Monday, October 1, 2012

My Teacher, My Friend

My beloved art partner Cassie collapsed on the stairs on July 23 when we were coming up at bedtime.  Since then I learned that she had a huge mass in her spleen in addition to the hematoma that we'd already found, plus other major problems that were contributing to her increasing weakness. Being a stoic and stubborn Airedale, she bounced back from four episodes of internal bleeding, but she finally got so weak she couldn't stand and I had to let her go.
Cassie went to sleep peacefully in my arms on Saturday, September 22, right here at home after a late lunch of her favorite stuff, including chicken, Cheerios, graham cracker, Goldfish, canteloupe (yep!) and apple. Her favorite "Dawn Treader" CD (Celtic music by our friend Jane Pope) was playing - it always soothed her during thunderstorms, and we played it a lot while she was sick too. She was surrounded by friends and family - there was so much love around her, I know she felt it. One more friend joined us about 5 PM - Dr. Jennifer Hawthorne from Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice. She made one of the most difficult days in my life a little easier, by allowing Cassie to leave this life in the place where she lived for so long. 

Cassie lives on in her art and in my heart.  She was a great teacher and my best friend. In loving memory of Cassie (a.k.a. "Cassandra, Queen of the Universe") - April 12, 1999 - September 22, 2012 

Friday, July 6, 2012

In a Matisse State of Mind

Matisse Milk Can © Beth Stafford 2012

We are having a hot time of it here lately - not much activity out in the yard (or here in the house). Cassie did manage to do a little work on the door, even though she's been a bit under the weather lately. She doesn't like the heat at all - woke up one morning to find her like this - guess the blanket was too much, even with the AC!

Anyway, I wanted to do something different with her marks this time, so I outlined them first, filled them in with solid color, and then cut and pasted them into a blank "canvas". Then I decided to do the same thing with the background, using the porch railing outline and the old milk can. It was virtual collage - lots of fun - and then I applied a cutout filter and different color gradients until I got this composition with its echoes of Matisse. Still playing with colors, so it's not an official print yet - might wind up as a large-scale painting (or who knows what?). Lots of possibilities there...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New Pendants, Rehab, Etc.

Wow - get a little behind on this, and everything changes! I've been so busy trying to catch up on everything I got behind in while my hand wasn't working, there's been no time for updating here. Since I still am pretty stiff when it comes to handling a brush or stylus, jewelry a la PiCassieO has been the only art coming out of the studio - found a different way of mounting the glass which makes it a lot easier on me. The results look like framed art for the neck! Photo is of the collection so far. I plan to list them at our Etsy store soon.

Cassie has been having a lot of trouble with her hips lately - we even went to a rehab center for an evaluation, which wound up giving her more problems due to their attempts to force her to lie down and roll over. Those ninnies should have known, you don't force an Airedale to do anything! We did get a list of exercises to strengthen her legs, most of which we were already doing. Don't want to go into how much it cost for that experience, but at least Cassie is doing somewhat better after recovering from the visit, with help from another round of prednisone. The only exercise she really likes is her cavaletti (parallel poles on the ground - helps her pick up her feet), mainly because she gets a Cheerio every time she makes it from one end to the other! That's how you motivate this Airedale!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Unlucky Break

Whew - so much STUFF happened since the last post. Sunday morning, February 22, we had a chilly rain, and somehow I managed to hydroplane on the dog ramp and landed on my right hand. Broke my radius and had surgery to put it back together. It was hard enough to take care of my creaky dog - especially getting her up and down the stairs- but I finally was able to handle it fine with my left hand. The tumor was another story, though; it got crusty since I couldn't clean it properly. My vet did find a clinic with a cryogenic probe - but I couldn't drive for an hour to get her there, and they wouldn't do it without sedation, which defeated the purpose anyway, so I hoped we could postpone dealing with it. Oh nooooo- Cassie managed to whap that tumor really good and bled all over the place before I could get it to stop. That was the last straw - I told my vet it had to go, and she had the surgery Tuesday. He did a great job and she's been a good patient so far - I wish I'd had it done months ago. Since she is really ornery about being handled and restrained, I had the vet to do X rays and an ultrasound exam while she was out. Now we have a new problem to deal (or not deal) with: a large hematoma on her spleen. No way of knowing when it happened, except it had to be in the last eight months. She's great at self-destruction; my guess is she whacked her spleen in that floor-shaking tumble she took last summer, or got hurt getting in and out of the car - always traumatic. She's been limping all week from the damage done on Tuesday. Any way, I don't know where we go from here. At least I got out of my cast yesterday and into a brace, so I can be a little more useful. Now, if I could just figure out a better way to get Cassie up those stairs, so my 80-year-old mom wouldn't have to bring up the rear...

Did manage to finish my Twitter art the day before I fell! It's already in Norway - I think the exhibit opens next week. You can check it out at David Sandum Art

Yellow Spots © Beth Stafford 2012

This postcard-size acrylic abstract came from the PiCassieO print Cabin Fever. Glad I finished it before break-time!


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cyrosurgery and Cabin Fever

Cassie was one happy dog when she found her way out from under the tablecloth at Christmas dinner! What you can't see in the photo, thanks to PhotoShop, is the large Meibomian gland tumor under her eye - not malignant, but a real nuisance! I've spent so much time in research on the best solution for this problem that not much art is getting made, but boy have I learned a lot! Best finds along the way: Preparation H facials, Visine for red spots, tincture of cannabis for tumors (debatable, but my vet and I had a good laugh over that one). Best solution: freezing it off with a cryogenic probe. Unfortunately, it's not that easy to find a hospital close enough that has the equipment. Still working on it.

Life has to go on, in spite of distractions. My friend David Sandum in Norway is doing another Twitter Art Exhibit this year (read more about it at David Sandum Art ) , so I am working on a postcard-sized painting to be included in the show. It's PiCassieO-inspired, of course, and is a tiny piece of Cabin Fever, which is a print from last February. Seems appropriate - lately it's either rainy and damp or cold and damp, or just DAMP; cabin fever is really getting to me! Cassie is quite happy to spend the day feet-in-the-air on the couch, but I need a little more outdoor time.

Cabin Fever © Beth Stafford 2011

"What - me worry?"