First off, I apologize — I don’t have a pet portrait to show you this week. It wasn’t a good week for painting. When I wrote last week’s blog headline, I did not expect things to get so crazy so fast.

We all felt like we got a punch in the stomach last Friday when we heard the news that Ruth Bader Ginsberg had died. I’m still processing it. Here’s a few thoughts that I’d like to share:

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week’s blog post headline comes from the Attorney General announcing that New York City, which is about 15 miles to the west of my 100-year-old house here on the north shore of Long Island, is now an “anarchist jurisdiction”. Nobody knows what the hell that means, but it sounds kind of saucy.

I went into Manhattan last Friday, the first time I’ve been in the city since Top Cat and I did our bBack Lives Matter march in June. I also took the subway, which I haven’t done in a long, long time. And I will try to never do it again.

Dear Readers, the New York City subway system is really, really, really scuzzy.

The trains are fine. It’s the people that scuzz up the system. From what I observed, the pandemic has taken a toll on New Yorkers since of propriety. I can only attribute the months of lockdown and working-from-home-ism to the lowering of standards as to what constitutes “public attire”. I swear I saw people wearing pajamas on the IRT, and apparently there is a shortage of combs in NYC. Maybe wearing clothes that are three sizes too small is a fashion statement, or maybe people haven’t been able to update their wardrobe to accommodate the pandemic pounds they have packed on, but either way, squeezing ten pounds of sausage into a five point bag is not a good look. When you ride the New York subway, you realize that humanity is, mostly, made up of very unattractive people, and it’s no wonder why our society vales beauty so much, it being such a rare sight amongst our species.

Other than the, things looked pretty normal in the heart of the anarchy.

 

 

 

I came across a news story that made me feel pretty good about the red state of Tennessee.

Tony Tenpenny (you ave to admit that that’s an AWESOME name) was a Republican and a “coronavirus skeptic” who used to publish anti-mask memes on his Facebook page. This is from May:

This is from Tony, in June:

Tony was still wondering why America was falling for the Democratic hoax in August:

Additionally, Tenpenny had been very active on social media voicing his support for President Donald Trump and his opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement.

On May 30, Tenpenny posted a statement on Facebook falsely attributed to former Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., putting forward conspiracy theories that the virus is nothing more than a political trick to derail Trump’s re-election bid.

On July 7, he wrote that “the CDC and the WHO are pure lying (expletive)” and that public health officials are “not telling you the truth.”

Tenpenny made more than a dozen posts stating or sharing Covid-19 disinformation, including video from a Texas doctor who peddled dangerous theories about the virus, linking its cause to demons. Facebook flagged the July 29 posting by Tenpenny as “Partly False Information.”

And then, on September 20, this happened:

Tenpenny was hospitalized for five weeks and was placed on a ventilator earlier in September. No word on whether he thought his death was a hoax, or a political trick to make Trump look bad.

Let us all take a moment to say Thank you, Karma.

That’s all I got for you this week, Dear Readers. Let’s all try to re-adjust to this new, depraved “normal”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Have a great weekend, Dear Ones.

If you’re reading this on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, join me tonight in raising a glass for the late, great, notorious RBG.

And, lest we forget:

Fuck Trump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Actually, I was guzzling the VegaMeataVitamin by May.

Here on the north shore of Long Island we have had spectacular sunrises, thanks to smoke from the wildfires on the west coast. The sun hangs in the air like a huge, brilliant, fiery, orange ball — I haven’t seen anything like it. As it gets higher in the sky, it bleeds out and becomes the hot white star that we usually see but oh! Those first 40 minutes of the morning, it is spectacular! Sorry, California, Oregon, and Washington.

So I’m sitting here at my computer, wishing I had not paid attention to the news and looking for a shot of some VitaMeataVegamin, and my little helper comes along:

She thinks the cursor might taste good if only she could catch it.

I am pleased to announce that we have given Car Cat a real name. I present to you: Kimmy.

Kimmy keeps me company whenever I am at my computer, and I am at my computer a lot.

She is bouncy, pouncy, flouncy, and trouncy. . .

. . . and she is full of fun, fun fun.

I thought that I did not want a kitten but it turns out that I really needed a kitten.

Before we get into the reason why #HitlerYouth is trending on Twitter this morning, let’s do some painting!

Meet Benji, who lives in New Jersey with Stromness Rock host and Dear Reader Carol:

Adorable, right? But if you’re going to paint him, you’re going to have to deal with several quirks of Benji that could go horribly wrong when you paint him, especially if you decide to paint his entire body because you live to make yourself miserable.

