Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Coyote Games

Pono has something against coyotes. I am not sure exactly what it is, but he really really doesn't like them. He will bark like mad when they come anywhere near the house, and if he sees them through the window, I always think he is going to smash through it to get to them. Once, I had him on the leash,  he saw one that I didn't see and pulled me off my feet to chase it. I literally flew through the air, and landed face first in the sand. (Pono did apologize when he realized what he had done by coming back to me, licking my face and sitting next to me with a droopy head.)

Today, I think I may have discovered part of what bugs Pono so much about coyotes. We had just started our morning hike. Pono was off to one side in the bushes, sniffing some fascinating thing or another, when I spotted a coyote ahead, right in the middle of the trail. Fortunately, Pono hadn't spotted it yet, so I was able to get him on the leash. This young coyote actually followed us. At first, Pono didn't see it. We were down lower than the coyote, and it must have been downwind of us. It crept closer and closer, until finally it got Pono's attention. THEN, the darn thing began to tease Pono. It did everything short of sticking its tongue out and saying "nah-nah-nah....come and GET ME!" It was almost as if it wanted to play. I feel pretty good about these photos, considering I was holding onto a leash with a 75 pound, trembling, excited dog on the other end. I did suffer a bruise or two, plus a leash burn. This is the price we pay for coyote photos...

This moment almost did Pono in...(and me, when he suddenly lurched forward towards the offending 'yote.
I have heard that coyotes will lure a dog away from the owner in order for several of them to gang up on the dog, and perhaps that is what the coyote was trying to do. I don't worry much about Pono, since he is well fed and getting older and slower, but I was happy I had him on the leash today. After I was tired of playing tug-o-war with Pono and we began to walk away, the coyote actually trotted down onto the trail behind us and LAY down, as if to say, "you two are no fun at all."

Looks like my next desert animal paintings will be coyotes...

The new bobcat painting, now on display at Metro Galleries in Bakersfield until the end of the month:
"Autumn Bobcat." Oil on canvas, 20 x 20 inches. ©Karine Swenson2013

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Before we came to live out here in the dusty ol' desert, we lived in a little town in South Central Colorado called Salida. It was another place of beauty and wonder - the kind of wonder 14,000 foot peaks and a river running through town can produce. I was running an art gallery called Cool Mountain Art, which enabled me to meet nearly all of the artists in town right away. One of the artists I met and befriended is an artist named Harold O'Connor. Mr. O'Connor is a world-class goldsmith and an artist I admire greatly.

What I discovered about running an art gallery is that the business of running a gallery takes away time and energy needed to be an artist. So as my gallery became successful, my art got pushed aside. I got to the point where all I seemed to manage were little drawings that I could do in between people coming in, hanging shows and organizing openings. Those little drawings were often tiny - the size of a postage stamp. I began gluing them to card stock and selling them as original art cards. Harold came in one day and bought a stack of them and said "these would make great pins!" Of course I loved the idea that my little tiny drawings might one day become pins, but I did kind of think, deep down, that Harold was just being nice to me because I had shared half of my sandwich with him.

Turn the clock forward and now it's 2013. The phone rings and who is it but my friend Harold O'Connor. "I'm sending you something." ?? What could it be? Well, about a week or so later I got an envelope full of little brochures showing off my drawings alongside PINS Harold made based on those drawings!!! How cool is that?!?

A few of the drawings:

The amazing pins Harold created using my teeny drawings:

My drawings look so much better, transformed as Harold O'Connor jewelry.

In other news, I will be tending the gallery this weekend at JTAG. If you find yourself in downtown Joshua Tree, stop in to say "hello." I will be there on Friday  for a sneak preview from 4 to 7 pm, Saturday from 10 to 3 pm, the opening is from 5 to 8 pm, and then I will be there again Sunday from noon to 3.

The exhibit "Real and Imagined" continues to do well at the Metro Galleries in Bakersfield, CA. The show is up until the end of May.