Thursday, April 30, 2009


SPLOSH... SPLASH...SCURRY and DASH ! These ships are really moving....!

This piece just had to happen. My studio looks out over Lake Ontario where, several years ago, we were witness to the flopping and floundering of that monster hydrofoil named ' Fast Ferry' AKA 'the cat'! Every day it set out for Toronto from Rochester's port on it's round trip voyage, and every day my two cats would run and jump on the windowsills to see what was causing the huge waves and after shock which could clearly be felt in the studio. The ferry was such a wonderful idea and those who managed to get a ride on it free of incident during it's short lived infamy said that it was indeed, a wonderful way to get to Toronto... and points beyond if you brought your car as was encouraged! Unfortunately, 'the cat' seemed to be born (in Perth Australia) under an unlucky star and troubles followed it wherever it went . I can't document all the things that went wrong with it here but suffice it to say that there were many; bungled permits, missing permits, motor troubles, financial troubles, navigational problems involving damages to all involved, and , I believe, very poor planning from the get go. Fast Cat Ferry flew the wrong flag, I think it was from Nassau, and therefore the city of Rochester was forced to divvy up $6000 per day to have a captain licensed by that country present while berthing the behemoth both here and in Canada even though an American captain was on board, managed fine during the travel times and was very capable of berthing it himself . Another missed opportunity, and one which prevented the Fast Cat from bringing in the income that was hoped for , was the missing permit that would allow large trucks, 18 wheelers , to use the ferry to cut out many miles and hours of travel time between Rochester and Toronto. It would appear that someone must have neglected the arrangement for this particular permit because in the planning stages, the large truck cargo was to have constituted the biggest part of the revenue , ensuring the success of the entire venture!

If you are reading this, I am going to assume that you have had some acquaintance with the workings of the creative process, and will find it quite a reasonable jump for my mind to have absorbed all these facts and blended them into a merry little story depicting the hero's of the tale as frisky feline sailors who could probably sort out the problems with only a few ounces of catnip, a sardine or two and some friendly, internationally flagged, transport fish to get the job done. Here then is my own personal version of the "Fast Cat Ferry" with due credit going to Widget and Sadie who thought of the idea in the first place! We hope you like it. Gentle snickering and giggling allowed.

Giclee prints of Fast Cat Ferry are available from my website.

Friday, April 17, 2009


The saga of the Spider and the Snail , I think, will be resolved thanks to some wonderful advise from Lisa and Akiko who seemed to know about such things. I have been advised to put him in a nice little glass environment with lettuce and soil until he is through hibernating.. I will do that...just as soon as I can get up the strength and courage to pull him off the wall. It would seem that he must be stuck pretty good to have hung there all winter long.

I'll let you know how that works out but this is too good a segue not to use to bring up an event near and dear to my heart which happened awhile ago. My all time favorite cat, Pushkin (after the Russian Poet) came home one sunny afternoon with the most woebegone look on her little round face and a snail stuck tight right on the top of her head. She sat herself down in the kitchen (that room again) and gave me a l
ook that implored me to help her out of this predicament..there was no question about what she wanted me to do and I've always hoped she forgave me when I sat down and did a quick sketch of her instead! It couldn't be helped...she was so cute and funny!

OK, so before you call the SPCA....I did relieve her of her burden within a reasonable length of time...everybody should look so cute with a snail on their head!

Well, I can't just leave it at that can I? often do those two species get together in such an intimate way?I couldn't help myself... I just had to carry the inspiration a little further and so I sketched in a few more cats and a few more snails to help satisfy my ever present lust for the whimsical ...and the bizarre!

Oh, this is fun...wouldn't it be even more fun to make it taller....with more cats and more snails?

I'm getting in a rut here but for the life of me, nothing else came to mind to add to this menagerie.

Tall cats, tall snails, on and on I go...can't seem to stop..... Most artists spend a lot of time trying to explain to viewers what 'inspired', or more often 'what caused' them to draw that one?' Those of you who practice art of any genre will agree with me, I am sure, that the viewer's interpretation is equally as valid as the artist's but the viewer still insists upon hearing the story from the artist as well.

I have happily spent hours at art shows just explaining to people how all those shapes and colors got onto the paper in just that particular manner and why! Most importantly ...why? I love the story telling but am still somewhat surprised to realize that there really was a story, a why, an inspiration, a magical moment that prompted me to put down those visions in just that manner. Sometimes when we paint, we are lost in the essence of what we are doing and are unaware of the Muse's hand on ours so it's a pleasure to ,now and then, stop and realize how we got where we are.

Well now, it's finally become evident to me

what is missing from this little adventure on

paper and that is...the human element.and so

without further ado, I plopped Grizabella from"CATS"

right down the middle to complete

the muddle which I like to call ...


