This book is finally out! I’m so proud of it. This heartfelt, illustrated tale is a departure from the dark and spooky adult horror and mysteries I used to write. See the book here!
Amazon Book Description: Granola Barr is a tiny puppy when she comes to live with her new family. She grows very close to rascally Scruffy, and the old and frail Grandma Anna. It’s a perfect, cheerful life for Granola until one day Grandma Anna becomes very ill and goes to the doctor. When she doesn’t come home, and Granola learns her beloved Grandma Anna has passed away, she’s overcome with grief. Granola struggles with her sadness so much, that Grandma Anna returns as a spirit to help the puppy through her sorrow until she’s strong enough to let go. During this year-long visit, Granola takes the time she needs to accept Grandma Anna’s death and to say a proper goodbye.
Saying goodbye is never easy but Goodbye Grandma Anna shows how love, our memories, and our souls live on long after we pass on. This story of love, sadness, and finding hope and joy again is told from a puppy’s point of view alongside beautiful, original oil paintings created by the author and artist Tracy L. Carbone.
Losing a beloved grandmother is heartbreaking for little Granola Barr. A curious young pup, she cannot fathom why Grandma Anna went away or how she will ever get along without her. After a mysterious series of events, and an unimaginable surprise that helps her say goodbye, Granola’s spunky spirit is revived and her tiny tail begins to wag again with new life.
Goodbye Grandma Anna: A Granola Barr Book tackles the delicate subject of loss with a positive focus on the healing power of love. Seen through the eyes of an adorable puppy and the artistry of Tracy Carbone, it is a story for anyone who has ever grieved the passing of a cherished pet or relative. In whimsical illustrations, Ms. Carbone’s affection for animals shines throughout, reminding us that family members come in a variety of shapes and species, and teach us important lessons that enrich our lives. In a circle of life meant to expand our hearts and minds, the special bonds we develop never really leave us. Through loving memories and messages that can be passed along from generation to generation, our most valuable connections live on forever. Sure to appeal to children as an enchanting Granola Barr adventure in rhyme, Goodbye Grandma Ana offers a hopeful takeaway for readers of all ages.
—Tuya Pearl, psychotherapist and author of Tell Me Your Story: How Therapy Works to Awaken, Heal, and Set You FreeA fantasy that reinforces the animal/human bond and the inevitability of loss. The author utilizes clever rhymes and prints of her oil paintings to tell the story.
In my literacy methods courses at St. John’s University I stressed to my students the invaluable skills and love of reading “Read Alouds” developed in children. With the rhyming narrative and full page illustrations to reinforce the theme this sweet story serves as an excellent tool for a key methodology so useful in early literacy development. It should be in every school library. Dr. Peter Quinn , Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. St. John’s University, New York City.
If you pick up a copy, please, please, please leave an Amazon review!
In the last couple of weeks I tackled a couple of different dog breeds. Both are oils on stretched canvas. The Bull Terrier is an 8X10 and the English Bulldog an 11X14. $150 for Bull Terrier and $200 for English Bulldog plus shipping. Matted prints are $15 plus shipping.
First up, a Bull Terrier. I used a pallet knife at the end to give it some texture. This was a fun process and I may start incorporating this into more paintings.
Completed painting of the Bull Terrier.
Next up, an English Bulldog. I love this breed and think they’re adorable. I used the pallet knife here too and it makes such a big difference. It’s somewhat using the deconstructing method which is great for making some of the sharp edges not so sharp.
Contact me if you’d like to purchase one of the originals or a print.
First up, a Beagle. I had a Beagle when I was a child. We brought Buddy home when he was seven weeks old, and I was seven years. He quickly became quite a little rascal, and my best friend. This Beagle doesn’t look like Buddy, but it reminded me of him. Buddy passed away in the early 1980s when photography wasn’t as advanced as is it now, for regular 110 home cameras, so I don’t have any sharp, clear pictures to use as reference. It was a nice memory to paint this dog’s portrait and reminded me how expressive Beagle faces can be.
Next up, a black Labrador puppy because who doesn’t love the adorable face of a little lab?
This last piece was the hardest so far. I was attempting to paint a photo I have of Travis and baby Travie. I don’t have as much experience with humans so, as you’ll see in the photos, this was really a struggle. I still have a little work to do on this one, but it’s just about done.
