Artwork at Evergreen Fine Arts Gallery - Kirkland

There are just a few more weeks to view my current show at Evergreen Fine Arts Gallery in Kirkland. I am sharing space with six other talented artists. EAFA Gallery is open on the weekends,  I will be working the gallery the weekend of Father's Day, June 16, 17 and 18.

I will be painting the entire weekend, so grab a glass of wine at The Waving Tree Winery Tasting Room next door and come get a peek into my process. 

EAFA Gallery is located at 11901 - 124th Avenue NE, Kirkland, WA, next to Waving Tree Winery Tasting Room.

Nine pieces of artwork at  "The Seven" Show at EAFA Gallery in Kirkland May/June 2017

Nine pieces of artwork at  "The Seven" Show at EAFA Gallery in Kirkland May/June 2017

FEATURED ARTIST IN KIRKLAND LIVING MAGAZINE

Lately, I have had the privilege of having some wonderful media attention. In addition to my interview on the KOMO Seattle Refined show, (which you can view on my "About Me" Page if you missed it) I was recently featured as the spotlight artist in Kirkland Living Magazine. It goes to a selective number of homes in Kirkland, but you can read the article here. 

March 2017 Issue of Kirkland Living Magazine

March 2017 Issue of Kirkland Living Magazine

artwork now at homeward pet

I think as an artist you have to paint what is near and dear to your heart. What you know well. It's no doubt that I have a soft spot in my heart for animals. I grew up with dogs and cats. So it might be surprising that before my husband and I got our first dog as a family, I had some reservations. We had two cats for almost 20 years and I always believed they were relatively easier to care for than dogs, at least in my opinion. However, our son, who was 10 at the time--had been wanting a dog for quite awhile and I felt he had waited long enough. Even while driving to pick up our new puppy, part of me wanted to turn back--the barking, dog hair, piles of poo in the yard, potty training, exercising them, and the boarding we would have to pay for when going on vacation--it had been over 20 years since I had a dog and just wasn't sure I was ready.

As it turns out I was ready. Now, five years later--after that puppy was first placed in my arms--we delight in the TWO doggie outlines that pop up in the window when we pull up in the driveway, one in the shape of a golden retriever mix and the other a Great Pyrenees mix--a rescue from Texas. Yes, it's more work, but they are my forever toddlers and I wouldn't change a thing. They are a large part of my inspiration.

This is why I'm so excited to have my artwork at Homeward Pet in Woodinville. It's a place where families are completed with the unconditional love of a pet--just like mine was. Homeward Pet is a no-kill shelter located in Woodinville, Washington.  They have generously offered me a very large wall space to hang my artwork. It's the hallway where people go to meet and greet their potential new best friend. It's a lively, active space where the people there are working towards the well-being of the animals. I want my art work to be able to give back in the best possible way, and this is it. I will be donating 20% of my sales for any artwork purchased on the wall at Homeward Pet back to Homeward Pet.

Fresh and colorful paintings line the wall at Homeward Pet, a no-kill shelter in Woodinville, Washington.

Also, on occasion, I will be featuring a painting of an animal that--due to special circumstances--has been at Homeward the longest. On one of my visits to Homeward Pet, I met Cooper, a Blue-Tick Coonhound. I had never even heard of the breed but he is beautiful and charming. He has been at the shelter for months, but is currently under foster care to heal from his surgeries. He is sure to make someone a wonderful companion once he has healed. Once he finds his forever home, this painting will be gifted to his adoptive family.

Cooper and the painting that will go home with his adopter as a gift.

Here are the paintings that are currently hanging at Homeward Pet. 

"Just a Little Sip" 24" X 24" Acrylic on Canvas, $640.00

"Hello, Friend" 16" X 20" Acrylic on Canvas, $460.00

"Confetti Maker" 24" X 24" Acrylic/Mixed Media on Canvas, $640.00. I tore up an old dog-training book to create this one. 

"Coming In For A Landing" 24" X 24" Acrylic on Canvas. $640.00

"Coming In For A Landing" 24" X 24" Acrylic on Canvas. $640.00

"Make Waves" 24" X 30" Acrylic on Canvas. $800.00  

"My Heart Is On The Line" 16" X 20" Acrylic on Canvas. $460.00

"My Heart Is On The Line" 16" X 20" Acrylic on Canvas. $460.00

If you're interested in purchasing any of the paintings here, or want to talk about having your own pet painted, contact me at masiwchuk@comcast.net. 

Now go hug your own dog or cat, but if you don't have one and think you are ready to adopt, I happen to know of a great place you can go. ;) Take care.

For more information on Homeward Pet, please go to http://www.homewardpet.org

"I'm Hugging a Pit Bull." How a Senior DOG Charmed and Inspired Me

A couple of years ago, my family and I were discussing options for our upcoming vacation, as I was flipping through our latest issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine, there happened to be a blurb about different kinds of vacations you can take with your family. It mentioned Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah, where it said you could take a tour, volunteer hands on with the animals and even have doggie sleepovers. 

