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Around Here: March 2017


Happy March — I know I am a few days late!  It is officially spring and it is finally starting to feel like it!  Another month has flown by and April is already here.  Below are some items that happened around here in March.

-continuing to work steadily on my long-term photography project — an image at a time — I am so close to finally finishing and May is my target deadline!

-enjoying date nights together!

-just about finished planning a trip this summer with our fur girl, Victory!

-we recently went to Delaware to one of our favorite restaurants, Iron Hill Brewery!  The weather is getting a little warmer, and we have been able to take Victory with us out to dinner a few times, which she loves!

-finished printing all of our photo books from 2008 through the present via Artifact Uprising, which I will share at some point!

-started hanging and getting more fine art prints printed to frame and hang around the house.  Fortunately, Doug is really good  at measuring and hanging, which is a huge help to me!

-watched the first and second seasons of The Man in the High Castle — an excellent series!

-binged watched the entire season of This is Us with my Mom — I really enjoyed it!

-listening to a myriad of podcasts, especially at the gym!

-achieving 10,000 steps most days via my Fitbit!

-continuing to make incremental progress on our ever-growing to do list!

(The above watercolor image is via Pinterest).

A First: Dogs will be welcome at the Interior Department

In a recent Washington Post article, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the start of “Doggy Days at Interior,” a program that will launch with test runs at the agency’s Washington headquarters on two Fridays in May and September.  This new policy makes the Interior Department the first federal agency to go dog-friendly.

Zinke said his dog policy’s primary goal is to boost morale at the Interior agency, which includes the National Park Service; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; the Bureau of Land Management; and six other departments.

Zinke’s dog is an 18-month-old black and white Havanese dog, named Ragnar, pictured below.

“Opening the door each evening and seeing him [Ragnar] running at me is one of the highlights of my day,” according to Zinke.  “I can’t even count how many miles I’ve driven across Montana with Ragnar riding shotgun, or how many hikes and river floats Lola and I went on with the little guy.  But I can tell you it was always better to have him.”

The new policy is a first, as it has never been tried in the federal government.  Members of Congress have been bringing their dogs to the U.S. Capitol since the 19th center, but few other taxpayer-funded workplaces have gone dog-friendly.  Private companies, on the other hand, are increasingly promoting their dog-friendliness as an employee perk.


Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s dog, Ragnar, is pictured at the Interior Department with a portrait former President Theodore Roosevelt.  (Photo Credit: Tami Heilemann)


However, there are obvious concerns about having dogs at the office, which is why the policy is launching slowly as a pilot, officials said.  Zinke’s staff has been consulting with agency attorneys in recent weeks to work out the parameters for the dogs, including whether the dogs will need to be leashed or be limited to a certain size.  It is likely the dogs will need to be fully housebroken, vaccinated, and have no history of aggression.

Other possible complications when dogs are welcomed to the Interior: Fleas, bites, people with allergies, and pets who may, in a new environment, relieve themselves indoors.  Zinke will permit employees to telework who would rather not interact with the dogs at work.

You can view a short video debuting the dog-friendly work program.

The federal government is large employer where we live.  It will be exciting to see if this pilot program catches on with other federal agencies!  (I think that our little Victory would prefer one of us to be home full-time teleworking versus her making trips to the office!)

National Dog Day: Victory

I feel like a neglectful dog mommy for not posting on National Dog Day.  Victory brings immeasurable joy to our little family and so much more.  And, importantly, she teaches me something every day about just being.  We are so very grateful for our fur girl!

Below is a short video of our little fur girl, Victory, sniffing around at the dog park!

Happy Friday!



Interview: Delphine Crépin, Photographer

Interview with Delphine Crépin, Photographer











Recently, I had the opportunity and pleasure of interviewing Delphine Crépin, a France-based photographer and film director, who recently has created a photography series, entitled, Waste, a compilation of images utilizing a collage method incorporating dogs and spaces.  According to Crépin, “The idea [Waste] came to me while sorting through my photographs.  Today the notion of photography as a documentary has been totally rethought.  We take, we throw, and we move on to the next thing, hoping that it is better.  By creating this series, I saw something of a revival of these clichés.”  Crépin hopes the viewer observes an image juxtaposition, which raises the question — has the dog been left alone for a minute or has the dog been abandoned?  A selection of Delphine Crépin’s work is displayed below.  Her work has been shown in numerous exhibitions.  Please visit Delphine Crépin website to view more of her wonderful work.


