On 01.02.02, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Too late for surgery, I had chemotherapy, which failed. In May the chemotherapy was changed and I was soon in remission which was celebrated and welcome and lasted nine years - until October 2011. There was progression in 2011 so more treatment was indicated and I am now back in partial remission. But I'm not only a cancer patient - I also enjoy my family, walk my dogs and am learning to draw and paint. Life is good!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

She picks seashells

I'm desperately trying to improve my drawing skills. I can do single objects now but I haven't quite graduated to simple compositions. This afternoon I used Micron .005 pens to draw a few seashells I found around the house. This page is in my class project to complete 100 pages by the end of the semester. I'm a little panicked because I'm only about 12% done and the semester is more than 12% over but the instructor did tell me that I can approach the entire book as a mixed media project, I don't have to make each page "mixed." So... these seashells are only inked, a single medium, and that's okay.

I'm excited about a completely unrelated project concerning Demi. For those of you who don't know about her, I raised Demi from age eight weeks to 21 months. She came from Canine Companions for Independence and was the only survivor of her premature litter. She weighed six ounces at birth and was handed over to us at six pounds. I remember how she cried the first couple nights and we relented and hauled her into our bed so we could all sleep -- just like a newborn human!

After all those months of classes we gave her back to CCI and they trained her to be a service dog. She made the cut, graduated as a Skilled Companion, and was placed with an autistic child. Her new family adored her and they took very good care of her, including nightly romps at the park.

When Demi was three years old her annual vet visit turned up wonky bloodwork and subsequent medical testing diagnosed her with chronic kidney failure. We all cried, we were all devastated. The family who had her with their child went through the agonizing decision to return her to CCI and we were given the option to take her back since we had been her puppy raisers. So we did.

Fast forward several months. She was diagnosed in April. In July her tests showed improvement although this is a progressive condition. Although Demi can never regain her status as a service dog, I do have CCI's permission to have her certified as a Therapy Dog. So I have just begun the process with Assistance Dog Institute and hope she satisfies their requirements so that I can, once again, take her into hospitals where she used to go when she was a trainee in a cape. To be continued....


  1. These are great drawings! I have a hard time with composition too. :-(

    I always enjoy visiting your blog to read the stories about your dogs etc. Demi sounds like a wonderful companion.

  2. Hi these are lovely little sketches I too amd trying to improve my life drawing and sktching skills it's HARD WORK!!- The Demi project sounds wonderful

  3. Whoops my typing skills could use some work too- Sorry

  4. Wonderful! Both your shells and your Demi update.

    Try drawing three objects. They don't need to be in a group when you draw them. Do it in pencil. Overlap your drawings but don't do the erasing until you are finished. Then erase where one overlaps another piece. Voila!, a composition. It really does help to start by drawing the whole item rather than just what you'd see as unblocked. Hope you try it and it works. Let me know.

  5. They are great and keep up the wonderful work. Demi sounds like a fabulous dog:).

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  7. Anonymous7:36 AM

    Wow, you have improved, and I'm impressed! Not just in technical skill, I like your art! The tea bag piece was awesome. I love tea. Sea shell picture had great placement of objects on the page. Very nice. Loved the abstract piece too. Looked like you allowed yourself to have fun with it (the only way to make good abstract work, in my opinion). Keep on drawing, and thanks for the kind words over at my art blog. :)

  8. Thank you, all of you. I'm glad I'm not boring you with my incessant dog stories -- but the dogs and learning to draw are two of my current passions.

  9. Barbara,
    You need to take some serious credit for all the amazing progress you have made. You am so impressive! If you can't see it, go back and you will be thrilled at all you have accomplished!


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