From Art Blog

A Flamingo has a T-Shirt

Flamingo T-Shirt benefit for artists

Since 2009, dozens of flamingos have visited my studio, to sit for portraits, to tell stories, and to eat my snacks. They appear in The Lost Cave Paintings of Saint Paul, watercolor and acrylic paintings, coloring book pages, and paper mosaics. Now they have a new Flamingo Friend on a shirt and The Flamingo T-Shirt is delighted to represent his friends.

Buying the Flamingo T-Shirt

The folks at Liquid Screen Design created a 3-week pop-up shop for artists to present and sell their work on T-shirts. Each limited edition shirt is $20 — $10 for the artist and $10 for production. The shop runs from 6/15 to 7/6/2020 features the Stained Glass Coloring Card Flamingo. Click here to order. Check out the rest of the shop. You’ll find designs from many artists.

Flamingo T-Shirt 2020

Cave Painting Flamingos Cheering the Shirt

Flamingos Cheering the T-Shirt

The 3-11s: 3 cats and 11 flamingos,
an internationally acclaimed acapella group,
cheer the T-shirt.

Three-Elevens
Three Cats & 11 Flamingos, and international acapella group, support the Flamingo T-Shirt.

 

T-Shirt Backlash

For anyone following the adventures of my small friends during the past nine years (cats, Robert the Tap Dancing Rooster and other birds, insects, elephants, horses, a cow, two warthogs, some dinosaurs, and hundreds of other creatures), there should be no surprise that this t-shirt production has caused some commotion.

The rising tide of public opinion in screeching, screaming, whistling, tootling, roaring and other noises demanding their appearances on t-shirts is overwhelming. Have no fear for my neighbors. I live in a land (apartment structure) that is sufficiently insulated to protect the outside world from the Noise of Whimsical Creatures. Whether the Small Friends Research Institute, which sponsors and supports my Wildlife Work, will get into the T-shirt business is not for me to say. Its management is in the hands of the Creatures Themselves.

Sourcing other susangainenartist.com images

https://www.etsy.com/market/susangainen 

Introducing Starry Nights

Starry Nights celebrate tiny spaces

It’s no secret that I love to make tiny shapes and spaces. Starry Nights came to me in a dream (I think), and with an electric pencil sharpener, tiny brushes, and three kinds of acrylic ink (Daler Rowney, Liquitex, Golden High Flow Acrylic), I can’t stop.

Mona Lisa Marble

Mona Lisa Marble Cat is painted on canvas with acrylic ink. Her favorite painting is The Mona Lisa, whose eyes famously follow the viewer around the room. Mona Lisa Marble Cat’s eyes do the same. Although she has been diagnosed with “wandering eye,” she prefers to believe that her eyes are those of her idol.

Mona Lisa Marble Cat

Red Star

Tiny shapes make great movement.

All Red Star
The Red Star. Acrylic Ink on paper.

Winter Starry Night

Winter Starry Night was selected for the 2020 Saint Paul Winter Carnival Fire and Ice Festival. Hosted by the estimable A to Z Gallery in Lowertown, it is a tribute to Minnesota’s favorite season.

Winter Starry Night is part of the Starry Night Collection that tips its hat to Van Gogh and long ago acid trips.
Winter Starry Night is part of the Starry Night Collection that tips its hat to Van Gogh and to long-ago acid trips.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Square Star

Sometimes a star is just a star. This particular painting took me through a difficult election season. Acrylic Paint on Paper.

Square Star made as an election distraction
Square Star, a small acrylic painting on paper, was a distraction during an election cycle.

Cat in Neighborhoods Inspired by Max-the-Cat

What a difference a day makes to a cat: October 28

Setting this cat in a bunch of neighborhoods is NOT like setting a cat among the pigeons. He is there to remind us all that we all look better, perform better, laugh more, and do our best work when we are surrounded by those from whom we can learn, which is a corollary of “every piece looks better because of the pieces that surround it.”

I finished the pencil drawing on October 28, covered it with Liquitex Clear Gesso, and started to paint on October 29.

Cat in Neighborhoods Final Pencil Drawing
The pencil drawing is finished and the Cat in Neighborhoods is covered with Clear Gesso to prevent smudging.

 

Cat painting begins: October 29

The Cat emerges. Using a Princeton brush, Golden High Flow Acrylics, and Daler Rowney FW Artists Acrylic Ink, I began to paint. Bit by bit. Piece by piece. Space by space.

Cat in neighborhoods after one day of painting.
Cat in Neighborhoods gets its first paint.

Cat details

The Neighborhood Cat is on a 16×20 stretched canvas. His face, yet to be determined/designed, makes him part of the Clowder of Cats. “Clowder,” as you may know, is the collective noun for “cat.”

