Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Monkey Business

This pencil drawing is hanging on the wall of my dentist's office. As an artist I am sometimes amazed how people request certain types of subjects and I am then privy to the meanings behinds their requests.
I was sitting in the dental chair getting my teeth worked on when the Dentist said to me, "I heard you were an portrait artist"! I said, "Yeths", slobbering. Anyway he proceeded to request a portrait of Spider Monkeys. I was sort of squeamish in the chair at that point, pondering just who is this guy? He then told me how when he was a child there was this pet shop that carried Spider Monkeys. He was so intrigued with them and used to spend the whole time touching them through the cage, playing with them, making faces at them and their responses were so magical to him. Naturally his parents said, 'NO WAY" those things are smelly and dirty! hahahaha! He said "I so desperately wanted one and decided when I was an Adult I would definitely get one"!
So on his next trip to the pet shop he asked the attendant if he could hold one just for a minute. Her reply was, "Well if it's okay with your parents. Monkeys are highly unpredictable and they bite like hell"! His parents said, "If this will put your dreams to rest, then by all means hold a monkey"!
So the attendant took out the Monkey and went to hand him to me and the Monkey flew at me, grabbed my neck and proceeded to attack me while I was screaming. I went to pull him off my neck and he chewed the hell out of my fingers while I was screaming. He said the attendant had a hard time getting the smelly, hairy, chewing thing off of me. He said, "It gave me such post traumatic shock" that to this day I still have nightmares, my wife wakes me up laughing saying, "Uh Oh it's the monkey attack again"!
I said, I will be glad to do the portrait but why in the heck would you want that? His reply, "Every time I will look at it above my desk and remember the words spoken to me by my parents"! 'WE TOLD YOU SO"! hahahahahahahhahha! So every time I look at those horrible monkeys I will think before making an assumption. hahahhahahhaha!
On my next appointment he took me into his office, he had it framed really beautifully and was so proud of it. He adored it!
I think that is why I love being an artist, I get to know things about people that no one else knows. It truly is of a rather intimate relationship you gain with your patrons. He contacted me a short while ago to do portraits of him. I said, "Sorry I don't do portraits anymore, just pottery"! lol lol lol :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Who is that guy?

When our daughter Carrie became an ISP for our local community the area was thrilled. We were one of the first to bring Internet Services to our community. We also served the North East corner of Illinois, Antioch. That was many years ago during the dial-up days.
Anyway, I ran the office, and I was the help desk. Carrie would go out on calls because in those days the Internet had to be manually installed and information typed in, and set up. Well as you can imagine the people were clueless so we offered free in house calls to set it up for them.
Wow the business took off like wild fire. We had just about every one in the area. The phone never, ever stopped ringing. Call after call.
I learned HTML so I could start to make websites, after all, we had to make our own. At that time there was no one. Anyway we did not have WSIWG applications so therefore HTML was all you had to work with. After I learned proficiency in it I started my own Web Designing company, through Busynet Internet Services. Oh Lord was I ever busy, and with my Photoshop abilities I had a ton of customers.
I designed the above logo for my business which turned out to be a real mistake. I was continually getting phone calls, emails, because women and both young and old wanted to know who the heck was that gorgeous guy who is doing websites. hahahahahahhahahaha! We live in a small town so they thought they knew everyone. Anyway I would say "That is Me"! hahahaha! They would just sheepishly say, "Oh sorry Maureen, I guess it's the suit"! hahahahaha! Go Figure that one out?????? To this day I am like "What the Heck are they smoking anyway"!
Just thought you might find it as funny as I did. Those calls were endless until word got out that it's not a young man, it's Maureen Johnson.... Kind of a Victor/Victoria thing. I just put the suit on to look more professional, not manly....

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Teachers Comments!

