Category Archives: Flying Fur

Writings and pictures of my animal encounters

Art Dog Philosophy

"My Bed", classic black dog bad attitude going on here. On repurposed plywood, using collage elements and acrylic paint.

I took the two new pieces of the BAD, Bad Attitude Dog, to Jo at Matter Gallery a few days ago, and that brought up the opportunity to discuss my Dog Philosophy of Art which made me think about it more. I want to share it because it makes me smile and smiling is a good thing, I should do more of it actually. (Remember you can click on any illustration and see it BIG).

"Sleeping Dog", in a private collection, but a great illustration of the sweet positive joyful side Yellow Dog demonstrates. Oil pastel on Canson paper.

I have been painting dogs forever. Yellow dogs, actually. I started way back in college when a fellow artist who was incredibly talented painted this astonishing bad dog that was wonderful, all teeth and attitude. At that time I was in my “chair phase” and I painted red chairs incessantly and photographed chairs too. Chairs stood in for people in my paintings, but I digress.  Mark and I fell in love with each other’s work and agreed to swap muses. He started painting chairs and I made off with the dog.

"Mine", kind of says it all, the snarky bad attitude dog got the paper and its too bad for you.Repurposed plywood, an old metal printing sheet from the Olympian newspaper and acrylic paint. Privately owned.

I still have a few very early Mark-inspired yellow dogs in my flat file but that dog had a mind of his own and evolved with time. He has even been a she a few times. Most notably in two pieces I have not photographed but I will—tomorrow.  The first piece is Yellow Dog in a prom dress, a stand in for every homely girl that knew , no matter how hard she tried, ugly would be back for her.  That’s a sort of universal chick truth, we all think we are homely at that age, doesn’t matter if we are or not, it’s a rite of passage.

2001 Food and Wine Fest poster, this dog is walking the line between good and bad. Food on the table...tempting for sure.

That’s when Yellow Dog became Every Dog, as in Everyman? Yellow Dog expresses hope and comfort and all the shining parts of our lives. And yes, I can paint people and paint them well, I just don’t want to. When I put a person in a painting the painting becomes about that person and the story hits a wall right there. Enter the dog, stage right… the work is not about the dog, it’s the bigger picture. There’s room to breathe if that’s a dog in there with you.

Yellow Dog Waits is a universal dog and kid truth, sometimes my truth too. Sometimes it feels like all I do is wait. On canvas and on the wall of my living room. That's my Granma's kitchen, loosely interpreted.

Black Dog came along one night in a circus painting a few years ago. He’s sitting on a round drum and there’s a big white horse with a ballerina behind him. He’s obviously got some dog attitude and he’s having a ball. Black Dog evolved to Bad Attitude Dog, he’s not bad as in eat-the mailman bad, but he might scare the mailman just because he can. Black Dog occupies his world, he’s the center of that world and it’s his oyster and that’s it.

"My Pool" makes me laugh. I don't think I'd want to convince him to move personally. The beach ball already bit the big one, or actually, the big one bit the beach ball. At Matter Gallery, repurposed plywood and collage with acrylic paint.

Now cats are a whole other story….

Home Before Dark is enormous, on a master sheet of Canson Paper. Done in oil pastel, it has Yellow Dog headed home to a glowing warm house and running a gauntlet of evil kitties. This piece is over 4 feet wide, framed and really one of my all time favorites. I should photograph it but getting it from behind that much glass? I need to think about that one for awhile.

I wanna be as far from Rotten Baby as I can go.

The Boys Visit the Dogter, a Story in Pictures

We went to the dogter today. I like riding inna car. Da rotten baby doesn’t know much about cars yet. He taked my seat away on my dog mama’s lap but I got dis squishy seat where rotten baby can’t reach me.

I am all cozy in my dog seat where rotten baby can't reach

You just jealous cause I'm so cute! I'd driving da car with dog mama.

I wait patiently for the dogter to call us

Other doggies are here too! I'm bein' good and I watch dem

Listen to my heart, feel my tummy gurgle, give me pets cause I so good

Dis dog nurse wants to take my temperature, from da other end!

our wunnerful dogter is Dogter Saloom. She is very nice and if we get shots, we gets cookies to distract us, but I'm so wiggly I distracting her!

We waiting patiently for fat Uncle Moosh to get icky medicenes in his ears

eww. Rotten baby getting shots!

getta inna bag, we escaping!

Nice dogter ladies love me more than fat old Moosh cause I so cute and he stinky!

Dogter peepul, hurry up with my medicene. I wanna be as far from Rotten Baby as I can go.

We all done now, I'm tired. Give us cookies and takes us home pleaze.

Leader of the Pack

No, No, No Napping according to the Baby's rules...

