Tag Archives: art academy

Spring has sprung!

Thankfully with the coming of spring, things have settled down (if only just a little) and I have had some time to enjoy my garden which is bursting this time of year with flowers mostly and a few greens I had popped in the ground earlier.  Here are some sketches and snapshots…

The weather is still cool enough to be enjoying greens straight from the garden!  Thankfully the deer seem to have had enough to eat elsewhere as they have left this bed pretty much alone for now.  Last fall we built a couple of raised beds in which we’ll grow basic veggies come summer.  My grandfather always warned never to plant veggies until the first full moon after mother’s day and so these beds lie in wait with only some garlic peeking out of the soil.

Much of what’s going on in my yard I inherited from the former owners of this house and I am just trying to keep it well tended as I learn how to be a gardener.  We have a wealth of flowering trees that bloom one after the other for about a solid month.  Redbud, azalea, magnolia, lilac, wisteria.  All really lovely to witness.

Last week my girl friends and I took a few hours to go to the local flower show where we saw all sorts of lovely things to draw and dream of putting into our own yards.  I could have walked around and drawn flowers all day!  I did get a few sketches into my book…

It feels really good to sink my toes back into my own turf and get back into the swing of things here at home.  Tina and I are finished with the Convention Center project and it was installed late last week.  I will post pictures of it in situ as soon as I can get them so stay tuned!  With that work completed, Adam and I are throwing renewed energy toward Drawing Down the Vision through continuous improvement on the website and the addition of a blog on that site about the benefits of drawing for everyone who may want to give it a try.  So pay the site a visit if you have a few minutes.  It is my hope that this work, albeit in a whole other world, will provide another avenue through which to share my love of keeping a vibrant sketchbook.

Speaking of sketchbooks, the Make the Book/ Fill the Book class had it’s final session a few weeks ago.  I so enjoyed meeting our students and working with Cody.  We already have ideas for changes and improvements for the next offering of the class which will hopefully be next fall.  The Art Academy has announced that in May 2011 I will be taking a group to Taos, New Mexico for a travel sketchbook course.  (download the class brochure and you’ll find the details in the catelog!)  This should prove to be a wonderful adventure for anyone who would like to travel and learn to keep an illuminated journal of the trip.  My best sketchbook pages always happen when I am traveling and seeing the world through fresh eyes.  You don’t have to be from Cincinnati to go on this trip by the way so if you care to join us, I will certainly keep you posted on the details as they firm up.

Well it looks like it has stopped raining for the time being so I am going to go for a run.   Happy spring!

Peripatetics

There is a wonderful scene in the movie Finding Nemo where the little blue fish, Dori, helps Nemo’s dad overcome his anxiety about going into a great, dark chasm.  Her advice is to just keep swimming.  I subscribe to this philosophy myself on many levels, not just to stave off anxiety or depression.  Swimming, running, walking, hiking, biking, kayaking – any kind of movement…. are all great tools to get my brain to side step itself, leave the inner critic behind, and create.  I get my best ideas while on the move.  Recently my favorite activity has been kayaking where I am not only moving, but moving on water.  Balancing in a boat requires a different sense of the physical body and for me this translates into feeling quite far away from my daily self, and closer to the magical art realm within.

Recently, my hub Tony and I headed to Lake Erie with some friends to Kelley’s Island for a Poker Paddle.  The idea was to paddle around the island, pick up a hand of 5 playing cards at 5  different stops, then “play” the hand at the end of the journey for prizes.  Due to a pretty stiff breeze the night before the paddle, we stayed on one side of the island to get our cards and for two legs of the trip were faced with the biggest waves I had yet to encounter.  4-6 foot swells was how it was described to me by those in the know; fellow paddlers literally disappearing behind large waves.  It was a little scary at first but very exhilarating and I am thoroughly hooked!  So now I find myself watching youtube videos of sea kayaker Freya Hoffmeister teaching people how to roll (Greenland Style) in their kayaks and reading about her adventures circumnavigating Australia.  I find this all very fascinating.  My goal is to roll in my kayak, some point soon hopefully, but I’ll leave places like Australia to Freya.

