Monday, September 26, 2011

On going grey...

I've made a conscious decision to let my hair go grey. Or maybe it's just laziness. I can't be bothered with the whole time-suck of getting it dyed and then, from now until the END OF TIME, getting my roots touched up. Until I am a wizened little octogenarian with improbably red hair that goes EXTREMELY well with my liver spots and is fooling NOBODY...


You can tell somewhat where the creeping greyness is at in that process from this photo--although it's not quite as noticeable as in some OTHER photos where I much more closely resemble Cruella DeVil. Or Pepe LePew.

If you squint your eyes a lot, the streaks at the front of my hair ALMOST look like they're blonde. But no, they're actually grey/white. I have hopes of someday having the Bonnie Raitt/Joe Perry slash of white in my hair (and the associated coolness), but with my luck, I will end up looking like a very aged mouse instead.

Yes, I HAVE DYED MY HAIR IN THE PAST. But the first time, I was 14 and succumbing to peer pressure. The second time I was in my early twenties and it was the 80s, and, while I have no excuses really for a bleached-blond top and dark sides, I would say that there were no excuses for a LOT of very public fashion experiments in the 80s.

Fingerless lace gloves.
Wham, the band
Boy George
Gaultier's pointy bra thingy that Madonna wore in concert
Giant linebacker shoulderpads...

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. My little hair-dying experiment was mild compared to some of THAT.

And the third time I went through dying my hair, I was in my thirties and had had the same style for YEARS and I felt sorry for my stylist, who was dying of boredom after about the tenth visit where I had her do the same trim on my plain brown hair. So, at her suggestion, I had her dye blond streaks just in the FRONT of my hair.

I ended up looking kind of like Rogue from the X-Men, if Rogue was a thirty-something policy analyst. As policy analyst hairstyles go, it was pretty edgy, but had to keep going in and touching up the roots. Plus there were none of the Rogue-associated powers that I would have put to good use, like sucking the life force out of whatever idiotic politician I was working with at the time who was convinced that "No Child Left Behind" as written was a GOOD THING.


So I let that grow out.

So I've been thinking about this recently, mainly because Jon and I went to a wedding and he had me help him put some "Touch of Grey" haircolor in his beard.

Just to be clear, I don't usually spend time thinking about my hair.


But every once in awhile, society comes in and reminds me that, according to the media, I am just advertising my decrepitude by not going the dye route.

Like that ad for the same "Touch of Grey" haircolor--where you leave JUST a BIT of grey in. All these hunky forty-something guys with just a little bit of grey in their hair--the "Doctor Strange" amount of grey at the temples, say--cavort around doing active things! They're on the beach, with their surfboards, displaying their improbably buff bodies, then they're hiking a fourteener and then they're cracking open some cold brews with their pals. And their women--a whole bunch of equally buff, active chicks who like to apparently WATCH these guys surf and climb fourteeners and then drink beer with them. Or at least FETCH the beer.


Just saying. Not sure if the women with all those partying dudes are supposed to be TROPHY WIVES or just THE MEN'S DAUGHTERS...or if they're forty-something women who dye their hair ALL THE WAY, the way maybe I should be doing.

And I caught a HILARIOUS Simpsons episode the other night, where Marge stops dying her hair. After a series of comments that I have often received ("Thank you for your bravery!") and others that I think might have been the subtext of comments I've received ("I hope I look as good as you when I give up!"), the clincher is given by Ralph Wiggum, who says,

"Grandma had hair like that when she went to sleep in her forever box!"

I could NOT stop laughing at that! And, even though Marge caved in and went back to the blue dye, this is what I have to say:

Helen Mirren
Richard Gere
Emmylou Harris
David Byrne
Jamie Lee Curtis


Thursday, September 22, 2011

About cats...

This is Goat.

She's about six months old and WHAT A CHARMER...

I was at the Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue's shelter two weeks ago when I met her. And her sister. And her other sister, whom I THINK got adopted that same afternoon.

It was EXTREMELY foolish of me to physically venture into the shelter because I have a very low resistance to the Kitten Time Warp. This is a condition where you lose the ENTIRE afternoon's productivity when you are in proximity to kittens, and apparently for me, prior exposure does not guarantee immunity. (See my post from June, titled Lost Time Phenomenon Explained, for more details.)

Not only that, but I nearly broke the overlords' first rule:


Goat and her sister Bellow were so CUTE though. And they were working HARD to close the deal with me. It was a close thing, let me tell you!

