Stray Dog Arts

Roads to Recovery...

The things I saw in Mexico were both horrifying and beautiful, an experience of both heartbreak and inspiration, all at once. Thank you Ricardo, Lisa, Luna and everyone at Tierra de Animales for all the work you do for animals in need. ♥

I met some very beautiful beings during my time in Mexico--human, canine, and feline.  Over the course of the next couple weeks I will be editing photos taken during that time.  I look forward to sharing the journey with you.  In the meantime...

A wish with my whole heart: May all dogs be happy!!!

Tierra de Animales

:: Santuario Ecologico Animal de Cancun ::

In just a few short days I will be in Mexico, breathing in a vastly different reality than the one I'm currently surrounded by.  I am looking forward to collaborating with Tierra de Animales in an effort to raise money to help support their unbelievable rescue endeavors.  In the meantime, journey with me as I document my experience by following me...


:: Tierra de Animales  ::  Land of Animals ::
Let your heart be broken open...
Learn more, Share, Support!

Rescue Info

An Invitation Into the Mystery...

"What you seek is seeking you." ~Rumi

As is your desire, so is your will.
As is your will, so is your deed.
As is your deed, so is your destiny.
                      ~The Upanishads

This past year I decided to let myself free fall.  That is, it's been a time of simplifying my life to the greatest degree, a time of letting go and of handing myself over to the unknown.  In the process, I ended up reconnecting with my most essential self. It has been an important and deeply satisfying time, indeed.

I've spent most of the past year with both feet planted in the natural world--painting, deepening into the art of photography, spending time with horses, dreaming, writing, visioning--undoing an old self in order to make space for what's here now and whatever is on its way.  I feel rested.  I feel fueled.  More than anything, I feel PULLED towards something, a mysterious and expansive energy.  I know it when I feel it and each time it takes over my body and bones, I find myself saying YES! Within a short amount of time a whole lotta awesome started showing up.  Pulled, pulled, pulled...being pulled into the mystery, into that place of YES, into my deepest purpose, my truest self.

2013 is already geared up to include a helluva lot of adventure, plenty of travel and an incredible amount of creative growth.  I'm excited to see where all of this is leading, but am stepping into it with an open mind and a humble heart. 

On Friday I will be traveling to the Cancun/Mayan Riviera area of Mexico.  It was a decision made in one of those spontaneous moments of YES(!).  While in Mexico, you can bet that I will be soaking up the sun and salty air, but more importantly, I will be photographing street dogs and volunteering at an incredible animal rescue, Tierra de Animales.  I'm looking forward to it, but am also not sure what to expect.  I'm not new to the world of animal rescue, but something about this feels different. I'm not so sure I can do something like this and not be changed by it.

I recently painted a portrait of a dog named Mr. B.  He was a Caribbean street dog who was rescued and has since come to live with a wonderful family and lovable canine step-brother, Darby, in Minneapolis.  Mr. B sparked something in me.  He was skittish and nervous and yet, given time, he melted into a back massage like you wouldn't believe. Meanwhile, I have been hashing out the details of rebranding my business, discovering new aspects of being, and reconnecting with the oldest parts of myself, too.

My business name, Stray Dog Arts, is inspired by a black and white photograph that I took in Kathmandu--a bunch of street dogs sitting together on a stoop alongside a bustling road.  It has always been my intention to return to India and Nepal to paint those dogs. But somewhere along the lines, I got distracted.  My business took off and I found myself spending the majority of my energy running just to keep up with it!  Then I left on this Northerly Painting Retreat, decided to free fall and, through a winding series of events, have found myself returning full circle to my roots, to the roots of Stray Dog Arts.  Oh, such a homecoming this has been!

And yet...nothing is the same.  Everything is new.  I don't pretend to know anything except that I must continue to follow this pull.  When my spirit lights up, I will continue to say YES.

"Mr. B and Darby" :: 24" x 48" Oil on Canvas
Mr B (left); Darby (right)

In the coming months I will be traveling to Spain, Morocco, Wyoming and the Dakotas, New Mexico, New York City, New Orleans, as well as Mexico.  I'll be photographing horses, dogs and even people in preparation for future painted projects.  I'll be on an adventure of the spirit and, truth be told, I'm whole-heartedly handing myself over to the Universe on this one.

