I’ve been a little obsessed with horizons lately, what with my youngest finishing high school and heading off into adulthood with such headstrong strength and brilliance while my little self heads back under the skies of northern New Mexico to sow my seeds of Artfulness-for-All in the pages of a sketchbook. It’s an exciting time.
And so my painting practice has found itself acquainted with a line across the page. Pondering what is upon that line and how I might use it to guide my way through uncharted waters. After all, when I am sick with the motion of unpredictable seas, I know to look to the horizon for comfort. The metaphor is not lost on this mama at the crossroads.
Over on the Book of Faces (thank you Rima as always for this useful term!) I keep a little virtual meeting place where folks can see what I am up to and to keep up with all the wily avenues of communication in this unfamiliar sphere. But lately, I have hit a plateau. I am told that this is because I must pay to have my page ‘promoted’. Well. This all sticks in my craw, if I may be so crudely appalachian. FaceBook is ‘supposed to be’ a free thing. A place we can all meet and exchange. But the minute you admit that maybe you work in the world of art or small business, you must have a ‘page’ and then followers and then, you must ‘promote’ your page.
Recently over there, an artist I follow offered a giveaway to get a few more ‘likes’ on her fb page. Now mind you, she is of the ilk that has thousands of followers. But I like her approach. She offered a giveaway in exchange for some grassroots sharing of her page. And so, I am following suit.
I am offering to give this little painting away to someone on facebook who has been kind enough to share what they like about my page. Just go to my page, to the post (with these images ‘pinned’ to the top) Share the post (or a past image of mine you might like) and let me know (tag me!!) in the comments of this post that you have done so (that way I’ll know you’ve stopped by. It’s like a virtual calling card of sorts.) I will put your name into the hat for this little painting. When I get to 650 ‘likes’ I will post the winner of the painting on the fb post, my twitter page and here at the blog. Maybe this gets a bit more traffic directed here to this virtual space. Maybe that is a good thing. I do not know. I am just following my nose, and in the path of those who inspire me.
Meanwhile, it’s pouring rain outside and I think there is chicken feed turning to concrete as I write this post. I must investigate.
Thanks as always for your readership, and your support of this work. It is greatly appreciated!!
Lately I am keenly aware of anything new we bring into the house. Our youngest is off to college this upcoming autumn and with that will likely come some simplification to life here at home. I want quality over quantity these days. And yet, there are beautiful things to behold in this world, and it’s important to me to support my fellow artists.
Last year, I began to set aside some pennies here and there to engage in the purchasing of some bits art. Some of the finest supporters of local artists, myself included, are actually other artists. And I want to be a bigger part of that system. I have often purchased small things in the past – greeting cards, little prints, bits of useful pottery, etc. But I have shied away from anything more than that. Until lately.
In 2014 my purchases included a ceramic work of art by Katie Swartz whom I know from art school. (Her new website can be foundhere) I fell in love with this sweet Fox Jar in a local show and bought it that evening with the money I had set aside for such a thing.
I love the animated feel of this fox and the arrows that seem to be helping him to find his way. Currently The Hub and I are using our magical little vessel as a wishing jar for all things house/home related as we contemplate a potential move to a smaller property. Perhaps Mr. Fox and his arrows will lead the way to the perfect place…..
Also in 2014, I finally took the plunge and acquired an original work of art my dear and long time friend Cindy Matyi. I am so sad to say that very shortly thereafter, Cindy lost her long-running battle with cancer and passed away, leaving a huge hole in our shared community of art as well as music.
The painting I purchased was actually inspired by a moth that was found while Cindy and I were rooming together at music camp one year. That was one influential moth, as not only was this painting born, but I now have a tattoo of her on my back! I never knew the story behind this painting, nor the link it had to me and our shared memory of a big, beautiful, woodland moth, until it was the one I chose from those available in my price range. A huge added gift of purchasing real art from real artists is the story that comes with the work. I treasure this painting and think of Cindy everyday when I glance its way.
And now it is 2015. I began the year’s savings with a plan. I decided to acquire a woven work of art from a weaver in England, whose work I found via an online posting by artist Rima Staines, who lives in the same neck of the woods. And so, I struck up an online friendship with Eloise at These Isles whose lovely online presence and pictures spoke to my wild heart.
