Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Saleena Got Adopted!

I visited my County Animal Shelter today. What a wonderful facility, amazingly lovable pets and great folks. I just know I'm going to enjoy working with them on the "Art For Shelter Animals" project! GREAT NEWS...Ms. Saleena got adopted yesterday! HORRAY!! I took over a hundred photos of some of the beautiful fur babies, so I'll be posting more portraits soon! Here's a photo of Lisa, the shelter manager, with Pretty Boy. What sweethearts they both are! Pretty Boy's ID#25332. A PURR-FECT lap kitty for sure! See Lisa's most recent comment about the project here.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Stunning Saleena - Shelter Pet # 5

The Director of the Burlington County Animal Shelter, Lisa Cliver, sent me a couple of animals she would like to have me paint for our "Art For Shelter Animals" project. I call this beautiful young short hair calico ID# C-25478, Ms. Saleena. I don't know why, the name just came to me while I was working on her portrait. You can be assured that she is very special indeed, if Lisa picked her out of all the others to feature! I am looking forward to meeting both her and Lisa soon!

I am showing you the first step of this painting where I wet both the front and back of my 140 lb. Arches cold press paper, leaving only the cat's silhouette dry. After painting in the background (very wet-in-wet), I paint in the eyes, because if the eyes aren't right, there's no sense in continuing. The eyes are the windows of the spirit and soul and can make or break a portrait. Better to just start over if they are not right when you are working in watercolor!

Personal Achievement

I am happy to announce that I have just been accepted as a contributor for iStockphoto. WAHOO! Excuse me for tooting my own horn here, but this was a real technical challenge for me. I am fortunate however, because "I get by with a little help from my friends". Thanks for all your help and pep talks in getting me this far Nan! This is one of the photos I used in my application. See more about iStockphoto on my Spirit Art Blog post for today!

"Any great achievement is preceded by many difficulties and many lessons; great achievements are not possible without them." ~ Brian Tracy

Give yourself room to fail and fight like hell to achieve." ~ Irwin Greenberg

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Designer Dogs

I asked Lisa form the Burlington County Animal Shelter, to pick out a couple of animals that she would like to see me paint. One of the photos she sent me is this striking female Mastiff -Mix, ID #D-23899. Hybrid dogs, or designer dogs as some call them, like this sleek animal are becoming quite popular. I have a feeling from seeing the photo, that she is part Lab. They even have a name for this hybrid called a Mastador. Look at the beautiful golden eyes on this young sweetie. What a wonderful companion she would make! I will take better photos of her when I visit so I can do a portrait of her that does her justice for the Art For Shelter Animals project. Here is a sketch I did, trying to guess at what her three- quarter profile looks like.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Art For Shelter Animals Update

Today, here's an update on the "Art For Shelter Animals" project. I spoke to Lisa Cliver, the shelter director today and she had some wonderful news. My portrait #4 , ID#D-26033, named Sasha, has been reclaimed from The Burlington County Animal Shelter. The third portrait I did of baby brothers, Joey #1 , Joey #2 and Boo have been adopted! The first portrait of the American Bulldog, Bulldog ID# D-25923, has been reclaimed. The only one left is the orange tabby #C-25195. Won't you help a pet in need today if you can? I bet all the animals on www.petfinder.com will make PURR-FECT PETS!

I will be meeting Lisa in person next week. I will drop off the paintings I've done, tour the shelter and discuss ways we can help the animals with my work. These images I've posted today are from my animal portrait archives. I've done hundreds over the years. The cat is in honor of Joey#1, Joey#2 and Boo. Wishing them happy homes with loving folks! The Rotweiler portrait is for Lisa, in honor of one of her very own rescued fur babies.

Contact me about doing a commissioned pet portrait of your own fur baby today. Sizes and prices are available upon request. Your support will help me buy art supplies and materials to continue to donate my paintings for the "Art For Shelter Animals" project. Thanks from me and the animals.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I found this list of quotes from Macintosh Computer ads today online at a site called Famous Inspirational Quotes.

