Monday, January 11, 2010

This is Not Art

The Squirrel Jumped over the Moon

My dog Willie, a bichon, spent time alone in our fenced-in front yard yesterday. I was pleased because he won't stay out for long unless we accompany him--not fun in this unusually cold weather.

When I opened the door he came running in with what I thought was one of his toys--it wasn't. I told him to drop it--he did--on my living room floor--with a clumping sound. It was a frozen dead squirrel.

After locking Willie in the computer room, I jumped around (not high) saying "ew--ew--ew" and looked at the eyes--no blinking. The camera came out because my husband probably would not have believed it; after the photo shoot I picked the squirrel up by the tail and disposed of him.

His relatives have benefited from his demise; all my Christmas nuts have been thrown into the yard along with sunflower seeds, raisins, and pieces of apple. For a while I considered putting some old towels and socks outside to provide animal shelter--what would the neighbors think?

I had a pet squirrel named Whisko when I was young (and a pet calf named Pansy, and a bird, and a rabbit, and lots of cats & dogs). I believe all the animals (including snakes) are here for a purpose; they do much less harm than humans. Thankfully, the weather has warmed a bit.

After reading Kathy's blog "Is It Art?," this, I thought, was appropriate followup . (I suspect that inkblot is a drawing by Klimt--not a Rorschach test.)


  1. Funny! I'm laughing out loud at the images you've portrayed.
    When my son was about 8 yrs old, he found a completely flattened squirrel by the side of the road. He yelled, "Hey mom, look!" and marched the squirrel across the road as if it were alive.
    I was rolling on the ground laughing!
    And yes, to animals. Much less harm than us.

  2. Hi Indigomar. Kids are fun to be around.

    I cooked a brisket today; the recipe calls for slicing it half-way through cooking, and tasting to adjust seasonings. I would have sworn I was tasting squirrel.

  3. My personal opinion: Not only IS this art, so are the accompanying words. You have a way of making me chuckle out loud at my computer screen.

    My wife and daughter have your keen love of animals. Right now in our house we have a dog, a cat, a rabbit and a lizard. We have a pet cemetery with headstones for cats, hamsters, birds and fish - (old age in most of their cases). I am hard-pressed to keep the menagerie down to the four animals...

    I, too, am suspicious of the origins of that ink blot.


  4. Hallie,
    You have a way with words. Poor squirrel but what a story. Is it art? Yes in my book because you created it with intent. I seem to be looking at everything the last few days and asking Is it Art?

  5. Well- the way you shot it and photo-shopped (?) it- I call it ART!!! Poor squirrel. I haven't seen many squirrels out lately- I'm sure they are hanging about in their tree holes. Just goes to show- you can make art out of anything. Perhaps your image reminds us of the fragile nature of life, the impact of natural forces upon our very existence and the knowledge that life proceeds. (Kind of kidding- but I mean it too.)
    Thanks for the tip about the inkblot drawing!

  6. Hallie - you have a wonderful way of telling stories! Is this art? Your alteration of the photo and presentation make it so : )

  7. Don, Margaret, Pamo and Kathy. In altering this photo, my original intent was to hide all the paw prints and scuff marks on the walnut floor. Because of the light reflection, there was a burned-out circle at bottom right--why not add a circle, then a rectangle? Give it a title. I have trouble thinking of digital art as art.

  8. oh hwfarber..the whole experience here is art..the photo (thanks for the effects --kind of you to make it a somewhat less harsh reality)--the narrative, the outcome (you fed the squirrels because of this one's demise)--well, this is definitely all art. My favorite part was the ew ew ew. Can completely relate.

  9. Celeste, all these comments are causing me to rethink art and what it is. Maybe all of life is art. (Since I'm southern, each "ew" was at least three syllables long.)

  10. Hallie, you are so interesting in your writing and your art. I have to agree, you surely made this experience into a piece of art. Love the story and all of us who have owned pets can relate to your experience of a special delivery. I like your thought that "Maybe all of life is art."

    My squirrels continue to be very happy this winter with all the almonds they buried from the tree, and the two orange trees and the lemon tree all heavy with fruit. I was wishing I was faster with a camera a couple days ago when a squirrel ran along the top of the fence by my office window carrying a whole orange in his mouth. They are strong critters. Of course, we don't have killer temperatures here.

  11. Hi Mary and thank you. Our squirrels live high in messy nests in the trees. I'm sure a week of below-freezing temperatures has been tough on them--guess it was hard for them to retrieve those pecans when the ground was frozen. They take all the apples from our tree--we don't mind. Orange and lemon trees sound so exotic.

    I enjoy following your blog; you put the church bulletin to good use.

  12. Hallie, I can just picture this. Too funny. Our bassets have become mousers and bring them in as "presents" after they've met their demise from running into the mouth of a basset hound! I thought only cats brought them as gifts!!!

    Thankfully we don't have squirrels close by, otherwise I'm afraid they may be re-gifted too. Yuck.

    I think this is art. To me it looks like he's jumping over a blue moon. The story behind it is just great.

    I agree with you, animals have their purpose, although there are some I question what that is?

    Have a wonderful day of creativity!

  13. Thanks, Kathleen. Our first dog was a beagle and we sometimes babysat her friend, a basset. I never thought of bassets as being fast enough to catch anything.

    I love watching you work develop.

  14. Every thing has already been said - above. But I'm going to say anyway - I love your sense of humor. Now tell me about some really good street art festivals where you live. If I can get into a show there, then you and I can visit!. Have a great weekend.

  15. He Sue. I'm thinking--I'll email if I come up with "really good street art festivals" here in Sova. Our town has a huge LakeFest the 3rd weekend in July--thousands of people and it's usually around 100 degrees downtown. I would guess that most of the attendees are not here to buy art. I usually sneak down late in the day for a funnel cake. (I'll put on my thinking cap.)

  16. I thought the squirrel was jumping over the moon and we had new poetry in the making!

    I like your comment about the animals. I so wish I could see inside their world!

  17. Peggy, it would have been a sad poem.

    It's probably wonderful in Ms. Kitty's world. The wild animals have to scramble for food and shelter but they have freedom.

  18. does another squirrel have to die before we get a new post, hwfarber? haha j/k

  19. Celeste, painter of that beautiful poppy. I'm working on a new painting--almost finished.