Thursday, April 30, 2009

Profile: Shelagh Duffett

Shelagh Duffett
Shelagh's blog

"All Is Well" can be found on page 16 of the 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book.

Shelagh is an artist and photographer who lives in Nova Scotia. Her cheerful work has found it's way all over the world. From Japan to Alaska and Finland to South Africa, Shelagh's whimsical art makes people everywhere smile. Gracing the walls of a Pediatric Unit in Missouri and beaming from the labels of an established condiment line, her art knows no bounds. Monty the tabby cat is her muse and ever present art critic. Shelagh has written and illustrated her own cook book (oddly enough, I was given her book as a gift several years ago, long before I knew Shelagh). Her cookbook is available here.

Prints of her photos are available at

Prints of "All Is Well" and many other of Shelagh's creations are available at

You can see more of her work here:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Photo Competition

I entered my first photo competition at the Photo Club last night. It was a competition for new members, and we were to submit six photos. I was very nervous...silly, I know. Top score available is 15. Here are the photos I submitted: The top 3 photos all scored 12/15. Wagon from the Aspotogan Penninsula (the wagon is now gone...the victim of a bonfire), Marigold with raindrops, and the red barn from the end of our road (where the sheep in my recent blog photos live).
These two photos each scored 13/15. Our cat phantom in the screened in porch...loved how the screen framed his shadow. And a mushroom from our driveway last summer.

My puffins scored 14/15.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

ATV ride

Our next door neighbour owns 300 acres, and his land surrounds us. He and his wife are in their late 70's and they put us to shame with the amount of work they do. He manages his wood lot, grows 30,000 Christmas trees and shears them all by hand, and supplies many people with fire wood (cut himself). He has some trails through the forest and has told us we can check them out on our ATV. So we did on Sunday. These pines are sooooo tall, and according to our neighbour they are over 100 years old. It was beautiful going through there. I was glad John was driving, because that meant I got to look up the whole time. At the end of the trail we found this:
A little creepy. Five skulls all lined up at the base of a tree. It was a mystery that was solved next time we saw our neighbour.
His sons got the skulls from a butcher years ago, and used them to trap coyotes and bear.

Yikes, bear! Hope if I see one, it's from a distance. Our neighbour says, "Oh, yeah, there's lots of bear around. Most likely you won't see them. But they'll see you." That gives me some reassurance. Ha!

Monday, April 27, 2009

My interviews

I have been interviewed a couple of times recently. The first interview is by far the best...I was interviewed by granddaughter Miss M. She was well prepared, and had her question sheet ready. She wrote down all the answers on her prep sheet. The end result? The interview helped her get her Art Badge for Brownies. Quite a success story! The interview I had last week was conducted via email. Our 2009 Paws for Charity Art Book was featured on the cover page for the EMC Kanata this week. The EMC is a weekly paper. Kanata is a suburb of Ottawa, Canada's capital.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Profile: Gary Heller

Gary's photo "Iki in the box" is featured on page 23 of the 2009 Paws for Charity Art Book.

Gary Heller

Gary is a New York based photographer. He exhibits regularly in galleries around Brooklyn and new York. His works have taken Best in Show, have been used in group exhibit press kits, and have a permanent collection in the N.Y.C. Transit Building in Livingston Plaza. Gary's photographs can also be found in his etsy shop.
Here is the story of Iki, written by Gary:
I was honored to be one of the artists selected for the book as it gave me an opportunity to use my work for helping other people in some way, shape or form.
Ironically there is a deeper story to my particular work that was selected. My selected piece is a photograph of our kitten "Iki". Iki was discovered in our backyard in June of 2008 by my son Kyle who is autistic and has a special and strong love of animals. Iki was merely a day old when Kyle found him, and pretty much hours away from death. Apparently Iki's mom had removed him from her litter and left him to die. We took him in and nursed him against the veterinarians prediction of a 50/50 chance of survival. He is now a 10 month old kitten in excellent health and spirit. In the selected photo, Iki is two weeks old and very scrawny. His good looks and charm comes across in the photo and has given both him, myself and Kyle the chance to help save another life.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Artist Profile: Emily Wagner

Featured artist from the 2009 Paws for Charity Art Book

Emily Wagner

Emily told me I could edit her bio, but how could I leave any of this out? Here it is, in it's entirety.

