Calavera Pumpkins

It is still early October, but I am already all about The Day of the Dead.

That’s because I’m having an art show for a series of paintings I did after my beloved Tula died of Lymphoma 2 years ago.

Her death, so close to Halloween and the “falling back’ of the clocks, the increasing cold and the darkness of winter made me feel a little panicky. I countered that with art therapy and it all flowed from one painting on a big, old wooden panel.

This year the sun is still out so I invited my  artist neighbor Warren over to play with me.

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I had an idea to make decorations for my show by making white pumpkins into containers for hot colored mums.

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We hollowed them out and carved them a bit as usual, and then used Liquitex acrylic paint markers and sharpies to decorate them to look like Mexican Calaveras.

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Warren claims his looks like me but I saw no likeness, but when we popped in the mums I changed my mind.

Skulls with flowery headdresses!!

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Sleep

It’s late November here in Vermont ~ the time of year for hibernation.

Who hibernates? Bats, Bears,skunks, bees, snakes, and groundhogs to name a few.

Since moving from a mild California climate to the stricter seasonal progression of northern New England, I’ve become much more sympathetic to the concept of hibernation!

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On the last day of Baby Bear Counts One, Mama and Baby Bear are ready to curl up and sleep the winter away.

Showing the process of sleeping is relatively easy, but showing dreaming was a challenge in Only The Cat Saw.  When I was a child I often dreamed of being near the ocean or swimming when I really needed to get up to urinate!

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Holly Taylor modeled as the sleeping Amy, way back in 1984

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Amy, dreaming in Only The Cat Saw. Acrylic on paper

Of course, we sleep all year long, and humans enjoy it as much as animals. Mostly sleep happens when it is too dark to draw, but sometimes a nap overtakes us, and when it does I seize that moment of daylight stillness to draw.

Since the late 70s I’ve drawn people and creatures I love while they were sleeping.

Here is a selection.

Perisick1978web

watercolor sketch of my sister Peregrine, asleep on the couch after wisdom tooth removal..

Periasleepweb

watercolor sketch of my sister Peregrine.

rowan2006web

this drawing of Rowan reminds me of Amy’s pose. Colored pencil on brown paper

Nappingweb

Brennan, asleep. Colored pencil on brown paper

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Rowan, asleep. Colored pencil on brown paper.

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Sabin, asleep. Marker on brown paper.

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Tula napping. Watercolor on brown paper

Cat sleeping page

Nutkin, sleeping. Acrylic on paper.

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Wildridge kitten, sleeping. Gouache on brown paper.

Life with Dogs: Part 10-Tula

Tula came to me as a scared, skinny runaway from Chico, CA, age unknown.

She’d recently given birth, had a dry, raggedy coat and kept her tail permanently tucked between her legs.

She refused to jump into a car, but broke three (empty) bowls by jumping onto the kitchen counter in search of food to filch.

She’d had a hard life to that point.

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I took her to Holly Park on her first day in Bernal Heights so she could get  a view of her new neighborhood.

Tula&Ida

Tula never met another dog she didn’t like, or at least tolerate. I saw her growl only a few times, and she had to be taught how to bark again.

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Though she always kept an eye on me, She liked and tolerated children of all ages too.

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Tula got around.

As my black and white shadow, she traveled from California to points all over the East Coast.

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On the Pacific Coast at The Sea Ranch,

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At the Brooklyn Bridge with Illustrator Paul O Zelinsky.

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And on top of Vermont’s Mt Abraham with Sabin Russell.

TulainCreek_web Tula’s favorite spot was belly deep in some body of water.

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but she was happy in all weather as long as I was there too.

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After any encounter with moisture, she would joyfully roll in grass or sand or the dusty driveway.

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Tula was the sweetest dog I’ve ever had and she will be profoundly missed.

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