Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge #35 - The Horse in My Mind

I had planned all along to draw whatever came out of my head today. Then my mom saw that the Kennedy Center Honors were on tonight, and I definitely wanted to watch. So, I pulled out my clipboard, grabbed some pencils and went and watched. I'm so glad I did. We always enjoy the show. You get to see some of your favorites, and some you've never really heard of who are also great. It's a wonderful celebration of entertainment! I feel like I broaden my horizons some:-) And wouldn't it be awesome to be in the audience? I never have an urge to be in the audience of an awards' show, but that one would be the exception.

Anyways, I happily drew through singing and through commercials. Of course, what emerged was another Arabian horse. They just come naturally, and I so appreciate that they do:-)

Well, I can't believe 2008 is on its way out! It's been an eventful year for us, to say the least. Amazing, sad, hopeful, and ever onward... Right now, it's onward to bed - it's 12:50 a.m. here!

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge #34 - Pegasus

Just realized I hadn't blogged yet! This drawing is for 12/28 & 29. It took two days to finish, so it can stand for two days:-)

I've finally learned from someone how to size my photos so they meet Etsy's specs yet aren't so enlarged they lose detail. So, for now, I'm copying and pasting the blurb for this drawing:

This little gem was actually completed late last night (it was drawn over two days). However, between the size and the contrast with the color (a blend of 5 layers of Prismacolor), I wasn’t able to get a good scan. Instead, I waited for the right light, and took photos outside today. The results are definitely better, but not as good as real life, I promise:-)

This card was a true challenge for me, as I wanted to see if I could fit a whole horse on a card. I knew it could be done, just didn’t know how small I could draw. I found out – pretty small! Although he appears much larger here, in real life from the tip of his nose to the ears measures just 1/2 inch.

I thought I’d add to my challenge by making this a Pegasus – the beautiful flying horse of Greek mythology. I’ve loved them since I was a child, and used to dream of riding one. I don’t think I’ve ever drawn one, though, at least not as an adult. So, here he is in all winged glory!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge #33 - Belgian Horse

I actually started on something else earlier tonight, and realized that I'd need more time to finish it. So, I did a horse I've been wanting to draw for a while now - the big, brawny Belgian:-)

Here's part of the breed info:

"The Belgian is a heavy draft breed, weighing around a ton and stand up to 17 hands (or higher). It makes sense that they’re amazing horses for pulling heavy loads. Even today, they’re still used for farm work. They’re easily recognizable, too – they’re usually sorrel (red/orange) with a flaxen mane and tail. They can also come in roan (solid color heavily mixed with white hair). In addition to their awesome power, they’re known for being kind and gentle animals."

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge #32 - Appaloosa Colt

Well, I made the logical choice to take Christmas as my day off from drawing this week:-) This little guy is for 12/26, and is a leopard spot Appaloosa colt. If you've been following, you may remember the adult leopard spot Appy I drew - horse #24. Since I've been on a baby theme lately, the foal version seemed the logical choice for tonight. Plus, spots are fun!

I wrote on the Etsy listing about the memories doing these drawings are evoking. I'll copy and paste that part here:

"Drawing all of these babies has really brought back what it was like having foals in my life. There’s the excitement of waiting over 11 months for the birth, all the while wondering if it will be a filly or a colt. Wondering which traits will come through, and if all of the planning paid off. Then the actual birth and watching this tiny thing with impossibly long legs struggle and struggle to get up to drink that first milk – with lots of encouragement from mom (and those nips on the rump when baby nurses too hard:-). They seem to become more coordinated by the minute, gamboling alongside their mothers, so impressed with how cool they are – yet not quite daring to leave mom’s side for a little while. Watching a foal grow to adulthood is an amazing experience, and often the culmination of many years of dreams. It’s so good to have those memories!"

It amazed me to realize tonight how blessed I am to have these memories. What I didn't realize is that because of the pain of giving up my horses, I don't often delve to deep into my memories. Yet I have so many good ones!!! Foals are some of the best memories. My mom and I put so much into the dream of breeding Farrah. While we only did it three times, each time we learned more and every time was precious. I remember sleeping in the back of our station wagon in the freezing cold waiting for April to be born - and still missing the actual birth!

We actually missed all three births, though Deringer's was the closest by just a couple of minutes. Farrah had gone 11 months, 18 days with him. She also had a very serious complication just prior to the 11 month mark: she colicked pretty severely. However, even the vet wasn't sure if she was colicking or going into labor early. We were up all night, walking her, bran mash, etc. - praying. She couldn't have had surgery, because she was too far along. Finally, around 5 a.m., she passed a huge enterolith (a stone). The vet said it was the largest he'd ever seen passed without surgery! Believe it or not, we still have it;-) It's about the size of a tennis ball. If I figure out where it is, I'll have to take a picture. Won't that be exciting?

Anyways, every foal was different, yet so beautiful and so special! Drawing these babies here reminds me of them and the experiences I had. It reminds me to remember, and to appreciate how incredible having horses in my life was:-)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge #31 - Christmas Pony Foal

Happy holidays, everyone! This is my drawing for 12/24, and is dedicated to all the little girls who dream of getting a pony for Christmas:-)

I'll add to this post a bit later, as it's 1:00, and I have to get up early. Hope everyone who celebrates Christmas has a wonderful day!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge #30 - Kiger Mustang

I like thinking of more unusual horses to draw, and the Kiger Mustang definitely qualifies! Here's some of the info from his Etsy blurb:

"He’s a Kiger Mustang – a wild horse, but also an established breed. They were discovered in the 70’s in Oregon, and found to be breeding true through DNA (it also turns out that they’re closely related to the original horses brought from Spain to the U.S. in the 1600’s). The BLM separated them out into their own groups. They're usually dun colored (light tan to golden with black points) with a dorsal stripe down their backs and zebra-like stripes on their upper legs. We once pastured our horses with a mare who was believed to be a Kiger, and she was so beautiful! Heavy-set, but such a lovely color and had that really long black mane. She was very shy, but gentle and a pleasure to be around. Like my last subject, the zebra, I hope for the opportunity to see the wild Kiger mustangs. What a beautiful sight to see!"