Emily Wagner grew up on the mean streets of New York City’s Upper West Side. She was a child actress who made her television debut at thirteen in the educational camp series HIGH FEATHER. Even though the show only had a ten episode run, it played repeats for seven years on PBS and by the time Emily got to college she had achieved cult status among the seven people who watched it. Some of whom are still her friends today.

Emily is an actress, writer and artist. She is the co-creator (along with Chelsea Gilmore) of the web series MOTHERHOODLUM. She has written for SOMA magazine, HOTMOMSCLUB.COM, MAMAZINE.COM and the in-flight magazine for an airline that no longer exists. She created, wrote, produced and starred in several short and feature films, some with her brother Andrew (COUNTING, SOUTH MAIN), some with her longtime collaborator Julie Delpy (BLAH, BLAH, BLAH) and some with both of them (Looking For Jimmy, Careful) all of which went on to have impressive festival runs.

As an actress she has appeared in several feature films (SEVEN) and television shows (IN LIVING COLOR, JACK AND JILL, CRIMINAL MINDS). But it is in the role of Doris Pickman, the smart aleck paramedic on ER that she has played for the past thirteen seasons for which she receives the most (and only) fan mail, usually from incarcerated women. Emily received impressive reviews for her starring role in the indie cult hit THE TALENT GIVEN US, directed by her brother Andrew. She has been known to cuddle up in bed with the printouts and read them to herself softly.

Most recently Emily starred in the film CHRONIC TOWN along with Garry Marshall and Paul Dooley which premiered at the Sundance 2008 Film Festival. Last year Emily appeared in STICK IT and MR. WOODCOCK.

She has studied improv, comedy and writing at The Groundlings and acting with Susan Batson of the Actor’s Studio, Ivana Chubbuck, Silvana Gallardo and Ian Tucker. At Vassar when she wasn’t taking drugs and/or sleeping with the few straight men on campus she managed to graduate, only one year late, with a B.A. in Fine Art.

Emily refuses to cut down on Splenda, The Hills, or Ikea. In her first year of single-motherhood Emily has discovered its surprising upsides. Squatting to pick up a tossed sippy cup has been great to her ass, one teething biscuit in only half a Weight Watchers point, and Baby is a great excuse to bail out of plans at the last minute. Her most coveted possession is a toilet plunger. "Biggie Smalls" is featured on page 34 of the 2009 Paws for Charity Art Book.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Digby Neck and Country Songs

Saturday was an all day excursion with the dogs to Digby Neck...a long point of land that extends west of Digby, and runs between the Bay of Fundy and St. Mary's Bay. A ferry ($5 return) runs from the mainland over to Long Island. Another ferry ride ($5 return) runs from Long Island to Brier Island. Here are John and "the girls" at the tip of Brier Island.This photo was also taken on Brier Island. The tide was low when we were there, so the dock looks very high in the air.The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world. Wouldn't it be lovely to sit in one of those chairs with some friends and a drink in your hand?
We stopped in Bear River for supper on the way home (you don't say dinner here for the evening meal. Dinner is lunch. Supper is the evening meal). Notice that all the buildings are on stilts? The tides run high here too. We ate at a diner, where all the locals eat (the only spot in town). It was a Saturday night and they close at 6:00. Summer hours keeps them open till 7:30. The food was just like home-made, worth waiting for. And it gave John a chance to chat with a couple of the locals for a half hour.