Well the end of the school year is almost upon us. I am sure the kids are all oh so happy, and looking forward to having fun and social time. I thought these teacher comments were oh so funny, but then of course I would....hahahhahaha! :)

These are actual comments made on students' report cards by teachers in the
New York City public school system. All teachers were reprimanded

1. Since my last report, your child has reached rock bottom & has started to dig.

2. I would not allow this student to breed.

3. Your child has delusions of adequacy.

4. Your son is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot.

5. Your son sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them.

6. The student has a 'full six-pack' but lacks the plastic thing to hold it all together.

7. This child has been working with glue too much.

8. When your daughter's IQ reaches 50, she should sell.

9. The gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn't coming.

10. If this student were any more stupid, he'd have to be watered twice a week.

11. It's impossible to believe the sperm that created this child beat out 1,000,000 others.

12. The wheel is turning but the hamster is definitely dead

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My Glorious Princess Perfect!

Here is our darling "Princess Emily". This was her glory days when she was a young girl. She was the best agility dog and out of all the dogs at the agility trial she won Best Agility Dog for her group size. She even got her championship on her first dog agility trial. In this photo there were several hundred dogs there that day so she proved her stuff. Every time she ran she did a totally clean run, absolutely not one mistake.
She was a star athlete and a heart that just wouldn't quit. When the judge would explain to me the path she had to take she would watch him and when the whistle blew, off she ran, with no guidance. My dog is brilliant, and smart, a born winner. She knew her job, and loved it. Never tired and always gave a million percent.
She did have an advantage over the large dogs, because of her size, and her being low to the ground, wow she could move with out one stop, or hesitation. A real go getter in her youth.
Emily came from a puppy mill. Turned out to be the best pal a person could ever have. She is totally devoted, loyal, loving, smart, and super sensitive to your feelings.
A real darling, as long as you are not a lol lol :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Tiny Room

Did this demo piece for when I worked at the pottery studio I was apprenticing for. I was in charge of designing and teaching kids, so this was a kids project.
I didn't glaze it because when kids see colors they lose focus. They color glazed their's but I left mine unglazed so the sculpture was more focused.
The kids were way so creative, the project was make a bookend of your bedroom, and everything in it, including your pets.
I made this one so they could get an idea of scaling their project. It was truly fun! Mine was totally fictitious of course, I am the teacher. I put chocolate cookies on the lamp table and a glass. I also put a dog and a cat on the bed. I really love sculpting too, it really lets your creative juices flow.
The children I used to teach were Girl Scouts, and Boy Scouts. I mean they truly turned out some wonderful bedrooms. One boy even put his pet turtle in the fish tank that was on his dresser. This pottery was reduction fired to cone 12. Another boy said, finally I have a work of Art to display at my home, all my sisters art work is on the fridge, I have nothing, "But I do now"! lol lol :) They returned for another class and made other sculptures, I asked them if they wanted to try the wheel, they said, "Nah, we like doing this"! Works for me.....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Funny stuff for a gloomy day! :(

Did this gouache painting for Carrie, she wanted a gloomy, haunted castle. Well, here it is, it's "Elinore Castle" in Scotland.
The weather has been doing a real number on my psyche, whew, talk about depressing. Every time we get ready to go somewhere fun, here comes the rain.
Even the dogs are way so gloomy, and depressed. They look out the window, and sigh. Well, hope the summer weather will start to appear.
Our yard, and surroundings resemble the grounds on the Castle painting. At least we have not had any snow since the whopping snow storm. So here are some funny quotes, it helped brighten my day, hope it does yours:

If you're not familiar with the work of Steven Wright, he's the famous erudite scientist who once said: "I woke up one morning, and all of my stuff had been stolen and replaced by exact duplicates." Here are some of his gems:

1 - I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.

2 - Borrow money from pessimists -- they don't expect it back.

3 - Half the people you know are below average.

4 - 99% of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

5 - 82.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

6 - A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good.

7 - A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

8 - If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain.

9 - All those who believe in psycho kinesis, raise my hand.

10 - The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

11 - I almost had a psychic girlfriend, ...... but she left me before we met.

12 - OK, so what's the speed of dark?

13 - How do you tell when you're out of invisible ink?

14 - If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked

15 - Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.

16 - When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

17 - Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy.

18 - Hard work pays off in the future; laziness pays off now.

19 - I intend to live forever.... so far, so good.

20 - If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?

21 - Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

22 - What happens if you get scared half to death twice?