I thought, you know, instead of doing the typical vacation, we’re going to this animal sanctuary in southern Utah for spring break. We’re going to try something different.

So, we had a great time and rented a house in southern Utah near the sanctuary. We volunteered in Dogtown, we toured the sanctuary, which is amazing and beautiful, we walked dogs, swept a little and gave a couple of dogs a break from the shelter with sleepovers. We have since been to the sanctuary five times to volunteer. If you adore and appreciate animals, it really is that much fun.

I have to admit I knew all Pit Bulls, or the term I actually prefer--American Staffordshire Terriers, shouldn’t be judged as most of society always has, but there was always that little part of me that was a bit unsure and afraid of them. All you have to do is listen to the news and the media’s perpetual portrayal of this breed as being...well...not good. 

Then we met Chief...

10-year-old Chief lounges with us outside.

We volunteered in an area called “Old Friends” - a place in the shelter were older dogs lived in Dogtown. We walked Chief and another dog named Magnolia. Magnolia was a mutt that loved her walks, a senior girl that was resistant to go back into her run. Chief was much more mellow. Charming though she was, Magnolia was a bit of a puller. My husband and I found ourselves arguing over who got to walk the more laid back Chief. 

We decided to take him on a sleepover for a night that turned into two...which turned into three. It’s not hard to fall in love with a dog over a few hours, parting with him after a getting to know him after a few days was torture. If it weren’t for owning an already dog-reactive retriever, we most certainly would have brought him home permanently.

For our sleepover(s), we were set-up with a bag of food, treats (in an adorable little baggie decorated by schoolchildren as part of a school project, no less), a blanket, his favorite tire rope toy, a leash and we were on our way.

Chief was a very confident dog. The moment he hopped into the car, he gave my husband a quick lick on the face, then turned to me to give me a smooch. We paused and looked at each other for a moment. It left us a bit stunned but pleasantly suprised. 

From that moment on, we learned that each dog truly is an individual. During the three days we had him, we would proudly say to each other statements like, “I just got kissed by a Pit Bull.” “Hey, I’m walking a Pit Bull.” “Look, I’m hugging a Pit Bull.” Chief was the best ambassador for his breed. 

In Chief’s biography at the sanctuary, it said he would make a great hiking buddy, but once we got him home to the rental, all he wanted to do was snooze and snuggle on the couch.

We were happy to oblige.

While my son works the computer, Chief falls asleep on my son's hand.

Trying out a different couch. 

Which brings me to this next photo, which was actually kind of a mistake. We were having dinner on the patio outside and Chief was such a good dog, it didn't even cross his mind to beg for our food. He just sat quietly with us. After dinner, I got my camera out to take some pictures. I was trying to get a shot with his face looking directly at me, and he just kind of turned away for a moment. I would normally think this is a throwaway photo, but his expression looked kind of proud and I saw something more in it.

The proud and dignified Chief. 

After a couple of sketches based from this photo, I popped a wine glass next to his leg and went ahead and created this watercolor and ink, ”Pinot Noir Pup.”  The wine glass added a lightness to the art that I enjoyed. In addition, I loved the idea of taking an underdog breed like a Pit Bull, and elevating it, to a very proud, distinguished, elegant dog that is, well...kind of snooty about his wine. 

"Pinot Noir Pup" Water Color and Ink

Taking a dog that has such an undeserved bad reputation and giving him a regal presence delighted me. I still think about Chief a lot and wonder how he is doing, I recently learned that he was adopted and found a nice home with his very own couch to sleep on.

Since meeting this gentle soul, I now know why people dress their Pit Bulls in pink collars and tutus. Because this is how they are viewed by many of their owners...a dog sweet enough to wear pink.

And they’re not wrong, because so many of them are.

Hugging the beautiful, charming Chief. 

Welcome!

Welcome to my new website! It has been a few years since I've had one. Not since these days...

And I sooo enjoyed drawing the strip. It really was one of the best times of my life. But now, other than custom comic strips, I've moved on to painting and focusing primarily on creating pet portraits. It's amazing how the ebb and flow of your life can bring you to express yourself in different ways. This is particularly true for the creative person.

When I was a young mother, the comic strip provided the perfect outlet for the humor as well as struggles I saw around me. Now that my son is a teenager, my two dogs act as my forever toddlers. It felt natural and right to make the switch over to painting them, and everyone else's dog as well! I like this because painting someone else's pet is more about bringing to light the client's own unique relationship to their pet. 

My hope for this blog is to focus on not only promoting my own art, but to support other artists and bring to light animal rescue organizations. I hope you enjoy reading it.