5 Years of Mischief

Todd’s Christmas present – a drawing of the 3 shits
Big big smile
Big big smile

Today is Girlscout’s birthday. The last five years went by in a blur.

Scout is a Sagitarius. She is also a Welsh Terrier. My friend Chip’s day of birth is upstaged annually when the spotlight swings to Scout on Nov 30. I know not everyone celebrates their pet’s birthday or reads their horoscope. But then, I’m not everyone. We usually use Scout’s birthday as an excuse to celebrate Cowboy and Loki’s too. Since they were rescued from kill shelters, we have no idea when they were born. I even got a deck of tarot cards and tried to read their birthdays based on their selections. We think Loki is a Capricorn. Cowboy’s special day remains a mystery however, since he wasn’t as excited about chewing on a dumb old card that didn’t have any peanut butter on it.

Baby girl sleeping

Scout’s birthday is also a milestone in my life. In November of 2005, the love of my life, an Airedale named Mimi went to the happy hunting ground. About 3 weeks later I found Cowboy in a Pocatello shelter and brought him to live with me, a forever home. A few weeks later I split from a long-time boyfriend. The one thing I wanted to get me through this hard winter was a Welsh Terrier named Girlscout.

Wild things fight

Scout was an extremely impractical decision. I was single. I had one dog already. She was costly. She was far away in Loveland, Colorado. Her breed is known for being nearly impossible to house train. Did I care? Nope. Her breeder agreed to meet me at the half way point, Rawlins. I felt like the original adventurer that freezing day when Cowboy and I loaded up in the truck and struck out across Wyoming. Cowboy loved Scout immediately when they met in the Maverick parking lot. He slept all the way home with his head on her crate. They’ve been best friends ever since.

Scout & Todd

Scout also brought someone special into my life, an artist named Todd. Of course, a gal with 2 puppies, one under 10 weeks, has her hands full at the dog park where my little pack went every day after work. I would carry Scout and let Cowdawg romp. Sometimes he romped too hard and I had to chase him with 6 lbs of curly black&tan in my arms. Enter Todd, to take the pup out of my arms or chase down the Cowboy for me while his stately old rottweiler, Loki watched the pups play.


To celebrate Scout’s birthday this year, the dogs, my friend Cher, a little girl named Clara and I sent a care package to a Welsh Terrier who is homeless in California. Her name is Mama, she is 10 and has been used for breeding. She lives in a boarding facility and, because my WT sleeps under the covers in my arms at night like a baby, it breaks my heart to imagine a dog like Scout living in such a sterile environment. I wish I could adopt her. Here is the link to her page if you have room for a dominant female in your life http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/17419012

Happy birthday Scout! Happy pretend birthday Cowboy and Loki! This concludes Pet Awareness Month on artduh.com. Save the furbees!
Until next November,
The pet lovers at artduh.com

Loki shows off Mama's package
Mama's box of presents is twice as big as her
Cowboy meets his mom
The gift that keeps giving

Life, Loss and Love – Sleepictures and the Art of Teresa Flowers

There is a certain innocence and childlike quality to the way Teresa Flowers artwork is rendered, even though her pieces often illustrate painful and very personal experience. It was a real treat to visit with Teresa, get to know her a little better, and see all that she has been up to in preparation for her upcoming show at the Artspace Commons Gallery.

The first thing that struck me was the wall of photographs that greet you as soon as you step in the door. These are all very recent pieces, taken within the last nine or so months. Teresa has had some health problems these last few years, including arthritis, which up until recently has made it all but impossible to use a camera. You can feel her excitement and see the creativity photography brings out in her. It’s almost like she doesn’t want to stop composing and taking these pictures, now that she is able to once again.

As you move through the space you see that Teresa has been busy drawing and painting too. Images that helped her get through frightening times when she was too sick to even stand. Pictures of the love she found, the friends she has made, and the family she has lost.

There are many pieces that are included in her upcoming show that I had a very hard time taking my eyes off of. Many treats for the eyeballs! Some that stand out include the drawings Teresa made over old photographs. This creates a otherworldly effect, while at the same time maintaining a very ephemeral quality. They show how temporary everything that lives is, but hint that there might be something more. I founds these pieces to be very beautiful, meaningful and haunting.

