Pet Rescue Art: If I am breathing I will be rescuing.
I just recently finished this little diddy…I decided a long time ago that since we all exit this life the same way eventually (empty handed and six feet under) that rather than accumulate “things or experiences” that I wanted to be completely used up when I die…I choose to use up whatever energy and resources I have being involved with pet rescue…whether its using my art, caring for my own house full of rescues, training rescue dogs or fostering homeless dogs…it is truly the highest privilege in life to find the vocation God destined me for…I live a blessed life.
This painting is an acrylic on canvas…11×14…glossy archival finish. This and many other of my paintings are available at my ETSY shop. I donate a portion of all of my sales to pet rescue groups.
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I firmly believe that what we do in this life will follow us in to the next life. We all leave a trace while we are here…some call it a legacy…be it small or grand though it will follow us. My trace, like most people’s I suppose, is a mix of good and bad. I had my wild years…the years where what I left behind was more like a stain than a trace. But my animals continue to rub my rough edges off. I will leave no grand legacy…just a trace of life with animals. I hope that trace is learning to work with difficult dogs (who for some reason are the one’s that steal my heart) and sharing the realities of how poorly animals still fare in our increasingly complex and unfeeling world through my art.
I started painting just a few years ago. My muse was my Rottie Hercules. He was also the reason I had to learn to train dogs. Like his human mama…he was head strong, difficult, didn’t always play well with others and enthusiastic about everything he did (good and bad). After he died I had a broken heart for a long time. It seemed like no time had passed at all before I was losing my clear mental picture of him…I felt like I was losing his face. So I started doodling/drawing him and then one day picked up some cheap pastel paints and painted him. On the left is this very first painting.
I was hooked after this..painting became my outlet. Every time I felt moved in regards to my own animals or the fate of other animals…I turned to painting to work it out. I am what they call in the art world an “outsider”. I have no formal training…actually I do not even have any informal training. All I have is a desire and passion to speak for animals through art. It was therapeutic for me…I never thought that what I was doing would resonate with others.
Two year ago I finally had enough paintings finished to open an ETSY shop. I started my little art shop with the hope that it would be a way for me to give voice to homeless animals and raise money for homeless animals while still being able to be present at home for my own house full of rescued pets (I have eight of them).
In the last two years I have shipped art to 29 states (CRAZY) and the momentum continues to build. The first three months of this year allowed us to raise our largest amount of funds so far …just over $1,200.00…I hope this momentum continues and I can’t say enough how much I appreciate everyone who frequents my shop, sends me referrals and connects me with rescue groups running large auctions.
I raise money in two ways…the largest portion is from my original paintings that go straight to charity auctions to raise money. My highest single auction sale to date has been $700.00 for one painting. If anyone had told me that I would make a painting that fetched that kind of money I would have laughed at them. I also donate a percentage of any sales of my art and handmade leashes from my ETSY shop to rescue charities.
Parting with my art is an odd thing. I am of course happy when I sell a piece or ship one off to auction. But there is also a strange remorse. I am parting with a piece of myself that I will never see again. It really is quite strange.
Fortunately, I am blessed with a house full of rescued cats and dogs that are my constant muse for my art. They give me so many ideas for more paintings that it feels like I have ping pong balls bouncing around in my head…I have to write them down or I will clutter them out. My website has been a great place to share my ideas and I appreciate everyone who reads and comments here.
Every life is precious…and that means the sweet animals too! God Bless and thanks for your support over the last two years!
Pet Rescue Art: Do we see our pets again after death?
What I am working on in my studio usually speaks to what is going on in my head and heart…lately is it grief and sadness. Grief is such a strange journey…its unique…no two losses are the same but no single experience of the loss of a loved one is about the loss of just that one loved one. When we open up for grieving it usually re-opens many old wounds that never completely healed. I find that my sensitivity to everything around me is heightened when I am experiencing grief. My ability to truly feel the experiences of another person or animal is so acute that it is physical. It is both an awful and awesome place to be emotionally and spiritually.