Eloise weaves with only the finest materials and as a lover of all-things-fiber myself, I could appreciate much of the delicious descriptions of her woven wares. While I enjoy knitting and crocheting, weaving is a magic I have never tried and so I marvel at the beautiful patterning that happens out of nothing but string. These woves, evoke the very landscape in which they are created, and yet they seem to transcend them as well. While in Taos this past January on residency, I attended some tribal dances at the Taos Pueblo. Everyone wore differing blankets and shawls and wraps, no one quite like another. I knew that when I was eventually able to get my These Isles shawl, it would fit right in among them next I visited the sacred Pueblo.
With some St. Patrick’s Day gig money set aside, I placed my order and waited patiently while my shawl was created. There was much back and forth as to what colors I tend to wear and what my personal style might be carved of in the day to day. I had to think about this a lot actually, as I don’t normally think about things like that. We finally settled on heathery grays and greens; colors of the land on a misty day – whether in the British Isles, the desert of New Mexico, North Carolina mountains, or the coast of Maine.
Depending upon the quality of the light, the colors of my shawl change. Like some enchanted garment, it seems to ‘go’ nicely with anything I might put on. Though it arrived on an unseasonably warm day, that weather has broken and we are graced with coolness again. I wear it daily. Thankfully, it’s warm, but not overly so, making it something you will likely see me in a lot during my upcoming travels. Out of doors, and in….
Eloise, being a creature after my own heart, is set to begin a mobile life in a house-on-wheels very soon. She will be taking her loom with her, as well as her lurcher (aka ‘dog’) seeking inspiration for her weaving at every turn I am certain. Do follow her work and adventures via her facebook page
As for me, I am for the time being, firmly rooted in the fertile soil of this Ohio River Valley. (at least until I leave for Taos!!) Occasionally I curl up in my beloved shawl and work on my own little bits of fiber art…. most recently this little set of shoes slated to adorn the tiny toes of a baby due this summer somewhere in Wisconsin.
I am a runner of paths here in our little village. I enjoy watching local gardens come alive, and to give my body, so intent on holding onto some unknown but anciently ingrained stressor, a good dose of endorphins to loosen things into the now.
On some of these runs, I feel as if I have wings, fairly flying above the pavement. I receive many visiting artful notions while running and I am grateful for this reliable gateway into magical thinking.
In recent months, I have taken to cataloging some of the visual bits and bobs which come across my path and to share their whimsy via the interwebby places upon my returning home. I call this collection of images “found asphalt drawings”, as they are simply things on the ground which catch my eye as I motor along.
As human beings we are pattern seekers. The world, with it’s seemingly inherent and overwhelming chaos, requires our brains to make sense of things via patterns. Through math, art, the sciences, we can begin to see that the world is not so chaotic after all, if we but take the time to see.
Being one taken with animal imagery, I find that my eye finds animal medicine most often in these found drawings. Ravens under the moon….
…or in a nest, awaiting the arrival of a meal perhaps.
It’s not just birds. Woodland animals follow me along at times as well. I was particularly smitten by this deer on the edge of things this morning.
And of course there are always bunnies crossing my path. When the snow began to melt this spring, I was shown glimpses of far off landscapes, full of mystery and fog, like little windows into a Brigadoon of sorts.
I enjoy the many stories given to me in these found drawings and could see an eventual series of paintings being born from them. But for now, I am just collecting them. Grateful for whimsical comings and goings….
Not sure what to think of this last one, except perhaps that this particular platypus might have a cold and is now in need of a tissue….
It all started with this image from my friend Zach Sawan. (who is really a friend of a friend but we’ve hit it off, what with being fans of paint, magic and maybe a little mayhem and moonlight.) Young artists like Zach give me great hope for the world to come as I grow older…that there are old (yet young) souls among us who may give their youthful energy to the task at hand of keeping the flame of creativity aglow in this world. You can see a little more of what he’s currently up to here.
He shared the above photograph at his instagram page and I was instantly captivated. He had created A Magic Wand.
