HELLO!! Thank you for stopping inside the pages!! Optimal viewing is desk or lap top--mobile distorts. It was a challenge for me to make this website on my own but to me the Wix is best for those who need or want to do this themselves. It is pretty intuitive if you apply yourself to the tons of decisions you must make.
WhimZCreations was created so that you may see what I have painted ---often with very little time allowed to meet a deadline as usually-- I get invited to participate last minute and still accept. Creating much of what you see in 3 weeks instead of 3-6 months allowed for other artists to complete same project---because I am willing. Please consider that if you tend to compare artist ability. I do give my best---quickly! Though really--- I would love the chance to paint without such a short deadline.
I started with The Clowns for Children's Hospice of Sarasota, all the way to the 2016 Southeastern Guide Dogs --not continuous, with several months or more in between times. I like to think I am improving with each attempt. I realize there are better skilled artists than me but I am trying to be better. My many painted art sculptures display from Sanibel Island up to Clearwater along our West Coast of Florida and beyond where owners display out of state.
Who AM "I"????
I am named after both of my Grandmothers, Catherine and Caroline. I was the "first" of many grandchildren born. So I use both names in print because my Grandmothers were equally important and loved very much by me. My Father never had sons so I took his name and hyphened when I married. After being a lifelong "Zurich" thinking surely I had a castle in Switzerland--I could not become just a Wus? So I am Slovak Ukrainian on my Father's side and Polish on my Mother's side which makes me a very happy person. I love my family and oh so many pets along with orphaned injured wildlife I may have the privilege of rehabbing from time to time. Very important to me!
And about that unique last name---my husband Michael's last name is from Ukranian origin and actually means "half a mustache"! His mother told me that, oh so long ago, that "someone" in the family had made the King (CZAR) Nicholais very angry and supposedly the name was then changed/bestowed upon them as an insult, by the King!! Well that is what I was told
And only recently---- we learned of our "new" relatives and a large Family Tree!!!!! Grandpa "Zurich" -----was evidently a "Wirtes" first--he made up our "Zurich" name when he ran away from his family as a youth!!!?? The DNA capability and the computer certainly "branches us out" these days!! How fascinating to discover these many new wonderful family members after ----well, ALL of my life--- until now!! So really then my name should be Cathie Carol Zurich Wirtes -Wus or perhaps the initials "C.C.Z.W.W." HAHAHahahah --THAT is a pretty balanced moniker don't you think? !!!!!!!!!!
My husband's dear mother by the way, was a prisoner of war as a child and was "owned" by a farmer when she was "taken" from her family. Her childhood was spent working as in a labor camp. She endured brutal sun exposure in the fields each day--sun up to sun down with back breaking work. Subsequently she suffers greatly with skin cancer issues requiring many surgeries over the years and in her 90s today, she is scheduled yet again for more! Lifetime repercussion as "prisoner due to war". Only now--- she cries when she must still endure facial surgery. But brave all her life. She lived on bread mostly for meals and ---a bed of hay in a barn, back then. She often speaks of "My Farmer" where we would say my mother or father. Such sad circumstances she has shared with us. I am sad for her---- but she has a strong and determined stamina. I have highest admiration and enormous love for her. ( I am pictured in slideshow with beloved "Mary"--we are standing beneath a hotel entrance, on Captiva Island Florida with my seahorse "Stargazer" behind us...)
Her older sister, Michael's Aunt, during that same war, was exiled "to Siberia" for her beliefs as one of Jehovah's Witnesses and she remained there for her entire lifetime---- until her death at over 90 years old just a few years ago!!! Though eventual freedom came--she had once said that "since God allowed that she should be sent there", she would do what she could in that special territory and she just never left it. Imagine that strong resolve. There was a moving article written about that courageous woman and all of the many people "she helped" through her lifetime experience spent in Siberian exile! Two very special ladies to me those "sisters". My hope would be that maybe-- when there is a "knock" on your door you might speak with some of my dearest "friends" who hope to share good things for you to think about.
IF time allows you---you will appreciate a Steven Speilberg Foundation video documentary called "The Schoolgirl, The Nazis and The Purple Triangles". It is 20 minutes or so of impactful powerful film--you can see online if you google search. Just enter that title. It is quite moving. It is part of my heart as I grew up enduring also.
