Tag Archives: drawing down the vision

…following up

My head is fairly spinning from this past weekend.  The trip to Kansas City, MO for the Arts Enterprise Summit was  wonderful from many different perspectives. Professionally, from a Drawing Down the Vision standpoint, it was a complete success!  Interacting with students from all over the country as well as fellow presenters, educators, entrepreneurs and artists was intensely rewarding.  With only an hour (twice over) in which to present a bit about our workshop and the development of the process over time, Adam and I were overjoyed at the deep level of insight that participants gleaned from some simple exercises in such a short time. We could not have asked to be more well received and I am brimming with gratitude for the opportunity to take our project to this community of people.

As an artist working to walk the nebulous line of art and making a living, it was a breath of the cleanest, freshest air that I have had in a long time in my career.  I met creative entrepreneurs, classical and jazz musicians, academics from the arts and business, visual artists, dancers and more.  The connections made with all of them are new avenues for me to learn about how others are forging their careers.  I believe wholeheartedly in continuously expanding my artistic community.  It’s crucial for both professional and personal development.  During the opening exercise at the conference called a Reciprocity Circle it became very clear how much we could all provide to and receive from each other if we just opened up the lines of communication about what we need to foster our careers (or build a backyard chicken coop, or find a local Irish Music session…)  This exercise set the tone for the fast paced business-card-trading, information-exchanging, relationship-building atmosphere that would remain for the duration of the summit.  I thought back to my last post and my musings on the notion of vulnerability.  During this weekend, baby ideas were shared in the light of day by many people to see if they could get some help in nurturing them into viable projects.  This took an intense amount of courage for many summit participants and I commend them.  Only through opening themselves up to vulnerability by asking around for solutions were they able to get some answers.  A positive community of supportive people is crucial to survive as an artist in the modern day.  I am tickled to have a slew of brand new like-minded thinkers to add to my community!

One major theme of the summit was the changing face of the arts and entrepreneurship landscapes and how technology with its inherent fluidity and constant update capacity would shape how artists and entrepreneurs share and promote their work.  I embrace this completely via this blog, my new Etsy account and opportunities to follow the progress of my work on Facebook and Twitter.  That said, the message that Adam and I were bringing via Drawing Down the Vision was that in order to become an authentic voice in the midst of all of this technology, you have to know how to unplug enough to dig deep and know yourself.  Only then can you provide something fresh and compelling online amidst the millions of others sharing their digital realities.  And so I will continue to update my virtual self as much as humanly possible (for me at least).  But between these updates, I will keep walking the woods with muddy dogs, splashing through puddles in my beloved wellie boots, watercoloring in my sketchbook, melting wax and juicy colors at the encaustic table, growing baby tomato plants, playing Irish Music, taxi-ing and supporting my amazing kids, crawling through caves, and painting with thread.  For me the physicality of this one wild and precious life is more compelling than spending too much time in front of a computer screen.  But with new, exciting and amazingly easy tools, my online presence only gets easier to maintain over time.  I will finish up this post with a blast of links and snippets of the stories and people who made the AE Summit something I intend to attend next year…..

Just a few of my Fellow Presenters and event organizers (think of me as a little fish in a HUGE pond….)

Andrew Taylor: Keynote speaker on The Art of the Business Model.  An all around hilarious and brilliant guy who is a fan of embracing the positive when thinking about the future of arts entrepreneurship.  He is also now known by some of us as the C.I.E.I.O…. (something along the lines of Chief Information Entrepreneurship Insight Officer)

Margo Tatgenhorst Drakos: Keynote speaker on some of her current tech projects, InstantEncore and the YouTube World Symphony.  A sage of what’s next on the horizon in the world where the arts meet technology.  She is a cellist by training, tech entrepreneur via great ideas and hard work, and a friend of Peter Gabriel.  (!)  I find myself thinking about building a mobile app for my blog…..

