I don’t normally much like sepia toned photos but I thought it suited these.

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This one appeared to be made of petrified wood.

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Overlooking the mountains.

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Mass grave of the victims of a boarding house fire.

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Wild Bill Hickok.

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Meanwhile back at the ranch..

It’s still raining, both dogs are soaked. Zeus being a lab is impervious to the rain.

But Sampson is soaked and he smells. So I helpfully mentioned a bath might be in order. Sampson hates baths.

And this is his “We are not amused” face.

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Normally we do this little dance. I run the bath. He hides, behind the couch, behind the curtains, or he will continually walk around the dining room table with me in slow pursuit.

Today he upped his little game and instead of hiding he chose to sit behind the one thing that could stop me from bugging him. The most vile, ignominious, evil tempered creature with a heart as black as her fur. Five of her six ends are pointy and she knows how to use them. Oh sure she has her good points, she really likes the dog for one.

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Well played, little dog, well played.

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©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2012

 

 

Welcome to the jungle…

I’ve been brain-dead for a few weeks, not feeling terribly creative, forgot how to paint, the whole moody artist bit.

Blah whine blah.

So I went to the zoo.

(and no I didn’t have any children with me)

We have a pretty decent little zoo here. It’s not big, but the animals are sociable.

The Jaguar who is a big big gal was in a mood. She was huffing and puffing and making some strange noises. I never realized until today that a mad Jaguar sounds like a cow in heat. I swear she was mooing. Right after I took this photo, she shredded that piece of wood she was laying on like it was paper.

copyright belongs to Virginia Spencer

The leopards are so pretty.

Excuse the bars. For some reason they won’t let me in the cages.

©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog.com,2011

©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog.com,2011

The bobcats were frisky, I could have watched them playing all day. They are very small compared to the other cats. They’re not much bigger then Kitten, granted Kitten is a fat ass but still.

©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog.com,2011

©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog.com,2011

And the lion of course was being lazy. I read in the National Geographic that lions are one of the few animals who can sleep as much as they like. Makes sense, who would be silly enough to wake them up.

©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog.com,2011

And just so Kitten doesn’t get jealous of me showing all these cat photos…

Kitten in pencil.

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©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog.com,2011

A Farewell

My little ball of fluff with the big blue eyes passed away Saturday at the age of 23. She died in my son’s arms with Sampson by her side.

Minou was six pounds of dignity, disdain, fury and frivolity. She was so small and yet she meant so much.

Thank you Minou.

Thank you for the years of love and loyalty.

Thank you for waking me up every day. I now have to learn how to use an alarm clock.

Thank you for teaching every dog you met how to respect a cat. When we brought home a 150 pound mammoth of a dog from the SPCA, in less than a minute you taught him to never chase cats again. And he never did. He chased dogs. So that was helpful.

Thank you for your War on Earwigs. It started way back in ’89 and not once was it funded by taxpayer money. You fought well, you fought hard and you never gave up. Generations from now, tales of the Fury with the ice blue eyes will haunt the dreams of earwigs everywhere.

Thank you for eating my brown couch. You were right. It was ugly, it was old and yes, I do keep things for too long.

Thank you for making senility look fun. In the last year, I didn’t scold you for sitting on the dining room table because I knew that in your heart, you sincerely believed that you were sitting on the couch.

Thank you for biting every vet you met. Especially the arrogant young one in Colorado who insisted that it was easy to give a cat a pill. He tried for an hour and he still bears the scars today. He lost his arrogance and gained a much needed respect for small animals. Good girl.

Thank you for sitting with Max that noble dog as he lay dying, you licked his muzzle and you cried. Thank you for taking every puppy and kitten we brought in to your side. You trained them well, scolded them and babied them. And now they cry for you.

Thank you for sitting in my lap, purring and offering comfort when my child was sick, when my husband was at war, when my Dad passed away. I don’t tend to let people know when my heart is breaking. I’m silly, I make smart ass comments, I carry on. But you always knew. You were always there. Throughout the times of joy and the times of deepest sorrow. You were there. A little brown and black ball of fluff with big blue eyes purring and yowling and fussing.

Now the house is quiet and you lie under the purple mums by the forest’s edge.

And I miss you so much.

I will always miss you.

Goodbye my little friend. Meow.