“I have to make one of these!!!” I cried. And of course, Zach replied “It’s so necessary.”
And it IS necessary. This spring we are grieving the loss of many trees from our green space who have lost their battle with the Emerald Ash Borer beetle. We now have a new landscape to contend with and I am wandering around attempting to figure it all out….
A long, long, (LONG) time ago, I began this blog. Not sure where it would take me. And it pretty much began with this image:
This tree which we so adore, anchoring the back bit of our little slice of the world. The Grandfather Ash.
Well, sadly, it too has fallen to the combined efforts of age and the emerald ash borer and sometime soon, it will be coming down, in spite of our best efforts to shore it up and keep it going.
We love this tree and all it has given us. With a few near misses of HUGE dropped limbs during storms, we have known the end was near for a while now.
But back to the Magic Wand…. I wandered around the yard picking up some sticks here and there which might fit the little brushy end I had laying around awaiting such a task as becoming The Magic Wand….
And I soon made my way around back to where Grandfather Ash still stands. He had loads of sticks to offer. Many of them not as brittle as you’d think, being like ‘real wood’, not just crackly old stick which might belong in a campfire.
And I chose one.
I whittled and worked it into place, eventually coming up with my own Magic Wand. We all have tools that help us be who we are really meant to be. Perhaps a healer has a hand that can sense a fever, or a stethoscope which magnifies the beating of a damaged heart (just another form of worldly magic, I say), or a builder with a sense of angles and slide-ruler style tools to make them all work. The pastry chef with his or her French rolling pin to make things just so for pie, or the proper chef’s knife to create that which nourishes. We all have our tools. For me, the paintbrush is that tool. And today I outfitted one of my brushes to be a little different than the rest.
It’s fascinating to me how much like my own domesticated cat and dogs these wilder versions are. We spent much time drawing and observing the lions especially. There are three adorable lion cubs who were hanging out with mom, ‘Imani’ and dad ‘John’ fairly close to the viewing area.
While we drew them, they slept.
And mama kept her eyes on us.
John did a fair amount of pacing early in our visit, but eventually settled down with his family to enjoy the cool breezes. He is absolutely beautiful.
Just down the lane from the lions are a pack of African Painted Dogs. They were not quite as regal and subdued as the lions were that morning. There was much posturing and wrestling amongst the 10 puppies.
I did not draw these guys as much but just observed their antics. So very dog like in their behavior; carrying sticks, stealing said sticks, chasing and playing. So much like my own dogs. Their markings are lovely – truly ‘painted’ with whippy white tails. I think we will be back to see more of these creatures as they grow and change.
Yesterday, I had the great pleasure to attend an artful workshop at The Art Academy of Cincinnati by taxidermy artisan Jeremy Johnson and his team at Meddling With Nature. This workshop was geared toward professional medical illustrators but as a member of the broader illustration community here in town, I was able to take part just for fun, to photograph, sketch a bit and learn about a different form of sculpture. When I attended art school, sculpture was where my heart was at the time. Add to that a deep love of nature and the out-of-doors and this class was something I looked forward to for weeks!
We started the morning by watching the above video, to get a sense of the scope of the work these folks do. This is not just taxidermy for the local hunter looking to mount the head of a recently obtained backwoods buck. We talked about how Jeremy and his team come to obtain their specimens and life and death in general. One thing I love about people who operate at the crossroads of art and nature is that there is little ‘front porch talk’. They go straight for the real. Meddling With Nature presents around town to schools and community groups and often must contend with overcoming the ‘ew’ factor of the average audience. But this group, being scientists and artists, was full of wonder and appreciation for the specimens shared and the activities presented to us.
First up was entomological preparation. We were given a lovely pamphlet to peruse…
But in the end, it’s just best to dive into the activity hands-on. And so we did.
We were tasked with taking these insect specimens, rehydrated a bit in their shriveled state, and reigniting a sense of life in them by posing them for eventual display.
The pins act as a sort of scaffolding to the structure of the insects without pinning them through like you might see in other displays. It was tedious and tiny hand work which I soon lost myself in. My first specimen was a goliathus beetle from Africa.
I had to carefully manipulate the joints of legs and wings to open him up and show off his gorgeous wings which reminded me a bit of a bat wing.
