BeBe's Blog

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Waiting For Fall

Malcolm West  ‘Off to Market’

Malcolm West is a friend of ours. Michael and I have an art gallery, (I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before!) and Malcolm is a dear friend known for his watercolors. We always carry a couple at the gallery. He is an enigmatic joy in that he is probably the one true artist/scholars-of-art I know. He is schooled in art, has always worked as an artist, is an avid student of art, has taught art, and now lives a quiet, unassuming life making his art, doing his purpose, and doing it wonderfully.

Lately, he veered off his regular path of plein-aire painting to include this charming character, “Pernina Shrew.”  These illustrations of Pernina as she waltzes through her days filled with wonder and warmth, I think, mirror the personality of the artist so well, that I feel absolutely blessed to be able to share a couple of illustrations with people who come upon this post.

My sincere hope is that Malcolm can someday gather the “Pernina files” for publication. The world could certainly use a little wonder and warmth, and I would love to share Pernina’s days with my grandson. I don’t think they even need a story-line to captivate. We could talk about going to market, or sweeping fall leaves, or having tea with a friend, all these quiet and unassuming joys of life often ignored for super-heroes and  loud noises. And I would be humbled to tell him that Malcolm is my friend.

Malcolm West    ‘Feeling Sep-tober’


We are Chez BeBe Dog Products ,  makers of fine dog coats for individual pets and makers of Chez BeBe Dog Mannequins for the visual marketing industry, also at:



Oopsy August

Alexis Moyer  from The Pot Shop    ‘Frog Totem’

Do frogs count as pets? If they grace your home, I think they do.

Alexis Moyer

This week I get to showcase my friend, Alexis. Happy, well-adjusted, good friend and mom, Alexis is an artist who sets an example to all artists who wonder if they can make it doing what they love. She has such a great understanding of running her  business, adjusting and improving and digging in to get it all done. Traveling out to her home-base gallery, Edgewater Gallery, in Fort Bragg, California, getting her daughters to school 30 miles from home, maintaining her shop in  our little town of Philo, attending shows, and art and craft fairs, Alexis amazes me. She exemplifies a marriage of talent and hard work.

She makes beautiful functional pottery, and wonderfully whimsical sculptures of bright and happy colors often with animals incorporated.  And she is getting noticed by collectors. She gives classes to supplement the business income, and she is my go-to pal for business matters and matters of life. Currently we are working together to improve our sales techniques. And it is really helping!

Last year Alexis brought American Craft Week to our county, and this year was rewarded with special recognition on a national level for the excellent job she did coordinating the event throughout Mendocino County. Because of her efforts, our county is getting spotlighted nationally.

She gets her work out there. And you can stop by her shop, The Pot Shop, in Philo, CA, next to Jack’s Valley Store. She has a great sign on the door, “Open by appointment….or coincidence”  Or you can visit her works on her website:   She’ll write you back if you have inquiries, and will get works to you quickly and efficiently.



‘The Protector”

‘Koi Table’

* It was brought to my attention (thank goodness) by a customer, that our website wasn’t working properly….Many appologies for that, all seems back to working order, and business is back open!


We are Chez BeBe Dog Products ,  makers of fine dog coats for individual pets and makers of Chez BeBe Dog Mannequins for the visual marketing industry, also at:

Full Sail Summer

Amadeo de Souza Cardoso       ‘Clown Cavalo Salamandra’

I’ve decided to change this blog a little. I blog three blogs on wordpress, and BeBe’s Blog is purely for my enjoyment. And because my husband and I are artists and have a gallery of mostly modern/contemporary works, my love is researching the use of animals and pets in fine art. So let’s just drop the rest, and delight in musing upon how the love of our animal friends has inspired artists over the years!

Amadeo de Souza Cardoso

This brilliant young artist lived to be 30. Born in Portugal in 1887, he studied art in Lisbon and Paris, associating with all the greats of our romanicism: Gertrude Stein, Juan Gris, Modigliani, Gaudi. He dedicated his life to painting, studying the cutting-edge genres of his day: impressionism, expressionism, cubism…

In 1913, participating in the Armory Show, travelling in New York, Boston, and Chicago, Amadeo sold seven of the eight paintings he showed (that’s wildly successful, by the way).

I’m displaying three of my favorite paintings here. The ‘Clown Cavalo Salamandra’ is a dead ringer for our old pony, Mr. Peanut. Peanut had that same laughing face when he was acting up around the ranch.

Souza Cardoso kept strong connections with his homeland of Portugal, and ‘Wind Dogs’ features the greyhounds used for hunting there. Although, it’s the plucky rabbits that draw our attention in both ‘Wind Dogs’ and ‘Leaping Rabbit’, portrayed in joyous suits of bright color and pattern.

He caught influenza in 1918 and died, leaving us his wonderful contributions. Bittersweet.