Actually, I don’t usually paint entire bodies because of the parallax problem in working from reference photos. But this is the rare photo where all of Benji is in focus and is in perspective, and he’s very graphic and appealing, so what the heck. I like to make myself miserable. Here are the BIG problems with Benji:

One: He’s entirely back-lit. The light is behind him and his adorable ears are glowing but his body is in shadow — how are you going to paint that?

Two: He is, and I can’t stress this too much, a white cat. How do you paint a white cat??

Three: He’s white, but he as some very specific black markings that you have to get just right or it won’t look like Benji. Got that?

Four: His face is in shadow, which you are not going to paint because, hello, it will look crappy to have a portrait where the sitter’s face is eclipsed by shade. So you’re going to have to figure out how to fake it so his adorable white face shows.

Five: He’s got a big fluffy black tail in the foreground. It’s big, and it’s of a shape and color that will be very hard to paint so it doesn’t look like a turd. Don’t make it muddy, don’t make it look lumpy, don’t make it look like shit, OK?

Thanks, Carol, for the challenge.

OK! Let’s get at it!

As always, I start with the eyes. In a white cat, the eyes are ever more crucial since that’s pretty much the only things that are going on in the face, and I spent a lot of time on Benji’s. I layered light washes of color, layer over layer, to get a color that is greenish-yellow but is also a bit muted, since the face is in shadow:

I even put in some blue shading in there, and I added white enamel paint as highlight. I also shaped the eyes very carefully, since they are so expressive — I even got in there with a pencil to do what I can’t do with even my tiniest paintbrush. They are the soul of Benji.

I must remind you that I’m working very small here:

Coming up, ears that glow. Again, I layer the paint: pink, peach, another pink, and even a little yellow to get a translucent effect:

Now to blend in those black markings:

I forgot to take a photo of how I cheated on Benji’s face and only painted him in half-shadow (sorry). I also decided to use a blue-grey color for the shadows on his damn white fur:

I mixed three shades of Grumbacher blues with Winsor Newton China White and Payne’s Gray to get a “blue” that would have depth and complexity.

I never use a brush this big, but I wanted to have a casual feel for the big shadows on his body.

Once in a while I get a smart idea, and for the tail (AKA, big black blob that takes p the whole foreground of the picture) I had the thought of letting the paint and the paper do all the work. I used a lot of water, and I mixed the paint and water on the brush so that each time I paint, I got a different saturation of paint/water that will add interest to this large area of paint. I am going to let the water and the paint do their thing:

Below: This is what I mean when I say I let the water and the  paint (and the paper) “do their thing” — all I did here (below), is let a very watery wash dry on good Canson paper:

I love the effect. It looks like watercolor, but it also kind of looks like fur!

Although Benji looks finished here (below), I still need to add more fluff. He’s a very fluffy cat, so I’m going to go completely fake here and “draw” with paint, using a very thin brush to outline the fluffiness of Benji’s fluff:

DONE.

 

 

Now, I promised that I would explain why #HitlerYouth is trending on Twitter this morning. It’s because our dips hit president announced yesterday that he is signing an executive order to promote “patriotic education” at American schools:

 

This is in retaliation for the widespread adoption into middle and high school curriculum of a body of work known as “The 1619 Project” . The year 1619 is the year that the first enslaved Africans were brought to the American colonies, and The 1619 Project, through a number of essays and texts by outstanding scholars and historians of all colors  and ethnicities, educates students to the systematic racism that has permeated American culture and government for over three hundred years.

So, Trump wants to create a TrumpYouth program, even though the federal government has almost no leverage in the actual curriculum of any school, which are all run by local governments: cities, towns, villages all decide what to teach — not federal edicts.

So, in response, Twitter is lighting up with comments about this latest attempt to polarize our country by the Republican nazis. Like this:

(Ben Shapiro is a loud mouthed conservative crackpot.)

So, things are going to get crazier and crazier, as if they weren’t crazy enough already. Sometimes I wish I could go to sleep and wake up on November 3, vote, and go back to sleep until Joe Biden takes the oath of office.

It is going to get very ugly. Be ready.

And now let’s see what else is happening:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

I didn’t get around to Bill Barr, the Attorney General who thinks he is Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, and that having to wear a mask curing a pandemic is the worst violation of civil rights since slavery because I just don’t have the energy and . . .

 

 

Hey! I found some Dad jokes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great weekend, everyone. Hard as it might be, stay sane. This, too, will pass. We hope. Maybe. You never know.

