Return of the eagles.

The eagles are back!

I live in an area where bald eagles flock to breed. They come back every year in the hundreds.

I haven’t been taking too many photos as my camera’s shutter seems to be wearing out but I did take these while I was walking Sampson. This one seemed very interested in Sampson.

This one did too. His claws are in such sharp focus.

I was playing with some white ink on black paper. The paper seemed a bit soft, it wanted to absorb and absorb which ended up working in my favor, I was able to put many layers. Now in my first eagle here which is about 5×7, I went a little too crazy with my top layer and lost some of the shading.

This one is better. I would have continued down the shoulders but it ended up in a card frame for a friend who likes eagles. The one thing I love about ink, is that it tends to look complicated but it’s all just little dots and lines. Pretty relaxing to do.

I used a dip pen with a G nib on it. I buy the ones that are marketed towards anime online. They flow well and you can make thick or thin lines depending on how much pressure you use.

Since I mentioned Sampson, here’s a quick one of him in white ink on card stock.

I also did a squirrel in the white and grey ink who looks a bit of a know it all.

I did a polar bear too but had to weigh down the paper afterwards as it buckled. He looks like he’s fretting, given that the icecaps are melting fast, I can’t say I blame him.

If you have questions, please ask in the comments.

©Virginia Spencer,, 2020

Linocuts of “The North Wind & the Sun”

These linocuts were done on a 5×7 inch “Easy-to-Cut” lino from Jack Richeson & Co.Inc. It claims that it “Cuts like butter” and it does! I quite like it.
Apparently you can carve on both sides as well but I haven’t tried that yet.
This lino is based on Aesop’s fable “The North Wind & The Sun”. You can find the story with sound effects even at  the Library of Congress’s website. Check it out, it is a fantastic site.
I’ve experimented with different color papers, they are framed in the matte colors shown here though I added these with the computer as the original colors wouldn’t scan well.
I was trying for a folk artsy sort of style. I think the smudges add interest.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
This one is my favourite, the black and red ink melded into an interesting pattern I thought

These two are so bright, heck yeah!

This next one is a bit more subdued color wise, I added a bit of embellishment with acrylic markers.

If you have any questions, ask away.

©Virginia Spencer,, 2019

The Lion and The Mouse

On WetCanvas (a forum for artists) there was a challenge to create something using Aesop’s Fables as a theme.

The Library of Congress, has each story in full (click link).  The illustrations alone are worth looking at. Many of the illustrations are interactive, I was charmed by them. Such a great site and resource, check it out!

Using ink and gilt,  I chose the Fable of the Lion and the Mouse. The following text is from the Library of Congress’s site. My original illustration follows it.

The Lion & the Mouse

A Lion lay asleep in the forest, his great head resting on his paws. A timid little Mouse came upon him unexpectedly, and in her fright and haste to get away, ran across the Lion’s nose. Roused from his nap, the Lion laid his huge paw angrily on the tiny creature to kill her.

“Spare me!” begged the poor Mouse. “Please let me go and some day I will surely repay you.”

The Lion was much amused to think that a Mouse could ever help him. But he was generous and finally let the Mouse go.

Some days later, while stalking his prey in the forest, the Lion was caught in the toils of a hunter’s net. Unable to free himself, he filled the forest with his angry roaring. The Mouse knew the voice and quickly found the Lion struggling in the net. Running to one of the great ropes that bound him, she gnawed it until it parted, and soon the Lion was free.

“You laughed when I said I would repay you,” said the Mouse. “Now you see that even a Mouse can help a Lion.”

A kindness is never wasted.

All text and images other than Aesop’s Fable are

©Virginia Spencer,, 2018





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.


©Virginia Spencer,, 2018






Merry Christmas!

I was involved in a Christmas card trade on WetCanvas with a few other artists. It was so much fun and I received some beautiful cards from all the world. 

These were the ones I made. They’re ink and metallic watercolor. The metallic are so much fun to work with but they are hard to photograph!

christmas art painting watercolor ink

I also did a Science Fiction ~ Fantasy Christmas trade. I made this dragon for a wonderful friend of mine,  who is a guide on the Science Fiction & Fantasy forum on WetCanvas. She does monthly challenges there that are so much fun and very clever. If you like scifi or fantasy, check it out!

This is watercolor, ink and a whole lot of glitter. 

