Coming Soon….

A while back I think I mentioned a big box of statues that would be coming my way. A long, long time supporter and former rescue legend has been slowly decluttering her home. She sold a few pieces but mostly sent a bunch my direction with the express purpose of using them for rescue fundraising. If they fare better in transit from Texas to California than the box that came from Green Acres Boxer Rescue last year, then we are flush in boxer pieces for rescue events! Which is very exciting and means I will be plenty busy soon.

When the box arrives I’m hoping to do an unboxing video on our social media so you guys can enjoy the excitement of seeing all the new pieces. And from there it will just be one dog at a time, one rescue in need at a time. With the craziness of my person life currently Im going to avoid a calendar system and just try to be more present in my work. Paint artwork with more focus on joy and passion and less on deadlines and stress that pile on myself.

Stay tuned!

Muddy Boxers Drop

Getting these five muddy boxers in the tub added to the Etsy shop this morning. Between vet bills, my car finally giving out and needing to be replaced and my sons needs, I will have to get ‘back to work’.

I’m very lucky and fortunate to have had this time away briefly for family. But it’s now clear I need to get back to creating to contribute to the bills. So enjoy all the new boxer artwork coming soon.

And the rescue pieces will start again soon as well. I’m waiting on a package containing a whole slew of boxer figurines to see what I have to work with.

My Favorite Painting

I’ve been trying to find inspiration for the last couple weeks to paint. By that I mean paint for enjoyment. I just haven’t had the desire to do it, much less anything else. Between Management’s health and stressing out over everything to do with the Intern (autism, early intervention programs, money to pay for programs, am I doing this all right, challenges like potty training and hair cutting, etc), I can’t bring myself to do anything for myself except shower and sleep.

So there I was with some time to myself. My son was napping. And Management was curled up on the couch, farting the most horrible farts far beyond any expectations of a seasoned boxer owner. I sit down beside her laughing and petting her exposed belly, telling her I still love her despite having to crack open a window. I just sat there with her enjoying the moment. Noticing my favorite painting of all time.

It’s by Winslow Homer. And I have a nice little replica canvas version above my fireplace. I first saw it in elementary school. It was in a textbook that I don’t remember the subject or any other details. Just that I knew instantly that I loved the painting.

I loved the sharks. I loved the look of the man on the damaged boat and I loved the ominous weather in the horizon. When I got to high school and took an official art class, I tried to paint it in watercolor from memory. Didn’t come out anywhere close. But it inspired me to find the painting again.

After some time, as this was pre internet days mind you, I figured out the artist and looked up his other work. It didn’t wow me. Not like the first time I found a book of Kandinsky. Don’t get me wrong, there are some other Winslow Homer paintings I enjoy. But he isn’t my favorite painter by a long shot.

Flash forward to 2015. I’m in New York City at Comic Con for the first time displaying my work. The city is just brimming with art, galleries, graffiti etc. I’m on an art high so to speak. I find time to squeeze in a trip to the MET. I’m going through it rather quickly I’ll admit. Not a lot of time and I’m trying to just see everything. When all of sudden, I turn a corner and there it is: The Gulf Stream, in all it’s glory. It’s huge in person. I mean the scope just blows you away if all you’ve ever known was what you saw in a book.

I can still recall that feeling. Just being awe struck, standing in front of it, all alone because everyone is blowing past me to get to a Van Gogh or Monet or Degas….

And when I think of that moment and just try to really embrace that feeling, I can feel myself wanting to paint. It makes me wonder if I’ll ever create something like that. You hope to touch people with your work. To maybe inspire someone to become an artist themselves. But…. even if it’s just one artist, will I ever create something that inspires someone to keep creating art.

Management & MMM

It has been over a week now since Management was diagnosed with MMM. What is masticatory myositis? Masticatory muscle myositis (MMM) isย an immune system disorder in which the dog’s immune system identifies the dog’s own muscle tissue as foreign and attacks it. The masticatory muscles are the muscles involved with chewing. MMM causes these muscles to become swollen and painful.

Prior to this, we were under the impression she had Degenerative Myelopathy. She had all the signs we previously saw in our first boxer, Buck. And the vet initially agreed. Now while DM sucks, there was a couple good things about it for us. One, we were experienced with how to take care of a DM dog. So we had all the equipment and knowledge to feel confident in giving the best care. Two, DM is not painful to the dog. So this diagnosis was a bit of a shock. And now after reading as much I can get my hands on in this short amount of time, our main concern is making sure Kona is not in any pain.

