Friday, December 24, 2010

Eclipse Owl

On the night of December 20/21, the night of the full lunar eclipse, Hunter made a rukus outside about 10 PM.
His urgent barking told us something, or someone, was too close to his yard for his liking, so we grabbed the flashlight and went out to investigate.
The sky was overcast with a thick layer of clouds, but the full moon cast her light with enough illumination to make out objects. Hunter kept jumping up on the coyote fence, just under the cottonwood tree. I looked up, and a large, dark object on the top of the tree caught my eye. The object moved, and the form of an owl appeared. She was comfortably perched on the very top branches of the tree. The full moon shown just behind her, it's full light softened by the thick clouds. We put the little dogs back in the house, and Ken got the camera. This was the first shot he took of her,
without flash. It's basically the view we had of her, a little out of focus, because there was just not enough light.

This shot was taken with the flash, and a zoom lense, it grabs all the detail in that instant. The flash and all our fuss didn't seem to faze her; she stayed put and watched us from her high perch.
Don't know how long she stayed. We finally went back inside and went to bed. Got up, later, about 1:30 AM to try and see the eclipse. She was gone, then, and the sky was too cloudy to make out any more than the darkened moon.

This is the third owl that has visited our place, the third we've seen and been able to take photos of, anyway. I have a feeling that she might be the mother of the young male owl that paid a visit to our chicken coop around Thanksgiving. She was a mature female Great Horned Owl, about 24" tall, and while they weigh only about 4 lbs (which is why she can so easily perch herself on those new growth branches at the very top of a 25 foot tall tree), they have a five foot wingspan and can hunt, kill and carry off prey weighing up to 15 lbs, which is why I am constantly on the alert and concerned for my littlest dog, who weighs only 11 lbs. From high perches, they dive down with wings folded, silently snatching their prey. Prey is usually killed instantly with their large, fierce talons. They also hunt by walking on the ground to capture small prey, even walking boldly into chicken coops, like the young male owl did in our chicken coop and another owl did earlier. Their prey list is almost endless: virtually anything they can kill, mammal, bird or reptile, even insects and road kill. Their only natural enemy, besides Man, is other Great Horned Owls. That explains why they show absolutely no fear in our presence. They are at the top of the food chain in most areas. They range throughout North America from the northern treeline, south to Central and South America from dense forests, deserts and plains to city parks. More and more, they have begun inhabiting cities and suburbs, preying on cats and small dogs. Do you have an owl in your backyard?

For those curious about the fate of the young male owl we rescued after he was injured while raiding our hen house, he is doing just fine. During his altercation with our rooster, he apparently lost several of his long flight feathers, which made it impossible for him to fly. He would have died, probably at the beaks of the ravens, had we not rescued him, but surely from starvation. Once he has molted and re-grown his flights, he will be released back into his native habitat. In the meantime, he's well cared for in a large flight with two other rescued owls, dining on mice and other species-appropriate meals.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Alex Vom Haus Chavez

His call name is "Max". His immediate ancestors hail from Germany, where the German Shepherd Dog originated and is still bred best. He lives on a ranch in the stunning southwestern region of NM, near the town of Magdalena, just west of Socorro. His kingdom consists of vast acreage to oversee, beautiful vistas to admire, and a pack of seven, including sons and daughters from his mate, Catey.
He is Hunter's father, and it's quite obvious that my wonderful young "acorn" didn't fall far from this strong and magnificent "tree".
I painted Max on commission from his owners, Bill and Sherry, who obviously adore this handsome fellow.
It's on their gate that I first saw the sign, along with the image of a German Shepherd Dog, warning potential trespassers: "I can get to the gate in 3 seconds: Can you?" Having met Max and spent some time with him, I can attest to the fact that, yes, he can, and no, you don't want to challenge him to a race to the gate! No better companion, protector and watch dog could ever be found! Max, you sweetheart, thanks so much for the fantastic genes you passed on to my Hunter!
Oil on linen covered board
16 x 20
By Commission

