Tricks and Treats.

P.S. This is a Star Wars joke. Get it? Let me know in Comments, Jedi Knights.



But speaking of Halloween, for the record, I do not think this is funny:

Candy corn is my favorite food, ever. I love candy corn. In my opinion, it has the perfect texture and consistency, chewy but not too chewy; sickeningly sweet but not too sickeningly sweet (unlike, for example, sweet potatoes cooked with marshmallows eeewwww), and has a pleasant buttery-plastic aftertaste that I find addictive. (Speaking of industrial revolution flavors, I also used to love the smell of car exhaust in the old days before they removed the lead from gasoline, and I’ve huffed a lot of 1960s internal combustion CO2, so this love of candy corn might be sign of brain damage.)

Candy corn is also just the right size for creative snacking, either by biting it into thirds along the color demarkations or letting one whole piece melt in your mouth (you never eat a handful of candy corn at a time), so it’s “slow cuisine”, junk-food style.

Get the candy corn made with honey, as honey has a biological shut-off switch that prevents you from eating until the point of nausea, whereas pure cane sugar has had that portion-control valve removed and that’s why ou will stuff yourself with Twinkies until you puke.

Candy corn lovers of the world, unite!

Picking up the latest episode of Watching Paint Dry where we left off last week, I didn’t show you all the “finished” portrait of Juno that I painted because I had originally posted it on the blog, but before I hit the “publish” button I removed it because it was off. I futzed with it over and over, and tried to correct it…and in the end it was a hot mess.

Here it is:

There are so many layers of paint on this portrait that it looks as if I was scrubbing it on with my bare hands. This looks finger-painted. Something is off, indeed, something that no amount of rescue can fix. One thing that is “off” is that I had positioned the head inorrectly in relation to the body:

The black lines show where I should have put Juno’s shoulders.

The thing is, Juno’s body is facing one way, but her head is turned to peer at something in the distance over her left shoulder. Without that gesture, the whole pose looks off.

The rest of the crappiness of this portrait is down to bad painting. Oh well. In the watercolor world, you have good days and bad days.

Let’s take another look at the original inspiration:

Time to START OVER from scratch, and let’s hope we’ll have a good day. Please bear with me:


What I did this time that was different from last time was that I painted Juno’s entire face with a layer of China White before I added color. I like the way paint reacts to this pigment, and I think it’s the right thing to do for Juno:

Let’s bleed in some black:





This is how the paint looks when it is applied directly to the paper (no layer of China White under it):



I added some pencil lines and I am


Thank you for your patience, Dear Readers. And to Carol, Gali, and Leslie, who are waiting to receive their portraits, I will be off to the Post Office to send them all out in one swell foop. Mail! You’re getting mail soon!

In related news, I came across a story about a fellow distinguished Pet Portraitist working in the English town of Worthing, who goes by the name Hercule Van Wolfwinkle:

Hercule had never drawn anything before he started to do pet portraits to raise money for the local animal shelter:

Hercule specializes in pet portraits that are unashamedly off:

So far, he has raised $18,000 to help homeless animals.

He makes off look so on, right?

It’s been another long, strange week in America, my Dear Readers. The Pope says same-sex unions are OK with God, Trump tried to gaslight Lesley Stahl about his “health care plan”, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer and general all-around dickhead, got caught with his hands down his pants, and, oh yeah, we found out that our president as a secret Chinese bank account.

Did I miss anything?

Let’s go to the weekly news round up:

























Top Cat took this picture in the Village in Manhattan this week.
















I fact-checked this story. It’s 100% true.














And that’s it for this week, Dear Readers. Have a great weekend, because we deserve it! We’ve put up with the mess that has been made of this planet for a whole week and now it’s time to retreat to the “Happy Place” where everyone gets to be 29 and served with ice-cold martinis by the pool while meeting with a  Jane Austin book club made up entirely of hot K-pop stars. Int he background are the talking pet unicorns, who sound so sweet when they whinney to each other,

“Fuck Trump”.