MY "WORKING" CAREER that lead to MY COMMUNITY ART
While doing my recent community projects I was privileged to be employed in the Maternity Wards and NICU units at local hospitals, Lakewood Ranch Women's Medical Center and Manatee Memorial Hospital, as a trusted hearing technician for newborn infants just hours old and brand new in this world, which was wonderful and stressful at the same time. It was precious meeting the mother's and family and sharing in a time so very dear and private, and.... special beyond measure! But the random hours were difficult for me to schedule anything else around. I also trained new technicians in two separate hospitals.
My "working" career really began pretty early in my Father's printing company, all through his life that he owned it, you know how "kids" always help out the family business!! However, my first "real" job you could say was in high school, I started at Maas Brothers Department Store (located on Main Street in downtown Sarasota) hired as a Sales girl then head of Department. I liked displaying store merchandise. AND I have now-- two Victorian mannequins in our home that were allegedly used within a Maas store window display many decades ago! You will see them in the slides. An interior designer husband and wife team acquired them over 25 years ago through an auction to benefit the Edison & Ford Estate Museum down in Ft Myers and now we have the privilege of owning them. They surely add whimsy to our artsy historic 1908 cottage!
I was a Medical Unit Secretary in an ICF Nursing Home Facility for about five years where I loved the elderly ones like I had 100 Grandma and Grandpas!! I became a Family Pharmacy Technician. I then happily taught preschool, having my own fanciful fun classroom where I created a reading corner and decorated a cheery environment for the children to joyfully and creatively learn.
After that I became Executive Assistant to the Director of The Bar Association Legal Aid for six years with a beautiful office, but it was very truly high stress. We even had bomb threats. I attended several Bar luncheons and Board meetings with my wonderful female Boss and wrote a small column periodically for the Legal Aid newsletter. I did have the privilege of creating a calendar for Probono Awards. It was caricatures of 12 prestigious judges! I can tell you the judges all had a great sense of humor about that project. My Father printed it for us--the last page was a certificate designed by me with a large gold embossed emblem! I think I have a calendar upstairs stored away along with a Florida coloring book my Father also printed for me!!
After the legal office I worked about ten years in an amazing Sarasota estate on the Bay as Personal Assistant--only five minutes from home and made more money part time than ever full time. The family was kind and generous towards me and it was quite the privileged position!!
So I have wide experience and applied myself diligently to every job I desired. I believe most of my positions really helped me--- help people, in some way. I do have a victim's advocate sort of mentality, for human and furry friend---- and I will step up when I must. Part of the resume of life huh? I am thankful in being willing and able to use my talent, such as it is now, assisting "others" through the funds raised by my children's art.
I have been kindly welcomed and accepted into The Children's Writer's Guild!!! I hope to enthusiastically e writing "reviews" for children's picture books online! Since reading, writing and illustrating are three favorite endeavors of mine--- this privileged opportunity will bring great joy to my heart. I do consider it an honor and will do the very best I can. You may see their site at childrenswritersguild.com --under the "about" section you will find all of the contributors and alphabetically I am at then end. Click the circle pic to read my brief biography. My children's books reviews will be added as I complete them--as time may allow. I am excited about joining them!!!
The CHALLENGES OF PAINTING 3D FIBERGLASS FORMS
Painting a 3D image is quite the challenge as you are working "around" an object and not a flat canvas so it becomes easier to forget details of the back and at the top or bottom----which also finds you working on your knees a lot!!!!-
Curves, roughness and bumps are a true challenge for indicating straight lines or fluidity of design on sculptures. My renderings start as a simplistic drawing and then I try to paint in greatest detail always adding special elements, like Swarovski jewels or whatever I feel enhances the art--far more than what "a piece of submitted paper" reflects. It sort of develops as I go.
At times, I have even created my own paper mache characters like the clown's monkey Punky and the olde Parrot Crusty on the pirate gecko to mention a few--all baked in my oven at home. I use wire hangers and newspaper and paper clay the old fashioned way. And while some artists submit fascinating art on paper ----sometimes they can not produce as intended on the 3D image. I find a simple start enables a grande finale by comparison.
