This dog is captured in suspended animation happily pursuing her ball. The actual dog named Laika lost her life in pursuit of interplanetary travel. Homeless on the streets of Moscow, this young stray was selected to orbit earth in a rocket ship with the hope of paving a future for live manned space missions. The 1957 Soviet news reported that Laika survived for six days and when it became clear that her oxygen would not last, was humanely euthanized. The sad truth is that Laika lasted only hours, dying from exposure to extreme heat. She was and forever will be the first dog to orbit space, one can dream that her afterlife is filled with blissful playtime.

Dogs leap for balls, and squirrels clutch their prize candy corn.  Traditional portraiture takes on an ethereal interpretation with the incorporation of assorted media including plaster, collage, oil, acrylics, beeswax, metal leaf, gems, and glitter. Mary’s unique technique produces a highly textured masterful portrait with surprising depth and luminescence.

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” – Anatole France

Lonesome George, the last Pinta Island Giant Tortoise, died on June 25, 2012. His caretaker of 40 years, Fausto Llerena, remembers “I arrived at the door and Lonesome was good, he was climbing on some stones, and then I had to leave and when I returned he was dead, I tell you I froze completely”. George was well over 100 years old and the profound significance of his passing was only surpassed by the personal loss of a long time friend

“Pets are humanizing. They remind us we have an obligation and responsibility to preserve and nurture and care for all life.” – James Cromwell

“Animals are such agreeable friends—they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.” –George Eliot


My late brother Jim had a quiet unassuming way about him. Sickly as a child, he turned to nature for his solace. He could observe the micro-world of insects for hours on end. He collected all manner of fascinating and colorful bugs trading with others throughout the world. Working quietly in the solitude of his bedroom laboratory, he painstakingly cataloged, pinned, and labeled each creepy-crawly with perfect tiny hand lettering on microscopic tags.

This same patience and quiet respect allowed him later in life to capture intimate scenes of nature through his camera lens. The legacy of portraits he left is a great source for my paintings and a constant reminder of him. The expression captured on this groundhog is pure Jim, and he has brought so much inspiration to my work. The addition of the candy corn is mine.