"Here's to the Crazy Ones.
The misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They're not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them,
disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can't do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They invent. They imagine. They heal.
They explore. They create. They inspire.
They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
Or sit in silence and hear a song that's never been written?
Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
{Some} see them as the crazy ones, {some} see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can
change the world, are the ones who do."
~ Apple Computer Ad Quotes

See my post about outrageousness and "Tiptoe Through The Tulips" today on my Spirit Art Blog.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Oh Wow, Another Award!

OMG! I just got another award from Sheila and Carrie of "Art For Shelter Animals"! That's the second one from them. Boy do I feel special... Thank you so much girls! :-D

Sheila writes, "You are our first recipient of a blog medal from the Art for Shelter Animals site. This is a small token of our great appreciation for the enthusiasm, energy, talent and a little tenacity in dealing with the shelter administration. I wish we could give you a cash prize like the Pulitzer does but maybe in the future. Sandy, your contribution means so much to Carrie and I because we know the time and effort WILL make a difference in the lives of pets begging to find a home. From the bottom of our hearts and the dogs and cats locked up in their cages....
Sheila, Carrie and critters who have a brighter future because of you!"

Shabam!! I hope they realize just how much I appreciate their appreciation!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

T.G.I. Friday's Rocks!

If you go online, you can sign up to get great promotional deals from Friday's. I signed up for their "Give Me More Stripes" card a couple of months ago. Every couple of weeks, I get an email from them with special deals or coupons. Today Jerry and I were out that way and decided to take advantage of the new deal they have going on. It sounded too good to pass up and it was! We went to the Marlton, NJ location for lunch around 1pm and since it was a slower time, we got all kinds of special attention from our delightful bartender and waitress, Amy and the manager on duty, John. If you go on a Sunday afternoon, they'll probably be working, so tell them Sandy sent you! :-D I definitely recommend it! We saved over $30. and brought home plenty of delicious leftovers for dinner! This deal goes on until April 30th, so we are going to do it again for sure! You can probably print out this coupon right here from my blog! Don't miss all Friday's great offers, sign up today at www.givememorestripes.com.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Palin Escaltes Aireal Wolf Killing

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's administration increased its aerial wolf killing program this past weekend, which the group Defenders of Wildlife says violates current state regulations.

"While the media obsesses over Governor Palin's private family life, she is getting away with illegally slaughtering large numbers of wolves from the air," said Defenders Action Fund president Rodger Schlickeisen. "The governor is even encouraging the killing of wolves that reside and den mostly on federal land, which belongs to all of us, not just Alaskans. There is no biological emergency in Alaska that warrants such measures."

Read more of the dealings of Alaska's Governor Palin here.

Special Projects - Commissions

I had a blogger friend contact me yesterday about doing a commission for him and his wife. I don't want to discuss the details yet, but it's really got my creative juices stirred up! Here's one of two 18" x 24" portraits I did a couple of years ago for a client of their daughter, Sam, who is a super dancer. I had almost forgotten about how much I enjoyed doing them. It's fun collaborating with folks to to make a one of a kind, once in a lifetime gift that will last life times.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

March, Springtime Gold And PayPal

See my Spirit Art Blog Post for today and check out Bill's poem, called March. I think you'll enjoy it. Today I spent most of the day sorting through my web sites and figuring out how to put PayPal buttons on my paintings. Gosh, I didn't realize I have so much inventory. I'm making a special springtime offer to my blogger readers! If you buy an original painting from me in the month of March, April or May, I'll send you an autographed copy of my Animal Spirits Book as a gift! I'm not mentioning it on my web sites, just here, so let me know via. email if you make a purchase and want take me up on my offer. :-D Here's a PayPal button to go with this painting. Look how official it looks! I noticed the Goldfinches are putting on a little color around here. They are starting to change from their drab winter attire into their bright summer finery. I'm posting a little original watercolor painting in their honor tonight that I call:
"Springtime Gold"
8" x 10" ~ Double Matted and Framed ~ $149.00

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cat Herding Ain't Easy!

I found this just now on a blog I follow. I think it's hilarious! I guess you'd have to call these guys catboys!

Free 10 Week Photoshop Course!