I hope my art becomes something you remember, which is why I love detailing so much, as that is what the sponsor and the community deserves---something I believe they can be proud to display and really enjoy "looking" at!!!!! A lot of artists like "airbrushing" but it is not my preference at all, as to me it seems too generic looking. Just depends on style sought.
Community art provides an honorarium or stipend to each artist that we can use to reinvest in what we create, buying any supplies needed from that allowance. It is not a profession or job by any means because ongoing opportunities are sparse. It is truly by generosity of artists and sponsors involved that the art exists for everyone to appreciate and subsequently benefit from. I do what I can when I am aware of the "Call To Artists" to lend what talent I have. I am very selective as to what I will support and represent. I may use this site to eventually sell, but at the moment I have nothing to offer, so maybe you will check back now and then, and see what might be new.
A CREATIVE PERSONALITY & FUTURE ENDEAVORS
I have a nice collection of children's stories that I have written and will hopefully illustrate for publishing someday.
I framed a beautiful Editor "letter" as inspiration for me. I received it from a New York City Publishing House after a slush pile submission--a rejection, but with kindest personal notations which is not the norm so it is specially inspiring to me!!! I have gotten my "stories" out recently. I'd like to submit them again. We shall see. Life keeps us very busy.
I prefer real true "printed" books-- not nooks or ebooks or whatever digital!!! I am afraid I am also not a fan of the digital art--digital has its place but it lacks individuality to me somehow. A lot of the recent book "art" or illustrations tend to look like the same person has done them "all", no matter the publisher--so that it does not stand out--- as once books uniquely did. The genuine complaint with digitally mastered characters, in computer generated movies is that they can not convey life in the eyes, and so I feel too---our eyes do not view digital art as lively compared to art drawn by the human hand. Personal choice perhaps, but I prefer the blending and painting done by a human talent alone, distinguishable-- not through computer enhancements that seem to sterilize or produce homogenized "art". Look through publisher lists and see the rows of art and compare for yourself what you see. I am not a fan of airbrush either as it sort of looks cheap sometimes but everyone has their own ideas about art right?
Songwriting and singing are a part of my past as well. I did win an audition many years ago pre-Idol forum, but that "contract" indicated I would have to allow "them" to do whatever it takes to "make my image a success" so I did not follow through on that venture as I was unsure what they would make of me? I took a songwriting class once for a few weeks from talented Ishmael Katz here in Sarasota, and it was too much fun and I loved it. What an amazing teacher and a professional musician he is, with his own CDs! I have done singing jingles for FM radio and one of my sisters and I did several commercials that I wrote, recording them in a local oldies radio station studio. It was greatest fun to hear them on aire! Rarely ever do I sing anymore.
Lots of creative aspects to my personality. I also enjoy reading and writing poetry. And well, as far as adventures may go-- I could tell you about shark fishing off the rickety sky high Boca Grande phosphate docks in the darkest of the night as a teen. Or how about "spelunking" 100 feet below ground in Bat Cave in the middle of a farmer's field at midnight!? SPOOKY. My parents had NO idea! Our life results from the decisions we make. I feel I have selected wisely---most of the time and am grateful for what I have experienced. Though life has not been a fairytale by any means. We all cope and endure a variety of trials and keep taking one day at a time moving forward! I find helping others---------- in a variety of ways keeps my heart happiest!!
Sadly to me----my dear Father, Edward, only saw "my very First" Community Art Project----the clown Dazzle with her dog HipHop and the paper mache Comcast Slowski turtle with the little clown sitting upon it that I handmade--the very beginning of my community art, but--- the unexpected end of his life...... which still, is truly hard to believe for us. Two weeks before his 45th wedding anniversary we had to plan his memorial service instead. He had been ill, but doctors just had no idea how seriously---all his tests were fine. The day before he was gone, a few of us went together with him to a gorgeous sunny Botanical Garden on the Bay enjoying the gorgeous sunshine and boats on the water. He just did not wake up the next morning, Saturday--- though he had planned on doing some pressure washing!? Who can know......
My Father was at Camp LeJeune for the duration of his basic training----------------and IS part of "The Few The Proud THE FORGOTTEN."
