Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A tribute to my Ziggy Marley.

Yesterday was my birthday. I think it was one of the best birthdays I have ever had. I had the chills for most of the day that an African American FINALLY made it into the white house. I was filled with a tremendous amount of hope that ignorance and lack of education are slowly becoming a thing of the past.
My dogs name is Ziggy Marley, and he is the one thing that puts a smile on my face EVERY day. Ziggy's breed is also widely descriminated against. Having worked exclusively with his 'breed' for several years now, I thought I knew how much they were descriminated against. I did not.
I was sure that because I had worked with this breed for so long, that when I rescued one, my friends and family would just love him by default. This, however, was not the case!! Ziggy loves to learn and do new tricks, so obedience classes have become his favorite thing! As a six month old, he breezed through his CGC test, which is an AKC recognized temperament test. Shortly after, we took a class that teaches him how to do tricks on a movie set, or a commercial, or for modeling. (Ziggy actually is doing a move called "flat" in the picture above, where he is to lay down and put his head on his paws and is not to move until I tell him he can.) Now that he is a bit older, he excells in his advanced obedience classes, and has become a class favorite. He will start showing in the spring.
I have had a wide variety of reactions to Ziggy when we walk down the street. One woman actually came over to me with her two lovely children in tow, petting Ziggy and smiling from ear to ear telling me how beautiful and well behaved he is. (We were doing an exhibition for a mental health clinic where Ziggy was performing service dog training. Opening refrigerator doors, retrieving objects, bringing them to you. The same with cabinets, opening and shutting the doors.)
"What breed is he?" she asked. "He is a pit bull." I said with a big smile. Her face dropped, she grabbed both of her children by the shoulders and scurried away. The little boy wined in protest, "But Mommy, he is friendly!"
On the other side of the coin, I met an older man at a gas station whose eyes welled with tears as he petted him, because he had never met a pit bull before, and couldn't believe how beautiful and well behaved he was. He shared with me the horror stories he had heard about the breed.
As one of our wonderful volunteers at the shelter once said, "If you want to feel what it is like to be discriminated against, walk with a pit bull."
I feel yesterday was a day of hope. A chance to learn to forgive, as these dogs have taught me just that. As I said on my website, "I think we as humans owe these dogs an apology. The good news is...they have already forgiven us. "
Thank you Ziggy Marley, for reminding us that the pit bull dogs are really just dogs...four paws, two eyes, ONE HEART.

Photo of Ziggy Marley was taken by Lisa Fishler. Her links can be found below.
(As an aside, she adopted Ziggy's brother, both of whom can be admired on her website!!)

Friday, January 9, 2009


This was alot of fun. It is still in the beginning stages. I used a canvas that I had started a portrait on. She wasn't fitting well...I felt I was shorting her at the top, and wanted to try her again on a different size canvas. So poor Etta's unfinished portrait has been sitting in my studio for a while. Sometimes if I reuse a canvas, I will gesso it. However sometimes I think it is more of a challenge to really see and create what you see in your mind regardless of what the canvas looks like before you begin. I do alot of painting at night, and it is difficult for me to take pictures of the canvases when they are wet. Any advice on this is greatly appreciated, as far as the best lighting to use to minimize the sheen.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

First Challenge first challenge for me. The Jefferson Memorial at night!! I have always wanted to do a night scene, so this will be fun. I will also post progression photos as I go along. I can hardly wait to get started!!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

My Purpose...

I was inspired to create this blog by my photographer friend Lisa Fishler. We have done some work together in the past, and she is a constant helping hand to me, as my computer skills are sadly lacking. She has encouraged me to complete my web-site, which I finally finished last summer...a huge relief!! Her website and blog are listed below.
She recently led me to a blog called "Different strokes from different folks", which is an artist network to complete a painting assignment every two weeks, hosted by artist Karin Jurick. The finished results will be on her blog, which is listed below.
This was just the push I needed to get going on a body of work which I can sell. Please check back often, and take the time to look at Karins blog. Such a great idea, and so fun to see everyones different styles and having fun supporting one another!!