May the Dog be with you.

If you haven’t heard, it’s been a mite chilly out.

I know, I know, it’s shocking news.

I’m sorry I had to break it to you like that.

Personally I don’t mind the cold or snow.

Especially when a walk around my neighborhood looks like this.





I must admit, it is a bit rough to have this much snow and a white dog.


Of course when temperatures drop into the frostpaw levels, the dogs need to mostly stay inside.

Sometimes when I try to make them go outside even when it’s not that cold out, they simply vanish into thin air.

I don’t  know how that happens.



It’s a mystery.

I recently made a bunch of ATC’s  of animals for a trade.

ATC’s are artist trading cards. They are 3.5 by 2.5 inches, the size of a regular playing card.

These are in acrylic.

They will most likely appear larger on your screen then they are in real life.

Atc, aceo.



And here’s a couple of ATC’s in ink.




Have a good one!



©Virginia Spencer,, 2015

Please follow this link for available prints.

More prints to become available soon.

Thank you!

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!”


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



whitetree©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013


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


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


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

leopard1©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013


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


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

Cat1©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013


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


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.)



©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2013

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Close

The theme for this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is “close” as in being near emotionally pr physically not as in “Close that door! You’re letting the heat out!” . If you grew up in Canada, or any other cold climate then you’ve probably heard that a few times.

Anyway. These are from the Saint Louis Zoo. Which since I named will cause every spammer out there to send me spam comments calling me “Louis”. The filters catch them but they’re always entertaining reading nevertheless.


Friendly flamingos.


Proximious penguins.


Happily hemmed in hippos.


Close Cuties.




©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2012

Meet me in Saint Louis, Louis..

That’s a great song. Written by Sterling and Mills for Judy Garland of course.

Everyone sing!

“Meet me in Saint Louis, Louis..

Meet me at the fair

Don’t tell me the lights are shining any place but there!”



“We will dance the Hoochee Koochee”


“I will be your tootsie wootsie!”



“If you will meet me in St. Louis, Louis,
Meet me at the fair!”



Alright so I was actually at the Saint Louis Zoo but it was started when the city bought the walk-through birdcage from the 1904 World’s Fair. It’s now a world class zoo and it’s gorgeous. Just the landscaping alone is worth seeing.

And this camel with the bad toupee is worth seeing as well.

“Toupee!” he says in a bad British accent “You cad!”



Then there was this monkey, a lion maned something or other who apparently thought I was a photographer for a clothing catalog.



And he told the lemur to pose too. Work it baby, work it!



This lemur went for the deep look



This guy just yammered on in a bad New York Yiddish accent

“Oh vey! What do you expect me to pose for, I don’t wear the clothes!”



And the hippo was as adorable as a 6000 lb animal can be.



And don’t get me started on how much I love rhinos.





Being at the zoo reminded me of a painting I had wanted to do for a long time.

I was the Pueblo Zoo in Colorado a few years back. I was watching this goose who was sitting on the ledge of their little river. And this goose refused to move, all the geese kept having to walk around him. Then along came this white goose and a brown goose. Instead of walking around the sitting goose, they stood and watched it, honking softly.

They seemed very perplexed by the sitting goose’s lack of manners. The sitting goose did everything it could not to look at them. It was a very haughty goose and it made me laugh.

This is acrylic, 5×7.




©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2012


There’s a humming in my ears…

No, no, not the lightning strike, that was a ringing…

This is a definite hum…


Couldn’t figure it out but then I stumbled into this conversation.


Two hummingbirds walk into a bar..

Left hummingbird:   “HI!”

Right hummingbird:   “Hello.”


Left Hummingbird:  “I can make a feather on my head stand up!”

Right Hummingbird:   *blink * *blink*


Left Hummingbird:   “Try it, Dude!”

Right Hummingbird:  “That’s too weird for me.  I’m outta here.”


Left Hummingbird:  “Hey! Where you going? Can I have the rest of your drink?..Dude?…”



Sparrow:  “Was that supposed to be funny?”

Nuthatch:  “I didn’t think so.”





Did you know that peacocks can fly?

I didn’t know that until I saw this guy.



And when peahens sleep they look like they’re dead.

And if you go kick them to see if they’re okay, they bite.



And sometimes Meerkats act real trampy.



And my neighbor thinks this sculpture is a lighthouse.



Don’t look at me like that.

I’m not judging..I’m just saying…

Hey, look at the pretty flower!






©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2012

Happy Groundhog Day!

And a Happy Birthday to my stepfather Hartley, a lovely man.

I phoned Hartley this morning and he did not see his shadow.

Hazzah, hazzah! Spring is coming.

Which I pretty much figured seeing as I have 59 irises coming up. That’s right 59. I don’t know why I counted them but I am a bit worried about them so Hazzah! again for not seeing a shadow. I didn’t count the tulips and daffodils though, they can take care of themselves. Oddly enough, I haven’t heard a peep out of the crocuses.

I made Hartley this card. I was out having a chat with the local groundhog, Jack Fickle McRumplestein, when I mentioned that Hartley was born on Groundhog Day.  Jack insisted on posing for me. I think he may be under the impression that Hartley is part groundhog and all the better for it.

