Susie E Caron
Pet & Wildlife Artist
For Love & Memories
Susie E Caron
Pet & Wildlife Artist
For Love & Memories
To Create & Demolish My Art
Susie E Caron (c) 2020
Painting, is my pleasurable service to pet portrait customers. However, sadly, in every artist’s life there comes a time to destroy one or more ‘stored’ paintings. It may be for different reasons and different for every artist.
Yesterday it happened to me.
I approach destruction of my art with reluctance.
I feel like part of me and the imagined recipient, who I keep in mind while painting, are somehow inextricably linked. It hurts to think of hurting anything so precious.
My collection grew.
Early in my art career I painted all kinds of animals. One by one I added them to the walls of our tiny log home. I treasured each creative accomplishment and basked in the pleasure I felt, surrounded by my ‘animal life.’
The day came when I noticed my new creations appeared vastly improved from earlier works. I ignored this and added more to our walls. I couldn’t I bring myself to remove the older ones and tear them up!
I further rationalized keeping them in two ways. I figured when I died my early art would become collector’s items. Conversely, I envisioned that my kids, with tear- filled-eyes after my funeral, would want every single painting from our home. (Right!?)
That’s not how it usually works
My husband frequently warned me that instead of these two scenarios, much of my art would more likely end up in a dumpster. Alternatively, the kids could hold an estate sale and ‘get rid of’ everything for pennies. (Leftovers to go in the dumpster anyway.)
Still I hesitated.
From my early careers teaching, psychology and raising kids I knew that toys taken away from young children before they are ready to ‘donate or toss,’ can cause experience of loss. Not like a death but akin to it. The loss reflects some unfinished business of personality development. I knew that portions of personality get cast onto toys, studied and manipulated, later to be reabsorbed. Suddenly taking them away too soon interrupts portions of personality growth. Most of us ‘get over it’ and grow anyway, but it can be difficult for children, or in this case for me and my art.
I reluctantly removed three victims off their hooks and out of their frames. As if saying ‘goodbye’, I softly thanked them for the opportunity to paint their likenesses. Then I picked up scissors and plunged into the first canvas back. As I tore canvas from backing, I wanted to close my eyes so as not to see the image. The second painting seemed easier and by the third I ripped and pulled with energy. (Was I enjoying this?)
( “No animals were harmed or killed during this process.”)
“Okay, so I didn’t die,” I thought. Happily, as far as I can tell no portions of my ‘self’ or personality hurt either. Then I looked up at the bare wall spaces. Dust and wall yawned at me. They appeared to beckon, begging me to fill them once again. What to paint? What to paint? Oh, What to paint?
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A Special Invitation for Memorial Day Celebration
Susie E Caron (5/23/2020)
I invite you to join us to celebrate special!
We all know Memorial Day is more than barbecues and parades. memorial Day honors our US armed force persons who died fighting for our freedom.
This year most traditional Memorial Day celebrations cancelled due to the coronavirus. We may not be going to parades, large gatherings or vacations. However, this year something very special is planned and you are invited.
I learned from CBS"s On the Road feature that Steve Hartman, coordinating with retired Air Force bugler Jari Villanueva plans to celebrate across the USA in a special way. They ask all "veterans, musicians, teachers, and students of all abilities and ages to sound Taps on their front lawns, porches, and driveways at 3 p.m. local time this Monday, May 25th." ( https://tinyurl.com/ybf2f7om )
What a fantastic idea! Can you imagine the sound... the feeling....the silence.... For certainly while remembering our heroes we will also recall we are one people.
One Nation Under God.
Get ready! Get set! Get out your Bugles and Trumpets or other appropriate musical instruments.
What if you cannot play the Bugle or Trumpet and don't know anyone who does?
What if, like me, you don't live in a neighborhood where you may get to hear this wonderful music bringing tears and remembrance to us all?
I've got you covered.
Here is a link to listen on You Tube to the beautiful tones of Taps: https://tinyurl.com/ojvs5dh
Please join me and the entire nation at 3 p.m. Monday May 25, 2020 to listen to or play taps in remembrance of all those who gave their lives to make us free.
If you'd like more information how you can participate here's the link:
Thank you for reading. Tell me how you feel about this special celebration and who you'll remember on this day.
click on "Comments" above this article. Have a wonderful, memorable Memorial Weekend and Day.