New friends Andrew Charnik and Michael Mauskapf of Symphony Bros. with whom I attended a fabulous gypsy-jazz show, visited a fun karaoke bar, survived a brief ice storm and a late night search for cheesy food.

Kristie Aiuto : (also a veteran of the above post-presentation adventures) is from Cincinnati and a friend of Adam’s from P&G whose speciality is teaching people how to get paid for following their passions.  Great to get to know her (and her friend Mike!) at the summit.

Micah Killion: Fellow panelist in the portfolio career discussion.  It is my great hope that someday a puppet character of mine will need a trumpet voice.  Micah is my guy for this idea…

Emily Weingarten at www.breadnutbakery.com.  I have hope for the future of education after meeting Emily… she will be pursuing a Master’s in Special Education.

Jonathan Kuuskoski:  An AE team member who makes this work possible.  He too was part of the cheesy food search….

Nate Zeisler:  Event organizer and our original contact at Arts Enterprise.  This guy wears many hats and all of them well.  He worked incredibly hard to make this summit what it was and I commend him for it!  I look forward to teaming up with Nate again soon!!

I could go on and on.  I am still looking up all of my new friends/co-workers and exploring their online presence.  It’s fascinating and inspiring to see all of the various ways they are all cobbling together these amazing artistic lives.  Before I log off here, one last really cool thing.  I came home to find an email from Etsy that one of my paintings had been selected by a fellow artist to be a part of her themed and curated ‘treasury’ which is like an online art show.  I am honored and humbled.  (and tickled, of course)  It’s nice to know people are at least looking at the work….. next stop sales.  Get ’em while their hot people!

Enough

A quick hello before I leave tomorrow on my adventure to Kansas City where the folks at Arts Enterprise are hosting their annual summit.  My Drawing Down the Vision cohort Adam and I will be sharing a bit of our research, process and current thinking about how keeping an active sketch journal is one avenue to clearer thinking and a more pointed communication with oneself.  It’s exciting and relevant stuff in this day and age where things move so fast that deeper thinking is difficult to fit in.

I must admit to being a tad nervous about the public speaking notion of this engagement.  Even teaching a small class is something for which I muster a decent amount of courage on a regular basis.  The butterflies (I like to think of them as internal cheerleaders) never really subside.  But when I am teaching what I love, which is this process of self-illumination via the sketchbook, I am able to transcend the nerves enough to get comfortable. I am banking on this phenomenon at the summit.  To me, public speaking embodies the very essence of vulnerability.  Awhile back I came across a TED video by ‘researcher-storyteller’, Brene’ Brown about the power of vulnerability.  I have kept this video in mind as we have prepared for this weekend, knowing that if I speak from the heart, and be myself, what we know and the work we do will shine.  I am excited to participate in the summit this weekend and to meet others in all of the interesting fields looking to bring more creativity to their work!

Meanwhile, on the home front, I have begun looking into getting some chickens.  We live  in an area blessed with tons of green space and our yard alone has an acre of land.  I know plenty of people in other areas of the city who keep chickens in their yards and would like to get a few going here.  I like the idea of gathering eggs and frankly, chickens are just funny animals to have around.  The only problem is, in spite of our local village’s original objective that the area keep its ‘rural atmosphere’, chickens are, at this point, prohibited.  So I began to do a little digging around by stopping at the Village Hall and getting the name of who to contact to get this ball rolling.  Although we have lived here a few years, I have only just begun to get acquainted with the government of the little Village we call home.  I am embarrassed to admit that I didn’t even know the mayor’s name when I started this endeavor!  But I do now (thanks to a friend active in local food politics) and she seems at least open to modernizing Village Law to include the keeping of chickens.  The Village Manager checked with the Village Solicitor who suggested that the code be amended for all, versus the notion of our getting a one time variance.  There are simply too many hoops to jump through and the code language is distinctly anti-chicken.  And so I dip my toes into local law to see about getting some backyard chickens.  Politics and Law are not what I would call my forte, but animals of all shapes and sizes are.  It is a constant goal of mine to inject soul into my surroundings via the way I live and the work I do.  Have you ever really looked at a chicken?  They have a good bit of soul.  I’ll keep you posted on how this all works out.  Chances are, I’ll be choking back the public speaking nerves again at some point at a Village Council meeting to get chicken related by-laws changed.

