Hey there! Welcome to my blog. I'm a free dog living in Portugal and I write about my life as an artist and street dog. This blog is a way for me to have more of a connection with other dogs (and people), to share ideas, experiences and some of my art. I love to hear what others have to say so feel free to comment on any of the posts or to contact me via e-mail. If it's your first time here, you might want to check out my first post and read on from there. You can also have a look at my profile in the column to the right.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

(R)egrets, I've had a few

colour pencil sketch from my journal

(R)egrets, I’ve had a few.  Should I start to list them all? I think not. No point crying over spilt Milkbones ™. Let me just say that I regret not posting more often on my blog.

I enjoy the exercise of putting my thoughts into words, and documenting bits of my life. But sometimes life actually gets in the way of documenting. It’s a catch 22 of sorts. If I had nothing going on, there would be nothing to document. But when I am busy involved in things that might be worth documenting, I have no time or energy to do so. Ah, well.

So here’s a bit of catch-up (not to be confused with ketchup, which would be quite messy if I actually tried to feed some to you via the computer screen).

My book, DOG-EARED JOURNALS – art and observation from a dog living in Portugal, has been available since November of 2013. 
back and front covers of my book

Wow, how did I not make a big post about that?! Mainly because distribution is the problem. Since it’s self-published, there are tricky bits to work out if I don’t want to give it away for nothing. I could list it on Amazon, but until I fill out some complicated forms (which make me tuck my tail between my legs), listing it there is out of the question. I would receive about 82 cents per book if someone were to buy it through Amazon. The U.S. government would make about six dollars and then Amazon would pocket the rest.

So for now, my dog-loving Canadian friend Krista sells them from her studio in Nova Scotia (and by mail to North American customers). Go to www.kristawells.ca for more info. For my local friends, she recently re-stocked it in my favourite Portuguese bookstore, Livros da Ria Formosa in Lagos (home of my best friend, Rita).  It’s also available as a digital book from www.blurb.com.

Speaking of my dog-loving Canadian friend, it’s time I made a confession. She is actually my alter ego. I know, I know, some of you have probably already guessed this by now, but I just wanted to set the record straight.  My mind and soul is split: half human, half dog. For the sake of continuity and the suspension of disbelief, I will continue the charade of writing this blog from my dog’s eye view. It forces some interesting perspectives, which might never happen if I simply write from my human point of view. Just play ball, okay? Thanks.

So that’s it for now. My two selves are working on a fundraising event to be held here in Burgau early in April. The proceeds will benefit dog shelters in Portugal.  I’ll let you know details in my next blog post. Tchau-wow!

Friday, January 24, 2014

extending a helping paw

Well well, time flies like the wind! (And fruit flies like bananas.) Once again it’s been a long time since my last post. This will be a quick one, just to tie up the loose ends of the previous one about the dirty tricks being played by a deceitful dog-shelter here in Portugal. 

The shelter in question is called Lizzy’s Haven. The conditions there were deplorable. Dogs were not being properly cared for, money was mishandled, etc. (to put it mildly). The police became involved and eventually most of the animals were removed from this shelter. There are still ten dogs, two cats, four horses and two goats on the premises. The police continue to check on it every few weeks. The owner is not permitted to have any more animals.

For more information on Lizzy’s Haven, please have a look at the Facebook page, Lizzy's Haven Save the Animals, that has been set up to inform the public about it and to find better situations for the animals that had been at her place.

One woman who stepped forward to help some of the animals who were removed has set up a registered charity shelter on her own property. It’s called “Cães Sem Donos” Associação de Protecção dos Cães Abandonados.  (There’s also one in Brazil with almost the same name, so don’t be confused.) I was there last week to check it out and I liked what I saw. 
(photo courtesy of Louise Coppin)
Louise has a very good facility with plenty of room for the animals and insists on giving each of them time in the house every day so that they are well socialized and fit for adoption. The dogs who were at Lizzy’s Haven were in very poor condition when they arrived at Louise’s a few months ago, but now they are flourishing under her care. It was heartening to see.

A couple from Germany visited Louise’s shelter not long ago and have made a short film about her work. It’s well done and is a good representation of what the place is like. Have a look.
I’ve learned my lesson to research very well before I make a donation or extend a paw to help. I hope this situation doesn’t discourage people from continuing to help animals in need. Just be sure you trust who it is you are helping. Do some research, ask friends if they have any first-hand knowledge of the organization you are looking into. After all, there are still animals in distress. We all just need to be sure our help is going to the right place.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

old tricks, new tricks, dirty tricks

Well, it’s been so long since my last post that I almost forgot how to do it. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but what about teaching an old dog tricks that he’s forgotten? Once the trick is forgotten does it become a new trick? Everything old is new again?

Speaking of tricks, I'm still working on the trickiness of drawing on an iPad (or in my case, iPawed). There is much to learn. It isn't completely different from drawing on paper, but there are some tricks, some advantages and some disadvantages. It is thoroughly enjoyable though, and I love learning new tricks, despite my age.

My friend Margi is creating a digital drawing per week (plus one) for a whole year using an app called Paper53. You can see her weekly drawings here. http://pinterest.com/margil/paper-53/
It’s a great way to really get to know the idiosyncrasies of a particular app or program. I can’t seem to maintain focus (or a schedule) to do this so I jump around from app to app whenever I have the impulse to draw digitally.

For my own edification and for your amusement (I hope) I decided to try drawing the same subject several different ways. The first example is on real paper in my sketch book. I did a rough sketch in pencil, then once I was happy with the lines, I went over them with a Pentel Pocket Brush pen which has a black waterproof  ink. From there I added colour with pan watercolours.
Sasha sketch in ink and watercolour on watercolour paper

The next one I did was using the Paper53 app. I've been playing around with a graphic style with this app, breaking the subject into blocky sections.
Sasha digital sketch done using Paper53 app

Finally I did another digital sketch using the Sumo Paint app. I particularly like the natural looking ink lines with this app. It’s very similar to the lines I get with my Pentel Pocket Brush pen.
Sasha digital sketch done using Sumo Paint app

Obviously I’m only licking the edges when it comes to all the possibilities for creating sketches. Life is just one big bowl of kibble and I’m eager to try all the flavours.

If you’d like to see more of my digital drawings, follow this link to my Clibe journal. http://myclibe.com/marketplace/journals/77613/spreads/1#0

Clibe is an app for creating and posting journals of any sort. Anyone can go to the Clibe site and browse the thousands of publicly shared journals there. If you have an iPad and install the Clibe app, you can follow the journals that you like and actually download them and read them offline, at your leisure. Whenever one of the journals that you follow is updated, it will automatically be synced to your iPad the next time you open the Clibe app when you are online.

On a final note, I must thank everyone who voted for my drawings in the Adonit contests last September and October. We managed to raise a total of US$800 which I donated to several animal shelters here in Portugal. Sadly, (and this is the "dirty tricks" to which I refer in the title of this post) it appears that one of the shelters may not be as worthy of our donations as I thought. It’s through no fault of the animals, of course. When I have more concrete news about this, I will post it. Let me just say that people can be deceiving, their motives can be hidden, their intentions can be less than honourable. With dogs, what you see is what you get. I really wish people were more like dogs. The world would be a better place.
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