Stray Dog Arts


I can't help it. I'm an optimist. My husband says I'm an idealist. He calls himself a realist (which, let's admit, is pretty much just a slight upgrade from being a pessimist). I was mildly surprised when he didn't call me a dreamer. I was prepared to argue. I won't argue with being an idealist though--because it's true.

I tend to walk around with an ideal version of what I want things to look like or turn out like or...yeah...I keep it tucked somewhere at the back of my eyeballs and I'll be damned if I'm gonna give up trying to manifest it on one level or another. I do this with painting, with living, with writing, with everything. I suppose this could be construed as stubborn or determined...and, yes, this is true of me also--a positive or negative trait, depending on how one looks at it. :)-

Sometimes my version of "ideal" changes. But one thing I'm fairly certain of is that my ideal version of life doesn't look like most people's. If it did, I'm pretty sure that I would not get so excited about the potential of a dirtly ol' garage in the middle of nowhere.

The garage, an earth-home constructed workshop, is about to become the home of the Stray Dog Arts studio. I've been letting my imagination run away from me on a fairly regular basis and am looking forward to the two larger-than-life paintings that I'd like to start once I get moved in. One will be of an English Mastiff named Beatrice. The other one will be of my grandpa. For some reason, it fascinates me to paint the two of them at the same time. I admit that painting my grandpa scares me. I'm afraid that painting him is going to make me love him even more. This scares me because, no matter how lucky you are, grandpas don't get to live forever. I guess that's one thing that grandpas and dogs have in common--and I love both, dearly. Come to think of it, that old garage that I am turning into my studio reminds me of my grandpa--completely--and that's probably one of the reasons I like it so much.

It even has a window that looks like it belongs on the side of a ship. On the other side of those big windows is where the garden starts. Despite the late start, I am planting bright red sunflowers and riotous bursts of zinnias. We'll also scatter some butterfly garden seeds, carrots, and sugar snap peas. I like imagining what it will be like to get lost in work up to the workbench and then look up into a world of bloom. I've been calling this year my year of "wild bloom." I had no idea that it would manifest itself so literally. Then again, this year has been full of surprises. This surprise just happens to be heavenly.

Although we don't technically move in for another 2 weeks, today Vinny and I spent several hours tilling the new garden space (and if you've ever done much gardening, you probably know just how difficult this is to do!). Behind the studio we'll plant tomatoes, more sunflowers, moon flowers, potatoes, peppers, string beans, spinach, lettuce, swiss chard, zucchini and some basil. I love it that I am going to be surrounded by growing things! Anyway, I've been meaning to give you a brief introduction to our new place and so here it is.

Here's to the optimism of growth. Here's to turning a dirty old garage into the best place on earth. Here's to bursting into wild bloom. Here's to turning inside out in the process. Here's to remembering who we are. Here's to living authentically. Here's to breathing deep and being crowded with unexpected joys.

Come visit me at the Edina Art Fair! June 5th, 6th and 7th

My studio is exploding with artwork in preparation for this weekend's big event: the Edina Art Fair. You can find me at booth #505--right across the street from the Edina Theater on 50th, near 50th and France in Edina.

Oooh! Oooh! Ooooh! I can't wait! OK, I'm up to my eyeballs in paint and I am once again in the process of pulling magic out of thin air. Magic: that's what I call the act of painting massively large amounts in desperately small amounts of time. I admit, I thrive under this sort of pressure. And I am very excited to unveil some of my latest work including a portrait of "Echo," the beautiful Great Dane belonging to Molly of Metro Pets. I have a few obsessions. One is big, sleek, beautiful dogs. Another is vintage signage. And, let's not forget, there's also my obsession with HUGE paintings! This one measures over 6 feet long. Oh JOY! Big enough to guarantee that I will be putting in a couple more verrry late nights in order to get it finished in time for Friday.

This is the direction I'm headed in (and getting closer!)...

I'm also obsessed with extremes. While working on Echo's giant painting, I've also been working on an entire series of 6"x6" paintings as well as creating 4" square and ATC prints. These are seriously fun! Then again, leave it up to me to make a tennis ball look moody. I've been giving my obsessive tendencies full range to play. And you know what? I feel INSPIRED!!!

Obviously, I should not be blogging. Am I even making sense? Well, if not, I'm gonna blame it on the paint fumes. All I know is that this chica is looking forward to sitting outside in my trusty ol' art fair tent for three days straight! I like to think of it as forced relaxation. Not to mention, I might get to see YOU! :)


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