Quietly Mending

Here at Chez Beaugard, our puppies are slowly becoming more grown up (one faster than the other).  Lady Iris sits patiently while the climate of hibernation continues…

Back in December I participated in a Bereavement Quilt Workshop with San Fransisco-based Artist Sherry Lynn Wood. She posted a few of the photos she took over the weekend of our quilts in process.  Needlework is a wonderful way to while away winter hours and I have been doing quite a bit of it, knitting and embroidering.  Years and years ago, before art school even, I used to patch my jeans with fabric and whimsical embroidery.  I’m not sure why I got away from this playful process but I have been inspired to pick it back up again via Sherry’s wonderful blog entry on what she calls the “Unpredictable Geography of Mending”. I love this description of mending, especially when applied to matters of the soul.  The last couple of years have been brutal in so many ways, thankfully graced with touches of magic and wonder. I feel a tremendous sense of internal mending this winter as I rest and prepare for what will be an incredibly active spring of workshops and talks and the travels inherent to them.

Below are a couple of pairs of jeans that are  now a tad less breezy than they were.  Patching as a process is a good bit like drawing in a sketchbook.  It’s great exercise for the brain to relax and let newer, bigger ideas flow in.  If you have never picked up a needle and thread or a pencil and sketchbook, I encourage you to try it.  As Milton Glaser writes, “How you live, changes your brain”.  This includes activities like drawing…. and what is embroidery but drawing with thread.

Sanctuary

Hibernation.  There is really no better way to describe my recent state.  With caramel colored dogs littering the warm concrete kitchen floor, I have been sewing and making soup.  I am hoping this homey trend continues as we have been delivered an early winter season!

However, Last weekend I ventured out to a 2 day Bereavement Quilt Workshop with improvisational quilt artist Sherri Lynn Wood.  The experience was intense and therapeutic and I learned loads of basic quilting techniques which I will be putting to good use in the coming months. (Up to now, I have been a self taught quilter.) Hopefully Sherri will have photos of some of what our group accomplished during our time together posted soon on her blog.  I highly recommend visiting her site. It’s chock full of amazing imagery, ideas and inspiration – in the quilty world and beyond!

Somehow, in the midst of that weekend workshop, I managed to carve out a few hours to switch gears and join my friend and business partner Adam from Drawing Down the Vision to deliver a pro-bono workshop to teen aged volunteers participating in the Leadership Development Program at the American Red Cross. We had a great time introducing them to the idea of gathering ideas through the process of drawing.

Needless to say, this was an exhausting couple of days and I have been battling a nasty cold ever since.  I suppose I am a physical processor at heart – hence the hibernation….

Yesterday in the mail I was delighted to receive a holiday card from my friend Jerry Bransford, a guide at Mammoth Cave National Park.  Included were some photos from Jerry’s ongoing research into his family history in the park and a cool copy of a ‘guide card’ that Jerry’s great uncle Mat would have given to tourists during his tenure as a Mammoth Cave guide.  History is alive and well at Mammoth Cave and that continues to be the major thing that inspires me about the park.

Our area was dealt a lovely snow storm the other night which shut the city down for the day.  This meant the gift of a snow day for my daughter’s birthday which was a treat for everyone!  But it also meant that my final meeting with my Keeping A Sketchbook Journal class was canceled.  With the Christmas holiday season upon us, the Art Academy closes for the winter break and I am not sure if we will have a chance to make up the class.  Coming to the end of my own recent sketchbook volume, it is time to begin a new book so I spent my snowy day transforming the covers of two new books which I will fill this winter.  I am always filled with a renewed sense of artful purpose when I personalize a new sketchbook.  It’s a magical process full of promise. The black book below (still in process) will be my typical, day to day book, found always at my side collecting thoughts, quotes, sketches etc…. the cover design is reminiscent of the balanced stacks of pebbles I have around the house.

I also got a second little book as well this time around.  First of all I could not resist it’s fetching size and the lovely linen cover material as well as it’s watercolor paper.  I am not sure what will find it’s way into this particular book.  I have had the desire to make more illustrative imagery lately.  Maybe children’s books.  Maybe beyond. I am not sure. Lynda Barry, in her NPR interview about her recent book, Picture This, spoke about her desire to ‘draw cute little animals’ in the aftermath of 911.  In the midst of all of the grief and chaos, the only thing she could bring herself to do was to draw these cute little animals.  And that it was healing for her.  I was really inspired by this notion.  There has always been a side of myself that wants to draw and paint cute little animals.  (case in point, my dog drawings!)  My plan is to allow the space for these little drawings in the coming new year and see what comes of them.  Hopefully some joy and simplicity.  Hopefully the capacity to just play a bit.  These are things I am consciously injecting into my life.

This morning I went out into the garden to take some snaps of the snow among the shapes and beauty of the sleeping plants.  The dogs romped around the yard searching for now elusive yard smells.  It’s been too long since I have centered myself by drawing my dogs and their antics.  Maybe it’s time to get back to center…

Big Art

Suddenly, it’s the middle of May!  Spring is always a busy time, with Red Cross puppetry in full swing.  But there is a lot besides puppets making things exciting.  First, the ArtWorks project I worked on January – March is finished and has been professionally installed.  I have not had an opportunity to see it in situ between the Convention Center‘s hours and my busy work schedule.  But I had some spies visit it last weekend and below are a few pics!  (Special thanks to Jeni for the awesome shots!!) I am so excited to see it and to celebrate it’s completion with my team, the wonderful folks at ArtWorks, and of course, our sponsors at the Convention Center at a dedication reception May 27th from 5-6:30.

Keep in mind, the work itself it 13 feet tall and begins about 3 or 4 feet off the ground!

Below are the three faces I painted.  I look at them and can’t believe I did that!

In the midst of all of this, Drawing Down the Vision is really shaping up.  We have a new and improved website that changes often with blog posts from both me and Adam.  We are both putting immense amounts of energy into writing as often as possible to convey to visitors to our site the basic philosophy that drives the practice of Drawing Down the Vision.  Check it out!  And of course, check back often.

Meanwhile, a huge labor of love is finally, officially underway.  On Big art projects, so much work goes into the front end of it.  Raising money, figuring out sites, supplies, fabrication etc.  All of this is guided and driven by the artist in charge, in this case, Jessie Henson.  I have watched in awe as this talented artist has navigated all of the pieces to this crazy puzzle of building a large scale sculpture.  She has, with grace and smarts, put all of the pieces into place, gotten all of the various parties working together and we are on our way.  Steel fabrication is happening at Vulcane, glass blowing at the Art Academy’s River City Works facility.  Below are a few photos from the glass blowing.  There will be hundreds of spheres in the blue/green range of color in size of 3″ to 15″.  It will be beautiful.  It already is.  I think Esme would be proud of every part of it.

And so spring continues.  I was out in the dark the other night getting some veggies into the ground before the rains came.  For mother’s day, my amazing husband built me a little cottage style flower garden.  Everyday I try to get out for even just a few minutes to pull a weed or coax a seedling out of the ground.  I am learning to be a gardener!  And loving every minute of it.  Next week I am putting my roady hat on again and heading to NYC with Kim. She has her work to do there; I plan to leave my computer at home and just draw a lot and listen to an inspiring musician do her thing.  I am blessed.

Respite

It’s been a whirlwind, maelstrom of a time around here lately.  Months of work suddenly seemed to come to fruition recently and I have been working feverishly to keep it all afloat.  Drawing Down the Vision has had multiple pilot workshops and, coupled with a new and improved website, is ready for sale to receptive corporate audiences and beyond.  My business partner Adam and I are tremendously excited to see almost a year’s worth of work and research finally see the light of day.

The Artworks project for the Cincinnati Convention Center is “rounding third and heading for home” as they say here in Cincinnati.  Tina and I are in the finishing stages of making this huge project a reality.  We are technically ahead of the long list of things that need to be done, but it is still stressful as we prepare to move the work in a few weeks to the auto body shop for a finishing clear coat, and then finally on to the Convention Center for installation.  There is still much to be done, but we are plowing through it.  Yesterday I worked on two more faces, those of Christian Moerlein and Louis Hudepohl who will be in the part of the design that looks a bit like a brewery…

Being springtime, at least according to the calendar, it is also tornado season and that means puppets!!  (At least for me and my fellow Red Cross puppeteer Jeni!)  We did our first show of the season a couple of weeks ago and made it through with no discernible mistakes.  It is amazing to me how well we can remember our lines after only a couple of run through rehearsals and months off before that.  The depths of memory have no bounds it seems.

The Make a Book/ Fill a Book class at the Art Academy is approaching week 6.  Cody and I have a great group of 10 students who are bravely forging their way in their newly-made “re-purposed” journals.  Cody taught us all how to take an interesting old book cover and fill it with blank paper using traditional book binding techniques.  I have been introducing students to the various materials and techniques I use to then make a blank journal into a one of a kind, personalized sketch-journal.  The results have been delightful!!

Often, when I am in the midst of teaching this class or when I have a time of great externalized efforts, like recently, my sketchbook is along for the ride in my car or my bag, but doesn’t see much action inside.  I can go for weeks sometimes without sketching or writing.  This is a pattern with which I am familiar and I have learned not to be to hard on myself; that I will get back to it when things settle.  Last week, this pattern was shook up a bit.  In the middle of everything – I took a trip.  A badly needed respite from all of the work as well as the stress and grief from the trial of Esme’s murderer.  Although work has been so wonderfully busy, this trial opened up and salted wounds that had only gingerly begun to heal over the past year with all of our positive efforts to create a lasting legacy to someone lost so young.  Some time away was in order.

Months back, Tony and I had planned to join a group of Cincinnati area kayakers on a trip to the Gulf coast of Florida to swim with some manatees and to enjoy everything the Nature Coast has to offer.  We set up a hip yet responsible house sitter to hang out with the kids and dogs and off we went for paddling, snorkeling, and for me, some serious time in the sketchbook.  I am excited to share the fresh pages with my students this week when I get back to class.  Here are some highlights from my trip and from my sketchbook….

The drive to Florida was just under 900 miles and I slept a good bit of the way.  Once I awoke to look out the window at a huge peanut on top of a building.  Ah, Georgia.  We wound up in Cedar Key, Florida, a sleepy little island town and I was instantly smitten.  (My good ol’ friend Carol did remark, when have I traveled and not fallen in love with my surroundings?….. I think she has a point!)

We had hoped to paddle in the morning but awoke to storms.  Instead we walked around town and visited the museum and some little galleries and had some wonderful chowder at a place called Tony’s.

By the time we got to the campground the rain had pretty much stopped.  We were in for a week of majority sunshine!

Day one, Rainbow River.  It was the clearest water I had ever seen!!!!  So many gorgeous colors.  We kayaked and snorkeled and by the end of the day, I knew I needed a new wet suit top if I was not to suffer hypothermia….

Day 2 – Three Sisters springs, and swimming with manatees!!!  Thanks to my new friend and awesome photographer, Jamie Trammel, I have some shots of our time in the water with these gentle giants.  I could have done just this every day and would have been satisfied.  We wound up going back on day 4.  I love manatees.  Simple as that.