With, of course, full acknowledgement and profound thanks to my best pal, Pushkin!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


OK, here's the snail shell I promised...sitting on the windowsill right next to the candle. It's a cute little thing and would bring nice summery thoughts throughout the cold winter which would soon be upon us.

This was my thinking when I rescued it from the laundry room to give it a place of honor for the duration.....

Surprise, surprise!

Not only has the red arrow moved (you noticed that?) but
the "shell" also appears to have taken a walk! Evidently the little guy was still using his house...and now mine!
This is OK with me...we can long as he stays pretty much where he, or she, is. What do snails do in the they sleep..hibrinate..? Do they need to eat...what do they eat? If the house is warm do they think it is summer and start doing 'summer' things?

I considered these to all be legitimate worries but
thought it prudent to adopt a 'wait and see' attitude. It was much too cold to put the poor little fella outside . Actually the snow came in earnest the very next day.

I had no idea what to do if he started walking around so I
was particularly careful when doing dishes at the sink, right below the window, least I should wake him up and have to introduce myself!

As the winter went on, it seemed that all would be well, as Sleeping Snail, AKA Snidely, seemed content to just stay suctioned to the sill plate and it wasn't until February that I became aware that he had invited company! It seems that a little house spider has also been staying at my place for the winter. I'd catch sight of him first thing in the morning when I started to draw water for coffee. He tends, though, to be a bit shy and scurries away when he hears a noise so I had to tread softly and using no lights, sneak up early one morning with my camera to get a shot of him by shooting blindly and frequently in the dark. Here then, is Simon Spider still sort of curled up in what surely must have been a long night's slumber in company of his buddy S.Snail.

And yes, Simon does come home and roost in the same spot every a matter of fact, I have often caught him catching an afternoon nap in just that spot.

Now my question to you, dear reader, is this: does anyone out there know about the hibernating habits of snails? The reason I ask at this time is that I have noticed a very gradual lowering of the snail from his original position in recent weeks...Is he sliding down....does this forebode an awakening? The weather is still too iffy to put him outside but if he begins to move faster than a nano-second per hour, my other roommates, of the feline persuasion, might become very interested in him. Sadie particularly, loves anything that moves and continually amazes me by the variety of found objects she brings to me while I am sleeping! She doesn't just bring them to bed, she tucks them in around my face so that I will be sure to notice them should I open an eye... This would not be a good thing should one or more of those objects be Snidely or Simon. I can't fathom a good day being salvaged out of one which began by such an awakening and therefore must ask for your help in avoiding, by any means, the extreme view of the Spider and the Snail!

All comments and suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

Monday, April 13, 2009


Now that Easter is over and I am feeling better, I have a kind of funny little story to share with you. Let me preface this story by saying that I've always liked snails, not to eat, just to look at.

I once read a story about how someone let a whole gaggle of snails loose on an artist's wet pallet and then encouraged them to slither and slide over a clean sheet of watercolor paper. It took awhile but the end result was fascinating...sort of like a slow motion Jackson Pollock painting, but with a few extra squiggles and blops here and there! I was intrigued by the process and the end result, and understand that the 'painting' actually sold for quite a sum on an art auction held somewhere! Imagine, the lowly snail as an artist!

Thus began my interest in the curlicue little artisans and I did this small painting as a greeting card for a friend. It was a long time ago, at the beginning of my 'snail enamored days,' and I never would have thought of it had it not been for the intrigue of a little saga that has been playing out in my kitchen over the winter months.

Sometime last fall, I was about to do a laundry when I was surprised to find a pretty little snail shell in the pocket of a pair of blue jeans.. It is not an unprecedented discovery , as there is a high north facing wooded embankment behind my cottage where it is always shady and moist. The little guys flourish there and I often pick up their left behind shells once they are done with them. I just didn't remember collecting this particular one . Never mind, I'll just put it here on the kitchen window sill where all can see and admire it! The thought occurred to me to take a quick photo of it to send to a friend who also enjoys the charms of La Petit Escargot.

"Get on with it" you say?...OK, but have you ever seen a snail try to hurry?

It's dinner time now and the 'girls' want their meal so I'm afraid that this will have to be continued first thing tomorrow. I promise, and I'll post that picture I took. Thanks for hanging in there!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I hope you are all having a wonderful time this Easter no matter where you are. I am staying home to , hopefully, whip the last of the coughing thing... Much better, thank you but still reluctant to let completely go!
The sunshine promises a good weather weekend and that bodes well for those who are travelling to distant places to be with family or friends. I am so grateful for computers and their wizardly gift of spontaneous and immediate communication. Our loved ones are never further than a few keystrokes away!...Magic!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Under the weather...........

Sorry to have let things go so long. I've been in bed for 5 days with a viral, sinus, asthma, coughing, sniffing thingy...Hurt so bad! But I finally got to the doctor today and she thinks she can put me back together again so looking forward to more paintings and gossip soon! me