Maggie the Pug – 2010-2021

Maggie the Pug – 2010-2021

There’s one more hole in our lives today.

One more chapter ending.

One less bowl to fill in the morning.

One less bark at the door.

Yesterday, we made the difficult decision to put Maggie, our beloved pug, the matriarch of the clan, to sleep.

Over the last year, her health had steadily deteriorated. She lost both her sight and hearing. She was hospitalized for nearly a week with pancreatitis… and we were giving her daily steroid treatment and insulin injections.  We would carry her everywhere. When we didn’t she would use her sense of smell to get around the house. Every now and then, when Lez would be in her office and I in my studio, we’d hear a little thump… which was Maggie walking into walls and doorways. I would joke that we should get her a small helmet for when she walks.

When handing out snacks to the crew, we’d have to tap Maggie on the head and let her smell so she could get her snack.  Otherwise she’d search the floor for it.

We adapted to her increasing disabilities… because that’s what you do. It was frustrating at times, but it was Maggie. You (well, mostly me) grumbled a little, but you did it.

There were at least three times we thought she was going to pass away, only to have her bounce back as if she were never ill. Sometimes, all it took was a helping of Lez’s rigatoni to brighten her up.

She was a little fighter… yesterday she just couldn’t fight anymore.

When Maggie was a puppy, she was left for dead. Animal control found her wandering on a street. She was a little runt and had a cherry eye… which made her unattractive and perceived as deformed. The animal control people estimated she was only a few weeks old when they found her.  What kind of sick person would do that?

It was fate. Lez was at the humane society just as the truck pulled in… Maggie was in the cab. Lez took one look at her and just had to have her. She called me and said, “We need to talk.”

As soon as she showed me a picture of this helpless puppy, the conversation was over. No one but us and our island of misfits could give this puppy the love and home she deserves. From there we had nearly eleven years of stories, pictures and just love. Maggie was the second child that Lez never had. She’d carry her like a baby… and whenever anyone would come near Lez while Maggie was in her arms, you’d get a Maggie warning to keep your social distance. I would often say that if Lez had to choose between Maggie and me… Maggie would win… and I’d be cool with that.

When Lucy passed away I remarked that she was “the best worst dog ever”  because she was so bad. Maggie was just the best best dog.

She will be missed.  Life will be different. It always is.

Today is the last time I will draw Maggie in my ongoing Family Styles series. Thank you all for your kind words and accompanying us on our journey together. Maggie will make her last appearance in Bob the Squirrel starting the week of February 15, 2021.

Categories: life Maggie

the end of styles?

IS THIS THE END?

Today I begin the Sideshow banner/carnival art style of my ongoing family styles series.
I’ve been posting images to this series since last August. I had no idea what started then would become what it is now.
I’ve done a lot. I’ve learned a lot. But in that process, I’ve let things slide… as we all do. We’re human after all.
Maybe my time (at least two plus hours a day every weekday ) would be better spent on other aspects of my work: revamp the website, re-examine the strip, figure out life in the strip… etc.
Make no mistake, I LOVE doing these pieces… maybe I love them too much? (is that possible?)
This series may end up being the last I do for a while. I don’t know yet. I’ll see how I feel creatively, physically and mentally once this series is complete.
In the meantime, keep checking them out…
Stay safe.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for continuing to support me, my family and my work.

To my amazing, wonderful, complicated and beautiful wife on her birthday…

First time I ever drew Lez. 2007 Sketchbook.

To my wife Lezley, on her birthday…

I’ve been drawing you for 13 years. But when EXACTLY did it start?I have records, I can figure that out.

Yesterday I dug through dozens of sketchbooks (and some other living things) to find the precise page in the precise sketchbook when I committed you to my life for the first time.

And by life, I mean my sketchbook.

The page itself isn’t dated, but the sketchbook was started in March 2007. Doing a bit of math and seeing how far into the book it was, I’d estimate that this sketch was done toward the end of the summer, probably late August.  Also because you’re sporting a lighter colored purse and are wearing capri pants, short sleeves and flip flops. I may be off by a few days or so… but most likely not.

I must’ve really liked you. Wasn’t too sure if you OR Lauren liked me… but I liked you. I remember making a copy of this and your mom put it up on her refrigerator. That’s the Lourvè to dudes like me… and the quickest way to know that I’m doing something right.

Heh… must’ve liked you… that’s insane. Anyone who spends more than ten minutes with you will fall in love with you. You have that power to make people open up and be at ease. It’s gotta be the warmth of your smile. Or that laugh. You have the best laugh in the world… period. If I could ever figure out how to accurately draw your laugh it’d be the last thing I ever draw… because everything out of my pen after that is downhill.

I drew you happy. I couldn’t read you well yet, but you were always smiling when I saw you. If you notice, I also had you wearing the necklace I bought you for your first birthday we were an “US”. Nice little detail there.

13 years later, I’ve lost count at how many times I’ve draw, painted, sculpted, inked, colored, watercolored and carved you. But I think I’ve gotten better… still hoping I manage to get that one perfect image… but then again, the journey to get there is what it’s about.

I’ve said to you 2,284,635 times: I wish you could see yourself the way that I (or anyone who knows you) sees you.

But you don’t like this, you don’t like that about yourself. Too big, too small, too this, too that… whatever.

It’s all you… and you are beautiful, both inside and out. You are amazing both inside and out. I’m never going to stop telling you that.

From the first drawing to the last… you’re an amazing and beautiful pain in the ass, but I’m lucky to have you as a model to draw.

Happy Birthday Sweetheart. Love you.

Categories: life

Uncertainty…and other stuff

Certainly uncertain

Uncertainty is the only certain concept we have right now.

The Coronavirus has touched (figuratively and literally) virtually every aspect of life.  Not just a certain section of life or area, ALL LIFE. When was the last time everyone in the world had the same thing in common?

If you have an example, please let me know.

I’m scared. Terrified actually. I’m not ashamed to admit it. This is scary. This is disruptive. And… it’s taking a lot of effort telling myself  it will pass. Life will be weird for a few weeks, but it will pass.

Hopefully…

That being said, I’m afraid to touch anything. I hear a cough and I seek shelter. We have toilet paper but I STILL don’t understand why that was (and is) the number one panic buy of 2020.

I, like millions of others, have a lot to lose. I suppose my anxiety (I’ve always been a bit high strung) is in overdrive simply because I’m older and I do have so much to lose. THat’s not to say someone young couldn’t feel as I do… but it’s just… real.  Really real. So much of my time is spent with the “less” real which makes the REAL real all the more real.

I’m just being honest. Being real. the few hours a day I get to make art, specifically these family portraits, are the best part of the day. I can turn my thoughts and brain off and let muscle memory do what I was trained to do. Today’s Alan Bean piece is one I’ve had in mind for a while. Great artist and great guy. If you didn’t know who he was, you would’ve never known he was one of only 12 humans to walk on the moon. Hell, he was just as shocked to get that gig as anyone.

Alan Bean was real. If I can get to even the outskirts of his real in my life, well, that’ll be an accomplishment.