Under the water, they are very purpley in their grayness.  That is how I sketched them.

Day 3 – the Weeki Wachee River.  More clear blue water, snorkeling, rope swinging and even a few manatees toward the end of the paddle!!  This place is famous for its mermaid shows but we simply paddled and swam it’s waters.  Given more time, I would have liked to see the show.  Maybe next time!

While part of the group took the cars to the end of the line, those of us left behind arranged the kayaks for a colorful picture.  Here’s to random acts of guerilla art.

Later in the week, at the end of the trip, a few of us headed back to Cedar Key for a paddle to Atsena Otie Island which used to be where the actual town of Cedar Key was located.  It was washed away by a hurricane in 1896 and only a cemetery and building foundations are now present.  It is a lovely, quiet and haunting place and we spent quite a bit of time there poking around and drawing.

While paddling over, our friend Don picked up a little swallow that had died and brought it to shore so I could sketch it.  A sad but beautiful little thing.

I also sketched some horseshoe crab shells.  Tony found this one, completely intact.

The gravestones at Atsena Otie are old and beautiful and covered with lichen.  I took some rubbings into my book and wondered about the people that somehow managed a living on this far flung island.

So here I am, back in Ohio, on a cold, rainy Monday.  Vacations have a way of shaking up things and getting me far enough away from the norm that I can really take stock of things.  While away, I made working in my sketchbook everyday a huge priority, even forsaking the occasional paddle.  I simply can’t express how soothing this was and a huge reminder that I need to make it a priority in my daily life here in Ohio.  I found upon returning that I am feeling more centered and focused than before I left.  This is due in part from just resting and getting away from it all.  But I attribute it also to all of the drawing I did in my sketchbook.  As Adam and I move toward marketing our Drawing Down the Vision workshops to the generally non-drawing corporate crowd, I plan to practice what I preach more than I have been amidst recent stresses.  The act of picking up a pen and mapping out ones surroundings on paper (be they internal or external worlds) is crucial to staying centered and seeing broader connections.  This past week has reminded me of that.  I am grateful for it.


Stillpoint

Today is the Winter Solstice, a day when the pendulum of time comes to a still point.  When the days which have gradually grown darker and darker make the switch, ever so quietly, to become lighter and lighter.  It is a time of hope, and renewal.  And only weeks away from the quickening of the earth which will indicate the coming of spring.

Last week saw the culmination of weeks of work by everyone in our household.  The kids finished up final exams at school, my husband left town for the week to meet with others in his company in order to get everyone on a similar page at work, and I hosted a pilot workshop for Drawing Down the Vision.  The week before, Adam and I had attempted a dry run, the results of which were a bit of a train wreck.  But we needed to learn the lessons from the dry run in order to be prepared for the actual pilot, which was, thankfully, a complete success.  We had 5 participants at the pilot, all of which were prepared to give us critical feedback at the end of the workshop.  Everyone involved seemed to get a lot out of the class and gave us some things to tweak as we develop the next pilot…. all leading us to eventually offer the class to the business sphere.  It’s been so much work and research but worth every minute.  I am looking forward to honing this process into something that people in all realms of work can utilize to enhance their creativity. Stay tuned in 2010!

With DDtV successfully piloted, and our schedules a little more fluid for the next couple of weeks, I am back in the studio, bundled up against the cold working on the last few pieces slated for showing at Pleasant Perk Coffee Shop in the month of January.  I am excited to show the work outside my usual comfort zone and see what makes people take notice.  One of the paintings from this show (not quite sure yet which) will go into a silent auction, part of a benefit concert being put together for the Esme Kenney Memorial Sculpture Project.  This concert is scheduled for January 30 and will showcase an incredible array of musical talent… plus some art!  I will keep you posted as things progress on this project.