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Morning Owl

Today is the 4th anniversary of the death of Mychal Angelo, my beautiful Standard Poodle. It also marks the first anniversary of his death that I have felt "whole" again. There is still, indeed, a big hole in my heart, but healing has taken place this past year and I am, along with my pack of four wonderful dogs, in a "good place", now. Since Mychal has left us, owls have become a part of our life, in many ways, offering omens, strange visitations and encounters both physical and in the realm of dreams.
This morning, when Ken went out to do the chores, he discovered a young male owl in the hen house. He had killed and partially consumed a hen (ironically, one that was not doing well and Ken had planned on dispatching today or tomorrow). The two roosters, Rudy and Ralph, had him cornered and kept him from leaving the hen house after his dinner. Ken ushered him out, expecting that he'd immediately fly away. But, instead, he ran over to the fence and climbed up to this post. Ken came in and got me and the camera. After a bit, he tried to fly away, but couldn't. His right wing was injured, probably in the altercation with the roosters in the hen house. Ravens began circling, and within what seemed like mere seconds, the sky was full of them, diving on him, full of murderous intent. Ken ran and got a dog carrier and some welding gloves, but we were amazed as the owl almost walked into the carrier without much fuss. It seemed he preferred the safety of the carrier to the impending rendevous with the ravens.
A few phone calls later, we drove him into town to meet a rep from the Wildlife Rescue group. He'll get some attention today, and when he's ready, they'll bring him back out here to release.
We don't begrudge him his dinner; the little chicken was the weakest of our flock and hen-pecked to the point her life was pretty miserable. As Nature intended, that is the hen the owl took. And besides, it's up to us to provide protection for our chickens; we failed to close the chicken door; he merely walked in and ordered up his "chicken in the box" dinner!
We're both very relieved that he wasn't seriously hurt and hope that he'll be back in his home territory soon.
Mychal calls to me once again: life goes on, all is as is should be, God's providence assures soft landings in hard places.

Friday, September 17, 2010

My Body Guard

A young dog in training. He is focused, alert, intense, powerful, loyal and devoted and gentle as a lamb with his little pack mates and other critters. A sign on the gate bears the outline of a German Shepherd Dog and says, "I can make it to the gate in 3 seconds; can you?" Makes me sleep a lot better a night these days!
16" x 20" oil on gallery wrapped canvas
Inquiries welcome at

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Backporch Color Fun!

These are little 5 x 7's painted yesterday on the back porch. It was a glorious summer day, and I couldn't stand to be indoors, so I took some paints and a small paint box out on the shady porch, along with a few sweet little photos of the Apsos.

So, here are Zeke, as a puppy, Wyatt in the sunshine, and Miss Sadie Wonder relaxed and comfy on the big dog bed.

My very simple palette included purple, phalo green, yellow ochre and a bit of crinacridone magenta, and white, of course.

Oil on linen or canvas covered board
5" x 7"
$75 each, while supplies last!

Contact me if interested.
I'd be delighted to paint a colorful backporch painting of your favorite pooch (or other critter)!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Taz and Cosmo

I was tempted to call this little painting "Cosmo's Third Eye", as he sits here in his lion pose, meditating next to his best friend, Taz, who has only one eye. He lost the other in an accident involving a car, but hasn't seemed to mind so much, now that he and Cosmo have found their forever home with Chris. Profound serenity visits Cosmo, and Taz basks in the glow, sharing his own inner frivolity with his BFF.
5x7 oil on raw silk covered board.
Painted as a commission: $100.
I'm delighted to paint an everlasting memory of your BFF.
Details on my website:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sadie Blue Jeans

It's hard to describe that feeling of mutual adoration that so many of us who love dogs almost take for granted. It's a symbiotic relationship of mutual neediness. Those who love and respect dogs as fellow created beings know exactly what I mean, and I need no words to describe it. Sadly, for those whom dogs are just another soulless species of animal life there are not enough words to convey the emotion. It can only be experienced . This little dog, lying at my feet, looks up at me with love and adoration, and I return the gaze. We sigh, content with the unspoken satisfaction that only trust in the faithfulness of love can bring.


Oil on linen covered board 8" x 10"

Inquiries invited:

Dog portraits on commission

Monday, May 24, 2010

Apso Gaze

Zeke spends as much time as we allow, sitting on a couple of pillows at the end of the couch, looking out the window. He takes note of every car and truck and school bus that drives down his road. Every raven and hawk that flys by gets a bark, as does every person walking their dog or riding a bike. But he saves his most energetic and ferocious barking for the bunny who lives under the tree just to the right of his window. Sometimes he just can't contain himself, and off he races, out his Apso door, around the corner of the house to the little screened-in "window" my husband cut into the fence for them. He tells that bunny "what for", then races back into the house to see if he listened!
Panchen, that Champ of a dog now buried in Susan's garden, here sits on Susan's porch, enjoying the Northern California sunlight on a proper spring morning. How delicious must the warm sun feel to a blind dog! What does he "see" as he sits there? Can he feel the daffodils blooming? What does the morning sun smell like? Rest easy, Champ, the daffodils are blooming again.