He died at age 64 unexpectedly and suddenly, undiagnosed and probably because he was at Camp Lejeune late 1950s early 1960s..............My Father died in March---- two weeks before his 45th Wedding Anniversary so we had to have a Memorial Service instead of their party...................This is from a recent article concerning the contaminated water Marines were "exposed" to just in case it may benefit anyone else to know:
"WASHINGTON" — After years of waiting, veterans who were exposed to contaminated drinking water while assigned to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina may now be able to receive a portion of government disability benefits totaling more than $2 billion.
Beginning in March 2017, the cash payouts from the Department of Veterans Affairs may supplement VA health care already being provided to eligible veterans stationed at the Marine base for at least 30 cumulative days between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987. Veterans will have to submit evidence of their diagnoses and service information."
But sadly, does not help my Father--wish we had been aware while he was alive to get him help.............sigh..........
He was very intelligent in many ways and had an inventive mind and a keen artistic eye himself. My Father was very generous with a big heart and would help anyone he could and he loved animals.... maybe even more than me!!? He was very mechanically inclined, a avid "do-it-yourselfer" and really quite techy. He loved computers and learned all he could. My mom related to me that, when he was in his late teens, he completely took apart an old Jaguar engine in his family garage. He used no manuals. To their astonishment he left it scattered in parts and pieces all over the place---then went away to boot camp for the Marines. Upon his return home he put it ALL back together again, and..... the engine worked and the car drove, to the further surprise of everyone!! Smart man!! My Mom had known my Father since she was 13 years old and they were always together! It just should not have ended so soon.....
A cute---I very much think- little experience about my Father, that my Mom told to me more recently (I wish she had told me when he was alive as I could have had fun with him!!)....well----while he was in the Marines my mother of course wrote him more than regularly! She would send to him, along with her love letters, bags of "butterscotch" candies, because she knew they were his favorite. But one day in desperation, my Father "Ronny" called his "Rosie" to beg her to "PLLLLLEEEEease.....STOP sending the butterscotch bags of candy--------------- because EVERY time you DO--the "guys" make me run LAPS around the barracks!!!!!" Oh, I can just imagine my poor Dad having the guys tease him! Every mail call must have made him nervous!!!! I wonder how many laps he did run? Must make note to ask Mom!! Well, it IS a truly "sweet" story, dontcha' think???-(SMILE) We keep a small dish of butterscotch candies on his bar today!!
My Father had joined the Marines and yet despite that intense training, in his life he just could not ever advocate war. When he reached that conclusion he was unwavering in that resolve. At heart, he was a peacemaker and keeper to the best of his ability. Any person or animal in distress found a helper in him. My Father would give you what he himself needed if he felt your need was real. That is how he was and perhaps I take after him in many ways. It is as the world should be-- having your concern and interest on the welfare of others. Every Bible teaches that?! But man has his own ways, to the detriment of fellow man. Living life kindly and generously is the best legacy I think.
We have my Father's artsy vintage leopard "bar" in our cottage dining room. He purchased it right before going into the Marines. A few weeks before he died, Father absolutely insisted my husband and I take it from his pool table game room, even though we don't even really drink. He told me "keep a bottle of "Pinch" on it" --so we do just as he said! My baby pictures were taken behind that bar---- with me probably a year old sitting tucked in close on a leather back stool so I could not fall.
Though he was alive when he asked us to take it--Father never saw his Bar in our home as he died shortly after we moved it. But a photo of it was included in a local article when we were selected, to our GREAT surprise----- as "Home of The Month" for the local Sarasota Longboat Key Observer!! Our modest little artsy cottage. What a fun privilege! He would have loved seeing THAT! I sure DID--for him!!!! I think he would have really liked and enjoyed this website too and I miss him very much---- so I mention so much about him. Oh...and I am wearing "his" tattered green printing press "apron" in the slide photo, where I am standing behind my "Sunshine Senior Friendship Center Artist painted Bench".
A wonderful opportunity transferred my Father to Florida with all expenses paid when we were still children. Our family began in an apartment in Newark NJ moved to a large Dutch Colonial 3 story tudor home in Montclair NJ then up to the first mountain of West Orange NJ with 52 acres of woods of The Dupont Estate as our backyard. We vacationed for many, many years at Disney World and Miami Beach while growing up in New Jersey with our clan of relatives. Eventually we relocated to beautiful Bayshore Road in Sarasota FL where the large Banyan Tree still marks our old school bus stop. Both The John Ringling Estate Fine Art Museum and also The Sarasota Jungle Gardens, on opposite ends of that beautiful royal palm tree lined road, were within walking distance from our home. Animals and Fine Art--what could be better??!!
