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And Now for Something Completely Different: In Which My Art Gets Un-Ridiculous

And Now for Something Completely Different: In Which My Art Gets Un-Ridiculous

 

 

 

This dog. I painted her.

 

dog painting

watercolor and collage on canvas board
6×6

 

***I just learned that this painting looks crazy-red on some tablets and phones. It’s gold in real life and on my computer monitor. Still learning the ropes of image scanning.***

 

Now back to our regular programming…

 

I had attempted an accurate rendition of the true-to-life portrait (below) but something different occurred.

 

 

teeny tiny golden retriever

the true-to-life photo in question

 

 

So it’s not a good likeness. But you can totally see a family resemblance. (Right?)

 

 

two dogs together

 

 

 

Perhaps my lack of realism began with the preliminary sketches. Or perhaps not.

 

 

dog sketches

(I seem to have an issue with offsite eyeball storage.)

 

 

So.

The art, it is a-changing.

I am, too.

No one told me, when I wielded a pencil to cartoon my very first corgi over a year ago, that I might someday paint something kind of real.

 

 

100 corgis

My first hundred corgis. Or is it only two?

 

 

 

Truth be told, I’m really excited about this change in my art.  And so are the dogs of the world.

I love my cartoons — I will always be the animal cartoonicator, after all — and I also love what’s to come.

How about you? Ever been through a major change in your artsy style? I would love to hear about it.

 

 

 

Loose Kitties of the Night, and Other Weird Stuff from My Studio

Loose Kitties of the Night, and Other Weird Stuff from My Studio

The earth rumbled. The studio shook. And piles of paper fell with a deafening whump to my paint-speckled floors.

So I have a bit of a filing issue.

Case in point: When I was in college, I filed every paper that passed through my hands by shoving it under my bed. This would have worked longer if I’d had a larger futon.

When I graduated, I pushed said paper into a queen-sized plastic box, where it remains today, hermetically sealed for eternity.

Things are not so hermetic in my studio.

Okay, so there wasn’t an actual seismic event in the region of my artwork, for which I am infinitely grateful. But I did start to jostle a few of my mounds of paper this week, just to see if any new life forms would emerge.

And did they ever.

Here are a few of those gems, along with my heckling commentary. My absolute favorite is the very last one. (I’m still swooning just a little over it.)

 

 

birdseye

First off, some weirdness.
I found this bit early on when the first mountain of paper began to slouch to the floor.

 

 

 

dogs and stuff

Another oddment rescued from the deeps of the heaps.
I love these dogs! Even if they don’t have eyeballs.
(On second look, I believe their eyeballs are in
offsite storage.)

 

 

 

orange cartoony kitty

Cartoony kitty in watercolor crayon on a gessoed book page (written in a language I don’t speak, though I could probably speak to the cat okay). I discovered this baby wedged in a quivering tower of old notebooks that was, ahem, “decorating” my desk.

 

 

book page

Ooooh, Weird…
Messing around with watercolor on a book page. The white stuff is a goopy substance called watercolor ground, designed to create a watercolor-papery surface wherever it is smoodged, thus allowing watercolor go where no watercolor has gone before.
The book page is all about the philospher Descartes and Christina, Queen of Sweden. My favorite line is about the queen: “And binding together this remarkable combination of sinew and muscle and brain was an indomitable will.”
(Sign me up for that.)

 

Then I started to find bits of paper that still had life to them. As in, their fronts were covered, but I could still paint on their backsides, which is not as salacious as it sounds.

Here are the two paper scraps I found. I had used these scraps to play with brushstrokes.

 

backside number one

 

backside number two

 

 

And here is what their lily-white backsides became.

 

 

loose kitty

 

loose kitty in the wind

 

 

I like. I like a lot. Painting loose kitties on the backs of scraps was… well, loose. And relaxed. Eased. Unleashed. I felt free and altogether marvelous.

These little paintings make me want to dig through the studio junk piles every single day.

 

 

Coming Clean: Miss Addie Had a Hairball (Plus surprising hairball facts that you never learned in Cat Parenting School)

Coming Clean: Miss Addie Had a Hairball (Plus surprising hairball facts that you never learned in Cat Parenting School)

 

For those of you following the culinary adventures of Miss Addie, Celebrity Diner, I have a small confession to make:

My darling dear tabby was not picky that day. She just had a hairball. Thank you very much.

 

addie 2

 

 

Miss Addie does not care whether or not you think of her as “picky” (though she would prefer the term “discerning”). But my cat-mom conscience has been boiling over:

 

How dare I make fun of my cat publicly, when she was suffering the agony of appetite-destroying intestinal fur? What was I thinking — that I’m above her? No. Not that. Never. (Though I do store less fur in my stomach at any given time.)