Both paintings are oil on deep gallery wrapped canvas,
5" x 5" square.
Dog portraits by commission

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Flowers for Camille

She was somewhat of a diva and she certainly had issues, but I adored her.
I think the feeling was eventually mutual. I was, ultimately, the only human she trusted.
I’ve read somewhere that you will always remember the day you brought your dog home, and the day they left you.
She wasn’t a product of a puppy mill, but she certainly didn’t receive anything close to proper socialization prior to coming to live with us. I should have known better. It took me the better part of an hour to get her to come to me, sitting in the dirt in a corner of the outdoor enclosure where she and her siblings were kept. She was the only one of the litter who, eventually, would dare come close.
She made a charming little “roo-roo” sound when she was uncertain about something, and I heard it then for the first time from the cutest little white ball of fluff I’d ever seen. Sort of a plaintive half-growl, half question, meaning she wanted to, but she was a little reticent, a little afraid. Usually, she would make up her mind to push ahead, enter the unknown, take a chance. And there, in the dirt, she came to me and put her nose in my hand. She was willing to take a chance on me.
We enjoyed almost twelve years together. She was beautiful, elegant, intelligent and devoted, but she approached life at full throttle and therefore encountered more than her share of accidents and mishaps. So much so that, as she grew older, my intuition told me that she would not cross over that rainbow bridge quietly. And so it was. I was able to hold her in my arms and tell her what a wonderful friend she had been, and to ask her to meet me there, one day.
I’m certain that when my time comes, my little Camille will be there to greet me with her funny “roo-roo, come on over, mom, we’ve all been waiting for you!”

16 x 20 Oil on canvas
Dog Portraits in Oil

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hunter at Seven Months

Finally! Got a painting done of this wonderful dog.
He's only seven and a half months old, but just look at his expression! He is focused, calm, gentle, kind, intelligent, devoted and oh! so beautiful! Can you just imagine how magnificent he will be in his maturity! Can't wait to paint him then, again, and again and again!

I need a name for this one! Any suggestions?

11" x 14" oil on canvas
Dog Portraits in Oil

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Peace Lily

"May the Peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7
Wishing you a Blessed Easter, filled with the Peace of God.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Color Study

I recently took a Color Class. I'm pretty well versed in Itten color theory and have a lot of experience creating color with a limited palette, but this Michael Wilcox School of Color class taught by locally well-known landscape painter, David Schwindt, was a course in practical color mixing. It cemented what I already knew and opened up more possibilities for creative color mixing using the Color Bias Wheel, using six primaries, instead of the usual three-primary color wheel we all learned about in school. I've probably told you more than you wanted to know....but artists are always interested in color, especially how to create the exact color in a short period of time without wasting a lot of expensive paint.
This is a color study of a beautiful cabbage that came with my corned beef. It was delicious!
I re-created the subtle hues and tints using only a violet red (quinacridone red), green-yellow (lemon yellow) and blue-green (cerulean blue), plus white. The color range available was amazing. The vibrant yellows aren't showing up so well in the photo - I'll try and get a better shot.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Wooly is a Malti-Poo, soft, silky and curly. The Maltese in him loves to cuddle next to his dad at night in their favorite chair, and watch the world go by in his special place on the back window shelf of his people's Buick. The Poodle half takes his job as Official Greeter of the mailman, UPS or FedEx guy very seriously. When he hears their trucks, he flys up to the back of the couch and announces their presence from the big picture window, then races furiously out the kitchen Wooly-door to make sure they don't go sneakin' around the back.
His other favorite activities are going for walks, and sneaking articles of clothing from his mom, just to luxuriate in her scent, he loves her that much! He's also quite fond of the other ladies in his life, daughters and granddaughters of his parents, and never forgets a friend. Sweet little Imp!
Wooly 10" x 8" oil on linen board
$160.00 unframed SOLD