We now have three dogs. Okay, if you stacked up all three they wouldn’t make up one German Shepherd or even half a Rottweiler in gross weight, but I now have my own “pack”, as the Dog Whisperer would put it. I do love that guy, I catch his shows once in a while and I always learn something from them. Something like the fact that I am now the alpha “dog” and expected to lead the choir.

My choir consists of one grouchy old lady dog, Nellie the Rat Terrier, who thinks tennis shoes, mail men and cardboard boxes should be her personal attack and destroy mission in life. She has mellowed considerably with her  increasing years and waistline,  but I still don’t trust the blockhead with packages left on the porch by well-meaning delivery people. The mail man knows her up close and way too personal. He lives just four houses down from us but out of pure spite  and previous encounters he takes our packages all the way to the post office. I’m ready to bite him myself but that’s a whole other story.

Top: old lady naps, middle left, armed neutrality, bottom, fatty in the baby bed

 Nellie has a throw and fetch complex. She’ll fetch until she passes out and she carries balls everywhere. She leaves old dead tennis balls  all over the yard like hairy old neon puffballs with dog slobber embedded in them. The newest dog likes balls too, and wrests them from Nellie at every chance. Misha weighs just four pounds at the age of three months and he is either incredibly bright or fatally dumb in taking balls from the mailman eater. Nellie knows better than to snap at the baby dog at this point, but we have had one snap and raised hackles resulting in a stern chat with the Alpha dog (me) and a few time outs.

Misha is a baby Shih Tzu. He is in people years about two years old and boy, is he ever in the terrible twos! He looks like a demented midget panda bear with furry white legs and fluffy black hair everywhere else. He’s so fluffy you can’t tell how slim he actually is. He looks really odd when I stuff him in a sweater. Piano legs and toothpick body. Yes, I do stick the dogs in coats and sweaters. I’m too big for Barbies but I can still  get away with Hawaiian shirts on dogs. This horrifies my son Torin who refuses to be seen with me if I am accompanied by a nattily dressed dog.

Misha is teething on me, all of his toys, the other dogs, chewy pig ears, the stairs in the studio–the cat–once, and wicker if he can find it. We still have a bottle of bitter lime spray from Uncle Mushka’s baby days so I am hopeful we can save the furniture and the cat with early intervention. Mish is a delight and overflowing with manic puppy energy. The older dogs are not digging it at all…JUMP up in their faces, JUMP, bite their ears, JUMP bite their legs and run in circles around them. We are loving the puppy months but still, the mellow months ahead look very attractive from here. He got his name Misha to go with Mushka, a Russian Shih Tzu, go figure. Misha is the name bears  wear in Russian fairy tales so it fits his tiny panda person nicely.

Who wouldn't love that face?

Mushka is Misha’s uncle and he came to live with us when Terry was brain injured a few years back. Our dear friend Tone got Mushka’s sister and we went with her to visit the breeder. That was it. Tor and I got Moosh to bring back a little joy in our lives in November of 2006. Tor named him after a Russian space dog and we only found out later the first Mushka burned up on re-entry. Oops. He’s always been a serious little dog. Actually, I have come to the conclusion that he’s as dumb as a stick but he has a great personality and a good heart.

Mushka, basking in front of the fireplace, avoiding the puppy

He also has dreadful allergies and gets bathed every two days. He has learned to love the hair dryer and put up with baths. All three dogs love the hair dryer, they come running and vie for who gets “heated” up first.

So we have Nellie, Mish and Moosh. Nellie and Moosh are staid and restrained. Their idea of a good time is sleep 22 hours, nap one hour and the eat the other one. Mish coming to live with us was like downing a power pole with live wires in the living room. Potty training, arguments, raising a baby. I’d forgotten what its like!

The dog cyclone going strong, Play!

I like to watch the elders watching the infant tear around the house and you can see they want to get in and play so bad they can taste it. Tonight when I got down on the floor with them they could no longer resist. Everybody played! Three dogs,  each one with  a toy or three and sometimes they would tug o’ war on two ends of the same toy. By the end of the evening there were toys everywhere. It looked like an explosion in a stuffed animal factory. Moosh unbent sufficiently to run around in circles and jump in the air until he was dizzy and panting. Nellie and Mish chased thrown toys endlessly and my hands are full of puppy nibbles from the young Doctor Teeth who is still learning about not chewing on humans.

So Cesar, Dog Whisperer guy, I’m spending my evenings on the floor surrounded by my pack and they are actually beginning to play nice together. We aren’t there yet but we’ll get there.

And then there’s the bad pun…Mishka, Mushka, Mouseketeer. How could I resist? I mean, really?