 

It’s a curious thing to feel guilt on behalf of a being who does not give a crap hairy excrescence what you gentle readers, or indeed, the remaining seven-billion-minus-two humans on the planet think of her.

But I do feel a tiny twang of guilt, like a banjo playing hauntingly in the next holler over in my heart.

If you’re a cat parent, a dog parent, or especially a human parent, you can relate. I had my training in cat parenthood at the knees of my mother, who was pregnant nine* times and raised five hundred and sixty-seven* short human beings, many of whom still live with her though they are considerably taller now. Given this, I think it’s possible — just a little — that I have a bit of a species cross-over issue in the guilt department.

Maybe.

 

* One of these two numbers is correct. Guess which.

 

Well, let’s shove guilt aside for the nonce and talk hairballs, which is the allure of this blog post, after all.

 

 

Hairball

Hairball
(not anatomically correct)

 

 

‘Tis spring, the hairball season.

I would like to make fun of hairballs, but this is a serious feline issue that deserves our utmost focus, attention, and frowning support. So hitch up your bifocals while I hoist my gaiters and other unmentionables, and let’s get down to business.

First of all, hairballs can kill. I am not making this up.

They can kill a cat. They can even kill a human being. (One who eats his or her own hair, that is, not one who licks a cat.)

These deaths really are tragic.

Let us pause a moment to honor these appalling losses. For thirty seconds, I will be silent. I will not even make fun of myself during this time.

 

 

…..

…….

 

 

*Clears throat, shuffles feet, checks watch.*

 

 

In the U.S., April 26th is dedicated to national hairball awareness, which is called, in a creative naming twist that had me gripping my trackball in suspense, National Hairball Awareness Day.

(Though some websites say it’s April 25th, which indicates that it’s a lunar holiday, occurring the third Sunday after High Holy Spring Shedding Festival.)

This means that the month we’ve just stepped into — April — hosts a day of utmost importance to feline-kind.

Even if a hairball is not life-threatening, frequent hairballification can indicate serious health issues. And hairballs can mask other concerns, like feline asthma, which your cat’s P.E. teacher may not catch in time.

Hairballs can even be a red flag that your cat’s diet is way off-line. Keep in mind that felines were originally engineered to eat tiny mousies on toothpicks, not crunchy chicken-flavored corn chips.

 

The Truth About Miss Addie’s Hairball

So I came clean on Addie’s, um, discernment in the super-picky-eating department.

Now let’s come clean on what we in our household call a “hairball.” A hairball, here in Harrison House, is not an icky mass of felted fur that has recently toured a cat’s digestive tract.

Here, a hairball is something else. It is a collection of subtle symptoms that indicate that a hairball could be forming.

When we see these symptoms in our cats, we act quickly, adjusting their diet in small ways. These small adjustments result in this glorious end:

 

Look, Ma, no hairball!

A vast field devoid of hairballs. Note the complete lack of gooey fur. Gorgeous, empty space, sans digestive emissions.

 

That’s right. No real hairballs occur. They haven’t for several years. And it’s not just because Gloria and Daisy hoover them up before we have a chance to step on them in stockinged feet.

 

 

Gloria and Daisy

What, us hoover?

 

In the generous spirit of cats everywhere, I would like to keep my hairbally secrets to myself.

But, despite my personal species identification issues (Shouldn’t I be the kitty and nap all day?) I look fairly human, which makes the occasional act of magnanimity a part of my DNA.

So I’m going to share with you the subtle signs of impending hairballhood that Miss Addie, Shnoodle, and Tucker display, and then talk for a brief moment, taking hardly any of your valuable time, about the food we feed our three cats that helps to prevent said hairballs from forming in the first place.

 

But first, a word from our lawyers: Harmony Harrison is not a veterinarian. Her classification is ridiculum est scriptor, and, in recent years, inepta pictor. So nothing here is veterinary advice. Or legal advice, for that matter. And all Latin mistranslations are her fault alone.

 

Ominous Crash of Thunder. Enter Hairball, Stage Right.

Here is a cat-by-cat breakdown of the signs and their solutions, including the most fabulous hairball treat ever designed by one species for another, slightly smaller one:

 

Addie

Addie
 

Addie’s Signs of Hairballhood:

Increased anxiety and jumpiness

Much tail-lashing during mealtimes

Increased pickiness — but still eating well

Followed a few days later by… barely eating at all

 

Being longish-haired, Miss Addie is more prone to hairballishness than her brethren (or sisteren).

 

Her solutions:

An extra dose of the most glorious hairball pill ever invented:

Vet’s Best Hairball Relief Digestive Aid, 60 Chewable Tablets

 Addie gets two of these treats daily, one with each meal. When she shows signs of hairballness, she gets one extra for a couple of days.

