Tag Archives: chickens

Comings, Goings. Doings, Beings.

Our front creek, captured magically by Imran Nuri.

“I don’t want realism.  I want magic.”  ~Tennessee Williams

There is much coming and going of late.  Hither and thither we work and play.  I’ll share a bit here as I set aside remembered things to pack away for upcoming workshops.  Antigua beckons…..

A sample of the magnets I have designed as give aways for my workshop participants! I figure if they see these on their fridge in the day to day, they will remember to work in their books more often, yes?

Narry a week ago, I was working in my own sketchbook in a warm place called Key West.  When I wasn’t strolling the colorful streets filled with colorful people, feasting my eyes on color and light, I was bobbing in a pool or better yet, in the sea herself – buoyed by salt, water and sun.

pay no mind to the chitter chatter in the clip above, we were on a sunset cruise.  I was captivated by the murky depths.  And miraculously I did not get sea sick.

Key West enchants with its embedded quirk round every corner.  Some folk come here to drink their cares away, but I for one came to drink in more than just rum.  Though to be fair, rum has its place.

If one but stays just off the beaten path, there is charm at every turn and lovely sunsets to behold.  And it can be a balm for the soul of a weary, land-locked midwesterner nearing the end of a long, gray winter…..

Hens, chicks and roosters are to be found everywhere. They are well socialized and cry the song of their people. A lot. Cockadoodledooooooo!!! (and chuk-chuk and peep-peep as well!)
The Young Man And The Sea, our ship’s crewman Dale.
The captain and crew of the good ship Sarah took great care of us on a sunset cruise on the ocean. If you are ever near Key West, I recommend Danger Charters, in spite of their name.

We paid homage to the sea and to the rich history of the place, even visiting the home of Ernest Hemingway which boasts 55 polydachtyl cats living their best lives on the property.

I found Key West to harbor great juxtaposition. The locals care deeply for the ocean, that is clear, and yet single-use-plastics are still the norm at local businesses. We declined all straws/utensils/bags when it was an option.  It’s a small thing, but it’s worth doing.
Cemetery Sentinel

There is magic around every turn there.

Tree guardian being? Or a large fairy fist, offering us a tropical green bouquet?
Our Queen City-scape, with a river running through it. Quite lovely from the sky, though I am not a city girl at heart.

Too soon we must return home once again to the gloom and gray of Ohio.  But we look for the quiet magic to be found here.

My daughter and her boyfriend are home for break and he has some new camera gear he is eager to test.  He stunningly captures the magic of our yard in the dark.  With his extended exposures, our criss-crossing creeks become fully laden with an Otherworldly quality and I am reminded how lucky we are to have this little patch of land of ours.

Our front creek, captured magically by Imran Nuri.

Art has a way of reminding us of the beauty in the world.  Music as well.  This week ahead is the high holy season of Irish music and we are quite busy indeed.

Tuesdays there is always a session here in town, even on ‘normal’ weeks.  This Tuesday we are at Streetside Brewery on Eastern Avenue.  It’s one of our favorite places to play.  Saturday March 16, I join the Roving Rogues to play St. Patrick’s Day eve at Arnold’s Bar, Cincinnati’s oldest tavern. and on Sunday, we once again will play in the evening at Palm Court in the Hilton Netherland Plaza hotel.  Come on along and enjoy a fancy cocktail.  Escape the green-beer fray, won’t you?

I am so grateful for the music.

And this music as well….

Our Jack was part of a concert celebrating the music of Bach which we attended last night.  It was divine and captivating, as Bach can be, and we were swept away on this stormy evening to another world indeed.  There is more this evening as well, I can’t recommend it enough.

All is not angelic and ethereal round here however.  As I mentioned, I am busily getting last minute things in line for my double workshop endeavor in Antigua, Guatemala.  This is keeping me on my toes instead of at the drawing table or in the journal where I belong.  I embark on that journey later this month.

But before I go to Guatemala, I am attempting to complete a somewhat hefty hand-made project, which in it’s own earthy way is keeping me grounded in work.  That of a 3′ X 4′ latch hook rug project for the annual May The Fourth Star Wars Tribute show.  

I’m using a grid to help me keep track of my design on the canvas.

All the yarn I am using for this project is either from my own stash of leftover yarns or has been acquired second hand at Scrap-It-Up over in Pleasant Ridge.  This has added some complexity to the rug itself and is helping me to make Chewbacca extra fluffy and scruffy.