There were many bugs available to mount. And even a few to eat. Yes. Eat. I tried a cheddar flavored meal worm. Just one. And that was enough.
I moved on to opening up my second insect specimen…. A Thorny Devil. At first glance these guys look like little green tacos.
But eventually, the wings can be opened up, revealing under-wings the likes of which the fairy folk might encounter in their world. I could just imagine a wee saddle placed just so to avoid the thorns. (Thorns being a handy defense for airborne battles…)
While we manipulated our insects and pinned them into place, the lecture moved on to bigger beasts. Jeremy shared with us a bit of what he might do with a bit of road kill in order to preserve and prepare it for taxidermy or to harvest the bones for an articulated skeletal specimen.
This was all very fascinating. The medical illustrators were asking very detailed and smart sounding questions with words I do not know. I observed, worked on my bugs, and did some sketching.
We learned about how to properly prepare bones for keeping and displaying so that they might last a good long while. It’s an exacting list of steps requiring great patience and a bit of a strong stomach for some of the larger things one might want to keep. But the patience is worth it.Many of these processes are what the museums and zoos use to preserve things for the public to handle and gawk at. I have always liked the Victorian’s notion of keeping a bit of a museum of curiosities in one’s own home. And now I have a bit more knowledge and a few skills to continue my own collection.Jeremy et al have the opportunity to work with a variety of local and more obscure specimens. Below is a cast of the palate of a tiger who passed away from diabetic complications.I have always been in awe of the patterns to be found in the natural world. And there are some things which are objects of artful beauty without much ‘preparation’.This was a truly informative and thought provoking workshop. A most inspiring portion of the presentation was a series of photos about dissection. You can see them here. As much as I love the natural sciences nowadays, I was never much of a student back in school and so there is much I do not know. For example, that the color of a healthy gall bladder is a most elegant and gorgeous green color. The photos on the Meddling With Nature dissection page call to me to make large scale juicy paintings. I hope to get to this one day…
But for now, my sketch book calls. I am weeks away from leaving for New Mexico to teach again and so must continue to work in my own little books to practice. There is much in the garden to sketch. (and, frankly, many weeds to pull and plants to divide.) I will do what I can amidst the day to day. It was wonderful to sit back and be a student for half a day. Many thanks to Jeremy Johnson and the other artists from Meddling With Nature. What a treat!!
Some while back, I received a gift in the form of a little book on a necklace from a dear friend who knows I love the allure of a blank book. Knowing this book would be near to my heart for years to come, I opted to fill it with some of my favorite quotes and a few doodles as well. The result is this tiny book of truths. I find it to be even more fetching now, filled with words and images I have chosen. This is the case with all blank books – journals, sketchbooks and the like. They really come alive when we put ourselves into them. I suggest we fill all of those old blank books we might have lying around with quotes and drawings, musings and the day to day magic that makes us individuals. When you do so, do check back and share what you’ve made. Every person’s journal, no matter how big or small is a one of a kind. Just like you!
We didn’t exactly choose a day most suited for it, but yesterday our little family opted for a little journey south to horse country. Southwestern Ohio is a liminal place, butting up against Indiana and Kentucky both, with deep seeded relationships to both. I have a soft spot for Kentucky as it is where most of the known history of my kin comes from and I spent a lot of time there as a kid, romping amidst the hills and hollers.
And so, on a very wet day we set forth to Keeneland to enjoy a day at the races. As we traveled, the landscape became greener and greener, as Lexington is just that much ahead of us in the race toward spring time blooming. The wild redbud and dogwood trees rushed past us. The mists hung low over the hills too. As the rain pelted our windshield, we wondered what we had gotten ourselves into!
Fairly soon we had arrived at this amazing horse racing facility and the weather softened to drizzle. I was still glad I had worn my wellies.
We settled in and had a look around. The place was all abuzz with horses, along with their owners, trainers and handlers readying for the next race.
So much at stake for those involved. But the horses didn’t seem to care about stakes. They just wanted to run. I asked our friends there, who know horses and the racing of them, whether the horses seem to understand the idea of racing. And the answer was, if you watch these animals in the fields, outside of all the pageantry of the racing world, they spend their days in the fields together running and chasing each other. They are highly intelligent and competitive. Adding people to the mix is just our human layer of understanding on their very real sense of day to day animal play.
