Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Yesterday, I was saddened to read that Lonesome George of the Galapagos Islands has died. George was only 100+ years old. He had to potential to live to 200. He was of a subspecies of Tortoise, the Pinta Island giant tortoise, and the only one left of his kind. I've always had an affection for turtles. Here in North Carolina, especially after a rain shower, one would often see them usually crossing a road. I have stopped many times to rescue an Eastern Box Turtle from being squashed. One day as I was on the approach to a highway, I saw two large Box Turtles in extreme danger in the road. I stopped and saved them, and kept them in my bathtub for a few days until I could drive down to the Uwharrie National Forest to release them. I still have the painting studies I did of their shells, which I bet are as individual to turtles as fingerprints are to humans. One time as I was driving my VW convertible on a winding road out in the country, I spied a small turtle on the roadway, apparently in no hurry. I quickly pulled over and managed a rescue. The little fella didn't particularly like being in the floorboard of my car and was scurrying around. Turtles are not always the slow critters depicted in the cartoons. They can get some speed on them. Unlike the beautiful, agreeable, and genteel Eastern Box Turtles I had saved from the road, this little guy was not particularly pleasant to be around. He lacked any markings on his plain brown shell, and he had a disagreeable odor; in other words, he stunk to high Heaven! After I described his appearance to friends, someone said he was likely a mud turtle. Since mud turtles are semi-aquatic, it is a good thing I let him go at a little creek. Hopefully, eventually he found a pond somewhere nearby, because today, the area where I found him has more housing developments than you can shake a stick at. Back then, the area was considered 'out in the country.' Now, it's just another example of humans penchant for sprawling, controlling, and obliterating the natural beauty of the land. I tend to like tangled bunches of blackberry bushes, wild roses, and meadows than the paved over civilization man creates. It is becoming more difficult to find those little Edens. Along with the scarcity of the little Edens, these days one rarely sees a turtle after a rain shower. Where have they all gone? One day will the native turtles in America be extinct like Lonesome George? It is heartening and sad at the same time, to read that there were people who tried to save George's species by introducing a bevy of girlfriends to him in hopes they would produce little George's. Sadly, George was not interested in reproduction and was happiest in his enclosure munching away on whatever it is giant tortoises munch on. Adios Lonesome George! I have sculpted a few turtles in the past. This little one pictured is a hatchling, just breaking out of his shell. This one is on ebay currently. To find my ebay listings, search for ebay seller i.d. wally_doodle. The second image is of a sculpture I created of a Corgi puppy riding on a turtle. (sold)