She has taken her first round of high dose steroids, which slows the progression of the disease. We haven’t seen a difference in her ability to move or anything. She still very much needs a harness to take her outside. She is on antibiotics for a bad eye and mouth infection. Her mouth has always been something we had to keep a watch on because she has only a few teeth. And that lends the mouth to being susceptible to infection. But we notice that antibiotics seem to wipe her out a bit. So we are waiting a few more days till she is off those to really try and gauge how she is really feeling. No signs of pain but again we are keeping a close eye.

I’ve been reaching out to people on social media in our dog follower community, talking to people with experience with MMM to get tips and help. In short, we are scrambling a bit to catch up with all this but the priority is Kona’s health and happiness. We do not want her to be in pain or suffer. She is very much being spoiled and treated like the little princess she is. And hoping we can get some more time in with her and manage this new disease with steroids.

Custom Options In the Shop

Between my shed flooding, my car not starting and needing another one and the early interventions for my son’s autism I really can’t afford to be on a break anymore. I’m not complaining by any means. I know things can be much worse and I’m grateful for the life I lead. But that said, I have opened up the shop again. You’ll notice a lot of artwork gone unfortunately but the custom options are open. And commissions are open again for those that don’t see exactly what they are looking for.

For those looking for Mother’s day gifts, customs are going to take 4-8 weeks at this time because of everything else on my plate. So please let me know if you need something by a specific date asap.

I’ll be posting some one off items as the week goes. And custom paintings will be an option in the shop soon. But if you want one now just message to talk details. link to the shop in the comments

You can message me on social media or just email me at acp@5149andahalfart.com

Custom Painting Option

Custom painting option on wood flats: I have three of option 1, five in option 2 and two in option 3. For custom boxer painting in either rainbow style (example pictured) or authentic style (example like your dog). $85 each includes shipping. If you need it by mother’s day please message. Any other breed besides boxer message. To purchase message or comment. Payment will be either PayPal or Venmo. Or email me at acp@5149andahalfart.com

The Shed Update etc

If you follow us on Facebook you heard our art shed flooded after all the rain here in California and we had damage/mold. We have found the source of how the water got in. Dried everything out. Took care of the mold. In terms of loss, it could have been worse (I keep reminding myself). Most of the damage was to older paintings/canvas, some shipping supplies like big cardboard boxes for shipping large paintings, and things like backer board etc for watercolors. None of the boxer statues for fundraising were effected. And the designer toys, dragons, sculptures are all good.

So the next steps for me are doing some modifications on the outside of the shed to prevent this from happening again in the future. I also have to go through the Etsy shop and remove the paintings that were lost. So the shop will remain closed a while longer.

When the shop re-opens, we will have the option of ordering custom wood boxes. People keep offering donations or go fund me pages, and while I very much appreciate the offer, I cannot accept money like that. I prefer offering up custom boxes for sale to maybe recoup some of the loss. I know the boxes are popular so hopefully we can get everyone who has been messaging about them an opportunity to snag one. I will announce the shop re opening date after this weekend for sure, but look more towards May.

During the clean out, I did find a bunch of cool things I had forgotten about. Including a couple of really big boxer statues I am going to paint up for our rescue auction in September.

But….if you can’t wait till September, our dear friend Sharon is looking to auction off some of her vintage boxer statue collection. We’ll be doing this on the 5149 & 1/2 Art Facebook page and part of the money raised will go to rescue (we are still figuring out which rescue). But for now, stay tuned and we’ll announce the details on social media as soon as we have them nailed down. She has a vast collection of boxers as you can see from the picture below.

Management has been enjoying the last few weeks of sunshine. And this weekend we are celebrating the Intern turning 4. So she will be sitting poolside getting pets from tons of kids and trying to scrounge for food ๐Ÿ˜‰ I will post pictures from the party here for those that love seeing our favorite boss dog ๐Ÿพ.

The Autism Journey

It took some time between my son being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder last august, and finally telling people personally and professionally about it this past week. I was trying to figure out why I was so hesitant to say anything. I knew a large part had to do with people saying stupid stuff. I already had plenty of that in the handful of people I did share with. I also knew when I got the diagnosis that my only experience with autism had been through my previous job as a 911 dispatcher. Here I was recalling all these frantic calls from parents with children who were aggressive or having these epic meltdowns. So even I had no clue what exactly ASD meant initially.

