My family unit and I have been somewhat preoccupied lately, due to the fact that we soon will be adding another member. In the top photo, she is the spotty one front and center, with her mouth open, howling along with her brother behind her. The pups had only recently been weaned when the breeder took these shots. If you look closely, you can see mama dog on the far right. I think the pups are voicing an alternative opinion about this weaning thing.
I have always been a dog person, having lived with, by my count, a total of 10 dogs so far over the course of my lifetime. But over the past decade, I have also become a Catahoula person. These are Catahoula pups in the photos. Originally used to herd cattle and hunt wild hogs, this breed can be used for tracking or trained to accomplish a wide variety of tasks, including safely babysitting children or other livestock. I have come to believe that the Catahoula just might be the smartest and most versatile dog in the canine world.
These sometimes-spotted and sometimes blue-eyed canines can be traced to semi-domesticated red wolves that became companions of Native Americans in parts of Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas, before Europeans arrived on the scene. Then came the explorer Hernando DeSoto, who introduced so-called “war dogs” from Spain, greyhounds and a now-extinct mastiff called the Alano, in the mid 1500s. Shortly thereafter, so it is written, the indigenous tribes whipped up on DeSoto’s men and took possession of some of his dogs, which interbred with the wolf-dogs. By the 1700s, 175 years or so later, the French began to settle into what’s now Louisiana, and brought their dogs with them – notably the Beauceron – which also did what dogs do and added their genes to the mix.
If you care for more details, a pretty fascinating historical account can be found here. In the end, the Catahoula is a uniquely American dog. They are intelligent but can at times be somewhat stubborn, and tend to want to be the boss of the pack, so early training requires firm patience. I’ll let you know how it goes with this one.
So it didn’t take me long before I grew weary of those full-screen slideshows on my homepage. Lets do it this way for awhile, OK? I do think many photos look best displayed as large as possible, though. To that end, I’ll probably add another page just to house a full-page gallery…
I enjoy manipulating digital images almost as much as taking the photos in the first place. For one thing, even some of my photo mistakes still can provide raw material for a sound piece of digital art.
Lately I’ve become somewhat obsessed with reaching what I consider the perfect balance between photo and painting. Which is it? If the viewer asks that question, then the perfect balance has been reached. However, I also enjoy pushing the photo past the point where it looks, um, photographic.
Lately I’ve been cobbling together a series of filters and editing tricks that I think allows me to turn some photos into something resembling impressionist painting.
I’ve inserted a couple of them here; soon I’ll gather up more and put them into a gallery.
Update: Now I have, right here.
OK, this is kind of like when you buy or rent a new house but not all the furniture has arrived yet.
Patience, my friends, I’m still trying to figure out how much cupboard and closet space I have, and where to put everything…
Change in the ocean, change in the deep blue sea
Come back baby, you’ll find some change in me
Everybody – they ought to change sometime
– Sleepy John Estes
Thanks to a great new digital camera I got recently, my creative energy mostly has been directed into photography and digital image manipulation, not so much into the written word. I think it’s time to change this blog to reflect that direction, so I can display my artwork to my micro-audience.
One of these days you’re going to open up this page and everything will be different. I’m just telling you so you won’t be scared!
Posted in Art, Work, Writing