23 - My mechanic told me, "I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder."

24 - Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?

25 - If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.

26 - A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.

27 - Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

28 - The hardness of the butter is proportional to the softness of the bread

29 - To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.

30 - The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.

31 - The sooner you fall behind, the more time you'll have to catch up.

32 - The colder the x-ray table, the more of your body is required to be on it.

33 - Everyone has a photographic memory; some just don't have film.

34 - If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

And the all time favorite -

35 - If your car could travel at the speed of light, would your headlights work?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Of course they are aliens!

Over thirty years of owning Pugs. Another saga in my life. I am not sure if everyone knows this but Pugs are truly ETs of the most wonderful kind. Only true Pug owners know this. It was not by coincidence that it was the dog chosen in "Men in Black", Frank the Alien. There is no other dog on the planet that is like a Pug in personality. You know I love all dogs, but Pugs, well you have to adore them and respect their alien ways.
You are their servants, at their beckoning call, to serve them with their needs why they look at you like Mr. Spock looked at Captain Kirk all the time, What an idiot these humans are"!
In the above photo is the Sire of our first Pug "Trump", to the left, to the right is his Father "Theodore". This photo was in the Purina Dog Chow Calendar. So let me explain our first experience when taking home a Pug.
We arrived at the breeder recommended to us from the Illinois Chapter of the AKC. Anyway this woman Fern was the head of the Illinois Great Lakes Pug Club. She came highly recommended for our daughter Carrie's first Pug. Carrie wanted to show her Pug so therefore we had to get a show quality Pug. The above Pugs were in the Westminster Dog Show.
This woman was a serious, serious, Pug breeder. Her house was Pug everything, fabulous Paintings of Pug Portraits on every wall, Pug carpeting, Pug dish-ware, Pug canisters, Pug toilette paper holders, Pug everything. Her Pugs were spectacular, spotless, and the house was perfect, and in order. She then took us on a tour of her house, and low and behold we were taken into the sacred chambers of awards. A whole room, top to bottom of trophies, ribbons, Sterling Silver trays, bowls, amazing.
Then on to the breeding of her Pugs. Volumes of documents, with Pugs of all kinds. She explained all the rules of purchasing one of her pups and what she expected from you. We explained how Carrie wanted to show her Pug, she smiled ear to ear and said, "That is just what I wanted to hear". She explained that if you purchase one of her Pugs it's name had to begin with a "T", all her Pugs had a "T" name. Trump, Theodore, Travis, Tody, Tipper, Timmy, and on and on.
So Carrie fell in love with her puppy pick and named him "Ti Ching"! Perfect Fern said. She then proceeded to sign papers, collect money, and gave us a huge bag full of new toys, bedding, prepared food for the pup, on and on. I said, "My gosh, people are not cared about this much"! lol lol :)
Well, Ti was perfect in every-way. Carrie started to show him and won every-time. This woman knew her stuff when it came to breeding. We then proceeded to acquire another Pug, "Tristan", and then another Pug "Thurston" from this woman. It was the only breed we ever owned all those years. In the area we were known as "The Pug People"! lol lol :)
Pugs are highly intelligent, oh so wonderful, and easily make themselves at home, and in your hearts. Unless you have been loved and accepted by a Pug, and owned by a Pug you will never understand what we are saying.
I will be posting a photo album on FB in tribute to the best time of our lives, owning Pugs.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Great Woman

Sister Mary Hugh was one of the greatest woman I have had the pleasure of knowing, and spending a good portion of my life with.
She has since passed away, in her 90's. She drove up until the end. She was one of my idols, and was integral in my spiritual growth. She was never, ever, preachy or judgmental in any way. She taught through example.
Her story started as a wife, and mother. Her husband was killed in a war, and shortly after her infant son died. She was totally grief stricken but never turned away from her faith in God. She was totally in love with her husband, and child.
She told me that she understood why God took them, and truly felt that the good died young as to God sparing them from this life of trials and sadness and turmoil.
She was an avid Cross Country Skier, and she rode a Harley Hog motorcycle. She was always extremely busy, always smiling, laughing, and bringing great joy to all around her.

