Saturday, August 29, 2009

Biff & Jo-Jo - Fun In The Rain

It rained all day today - a steady, serious rain. Biff is tired of the rain, but Jo-Jo can still find fun in it. When it rains, you can go shopping, go to a museum, have friends over, go to a movie, read, or go out and sing, dance, leap, and have a great time the way Jo-Jo is doing with the help of a Dogwood stem that helps him fly through the raindrops. Jo-Jo knows that when you can be cheerful in the rain, it becomes something you can enjoy . . . and . . . that drives your grumpy friends crazy, which is half the fun!

You may notice that there is never a price tag on a Biff & Jo-Jo cartoon. This is because they are little ideas that pop into my head that make me smile or laugh, and I want to share them with you as a thank you for following my blog. Never keep a good smile or laugh to yourself!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Today's dog is the DALMATIAN, a clean, elegant looking dog who simply exudes athleticism. For years, the Dalmatian was known as the Carriage dog, the dog who was paired with horses the way peanut butter is paired with jelly. Today, he still makes a fine companion on a ride, but he is just as comfortable in the home, where his good nature and good manners are welcome. The Damatian will curl up on the couch with you as easily as he guards your home. Whether he is white with liver spots or the better know white with black spots, polka-dots are always in style.
These little DOG PARADE paintings are quick, original watercolour sketches measuring 3 x 4.5 inches, and they come matted in a 5 x 7 inch mat. They can be double or triple matted to larger frame size, presenting the tiny paintings like an important miniature treasure. Each one is $40. including shipping. If you are interested in this painting, please contact me at:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


The Siberian Husky is a gentle, beautiful, and affectionate dog. Friendly and loyal, these dogs make great family companions, but don't look to them to guard your house. They tend to greet people with a lovely doggy smile and a wagging plumed tail. Coming originally from North East Siberia, they enjoy the cold weather, and will happily follow the family on cross country ski jaunts.
This fellow is taking a moment to lie under the stars, maybe dreaming of the frosty nights to come. But please don't leave him out too long - he appreciates his warm bed too.

These little DOG PARADE paintings are quick, original, watercolour sketches, measuring 3 x 4.5 inches. They come matted in a 5 x 7 inch mat, but can be double or triple matted up to a larger frame size, presenting the tiny painting like an important miniature treasure. Each one is $40. including shipping. If you are interested in purchasing this painting, please contact me:

Monday, August 17, 2009


Today’s blog is a bit different. I’m not talking about paintings, animals, or presenting a cartoon. Today I want to post about affirming one’s artistic self in the face of adversity, sometimes large, as in a major rejection, and sometimes supposedly small, as in an unkind comment.
It’s a sad fact that sometimes there are nasty things in the “artmosphere”. Every so often, something dark and unkind blows in and knocks one right off their feet. Sometimes, it hits so hard that an artist can’t survive, and drops out of sight. What a waste of talent, and what a vicious thing to do – to silence a creative voice. And the worst part is, that sometimes, the verbal aggressor is a fellow artist! I will never understand why some artists continue to slap down their fellows instead of extending that hand to help each other.
Most of us are still able to rebound from the rejection, the slight, or the nasty comment, and we can do so because we have found some way to Affirm to ourselves that we are indeed artists and our work has merit. Sometimes there is a major moment of enlightenment, but more often, it is something small and insignificant that whispers to us, and gets us on our artistic feet again.
One of those little acidic splotches of mean-spiritedness flamed out of the blue at me a while ago. (the juicy details will remain private.) The little zinger hit so hard, so unexpectedly, that I found myself immobilized by the shock and the hurt. For days, I couldn’t paint, could barely even face going into the studio to use the computer. I began to seriously consider getting rid of my art materials and giving up. Who needs to be steeped in an atmosphere of petty unkindness? I do other creative and lucrative things – I write, sew, garden, play the guitar (badly) and I’m building and outfitting a Miniature House. Did I really need to keep painting?
For days, I couldn’t nudge myself into painting, then I was reminded that I had made a commitment to a Gallery, that they were waiting for some paintings, and I needed frames for them, so I dragged myself into the art shop. The joyous rush of anticipation was missing when I walked in the door. I walked past the paints, the brushes and papers without so much as a glance. Then the brakes slammed on. There was this lovely art table blocking the aisle . I had been needing a new table for ages. Oh, I reminded myself, I’m not painting anymore. I don’t need the table. But it was just what I had wanted, the price was wonderful, and I couldn’t seem to make myself move away from it. I craved that table!
When I eventually walked out of the shop, I had three mats, three frames, and a beautiful new art table. I went home, my husband and I it set up, and then I decided that the old plastic taboret I had been using for years just was not going to go with the new table, so I got a new cabinet for my paint. The studio was looking great, I was beginning to get the itch to pick up a brush again, and almost at once, a new commission came in. I was painting again.
This time, there was no sudden enlightenment to make me realize that no matter what hurtful thing someone says, I am an artist. I belong. This time, all it took was table lust to jolt me out of my funk and get me back to believing in myself again, and to remembering that no one can make me feel badly about myself or my work if I don’t let them. I believe that there is an affirmation there for all of us when we need it, but it may not come in a conventional way. We just have to keep our eyes, ears, and minds open. And to the people who enjoy putting the thumb screws to fellow artists . .. it is not kind behaviour, nor is it classy, . . . so stop it!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