My studio assistant Ian takes his job quite seriously.

Until he’s ready to leave the room, at which point he rings the bell to let me know.

Working a bit on this rather ridiculous project each day keeps me grounded and working with my hands which is good for my head ironically enough.  And this is good.

And so, the fitting in of all the pieces of this life’s puzzle continues.  While I must admit to this being a rough winter in many ways, things are looking up now that the light seems to linger longer in the days, even when it’s snowing. The sun is even shining today as I write this.  We must always remember that change is the only constant and we must at least attempt to move forward.

I say this as a reminder to myself really.  Behind the scenes here I spend a fair amount of time applying to and being rejected by various opportunities such as with publishers (who often don’t/can’t respond, which feels like throwing work into a great dark abyss…. hello- oh    –      o         –    o   …….. receiving back only the boniest of echoes)  This is all part of the process.  I will say, while it does continue to smart, it does get easier the more one applies.



Residencies are yet another application process I find myself often involved in,  always looking for some way to go somewhere inspirational, seeking a deeper sense of time and place to make and grow my work.  I can’t tell you how many of these opportunities I’ve applied to, heart firmly tied onto the application via the proverbial string, only to be denied for my efforts.  I really try to envision myself there when I apply and so I do pour heart and soul into each application.

To those who’ve never thought about these things, one has to remember that merely applying is often a great deal of work – writing essays and statements, gathering photos of work, recommendations, tweaking one’s CV, etc. etc.  I fit these efforts into the small spaces between the usual goings on of my day to day.  And I just keep trying, allowing a bit of grief and maybe some ice-cream when a particular refusal really gets me down.

But I do keep trying.   And sometimes, like throwing spaghetti at the ceiling, something sticks……

 

I am beyond over the moon to announce that my Maine based friend Julie Persons of Adventures of Claudia and Chicks In Hats fame and myself have been selected to share a month long residency in Ireland next year for the month of October.   We are thrilled!!!!

In which Amy and Julie get together for a cup of tea once each summer.  Don’t mind my lake hair – we are usually at camp!

We have put up the party flags and are doing a little happy dance, albeit virtually for now.

I’ll share more about this exciting news as things formulate into firmer plans.  But for now it is enough to have the invitation from Olive Stack in lovely Listowel and to know the dates we are to be working there.

So much rich stuff ahead.  And the challenges too that we face in this world on a personal level of course, and globally as well.  I said to someone the other day that this is the new normal for artists – to be able to hold in our hearts and minds, at the very same time, the dual notions that all will be well, and that things are really wrong too. –  This is not an easy task.  But I aim to try, as I have for years now.  To highlight and showcase beauty, to work for positive change.  It’s what the artists I most admire do best.

Baby steps, Micromovements (as this blog has long been named) is how we move things along, how we take the leaps to grow into new opportunities and to try new things that challenge us.  It’s terrifying really.  But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.”                   

                                   ~Georgia O’Keeffe

At One

We are down to one hen, having lost the family favorite, mischievous, curious, moxie-laden Bernadine.  Her personality here on our little acre of land will be sorely missed.  11295616_10206664562194990_1017598909952787150_n

That leaves us with Elvyra, who was kind of the extra one from the beginning.  We went to the little farm in Kentucky to get four chicks, and came home with 5.  The farmer suggesting ‘that little easter-egger over there’ might be a good one to have if we wanted a pretty flock.

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And pretty she is.

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Of all of the flock, this one has been the quiet one.  Part of the flock enough to be safe, but not overly keen on human attention or affection.  Having read that lone hens are prone to depression and rapid decline, I have been keeping a close eye on Elvyra, but so far, she seems ok.

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She preens her feathers regularly and scritches around the garden and woods for bugs and fresh spring green things.  She’s still laying daily and roosts  predictably at night.  She is eager to de-coop in the morning and join me for a cup of coffee and some treats on the back stoop.  It’s become a bit of a thing for me lately amidst this crazy time of year.

There is just something so soothing about watching a hen peck around the yard for a bit each day.

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Even if it is just the one.

 

I’m gearing up for the Taos trip here in a few weeks and so have ramped up my yoga practice and running routine to get my head on straight, to be the best I can be for my incoming students.  Spring can be a frenetic season with graduations and birthdays to be celebrated, chores to be caught up on and of course the usual day to day work to be done.  Busy.  a word I loathe, but to which I must occasionally succumb.  I am woefully behind in my own sketchbook, but have instead been at the easel a bit each week in a painting course I decided to take from Manifest Drawing Center here in town.  I am learning  a lot in this class about color and painting in oil paints, some of which I hope to apply to my own teaching out west.  It’s important to me not to rest on laurels and to always be finding new things to share in my classes.  I am keenly aware that to do this work is a great gift.  I do not take it for granted.

While we are down in numbers in the avian world, our canine sphere is fit to burst since last year.  It’s nearly a year since we took over the stewardship of my Mama-in-law’s little dog Charlie.

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She was not as little as she really should be when she first joined us.  But with some exercise and the company of other dogs, she has trimmed out a good bit and her more boisterous personality has begun to shine (read, bark).

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Charlie seems quite happy here with us and still makes regular visits back home to Mom as well, which is good for everyone.

And so, on this very average day, I must get back to work.  Attempting the task of getting ahead of myself a bit before the summer travels begin in earnest; pondering the One-ness of all things via the simple avenues of home – ‘fanimals’ and family.

Til next time….

A Need for Slowness

azalea

It’s a gloriously frosty morning down here in this Springvalley of ours.

frost

The cold seems to have settled in for the season and it all feels a bit early, though I suppose it is November.  This week I dug out the heated waterer for the girls so they have access to unfrozen water, and we are back to our morning ‘oatmealworm’ breakfasts to keep them warm, fed and with enough salt in their little systems.  chicksThis time of year always puts me in a bit of a hibernatory place, in spite of  our culture’s Countdown to Christmas mentality.  I find myself drawn to slower pursuits and am inspired by others seeking the same in their worlds.  Since it has been a little while since I have checked in here at my online home, I figured I’d share a a few things I’ve come across which consider a slower world-view, as well as a couple of updates in studio news.  

Brew a cup of tea, or pour a wee dram of something else to warm you…..

The title for this particular post came from a quote from the above video.  “What we have is a need for slowness.”  I couldn’t agree more.  This couple and their enchanting caravan lifestyle came across my path via the interweb-wanderings and sharings from a couple of artist/writer/performer types upon whom I have recently been keeping a close watch.

Rima Staines and Tom Hirons have crafted a world full of magic and old-world style mystery with their art work, poetry, puppetry and beyond and they are fixin’ to take it on the road.  To live a simpler life in general and to share their artful wares and wonders with folks farther afield than their current home in Devon, England.

Tom and Rima created their crowdfunding video with the help of their uber-creative community of fellow artists.  Their project harkens to a world just outside of the reach of modernity, at the edges of our imagination and land of dreaming.  Hence, their new collaboration has the perfect title, Hedgespoken.  I have made it a point to share their project here and there on my own tendrils of social media because I really believe in what they are doing.  I grew up on the move myself (which is a story for another time and a longer burning fire) and have vivid and beautiful memories of time spent in my grans’ airstream trailer each summer.  Nothing fancy or romantic really, but for me, it was life shaping.

grans

People like Tom and Rima are quietly rebelling against the things that rush our world into the Land of Too Much (be it stuff, to-do lists, etc.) Their theater and home on wheels could possibly slow things down a bit for just a few people along their path, and remind us of the magic to be found in all things, if we but take the time to listen and look more closely.  Hedgespoken is in it’s home stretch of fundraising and I wish them a firm breeze at their backs as they sail on home to port with it.  If you believe in this particular brand of magic, head on over and toss a few coins into their hat.  You’ll be glad you did, as their blogs (here, here, and here) are chock full of fascinating and shadowy paths down the proverbial rabbit hole.

Another delightful bit of sweetness that has come across my path this last week is an interview of a quiet gardener in Ireland named Eimear Moran.  I found her thoughts on finding beauty and synchronicity and yes, the Divine in her own humble back yard to be truly inspiring.  She is another quiet rebel walking the path of slowing down and waking up to things that are in our reach in the day to day.  If, again, we but take the time to listen.

Eimear’s book is nearly available and I look forward to getting my hands on it.  In the meantime, you can keep up with her daily garden thoughts and meanderings at her page on the Book of Faces (I have Rima to thank for coining that lovely phrase.)

