Long long ago, in a house next door. . .

We're having a moving sale.
It'll be five years this June that we loaded up the kids and all our stuff and headed West. We went from Florida to the Oregon Coast, with dreams of a life less humid. We didn't have jobs lined up, but we figured we could be poor anywhere, so we might as well enjoy the scenery while we were at it. We stayed with my mom for the first week, while we found a little house to rent and a job (or two). I found work at a little gallery, and at a fabric store.
Dylan stayed at home with the kids, and started to learn how to have our own little arty business online. We started with little tiny paintings. He cut the wood and primed it, and I took the little boards with me to work at the gallery (it wasn't a successful gallery, so I had to keep myself busy). There I doodled folky cats and birds and bunnies and skeletons and whatever else tickled my fancy.
Cart Before The Horse was born.

We listed it on ebay for $14 I think. It didn't sell.
So we listed it again for $9. No one was interested.

Now here it is, five years later, and we're moving again. This time we're just moving across town, out of the flood and tsunami zones. No cross-country trek. In the course of packing we revisited so many little rejected paintings, and decided to give them one more shot at finding a home (they've been on a dark shelf in a closet for too long). This time they're being listed for a penny. Undignified? Perhaps, but so is the closet.

Here's another very early one, inspired by the funny little birds that run along the edges of the coast. I really liked this one, but I was alone in my appreciation.


This one is actually the very first Bone Daddy, a character I have revisited many many times over the years. He wasn't really rejected by the world, but rather by us on account of he has that chip on the bottom corner of his block. He was inspired by traditional Guatemalan Day of the Dead figures, like these. I'm very fond of Day of the Dead, for many reasons, but that's another post. . .


  1. It was so fun to read a little history of The Cart Before the Horse in this post. :)

  2. What part of Florida were you from? I have always loved the saying, "All great things come from humble beginnings", or something to that effect. You guys are very talented and I wish you the best in your new home.

  3. Summer- We moved out here from Maitland, a suburb of Orland. Quite a difference from this tiny town of 7000people.

  4. Oh - I LOVE that you shared this story with us!! You have such fabulous art !! I think when you see someone who make such wonderful pieces you assume that you've always done this craft for years and years and years......that you've had tons of success! It is so wonderful to hear how it all began and that ..like all of us...sometimes we're the only ones who like our art - haha!! But...then that changes...and your art is definitely amazing!! I bet it's been fun for you to find some of these ‘first’ pieces and play back the last 5 years in your head....how great! I hope that your move is easy and filled with a sense of adventure - even if it's just across town I hope you like your new digs!

  5. I grew up in Ocala and went to art school at Ringling School of art & Design in Sarasota Florida. I have lived in Oregon also and if I had to pick between living in Florida or Oregon, I would choose Oregon. The weather is milder and it is just so darn beautiful there.

  6. Funny how these old first attempts have such a sentimental value. I keep my first attempts, total mishaps and just stuff which all I can say about is:"what was I thinking?" around as well. They keep me very humble, never to forget how I started out and always willing to share what I have learned with others. It also goes to say that if you don't succeed right away, try a different approach, but never give up. If your heart is in it success will follow! You have proven that point very well with your beautiful work!

  7. Hi! I came across your blog via blog hopping and absolutely am enthralled by your art. I especially love the sculpted faces of the girls on the left side of the page. Really great art! I listed you in my blog favs on my page...hope you don't mind. I'll visit often. Good luck with the move...it's a drag but usually turns out well. :o)

  8. I loved reading how you got started Jo...it's great...and I just visited your auction page..and your first little painting is doing very well :)

    Have you had your syrup yet?


  9. What a wonderful story! I just love these early works, and it's so great they are finding a new home as you do too....Best of luck with the move!!

    ~ Carolee

  10. How's the move coming along Joee? Miss your smiling face on the boards...........=D Can't wait until you are all settled in. Post some pics when you are!

    Oh.......and I will always treasure my first Cartbeforethehorse dollie! I remember you saying that you weren't a very good dollmaker and asking us not to laugh when you posted your first ones on the board. Well lookie where you are at now!!!! I never laughed.......I Bid! I knew that one day soon you and Dylan would become famous and soon I wouldn't be able to afford your sweet dollies. You are well on your way there my friend............=D

    Hugs! *Lorikins

  11. SO fun to see earlier pieces! '-)

    Hope the move is going well!

    Spooky Hugs,

  12. hi buttonhead -
    can't wait to see pics of the new pad! moving on up to the east side ... is that a deeeeluxe apartment in the sky?

    "show and tell" is coming up soon!

  13. I love those blasts from the past!Isn't it funny how or work evolves and changes over the years. I wish I had a picture of the first thing I made.

    Hope the move is going well.


  14. Hello! I come to you from the same wet place only inland several miles. Good luck on your move and clearing out each nook as you go!
    I love the hummingbird picture your father took. The bird's don't look real...or maybe it's because they are caught still and that is so unusual. Thanks!

  15. I'm so sorry you lost your kitty. Pam


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