Waiting for Mother’s Day
Susie E Caron (May 9, 2020)
I could not wait for my first Mother’s Day. When years past without children, we hoped to adopt. Roe v Wade had just passed and our social worker cautioned us, it could be a while. However, love won out and an infant came into our home. The first time I held our baby boy, ( and later our tiny baby girl) I knew life would be full and I planned to love every minute.
Over the next nearly a year, we loved and cared for our little one. Anxiously awaiting the final adoption decree. I wondered and worried a bit too. It couldn’t come soon enough. However, by that late winter our son became truly and forever our own. I couldn’t wait for Mother's Day. What an honor to be the Mommy to this beautiful, wonderful tiny human.
My first Mother's day arrived with cards and happy wishes from family and friends. I still remember how I felt, so amazed to be a Mother. I had longed for this day. I planned to enjoy and take seriously the privilege and purpose set before us: to raise our child to be a responsible adult who also contributes to society.
Almost two years later, we were blessed with a tiny baby girl. Once again my heart filled with wonder at these precious answers to my prayers. Happy Blessings continued! Just before moving to Vermont, we received our lovely daughter's final adoption decree.
Over the years we played with our children, taught them how to work, and admonished them to always behave well. We prayed and watched over them, but we did not coddle them, or solve problems for them. When they had difficulties, we worked with them to help solve their issues. We regularly counseled them about the necessity for integrity, honesty and kindness.
As they each grew into early adulthood, we remained watchful in our mission, often from a distance. We did not interfere. However, (and whether they welcomed it or not) our occasional guidance was sometimes necessary. As they passed into their third decade, our ‘help’ and ‘advice’ was seldom needed. They had reached adult self-actualization and all we wanted was for them to be happy and safe.
This year our two kids moved into the population of 40 & over adults. They engineer their own, lives to fit their interests, intellects and skills, and they continue to make us very proud. They know how to enjoy success as good fun in work and in life and they continue to display honesty, integrity and kindness.
Now retired, our lives have changed and I feel a bit differently about this Mother’s Day.
This year, while my kids celebrate Mother's Day for two- MomB & MomC, we also all get to celebrate our 'shared' daughter's First Mother's Day. This feels especially wonderful. Her mother and I are delighted to enjoy the pleasure of being Grandmothers!
With the circle of life completed by the birth of Max, our Grandson, I want to thank our kids.
I want to thank them for being born, for being adorable as infants, toddlers, preschoolers and right into public school years and adulthood. I thank them for fulfilling my mission of becoming their Mother.
I thank them for all the hours, days, weeks, months and years of delight in their antics, compassion for their wounds, and excitement for their accomplishments. In essence on this special Mother's Day, I thank them most of all for their love and for allowing me to love them and pray for them always.
Susie E Caron (4/25/2020)
Since March, the rapid spread of Covid – 19 caused much of normal life and work to stop. As a retired person, turned full time artist, I like being at home. I only venture out occasionally for groceries, medicines and appointments. However, after three weeks of 'shelter in place' I felt a slight yearning I could not explain… Something was missing.
The third week in April, a few businesses reopened so we took our car to get the summer tires put on. The auto repair owner asked that we respect health care guidelines and put our keys in the key drop box. At home, I tucked them into an envelope and thought to add a note. I wrote, “Thank you”, followed by our names.
Later that day the owner called to tell me I could pick up the car. However, I was a little surprised when she first said, “Thank you for your card. It meant so much to us!” I replied a bit sheepish, “It was just a little thing.” She continued to insist it had meant ‘everything’ to them all.
Suddenly, I wished I had done something more.
As I pondered our exchange, I realized I needed human contact. Even brief contact, of daily encounters with neighbors, businesses, and those I know as friends can make a difference. Social media seems to help but it really is not enough. Just a few words, a kind thought, a joke shared in a card, by phone, and in person makes life rich.
Because of the auto repair owner’s unsolicited reaction to my feeble card (one stashed in a drawer for ‘someday) I knew I needed to do ‘something more.’ However, stay at home and social distancing prevented shopping or visiting. My timely remedy appeared through a local business.
Dan Pattullo , owner of the Village Frame Shoppe, recently provided a new service for customers like me.