 

Plus, she gets the yolk of an organic, raw egg. Yep, egg yolk.
We’re old school.

 

 

Shnoodle

Shnoodle

 

Miss Shnoodle’s Signs of Hairballery:

Just the occasional dry cough

 

Her solutions:

Organic butter, served on a Fiestaware plate, live music optional

And the aforementioned raw, organic egg yolk

The Shnoo only gets butter and yolk, as she’s allergic to chicken, an ingredient in the hairball treats.

 

 

 

 Tucker

tucker bushes
 

 Tucker’s Signs of Hairballitude:

Like Shnoodle, just a bit of dry coughing. It’s rare.

 

His Solutions:

(You can probably guess by now)

Extra hairball treats

(on top of his two regular daily treats, that is)

 

Bingo!

 
 

Now for the Big One. Drumroll, Please.

The biggest solution to hairball woes, in my humble and most certainly non-veterinary opinion, is feeding cats a high-quality raw meat diet.

(Want an actual vet’s opinion? Click here for a fabulous article from ConsciousCat.net.)

Yes, yes, raw food: the same diet I claimed in my last post is so expensive that they require notarized proof of income before purchase.

I lied about that. The truth is, they require you to hand over your car title. Then sign the credit card slip, please.

 

Two words on this:

Worth it.

Five more:

Worth it every single day.

 

 

harmony and addie 2

 
 
 

Miss Addie, Celebrity Diner: The Life and Times of a Very Picky Cat

Miss Addie, Celebrity Diner: The Life and Times of a Very Picky Cat

“So, what do you do?” the party-goers ask, ice tinkling in their glasses. If I’m at a party, I’m there under duress. So I answer coolly: “I stay home and feed cats.” This kind of response results in plenty of elbow room. I sigh with pleasure as the party-goers inch from my presence. But it’s actually theContinue Reading

I’m Stacked: 82 Library Books and Counting (a.k.a., Blame It on the Paint)

I’m Stacked: 82 Library Books and Counting (a.k.a., Blame It on the Paint)

The librarian handed me back my card, cocking an eyebrow all the while. “You,” she said, slightly breathless, “have eighty-two books checked out.” My eyes bulged out of my skull, or nearly. At the very least, I felt a boggle and a breeze in the eye socket area. “Our limit is eighty,” she went on, “but I extendedContinue Reading

We Interrupt Our Regular Dogcasting to Bring You… Chow?

We Interrupt Our Regular Dogcasting to Bring You… Chow?

        Each month, I fizz with delight when I get to join a group of local artists (or people who absolutely are artists but claim not to be) who get together with art teacher Dorothea Tortilla to make weird stuff. Last week, as we bubbled our way into her studio for a class,Continue Reading

Gusty Beaches and Things that Look Like Things, a.k.a., Drawing on the Windy Side of the Brain

Gusty Beaches and Things that Look Like Things, a.k.a., Drawing on the Windy Side of the Brain

    It was windy at the beach for awhile. Like, really.       Even the dogs’ ears were a-blowin’.           You can’t see it in these photos, but sometimes the wind was so strong it lifted waves of sand from the beach and blasted it against our skin. It wasContinue Reading

So What IS the Blue Dog’s Name? Inquiring Minds Want to Know!

So What IS the Blue Dog’s Name? Inquiring Minds Want to Know!

  Ever have one of those weeks where all of your well-intentioned to-do lists melt into a molten puddle, not unlike the faces of the Nazis on beholding the ark? Yeah, me too. That was last week. I do not know what happened to last week. I may have misplaced it. If so, I’ll findContinue Reading

This Big Blue Boy Needs a Name: Will You Help?

This Big Blue Boy Needs a Name: Will You Help?

  Have you ever been in a state of flow? No? But of course you have. Of course. Forgive me for thinking otherwise. I’ve been in a crazy kind of flow state for a couple of weeks, off and on (with an itsy-bitsy three-day anxiety attack and a tiny thyroid brouhaha — exhaustion and brain fog and all sortsContinue Reading

Noodles and Orange Cats and Sharing, Oh My: A Short Swim through Vulnerability Land (and an invite for you to swim, too)

Noodles and Orange Cats and Sharing, Oh My: A Short Swim through Vulnerability Land (and an invite for you to swim, too)

  I’ve been noodling on a blog post for a few days now. But this morning at breakfast, as I gazed at the world over peanut-butter-and-banana toast, my noodle starting noodling in a whole new way. Quite frankly, the old brain bowled me over. I had been planning a post — a nice, safe post, in which I makeContinue Reading

 
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The Beginner's Guide to
Animal Wisdom

is a little ebook that will help you listen to your animal pals.
Want the book & occasional newsletter? Sign up below.

(Or visit this cute little page to hear me fizz about why this book is fabulous!)

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