I hope you have a happy holiday whichever one you celebrate!

Much love and good wishes to all!



©Virginia Spencer,, 2017


Elephants and Pumpkins

And no,  this is not a political post.

Fall with it’s dramatic skies and dancing leaves is here with a vengeance. I really need to do some catching up on the blog.

This painting is a two inch square in acrylic and will most likely be bigger on your screen then in real life.


This ink is more than double the size at 5×5 inches. This was part of a monthly miniature challenge on WetCanvas. WetCanvas has a huge reference image library,  it’s a fantastic resource. Thanks to the member that added the photo I used as a reference for this.

In the original photo the wall was brick and there were solar panels everywhere. I altered those which is always a good idea when you have discordant elements. You don’t have to paint or draw exactly what is in a photo or right in front of you. The pens are Microns.


This pumpkin in acrylic is from the same challenge. This quick study is 5×5 inches.


This is also from a photo reference from WetCanvas. This was a fun one, it was  a challenge to use restricted palettes.

This is the Zorn palette which is Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red Medium, Ivory Black and Titanium White.

Anders Zorn(February 18, 1860 – August 22, 1920)  was a Swedish painter who generally painted people and figures. I’m not sure why he used such a restricted palette but after playing with it for awhile I can see the lure of the colors he used.

Fish on a plate, acrylic, 10×14 inches (not a mini!)


I found some interesting shadows on my walls.


And I fixed a staid apron by embroidering an elephant with a happy spoon on it.


Meanwhile back at the ranch..

Sampson had surgery and thoroughly enjoyed his meds.


Zeus also had surgery and was awfully affronted when I suggested that he was supposed to be sitting on the pillow on the floor not in my new chair.

They both recovered nicely.


My sunflowers grew over 12 feet tall.


We rescued these two birds.

This juvenile cedar waxwing was caught in a sudden heavy deluge of rain. he was fine after he dried off. Sorry about the fuzzy photo!


This red breasted nuthatch, I found upside down on the porch, I think he hit the window. He flew away fine after a drink and some warmth.


This came across our TV,  then we had three very small tornadoes..


And there’s a frog living in my birdhouse. He’s been there since early July.


And I’ve taken at least one hundred photos of him,


And he is smiling in every single one.



©Virginia Spencer,, 2016


Ho, oh ho, oh no…

Ho! Ho! Ho!

It’s that time of year! It’s time for caroling!

It’s time to sing!

Hey! Hey! Where are you going cardinal?

cardinal2©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013.


nuthatch2©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013.

Anyone? Blue Jay? I see you hiding behind that fence..

bluejay©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013.

Oh alright. No singing, I am going to strum my ukulele though.

Here’s some little snow scenes I’ve been painting while medicated heavily. Had a pretty serious illness, but I’m fine now. If you ever have vertigo, I thoroughly recommend painting. It’s incredibly hard but oddly entertaining at the same time. I felt like one of Leary’s hippies.

These are all acrylic, four inch squares.

trees©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013.

sunsettrees©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013,

Bunnytree©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013.

snowman©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013.

deersunset©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013.

icypond©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013.

So I was throwing the acrylic around left, right and center, then I tried to focus.

On snowman..and their lives of snow.

snowscene3©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013.

snowscene2©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013.

snowscene1©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013.

Hope everyone is having a good December!


©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013

My Summer or How I Was Kneecapped By A Groundhog..

So how’s your summer going? I know, I know it’s nearly over and I haven’t posted much but I swear I have a great excuse, ahem I mean reason..

So there’s this groundhog and like all groundhogs, he is so cute, a big darling fat ball of fur.  Adorable.

Actually there are a lot of groundhogs,woodchucks, whistlepigs, whatever floats your boat, there are tonnes of them all over North America.

As everyone knows, groundhogs often study meteorology. They quite enjoy it even though they get dragged out of their den every February to tell us when winter will end. And since all groundhogs have a strange sense of humor, they will often lie and give us the wrong info. They’re funny like that.

Some groundhogs, especially those located in Ohio are infamous for their archeological interests. In fact, The Ufferman Site in Ohio, which is on the National Register of Historic Sites has been solely excavated by groundhogs. They have brought up human bones, pottery and rock tool bits used by the Cole culture (circa 800-1300AD).  No human has ever had to excavate as the groundhogs have done such a great job of it.