We had another fun outing last the Maitland Country Jam. Held in the Maitland Community Hall, there were approx 25 musicians sitting in a circle of chairs at the front of the hall, and about 75 people in the audience. They get together every Tuesday night through the spring, summer, and fall. The musicians each take a turn singing a song, and the audience joins in when they know the words. Of course, everyone knew we were newcomers as soon as we walked in the door. But we did know someone....John met a man a few weeks ago, when we were eating a breakfast at a firehall, who told us about the Jam. Lots of Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Mel Tillis, Johnny Cash songs were sung. A couple of my favourites: Sonny's Dream (originally sung by Ron Hines, but has become quite the pub song)
Sonny, don't go away
I am here all alone
You're daddy's a sailor
Who never comes home...

a 70ish man and wife singing Sea Cruise (a 50's Frankie Ford song)....
Ew-wee, ew-wee baby
Ew-wee, ew-wee baby
Won't you let me take you on a sea cruise?

a 70ish woman signing Tony Orlando and Dawn's Knock Three Times while playing a mandolin
Knock three times on the ceiling if you want me (everyone stomping on the floor 3 times)

and it was such fun listening to the oldish gentleman playing a jig on the harmonica, and watching a 70ish woman get up and dance in the aisle everytime he played. I'd love to get up and dance whenever I felt like it. Even if I was the only person dancing in a room full of people sitting. Maybe some day. I think we'll be regulars at the Country Jam. (the weeks that I'm not at the photo club anyway)

Tonight: my first meeting at the new gardening club in New Germany.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Artist Profile: Dan Felstead

Another featured artist from the 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book Project

Dan Felstead

Dan has been attached at the hip to a camera - digital and film - since the early 70's. His freelance work has taken him to weddings, portraits, news journalism, and travel. Now he is finally getting to take the photos that mean something to him.

Dan's photo entitled "Lifelong Friends" is on page 6 of the 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book. I selected this photo for the book because I just loved the look in the hound's eye as well as the human connection.
Here is the story behind the photo, written by Dan:

While at an outdoor festival, I noticed the basset following his owner. The crowded venue had the basset side stepping human feet at every turn. Huddled close to his owners legs, it was as if he knew that his friend would keep him safe and lead him to a safe spot away from the crowd. Once they reached a safe distance from the noisy bustling horde, his friend reached down with a loving, reassuring hand to signal "it's ok". A dog's voice is in his eyes, ears and tail. All three responded with admiration...eyes fixed on his friend, ears back and tail sweeping the sidewalk clean in a 180 degree semi circle.
During the rest of the day as I walked the festival searching for more images, I looked for another couple who publicly exhibited this bond of natural unconditional love...they were nowhere to be found.

You can purchase Dan's photos at And you really must check out his blog for some fantastic photos and narratives...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cutie Patootie

I visited the barn at the end of our road again on Friday. I truly could watch all the new little lambs for hours. This little guy is so new that s/he could barely stand up. I'm glad I don't eat lamb. I mean really, after seeing these photos, how could anyone?

Cute. That's all I can say.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Profile: Jennie Huettel

Here is another installment in my artist profiles for the 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book.

Jennie Huettel

Originally from Chicago, Jennie calls Knoxville, TN home. Happily married with 4 dogs, she has been doing pet photogrpahy since 2005.

Jennie Huettel Photography specializes in modern pet portraits that capture your pet’s unique personality.

“My passion has always been dogs. I have been very active in making Knoxville more pet friendly, including the addition of off-leash dog parks. By combining my passion for pets with my love for photography, I am able to make your photo shoot a one of a kind experience.”-Jennie

Jennie's photo entitled "Ellie Mae" is featured on page 31 of the 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book Project.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lunch in the city

Drove into Halifax for a lovely lunch today with the very talented Shelagh Duffet. Picked up my painting (above) and the print (below) which I love.
I must tell you that my scanner doesn't do either image justice. The colours in both the painting and print are so vibrant, they just pop.
Thanks Shelagh! It was a wonderful lunch and nice meeting you!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Signs of Spring

