2 by 2

Today it rained and rained. The creeks were filled to overflowing. It was the sort of day when people tend to bring up the notion of Noah’s Ark. Today was also a day that we had planned to go out east of the city and get a puppy at, ironically enough, Noah’s Ark Animal Rescue. We went out with intention of meeting a specific little dog named Iris who is a Golden Retriever/ Lab mix. We knew also that there was a litter of Labs that had arrived a day earlier who were up for grabs, so we were keeping an open mind. Objectivity is of utmost importance when choosing a dog, of course.

Iris turned out to be a gem. Smart, full of spunk and cute as an absolute button! That said… there were those labs, a little yellow one in particular, that were looking pretty nice as well. My husband went to take a look at them, next pen over. “What if we were to take two?”, he said – non-chalantly, I might add. I was floored. “Whadda ya mean, ‘two’? ” I said… surely he was not serious. But he was.

Long story short, we took two puppies; the original Iris for whom we had originally made the trip, and the little yellow lab, named River (Joan at Noah’s Ark is a great dog namer by the way!) We suddenly are parents of twin puppies, completely unexpectedly, and yet now that we have them, I can’t imagine having only adopted one of them.

Now that we have them home, they are keeping each other entertained, which is nice as it has given old Caskie a chance to just sit back and observe, and grumble a little, as he figures out what this all means to him. They nap and play intermittently, as puppies do, and frankly, I don’t want to go to bed, lest the puppies grow overnight, while I’m not watching them.

This will mean some new and exciting things in the Daily Dog column for sure. Below are some photos of the new babies and a funny one of Caskie’s first response to their arrival (he peed!).




A good day

Yesterday was Family Saturday at the Carnegie Center for Visual Arts. That place is pure magic. The room where our monthly art-parties are held is such a beautiful space, filled with light, all kinds of imaginable supplies and space in which to experiment. Every school and community (and home!) should have a place like this where kids and adults alike can play and ask “what happens if….” I am enjoying getting to know the families that return month after month and am thrilled at the new families that find their way to us each month. I have lots of jobs… this one is quickly becoming a favorite.

Later in the evening, I was honored to be a part of my friend Carol’s 50th birthday party celebration. Carol and I have been friends for years. She was a huge inspiration to me when my art wings were first unfurling. I wish her many more happy years to come!

Although near dead on my feet, I wanted to listen to some Irish Music after Carol’s party. The problem was that there were two choices. Some friends of mine, the Roving Rogues, were playing about 35 minutes away in Lebanon. Meanwhile, about 2 miles from my house, Liam’s Fancy, accompanied by harpist extraordinaire, Jeni Westerkamp were playing. Geography and exhaustion won out and I dropped by a pub in Pleasant Ridge to hear Dan, Bev and Jeni (and for a few tunes Geoff!) play wonderful tunes and even sing a few songs (nobody can do this like Dan can!). Irish Music is the balm for my soul and I enjoyed sitting and listening to my talented friends play while I sketched some of the tipsy patrons, who were very good sports when they realized I was drawing them.


Snowy Day


It’s a lovely snowy day here in the 1.00 acre wood. I have spent the day making up some samples of the art projects I have planned for the weekend’s Family Saturday at the Carnegie Center for Visual and Performing Arts. The theme this month is “Homemade for the Holidays” so the projects all use recycled and found materials. We will be making shiny ornaments out of old cd’s and dvd’s. We’ll also look at some creative ways to make handmade wrapping paper, bows and gift tags.

Using old magazines, I’ll be showing folks how to make beautiful paper beads to create one of a kind jewelry items for gift giving.


I have also pressed some flowers into service to make some colorful votive candle holders out of recycled jars. The fun will last from 12-5, a little longer this month to coincide with Carnegie’s holiday craft sale. I hope you can stop by and try your hand at some of this month’s exciting projects!!


Sketchy Business

An exciting thing occurred to me today. I was at a local art store getting some Christmasey gifts for some of the children in my life (I believe early artistic infection is a positive thing…) and I glanced at the piles of catalogs, brochures and such at the end of the counter. There among the stacks was a purple catalog from the Art Academy of Cincinnati listing the winter/spring courses available in their Community Education program. I grabbed the catalog to check….and there it was…my sketchbook course! I will be teaching a four-week, one evening per week course on creating and keeping a Journal / Sketchbook.

