Laughing Dog Arts

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Tribal visit

Last week I had some blogging friends come and visit me.  It was the first time most of us had met, during this trip they took.  From left is me, Uta from Australia (yes!  Australia!!) Glenn from Seattle, Elena from Chicago or thereabouts and Robin also from thereabouts. (click on their names to go to their blogs)  Oh, and the red dog Sadie! These photos are all taken at my place, this above one in front of my studio.

The Tribe, feeding my llamas

Down by the river

We got in a little studio workshop!

We Skyped one of the missing tribal members so she could bear witness to our attempt to cut Glenn's hair.
 Even Chainsaw man got in on the act!

Uta did a pretty good job on Glenn's hair and beard.  He does look a bit stunned though.  His daughter is getting married next month so he is getting cleaned up for the special occasion.

They only stayed two nights and the time flew by.  We had such a good time, with no awkward moments.  Uta had flown in from Oz, stayed with Elena and other friends in the Chicago area, meeting them all in person for the first time.  Then she, Robin and Elena took a train to Seattle, stayed with Glenn who showed them the Seattle sights.  You should take a look at Uta's blog,  And Then She Said... 
to see the further adventures of the group. Robin and Elena are back in their homes now while Uta is staying at Glenn's.  We were blessed with perfect weather, barely into the 80's.  It was such a good time!  Bloggers are the best!

I haven't posted much since my Rocky boy passed away.  I had a bout with Shingles and believe me that was no fun.  Lucky those things happened before my visitors were due to arrive.  Well, lucky isn't quite the right word for it but I'm glad I was feeling better by then.  Frankly I was terribly depressed for awhile but seem to be getting back to normal now. Sorry I haven't been visiting your blogs much lately, I'll try to get back in the swing of things here soon.
The weather here in Oregon has been mostly cool with a few days of sun here and there.  I feel badly for those of you suffering in the hellish heat zones elsewhere.  Hopefully your weather will moderate and enable you to enjoy the rest of the summer.  Or your winter, as the case may be.  Until next time,
Be well.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 18, 2012

Thank you all

Thank you all for your kind and thoughtful comments and emails regarding the loss of my Rocky dog.  I really appreciate it.  Please forgive me for not personally responding to all the comments like I usually try to do.  Words are difficult right now but I hope you understand and know how grateful I am for your sympathy.

My friend Karen made me this card and I thought I'd share it with you.  I love this poem, and like to think it is true.

Be well.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Gift of Rocky

This will be a long post, a tribute to my loyal companion of 14 years.  My Rock.  My friend, my buddy, my sweet boy.

  Fourteen years.  That is the longest I've ever been blessed with a dog.  Rocky was born here to Risa, my sweet little female Pit Bull.

Rocky was the spitting image of his mom, Risa.

  That was the only time I've ever let any of my dogs breed.  There is a long story that goes with that decision but I won't go into that here.  I kept four of the puppies and  the rest went to carefully chosen people.  Rocky always went and hid under the deck when people would come to view the puppies, so of course no one chose him.  I hadn't intended to keep him but he chose me.  What a gift he turned out to be.
Rocky always lived in the shadow of the more buoyant personalities of his mom and siblings but he was the first one to go swimming.  He did love the river.  He was quiet and shy, never one to demand attention. 
One by one the others crossed the Rainbow Bridge until only Rocky was left.

I thought I'd keep it that way for awhile, let Rocky be the center of attention for a change.  He really took to that!  Next thing he knew he is the one getting all the best treats.  He is the one that gets to go on all the car rides.  He is the one all the visitors pet and praise.
Rocky dearly missed his doggy family though.  He would sit in the yard and do the most mournful howling, enough to break my heart, which was already broken because I missed them too.

They used to all howl together,

and beg together.  The Rottweiler was Rocky's auntie Kali.

  No one could resist Rocky's soulful eyes.

 Dogs that couldn't stand to have other dogs around took to Rocky like he was their soul mate.  People who didn't like dogs at all tolerated The Rock and were even seen to pat him on the head occasionally.  He didn't jump on people and wasn't inclined to lick. 
He became a sort of mascot in my creativity group and always accompanied me to meetings, where he'd beg for and receive treats from everyone.  He got a little bit spoiled.
He loved playing with his stuffed animals and going for walks.

Then I noticed him coughing a lot and sometimes when he over exerted himself he'd faint.  That was scary.  When I took him to the vet he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and given at most a year to live.  I swore he'd get two years but he actually got two and a half.  Good years too!  We had to stop our miles long rambles through the woods and be content with shorter walks.  Eventually Sadie and then Tonka joined us, both senior dogs content with short walks.  As Rocky's disease progressed our walks got shorter and shorter until in the end, he could only walk to the driveway and back.  He was still enjoying his meals, and seemed mainly pain free. 
 On Sunday, June 10th, we were all out in the yard, enjoying some mild sun.  Rocky walked over to the water dish and had a nice cool drink.  Then he ambled over and picked up an old bone and settled down to gnaw on it.  A minute later we heard a gasp and I hurried to him where he was laid out on his side, gasping his last breaths.  I crouched there in the grass beside him, hugging and petting and talking to him.  He went quickly and peacefully, not two feet from where his brother went, 3 years earlier, also in my arms.  We buried him in the pet cemetery, next to his brothers, sister, Mom and auntie..  As we finished up, we were serenaded by crows, frogs, chickens, woodpeckers, and this song that I played on the stereo:

Rocky, you will remain always in my heart.  What better words can I say than, "You were a Good Dog, and a blessed gift."