I am of the opinion that we never “get over” the loss of someone we care about. Rather, we just learn to live with the pain. The piece of our heart that breaks when they are gone remains broken and becomes part of who we are forever. It is part of becoming truly human.
I also believe we see our pets on the other side of life. Not because I “need” to believe that nor believe it is something polite and appropriate to say when anyone is in pain over the loss of a beloved pet. I believe it because it is logical to believe it. It is congruent with a Christian world view to believe it. And there is tangible evidence that we see our pets again. To say that a living creature is lost forever when it dies would constitute a belief in a world view called ” annhilationism”. Annihilationists believe that anything that is alive is gone forever once physically dead. The problem with that belief is that collective human intelligence (and by that I mean almost every single society that has ever walked this planet) has rejected annihilationism. Almost every society has believed in the spiritual birth of something new after death. While those belief systems vary, of course, what they hold in common is that there is something beyond life in the flesh for creatures. To hold the view that any creature, human or animal, is annihilated after death would put you in conflict with most of humanity…so which view does it make logical sense to hold? A Christian world view holds that all of creation is redeemed and part of God’s plan…while I will write more on this at another time…to exclude our beloved pets from God’s redeemed creation would be in direct conflict with a Christian world view. While it’s not as common to talk about it in a contemporary culture that does not want to deal hands on with death and dying…stories of what happens during the dying process and accounts of Near Death Experiences tell us a lot about what awaits us on the other side. And these experiences include interactions with animals; particularly pets already gone.
I like to think of the pets gone before me as waiting for me…which is selfish…really I hope they are running and playing with others and doing what they were meant to do naturally. But I know I will see them again. I hold this belief so strongly that while I love life on this side…I look forward to it on the other side just as much.
I have been painting Sparky, my beloved black lab who recently died. The painting is taking awhile because sometimes I am too emotional to work on it. It is a painting of how I picture him looking down on me now. (ok…tearing up as I write this…). I will share it when its done. I believe its completion will bring me as close to closure as one can get when a loved one dies.
Thanks for reading my posts and viewing my art. Much of my art is for sale at my ETSY shop. Sparky’s passing has opened a new chapter in my pet journey…one that is very focused on a new member of our family, Buster. Buster is a reactive dog that came here in a pretty wild state…I have decided to start chronicling the ways I have worked with Buster’s reactivity in hopes it can help other dog parents dealing with reactive dogs.
If you are in to all things pet and pet rescue check us out on Facebook or Pinterest!
Pawffiti…important messages from the pets we love.
This is my latest Pawffiti…it marks the return of Hippie Kitty…I have painted her in the past with a different setting and with a different message. For reasons yet unknown to me it was time for her to return to canvas. My art is my way of doing more…it allows me to be present at home for my house full of pets yet still do a little something to help the some of the pets still waiting for a family. Hippie Kitty is going to be my first painting of which I have prints made. I have never made prints of my artwork before. I am not sure if that is because I didn’t have the time and energy to figure out how to do it or because I just wasn’t ready…but I suppose the more paintings and now prints I sell the more I can donate to help more animals. I found a fabulous photographer in Lexington, Mary Resney, who specializes in photographing artwork…she has been so helpful and patient with an amateur such as myself. She is making digital files of my artwork so not only can I do prints but at some point perhaps even some T-shirts and other merchandise. The prints will be available in a few different sizes and will be printed on canvas. The original is already listed for sale at my ETSY shop.
Like most of the country…Kentucky is having a wicked cold snap this week. Here that means that too many dogs and cats are scratching out a living outside on their own. There are a few counties in Kentucky that are really proactive…the animal control teams run non-stop responding to calls from concerned citizens who see dogs and cats left out in the cold. But in most counties here…these animals get little to no help. The laws protecting animals here are weak (the worst in the country in fact) and the appetite to change these laws even weaker. The flagrant social acceptance of things like cock fighting and dog fighting are hard to stomach. While I struggle with knowing what is going on around the state…I know I was meant to be here…time will tell what my own little role will be in the narrative of creating better lives for animals in Kentucky perhaps it will just be more painting. I will be going to Humane Lobby Day next month in Frankfort and hope to hear some positive news about what can be done to make Kentucky a better place for animals. It is going to take an army of advocates to change things here. If you are a Kentuckian…please join me in Frankfort on Feb. 24th…email me if you need details (email@example.com). If you want to follow more things going in KY to help animals follow my Facebook Page...I post any events, petitions, etc. there.
With all of our critters running around our house there really is no such thing as quiet time at the Halverson home…but we love our chaos and as the years pass Bret and I learn to appreciate life with animals more and more. I have come to the conclusion that the animals choose us…each one coming in to our lives when they are suppose to and leaving when they are suppose to. We have three very senior dogs and a senior cat…they began slowing down a lot in the last year or so and each has some sort of chronic health issue now. All of them manage to maintain their normal patterns albeit at a slower pace and they remain steadfast in their affection for us. I am always amazed at their graceful acceptance of their aging and limiting bodies…as I get older I hope I age as gracefully as they do. I consider it an honor to walk through their senior years with them and appreciate this time in their lives when they really do need their mama.
Its hard to believe that we have lived in Kentucky for six months now. Despite some of the heartbreaking scenes we see for animals here Bret and I really do love it. Kentucky is a beautiful state, the weather beats the pants off of Minnesota weather and we have made wonderful new friends here. We have decided we didn’t really buy a house here…we bought a great big project…more work than either of us realized. But this is our first home that we chose together as a married couple and despite the drafts, creaks in the floors, crooked doorways and questionable plumbing (eeek)…we love this house and for the first time in a long time…we feel like we are home. We have decided we want to name our home…so far we have a few potential ideas….but want to stew on it a bit longer…if you have any suggestions feel free to offer them up!
This Pet Rescue painting is inspired by my cat Taco. If ever you could label a cat a “hippie cat” it would be Taco…she is all about peace and lovin’ everybody up. Taco is named Taco because she was found in a dumpster behind a taco joint. From the moment I brought her home she was a relaxed and happy cat…she loves to meet new people and pets and lives under the assumption that everyone wants to be her friend. When she needs it she has just the right amount of sass in her too.
Pet Rescue Art is my passion, it is how I can work at spreading the word about how important it is to rescue pets instead of purchasing them. Every day 8-10,000 healthy cats and dogs are killed in our country because they have no home, that works out to about six per minute. My husband and I purchased our first dogs many, many years ago…we just didn’t know how many animals were dying in shelters every day. My introduction to pet rescue was my lab Sparky…once Bret and I learned more about how many pets need rescue not only did we choose to rescue a house full of pets but we believe that sharing the rescue message will motivate people to choose to rescue vs. purchase animals like it did for us. Check out my Art Gallery to view other Pet Rescue paintings I have done.
This painting is available at my Shop where I have a variety of fun pet rescue themed paintings and gift items for the pet lover. If you are a rescue advocate consider following my blog…I blog about all things pet and pet rescue!
I leave you with a picture of our sweet Taco who inspired this painting.
Pet sympathy: Cat memorial painting…textured acrylic on canvas.
This painting is part of my “Anima” line of products for pet sympathy. “Anima” is the Latin word for soul. Everything in my “Anima” line is about remembering our beloved pets that we have lost. This is a textured painting done in acrylics on mounted canvas. I had a lot of fun making the moon glow in this painting.
Usually I only make cards for this line…this is my first painting…what do you think? Check out my Art Gallery to see some of my other paintings or look through my Hope After Loss page for articles and links for coping with the loss of a beloved pet.
If you love all things pet and pet rescue consider following my blog…I post 1-3 articles per week on my blog and daily on Facebook and Pinterest pages.