Thursday, July 29, 2010

Memory Box

I had told some about making a memory box for Salvador, here is a picture of it, it really helps with the grieving process:
It includes a portrait that was made as a wedding present, his collar, brush, and favorite toys.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Our new additions

On Monday, we got 2 new additions to our family. Black and white, 5 mos., Crawford and Black, 6 mos. Jasper. They have brought such joy already into our house, and we're excited about all of what the future had to bring. They are lovebugs, but super playful at the same time.  They are from the Animal Control Center, we found Crawford online using PetFinder, and discovered Jasper was his best friend and they needed to be adopted together.
Here is a video of their first arrival:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

In Honor of My Little Boy

A week ago today, the saddest thing that has ever happened to me occurred. My cat Salvador died of a heart attack. He meant more to me than anyone could ever know. I strongly disliked cats most of my life, was very much a dog person. My friend Suzy came to me and said she had a cat that she could not take to her next apt. and since he was a little older, if she brought him to a shelter, he'd probably be euthanized. I was living alone in a 5 bedroom house at the time because all of my roommates had gone home for the summer. I was lonely and felt horrible about his potential destiny. I went to her place to check him out and I fell in love. He looked at me in the eyes and I knew right there, 9 years ago. (I have a book where I recorded my first memories of him, and I swear this is all in there!!)
I brought him, and didn't see him for 3 days. He was very scared and hid under my bed. I didn't know what I was doing and felt overwhelmed. Finally when he did come out, he demolished a lot of my belongings. I had a tapestry on the wall that I got at the Salvador Dali museum, ripped to shreds. TV, knocked over and broken. Lamp, stereo, all broken by his hyper antics. I was very stressed, I never had a dog that acted like this. My only option was to give him lots of love and compassion.
He scratched me any time I wanted to pick him up, but I was determined.
A couple of months later we moved in with my friend Nina. She was a cat lover and then I knew there was hope. She brought a new cat Mia in to live with us, and they were adorable. Salvador took care of her, cleaned her, cuddled her and played with her. He was so happy. The four of us lived together for 2 years. In the meantime, I started dating Templeton. He and Sal got along great. Temp moved to California, and Sal was really what helped me get thru that LONG year. Sal was so intuitive, he knew when to take care of me when I was sad, and listened unconditionally to me.
I missed Templeton so much that I moved to CA to be with him. Sal flew separately, but we all ended up there together. It's funny to say that Sal lived in Beverly Hills, Hollywood and Atwater Village in Los Angeles, but he did! We first lived with my friend Kristin and her cat Simon. They didn't get along, he never had a relationship with another cat like he did with Mia. Eventually Temp and I moved in together with Sal, and that's where they really bonded. Templeton really became Sal's father, and it was really sweet.
We moved back to Norfolk after 1 1/2 years and really settled in together. Sal loved to play with Temp, watch skate videos together. When Sal's heart disease progressed, he needed to take pills every day. Over time, that became Temp's job after I had broken my fingers. It was so amazing because Temp literally had to put the pills in his throat, very uncomfortable for both of them, but Sal always gave Temp a little head bump to show he understood and still loved Templeton.
Anytime I was sick, sad, stressed, Sal was always there for me. He showed great concern for me and my feelings. If I couldn't sleep at night, I found Sal to relax me. We watched General Hospital together everyday, he was my therapy after work after a hard day. Sal would always wait until Temp and I settled in for the night, and he would jump on the bed with such joy and lay between us so he could get pet. Templeton and I could never resist saying how cute Sal was, or how much we loved him every SINGLE DAY. We can genuinely say we never took him for granted. The way Sal would run up the steps, he would try to race us. The way he'd be waiting at the door for us when we came home. He'd curl up in the box from a board game while we played at the dining room table. When we would read a magazine, he'd make sure to come up and sit on the magazine so we'd pet him instead. When I was on the computer, he'd lay at my feet anxiously waiting for me. Sal was very thirsty as his heart disease progressed, so I'd treat him to drips from the faucet and give him ice cubes multiple times a day.
What I miss is Sal's company. I miss our routines. Templeton and I made our decisions throughout the day based around him. Time to go to bed? Find Sal, give him his pills. Time to wake up? Where's Sal, he needs an ice cube.
There was a point in my life where I know that I felt if anything had happened to Sal, I couldn't imagine my life without him. I couldn't imagine moving forward. He was everything to me. Fortunately, I fell in love with Templeton who gave me more motivation to keep going.  I do feel lost without Salvador. Especially not having work to go to. I look around and hope he comes around the corner.
Most people can say when someone dies: "at least he's in a better place", or "he's not struggling anymore", " it was his time". None of those ring true with Sal. His better place was here. He was too young, he wasn't suffering. We weren't ready. I am grateful he did not suffer, because a lot of cats in his condition start struggling with breath and energy. But I wanted him to be with us longer. I feel an emptiness inside of me, I am healing, but I will always miss my baby boy. My Salvador.