Despite the fact that we woke up to a snow covered world on Monday, we are back to Spring. It's lovely blue skies and sunshine today, and only a few dots of snow left in the woods. These guys live at the red barn I posted photos of a while back.The lambs are just too cute for words. I wasn't fast enough to capture the lambs running and twisting and jumping in the air. Another sign of spring is that the birds are starting to return. The crows stayed all winter, but we've had blue jays and robins back for a couple of weeks. The song birds are starting to come now. We've also had an unintentional visitor...3 days ago a bird dropped down our chimney. He was stuck inside our wood stove. Our stove pipe does not open up right into our stove. There is a cast iron panel that covers the end of the stove pipe and the panel has narrow openings all the way around. We did have a bird get inside last fall, but he managed to squeeze himself out of the stove pipe and into the stove after several days, and we got him out of the stove and released him. We never did figure out how to open up the panel so that we could rescue him sooner.So we spent two days listening to the bird scrabble around inside the stove pipe, trying to get out. He could get his head down into the stove, but not his whole body. I couldn't get my whole hand inside to pull him out. The worst part was listening to him keening. We felt miserable and tried several times to pull the top off the stove. Finally last night, John figured out how to undo the stove pipe from the stove and push the pipe up so we could make our rescue. I covered the whole in the top of the stove with a tea towel, and wrapped my hands around the bird...took him over to the window and released him. And guess what? We actually had TWO visitors! There were two birds stuck in there. So, we repeated the process and I released the second bird.

I don't know if the birds were celebrating, but we were! I love happy endings.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Weekend

We had a lovely Easter Weekend with G, DIL and Miss M. First, they came out to the country for Friday and Saturday. On Friday we headed to Beach Meadows Beach with the dogs. Pictured above are 3 generations...Miss M and mom (DIL), John's son G, Cassie, John and Mulligan. (Cassie and Mulligan are not part of the 3 generations...ha ha!)
Miss M and Cassie playing (Cassie sporting her new summer look...shaved quite short).At the end of the sandy beach, there is a large rock. We all climbed to the top and then headed back down. There were pools of water in the rocks...very interesting for a 7 year old, 2 dogs...and the adults too!
On Sunday, we headed into the big city for Easter Dinner at G and DIL's. Before our excellent dinner, we made some Easter Eggs.Notice that the adults are all busy here and there is no Miss M to be found? She quickly painted up her 2 eggs while the rest of us struggled much longer to produce our artistic wonders.A very fun tradition...something I haven't done since Cody was small.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Artist Profile: Kelly Snelling

This is the second in a series of artist profiles for the 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book Project. Our book has been in the number one best seller spot at for the past 3 days!

Kelly Snelling

Kelly Snelling is a Southern girl transpanted in California. She is a self-taught artist who believes she can do anything she sets her mind to, including beating breast cancer.

Her art and words have been published in several magazines and books. She is the co-author of A Charming Exchange.

When she isn't playing tag with her dog and two little boys or dancing with her adorable husband or whispering to her cat, she can be found daydreaming, painting, singing, laughing, making BIG necklaces, and living life loudly with every fiber of her soul.

Kelly's photograph "The Passage" can be found on page 39 of the 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book Project.

Kelly has just celebrated a wonderful anniversary...two years of being free from breast cancer. In her own words, "Cancer is an upside down blessing in that I surely have learned to value what I have instead of feeling as if I were missing out on anything...ever."

Kelly is such a talented artist, that I had a tough time choosing from her submissions...she also submitted a cat painting and a dog painting. However, I chose "The Passage" because I think it is a thought provoking photograph. It leads me to wonder what is just around the corner, out of view. Don't we all wonder that about life?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Time flies

There has been lots going on over the past week, and no time to blog. I've been busy with the 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book Project. The books are now available, and it's been chaos around here sending out press releases and such. The participants are all enthusiastic, which is wonderful. We've even managed to hit the number one staff pick spot on Not sure how long our book will be in the number one spot, but it's exciting.

Our project has also been blogged about by Dog Art Today thanks to another one of our participants.