My own sketchbook is something that I share on a regular basis with those who know me and those who just happen to catch me in the act of drawing and come to look over my shoulder. It is a place where I capture interesting moments and images, big and small, momentous and meaningless. It is a place where things come together and begin to make sense. In my sketchbook I collect quotes and photos, sketches and thoughts. It is an extension of myself and my process. It is the place where my life and my art work meet and mix, with unpredictable results. It’s my stew pot for ideas and memories.

Over the years I have kept a fairly steady number of books, each one better than the last, I think. I take chances and experiment more now than I did even a couple of years ago. In my Art Academy class I plan to share with students how I got started sketch-journaling, and how I start each new book. I will help them get their own books started and encourage them to begin collecting their own life bits. Everyone’s individual life has purpose and meaning and this is often forgotten in our fast paced world these days. This is why I blog. And this is why I keep a sketchbook; not just for art work, but for the life moments in between the work.

So here’s hoping at least a handful of folks sign up for my class so it can move forward. I am excited to get more “sketchy” people out into the world at large!

Tis the Season


A bit of this past week has been spent putting out our collection of holiday stuff. We have an assortment of Santas, snowmen (and women), angels, and of course, wooden soldiers. It’s nice to get these things out and see them again here in the new house. They have taken on a newness since we get to decide where to put them all. The kids and I have had fun arranging and rearranging and talking about the memories all these things bring back for them.

As a family we are a hodge podge of seasonal beliefs and practices. I love the Peace on Earth message that the Baby Jesus brought with him. Last year my friend Elle taught me a little about Kwanzaa and its message of hand made gifts and emphasis on family and community. There is Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights and then the more Earth centered beliefs about marking the passage of time and light by celebrating the Solstice. I find them all fascinating and sacred and think it is no accident that this is a time of year for celebrating and reflecting in many faiths.

For me it is a time to slow down, spend time with my family, and remember those I’ve lost in recent years. Somehow the glow of candles and faerie lights puts me in the mood for this reflection. That said, we have an exhausting schedule in coming weeks of rehearsals, recitals, concerts, parties, shopping, cooking, baking and celebrating which are also so much a part of the season. Hopefully I can find the still point somewhere in the midst of all the chaos and contemplation… it’s all about balance, right?

Happy Holly-days!

Watercolor Play

I am fascinated with other people’s sketchbooks. Over the years I have gathered a collection of sorts of published artist sketchbooks, the latest of which arrived yesterday. This new one is a book called Sara Midda’s South of France; A Sketchbook. It was published in 1990 so it is by no means new, but I hadn’t ever come across it and bought it used on the advice of a friend.

This book is a delight! Midda’s drawings convey the sense of light and colors and tastes that she experienced in her year there. Like myself, she makes most of her drawings using watercolors, and goes on to name different colors by what they represent to her in her sketches. Blue, gold, and green become sky at midday, stucco, and fishing boat. The list is evocative and endless.

In spite of a wonderful color theory class in art school, I have never been very scientific about my use of watercolors. They have always been more about play for me than about formula. I hope to keep it that way. But Midda’s work has me thinking about my 14 color travel watercolor set in a broader field today as I try to make as many shades of lots of colors as possible.


Also, here’s a daily dog from yesterday….. meet Arp.



It’s back to the proverbial grind after the Thanksgiving holiday, which for us at least, was restful and peaceful and full of gratitude. It is raining, raining, raining so I have started a fire here in the studio fireplace to try and ward off the damp chill. I am fighting a cold and feeling a bit on the whiny side.

Even so, I am sipping on hot tea and waiting for the visit of a dear friend in from out of town. We have been too long apart. The landscape outside, so much a part of my view from inside, has a lovely purpley gray to it, along with more browns than I can count. These are new colors, arriving with the colder temperatures and falling leaves, and exciting in their own quiet way.


Kitchen Carnage

A good time was had by all here at Chez Bogard on Thanksgiving Day.

We finally had our big ol’ oak table here at the New House, thanks to the efforts of some early arriving family members who helped move the last bits of stuff over from the Old House. There is nothing like sitting down to a meal with people I love at the table that has seen so many meals like this one, and hopefully many more to come. With that table here, it finally seems like home. So much for which to be thankful….

The Old House is officially SOLD, as of this morning’s closing. Hopefully the new family will create as many wonderful memories there as we did. I was pleased to hand over the keys to someone who seems to already care for it as much as we did. The sensation of temporary displacement that has plagued us since going through this move has been lifted. We can now truly settle in to this new place and begin to put our personal touch on the house as well as the garden.


part rabbit warren, part spin on art & life & etc. art, illustrations & workshops by amy bogard