Groundhogs, can climb trees, they can swim and they can run. To their dismay, they cannot cycle and since all groundhogs dream of competing in Ironman competitions, their sorrow is great.

But there is one thing that Groundhogs are renowned worldwide for, there is one thing they love to do more then anything, there is one thing that amuses them to no end and that is to dig holes, big deep holes…

And while many people think they dig them to live in for safety and food storage, that’s ridiculous, everyone knows they prefer bungalows with full size pantries. They actually dig holes to trap humans especially humans walking around with cameras, so that that  human walking around with a camera will twist and turn as they fall to save their camera and tear all the muscles holding their knee cap in place. And then that human will spend the next six weeks wearing a hot awkward metal and foam cast that makes me, ahem that human, walk like Frankenstein and since that human will be in pain occasionally they will groan and small children and animals will run from this Frankensteinian beast, except of course for the fat black cat that lives with that human and likes to scratch her face on the metal contraption and enjoy her pain cause she’s an awful sadistic animal and meanwhile the groundhog is rolling around slapping it’s knee, bubbling over with mirth and glee, because even though he’s adorable, he’s a mother of a mean little so and so…

And that ladies and gentlemen is how you write a run on sentence…

Anyway, it’s not that bad. (rolleyes) I’m fine (whine whine moan). Seriously it’s all good. (sigh)

Actually did some drawings for a trade.  Lots of fun.

The only rule was that they had to be small 3.5 by 2.5 inches (ATC’s, ACEO”s whatever) about the size of a playing card and they had to be in black and white.

As always they might appear larger on your screen then they actually are

This is a little windmill, in black and white that’s down the road a ways, I think someone lives in it.


This is from a photo in the RIL on Wetcanvas, many thanks to the person who put it in there for all to use.  It’s acrylic.


This is a barn in pen and ink that we have driven by a few times.


This is an 1800’s bread oven off in the woods (to keep the heat away) at Balls Falls in Ontario, Canada. This is an acrylic.


This is an old wagon that for some reason, someone stuck in their yard. Acrylic.


This is a penguin, cause I sure as heck wasn’t going to draw a groundhog. Pen and Ink.


And this is a Victorian house we drove by on the way to Saint Louis in acrylic.



Other then that, I took a photo of the blue moon. It wasn’t blue but it’s negative is.


I also found a potato with dancing angels in it, I was going to sell it on EBay but I gave it to the raccoon instead..


I hope everyone has had a wonderful summer and has a fun holiday weekend.

Happy Labor Day!




©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2012

Peeping Toms, Dragons and Gargoyles…

I hope everyone survived the heat wave of the last few weeks. As well as all the talking about the heat wave of the last few weeks.

It’s been so hot, people are losing their minds. This store in our town even forgot how to rhyme.




I saw on the news people were in all the public fountains trying to keep cool so it didn’t really surprise me when I realized I had someone in my own fountain. I would have told him to get out but the truth is if my fountain had been any bigger I would have been in there too.



So it’s been a lazy summer so far, mostly because if anyone moves, they melt on the spot.

We had a new deck built. It’s great and it’s so much easier to relax on a nice big deck without bugs bothering you…

Hey!! Shoo!!



Well I never..

I tell you the bugs this year are downright obnoxious. They seem to know the birds and mammals are just too hot and tired to chase them so they’re getting very bold.

This one here even decided to become a Peeping Tom.

Or he could have just been a member of the paparazzi trying to get photos of Dummy in his mermaid get up.

Check out that supercilious grin though, he wasn’t a bit sorry even when I caught him at my windows.




I went inside thinking he had listened to my lecture but those paparazzi are merciless.

He was slyly leering right into my house.

The Nerve!

The least he could have done is waited until I washed the windows so I wouldn’t have to show everyone my spots…It’s a bit embarrassing.




Creepy. But they did inspire me to draw a dragon and a gargoyle.

I drew these with pen and ink for a trade on Wetcanvas. They are ATC / ACEO size, that is 2.5 by 3.5 inches (the size of a playing card).

This first one was from a fountain in Germany. I realized while I was drawing it that since it was sculpted in the 16th or 17th century, most likely there were still many people at that time who thought dragons were real. Did you know that in medieval times, they thought that the only thing elephants were afraid of were dragons. (They also thought hyenas changed their gender at will but that’s beside the point) So I suspect the owner of this fountain who were members of the real Frankenstein family (and isn’t that just cool) put this dragon on it to keep out the hordes of high diving elephants that were so prevalent at the time.