And, before I forget:

Fuck Trump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I still get a royalty statement from my agent, every six months, for the three books I wrote. Lately, these statements have not made for good reading. The sales figures are on a time lag, so the statement I got in April 2020(which I only looked this past week) is for books that were sold in the second half of 2019. It seems that people are not buying  V. Swift books like they used to, so I was feeling poor when I got an alert that Go Daddy had taken a payment of $160 for a security certificate for my blog. Since I don’t sell anything on this blog, I figured that I didn’t need the “SSL” certificate so I took the drastic step of calling Go Daddy (wait time: 23 minutes) and cancelling the payment. $160 is what I get when 100 of my books sell, so I thought I’d made a very smart business decision and was feeling rather thrifty and $160 richer.

And then my blog disappeared for three days. So, if any Dear Readers had trouble visiting me this past week, the reason is because any interface on the world wide web needs to have a SSL certificate, or search engines will refuse to let anyone stop by. Ao, to fix this, I had to call Go Daddy again (wait time: 37 minutes) and pay them for the SSL cert, at which time I was told that it takes 48 hours to get vivianswfitblog.com back on track. And then, when 48 hours came and went and I was still not amongst the living, I had to call Go Daddy again (wait time: 32 minutes) to find out that someone at Go Daddy had forgotten to push the activate button.

I wish I had an IT guy to take care of this stuff for me. I also wish I had servants and a personal assistant to look after me because I don’t like having responsibilities. It still surprises me that I have to make my own dentist appointments, and it astonishes me when I do make my own appointments and actually go to the dentist on my own volition. I used to have a job where I was responsible for important historical artifacts and millions of dollars, but then I became a writer. I now sit in a room and piddle around with ideas, sometimes making a castle or two, and have zero accountability to the outside world. Basically, I don’t have to be an adult anymore.

It’s awesome.

This might explain why this is so meaningful to me:

My Korean husbands, BTS, held the #1 spot on Billboard Hot 100 for the second week in a row:

This is equally important news for the nation of South Korea:

The chyron reads: BTS Billboard Single Chart 2 weeks First Place.

BTS is headline news on KBC, the national public TV station (it’s the BBC of South Korea). BTS has raised the awareness of Korea in the world, and they are now part of their nation’s cultural patrimony. I picked a good time to be a fan. One of the best decisions of my adulthood.

In between endless streaming of BTS’s #1 song Dynamite, I did a lot of painting these past two weeks, and it’s been some of the most interesting painting I’ve ever done.

Dear Reader and Stromness Rock host Leslie, from Florida, sent me a photo of her kitty, Kitty:

Actually, Leslie emailed me a photo of a photo of Kitty, since this image is not digitized. It’s a bit blurry, and I had to email Leslie and ask her what color Kitty’s eyes were, but I thought I might be up to the challenge of painting from a photo of a photo.

Here is what I painted:

This is very bad. Bad Bad Bad Bad. BAD. Really BAD. B A D.

So I persuaded Leslie to send me the actual photo. I wanted to see how big a difference it would make, in terms of not painting something so BAD, to re-paint from a better reference.

So this is how it went:

 

This is a shot of the actual photo of Kitty, which shows that she has a much richer color scheme than I saw in the blurry photo-of-a-photo. It took some effort to mix the right tone of orange for her pretty face.

The trick with calico cats is to not let the colors get muddy, which is easy to do when you are using watercolor and have to let orange overlap with gray and black:

 

I’ve said before that the firs thing you have to do when you paints to think about your strategy. You have to be able to paint a face like this is sections, and to make blocks of color that will merge successfully once every thing is dry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DONE.

And here’s the side-by-side comparison of BAD Kitty and Better Kitty:

Thank you, Leslie, for sending me the real Kitty photo and for letting me make this experiment.

Oh my, there is so much news to get this week. Events keep happening o quickly, but let’s start with the fun story of the five boasts that sank into Lake Travis, Texas during a Trump rally on the water:

 

 

 

California is on fire, partly because of climate change and partly because people are fucking morons:

This is this shit happened:

Trump’s personal layer, Michael Cohen, came out with a memoir about the crap he has witnessed,including how Trump didn’t want to go to a WWI cemetery in France where American servicemen are buried because anyone who got killed in France was a “loser” and only “suckers” serve in the military.

