Thursday, October 7, 2010

Barkapalooza...My first official outing as Lildog

We went to Barkapalooza a couple of weeks ago (by "we" I am referring to Bruiser and myself.. ).
I should also credit my sister Julie for meeting me there and helping for the day. She makes great coasters, floral arrangements, and various other things. This was truly a fundraiser for West Suburban Humane Society in Downers Grove, IL.  A great walk, combined with vendors and rescues. Overall, we had a lot of interest.

I know I'm behind on posting my work, and there are several paintings I'll post soon.
Just a little computer funk....sometimes I wonder how someone who used to be so opposed to sitting behind a desk and having a traditional job has become just that person... and computers... they are addicting. I've been wondering if I stopped visiting facebook and online shopping for things I don't need... how much more painting I would accomplish!

A little musical inspiration...

Matthew I went to his concert Tuesday and it filled my mind with thoughts and my heart with inspiration.
I didn't realize how much of an honor it was to celebrate the launch of his new album, The Story of Your Life.

You see, I grew up with him...well, I'm a few years older but who's counting?
I'd been keeping up with his success through our parents, occasionally hearing a song as I was skipping past KLOVE...thinking "HEY, I know that guy!".

Facebook has also been a good way to kind of sit back and watch. I read as he asked his fans to submit the "story of their lives" to serve as his inspiration...

I kept up on his time away in the cabin, sorting through the letters and writing occasional chuckle at the mention of the cabin mouse.  Admittedly it was pretty cool to watch the process he was going through.

Now here's where I have to be honest.......I thought this was just going to be like any old concert, except with a heavy dose of religion, which as most people who know me realize, I am not completely comfortable with.  This is not the same guy who sang in church and bickered with his younger brothers. This was a Matthew West, the Christian singing sensation who comes along with a full band, lights, fog, a touch of glam.

Maybe the concert made such an impact on me because faith in general has been a big struggle for me. Its something I tuck away in a box - you know- to deal with 'later'. Every once in awhile I take it out, think about it... struggle with it, and put it back in the box. I know some of you understand what I'm saying.

I have yet to figure out why, but going to church always brings a lot of sadness to me. I have to admit people talking alot of scripture and things related to it- make me a little squirmy. Don't get me wrong- I admire people who have a strong faith. I want that.  I have just been on a loooong road to find it.
I used to say "I have anger issues with God". My sister died back in 1996; and never being able to make sense of it, I was angry. Ironically, it was actually Matthew West's dad who came over shortly after she passed to comfort my family. His church is really the only place I've gone at all in the last 15 years. I remember my dad angrily shouting "Is this YOUR GOD??!" I may be paraphrasing but it was so full of anger. So, that is where what I call my "religious regression" began. Its really just the last couple of years I have decided its time to move on.

Its exhausting keeping my faith in a box. At the same time, I don't think I have to go to a Sunday service to illustrate how I feel or what's in my heart. I'm still trying to figure out where to go from here. Sometimes I wish there was a 'religion for dummies' book that would allow me to get caught up on my options.

I am way off track from where I've started. The purpose of my post was to point out how amazing Matthew's music is. Creating music is just another form of art and I know that's why it is one of the few things in this world that inspires and touches me. I truly believe I'd be hard pressed to find someone who CAN'T relate one of his songs on the new album. He took stories from his fans, and wrote about their life circumstances.. and turned them into music that has the ability to touch and change so many people. These are real people, real stories. People who have faith regardless of the circumstances in their lives. As he was saying, we all have a story.

What's yours?

I know I have a lot to think about.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Book on Bulldogs...

This week I started working on a book for charity. I belong to a facebook group called Art 4 Causes, and at this point we're a group of artists networking ideas, sharing our work, etc.... Pam, the woman who started the group came up with the idea to choose a cause, a subject and compile a book using all artists work to raise money for the cause.

The first book will benefit The Bulldog Club of America's Rescue Network. Read more about the cause here:

17 artists have contributed bulldog artwork of different mediums to be included in the book. I have a solid start on putting the book together and hope to finish within the next week or so. Since I am a bulldog 'nut' I am excited about this project. There is a lot of great artwork in the book. I feel confident that many of my 9 million bulldog friends will purchase a copy!

UPDATE:   You can read more about the book and order HERE.

(And what a great way to procrastinate on finishing my current portrait orders...shhh...)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

On Top of the World....