Our trip to Northern Ohio was more than just kayaking.  We got to visit Marblehead Lighthouse on the mainland which struck me as a rather small lighthouse compared to the ones I have visited on the East Coast.  But it must do the trick for it has been working to keep mariners safe and informed along Lake Erie’s coastline since 1819.  There are a number of wonderfully charming homes to see on Kelley’s Island.  My favorite of all of these is this Steamboat Gothic style home still owned by a member of the Kelley family and built in 1861.  Lovely.

We did some hiking while on Kelley’s Island and I have loads of new images that I find inspiring for a series of encaustic paintings I am working on.  Here are some shots of world famous geological formations, The Glacial Grooves, found on the island… among other cool stuff.

Lake Erie is not the only place I have been collecting images to feed my paintings.  On subsequent more local kayak trips and even in my own back yard, I have spotted some beautiful mushrooms lately thanks to a juicy humidity that blanketed our area for days.

Along with researching textures and imagery for the wax work,  I continue to work in my sketchbook almost everyday.  While on our Kelley’s Island trip  we stopped in the post office to buy a stamp and get it canceled in our books, a great little souvenir of our time there.  I also did some drawing here and there when I wasn’t busy hiking or kayaking….

The sketchbook realm is feeling really active.  My class at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, How to Keep a Sketchbook Journal – Getting Started will start up again mid-October.  I love teaching this class as it feeds me artistically and I always learn a lot from from students.  My project with my former student, now business partner Adam, Drawing Down the Vision, is nearing completion of stage 1 and ready for our initial pilot.  Adam and I recently attended a lecture by artist Someguy, Brian Singer, who is responsible for the highly successful journal based social experiment The 1000 Journals Project.  This project is a sign that the notion of keeping a journal or even participating in a group journaling experience is alive and well.  People are feeling the need to make their mark in the world.  I am thrilled by this and intend to get anyone interested out there picking up a sketchbook and taking note of their lives.  For me it’s a way to make sure time doesn’t slip by me too quickly and to take note of the little daily stuff that really adds up to the richness that is my life.

Now it’s time to go live it.


aware

The above quote has been on my fridge for years.  It’s one of my favorites and I like to think I personify it in my life, at least part of the time.  Lately I have been thinking a lot about the act of drawing and how it applies to being aware and awake and alive.  A former student of mine and I have been researching creativity, its application in the work place and how the simple act of drawing can enhance, channel and release innovative thinking.  It has been an exciting and overwhelming project which we hope will enable us to bring our ideas into the corporate sphere, teaching people to collect their thoughts and ideas visually, by drawing in a sketchbook.

I have been diligently working in my own sketchbook in recent weeks to practice what I preach in some sense.  As school winds down into summer for the kids, my ideas are brewing for both my new project out in the “Real World”, as well as for studio plans.  My family and I have spent a great deal of time outdoors recently and that has given me fuel for the sketchbook as well as for my more academic research pursuits.  I am not sure how it works, (though I am currently doing a ton of reading about it) but the simple act of drawing, combined with walking and being outdoors is a magic tool for productivity and creative thinking.  It is my hope that I can successfully convey this notion to folks who have never tried drawing.  Drawing is one small way to be joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.  So is hiking and simply being outside.  At least for me.

Here are some Daily Dog Drawings from recent weeks….

We took Iris to the Red River Gorge for a long hike on the Wildcat Trail to Dog Fork Creek.  It was a great time, especially with only one dog.  Caskie is a little old for such a rough hike on difficult terrain, and River is still prone to running off and making a general nuisance of himself.  So we took just Iris and it was wonderful to spend the day just with her.  It turns out she likes fishing.  She would stare into the creek at the small minnows and then pounce on them.  I think given some time, she might have caught herself one.

The day after our day trip to the Gorge, Tony and I went on a rainy kayak trip with some friends, partly so I could test drive a boat that’s my size and for sale.  Paddling in the rain was surreal and sensual and I hope to do it again.  The temperature was warm enough that it was not uncomfortable and we all had a great time.  I am hoping to sell a couple of paintings at an upcoming show at the Art Academy so I can buy this boat…

Playing Catch Up

It’s hard to believe sometimes how time flies.  I know that sounds pretty cliche’ but there it is.  20 days have gone by since our country’s miraculous election and things have been rather busy round here at Chez Bogard.  Busy is good.

Yesterday I took a friend of mine to the Cincinnati Art Museum to see Madcap Puppet Theater’s production of The Firebird. This show was done in the style of shadow puppetry using light and flat puppets to create the illusion of space.  What was interesting to me about this particular production was the use of color.  The puppets were created with a heavy duty plastic and painted with the “stained glass” paints that are found at the crafty stores.  The effect was exquisite and magical.  Adults and kids alike at the show were enchanted.  Being a member of the Cincinnati Area Puppetry Guild, I knew some of the performers and got to go backstage after the show to see how it all works.  Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me but here is a shot from my phone taken during the post-show Q&A.

The holidays are officially upon us and they seem to come earlier every year.  Case in point, we had the Riley School of Irish Music‘s 3rd annual Peace and Merriment Concert on Saturday night.  We did it early this year to avoid clashing with too many other Christmas-ey shin-digs coming up and also to coincide with the end of fall quarter at the school.  Students and Instructors alike performed various holiday/ harvest related tunes and the audience seemed to enjoy themselves.  I hid in the back row of the ceili band performance and played my tunes as best I could.  Stage-fright is less and less an issue with me as time rolls on, but I still am not keen on the idea of playing in front of people.  Below is a shot of some of the Riley kids who are not shy about playing for people.  They pretty much rock, those kids!

As Riley School finished up, it occurred to me that a number of things are freeing up precious time for me in the coming weeks.  The Carnegie Center has changed its regular Family Saturday activities from Dec. 13 to Dec. 6  to accommodate a participatory arts day planned for that day.  I won’t be able to make it that day so  I’ll see all of my regular Family Saturday folks again in January!  Meanwhile, this past week was my final class for the semester at the Art Academy.  I am slated to teach the class again in the Spring, Feb 21- March 6. (6 weeks this time!)  I will post details for registration when I have them.  My hope is that I will have some returning students next time who will keep pushing the limits of tending their sketchbooks. Spring will also be a perfect time for taking any interested students slightly farther afield for a day (or 2?) to practice their sketching skills.  I have for some time entertained the idea of leading a travel sketchbook course.  I have a handful of folks who have expressed interest in participating and so I’ve begun to make plans.  I will be sure to post any destination ideas I have here and would love any feedback or requests for fun places to visit and draw.  Anyone up for Madison, Indiana?

So with some extra hours available to me I plan to play in the studio with wax and clay, reacquaint myself with my own neglected sketchbook (update my Daily Dog collection), and perhaps finish a pair of socks I have been knitting for far too long.  I have a new heater in the studio which should help take some of the chill out of the space (thanks to Dave for that suggestion!)

Although I haven’t been too active at the wax table in recent weeks, I have been working on some clay tiles I plan to install as a back splash in our new kitchen.  I am making them in pieces which will eventually come together to create an artistic take on the foot print of the Ohio River in our region (approximately from the Indiana border out to Maysville, Ky, a favorite river town of ours).  Kudos to my kayaker hubby for that brilliant idea.  It seems to be turning out nicely….

Last but certainly not least in today’s post, some wonderful doggie news:  The puppies have graduated out of their kennel and are now sleeping upstairs with us at night!  For some months now they have had the run of the upstairs hallway when we would leave the house.  They just chill out on their beds in Tony’s office and wait for us to come home.  At night however we were still putting them into their kennels to avoid morning chaos.  Last week we decided to try putting them to bed upstairs with us after a long walk to see how they would do.  Amazingly, they did great!  They have learned fairly quickly to just lie down in their beds when we are in ours and that just because we get up to go to the bathroom, doesn’t mean they need to get up too. (Caskie learned this years ago and likes to sleep in Maddie’s room).  It’s working out wonderfully.  During the day, their recent favorite hang out is in the kitchen…. sprawled out on the heated concrete floor!

Days Like This

Yesterday I downloaded my friend Kim Taylor‘s latest EP, The Greatest Story.  It’s 5 songs are soulful and playful and tearful and wonderful.  Seems like the perfect music for this amazing season.  Check out her website and get yourself a copy of her work.  I think you’ll love it.

Meanwhile my own work is plugging right along.  I have been teaching my Keeping a Journal Sketchbook class at the Art Academy in recent weeks and it is going extremely well.  This being the second time I have presented this particular class, I am more relaxed and more creative in my approach to teaching.  I think this may be rubbing off on to the students.  They are so enthusiastic that a few of them want to keep the class going another couple of sessions.  So the folks at the Art Academy have been gracious enough to let us officially extend the class for those who are able to keep meeting.

As I present this class to more and more students, it’s becoming clear to me that there is more to the process of keeping an artful  life-chronicle than first meets the eye.  We do more in this class than simply open our books to write, draw and glue stuff down.  As happened in my spring class, friendships are being forged.  Students are opening up to sides of their own creativity they never knew existed.  They are commiting, or re-commiting, to making an artful way of life a priority.  Surrounded by their enthusiasm and joyful art-making, my own making has received a shot in the arm.  Work begets work.  I know this, but it still amazes me when I see it and feel the phenomenon in action.

One of my former students, and now friend, introduced me to the work and writing of Jennifer Louden, the Comfort Queen.  Her blog is delightful.  Reading it I get the sense that I have sat down with a fellow artist to tackle the Fear-of-The-Unknown in our art process.  I get the sense that she feels the same fear in her work everyday and simply does what we all must do; show up, feel the fear, and do it anyway.  I encourage anyone needing an art nudge to check out her website.

One of the often discussed themes in my class at the Art Academy, as well as among my fellow artists and myself, is that of how to get started. The ol’ zero to 60 phenomenon.  Most of us have other jobs (many cases multiple!), families who rely on us, households to run, lives to lead.  Rare is the artist who wakes up and makes art, day in and day out without fail.  Frankly, I don’t know anyone like that.  How does one find the time, energy and inspiration to work on art at the end of a jam packed day or week?  How do we get the art motor running anyway?  I have my own answers to these questions and am always interested in hearing how other creatives get out of their own way.

Along with my ever present sketchbook and the act of walking my dogs, I have recently been writing letters and post cards to people I know will love to receive them.  I get out the collagey materials and glue weird images to envelopes.  I make little sketches and add them into letters.  Sometimes I use a typewriter…. yep, a real old fashioned one that hiccups its way around the words giving the whole thing a whisical quality that I love. I slip in a little glitter now and then.  None of this takes a terribly long time and the benefits are far reaching.  The art supplies are coaxed out of stagnancy and ideas begin flowing.  It’s a snowball sort of effect and I am rolling with it right now.  This simple act of doing something remotely artful is the back door to the more “serious” work that may or may not be around the corner. The other day I had a fire going in the studio fire place, the wax table was on and I was mixing new colors, sticky things were drying on postcards and in my sketchbook.  It all felt a bit like a complicated dance but there I was, just dancing.

Today my creativity finds itself mostly out in the kitchen where I am busy readying Chez Bogard for the annual Riley School of Irish Music Halloween Party.  Chili, cider, mad amounts of chocolate chip cookies are in the works.  I still need to get my new vampire teeth fitted.  I shall be a Vampire, to suck the very marrow out of life…. mwa ha ha.  But I digress….

