Tuesday, February 24, 2015

It All Started As "Snool"!

Sometimes it's hard even for me to believe that what I'm doing with my digital art all started from my Cassie's "snool" on the door and windows. For the uninitiated, snool is (to be indelicate) a combo of snot and drool, which dogs make in abundance. Most of them will get creative when there is glass between them and the object(s) of attention, but few of us humans recognize the beauty of their expressive work. It helps to be an artist, because part of our job is to bring attention to things that others might not see. The print below is a PiCassieO work titled "Laughing Lion", named for the cartoon-like image of some sort of feline that I saw in Cassie's marks (imagination I have in abundance!). I decided that the colors were too far-out in this first version, so I did the actual print with a more subdued palette. Last fall I took another look at it when I was playing with fabric designs, and abstracted a couple of tiny squares to put in repeat. The results blew me away! The colors and patterns remind me of art from India - but Cassie's big Airedale nose was the source of the striking patterns. Inspiration can come from the weirdest places!

I call the two resulting designs "Laughing Lion Geo" and "Laughing Lion Geo Diamond."  It has been so much fun putting them on items in my Zazzle store - the two stamps are incredibly bright, and the candy tin and wine charm can be monogrammed. They make great small gifts - I did a tin and charm for a friend's birthday and was really pleased with the way they turned out. That is my idea of FUN - slapping my art on unlikely items in the wild colors I love so much, and secretly laughing and remembering where the art started. I have only scratched the surface in these first two "LL" abstracts.Thank you, Cassie girl!

"Laughing Lion, Version 1" by PiCassieO

"Laughing Lion Geo" Postage by PiCassieO
"Laughing Lion Geo" Candy Tin by PiCassieO
"Laughing Lion Geo Diamond" Postage by PiCassieO

"Laughing Lion Geo" Wine Charm by PiCassieO
BTW: Young Calli continues to give me ideas, although her style and our connection is still in development. Her epilepsy is a constant impediment, but her "snoodles" on the door make me laugh! I think this girl tends to be a cartoonist - more of her work in another post.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


 A week ago yesterday marked the second anniversary of Cassie's departure from this world. I say she left, but that's not really true, because I still see her everywhere in my memory and in the art we made. I am continuing to create from her "notes", which is therapeutic in that it reminds me of her wild enthusiasm for life and makes me laugh to remember, even when tears are falling. 
 In the work above are some of her last marks on that storm door that was her favorite "canvas"; in the original print, the background resembles a beach and clouds against a deep blue sky. The elements had a glowing edge, and the total effect suggested a farewell, with the cryptic marks ascending toward the sky and clouds. I never was satisfied with the composition of those elements, however, and tried to tinker with it with no success, so I did a cut-and-paste with just her strokes to try them with a different background. This photo was in a screen saver file - it was amazing how perfectly the marks fit to give me the ethereal effect I was searching for. The original title was "What She Said" - I see it now as a message of hope instead of farewell.
I will love you forever, Cassie girl - wait for me, I'm coming!
In loving memory of Cassie (aka Cassandra Queen of the Universe) - 
April 12, 1999 - September 22, 2012

Friday, August 1, 2014

A Different World

Been meaning to get back here, but it seems I'm still doing more epilepsy research than art lately. I wondered why I am having difficulty connecting with Calli art-wise, and have concluded that the seizures have something to do with it. A friend recently made the remark that she thought Calli was "two dimensional" - not meaning Calli is flat, but that she exists in two different dimensions, one being "reality" as we know it, and the other, wherever she goes when she has a seizure. Several months ago a former painting student of mine started doing "animal communication"; knowing her to be a very honest and loving person, I decided to throw Calli at her and see what if anything she could find out about this strange little dog of mine. I didn't mention any of Calli's problems, but when Kim called me to report, the first thing she said was, "Calli has seizures - she goes away and then she comes back." I was almost speechless at the simple explanation of her illness. The big question was, where does she GO? No answer for that, but the "2-D" remark reinforced the idea of an other-worldly aspect of Calli's personality that makes it difficult for us to communicate sometimes.  She rarely pays attention to what's going on outside; usually the only time she marks the door is when she's "gone away", or in a rush to get out for potty break. She is very quiet and solemn most of the time, without the overflowing joy and exuberance that was Cassie's hallmark. The art I've made with her is totally different from what Cassie and I did, which makes me think I should leave this blog purely PiCassieO and start another one and call it "CalliGraphy - Notes from Another World." Thinkin' about it...

"Calli Makes a Pi"     CalliGraphy by Beth & Calli

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Life Goes On, Sort Of...

I am surprised that I could remember my PW to come back here, it's been so long. What I didn't tell in my last entry (way back in July): six weeks after Cassie died, an 11-month-old Airedale puppy came to me from rescue. That would have been enough to keep me busy; unfortunately, she also came with previously undetected epilepsy, which has made the last year very difficult and downright exhausting. Until July we were usually up three times a night with seizures, and more in the daytime. She was on so much medicine that she couldn't walk without falling, so I called a halt to that last January and started pursuing alternatives. At least we're getting a lot more sleep now, although she still has multiple seizures most days. Old-timers would call them "running fits" - not typical epilepsy. Calli is her name, and in spite of the problems she is funny and mischievous and turning into a good little artist as well. Who could resist that adorable face, especially those eyes with their two-inch-long lashes? Not me. She has brought me great joy with her shenanigans, as well as great sorrow due to her affliction. Everyone tells me she's here for a reason - probably to take up where Cassie left off as my teacher. Student is ready...

                                  Calli, Nov. 2012                                                 

"Happy", CalliGraphy by Calli and Beth

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Fun Continues...

Ever stopped by our Zazzle store? I am finally getting back to work and am adding new items frequently. It is so much fun creating stamps and gadget cases and other neat stuff there with PiCassieO art all over it! There is a July 4th sale going on now, and I'm sure there will be other great deals in the next few weeks. Here's a sample of what you'll find:

make custom gifts at Zazzle

Have fun browsing and drop by often!

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...