I just signed up for Creative Techs' 10-Week Photoshop Course by Jason Hoppe. My friend, Nancy Louie, alerted me to this incredible deal! This course is FREE, but since it is already in session and I didn't want to miss any of the ones that have already aired, I opted to purchase the full 10 weeks of recordings on audio file and PDF handout for only $50.00! Wow, how awesome is that! Now I can listen to all of them at any time and repeatedly if I need to. Sometimes (or I should say usually) this technical stuff takes some trial and error and review with me. Each new weekly recording should be active by the Monday following each Thursday class.

Feb 26: Week 1 - Photoshop Basics
Mar 5: Week 2 - Photoshop Layers
Mar 12: Week 3 - Selection Basics
Mar 19: Week 4 - Advanced Selections
Mar 26: Week 5 - Masks
Apr 2: Week 6 - Pen Tool / Shape Layers
Apr 9: Week 7 - Drawing Tools / Brushes
Apr 16: Week 8 - Retouching
Apr 23: Week 9 - Color Correction pt1
Apr 29: Week 9 - Color Correction pt2

My First MVP Medal From AFSA!

I just recieved my very first online (or offline) award / medal! It's a (Most Valuable Player / Thank you Award) from the gals running the "Art For Shelter Animals" project, Sheila and Carrie! Wow! I am honored and humbled. Thanks so much. I am proud to be working on such a worthy cause and with such great and kind hearted animal lovers!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sweet Sasha The Shepherd

This is my forth painting for the "Art For Shelter Animals" project. I decided to do an additional three watercolors, as the oils I did are still not dry. This beautiful girl, ID#D-26033, is named Sasha. The Burlington County Animal Shelter's website says; "What a pretty white German Shepherd Sasha is! She is good with kids, but a bit shy with strangers at the shelter. Her former owner said she is very loyal and is used to being around women and would probably need time to adjust to a home with men. Sasha is very intelligent and likes to play with squeak toys. Can you give this young girl a loving forever home?" I have drafted an email letter to send to the shelter management team and I am waiting for feedback on it from Sheila and Carrie before I send it out. I hope the folks at the shelter are as enthusiastic about this project as I am!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Black Is Beautiful!

The Burlington County Animal Shelter has a great selection of black kitties that need good homes. They've got baby brothers, Joey #1 , Joey #2 and Boo. There are long hairs, short hairs, males, females, youngsters and adults. All are neutered, tested and up to date on shots. One thing's for certain, black is beautiful! (And you won't have to worry about cat hairs showing up on your dark clothes! :-D) Check out all the breathtaking black beauties online today. I bet they'd all make PURR-FECT PETS! View your local shelter pets that are looking for forever homes by going to: www.petfinder.com.

This 5" x 7" oil painting is the third portrait in my "Art For Shelter Animals" series. See more about this on my Spirit Art Blog post for today.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Recipe - Delicious!

This Corned Beef Dinner recipe was emailed to me from me dear 'ole Ma. I thought you might like to try it too. Everyone who has tasted it agrees, it's worth the extra effort. I like to make a double batch. It keeps well and makes great leftovers!

I posted this last year on St. Patrick's Day, but I realize it didn't give folks enough time to get the ingredients and prepare it for the holiday, so here for your dining pleasure is this wonderful recipe with a twist on a traditional feast!

Delicious Corned Beef Hash

8 ounces thinly sliced lean deli corned beef (I used 3/4, could use a lb.)
1 lb. small red potatoes - about 8 potatoes,thinly sliced (I used regular potatoes)and 4 med. carrots, thinly sliced
1 cup thinly sliced leek or green onions (I used scallions)
1 10 oz bag angel hair slaw (I used a 16 oz. bag of precut/washed coleslaw)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar ( I adjusted all ingredients to taste.)
2 teaspoons. spicy brown mustard (I used Dijon.)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Cut corned beef slices crosswise into thin strips; set aside Place potatoes and carrots in a large saucepan. cover with water, bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes. Add leek or green onion and cook an additional 2 min. Drain well. Combine potato mixture and slaw in a bowl, toss well, set aside. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over med. heat. Add corned beef, sauté 2 min. Add vinegar and next 5 ingredients. (vinegar through pepper) cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour vinaigrette over potato mixture, toss until well blended and wilted. Serve immediately. I like it served with mustard or vinegar. Hope you like it too!