Have a safe, happy, fun, CREATIVE Halloween.

Here’s the latest waxy work…

cookie cutter days

My Grandma Kelley loved fall.  She used to say that on cool, crisp fall days, it was like the trees were cut out of the sky with a cookie cutter.  Everything in full relief.  In recent weeks we have been fortunate to have one of the most beautiful fall seasons I can remember.  The only downside to all this pretty weather is that we desperately could use some rain.  I’m sure it will come in time….

With all this pretty weather has come the usual busy-ness that comes with autumn.  A couple of weeks ago the Fam and I went to Rabbit Hash Kentucky for some local riverside music and a chance to meet their mayoral candidates.

Rabbit Hash is a tiny, charming, historic town that has literally gone to the dogs.  There are 16 candidates for mayor, only 2 of whom are not dogs (the other 2 are a cat and a miniature donkey).  Here’s a couple of pages from my sketchbook….

Anyone can vote in Rabbit Hash for only a dollar a vote.  And, you can vote as much as you want, for as many candidates as you’d like.  All proceeds go to the Rabbit Hash Historical Society.  We felt a million miles away from the more serious political races bombarding us from every direction in the real world just across the river.  It was a great escape.  Though even this race has its political paraphenalia for avid collectors to gather…

With fall inevitably comes the start of school.  My kids are back at the School for Creative and Performing Arts, and loving the balance their school provides between academics and the arts.  This is not just an art school.  Instead, this place puts the same emphasis throughout the school day on the arts as it does on things like chemistry, history, and language arts classes.  After school, kids at SCPA juggle their at times lofty academic load with rehearsals for plays, concerts and other art work.  We have, to say the least, been busy juggling it all.

I am again teaching down at the Carnegie Center at Family Saturdays, each second Saturday of the month.  This is a fun opportunity for families to make art together.  Each month there is a different theme to work with and this month we made masks.  Sadly, I forgot my camera that day.  But as usual, the kids (and parents!) came up with some cool stuff to take home!

The Carnegie is not the only place I teach.  I am delighted to be back at the Art Academy of Cincinnati this fall again offering my class Starting (and Keeping) and Journal Sketchbook.  I have a small class this time of only 5 people, but after only one class together, I can tell they are a special bunch.  This past Thursday we met for our first session and worked on “messing up” some brand new journals with paint, glue and some powerful quotes that will remind these students that no one else can make a journal like they can.  They are already seeing the differences in their individual styles.  Some may not have even thought of themselves as having an artistic style of their own.  I am excited to continue working with them in their books with collage, drawing, watercolors and writing and I hope to inspire them to continue working in their books long after our 4 week class has ended. My own sketch book has been pretty lonely lately and I have renewed inspiration, thanks to my students, to get drawing again!

Meanwhile, things have been pretty busy in the music world here as well.  Friday night Cherish the Ladies came to Dayton, Ohio, along with some other Irish Music talents like Bohola, Maura O’Connell and Dermot Henry.  The concert was amazing, as expected, and the following day, the Ladies came down to the Riley School to offer workshops in everything from singing to fiddle to flute/whistle, accordion, mandolin…. well the usual!  Cherish the Ladies is led by flute and whistle player extraordinaire, Joanie Madden.  I have had classes with her before at Augusta and it was such a treat to see her again and learn a few new tunes on flute and whistle.  Amazingly, Joanie remembered me as “the one who was drawing all the time”.  By the end of the day, after lessons from not only Joanie, but my beloved weekly instructor John Skelton as well, my head was nearly to bursting with tunes.  It was a good day.

So here it is, a breathtakingly beautiful fall Sunday.  I am off to head out to enjoy it.  I am outside more than in here on the computer lately, and that just feels right.  But as usual… I’ll continue to keep you posted, just maybe not as often!

GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!!!!!