Running amok!

Between wandering and procrastination, I have not been keeping up with this blog. I fool myself into thinking I am keeping up because I write long posts in my head. I then, of course promptly forget them when I sit at the computer.

I also forgot how to paint again so I did this lesson in acrylic from a book by  Mark Daniel Nelson. The book is called “Learn to paint in Acrylics with.. 50 Small paintings”. Good book, was a nice refresher.

boat acrylic painting.

Here’s a photo from one of the places I’ve wandered to.

Niagara Falls.

Niagara Horseshoe Falls

I have some stories to tell so I’ll be back soon!

Thanks for sticking around.

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©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog.com, 2015

Please follow this link for available prints.

Thank you!

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.

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Friendly flamingos.

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Proximious penguins.

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Happily hemmed in hippos.

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Close Cuties.

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©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2012

A toad beat up my dog…

So Sampson the Wonder Dog got himself into a little altercation.

He went under the deck and decided to catch himself a toad. Then he took it for a walk.

And the toad was not happy.

And then Sammy was foaming and rolling around being sick from both ends at the same time..and well that’s more then enough about that.

So he ended up in the shower with me washing his mouth out over and over and over and over…

And then he had to take a bath.

That was one sick little dog. And mad to boot, he hates baths.

The toad was fine. I did have to read him the “Wind in the Willows” to apologize though.

When Sammy was feeling better, I asked him what possessed him to carry around a toad. He looked me dead in the eyes and said “I am a Carnivore.” as if that explained anything.

But it reminded me of the many carnivorous animals I was lucky enough to see at the zoo.

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Zebra, what are you laughing at?

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Carnivorous animals are meat eaters not carnival animals..

Pardon?

No, I can’t see you behind that tree..very clever.

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Yes Hyena, I know you can see him but don’t tell him that.

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And don’t bother telling the tiger either.

He’s a bit miffed.

He was just in his own private pool and when he wasn’t looking someone stole his towel.

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And the Leopard is ignoring everyone. He was quite hurt that the “Wind in the Willows’ didn’t have any leopards in it.

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I don’t know how you snuck in here, little Speke’s Gazelle, but you are too darn cute to be a carnivorious post.

Go on with you now.

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Oh, look what you’ve started. The Nyala is in here now, batting her lashes at everyone.

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And no, the baby bongo has come in too!

He definitely has to go back until those horns grow in..

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I need someone with some common sense to speak to the herbivores..

Hmm, the gorilla is deep in thought..

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Yes, sir..You want me to put a scary carnivore in here..

What kind of scary carnivore?

A Stork?

Oh I see, you mean a Marabou stork..

They eat carrion, frogs, fishes, other birds, small animals, garage and well pretty much anything that they can fit in their mouth.

That’s one strange bird.

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Well that’s done the trick.

Everyone ran back to where they’re supposed to be.

Alright then, have a good one folks!

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©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2012

How to get Hustled in Five Easy Steps.

Now I’m not talking about the disco dance though that is pretty entertaining.  Nor I am talking about moving rapidly which is useful if you’re being chased by a bear, honeybees or your mother when she found out you put a big hole in the wall. Nor I am talking about the mean spirited hustlers of the day, ID thieves and other nasty bits of work.

No, I’m talking about a good old fashioned hustle, the kind where you get a little something and the hustler gets a little something and it’s a fair deal on all sides.

The first thing you have to do is to go to Saint Louis, Missouri. It’s a beautiful city and the people are so pleasant. Ridiculously pleasant. Like there’s something in the water kind of pleasant.

The second thing you have to do is to run around taking photos and letting everyone know you’re a tourist.

You could even think about taking a River Cruise, if the man in the lower left wearing a chemical protection suit and spraying down tent wires doesn’t worry you too much. Now it could be that that guy is just a conscientious type who worries about germs on tent wires but you don’t need a chemical suit for that. I mean you can wear any old thing to wash down tent wires. I’m sure there’s probably a reasonable explanation but I have been watching an awful lot of conspiracy theories on TV and that kind of mindset is catching. How can one resist blaming everything that happens on extraterrestrials beings who apparently have nothing better to do then come from galaxies far away to mess with us. Or on intelligent Yeti super militia forces or on top secret experiments that have turned squirrels and chipmunks into living eavesdropping devices so that the government can find out how much we’re gossiping about each other or talking all about what we’re going to wear tomorrow.

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Or you can walk away from the man in the chemical suit and take some photos of  sidewalk art featuring fish people in high heels.

