Some big personal blows this spring, deaths of beloved birds


In better days, but not that long ago, Sassy on my shoulder during some out time.


Since December of last year, my husband and I had been battling illness in one of our birds, nearly 18 yr old Sassy, a cockatiel.

At first it was arthritis. And then it was more.

It was discovered this spring that he had testicular cancer. The only realistic option was Lupron shots that ‘might’ slow it down and give him some more quality time before it took his life. Surgery was extremely high risk. Little birds don’t tolerate anesthetic well, and he was already weakened by the cancer.

We decided to try the Lupron but it didn’t help. He took a severe downturn in April. We had to make the hardest and saddest decision of our lives, to have our vet put him quickly and painlessly to sleep so he wouldn’t suffer. We always knew that once he appeared to be suffering, we would have to make that decision. Up until then he’d had a relatively quality life, but we could tell he was going downhill. We knew that unless the Lupron did something pretty amazing we were looking at having to say goodbye soon. Nothing can prepare you for suddenly seeing a beloved’s eyes implore you, “Help me!” As he slipped away, my husband and I fell apart, and can only hope he was aware of our presence, petting him, and telling him we loved him, and that he wasn’t in any pain.

An internet friend, Juanita March, wrote this poem for the many bird nuts like us, who’ve lost their best friends.


We didn’t know you long enough, my sweetie!


Sassy’s death came on the heels of our recently adopted budgie, Jade, dying. She’d had two checkups in the short time we’d had her, all clean, but I felt something was wrong despite tests. One day she was overly tired and refusing to eat much. We took her to the vet again, where they determined she had a respiratory infection, (though not any of the scary contagious avian diseases). This kind of thing is often a sign something’s gone wrong and a normally harmless bacteria has “opportunistically” taken over. (Sassy also had problems like that while battling cancer, and antibiotics and probiotics became part of our routine.)

We medicated Jade that night at home and she promptly regurgitated quite a bit of food even though we’d seen her eat almost nothing all day. In the morning she again regurgitated food. She died shortly after. We took her back to the vet, for a necropsy, (autopsy/post-mortem), where preliminary results indicated inflamed lungs and crop stasis, (no food was moving out of her crop and into the digestive system). She still had food in her crop even after all that, so it probably hadn’t been passing thru for a day or more. We are still waiting for complete necropsy results for Jade and hope we get some definitive answers.

Because two birds died, we had our other two birds back to the vet for more exams and tests, too, to be sure nothing infectious or toxic was going on. They’d all tested clean recently, but things happen fast in birds, and tests aren’t always 100%. So far, nothing has shown up as to why we lost TWO birds in such a short time. I would suspect Jade may have brought in something except for one critical fact; Sassy became sick before we ever met Jade.

My husband and I are heartbroken. So are our two remaining cockatiels, both adopted from a bird rescue, and both geriatric also. We’re trying to get through it all together, and heal. It’s still hard to believe Sassy is gone. Our other birds didn’t see him die, so they hold out hope he’s going to appear in the living room or something. He left a huge hole in our hearts and our lives, and a deafening silence where there used to be the secret cockatiel language of squirks, chirps, clucks, chuckles, clicks, and even whispers, as well as that frequent and cheery “Hello!”

It hurts that we had Jade only a few months before she died. Barely time to get to know her. She had already picked out which of our other birds was the easiest to tease, and she was the prettiest blue-green and yellow. We so looked forward to her coming out of her shell and letting us know who she really was.

Rest in peace, Sassy and Jade. We will see you on the other side, if there is an other side.


“Everything After” a success, concludes this month; New work


Our two person show, “Everything After,” at R. Pela Contemporary Art in Phoenix, AZ went very well, and there are still a few days to see it by appointment if you missed it! See the gallery site for contact info to schedule a viewing:

The gallery is moving to a new location for its fall 2015 season. Watch the site and/or my blog for info on that!

I sold roughly half of the thriftstore makeovers and small framed drawings, so far! Comments from viewers were delightful, with many people remarking that there were different possible ‘meanings,’ and yet people obviously just enjoyed the wackiness, too. Also appreciated, were comments that my techniques were ‘seamless’ in blending the alterations with the existing reprint. Of course, most knew that Monet never painted Bigfoot on one of his famous bridges, but it was nice to hear that upon seeing my version, they felt it ‘belonged’ there all along.

We also got some nice press coverage! Besides reviews, we were included in a number of the “must see” shows lists that circulated before the art walks this month. Here are a few:


Suspicious Chick, Acrylic on panel, 6×6 in., Cindy Schnackel

I got some matte acrylic paints from Dick Blick here in Tempe, and painted this little chick yesterday. They are interesting, and different to work with, and I think I’ll like them for more bold, graphic type work. Not sure yet if they’ll become a staple for me, I’ve just started using them, and they won’t replace my beloved Golden fluid acrylics.


That Quarantined Family, Cindy Schnackel

A piece I planned on including in “Everything After,” but there wasn’t time to finish it. I finished it over the last weekend. The ‘house’ frame is roughly 20 x 20 inches, and made of plastic. It was painted dark brown all over. I cut a piece of mat board to fit the back, drew the outlines of the windows, and created the monsters with fluid acrylics, colored pencils, and ink. I also enhanced the frame a little with some paint, to bring out the detail.

As I worked on the monsters it seemed they began to look diseased. They had spots and hairs all over. I decided they looked like a big sick family who was quarantined in their kind of haunted looking old house.  They’d be the talk of the block. And yet, they were perfectly content. The family has many diverse characters, perhaps some that are pets, not sure. The head of the household happily greets an unwary visitor. You may see a different story; feel free to share it here!


Show update, ceramics, Petcasso


“Bullies,” acrylic on thriftstore reprint, 17 x 20 in.


Show Update

The opening reception at R. Pela Contemporary Art went well! I saw lots of familiar faces and met some new ones. Sold around 20 pieces so far, including some of the thriftstore makeovers, and also quite a few small drawings. It was good to meet Jared and talk to him about his art, too.

Art Detour weekend, we stopped by with my family during the day so they could see it, then hit a friend’s show before heading home. We had originally planned to come back Sunday on the train and really see Roosevelt Row’s shows, and Grand Avenue’s galleries, too. But, we had a sick pet that weekend who needed our attention so we stayed in. I’m glad to report he’s doing a bit better now. Geriatric pets have the same ailments older people do. I am sorry we didn’t get to see much of the art event. I will try to catch up as I can thru the month of March before shows come down.

The show will open a 2nd time on Friday, March 20, at 6 pm.  This may be the last show at this location, 335 W. McDowell, as R. Pela is looking for a new location and may be in it as soon as April this year!

Gallery site for more info:


Bisque fired bird heads, half inch to about 1 and a half in. tall.


Bisqued and coated with various glazes, ready for glaze firing, a bird head and breasted torso, about 2 in. tall.


Hollow Chicken, about 7 in. tall, glazed.


Higher, shallow, and with more texture to prevent slipping, hopefully these will be better dishes for our handicapped bird.


Lidded ceramic box creature, about 6 in. high


Creature trio. Foreground, “Ghost,” background 2 as yet untitled monsters. By Cindy Schnackel. Vary from 2 in. high to 8 in. long.



Most things from this spring’s handbuilding class are out of the kiln now! New classes start soon, and there will probably be a few pieces that aren’t fired until then.  I was pleased with everything so far except the glaze on the hollow chicken. No one really was thrilled with that glaze firing where it seemed most things came out gray or mauve. I reglazed the chicken with Snow White. Debated whether to go white or black, and now wish I’d gone black. I think Satin Black would’ve combated the mauve better. The Snow White didn’t. A 3rd glazing would probably obscure way too much detail, if it was advisable at all, so I’ll just leave well enough alone and make more chickens. For those who like mauve, this might be the perfect piece!

The lidded box creature was coated with iron oxide after it was bisque fired, sponging some off and leaving it in the depressions. Then the whole thing was dipped in Snow White.

Snow White glaze did well on everything else where I used it, including a white clay creature, which had ONLY white glaze, as I thought it looked ghostly. The Ghost was made from white clay scraps from the strainer in the sink. Some were probably stoneware but some were porcelain, (all cone 10 clays in our class). The larger creature in the Creature Trio pic is about 4 in. high x 8 in. long, and has udders, teeth, but no eyes.



Metal cut out cat by Misty Mulleneaux, painting by Cindy Schnackel, PETCASSO 2015

This is the 2nd time I donated a bit of my time and paint to the AZ Human Society’s fundraiser, Petcasso, for the animal shelter. Misty Mulleneaux did the metal cut out shapes which are about 20 in. high. Various artists painted them. This is my contribution. I titled it, “All the mice I’ve loved before.”