For the Father Son picture, I used a pallet knife for the first time. The lines on their shirts were too precise, the edges of their faces too crisp. Hoping it was a good idea, I followed my old instructor’s advice and deconstructed the painting. I took a piece that was almost done and smeared thick paint all over it. Thankfully, it worked! The baby’s nostrils and mouth need a little more work but that should be an easy fix.
After painting a friend’s chihuahua, my sister-in-law’s guinea pig, and another friend’s pitbull, I decided to branch out and paint random dogs. Everyone doesn’t want pictures of Granola, afterall, even if I think she’s the most adorable little thing ever.
The other pictures below were from random pictures I found online, that Iater gave my own little Tracy spin.
This weekend I’m planning to attend a craft fair and hopefully I’ll find a buyer for some of these pieces, or get some interest in new work and new paintings. Note, the Cattle Dog is my old Mabel and the original isn’t for sale.
The last few months I’ve been on a painting frenzy. All told, including the cover for Goodbye Grandma Anna: A Granola Barr Book, I painted 21 pieces for the book. Below is the cover. CLICK THIS LINK for a time lapse video of the first session of the painting.
The Makers’ Market I attended a few times has closed down, at least for now, so with my “spare” time I’ve been painting friends’ and my family’s dogs, some cats, and also a goat (Ted) who I saw at a Kindred Spirits Care Farm, a non-profit that rescues animals.
After a LOT of practice, I’m ready to start taking commissions for portraits. Prices start at $150 for an 8X10 or 11X14 on stretched canvas. Plus shipping. Local delivery in SoCal can be arranged. Up to two pets included. Inquire if you have a bigger pet family and need to add more.
I’ve recently started an instagram page @oilsbytracy.Please follow me there for updates and new videos. You can order via DM on Instagram, by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the contact page of this site.
I’ll post new pictures as I finish them. Until then,
It’s been a long time since my days of trying to find and agent or publisher, when I’d spend a fortune going from one writers’ conference to another, flying or driving around the country hoping readers would buy my existing books, or a publisher or agent would take me and my idea on board. It was hard, demoralizing at times. Ultimately, I chose Shadowridge Press as my publisher because they do beautiful work and spend a lot of time on design. I was mostly responsible for my own marketing and since I hate that sort of thing, I have a lot of books in boxes at home, and a lot of stuff on Amazon that doesn’t move. It’s my own fault for not making an effort but in my defense, I spent YEARS trying to sell, and schmoozing, and spending money on marketing. In the words of Bartleby, “I would prefer not to” continue to do that.
But painting is something else entirely. I don’t feel a need to sell, sell, sell. I’m not looking for my big break, one painting that’ll set me for life and pay off my house. I paint because I like it, because when I do a pet portrait, I smile when I’m painting, and the people I paint for smile when they see the final product.
Recently my future son-in-law started making beautiful, high-end cutting boards. Instagram @travwoodworks
He discovered a Makers’ Market in town and signed up for a table. I did as well, figuring since I’ve got a couple of dozen paintings, and am creating more all the time, I ought to try to sell some. I have my originals, prints, and have a shingle out to take commissions for pet portraits. The vibe when I’m doing this for pleasure instead of to support myself is very different. Yes, I want to get paid for work I do, but I also like the events and talking to people, getting to know others, and hearing from passersby that my pups and the paintings are cute.
All the pictures I’ve posted in the past were photos of paintings. To give a better idea of the quality, here are some high-resolution scans.
I’ll be working on the new kids’ book and will hopefully have it for sale at the Maker’s Market in the next couple of months. Keep an eye out for new paintings and shows.
The book is just about done, Meaning the rough draft at least. All painting are complete, except one. Once I finish that one I’ll do one more run through for final brush strokes. The narrative parts of the story are also nearly done. I decided to tell the story in poem form since it’s for kids. Here’s a picture of most of the paintings in various stages, plus the “Very formal” outline of the book with notes.
In the next part of the book, where I left off in the last post, Anna tells Granola that it’s time for her to go, for good. She says Granola is ready. Granola is saddened by this so runs away from home, has a good cry on a rainy day, and is finally brought home by her parents. She gets a warm bath and lots of hugs.