Tomorrow I'll be working on some photos I took today of my mom's sculptures. She's just joined the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy, and is entering their next contest. I think this is so cool, and I know it's a big thing for her. In fact, I think it's the first contest she's ever entered her art in. I'll have to put some photos here, too:-)

I'm behind on real writing here, so promise to get back to it soon. This is supposed to be a multi-subject blog, and not just about the horse challenge. So, more to come soon!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge #29 - Zebra Foal

I did it! I took on a new subject, and my drawing mojo came back today:-) It's not the same subject I tried yesterday, but it's brand new to me. I always thought it would be a pain to draw a zebra - all those stripes! However, like the Appaloosa, it was easier than I thought. I guess it shows that when you let it flow, it does.

I'm calling this guy a zebra teenager. He isn't a tiny baby, but he isn't full grown, either. It's just the way he turned out, and I kept thinking of him as a teen. He looks like he thinks he knows it all, just to keep the younger crowd in awe of him:-)

Here's some of my Etsy blurb:

"Everyone knows zebras as the wild horses of Africa; the stripes we think are so flashy are meant to confuse predators and camouflage the zebras. They can be domesticated – I think more as a novelty than for practical purposes. Looking at their movement, I can’t imagine enjoying a smooth ride. From what I’ve read, they’re also too unpredictable to make steady performance animals. That just means they belong in the wild, right? I hope I get to see them there someday…"

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Horse A Day Challenge #28 - Palomino Horse Photo

I confess, my drawing “mojo” was off this weekend. I decided yesterday that I would make an “Executive decision” and make Saturday my day off from drawing a horse a day. I got to today, and started a little later than I should have - because I decided to try something new. It’s now 11:20 p.m., and both my mom and I agreed that it just doesn’t look right. The head placement was just enough off, and I can’t correct it without erasing the whole body. Yes, a whole body – doesn’t that make you wonder? ;-)

I wanted to try a whole horse for a change. I do my research first, and work from about five photos of a breed. I know what every breed looks like, but it helps to see more detail so I make sure to get it right. I don’t copy anyone’s photos but my own. It’s wrong to copy because you’re stealing someone else’s work. Frankly, I think it’s harder to copy a photo than to come up with my own composition. Artistic license, and all – I’d much rather make my own face, pattern and mane, etc. I hope to accept commissions in the near future, but even for those, I’d want several views of the animal.

Of course, in this case my artistic license didn’t work! I was turning my face just enough one way that when I put the body in, it was off. I didn’t see for quite a while, though it was niggling at me. So, I showed it to my mom to see what she thought, and she noticed right away. I realized it couldn’t be salvaged, and it’s too late to start something new. Graphite goes faster for me than colored pencil, but not that much faster…

Tomorrow’s another day!

I’m placing the photo I took last weekend of the beautiful Palomino horse in the pasture with the donkey (whose eye was #22). Unlike the donkey, the Palomino was very wary of my presence. I’m not sure if it was a mare or gelding, but am leaning towards mare. Breed is unknown, too. Palomino refers to the coloring, and many breeds can be Palomino. She looks a bit like an American Saddlebred, doesn’t she? Tall, and long, elegant face…

Whatever her breed, she was a lovely horse! I was so glad that even though she ducked away under the tree, I managed to get a pretty photo of her. She gets to be horse #28.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge #27 - Quarter Horse Colt

Continuing my baby kick, here's a Quarter Horse colt:-) The foals are more challenging than the adult horses to me, and I'm really enjoying drawing them. They have to look like babies, they have to look like their breed, and they have to look different from each other - so far I think I've done it!

Here's the blurb on this one, which tells why the Quarter Horse was tonight's breed:

"Baby #3! After I posted #2 foal on Flickr (My Pics), one of my contacts, PaprikasPlace (also on Etsy) responded to my question, “Who knows what tomorrow will bring?” She suggested a Quarter Horse foal, and I took her suggestion. I’m always open to ideas:-) It can be helpful to have suggestions, because I sometimes have problems deciding what next. Too many choices! So, here’s a little American Quarter Horse colt. I worked at maintaining his “baby-ness” while giving emphasis of those big muscles to come. I also have an adult Quarter Horse drawing as my #6 horse here in the challenge. The do-it-all horse!"

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge #26 - Gypsy Vanner Colt

Yay! A little earlier tonight! And another cute baby:-) I decided that I should do some of the other breeds, since I've given more time to Arabians than anybody. Since I love Vanners, I thought I'd try a little Vanner colt tonight. They're cute little fuzz-balls, so much different than Arabians, but just as adorable.

This one's on Etsy, too. Hope you like him, and his fuzzy little chin:-)

Going to try and make it an earlier night, so need to get on over to Etsy and Flickr.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge #25 - Arabian Filly

A new baby! And another Arabian, now there's a surprise;-) Wonder what I'm putting in place with the Law of Attraction? I hadn't really thought of that before now, which surprises me, but I'll be curious to see.

Anyways, I'm early as always - that is, if this was for Thursday, since it's 12:20 a.m. now. I was figuring out Auctiva today, and it took longer than I thought. I want to put my one lens on eBay soon, and try some other items. I've heard so much about how eBay has changed that I've been hesitant, yet I see some people are doing quite well (it's all in what you believe). We need more than one venue, so we'll be seen more:-) We also have an account with Artfire, and up and coming cool site, and will be opening a store there soon, too.

In the meantime, this little cutie's on Etsy, which is really the most amazing place for artists and crafters! Check out their forums sometime - so much good and friendly advice to anyone starting a business there.

Part of the blurb:
"This is my second Arabian foal, and is a sweet little girl. I envision her as golden chestnut with a flaxen (blonde) mane. I’ve always loved the chestnut color, maybe because I’m a redhead, too. And, of course, I love Arabian foals. There’s nothing more special than seeing them prance across the pasture, tail held high - so very proud of their tiny selves! I have to admit a soft spot for all foals and baby animals, like everyone. I just know Arabians best:-)"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge #24 - Appaloosa

I finaly did the Appaloosa! Took a while to convince myself - I actually thought spots would be harder than hair (like on the eyes), but they weren't. Well, except that I found they smudged really easily, so was glad for my battery eraser to clean things up. Plus, I could be a little creative with the pattern, which was fun. I knew I had to do a leopard spot Appy because you wouldn't know it was an Appaloosa from a graphite head drawing otherwise;-)

Here's a little of the text for Etsy:
"The Appaloosa comes in many colors and spotted patterns. They often have pink skin around their eyes and lips. They can be spotted all over like this (leopard spot), or have a solid color with a blanket of spots on the rear. Probably the hardest part of this drawing was not going overboard with the forelock and mane, because the “Appy” is known for having a rather thin mane and tail (and I’m known for drawing rather thick ones). The Appy was originally developed by the Nez Perce people, and usually the horse portrayed in art and movies featuring Native Americans. Nowadays, they are most often western horses, but can do many different things. They certainly brighten up any arena!"