AZ Humane Society Petcasso 2015 page:

Delivered to show; Ceramic update


Several thriftstore makeovers and a display board of bottlecap birds await loading for show

My Studio’s looking kind of empty! Yesterday, my husband and I loaded the car with 19 thriftstore makeovers ranging from miniature to almost didn’t fit in the car size, plus 30-some other (non thriftstore related) small pieces,  and over 50 bird paintings on bottle caps, and delivered it to R. Pela gallery! Every piece is either recycled or small, so they’re a great value and something for every budget. I hope that we get lots of traffic thru Art Detour weekend. This event is prime time to be be in a gallery in downtown Phoenix.

Everything After show

R. Pela Contemporary Art

335 W. McDowell

Phoenix, AZ

Opening reception, Friday March 6, 6 pm; 3rd Friday reception, March 20, 6 pm

Extended weekend hours during Art Detour event, March 7-8

Gallery site:





Two of a few bird heads and figures, bisque fired

While the class winds down and it makes less sense to start involved projects, I sat and pinched a few bird and monster shapes, really small pieces, that would dry pretty fast and be fired before the last class. Or at least, by the last pick up day. Above, the chicken head is about 2″, the smaller is less than an inch. These are bisque fired now. I’m not sure what I’ll do with them. It may or may not be a glaze finish. Depending on what they get incorporated into in the future, I’ll finish them to go with whatever that piece calls for. There are more coming, including one with a torso.


Slab construction, iron oxide under Snow White glaze

I really liked the way this came out! It was slab construction with added features. It’s a sort of pooched out box shape, and the lid fits nicely. The clay is probably LB Blend, however I did ‘recycle’ some of our clay so it could be partly Rod’s Bod or Soldate 60, maybe even some unidentified cone 10 scraps from the sink, but mostly LB blend.

I put iron oxide on it after it was bisque fired, wiped some off, and dipped it good in Snow White glaze. It came out as I ‘hoped,’ however, I try not to hope or expect too much, and just enjoy the surprises, usually. All that’s left is to take some wet/dry sandpaper and smooth the bottoms of his feet, (or attach felt dots), so he won’t scratch surfaces he’s set on. I’m considering this one a ‘he’ because it has no udders this time.


Greenware stage

The lidded box creature at the greenware stage. Note the blobular starfish like creature, too.


An array of pieces in bisque and glazeware stages

And there’s the blobular starfish thing glazed. Believe it or not, that glaze is called purple haze. It rarely seems to turn out purple, but we all keep trying! The bird heads, some creatures you’ve seen and some you haven’t, bowls, and in the foreground are some pieces I pressed a texture into and used to test glazes. The clay on the test pieces is all LB Blend or similar stoneware, always cone 10 as that is all we do in this class. The glazes are from left to right:

Two toned rectangle w/flower imprint: “Purple Haze” (have yet to see purple with this glaze!)

Rectangle w/subtle texture: Snow White (so far a very reliable glaze)

Paisley imprinted rectangle top row: iron oxide wiped partially off, Snow White glaze (loved this!)

Medallion imprint on square w/lifted corners, top row: Caramel, 2 coats (liked this a lot, too)

Round medallion imprint, Stoneware Blue (another I like a lot, did a lot of bowls with it last year)

Rimmed rectangle lower right, Cranberry, another unpredictable glaze, definitely didn’t come out red at all, even though it was quite thick. At the right angle you can see the glaze ‘crazed,’ (crackled). My husband did some bowls last year that got fairly red with this glaze.

The lone white figure in all this is recycled clay from the sink strainer, ewww! I collected most of it the first night the teacher demonstrated wheel throwing and she was working with porcelain, so this is a mix of cone 10 porcelain and probably some white cone 10 stoneware. It is bisque fired in this pic. It does feel very smooth. I dipped it in Snow White, because I think it looks like a ghost. We will see how that comes out, should be out of the glaze firing in about a week, I hope.

In the background the long tube shaped creature has only legs and a mouth with teeth. No eyes. I had plans for him that didn’t pan out as I ran out of time to enter it in a current show. So, I dipped him in Hunter Green on top, Spodumene on the bottom, and made his lips Cherie Jade, and his teeth Snow White. He is awaiting glaze firing as a few other things.

Another thing I’ve been making is pet dishes for a handicapped cockatiel. He needs them to be high, not too slick inside, and not too deep. So the lumpy dishes in the background are for him. (All the glazes are food safe.)




I did a glaze test on this anyway, which also didn’t come out fantastic.


Blowout! Teapot didn’t survive bisque firing.

