Most of a Dog.







Thank you, Dear Readers, for your condolences last week regarding the loss of my BFF. It’s still hard to understand that I will never see her again, or that we’ll ever get together again to kill a bottle of pinot on a Sunday afternoon, or head to our fave Japanese restaurant in the middle of the week for our fave spicy tuna sandwiches and mean girl chit chat, etc. After I published my last book and was feeling very bored with life and myself, it was Renee’s idea that we enroll at the local community college for ASL classes, and then it was her idea that we take over the second hand book store for the local library and raise a ton of money. I can’t stand ballet, but I’d listen to her go into raptures about her latest outings at the ABT, and she wasn’t into K-Pop but she’d hear me out on why BTS deserved to be my Korean husbands. She was a great BFF. The fact that she is gone from my life forever takes my breath away.

Ah well. There is no escaping the pain of life. The best we can do is not let it drive us crazy, right?

And this week, my gift from the universe was this sweet girl:

This is Juno, who lives with Dear Reader Gali in Massachusetts, who hosted the Scottish Stromness Rock on the beginning of its 8,000-mile journey around the United States and showed off the sights of the birthplace of the American Revolution (1776 version).

If ever there was a week then I needed to spend time with a Golden Retriever, it was this week.

I am glad that she is the final Stromness Pet Portrait because it will take all the technical expertise I have amassed during this project for me to paint her. Not because she poses any particular compositional of painterly challenge. It’s because she’s a Golden Retriever. It’s like trying to paint Jesus. If you now what I mean.

For my Golden Retriever Hue, I began mixing paints with a base of Chinese White (for technical reasons — because it makes it easier to manipulate the paint with a Chinese White base, not because I needed that white)and added several browns and yellows to match Juno’s golden-cinnamon color:

Eyes first,as usual:

I think it’s funny to have a pair of eyes popping out of a blank shet of paper.

These were the most complicated eyes I have painted so far:

Juno appears to be wearing eye-liner, and I have to get it j u s t r i g h t.

And now for the boopable nose:





I am fond of bleeds:





And here is where I had to stop, because I ran out of time. This is by far the most painstaking pet portrait I have done yet, and I don’t want to push it. I will continue to paint this tomorrow, when I am re-freshed and can get all of Juno’s nuances.

Also because I haven’t got her quite right yet, and I have some tweaking to do. Rescues are my super power, though, so we’ll be back next week with a “Wrong Juno And How I Made It Right” 100% Juno portrait.

Until then, let’s take a look back at this past week, and marvel how we all managed to live through it.



















P.S. I looked this (above) up. It actually says that women should be quiet IN CHURCH. That’s all. It’s OK to raise hell everywhere else.






















Have a great weekend, Dear Ones. It’s only 18 more days, not even three weeks, until all this will be over. Imagine how the whole world will celebrate when Trump gets slaughtered in 50 states and the Republicans are returned to their rightful status as the minority party in the Senate on Nov. 3, oh, just imagine that, and be happy. The world will break your heart in a thousand ways every day, but not on November 3, no.

(James Carville was the political strategist who engineered Bill Clinton’s 1992 and 1996 victories, so he knows. He KNOWS.)

I only have three more times that I can say this about a President who is not a lame duck:

Fuck Trump.












6 Comments, RSS

  1. Rachel Scott

    Vivian, so very sorry to hear of your friend’s passing. There is a card in the mail for you.
    Can’t wait to see the Juno’s finished painting…..he is beautiful and the colors are so lovely.
    What will you do when Trump is gone? I think you are still going to be busy because he
    will not be able to stand not being the center of attention(or at least he believes he is), so
    he will continue with his antics. Make me wonder who will give him the time of day without
    the position of president to support him.

  2. It must take you forever to mine your twitter feed for all this. And then organize it! Well done — they’re all quite perfect.

    Love that gorgeous Golden and can’t wait for part two. I’m wondering if it feels good to be painting again. I hope so becuase it’s all pretty wonderful.

    We’re still in Gretchen disbelief. They just arrested another n the plot. I’m sure there is more to come. She’s tough, our Big Gretch. But what a load.

  3. Felicity Liebert

    Keeping my fingers crossed for you and your country Vivian. I don’t want to burst your bubble but the polls don’t tell the whole story and the crazy system could still put him back in. Just like last time. What a nightmare.
    Meanwhile, Melbourne, a city of 5 million is recovering from our second wave. We had one new case of covid yesterday and two today. No deaths. Restrictions start easing today. It’s been a long, hard lockdown but we’re through the worst. We’re looking at a Christmas where we can see our loved ones without risk or masks. The economy will start going gangbusters. And of course, being on the other side of the world, we’ll all be running around in our bathers and toddling off to the beach because it will be Summer! It can be done, it’s not easy but it can be done. I guess American culture is against it though. Something about that freedom stuff? Plenty seem to be dying for it.
    I sympathise with your grief for your friend. I lost my mother a month ago. I’ll tell you some of the things she told me: don’t wallow, don’t be maudlin, grit your teeth and get on with it and finally, get through the first part as well as you can and kick your heels up!
    Good luck Vivian. Good luck America.

    • Kirra

      Ahhhhh, good luck America. It’s getting crazier every day it seems! We all can’t wait for the election.

      You doggie eyes are excellent, looking forward to the final painting. Your BFF sounds like a great friend.

      Felicity – all the best to Melbourne/Victoria from Adelaide. It’s been very strange to watch from a place that’s operating mostly like normal.

  4. I am so sorry to hear about your friend — I guess I missed last week’s post. (How?!) I hope you’re doing OK. It’s a lot to take in, I’m sure.

    Oh, that pumpkin! The artistry! And the candy corn! Some people are brilliant.

    I also loved the “Trump haiku” in your post last week. Made me laugh out loud.

    Good job on the retriever so far. I can see why it would be hard to paint a beloved (almost worshipped!) dog breed. 🙂

  5. I do hope you are right that it is only 3 more weeks. I can’t take anymore, though I think it is going to be insane and violent for some time. I voted straight blue all the way. We must take over the senate too.
    Loved that first pumpkin and hope that happens soon. Blue pumpkins, what a good idea.
    Love the start of the dog painting too. I should have posted my cat when I hosted the rock.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *