Monday, December 21, 2009

Costa Rica Crasher Squirrel

I had a little fun with our Christmas card this year. I painted a "Crasher Squirrel" and photoshopped it on a picture of us. Does anyone remember the people and their Squirrel photo from earlier this year? It was all over the internet and TV. I thought it was a hoot! While on vacation the "Crasher" couple set up a tripod by the lake. They got into position and smiled. And just as the camera snaps the picture a squirrel steals the show. He didn't smile and wave like my squirrel though. The photo I chose is at Volcan Arenal in Costa Rica. If it wasn't for the clouds you'd see a classic cone shaped Volcano behind us. And it's active. You can see and hear rocks tumbling down the side. At night the crowds are dazzled by the red hot lava flow. This will be my last post of 2009. And will mark a full year of blogging. Look for my first giveaway to start off 2010. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year blogging friends!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Akua On Tuesday

I left the kitchen while making dinner the other night. Boy was I surprised to find Akua on the water pitcher when I returned. The cute-o-meter was turned way up. So I had to get the camera right away. I guess he was one thirsty kitty! For more kitty action visit

Friday, December 11, 2009

Have A Meow Meow Christmas!

I painted this illustration in November for a holiday card contest. My last minute entry didn't win. But I recieved 48 votes in less than 2 days thanks to my friends and fellow MNSCBWI members. I should be sending it out as my Christmas card. Maybe next year. I definately think it's a hoot. In fact my cat Akua has already climbed the tree this year. Hana and Akua are still full of youthful shenanigans. In March they will turn two. I wonder if they'll calm down a bit? NOT!

Monday, December 7, 2009

This Old House

This old house definately is not my house. I wonder who lives here? If walls could talk they might say...An honorable group of bats pay top dollar for the attic space. Unfortunately a freeloading family of squirrels noticed the bat's nightly migration. Now the freeloaders sneak in every night rent free. A squeaky clean family of mice have rented out the interior. Meanwhile a posse of masked bandits have taken over the kitchen. They are able to do what ever they want since they are the only animals capable of carrying a gun. (with their opposable thumbs) The basement has been completely taken over by spiders. Can you imagine the nerve it would take to build a house on someone else's property? Well, spiders do it all the time with their webs. And then there are the centipedes. They are under the impression they can out run the landlord. Have you ever seen one streak by at night? And speaking of things that go bump in the night. Try collecting rent from a ghost sometime. No wonder this place needs a coat of paint.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Instructions: House, Napkins Included.

My friend Nina and I did an exchange of goods and services. I made her enough napkins to make it to laundry day and she illustrated my house. If you click to enlarge you can see two naughty little kitties sitting in the window. My house never looked so cute. Thanks Nina! You can check out her blog at The fabric in the next photo was for Nina's napkins. And the next two pictures show one of my napkins and some placemats I made. I included the placemats because lets face it. Napkins are boring! I made a basket full out of old fabric. So instead of using (and throwing away) a paper napkin at each meal. You have a cloth one. Cloth napkins are not exactly a new idea. But making them the size of a regular napkin might be...who knows. I'll let you in on another little secret. The napkin in the photo has never been used. It is strictly for photo shoots...or maybe company.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Quetzal for Christmas

It's time to put up the Christmas tree. And it's time for a new blog post. So I put the two together and came up with last year's new ornament. Plus it's the only thing I've created that even comes close to resembling a turkey. I've painted a new ornament for every year that my husband and I have celebrated Christmas together. Last year was Christmas 13. And it was the year of the Quetzal. A nod to our upcoming Costa Rica trip. I also posted some peeping tom shots of the real thing. The pictures were taken through a scope in Costa Rica's Cloud Forest. The elusive Quetzal is a beautiful bird. The males have a long tail of feathers that trails behind them in flight. But we were just happy to see one sitting in a tree.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Talking Turkey

The President didn't pardon these two turkeys. But he did decide to hide them in a top secret location at Fort Snelling. As the official White House turkey photographer I was granted clearance to take these photos. It's a fairly new position. And I'm usually assigned in the midwest because of the large turkey population here. But like every American I do dare to dream. I've been told by a big wig mucky muck in Washington that if I do a really good job with the turkeys, I might be assigned to bald eagles. So by next Thanksgiving some other clown might be taking turkey photos. Keep your fingers crossed. My fingers are crossed right now. But I'm telling the truth...Honest!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I was going to post some great deer photos I've taken over the Summer and Fall. Then I realized I actually have photos of all the creatures I painted in Dean's Wildlife from last weekend. And as most of you probably know I always relate my art and photos in some way. The first photo is of my cat Baby. She is bossing God around as we speak. The Blue jeans frog was taken on a night hike at Tirimbina, Costa Rica. Do you see his blue jeans? The pheasant photo was taken near Hixton, Wisconsin. The elegant fawn was captured in someone's front yard in Hatfield, Wisconsin. The Owl moth was discovered at Pasado Andrea Cristina in Costa Rica. And lastly the baby bunny was found bouncing around our backyard. For more Cats On Tuesdays visit Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Original Akua Nani at Inn Paradise

When we found our new cats at the Humane Society almost 2 years ago we had Hawaiian names already picked out. Hana, a beautiful town on the island of Maui was our first pick. And our 2nd pick was Acua. Acua was a sweet and friendly cat that belonged to Major and Connie, the owners of Inn Paradise on the island of Kauai. We loved our stay at Inn Paradise. My favorite memory was simply making breakfast and eating it on the lanai. A good breakfast would always include Papaya and soaking up the peaceful scenery of Major's backyard. If you look closely at the photo you'll see wild pigs at play. But years later when we named our cat Acua, we weren't sure if we were spelling it right. And we always wondered what Acua meant in Hawaiian. So we emailed Major this week and he got back to us right away. It turns out we've been spelling it wrong. Here is what Major said. "Akua Nani (Beautiful Spirit) is her name. Akua means God, Goddess, Spirit, image, supernatural. So it is how it is used in a sentence that the meaning is determined. Nani means beauty, beautiful. Ho'Nani means to beautify" Thanks Major! But Goddess? I think I might owe my Tomcat an apology. But I'm certainly not changing such a beautiful name! For more Cats On Tuesday visit

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Not My Mug!

This is my new facebook profile picture. Do you see the resemblence? You said NO right? I had alot of fun painting this mug shot cat last week. I looked at some mug shots online for reference. Carlos Gambino was one of only a few that had the police numbers hanging from his neck. And Anna Nicole Smith was holding a similar device. Most of the current mug shot victims were simply standing in front of a cement block wall. Some looked like they were standing in front of a blue screen. I added the web address on the top as a joke. Now if I can just get paid to have so much fun with a paint brush! If there really was a Bad Cat Police Department, my cats would have been hauled off a long time ago. They would be living off the classic farm diet of cheap dog food and milk. Their nip would be confiscated. And free petting would be a thing of the past. They might get paroled early for looking darn cute. Actually now that I think about it they already got paroled from kitty jail...the Humane Society!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What are you doing in there?

This is what I deal with everyday. After being in my studio for awhile the crying begins. Feed with me...take a nap with me...FEED ME! And if you look under the door you're really in trouble. Two cute as a button faces giving you a guilt trip. Did I mention the bathroom door has a big gap underneath as well? Don't be surprised to discover a pink nose peaking in the shadows and asking, "What are you doing in there?" It's Cats On Tuesdays at

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cat on a Curved Staircase

I've done several of these staircase paintings. And they were my most successful as far as the $$$$ is concerned. They've all had the same stucco texture. And the blue and orange color scheme. Be sure to click to enlarge for more detail. But this one is a little more whimsical. Instead of the cow skull that found it's way into around 4 of them. Surprise...I added cats! My next one will be cat free. I mean I think I might be getting a reputation as a cat woman. I need to be very, very serious with the next one. And go back to my cow skulls. Bad cats. But wait...what did you say? You say you want to pay me lots of money to paint another one with 3 cats. I'll get started right away!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Stone Barn in Nelson Wisconsin

Can you believe that this farm is the location of one of my favorite restaurants? It's called the Stone Barn. The actual restaurant is built inside the remains of a barn dating back to 1896. And it's on a farm resting in the beautiful Mississippi River valley. An absolute favorite area of mine. The brochere for the restaurant states that the area is known as, "Norwegian Valley" I guess because of all the Norwegian settlers. I'm part Norwegian. Unfortunately my ancestors did not settle here. If they did I could eat this yummy pizza all Summer! It's closed for the season now. But I'll be back!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

God Blesses All Creatures

This illustration is featured in the October issue of It depicts the poem, "God Blesses all Creatures" Every animal I painted was in the poem. Except for the cow and the worm. I couldn't believe the writer did not put a worm into the poem. I mean no farm is complete without worms, right? That may be true but I'm joking of course. In other news I did not make the finals in the Holiday card contest. But my last minute entry received 48 votes in less than 2 days. Thanks to my friends and fellow CBIG and SCBWI members. You can still see my card if you go to Then go to view all humor entries. Thanks again to everyone who voted!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bats in Costa Rica

We spotted these bats inside a rotted tree at Cabo Blanco nature preserve. This was a hike we took on our last full day in Montezuma. And it was completely grueling. But upon consulting my diary, this is what we saw...bats, coati, deer, little guys (geckos) howler monkeys, many species of butterflies (like the big blue one) some kind of green spinner dragonfly, a black headed trogan, long tailed manakin, bare throated tiger hevar (whatever that is) a toucan and some unidentified ground birds. Whew! It was fun to see and hear all these jungle creatures. But what wasn't so fun was the actual hike. In fact we didn't even make it to the end. Which was (supposeably) a beautiful beach. But we did make it to dinner and some well deserved tropical drinks!

P.S. You could all do me a big favor by going to by October 30. Then click on the Holiday card contest/ Humor category, then view and vote/humor category, finally vote for sharonrwagner. That's my, "Have a Meow Meow Christmas" Thanks blogging friends!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Bats and Cats

I haven't run out of Halloween stuff yet. These 3 kitties were painted during my art fair days. And the bats are painted on the matt, so that the kitties are looking up at them. I feel like if I'm not careful I will only be identified as a cat artist. But Halloween and cats go hand in hand. I sold 2 paintings just like these to a guy at Edina's Fall into the Arts Festival. He said his wife would love them and would want both. Of course I was thrilled. It's always fun to make a sale. But unfortunately most of the time you're sitting around not selling. The good old days!