KATHERINE CARVER: What were your beginnings as a photographer and when did you realize it would become your chosen form of expression?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: I’ve always been attracted to the camera.  Being able to freeze a moment forever intrigues me and reassures me.  As a child, I loved leafing through photo albums of family, giving me the ability to live these past moments.  In fact, sometimes, I realize that these albums derive my memories.  Most of all, the fear of forgetting pushes me to photograph the present.  I started reading about the subject and I discovered the work of Jeff Wall, who really gave me the push to continue.


KATHERINE CARVER: Did you study art formally?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: Not officially in a school; however, I personally have studied photography on my own – my house is filled with books, essays, films, documentaries, and photographs.


copyright 2016 Delphine Crepin


KATHERINE CARVER: How do you describe your style?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: Both documentary and fiction – a quest for identity.


KATHERINE CARVER: Can you describe the time when you first realized that creating photographs was absolutely something that you had to do?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: I first realized I wanted to create photographs during the collaboration on the InvU project, where I created a portrait series of disfigured people.  At that time, photography as a medium made sense to me.  Photography allowed me to convey a message and touch a large number of people from different universes.


copyright 2016 Delphine Crepin


KATHERINE CARVER: What was the impetus that inspired you to begin photographing dogs, as you have several series focusing on dogs, including your work entitled, Waste?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: I have always loved animals, especially dogs.  I started photographing dogs by chance.  A few years ago, without asking, while I was preparing my studio for a shoot, my dog, Dogabert, came to the front of the camera.  He sat still, in front of the camera, unwilling to move.  I needed to do some light testing anyway, so I took advantage of this serendipity.  I put a coat on my dog’s back and started photographing him.  The lighting and the intensity in my dog’s eyes pierced me.  I try, through my photographs, to give dogs a voice.


KATHERINE CARVER: How have your own dog(s)/animal(s) influenced your work?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: Dagobert, my dog, is simply my source of inspiration.  He leads me to reflect on subjects that are far from me; and he has opened the doors to another world, not so far from our own.  Importantly, Dogobert has allowed me to see with a less human, unprejudiced outlook.


copyright 2016 Delphine Crepin


KATHERINE CARVER: Where did the idea derive from for your work entitled, Waste?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: WASTE is both a recent series and a reprint of forgotten photographs.  The idea came to me while sorting through my photographs.  Today the notion of photography as a documentary has been totally rethought.  We take, we throw, and we move on to the next thing, hoping that it is better.  By creating this series, I saw something of a revival of these clichés.


KATHERINE CARVER: In your series, Waste, how did you decide to implement an image within an image approach, so to speak?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: The collage seems interesting to me in the sense that the two subjects – the dogs and the open spaces share commonalities.  In the unconscious of people, the dog is not discernable from the human and the places that surround the dog and human.  In contrast, when the dog is shown waiting in front of a building, waiting in front of a shop, or waiting in the middle of natural space, illustrates the attachment of the dog to his master – wherever the dog is he waits for his master.  The juxtaposition of these images and the choice of the title “WASTE” (déchet in French) seemed an important indicator of reuse.


KATHERINE CARVER: What do you hope viewers take away after viewing your work entitled, Waste?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: Here the viewer observes an image juxtaposition; by this association, I hope that it raises the question: has the dog been deposited there for a minute or has the dog been cowardly abandoned?  I try to make the viewer react in relation to the place given to the animals and the message that these images convey.  The collage leads the viewer in another direction and tries to find a meaning.  I hope that the viewer interprets a larger impact collectively via the collage rather than separately.


copyright 2016 Delphine Crepin


KATHERINE CARVER: Where do you show/exhibit your work?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: My work has been exhibited in variousmuseums and galleries such as: Au Palais des Papes d’Avignon; à l’Historial de la Grande Guerre de Péronne; à la Galerie Jean-François Cazeau à Paris; au Pôle international de la Préhistoire; and à la maison de la Culture d’Amiens.  My work has also appeared in various magazines and on the Internet.


