Saturday, March 27, 2010

Artist's History

I want to share a little artist's history because I think there are many out there who might relate.

I went to college and studied fine art (a little college artwork to your left) and halfway through realized I had no idea what I was going to do with a fine arts degree.  I had this mindset where I did not think I should have a job which required me to create art on demand; I should create when inspired.(Sheesh...) I quit college (biggest regret of my life) and simultaneously quit my art.  I became a banker instead. 

Fast forward about twelve years.  My first daughter is born and I realize that I'd give anything to work at home.  This is during the 80's when the cottage industry is trendy. So I evaluate my skills and recall that I am a pretty good artist.  The creativity starts flowing again but nothing really jells for a home business.

Fast forward about five years.  Our family financial situation improves and we can afford to have me stay home with our two daughters.  I spend this time drawing portraits again, (my favorite thing) volunteering for art projects at my kids' grade school, (fullfilling experience) trying to write and illustrate children's books, (not very good at that) and gardening. (like creating a large scale painting using plant material.) A wonderful period in my life.

Fast forward to now. I've gone back to work (banking again) because we have college to pay for and retirement to think about, but I keep working at my art. I cannot help but wonder what I would have achieved as an artist if I hadn't abandoned it some thirty years ago.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Clovis has a maloclusion.  Instead of his upper teeth slightly overlapping the lowers, they meet dead on.  So his teeth don't get worn down as they should.  I was shocked when I first discovered how long his teeth had gotten. I felt like a terrible rabbit owner! I took him to my local vet and they trimmed his teeth with clippers.  Big mistake.  More tooth problems ensued. 

I couldn't take him back to the same vet.  I remembered another rabbit owner who had recommended Dr. Heather Horton at Country Animal Hospital.  So off we went to see Dr. Heather and she said one upper tooth was missing and the other was broken. Thankfully, both teeth recovered. Now, every five weeks Clovis gets to visit Dr. Heather for a tooth trim.  Clovis has been in Dr. Heather's care for three years now.  She is the best vet!  We like her and the people who work at Country Animal Hospital very much.

Today was tooth trim day. Dr. Heather prepares the dremel tool she uses. Clovis waits patiently.

He doesn't need any medication to calm him. The dremel tool cuts through Clovis' teeth. Apparently he likes it...

Then we do the lowers. Clovis pushes up against the dremel with his lower teeth.

Dr. Heather uses a cheek spreader and shines a light into his mouth to see how the molars look.


All done. Clovis smiles for the camera.  Perfect!

Clovis gets a little love from Dr. Heather before he heads for home. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Clovis Cards

Years ago, just for fun, I started making my own Christmas cards.  I thought, as an artist, I should do that.  I can't really recall all that I have made.  Some were good, some not so good.  All made from the heart though. And of course, there were a few little bunnies here and there. 

The first Christmas I had Clovis, my card making took a new direction.   I had my very own model.  He inspired me.  Since Clovis was a gift to myself, that year I decided to draw him with curling ribbon around his neck as if he were a present.  And when the next Christmas came around I thought, "What should Clovis be doing this year?".  And so the tradition of Clovis Cards began.  He appears in every card.

I think my family and friends get a kick out of seeing what Clovis will do next.  Of course, I couldn't stop there. Now there are Clovis Cards for Easter, Halloween, note cards.  You can find Clovis Cards on my Etsy site:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Finding Clovis

I have hundreds of photos of rabbits.  I've been taking rabbit photos for more than 10 years.  (Thank God for digital cameras...) I plan my trip to our local fair around rabbit judging time and I have gone to rabbit shows just to get reference material to draw from. The more I was around them, the more I wanted one. I studied what breed I would want, what color. Not that I would actually get one, mind you, because getting a pet is a big commitment. 

I gave in to temptation about three and a half years ago.  My daughter and I thought we would just "look" at the animal shelter.  I had decided IF I was to get a rabbit I would want a broken mini rex.  That day there were no broken mini rex at the shelter.  But on the way home, on a whim, I detoured to a well known pet store.  And there they were. And there was Clovis.

It took awhile to make my choice. There were two I liked. One was gray and white and I liked the pattern of its markings. But Clovis had the most beautiful coloring; from a mixture of light brown, and umber, and gray on his face, to a nutmeg color on his neck, the umber-gray racing stripe down his back turns completely gray at the tail. So we headed for home with my rabbit in a box, rabbit food and rabbit dishes. I've never regretted my decision to own a rabbit and never regretted my choice. He's not only a pretty boy but a sweet little guy who has brought me much happiness.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Why Rabbits?

I think a lot of people have a special animal that they are drawn to.  I don't know why. In my family we have a shark person, a frog person, a monkey person and a fish person.  Well, my husband is the fish person but really his attraction to fish is purely for sport, so that doesn't really count.  Then me, the rabbit person.

I was trying to figure out why I love rabbits so much; why is the rabbit my animal?  And the only logical conclusion I could come to is that my first pet was a rabbit.  That's me and my rabbit in the photo.  I have no idea what kind he was.  Just your average white bunny the pet stores sold at Easter in the '50s I suppose.  His name was Whitey. I remember he escaped to Mrs. Twinnings rose garden next door and she wasn't very happy about that. When we moved away I had to give Whitey to another neighbor.  I don't know what happened to Whitey after that.  I just hope they didn't eat him.

Anyway, rabbits are my favorite subject to draw.  I love the ears!  The color variations so interesting depending on how the light hits them and the color of the rabbit.  Anywhere from mauve to pink to orange.  And the position of the ears; straight up and alert, laying flat on the rabbit's back, one up, one down, one forward, one back.  Body position, multiple rabbits.  All of it.  Such gentle, soft, quiet, fragile creatures. 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

First Entry

Okay, so I thought I'd give this blogging thing a try. So here I am on a Sunday morning trying to figure this all out.  I want this to be about my little muse, Clovie Boy, and about my art.
Clovie Boy is one of many nicknames I have bestowed upon my rabbit.  Also called Clover Boy, Bunny Boy, Clove Meister, Clovenstein, or Clove Man, his real name is Clovis.  Except originally I named him Chloe.  When I picked him out at the pet store I asked the clerk if he was male or female.  She took a look and said female.  Little did I know, and apparently also the clerk, that you can't always tell the sex of a rabbit at eight weeks old... So I thought Chloe was a perfect name for my sweet little bunny.  But a month or so later I noticed little Chloe had a few body parts that she shouldn't.  Off we went to the vet for confirmation, and yes, she was a he.

Well, of course I couldn't continue to call him Chloe so the re-naming efforts began. By then Chloe seemed to respond to his name and I was commited to calling him a "sound alike" name.  I went through every name in a book of names and the best sound alike name I could come up with was Clovis. I admit, not a soft and fuzzy name for a rabbit but what can you do?