As you might imagine, Max-the-Cat — model, muse and snacks manager — is the Model for the entire Clowder. Some of the original clowder paintings are for sale. All are available as prints ($25) or cards-with-envelopes ($4 each). Contact susangainen@comcast.net. Billed through PayPal.

Spokescat Max: Model for the Clowder
Spokescat Max is the model for the Clowder of Cats.

Eggroll Queen Cafe Show – Susan’s Friends & Neighborhoods

Friends and Neighborhoods

If you remember the Underground Music Cafe and the other names under which this Falcon Heights treasure has been over the years — rejoice. It is now the Eggroll Queen Cafe. It’s here. It’s now. And it has Life Affirming Blueberry Waffles and Eggrolls the Size of Burritos.  AND LIVE MUSIC.

The Flamingo from the Lost Cave Paintings of Saint Paul will welcome you in the doorway.

Flamingo from the Lost Cave Paintings of Saint Paul
Flamingo from the Lost Cave Paintings of Saint Paul

My Friends and Neighborhoods show is almost ready to come down. That it took nearly a month to figure out how to get these images onto a small enough PowerPoint is a miracle. You may miss the show at the Cafe (it comes down on October 20), but here are the images:

Eggroll Queen Cafe Show

Enjoy.

Como Fest Saturday’s Fastest Art Fair

Head to Como Park

Como Fest at the Como Pavilion in the park on Lexington Avenue. Saturday July 13, 2019.  10 am – 2 pm

What could be better? Local artists under the Pavilion Roof. Free Parking. Near the Como Zoo.

New work

Introducing customizable birthday greetings for a new baby. Get it on ETSY.

Welcome Baby Customizable 13x19 customized archival print. $30.
                                                        Welcome Baby Customizable 13×19 customized archival print. $30.

 

New Original Cats – Acrylic Mosaic
One of a Kind $60 each

Gerald asked for a leopard outfit because he loves dots
Gerald asked for a leopard outfit because he loves dots
Camo Cat believes that his superpower is invisibility
Camo Cat believes that his superpower is invisibility

Blue-eyed Cat for the Art Crawl

Blue-eyed cat

The Blue-eyed Cat is part of an inter-species series of creatures who were delighted (in the nicest possible way) that I spent some of 2018 somewhat uninspired. Pushing on, following the “make art every day” principle, I made sheets and sheets of tiny abstract designs. I had an Artist Epiphany in October (an odd thing for a Jewish person, but an epiphany nonetheless), and realized that even if my Dear Departed Mother were to come back to life, that no one would buy any of these patterned sheets. Luckily enough, as a Whimsical Wildlife Documentarian, I am surrounded by creatures who were delighted to say “thank you for making our new body parts.”

See these and other creatures, as well as some mind-expanding abstracts at Show Gallery Lowertown at the Saint Paul Art Crawl, April 26-27-28.

 

Blue Eyed Cat With Abstract Body Parts
Blue Eyed Cat With Abstract Body Parts

Inter-species siblings

The line-up for new body parts was quite long, dominating my tiny living room studio space. Fortunately all of the creatures who visit me abide by the No Poop in the

Yellow Rooster Waits Impatiently for Spring at the Art Crawl
Yellow Rooster Waits Impatiently for Spring at the Art Crawl

Studio Rule — it’s my living room, after all.

Hippo walks in the moonlight at the Art Crawl
Hippo walks in the moonlight at the Art Crawl      
Big Roo Art Crawl District Spotlight Winner
Big Roo Art Crawl District Spotlight Winner
Camouflage Hippo Seeks a Monacle at the Art Crawl
Camouflage Hippo Seeks a Monacle at the Art Crawl

 

Fish-in-progress

Always hanging around, The Fish waits patiently for his tiny body parts. He is a great kibitzer, chatting up new and visiting creatures, showing them where the snacks are kept.

Fish Work in Progress
Fish-in-Progress

Red Cat Gets Art Crawl Whisker Trim

Whisker Trim for The Art Crawl

Cats care exceedingly about their whiskers, and Red Cat is not exception. There was an enormous amount of caterwauling while the Red Cat was at Hair and Makeup. How short should his whiskers be? Were they shiny enough? The tricky one — do they match? — came in at a resounding “no,” be he was OK with that.

Red Cat Art Crawl Whisker Trim
Red Cat Art Crawl Whisker Trim

Saint Paul Art Crawl at The Show Gallery

Red Cat, Red Roo, (District Spotlight Winner) and a menagerie of whimsical creatures will be at The Show Gallery, 346 N. Sibley Street, Saint Paul from Friday April 26 to Sunday April 28. The Gallery is half a block from the Green Line and a block from Union Station. It is super accessible because it is on the ground floor. Come to Saint Paul. See local artists. Support local artists. Thank you.