Later, Mom sits Granola and Scruffy down and tells them some big news.
In the end, time passes. Granola turns two! She doesn’t see Anna anymore but says she knows Anna still watches over them all. Except she says this in kid-friendly terms, in rhyme.
I’m still working on the cover but here it is, still in progress.
My next post about this book will be when it’s done and ready to read. Until then I’ll be focusing on some of the other paintings and my new foray into Makers’ Markets and selling my work.
Though I’ve sworn off writing fiction and instead have thrown myself into oil painting, I’ve realized recently that maybe there’s a way to do both.
The day after Christmas, my old Schnauzer Anna passed away from complications of dementia and heart disease. My dog Granola was very close to her old doggy sister, though she also adores her middle- aged buddy Scruffy. One day I noticed Granola looking in a mirror, so I photographed her as I often do. I decided instantly to paint it but then got the idea to add Anna in, but only on one side.
From there I became completely pulled into the idea of writing a book about loss for children. I planned out the book on index cards, just like old times. Though this time there weren’t as many cards as an 80,000 word novel needs a bit more planning.
I decided to start the story when Granola was little. These paintings still need a little touching up but they’re a good sneak preview.
Over time, Anna’s age started to get the best of her. One day she got sick and Granola and Scruffy waited and waited. But she didn’t come home… Note my masterful sketches I use as a guide.
After that day, the pups were very sad…
Soon after, in the book, Granola sees Ghost Anna in the mirror, where it all started. She is very excited until she jumps right through her. She runs and hides but eventually comes out again, tentatively. Again, not to worry, these paintings are drafts. I’d never post drafts of writing online but with paintings I think it’s fun to see the process. I’m grateful my dogs are so good about picture time.
After that, when Granola saw Anna’s ghost wasn’t going to hurt her, it made her happy. Anna stuck around for a while. They hung out and played games together, though Scruffy couldn’t see her and thought it was her imagination. Why I got the idea of puzzles I’ll never know but I thought it would be fun to paint.
That’s plenty of teaser for now. I’ve got a lot more paintings done and only ONE PICTURE left to paint. Then I have to work out the narrative part. I know what I want to say but any good writer will tell you, it’s how you say it. And that, I don’t have figured out yet.
I’ll share more soon but didn’t want you all to think I was being lazy or binge watching TV with my “free” time. Okay, I am also binge watching TV, from behind my easel. I highly recommend Offspring and Wilfred. I’ve recently started watching LOST which I haven’t seen since it aired. And of course the perfect shows whose seasons end all too quickly, This Is Us and Call the Midwife.
Since my last post, I’ve had twinges of longing to write again. I’ve sat down at my laptop and “scribbled” down some badly written starts. In the past I’d persevere until the bad scribbles turned into something good. But with my long hiatus from writing, it’s still difficult to bring myself to write much more than blogs. In the meantime, I’ve been exploring my newfound love of painting.
When I was very young I loved to draw. I wanted to be an artist when I grew up but wasn’t good at it. This was back in the 70s and we didn’t have much money so art lessons in person weren’t even thought of. When we were kids, we played outside a lot and followed our creative pursuits and let our schools lead the way. There was no Internet or YouTube, no online lessons. Maybe there were art books in the library but writing stories came a lot more naturally to me. So that’s what I did. In sixth grade, I still really liked drawing and art class but because of budget cuts (Prop 2 I think it was called) only the tops kids got to pursue art in seventh and eighth grade in a class they called Super Art. I wasn’t chosen, not by a long shot, so that was that with art except for occasional cartoons I’d draw for myself or others.
When I took an oil painting class months ago it was a random happenstance, and I didn’t expect much. I couldn’t draw so I wouldn’t be able to paint. I’ve learned in the last several months that they don’t have to be interrelated. When I paint now, I’ve got the same excitement and enthusiasm I had when I was a child.
Since the last post here are the paintings I’ve finished. I’m throwing fewer in the trash and more are being hung on my wall or sent to people who want them hanging in their homes. This is a wonderful feeling, seeing my work on someone else’s wall. Each day something I created brings them joy. There’s nothing better than that.
Without further ado, here’s my newest stuff.
We’ll see what 2022 brings but for now as long as I’m doing something creative, I think I’ll be just fine.