While you are at Teresa’s show, be sure to take the time to look through the books she has on display too. There are five or six books she has put together, and I enjoyed looking through each one.

Artspace Commons Gallery
824 south 400 west #134, SLC
Opening on Dec 3rd, from 6-9
Or call for an appointment through Jan 7 – 801-403-4315


You can also find Teresa on Facebook, when Facebook isn’t busy deleting her account 🙂 Apparently they’ve had some issues because she’s posted some of her very tasteful nude photos. It’s art, duh!

facebook.com | Sleepictures

Time To SHOP (local)

Turkey 4 U at SLCitizen
Turkey 4 U at SLCitizen

I know you haven’t finished digesting your turkey yet. But that’s not what matters. What matters is that it is finally, officially time to SHOP! Holiday gifts await you, and we have your shopping local guide, right here.

Our friends at Local First are celebrating Buy Local week tomorrow through December 3. They want you to spend 10 minutes learning about local, share it with 10 people and then spend just a measly 10 percent of your holiday budget locally.

Shopping local makes a difference for the world around us. Support the local shops that make our town cool. Buy from an artist or crafter so they can go buy more supplies and continue making work. But I think the best reason was explained to me by my friend Adam:

This year I’m prepping for my first Christmas as a married man,” says Adam Bramwell, local shopper. “For Mother’s Day, my wife and I visited three local shops one morning and it was super fun, a great experience. The Mother’s Day gift went over huge and so I’m hoping to gain brownie points by buying my wife a unique Christmas gift from a local shop.

Adam’s reason for shopping local: be unique, give something unforgettable and have fun.

And now we are going to make it easy for you. Here is a list of upcoming fun holiday boutiques where you can get your Santa on in a holly jolly local way:BB

The Hive  Black Friday Extravaganze
Friday, November 26 · 10:00am – 10:00pm
At the Hive Gallery/Trolley Square (2nd Floor)
Artistic gifts, trunk show and Free Coffee.
All paintings will be on sale.

Holiday Open House
November 26, 27 and Dec 4 2010
Come visit your favorite artists along Spring City’s Historic Main Street
Joe Bennion, Spring City Arts Gallery and Sophie’s Black Sheep Gallery

Holiday Trunk Show

November 27th 1pm-5pm
312 N. Chicago St (940 West)
Salt Lake City, UT

Beehive Bazaar
The craft event is moving back to its homeland at the Women’s Art Center, where our niece got married in August. It’s so cute.
Thursday, December 2 from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m
Friday, December 3, 10 am to 10 pm
Saturday, December 4. 10 am to 8 pm
Get more deets at http://www.beehivebazaar.com
Look for crafts from our friends Carrie Poulsen, Sonya Evans, Suzanne Clements, Dallas Russell and Todd’s beloved sister, Tonya Vistaunet!

Craft Sabbath Holiday Boutiques
December 5 and 12
1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Main Library Downtown
Santa will pop in. Local artist will have everything from jewelry to soap. Two refugee families will join with their wares. And artduh.com will be there vending, too!

Mindy Mae’s Market-
December 10th & 11th
Destination Homes Pleasant Fields Model
1375 west Pleaseant View Drive
Pleasant View, UT 84404

The People’s Market Holiday Boutique at Trolley Square.
December 11 and 19
Noon to 8 p.m.
They have chocolate and a food stamps program, both!

And now for my list of my fav shops you should visit for holiday shopping, after you craft it up at these boutiques: SL Citizen, Uptown Cheapskate, Miscy’s Boutique, Q Clothing, Slowtrain, Signed and Numbered and Dr. Volz’s Comics. And if you’re up for a bit of a road trip, please go see our friend Joe Bennion in Spring City. His pottery is my fav!

A few cute gift ideas:

Texting Gloves - Q
Texting Gloves - Q
Marsupial Stuffed Monsters - Frosty Darling
Marsupial Stuffed Monsters - Frosty Darling
Swami Lamps at Retro Rose
Swami Lamps at Retro Rose

A Life Saved

Talented photographer. Gallery owner. Runway organizer. Beautiful fashionista. Lights up the room and gets shit done. Have you figured out who this story is about yet? Heidi Gress, co-owner of (a)perture marketing and gallery.

