Connections: An Unexpected Treasure (With Frosting)


Well, I’m learning to play well with others….

Originally posted on vsomethingspeaks:

I am so happy to have Anne Belov of The Panda Chronicles and the recently released picture book Pandamorphosis as a guest blogger. Last week I talked about my love of pandas and Anne is one of the wonderful people I met on this journey! We are also collaborating on a book together :)

I’ll let Anne introduce herself and talk a bit about her work and our upcoming project!!


Connections: An Unexpected Treasure (With Frosting)

Generally speaking, I’m not known for playing well with others.

At least, not in my creative pursuits. I spent my art school years learning to be a painter, and as everyone knows, painters paint alone in their garret, living an isolated, tortured existence. Cutting off your ear is considered optional.

But then a funny thing happened a few years back: pandas entered my life and I became…um…obsessed with them. (For more about that…

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A Personality Of Pandas


Huzzah! please read this marvelous post my my compatriot in pandamonium, and co-author of the upcoming as soon-as-we-can-get-to-it collaboration, The Panda Chronicles Cuppycake Cookbook: Favorite recipes of the Panda Kindergarten.

Originally posted on vsomethingspeaks:

1988 was a pivotal year for me; I started university, met my long term partner Paul and the Giant Pandas Fei Fei and Xiao Xiao toured Australia. We went to see them at Melbourne Zoo because they are Paul’s favourite animal. The one stuffed toy that Paul has kept since childhood is a bedraggled panda. He has always loved this very special black and white bear. I would also come to love them but in a most unusual way.

panda ball

panda ball

Into The Darkness
2000 was another pivotal year for me. I graduated from university and promptly caught a flu that would plague me for years and would almost destroy my mind, body and soul. After years of antibiotics and no respite from the flu I contracted Post Viral Syndrome – PVS (a form of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). Not much is known about PVS, in fact doctors didn’t diagnose me…

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Wait, is it summer already?

Every year I think, this summer I’ll take a little time off, I won’t plan a whole bunch of work related stuff, like art shows or Kickstarter campaigns that mean I’ll be working, working, working during the most beautiful time of the year on Whidbey Island.


I’m busy getting ready for a exhibition of my paintings at The Rob Schouten Gallery, and feverishly gearing up for this year’s Froggwell Biennale extravaganza.

I’m very pleased to say, that I just sent the last package of rewards for my Kickstarter campaign, to fund publication of Pandamorphosis. Wow!

Pandamorphosis, my (first) wordless picture book!

Pandamorphosis, my (first) wordless picture book!

Thanks to the excellent work of my editorial and production team, Beth Bacon and Kate Burkett, we finished work in record time, and produced a book I’m really proud of.  We are still working on ebook versions, which we hope to have done later this year.

Meanwhile, I’m a little…um…behind on my painting projects, so as we roll into July, (with 84 degrees and blue sunny skies today!!!) I am still tethered to my easel.  Is it worth it?

"Radiance" // Oil on Linen on shaped panel// Anne Belov (c) 2014

“Radiance” // Oil on Linen on shaped panel// Anne Belov (c) 2014

Yeah, I think so too.

There’s more happening over on The Panda Chronicles! Inspector Panda returns to his new adventure tomorrow with another installment (there will be an art history quiz, so get ready!)

See you soon.

Ever Wished That Calvin and Hobbes Creator Bill Watterson Would Return to the Comics Page? Well, He Just Did.


Not only would I set my hair on fire, I would also rip my own liver out with my teeth. You rock, Mr. Pastis. (We already know that Bill Watterson does.)

Originally posted on Pearls Before Swine:

Bill Watterson is the Bigfoot of cartooning.

He is legendary. He is reclusive. And like Bigfoot, there is really only one photo of him in existence. 

Few in the cartooning world have ever spoken to him. Even fewer have ever met him.

In fact, legend has it that when Steven Spielberg called to see if he wanted to make a movie, Bill wouldn’t even take the call.

So it was with little hope of success that I set out to try and meet him last April.

I was traveling through Cleveland on a book tour, and I knew that he lived somewhere in the area. I also knew that he was working with Washington Post cartoonist Nick Galifianakis on a book about Cul de Sac cartoonist Richard Thompson’s art.

So I took a shot and wrote to Nick. And Nick in turn wrote to Watterson.

And the meeting…

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The End of a Perfect Day

I drove toward Langley with the windows down and the music blaring. 70 degree days are rare in a Pacific Northwest spring day, and even rarer in April. I’d gotten some work done, so I felt good about taking the evening off.

No, wait that’s not right… let me start again.

I spent the evening in a room with over 200 people, gathered for a common purpose.

Hmmm, sounds like a school board meeting.

One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer Oil on panel A. Belov //All rights reserved

One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer
Oil on panel
A. Belov //All rights reserved

Pouring rain would have been more appropriate than this cloudless blue sky. We 200+ people gathered to say goodbye to our friend Jude, who less than one month ago lost her battle with lung cancer.