KATHERINE CARVER: What does ‘being creative’ mean to you?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: Surprising oneself and constantly challenging oneself.


KATHERINE CARVER: What is the most challenging aspect of being a photographer?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: Succeeding in making a living.


copyright 2016 Delphine Crepin


KATHERINE CARVER: What inspires you to keep going and what keep you motivated?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: The satisfaction of creating something that makes me believe that my job improves the daily lives of people.  I like to think that art is the only thing that allows us to dream.  Ultimately, photography, for me, is a part of my identity.


KATHERINE CARVER: What types of patterns, rituals, and routines do you have while making your photographs?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: When I come home from a shoot, I cannot wait to see the results.  But I refuse to look at the images that day; instead, I wait at least a day to review the images.  Over time, I realized that we must let the images and ideas rest.  One must let one’s mind forget and create a memory.


copyright 2016 Delphine Crepin


KATHERINE CARVER: What are you working on now?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: I continue to work on my series at the animal shelter, to help encourage adoption.  And, in parallel, I am working on a photographic inventory of community portraits.  I focus on people in a group and how they differentiate themselves as an individual from the group.  I focus mainly on groups of people who do not have a place in society.  In the hour when individualism is the key word of our society, I focus on the people who have chosen to be part of an unusual group.


KATHERINE CARVER: What artists inspire your work?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: Jeff Wall and Genevieve Cadieux for the moment posed, freeze-frame; Wim Wenders for the side portrait of nature; Alec Soth and August Sanders for the documentary; Diane Arbus for the portrait; William Wegman for his painting and portrait of Man Ray; and David Hockney as a painter, photographer, and complete artist.


copyright 2016 Delphine Crepin


KATHERINE CARVER: What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: Be yourself and persist.


KATHERINE CARVER: How can people view your work?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: On my website; my instagram; and you can contact me via email at


All images are courtesy of Delphine Crépin.

You can read more interviews here.

Fun Dog Cards!

I love cards; and I recently learned of Henry Garrett, a Bristol artist, who makes cards containing hilarious cartoons of dogs sure to make anyone laugh, shown below!  Garrett’s drawings began during his philosophy finals to help him cope with anxiety while earning his PhD.  As a result, Drawings of Dogs was born.  Garrett’s muse, Billie, the Parson Russell Terrier, is a loyal companion who is always by his side!  You can purchase these cards here.

Happy Friday!


The above images are courtesy of Henry Garrett.


Acumen: Creating and Persevering

Sometimes, when one is working, it is difficult to really see the forest through the trees.  Therefore,  I thought that I would share some inspiring words from artists I have interviewed here on the blog about creating and persevering, which I hope you find helpful and encouraging.


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“Follow your passion, even if you do not know what lies on the other side.  Passion is infectious to people; and passion is at the root of creating art.  Keep believing in your work and use your passion to help you push through and keep going.  The right thing(s) happen when it is supposed to happen.  Most importantly, put your work on the line and keep pushing your boundaries.”  — Deborah Samuel


“Create what you love and create it consistently, even if you aren’t feeling particularly inspired.  Share what you make with the world so people can find it and enjoy it.  Enjoy the process, and don’t get discouraged.  I don’t believe that there are things any particular person can’t do.  It’s just a matter of putting enough time into it to gain the skill, and asking questions when you don’t know how to do something.  And if you are already talented in your area but have fear of putting yourself out there, or fear of failure, or any fear (and we all do), know that ‘inaction breeds doubt and fear (Dale Carnegie),’ so move forward, make things happen, and ‘always do what you’re afraid to do (Emerson).’  If you do that, soon enough nothing will stop you.  I didn’t always believe it, but yes you can absolutely make a career doing what you love… so go for it.”   — Laura Johnson