Hope you enjoy him:-)

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge #23 - Desert Fantasy

Okay, it's easier to fall behind than it is to catch up;-) So, only one drawing for tonight. This one's a horse of my own creation and imagination - the horse you'd love to see running across the desert towards you. The horse you'd ride for miles and miles... Of course, it's an Arabian. I did mention I was partial:)

This one is on Etsy, too. I've been wondering about the other "e", because I've seen some artists with quite a following. There's one equine artist in particular who commands awesome prices for her ACEO's, which are truly lovely. I guess I have a competitive streak, and would like to know how mine would do in the bidding process.

Additionally, I'm in the process of finding a charity to donate a portion of the proceeds from these cards (1/3). I've contacted my top pick, and hope to hear soon. I've been waiting to do a larger announcement, but thought I'd better mention it since I said something several posts back.

I would donate to the rescue that took our mares, but they've since stopped rescuing. Horse rescue not only requires a lot of time and money, but it also takes a lot of space. I think it's more overlooked than small animal rescue, but it's just as crucial. It's near and dear to my heart, and I realized I might be able to do something through these cards:-)

More to come!

A Horse a Day Challenge #22 - Aye, Eye!

Okay, so I did, I missed a day:-| I hadn't gotten very much sleep Friday night, so wound up being zonked by Saturday evening. I started, but it wasn't going anywhere. So, I did the smart thing, and went to bed:-) I also slept in, and then we went for a drive... My plans for two drawings for 12/14 didn't come to fruition, but I'm still happy:-)

This is the eye view from the front, from a photo I just took today! On said drive, even... We met a horse and donkey in a pasture, pulled over, and donkey came up to the fence. He was a little spooked, so it gave just the right distance to focus really close on his eye. Here's the reference.

Of course, after deciding to post the photo on Flickr earlier, I felt more challenged by my challenge, lol! I knew everyone would be able to compare the two. I also know that they're different. I don't use rulers or anything, so it comes out as close as, well, it comes out;-) I can see that mine's much rounder... Anyways, I think I have enough eye ACEO's for now!

As an added bonus, the person who buys the drawing will also get a copy of the photo ACEO. At this time, both are on Etsy.

Okay, it's 1:10 a.m., and time to wrap this up. It's also pouring down rain, and has been for hours - surprising for here (dry central Cali), but this is our 1st December, so might be normal.

Until later today:-)

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge #21 - Burro Babe

I uploaded my photo here first, to get it up before midnight, and I'm now back to write. I was almost done when there was an interruption in the form of a loud boom and reverberation through the house. I went outside to look, as did the neighbors, but the fog is sooooo heavy, you can't see anything. About 20 minutes later, I heard a bunch of sirens; and so I'm sending out positive thoughts to all involved for whatever it was (guessing car crash). Definitely made my and my mom's heart jump!

After all of that, I scanned tonight's drawing: a cutie pie burro foal:-) I had both foal and donkey in mind tonight, so wound up combining ideas. I also fell in love with burro babies - especially the miniature ones. Too adorable!

Here's some of the blurb from Etsy, where all of these cards are available for sale:

"...They come in sizes ranging from miniature to giant. There are actually some rare donkey breeds that people are working hard to preserve. They’re known best as beasts of burden, but are also kept as pets nowadays. Having been around a few, I can say that they’re highly intelligent and have a definite sense of mischief."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge #20 - American Paint Horse

Yay, it's a little earlier tonight, and this is number 20!!! This drawing flowed much easier for me than last night, which was very nice.

Here's part of the blurb for Etsy, where it's listed:
"This is the colorful American Paint Horse. They come in many different patterns and can be any solid color with white areas. The overall look of the Paint is of a stock horse, reflecting their Quarter Horse heritage. They are versatile and flashy, yet calm and a great riding horse for all ages. They’re also fun to draw, because I get to “design” my own pattern:-)"

Special posts still coming - I just rec'd. the info for one, and am working on what I need for the other...

A Horse a Day Challenge #19 - About Face

For 12/10/08 This one took longer and challenged me, but I wanted to work through it and I did. I tried capturing a similar pose on the 9th, and didn't succeed. Face on has always been a tougher pose for me. I will keep doing it until it flows, though:-)

It's 1:00 now, and I still have to upload to Etsy and Flickr before bedtime, so that's all here this time!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge #18 - Looking Forward

Well, I tried three different drawings tonight, and wasn't happy with the way any of them were turning out. I know I started too late, too. I was bad - we received "The Dark Knight" from Netflix today, so decided to watch it tonight. It's a very long movie - it lives up to the reviews, but is soooo intense and dark. I actually hesitated to get it because I knew it would be dark. Talk about being on the edge of your seat for 2 1/2 hours! Kind of saps your energy, lol!

So, this is actually a drawing I did around the same time as my carousel horses. I posted it on Flickr a little while ago, but will repost. It's another I adapted from my own photo, and concentrates a little more on the rest of the face and contrast with the background than my more recent horse eye.

I'd already titled it, and it suits! I am looking forward:-) And I'm so excited that my #3 card sold today!!! It's the first one to sell, and makes me feel so good. I really want these to become collectors' items. I hope this week to be able to add something more to their purpose...

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy my very last pre-drawn card. This means I better figure out how to get what's in my mind out on paper every night now! Hand/eye coordination;-)

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge #17 - Unicorn

When I showed this to my mom, she laughed! She was so surprised that I'd done a unicorn, that I actually caught her off-guard;-) She really enjoyed it, and I hope you do, too.

Here's part of the Etsy listing:
"Hmmm… do you think this qualifies? Well, if I can have carousel horses, why not a unicorn? I wanted to draw something tonight that didn’t have to conform to a breed standard, and all of the sudden I thought of a unicorn! I think that qualifies for non-conformity:-) This magical creature has been around for centuries. Real? Imaginary? You decide (Wikipedia has a lot of unicorn history on their site). I prefer to believe in a world where both unicorns and Pegasus roam – maybe even a centaur or two!"

