From Art Shoppe At Midtown Global Market

Cat Lovers Need Cat Crime Mugshots

Cat owners know cat crime

Cats look so peaceful when they sleep. Nonsense. They are plotting cat crime.

If you live with cats, you are a victim of cat crime. You wake up to find socks missing, valuable glass in pieces, stray outdoor animal and plant life on the stairs and in the middle of the living room. Depending on the quality of your laundry detergent, you may find cat hair on fresh sheets, and evidence of your white cat’s nap on your black t-shirts. Cat crime is everywhere and all the time.

Visit the police precinct

None of your cats will own up to these felonies, so you may eventually go to your local police precinct to see a photo array of neighborhood cat criminals. Good luck with that.

Mugshots Mugshotz Cat Crime Photo Array
Mugshots Mugshotz Cat Crime Photo Array


Cat Crime, Mugshotz and Mugshots

This piece was originally called “Mugshotz,” until I realized that the clever misspelling would be defeated by Search Engine Optimization, so it is now “Mugshots.”

Why celebrate cat crime? Recycling.

I made the original (16×20) mixed media piece from 12 four-inch cat faces that I painted for the 2015 Cat Video Festival in Saint Paul. I packaged them with magnets as “Cats-on-the-Fridge.” They were spectacularly unsuccessful and all but two came home with me. After sulking for a while, they begged to go out into the world again. Not that they didn’t like me, you understand, but they were bored. Here they are. The original, subject to availability, is $120 plus the actual cost of shipping. Contact me directly.

Prints and cards

Prints (8×10 and other sizes to order) and cards are available through The Art Shoppe at Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis. Come to the Market for the art and stay for the fabulous food. For anyone NOT in the Twin Cities, find prints and cards at ETSY.

Big Neighborhoods Community Coloring Page

Community Coloring Page

Big Neighborhoods 2 is all about getting people, things and ideas to work together. Handing colleagues and roommates pens and markers to work together on a Community Coloring Page will support teamwork and create laughter. Thanks go to the very nice man who saw it during  Saint Paul Art Crawl and plans to buy one for his company’s break room.

What a great idea.

Hang your Community Coloring Page

Create community in:

  1. An office
  2. A dorm
  3. A sorority or fraternity house
  4. A retirement home
  5. A community center
  6. A waiting room
  7. A recreation center
  8. Your choice

The Big Neighborhoods 22×33 Coloring Page will be available at the Vine Arts Center Holiday Sale, December 3-4, 2016.   $48 plus tax.

Big Neighborhoods 2 Coloring Page by mail

Each is packed in a sturdy mailing tube. $48 plus $16 shipping plus tax. Click here.

Powderhorn Weekend

An artist on every block

And a festival on every weekend

With Minnesota statues requiring at least one artist on every block and at least one art festival on every weekend, this weekend (August 8-9) is The Annual Three-in-two-days Art Festival Weekend. I will be with my friends at Powderhorn with the Art Shoppe at Midtown Global Market.white 350 3 inches

Powderhorn Park is beautiful, uncrowded (even when filled with artists). 34th & 15th Ave, Minneapolis. Saturday 10-6; Sunday 10-5.

Yes — free transportation takes you everywhere. Follow this link.

The Other Festivals are: Loring Park (Saturday – Sunday) and Uptown Art Fair (Friday – Sunday).



New Art: Cards and Tiny, Original Paintings

I have lots of new cat images because I’ll be at the 4th Walker Cat Video Festival on August 12 at the new Saints’ stadium.  New cats! New birds! New abstracts ranging from calming to crazy!  Cards are $4 each and tiny original paintings that fit into 5×7 frames are $15 each. I know that everyone doesn’t have space for 4-foot paintings. But everyone (and this means you!) has space for 5×7 inches.

For more information about the images below, click on the picture.

Please Protect Pangolins


Peter Pangolin
Peter Pangolin

I read a piece in National Geographic in 2011 that introduced me to The Plight of Pangolins who are wildly sought after as bush meat and because they are rumored to have medicinal properties. I wrote a blog post, painted Peter Pangolin’s portrait, dedicating it to Pangolin Preservation, and included his story in The Small Friends’ Chronicles.