And then, the dip shit talked to Bob Woodward for 18 hours on tape, and told him that he was going to ‘play down” the coronavirus:

 

In seeking to control the damage of is own words, Trump claimed that he lied about COVID during many press conferences last Spring, calling it a “hoax” that would “just disappear” because he didn’t want to alarm people:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The notice on the Biden sign says: If you remove this sign, I will make a $36 donation to Planned Parenthood and I will replace the sign which means, in fact, YOU are supporting the Biden/Harris campaign. Think about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We need some puppies:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And that’s it for the week, Dear Ones.

Have a great weekend, and keep wearing masks and stay our of any boat that has a Trump flag.

That reminds me:

Fuck Trump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wow, this was an eventful week in VivianWorld.

My Korean husbands . . .

. . . BTS, debuted their new single Dynamite at #1 on Billboard. They are the first Asian group to go straight to the top 100, and the first Asian musicians to have a #1 hit in America since 1963, when a Japanese-language song with the nonsense name “Sukiyaki” did it. (I wrote about “Sukiyaki” in my garden book, a digression on the thoughts about a Japanese garden on Long Island that I did not care for. “Sukiyaki” was a mournful ballad that was actually anti-American and it’s Japanese title was “I Will Walk Looking Up (So My Tears Won’t Fall)”. It was given the name “Sukiyaki” because Americans have shit for brains when it comes to Asia and sukiyaki was all that most Americans cared to know about Japan in 1963.)

This #1 hit in America is a big, huge deal in South Korea. There are nine national newspapers in South Korea, and here are the headlines of six of them:

Spoiler: They are all about BTS’s #1 hit in America.

The President of South Korea tweeted his congratulations to the boys, to quote: “It is truly amazing. It is a splendid feat that further raised pride in K-Pop. The success of BTS will bring huge consolation to Koreans suffering from the crisis brought about by COVID-19.”

President Moon Jae-in and his wife, Kim Jung-Sook with BTS.

In other news, Top Cat and I went strolling in a nature preserve here on the north shore of Long Island last weekend. I made a deal with Nature, that I wouldn’t be bored if She sent me a Blue jay feather. And an hour into our hike, lo, lying there in the middle of the path . . .

It’s like it was placed there just for me, moi, my own eyes:

I’m holding my face mask. Even in the 100-Acre Wood, I bring my face mask.

That’s all it takes for me to believe that life isn’t just random and pointless, a momentary blip in oblivion. Redemption By Blue Jay Feather is what I call it.

The week was also redeemed by a delightful painting session. The subject is Miss Lizzie Cosette, the Cat In The House of Dear Reader Jeanie, who hosted The Sromness Rock in Lansing, Michigan and whereabouts:

You see that Lizzie is photographed in a fetching ray of light that makes her white fur brilliant. So the trick this week will be to get her highlights, to paint her white fur in shadow and in light.

Challenge accepted.

I thought I’d give you a look at my equipment:

Lizzie has gorgeous green eyes with little golden highlights:

To paint the shadows in her white fur, I’m going to use blue paint:

 

Oooooooo, time for a bleed:

 

 

 

 

It wasn’t’ until I got her eye like this that I knew whether or not I’d gotten her “right”:

 

 

Now all that’s left are Lizzie’s ears. Her ears are a combination of pink and gray, and painting them so that they don’t get muddy, and painting them so that they look like they have shape and depth, is the trick.

DONE.

Thank you, Miss Lizzie, for being a beautiful presence in my life this week.

In case you’re wondering what Christian America has been up to this week, they’ve been fundraising for this guy:

I checked it out, and it’s confirmed by Snopes. A Christian website called GiveSendGo has raised $314,000 for the legal defense for this little scumbag.

*Sigh*

Let’s check in with the rest of the news:

Trump told Fox News the a plane flying from “a certain city”, heading to Washington DC during the Republican national convention, was “completely loaded with thugs wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms with gear and this and that” adding: “Here were like seven people on the plane like this person and then a lot of people were on the plane to do big damage.” Asked for details, Trump said: “I’ll tell you sometime, but it’s under investigation right now.”

Neither the FBI nor Homeland Security can confirm that any such investigation is taking place. But that’s not a surprise, right?

 

 

 

Melanoma’s former best friend wrote a tell-all book about the way the Third Wife really feels about Trump’s kids, and the former hooker had something to say about it:

And let’s not forget:

Knowing the Trumps as we all do, I’d say that Melanoma is right on brand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In case you need to know this, when you feel like you have to stab someone, stab and orange. The are the same consistency as human flesh.

And here are a few more reminders that life, and stable humans, can, sometimes, be wonderful:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And that’s the State of Things this first week of September.

Have a great weekend, everyone. Remember that we are only stabbing oranges, not Republicans. For now.