“Don’t do what I did and just feel your way through the woods.  Either find a way to make a living that is somehow compatible with your art, and gives you the time and energy to do your work, or get an MFA or PhD and find a job teaching in a university.  High school second best.  Then you have summers and vacations, and if you teach in a university you will even have time in your working schedule to paint or sculpt or write.  Making a living in the commercial arts is fine, but it is not conducive to expressing yourself artistically in a deeper more fulfilling way.”  — Anna Dibble


“It’s easy, especially when just starting out, to get hung up on what kind of work you think you ‘should’ be making, or what others tell you you’re best at – disregard this.  Your best work will happen when you focus on that which you know and love, and your most valuable audience will follow that work.  Not sure you really know how to visualize what you know and love?  Just keep ‘making’, and let each step, each project, lead to the next.  Momentum is HUGE and you never know where the sparks are hiding until you hit them.” — Natalya Zahn


“Don’t give up.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do what you love.  If you truly love it, there’s always a way to make it happen.”  — Helen Greenstein


“Do not second guess yourself.  You need to question what you are doing, but you also need to follow your instincts.  Often times, what you are working on will lead to something else as well.  It is also very important to appreciate the process.  Additionally, it is important to be confident and to develop your own work.  When you are not as concerned about what others think, you will create stronger work.  It is also important to be playful and be committed to the process of making art.  Finally, for me, it has been very helpful to have a spiritual practice to help understand yourself more deeply and knowing that we are all connected.”  — Valerie Shaff


“Be true to yourself and in it for the love of doing it.  When the phone isn’t ringing, your inbox is empty and you feel like no one loves you or your work, you will have that to keep you going.”  — Andrew Pinkham


“Find your niche and then commit to that.  Since I found the Animal Studies community, I feel more ‘at home’ as a photographer than I ever have before.  I get a lot of support from other scholars and artists interested in the same things I am, and I always have a direction to point myself in when I am working.”   — Julia Scholar


“Don’t ape other people’s styles.  Draw like no one is watching and see what comes out.  Reflect, refine, and repeat.  Be yourself and draw what you know, not what you think you should know.”  — Bee Johnson


“My passion for making images keeps me going.  It makes me feel alive.  I think being creative means a commitment to continually challenging yourself.”  — Shannon Johnstone


“Keep taking photographs and assess what you are trying to say.”  — Rory Carnegie


“Stay true to your own heart — be who you are!  It sounds cheesy but it’s not.  Every single person has an absolutely unique quality that only they can bring to the world.  The world needs authentic beings to have the courage to be who they are.”  — Brigette Bloom


“Be stubborn and keep going.  And don’t overthink it in the beginning and work hard.”  — Eleonor Bosström


“Don’t let anything get in your way.  People love creativity and there are more channels to make your work known than ever before.  No excuses.  The difference between an ‘aspiring artist’ and a true artist is action.  Talent comes through practice.”  — Elias Weiss Friedman


“Nothing happens overnight so it’s important to keep plugging away and doing what you love.  Entering competitions is essential, it’s really important to keep putting yourself out there.  Don’t let yourself get knocked backed if you aren’t successful with a submission – your work may have not been right for them.  Art and photography is very subjective.  If you don’t try you’ll never know.”  — Lorna Evans


“It’s hard work but, if you have to do it, very rewarding.  Go for it.  But be prepared to be your own engine.  You don’t have anyone else pushing you and you have to often deal with self-doubt.”  — Martin Usborne


“Have a good work ethic; be able to take criticism; don’t be embarrassed as I was of what you love; practice social and writing skills; and, above all else, be persistent about working.”  — Robin Schwartz


“I think when you are starting out it is really important to focus on issues or ideas that are important to you.  It is very easy to become mixed up in producing work that others would like to see or that you think will be successful but your best work will always come from a genuine vested interest.”  — Sam Edmonds


“Keep practicing.  And showing up.  Your work will evolve and grow even if you can’t see it happening.  I promise!!”  — Heidi Lender


“Find what you enjoy doing and get extremely good at it.  Keep creating even if you think the idea isn’t going anywhere and stay happy.”  — Josh Bryant


“Know yourself.  Don’t worry about being cool and on trend. ‘Coolness is a strait-jacket for creativity.’  Also, it is important to always put in the hours.”  — Lauren Sheldon

The Book of the Dog



I recently learned about the book entitled, The Book of the Dog: Dogs in Art, by Angus Hyland and Kendra Wilson, which features various dogs – big, small, graceful, cute, and funny.  The Book of the Dog is a collection of dog art and illustration by artists around the world.  Weaved throughout the illustrations are brief narratives about the artists and different breeds, paying homage to man’s best friend.  I plan to order this book this weekend!  A few images of this book are shown below courtesy of Angus Hyland and Kendra Wilson.




