Almost heaven

This past week was spent in Elkins, West Virginia attending Irish Week at the Augusta Heritage Cultural Center at Davis and Elkins Collge. This was the third year Jack and I attended this intensive program, myself for flute this year with John Skelton, and Jack for a week of fiddle with Liz Kane. We are both exhausted and stuffed with new tunes and techniques.

I was tremendously nervous to try a week of flute having only been playing for about 6 months. But I survived not only the classes, but the student showcase performance…

Next to me is John Skelton who taught the intermediate flute class. As a teacher myself, I can, without a doubt, say that John is the best teacher I have ever encountered in any subject. His teaching style is the perfect blend of wisdom, wit, technique and understanding. He is, for lack of a better word, brilliant. I am already looking forward to the start if Riley School in the fall to get back to classes with him on a weekly basis.

On the right side of the photo above is John Doyle, whom John Skelton invited to play with us on our showcase pieces. In the small world of Irish Music, these two Johns are considered sort of rock stars. Needless to say, I was just a little nervous. But I felt like a musician, a real one. Those moments are few and far between. I am inspired to keep learning and practicing to get more of those musical moments in the future.

Many a night was spent wandering the Davis and Elkins campus listening to various sessions scattered about. We did a fair amount of ceili dancing as well. There was not very much sleep to be had, but plenty of coffee, and laughter and of course, music. I am already looking forward to next year’s trip to Elkins to reconnect with old and new Augusta friends, but for now, I am off to sleep some more!

Offline

Last week my Hub went out of town on business and unfortunately found himself without power cords for his laptop upon his return. Said cords are being shipped from Hong Kong and may be a few days which renders his laptop out of service due to a lack of power. The good thing is, he has my laptop as back up and can do his work as needed. The bad thing is, he has my laptop as back up…

It is interesting to me how much I turn to my computer during the day, to quickly research an idea, keep track of my images, blog, and keep in touch with friends and family. I have felt a little lost in recent days with out this electronic security blanket. Even so I am still painting every day, practicing music everyday (Augusta is fast approaching!), keeping up with my dogs, my family, my renovation. Life moves on. The past week is perhaps a good preparation for the up-coming weeks when I will be out of the electronic loop while at Irish Music camp and vacation in our beloved Soul Home, Maine. It is possible I may not check in with my virtual self until Mid-August. Life moves on.

In the meantime, below is what has been happening around here recently and I am certain to post something about my summer adventures when I return, or on route, if I am so inspired. It is summer after all, and the living is supposed to be easy….

Last night Tony and I went on a sunset dinner cruise on the Ohio River for our anniversary which is coming up in a few days. We were blessed with beautiful, soft weather and enjoyed ourselves immensely.

I have stuck to my commitment of making a tiny painting every day and have even managed to photograph each piece. It’s amazing to me how they pile up. Below are the results…


I am pleased with the results but more importantly with the process. There is just not a lot of pressure in one tiny painting. It’s a lot like the theme of this blog, a little every day… for most days. But play at the wax table is not all that’s happening. After some concrete related hold-ups (the end result is even better than the first version) our cabinets are finally being installed. I don’t think we’ll have a kitchen until way after vacation, but at least we are still moving forward again after a couple of weeks in a holding pattern (note: Concrete takes patience, don’t ever rush it. Our guys did and had to do a LOT of work to fix it!)

Puppy Boot Camp (at least my gentle version of it) is still going on. We walk twice a day which they love. When at home all members of the family, and guests as well, are learning how to teach all three to keep all four paws on the ground and mind their place in the pack. All of us are benefiting from this wonderful structure. They are even lying still enough sometimes that I have gotten a couple of daily dog sketches done!

Yes, indeed life moves on… I’ll keep you posted, when I get the chance!

Recent Efforts

In spite of all of the dog walks, running around to music lessons and summer day camps, I am getting some work done in the studio on the little squares project. Here are the results…

In June there was a conference in Massachusetts all about making art with encaustic. I discovered it too late to go this year, but I already plan to go next year. In the meantime, I ordered the new book by Linda Womack called Embracing Encaustic which was released at the conference. It is beautiful and informative and I am thrilled to dig in and try all of the techniques described in this new book.

Fruits of Summer

We have a fairly large population of deer here in our neck of the woods so growing vegetables is tricky business. But thanks to my dogs and some lovely black netting, I was able to coax a tomato from a patio plant just outside the back door… and there are more to come. Generally speaking, I am not a big fan of plain old tomatoes but there is something about a home grown tomato that personifies summer time.

I have been reading some books lately about different approaches to dog training as the puppies continue to grow. Right now I am doing solo walks with each dog to work on leash skills before going back to pack walks. The combined strength of the three of them is out of my control and so we each need a little work together to remind them who is the leader of the pack. It is paying off, as each pup is tugging less on the leash and learning to walk next to me, allowing me to lead. It is time consuming and I miss my days of drawing them as much as when they were small. I realize that with time, we can all take a longer walk together again at the same time and then I’ll have tuckered out subjects to model for me.