Peter Pangolin Today

Unlike Pangolins in the wild, Peter is living a good life in France as a truffle hunter. As recounted in The Small Friends’ Chronicles, Peter is allergic to ants and termites (typical Pangolin food), so he was too sickly to be attractive to bush meat hunters. Luckily he was scooped up by a Veterinarian-Without-Borders and sent in a diplomatic package to her parents who are 6th generation French truffle hunters. The parents fattened him up (on chocolate truffles), and everyone was delighted to find that Peter is a natural truffle hunter. He makes a tidy living, and once a month he goes to Paris to visit his friend The French LLLama (from Meet the LLLamas). They walk on the Champs-Elysées, drink Café au lait, and visit La Boutique Jaune de Sacha Finkelsztajn for the best apple cake in the world.  (Peter Pangolin Print:$30 plus shipping at ETSY)

Pangolins in the world today

Sadly, things are much much worse today. The New York Times recently published a long and sad piece about their current situation.

Bonnie Somdalh Needlefelted Pangolin
Bonnie Somdalh Needlefelted Pangolin

A needlefelted pangolin

One very lucky person can celebrate Pangolins with Bonnie Somdahl’s needlefelted Pangolin, from the Art Shoppe at Midtown Global Market. Call 1-612-965-8581 for availability.



Cats and Hippos: celebrate everything!

Cats and Hippos celebrate everything and they will help you do it everyday.


December 2014: Mad creative dash to make tiny creatures: ornaments? gift tags? just for fun!

Most often I’ll use 300# Arches paper, but lately I have started to recycle some of the dozens of original paintings from the nanoscapes’ Image-a-Day files. In 2012, I was busy making tiny abstract paintings and turning them into digital magic. While appreciating and purchasing the digital images, my customers almost unanimously rejected the tiny original abstract paintings which I had carefully framed. I have a lot of them, and they are all made on either 140# Canson or Arches postcard blanks or from 300# Arches paper.

One Cat from an Image-a-day
One Cat from a 2012 Original Image-a-Day

After cutting out the creatures, I’ll paint them with watercolor and then get out my tiny plastic offset spatula to add one or more of the following Golden Acrylic Medium Products: (1)  Glass Bead Gel (the miracle of the century: tiny glass beads in acrylic medium), (2)  Self-Leveling Clear Gel, Iridescent Stainless Steel, Black Gesso, and Black & White Mica Flake. I love “shiny and bumpy” and these acrylic mediums make that possible.

I remain grateful to Bonnie Cutts, the Golden Artist-in-Residence, for introducing me to these products at a WARM Mentor-Protege event in June of 2013. I learn something new everyday that I work with these products.

Artist alert: Should you have the chance to take one of Bonnie’s workshops, sign up and go!

Old watercolors never die

Paper Mosaic Hippo
Paper Mosaic Hippo

In the spirit of the Genus Papyrus (the paper mosaics, including a horse, a cat, a pig, a hippo, and several parrots), I am recycling these tiny paintings into new creatures. Think of it! The fun of creating new images and the delight of freeing up storage. A win! win!

Cats and Hippos are just a few of the Celebration Critters: pandas, pigs (lots of pigs), parrots, frogs, and hummingbirds!

9 Who? Me? Cats
9 Who? Me? Cats




8 Hippos
8 Hippos

Find them!

Find these and many more new small friends for $7 each at the Art Shoppe at Midtown Global Market (all year), Vine Arts Center Holiday Sale (December 13 and 14), Banfill-Locke Holiday mART (until December 20). Want one made just for you? Contact me directly. ( or 651.917.0219).

Susan Gainen’s new work for December shows

Lost Cave Paintings At Home in the Hall
Lost Cave Paintings at Home in the Hall


November has been part recovery-from-the-WARM-show, exuberant creative energy for upcoming holiday sales, and quiet examination of the ultimate artist question: “What next?”

The Lost Cave Paintings are in the hall just outside my front door, waiting for their next adventure.

Tiny new work

Returning to the World of Tiny, and in prep for five December shows (locations at the end of this post), I have made new work. At the crossroads of mesmerizing high-wire tiny details and the creative tedium of packaging, I made dozens and dozens of one-of-a-kind tiny ornaments. They are painted and embellished paper and will make tree ornaments, party favors, and gift tags.