Both of my sisters are equally talented in different ways. My sisters and I finished school here in the south, and all three of us attended the same Visual and Performing Arts High School. You had to audition to be enrolled. We enjoyed that creative time together!! My youngest (we are all just about a year apart) is a professional Calligrapher--the art of beautiful handwriting. She has been President of The Florida State Scribes. She embellishes her work with exquisite illuminations and art. You will see "Once Upon A Time" and "Happily Ever After " gorgeously painted in gold on wooden purple plaques for the King & Queen Seahorses---they are a small example of her outstanding lettering work in my slide show. Sometimes she embellishes my projects when I insist upon it, as she is often busy with her own --- I do not know anyone else who could do it better!!? My middle sister enjoyed drawing very intricate colored pencil illustrations--when she wants to, that is. She is an artist at heart and apparently, likes to keep it there!
Father enabled more than a "plentiful supply" of paper for us girls to color and draw on as he brought home a variety of samples from his printing shoppe all the time. And when we visited "his print shoppe" we were often handed a stack of paper and crayons and markers to "keep busy" with if we were not "helping" in some way. My mother Rosemary loved to sew and embroider and made lots of beautiful clothes for "their three girls". She also is artistic though only in her youth did she draw. She did love to color with us in coloring books sometimes. One of my dear Uncles, my Father's brother, when I was small, gave me brilliant colored soft pastels which I had never seen before! He also shared with me a stunning charcoal portrait he did of one of his sisters (when I was a toddler, she died young in a tragic car accident while carrying her first unborn baby and my youngest sister is named after her) I was fully inspired to "be" an artist.
I, as my sisters, am generally self taught. Natural talent it seems. I reference my own photograph collection for ideas and use various wildlife and nature books or magazines to sometimes compile further what I am trying to paint. Unlike Rockwell who always used live models, I can not call in a flamingo to pose for me! Some things I paint are just make believe! And that is when I have the best time creating!!! I have rarely displayed my own art at home and have painted very, very limitedly at that actually. And what few paintings I had done early in life as watercolors were given away as gifts. I recently painted my bathroom cabinet with a fanciful mural though.
Most all of our relatives are in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New England area, with some in Alaska and Hawaii and then also on the other coast here in Florida. I have many wonderful Aunties and Uncles and Cousins whom I love and cherish as my parents came from big families. My smaller immediate family are close in friendship and live nearby, with one sis of mine living next door to us while Mom is just streets away and my other sis, just a little further as she has a horse she owns and tends to. My brother in laws are super wonderful guys too! Both of my sisters travel a lot with their husbands and have been to some exotic places. I traveled Europe for about a month starting from England doing a continental tour of about 10 countries when I was younger and it was my trip of a lifetime--I have never been back, though I thoroughly loved it and we took only maybe 600 photos--the kind that used "rolls of film" to develop. HA!
MICHAEL & EXTRA SPECIAL EFFORTS
My husband, grew up an Ohio boy, living on a small 7 acre farm.. His Dad died before he was born. Michael kindly and generously helps and financially supports me on any of my art projects, especially when I need his drills, bolts, dremel and "how-to do it" knowledge, with what I think up!!! We live in a unique historic 1908 cottage. Our property is "wildlife habitat certified" as we also do volunteer wildlife rescue and rehab at our own expense for past 25 years,---when their is a wild injured or orphan in true need!! I have always LOVED all animals.
All kinds of creatures have been cared for and some kept as pets through my life. Regarding wildlife---- Best to leave an animal on its own whenever you can! Or transfer carefully to a licensed Rehab Center and then---- make a donation if you leave a creature!! It helps a lot!
