Sunday, July 31, 2011

Matted Greeting Cards

This week, I began matting some of my greeting cards.  I'm listing them on Etsy for sale.  This first one I matted is a professionally printed 5x7" greeting card with my original white poodle painting.  I chose a mat with a lovely golden trim, which blends nicely with her fur colors in the painting.

These matted greeting cards are all matted in 8x10" size mats and are ready to drop into an 8x10" frame.  OR....if you really want to create a nice piece of art for your home or office, you can mat this in an 11x14" or larger complementary mat, and place in a larger frame.  These make great small works of art for your home and office, and all feature my original paintings and photos on these high quality greeting cards and/or my ColorSplash photo greeting cards.

Of course, you can always order the individual greeting cards and mat them won't have the benefit of having my original artist signature on each mat!  That's right - each of these is signed and dated by yours truly, in either gold or silver ink.  Bookmark my Etsy shop, because I'll be listing more of these as I finish matting them over the coming weeks.  And you'll want to stay tuned for another little artsy-surprise I'm working on as well. :)


In the Forest

Recently we visited Cypress Grove Park here in Jackson, TN.  It's gorgeous inside the park, which is actually a boardwalk trail that winds deep into the forest.  It's very peaceful and serene, and I was able to get some beautiful photos.  Unfortunately, because of the darkness, the camera doesn't make the best pictures.  So these require quite a bit of editing before publishing.

I love the photo above, as it gives a glimpse of the sunlight coming in through the trees.  But of course, I thought it needed more color.  This is one of those scenes which would look wonderful if it would really glow from the sunlight.  So....I did a bit of editing, and this is how the photo looks now:

Full of rich color, an inviting scene has been created for the viewer.  I decided to take things one step farther and add some words of inspiration:

It reads:  BE STILL in the darkness and I will LIGHT your way.  This gorgeous image from "The Grove" is available on cards, prints and gifts here.  It's also available as fine art paper and canvas prints, matted and/or framed, in this gallery here.

I have some other great scenes I'll be sharing soon from this park visit, and a few birds of prey photos as well.  This park rescues injured, wild birds and keeps them in captivity until they heal, and there were several there when we visited.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Kitten Sweetness

Orange Kitten Fine Art Print print
Orange Kitten Fine Art Print

There's nothing sweeter than the miracle of new life.  After just losing my dog and one of our cats, the perfect cheer-me-up came to the door yesterday.  Meet Vol, a 6 week old orange and white kitten who was just adopted by a friend.  Little Vol almost didn't make it into this world.

Orange Cat Square Fine Art Print print
Orange Cat Square Fine Art Print

This is Juicy, Vol's mother.  Juicy was a stray in our neighborhood. At the time this pregnant cat decided to roost at my house, there was also another stray who had just brought us three kittens.  This was in addition to our 4 rescued strays we already had here.  There was no way all of these cats could stay, so I got in touch with various animal rescue groups, who were of no help (because they all were full).  So I called the humane society.  She told me they were full and I'd have to call animal control.  I told her I didn't want to call them, because they are a kill facility.  She told me the cats/kittens had 30-40 days and that their cat adoption rate was very high.  Still hesitant, I called the female animal control officer I knew, and asked her to come pick up the cats, since I was out of money for food and had just enough food left to feed my 4 original cats until the next payday.

When she showed up, I was still hesitant to let them go, but when this female officer told me she was taking the cats to a local vet who spays/neuters them and puts the ones who don't get adopted onto her farm, I was willing to let them go, and was happy they would have a chance to be adopted and end up in a safe place if they didn't.

Fast forward two days, until I saw something very disturbing on Facebook (yes, Facebook allows the world to become very small these days!).  Turns out, the lady had lied to me -- the cats were taken straight to the kill shelter and were put on death row...with...get this...2-3 days to live!  On day 2, the orange female we called "Juicy" had her 4 kittens while in their "custody".  Still...she and the 4 kittens were scheduled to be put down. 

I was FURIOUS.  This wasn't what I was told at all, by either the Humane Society or the animal control officer.  And it turns out this is a long-standing problem here of Rabies Control misleading people, as a week or so later, this article came out in our local news.  According to that article, the officer had that man sign some documents.  I was never given any documents to sign.  But I was given a bunch of lies!  And now these poor kitties weren't even going to have a chance.

But once again, thanks to the beauty of Facebook and the ability to share information quickly, word got out and thanks to a kind, generous woman, Juicy and her babies were saved.  Photos of her and her kittens were circulating fast, and I shared the photo with a friend of mine who said she wanted the orange kitten.  I put her in touch with the lady who rescued them, and that is how "Vol" became adopted by my friend last night.

She brought him by so I could meet him, and of course, I had to shoot some photos.  What a precious little fella he is!  In fact, I've already added his sweet face to a variety of cards and gifts in my shop.  I'm so glad he made it and has a good home.  He was the only boy of the bunch and the only orange one.  His 3 sisters have already been adopted as well, and Juicy, the mother cat, is staying with her rescuer.  Despite a rough start -- almost NO start to life - these babies and their mother made it out okay, and for that, I am very thankful.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

A hurting heart

Tabby Cats and Kittens 2011 Calendar calendar
It's 2 weeks ago we lost our dog Lady, and now we have lost our young, vibrant, fun kitty cat, Molly.  Molly apparently swallowed something sharp, which was stuck and making her bleed inside and they wanted to do surgery to get whatever it was out.  We could not afford the high cost of surgery, so we had to let her go. :(

I am heartbroken. Molly is the cover girl shown on my Tabby Cats & Kittens calendar above.  Despite the fact I have two other furry friends in the house, my house feels so empty. Max, the German Shepherd, is laying around depressed and quiet...Molly was his play buddy.  He loved her and she loved him. I'm trying to keep him busy and entertained, but it's hard to do when the tears keep flowing.