But I still do have a life of my own, and must remember to take a break from my projects. Here are a couple of photos from recent ATVing with G's machine. We stick to our own property...20 acres seems big enough for now. You can see Mulligan running behind us. Both dogs love to run with the ATV.
The above photo shows us going up the driveway for the original homestead on our property. I don't imagine there were any trees along the old driveway then...a little narrow for today's vehicles.
Some memorable moments from the past week...all with no photos to go with them:
Sitting at the dining room table watching a red tailed hawk sitting high in our trees throughout the whole meal.
Watching a herd of deer graze in the lower hay field.
Waking up at 5:00 in the morning to hear the dogs barking. John investigated with a flashlight and discovered a herd of 20 deer in our backyard, very close to the house (not good news for our flower gardens this spring and summer).
Driving along the Aspotogan Pennisula and seeing a healthy red fox walking along the side of the road. We pulled over to watch him. He didn't seem too concerned about our nearby car. He was beautiful, big and healthy looking.
Now, time to go and make some more memories.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

2009 Art Book ready!

The 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book is now ready for ordering!

37 artists raise fu...

Click on the badge above (or on my blog's sidebar) or go to to preview and/or order the book!

Remember, all proceeds from the book sales are donated to the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. Funds are sent directly to the charity from the book's publisher.

Our photo cover, Sandy Paws, is currently in a contest. Please help out photographer Michelle Ciarlo-Hayes by voting for her photo! Click here to go to vote. (she's currently running a close second so your vote may make the difference!)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Artist Profile: CameronGraves Hayden

The first in a series of Artist Profiles...profiling all the artists who are involved with the 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book Project.

Cameron Graves Hayden
Cameron was born in Greenwich, CT in 1968. In 1990, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University, with a major in Art History. In 1991, Cameron moved to Montreal. She received her Diploma in Art Education from McGill University in 1992. While in Montreal, Cameron began to work extensively in open studios with live models, drawing and painting. She moved to Halifax in 1994 and received her Bachelor of Fine Art Degree from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in June 1997. In 1996 Cameron received the Robert Pope Foundation scholarship for painting and was short-listed for the Prince Edward Award, and in 1997 she received the NSCAD Endowment Fund Scholarship. Cameron has shown her work in numerous exhibitions, both group and solo, locally, as well as in Greenwich, CT, Princeton, NJ, Montreal, PQ, and Guelph, ON. Since graduating from NSCAD Cameron has continued to show extensively in Halifax. In 2000, she performed a painting on stage with musical artist Veda Hille, and in 2003, 2005 and 2007 she volunteered 80 hours of work to paint specialty murals in the Kid's Help Phone Designer Showcase House. In addition, in both 2005 and 2006 Cameron created the set design for Simply the Breast, a Canadian Breast Cancer fundraiser.
Over the past year Cameron has started to paint pet commissions with a very positive response from the pet community. It has been such an enjoyable undertaking that the artist will continue to pursue and build her "pet aesthetic". Her goal is to make great works that consider not only the animal's physical appearance, but also his/her nature. Cameron feels capturing the spirit and personality of the pet is the key to a successful work.

When I asked Cameron if she would like to be involved in the Paws For Charity Art Book Project, I specifically mentioned her painting "Vanessa and Be". I was quite drawn to this painting, and although it doesn't have a dog or cat in the painting I wanted to include it. When I mentioned this painting to Cameron, she told me Vanessa was diagnosed with breast cancer over two years ago. Here is Cameron's painting of Vanessa. You'll find it on page 3 of our book. Underneath the painting, you'll find the story of "Be", written by Vanessa.I have a bear. His name is 'Be'. I received Be when I was first diagnosed with cancer two and a half years ago. Be has provided me with great comfort and strength ever since. I named him Be to represent everything I want to be... be happy, be healthy, be loving, be generous. Whenever I feel upset, angry or sad, I look to Be to remind me of everything positive in the world and everything I want to be; ultimately Be represents love. Be also reminds me to live in the moment, to Be. I don't know how much longer I have in this life but every moment will count and will be cherished. Be is my constant companion. He comes with me to all of my chemo appointments, anytime I am in the hospital and of course to bed with me. If I ever wake up in the middle of the night, his sweet, comforting face is there to greet me. Be also represents the love I have in my heart for those I cherish most. Bears know where their hearts are and will always remind you of where yours is.

Thank you to both Cameron and Vanessa for being involved with the 2009 Art Book Project.