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Little Fashion Sketchy

January 6, 2015

I was cleaning out the guest room/cat room/ art room/knitting room (new years resolution) and I found a bunch of stuff I’ve had since art center. One of which was a bottle of reddish calligraphy ink. I keep wanting to do caligraphy- I buy TONS of supplies every year only to just abandon it almost immediately. Perhaps taking a class and watching a tutorial or twelve on youtube would help in my efforts. Alas, I run out of ink in the actual pen and then it dries out in the nib and the cycle repeats. One year though I evidently got ink in bottles presumably for a dip pen I can only begin to guess where I put it. INK… woohoo! So I painted/sketched with it. There is more to this little painting but since I mostly Instagram my stuff it got cut off. They had cute shoes with bows on them… you just have to trust me.

I like the sketch! It’s fun. Full of indication and washy goodness. I just love basic value paintings. I never really quite appreciated as a high schooler just how difficult it is to be an artist. What I thought was art was really just copying photos. While this might help your technical skills for rendering, it doesn’t really help you be creative or even translate what you’re learning about value to art that comes out of your head. I don’t know ANYONE that can actually paint to the level of depth and creativity of what is in our heads. Most of us are limited by our ability. Kind of a bummer yeah? I wish there were drugs that made you super awesome at your craft instead of just years and years and years of repetition.

I have a love hate relationship with brush pens. I like them for their easy mess-free accessibility in my purse. You can whip one out anytime and draw. They’re a squirrly though and I can’t get a ton of control with them- especially around things like fingers if I am drawing small. I love the line weight variability, but I think what I am responding to most is that a brush, (opposed to a brush pen) has a really long bouncy stalk of bristles. Long brush bristles make me happy. The actual shape of the brush pen is the bothersome thing for me, the tip is super fine, but the base or stalk is kind of fat… so while you can get great line weight variability, it’s a real bitch to get a fine line if you happen to apply too much pressure. I don’t think of myself as heavy handed, I must just need more practice with a brush pen. There are people that are seriously masters of that medium, I am not one of them.

I did a baby infographic about the two types of brushes and used samples of artists that I admire to showcase the differences. Basically brush pen is more alla prima and messy and can make your work very sketchy and dynamic. A lining brush is a little more fussy, you have greater control and your line work and weight becomes a feature of the piece. It’s “in the moment” vs. clean and orderly.


brush_pen line_brush

Raised by Urchins and Stars

December 2, 2014

Though hugs are prickly and holding your breath can be tiresome, one really can get the whole meditation thing down.

Feral Kids number 5 is here and it’s cute! I just love painting these little things. I hope they’re appealing enough to others. I just love animals of all sorts. Sea life has always been such a mesmerizing thing to me. I could STILL spend an entire day at a tide pool (and have recently) just poking around discovering things in the water. I even saved a Humuhumunukunukuapua’a (the hawaiian state fish) from certain death that had been trapped in a shrinking pool of water when a wave tossed it out of the ocean. I have the video somewhere… that I can’t find. Oooofff course.



Mermaid Sponge Garden

November 24, 2014

If you’re going to take a bath, take a colorful one. MondayMerms!

Raised by Squirrels

November 20, 2014

Raised by squirrels! This is a WIP or work in progress for those not savvy with acronyms. It’s part of the Feral Kid book I’ve got big plans for. It takes me a little while to do these things in watercolor. Since I can really only do them after work and in between workouts the accumulated time I have to paint isn’t a whole lot. While I would like to do one a day it’s more like half a painting a day. So while this isn’t finished it’s close enough to show.

Worst Week

October 23, 2014

This week was just THE WORST. I woke up last Wednesday morning with my cat Pants on my head (as usual) and since I am always around cats I am very well aquatinted with cat breath. This morning however, instead of the normal stinky tuna breath  of a heathy kitty, I noticed a very strong smell of ammonia coming from Pants. I am no doctor to be sure, but I am a strange receptacle of all things medical. I remember weird medical factoids and never forget them. I think there me a special part of my brain that is always harboring an unfulfilled desire to go into medicine. So right away… my spidey sense blares alarm bells, goes through my memory bank and comes out with “ammonia breath= kidney failure”. With that thought my normal morning turned into a freak out as I google-fu’d my diagnosis and confirmed my worst fears- yes, kidney failure does indeed make ones breath smell like ammonia.