Before each race, the horses are walked around so betters can get a look at them and the horses can warm up a bit. Then they head into another area where they are paired with their jockeys.
There are many escorts to keep everything in order and happening on time. On this day, there were 8 races total! One flowed quickly into the next.
Of course there is much speculation as to which horse, piloted by which jockey, will be able to win each race. And each race is different. Some are run on grass for over a mile. Other races are on the dirt track and may be a bit shorter. Each horse and each jockey may shine in different situations. One farrier we met who hails from Ireland, said on this green, wet day, his bets would have to be on the Irish jockeys who felt right at home in these conditions.
But everyone has their system. We had a lot to learn about it all.
Eventually though, you just have to pony up and set your money down on something. And so we did.
The races all seemed to flow together in my mind. I wasn’t betting or looking at the numbers. It was simply all so much just to take in! But as the day went on, and the races continued, everyone in our group had a winning bet or two to show for their efforts.
One does not go to the races and simply sit down in a seat to watch. It is a very active thing. There is a lot of back and forth between the viewing of the horses coming up and those currently racing and of course the betting. There is occasionally a cocktail too. Although the races are quickly over, there is still some time amongst the rush of things to explore a bit. I was curious about the tunnel which the jockeys take their horses through to enter the official race track and asked if I could take a picture of it between races.
The answer was not only yes to the tunnel picture (photo credit to my Hub, Tony), but a kind invitation to walk down through the tunnel to have a peek at the track as the horses and jockeys see it on race day. This sweet Kentucky gentleman escorted me down to meet his ‘hard-working cohorts’ hanging out in the winner’s circle.
These guys clearly have a great time at their job at Keeneland and I was thrilled to meet them and get a sense of the scope of the place.
Just like that, this day of racing was over. We are fortunate that our horse loving friends, Dan and Bev of Liam’s Fancy, are also musicians so we joined them at their place for a cookout and some tunes.
What a day! We were eventually chased inside by thunderstorms rolling in sideways for a few more tunes before we had to make the journey home. Our cup filled with the imagery, passion and pageantry of high-end horse racing. It all felt a world away, which I think is the case when we allow ourselves to go deep enough into something with a rich history. This was only my second time to Keeneland, but I want to go back again and learn more, perhaps on a dry weekday when I can sketch it all in my sketchbook. Many thanks to Dan and Bev who not only helped us navigate the statistics catalog at the races, but who opened their home for tunes and hot dogs of all kinds afterward.
Finally, after some flirtatious hints in previous weeks, the goddess of Spring has bestowed upon us warm breezes in which to bask, a carpet of greening with which to readjust our vision of the out-of-doors, and the fleeting gift of spring-blooming flowers, strung up like so many lines of fairy lights amongst the trees and tucked into the base of the forest itself.
I sit here today at this writing machine, feeling an urge to catch you all up on things ’round here with a juicy blog post. So if you have a little while to spare, brew a cup of tea, tuck yourself into the coziest chair and I shall fill you in.
In spite of the coming of Spring in our river valley, we extended our journey into Winterland for a number of days as we headed northward to the great city of Montreal…
Our friends in the North were waging their own battle with the tail end of winter and we were graced with brisk but beautiful days to tour the city, as well as a rather dramatic snowfall one morning.
Why Montreal, you may wonder? Well, our youngest, Madeleine, was part of a team competing in the World Championships of Irish Dance being held in this fair city. This was to be our last trek to a ‘major’ and so we opted to make a real trip of it and spend a few days in what I believe to be one of the most charming cities in North America.
Around every corner, there were little bits of Other World. It truly has a feeling of a city much older than the rest of civilization available on this side of the pond.
As a woodsy girl, I am not one to bask in cities in general. But the Spirits of Montreal are present if one simply seeks to view them.
I managed to find the local Irish music session there on our first night and was welcomed by a charming, talented bunch of musicians who not only play Irish tunes, but also tunes from their area in the Quebecois and Cape Breton styles. It was a highlight of the trip for me personally and set the tone for the rest of our time there.