So I’ve spent a long time reading everything I could get my hands on. Taking every online course. Watching movies, tv, etc that had any mention of the spectrum. Talking to anyone I knew or met that had children on the spectrum. You name it. Just trying to educate myself as quickly as possible so I could be the best help to my son. But there I was still kinda avoiding telling people.

Was it feeling like a failure as a mom? That seemed to be something I felt since the day he was born honestly (why is it so hard to breastfeed, why isn’t he sleeping through the night, how does everyone else look so put together and I feel like its totally obvious I have no idea what I am doing).

Was it worry that my husbands anti vax family would blame me because I vaccinated my kid and now he has autism? I definitely thought that if anyone said anything like that it would result in me being charged with assault and battery lol but it wasn’t what was holding me back from sharing…

It finally hit me after watching the show “Love on the Spectrum” and reading a book written by someone on the spectrum what was really going on for me.

Now when my son got diagnosed, he was non verbal. And he had an obsession with balls (throwing them at objects in the room like ceiling fans, bouncing them in place, or hoarding them). After the 3+ hr assessment, the doctor told me he was 99% sure my son was on the spectrum. But…he wanted to stress that my son was very “high functioning” and was level 1 (needing the least amount of assistance). That with the right interventions done soon enough (he kept stressing I had until my son was 5 before things would be more ‘permanent’) that I could ‘reverse’ and make him as close to neurotypical as possible. Get him talking and he could pass as your everyday average kid.

And that was the strategy. We started with speech therapy twice a week. Which I will say has had the greatest impact as my son now communicates pretty good and is only getting better with each visit. Then I got him into ABA because that was what my health insurance covered. That quickly became a waste of time. I could go into detail on that later.

So I started out of pocket Occupational therapy which has been expensive but well worth it. He gets to go to a sensory gym and work with a fantastic staff that has a very detailed plan for his needs.

Like I said earlier, from the moment he got diagnosed I’m reading everything I can get my hands on. But what I failed to do from the get go, was read a book by a person on the spectrum. I kept reading books by doctors who studied ASD. And I’m not saying those books weren’t helpful but it wasn’t until I started to actually read and listen to people on the spectrum talk about what it is like being on the spectrum that it hit me. The initial approach from the Doctor who assessed him and how we were going into intervention programs was trying to get him to be more like neurotypical kids.

He’s never going to be like neurotypical kids. There is no cure for autism. No matter how much ABA I do he will only ever learn how to mask or pass at best. Why in the world would I want him to try and blend in and pass? I realized what I needed to do was learn how his brain worked, how things were different for him so I could help teach him and better engage with him. I needed to see that there is nothing wrong with my son that needed to be fix or corrected. He’s just different. And that’s ok.

He is an amazing kid. He is always laughing and smiling. He has a compassion for animals, especially dogs. He is very detail oriented and his memory skills are incredible. He is just full of personality and surprises. I love every moment I get to spend with him.

This is why I am finally able to share with people about my son’s diagnosis (and why I am on hiatus from doing artwork full time).

I had to change my thinking about what having autism actually means. And I guess I had to stop thinking about my damn self too if I’m being completely honest. This journey as a mom (in general not just to a child on the spectrum) has been a rollercoaster. I just hope I keep learning from my mistakes and I promise to always strive to be the best mother to my son that I can possibly be.

If you’re reading this and you are a parent of a child on the spectrum or on the spectrum yourself, feel free to reach out via our social media pages to connect and share some wisdom for me. On a side note, Management is slowing down herself but doing well overall. And we hope to be sharing some works in progress for Buckner’s Extravaganza in September soon.

Management chillin

Back To Hiatus

The shop update on March 1st was a huge success! I sold out of almost everything new save for the Penguin Love painting and Springtime Dragons. This littler financial boost will allow me to go back to hiatus stress free. Most people don’t know but my son was diagnosed with ASD last year. I’ve spent all my time trying to learn as much as I can about autism and sensory processing disorder so as to better help him with all the early intervention. He’s made huge progress in communication thanks to speech therapy and I want to continue this sense of momentum and success.

So no plans for work at all the next couple months at least. And rescue fundraising will be a case by case basis until the big event in September. I appreciate all the support and purchases these last couple weeks that allow me to step away from work to focus on momming both my son and our frosty face senior, Kona.