‘Wind Dogs”

‘Leaping Rabbit’


We are Chez BeBe Dog Products ,  makers of fine dog coats for individual pets and makers of Chez BeBe Dog Mannequins for the visual marketing industry, also at:

Stormy Weather

Paul Klee   ‘Landscape With Yellow Birds’

I love Paul Klee’s birds. These have to be the sweetest representations of our avian friends ever put to canvas. Birds are enigmatic to me. We had a pair of lovebirds given us for a few months. Sadly, they moved from house, to our summer back yard, to a friend’s house in rapid succession. We were not warned of their noise. My great-aunt had a one-eyed parrot named Lorita. Lorita kept us kids at bay by screaming “Maude! Maude!” as she lunged and bit at her cage when we passed by. Maude, was the great-aunt. I adore the wild birds in my yard, and I talk to them as if they were my pets. We have a fountain in the back, and I absolutely adore watching all the different species who come to drink and bathe in the summer. That’s how I like my birds. Free and mysterious. Like Paul Klee’s colorful blessings.


I never really thought about bird adoption, but in researching this week’s writing I ran across this site: Evidently, homeless pet birds are another problem we humans have caused. I’m including a paragraph from their website that states the situation well:

The displaced captive bird population is increasing at a frightening rate. Like other exotic “pets,” parrots are often much more difficult to keep than people anticipate because they are wild animals like tigers, monkeys, and reptiles, not domesticated as human companions for thousands of generations like dogs and cats. High care demands, behavioral challenges, and an extremely long life expectancy leave many parrots unwanted and displaced as they mature. Only a small fraction of birds — especially large parrots — will remain in their first home for their entire lifetime. Unfortunately, public education has not yet caught up to these realities of birdkeeping. The throwaway bird population has recently boomed as people have tired of the now mature, demanding exotic parrots they purchased during the affluent 90s.


Remembering that May is a big month for bird migration, here’s a suggestion from The National Wildlife Federation’s “10 Ways to Help Migratory Birds” :

Buy organic food and drink shade-grown coffee—increasing the market for produce grown without the use of pesticides, which can be toxic to birds and other animals, will reduce the use of these hazardous chemicals in the U.S. and overseas. Shade coffee plantations maintain large trees that provide essential habitat for wintering songbirds.


Because we are art gallery owners, I am constantly approaching marketing from the gallerist’s perspective. Every month our gallery hosts an “opening” in the evening for an artist we represent. I wonder if a neighborhood pet store could gain recognition by partnering with a local animal portrait artist or any artist who photographs or paints animals and holding an “opening” for the artist, inviting customers and the neighborhood to stop by to meet the artist and enjoy refreshments. As a “gallery” the store can collect expected commission on art sales from the show. Advertising costs can be kept down by advertising locally as a “free” event. Most “public notifications” of a free event are not charged for this advertising.You can create good will, increase your email list, and with a little forethought, make some extra sales during this event by strategically placing merchandise for quick sales. The real trick is to make sure the artist invites THEIR clients to the event. You can pick up some loyal customers that way.

.from Joseph Cornell’s bird assemblages.


We are Chez BeBe Dog Products ,  makers of fine dog coats for individual pets and makers of Chez BeBe Dog Mannequins for the visual marketing industry, also at:


Welcome Spring

“Ronto” from Cassell’s Book of the Dog

The actual title of this piece is: ‘Mrs. Gibbs’ Poodle-Ronto.’ I can’t imagine having someone to groom my dogs to this extent. Undoubtably, Mrs.Gibbs had the means to employ a groomer to accomplish this feat. I thought about taking the shears to Asta yesterday, in preparation to getting a haircut. He and the schnauzer have standing appointments at ‘Chez MaMa’s’ and MaMa is not very reliable. A trip to the vet’s usually gets MaMa busy on the hair and toenails….


Huge hurrahs to the San Francisco non-profit, “Muttville.” I’ve never seen so much positive press for an organization. Here’s their mission statement: “Muttville is a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the way the world thinks about and treats older dogs, aged seven years and older, and to creating better lives for them through rescue, foster, adoption, and hospice.” Seven??? That’s a chipper age in my book! And anyone thinking of adopting a dog might do well to thinking about a senior dog! Hats off to Muttville!


In Arlington, Washington, last December, Sarvey Wildlife Center rescue technician William Miller found himself plunging through icy cold water to catch a bald eagle whose twice-broken wing had left it emaciated and unable to do much more than low-level gliding.

“I had to chase him about a quarter of a mile upstream,” said Miller, who’s been a rescue technician for two of his eight years as a volunteer for the Sarvey Wildlife Center. “It was shocking. He was just skin and bones.”

On Saturday, March 17, the work and resources of Miller and his fellow Sarvey Wildlife Center volunteers paid off when they were able to release that same eagle into the skies of Burien, at the Ed Munro Seahurst Park, near where Miller had recovered the bird in the first place.


