Monday, December 24, 2007

Why Dogs Bite People

I think that says it all.

Merry Christmas from Gracie.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Pugalicious for Christmas

Pug by Lori Levin "Baxter"
graphite on paper

Pardon the title of this post. It rhymes doesn't it? Oh, humor me, ok! Maybe I should have titled it "Pug Alert" because you either love or hate these dogs. There is no in between.

This is a last minute Christmas commission. Not only was this piece created with a major time crunch but the photographs sent were the worst I've ever received. I'm not lying when I say I prayed for guidance the entire time I worked on the dog portrait. Maybe God likes pugs because I believe I had divine assistance in this one. Perhaps I will re-title this blog "Making Something Out of Nothing with God".

As I've said, this year I compare every holiday to that of last year. I clearly remember how I felt and looked last Christmas Eve. It wasn't good. This year, if I'm feeling ill it will be because of too much food and drink and that is likely to happen. I can't begin to tell you how choked up I get thinking about how sweet this year is. It is a feeling like no other. Bittersweet. Just the way I like my chocolate.

Santa, please bring me commissions with good photographs. That's all I want for Christmas. I have my two front teeth and so much more.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! Enjoy!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Dog Portrait - Neptune

Dog Portrait by Lori Levin "Neptune"
oil on canvas
private commission

Another Christmas portrait under my belt. I wish I could be there to hear the comments of Neptune's "mommy" when she receives her gift. Much of the process for me is about getting to know the humans as much as my animal subjects. Sometimes it is difficult to get a feel for a piece without that contact. Hopefully this is where my years of experience come in being able to guess at what the recipient is looking for in a portrait.

I've blown my candles out on yet another birthday cake. Things were much different for me this year. My ice cream cake wasn't tainted with the flavor of chemo on my tongue and I could enjoy a few "toasts" on my special day. As the weeks march on, the experience of last year has less of a grip on me. I still make comparisons and get choked up about things that touch my heart but the ache and pain is fading. I'm also starting to think of things as what they will be instead of as what they were. More than that, I'm much more in the moment and just enjoying things as they are this very second. For instance, I'm listening to Gracie complain that she wants to go out in the yard instead of working in the studio. (She works very hard.) I'm not giving in though because we've played the "in and out" game now for an hour. Things like this used to annoy me and now they just make me laugh.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

My Hairy Evening Gown

I bet that post title grabbed you now didn't it? The photo above was from the Canine Partners for Life Wine Auction. This was the wonderful group I had the honor to sit with. Janie and Jeff Cramer took good care of me all night, making sure I was introduced to everyone and comfortable. I felt so welcomed there. Thanks Janie and Jeff!

Yes, that's me in the bottom right corner with my special "necklace". One of the requirements of the evening was to show up with a creative dog collar in the place of a tie or necklace. I played it safe and went for rhinestones and an "L" charm. Others went all out and even had collars that lit up like Christmas trees. The folks that attended this event were my kind of people. Despite tuxedos and gowns, people went out of their way to have fun and celebrate a fabulous charity event. There was nothing stuffy about this affair.

So you are still wondering where the "hairy evening gown" comes in. Remember, this event was attended by those that train the service dogs and the recipients of these fabulous animals. There were dogs everywhere either learning or assisting. They too were all dressed up for the evening. I'm quite sure the dogs loved being in formal wear. Really, what dog wouldn't? My dress touched the floor and as I passed or petted the proper pooches, I collected "souvenirs" from them all. Janie brought with her a lovely yellow lab named "Butter" who was just beautiful. Butter slept under both of our chairs during dinner, which added to my hair collection. I was never so happy to be covered in dog hair in my life.

The evening began with a silent auction of awesome goodies and tons of wine and yummy food. I bid on so many things but won nothing. Next year will be a different story. I still dream of the reproduction Tiffany lamp that I didn't win. If I ever find the person who outbid me...

The evening closed with the live auction and dinner. I love to listen to an auctioneer. Every lot had a bidder and some went for over $7,000. The "Ripening Fruits" painting went for $2700 I believe. Not bad I think. I'm not quite sure as I was so nervous I could barely breathe. Its new home is in Jeff's office where he will be promoting Canine Partners to other physicians and making recommendation to patients. What a wonderful legacy for that piece.

I also want to thank Anita, Jennifer and Darlene for making me feel so welcome and important that night. I did a little speech that night that I totally flubbed but everyone loved it just the same.

As I get more photos I will post them. I cannot recommend attending this function enough. It was so much fun and for such a good cause. This is the only event of its kind where you know where your money is going and can see your donations at work. Food, wine, winnings, dogs and is worth every penny. Don't miss it next year.

Just a reminder, I still have prints for sale of "Ripening Fruits". You can contact me or buy them directly from Canine Partners. A portion of the proceeds will go to CPL. Every dollar counts because dog treats are expensive.

Finally, thank you all so much for your kind and caring thoughts on my Dandy.