For now, here are a few “works in progress” snap shots to whet your whistle before January’s show.  I hope this post finds you surrounded by loved ones and able to find some warmth in this the coldest time of year.  I for one am intensely grateful for the opportunity to update this blog now and then and to be doing the work I love.  Peace to you this holiday….

I’ve been doing some drawing here and there prior to the wax application…..

… and some print making as well!

Taos plans

I had a meeting with Troy Brown today, head of the Community Education program at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, about plans for a travel sketching class to Taos, NM.  Since my trip to Taos late last summer, I have dreamed of taking a group of students there to soak up the beautiful light, Pueblo architecture and art history that the little town has to offer.  I would be ready to launch the trip now and make it happen in the spring of 2010, but alas, to make this class a reality I need to take into account the time frame that the proper level of preparation and advertising will take.  And so, we are scheduling the trip for the end of May/ early June, 2011.

On some level this feels really far into the future but actually, it’s not.  This time next year, the Art Academy Winter/ Spring catalog will go out with the trip to Taos offered as part of a package that includes preparatory sketchbook classes to discuss supplies, techniques and general plans for the trip.  If we get any takers from afar, I will work with those students independently online or via telephone.  In the meantime the next two catalogs, Summer and then Fall 2010 will give the Art Academy plenty of time and opportunity to make the class known and available to a wide range of potential students.  Perhaps I will even have the opportunity to head back to Taos between now and spring 2011 and seek out even more spectacular little places to sketch.

It is said that patience is a virtue, that good things come in their own time.  I am trusting that this is true.  My work cup is tremendously full right now with Drawing Down the Vision pilots happening this week and next.  I also received word late last week that I am to be the teaching artist on an ArtWorks project to be created for and installed in the Duke Energy Convention Center here in Cincinnati.  I’ll be working with project leader (and dear art buddy and friend) Tina Westerkamp as well as with local high school students who will be hired specifically to work on this project during January and February.  I will post photos from this new art adventure each step of the way here on the blog.  I am tremendously excited to be a part of an ArtWorks project, as usually their work happens in the summer time when I am feeding my gypsy soul.  There is much to keep me busy and engaged artistically between now and Spring 2011.  For this I am filled with gratitude.

A month of hard work

It’s been about a month since my last post as there has been a lot happening around here, not allowing too many blocks of time to sit down and update.  So I’ll catch things up here now, as best I can.  Early in November, my son Jack was in the pit orchestra for the School for Creative and Performing Arts’ performance of the musical Fame. (pardon the pixelated photo).  In this production there is a wonderful song, done in a series of rounds that talks about what “hard work” the arts are, each discipline convinced that theirs is the “hardest profession in the world”.  Our lives have been a lot like this song recently with music, dance and in our case, the visual arts, occupying much of our time and energy.  It’s been wonderful!  Jack’s weeks leading up to Fame meant long hours after school and tons of make up work for the days missed at school for tech-week.  But being part of the major musical at school has been something he’s wanted to do since he began school there.  I think it was worth the wait for him.

Another big event that came to fruition this month is the Mid-America Irish Dance Championships, the Oireachtas, (pron. or-rock-tus).  My daughter Maddie and her teammates at McGing Irish Dancers have worked for months to get to this and they were met with success.  One of her ceili teams (somewhat like Irish square dancing yet judged on precision of the steps of the team) placed third in the Midwest out of over 30 teams!  The girls were overjoyed at how months of hard work and time and effort paid off.  As a parent it was heartwarming to witness.

