Thursday, December 2, 2010

Freeeeee stuff!

I have to take a second to talk about Shutterfly - I've been using them as a photo printer for a few years now - but more recently have been trying some of their other products.
It's hard to choose which style we'll be using for our card but I'm leaning toward this one.

While I haven't made one myself - I have seen the calendars available through Shutterfly and think they are great. Certainly easy to make and a great homemade gift idea.

Here's another fab thing on Shutterfly- artwork! Turn your own photos into great canvas art pieces. Love it!

Here's the best part- Shutterfly is offering 50 FREE greeting cards for blogging about them! Learn more info here!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Barkapalooza...My first official outing as Lildog

We went to Barkapalooza a couple of weeks ago (by "we" I am referring to Bruiser and myself.. ).
I should also credit my sister Julie for meeting me there and helping for the day. She makes great coasters, floral arrangements, and various other things. This was truly a fundraiser for West Suburban Humane Society in Downers Grove, IL. A great walk, combined with vendors and rescues. Overall, we had a lot of interest.

I know I'm behind on posting my work, and there are several paintings I'll post soon.
Just a little computer funk....sometimes I wonder how someone who used to be so opposed to sitting behind a desk and having a traditional job has become just that person... and computers... they are addicting. I've been wondering if I stopped visiting facebook and online shopping for things I don't need... how much more painting I would accomplish!

A little musical inspiration...

Matthew I went to his concert Tuesday and it filled my mind with thoughts and my heart with inspiration.
I didn't realize how much of an honor it was to celebrate the launch of his new album, The Story of Your Life.

You see, I grew up with him...well, I'm a few years older but who's counting?
I'd been keeping up with his success through our parents, occasionally hearing a song as I was skipping past KLOVE...thinking "HEY, I know that guy!".
Facebook has also been a good way to kind of sit back and watch. I knew he'd asked his fans to submit the "story of their lives" to him...
I kept up on his time away in the cabin, sorting through the letters and writing occasional chuckle at the mention of the cabin mouse.
Admittedly it was pretty cool to watch the process he was going through.

Now here's where I have to be honest.......I thought this was just going to be like any old concert, except with a heavy dose of religion, which as most people who know me realize, I am not completely comfortable with. This is not the same guy who sang in church and bickered with his younger brothers. This was a Matthew West, the Christian singing sensation who comes along with a full band, lights, fog, a touch of glam.

Maybe the concert made such an impact on me because faith in general has been a big struggle for me. Its something I tuck away in a box - you know- to deal with 'later'. Every once in awhile I take it out, think about it... struggle with it, and put it back in the box. I know some of you understand what I'm saying.
I have yet to figure out why, but going to church always brings a lot of sadness to me. I have to admit people talking alot of scripture and things related to it- make me a little squirmy. Don't get me wrong- I admire people who have a strong faith. I want that. I have just been on a loooong road to find it.
I used to say "I have anger issues with God". My sister died back in 1996; and never being able to make sense of it, I was angry. Ironically, it was actually Matthew West's dad who came over shortly after she passed to comfort my family. His church is really the only place I've gone at all in the last 15 years. I remember my dad angrily shouting "Is this YOUR GOD??!" I may be paraphrasing but it was just full of anger. So, that is where what I call my "religious regression" began. Its really just the last couple of years I have decided its time to move on.

Its exhausting keeping my faith in a box. At the same time, I don't think I have to go to a Sunday service to illustrate how I feel or what's in my heart. I'm still trying to figure out where to go from here. Sometimes I wish there was a 'religion for dummies' book that would allow me to get caught up on my options.

I am way off track from where I've started. The purpose of my post was to point out how amazing Matthew's music is. Creating music is just another form of art and I know that's why it is one of the few things in this world that inspires and touches me. I truly believe I'd be hard pressed to find someone who CAN'T relate one of his songs on the new album. He took stories from his fans, and wrote about their life circumstances.. and turned them into music that has the ability to touch and change so many people. These are real people, real stories. People who have faith regardless of the circumstances in their lives. As he was saying, we all have a story.

What's yours?

I know I have a lot to think about.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Book on Bulldogs...

This week I started working on a book for charity. I belong to a facebook group called Art 4 Causes, and at this point we're a group of artists networking ideas, sharing our work, etc.... Pam, the woman who started the group came up with the idea to choose a cause, a subject and compile a book using all artists work to raise money for the cause.

The first book will benefit The Bulldog Club of America's Rescue Network. Read more about the cause here:
17 artists have contributed bulldog artwork of different mediums to be included in the book. I have a solid start on putting the book together and hope to finish within the next week or so. Since I am a bulldog 'nut' I am excited about this project. There is a lot of great artwork in the book. I feel confident that many of my 9 million bulldog friends will purchase a copy!

(And what a great way to procrastinate on finishing my current portrait orders...shhh...)

I was inspired....

There hasn't been a lot that's inspired me in the last few years, I have to be honest.
Checking out other artists work at local shows has been the extent of it.
Hey, it motivated me to get moving again with my own art work. Tonight though,
it was music that inspired me.

I originally started this blog for posting my work and their stories; and highlighting rescues when possible. Obviously I've been a little slow in that regard, and today I've decided to post on whatever inspires me, or causes I just think need attention. So reader beware, you never know what you're gonna get.........

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

On Top of the World....

That's Where Lucy is now. She was one of the first American Bulldogs rescued by a contact of mine, Caroline, in Texas. Here's her story from Caroline:

"Lucy was rescued from the Dallas pound. She was severely emaciated, had demodex mange, and came down with pneumonia a few days later. After 2 months of nursing her back to health, she was finally feeling better. Her personality slowly came out more and more every day. She is the most loving, most wonderful dog and all she wants is love and belly rubs."

She was brought into rescue in February and adopted out in May. A girl who had been in the army for 12 years adopted her as she was getting out of the army. She is now loved and adored as she should be!

I worked with Carolyn to come up with a subject for a painting ABR can use as a fundraiser....I then asked my Lildog 'facebook fans' to decide which pose they liked best.... and this is the result. I absolutely think Lucy is angelic. There are so many wonderful dogs out there who need help, donations, medical care, LOVE.... The longer I think about this, the harder it is to imagine why people purchase dogs from puppymills...ahem... pet stores.

The Midwest is actually in need of American Rescue(s). It is really tough for surrendering owners to find a rescue to help in this area, and it breaks my heart every time I hear about another American Bully in need with no place to go.

If you'd like to learn more about American Bulldog Rescue - please see their web page or look them up on Facebook.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Sleeping Bulldog

This is Freddy. His portrait came out rather dark...but I think it suits him.
Freddy was one of the "Terrific 10" bulldogs that Chicago English Bulldog Rescue took in after an abuse and neglect case in Illinois was finished in the winter of 2010. This group was the cutest, smallest group of bulldogs I'd seen! They were all so used to living in cages, in their own feces, oftentimes pooping and urinating in their food bowls. They were a wonderful experience for the volunteers at CEBR. Freddy and his "siblings" soaked up all the love and human kindness they'd been lacking. They learned how to be the pampered family members they deserved to be, and they had all of their health issues taken care of. Freddy's ears still amuse me, they stand up and in his pictures he has this look that makes him seem like an old man.

All of the "Terrific 10" now live with their forever families.... like a little 'bulldog fairy tail'
If you'd like to learn more about Chicago English Bulldog Rescue and what they do - please visit