While M and her friends practiced, shopped and explored the city in their own way, we met up with far flung northern friends we seldom see. We walked and ate and visited, not really caring what we did to occupy ourselves beyond the simple bliss of merely being together.
Though to be honest, I just wanted to stare at Baby Alice’s sweet toes. And so I did a bit. Amazing to think that our little dancer, about to graduate into the Big Real World, once had toes as tiny and juicy as these.
Soon, touring and visiting were over. The competition was at hand and the McGing Pirates danced a perfect rendition of their well-practiced routine. In fact, all 9 teams competing danced a perfect rendition of their clearly well-practiced routines. When the dust settled, our girls had placed a respectable 4th in the world, good enough to medal. They were thrilled! It was a beautiful note upon which to end Maddie’s dance career. She will likely never truly stop dancing when she hears a proper tune, but this season of competitions and stage-worthy costuming is over. We couldn’t be more proud of her.
And I, for one, was ready to leave the built environment of the city, as nice as our trip had been…
“…most of us get used to living a hectic life that even the present moment, with its vast spiritual resonance, is unavailable to us. This is less true of the solitary, quiet workers whose company I have treasured; they seem to be living in a different psychic space from other people on the evening news. I do not mean farmers alone, but my grandfather in his carpentry shop, or Robin, when he comes home from a day of tuning pianos (which is how he makes his living). Such people may not know that their daily experience – contemplatively charged as it is – is different from other people’s. When something, like a trip to the mall, brings the disjunction to their awareness, they may fault themselves for being ‘out of it’. A day in the city looking for a couple of shirts can fry the brain of a normal country person.” ~from The Barn at the End of the World, by Mary Rose O’Reilley
….ready to come back to my blissfully quiet and mostly contemplative life at home. We catapulted across miles and seasons, once again coming upon the greening of more southerly climes.
This spring time is filled with many special occasions for us as a family, as we hold space for and make witness of the many endings-to-beginnings sort of happenings for Madeleine. One of these events was the Senior Prom. The kids looked stunning in their fineries, perched on the cusp of adulthood. It is such a blessing to behold all of this promise. Knowing my own young-adult children as well as their friends, I have a great hope for Times to Come as they venture into the world to make their own way of things.
With ‘World’s’ and ‘Prom’ successfully behind us, we took advantage of the beautiful weather to head outside. One lovely place to spend the day outdoors locally here is the Cincinnati Nature Center where not only is Spring on grand display all along the woodland trails, but there was music to listen to one day over the weekend. We sketched and enjoyed the breezes in the outdoor pavilion space as we listened….
The songs were mostly in French, providing an outside-of-time-and-space feel to things, which is precisely where I like to be, generally speaking. After the show, we hiked for awhile, pleased to see so many signs of life here, there and everywhere.
We came across tadpoles, newts and turtles in the reservoir ponds on the property of the nature center and of course stopped to observe them and enjoy.
“Is it possible to grow a worthy cosmology by attending closely to our encounters with other creatures, and with the elemental textures and contours of our locale? We are by now so accustomed to the cult of expertise that the very notion of honoring and paying heed to our directly felt experience of things – of insects and wooden floors, of broken-down cars and bird-pecked apples and the scents rising from the soil – seems odd and somewhat misguided as a way to find out what’s worth knowing.” ~from Becoming Animal by David Abram
The Cincinnati Nature Center is a treasure in this metropolis. Where else can even a trip in to the loo turn up so much to look at??
Back here at home, we have had to have a number of dead trees removed from our property. This changes the look and feel of things quite a bit. Despite the promise of perhaps enough sun for a small vegetable patch at long last, I mourn the downing of these beings who have brought such shade and shelter to this place for so many years. The majority of these trees are Ash trees and victims of the emerald ash borer, a non-native and clearly invasive beetle wreaking havoc on the trees here.
