Of poodles books beer and food for the heart

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, artist book, artistic inspirations, author illustrator, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, food for thought, gift books, mental health, publications - publishing, sketchbook, Sustainable creativity, words and pictures

For weeks I’ve been working on two poodle portraits. The details of their hair and eyes has been such fun! It’s also been delightful to imagine what each dog is thinking about! My wife and I have had the honor of knowing these poodles’ humans for a very long time – so it’s been a treat to get to love on our friends via these dog portraits!

Here they are on my easel. I worked on both paintings at the same time. I did a Reel of me in action working and another Reel that looks up close at the finished paintings. Both Reels can be found on my Instagram page.

I imagined each dog keenly watching their energetic humans and philosophically contemplating (from a dogs point of view) their humans divinity and mysteries. Naturally I titled one painting “Divine” and the other “Mysteries”. Both are 10 x 8 inches and created with ink and gouache on board. Eventually these portraits will be in an art exhibit via the Caplan Art Designs Gallery www.caplanartdesigns.com

Below are some closer photos so you can see the miniature art details! I’m particularly pleased with their eyes!

Since the pandemic began in 2020 we’d not set foot in one of our favorite brewpubs Mcmenamins on the Columbia river. So during a cold rainy walk by the river we decided to pop in and get a growler full of our favorite beer to take home. We’re not dining indoors yet and we’ve normalized mask wearing no matter what the numbers and rules may be.

While we were waiting for our growler to be filled I admired one of my favorite posters on the Mcmenamins wall. I enjoy the funky steampunk-ish vibe in this pub.

On our walk we saw a bald eagle big as you please just above the walk path!

Here’s some of the books we read with our beer after we got home: Old in Art School by Nell Painter, The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, Daemon Voices by Philip Pullman, The Summer of a Dormouse by John Mortimer.

The children’s writer Philip Pullman ranks number two on the lists of books often banned in the U.S. The other titles are from writers who are similarly considered “unorthodox”. Yep. Still reading banned books. Told you it was a “thing” for me.

In my last post I wrote about having a “books-to-cheer-up-by” shelf. My friend Audrey Driscoll wrote in her blog about comfort reading and it’s a comforting post too! https://wp.me/pVsXa-1mr

As I mentioned above we read banned books and look for ways of fighting bans of books. Here’s a helpful blog post on that topic that I found this week. https://lithub.com/want-to-help-stop-book-bans-the-authors-guild-has-tools-for-you/

As my regular readers know besides fine art and books I’m fond of cooking. Well, my friend Bernadette of New Classic Cooking, a food blog I follow, did a wonderful blog post about feeding the Ukrainian people during this time. It’s comforting to have practical ways we can help each other.

Here’s a favorite soup I made this week. It’s from a recipe in our “Favorites So Far” kitchen sketchbook and thanks to a suggestion by my friend Bernadette it’s also part of a postcard series – we enjoy sending these recipe cards to friends!


And speaking of soup…my experimental art book “A Scoop Of Letter Soup” is being served out by ladles full on Storyberries!

I’m excited about making some more of my unusual books for kids to read on Storyberries.com!!

And speaking of food for tummies, fare for minds, mental health, our interior lives and books… I’ve selected pages from my sketchbooks with my drawings and writings on the topic of our interior lives and made a book of them. You can see more about this book, Another Sketchbook, on my portfolio page.

Since books and beverages go together in my mind – and I also enjoy having soup out of a mug – I picked some of my favorite pages from Another Sketchbook and put them on a large mug here on my Zazzle shop.

Also on the topic of mental health I’m delighted to happy-dance with you about the news that a book I illustrated is now being carried by one of my local bookstores, Vintage Books! The book is titled “Dr Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit” and it’s one of my creations that I am most proud of having done. I even keep a copy of it in my bathroom so I can reread it often – it means that much to me! Anyway, Vintage Books will ship anywhere so they can be asked to send my book to you by mail. More about my book can be seen on the bookstore website here. Okay, let’s dance another happy jig around the couch then back to posting photos…🤗


Sometimes remembering that the Universe loves you just the way you are helps. At least I find it helpful in my creative life… as is knowing there are fairly direct practical tools for dealing with feelings during difficult times.

I hope your week is full of love that you can embrace with relish as food for your heart and mind – see you next week.

11 thoughts on “Of poodles books beer and food for the heart

  1. I am reading your blog with a cup of coffee in hand this afternoon. Always a joy to find your news in my mail. You are so productive and creative….and I love that you share it all with us.

    Over here in Ontario, mask mandates have been lifted except in certain areas but most people today were still wearing theirs when I went shopping.

    Love all the advice from Dr. Bob! Have a great week! (And enjoy that beer…I too, enjoy ice cold beer)

    1. Oh thank you!! I’m delighted to hear that you enjoy what I share!! I will keep it up!! Mask mandates were lifted here too and some still wear masks. So very glad to hear you liked my post! Thank you again for your comment!! ❤

  2. I took a look through ‘Another Sketchbook’ on Blurb. It’s wonderful, and I marked it to come back to to purchase in the future when I’m able. Thank you again for sharing so many thoughtful and encouraging things with us, Sue!!! Have a great week!

  3. The poodles have very soulful eyes and expressive faces (in addition to very poofy ears). How obliging of the bald eagle to stay still long enough for you to photograph him. (The ones around here never do.) Thank you for the link to Audrey’s comfort books post. I enjoyed reading it. I’ve bookmarked your lentil soup recipe. It looks more flavorful than the ones I have. I like Dr. Bob’s quote about not trying to teach a pig to sing. Good advice!

    1. The poodles eyes and poofy ears were such fun!! Thank you for enjoying them with me!! Glad you’ve bookmarked the Lentils recipe- it’s “throw it all in one pot” easy to make and so tasty to eat! Whenever you make it I hope you’ll enjoy it! And yes, I find the “dont try to teach a pig to sing” so applicable to the submit/rejection cycle we creatives work within – helps me not worry about pleasing everyone 😉

  4. You live in McMenamins???? You lucky duck. I had the pleasure of staying in Mcmenamins a few years ago while visiting the Wilamette (dam it) Valley.

    1. Lol!!! We don’t live “in” a Mcmenamins… just within a very short 2 mile drive… but prior to the pandemic we visited them often!! So glad you got to visit one when you were here!!! Aren’t they a ton of fun?! And yummy food and drinks too!!

  5. Hey, Sue–thanks for the mention and link! Lots of people are still wearing masks here in Victoria BC; it’s such a simple thing to do and we’re used to it so not in a rush to stop until the pandemic is really over. Seeing bald eagles close to home is another of the privileges of life on the west coast.

    1. You’re so welcome for the mention! Yes, seeing eagles and many other large birds is indeed such a privilege of living on the west coast! Glad lots of people in Victoria BC are still wearing masks! I certainly plan to continue it!

Thank you for reading and sharing encouragements!