The kids’ activities have had us running around town quite a bit and it’s important to take a step back now and then and steal away for some quietude just the two of us.  So on Tony’s birthday, we did just that and played hookie for the day to head out for a paddle up the Licking River, one of the Ohio River tributaries.  It was a pretty cold day but once we were bundled into our boats it wasn’t bad.  Luckily we did not get wet, though we were prepared if necessary of course.  It was a wonderful day…

On Thanksgiving, on top of a house full for dinner, my 7 year old nephew decided that it would be fun to make a movie.  And he had it all worked out in his head as to how he wanted it to go.  And so, Indianapolis Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Turkey was born via the group artistic effort of most everyone available.  This might look like goofy non-sense to most folks, but when we showed the movie over pie that evening, we all laughed so hard we cried.  Even Tony tapped into his inner actor and played the evil “Mobile Commander” who was attempting to steal the crystal turkey (foam, packing tape, and rhinestones from the craft box).  I think it’s pretty cool that we can make a movie in a day nowadays.

These are just a few of the things keeping me in “busy” mode.  Often when I get in that mode, artfulness is more fleeting and I let the “busy-ness” take over.  But lately, that is not so much the case.  In spite of a hectic month, work is getting done (ok, so I didn’t blog for a month…but…).  Drawing Down the Vision, the visual communication class I have co-developed with my former student Adam will be unveiled at a home based pilot here on December 17.  We have asked a few friends of Adam’s and Tony’s from the corporate set, and my friend, fellow artist, writer and workshop facilitator Diane Debevec to join us so we can get used to presenting what we have gathered and in turn get some critical feedback before we attempt to offer this workshop in the real world.  It is tremendously exciting to be at this point.  Nerve-racking, but exciting.

My fall semester at the Art Academy of Cincinnati has come to an end.  I taught my six week sketchjournaling course to 10 students.  Among them were non-artists, artists and art teachers.  As usual, I learned so much from them and am already looking forward to next time.  Next semester will be a bit different.  I will be co-teaching with a book-maker named Cody Calhoun.  Together we’ll be offering a class where students will make a blank journal, and then learn how to fill it.  Details about our Make The Book/ Fill the Book class are available in the new Community Education 2010 course catalog which you can download via the link above.  You might recognize the featured faculty member on the cover as well as inside.  My sketchjournaling process is featured in this issue!

Work at the wax table has seen some growth spurts in the month of November, with new layers and processes developing.  I plan to spend the month of December preparing more work for a show at Pleasant Perk in January.  One exciting aspect of the upcoming show is that 20% of the sale proceeds will be donated to the Esme Kenney Sculpture Project.  This is an exciting project that I am involved in and it deserves it’s own post with photos and details to come soon, but I wanted to mention it here and give folks a chance to check it out. I will certainly keep you posted, most likely later this week…. but for now, a sneak peak at some new work.


dodging raindrops

This evening I emailed my sketchbook class encouraging them to get their sketchbooks out in the rain and experiment with what would happen if they tinted a page with some graphite and let a few rain drops fall.  This was just a whim of an idea, nothing I had ever tried myself….. so i tried it!

Here’s the tinted page indoors…

some rain drops, but not much is happening… the graphite is acting a bit like a resist.  Maybe I should have known this from art school?  Oh well, back indoors….

I add some Golden Absorbent Ground (a magical medium that makes cool things happen) to the right side of the page along with a few streaks of watercolor and go back out into the rain.  It’s beginning to get dark out but I like what happens….

Here is the book indoors.

Here… is what a raindrop is capable of given the right opportunity on the page.  I am inspired by this because it reminds me of what attracts me most to the medium of encaustic.

Below are a few new-ish pieces of work that have recently come off the wax table.  Any feedback or comments are always welcome.  I continue to be in experimentation mode with this medium….

I have been thinking a bunch lately about rivers, hearts and veins.

Meanwhile there is a lot happening in the sketchbook world… Drawing Down the Vision is near ready for launch and I am putting together a travel sketching workshop to my beloved soul home, Taos, NM which will happen in the spring if there is enough interest in it.  I am inspired by my new students at the Art Academy as I get to know them. Teaching is one of my greatest sources of creativity.

Wishing you fun in the rain…. as always, I will keep you posted as things progress.