Saddle Up Saloon; Howdy, Stephanie Davies

Written by D. Avery @shiftnshake

       Read my writing and see my books at

November 29, 2020

“What’re ya starin’ at Kid?”

“Jist admirin’ this fine poster Shorty had made fer all the folks that are a part a Carrot Ranch.”

Celebrating Literary Art From Around the World

“Oh, yeah, ain’t thet somethin’? Who was it done thet up?”

“It was a Australian illustrative artist name a Stephanie Davies.”

“Wunner what else she’s about?”

“Ask her, Pal. Here she is now. Howdy, Stephanie, welcome ta the Saddle Up Saloon!”

“Hello Kid. Hello Pal. Thank you so much for having me here.”

“Thank you fer makin’ time fer us.”

“I love interesting opportunities so was excited when Charli Mills reached out for me to create the website’s motif. What a pleasure Charli is to work with; she made the quirky task a very pleasant and straight forward one.”

“We’re real pleased with thet piece too, an’ mighty glad ta have it hangin’ here at the Saddle Up. Have ya always been a artist, Stephanie?”

“I sketched as a child, pausing our Video player to try and recapture Disney characters. In 2016 I completed a Visual Arts diploma after receiving lots of encouragement from friends and family when I started sketching again.”

“Sure glad ya come back ta it! Good on yer folks fer encouragin’ ya. What were ya doin’ when ya weren’t at yer sketchin’?”

“My background the past 20 years has been massage therapy, mostly  in offices, where we relax stressed staff from many industries. One of the clients was Walt Disney Animations Australia, massaging the illustrators shoulders at their desks – weekly for 5 years until they closed their Sydney office; as you can imagine that was a tough place to visit. From time to time massage clients were touring celebrities, to help ground and soothe them after lengthy flights and broken sleep.”

“Well thet sounds like a good gig, thet masseusin’.”

“It is. Was. Thanks to Covid restrictions my massage business almost closed. But my art practise has come to the forefront rescuing me emotionally, and ever so slowly, financially.”

“It’s good ta hear somethin’ good outta present circumstances. ”

“Yep. Stephanie, how would ya describe yersef as an artist?”

“I’m quite an experimental artist (and cook). I dabble in a variety of media and intend to continue the adventure. Though a regular user of acrylic and watercolour paints, I find myself regularly coming back to a simple sketch with pencil on paper.”

“Reckon thet’s where ideas git their start, kinda like sketchin’ out a raw 99-word story ta grow later.”

“Sure, Pal and this year I’ve had a number of requests for digital art including Charli’s and a picture book to illustrate which is a childhood dream of mine.”

 “Well good luck with thet! Mebbe there’s some picture book writers here in the saloon need a good illustrator.”

“Good thinkin’, Pal. Stephanie, I’m wund’rin’ where ya git yer inspiration fer yer art.”

“Well Kid, my eleven and fourteen year old redheads keep me inspired. I sketch them reading and writing their own stories on a regular basis. Beyond that I find great interest in the relationship between animals and man and how we can live together cohesively on this crazy planet.” 

 “We got all kinds a animals roamin’ the ranch, an’ not jist hosses an’ cattle. We got rainbow cats an’ uni-corns an’ mice…”

“That’s great, Kid, very inspiring! This is an eclectic and quirky place! It reminds me of my illustrative idol, Freya Blackwood, with her relatable quirky lovable characters and effortless sketching style.”

“Well, it looks like yer not too far off the mark yersef there, Stephanie. What are ya workin’ on lately?”

“Currently my canvas is a 20 foot Shipping Container! The request was for ‘The Aussie Bush’ an outback scene of gum trees, cockatoos and kangaroos to help it blend into a property North of Brisbane (where it will be shipped to) in Queensland Australia.”

“Kin we see it?”

“Sure Kid.”

“Whoa! Thet is so cool!”

“Thank you.  At nights I’m also working on children’s picture book illustrations via my iPad so I get to sit on my comfy couch to do it.  I also have a butterfly passion at the moment… sketching and colouring with watercolour.”

“Thet’s real purty.”