EMERGENCY though? It’s kind of hard to tell with cat’s, and Pants was acting mostly fine- maybe drinking more than usual, but still purring, playing and peeing. It was early and I didn’t know where to go. So I took Pants to this vet that he hates, and I am not particularly fond of right down the street from me. I wasn’t aware that this vet didn’t have on-site lab results and had to send away for Pant’s blood values. He said I would have to leave him overnight because he seemed dehydrated. So I said okay and came back later in the evening to say goodnight. When I came in at 6pm later that day Pants was squashed so far into the corner of his cage I think he was trying to merge with it. He wouldn’t look up at our voices and was hooked up to an IV. I didn’t know what to expect, but maybe he just really doesn’t like the vet.

The vet called us the next day at 10am and said we needed to come in so he could talk to us. So when we got there we had a feeling bad things were afoot. The vet told us our kitty was very sick, showed us his blood values and. specifically, the values pertaining to kidney function (BUN and Creatinine). In healthy kitties, the range for BUN is 35 and creatinine is 0.6-2.5. Pant’s blood values for BUN were 198 and Creatinine was 20.7. That’s bad. Very bad, that’s dead kidney’s bad, that’s your cat is going to die bad. So the vet says that we need to euthanize him and he’ll give us a few minutes to decide. HELL NO. I guess I was not prepared for that outcome, I thought maybe he had some crappy kidney values or IBS I didn’t think I’d have to put my best friend to sleep right then and there. With very little information from this vet OR further testing I just was not having it. He told us there was no hope of recovery, that Pants was too sick and that “yes, we could do an IV at home, but it’s expensive” As if money would preclude us from tying to save our friend. Crazy. So we took Pants home where he ate like a maniac and drank a bunch of water. I made an appointment at another vet that our friend Beth, and really about 6 other friends told us to go to.

I want to mention this pet hospital because they’ve been so wonderful- So shout out to Los Feliz Small Animal Hospital! They took Pants in and calmed Adam and I down. Dr. Meriwether was super sweet, told us “yes, those blood values are really terrible BUT, Pant’s is acting alert, active, eating and drinking which leads me to believe that this could be an acute kidney issue or perhaps an infection.” They retested his values and 20 minutes later we were somewhat relieved to know that his numbers were down by half of what they were- at the very least moving in the right direction. The doc said he’d probably be in for a 5 day hospital stay so that they could hydrate the crap out of him and flush his kidneys, and hopefully he could bounce back. The doctor told us that despite those scary values, cat’s are very resilient creatures and to think of the now- Pant’s is doing okay now, we don’t need to think about euthanasia unless he’s not responding to treatments. Besides, there are more tests to be done before we could know what was really happening in his body.

They shaved his belly and did an ultrasound on his kidneys. He has a giant kidney stone in his left kidney which seems to be the cause of all this upset, and unfortunately the right kidney seems to have succumbed to the fate of kidney stones some time ago. So while he is a very sick guy, it doesn’t totally mean he’s going to die tomorrow. He is on a special diet for sad kidneys and the same formula will help disolve the stone over time. There isn’t a great test to see how much kidney function is remaining in Pants, so it’s really just a wait and see process at this point.

So 7 days after I smelled ammonia breath is kidney values are back within a manageable range. They’re still high with BUN at 43 and Creatinine at 3.5… but no where NEAR where they were. So our best friend came home last night with a bag of IV fluids, a new diet and some antibiotics. He’s SO happy to be home! purrs, love, head-butts and snuggles all night long. I am in heaven. I don’t think I have ever been so worried about anything, I have an emotional attachment to that hairy little shit-rat like you wouldn’t believe. He slept on my head (as usual) and all 4 of us- Adam, me, Pants and Penny passed out in the glory you see illustrated above.

Pants has the worst haircut ever, he’s probably mortified. Belly shaved, neck shaved, front legs shaved… oh man it’s hilarious and I can’t stop scrambling his pink cat boobs. And of course am totally fine with them draped across my eyeballs while sleeping. Even shaved cat belly is better than no cat belly.

So we check up on his blood this Friday and we’ve got everything crossed that his kidney values can be managed at home. Putting a giant needle in your cat’s neck at home first thing in the morning is weird. Just saying. I don’t care, I love him too much to not try everything I can do to help him stick around for a while longer.