That's Where Lucy is now. She was one of the first American Bulldogs rescued by a contact of mine, Caroline, in Texas. Here's her story from Caroline:

"Lucy was rescued from the Dallas pound. She was severely emaciated, had demodex mange, and came down with pneumonia a few days later. After 2 months of nursing her back to health, she was finally feeling better. Her personality slowly came out more and more every day. She is the most loving, most wonderful dog and all she wants is love and belly rubs."

She was brought into rescue in February and adopted out in May. A girl who had been in the army for 12 years adopted her as she was getting out of the army. She is now loved and adored as she should be!"

I worked with Carolyn to come up with a subject for a painting ABR can use as a fundraiser....I then asked my Lildog 'facebook fans' to decide which pose they liked best.... and this is the result. I absolutely think Lucy is angelic. There are so many wonderful dogs out there who need help, donations, medical care, LOVE.... The longer I think about this, the harder it is to imagine why people purchase dogs from puppymills...ahem... pet stores.

The Midwest is actually in need of American Rescue(s). It is really tough for surrendering owners to find a rescue to help in this area, and it breaks my heart every time I hear about another American Bully in need with no place to go.

If you'd like to learn more about American Bulldog Rescue - please see their web page or look them up on Facebook.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Sleeping Bulldog

This is Freddy. His portrait came out rather dark...but I think it suits him.
Freddy was one of the "Terrific 10" bulldogs that Chicago English Bulldog Rescue took in after an abuse and neglect case in Illinois was finished in the winter of 2010. This group was the cutest, smallest group of bulldogs I'd seen! They were all so used to living in cages, in their own feces, oftentimes pooping and urinating in their food bowls. They were a wonderful experience for the volunteers at CEBR. Freddy and his "siblings" soaked up all the love and human kindness they'd been lacking. They learned how to be the pampered family members they deserved to be, and they had all of their health issues taken care of. Freddy's ears still amuse me, they stand up and in his pictures he has this look that makes him seem like an old man.

All of the "Terrific 10" now live with their forever families.... like a little 'bulldog fairy tail'
If you'd like to learn more about Chicago English Bulldog Rescue and what they do - please visit

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The latest portrait ~ meet Perla....

Meet Perla.... I found her image on Facebook. I see a crazy number of homeless dogs in my newsfeed every day. It breaks my heart, but I know only so many of these souls can be saved. I wonder often, how can I help?

I saw the sad eyes of Perla and knew I had to paint her. She is a puppy, yet she sat unwanted waiting for her last days. Thanks to a rescue group she has been spared from death row and is awaiting her forever home!

I've slowly been contacting rescues to let them know that I am willing to donate a pet portrait for fund raising efforts. I can't tell you how much every rescue is in need of funds. The economy has left more pets homeless than ever before.

I also donate 10% of any commission to a rescue of the buyers choice, as long as I know its a legitimate cause.

If you're a rescue and reading this, I'm happy to consider any ideas to help you. Part of my mission is to raise awareness in the public.

For now the Perla painting will stay with me as a sample work, although I would love to sell the piece at some point! Thanks for reading my blog- I know I'm a blogging beginner but I'm hoping to use this blog as a place to tell you more about what's going on with Lildog, and in the world of rescue. I believe the more we know, the more we can change for the good!

Visit me on Facebook here.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Watercolor Artwork

Watercolor is the perfect medium for expression through color. I love having the ability to blend and layer multiple colors to create the look I envision.
My goal is to create a piece of artwork that portrays something or someone you love. An original watercolor becomes a conversation piece among friends and a priceless memory.

I have a passion for animals, and for animal rescue. Lildog is named after my not-so-little english bulldog, Lilli.
She's seven now and has been with me through thick and thin. We have another bully named Bruiser who we fostered, then adopted.

I paint homes as well, with customers who want to remember a childhood home, a family cabin, or a house they downsized from after raising their children.

You can find out more about my work at Lildog Studio's web page:

For every pet portrait ordered, I will donate 10% of the commission to a rescue in need.

I hope to raise awareness about homeless pets, encourage people to learn more about rescues and shelters and to think about what you can do to help.
Most people don't realize that over 10,000 dogs are euthanized at the Chicago Animal Control alone, each year!
Encourage people to adopt, if not from there, from a rescue. Local rescues were able to save over 4,000 animals but need adopters, funding, and volunteers to make that number grow.
The other fact most people don't realize is that buying pet store puppy IS buying a puppymill dog. They still come with 'papers' and the stores tell customers they came from 'breeders'.
Pet stores will tell people that all day long, as they are only in the business to make money.

If we educate those we meet about these two realities......adopting and not buying pet store puppies... then one by one, we can make an impact on the number of puppymill abuses, and also
make an impact on the staggering number of homeless dogs euthanized every day for no reason.