From everypiecelooksbetterbecauseofthepiecesthatsurroundit

Peace Owl Progress and an explanation

Peace Owl Progress

Part of the reason to document the Peace Owl day-by-day is to demystify my creative process. It really is one bit at a time. One piece at a time. Every piece looks better because of the pieces that surround it. That’s the rule.


November 26
Peace Owl Progress: November 26


Peace Owl Progress November 27
Peace Owl Progress November 27

Peace Owl Pushback

Grateful, I am for kudos and for criticism that Peace Owl has generated.

Recently, one of his fans noted that he was “becoming decorative.” I think that she was saying that the background, comprised of Peace Owl’s best friend Mr. Magpie’s ribbon collection, is distracting. A fair point.

Why is this important?

Birders know that owls are very difficult to locate in the wild, because they are notoriously expert at blending into their backgrounds. Peace Owl is no different. His work requires travel — lots of travel — and participation in lengthy (sometimes tedious) meetings. Having a safe and comfortable nest is critical to his effective participation in the furtherance of World Peace. He is fortunate that Mr. Magpie continues to create safe spaces for him around the world.


Introducing Starry Nights

Starry Nights celebrate tiny spaces

It’s no secret that I love to make tiny shapes and spaces. Starry Nights came to me in a dream (I think), and with an electric pencil sharpener, tiny brushes, and three kinds of acrylic ink (Daler Rowney, Liquitex, Golden High Flow Acrylic), I can’t stop.

Mona Lisa Marble

Mona Lisa Marble Cat is painted on canvas with acrylic ink. Her favorite painting is The Mona Lisa, whose eyes famously follow the viewer around the room. Mona Lisa Marble Cat’s eyes do the same. Although she has been diagnosed with “wandering eye,” she prefers to believe that her eyes are those of her idol.

Mona Lisa Marble Cat

Red Star

Tiny shapes make great movement.

All Red Star
The Red Star. Acrylic Ink on paper.

Winter Starry Night

Winter Starry Night was selected for the 2020 Saint Paul Winter Carnival Fire and Ice Festival. Hosted by the estimable A to Z Gallery in Lowertown, it is a tribute to Minnesota’s favorite season.

Winter Starry Night is part of the Starry Night Collection that tips its hat to Van Gogh and long ago acid trips.
Winter Starry Night is part of the Starry Night Collection that tips its hat to Van Gogh and to long-ago acid trips.  













Square Star

Sometimes a star is just a star. This particular painting took me through a difficult election season. Acrylic Paint on Paper.

Square Star made as an election distraction
Square Star, a small acrylic painting on paper, was a distraction during an election cycle.

Cat in Neighborhoods Inspired by Max-the-Cat

What a difference a day makes to a cat: October 28

Setting this cat in a bunch of neighborhoods is NOT like setting a cat among the pigeons. He is there to remind us all that we all look better, perform better, laugh more, and do our best work when we are surrounded by those from whom we can learn, which is a corollary of “every piece looks better because of the pieces that surround it.”

I finished the pencil drawing on October 28, covered it with Liquitex Clear Gesso, and started to paint on October 29.

Cat in Neighborhoods Final Pencil Drawing
The pencil drawing is finished and the Cat in Neighborhoods is covered with Clear Gesso to prevent smudging.


Cat painting begins: October 29

The Cat emerges. Using a Princeton brush, Golden High Flow Acrylics, and Daler Rowney FW Artists Acrylic Ink, I began to paint. Bit by bit. Piece by piece. Space by space.

Cat in neighborhoods after one day of painting.
Cat in Neighborhoods gets its first paint.

Cat details

The Neighborhood Cat is on a 16×20 stretched canvas. His face, yet to be determined/designed, makes him part of the Clowder of Cats. “Clowder,” as you may know, is the collective noun for “cat.”

As you might imagine, Max-the-Cat — model, muse and snacks manager — is the Model for the entire Clowder. Some of the original clowder paintings are for sale. All are available as prints ($25) or cards-with-envelopes ($4 each). Contact Billed through PayPal.

Spokescat Max: Model for the Clowder
Spokescat Max is the model for the Clowder of Cats.

Exploring Plaid Creates Joyful Jumble

Exploring Plaid and making a Joyful Jumble

Calling this exercise “exploring plaid,” demonstrates the folly of research-free design. I looked for a path that would be different from my design comfort zone (random). Marching forward with no data, I imagined that I could insert horizontal and vertical lines of color and make “plaid.”

Anyone who knows anything about plaid, knows that there are different types of plaids, and each has historic and cultural significance. This may be a Joyful Jumble, but it is NOT plaid.

It is, however, an example of #everypiecelooksbetterbecauseofthepiecesthatsurroundit one of my favorite Instagram hashtags.


Plaid or not? A Joyful Jumble
Plaid or not? A Joyful Jumble