Around Here: February 2017

Happy February!  Another month has just about flown by once again!  This has been a busy month for us.  Below are some items that have occurred around here in February!

-continuing to work steadily on my long-term photography project — an image at a time — I am getting so close to finally finishing, about 12 percent of the project remains to be completed and the project is taking shape!

-making homemade dinners with Doug, while trying new recipes and old favorite recipes, too.  Here is an old favorite recipe.  We make a really good homemade pizza, too!

-enjoying date nights together!

-enjoying time outside.  It has been unseasonably warm here for February, which has been really nice.  We have been able to open our windows and let in fresh air along with enjoying long walks around the neighborhood together!  Victory loves riding in her Hound About!  We hope spring will officially come soon!

-going to the dog park with our Victory!

-finished making all of our photo books from 2008 through the present via Artifact Uprising and we have ordered almost all of them!

-started getting fine art prints printed to frame and hang around the house.  This has been on my list for some time, which I hope to finish this year!

-we finished our taxes!

-we made some clothing donations in our attempt to adopt the Marie Kondo method!

-enjoying many snuggles with our fur girl, Victory!  She had her first dental this week and she is doing well, thankfully!

-started the second season of The Missing — it is very good and keeps you on the edge of your seat!

-started Big Little Lies — we are only one episode in, but it is pretty good.

-I was not able to get to any reading completed this month, unfortunately.

-listening to a myriad of podcasts, especially at the gym!

-achieveing 10,000 steps most days via my Fitbit!

-continuing to make incremental progress on our ever-growing to do list!

Happy Wednesday!



How Love Can Change Everything…

Since it is Heart Day week, I thought it would be appropriate to share how love not only changed one little dog’s life for our fur girl, Victory, but our lives have changed, too.  Shown in the image below, you can see the distinct physical differences that Victory has undergone in a little over three years.  The image on the left is the image that was sent to us from the rescue’s foster mom (who cared for Victory) just prior to us meeting Victory and taking her home after traveling to Michigan.  The image on the right was taken this past Valentine’s Day, earlier this week!  Victory has come into her own and she has a beautiful fur coat.  (We were not sure if she would have a thick fur coat come in when we initially met her).  To name a few other changes — she has more confidence; she explores her surroundings more; and she enjoys play time.  We once thought we could never love another sheltie as much as our Biscuit, but we found love again with our Victory, an integral family member who is included in our activities as much as possible, including our vacations!  Victory is also extremely loyal through the inevitable myriad of twists and turns in life.  Most of all, Doug and I are the beneficiaries of unconditional love from Victory, for which we are forever grateful.

Spring is around the corner, and it could be a perfect time to consider rescuing and adopting a furry companion, if that is at all on your radar.  We highly recommend it.  Your life will forever positively be changed by helping an animal who really needs love and care.  Love can change everything.

Happy Friday!



Happy Heart Day!

We can hardly believe that today is already our fourth Valentine’s Day with our little love, Victory; for Doug and I, it is our 13th Valentine’s Day together, but who is counting!  I am most grateful for my loves, Doug and Victory, who I am lucky enough to share my life with and who make life so much sweeter!  We celebrated Valentine’s Day, early, this past Saturday, and Victory got a new stuffie friend, a monkey, shown below!  In celebration of Valentine’s Day, Doug and I went to one of our favorite restaurants in Northern Virginia, where we had one of our first dates.  Doug was kind enough to bring a ‘doggie bag’ home for our fur girl, Victory, who gobbled up every morsel of her prime rib in no time!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.” —George Sand