Friday, June 22, 2012

I've been getting more and more behind as I clean my studio and computer room. It would be nice to have a clone who could paint at the easel while I clean. The alternative is to get rich and famous so I could hire someone to do the cleaning and cooking. That would be ideal, but methinks that shipped sailed many eons ago. I am selling a stack of Great Dane magazines on eBay. I have enjoyed them for a while, perusing the pages, looking at the gorgeous Great Danes, from pups to veterans. It's funny how a dog breed will grab you heart and soul. I can recognize the bark of a Great Dane before even seeing the dog. Great Dane puppies are the most adorable little beings. They stay little for what seems like a few days before they start the growing spurts. When they are 8 weeks old, they are squishy, wrinkly, endearingly clumsy little characters, with sparkling eyes. Oh and the softest most velvety ears! I've had a lot of dogs over the years, but the Great Dane has been my real love. Sadly, with the years have come the more noticeable pains associated with having 140+ pounds of pure canine; the stepped on toes, being pulled down and having bruised ribs. I recall back in the day with my Moose, who I lost at age 13 to old age in 2007... we were playing and stupidly I had my head poised over his when he decided to launch, and my tooth went thru my bottom lip. OUCH! With my first Great Dane, Alyce, she decided to do a zoomie (Dane people know this term!) just as I was bending over to pick flowers in a field. She hit me upside the head and almost knocked me out. It took a few days for the grapefruit sized swelling to subside. That was then and this is now. Bruising lasts longer these days, so I am uncertain about having another Great Dane in the future. I may have to downsize due to my small stature and encroaching years! Thus, the magazines went onto the auction block. I used to have danedreams of showing my Danes and starting a line. Don't we all at some point? And then reality sets in; how could I do that on an artist's meager income? why would I even really want to do that? could I take back a puppy if necessary? nope, it's not for me. I've come to terms with that lost dream. I will instead enjoy my dogs for who they are and not what they are. Sometimes it is best to stop with the danedreams so you can just enjoy the dog. And that's what I'm doing now. I remember the first Great Dane I ever met, and I will leave that story for another day. Time is short and I have to get this cleaning crap over with. Wally, my Aussie mix dog has a horrible case of allergies, digging at himself, itching, scratching, and he is on Frontline Plus. It seems to work for about 3 weeks now instead of 4 weeks. I bathed him this morning, among all the other cleaning, and will apply a new batch of FL Plus as soon as he's dry. I hope everyone has a good day.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The books have an inch thick layer of dust on them. These forlorn books are located in the impractical unreachable bookcase behind my main computer monitor. I must teeter totter on top of the desk to do the dusting. I bravely pressed on today and broke out the rags and dust stuff. After planting my dust cloth flag on the upper reaches of Mt. Everest Bookcase, I ran across something I had written shortly after we had moved to a "real" house; a house with things called walls, real plumbing, and hot water! Prior to 1991, we had been living in the green studio. It was located across the street from the University, and catty corner from Yum Yum the hot dog and ice cream place. Funny thing is we rarely ate at Yum Yum when it was crowded with University students and families. We enjoyed Yum Yum on Sundays, when the establishment was closed. In the warm months, We would carry our Sunday morning meal over to their outdoor terrace tables and spread out. We got a kick out of drinking our coffee and reading the big Sunday paper, and having carloads of people stopping by thinking Yum Yum was open. Most times we would continue enjoying our hearty breakfast while the people would try the Yum Yum door. Then they would skulk back to their cars, wondering who the heck we were eating breakfast there. :) Yum Yum's is still there, but sadly the green studio is gone, a victim of the University's voracious appetite for land. An undignified parking lot now paves over what I affectionately called the Studio: La Bateau Lavoir (as a nod to Picasso et al). While cleaning out the bookcase today, I happened across something I had written about the La Bateau Lavoir. The year was 1992: The Studio was a dear yet poor friend without possessions, but one I could live with, breathe with. The Studio breathed. When the wind blew, the plastic covering the ceiling moved, in and out with its breath. It was alive, that old place. It as a place one could talk to and it listened attentively. Other creatures sought it out for their habitats also; like rats, roaches, and the occasional squirrel, but we all lived there in its realm of knowing. It was a wise old building, more at one with nature than any other place I have lived. We lived with the heat in the summer, the cold in the winter, and watched the seasons change through the overhead skylight. The place had a wry sense of humor. You felt it when you entered and if you stayed a while, it became contagious. We thought we had outgrown the old place; business clients would be offended by its peeling paint and dusty concrete floors. We were growing financially and needed a real house to live in, a better car to drive.. so we got a regular car and a real house, the kind that regular people live in. We were moving up in the world, or were we? Somewhere moving up the ladder of success, we began to lose our spirit of living. Perhaps it was left in that old building; that old A & P store built at the turn of the 20th Century. Perhaps it held the secrets of our happiness. Maybe I just hate housekeeping! The La Bateau Lavoir did not require mopping and sweeping. It simply was. Eric Fromme, the author and philosopher, wrote about the contrast between intrinsic and instrumental values. La Bateau Lavoir was embrued with intrinsic goodness and humor.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Being creative does not guarantee being able to decorate with any sort of flair. Indeed, while I find it natural to paint and sculpt, I lack the decorating gene. My sister was fortunate to have received that talent in spades. Decorating her home in Country style, in shades of blue and beige, she has created a comfortable and relaxing environment. My home is decorated loosely in vintage 'Side of the Road style. It is comprised of inherited pieces, pieces found literally on the side of the road, and one old red leather sofa that looks as if it could be a prop in a Victorian movie. I tend to think of these pieces, or most of them, as old forlorn friends. The Hoosier cabinet I got from a Great Aunt hasn't seen a lick of paint in decades, and is keeper of my favorite dishes; Blue Ridge Pottery bowls, plates, platters. I have found a few pieces in antique shops, a few at auctions, but most of them I bought on eBay. I love these pieces for their individuality and vivid colors. There were many patterns on the Blue Ridge china. The ones I like best were hand painted by women employees of Blue Ridge Pottery who lived in the surrounding Appalachian Mountains. The time span was back around the Great Depression. The 5000 plus patterns they produced have charming names such as Grandmother's Garden, Fairmede Fruits, Rapsody, etc. If interested in seeing more, I highly recommend this link to view some of the patterns that were produced. So, today is Saturday again. Seems to come around each week around this time. It's time to get into the studio and figure out what to create next. I'll be sketching ideas and playing with paperclay! yay! love this fun medium! In the meanwhile, I'll leave you with images of two of my summery paintings that have been sold.

