Change, Health, Lessons, Connection.

Everybody, meet Winston:

Winston is a very handsome long-haired daschund who lives in Washington state and I’m going to paint him today!

The photograph (above) beautifully captures an expression that makes me think Winston was doing his best to not  give the side-eye to whoever was holding the camera…he’s got attitude and I am here for it. As much as I like the photo (above), in order to paint it I had to lighten the contrast so I could see the details better, and when I say “details”, I mean “nose”:

The only problem I was going to have with Winston is that he is a blond, and is photographed against a nice dark background which I will not be able to replicate (until I learn how to paint on black velvet and then WHOA! Call me the New Michelangelo!). So, with a print of the original photo and the   lightened version on my phone, I am ready to paint:

I always start with the eyes because if I don’t get the eyes right the whole picture is fucked so I might as well get it over with; also, I’ve realized that I like having the face I’m painting look back at me while I work, to keep me company:

I should say that I’ve tried to orient Winston’s head on the paper with then same slight turn to his right as in the photo because that, along with those eyes, give a sense of Winston’s whole demeanor:

I took a lot of time drawing Winston’s nose even though I’m not going to paint it in detail, because dog noses still puzzle me and if I don’t get the structure totally correct, it will show, even if I’m going to be painting most of it in shadow. When I think I’ve got the nose down, I first paint it with a layer of blue, for the lighter areas:

I layer black and gray paint:


I’m also using blue paint for the shadows in Winston’s lustrous blond locks:


I’m also using blue paint for contrast in the lighter areas of Winston’s face because I think it makes the portrait, as a painting, more interesting:

I put in some white acrylic paint over Winston’s left (his right) eye, which I will paint over later, just to give him some definition there:

I mixed four colors to get the right shade of “blond” for Winston, and here  I am pointing wet-in-wet for the large flat triangular area that  is his left ear:

I’m not going to paint a lot in there because I don’t want to over-do it…that ear could easily become too much of a focus and  it’s actually not a very interesting part of his face any way:

I also don’t want to do too much with his cute neck, but I do need something  in there to give Winston a proper posture:

I’ve painted over the white acrylic highlights and I’ve given more definition to Winston’s mouth so his little “hurumph” shows, and here he is…


Thank you, Winston, and thank you, Alex, for giving me this fetching subject. He was fun to paint!

Thank you all who sent me your delightful holiday cards and letters — Top Cat and I are grateful to be inn your thoughts at this time of year. As you know, I make a card every ear and I forgot to show you all this year’s ChrisHanuKwanSolstice card, so here it is:

I tried to get the sparkles to shine for you, but it ended up being over-exposed…sorry for the bad quality.


And before the CHKS holiday/New Year celebrations wind down completely, let’s take a look back at the season of light, OK?








And now’s let’s keep up the  spreading of joy with the best of this week’s news:

in case you’re wondering, the answer is Yes, Yes we should definitely be glad when an anti-vaxxer gets his date with karma, as with this guy from my last post:

One of the best bloggers out there, Stonekettle Station, was recently celebrating e fact that there was one less asshole to spread theBig Lie when a Commentor tried to shame him for being so “mean” — “be the better person”, the Ceommentor said. Here’s a sample of how that went:

You can read his complete take-down on his blog, here.

But wait. . . there’s more:







So, did you hear about the guy who hollered “Let’s Go Brandon” to President Biden when Biden was on TV talking to kids about how the government was tacking Santa Clause on NORAD (which is a cute thing presidents do every year and I’m sick of it but still…shouting “Let’s Go Brandon” was a new level of tasteless)? And for those who don’t know, “Let’s Go Brandon” is Qanon/Republican code for “Fuck Joe Biden. So. . . 


The guy who shouted “Let’s Go Brandon” is a guy from Oregon named Jared Schmeck — you can’t make this shit up — and he’s had to disappear from social media because of the blow-back from his stunt, wall the while complaining about being “cancelled” on many, many appearances on right-wing TV and radio. He’s even had to let his business go dark, which is a family-owned electrical service company called Winema Electric (sounds like “enema”) that is “based on Christian principles”. This is why I can’t put up a Solstice tree. I worry that my pagan sparkle-lighted holiday evergreen will make me look too much like a Christian. 