Something tells me that stepping into the unknown is the best decision I could possibly make.  I invite you to step in with me.

2013 Travel Schedule
Mexico :: February
NYC & Spain :: April
Morocco :: May
Wyoming & Dakotas :: July
New Mexico :: August
New Orleans :: September
NYC :: October

:: The Alchemy of Yes ::

Oh, this beautiful life.  It has led me on such a strange and awesome quest: For truth, rest, purpose, passion.  It's led me into the deepest lessons of self-care and creative exploration.  These past many months have been some of the best in my entire life.  In the spring of 2012, I packed up my home and studio and left behind the urban metropolis of Minneapolis in exchange for a self-imposed painting retreat in the far reaches of northern Minnesota.  I planned on being gone for six months and, at the time, it felt like the biggest risk imaginable. 

Instead, those six months turned into a time of incredible replenishment. I spent endless hours hiking the remote trails of the deepest woods with my three dogs.  I got good at collecting rain water and swimming in the lake.  I spent long mornings writing in my journal.  I went canoeing and chopped wood on a regular basis.  I learned how to eat healthy and sleep well.  I listened to loon-song and coyote calls.  I let myself be swept away by a night sky filled with a billion stars.

I immersed myself completely in the richness of this northerly experience. October came quickly. The leaves turned brilliant shades of orange, crimson and yellow.  They fell to the ground and, at about the same time, I also had to say goodbye to my old wolfie girl, Anu.  She was 14 years old and, despite everything, her passing was the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced in this life.  She was a kindred of the truest kind and we had walked, what felt like, many lifetimes together.  Being half wolf, she taught me about wildness, but mostly...she taught me about LOVE.

:: Anu and I :: Photo credit: Sarah Beth Photography

There was a brilliant blue sky the day she crossed over--a single swift breeze and the lake turned into a million sparkles. These days, I still feel her presence near.  As the season continued to deepen, I hiked and painted and began to heal.  I couldn't help but notice all the ways that Anu had changed my life for the better. She had brought me home--to this place of wildness and woods, water and spirit.

I checked in with my internal compass and knew, without a doubt, that I was nowhere near being ready to leave!  Not to mention, business was continuing to flourish.  And so...I committed to turning my six month Northerly Painting Retreat into a super-extended 18 month retreat! And you know what?  It's the best thing that I could have ever done!  Funny how following your heart has a way of supporting you. ;)

(What's that?  You've been considering following the tugs of your own heart?  Uh-huh, yep...I say: GO FOR IT!)

Despite its warm weather attractiveness, the summer lake property is not quite suitable for winter living and so I decided to rent a tiny cabin at the top of a hill in the middle of a pine tree forest.  It's a magical place, complete with plenty of foxes, owls, dear, eagles...and (most importantly) two horses, Colorado and Dakota. Oh--this place, these horses--I am quite certain that I have died and gone to heaven!  My spirit feels at ease here.  Yes, this is love, of the truest kind!

The best part?  It doesn't seem to matter that I'm currently located in the middle of nowhere.  My professional (and personal) life has continued to grow in the most astonishing ways. Experiencing a deepening of spirit has a way of opening up entirely new worlds. I am refueled and inspired to the deepest degree and this coming year is proving to be creatively engaging, exciting, prolific, and adventure filled.  This self-created Northerly Painting Retreat has been a time of profound healing, creative exploration, self-discovery, physical well-being, and spirited connection.  I find myself stepping into a whole new chapter of my life in all the best possible ways and I am thoroughly excited to be sharing this journey with you. 

What I've come to understand is this: Nothing is on accident and the possibilities are truly astonishing!

"Tell me...what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"  ~Mary Oliver.

Northerly Painting Retreat 2012/13 :: My winter world

Thank you for being such an important part of my life!

With whole-hearted love and happiness,


© 2009 Stray Dog Arts, All Rights Reserved