I know they say "everything happens for a reason", but I can't even imagine what could be the reason for having 2 of my best friends taken from me so suddenly and so close together. My heart just hurts.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Goodbye Lady

Last night we had to say goodbye to our companion of 11+ years.  Rest in peace, Lady Johnson.

Lady first came to us about 10 years ago when we were adding a front porch onto our home.  She was trotting down the street and saw us outside with the workers, and she came over to say hello.  She spotted the sand pile in the front yard, and started checking it out.  A few minutes later, she decided to run and dive right into the center of it.  She thought that was so much fun, she started going crazy and circling the yard, running, and pouncing right in the center of the pile, coming out the other side, shaking sand everywhere!

We didn't know whose dog she was, but found her quite delightful.  Our children were little at the time, and she approached them gently and was very friendly.  She was solid black at that time, with no fat on her, and a sleek shiny coat.  We played with her, and when we went in for the evening, we figured she'd just go on back to her house.  We lived in a neighborhood with many, many homes, and assumed she had just wandered from one down the street.

About 2 in the morning, we were awakened to a dog barking -- on our new front porch - right outside our bedroom window.  She apparently decided to make our front porch her sleeping place, and we thought it was awfully cute that she was barking, "protecting" our new porch from possible intruders.

A couple of days went by and she stayed around.  I started feeding her, of course.  I also started looking for her owner.  There was no response to my attempts at finding her owner.  My husband was jogging 5 miles a day back at that time, and Lady started running with him.  She'd run the entire 5 miles - he couldn't believe it.  Of course she'd sleep 1/2 a day after that because she was so exhausted.

About 3 weeks into this, she went into heat.  Since we had not found her owner, I decided to take her and have her spayed, and I told my husband she was our dog now.  We moved her into our fenced backyard where we had another dog.  We also had a doggie door installed on the screen porch out back so she could come in and get shelter from the weather.  Our other dog had a dog house he would get in, but Miss Lady didn't want any part of being in a dog house out in the rain.

A few months later, our other dog, who was many years older, passed away.  Then it was just Lady and us.  A few months after that, we lost our home and had to move.  The house we were moving to didn't have a fenced yard or any covered areas outside.  I told my husband we'd have to keep her inside.  He very reluctantly agreed, as he really didn't want a house dog.

And she's been with us as a house dog ever since.  Over the past five or so years however, Lady has been plagued with health issues.  It had become one vet visit after another, and her responses to medicines seemed to always compell a different problem to come on, which we'd then be back at the vet for a second issue.  Last year, a knot just appeared on her right front leg.  The doctor thought it might be bone cancer, but didn't know for sure without doing a lot of procedures which we couldn't afford.  We elected to treat it with pain medicine, and a diet to help her decrease her weight.  She did well for a few months, but has been slowly declining ever since, while still having continuous skin and intestinal issues.  We've had both of those under control for about 6 months now, but we had already decided if she seemed uncomfortable or in pain, we would let her go.

The past few weeks, she seemed to be in quite a bit more pain, and also developed an anal gland infection.  We tried treating the anal gland infection with antibiotics, but her stomach just couldn't handle the antibiotics and was getting upset again.  She has had constant problems with these glands over the years, but they would always settle down without antibiotics.  This time she had a full blown infection -- with blood.  There was the option of surgery to remove the glands, but at her age and with her other health issues, we didn't want to put her through that.  The past week, it became evident she was in a good bit of pain and she was really having trouble getting around, and also seemed to be having breathing issues.

The night before last, Lady was laying on the driveway looking out across the yard, and one of our outdoor cats went over and laid right beside her.  He's never done that before, and it was as if he was trying to comfort her or make her feel better.  Yesterday her panting was quite excessive at times it shouldn't have been.  I could tell she was in tremendous pain yesterday morning when we did the morning walk.  She didn't want to go far from the house.  After a family discussion, we decided it was time to say our goodbyes.  We didn't like seeing her sick and in pain, and I know it was no fun for her.  So last night, we escorted our dear friend over the Rainbow Bridge, where hopefully she will find peace and freedom from pain and problems.

Rest in peace my dear Lady -- you will always be remembered and always be loved, and although we will miss you terribly, we will never forget the joy you brought to us and I hope you will remember us fondly in spirit.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Wild Cat Collection

I finally completed all of the wild cats in the Color Splash Photo Wildlife Series.  Click on the flyer above to see them all - and of course all of these images are available on cards, prints, and gifts in the Color Splash store, as well as on canvas prints in my Fine Art America gallery here.

The only cat I didn't include in the wildlife series is the female lion.  I was hoping to capture a great photo of a male lion, however, there wasn't one present at the Memphis Zoo on the day we visited for our photography session.  I felt the female lion photo wasn't as good as the others shown above.

The Cheetah and the Snow Leopards were the most active cats.  The tigers were being fairly lazy.  Maybe if we'd have been there closer to feeding time, the tigers would have been more active!

What's amazing to me is how much these big cats resemble my domestic house cats with their actions - just in bigger size and much more grandiose. :)  I've heard time and time again the domestic house cats are "little tigers", and after observing these big cats, I have to agree.