Yesterday evening my hub and I donned our wellies and walked the creek out front to collect downed limbs in order to keep them from building up and causing water to back up and flood when the storms come. As we did so, I was hit with a supremely nostalgic smell from my childhood. David Abram says it best…
“…there’s a new texture to the air, a moistness: water suspended in the medium, unseen, though you can feel its presence as the air washes against your face in waves. And riding those waves, vaguely enticing at first, then too pleasureful to resist: smells! Dark, stygian smells gliding over the rippled glass of the lake to mingle with the aromatic dank of the soil underfoot and the high-pitched scent of the green needles… the darkly laughing scent of cool water lapping up against the shore (infused with the chemistry of tadpoles and trout and the tannin of drowned leaves), and a host of other whiffs sometimes merged and sometimes distinct, all sparkling like wine in some part of your brain that had earlier been rocked to sleep by the soporific dazzle of sunbeams, but has now been startled into attentive life by this more full-blooded magic, as though your mammalian intelligence has abruptly dropped anchor and suddenly found itself really here, bodily afoot in these damp woods.” ~from Becoming Animal by David Abram
As a kid I spent countless hours barefoot, walking the local creeks, turning over stones to look for ‘crawdads’. The smell of being down in our own little creek for a bit last night brought back those timeless hours spent exploring. I decided to see if there was anything to spy just yet under the stones in our little waterway.
“This land is in my bones. Land under Wave.” ~from Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
Success! I found one and I am sure there were others. I shall visit them when the sun returns, as today we are graced with the cooler side of Spring. Such a temperamental lady, our spring. Yet I am glad she seems here to stay for now.
Spring being firmly footed must mean that summer is on her heals. I am beginning to feel the pull toward a summer spent mostly on the road….
My annual trek to teach in Taos is less than two months away, with workshop participants arriving exactly two months from today. Like some sort of nesting bird, I am busily collecting supplies and ideas to bring to the workshop. Just the other day I hand printed some little canvas bags into which will go some basic necessities. I didn’t need to print anything on the swag-bags, but I really wanted to. So I did.
That rather sums up my state-of-mind of late. I’m following my nose as much as possible. Sure there’s loads that needs to be accomplished. And I manage to get to most of it. But sometimes it’s fun to climb aboard that ‘cross-town bus’ and see just where it takes me. It is there that ideas spring up out of the newly tilled soil of the soul. I hope to share with you soon where some of these ideas are taking me. They are shaping my approach to my kid-books projects. And that is a good thing. These projects will shift their shape over time, I am certain. I have already received my first official ‘rejection’ letter from a company to which I submitted some of my work. Along with the small smidge of sadness that my ego wanted to strap to its back came a much brighter sense of really doing this. I am in the game. Doing what needs to be done, a bit each week, moving forward. Someday, with some persistence and enough caring and constructive critique to keep the work improving, it will be ‘good enough’ to be birthed into the world as books with stories in them that began in my mind’s eye and in the heart of my creative soul. This all feels really, really good. As does spring.
And so, we come to the end of this rather lengthy tome of a post. I don’t post often, but when I do….
What’s happening in your world? I’d love to know. Blessings on your new season, wherever it may find you.
It is the end of March, finally. After a rough February, March did treat us with a few fine days and a serious snow melt, and for that all are grateful. But we have also seen subfreezing temperatures in recent days which took this Ohio River Valley a bit by surprise. One expects these tricks of the weather gods in New England, but not here. Yet the garden knows that even with occasional cold temperatures, it is time to unfurl and find the sun.
Today’s softened breezes feel like a gift. The fam and I are off to Montreal, Canada for our final Irish Dancing competition (which just happens to be the World Championships. I say why not go out in style yes?). While there is still much packing to do, I simply had to go outside and sketch for a while.
Nothing is better than sitting in front of real plants, growing outside in true garden soil, surrounded by happy animals (in this case dogs and chickens) while I sketch and paint. I am rusty and need more practice, but that is always the case this time of year. And I am glad for the opportunity for a little quiet before the storm of our last Irish Dancing ‘Majors’ competition. Hoping to get a little sketching done while in beautiful Montreal, but I have learned that these events have their own timeline and expectations of all of us. We shall see.
For now, the peonies and I have had our time together, and upon our return, I shall tidy up their beds to make more space for them to burst forth.
Happy spring everyone! And blessings and fertility on your Easter celebrations as well.