But there is more to Heidi’s story than being an accomplished artist and business owner. Heidi saved a life, and in turn, the life saved her. Nitro, sweet yellow lab, was on the list for euthanasia. No one wanted him after 3 months in the shelter. Mom Gress, an animal rescue volunteer, called Heidi for help, saying “please foster this dog so he doesn’t die.” Heidi wasn’t totally sold on the idea, but what could she do when it really was life and death? The dog peed on himself while walking to the car, and Heidi wondered what she had gotten herself into.

But then, Heidi took Nitro home.

“Once we got to the house, he immediately calmed down. He was the perfect dog. He didn’t bark, he was really affectionate and social, and well behaved… Within days I was hooked and in many ways he became the reason that I have planted roots in Utah.“

The boy didn’t seem to like being called Nitro. So, Heidi and a neighbor sat down one night and called out a buffet of options. He chose Bailey. So how did Bailey save Heidi?

“Bailey has made me slow down and enjoy the relationships I have in my life. An animal passes no judgment, has no hidden agenda, and only wants to be loved. I now try to approach all relationships and business like that, pure and without motive. A pet can bring out the best in you and make you realize what is truly important,” says Heidi.

Heidi loves to shoot 35 mm film with her Nikon F. Her artwork is photojournalistic. She and Bailey hit the road as often as they can and shoot what they see. In January, she hopes to unveil a series of photos called “Faces of Salt Lake.”.

Heidi and Bailey would like to raise awareness about the non-profit, Friends of the Animal, better known as the parent agency behind Furbia. I got tears in my eyes as I looked over the website and saw the faces of homeless dogs. And again, reading about Dodger, whose untreated glaucoma caused both eyes to need to be removed. The good news is Dodger is now in a good home and her brother wears a bell around his neck so she can chase him despite her disability. Friends of the Animals also has a much needed program to save the pets of women in domestic violence situations. Check it out at foautah.org. You can donate a pet bed or become a foster home.

Heidi’s photos:

Paper, Collage and Cardboard Sculpture – Picasso and Matisse

Picasso "Guitar" 1924
Picasso "Still Life with Chair Caning" 1912

It is known that there was something of a rivalry between Picasso and Matisse. I think they considered each other friends, and would visit each other when able, they’d even exchange paintings from time to time. But each success one might have had inspired the other to experiment a little more and push his artwork a little further.

Well, I am not really going to go too much into their rivalry, but am going to write about something they shared and helped develop. Specifically collage, paper sculpture, and paper cutouts. I have no real idea why, but I have been thinking a whole lot about paper in art. Using it as a medium, I mean. And not just the works by Picasso and Matisse, but other artists, although I have been pouring over examples of their work a lot lately too.

Picasso "Guitar" 1914

I spend a lot of time looking at the work of Picasso. I don’t know how well known it is, but Picasso and Braque actually came up with the word collage and used paper and glue a whole lot in their work. As a matter of fact, Picasso’s work “Still Life with Caning Chair” is sometimes credited as being the first example of collage being used in fine art. He would often paste newspaper or magazine pages into his paintings and compositions. Picasso went on to create 3D sculptures out of cardboard and paper and household materials. A couple of good example of this are the images I’ve included here of guitars. Unfortunately, there aren’t many more good examples of his cardboard sculpture left because not many pieces survived.

Matisse "Zulma" 1950

Then there are the paper cut-outs by Matisse. Later in his life Matisse had some pretty severe health problems that forced him to give up painting, but not creating. He began to cut forms out of paper, and I am just blown away by their simplicity and beauty. Take for instance, Blue Nude II.. The white around the blue creating this graceful form, the blue pressing against the white and creating amazing shape. To me, this is perfect composition. I love negative space and color!

Other paper artists I’ve enjoyed recently include Jen StarkKako UedaPeter CallesenBrian Dettmer, and Elsa Mora… to name just a few.