Fish heads, fish heads. Roly poly fish heads. Fish heads! Fish heads!

Eat them up..Yum!

You can ask a Fish Head anything but they won’t answer because they can’t talk..

(if you’ve never heard that song, do yourself a favor and youtube it).

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And then for step three you have to go inside the Arch.  At which point after giving the armed Security Guards your belt and any metal objects, having your purse x-rayed and walking though a metal detector you will see this lovely mural.

As you can see from the mural the Arch is actually bigger then the Statue of Liberty, the Washington monument, Mount Rushmore and the Delicate Arch at the Arches National Park in Utah. It’s also bigger then the Eiffel Tower and the Seattle Space Needle. And yes it was designed by a man, how did you guess?

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After looking at the mural and coming to the realization that these people assumed that you didn’t notice how big the Arch was even though you had to walk to it to get inside it you will then come to a rather nice little museum.

There’s historic portraits and covered wagons and cowboy hats and guns and all those fun things

And then you walk around a corner

And then..

You come to an understanding of why they took your belt.

It’s so you don’t freak out and whip the heck out of these creepy ass animatronic beings that are all yakking away and moving like B-movie horror characters.

(Side note: my spell check keeps trying to change animatronics to fornicators! Fornicators! My computer either has a dirty mind or was programmed by a Southern preacher. I’m sure there’s a conspiracy theory that could fit that)

This one here was some sort of medal making metallurgist. I’m not quite sure what that means but I like the alliteration.

He seemed to be trying to get me to take his medal but I didn’t fall for that.  I’ve seen too many Syfy movies. I knew if I took it, I would spend the rest of the day running around Saint Louis trying to avoid being annihilated by angry animatonics. (Or fornicators as my computer insists on typing.)

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This one, wouldn’t make eye contact at all. He just kept talking and staring around at the ceiling. So to be neighborly I stared around at the ceiling too. Other then coming to the realization that their custodians must be awfully tidy, I mean there was not a speck of dust on the ceiling, the pot lights or the beams, I never did figure out what he was looking at.

Saint Louis Arch animatronics.

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This one here was looking for tracks. He seemed to think that some rustlers had come through the museum. I didn’t spend much time with him seeing as he was so busy and those rustlers can be nasty. You don’t want to get caught up in the crossfire between a rustler and a lawman.

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And then the last one was a historical rendition of the Used Car Salesman. He was pleasant, had a nice voice, lovely manners and moved really smoothly but like all car salesmen everywhere he made me a bit leery.

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Okay, now step four is very important. You have to run out of that museum before the last guy sells you a two hundred year old covered wagon with rickety wheels, no warranty and 18.5% interest to boot. I’m telling you he’s good, run as fast as you can.

Take the tree lined path. And forget about taking any more photos of the Arch because the leaves while pleasantly providing much needed shade block the view. Then stand around aiming at the leaves as if your camera can magically see through them. Perhaps, you could sigh a little for effect.

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And which point we are at Step Five and in comes the Hustler who while watching you trying to get a good shot and sighing over your inability to do so ingeniously explains to your husband how he likes to come down to the Park and act as a private guide and info center for visitors in the hopes of hustling up a bit of spare change.

Then this kind man will take you by the arm and he will walk you right through the woods into an open field and Voila! there’s the perfect shot (barring the overly bright morning light that is).

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And then this kind hustler who has already informed you that he’s going to hustle you, goes into a nice long spiel on how good the chicken wings are over at this particular spot. And how for five dollars he can get enough chicken wings to fill his stomach for the day. Then he’ll blink and smile innocently. And you will give him ten dollars cause he might as well get a beer to wash his chicken wings and he was probably most likely going to get one anyway..

And it will be all be very pleasant because that’s how they do things in Saint Louis.

And if you want to know where those chicken wings are, well you just run over to Saint Louis and talk to this man. He’ll be happy to tell you all about them.

For five bucks.

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Now if you’ll excuse me, my sister keeps sending me emails telling me to paint a hippo. I’m not sure what she has against hippos. They’re already a nice enough color.  But I aim to please so I am going to have to go find a hippo. And I think I need to get more paint. Hippos are awfully large animals, I don’t think I have enough paint to cover one up.

Have a good one, folks!

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©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!”

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“We will dance the Hoochee Koochee”

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“I will be your tootsie wootsie!”


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

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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!”

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

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

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This lemur went for the deep look

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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!”

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

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

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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.

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©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2012

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