Stray Dog Arts

an inspired life...

I feel refreshed today. As long as I don't think too hard about the long to-do list that grows each time I give my attention to it, I feel like I've entered yet another new beginning. I am bringing my very first year of the creation of Stray Dog Arts to a close...and I am looking forward to all that the next year will bring.

This morning I feel like anything is possible. I feel hopeful, expectant. I believe that, in my own way, I am capable of changing the world for the better. For me, that change comes through helping dogs in need. It comes through my art--both painting and writing. It comes from following my heart and, in turn, sharing that journey with others who are trying to find their way to their own heart's path.

What if we really, truly believed in ourselves? What if we actually did all the things that we are pulled to do? What if we let inspiration lead us in whatever direction it might take us--however unexpected?

Today I can feel my heart. And, even better, I can feel what it wants from me.

It has been a successful year of finding myself. It contained the full range of highs and lows and, in the process, I came to know myself better than I ever have before. I feel a sense of confidence that has deepened and expanded the possibilities in my life. The terrain has been sometimes treacherous in getting to this place, but I'm loving the view from where I now stand. I'll probably be tested over and over again--even so, I'm beginning to understand that taking those lessons in stride will always bring me to an even better place than the one I leave behind.

Today I am thankful for this space and time to reflect. It is good to be reminded that everything we do does matter. What we are capable of matters. We matter. Our hearts' desires matter. Our passion, our inspiration, our dreams--they matter because they are capable of changing everything.

And a beautiful example lives through Maggie Doyne.

Watch. Enjoy. Dream.
And most importantly: Do.

That's me in the middle. In the Himalayas of Ladahk (northern India). Circa 1997.
My heart feels pulled.

May I return someday soon.




if my life were a painting...

Recently completed portrait:

"Mr. Pete"
12"x 12" Oil on Canvas

Artist's note: It's easy to fall in love with a dog named "Mr. Pete." Oh, those deep brown eyes, that snuggle-bum paw and kissable nose. I admit: I fell for him. ;)

* * *

These days I have been busy painting and planning and reading and dreaming. My world is covered in a deep blanket of snow. It is a soft phthalo blue in the shadows and a dazzling burst of sunrise in places where morning brushes another layer to its surface.

Last night I drove through downtown Minneapolis in a blizzard. After several days (weeks) of losing myself to the last minute influx of holiday commissions, it felt surreal to be out in the world for the pleasure of dinner. Cars occasionally skidded on a patch of ice or crust of accumulated snow. I was but one slow moving car in a stream of many.

To my left I saw several dozen individuals huddled together inside a bus stop shelter. They all had funny looking winter hats on. They all had dark colored jackets. They all stood stiffly, close to each other but with invisible thresholds holding them in solitude. In the cold, waiting for the bus, they stood in unison and worlds apart. A yellow light from the top of the shelter shined down on all of them. I wanted to paint that scene--so strangely beautiful in its normalcy.

To my right, there was a young woman, perhaps in her early 20s. She trudged down the neon light-filled sidewalk with determination. She had a strong, but petite body and a wonderful red and white winter hat with long tassles, one flying in the wind and the other caught in the folds of her heavy jacket. There was something about her that made me smile. Her movement, her energy (she seemed more alive than most), her reflection in the glass windows along the 900 block of Hennepin Ave. I wanted to paint her also--in motion, if that could be possible. In motion with lights that look real.

I drove and I wanted to paint everything. And I wanted to transplant a dog into every scene.

That's what happens when I paint a lot. Everything becomes a painting. I find myself living in a world where everything is a potential creation. Once, I went out for lunch with another pet portrait artist and the silver tray they served our food on became a painting.

I get lost like this sometimes. And, I must admit, I do love the way it feels.

I woke up this morning wanting to be more. I want to capture everything. I want to give myself completely to every waking second of my life. And yet, I know this isn't completely possible....but there is a freedom inside this thought that I am attracted to.

These days, I am attracted to the feeling of freedom. The best part of it is that I am invited to experience it over and over and over and over... We all are. And all we have to do is give ourselves to it.

I like imagining what my life and the world around me would look like if it were a painting. The desire to know self and place from the inside out? The desire to put words or brush strokes to every last beating second--if only to catch a glimpse of myself...


Featured!! Current and Belated and Current...

I'm happy to share that I am currently being featured in the latest issue of Australia's Urban Animal Magazine. 60 pages of full color glossy reading pleasure! I've been reading their publication ever since Stray Dog Arts was born and have enjoyed many good articles and lots of food for thought.

I feel very honored to be one of their featured artists from around the world.

What Urban Animal has to say about itself:
Urban Animal is a FREE Sydney-based & distributed quarterly, 40,000 copy, 60 page plus, tabloid sized full-colour glossy publication--a lifestyle magazine for animal lovers--celebrating our contemporary pets and our relationships with them. For those with a 'pet lifestyle' and love of our furred, feathered, finned and even scaly companions, we provide entertaining, informative and ethical editorial without advertorial for a witty and stylish look at life shared with our urban animal family.
You can check out Urban Animal for yourself here.

But wait! That's not all! I have another (woefully belated) feature article announcement:

Stray Dog Arts was also featured in the
Fall issue of Modern Dog Magazine!!!

I can't believe that I didn't mention this earlier (where did time go???). Oh, but this announcement was just too good to pass up. I am so very proud of the wonderful full-page feature article written by the talented Marni Wedin.

Modern Dog, the Canadian lifestyle magazine for dogs and their companions, is one of my favorite doggie magazines of all. Great articles, incredible photography, and so much delicious STUFF! Thoughtful and trendy all at once? Yep--this is an urban chic dog magazine at its finest. You can read my "Art Attack" feature in the Fall 2008 issue here.

Another reason I love Modern Dog is because a large part of their mission is "to support the efforts of organizations that work tirelessly to assist abused, neglected or homeless dogs." These are my kind of people. If I wasn't already blessed with a job that I love (painting dogs) can bet that I'd be asking them to hire me!

Australia, Canada...I am happy beyond words to be reaching an international audience. But there is another very important aspect of my work--and that is the dogs of my own city: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. What do these dogs spell? H.O.M.E.

The latest and most current feature was bestowed upon me by Sidewalk Dog, Inc. in their "Gifts to Delight Dogs and Dog Lovers." Let me just say that I LOVE Sidewalk Dog! Founded by two extraordinary women, Alice and Ali are at the hub of Minneapolis canine culture, urban style. Keep your eyes open for upcoming events, awesome articles, and an online directory of dog-friendly businesses worth checking out. You can visit Sidewalk Dog here.

Signing off with much gratitude,


© 2009 Stray Dog Arts, All Rights Reserved