With all of these beauty-full beacons to light my own path, I am truly sinking into the season here myself.  My own small crowd-funding project to shore up my residency plans this January in Taos, NM is going well.  I too have a few more weeks to get to my goal and am so grateful for all the support thus far.  Ginger Small and her adventures have gotten the bulk of the attention lately as she is really the sparkly one of the bunch.  But there are also sheep and rabbits coming along with me on this trip.

Mona Lisa 1

Cards are being made of a number of these images, should you be interested in counting a few sheep….foggy sheep sun on foggy sheep

Or channeling your inner rabbit….bunnies

 

bunny 2

I am having great fun with all of them with thanks especially to my friend Vanessa Sorensen at Nessy Designs. She recently gave me a few pointers in photoshop which has helped me turn some of the mere sketches in my journal into things I can work with in print.  Vanessa and I get together occasionally to sketch and sometimes even to collaborate on a craft project.  The most recent of which is this little wonder of fashion…..

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Part of this notion of slowing down in my life includes activities like knitting, embroidery, printing my own clothes.  Vanessa’s cicada print, my years old skirt and a bit of embroidery to bug out the eyes makes for a wonderful one-of-a-kind fun thing to wear.  And to top it all off, it meant an afternoon spent with a fellow artist, sipping tea and sharing bits of things that had set our minds to wander and our hearts to sing lately.  That is the true gift.  Time Well Spent.

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Speaking of bits of embroidery…..

Bogard_Leviathan_1Leviathan will be on display at the Kennedy Heights Art Center’s upcoming show Imagine, featuring members of the KHAC’s Artist’s Collective.  The show opens November 22.  If you are local here in the Ohio River Valley, do stop by and see us.  Some of my recent skull studies will also be up for grabs…..

unnamed skull study oil 1

What do you do to stem the flow of time?  How do you bring a desired slowness to your everyday?  I’d love your thoughts and links to others who might be in this same camp of Time outside of Time.

#stopdropandyoga

This post is for my lovely nephew, Gregory Bogard, who shines so brightly in this world, drinks fancified water, sprinkles love on all he meets and challenges his loved ones to #stopdropandyoga.

Greg

Well Greg, I see your spontaneous yoga pose challenge, and raise you – a chicken.

While on my run today I pondered how to respond to the challenge which I believe may have been posted sometime yesterday while the Hub and I were out on the water.  Even there, #stopdropandyoga was alive and well….

kayak yoga

(We also worked on some standing poses later, but I wasn’t the one with the camera at that point.)

But back to today’s run.  I always get hair brained ideas when out running and today was no different.  I took turns running with each of my dogs and a plan began to take shape….

so I called my dear friend Julie (who asks no questions when plans like this arise) to assist with the shooting.

I give you, Basic Yoga for You and Your Chicken.  Do enjoy.  and more on that kayak trip in a while.  Still working on my sketches a bit!!

Take your chick to yoga

 

We started with some sun salutations of course, and then onto:

Tadasana

mountain

Vriksasana

tree pose

Trikonasana

triangle

Virabhadrasana I (modified for chicken comfort level)

warrior

Padma-asana

lotus

 

And of course, Shavasana, to finish it all off.

shavasana

 

It’s good to have a little fun on a sunny day, don’t you think?

 

Balancing Act

IMG_2199   Greetings from the fancy device. I have figured out how to make the good camera speak to this little thing by way of a wee translator card that translates things between them. The next step will be to actually be able to edit here. Surely it’s possible. Then we shall be in business. I’m in a bit of a state of limbo, awaiting news on a project I may or may not be a part of and it has me in a liminal state. And so, instead of fretting anymore about something I can do nothing more about, i have chosen instead to practice this gypsy technology, readying itself for summer. The project in question will either come to fruition, or it won’t, but either way, I’ll be ready (sort of) to share with you from the road this summer. Liminality has it’s own special breed of churning. IMG_2243 IMG_2242 IMG_2245 IMG_2248 IMG_2252 IMG_2253 IMG_2254 I have been running many miles to stay out of my own way.  And sometimes i even hide. (Like this evening.) IMG_2257   But mostly I am just getting on with the day to day of things. Much like the girls do. IMG_2209 IMG_2216 IMG_2212 IMG_2225 IMG_2222   And spending plenty of time in the garden, which is newly bursting forth, is crucial. IMG_2236 IMG_2233   Gardening keeps a girl grounded. In the craziest of times.   IMG_2237

Dressing up the season

advent

We have been getting the boxes of treasures down from the attic, and have taken to nestling them here and there around the house…

 

precious things

Readying for the approaching Christmas holiday and darkened Solstice time.

