I paint for a living. It's the best "job" in the world - and the most challenging. I love every second of it.
I paint mostly animals, especially dogs, cats, and farm animals, but I often paint other themes as well, such as landscapes, wild birds, flowers, etc.
I paint mostly on canvas with acrylics (sometimes oils). My style is bright and usually realistic.
Here's the entrance to our farm. The house is on the right, and some of the barns are on the left. I'm standing at the end of a short tree-lined drive that is the entrance to the courtyard. The barn closest to me, on the left, is the one that borders the small road that curves past the front and western border of our place. I'll post more photos here later, or you can see even more photos at my facebook page. The two little dogs you can see in the photo are Sammy, on the right, our little black Cavalier King Charles spaniel, and on the left, my little sweetie, a pom-peke mix, I think, (who cares), named Harry Barker. We have another dog, too, Casey, a rat terrier mix, who is out of view. We also have three cats, a couple of whom are in the photo, I think. Their names are Maxine, Kayla, and Matilda.
Several people have asked me to talk about how we have gone about getting to Denmark and about any tips I might be able to give. I really don't feel qualified to do so, but I'll give it a try, anyway. First, you'll see that one of the reasons I am not qualified is that we ended up in Denmark not because we just chose it and wanted to move here but because my son-in-law, Mark, is from Odense, Denmark. And it was his parents and brother who actually found this wonderful farm for us. Up until about a month ago, we still just wanted to move here but hadn't been able to find a perfect place to live. So not only Mark's family but their friends as well have been searching for a place for us to get. Just by coincidence, too, Mark's brother, Henrik, heard about this place through a friend just days after it had been placed on the market. We now live just minutes away from Henrik and his family, who live just an easily bicyclable few kilometers north of us on the same island of Langeland. Mark's parents live a little over an hour away from us in Odense, and we see them often.
So as you can see, a lot of the work was already done for us before we even got here. But regarding the actual move, I can definitely give you a few pointers there, mostly what not to do. First, as we had very short notice about when we were to move (about three weeks), we had to act very quickly. Because we were going to bring all six pets with us, we had to get them flown out of the State of Florida because the summer heat got too hot in case they got left out somewhere after we relinquished them to the airlines. Well, actually, it was just the dogs we had to worry about because we carried the three cats onboard with us.
Regarding the pets, first, it was very expensive to start off with. They all had to go to the vet to get microchipped (except Maxine the cat, who was already a world traveler), get health-checked, and certified as being so. The vet cost for all six was over $800. Then we had to download forms from the USDA that were required for each pet in order for them to be flown internationally, take those in to the USDA, then back to the vets for their signatures; that all cost a few hundred more dollars. And everything we did was time-dependant, too, so we had to keep a close watch on the number of days before our flights.
We also had to buy flight-safe crates for each dog and airline-approved carriers for each cat. That was a couple more hundred dollars.
Then we had to buy the tickets for the dogs to fly in cargo (very expensive, a couple of hundred for each dog as I recall - I'll verify that cost later on), and tickets for the cats to fly onboard, around $150 each, I think.
Finally, as only two animals are allowed onboard in the cabin on any one flight, we had to take separate flights, with my going first, taking all three dogs in cargo and one cat under the seat. So I arrived in Denmark first and had to retrieve the dogs from cargo. That was probably the hardest part of this whole ordeal because I was really, really tired, and we had to wait around three hours to be able to get the dogs. Plus, there were more fees at the airport to get the dogs into the country, a couple hundred more dollars, I think it was. I had help with this stage because Mark's parents were there to pick me and all the animals up and take us to the farm.
So what I learned from this part of the trip: I think of our pets as family members, so we had no choice but to take them, even though it was difficult and very, very expensive. I will say this: All the animals, while probably horrified and miserable through the entire nearly 24-hour ordeal, forgot about it immediately and are none-the-worse for the ordeal. But one little bit of advice I can give you regards the cats in their carriers. First, don't feed or water them for many hours before the flight. Secondly, don't trust the little pads in the bottom of the carriers to manage any "accidents." The first time Kayla "pottied," there was nothing to catch the urine but the little useless pad in the floor of the carrier. So I took her and carrier into the airline toilet, ripped up tons of paper towels, and lined the bottom of the carrier very liberally with them. The next time, then, I was prepared. After she finished, I simply put a barf-bag over my hand, grabbed all the messed-up towels, pulled the bag back over my hand, with the soiled towels then inside it, tied it off, and threw it away. Very simple solution.
Okay, that's the first part of my detailed description of our trip. I'll try to cover other matters later and add more pics as well. If you have any specific questions, just drop me a note and I'll do my best to try to answer them.
Oh, also, I am still painting, but I still don't have any of my supplies other than just a few paints and brushes I threw into my luggage at the last minute. That's another story, by the way, shipping! So for those of you who read my blog to hear about my paintings, hang in there and I'll get back to them just as soon as I get back up and running.