Monday, December 9, 2013

On cool causes, the irresistible bunny posse and the explanation for why I'm so damned strange.

I absolutely love animals, and have for all of my life.

Myself and dainty miniature horse "Little Charlie" (also my dad's
name, sans the "little") at my parents' petting farm in Southern Wisconsin.

I grew up on a farm in rural Wisconsin and though I wasn't technically born in a barn, I was pretty much crawling around in one as soon as I could scoot-- I still have a scar on my forehead from when I fell into a cow manger at age 2 or 3. My parents fostered in me a deep respect for all living things (pet the duckling gently with one finger, ayy-yae... does anyone else make that noise with their kids?), partially because they're just darn good people but also because my extended family has run a petting farm for nearly 50 years, starting with my grandparents in the 60's, and loving animals is their livelihood.

This is for real-- probably circa '94.

My brothers and I had chickens named George and Rebecca and Flossie that we would swaddle in blankets and haul around in wagons, and a goat named Pepper that would eat all of my mom's flowers and jump on the cars of anyone who visited our house-- we never quite understood why people would get so upset about that. At the age of nine or ten I was gifted an elderly pony named Herbie. I would pack a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and an actual canteen in my saddlebag (I'm not lying-- I fancied myself quite the horsewoman at that time) and we would ride off into the woods together, where I would lay out a picnic and braid dandelions into his tail and read him Laura Ingalls Wilder, which he seemed to enjoy. Somehow my mom never worried that we would get bucked off or trampled or have our eyes pecked out by hens, which looking back fills me with pride and happiness that we were so adventurous and strange, and gratefulness to my parents, that we were able to have the kind of upbringing that fosters individuality and independence and a really deep respect for all living things.

Green Meadows Petting Farm mural by Yours Truly, completed September 2013.

Anyway, the point I was getting at before my trip down memory lane is that I truly believe in the importance of kindness towards every soul, no matter how small. I also love getting involved with worthy causes and organizations, and being an artist often gives me the opportunity to become a part of something creative and wonderful and heart-warming.

One of my most recent contributions, and now one of my favorite organizations, is Tranquility Trail Animal Sanctuary in Scottsdale, Arizona. Their mission statement explains it best:

"Tranquility Trail Animal Sanctuary is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the compassionate care of companion animals. At Tranquility Trail, our mission is to rescue, shelter, rehabilitate and hopefully find a forever home for every animal that finds its way to us. For those who cannot find a home, we are committed to providing a loving, nurturing and protected environment. 

We are a volunteer based organization and every donation we receive ensures that our programs sufficiently serve those animals that are lost, abused, neglected or unwanted in our community. 
We welcome every animal with loving and open arms." 

I created an original watercolor for an auction Tranquility Trail was holding this past summer to provide funds to keep the shelter going and for animal care. Happily, the original artwork sold (and started a bidding war), and because it was such a hit I decided to create some signed prints that are available for purchase as well.

Portait of Beau, Caitie, and Bilbo-- three bunnies available for 
adoption at Tranquility Trail Animal Sanctuary. Little Bilbo is a 
"special needs bunny".

Prints are 8" x 10", $30 + shipping, and $5 from each print purchased goes right back to Tranquility Trail so that they can keep doing the great work that they're doing. If you like cute bunnies playing with toys and nibbling carrots and wiggling their noses hello, I would definitely recommend following their Facebook page.

Prints are ready to ship, but need to be purchased shortly in order to allow for packaging and shipping before the holidays. I really love this organization and everything they stand for-- kindness, caring, and a sense of responsibility towards the little guys who need our help and a friendly pet or scratch behind the ears.

"3 bunnies" print on Etsy
- Green Meadows Petting Farm Facebook Page
Green Meadows Petting Farm YouTube Vid-- get your daily dose of cute here
Tranquility Trail Animal Sanctuary homepage
Tranquility Trail Facebook Page-- bunnies galore

Friday, December 6, 2013

We've had visitors in our home since the middle of November. And MY GOD, I love my friends and family, but my body just can't handle any more pepperoni calzones from DP Dough at 1am whilst drinking jugs of wine. I'm still recovering from our annual Thanksgiving day friends & family game of "two-hand touch" football, in which I was mercilessly plowed to the ground and suffered minor injuries to skull and tailbone.

'Deez Heidi Ho'z' suffered a heart-breaking defeat against the 'Coach Luckies'
on Thanksgiving day 2013.

Because we've been busy entertaining, I haven't had much time to actually create artwork, although I'm still plowing ahead with my current illustration projects and am close to completing all of the pieces I was commissioned to finish before the holidays. 

Here are the completed snarky cuttlefish, who are sold and will now be heading to Florida.

...and here are the finished cuttlefish, in color, with the addition of Grumpy Cat by an old friend (I think this really completes the entire artwork).

All I want to do tonight is put on a pair of soiled sweatpants, drink tea, and watch a marathon of The League, but I've got an art opening in Fort Colllins at the Lincoln Center. It promises to be an amazing show; I'm just being incredibly lazy.

I'm just rambling now. I'll have something more interesting to say soon.

Au revoir!