In early March Dan recognized a need. He produced an adjunct web site to his Village Frame Shoppe. Joyclee.com offers little art prints (4x6 inches, ready to fit in 5x7 inch frames). Customers may select fine art prints from the list of participating artists. They fill out a message to be enclosed along with the address of the recipient. (There are also message suggestions in a drop-down menu) The art print, message, envelop, and mailing are all done for customers for $7.00 each! What could be easier?
Along with other artists, Dan invited me to join Joyclee. Eager to be a part of this service I offered my pet and wildlife prints to the site. Within a month Joyclee.com added more artists displaying a larger variety of artistic subjects and styles.
I feel humbled and grateful for the person who helped me to recognize how much personal contact was missing in my life. Now as a Joyclee.com customer and I can easily send a little art print with thanks, love and gratitude to those I care for.
PS: Order this weekend (4/24-4/26/2020)
& you'll find a 15% off popup coupon at
Hint: Use the code SCART
Click Comment above article and Tell me:
How are you connecting with people you love, admire and want to thank?
Tell me what you think of this idea and service? What do you do to stay in touch?
POSTITIVE CHILDHOOD INFLUENCE - LIFELONG IMPACT
Susie E Caron (4/20/2020)
You may never know how you influenced a child's life, this side of heaven, but you may catch a peek.
I recently posted an old photo of me and my horse on FaceBook. My nephew who, as a youngster had lived nearby for only a few short years, responded in a comment. He wrote about enjoying family activities around our barn and in our home and his words touched me.
“I can’t thank you enough for the memories…….You really had a special home up there and helped instill some great values in me. Those really are some of my favorite childhood memories. Thank you so much.”
How kind of him to share this with me. I was happy to be part of his childhood. Now, knowing how much he enjoyed it and his memories I felt a special blessing.
Do you recall the first person who positively impacted your life?
In the summer after my third grade elementary school year, a family with 6 kids moved into our neighborhood. I regularly joined them to play tag and kick ball, stopping only briefly to drink lemonade together at their rough- hewn picnic table.
One swelteringly hot summer day they invited me inside for our drinks. Their home appeared different from ours. The tattered furniture and bare floors revealed they did not have much. However, they were kind to one another and laughed a lot. As I drank my lemonade from a plastic cup, the other kids pulled out some books to show me. Peering over my drink I noticed a full bookcase near the kitchen. On the top shelf a collection of big shiny new Encyclopedia Britannicas appeared. They eagerly pulled these out for me to see.
I didn’t know these books. I’d never seen an encyclopedia before. The shelves in our home held vases and nicknacks. The only books I read, besides school lesson books, were those packed into dusty shelves in each old school room. Our family read newspapers and magazines, but we didn’t have this many books.
Their Mother must have noticed how I hesitated to touch them because she approached me asking, “What would you like to know about? What interests you?” I had never been asked such a question nor had I thought about it. Thinking quickly, I recalled my favorite 3rd grade book about Dolphins, so I said, “I like Dolphins.” She opened the book and showed me how to use it to find information about Dolphins and anything else I wanted to know. She left me sitting cross-legged on the floor with the big book across my lap. I imagined how all knowledge was in my hands and could now flood my brain. Awestruck by the possibilities, I hoped I could stay all day.
The next summer the family moved away and I missed them, especially their Mother. It wasn’t until adulthood that I understood how she had impacted me and my life going forward.
That long ago summer day, she’d noticed me and asked about my interests. She valued books and shared them. She showed me how to look in them for answers. I felt trusted and special when she left me alone for a time to read. She demonstrated that she knew I could think, and I could ask questions and find answers and read for myself. Essential to my growth, she believed in me.
Obviously I’ve never forgotten her. What’s more? From that day on I looked for those persons who believed in me and encouraged me. I found them, one by one, and navigated life like someone moving successfully from stone to stone in a busy stream. Funny that only by looking back though the years am I able to recognize who positively impacted my life. I feel warm gratitude for their presence in my early life and I thank God for them now.
COMMENTS? Who positively influenced you in childhood? What did they do that meant so much to you? How has their influence impacted your life?
Tell me what You want me to know,
and help me to let the rest go.
Keep my eyes and heart fixed on You,
My feet anchored to the ground
And my hands steady to my tasks.
Help me to focus, accept, endure or enjoy
Each and every moment.
They will not come again.
Then, when earthly time
Has eaten them all up,
Give me Your Grace to know
I am swaddled in Your love,
And light and warm and loved,
Time conquers no more,
And endless Blessings and Praise
Fill Wondrous Eternity with You.
Okay, so it's Monday Morning and what am I going to do today?
First, I do recognize we are all pretty much locked in our homes, except for necessities - like going out for groceries, pharmacies, parts for a leak in the toilet, etc. I am sympathetic to those not used to staying at home, and for the pain this is causing both the healthy and those who are ill. However, I am okay and I hope you are also. Let's continue doing our parts to keep others we know and love safe.
That being written, I have to confess, as a retired person and artist I am quite used to being home. Granted, I &my husband & our special buddy Josie are together, so I am not lonely. We live on a private lump of acreage, so we can get out and walk with Josie most days....(.plus so far we have enough toilet paper to make it to April 1.)
But as I said, it's Monday Morning and what am I going to do today?
There are 3 paintings, at various stages, in different sizes on my easel. One is a 16x20 I started in February for the Sappy Art Show, Village Frame Shoppe, St. Albans, VT. I cannot show you that one.
A second is for a favorite pet portrait customer. She has asked for a pet painting for a friend. I can't show you that one either because it's a surprise for her friend.
The third, a 6x12, I hope to complete this week of a scene with 2 Moose. That one I can show you. Remember, it's not finished, but in the early stages. (See Below)
I am certain, these three will keep me busy, until lunch time, after which I'll take a short nap, then go for a walk......and maybe in the afternoon hit some book keeping or other necessary activities we sarcastically label 'our adult-ing' activities.
What will you do today? Drop me a note here or at email@example.com. And please join me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SusieECaron.Twee/
Exercise and Business Productivity
Susie E Caron © 1/21/2020
My Dad used to say, “You can’t take it with you,” and after a pause, he’d add, “ but it’s nice to have enough to get you there.” He was referring, of course at the time, to money. Today, I equate it with physical exercise and how adding a little affected my business productivity.
Due to my cranky shoulder, and some limiting effects of Rheumatoid Arthritis, I sit for hours painting pet and animal portraits and scenes. Capturing details especially requires hours of stillness and concentration. (Sometimes I even hold my breath.) I know this isn’t healthy. However, exercise isn’t something I enjoy, readily think about or plan for.
Everyone knows exercise is important and statistically equated with longer life and good health. I know I can’t live forever, but I certainly want good enough health to get me there. I realized if I wanted to continue creating quality art for a long time, I needed to make some changes.
After retirement in 2015, I bought an exercise bike and a rowing machine and used them most mornings each week. I added a timer to remind me to get up from my desk once every hour and engage in something that required me to move. These additions were not easily added to my busy days and my exercise progress was very slow. However, even this minimal addition of exercise and movement yielded some improvements.
Over the years my circulation, physical well-being, and ease of movement improved. What surprised me most? The number and quality of my paintings all improved. By adding exercise to my busy schedule for health reasons, also increased my business productivity.
My Dad would be pleased to know I remembered his words. I know I won’t be able to take health or art ‘with me’ but perhaps with attention I will have enough of both to ‘get me there.’
We take lots of photos of our children and our pets from our own eye level. Seated or standing, we take photos from above them. These photos keep our memories safe, but they usually make less than perfect pictures for display or for creating artistic pet portraits.
How to Take Better Pet Photos
For pet photos a few tips can make a difference. Attention to lighting, details, expressions and color, and when and where our photos are taken, all contribute to photo composition and appeal. However, these may be difficult to control. The good news is we can get the better photos by adjusting the perspective from which we take them.
Most pet photographs look best when taken at or near the animal’s eye level and at a ¾ degree angle and with the animal looking slightly up. (Like the photo of Josie above.) This includes pets ranging in size from Great Danes to baby rabbits. (This is not true of cows, horses and other large animals, I’ll talk about that below.)
Here are a few examples.
A single photo may be all you need if the first turns out great. However, if you want to provide reference photos to your pet portrait artist, then adding a few more photos will be appreciated and helpful.
Here are some tips that can help.
1.Take some close up photographs of your pet - near pet's eye level, at a ¾ angel from both sides and try to get your pet looking up slightly. That way you will see one eye clearly and the far eye somewhat.