The WESTIE, or WEST HIGHLAND WHITE TERRIER, hails from Scotland and is a fearless, nearly tireless little chap who has a joyous sense of fun. He is a devoted watchdog, a loving family dog, and an all round loyal companion. These good natured little terriers are as home in the city as they are in the country. Although they are willing to be trained, a prospecitve owner must remember that Terriers were bred to dig, and the Westie is no exception.

I'm having such fun doing these little sketches. Each one takes about an hour, and I am getting ideas from them for full sized, detailed paintings.
WESTIE is an Original Miniature Watercolour, measuring just 3 x 4.5 inches and comes with a white, 5 x 7 mat. This charming little painting is just $40. shipping included. If you are interested in purchasing this painting, please contact me:

Baronessa Grace Vom Alpenhof

I've always loved German Shepherd Dogs. They have such kind eyes, full of wisdom and fun, and you just know that you can trust them to the ends of the earth. These dogs need intelligent handling to bring out the best in them, but it is well worth the extra patience involved, because a good GSD is simply one of the best dogs around.
This is Baronessa Grace Vom Alpenhof, a young GSD I was privileged to paint recently. She is from the direct bloodline of the famous Vom Kirschental kennels in Germany, is a formidable guard dog, and gave me kisses the second time I met her. This 14 x 18 portrait was done in Acrylic, a medium I am becoming increasingly comfortable with, and is now hanging proudly in Grace's Mum's foyer.

Heather Anderson

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Did you see the slim-as-a-crack-in-the-atmosphere dog that just whizzed past the window? This is the elegant SALUKI, an ancient hound that has its roots in the Arabian desert, and was already an ancient breed when the Pharaohs ruled Egypt.
Traditionally, these beautiful dogs were hunting hounds, but today, they are loved companions. Salukis are intelligent, loyal, and affectionate with their families, but tend to be aloof and dignified with others. These delightful Hounds still retain a shadow of their hunting instincts, so they should never be allowed to roam unattended.
But then, it is basic safety and courtesy to keep an eye your dog of any breed when they are outside.
Today's Original Miniature Watercolour is 3 x 4.5 inches, and comes matted with a white 5 x 7 mat. This classy little painting is just $40. shipping included, and anyone interested can contact me at: anderson.animalart@

Monday, August 3, 2009

Fun at the Agility Nationals

This past weekend my husband and I joined friends at the Canadian Agility Nationals in Ottawa. It was a big event, with some 600 dogs competing. What a treat to have this in Ottawa, just a short 45 minute drive away from Sheltie Hollow. It was held at the National Capitol Equestrian Park where we have attended some big horse shows, seen the famous Show Jumping duos, and where, in the past, we were often a Vendor. Standing in what is usually the large Jumping Ring, I glanced up at the steep hill the riders and horses navigate in the major shows, and I was awed at the skill and bravery they have, to face such an obstacle.
This past weekend the large ring was filled with smaller rings where dogs were doing various courses and classes, and the dogs were no less courageous facing those courses than the horses are in facing the huge jumps they deal with.
My friend and I declared a "Girly Day", left our husbands comfortably in a shady spot where they could see everything and have easy access to the food concessions, and off we went to explore. We were lucky enough to have passes that allowed us to carefully and respectfully wander in among the dogs who were waiting to compete or resting after their runs, and to stand at ringside to take photos of dogs taking the jumps at break-neck speed and zipping through tunnels. What amazing athletes they are!
Every dog I saw was focused and eager when it was their turn to run the course, and before and after, they lounged in shaded tents with their people, obviously relaxed and having fun. It was enormously exciting to see breeds that I haven't seen before (except in photographs) like the Lakeland Terrier, the Shiba Inu, and the Kelpie, as well as the Italian Greyhound, a breed that I haven't seen for years. It was great too, to see mixed breeds competing, and dogs of all shapes and sizes. 600 dogs - I was in Heaven!
While I haven't had time yet to do a painting/drawing from the photos I took on the weekend, I have included an image of my Graphite Drawing "NEXT!" There are always lots of Border Collies and Shelties at these events, barking, running, and having a wonderful time.
It was great hanging out with a best friend, doing a bit of Doggy Shopping at the vendor tents, and when the four of us were thoroughly tired, retiring to a cool coffee shop to quietly visit and talk over the day.
You'll notice that I haven't mentioned our dogs. They enjoy the jumps and tunnel in the garden, and two of them are perfectly capable of doing Agilty at some level, but I am the liability there. I could never remember the course route, (don't even ask about when I tried my hand (feet) at dancing!) and I could never keep up with a Sheltie. The cat is laughing hysterically at the thought!