Rocky Brattain
May 24, 1998 - June 10th, 2012

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Winner of my 200th post give away

Is Karen S at A Creative Kick blog.  Congratulations Karen, I will get this book off to you as soon as possible.

I will leave you with this photo of a prayer flag my 7 year old friend made for me.  Thanks, Lauren.
Be Well.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

200th Post! Time for a give away

Hello there, my blogging friends!  It took me awhile but I have finally reached my 200th post in this one.  I thought I had better have a give away to celebrate.  Details below.  

For now I am showing you some paper "buttons" I made after reading a tutorial on Kelli Nina Perkins blog.  They looked so pretty and I had everything I needed so why not?  If you click on Kelli's name above, it will take you to the tutorial on her blog.

They were fun and easy to make.

 I used a few on this journal page.  See them in the flowers towards the bottom?

Here is the double page spread.

When I saw these bangle bracelets on the Art Bead Scene blog, I wanted to make some.  So I did.  Click on the blog name and you will see the tutorial.  I had saved some plastic rings from lids off of mayonnaise jars and that is what I used as the bangle part of these bracelets.  Upcyclers Unite!!

Finally, in honor of all my loyal blogging friends I thought I'd give away this fantastic book by Judy Wise and Stephanie Lee.  Plaster Studio.  Mixed media techniques for painting, casting and sculpting.  I love the book but have decided that I'm not going to be making good use of it so would like to pass it on to one of you.  Please leave a comment on this post telling me you want your name in the drawing for it.  I'll draw a name on May 19th.

I found evidence of more upcycling in the natural world when I was cleaning out behind some books on a shelf in my studio.  Beautiful mouse nest!  Luckily I must have caught the mouse before they actually used this nest, it is a constant battle to keep up with the little furry critters.  There are bits of fabric, tissue paper and of course the peacock feathers.

So that is what I have been up to when I'm not outside working in the garden.  Hope you all are having a fine spring.  Don't forget to leave a comment if you want to be in the drawing for the Plaster Studio book.  I'll announce the winner next Sunday.  Till then,
Be well.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 4, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dad!

My Dad, Bill Brattain, is turning 85 on May 6th.  Hard to believe that young boy with the violin is 85 now.  Dad played in the Youth Philharmonic when he was a kid.  I remember him playing his violin when we were kids, he'd play a piece of classical music to send us to dream land.

He grew into a handsome young red haired man.

This picture might have been taken yesterday, tall lean young man in jeans and T-shirt, baseball cap.

Soon he was a father.  I love this shot of Dad with two of my brothers and me, Christmas about 1957 or '58.

Dad was born and raised in Oregon with his Dad, Mom, one sister and two brothers.  Here he is with my grandfather and Uncle Creed and Uncle Laird.

I like this picture of him, still a handsome man.  Yep, that's my dad!

My family, doing what we like best, talking, laughing, eating and drinking fine wine.

He has an irreverent sense of humor.  Put a camera in his face and he is just as likely to make a silly face as smile.  Notice him above, making a face.

Here he is with his sister, my Aunt Peg.  He's getting older but he still isn't grown up;-)

This picture of my step mom Dottie, Chainsaw man and Dad was taken up at the family cabin when we had a work party. 

Sorry for the quality of the pictures, I really should get a scanner.

This final photo, of me and my Dad, taken at a previous birthday party.  I don't have enough pictures of me and Dad.  We are having a get together on Sunday to celebrate, maybe I'll get one of my brothers to snap one.

Happy Birthday Dad.  I love you!! 

Adding this on May 7th.  Had a great time with my family and thought I'd share this photo from yesterday with you all.
Tom, Bill, Jan, Rick 

When my sister in law Renee asked Dad how it feels to be 85, he replied, "Smooth.  Life just keeps getting better and better."

Sounds like a good thought to leave you with.
Be well.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Painting backgrounds

I've been working in my journals and I am liking what I am creating more all the time.

I imagine I am getting better at it.  Practice does help.

Finding the right pens to be able to write over painted pages helps too.

When the friends in my creativity group noticed my work improving they began to ask me if I could show them how to paint the backgrounds.  We did a little workshop this week and here are some of their results.

Mary tried some water soluble crayons.

I believe above shows some of Karen's work with the water soluble crayons too.

Pinky included some stamping with her work.  I love that stamp and borrowed it, made several copies on other papers to use later.

Karen included some cut outs over her painted page. This page shows the technique of painting designs first with some gesso, then painting over it and wiping off.

April prefers less abstraction.  She had some gellato colors that she was trying out for the first time. She liked them a lot.  They are water soluble too.

More of Karen's work.  When in doubt, put a bird on it!

April is taking a lettering class from Joanne Sharpe and gave us all cards and she hand lettered the envelopes.

Two weeks ago we colored eggs. Mine is the skully egg.

The next week we took April out shopping for her birthday.  We had to shop a little ourselves so she wouldn't feel lonely.
Posted by Picasa