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge #16 - Horse Eye

This card is a drawing that I've wanted to do for a while. I had planned on a color drawing, and may do a larger version in the future. In the meantime, I was itching to draw a horse's eye, so I did! I've done a couple of different eyes in the past, but think this is the 1st black and white one. It was more challenging to me, but I also really enjoyed seeing how just the values brought things out as I went along.

As with all of them, this is available on Etsy - just click the banner on the top right corner:-)

More to come... soon!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge #15 - Norwegian Fjord

I can't believe this is #15! This is a more unusual breed. Here's an excerpt from my blurb for Etsy:

"This sturdy little horse is the Norwegian Fjord, and is one of the oldest breeds in the world. They are always dun color (light to golden tan with black points on the legs and a dorsal strip down their backs). They aren’t very tall, but they’re very strong! In Norway, they’re used as farm horses, so can pull heavy loads. They are also very calm and steady, and good as a child’s horse. Plus, they’re pretty cute! The short, stubby mane is actually clipped to look that way, and for easy grooming. It gives them a unique, unmistakable appearance:-)"

Update from the last post - my grandmother loved the decorations we brought. The best thing was a Santa who recites the whole "Twas the Night Before Christmas" poem. Sounds corny, but he's adorable (don't ask me about the singing mouse I got for myself;-)! I'll try to get a photo the next time. We try to find things she can look at from her bed, so having something that moves and talks has a little more entertainment value.

Oh yeah, and the fog lifted around 2:30 this afternoon, and is back again:-| We still went in the morning, though, because there was enough visibility. I didn't know the fog lasted so long, and for days on end - this was the 1st real glimpse of the sun in quite a while. Pretty exciting!

A Horse a Day Challenge #14 - Thoroughbred

I finished this one on the 5th honest. It may have been 11:45 p.m., but he was done:-) Took that long to get a scan that I liked afterwards; I'm still experimenting. I accidentally hit the Shadow/Highlight option instead of Levels, and found that it worked better - happy accident! I know, there are no accidents;-)

Well, I need to wrap this up and go to bed. I have to be up in 6 1/2 hours. Going to visit my grandmother in the morning - hoping the fog lifts early. We bought some goodies today to decorate her room, and I hope it brings a little cheer for her.

So, this is part of the blurb from Etsy:
"This is one of the most incredible athletes, the Thoroughbred. Everyone knows them as fantastic racehorses. They also jump, do dressage, cross-country… Fast and hot-blooded, yet steady enough to compete in the most challenging events – the Thoroughbred deserves our awe!"

Stay tuned - I'll be writing a really cool post in the near future:-) I also thought of an idea tonight for these cards that I'm going to look into!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge #13 - Arabian Mare

Back to normal for tonight's horse! I did experiment with blending sticks, since I found some small ones I'd ordered by mistake a while back. They're the perfect size for these, go figure;-)

I'm still experimenting with scanning. I wish the dimensions for Etsy were smaller, because I lose sharpness and detail when I enlarge it to their size. Oh well, gives me a chance to play and try different things. This one was actually scanned in color...

Below is part of my Etsy blurb about this card - fancy my drawing another Arab;-)

When you check out the series, you’ll see I already have an Arabian stallion, a foal, and so now there’s a mare! Ethereal beauties, it’s hard to believe the incredible endurance and strength Arabian mares possess. Full of grace but tough and proud – the heritage of this desert survivor. They are valued beyond measure. My card honors their extreme beauty, and my love for the Arabian horse.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge #11 & #12 - Carousel

Yes, I’m posting two drawings tonight, and yes, they were both previously done. I’m getting back on track. I wanted to catch up tonight, though, and get this posted before midnight or 1:00:-)

Yesterday was one of those days – one of those days where I slid backwards a bit. To be honest, it’s been building up since Thanksgiving. It isn’t that I haven’t been appreciative of the many blessings in my life, because I have. Sometimes, though, things still hit hard at times. Sometimes, I forget to breathe and believe…

Thanksgiving hit really hard, because we visited my grandmother in the nursing home. My mom visits several times a week, and I usually visit once – it’s never easy. I haven’t written about how we got to where we are now. I’ll do a short version for now. As of the end of January 2008, we’ve lived in my grandparents’ mobile home of 20 years with all of their memories. It’s actually now ours. My grandfather passed very unexpectedly on April 12 of this year – I have a tribute on my Flickr site you can see here: Charles Vogel. It tells more about it all.

Anyways, this was my grandmother’s first Thanksgiving in 67 years without him. She’s bedridden in a nursing home (for over 2.5 years now). She still has her mind, though. I’m not sure if that’s a curse or a blessing… I just know that she’s so sad, and my mom and I get so sad for her. It would be a whole other post to fully describe her and things. I’m not ready for that. I just need to let the sadness out, and work harder at not absorbing it in (and not feel selfish for trying to be happy). It doesn’t help anyone to get so low. I need to constantly remind myself of that, because I see firsthand what it does to you…

So, today, I’ve been getting back on track, and looking for the sunny side. That means posting my art again:-)

These were both done with Prismacolor colored pencils. I’ve worked in Prismacolor since I was about 13! The formula has even changed. I’ve thought about switching mediums, because colored pencil isn’t the fastest medium in the world. I’ve never convinced myself, though; there are just too many things about colored pencils that I like. They’re neat, portable, affordable, and able to produce great accuracy and detail. They’re comfortable.

Top is #11 and bottom is #12. Again, with the carousel horses, I strive to create an almost-lifelike horse with just enough fantasy thrown in to make you wonder if it’s real or not. I really, really love doing them! I’m wondering if I should give them real names – what do you think?

Both are available in our store on Etsy.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge #10 - Herman the Great

If you’ve been following, you’re probably wondering, “What the heck?!” Well, I was trying to figure out what to draw tonight for magic #10, and just couldn’t decide. Then I remembered Herman… I don’t even know the last time I thought of Herman, let alone drew him. I created Herman back in my early teens. He was and is meant to be a parody of the Arabian horse. I had Arabians, and sometimes all the silliness with their appearance was too much. Thus, Herman entered the picture.

This drawing of Herman was done without any rough sketches, and completely from memory. The initials on his neck are mine, and are his “freeze brand”. This card is really special, as silly as it might seem – it sure made me smile to draw Herman again. It’s truly one-of-a-kind. I don’t know if I will draw Herman again in the near future – should I develop him further? Will I? You never know, but that means this card is the first and only Herman in existence:-) Right now, he's available on Etsy.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge #9 - Welsh Pony

Wow! I'm actually earlier than I have been. I experimented more with the options on my scanner, and this one's a little better. The drawings are still much prettier in real life, though:-) Don't forget to check out our store on Etsy - they're all there, and everything's on sale through tomorrow (Cyber Monday)!