Friday, June 8, 2012

It's Friday! In the past that meant a lot of things; primarily PAYDAY! it also meant date night number one. If I had a date that is. Many times I would accept a date and then use the excuse that I had to wash my hair to get out of it. One time I actually told the guy I had to wash my dog that night. Tsk Tsk! Friday's do not hold the same meaning these days. They have not for a long time. Being able to spend time in my home studio is a blessing. Having my dogs nearby has been a joy. I can take breaks when I want to; like sitting on the front porch and eating watermelon in the middle of a summer afternoon. Bliss! But on Friday's I still get that twinge sometimes of NO PAY. No regular paycheck. Even though I have not worked a real job in many years, I still miss the ritual of going to the bank each Friday and cashing that check. Not that being a clerical worker paid very much, but it was steady. For 13 years I worked in the same job, in the same office, with the same people. We became like a family of zombies. We did what we had to do, but there was no creativity involved. The reward was Friday and payday. I scrounge around a lot these days to pay this bill or that bill; juggling finances, robbing from Peter to pay Paul. But I must say there is a deep satisfaction in making something from nothing and getting paid for it. Getting paid for something I created with my heart and mind is having that person say they want it, that it is meaningful to them. That's better than Payday. Although, it would be nice to be able to go to the grocery store without having to itemize each little thing and then worrying at check out if I'll have to put something back. That's the dregs, but it's reality I've come to terms with. I won't find fame or fortune working in the studio, creating paintings and sculptures, but as Ray Bradbury said, "do what you love and love what you do." I'm doing it Ray. And now for the image of the little creation I've been working on for a few days and have listed on ebay. It's a 5" tall x 1.5" at the base Italian Greyhound I sculpted out of paperclay and painted in acrylic paint. He's got his little blue footed pj's on and is holding two stuffed bunny toys. He's ready for his forever home. Yeah, paychecks are good, Fridays are good, but making something out of a blob of clay is good too. In memory of Ray Bradbury, 1920 - 2012

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Orange Cat

Since I was knee high to a ladybug, dogs and cats have figured prominently in my existence. When I was little, cats and kittens would follow me home from school. My first pet was a tabby tom kitten I named Tiger. I must have been 5 or 6 years old. I can still recall the day my Dad took me and my best friend to look at a litter of kittens, advertised for free in the newspaper. I can remember the drive home in the 55' green Chevy, Bonnie and I in the back seat with the tiny Tiger sinking his sharp little claws into the seat climbing around. Tiger would stick around for several years until the wandering lust overcame him. Back in those days cats were rarely altered, thus Tiger kept his bits and made frequent use of them. One day he left and never returned. My next pet was a beautiful black cat I named Black Magic. Of course, in short time she presented us with a litter of kittens. My Mom used to remark at her embarrassment of walking out to the clothesline to hang freshly washed clothes and having 6 cats yowling and rubbing against her legs. Back in those days my parents were too busy trying to feed us kids to consider spaying and neutering cats and dogs. As I grew older and learned about the facts of life, I educated my folks about the need for spaying and neutering. I have three dogs currently and one orange marmalade cat, who is getting up in age. He was thrown out of a car when he was tiny like he was a piece of garbage. Luckily I saw him running away from the road and swooped him up. That was 11 years ago. These days I am seeing him slow down quite a bit from the frisky boy he was when he was younger. It is sad when our pets begin to show signs of aging. But I'm grateful to have had him in my life. It's going to be tough when he goes. Orange cats have always been my favorite. There is something special about them. What got me to thinking about orange cats this morning is the true story of a homeless young man who befriended an orange cat and how their symbiotic relationship has helped both. That is my Hobbes in his younger days sitting on a rocking chair. The story of the young guy in London and his orange cat named Bob is at this link My orange boy has not inspired a book or movie, but he has surely given me a lot of laughs over the years. And these days in his golden years, he makes me smile at the memories we share. The only regret I have is that I sold the painting I did of him as a kitten. When he was little, he would sit on my desk as I painted, so one day I painted him into the painting I was doing and called it The Artist's Apprentice, which he remains today.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tuesday thoughts