And, let’s not forget. . .

. . . Fuck Trump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ha ha ha ha. 2020 still as me in stitches.

First, a word to Dear Readers Felicity, Adrienne, Margot, mae, and Citizen Reader for giving a salute to last week’s announcement of the desisting of my Wednesday Posts. I’m sure the Wednesday Post misses you all too, and thanks you for your kind regards.

However, now that the Wednesday Post has Wednesdays off, the Wednesday Post was doing some quality-of-life living that it had been dreaming of. Last Wednesday evening, for example, it took a romantic walk at dusk with Top Cat around the neighborhood and took this picture:

These are the size of the trees that came down in Tropical Storm Isaias three weeks ago and, as you can see, the clean-up continues. Crews can cut up the branches and cart of the smaller bits, but the trunks are so huge that they require the use of heavy equipment which is in scarce supply still. As is reliable internet, BTW, which is why half of this post disappeared earlier today and why I had to spend an hour and a half to re-do it and why you are reading this waaaay too late.

The Wednesday Post has other ideas for smelling the roses, or the coffee, or whatever it is you’re supposed to smell to make life seem like a keen thing. The Wednesday Post wants to take long walks on the beach,  listen to the pitter patter of the rain,  do some fine dining, maybe take up a new crafting hobby, and smell what ever happens to be in bloom or percolating on the stove.

The point is, the Wednesday Post wants to get out there and seize the day. The Wednesday Post wants to make art, and that requires talent, skill, perseverance, hubris, practice, more practice, more practice, and time. So that’s what the Wednesday Post will be doing on any day of the week, but most often on Wednesday.

Except not this past Wednesday.

For boring technical reasons (a printer that went on strike) the Wednesday Post (OK, you got me: the Wednesday Post is me) did not paint a cat portrait this week, as I had planned. But the printer and I have come to a resolution and I expect to be back in the pet-portrait-painting business again in time for next week’s post, BUT IN THE MEANTIME . . .

. . . I HAVE KITTEN PICTURES!

This is the kitten we rescued from our car engine a few weeks ago. We haven’t found out what her name is, yet, so we still call her Car Cat. She’s really difficult to photograph because she never slows down, but now that she’s out of isolation and is slowly mixing with the rest of the herd and getting her bearings to the giant furniture in our house, I have found some opportunities to get some snaps.

Here’s something that happened last week: I was wondering if it was time for me to take down the Black Lives Matter flag that as been flying on my front porch since June and replace it with a Biden/Harris flag.

And then, on August 23, a cop in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shot an unarmed Black man in the back. Seven times.

And then, on August 25, a 17-year old kid from Illinois drove to Wisconsin and marched into a peaceful protest carrying an AR15 that he was not legally allowed to passes, and the cops handed him a water bottle in case he was parched on a hot Summer night.

And then that kid shot and killed two protestors.

It took the cops two days to arrest him.

So, yeah, police are still letting white supremacists room the streets carrying illegal firearms while shooting American citizens for being Black.

So, yeah, the Black Lives Matter flag stays.

 

 

 

 

 

So, on Tuesday August 26, the Missouri Republicans in the state legislature did this:

 

In an epic case of Good Timing, the Republicans held their national convention this week to re-nominate der Drumpf as president of the United States.

Let’s check in and see who that went:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite dust-up out of the Republican convention was what happened when DeAnna Lorraine, a Republican from California (“famous” for running against Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, a few years ago and losing) tweeted a message that “American needs far more women like Melania Trump and far less like Cardi B.”

Cardi B is a rapper who currently has a hit song called WAP which stands for something that I, at my most most foul-mouthed, can’t bring myself to explain. But Cardi B is smart and came back with . . .

 

. . . “Didn’t she used to sell that Wap?

And the answer is yes, Cardi B, Melanoma did used to sell that Wap:

This is the censored version of the nude photo that Cardi B tweeted out, which came from a phot shoot that Melanoma did in 2000 for GQ magazine.

I like to re-post those pictures of our “classy” First Lady so the internet never forgets:

All photos copyright by Antoine Verglas.

Let’s see some other classy Republicans have been up to this past week, and catch up with assorted current events:

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And that’s the week that was.

I’ve been getting messages from you Dear Readers that you’re having trouble seeing all the lovely comments that the best people of the internet write on this blog. All I can say is, I do see everyone’s Comments and I think you with love and kisses, and if Comments don’t appear on your screen you can try hitting the  “refresh” button, or “flush cache” and that’s it. That’s all I know about clearing out the electronic grime that crude things up in the Comments section.

