Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Artists and Their Canine Muses

Art journal sketch: "Lexie's First Snowfall"
This week's blog post is dedicated to exploring the subject of artists and their pet muses, particularly of the canine variety.

The word "muse" (myo͞oz) has its origins in Greek mythology. The Greeks believed that inspiration or "enthusiasm" came from the muses. "Muse" today is generally used to describe a source of inspiration for an artist. 

"Throughout history, artists have been inspired by the presence of certain other beings in their lives that motivated them to create their best work."  (Source: Alison Nastasi,'s Artists and Their Cats)


Many books and articles have been written about artists and their canine and other pet muses. (See my links at the bottom of this page and make sure you visit the blog www.oscaratemymuffin.com)

My Canine Muses

My art journals are filled with sketches of my black, chocolate and yellow labrador retrievers over the years: Willow, Codie, Bo and Lexie.

April 5: "Rainy Day" Bo and Don
Art journal sketch
Bo, pictured above at thirteen, grew quite ill in his later years. He stopped climbing the stairs to lay at the foot of our bed. He stopped running and playing. He never complained though. We kept him as comfortable as we could. We kept him in this world longer than we should have because we couldn't imagine life without him. After he was gone we believed that no other dog could ever replace him.

Then, there was Lexington...

Then Lexington (Hatja and Bauer's puppy now known as "Lexie") was born on the 6th of April 2012 in Arthur, Ontario and life has not been the same since. She is my constant companion, my muse and the frequent subject of many of my daily sketches.

Lexie and me sketching
Art journal sketch: Beauty Triumphs
As I work on my art, solitary, silent, and relatively still, Lexie is there, sometimes on top of me as  I sketch and paint. She is always by my side. My daughter is constantly taking pictures of me with Lexie - usually when I am not looking - and I love to sketch those precious moments into my art journal later.

Lexie thinks she's a lap dog!
(Art journal sketches)

Lexie snoozin'
(Art journal sketch using marker)
Ex Libris from my art journal
featuring Lexie
"Dogsitting" (art journal quick sketch)
Lexie and her bestfriend Samson

November Comes: "Lexie Walk"
Art journal sketch (graphite & watercolour)
My children have known only a brief period of time when our house was without a dog. Every other day of their lives, a dog was their constant companion, source of comfort & unconditional love and protector.

Art journal sketch: "Wisdom Teeth"

Art journal sketch "Snoozin"


Best in Show Art Exhibition

 
Canine Muses Elsewhere
Lexington ("Lexie") in the backyard
(Winter 2015)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Blessed are the Weird People

Art journal page: watercolour & chalkboard art
Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman
This art journal page was inspired by the chalkboard canvas art below and a 1921 photograph of the Krazy Kat club in Washington

I was surprised when my "Blessed Are The Weird People" flickr page received over 6,000 views in less than 24 hours?! It was my daughter who discovered that the photo had been featured on flickr explore (which explains the higher than average viewer count on my flickr page). 

I am so grateful to have it featured on flickr explore and so happy that folks enjoyed my art journal page!

Blessed are the Weird People
Chalkboard Canvas Art
$40 at Dream Weaver
 Krazy Kat club in Washington
(1921)

Friday, March 13, 2015

Smile

Byward Market on Sunday (mixed media)
Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

"No mud, no lotus"

"No mud, no lotus"
(2009 mixed media)
I have been looking through some older artwork and came across this older mixed media piece that I created after reflecting on a beautiful 2009 Thich Nhat Hanh podcast where he compared lotuses and mud to suffering and happiness.

I found a photograph of a lotus and I loved the pattern of the stems underwater and the colours of the lotus flower and leaf floating on the muddy brown water. I created this using ink, watercolour and gouache.

About the symbiotic relationship between the lotus and the mud, Thich Nhat Hanh wrote:

Excerpt from book: "No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering" By Thich Nhat Hanh
I am troubled by the fact that I haven't managed to do very much painting or sketching lately. I've been stuck in what Thich Nhat Hanh calls the "mud of life".

The good news (according to Thich Nhat Hanh) is that "if you know how to make good use of the mud, you can grow beautiful lotuses".

I hope to be posting more "lotuses" (creating more art) over the next few months.