Today is Thanksgiving, and the pigs in the image below are glad that they are not turkeys and hope that they can be on someone’s tree soon. If you can’t get to any of my shows, you can find some ornaments and other pig products at zazzle.


Holiday Pig Ornaments

Hanukah or another spelling?

A group of Menorahs celebrate Hanukah, and remind me that it’s time to search my house for candles-bought-after-the-holiday or to buy new candles. I have four Menorahs, so it’s hard to fake. Find some images at


First Wood Round Pencil Only
First Wooden Round Pencil Only

The first project for the new year

Combining old materials (wooden rounds cut 17 years ago from the same plywood as the Giant Flamingo) and new-ish 140# paper rounds, I’ve begun a series of RoundWorks that I hope to make into a show in 2015.

Shows in December

DECEMBER 18 — 11 A.M. TO 2  P.M.
DECEMBER 13 (10-5) DECEMBER 14 (12-5)
DECEMBER 6, 2014  10-5
DECEMBER 4 – 20, 2014


Pinky the Beaded Pig & Friends Honor the MN State Fair

Pinky the Beaded Pig
Pinky the Beaded Pig print available at ETSY

Pinky the Beaded Pig and Friends

Friends of Pinky the Beaded Pig
Friends of Pinky the Beaded Pig

With no animal husbandry in my family, my entry into the Swine category in the Minnesota State Fair would have to be painted. You won’t find them at the Fair, though, as they were completed much too late (yesterday) to be proper entries in any category. These and other tiny original painted pigs will be available at the Hopkins Farmers’ Market (Saturday October 18 and 25 from 7:30-noon), and at the Art Shoppe at Midtown Global Market. They all different. Each is matted and ready-to-frame in a 5×7 frame, and packaged with an envelope in a Clearbag. $15/each.

The J.V. Bailey House Pig

If you want to see a cousin of these pigs, stop by the J.V. Bailey House, home of the Minnesota State Fair Foundation.  While you’re there, become a Friend of the Fair.

Want a print of Pinky? He is at ETSY!

14 Rules for Consigning Your Art

Two Pandas from the Hidden Bamboo Forest of Saint Paul
Two Pandas From the Hidden Bamboo Forest of Saint Paul
Once you have decided to share your art beyond giving it as gifts to friends and family, you will look for venues to sell your work. Art sales options can be overwhelming: ETSY (your work), zazzle (your designs on their products), your own blog, any of the dozens of web-based group sales venues, art fairs, sales through the arts organizations that you have joined, and farmers’ markets. And then there are galleries with individual owners or co-op galleries.

Considering consignment

Eventually you may consider consignment, a nifty arrangement in which you put your work into either a brick-and-mortar or web-based store in which someone else handles the customer interactions (conversations and sales), and you keep ownership of the work until it sells. You always retain the copyright (unless you sell or give it away in a contract.) The benefits are wider exposure than you might create on your own and the expansion of your sales team to include the store owners and staff. For this, you pay a percentage of the sales price.
Consignment is a big step. Think through these points:

1. Find the right venue #1.

Talk to the owners or managers. They are in business to make money for themselves and for their artists. Make sure that you are comfortable with the people you will trust with your art.

     2. Find the right venue #2.

If a store has a mission (representing artists from under-served communities, artists with disabilities, artists from a specific geographic area), don’t press to be accepted if you are not a member of the group.

3. Find the right venue #3.

Pay attention to each store’s price points. Don’t embarrass yourself by approaching a high-end-big-dollar gallery if the work that you want to sell is exactly what you sell on ETSY for under $30.

4. Find the right venue #4.

Style matters. A gallery with a 20-year history of selling cutting-edge abstracts run by one of the Big Names in Abstract Art Criticism may not be interested in taking on even the most exquisite realistic botanical art.

Chost Gecko
Ghost Gecko
Backyard Rooster of Saint Paul: Cousin Charlie 2
Backyard Rooster of Saint Paul: Cousin Charlie 2

5. Find the right venue #5.

Some stores require artists’ participation beyond dropping off work. Is there an hours-per-month requirement? If you are uncomfortable with a few hours a month at retail, are there other ways to fulfill a work requirement? Ask about the managers’ needs. Consider social media, marketing and merchandizing as ways to fulfill your obligation.