 

precious thing 2.

All the while, Jack Frost has blanketed our little gully with all he could muster and the girls are not quite sure what to think of it all.

come for tea 5

 

come for tea 4

come for tea 2

They have taken to tapping out coded messages to anyone listening, demanding to be permitted to throw a tea party.

come for tea 3

And so, being a fair person, I helped the chickens outfit their own modest home and they are now ready for visitors.

come for tea 8

Some are shyer than others….

come for tea 6

But they do keep things cozy, with fresh straw.

come for tea 7

Won’t you stop in some time?

come for tea

Things are truly quite festive around here lately.

tree

A lacy November dusting

fairyland dusting

We awoke this morning to the gift of a magical dusting of snow, courtesy of a storm system nearby that will likely reek havoc elsewhere.  But for us, it transformed and beautified our little acre of land, muffling out the  sounds of the rest of the world and creating a bit of an other-world for just us.

fairyland dusting 2

Being on the protected side of the house and under a stately pine tree, The Girls didn’t get quite as much snow in their yard, but enough to make them wonder at the sight of it all.

the girls

Wise ones seemed to enjoy peeking out from their hidden places and I spent a good deal of time outside listening to the hush of the atmosphere holding its breath.

snow goddess

wise one peeking

Not all of the wise ones were out of doors.

ian

 

I am in a place of being quite caught up in day-job tasks at the Concertina Shop but a bit behind in studio related tasks this week.  This, along with it being a week holiday here in the States, I have opted to hover nearer to home in order to feed and water my more artful work. Of course, I have a few things to share with you!

First off, my tiny world-wandering hamster friend, Ginger Small has been collecting the small bits of work I’ve made lately, mostly experiments from my perspective, but to her, these are praise deserving works which might stand a chance at the market.  And so she has convinced me to throw my hat back into the etsy ring and sell a few of these tiny works.  In the coming weeks, Ginger and I will be building a little page on the blog just for this endeavor and she will be sharing her offerings both here and in her own virtual spaces as well.  It is her hope that these Tiny Art Works for Tiny Spaces will appeal to those like her who prefer tiny spaces in which to live.  Do stay tuned!!  As I learn more about Ginger’s character, and the story she may want to tell the world, I am learning that she is artful, and worldly, and yet a little shy.  So with baby steps, (micromovements, if you will!) Ginger and I are nudging each other to get more out into the world with our offerings.  This seems doable with the right smock and a palette of colors at hand.

Ginger curates

 

The works below are unavailable online, as one has already sold and the other is up for grabs at the gift shop of the Kennedy Heights Arts Center, where I am a member of the Artist’s Collective.  If you are local to this river valley of ours, stop into this lovely shop and see the artful wares peddled there by many talented artists! If you are not local but interested in a Tiny Painting, offerings will be posted soon, in plenty of time for Yule-time gift giving.  But I did want to give you a whiff of what you will be seeing in Ginger’s little gallery very, very soon.

*(also, quick side note, I have a Selkie Series painting in the current winter show at KHAC called All Things Unexplained, which features many works of art about the hidden world of urban myth, fairytale and folklore. Stop in if you can!)

Northern Lights Northern SeaIMG_5775

In the spirit of ‘getting things out into the world’, I have been sharing the Taos trip opportunity with everyone I can! I even created a little video about the art of Illuminated Journaling which includes some Taos trip imagery.  Registrations have begun to come in, just in time for the Dec 15th early-bird discount which can save you $200 on the retreat.  I don’t want to share too much just yet, but there will also be a Go Forth and Doodle give-away to celebrate the last two weeks of the early-bird opportunity.  So stop by later this week for details about that!

Now, all work and no play makes for a dull week, even if it is studio centered, so when my mom asked me yesterday to join her to visit some puppies she wants to adopt, I jumped at the chance.  And so we drove through a brisk Indiana countryside to see these little youngsters to begin paring down her choices.  She recently lost her old rescued golden retriever who was truly one of the kindest creatures I have ever known.  These new pups have some golden in them but also a bit of poodle, which will make for a smaller bodied dog, the better for someone a little older to deal with as the pup grows.

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I am not at all sure how she will make her eventual choice…

puppies 1

…as they are all pretty darn cute, and full of puppy curiosity and zip.

