Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dog Thoughts

The dog of my youth was a cairn terrier named Spot, who cried when I cried, ran joyfully around the house when we returned from a trip, and assassinated rats.

My friend sometimes left her black standard poodle with me while she worked. Gaia was the most intelligent of dogs, and would lay her head on my leg when she needed to go out. When I spoke, she cocked her head to one side, pretending to understand everything I said.

Years ago, I painted a portrait of three dogs, one of which was totally blind. When it was rounded up for a reference photo, the dog took one whiff of me and ran away. My reference shot turned out to be the owner running down the street after that ungrateful mutt.

My niece’s black terri-poo, Dexter, loved organic chicken from the health food store. When I had him over, he slept at the foot of my bed, and chased his tail each morning when I awoke. Was he happy to see me or the chicken breakfast sure to follow?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Cats I Have Known

The cat of my youth was a brindle tabby named Napoleon, who sometimes sat on my bed watching me while I slept.

I knew a cat near the end of its life who sat at the top of the stairs staring into the basement's blackness.

Several years ago, a neighbor and devout PETA member, skipped out on her rent, leaving behind a black long hair cat and its litter of kittens. I named it Lucky.

A friend's domestic short hair, Ethyl, got sick one night while sitting on my lap, and had the courtesy to jump onto the floor before it puked.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Silently, In The Night

Summer just returned to this part of the peninsula. I know this because the bane of Floridians is once again skittering around my kitchen.

Known around here as palmetto bugs, these roaches on steroids eat D-Con for lunch, are too big for roach motels, and fly in your face if approached directly. They are the ones visitors write home about.

The monster above was dispatched with a nifty stealth move. A well thrown magazine got it running in the opposite direction, where a broom silently waited.

Gloating will do no good however - the summer is young and there will be others. Many more.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Out Standing In His Field

The Dunedin Fine Art Center has ramped it up again with another outstanding exhibition. This time they are featuring the remarkable sculptures of Sanford artist Charles Parkhill. Using new and recycled materials, Parkhill creates unique and much sought after art pieces.

Many outstanding artists have first paid their dues in Florida's outdoor shows and so too has Parkhill. Over the years, a consistent award winner on the art show circuit, Charles has since graduated to the big rooms - galleries and museums.

The exhibition opens Friday, April 17 and runs through May, 24.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Into The Light

Success follows great effort, and taking on a life of its own, builds even more success. Such is the enviable situation of Gulfport artist Nancy Cervenka.

Fresh from a Best of Show award at the Gasparilla Art Festival in Tampa, Nancy cruises into an exhibition of her latest film sculptures at C. Emerson Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, April 11-May 30.

A USF grad and art show veteran, Nancy has perfected a unique style of sculpture using spiralled 16mm film and light. The subtle interplay of form, shadow and light in her large scale installations leave a lasting impression.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

More Doll Face

Dolls are creepy play things. With dull unblinking eyes and pouty baby lips, they lay in the corner of the room, waiting, never sleeping, even with eyes closed. I'm reminded of the strange marionette from the film Cabaret and the fantastic animated dolls of Czech film-maker Jan Svankmajer. Dolls seen this way mirror the anxiety and dread that inhabit a grown-up world.

Children must see it differently. For them, dolls become a blank screen on which to project their hopes, dreams and wishes for a life that is anything but a fantasy.