After a showery start to this Tuesday, the sun is peeking out. It's a typical summer morning in North Carolina with humidity around 87%. To say it the air is a bit thick is putting it mildly, but the trees and other plants are loving their morning bath. The Magnolia tree is in bloom. The Magnolia flower is my favorite flower, with the mimosa coming in at a close second place. Roses are nice, but cannot hold a candle to the glory and perfume of a huge magnolia flower, or to the feathery fragrant bloom of the mimosa tree. Looking around on eBay, I've found a few perfumes of the magnolia and mimosa. I'm watching those auctions to see if I can nab one of them, so I an enjoy those lovely fragrances for longer than a few scant weeks in the early summer. The Magnolia tree gifted me with a few blooms low on the tree so that inhaling the perfume may be enjoyed up close and personal. Most of the blooms are up high, the tree wearing them like large white bows against the dark green foliage. I am not sure what variety of Magnolia this is, but have narrowed the possibility down to the Umbrella Magnolia. The Mimosa tree is one I planted from a seed and it has spread out its canopy in search of more sun. I regret not having planted it in a sunnier spot in the landscape. I have seen Mimosas that typically grow along the edges of roadways among a forest of trees. These Mimosas do not get the benefit of being planted in their own selected spot and grow to a weedy looking tree. The best specimens I have seen have been planted as a feature in a landscape. The best ones are full and grow a large crown, and in the months of May/June the pink wispy blossoms appear, which hummingbirds love. With the ample rains we have experienced in this part of North Carolina this spring, the Magnolia and Mimosa are looking great, but the grass is growing rapidly. It's necessary to mow every few days so the dogs will have a nice area to roll, run, and play. But there are parts of the yard where I cannot reach with the mower and the grass grows tall. Not having the luxury of a weed-eater, I have to clip it with old fashioned, woman powered hedge clippers, thus I miss some spots of the tall stuff. My dogs inevitably head for the tall tufts of grass, of what I call the Grass Bar and munch away on it. I cannot find any definitive research that says why dogs eat grass. And how would this be researched anyway? How does anyone know that a dog eats grass because his tummy hurts? Did he tell you that he has a stomach ache? Did the tummy ache happen before he ate the grass or did the grass eating cause the tummy ache? I wish dogs could tell us. It is a perplexing subject, and with two of my dogs being Great Danes, I find it worrying. To vent my anxiety about my Great Danes eating grass, (Danes are prone to a serious gastric distress called bloat), I created a small painting depicting Pembroke Welsh Corgis at the Grass Bar & Pub, with a Harlequin Great Dane as the attending Barkeeper.