There seems to be no reason this particular piece was risky. It was slab and coil, very well pressed together, but somehow, maybe because we’d had a lot of rain, there must have been moisture trapped in there when it was bisque fired. There were lots of other shards, (fortunately, they said it didn’t wreck anyone else’s work). I kept the legs, top and lid, in case I want to do something with them. I did do a glaze test on the top parts, and that was kind of disappointing, too!

One of my hollow chickens made it fine thru both bisque and glaze firing, no breakage. However, the glaze was the same firing as the teapot and a disappointment. I redipped the chicken in Snow White, so we will see what happens now. The bad glaze was just not right for the piece. Too busy, too uninteresting, and detracted from the shape and detail. I’m hoping that a simple all over white glaze will bring her back. It can’t likely hurt!

To see pics of the ceramic pieces at an earlier stage, see this post:

Showing in March!


Poster for 2 person show, March 2015, R Pela gallery

Much of the work I’ve been doing, but not displaying online, will be at R. Pela Contemporary Art gallery in Phoenix, thru the month of March.

The opening reception is Friday, March 6, at 6 p.m. Since that is Art Detour weekend, there will be more opportunities to see the show. It has a 2nd reception on the 3rd Friday of the month.

Depicted in the poster, (although the actual piece is mounted on a decorative metal easel that hangs on a wall, not a frame), is Selfie with Chicken, after Alexis Grimou’s Girl Pilgrim, (1700s). You can see the unaltered one here:

I’ve just become familiar with Jared’s work online, and looking forward to seeing it in person.  This is one of my favorites of Jared’s work, Death of Twinkie the Kid, (I hope you can see it even if you’re not a Facebook member):

Thriftstore makeovers began as a way to get nice older frames at good prices. The new frames I was buying seemed to keep going down in quality, and up in price! About a year ago, I bought a reprint of Rembrandt’s Girl in an Open Door, for the frame. When I got it home and started working on the frame, I decided to alter the reprint itself and just put it back in the frame. A moment of whimsy became a whole show, when gallery owner Robrt Pela asked if I could do that many by the next year. I agreed, and began combing thrift stores. In this show, you’ll find a number of classics with monsters and birds, and even one giant, evil toddler.

In keeping with last year’s success of offering lots of miniature drawings, too, the gallery will be hanging dozens of small sketchbook pages all framed up, at affordable prices. I hope that we can find a spot for over 40 tiny paintings on bottle caps, too. Mostly bird portraits!

I still have a number of details to take care of before delivering art for the show. After that’s all taken care of, I will be blogging more about these pieces, as well as my ongoing ceramic creatures, and a project that’s still in its infancy. I have sales pending, and a charity project I need to get right on for an animal rescue. Lots to write about, hopefully starting next week!


Show, First Friday, Feb. 6th, at {9} The Gallery, on Grand Ave, Phoenix


Two of the little critters on wheels to be at 9’s show “Move”

The announcement came out today on {9} The Gallery’s Facebook page, that “MOVE” is opening on First Friday, Feb 6, at 6 pm. It runs thru Feb 28th. Depending on which ones make the cut, (fill the display cases), I will be offering 10 or so of these little plastic brick sculptures on wheels. Most are chickens, (are you surprised?), but not all! A few have udders. My goal in making these was to keep them small and relatively simple, but with creative uses of blocks that are readily available. I started making them last year or the year before, and loved putting them on wheels. For one thing, the rolling platform helps keep their legs together! Each time I’d see a new brick in the parts wall at the store at the mall I’d be inspired to use it on new sculptures. Most were taken apart to be reused, until gallery owner Laura Dragon put out the call to artists for “MOVE!” My husband reminded me I had made these, and once Laura said she wanted them in the show, I kind of went nuts with the bricks in January, building and making quite a few. Some I decided to scrap but I have more than enough now to put in the display cases I got for this show, and they are all glued and dry.

1229 Grand Ave
Phoenix, Arizona
(602) 465-3264

5 Steps to Preventing and Managing Photo Theft- Watermarks, Upload Sizes, Exposure, Reporting Fraud, and Digital Watermarks

5 Steps to Preventing and Managing Photo Theft- Watermarks, Upload Sizes, Exposure, Reporting Fraud, and Digital Watermarks.


Good article. Like the author and others, I have often compared watermarking with locking your doors, too. We don’t leave our doors unlocked because it doesn’t prevent ALL burglars.

I would also add that where he talks about reporting infringers, you can easily send DMCA takedowns to an infringer’s site yourself. Many sites have a copyright infringement reporting form or email. Below is my go-to info for all the links and tips I have collected on this topic and would never remember anymore without them being in a document:

Enjoy the reading! :)