 

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But I have a sense I know which one it could be. It will be good to have a puppy around once again.  All of our dogs, collectively speaking, are getting on in years and have settled into life as Older Dogs With Mellow Temperaments.  I love this.  But I also pine for an addition to our pack, a lap sized one like I had when I was a girl.  Perhaps this is a sign of old age, but I welcome it, as I might a new pup of my own.  For now though, I will play with this one upon her arrival to her new home in the coming weeks and probably get a few sketches made of her as well, as puppies are fun to doodle.

potential chosen one

 

 

 

Artist’s Pace

get the motor running

With one kid away at University and the other up and at ’em and out the door on her own each morning (her preference, I must add), my mornings are fairly quiet.  Most days, I use those mornings to savor some coffee, make a quick sketch, and then go about my business of working day-job hours, errand running, etc.  It is a rare thing indeed to allow days in a row of sinking into what I think of as my own particular Artist’s Pace.

Let me set the stage.  The Hub is usually just a couple rooms down the hall working his day job, entertaining a seemingly endless series of conference calls.  If I do take an ‘art day’ to spend in my studio space, it is with door closed and music on to block out the din of the rest of the house.  It’s usually about sitting down and getting things done. Business.  And the business of art is important stuff, lacking in romance though it may be.  But this week, the Hub is out of town for his business (I think it’s nice they get to all talk face to face now and again, don’t you?) and I have found myself with a few days of this house to myself and the dogs who aren’t much for conference calls, or any conversation for that matter.  And while it took me a bit of the weekend and much of yesterday, I found myself awakened today, settled into my own sense of The Pace of Things.  I find it fascinating how much Real Work I can get done in the course of one day in the studio when I am not pushing so hard; when I allow that sense of play and timelessness to set the tone for the day and for my process.  My mindset is different for a few days’ solitude and I am reminded that it truly is just a mindset; one that I can tap into in spite of the din of the day to day, should I simply allow it.

There is much to be worked on again today upstairs but first, I spent some time outside, admiring my morning entertainment, in the form of the chickens whom I could seriously sit and observe for hours at a time.

head to head chickens morning entertainment 3

They are truly endearing creatures and I am enjoying their company greatly these days.  As well as their amazing eggs.  Thank you girls!

morning entertainment 2 

While the chickens scritch and scratch away looking for bugs, the dogs play peekaboo with each other and the squirrels.  

peekaboo dog 1

peekaboo dog 2

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And the brooks that criss-cross our land babble along happily in the company of jewel toned autumn leaves.

a brook babbles through it

Indoors blank canvases and bits of specially prepared papers await my attention.  The very whiteness of blank canvases, or a new journal for that matter, used to intimidate me to the point of avoidance and inactivity.  This is not so any more.  To me the site (and feel) of a freshly sanded canvas is an invitation to explore another world.  I accept this invitation gladly, with my bags packed for adventure.

canvas blanks

Lately I have been traveling north for these imaginary adventures, where I seek out the magic of the ‘Merry Dancers’, The Norther Lights.  My earthly self has the witnessing of the Aurora Borealis on my life-list of goals, but my astral, internalized self has been seeing them for ages now, and they are beginning to come to the page.

Northern Lights Northern Sea

Northern Lights by Boat

There will be plenty days ahead full of the ‘business’ of applying for shows, cataloguing work, purchasing supplies, getting the word out about the Taos trip, managing the day to day of our home and family, etc., etc.  But for today, my toes are tucked into my sheepskin slipper-boots, my pajamas are ready for a spot of two of paint should that occur, and I am ready to fall headlong into today’s adventures.

Artists are the keepers of the creative flame in this world.  We are the dancers and drawers, the makers and musicians, the magicians and conjurers of worlds not yet brought to light.  It is our job to allow the spaciousness for these worlds to come into being.

Keepers of the Creative Flame

 

“There are myth places, they exist, each in their own way.  Some of them are overlaid on the world; others exist beneath the world as it is, like an underpainting.” ~Neil Gaiman 

 

 

Spring (among other things) has sprung

In which Iris hides in the shade looking for the garden faeries.
In which Iris hides in the shade looking for the garden faeries.

It’s finally, blissfully, feeling like spring time down in our little gully and there is much to fill you in on.

unfurling 2

In between things popping up out of the ground and being pulled from the ground (what is with all the chickweed this year??) and things being planted into the ground, life around here is running along at breakneck speed.