Calories per serving - 218.

I've been making this for several years now and we like it better than cooking corned beef from scratch. Happy St. Patty's day to all you lassies and laddies!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friendly Orange Tabby

Today's 5" x 7" original oil painting is of #C-25195 and is the second painting of my series for the "Art For Shelter Animals" project. This male American Domestic Short Hair is one of the many healthy, neutered animals available for adoption from the Burlington County Animal Shelter. I used a photo of my cat, Tigger, for reference.

This orange tabby is five years young and described as very friendly. I personally have a passion for orange cats. Of course I have a passion for most cats, dogs, horses, birds and wild critters regardless of color! "Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet." ~ Colette

The "Art For The Animals" Project

I became intrigued and emotionally involved the first time I saw this blog, "art for the animals". It's headed up by a couple of blogger buddies. The last couple of days, I couldn't get it out of my mind, so I knew I just had to get involved and do something to help. I haven't contacted our shelter yet. I wanted to do a couple of paintings first.

Today's 5" x 7" oil portrait is of a young female Bulldog ID# D-25923. She's now at our local animal shelter and came in as a stray on March 3rd. I was drawn to her face as she seemed to be saying. "I'm a good dog. Why am I here in jail?" I can tell she would be a super pet and companion. I sure hope she finds a new loving owner and a great home soon.

Burlington County Animal Shelter - This is the link to our local shelter w/ photos of the poor fur babies in desperate need, including this beautiful American Bulldog. You can find your local shelter by going to: http://www.petfinder.com Please have a heart and do what you can to help us help them today. Supplies needed by the shelter such as newspaper and cleaners are listed in their wish list also. Artists, check out the "art for the animals" project. Photos of these poor orphans are here online or if you don't cry easily, visit your local shelter in person. Someone is depending on you to make a move.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Sushi Challenge

The Internet is a classroom among many other things. I have met so many wonderful and helpful people and been influenced by much knowledge here. I had seen a video by Larry Seiler - alla prima brushwork exercise in oils last week via one of my blogger buddies, Sheila, and discovered the "Different Strokes From Different Folks" blog by Karin Jurick from another blogger friend, Cheryl, a month ago. This painting subject is from the current "sushi challenge" on Karin's blog and the technique is from Larry's video. This little oil took me under an hour with just over 250 strokes. See more about this on my Spirit Art Blog post for today.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wacom Intuos Tablet

One of my birthday presents from Jerry was a Wacom Intuos 3 Drawing Tablet. The first day I tried to use it I got very frustrated! I even thought of sending it back. I'm pretty persistent when it comes to challenges though. Today I decided I was going to #@!!**%# learn how to use it! I studied the PDF manual that came with the tablet, then went online and watched a few YouTube video tutorials about it. (A couple of the tutors looked like nine year olds and I thought; C'mon, you should be able to do this San!) After a full day of "class" I finally feel like I have a lttle bit of a handle on it. This is one of the watercolor illustrations I worked on with it. I used it mainly to outline the tree and touch up the roots. I also used it to block out and touch up the white background. I think I may eventually learn to enjoy working with it. I guess it is easier than drawing with your fingers or a stone (I mean a mouse) :-D.

A version of this image is available for license on iStock here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Wonderful Drawing Exercise

This is a photo of the blind contour drawings I demoed in this past weekend's workshop. This photo shows two different angles of a wooden Cardinal carving. Blind contour is an excellent exercise which improves hand - eye coordination and really helps you to SEE. The idea is to refrain from looking down at your paper while you slowly draw your subject, caressing the object with your eyes. If you loose your way, you can look down and reposition your pencil if need be, but while drawing, you must not look at your paper, concentrating only on following the contours of the shape. The results will not be completely accurate, but often makes for some interesting studies.

My Workshop Portrait By "Nano"

For more about my workshop and this portrait, see my Spirit Art letter for today.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Workshop Participant Portraits

Here are photos of the participants of my weekend workshop. College classmate, Nancy Louie, came with her art supplies and extensive photography gear in tow. I should have taken a shot of the studio set up with speedlights, umbrellas and stands. "Nano" is an expert at photographing many things, especially people. With amazing knowledge and impeccable standards, these examples show off Nan's ability to capture the likeness, energy and essence of her subjects.