This video of me and Sal was from about 4 years ago. I feel like it just gives a peep into our life together and the bond we had.
This is a slide show of some of my favorite pics of Sal. If you scroll over any of them, it gives a little caption.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I am presenting at a state conference!!!

I submitted a proposal for the State Conference of art teachers, and it was accepted! I will be presenting on how to teach animation with the attendees walking away with a completed animation cel. It's a lesson I have done with my kids, and I think a lot of people of all ages will enjoy it.
Part of teaching is being a leader in your field, and I am really trying to work on that. I started the National Art Honor Society in Norfolk, and now I want to lead at the state level. Probably next year I will submit a proposal at the National level.
I did hear from a little birdie that my proposal was accepted a month ago, but this was the official, official word!!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Art a Day 3

I have decided to create a zine at the same time I decided to do "art a day". I found myself getting overwhelmed by these requirements I put on myself, so I am compromising. I am going to mainly focus on my zine which takes lots of art, but I won't be posting my progress. The art a day will be private. I think it would be weird because my zine should only be seen upon completion. I have started some research for it, and I think it will be pretty rad.
Templeton and I will still have "create dates" where I will make separate art pieces, and will continue to take photographs, but I will not be posting daily.
I am also planning on starting the screen printing business, but summer vacation does deserve some chill-time right!?

zine is most commonly a small circulation publication of original or appropriated texts and images. More broadly, the term encompasses any self-published work of minority interest usually reproduced via photocopier on a variety of colored paper stock.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Art a Day 2

Today I went thru photos from this past weekend and touched up a few of my favorites:

My parent's dog Beau
Brother Rob and his son Colin
Templeton walking other dog Jez on his skateboard
Rob having great times with his son
Colin giving original artwork to his great-grandmother
My sister-in-law Lisa holding new nephew Brennan
Proud mother Lila holding son Brennan

More screen printed clothes

I was meeting my new nephew Brennan for the first time this past weekend, so I thought it was only right that I made him some clothes and bibs. I also made his brother Colin, 3 1/2 years old some matching ones and one of his very own.
I had this vision of a little monkey hanging from the shoulder, so I had to make it!

Colin, the older one, is his daddy's little helper, so I had to make this one.

Colin called Brennan "muffin" before he was born, and it's been a funny nickname for him since.

There is a lot of pride in being an O'Connor in my family, it's even my middle name legally, so this was a no-brainer.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Back to making art everyday!

So from July 5 to August 5, I will working on art everyday. Some projects will be one day, some will take some time. I am trying to experiment with new materials and ideas for my kids in the fall, plus I love making art.

This first one is a bird done in gouche mainly. I wanted to do a tape transfer of the words, but our printer ink just doesn't work  for that. I scanned the painting into photoshop and added the words there. When I look at it scanned, I wish it was cleaner and done fully in photoshop, but I like to get my hands dirty and work in paints when I can.

hey birdie, birdie, 3x5 gouche on paper

Thursday, July 01, 2010


pretty sunset en route to NJ