Confessions of a Florentine Pet Sitter

Susan Canavarro ~ Bio

"Bad Wig"I am an artist (working with watercolor, acrylic, & fabric) and a writer.  I paint the Oregon coastline, working with acrylic and gesso on paper and canvas. I try, however, to work on several different series concurrently—landscapes (beach scenes, bridges, sand dunes, water), symbols, architectonic abstracts, and/or social or political commentary paintings, and occasionally I’ll do something very different, as I am doing now: creating a series of pet paintings and drawings of the many cats and dogs I have taken care of for other people, all in preparation for my book, the Confessions of a Florentine Pet Sitter.   

PillowI also work in fiber arts, creating decorative throw pillows inspired by my favorite American and European artists. Making creative art pillows satisfies a compulsive need to spend time on detail, whereas my paintings are much more simplified. The stitching gives me time to think and reflect back on my mother who earned a living making draperies and slip covers. The art form of stitching connects  us.  I recently completed and published my memoir, Fragments: Growing Up Bohemian Poor In Dementia’s House, a series of short stories and illustrations about my relationship with my mother.  

My memoir, structured around the houses we lived in when I was a kid and the metaphorical houses of my body and my mother’s dementia, covers small fragments of memories triggered by the houses. It seemed a natural thing to do, to organize around our many houses. I included an interior breezeway section because it demonstrates the emotional transformation I went through during the last year of her life.

Over the years I’ve shown my paintings in many venues in the Pacific Northwest and California. A large collection of my current and past work is on, a web site I created to showcase regional Florence and Oregon coast artists. The web site features different media with which artists have worked. Each artist has several web pages showing digital images of their artwork.  Included on the site are several artists from California, Washington, Nevada, and Tennessee. It is also a great arts resource for our local area.

With this blog, I want to share:

  • Stories, paintings and sketches regarding my pet sitting adventures and/or misadventures.
  • Personal stories and illustrations from my memoir, published in 2008 & 2009.
  • Landscape and other subject paintings, particularly the story and process behind each piece.
  • Memoir fragments and stories: Later life.

Please feel free to comment or critique these works. I promise I won’t share your email with the world!

Painting palette

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