2. Next take a photo from the front. Here you want to be only at or slightly above eye level with the animal looking up.
3. Finally take full body photos from both sides and front to reveal color, texture and patterns in the coat.
4. Try to take a few indoors in your favorite room and also some outdoors in different conditions – sunlit, overcast, on green grass, in flower beds, or in snow.
Tips to help your pet cooperate.
Before you bring out your camera, play with your pets to get them relaxed and happy. You may need a helper with treats or squeaky toys to get your pup or kitty to pose for you, but you can do it alone with the same enticements. If you are alone, use treats, toys, and decks, porches, stairs, or anything to get your pet up for eye level shots.
Those tips for photographing large animals.
Horses and other large animals look best when you take photos aimed at their shoulder, mid section or hip. In other words, below their eye level and yours. Aim the camera at their largest mass, at ¾ angle to the front shoulder, or midsection, or even from behind. To do this lower the camera so the camera a little so it aims mostly at the horses mass. Take lot of angles to get everything.
With these tips and some agreeable animals, you will get better photos for enlarging to display. You will also be armed and ready to send some to a pet portrait artist (like me) to create a beautiful portrait of your beloved pet to keep forever.
Do these tips help clarify how to take better photos of your pets and larger animals? Do you have more tips for all of us. If so, please share your comments and suggestions below.
Choosing Titles Like Twee'
Susie E Caron (c) 1-7-2020
I like Titles and I generate them for various things: books I want to write, movies I wish I could make, my various business names, web site names and pet names. Perhaps, ‘free associating’ from my psychology graduate school training enhances this ability. I don’t know, but sometimes a title just ‘shows up’ without notice.
In 2010, I struggled to choose from my list of story ideas to write my first of 3 children’s books. I didn’t have a title and couldn’t settle on a character or on a story. After a bit of giving up and prayer, quite unexpectedly the word Twee’ (complete with the apostrophe) came to my mind. It was so uncommon a word that it actually startled me, and I laughed.
The stories flowed from there, so I ‘went with it’ and in a short time I wrote 3 children’s books: Twee’, I Am Twee’ and Twee’ for Two. Allegorical stories, they reveal a little pine tree, from sapling to ‘tree-childhood’, whose emotional/social/relationship awareness develops much like most human children. I wanted to encourage reading by adults to children, so I used “Twee’ Means You and Me” at the end of book one- a play on the word “between.”
During story construction, the source of the name remained a mystery to me. I recognized that Twee’ sounded a lot like when our toddler daughter said the word “tree”. As a preschool child, she seemed to be missing ‘r’s’ in her speech. A few months of speech therapy remedied it, but I have to say I missed her cute way of speaking. As I wrote, I began to wonder, did Twee actually have an established meaning? I decided it prudent to look in the dictionary.
Merriam-Webster defines it thus: “affectedly or excessively dainty, delicate, cute or quaint.” It is further described as originating in early British baby talk as an alteration of ‘’sweet.’ In the early 1900’s it was a term of affection. (In recent years it is more like ‘corny’, but I am old fashioned gal.)
This earlier definition suited me, my character, and titles just fine. I was delighted. Twee’ is cute, dainty, delicate if not also a bit quaint. All the things I’d unconsciously wanted.
Feeling validated by this discovery I began to ponder the apostrophe and the tendril. Early in the process, I’d argued strongly for the necessity of the apostrophe with my editor, without knowing why. I’d also insisted my illustrator put the tendril on top of Twee’s head. What was that all about? What could the tendril, with it’s dangling pine cone, and the apostrophe at the end of a name possibly mean? Maybe it was a promise of things to come? After all, pine cones carry seeds and seeds sprout new “Twee’s”. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
I think it is a question. Maybe it is for each of us to answer. Or, perhaps, as I suspected at the beginning of this journey, it is about growing through relationship with others.
Twee’ Means You And Me.
Thank you. Please comment. I'd love to hear from you.
Susie Caron, acrylic artist, creates realistic paintings of pets, animals, and selected scenes. Her love of and experience with many pets and farm animals throughout her life, enables her to capture the unique feeling and expression of each subject. In her commission pet and livestock portraits, Susie also works with each customer to discover and then reveal the personality and special bond between pet and human.
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