I should have taken this photo before I varnished it. Ahh well.

I also did a few more miniatures. Except for the leopard, these all have new homes. As always these will appear larger than they actually are.

This is an acrylic of a path near my house. It’s 2.5 by 3.5 inches (ATC/ACEO size) I used a pointillism technique which is quite fun to do on something that is the size of a playing card.

This is the Point Abino Lighthouse which I grew up near. It was operational until 1989 and then fell into disrepair. It’s being worked on now and has been declared an Historic building with a capitol “H”. It’s the only one of that style. I used to love hearing the foghorn at night. Nothing makes you feel more secure than knowing someone is up in the middle of the night keeping an eye out. Especially as I thought that there was Loch Ness monster lurking in the bay and we lived far too close to the lake for me to be happy about it.

I was trying for a more painterly simple style with this one. My perspective is bit off but that’s ok, I like the effect.

Acrylic 2.5 by 3.5 inches.

This is a church in Prince Edward Island that my sisters and I came across while rambling through the Maritimes.

Acrylic, 2.5 by 3.5 inches.

I threw perspective right into the wind on this one too. That’s right I got down and crazy on the perspective. Rebel with a paintbrush, that’s me.

And now some sad news. A lovely lady passed away and left our zoo which you all know I’m fond of, $250,000 to either get a panda, which can’t be done without giving China the Mississippi or the money is to be used to fix the black bear habitat. Last year they had to hire a new zoo director. Well this guy showed up in an Indiana Jones outfit complete with hat and in his infinite wisdom he decided last week to give our bears away.  He said they are and I quote “nuisance animals” as opposed to the other animals in the zoo like porcupines, various rodents, reptiles and such, all of which are adorable but none of which are fun to find in your kitchen. Then he said that the Will says the money is to be used for a black as in color of the bear as opposed to the black bears as a species. He also did this without consulting anyone including the forestry board which has authority over the zoo. Guess what the favorite animal of the Commissioner of the board is…

Needless to say, he is no longer director of the zoo. And the zoo needs to get a black bear.

Here is a photo of the bear that is now gone but who was a sweetie and comical. I’m sorry he’s gone.

The moral of the story is to never underestimate the silliness and ego of a person who dresses up like Indian Jones, complete with hat.

While I’m on the topic of zoos, here is another miniature, this one is a bit bigger being 3 x 5 inches and is acrylic. This one is based on a photo of the black leopard that is somewhere back in the blog.

Now I have to go find Dummy, he’s been a bit sulky since the tape from his Santa hat is stuck all over his head. He does hold a grudge. I think a nice photo shoot will cheer him up, he’s a vain little Dummy.

Take care!


©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2012

Carp(e) diem

Fish fish fish!!

I wish wish wish

for a dish dish dish

and some tartar sauce…

Beg your pardon…I didn’t know you were listening.

There’s Henry and Fred and George and Tyrone and Mary and…

No wonder this little bird went over to the wallaby enclosure for a bath.

The wallaby didn’t care, he was rolling in the leaves.

I hope he’s careful, there’s something lurking in the bushes..


Say what!?!

Run away! Run away!



©Virginia Spencer,, 2011

Giraffes? Girafffes!

I’ve always liked giraffes. I had been taught that giraffes are one of two living species (the other being the okapi) of the family Giraffidae which had evolved from palaeomerycids during the early part of the Miocene epoch. I was taught that they are even-toed ungulate mammals and were herbivores to boot. I was taught that they definitely did not dance.

Silly me.

Fortunately I found this book Giraffes? Giraffes!  The book review in that link says it all…

“Giraffes? Giraffes! is the first in the series, and puts forth the following novel theories: that giraffes were not part of any evolutionary chain, but came here from Neptune, by way of very long (but convenient and fast) escalators; that giraffes are expert dancers, but they become angry if you ask them about their dancing; that giraffes control over 90 percent of what we see in mirrors; that the Giraffe navy is as strong as ever, contrary to recent claims in the popular press.”


Well I didn’t really know know it but I had suspected as much.

Imagine my delight when we went to the zoo and the baby giraffe was out. She and her mother were kept out of the public eye until a few weeks ago. She is 14 months old, is 6 foot tall, weighs 105 lbs and is already proficient in tap and jazz. She will eventually reach 16 feet and weigh approximately 2500 lbs. She looks tiny compared to the other giraffes.

She’s such a doll. She pretty stayed in the same spot for about 20 minutes, then she went over to the fence and tried to nibble on it. The poor thing learned the hard way that the fence is electrified. She wasn’t hurt but she was very confused. She went right back to her spot and stood there looking at the fence to see what else it would do.

You can see how tiny she looks in this photo.

Here’s Mom. She’s lovely isn’t she.

And here’s Baby!

There was also a young mountain goat out and about. Unlike giraffes, mountain goats do not dance.

They do have lovely singing voices though.

This is a mini ( ATC /ACEO) in acrylic.

It measures 2.5 by 3.5 inches.


©Virginia Spencer,, 2011

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,,2011

©Virginia Spencer,,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,,2011

©Virginia Spencer,,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,,2011

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

Kitten in pencil.


©Virginia Spencer,,2011