This little gem is a Welsh Pony or Cob, and is number 9. The Welsh Pony comes in four different types – from small pony to large pony/small horse size. The smaller sizes are a bit more refined than the cob types, who have a thicker set neck and body. No matter what size or body type, these are gorgeous ponies! If the Friesian is my fairy tale horse, then the Welsh Pony is my fairy tale pony:-)

Being 5' 10 1/2", I'm kind of thinking the Friesian's more my size, lol! However, these little guys make wonderful cart horses, so I'm sure I could still enjoy them;-)

A Horse a Day Challenge #8 - Friesian

And for 11/29/08 - it was finished Friday, but is now 12:23 a.m. - yikes! Available on Etsy, and on sale through Monday:-)

This card is number eight, and is a majestic Friesian. This is the horse I expect my knight in shiny armor to be riding when he comes to pick me up:-) The Friesian truly takes my breath away. Tall, solid black, incredible flowing mane and tail, high-stepping action with “feathers” around their hooves – they are a sight to see! They excel in many disciplines – under harness to dressage. And they look good no matter what they’re doing (even standing still).

**Please note that this card is much more detailed in real life - this is the closest I could get it.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Horse A Day Challenge #7 - Standardbred

This horse is really 11/28/08. Started yesterday, but was feeling a bit off, so I didn't get the drawing done:-( Getting back up to speed today! :-) And - still having our sale on Etsy!

This card is number seven in a challenge I’ve set for myself. I intend to offer a new horse card each day. This is a Standardbred portrait. Standardbreds are the horses you see on racetracks pulling a cart, trotting faster than you’d think possible! I created this drawing because we watched the movie “The Great Dan Patch” with my grandmother during our Thanksgiving visit. I hadn’t ever heard of the movie, and knew little about Dan Patch. He truly was a great horse – undefeated in his career, and the fastest trotter of his day (the early 1900’s). He was so great, he wound up racing against himself to beat his own records! This portrait isn’t of Dan Patch, but captures the overall look of the Standardbred. They’re similar in type to Thoroughbreds, but more muscular and longer. They're handsome and awesome to watch!

**Please note that this card is much more detailed in real life - this is the closest I could get it. I am still experimenting with both photographing and scanning these drawings for the best result.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge #6 - American Quarter Horse


Okay, this is the card I started last night, and finished tonight. Mojo or not, I was going to finish him and I did:-)

Info about him:
For Thanksgiving Day, how about a horse that’s as American as, well, apple pie;-) This is the handsome, hard-working American Quarter Horse. Known for speed and agility, the American Quarter horse excels in everything from racing to ranch work. They’re also a popular kid’s horse. Well, actually they’re the most popular breed in the U.S.!

**Please note that this card is much more detailed in real life - this is the closest I could get it. I am still experimenting with both photographing and scanning these drawings for the best result.

Hope everyone in the U.S. had a great Thanksgiving day!

On to Etsy, and getting ready for a sale:-)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge #5 - Carousel Horse

Well, I was sketching away, even started earlier, but realized my drawing was taking longer than planned. My drawing mojo was just off tonight, I guess! I was going to do this for tomorrow's horse, but will just switch the order around.

If you’ve been following, you know this card is different than the rest – color! I have this carousel horse waiting in the wings, and will be offering more of them as time goes by. They’re such a joy to draw. This one really is different, because I went up close and personal on the face. I work at capturing the fantasy aspect of the carousel horse with just enough realism to make you wonder if you see a spark of life:-)

And like all the rest, this card is available on Etsy
Hope you enjoy it! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge #4 - Clydesdale

Just making it! Here's the fourth one:-)

This is the magnificent Clydesdale! Huge, flashy, and oh-so-strong, these beauties are often seen in pulling heavy wagons in parades. I’m sure you’ve seen them on TV, too:-) They’ve been the stars of some really great commercials.

He's also available on Etsy.

**Please note that it's much more detailed in real life - this is the closest I could get it. I am still experimenting with both photographing and scanning these drawings for the best result.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge # 3 - Arabian Foal SOLD

arabian horse foal
Due to an unexpected interruption this evening, I didn't have as much drawing time as I'd planned. I know, excuses, excuses;-) You try getting off the phone with a drunk ex-relative (aunt by marriage) repeating the same sad story from 1982, over, and over, and over... Seriously. I'm too nice, I guess, but I listened - for too long.

So, this is an Arabian foal, to be completed tomorrow asap. By the time this posts, it will be tomorrow, but a little later than that, lol! Will also have the next horse in the series still coming tomorrow, too.

Arabian foals are so beautiful, and I'll probably do more than one. Kind of a personal love of mine:-) All foals are adorable, aren't they?

Till tomorrow...

And, viola, the finished version! Still experimenting with getting the most accurate tones, hence the difference in darkness between the two.
arabian foal, drawing

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Horse a Day Challenge - Gypsy Vanner #2

gypsy vanner horse drawing
I made it! Trying to get a decent representation to post is taking almost as long as the drawings. Small and black and white seems to challenge both my scanner and my camera, but I'll improve:-) In the meantime, please know that these drawings are much more detailed in real life.

So, this is what I wrote for this card:

This card is number two in a challenge I’ve set for myself. I intend to offer a new horse card each day. This is a handsome black and white Gypsy Vanner. I fell in love with these horses when I came across them a while back. They are a smaller draft-type of horse that come in many different colors; they’re known for their super long flowing manes, tails, and even “feathers” on their legs. They’re known for being both extremely beautiful and very useful horses – pulling carts, being ridden in different styles by both adults and children. They were and are bred by the Gypsies of England and Ireland, and are now becoming popular in America. They look like fairy tale horses come to life:-)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Horse a Day – A Challenge to Myself:-)

arabian horse drawing
This is a combination personal and business post. I have decided to take on a challenge that I’ve been thinking about recently: I’m going to draw a horse ACEO (Art Card – 2.5 x 3.5 inches) every day. My mom is constantly telling me I should be doing my drawing, and I thought this would be a good way to do something and complete it:-) The drawings will be in graphite. The other medium I work in is colored pencil. If you know anything about colored pencil, you know it’s not the fastest medium – at least not the way I do it;-) Hence, my drawings will be black and white for now.

