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hittin’ the road again

I love this time of year.  In a few days my family and I are hitting the road for the start of a summer of travels.  As we do every summer, we are heading to Maine to collectively fill our wells.  Hopefully we’ll have some sunshine this year after 3 years of nothin’ but rain.  But there is nothing we can do about the weather, and we adore the family-friends we see there each year.  As I usually do before a big trip, I am writing here to catch up on the wonders of what’s happening here at home, and to bid my few but loyal readers adieu until my next post which may be a month or more from now….

Being an artist requires a person to become something of an observer.  Whether that means observing one’s inner landscape, or observing the magic all around in one’s environment doesn’t really matter.  We simply observe.  And sometimes, capture that magic – with a photograph, a poem, a song, a work of art.  This is really what artists of all kinds do.  They (we) capture a brief moment in time, and manifest it into something more timeless.  In order to make room for this capturing, you’ll often find artists doing a tremendous amount of wandering.  For it is in this wandering that we are inspired.

This week I walked in Spring Grove Cemetery with Lisa like we often do and it was quite the nature day.  We came across a turtle laying her eggs just off the side of the road.  And a little fawn, who seems to often be around Esme’s Place at Spring Grove, peeked out at us this time and looks to be growing like a weed.

At home in the studio, in spite of the heat outdoors, I have had the wax table heated up a great deal recently and here’s what’s come of it….

Above is a work in progress that I hope to have finished before I leave for Maine for entry (should they accept it) into an “Earth” themed show at the Kennedy Heights Art Center.

Meanwhile, my old work, Tubular CM, has found it’s way up onto the walls at Salon Cherry Bomb in Hyde Park.  I put two installations of them up, one larger than the other, and they seem to work well in the space.  At the very least, they are out of storage.

The hardest part about leaving for a vacation is, well, leaving.  I hope that someday I can take my dogs with me to Maine and make a summer of it.  But alas, they’ll be staying here at their Kingdom across the Magical Bridge of Hope and Wonder with our house-sitter.  Caskie has not been well lately and we are waiting to get some test results back about what might be going on with him.  He’s been losing a lot of weight recently and just doesn’t seem to feel very well.  Today however he ate some chicken and rice and even played a bit with the other dogs in the yard.  So maybe we’ll get to have him around for awhile longer.

As the evening cools to a balmy, potentially storm-ridden night here at Chez Bogard, I wish a happy summer all around, with time enough to enjoy the company of family, friends and self.

I’m sure I’ll have lots to write after Irish Week at Swannanoa….

allowing

This week has me filling my well quite a bit with some much needed solitude, new music to chew on and some time with friends and family.  Today I went for a rainy walk with Lisa and Anna in  Spring Grove Cemetery which has been a favorite walking place and source of inspiration of Lisa’s for years.  Spending time with friends who are also fellow artists is a nourishing way to jump start my own creativity, making space for productive alone time.

A couple of years ago a movie called Once came out and I heard about it from numerous folks, all who said I would love it.  I finally got around to watching it this week and, as predicted, it was right up my alley.  The music in it is just the sort of stuff I like to listen to when working in the studio, so naturally, I began to dig a little deeper into who the artists are who put the soundtrack together for the movie.  Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova wrote/co-wrote most of the tracks on the CD and they have a delightful musical chemistry which makes this album somewhat different from the work that Hansard does with his Dublin based band The Frames.

I read a number of articles about Irglova and The Frames, but it’s Hansard’s thoughts on making music that really resonate with me.  He is an artist’s artist….

“Basically all songs are residue. They’re just bits of muck, for me. They’re not craft. If you imagine a snail that leaves a residue then goes off and dies, and for years there’s a silver path of residue across the wall of your garden shed. It looks gorgeous, but [pauses] I always imagine that people who make art just live a life. It doesn’t matter if they lead a good or a bad life, but they leave behind these increments in time, little bits and clues as to what emotional landscape or emotional mapping was going on at the time.”

People who make art just live a life.  wow.  I think there is quite a bit of truth to this, though there is also the show-up-and-work part of things that needs to happen as well, at least for me.  But this notion of simply allowing the art to happen is refreshing and maybe something I need to consider.  I am guilty of a fair amount of over-thinking which I often side-step by involving myself in process laden work, where losing oneself is a positive by-product.

So now as I listen to the music of my new fave Glen Hansard (as well as the hypnotic sound of my leaky roof) I think I’ll go lose myself in a bit o’ beeswax….

Smoke

This is Smoke.   He is a greyhound belonging to a family who emailed me after reading the write-up about my dog drawings on the blog Dog Art Today.  It is difficult to draw a dog (or really much of anything for that matter) from a photograph.  But for me it is an interesting exercise now and then, especially when the picture is of such a graceful sinewy creature as Smoke.  I much prefer drawing from life, when I occupy the same physical and temporal space as my subject.  At the very least, if I draw from a photograph, I like to have been the one taking the pictures, capturing the images to study later on with my line drawings. That said, I still couldn’t resist sketching this beautiful dog.  I hardly do him justice, to be sure.

I have been in the studio a bunch lately.  Drawing some, gathering images to update my website gallery, working in wax, making baby gifts.  I am enjoying this time immensely, especially knowing that Tornado Season (in other words, puppet season/ full time work for awhile) is right around the corner.  I know that my studio time suffers in the spring as I am stretched far too thin with teaching, doing puppet shows and keeping up with my busy kids.  This will be Jeni’s and my 3rd season on the road with the Red Cross’s Wind Around the Toybox production.  It’s an intense season but it is just that, a season.  This year, I think we see it for what it is and we are ready for the hard work and high energy level these shows demands of us.  Last year we saw over 10,000 children in the Tri-State area, providing a not-so-scary approach to Tornado Safety for little people.  It’s a great job and I am lucky to have it.  Shows will start up in February sometime and go through May and it is during this time that I will have to fit studio art into the available little spaces I find here and there.  That will have to be enough.

Until then, however, all’s quiet, except for the howling wind outside.  I have a fire going in the fireplace, the wax table on means the windows have to be open and a fan on for exhaust, but I bundle up and play there while I have the opportunity.

Digging Deep

Art as Work is an interesting phenomenon.  Try as one might to work under the constructs of a “normal” work life, sometimes it’s impossible.  I took an emotional plunge in recent weeks, on the heels of vacation season, as the kids were starting school, in the midst of domestic chaos.  I simply could not handle being in my studio, or my house even for that matter.  I have made no paintings.  I have not sketched.  I have just wanted to be outside.

With all of the construction still going on, or perhaps a better description would be that it is not going on, I just have not wanted to be inside where I could see it.  We should have counters installed next week.  Our concrete floors have had to be repaired for a second time since this all began and we are off of them again for another week.  (Kudos to our concrete company for standing by their products… but we are really ready to be done.)

There is really only one thing that has saved me over the past two weeks and that is digging in the dirt.  Tony and I removed some old evergreen bushes that were really blocking and dating the front of the house.  I put in some end of season perennials and we ordered a boulder from a local landscaping company.  It has felt good to begin something and complete it all in a reasonable amount of time.  This project was something we could do ourselves and that we have had control over.  It felt creative.

This is where my art is right now.  In the dirt.  I realized I didn’t feel like being on the computer lately and that has been ok.  In fact, it is one of the things I love about vacation.  So I have unplugged quite a bit these last weeks.  And I plan to continue to do so.  I also enjoy blogging and plan to continue to do that as well.  But for now, the pressure’s off.  I am just going with the flow, trying to keep things as sane as humanly possible around here.

I’ll keep you posted… when inspiration strikes…