But the overlords would have been OUTRAGED. I would have PAID...

And my husband would have been none too happy, either. Because TWO CATS ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH, especially when one lap is not big enough for both of them.

So I left Goat and Bellow there, along with all the OTHER cats, and I dropped off my package and left.

Oh yeah. That package was why I was there. I donated a gift certificate for a portrait for the Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue's "Wine and Whiskers" silent auction/wine tasting event, which will be held tomorrow night, September 23, from 5 pm til 10 pm at the Molly Brown Summer House in Denver. Tickets are $40/person, which includes wine and hors d'oeuvres, and ticket proceeds and silent auction proceeds will benefit RMFR.

I could have EASILY mailed that package. But maybe I just needed a kitten fix.

So today I decided, instead of trolling the cat shelters, that I would look up some wacky cat "facts" on the Internet for my kitten fix.

And I found this amazing statistic at

A single pair of cats and their kittens can produce as many as 420,000 kittens in just 7 years.

Wow...them's some impressive numbers.

Also according to this site, more than 35,000 kittens are born in the U.S. each year!

After reading this, I was all impressed with the site, despite its lack of citations.! After all, it was on the InterWebs, right? It had to be correct!

Then I read another "fact" from the site:


Okay, I was with them until I got to the whole BATH part.


I cannot even fathom the work that would go into getting them BATHED, but it would NOT be a pretty sight. There would be yowling and blood and screaming and it would probably look sort of like the scene where the crazy Brazilian doctor cut out the American blond girl's internal organs in "Turistas, Go Home." And splashing. Lots and lots of splashing.

And then, after all that, BLOW-DRYING?

I don't THINK SO.

By the time Smokey got to the stage where I should be blow-drying her, I would probably be in the emergency room, looking forward to taking another 10 days of antibiotics for cat-bite.

But I do know this.

There are far more cats and kittens out there than there are homes for them. Cats like Goat and Bellow and the others at the RMFR are the lucky ones. They're in a no-kill shelter, so the clock isn't ticking for them. But most cats aren't that lucky.

I'm a total advocate for no-kill shelters, but without a comprehensive spay/neuter program, there are STILL too many cats to go around. So, even though I don't REALLY trust the numbers on this site, I still agree that you should spay or neuter your cat!

But BATHING them? No WAY!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Early morning ramblings...

Holy cow. It is taking FOREVER to load this image.

Maybe it's because I'm on the road and off the mainland, sitting in the lobby of a Hawaiian hotel (the only place in the building that they have wi-fi and I CANNOT HANDLE THE WHOLE CABLE CONNECTION THING WITH MY MAC, which is all they have in-room).

Plus Jon's asleep upstairs. Did I mention it's 3 in the morning? Even though that's 7 AM in Colorado, it is PITCH BLACK here. And I very rarely SEE 7 AM in Colorado, anyway.

There's a surprising amount of activity here for 3 in the morning. I have already deflected one guy who came in off the street, looking for some action (although, as I would define it, I am not exactly looking actionable since I just rolled out of bed and threw on some clothes before I staggered down to the lobby. I still have those CRUSTY things in my eyes, for Pete's sakes).

And WHY am I here? TOO MUCH KONA LAVA JAVA ICE CREAM last night.

Jeez. I have NO caffeine tolerance. At least my PULSE is racing, even if the Internet connection is NOT.

I should probably apologize for the long hiatus between posts. Basically I have been travelling a ton. Last weekend was Vegas, for a wedding and I had a deep objection to paying Planet Hollywood an extra $14 a day for internet over their extravagant weekend room rates. Then it was immediately to Hawaii, where I have been on the running track at King Kamehameha School during EVERY SINGLE WAKING HOUR and sleeping the rest of the time. So I have been giving my cell phone a workout in terms of email retrieval.

And I just SUCK at typing with my thumbs.

Anyhow, since I finally HAVE access, I thought I'd post this beautiful image painted by my friend, Tabetha Landt-Hastings. I bought the piece, called "Red Rocks," almost two weeks ago--although I had been eying it for some time. And I finally thought, "Okay, I am going to go ahead and get it." It's an original oil painting, and I know folks have been looking at it in Tab's gallery for YEARS.

MWAHAHAHA, folks! It's MINE! All mine!

Although you can get prints if you like! Check out Tab's online store at:

Aloha for now!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

What I've learned the past three months...

So here are a few things I've learned over the past three months of painting animal portraits. The photos here are of my portrait, "All-American Beagle"--which relates to point 7 below on criticism...and the Boston Terrier has to do with the first point!