Above is my very first drawing. It’s an Arabian horse, and is much more detailed in real life - this is the closest I could get the scan. I plan to do different breeds, but my first is the breed that will always have a hold on my heart. This is where it gets personal… I know it’s still going to be long, but below is a very condensed version of the horse years. It’s still not easy to write, but it’s an important part of the tale and my daily challenge.

From 1981 until June 2003, my mom and I owned and were owned by Arabian horses. I was 12 when we purchased Farrahdette, a purebred Arabian mare. We’d had a sort of mutt horse, but had been boarding at a place that had Arabs. One thing led to another, and we purchased Farrah from a local breeder. At the time, the cost was huge to us, and we had some help for a down payment, and did the rest on terms. We were and always have been a little nutty when it comes to animals:-)

So, I grew up with Farrah. My mom’s and my life revolved around horses. We didn’t show, though we went to a lot of shows just to watch. We bred Farrah three times, each time learning more. We were never rich financially, but I feel I was blessed by having horses in my life. I know we gave up a lot to have them. My mom was a single mom working hard to raise me and to afford the horses. It may not have made sense to others, but it was the world we chose and it brought us joy.

We cleaned extra stalls and did whatever we could to take off on boarding costs, because we had three horses most of the time. At one point, we rented a one room cottage (one small room plus a tiny kitchen, bathroom, and closet) because it had a six stall barn. That was fun;-)

Anyways, I can look back and say it was illogical – all the money we spent over the years on the dream of the horse. Yet, I still wouldn’t change it. Well, except the ending – for sure I would change that.

Horses really were our everything. I’d been drawing them long before we actually had them. In school, if I could put horses into my assignments I did – even Spanish class. The only place it didn’t work was math; no wonder that was my least favorite subject, lol!

Up until 2003, I didn’t know how to identify myself without horses. It almost killed my mom and I to learn how. I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. After we had to give them up/lost them, our downward spiral sped up to an alarming rate that culminated in losing just about everything else.

For some reason, after 9/11, Oregon became the state with the worst economy in the nation. My mom and I had left really unsatisfying jobs just prior to 9/11 to try an endeavor similar to what we’re doing now. I’ll be writing a post on my new views about the economy and all that at a later date. However, at that time, we couldn’t find stable work, or work that had paid as much as we’d been making (which wasn’t all that much).

Our self-belief kept going lower and lower. Our creativity drive went lower, too. And, of course, our bank balance went out the door. We hadn’t had any sort of savings, so things really just went south. We had two car loans, rent, bills, and three horses to pay for – doesn’t work too well without income.

You’d think that we would have sold the horses right away, but we couldn’t bear to. We let a lot of other things go before the horses. Even though keeping them had become a huge burden, we didn’t want to let go. How can you let go of an animal you grew up with? How can you?

Well, if you know something has to be done, but you don’t do anything about, the Universe responds to your energy and things start happening anyways. We could no longer pay the board for the horses after May 15, 2003, the people we boarded with were not sympathetic (they didn’t have to be, but it would have been nice). We had until June 15 to find a solution – I believe I waited until close to the beginning of June to start looking...

June 14, 2003, Farrah and her daughter went to a horse sanctuary in central Oregon. Her son, Deringer, was given to a private individual who was recommended by another horse person. That person chose to sell him not too long after, and wouldn’t divulge to whom. When I allow myself to think about it, there’s still a wound in my heart from that one.

The whole experience still has pain attached to it. In the ensuing years, I’ve been able to shed a great deal. However, writing this proves that there’s still some there. This is, quite possibly, the hardest thing I’ve ever written.

After the day we lost the horses, we lost ourselves. Nothing much mattered anymore. We tried to stay afloat, but didn’t succeed.

I don’t know if this will sound odd or not, but I honestly felt I no longer had the right to anything horse. How could I draw horses anymore after I’d betrayed ours? I couldn’t.

It took a lllllllloooooooonnnnnnggggg time before I allowed myself to acknowledge that while I no longer had my horses, horses were and always will be part of me. I know my mom feels the same. It’s in our blood, there’s no other way I can describe it.

While we don’t have horses anymore, I think we’re still owned by them. By the spirits of the ones we had, by the beauty of those we see now…

And, so, I’ve given myself permission to draw horses again. I’ve even done some colored pencil drawings in the past year or so. I’m making a commitment to do more, and to honor every part of myself. It’s the only way I can go forward…

Note: Farrah passed away on June 1, 2006, at the grand old age of 29. She was still at the sanctuary in Oregon, and had been well-loved (we're so grateful, because finding placement for old horses is hard). April (April Ballerinah) was adopted by a family, and became the daughter's horse. Deringer’s fate remains unknown…

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I feel like choosing a happy, light topic tonight. When I thought about something that makes me truly happy, I immediately thought of hummingbirds! That’s right, zooming, spinning, hovering hummingbirds:-) These little jewels have always been a joyful sight to me; and this year, they’ve truly become part of my heart.

This year, I finally decided to learn to photograph them. I figured if I could catch a hummingbird with my lens, I would be better prepared for just about anything else that moves, lol! I swear, even after multiple sessions, and more photos than I can count, I still get dizzy trying to track these little speedsters.

Hummingbirds are just so amazing! Full-speed forward, now backwards, up, down, all around – let me tell you, you get a lot of photos of empty blue sky as you try to catch them. Or part of a wing, as the bird zooms out of range… They are truly breath-taking.

Here in central California, the hummingbirds I saw this year were either Rufous or Anna’s. Anna’s have made up the majority, and are still coming to the one feeder I’ve left up. I’ve read that they can stay year-round, but it’s getting chillier at night here, so we’ll see. I’ll be happy to keep that feeder filled:-)

What Hummingbirds mean:

Several years ago, I discovered a really cool site about Animal Shamanism. It guides you as to what animals mean in your life. The animal can be a lifetime animal, or one that appears for a certain time with a needed message. You can check it out here Shamanism Working with Animal Spirits It’s a really cool site, and just one more way of seeing things.

So, three of the things that hummingbirds represent are joy, love, and endurance over long journeys (makes sense;-). Maybe that’s why they touch me so. They certainly fill me with joy – even when they’re being feisty and territorial with each other.