Our rescue efforts have always had great success. When an animal is sheltered here, we keep our home especially quiet and calm to provide a healing environment where it can thrive with gentlest care. We have a motto--"Every living thing deserves a helping hand" and that goes with the photo in the slideshow where my hand is holding a few hours old infant raccoon that Mike found hurt in our yard a few years ago. Also, our family and friends know us to be avid gardeners. Our home is still maintained by a "well" so we hand carry water to our pocket gardens around the property to conserve! We do not use pesticides or fertilizers but research natural alternatives as our environment should be respected in all ways that matter and what is in our power to control. It helps the wildlife thrive here too!!
Both of us attend our local Kingdom Hall , as our parents raised us. In my young adulthood I did attend many MANY local churches of various denominations such as several types of Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic, Episcopalian and such ETC and did so--- at the urgent requests of "friends" who said how can you know if you have found the right religion if you only know one!? OK fair enough statement from "their" point of view I thought, and I was certain that going with them would be kind for their concern--- so I accepted their invitation and I sincerely investigated. OH MY could I tell you about the clergy and preachers I met. WHAT an eye opener and I will leave it there. Suffice to say the adventure more firmly cemented my own belief after visiting all of those "places" for my look see--seems I had more answers than those assigned to change my mind!!?
I happily talked with all that were willing to meet me. But---One preacher would not even try to converse with my faith--saying immediately upon sitting down------"Oh if you're one of Jehovah's Witnesses, then I am leaving!" and he "loudly" shut his Bible--and exited my home very abruptly. My invited friend's saw this response-----and were speechless. Needless to say they needed no more examples of "other" religions for me to experience after all that. Neither did I.
It is actually most important of the many things we do within our community---our sharing life changing, encouraging bible knowledge with those who are kindly interested, and it makes us who we are. The difficult work is in finding the sincere individuals, and yet we do! It is a great privilege to love and assist people and animals---we are all meant to share this earth together peacefully!! Support your community in whatever ways YOU can-----it will help where you live and you will be content knowing you did what you could to improve life. ALL of our efforts add up!!! Make an effort. It WILL make you happy if you do!!!!
We enjoy our downtown Sarasota and you can find us on random weekdays at The Coffee Carrousel on Main Street, when we can get there---we love that place of "locals" and the ladies (a mom and three daughters) that run it, and have been going for over 20 years! We are basically homebodies and fond of antiques. We have a collection of old toys, German and French dolls and bears, clocks and radios and cameras. Worthless to some but nostalgically meaningful to us. But our old 1908 cottage--referred to as "The Tentmaker's House" in an article by The Sarasota Observer, well the old house has enough and then some, so we are mostly retired collectors. Often we have given things to those who visit and especially loved something---after all they are only things. And you know, there is more happiness that way---giving! We are very eclectic in our furniture. I can always find a uniquely styled "bargain" and love to re-purpose!! I enjoy doing that by choice. I think a home should reflect individual personality as it adds to the enjoyable fun of visiting each other! We are all different, so why have the same color trend of the year on the wall or a couch style because a movie star commercial "sold you"--I mean told you to??-(SMILE) Unique should be ubiquitous!
I hope you enjoyed the lengthy "about me" peppered with anecdotes and also the slides that took you on a winding journey down "Community Art" Lane, past "The Tentmaker's House" and right through my heART Department!!!
Well, it has come to be the time when I must say----
"Thank YOU for spending your time at this new site of WhimZCreations in reading and looking over the art--- and perhaps, you have seen something that made you smile!!? I hope so.......with all my heArt."
SONG SELECTED : Morning Has Broken (original familiar artist Cat Stevens 1973) THIS version supplied by JAMENDO.COM and is from the Album titled "Color of Music" by Ronny Matthes in the soothing style of traditional Galische melodie.
Lyrics for those interested:
"Morning has broken, like the first morning, Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird. Praise for the singing, praise for the morning---- Praise for the springing fresh for the world.
Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven, Like the first dew fall, on the first grass. Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden, Sprung in completeness where his feet pass.
Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning, Born of the one light, Eden saw play. Praise with elation, praise every morning God's own creation of a new day........"
Please~ make time to read in your Bible every day--it honors God who provided it to help us and it can make your life happier and your heart content.
I hope your lifetime is full of good and wonderful things and that any troubles you may have to encounter you will overcome and cope with and then achieve your......... "Happily Ever After" Remember.....Every "morning" is a new opportunity to do better than the day before!
It is my favorite time of day! ~Cathie