6. Follow the store’s protocols with your Inventory Integrity.

You want to sell your art, and all stores have rules about pricing and presentation which — if you want to get paid correctly —  you must follow to the letter. Although you will not be in the store every day, you must monitor your own inventory. Once accepted, you will submit inventory sheets with coding, prices, and product descriptions. You may submit paper inventory or you may submit online. Smart artists use consistent inventory coding and pricing across all inventory and across all platforms. Present legible inventory lists. Unless it is the policy, don’t expect the store managers to code and price your work.

7. Understand when and how you will be paid.

Some stores have multiple levels for consignors. Make sure that you understand exactly how each store’s compensation system works. Most stores collect and pay sales tax. You are responsible for paying your own income tax. Talk to an accountant or tax lawyer to make sure that you are tracking your sales and paying your income taxes correctly.

8. Setting prices #1. Pricing is hard.

What is the magic number that will encourage someone to purchase your work without undercutting its value (and your profit)? How much is too much? How little is too little? Talk to the managers. Look at the stock and ask about price points and what sells best. Talk to your artist friends who sell on consignment, and ask for their advice.

9. Setting prices #2.

Price your items consistently. If not now, then soon, you will be selling art in many outlets and across many platforms. Nothing will irritate store managers and customers more than inconsistent pricing should you have one price for your website, another price for ETSY, one price for this store, another for the shop across town, and yet another for your direct sales. This is part of your Inventory Integrity, and only you can manage it.

10. Packaging: People buy with their eyes

Always present clean, well-packaged work. Make sure that price tags and other tags are legible.

11. Ask to do a demo or to teach a class.

Many consignment venues have space for teaching which generates traffic for the store and can generate income for you. Note that store owners and managers are your first, best audience. The more that they know you, how you make your art, and how you talk about it, the easier it is for them to talk about your work to customers when you are not in the store.

12.  Your artist statement.

Within the space limitations of the store, post an artist statement. Customers are curious about you and your art. How do you make it? What is/are your inspiration(s)? What materials do you use?

13.  Sales are not personal.

Some of your work may fly off the shelves; other work may not sell at all. Consider re-packaging, re-framing, or re-purposing the work by cutting it up and making a mosaic out of it, spreading gesso over the canvas and making a new painting, or re-making the jewelry by using the components in new work. Every piece of work won’t be loved, but all of it can be re-purposed.

14.  Know the law.

You will be asked to sign a contract. Read it. If you don’t understand some of its terms, ask the store owner, or, better yet, take it to your lawyer. You have a lawyer don’t you? Every artist should have a lawyer on retainer for no other reason than to have an expert eye to review anything to do with the sale of your art. Find a lawyer who represents creatives as small business owners.
More reading about consigning
Consignment selling regulations
How to understand consignment rules
Starting a consignment business

Philodendron watercolor goes digital

In early 2011 I became slightly obsessed by an image that reminded me of large philodendron leaves.

First Philodendron

I made the first Philodendron painting while on a speaking trip in Florida, and I named the series after seeing and huge plant outside my hotel room door.  Before I got cats, I’d been an obsessed houseplant person, and always had lots of philodendron in my house. I also remember being in the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, pointing at a 7-foot long leaf and asking a horticulturist “what is that?” He told me that it was exactly what my houseplant-philodendron would look like if it lived in a greenhouse for 100 years.

I made one large (22×33) and several smaller “Philodendron” paintings, and a few postcards, just for fun. Until this morning, I’d left them alone.

Philodendron: Making the cut

Having worked on a painted Stained Glass Penguin (what happens when triangles go wild?)  for nine hours yesterday, I never quite got around to making a tiny painting for “Image-a-day” so I looked into my archives and found Philodendron 3. I “cut” a piece and made digital magic with it in Photoshop. Find posters at zazzle.

Philodendron 3
Philodendron 3
Philodendron 3 (22×33 $500, framed)

A piece of Philodendron 3
A piece of Philodendron 3
Philodendron Magic
Philodendron Magic 2012 (poster at