Hummingbirds live life with exuberance! They are so tiny, and yet so powerful. And, hey, they eat sugar water and nectar. Life can’t get much sweeter than that:-)

All photos taken with my Canon Digital Rebel XT, and either a regular Canon 75-300mm lens or 55-250mm IS lens (the 75-300mm is for sale, if anyone’s interested:-).

All of these photos are available at our Etsy store Nature Visions

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I started writing something tonight that I now realize will take longer to get out than I thought. So, instead, I thought I’d post an excerpt from an e-mail that I sent out in April 2004, letting people know what had happened to us. It’s pretty long (big surprise:-), and this is just the part that connects the dots of our story for the blog:

…As most of you know, my mom and I became homeless at the end of December. We managed to put some of our belongings in a small storage unit, packed what we could in our minivan, and left a lot behind. We knew we had nowhere for it, and knew that although it was difficult to leave it, in the end it was just "stuff". When you hit rock bottom, you certainly have plenty of opportunity to think about what really matters - it isn't "stuff".

What really mattered to us as we were losing our home of 7.5 years? Faith, each other, and our three cats - Ivy, Bugsy, and Skye. For those of you who know the animals we've lost in recent times, you can imagine how important not losing our remaining cats was...

So, on Tuesday morning, December 30, 2003, we headed out of our home with less than $400.00 to our names, three cats, and what we could fit into our '92 Plymouth Grand Voyager with no shocks, leaking oil pan, and a "Maintenance Required" light on (it hasn't had a tune-up since we got it in 08/00). Would it be possible to make it to the destination we had in mind? Were we crazy for even trying? Should we just be trying to stay in Oregon, despite the fact that we'd lost everything there - including, most importantly, our self-worth?

Of those questions, the one I know my mom and I could answer with certainty at the time, and even now, is that, yes, we were crazy. At that point, though, the lyrics "You're never gonna survive unless you get a little crazy..." seemed to hold the most truth. After all, it wasn't like we had much left to lose:-/

Thus began our own "Fear Factor" journey. I'm sure those of you in Oregon will remember that the end of December was not a pleasant weather time. What was intended to be a two-day journey stretched into four, due to some very bad driving conditions. We'd never driven in snow or on icy roads before, nor had to use chains (which, thankfully, we narrowly avoided on this trip). Bad conditions started in eastern Oregon, with thick ice on the highway (and the worst road maintenance), and lasted the entire journey. While ice is the scariest, blowing snow is a close second (especially when combined with icy roads).

I know a few of you are aware of where we were hoping to get to, but others are now wondering where the heck we were headed. So, I'll spare you the details of nights in Motel 6's with our cats - one who's been very ill for some time, and one who had to be kept separate because she doesn't like other cats. Instead, I'll tell you why and where we were headed.

Proof that even in our darkest hour, we still dared to dream; we chose a destination we felt would fulfill multiple needs. We thought our choice might work because it would fulfill our desire to live in a small town, my mom's artistic desire to live in the Southwest, and a joint desire to be in a community that supported our love for animals. If worst came to worst, we knew our choice would have a home for the cats.

On Friday, January 2, 2004, we drove into our destination: Kanab, Utah!!! Kanab is a small town in southern Utah, less than 10 miles from the Arizona border. Kanab is also the home of Best Friends Animal Society/Sanctuary - the largest no-kill shelter in the nation for abused and abandoned animals. We had longed to visit Best Friends for some time, but never dreamt it would be under these circumstances...

This part of the e-mail sums up our journey after we lost everything. Next time, I’ll most likely write about the events leading up to that moment - woo hoo;-) I read all of this and I’m once again amazed at everything that has happened in the past five years. I can still envision the above trip, and I know that no words can convey the feeling of absolute terror while trying to hold on to some sort of hope (and wondering why). Though we’re still recovering, I am ever awed and grateful that we made it – that we’re still learning and growing…

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Scent of a Rose

tamora rose
We’ve all read about scents triggering memories, and have maybe even found ourselves transported a time or two by a magical fragrance. I, for one, love the scent of Play-Doh – I can open a can, breathe in, and feel like a kid again!

The other day, I was transported back by a rose – the scent of which lingers in my memory even now. Not just any rose, but the very first bloom on a recently purchased mail-order rose. A rose specifically acquired because of my recollections of its beauty and fragrance. The name of this rose? ‘Tamora’, a David Austin English rose – one I’d put at the top of any rose lover’s list.

So, the bloom had finally opened up, and I went over for a look see. Because she’s in a one gallon pot as she grows up some, I could hold her right up to my nose. I inhaled, and inhaled, and inhaled – the scent was sooooo yummy and so redolent of times gone by… It brought tears to my eyes.

You see, the five years ago I've mentioned? Well, I used to have a huge garden; it was a bit out-of-control, because of my passion for roses and ongoing search for perfect companion plants. I had over 100 roses – in the ground, in containers, and many awaiting homes. When I say add ‘Tamora’ to the top of the list, I know what I’m writing about:-)

My old ‘Tamora’ lived in half of a wine cask with a lavender clematis climbing behind her, and various trailing plants in front. In full bloom, it was a stunning combination. I have film photos somewhere (possibly in storage). If I find a copy here, I’ll scan and post. She came from Heirloom Roses. We used to be able to drive there, and I always hit their yearly sales – gorgeous, gorgeous place.

So, every now and then, I still look at their website. Recently, they had an online sale. ‘Tamora’ was on the list. How could I resist? My passion for roses lay dormant for a while, but has been eagerly re-emerging:-)

I’m so grateful I didn’t resist, though the feeling she evokes is both joyful and bittersweet. I lost that garden, I lost that home – I know I can’t ever get that back. However, I can recreate and enjoy beauty again.

It’s been a long, hard road to get to the place that allows me to feel I have that right again. Yet that road has been filled with learning, growth, and ultimately, the knowledge that I haven’t lost me...

Friday, October 31, 2008

New Shop!

I know I haven’t posted for a bit now. I’ve been busy working on our new Etsy shop, which is a wonderful and huge endeavor for my mom and me. It means so much, and is such a fantastic feeling. When those sales start coming, it will be even more fantastic!!! The piece above is one of my mom’s beautiful sculptures. Meet Reggie, an English Bulldog puppy – is he cute or what? All sculpted freehand! You can click on the link in the right-hand corner to see our shop, and to read more about Reggie.

My mom is an amazing, talented woman:-) She’s a survivor who’s learning to thrive! The past years have been very difficult. If losing everything weren’t enough, she almost died, and had to have open heart surgery for her 60th birthday.