We should not give this guy any more attention because – – – 

Speaking of Republicans . . . 



Republicans. . .

This is a sample of what Peter Wehner (who served two Bush presidents and was also in Reagan’s administration,i.e.,arealRepublican)wrote about Don Jr:

But I think the same can be said about  any of the Trump kids. And their father.

I don’t have any good Eat The Rich memes for you this week, but I am still against 60% of capitalism and I found this to explain why we have to stick together and overthrow the billionaires who want to keep everyone poor and beholden:

And now for the feel-gooder part of this blog:





This deserves to be true, even if it isn’t:

P.S. I fact-checked this, and it’s true, according to Discover Magazine, which calls the horseshoe swap meet a “conga line”. So now I’m happy for the world, that there are such things as horseshoe crabs in it.


Now, on the eve of 2022, are you wondering what you can do to make the world a better place? Meet Tim Wong, who breeds rare butterflies in California sos he can set them free:

If you can’t read the text, here it is: Today I Learned about Tim Wong who successfully singlehandedly repopulated the rare California Pipeline Swallowtail butterfly in San Fransisco. In the past few years, he’s cultivated more than 200 pipeline pants (their only food source) and gives thousands of caterpillars to his local botanical garden. 

Way to go, Tim Wong. 

I feel that I need to do something extra special this year, to honor and commemorate another tough year in the history of the world and to welcome in a better one with open arms and a loving heart and no, I’m not drunk…I am just hoping that this year will not be the same old same old, and that we all will break free of the past, and that the New York Attorney General has  a big New years Day surprise for Trump and his spawn. 

I want to make my first day of 2022 special, memorable, like this memo from Lapland:

Living in Northern Finland, near the Arctic Circle, we have a rite of passage, like an ancient tradition that is supposed to guarantee good fortune for the net year. Those who turned 16 during the year have to ride a polar bear, like you would a horse. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

However, if you don’t live in proximity to polar bears, maybe you’d like to try this:

I did this and my four words were: Change, Health, Lessons, and Connection. And who says the universe is random?

Have a great New Year weekend, everyone. I won’t be here net Friday unless there’s a Trump perp walk to discuss in which case I will have photos of me and Top Cat and 100,000 New Yorkers dancing in the streets.

Until then, enjoy this photo of a snowy owl: 

May all your dreams and wishes for 2022 come to you on the hush wings of guardian angels and totem spirits.

6 Comments, RSS

  1. Alignment, self-care, purpose and miracles.

    Love the portrait of Winston! I always like that first stage of your paintings when just the eyes are painted — they always seem so expressive, just hanging there by themselves.

    It terrifies me that some people take Donald Trump Jr. seriously. Even when we’re finally rid of his father, will we have HIM to contend with? Please, God, no.

    And now I’m off to check out Stonekettle Station.

  2. Love. Lessons. Health. Miracles.
    I especially like that last one.

    THANK YOU for the beautiful portrait of Winston! I so appreciate it, and I’m certain Winston’s humans will love it, too. It was so very generous of you to do these pet portraits, and I wish you happy painting in the new year!

  3. Nice painting!
    Power, Gratitude, Love, Money
    Ok, Please just arrest that white old crime boss, Mr. T. I am sick of him getting away with so much and causing so many stupid people to rise from the hollows!
    Happy New Year! Thanks for the Christmas card,

  4. Kirra

    Winston is very cute! What a great painting. I always find it a interesting how you use the blue for the base colour and other things. (When I first saw the post I thought Winston was yours!) Lovely card too.

    Thank you for sharing funny things and the logical evidence that people who CHOOSE not to get vaccinated often end up sick or dying from covid.

    All the best for 2022, I hope you have a good year!

  5. Maryanne the OG

    Gratitude, power, strength, and MIRACLES – well, awright awright awright.

    Every good thing, abundantly, to you and Top Cat and the cats in 2022!

    And THANK YOU for continuing this blog! x

  6. Gratitude, strength, breakthrough and health. I’m not sure about those last two. I can read a funky scenario from those words! All that and the midterms. It’s not going to be pretty.

    Have a wonderful new you, both of you. And thanks for bringing back the painting! And loving your card!

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