Boston terriers come in multiple colors besides black and white. They also come in brindle or seal (black but with a red cast when seen in bright light) and white. This is Rudi, looking doubtful about something (perhaps having her photo taken). I can’t tell if she’s brindle or seal here.

Bulldogs. I just REALLY REALLY LIKE BULLDOGS. Too bad about all their breathing problems and potential jowl infections, but wow, what cool personalities they have. And such expressive faces. And the fur on their heads is SOOO soft. Plus the whole skateboarding thing.

I need to find more venues for getting cats to paint, because I am spending way too much time thinking about dogs’ jowls and teeth. Or horses. I would REALLY love to book a commission for a horse right now!

When a cat bites you, IT CAN BE SERIOUS. After Princess, my neighbor cat,(now aka Evil McEvil) chomped down on my foot last month, I found out that cat bites are really prone to infection. As my doctor said, “It’s like they’re injecting EVERY SINGLE DISGUSTING THING that they’ve put in their mouths RIGHT INTO YOUR BLOODSTREAM.” So if Fluffy, like Princess, decides to fang you, you should get to the doctor quickly and prepare to take at least 10 days of ENORMOUS antibiotic pills to combat the infection! In my case, I’m not sure if Workman’s Comp would cover a cat bite or not! I do know that, when I limped into the doctor’s office and told them that a) I painted animal portraits and b) a cat had bitten me, they all LAUGHED uproariously!

It is difficult to paint while your foot is elevated over your heart. (My doctor prescribed that, in addition to the enormous pills.)

My cats, even though I have been focusing inordinately on DOGS lately, are still very interested in supervising my work, standing on my drawing tablet, blocking my view of the computer monitor and mixing the paint in my palette with their butts. So I guess my paintings are currently both cat/dog portraits in a mixed-media sort of way.

If you’re an artist, just putting your work out there is going to result in unasked-for criticism. And you need to strengthen yourself against it, consider the source, sift out the crap and keep going.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t listen to criticism. I’m just saying it shouldn’t stop you from your own creating. This just came up because I got the oddest email the other day from a breeder that I’d sent my information to. She very helpfully said (and I am paraphrasing here, but this was the basic gist) that, unless I added softness and charm to my portraits, I was never going to sell them. At least not to beagle breeders or enthusiasts. They like something different.

She was much more polite, but she basically said my whole style would need to be changed because it’s not what beagle people want.

So that stopped me for about half a day until I started wondering how she had gotten elected to be the official spokesperson/tastemaker for all beagle breeders/enthusiasts. I think she really intended to be helpful, but it just didn’t make sense. I’m sure that there are SOME beagle people out there who like a modern and colorful style. After all, I’ve found that people with OTHER breeds of dogs like my style. Why would it be so unattractive JUST to beagle owners? Is it something about harkening back to the good old antebellum days of the foxhunt and wanting something evocative of that?

So I did not tell her what my father told me to tell her (he is a totally AWESOME dad in the artistic support arena so you can probably guess what he said) but I thanked her for her opinion and her expertise as a breeder (she had told me a great thing about the breed standard, which had something to do with a soft pleading expression). And I told her that I would certainly share later beagle portraits with her when I booked them. I also let her know how busy I am painting for people who seem to prefer a lack of charm in their pet portraits (although I hope I was more subtle about it than that).

Then I started painting again…a REALLY ugly, hard-edged poodle, in case you’re wondering, Because I think the poodle people LIKE ugly.

There are a whole bunch of mixed-breed dogs that are now being marketed as “designer dogs.” (Golden doodles, Schnoodles, Maltipoms, Foxton Terriers, Labradoodles, etc.) Supposedly there are logical REASONS for cross-breeding these dogs (like they have hypoallergenic properties, instead of the more-likely reality that, oops, Anita was in heat and she got out of the yard and got jiggy with the neighborhood pit bull) . And THAT IS SHEER MARKETING GENIUS. Because what’s actually the case is that you’re getting a fancily-named mixed-breed dog with uncertain characteristics. And you’re paying TOP DOLLAR for it!

Face it, you could get something EXACTLY like that at the local shelter for MUCH LESS!

I could USE the marketing geniuses behind “designer dogs!” But they are probably all somewhere making big bucks working for Equal or some other industrial poison that’s being sold as a low-calorie sweetener.

IN CASE YOU CAN’T TELL…I like big mutts, and I cannot lie…

Happy Labor Day!