The nuns adored my husband, and our daughter Carrie. Always laughing at their antics, and would say, "Oh here comes St. George the Dragon Slayer". It always made me laugh and smile. I was so touched by the nuns and their caring ways. Always so much fun to be around, and loads of laughter, joy, and what I call "Real Living". I was truly proud to become one of them when I took my vows. The Benedictines have such an interesting philosophy on life and a powerful faith that carries them through everything.

Sister Cecilia was my mentor before I took my vows. The Benedictine Convent was down the street from the Monastery. Everyday in my life was a blessing then. I was always joyful, full of love, and for once in my life I truly felt loved. Not for what I could be, should be, just for who I really was. I was never judged by my clothes, how much money I had (or didn't have), or that I wasn't smart enough. None of that mattered they felt everyone was equal in every way. They treated absolutely everyone the same.

I will never forget all their love, and I miss them dearly. I remember the love they had for my Mother. When she passed away they were all there. They held a special mass in their lovely private chapel at the Convent for her. George and I were kneeling in the pew, behind us was a beautiful stained glass window. My sister said it brought tears to her eyes because during the whole service there was a bird outside fluttering behind the stained glass window. That was one of my Mother's favorite loves, feeding and taking care of the wild birds in our area. I felt that was very profound and it held great meaning to me.

I have to admit that this world today is something that breaks my heart. We are all so removed from the things that are truly important in life. The sisters loved Art, and were very, very, knowledgeable about it. Way more than I. They loved my work and all works of Art had great meaning. We have become so shallow, so unloving, and only in pursuit of money.

The sisters had to sell their convent and the remaining nuns moved back to their main Convent in Pennsylvania. I miss them dearly, and I truly miss my life being with them. I will never feel a part of this Secular life. It is so cold and unforgiving. I have never been one for controlling others. I don't seek power, nor wealth, nor fame. I am just so grateful for having those who love me for just who I am. To me that is the greatest treasure anyone could ever have.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Eternal Love

Eternal love can manifest itself in many ways. To the left is a portrait I did for a woman of her beloved deceased dog Buddy. I had to question her extensively because I could not get to know Buddy first hand. One of the most important aspects when doing a portrait. If you want to capture the essence or soul you need to know the person/animal on a more personal basis.
She went into this whole story of her dog. How he was like a "Sentinel" everyday waiting at the bus stop for the kids. How he would stand, reminiscent of a "Guardian Angel", always loyal, always loving, and always concerned for the welfare of everyone.

I had my work cut out for sure. Going over photos, studying the dog, and seeing his relationship with family members in the photos. An interesting study of this dog.

When viewing the photos I started to see the love that this family had for this dog. As well as the great love they had for each other. It made me cry, and tears would well up as I did this portrait. After many attempts I decided on this pose, one where he doesn't look like the happy, family, Golden Retriever. One where he transcends normal dog stance. I made it eerily stark. No background to speak of, just the soul of a dog who still watches over the ones he loves.

Anyway, when I delivered the portrait to her, and unveiled it. She immediately broke down, sobbing from the bottom of her heart. In her sobbing voice she wailed, "That is my Buddy, that is the exact stance he always had waiting for a loved one". A very powerful moment for me, and she hung on me, thanking me through her tears of love.

This is what LOVE is. It truly is one of the most powerful forces in the Universe. Unbreakable, over time and space. So always remember just how important you are to those who love you. Never forget the impact your presence has upon someone, or some pet. And never forget the deep love you too have for others, and cherish every second.