Have a great weekend, everyone. Take the time to smell the coffee, or the tea, or the first signs of Fall (Spring, if you’re from the great land Down Under).

And, oh yeah. . .

. . . Fuck Trump.

 

 

 

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I found this (above) on the inter webs this week and it cheered me up. I never had the legs or the blonde hair or the English accent (isn’t that a Morris Minor?) but I used to have those shoes! I was cool! I AM cool!

Kids born in the 1990s have an inkling that life was funner in the olden days, which is obvious in my Summer of 2020 song which is the Gen Z version of Kool and the Gang and it’s ridiculously cute and it makes me wish I could give a party just so I could get everyone drunk and happy and dancing. Watch the video for no other reason than to see if bell bottoms still look cute on 24-year olds.

However, here we are, at another Friday in the Age of COVID:

 

 

 

 

I’ve never felt this way in August, but I am so over 2020, so ready for this year to be over, and I’m sure that everyone feels the same way. All we can do in the meantime is to keep sane and busy with projects that feed the soul. You all know that my project to get me through the end of Summer is digging out the old watercolors and painting some adorable pets, an activity that I highly recommend as a way to concentrate on pure love in such a time of hate.

If you have any questions about techniques or materials, just ask!

In case you didn’t read my blog on Wednesday, I painted our Dear Reader Sophie for her human, Susie in Wisconsin:

Today I will be painting Dudley . . .

. . . and Gypsy. . .

. . . the best doggos in the world who belong to Rachel and Don in the soon-to-be blue state of Texas.

This will be a double portrait,which raises the stakes. I like to live dangerously.**

**No, I absolutely do not.

As usual, I start with the eyes.

Sorry this is so dark. I wanted to show you the pencil lines I put in for the doggo, but they don’t show much here. They are very light, and give me the general shape of the doggo’s head and nose. I don’t need a whole lot of detail.

I am going to use bleeds for this portrait because I LOVE bleeds, and these pups have the right kind of coloring to let the paper and the paint do all the work, instead of having me PAINT everything.

I mixed the paint for Dudley’s fawn-colored fur using two shades of brown, Payne’s Gray, a tiny bit of black, yellow ochre, all mixed into a thick base of a base of a peachy-tinted paint from my Grumbacher Deluxe Opaque Watercolor set (24 pans).

The color I’m talking about is the one that’s half-hidden there (see above), on the right under the purple pan. I don’t have the name of the color, but it’s my favorite base because it’s very chalky and I love what it does on paper, and I love how it interacts with other paint.

You can see what I mean in these bleeds here, the way the black paints has such an interesting capiallry action when it meets this chalky Dudley-hue:

You might know that boxers have “frown lines” on their faces. I’m not going to paint them, but I will suggest their presence with a wisp of paint  here  and  there.

The pup needs some blue to highlight his nose:

And now we do the cheekies:

The wet paper shines a bit. No? Yes? Can you see?

I was hoping you would see, in this photo (above) how wet I am making the paper before I drop in some paint for more bleeds:

While I am working on Dudley, I have covered the Gypsy part of the painting with a clear plastic sheet-protector because if I didn’t, sure as shit I would splatter paint or drop a loaded paintbrush and all would be ruined. So, safe-guard your work!

Boxer have droopy eyes, which I saved until the end. The shape  of their  droop  is what gives  boxers  thier  expressions:

Now it’s Gypsy’s turn:

 

I was almost DONE when I looked at the completed faces, but I didn’t like just having two floating heads together. So I’m drawing in Dudely’s collar:

OK, now we are DONE.

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Have a great weekend, everyone. Lord knows that we all deserve a break from the constant bad news, so please take a few hours and find a place to feel safe and warm (or cool, if you’re in California) and pretend that it’s 2004 — my favorite year because I married Top Cat, but feel free to use your own annus mirabiles, and tell us about it in the Comments. We like to live vicariously.

I probably won’t be here on Wednesday because very few people (thank you to those precious few!) read the Wednesday posts anymore, but I’ll be back here next Friday with another Pet Portrait (spoiler: it’s a cat) and more stuff from the internet that renews your faith in humanity, one meme at a time.

And, oh yeah. . .

. . . Fuck Trump.

 

This guy is also a member of the NRA and voted for Trump in 2016. Let’s hope he represents millions more 2016 Trump voters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yes, I’m still laughing at how 2020 never gets any better. Because if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry, right?

So today’s Super Cute Pup is Sophie:

Sophie helped her human, Susie in Wisconsin, show The Stromness Rock the delights of The Badger State, and for that we (and The Rock) are thankful.