8 Comments, RSS

  1. Alex

    Candy corn is the best! Well, next to Junior Mints, that is.

    Every day I pray fervently for the democrats to win big, and I’m not even religious. I LOVED the “all gods matter” sign! WHEN will the nutbars figure out that this country was FOUNDED on the concept of SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE?!!!???

    I am thrilled beyond measure by the Pope’s announcement.

    Thank you for showing both the first dog portrait and then re-do — it’s always encouraging to see that even wonderful artists sometimes need a mulligan!

  2. Maryanne in SC

    (Please forgive the multiple exclamation points but…) Hercule Van Wolfwinkle!!!

    First time I’ve laughed out loud in weeks!

  3. Definitely better but I don’t think I would have known if you hadn’t shown us how. You SO know how to see — and then do it! Gorgeous!

    Counting down. 10 days? 11? And then the weird starts. (You thought it was weird already?) Whadda year….

  4. Kirra

    Great re-do of Juno’s portrait Vivian, really interesting to see the different colour of the paint with the white underneath. As always I’m impressed by the eyes! The artist who does the wrong on purpose portraits is great too.

    I had to look up what candy corn was and it looks a bit weird to me, but I’m sure we have lollies/candy in Australia that you would think strange.

    Every week I’m amazed looking at your blog at how shit, stupid and psycho Trump is. It’s such a comparison to Obama it’s almost hard to understand how the US got there (I’ve read the Electoral College system isn’t truly representative of the vote?).

    The post about Oreos was hilarious, as well as the Shepherds pie! Have a good weekend, your description sounds good (Jane Austen, K-pop and unicorn cats).

  5. Megan

    What a wonderful blog post, well worth the weeks wait. I had to laugh at your candy corn flavour description. I have never had it, however on my one and only trip to the US I was in Newport and the lady who ran the bed and breakfast left us a bag of lollies, containing Peeps. I had heard so much about them I tried one, just the one. I do love the descriptor, “has a pleasant buttery-plastic aftertaste”. Ha ha interesting. I must say I did like the smell of the leaded petrol when I filled up my car, not sure what harm it did me but interesting you brought it up. Once again thank you for expanding my world. I do love Hercule Van Wolfwinkle’s portraits, especially the third dog who is Jersey Caramel coloured, I love it! I also love Juno’s portrait and think you definitely got the wistful gaze down pat. I love the rest of the post but must end lest this comment be ten pages long, however one last anecdote. The dogs on the sofa are priceless, yesterday Molly was lying on the floor of my studio when Clive the cat walked up to her and tried to rub his face against hers, she freaked out jumped to her arthritic legs and jumped back, he was thrown by this and looked quite upset and insulted that she didn’t want to smooch, and that is what happens when you terrorise a person unmercifully and alternate that with lots of cuddles, a very traumatised Belgian Shepherd who used to love cats.

  6. I had to copy the photos of both your finished paintings to my desktop so I could compare them side to side. The second one IS better, but in addition to the shoulders, I think you did a better job on the eyes. The eyes on the first one look a bit forlorn. On the second, they’re happier, less downturned. (Of course both portraits are far better than anything I could have done!)

    The English pet portraitist definitely has a talent for capturing the character of the pet, in a kind of naive way. I like ’em!

  7. I like candy corn, but it has gotten a bad rap. I like it mixed with peanuts or pretzels too.
    Juno came out well in the end. Love the kids paintings of pets too.
    The rest is overwhelming! I am always amazed how you find so much good stuff. Yes, they all belong in prison, it can’t come soon enough. I did my part, I voted, I sent 200 hand written postcards to Democrats that don’t vote encouraging them to vote.Now I hope I don’t turn blue holding my breathe to hear the results on Nov. 3rd, at least I hope we hear the results soon. I hope it is a blue landslide.

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