diversify to survive

Lately I’ve really diversified, from painting pet portraits, to colored pencil princesses, from mandala saws, to a racer resume, I’ve done what I’ve needed to get by.

It’s been 10 days since I last posted a blog post. Not exactly on schedule, I know, but I’ve been up to a few different things. In the last four days, here’s what I’ve completed (click the image to view larger):

I feel like in the last week I have finally decided to take this full time art career a little bit more seriously. For three days in a row I just sat down and painted for 10+ hrs, averaging about $6 an hour. I know that doesn’t seem like much, but I am happy and able to cover all of my bills.

I finished a couple projects and have started to tackle a few more that I have put off for months, even YEARS. In the process I have damaged my reputation as reliable, trustworthy, and as a professional. I have sabotaged myself and my company. I fell into a hole that I thought that I could never return from… until now.

Even though it’s painful, even though it’s hard, and even though my pit of despair seems endlessly deep, I am slowly beginning to climb my way out of the hole I have created.

  • Every piece I create, I creep out of the hole a little bit more.

  • Every piece I create, I have the chance to build on my experience.

  • Every piece I create, I have the opportunity to rebuild a reputation that I have destroyed.

  • Every piece I create, brings me a greater peace of mind.

  • Every piece I create, reduces the stress in my life.

  • Every piece I create, adds a little more color to a world of gray

For the first time in a long time, I finally see how I can make it as an artist. It’s required some sacrifices, a big one was downsizing my financial responsibilities, but it’s so worth it. At the end of the day I am my own boss, and I am doing work that satisfies my soul.

So stay tuned folks, I’m on a roll and I am going to do everything in my power to keep the ball rolling and create some amazing pieces of artwork.

I am grateful for:

  • My friends who have stood by my side

  • Patience from my very understanding clients

  • Oliver and our exciting future (just going to Thanksgiving in SF)

  • Inspiration and motivation

  • My furkids (Nike, Floyd, Lou, Phin, Salt, Trix, and Sid)

I updated the shop with a few new items. Click here to check them out!

crazy cat lady

Cat Mandala.jpg

I know that I am well on my way to becoming a crazy cat lady because I am writing this post just to share photos of my cat with you.

I even painted a mandala saw that was inspired by her to have a way to tie this all together. Maybe I’ve lost my mind a slight bit, or I just love my kitten an obsessive amount. I’ll leave it to you to decide.

shelter cat.JPG

Our journey together started when my previous landlord and ex-roommate (the one who threatened to take me to court which you can read that story here), told me that I needed to get a cat to help handle the mouse infestation in the house. So I contacted our local any animal shelter to see what cats they had available. Turns out, they had more than three dozen cats and kittens up for adoption.

There were sooo many to choose from, but I have to say I have a soft spot for orange colored kittens. Although shy at first, this orange kitten crawled on my lap and started licking me. My heart melted instantly. Then when I found out that the kitten was a female it sealed the deal.

FUN FACT: Only about 20% of orange cats are female. This is due to the recessive color gene only being carried on the X chromosome. Since males only have one X chromosome, they only have to have one recessive gene. For a female cat to be orange, they have to have two recessive genes prevalent on both chromosomes. If one chromosome carries a recessive orange gene, but the other carries a different dominate/recessive gene then the female cat will be a calico. No males can be calico because they do not have two X chromosomes to compete against one another (except for in extremely rare cases of an XXY male).

little lioness.JPG

Before bringing her home, I had to wait a week for her spay date. One of the hardest weeks of my life! I was so excited. The day after her operation, the little lioness graced her new home.

I named her Nike, after the greek goddess of strength, speed, and victory. All requirements for the perfect mouse killing huntress. (Unfortunate timing because it was right around the time Kaepernick became the new face of Nike.)

After a few days of recovering and adapting, her personality blossomed. Rapidly she became my little side kick. When I would come home after work, she’d run out and greet me. Even joining me when I went to the restroom, sitting in my lap, excitedly purring and drooling while I was relieving myself.

Soon she took to sitting on my head, and just trying to be as close to me any possible way. It’s been extremely endearing, and the fact that I’ve returned such cuddly affections (definitely not sitting on her head) is probably why I’ve become sooo obsessed with her.

Cat on head.jpg

How can you not love this face?

Lovely kitten.jpg

Anytime that I am home, Nike is generally within seven feet of me if she’s not directly laying on me in some fashion. As I am writing this, she is laying directly on my lap between me and my computer, contently purring with her eyes closed. I believe she is more attached to me than either of my dogs put together. On the flip side, her largest, most persistent admirer is our dog Floyd as he is COMPLETELY twitter-pated by her.

Frequently my roommate and I, impersonate Floyd when we see him just sitting, and starring at the cat, “Cat, what doing? Cat? Why do that? Cat? CAATTTT. Cat, what doing?” At first Nike was hesitant of Floyd’s intimacy and intrigue. Now, she teases him, swats him on the nose, and just finds ways to play with him. (That sounded a little dirty, but I promise it’s all innocent and consensual….) They’ve become the best of friends and follow each other all around the house, and curiously check out new fascinations side-by-side.

cat and dog
cat hanging out.jpg
“CAAAT, why you doing that?”