Matisse "Blue Nude II" 1952

Wounded and Uncomfortable

Crouching Woman
Crouching Woman
The Cry

Psychology fascinates me. When I’m not writing, working or studying art, I’m reading about psychology. And in one of my psych books I found the following description of a sculpture:

“The body flexed to the point of pain produces the most compelling planes and twists. . . Rodin preferred his models to be hurting physically while he worked their forms in pencil or stone.”


Whoa! Having spent so much time with fashion and dance, where we try to create an illusion of beauty, even perfection, the thought of purposfully positioning your model in a pose of wounded discomfort is an interesting idea.

Rodin was a trail blazer. Because his sculptures didn’t reflect mythology or history, he was put down by the leaders of his time. Pardon the pun, but someone has to break the mold. Isn’t that what art is?

One of Rodin’s models was Camille Claudel. A sculptor in her own right. Claudel was committed to a mental institution for 30 years after her affair with Rodin ended. Is her work the face of madness? I don’t know, some claim she was sane, or at least sane when she was working. Considering the mental health practices of the late 1800s, I don’t know if her commitment was treatment or torture.

The Man with the Broken Nose

Rodin was famous for one sculpture, a head that fell on the floor and became essentially “wounded.” He left it that way, he liked it half-destroyed. In addition, he wanted to capture the emotional state of his subject. Many of his sculptures, like Crouching Woman, appear to be just a moment in time. A quick gesture. They leave me wondering how long the poor girl had to stay like that.

But for me, this is a lesson for my own artwork. I’m constantly trying to capture feminine strength, dignity and perseverance. Based on Rodin’s lessons, I think I’ll throw in a little more discomfort, pain and vulnerability in the future.

Camille Claudel's Danae

Big Orange

Leaping Mimi
Leaping Mimi

Do you believe in love at first sight? I have to admit I do, but only because it happened to me. In college, I came face to face with a giant red and black canine, perched romantically in a convertible. I heard a harp play a love song when I looked into those wooly button eyes.  I was told this breed was used by bounty hunters to round up bear and cougars that had drifted into residential territory.

That was it. The world’s most beautful dog. And she was bad ass enough to fight a grizzly. This was the dog for me.

A few years later I had my own home, truck and a steady job. The first thing I did was find a puppy. The puppy told me to call her Mimi, as in Mimi Sue West. Purebred airedale terrier. The tallest, leggiest, orangiest and prettiest girl you would ever see. One of her many nick names was Big Orange.

Mimi and I hiked City Creek Canyon at least two times a day for the next five and a half years. The noise and crowds of the 2002 Winter Olympics drove us further up into the foothills for our daily hikes.  And later that year, we were in the canyon the day the searchers came to look for Elizabeth Smart. A few years after that, Lori Hacking’s husband would claim she never came home from running in “our” canyon. Mimi and I used to see Lori every morning.

Mimi lay with her head in my lap when I created the first crochet pattern that was all my own. And again as I crafted my first costumes, one of which the Utah Arts Council would put on display. She made me laugh when she would pounce on indiscrete lovers writhing next to “our” trail. She befriended the yuppies and the homeless alike. Mimi’s favorite game was attempting to rob joggers of their mittens, and responding with pure joy when they would squeal in response. I never knew how well I could lash out in verbal violence until a stranger criticized Mimi for splashing in the creek along the off leash trail. Didn’t know I had that in me. Based on the stranger’s response, neither did he.

It’s because of Mimi that I’m now considered by breeders and rescuers to be “terrier experienced.” I would never recommend an airedale to another dog lover because they are such a difficult and stubborn breed. However, it’s the only breed for me. I have a Welsh Terrier (which looks like a tiny airedale, though she doesn’t act like one) and a mutt from the Pocatello pound right now. The only reason I don’t have an airedale is that Mimi left me high and dry, afraid to fall  in love  again.

Rest in peace Mimi Sue West, artduh.com dedicates Pet Awareness Month to you.
5/31/00 to 11/17/05

Mimi, The Legend
Mimi, The Legend
Mimi's Home at the Bottom of City Creek Canyon
Mimi's Home at the Bottom of City Creek Canyon