My youngest kid managed a perfect score on her driver’s test and is now able to run herself around to dance classes and social engagements.  The hub and I are thinking this smells a bit like freedom.  It’s the natural order of things, this growing up, and getting out into the world and I am so proud of her and tickled for her.

life 1

Meanwhile my oldest kid is due to graduate  from high school here in a couple weeks.  This just seems unreal.  I have adopted a zen mindset about it all as best I can (the odd glass of wine helps as well) as he navigates the next few steps.  He’ll be sticking close to home for college, attending University of Cincinnati’s esteemed College-Conservatory of Music.  So he’s shopping for apartments and making his budgetary plans.  We are thrilled that he is staying in town but also happy for him that he’s going to get on with his young adult life.  This too smells a bit like freedom, perhaps not financially, but at least from a temporal perspective.  Time is opening up for me, and not just by one kid leaving the nest and the other doing her own driving….

Last week I performed my last show with the Frisch Marionette Company.    We closed out my favorite show, Hansel and Gretel, with a gig at Firestone High School for the Arts in Akron.  Rumplestiltzkin, the other show I know, had it’s final booking last week as well and with the company moving forward into a new season with Wizard of Oz, it’s highly unlikely that I’ll be doing any more shows.  Wizard is a perennial favorite of Frisch fans and that will be the show that sells.  So there it is.  My commitment is fulfilled.  It’s been such an amazing ride and I have a sense that Kevin and I will work together in the future on other projects.  I feel so fortunate to have learned the art of marionette manipulation from one of the true masters in the art.  I am now part of a lineage of puppetry that is written about in the history books.  It’s an honor.  On route to Akron last week, we stopped in at the Columbus Museum of Art where the show Strings Attached is on display.  If you are anywhere near Columbus Ohio and have a vague interest in sculpture, puppetry, theater and the like, I highly recommend a visit to this amazing show.

puppets 1

puppets 2

Visiting these professional grade puppets seemed like a nice way to cap off my time as a puppeteer.  I won’t ever be too far from the world of puppetry as I adore the art form and story-making in general.  But as I’ve been saying for too long now, it’s time to make my own stories.

taos

 

A beloved part of my story each summer is the Sketch Journaling Workshop to Taos NM.  I am just weeks away from heading back there for the third workshop and I am so excited when I think about it that my stomach gets that delightful butterfly feeling!  I have a small but healthy sized class of intrepid travelers and future illuminated-journal artists and there are new things planned to keep everyone’s eyes open and observant and their pens and brushes moving.  I’ve already begun packing supplies to send ahead of my own journey out there….

taos packing

 

Some other news that has me kid-level excited is that we finally, FINALLY have chickens.

Yes.  It’s true.

chickens 2

 

We welcomed 2 Barred Rocks, Gladys and Mabel, a Rhode Island Red, Bernadine, an Easter Egger, Elvyra and a haughty little Buff Orpington, EmmaJean, into our home last week.  We went to fetch them at twilight on an gorgeous Pink Moon evening and have delighted in their presence here with us.  We get that they are chickens.  Bottom of the food chain.  Likely to be hunted by local predators and the like.  So we are attached, but realistic about the keeping of chickens.  That said, they are pretty darn fetching.

chickens 4

chickens 5

 

Iris is exceptionally interested in them.

chickens 3

 

But after awhile, even dogs get bored with chickens.

dogs

 

I however, do not.  I could spend hours just watching them and drawing them.  It’s almost like corn in Ohio.  You can practically see them grow as you look at them.  They have sprouted little wings and are beginning to work out who’s who in the pecking order.  From my vantage point it all looks a lot like Jr. High School.  I’ve been taking lots of notes, loads of pictures and getting drawings of them into my sketchbook as well.  I’m looking forward to having them around, enjoying the eggs they will lay for us, and continuing to doodle them.  They are fantastic, under-appreciated creatures.

chickens 1

 

You’ll be seeing loads of chicklet pics here on the blog more than likely.  I frankly can’t get enough of them!!!

 

 

chickens 7

 

This is about all for now.  As is often the case, the blog will get ignored in lieu of gardening.  But behind the scenes here, there will be minor changes happening that will make this blog my online home.  I’ll be phasing out the old website in the coming weeks and doing more to continue making this virtual space one that is fun to visit.  While we are in crazy-time mode for the next few months with graduation, Irish Dance season and spring chores, I see time opening up a bit after that…  Time to get on with making the books I want to make, building the Illuminated Journaling classes I want to teach and continuing to explore painting as a Fine Art form.