“CAAAT, why you doing that?”

Then Floyd tried to take their relationship to the next level…

cat meme

I’ve left it up to you to decide, if I’ve lost my mind, or I’m completely obsessed. Either way, I am a crazy cat lady. How could I not be with the frequent entertainment and cuteness that Nike provides?

I am grateful for:

  • Nike, clearly

  • Floyd, for his undying affection and curiosity of cats

  • Oliver, for being so understanding of my love of my cat

  • The ability to find inspirations

  • And you reading this, thank you!

I hope that you enjoyed this post and the photos I shared of Nike! Check out what’s currently available in my shop, click here. If you’re thinking about Christmas gifts and would like me to custom paint a saw for you, please email me! howdy@fearlisart.com

cat puzzle

plow disc #tt

Old rusty plow disc, upcycled into high-end art.

plow disc
old plow disc.JPG

This plow disc has traveled from the farmland in Florida, to my studio in Wyoming, and finally found peace in Iowa. I don’t know how many states its traveled in, but I’m sure its more than most Americans*.

*I just looked up the average number of states an American has visited… it’s 12. I then counted the path of travel for this plow and it has traveled to 13 total states that I know of. Very impressive plow disc, very impressive.

I first found this disc at a flea market in Florida while visiting my mother and grandparents for Thanksgiving last year. While I was there, I managed to capture this photograph of a Monarch Butterfly, which one day I will paint. ;)

monarch butterfly.jpg

Then I left the plow disc with my grandparents to drive home with, as I had to take a flight and could not pack it in my carry-on nor afford to ship it back to Wyoming. On their journey to Wyoming in the Spring, they first stopped to visit my aunt and uncle in Minnesota before continuing on.

By the time I received it, I still had no idea what I was going to make of this insanely heavy monstrosity of a piece. Also, I was slightly intimidated by the amount of prevalent rust.

I loaded it in the back of my truck and it remained there… for 5 more months. Between the rain and snow the disc encountered, I’m sure my rust problem didn’t improve.

Then, out of the blue, my sister called me, commissioning me to create a unique piece of artwork for her new apartment. Instantly I thought of the old rusty plow disc, rusting away in the bed of my pickup. We then coordinated which way it would face (flower or boob pose I believe were my references), and color schemes.

This whole transaction took place at the beginning of August. Fast forward two months, now October, and my sister is in town to visit and wants to pick up her plow disc… which being the proficient procrastinator that I am, is not done. As I was frantically putting together mandala clocks, and log slices to mount them on, I had put it on the back burner.

Finally, the day after my show, and also the day before my sister left, I sat down and went to work. Thankfully I had my cat, Nike, by my side throughout the entire 10 hour process.

mandala disc
cat supervisor

By the time our family dinner rolled around, I had completed one of the most amazing pieces I have ever created. I am so excited to have created this masterpiece, and that it found a home in the family.

Now with an original hanging in Iowa, I have artwork hanging in 22 out of 50 states. Check out the map here. If you live in a state that I haven’t reached yet, I am offering a 10% discount and free shipping on your order.

If you’re reading this, thank you for your support and curiosity. I really appreciate you!

I am grateful for:

  • Oliver, for finally being the one to come see me

  • Nike, for all of her wonderful company during my projects. I’m sure that the plow disc has a hair or two of Nike’s embedded in it.

  • My friends and family, I couldn’t do what I do without their love and support

  • Matcha tea, I need you in my body

  • The art of Yoga, for helping me heal

mandala disc


Tonight I attempted a yoga class for the first time in years, and it was very revealing. Both past and ongoing injuries became present this evening.

cracked ribs.jpg

On June 29th this summer, I took a fall off of a horse I was training, which resulted in one cracked rib, one fractured rib, and several torn muscles in my back and shoulder.

It was the worse pain that I have ever endured. Breathing, eating, farting, being human and heaven forbid sneezing, brought tears to my eyes. Everything became a struggle. I couldn’t sleep, it hurt to eat. I waited five days before having this x-ray taken. The only reason why I ultimately went to the doctor was to get some stronger pain medication so I could function. Diagnosis was three months for the ribs to heal and six months for the muscles to recover.

As of right now, I have healed for three and a half of those six months. Breathing has become easier, but my muscles are still sore and weak. Recently I have been trying to gain some strength back as I am prepping to take over as Director of Ski School at White Pine Ski Resort.

While in my yoga class tonight, I was very aware of the injury I sustained this summer, but what I wasn’t aware of was the two times I broke my wrist and my previously torn bicep.


I was enlightened to the realization that I still have not healed from wounds and traumas of my past.   

These mandalas have taken me on quite the journey of self assessment, and have allowed me to explore a path of healing my emotional and physical pains. I am going to continue to see where I go, and continue to pursue yoga. 

It is time for me to heal all injuries, past and present, emotional and physical.

I am grateful for: 

  • Oliver, and his dedication to learning

  • Epic Wellness for having the most amazing instructor, Tillie

  • My horses who continue to inspire me

  • My ability to breathe, previously I took that for granted

  • Nike, for she always knows how to put a smile on my face

To see the miles stones along the path to my healing, click here.