Everyone knows the old stereotype that at your funeral, no one will say a bad word about you.  That was certainly the case tonight.  The difference is, that everyone was right about Jude.  She was good, 110%. Those of you with long term friendships know that sometimes you think your friends are jerks, and that they annoy the hell out of you.  Never in the 20+ years that I knew Jude, did I ever wish she was one bit different.  We, her friends, more than likely gave her plenty to complain about, but she rarely (if ever) did. As I listened to friends, family members, and her co-workers from the Everett Clinic say goodbye to her, and read us their remembrances, something became very clear:

She had this effect on every one of us.  She was smart, she was funny, she remembered what was important to you and about you and you felt like you were the most important person in the world to her, and when you were with her, you were.

I met Jude and her husband Chris a year or two after they had moved to our little corner of paradise.  I was single at the time, and struggling in the first few years of tossing my crappy job aside in order to paint full time.  I had countless dinners at their house, they came to my shows, bought paintings, and welcomed me into their family.  We went for walks, and leaped about in aerobics class. We watched Princess Diana’s funeral on TV together.

As years went by, we got busy with other activities, I started seeing someone, Jude’s job got more demanding, she started playing tennis, but we always kept in touch, even if we didn’t see each other as often as we’d like.  But when we did, it was as if no time had passed at all.  We could just get down to what ever needed talking about. That is a rare thing and I’ve learned to treasure that kind of friendship when I find it. She gave so much.

My friend and advisor is gone.  I can hear her voice in my head, complete with  Philadelphia accent. “Hey! Cut out the whiney stuff! You have stuff you want to do. Don’t wait. Do it now. Don’t let anyone stop you. You are amazingly talented and there is no time to waste. Listen to me, I know.” 62 years is way too early for you to go.

Goodbye Jude. I love you to the moon and back.

page 6 copy



Thanks to Cordelia’s Mom for inviting me over to hang out on her blog. Hey, where did all those cuppycakes go?

Originally posted on Cordelia's Mom, Still:

CupcakeATMWhatever could be better than cuppycakes?

How about my first ever guest poster, and a very special one indeed!  Please welcome artist Anne Belov (a/k/a Bob T. Panda of The Panda Chronicles).

Anne Belov is a wonderful painter and illustrator whose work, both the serious art work and the satirical panda illustrations, brings joy to anyone who views it.  In fact, Anne allowed me to use her painting “Nothing Overlooked” in my February 6, 2014 post.

I can’t wait for Pandamorphosis to be published – just check out the pictures from the book, two of which are being posted here with Anne Belov’s permission. Don’t they make you want your own copy, for yourself, your kids or your grandkids?

Click here to  learn a little about Anne Belov, to view some of her wonderful artwork, and to read about her upcoming book, Pandamorphosis, which will be out later this year (hint…

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Can You Stand One More Post About Kickstarter?

I am in the countdown for the last hour of my Kickstarter project to fund Pandamorphosis, my wordless picture book, which I have been working on for about four years.

Pandas are yearning to spring forth!

Pandas are yearning to spring forth!

Being tuned in to all things “Kickstarter” I’m always interested in reading news stories about it.  In the last two days I saw a story about how film-maker Spike Lee used Kickstarter to fund a film project, and I just read the “from the editor” column in Smithsonian Magazine, about how a recent article that required travel to foreign lands, was funded with Kickstarter. Still another article came up about a publishing company that was going to use crowd-funding to fund and assess appeal for a book.

One of the questions that I see pop up is “Is it fair for people who are already famous to use something like Kickstarter to fund their project?”

My answer, after a little consideration, is a resounding yes.  The truth is that even people that we perceive to have “made it” already, still need to keep working, and the gatekeepers, whether they be publishers, movie studios, music companies, or art galleries are growing increasingly squirrelly over making a financial investment/ commitment in “the talent.”

Pandamorphosis: at 116% in less than 48 hours.  Go team.

Pandamorphosis: at 245%  with 30 minutes to go. Go team.

I think that the fact that scholars, well known film-makers, and musicians are using crowd-funding gives the process visibility and credibility that it didn’t have at its inception. It gives small fish like me the opportunity to raise money for a small-ish project.  Yes, there have been artist project grants available from various sources for more than 30 years, but for those, you have a large number of artists competing for a small number of grants, that are decided by just a few people. Crowd-funding changes the dynamic and allows artists and creatives of all varieties the chance to take their project before the people who may be interested. I think it is a wonderful thing to come into being.

Well, my project has just about 30 minutes left to run. It’s been a wonderful experience, and I’ve gathered more than twice as much funding as I originally asked for.  Most of the money will go for project expenses and reward fulfillment, but there will be a small amount “leftover” to fund more projects that come out of my studio.

Thank you to all who have participated and supported me.  And if you’ve never contributed to a crowd-funding project, I urge you to get out there and find a project you love. Sign up as a backer, even if it’s just for a dollar. You might just have some fun, while doing something good.