Drawing on “stone paper”


Stone paper notebook purchased at Whole Foods

One of the last places I expected to find an “art supply,” let alone a type of paper I’ve been wanting to try, was Whole Foods! They had two sizes, this was the larger one, about 5 x 7 inches. The paper is thin, and lined. Despite the thinness of the paper it didn’t buckle even when wet, and didn’t bleed thru. It did ’emboss’ if I pressed hard on wetted areas. The paper feels super smooth, but surprisingly has pretty good tooth for pencil. I’ve never used Yupon paper, a synthetic, but I’ve read that watery media kind of floats around on Yupon, and it kind of did on this, too. It’s not absorbent like regular paper. Just how dissolvable things were once dry varied. I used regular colored pencils, water soluble colored pencils, graphite, and several kinds of ink pens such as ballpoint, felt tip, and alcohol based markers. My source of water was a Pentel water pen, which has a nice brush tip and only holds water. Washes dried slower on this paper, and there were some surprising things about just which inks redissolved when wet.


Various doodles on 6 x 7 ish stone paper, April 2015, Cindy Schnackel

Even some inks that aren’t very soluble did allow me to push the pigment around a bit with the waterbrush on this paper. For as smooth as it is, it allowed some layering with colored pencils. For pen and paper nuts and hand writing nuts, I think you’d like this, as the pens and pencils just glide across it. Very smooth going.

Next time, I’m going to experiment with more layering of materials, and with gluing, to see what it’s like for collage.

This is the only source I know of so far in the US for stone paper as an art paper, Cheap Joe’s has it, it’s called TerraSkin. Curious to try it and compare. http://www.cheapjoes.com/mitz-terraskin-multimedia-art-paper.html



Getting back into the studio


The Oxpecker, Acrylic on panel, 6 x 6 inches, Cindy Schnackel

Yesterday, I finished two small paintings on Ampersand masonite panels. One, “Chicken and Egg,” and “The Oxpecker,” both of which I added to my inventory list here, and my redbubble page. They’re available as products on redbubble, and as originals from me. Unframed so far.

These are the first paintings I’ve done since the loss of Sassy and Jade. I had not painted since the last thing I finished for my March show.

Also yesterday, after we both got a good adjustment from the chiropractor for our various back problems, we went to ceramics class for the first time in nearly a month. Made two creatures. Another creature I’d made a few weeks ago had miraculously made it thru bisque firing, so I did a double dip glaze on it, and will be curious to see how it comes out by next week. I was surprised it came thru bisque because that last night we went to class, my back was out, and Sassy was still alive and needing a great deal of attention and care. My mind was definitely not in ceramics that night as I just jammed on the body parts to the creature and hoped for the best. I fully had expected it would fall apart but it didn’t.

Although I love working with ceramic clay and glazes, I think some of the things I want to do in 3D really call for a lighter weight air dry clay, and painted finishes. So, I’m going to get back into that again, too.

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.  http://photos.imageevent.com/featherbutts/poemsfrommyheart/On%20the%20Other%20Side%20of%20the%20Bridge.JPG


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.

An update I meant to post but never got back while the pain was still too fresh: When we adopted Jade we were told she ‘turned in with a huge bag of pellets that was almost gone and 2 yrs past expiration.’ It indicated she’d only eaten pellets for years, (the ‘expired’ part couldn’t have been good either). Jade’s necropsy showed kidney damage consistent with an all pellet diet, something that is not well known or talked about much. We’d had Jade only a short time; the damage had been done over years, we just happened to be her last stop.

“Cockatiels and budgies should probably not receive a 100% pelleted diet. I have seen too many cockatiels and budgies that have been on a pelleted diet for years develop renal disease.” –exoticpetvet