Sophie is Super Cute from a human point of view, but from a watercolor painter’s POV, Sophie is a fucking nightmare. She’s a black dog, and she’s a black dog with texture. I’m supposed to paint those luscious curls? ON AN ALL BLACK DOG??

How can I not make her look like a bowl of blobby ink?

Well, the answer is, I cheat. The trick to painting her is to exaggerate the subtle colors that dear Sophie has in her adorable shaggy fur. I see: blue, brown, and grey in her black fur. So I’m going to go with that, and see if I get away with it.

I only need a few guiding pencil lines:

Eyes first, to make sure that they don’t go wonky and wall-eyed and that they are staring at the viewer with doggy luv:

I have to confess that I did a trial run on Sophie, experimenting with brushes and bleeds to see how far I could go with NOT painting her all black, so I’ve already made all my mistakes in painting a BLACK dog, and this is what I’ve learned: Go Easy. Don’t use a lot of paint.

So, this is me, dabbing in some highlights:

Now I hit the BLACK:

Luckily, the paint was wet enough that I could pick up the excess black (see below), and let it dry, and then start to layer in the serious black stuff:

Notice that I’m painting OVER the lighter stuff, that is, painting in the BACKGROUND over the FOREGROUNd. It goes against the natural order, but this is what you have to do when you plot out where your darks and lights have to go, and how it’s feasible to do it in watercolor.

 

This is where I add wisps of fur to give Sophie her signature “fluffiness”:

OK, now we are going to go in and make those soulful eyes:

Blue paint for the nose:

I must let you all know that I bought a book about dog breeds because it has a very good chapter on various dog noses, with close up photographs, because I needed a reference on exactly how dog noses were constructed so I could paint them correctly. Believe me, I know dog noses, and here is me doing Sophie’s hooter:

Oh, right: while the paint was drying on her nose, I added more fluff to her little chin, thusly:

 

I added expression lines to her forehead, knowing that when the paint dries the lines will be softer.  This is why you have to use the same paints and the same paper religiously, because that’s the only way you will know what your paint and what your paper will do, as in this case, where it looks like I am painting too darkly but I know that this is OK with these paints and this paper:

DONE:

OK, I’m sorry that these pix are so dark, but this is The Girl Sophie and my painting of her:

Here on the north shore of Long Island the mornings are getting darker. Wait. that’s wrong. The mornings are just as bright as they’ve always been, it’s just that they are starting later. What used to be daybreak (the time that I would set out for my 6-mile run) at 5:17 a month ago is now 5:44. August. Catch it while you can.

Steve, the real cat who lives on our front stoop, is on one of his walkabouts and we haven’t seen him for the past three days, but last evening there was a new cat on the front steps. He’s a brown tabby, stocky, and not at all shy, so I got a glass of wine and my iPod and I sat on the stoop listening to my K-pop playlist, throwing Temptations kitty treats to a strange cat until it got so dark that I couldn’t see him in the nightfall. It was an oddly pleasant way to spend a half hour of August.

Let’s check in with the culture and see if there’s anything to give us hope and joy:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s the round up for today, Dear Readers. I’ll be back on Friday with MORE PET PORTRAITS and, oh yeah…

…Fuck Trump.

 

 

 

 

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I don’t know if the situation on Long Island is still news to anyone who doesn’t live on Long Island, but we are still cleaning up from last week’s tropical storm Isaias. The last 4,000 homes without power were restored yesterday, and all the trees that fell into roadways and onto houses are cleared, but all this means that there are enormous piles of firewood stacked up at every curb, and even bigger tree trunks decorating front yards:

I’ve seen utility workers from Michigan, North Carolina, Texas, and New Brunswick Canada working in our area. They are so cute: they travel in convoys of 4-5 huge trucks, like flocks of duckies, following the leader because god forbid they lose their way in the wilds on the Isle of Long. And by the way, what with the 24-hour generators, the power line crews that start at 7am, the landscapers with their chain saws who start cutting at 8am…the noise level around here has been deafening.

But I want to thank everyone of these guys for coming to our aid. And one day, I hope to have internet access for more than 30 minutes at a time.

So while the ol’ computer is juiced up, let’s take a look at our Project For The Week:

This handsome fella is a long-haired dachshund named Pippen. Pippin, along with our Dear Reader Alexandra, hosted The Stromness Rock in the great state of Washington and for that, we are going to immortalize him in watercolor.