It’s also my theory that all the Bigfoot hunters of today are the descendants of Dragon hunters. Yes, every generation in history has had it’s legions of believers running through the woods, getting freaked out by owl calls and coyote yaps and making facts up about creatures they’ve never actually seen. (Not to mention leaving scores of Bigfoots and Dragons giggling themselves silly)



Now this next one, also the size of a playing card is a Gargoyle on top of the Historic Wells Fargo Building in Davenport, Iowa.

It was supposed to keep bad vibes out of people’s money but well we all know how that turned out… I blame it all on acid rain myself.

This building is from the Roaring 20’s and has a lovely clock tower but also a very strange temple on top of it. It would make a good setting for a creepy story.




And this is a rainbow cloud, it has absolutely nothing to do with anything else but it’s pretty



Have a good one!




©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2012

My apologies…

It’s been a bit since I wrote a new post. It was mostly just laziness but I have a variety of excuses as well. Pick which ever one suits your frame of mind..

Excuse #1 …

I was watching my neighbor burn down his yard..

Yes the same neighbor who yells at me for watering even though I have rain barrels and an overflowing well. Yes the same one who thinks I gave his yard crabgrass even though I have none. The same guy who hates my maple tree and wants me to cut it down even though it has nothing wrong with it and it’s a pretty tree…and so on and so on….

What happened was that not realizing that I was home, he started to blow all his leaves into my yard so I casually took the dogs out.

And he blew them all back.

He made a  20 foot long pile in his yard, about 2 feet high.  Since he couldn’t foist them off on me, he decided to mulch them with his riding lawn mower…

Well the pile was too high, the leaves ended up caught in his engine and


He kept driving then did a double take (which I’ve never seen anyone outside the movies do before)

Then he was dancin’ and singin’ and movin’ to the groovin’ (Sorry, sorry had a moment of Funky Grooviness there, it won’t happen again)

But he was dancing and grooving and jumping up and down flailing his arms and he kept kicking the leaves all over and they kept burning farther and faster and further and faster as well.

I opted to watch from my living room and not let him know that I knew that he set his yard on fire. I’m nice like that. Plus I may possibly have been hysterically laughing… ahem..

Anyway at least his crab grass is gone. Who knew it was that flammable.

Excuse #2…

I was helping Sampson put together a performance piece. It involved putting my garden to bed for the winter and cleaning up leaves (while not setting the yard on fire, I mean he did want to juggle some flaming torches but I nixed that one much to his disappointment). Sampson’s art du jour was a mind numbing display of pumpkin abuse..

At this point your children should leave the room, it may be too much for them.


That’s downright disturbing. Pumpkin abuse is wrong, people!!

But see, there isn’t any crabgrass.

Excuse #3…

Speaking of dogs, I was also trying in vain to get a nice dignified photo of Zeus.

I often see beautifully dignified labs in magazines. So I was determined to get one.

I swear they must drug those dogs in the magazines.

Don’t stick your tongue at me..rude I tell you…

Aw..Gee..I’m sorry…

Oh that’s okay.

We’ll try again.

No! Not dignified! Not dignified!

My attempts to take a dignified photo of Zeus are on temporary hiatus since he decided to introduce himself to a nest of yellow jackets and he’s allergic. He’s fine, sillier looking then normal but fine.  *Sigh*


I have actually done a couple little paintings. These are rough copies of some Christmas cards ideas.

The first is a Partridge in a Pear..

Because I didn’t feel like drawing a tree..

Several people have clicked on this. If you use or copy this image without my permission you are commiting a crime.
Partridge in a pear ©Virginia Spencer, 2011

Could you imagine if someone actually gave you a partridge in a pear tree? I would be miffed myself.

The second is in the style of Van Gogh, and is a snowman.. (I was pretty sure you can tell it’s a snowman but judging by the amount of weird Russian spam I get on this blog, I’d like to make myself clear. It’s a snowman and no I don’t want any mukluks.)

If you notice there is a bend in the corner. Sampson chewed on it for a bit.

He’s still a bit mad about not being allowed to juggle flaming torches.

Ah, c’est la vie.


©Virginia Spencer,, 2011