“Dang. D’ya git any spare time? Ya seem mighty busy fer someone who’s outta business.”

“When I get any spare time, I’m working on a little picture book story idea of my own. I don’t feel writing is my strength, however I have the images and cute story asking to be brought to life.”

“We know a little ‘bout that, Stephanie. Git it writ!”

“Ha! Okay Kid, we’ll see. I can’t wait to see what’s next, I’m loving my artistic path.”

“Well we’re real glad yer path took ya ta the Saddle Up Saloon! Didn’t ‘spect ta see a masseuse mother a two in a place like this.”

“The Saddle Up is so open to art! When chance takes me I adore soulful music and a warm spirit in hand.”

 “We got thet here.”

 “This moody feel will come out in works to come, likely using coffee, red wine, and beetroot juice.”

“Whoa. Soun’s like we need ta serve yer drinks with a brush.”

“Reckon this one kin really paint the town, ey Pal?”

“She sure has brought some color ta the Saloon. Thank ya fer stoppin’ by Stephanie Davies. Let us know when yer website is up an’ runnin’. In the mean time folks should know ta find ya at .”

Free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch, Pal & Kid now serve up something more or less fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon . Got something to share? Take the stage! If you or your characters are interested in saddling up for a wild ride as a saloon guest, contact Pal & Kid via

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  1. denmaniacs4

    a delightful interview and some delicious art…

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      (Tastes like chicken.)
      But yeah, some cool stuff here. It’s awesome that Charli and Stephanie found each other and the Ranch has a tribute to the world wide ranch hands who make this a wonderful place.

  2. Doug Jacquier

    Great interview and fascinating work from Stephanie, especially the koala holding the crossed cricket bats. 🙂

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      The cricket playing koala is kool, but I especially like Castor canadensis wielding a carrot.

      • Doug Jacquier

        OK, smartypants, you made me reach for the dictionary. 😉 However I appreciate there are some sensitivities associated with its more common name.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        It’s worse than pasties. You weren’t here for Charli’s slag debacle… the downside of a worldwide literary community. It is MEANT to be a family friendly inclusive place. I swear. Well, not swear as in curse, of course.

  3. Chel Owens

    Love the shipping container, and what neat experiences you’ve had as a masseuse! Have fun with your picture books!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Isn’t this a great story? One door closes and another opens and an otherwise plain storage unit becomes a canvas. At this rate Steph is sure to be successful with her books too.

  4. Jules

    Nice to see someone, namely Stephanie get to do what they love!

    That shipping container is gonna be the talk of the town!

    Thanks Pal and Kid! Continued success Stephanie!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      On behalf of Kid and Pal, You’re welcome! (sent them to the beach today, so it’s just me) And as some other characters say, Love what you do, do what you love. I agree, Jules, that container is pretty dang cool.

      • Jules

        Not a good beachy day here, rained most of the night and now into half the day… and the creeks’ arisin’.

        Take care Just Me 🙂

  5. suespitulnik

    Nice to meet Stephanie. Her totem is awesome as is the rest of her artwork.
    I wonder how many other people have had to change their way of making an income because of the pandemic.

    • Charli Mills

      Stephanie is a fantastic artist. Our piece is not yet complete. We want to make it more inclusive. I’m so glad D. could share her story here!

  6. H.R.R. Gorman

    Glad your art has been perking even though massage has not! Good news on the vaccine front, though, says things may improve on that front soon!

    Your work is very beautiful.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      This was a fun interview and I’m happy to share Stephanie’s work at the Saloon.
      Stephanie is working on a website too so we can all see more of her art.
      Things can only get better on all fronts!

  7. Marsha

    What a fun interview, Kid and Pal. Your work is fantastic Stephanie. I love the colors and the genre that you paint. The work you’ve shown would be lovely for a children’s picture book – one of my favorite genres.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I agree. This is definitely picture book material. (There will be more discussion on that genre coming soon to The Saddle Up.)

      • Marsha

        That sounds exciting. 🙂

  8. Norah

    I love your container art, Stephanie, and so pleased to hear that it’s coming to a location near to me. Also love the Carrot Ranch totem – very creative.

      • Norah

        It sure is.

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