The first thing I do is I study the photo reference. I look for where I will be leaving the blank whiteness of the paper to show, where I will need to bleed, and figure out what layers of colors will go on top of each other from light to dark. I can’t stress how important it is to have a plan before you start to paint.

Then I make a few light pencil lines on my favorite 90-lb. Carson paper:

I start with the eyes because in the past, I’ve gotten a portrait almost completed when I went in for the windows of the soul and loused it up so that I had to throw away hours of work. So, lesson learned; start with the eyes.

I tested a blend of yellows and browns and burnt umber (up there in the corner)before I had a correct shade:

So I got the eye pointing in the right direction…whew.

This handsome fella has a complicated coat of many colors, so I’m going to start with the lightest colors first:

I love my 90-lb. Carson paper because I’ve been using it for over 15 years and I know what this paper will do. So here, I’m going to let the paper and some very watery paint do a light bleed:

I have to work fast because I want to work “wet’ here, and then I want to let it dry for a few seconds so I can drop in some very deep black without letting it run:

 

I was telling Top Cat about Pippin, here, and I mentioned that Pippen has a brother, another handsome long-haired dachshund named…named…and I couldn’t remember.

“But I know it has something to do with Douglas MacArthur.” I said.

Top Cat started guessing, “Doug? Dougie? Mac?”

I suddenly remembered.

Truman!” I shouted, feeling very pleased with myself for filing his name (the dog’s) in a place (under “American General, Korean War, fired by”) where I could access it.

Pippen has very expressive eyebrows, so here (below) I am adding some black to re-shape his eye socket into more of a raised-eyebrow kind of “look”:

I also widened the pupil. See what I mean? It’s subtle, but necessary:

I am adding light gray here, because even though it’s a shadow (of sorts), it’s not a dark shadow:

Ears next. Ears, oh ears…they are hard. These ears are long and silky and quite glamorous.

Let’s try to mix the colors with less water this time:

And now I can go to town with the excellent black paint I have (Winsor Newton):

Lay in an undercoat of gray:

And let’s compare:

These are the smooches next in line for portraiture: Kitty, Gypsy, Dudley, and Sophie.

Each of them has their own challenges — I mean, Sophie is mostly shades of black and dark gray and how in the world am I supposed to do that — so it should be interesting. For me, any way. I hope you’ll enjoy watching the paint dry.

In the meantime, various Trumps and all the Republicans have been working hard this past week to make sure life in America really, really sucks, so let’s review:

 

And others were also outraged:

 

 

And then Joe Biden announced his running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris:

In case you forgot who Eric Trump is:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay sane until next Friday, Dear Readers.

In the meantime…

Fuck Trump.

 

 

 

Read more

 

Damage Report: 85,000 people are still without power in our area after getting hit by tropical storm Isaias last Wednesday, including the houses up the hill and in back of us. Top Cat and I took a walk around the block and met some nice guys from Iowa — IOWA — who drove their utility trucks from I-80 Power to help with the repairs.

I-80 Power Inc. is a family owned and operated power line construction contractor providing both underground and overhead services in Iowa.  We can assist in day to day construction and maintenance and also storm/outage restoration.

Our internet was spotty yesterday and it went out twice while I was preparing Friday’s post, which meant that I had to re-boot my computer each time and try to find the auto-save, etc. I have no patience with this crap, so I shut down and went back to bed and had wonderful dreams of ice skating with pandas.

So,  yeah, just another week in 2020:

So it’s Saturday and things seem to be on an even keel so I’m willing to give this another go:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOMEWHERE IN INDIANA

You’d think the master race would be more…impressive.

 

 

Oh, yes, there’s a cat in this picture, in plain sight:

 

 

That’s all I got juice for today. Meet me here next Friday. I will have updates on the Pet Portrait Project and Car Cat photos to share and, most likely, more of the usual whining about being me.

And, oh yeah.

Fuck Trump.

 

 

 

 

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Good morning, everyone.

Tropical storm Isaias hit Long Island very hard on Tuesday afternoon shortly before 1 o’clock, when we lost power. After 30 hours, we got electricity back at 7 PM on Wednesday. I immediately posted a notice on this here blog that Wednesday was a washout here in VivianWorld, but it doesn’t seem to have stuck. Oh well.

126,000 homes in the area still do not have power. I will update you about the damage in my neighborhood on Friday’s post.

FYI: It’s raining again, and power has already gone out once so the juice is unreliable still, but I’ll do the best I can.

Here is an incomplete post of what I had planned to bring you for Wednesday. Please enjoy, while I put together my week-end Fuck Trumpery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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