Monday, June 4, 2012

It is Monday again! Time for coffee on the porch. I am considering time today. One has to wonder where does time go? does it trickle away in tiny drops or does it wash away in a flood? I think it depends upon what you are doing at the time. If you are in a boring meeting listening to boring speakers, then time slows down to a trickle. If you are doing something you really enjoy, then it speeds up considerably. Is that what is called "time is perceptual"? I am well acquainted with time unleashed. I feel it particularly when I am painting and sculpting. Focus and concentration on these tasks creates a time free zone, perceptual and sometimes impractical for the housewife. It gets in the way of chores; dishes pile up in the sink, dog hair piles up into tumbleweeds that scuttle across the floor like Dodge City in the summer, the grass grows so tall a Great Dane can get lost in it. Bosley the puppy, and my charge during the week, must perceive weekend time as passing with lightening speed. He is in his home where freedom abounds. He has puppy toys strewn throughout his house. His Mom commutes to work during the week, and drops him off at my house for puppy sitting. Unfortunately for Boz, my nickname for him, my home is not as fast and loose. As it is a place of not just living everyday life, but of work, thus it must have some structure to it. He has a crate here at my home, in my studio. It is quite comfy, with toys and chewy sticks, but his freedom is comprised greatly. For Boz, Monday's bring a screeching halt to time. Boz at 6 pounds is a tiny little fella. He's only 17 weeks old and his breed is the Papillon, which is the French word for butterfly. That is because Papillon dogs have large ears shaped like butterflies. This past Saturday, Boz had a distemper and his rabies vaccinations. Vets will tell you there is no such thing as the dog having reactions to the vaccinations, but I have seen it too many times to deny it exists. Boz is not quite himself. He's just a tad less rambunctious than usual. My Mom used to always say tempus fugit. She was right. It's time to begin work in the studio. Hope you all have a good day and enjoy your now. The Proposal, painting on canvas ©LynHamerCook

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Good Sunday to you :) The weather reports state it is partly cloudy here today. That got me to thinking; why do they use the term partly cloudy instead of partly sunny? To my way of thinking, if one has the choice, it makes sense to choose the sun over clouds. 50/50 I suppose. I have been working in the studio over the weekend. The result is a whimsical Folk Art Sculpture I titled Corgi Super Hero. This piece is currently on auction on eBay. To find the sculpture, go to ebay.com and search for seller i.d. wally_doodle (named after my dog). The size at the base is 5 inches by 7 inches and it is 7 inches tall. The Corgi is 6 inches long.
Back to the studio this evening to start a new sculpture. I'm thinking of sculpting a small breed dog, such as Boston Terrier, or Pug, and perhaps a kitten also. It's such fun to watch something grow from nothing to something.... or in my case, from a blob of paperclay to a three dimensional object. These pieces require many hours to create, thus my fun time for other activities is on the back burner for now (such as Second Life the virtual world). That said, time is being made for front porch enjoyment. This is the Year of the Front Porch :) Join me sometime for Cafe' or vino. There is a seat waiting just for you on the front porch.
The Corgi to the left has been adopted. He is made of paperclay and stands on a wooden base. He's holding his favorite stuffed toys; two lambs. I meticulously hand painted his footed pajamas with little swirlies and curlie q's. He found a forever home in Texas.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Front Porch things to do


May 30, 2012

Ten Things for Front Porch enjoyment.

10. If you are with someone, talk about everything but religion and politics. If you are by yourself, think about everything but religion and politics.

9. snuggle in the swing with someone special. NOTE: this is not mandatory. Hugging yourself is. Appreciate the moment whether alone or with someone.

8. verbally harrass the neighboring squirrels; i.e., hey, you, tree rodent, get outta my yard!

7. Immerse yourself in the 3D high def world that exists in glorious panoramic proportions outside on the front porch, and forget about television and internet.

6. forget about the dirty dishes piled sky high in the kitchen sink while you sip on your favorite wine. Dark chocolate and also ice cream are also a good choices for front porch meditations.

5. read something made on sheets called paper that usually has a binding of some sort; now there is a thought; no I pads, I pods, computer devices allowed. No newspapers either, as the world of woeful news is not allowed on the drama free zone of the front porch.

4. When dinner is finished, herd your family and friends out to the front porch and conduct watermelon seed spitting contests. Important note: avoid buying a seedless watermelon to avert intense disappointment when the contest begins.

3. Take pen and stationery out to the swing and write a lovely letter to someone who would enjoy hearing from you.

2. After dark the front porch takes on a romantic aspect. To increase this transformation, buy a citronella candle for after dark front porch musings.

1. Take a nap.

note: if you live in Southern climes as I do, a good bug repellent is recommended. Don't let the nasty little bloodsuckers keep you from enjoying the front porch this summer.