I’m getting ahead of myself on writing about our journey. However, I am so proud of my mom, that I felt compelled to share that here tonight. There was a time when I didn’t know if she’d live, or if she’d ever be herself again. I give thanks every day that I still have her, and that she is able to honor her creative side once more. I can’t tell you what a miracle it really is, but I hope I’ve conveyed just a little of it here.

I love you, mom, and I admire you so much!


Friday, October 17, 2008

Life and death

Well, I proved my point with my first post. I wrote a lot! It didn’t seem like that much until I uploaded it. It’s likely to happen again… and again, lol! When I actually do start writing, there are so many things trying to get out.

I was planning on writing about what happened five years ago – and it may still tie in some tonight. However, as I sat here, I was pulled back to the conversation that I had with a friend last night. We hadn’t spoken in some time, and it was so good to reconnect.

Not so good was hearing that in the past couple of months, there have been multiple suicides in the town where I moved from. Three separate suicides, no relation. Two were people I knew, although not well. It came as a shock, to say the least – especially the one woman I knew. I knew her as a strong, intelligent, vibrant woman. I thought she was well-to-do, and very successful. The side that she didn’t show to the public was apparently addicted to alcohol, and heavily in debt. Sadly, this is the side that won.

I can’t comment on what it’s like to be an addict, and how it alters who you really are. I haven’t been there. I can only imagine that when you give control of your mind over to a substance to escape – legal or otherwise – that eventually, your mind is altered to where it either can’t or doesn’t want to come back. Maybe addiction becomes the beginning of suicide?

Of course, as with anything, you can overcome addiction if you choose to. I know, from knowing others, that it’s so very challenging and a lifelong process. Heck, I can’t even conquer sugar or caffeine – I can’t imagine craving something so much more powerful…

Anyways, back to the woman above. At what point does it become too late? It doesn’t take alcohol to decide that things are too overwhelming to go on, though I’m sure alcohol “helps”. I believe that the strong, vibrant woman was who she really was. Where did that person go when she needed her most? Why does the voice of failure seem to scream so much louder than success?

So many questions… I have opinions, I have what is my truth, but I know I can’t answer for anyone else. In this case, I know I will never know, and that saddens me. If I could step back in time and share my perception of her with her…

If we could only see ourselves as good beings doing our best, and know that there can always be more to life. I say “can be”, because it is a choice – whether to live, how much to live… When you’re in the midst of a crisis, you forget that there is more. More doesn’t mean easy or hard, it just means more. Whatever we’re going through will pass and will change – no matter what we do. In that moment, we think we’re powerless. Really, it’s more that we’ve given up our power.

When we give up our power, life gets incredibly bumpy. You can sink really fast. My mom and I did, all the way down to rock bottom.

Looking back, I don’t know how we made it. The thing is, now we can look back. And, as I look back, I feel the pain and suffering – I have to be careful on that one, because I can still let too much in – but, as I look back, I am constantly awed and amazed by our journey over this time. There are still some bumps to get over, but we’ve really come a long ways. We’ve learned so much, and are still learning – still finding reasons to live and move forward.

As I said last time, I don’t believe death to be a bad thing. There are ways of living that are far worse than dying. However, if we choose life, it’s out there waiting for us. If we ask for guidance, we do receive. The answers may not be what you expect or think you want at the time, but if you ride it through, you’ll look back and see that the answer was what was needed.

Final thing to wrap this up, because I’ve just filled over a whole regular page – money isn’t everything. Heard that one before? ;-) Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy money, I want money, and I want it to flow into my life in a healthy, positive, ample way. However, having lost it all, having no credit – I know you CAN still live. You will make it back. And, if you do it right, you’ll have a whole new, improved way of life. The key is doing it right, because repeat lessons aren’t fun.

Keep on keepin’ on!

Dedicated to the memory of the strong, vibrant woman who didn’t make it back; in the end, she became a teacher…

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Getting Started

I’ve had this blog waiting for me to write for a while now. I’ve always hesitated, wondering how to get started. Knowing this, it’s hard to believe that I actually love to write! Writing was even a major part of my last career. Part of my hesitation also comes from the fact that once I start writing, I have trouble stopping. So the blog has been here, empty except for my photos running across…

I’ve had trouble on deciding where to begin, too. My mom and I are starting our business now, and I planned to integrate photos of our art and other things on here at the same time. I figured that would be a great way to get the blog ball rolling. Then I read an article, and that article moved me to start my blog now. That article made me believe that sharing some of my life might help someone else. Presumptuous? No, just hopeful.

So, what was this mysterious article? It was this article on Yahoo!: Suicides from financial crisis cause concern. I read this article with great sorrow in my heart for those that felt they had no choice but death. Mind you, I’ll state up front that I don’t think death is a bad thing, and I am not judging anyone who makes that choice – I will be writing more on this. However, I do have a problem with those that choose to take someone else with them – those “someone’s” might have chosen differently if they’d had a say.

My sorrow for the people in the article, and for others who have committed suicide because they are losing everything comes from a deep empathy. It comes from a place of knowing: knowing what it’s like to be there, and knowing that you can survive. Knowing that when you have lost “everything” that there is still something, and that something is way more important than everything. The everything I’m referring to is home, car, job – every material thing that seems like it’s the glue that holds us together. The something is what’s left when the dust settles; that little spark of hope or insanity that can keep us going through the darkest of times.

I’ve read more than once that you should write about what you know. When I write about the darkest of times and surviving, I know. I also know that each and every one of us will measure that time differently. To me, losing everything was and still is a very traumatic experience. The past five years have been a roller coaster ride that I have thought of jumping off of more than once. Yet I’ve kept going, even though I don’t always know why. I’m not afraid of death; I think it’s that I’d really rather get this life right:-) I believe that the Universe gave me gifts/talents and passions, and I want to know what it feels like to utilize them and live life to its fullest. It’s a work-in-progress, to be sure.

I know that when you lose everything that as hard as it is to lose the material things, in the end losing them isn’t what destroys you. What destroys you is the loss of self-respect, of “status” in this world; the overwhelming and seemingly impossible task of rebuilding your life from a lower point than you even knew existed. I’m not going to be Pollyanna and say it’s easy. It’s been almost five years since my mom and I became homeless (after a series of devastating losses), and there are still areas that we haven’t figured out how to make right again. However, five years, and we are still here!

To be continued…