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Kristy May | The Courier | Houma, La
Bryan Van Der Beek
• VIEW STORY: "The Bliss Menagerie" •
Artists Clifford and Barbara Bliss are sixty-something parents of Moon and Shine, two four-year old pugs. "We treat them like people, well almost" says Barbara with pride. At their hilltop log cabin and studio just outside Louisiana, Mo., the couple work and play in a menagerie of Cliff's stone and concrete animals with the pugs by their sides. "They don't come any better than Shiny", says Cliff, who was won over by her personality immediately. "You too Mooney", he adds. The Blisses started American Stone Art about 15 years ago and began selling life like stone animals at craft shows around the country. They soon discovered their growing clientele responded better to animals with personality. "They want something that brightens their life" Cliff says. So "Stubby Mac" the alligator, "Fragrance" the skunk, and "Love" the dove were born. Barbara also uses her affinity for dogs to enrich her oil paintings and scenes like the mural she recently completed for the Downtown Mural Association. The pugs were both adopted from breeders and came with several health problems. Barbara sees Shiny's enlarged heart a sign of her "big heart". "Not many steps she doesn't take with me," Barbara said. To help her with this, Cliff added a ramp next to their bed.
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