I’ll keep you posted.

 

 

 

 

Much Ado (In The Garden… and etc)

There’s quite a bit to report here at Chez Bogard.  First off, as it is Tuesday, I’ll start with what’s up In The Garden.  The biggest news by far is that just yesterday evening at an  unnecessarily dramatic Amberley Village Council meeting, a new ordinance was (finally!!) passed that officially permits the keeping of backyard chickens in the village.  A few people had chickens already as the law was vague and stated ‘no farm animals’, listing other animals by name…. but not chickens.  So they’ve legally been flying under the radar for some time now.  But there was a need for clarity and boundaries in this matter as more and more young families are moving into the village and keeping chickens is quite in vogue these days.  In spite of a few rather stressed out folks crying ‘fowl’ and fear mongering, there was overwhelming support for the new ordinance and chickens are now welcome in the village.  I am already plotting my coop plans…. (the above photo is from the AWESOME website, Backyard Chickens .com.  You know where I’ll be lurking in my virtual free-time!!)  I’m thinking a ‘green’ rooftop for our coop….

Next In The Garden is more news on the Amberley Community Garden.  The deer fence is in place.

And we have begun digging in our little plots, making room for plants.  My plot-neighbor and new friend Natalie Wolf  and I are going to do one more good tilling before planting (technically today is the final frost date so although I feel a little behind, I’m really not… I hope!)  The other day I pulled out the grassy clumps that were trying to re-root themselves and I added some Posey Power in to enhance the soil a bit since this is a new garden.  My puppet boss, Kevin has given me a few tomato seedlings, and I plan to get a few more from a fellow coffee hound up at Pleasant Perk.  And I have seeds. These I purchased at our local Civic Garden Center, and a few, Hollyhocks actually, are a gift from Rachel over at 6512 and Growing.  (One of my favorite blogs to visit, as I have said time and time again.)  Soon my little plot will hopefully be growing with good things to eat….

It’s been a funny thing all this garden and chicken related hubbub.  All I really wanted was to have a few chickens for eggs and to grow some stuff to eat.  I like being outside.  I like the idea of eating food that came from a little plot of earth that I have worked with my own hands.  But along with these things has come an unexpected benefit and that’s a sense of community here in our little village.  I’ve made some friends through this process of law changes and garden building.  I feel more tapped into what’s actually happening in my neighborhood.  I feel a little more rooted here than I ever have.  Large, woodsy lots and quiet older neighbors can make for a sense of isolation, which is not a bad thing.  In fact, the quietude is why we moved here.  Quietude and green space for two people who spend a lot of their working hours at home.  But with the chicken drama and the availability of a community veggie plot, I feel my relationship with this village is balancing out to one steeped in community.  And I like this a lot.  As much as this gypsy soul loves to roam, I am so glad to be feeling rooted in place more than I ever have.

This last week hasn’t been all spent digging in the garden.  I’ve also managed a few things in studio.  I created a design for my dear friend and awesome singer-songwriter Kim Taylor  to use on a new t-shirt.  I’ll let you know when they are available for sale.  Kim is in the process of making a new album which is very much like birth.  More news on that as it progresses!!

Even though I have jobs to attend to, kids to look after, gardens to tend and chickens to advocate for, I’ve been trying to spend as much time as possible keeping my art pump primed.  A month from today I leave for Taos, NM to teach the travel journaling workshop and to film my segment of the Eco-Chic Retreat project.  I know I can’t do this off the cuff.  I need to be working in my own sketch-journal in a rich way in order to guide others on their journey into their books.  Last year was my first time teaching an intensive, site-specific workshop and I was bowled over by how intense it was.  As prepared as I was, I hope to be even more so this year so that the teaching process doesn’t wear me down to a nub as it did last year.  I am so excited to get to know this new group.  we start lead up classes next week to begin prepping blank books and getting to know our watercolors and such.  It’s going to be a rich next couple of months.

I will leave you today with an image of a little painting I did the other day.  It’s oil on panel, inspired by an image of a storm rolling into Dublin Bay.  For someone not used to oil paints, I surprised myself with this one.  It’s a nice little painting.  And sometimes, to make a nice little painting is just enough to set the day right.