Click Here for Free Transit Passes for Saturday and Sunday!

New Cats for the Saint Paul Art Crawl

New Cats for the Art Crawl*

As the 2019 Saint Paul Art Crawl approaches, my studio has been very very busy. Cats came and went. Cats came back. Cats lined up. Cats caterwauled. Cats waited patiently and impatiently for hair and makeup. They are looking forward to being at The Show Gallery in Lowertown.

Art Crawl Cats Waiting for Hair and Makeup
Art Crawl Cats Waiting for Hair and Makeup

Gray and White Cats for the Art Crawl*

The Gray and White Cats have waited very very patiently for some months as they haggled between themselves and with me (occasionally) about how their hair and makeup would work. We finally agreed on a mixture of acrylic paints, and acrylic mediums (Golden Clear Tar Gel).

Gray and White Art Crawl Cats
Gray and White Art Crawl Cats

Two Cats on Two Canvases for the Art Crawl*

These cats are Fraternal Twins who loved their many trips to hair, makeup, and wardrobe. In their minds, their costumes are covered with jewels and precious metals. Don’t confuse them with facts.

2 Cats Two Canvases for the Art Crawl
2 Cats Two Canvases for the Art Crawl

Not just The Art Crawl*

These cats and other creatures are equally thrilled to be part of Art in the Hollow, Art-a-Whirl, Mystery of Cats Art Festival, and  Dakota County Arts in the Park.

2019 Festivals Short List

ADDITIONAL EVENTS:

ART-A-WHIRL— IN THE WARM (WOMEN’S ART RESOURCES) DEN, SOLAR ARTS BUILDING
MAY 17,18,19

DAKOTA COUNTY ARTS IN THE PARK
AUGUST 3 – 1-4 PM
THOMPSON COUNTY PARK, WEST SAINT PAUL

 

Purple Squirrels and Multi-colored Squirrels

Purple Squirrels & Multi-colored Squirrels: Fact? Fiction?

Purple Squirrels and Multi-colored Squirrels blend fact, fantasy, whimsy and weirdness.

As a Whimsical Wildlife Documentarian,I am always glad to see whimsy validated by actual, genuine fact-based reporting. Thank you, Smithsonian. Wandering your halls a child was one magical trip after another. Now that I live in Minnesota, I rely on the magazine and the web.

Purple Squirrel Confounds Recruiters
Purple Squirrel Confounds Recruiters

Purple Squirrels History

Purple Squirrels, as you may know (from reading my old blog post) are candidates whose qualifications make them impossible to find, let alone recruit. Consider searching for the patent attorney licensed in four states and three countries who speaks four languages and holds 14 patents. Good luck finding her.

Actual Giant Multi-colored Squirrels Roaming Indian Forests

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Giant Multi-colored Squirrels (Malabar Giant Squirrel) roam the forests of Southern India. Is this a case of fact catching up with whimsy or the collision of fact and whimsy, or something else? Where is Charles Darwin when we need him?

Giant Multi-colored squirrel
Giant Multi-colored squirrel from the Forests of Southern India (photo credit: Kauskik Vijayan/SWNS.com)

Big Red Rooster Spotlight Winner Saint Paul Art Crawl 2019

Kudos to Big Red Rooster

Congratulations to Big Red Rooster, whose image made him (and me, too) a District Winner in the 2019 Saint Paul Art Crawl. We will be at The Show Gallery Lowertown on April 26-28. Find Red’s portrait on page 11 of the Art Crawl Catalog.

Big Red
Big Red

 

Big Red Rooster leads the pack?

Big Red can’t really “lead the pack,” because there is no collective noun for rooster. What he does lead is a group of roosters and other creatures made from abstract paintings whose tiny designs were comforting to make at a time when a little bit of obsession seemed like a good idea.

Why is there no collective noun for roosters? Think about it. They don’t hang out together.

Artist Epiphany

After painting sheet after sheet, I had an Artist Epiphany. I realized that no one — not even my Late Mother should she have come back to life — would have the slightest interest in buying these abstract paintings. Luckily for the Whimsical Wildlife Documentarian (me) I am surrounded by creatures, including roosters, who stepped up and said “Thank you for creating new body parts for us.”

More Roosters

The cackling that you hear is from the roosters in The Backyard Roosters of Saint Paul, which I wrote and illustrated before learning that you can’t have roosters in Saint Paul. Who knew? I will have copies at the Crawl, they are available at The Art Shoppe at Midtown Global Market, or you can get it at Amazon.

The Backyard Roosters of Saint Paul
The Backyard Roosters of Saint Paul