Some of the greatest wonders of the world have been created in honor of undying love. So this Valentines Day remember just how important it is to show just how much you truly love, and how much you are truly loved. Always love with your whole being, and soul. It will last eternally.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Arctic Tundra! UGH

To the left is a photo of a painting I did for Carrie. She adores penguins. I love penguins also, but not the climate they live in. The birds in the painting are those naughty Petrels. Yikes, they are tough, bad, birdies.
I did love doing this painting though. The sky, and the colors are quite amazing where they live. Very crisp, cold, and foreboding, just like the environment they live in. The penguins that look like dirty cotton balls, are the young ones. The striking black, and yellow ones are the adults. Gosh, amazing how they can survive in this environment. Way to frigid for this "Bird"! lol lol :)
It certainly gave me a challenge to work with these colors. Constantly had to back away, and contemplate them. Never get much of a chance to work with Magentas, turquoise, black, and yellow creating a nature scene. :) Oh it's done in gouache, you know I love gouache paints.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Living by the Heart

I was planning a new piece of pottery last night, all kinds of feelings, and images, started to flow. Not only pottery, but also things that have affected me in my life. Anyway, while doing it, I remembered working at the Pet Store, and started to deal with issues I remember. I see in pictures, when I start to focus and think. Anyway, out of no where, this poem popped into my head. I think it is very relevant to today, just as it was years ago.
Living By The Heart
I saw a little kitten and a puppy too,
They made my soul smile,
and my body through and through.
I then began to ponder,
to whom they would belong.
Could they stay innocent,
or would they have to be tough and strong.
Would they have to suffer,
and struggle to survive.
Or would a kind loving soul,
keep their innocence alive.

Monday, January 10, 2011


You know I remember years ago having fun almost everyday, and people smiling, laughing, and enjoying life. Does anyone else remember those days? Nobody had to be politically correct, everyone laughed, and nobody took themselves as serious as today. We used to have people from all Ethnic cultures, I am Irish, Polish. When someone would make a joke about either we would all laugh. I remember so few vicious, vane, arrogant, and self absorbed, right fighters, like today. It's absolutely astounding that the majority of the population is like that today. It's like we all forgot how to be "Human". If you make one mistake today, yikes, you are slammed to the ground, and isolated forever. You know, sort of like sent to the land of "Nod". Today when you say something ,everybody on the planet dislikes, you are put to a sort of "Social Death Sentence". This planet has become so oppressive, violent, and the people just plain "yucky"! No not absolutely everyone, just most of them. You say one darn thing, and someone, somewhere gets offended, and either has you arrested, or shoots you in the head. WTF? Give me a break. Today, you are either too much this way, too much that way, too fat, too skinny, too tall, too short, boobs too small, too big. Will someone please make up my mind? Well you know what, screw it all! You heard it directly from this "Shanty Irish, Pollack" me. Proud of it, and don't care if you like it or not! So tired of walking "On Eggs" already. LIGHTEN UP FOLKS, AND LEARN TO LAUGH AT YOURSELF ONCE IN A WHILE....GOOD FOOD FOR THE SOUL. Stop being so self-centered, and selfish, and judgmental. Just be glad your you, and enjoy this life when you can! I try to love everyone, but gosh, could you make it a little easier to love you! :) Remember: "Life is like Rhubarb, learn to get rubbed a little bit with a smile"! You can "Rub my Rhubarb" once in a while, tis good to laugh at yourself, it's so freeing...try it! Please don't try to make me perfect, I don't want to be.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

OH BOY! 2011

Here is a photo of a painting I did for my niece Teresa, the one who nicknamed us Uncle Doodle, and Auntie Moodle. She wanted me to paint a poster of her favorite photo she took when in London. I really loved doing this graphic because of the people in in, a ton of them. On the bridge, below in the courtyard. George said, "Why did you put that woman with a stroller in it"? My reply, "Because it's in the photo"! lol lol :)
Anyway, the new year is rolling in, I am getting all the taxes done for the Home and Business, yuck! Hopefully looking forward to a better year for all of us. But then again, I say that every year. lol lol :)
The most important thing to us is our health, joy, happiness, tons of fun, great friends (even our sock monkey) and love in our family. Happy to pay the bills, that is pretty much it! Oh sure would love to win the lottery, but, sigh, doesn't seem to be in our future. lol lol :) We are actually having a great time when we are at the Wilmot Gallery, loads of people come in, most of them from the Ski Hills. George and I do not ski, or do winter sports. Actually we don't do any sports except play with the dogs. With two terriers that is plenty!
So as usual, am hoping for all our friends, family, and acquaintances all of the aforementioned above. We just "Hang In There" and always hope for the best!