This is Lee with her lovely painting and her subject.

Carol also has a very successful piece.

This is Nan, taken by me in the Wharton State Forest last Tuesday. (Hard to believe, it was over 70 degrees here today!)

And last but not least, Princess, the Art Director here at The Sandarosa.

More photos and highlights of this "Spirit Art Workshop" coming soon.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Student's Work - Workshop, Day One

Day one of my two day watercolor workshop was a lot of fun! We ended the day with some monotone Cardinal paintings. Here is my students' work. I am very happy with their end results and I think they were too. More to come tomorrow. We turn the clocks ahead tonight! Yeah, longer days!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

March Watercolor And Drawing Workshop

Today I'll be organizing my thoughts, lessons and my studio space for my two day workshop tomorrow and Sunday. Saturday morning we'll start with drawing techniques; gesture, blind contour and my six step pencil and wash technique.

In the afternoon I'll proceed with handouts to discuss the principles and elements of design. After doing a demo of basic technique applications, we'll do a watercolor with a limited palette so we can focus on the all important techniques of wet-in-wet watercolor. Focus will also be on the foundation of any painting - values. I will wait to discuss with the students how they would like to build on and expand these lessons so I know how to proceed on Sunday. One student has already said that she would like to learn how I paint my Sunflowers.

There is still a spot available for one or both days, so don't be shy give it a try!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Beautiful, Magical Snowfall

I've been looking through some photos I took in February of 2006 with my Nikon CoolPix 880. We had a heavy snow followed by a beautiful clear morning and I was able to get out in the woods early for some really breathtaking views. Although I rarely use it, 4 wheel drive is a real bonus in situations like these.

The snow was so heavy many trees were bent to the ground from the weight.

This is a waterway and cedar swamp a few miles from my home in the Wharton State Forest.

I love the magical, almost surreal feeling I get when I venture into a snow covered wilderness like this.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Yesterday's Snow Photos From The NJ Pines

This is a stream that crosses the road by my house.

I took over 150 photos with my new Big Boy D2x. I actually think I am finally making some headway and starting to get the hang of it. This is my favorite shot of the day of Nancy Louie, aka, NanoLou on the bridge, taken from the middle of the stream.

Here's a rear view photo of me (outstanding in my stream) taken by my friend, photographer extraordinaire, Nancy Louie. I love this shot as this person looks so connected, peaceful and "one" with nature.

Another photo taken by Nano of yours truly with my new obsession, only this time front view.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Day In The Snow

Today I spent most of the day out in the cold in Wharton State Forest photographing the snow. It was nice sharing the experience with friends, Carolyn and Nan. My favorite shot is of Nano on a snow covered bridge. I'll post it here if she approves. I don't want to get the W.A.W.A. (Wild Asian Woman w/ Attitude) angry. LOL! I wore my rubber riding boots and actually got into the stream with my tripod. What fun! After coming back here for a hearty lunch of my homemade Chicken Corn Chowder, the girls left and I went back out here and took some more photos including this shot.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Beauty of Snow

We just got dumped on here in Southern NJ! I am thrilled. The last time we had a snow like this was in February of 2006. It's been gray and snowing all day here, so I haven't had a chance to get out with my new camera yet, but I will! These shots were taken by me three years ago out in my neck of the woods. I was using a Cool Pix 880 digital at the time. I'm planning on getting out in the next few days to get some fresh new snow shots with my d2x. I'm chomping at the bit! I put together an album of photos taken this morning with my point and shoot, Cannon A590. It's a great little camera for capturing the moment. If you are a friend on Facebook, please check them out. If you are not on Facebook or we are not friends there yet, what are you waiting for? :-D

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Fun In The Snow

I took my new Nikon camera out in the snow and took some photos in the back of my property today. The light was less than ideal, but I had fun and hopefully learned a thing or two. I'm so grateful to have my very own photography guru, Ms. Nanolou. I've emailed her several high res. shots and enlisted her expert eyes and immensely constructive input and opinions once again. This is my favorite shot of the day. In the high resolution image, the details in the near edge of the water are amazing. What a camera!