Does your pet store have a newsletter? An online newsletter can go a long way in keeping your customers feeling like your shop is THEIR shop. What a great place to announce product promotions, sales, and customer appreciation specials. I am gearing up for a newsletter for our gallery….I figure 4 or 6 online newsletters a year is plenty for me for now. Free advertising is hard to beat….and after blogging 3 different blogs a week this year, I feel like I’m up to the task.I’ll share any information I find useful…

 Antique Chinese Dog Sculpture-Bronze Dynasty


We are Chez BeBe Dog Products ,  makers of fine dog coats for individual pets and makers of Chez BeBe Dog Mannequins for the visual marketing industry, also at:

More Rain, Please

Our small valley used to have a lot of sheep ranches. It still does,but sadly, not as many as years past. The families that do have sheep, keep sheep dogs around to do a lot of the work of herding these animals about. Border Collies are owned by even non-ranchers. I don’t own one, I find it scary to own a dog smarter than some of my neighbors. Great Pyrenees are popular these days to live with the sheep. These dogs stay with the herd at all times, and not supposed to be “people dogs.” The collies inhabit the ranch homes and play with the families. I like the idea of the collies sleeping by the wood stove on a cold night…(believe it or not, a lot of us still heat our homes with wood stoves-can’t beat the warmth-and the terriers curl up on the rug in front of the stove on a cold day. Now that I write about it, I realize how bucolic we must seem. A snug picture.)


Celebrate Earth Day, April 20, 2012, by seeing the latest Disneynature film, True-Life Adventure, CHIMPANZEE! Not only will you get a chance to see an amazing film, but for every moviegoer who sees the film in the opening week, Disneynature will make a donation to the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI)! The money will help to protect chimpanzees and their habitats, now and into the future.


I saw an article in National Geographic Kids the other day which asked the question: Can animals be nice? Well, of course, and they gave examples of animals being nice to others within their species. But I have witnessed on our little ranch, inter-species niceness. A couple of years ago my pony got a big cut on her hock. Everyday, when I went down to change her bandage, our wire-hair terrier waited by her hind legs showing great concern for her injury and putting a “lick” on the new bandage like a kiss on a boo-boo. And when we lost our gelding this year, both dogs seemed to mourn with us. The mini-schnauzer, who I thought would remain seemingly unphased, had a period of melancholy. And the wire-hair can now be caught playing “tag” with his solitary pony, a game they both seem to enjoy. Nice, yes, and kind as well.


What’s in a word? I’m reading “How to Sell Art” by J.Jason Horejs, because we have an art gallery. But I just read a quick tip that I would think applies to most small businesses. Instead of the standard, “Is there anything I can help you find?” or “I’ll be over here if you have any questions…” How about this conversation opener: “What brings you out today?” or “What kind of cat do you have?” (If in the cat aisle) Choosing our words carefully can make a difference.

 The nicest little guy on our hill, “Asta”


We are Chez BeBe Dog Products ,  makers of fine dog coats for individual pets and makers of Chez BeBe Dog Mannequins for the visual marketing industry, also at:

Windy Weather

Marino Marini

Florence has a couple of my all-time favorite museums. Besides the big touristy ones like The Piti, there are couple of gems off the beaten path. One is the Marino Marini. It’s on a confusing side street, but worth the hide-and-seek. The horses in Marini’s works have such an appeal for me, he must have been a real fan of the equine race. The other one is way up on a hill overlooking the city. It’s quite a hike up there, an old fort, and I forgot the name! Oh well, the other one I have never been in to is the Feragamo. It is listed as one of the 10 top museums in the world, and about shoes! I dream of the Feragamo, someday…..


I used to run a boarding and riding stable. It was a high point of my life. With spring coming on, children,especially girls get that longing look for learning to ride or owning a pony. I used to encourage parents to wait upon a purchase until later when the child was old enough to not loose interest. One way parents can help appease the “horse fever” is to encourage learning about horses and horsemanship. US Pony Club has great written materials for kids.   And parents can augment the written with visiting stables that encourage children to spend time on the ground with lesson horses. Often, a smaller barn will welcome occasional visits of “ground lessons” for kids. It’s worth looking around…..


Another horse related activity for kids might be to help sponsor a horse or pony. With the hit of a harsh economy, rural communities are finding instances of families not being able to adequately feed their horses. Local feed stores often have donation cans available to help out, kids could help raise bits of cash to help a pony in need.


I happened upon this helpful link the other day….Super Zoo has online video sessions from their 2011 conference that seem to address several topics for pet store owners. It’s hard to get out in the conference world when you are a small store owner, this may be of help!

 ‘Cavaliere’ -Marino Marini


We are Chez BeBe Dog Products ,  makers of fine dog coats for individual pets and makers of Chez BeBe Dog Mannequins for the visual marketing industry, also at: