Tag Archives: Oil Painting

The Storming Mind

It’s been a wild few days.  Outward, ever outward.  Shining toward others, ever deserving.  Our oldest ‘small’ is returned to the midwest from Aspen‘s heights.  He is beginning a master’s course of study in violin performance, settling into a house he’s rented from a family we know well.  This gives me the hope that he is therefore surrounded by an extra layer of love as he embarks on this new chapter.   I took a day this last week to make the drive out to his new hometown to purchase that first round of groceries (which always proves to be so costly when one is in one’s 20’s) and to have lunch with him and make sure he’s really and truly back from Colorado.

One never knows.

Turns out he’s properly returned.  And feathering his new Indiana nest with joy and hope for the future.

Into the weekend we plummet.  Another road trip to see an art show in Columbus with a couple of long time artful friends and the younger ‘small’ herself, also settling into early adulthood.  It is a wonderful thing when one’s adult children begin to weave their way into our adult lives becoming yet another friend with whom to share experience and art and life.  We walk her new dog, marveling at the blessings of *neighborhood* and *community* and the gifts they entail.

The show, In a New Light, Alice Schille and the American Watercolor Movement, is stunning and well worth the visit.  The artist’s use of color is at once familiar and cosmic and I become that annoying art viewer with glasses on getting as close to the work as possible, studying brush strokes and color choices up close.  I even purchase the catalog.  The show is that great.  My friends and I study Alice Schille’s life’s arc and timeline and decide she may have known our beloved Mabel.  Would they have gotten along?  Who could tell.  Mabel was a tricky customer.  But Alice was making her art.  And this is commendable.

The weekend barrels on for myself and my family and while I so enjoy the celebrations and time together, I find myself twitchy today and though quite tired, get the paints out…..

Inspired as I have been by Alice’s work, the watercolors aren’t enough and I reach for the oil’s…..

Oil on Arches ‘Oil Paper’, as yet untitled.

And I knock out a couple of landscape paintings I am not entirely disappointed with.  Not a bad afternoon’s work for one feeling torn in too many directions.  One painting feels a bit like home here on the northern edges of Appalachia (culturally speaking at least, for you geographic purists).  It is an expression of the days of late August, goldening on into September.

The other is more of a reaching out to the bog lands of Ireland where I will find myself in a matter of weeks.  (Still considering taking a small set of oils.  Thoughts, dear readers????)

Oil on Arches ‘oil paper’, as yet untitled.

A few of us once found our boots being pulled into the boggy depths of the peaty regions of dear old Ireland and I have fond memories of this day indeed.

Either way, regardless of where my heart is feeling tugged from one moment to the next, PAINT is always a player -at least in my mind if not in practice-  and I am learning more and more (finally) to turn to it when I can, as well as to the trusty old drawn line.  I find comfort in the art.  I can settle into it.  It’s become less something I avoid for *all the usual excuses* and more a place I run toward for solace.

I am thankful for days of celebrating family.  And for friends who will travel to see a proper art show.  I am thankful for women who made art in a time when it might not have been so fruitful or safe to do so.  Have you seen the movie Packed In a Trunk?  You should.

Tomorrow is a normal Monday.  I have work at the shop to do.   Household things to attend to in between attending to the *art mind and body* as it were.  Life has to happen.  How do you all balance the art making with the need for family time, as well as the solitude which feeds the work and self care?

How can we shut out the world for a bit enough to do our work while not ignoring the realities of the modern age?  It’s a tricky business and I welcome any suggestions.

 

Back To Center

“To Paint is to Love Again.”  ~Henry Miller

We are home from Maine, landlocked once again to Ohio.

Ohio is not without its beauty to be sure.  There have been errands to run, adjustments to be made, momentous birthdays to acknowledge and celebrate.

Suddenly I realize it has been a coon’s age since I had my paints out mixing and dancing their way around the palette.  I must dive back in.

August breezes, when they blow, are humid and hot.  I figure this weather is a strange combination of the dooming of climate-change and good old-fashioned late August in the mid-west.  How are we to know?

Storms do break up the monotony of late summer.  They make for dramatic skies and monumental cloud forms.

From the West, always, the clouds gather.

Perhaps it’s a symptom of age that clouds and birdsong catch my attention now more than ever.   I seek to paint them in between the expectations of a busy, modern life.

This past weekend there were tunes, on tunes, on tunes.  Again I remember – this makes for intense happiness in my heart – I recommit.  The painting and the music are inextricably linked.  I may not be very good at either, comparatively speaking.  But each makes my small heart sing.  And surely this is a measure of something in the world.

Something. –  in the epoch of our own humanity.  We are but a blip in the matrix of the Universe as we know it, and yet we seek these bits of joy and meaning like spiritual breadcrumbs of a sort.

There are more tunes slated for this evening when a few of us gather to choose the autumnal soundtrack for the Riley School of Irish Music.  Tomorrow is a road trip to settle one of the smalls (newly returned from western adventures) into his next adventure in grad school.  It is good to have him near at hand once again.

Travel beckons again soon.  I find myself already getting organized for a weekend trip to Sheboygan in September and a longer journey back to Ireland in October.  Some day if I truly settle in one place, it will be a strange day indeed.  I embrace this traveling side of myself and am grateful for those loved ones who keep the dogs fed and the home fires burning when I am away.  It does not escape me that I am truly fortunate.

When I travel, I travel lightly.  I do not plan to take the oils to Ireland this go round as I’ll be on the go more often than not.  But I have ordered a new sketchbook and I have extra watercolorey books to pack as well.

The goldening, autumnal season will see me diving back into a world of words each morning once again to find my way through the dark of winter.  There is nothing quite like pouring a cup of coffee, lighting a candle and putting pen to paper.  This might keep me sane in the dark months to come.  But so will hitting the road, discovering and re-discovering new places and new tunes.

What plans do you have this late-summer/early-autumn to feed your soul?  How do you survive winters in general?  What have you drawn or painted lately?  As always, I’d love to know.

 

view from the point

“We withdraw not to disappear, but to find another ground from which to see; a solid ground from which to step, and from which to speak again, in a different way, a clear, rested, embodied voice we begin to remember again as our own”

~ David Whyte*

                                                                    *came across this quote via @lachanterie

We find ourselves in Maine, where once upon a long time ago, many many lifetimes ago actually, we came as newly fledged adults to begin finding our way in the world.  Much like recently hatched ducklings, we imprinted on this land then and have returned year after year in pilgrimage to this place which so shaped us in those early days.  The smells, sounds, color and light here are different from all else and they speak in a soul-full tongue indeed.  We are grateful to be here.

As it is a “workaday” sort of day for many of us here, I crept away to a local point to give my paint brushes a little spin, they having collected a bit of dust during my time down other, more musical pathways recently.

I found a perfect spot under a shade tree, at the end of a lane one can find only by foot.  There were welcoming spots in the form of benches and water accessible paths.  I opted for a space at a picnic table and set about to sketch a bit.  It was clear that other artful efforts had occurred in this very space as there was evidence.

So I began with the watercolors, of course.

Eventually moving over to oils…..

…..which are not without their frustrations, but I mixed and painted and observed and corrected and painted some more.  And got the bones of a painting down which I can perhaps work with later in the week once we are settled at camp.

note the stripe up the right side, this is due to the little carrying rack I built (which works a treat actually!) and I will fix it at a later time.

All in all, it was lovely exercise on this, my first day back here in Maine where we are settled in for awhile, nestled by the sea.

 

A very splendid day

sunset-and-his-fellows

“We are as gods to beasts of the field. We order their birth and the time of their death. Between times, we have a duty.”    

~Terry Pratchett (via Granny Aching) The Wee, Free Men

Just over a week ago, a dear friend of mine took me on a field trip. Ohio in summer is not a favorite of mine and I was just home from a summer away – to northern climes and northern light and adventures blanketed by northern breezes.  Part of me was not keen on spending a day outside…..

But as luck would have it, we were gifted with a day back here that felt like northern climes and northern breezes; the first breath of early fall, which is always such a treasure in southern Ohio. With that, it already felt like a day touched with a special form of magic.

And so,  Penny and I headed east out of town, to Grassroots Farm, which, from where we normally stand, felt a bit like the edge of nowhere.

ohio-arrival

We were visiting old friends of hers (now new friends of mine!) on their land of farmish dreaming.  We were treated to a welcome I have seldom experienced and that which I am still processing (and making art!)

Upon arrival, we were greeted at first by the front guard of working dogs who were greatly excited to see us, but who also know their manners.

musketeers-welcoming

nick

Soon we hopped into a four-wheeler adventure to tour some of the farm property and to get a sense of what Grassroots Farm philosophy is all about.

a-passion-for-the-land

My first impression of both Susan and Drausin, the husband and wife team who are Grassroots Farm, is that of a tremendous passion for the work they do.  Work with the land itself, with the animals, and with the food those animals and gardens become.  There is a sense upon arrival at Grassroots Farm of a strong sense of ‘Place’, something I feel is often lacking in Ohio, generally speaking.  I was reminded of the relationship my friends out in Taos on the Pueblo have with their animals, which is beautiful and not found in most places.

Drausin is mostly the farmer, and Susan, mostly the cook.  But it is clear that it’s a team effort.  I rode along and soaked in the imagery with my eyes and with my camera.  Imagery which would become sketches…..

cow-sketch-3 cow-sketch-2 cow-sketch-1

…and then eventually some ‘Art’ once back home with proper paints.

bogard-cows-1

I, like many folk I know, have a difficult relationship with meat as a food source.  But over the years, I have come to know the sources of meat which make me comfortable to be the omnivore my body feels meant to be.  I want to know where my food comes from.  Not just meat, but vegetables as well.  It’s become more and more important to me to develop a relationship with my grocer, my butcher, my farmer.  This may seem like a first world luxury.  Well, you know what?  It is.  And it’s a worthwhile place to put our first world resources.  Business follows where the money goes, and if this style of farming is where the money goes, ideally, this is the direction the farming will go.  This feels like a good direction.

The animals at Grassroots Farm are raised in traditional manners much  more sustainable than most of today’s more popular ways of raising meat.  Or even vegetables for that matter.  I was fascinated to hear the complex relationship the folks at Grassroots Farm have with their animals.

grassroots-cows

I was introduced to many cows, some dairy and others meat cows, but all cared for with diligence.  There are dozens of varieties of grasses grown at Grassroots upon which the cows feed.  How many people do you know with digestive issues, food allergies, immuno-disorders related to food?  So much of these issues stem to the very food our meat is given.  Modern industry lacks the quality of feed, the time taken, to raise animals properly for processing.  I worry sometimes that in modernity, we are losing our ability to make food for ourselves in the future.  In this visit to Grassroots farm, I was, for once, hopeful for a sustainable future in food production.

cows

It’s not all beef and dairy at Grassroots, there were also sheep and pigs to visit.  All farmed with the same impeccable attention to detail as the cows.

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Drausin and Susan have committed a part of their land to being permitted to drift back into natural wetlands which is so good for everyone.  These bits of the property especially felt enriched with an otherworldly magic.

reclaimed-wetlands

While farming occupies the day to day for this couple, meanwhile, preparations are in full swing for a private family wedding for which Drausin has created an altar of stone.  During our farm tour, some tweaks were made on the stone work, displaying the attention to detail this family is made of.

altar-tweaking

I’m certain those involved in the upcoming nuptials will be pleased.  It’s a fairytale setting indeed!

The wedding altar was not the only stone work to be found….

modern-stonehenge

Drausin builds beautiful tributes to his  family throughout the property,  as well as places to enjoy time together.  I was honored to visit a few of them.

One of these especially magic places has a fire pit and some seats around for enjoying after dinner time and sunsets.   I did a small painting of this space which has an old well-stone set in place.  The stories that stone might tell…..

portal-wellstone

Soon the farm part of our adventure was over, but the fun was just beginning….

a-splendid-table

We were to be treated to some of what the farm had to offer, through the culinary brilliance of Susan…

dinner-divinity

Everything about this table spoke of love for this food and an artful sense of presentation.

deliciousness

Most of the food was quite simple, actually.  But complexity was to be found in Susan’s mixes of herbs and other subtle flavorings.

moroccon-lamb-stew-to-die-for

Her mussuka stew of zucchini and ground lamb was as divine a dish as I have had in recent years, topped off with a fresh yogurt concoction.

I am excited to visit Grassroots Farm’s farm stands in the coming weeks now that life is settling down, as Susan’s recipes are available for purchase.  To add a bit of her culinary magic to your day to day table would be a gift to yourself ( and the world at large I think! )

But alas, as all good things must end, our day was beginning to golden into evening…..

front-porch-view

We could smell September on the breezes at last.  And see it in the light of things…

golden-light-golden-meal golden-geranium-light

Old Nick, now retired, laid and listened to us chit-chat as the sun sank.

ol-nick-retired

We talked of food and land, and family and friendship.  Drausin left us to finish his farming for the day.  Penny and I did dishes and sang Susan’s praises for the dinner she had prepared and shared with us.

It all felt a little old fashioned.  A little timeless.  A lot beautiful.  Beauty-filled.

gloaming

As we pulled away from this magic place against the gloaming of the evening, we knew we had shared the gift of a magical day.  I knew I’d run home to make some paintings.  As that is what I do.  And I knew that Susan and Drausin would prepare for their oncoming farm tour (which was this past weekend – do sign up for next year!!) and their daughter’s wedding soon to come, and the general day to day that is, Working on a Farm.  I marvel at the work they do and appreciate that it is so close to home here.  If you are local to me in the Cincinnati region, Grassroots sells their meats as well as Susan’s frozen prepared foods at Hyde Park Farmer’s Market and Milford Farmer’s Market.   And be sure and stop over at their beautiful blog to see what they are up to between market days.

 

 

 

 

 

Distant Horizons

Horizon 1I’ve been a little obsessed with horizons lately, what with my youngest finishing high school and heading off into adulthood with such headstrong strength and brilliance while my little self heads back under the skies of northern New Mexico to sow my seeds of Artfulness-for-All in the pages of a sketchbook.  It’s an exciting time.

horizon 2

And so my painting practice has found itself acquainted with a line across the page.   Pondering what is upon that line and how I might use it to guide my way through uncharted waters.  After all, when I am sick with the motion of unpredictable seas, I know to look to the horizon for comfort.  The metaphor is not lost on this mama at the crossroads.

Over on the Book of Faces (thank you Rima as always for this useful term!) I keep a little virtual meeting place where folks can see what I am up to and to keep up with all the wily avenues of communication in this unfamiliar sphere.  But lately, I have hit a plateau.  I am told that this is because I must pay to have my page ‘promoted’.  Well.  This all sticks in my craw, if I may be so crudely appalachian.  FaceBook is ‘supposed to be’ a free thing.  A place we can all meet and exchange.  But the minute you admit that maybe you work in the world of art or small business, you must have a ‘page’ and then followers and then, you must ‘promote’ your page.

Recently over there, an artist I follow offered a giveaway to get a few more ‘likes’ on her fb page. Now mind you, she is of the ilk that has thousands of followers.  But I like her approach.  She offered a giveaway in exchange for some grassroots sharing of her page.  And so, I am following suit.

horizon 3horizon 4

I am offering to give this little painting away to someone on facebook who has been kind enough to share what they like about my page.  Just go to my page, to the post (with these images ‘pinned’ to the top)  Share the post (or a past image of mine you might like) and let me know (tag me!!) in the comments of this post that you have done so (that way I’ll know you’ve stopped by. It’s like a virtual calling card of sorts.)  I will put your name into the hat for this little painting.  When I get to 650 ‘likes’ I will post the winner of the painting on the fb post, my twitter page and here at the blog.  Maybe this gets a bit more traffic directed here to this virtual space.  Maybe that is a good thing.  I do not know.  I am just following my nose, and in the path of those who inspire me.

Meanwhile, it’s pouring rain outside and I think there is chicken feed turning to concrete as I write this post.  I must investigate.

Thanks as always for your readership, and your support of this work.  It is greatly appreciated!!

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.

46i7xA_WxwohYaBa5ZDscc7huV-Tl0_JOlXySZ2yKf4SVou0iDfyeXQSWc62ztj8a8_y6upMnMC6tiTMJ1lRokV87f_TLRTTE5f7cHYXv-LzLDbVB7mL5YPiPAXHgtcnw

 

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.

Dive

fish

 

“What will today bring? I hold my breath, dive down. Come to the surface, gasping, empty handed.  I catch my breath, then dive again.  Maybe this time.  I reach for treasures in this underwater landscape.  Ones that only I can see.  Ones that, should I discover them, will be mine and mine alone.  I suppose this requires a certain kind of courage.  But courage and fearlessness are the the same thing.  Courage is all about feeling the fear and doing it anyway.”  ~Dani Shapiro, Still Writing

Back in the studio painting recently.  This is different than sketching something directly in front my eyes.  Different from the cataloguing that occurs in those day to day documentary exercises.  This is to act as cartographer of my own inner landscape.  To sit with not knowing the outcome of my efforts.  To trust that I am the proper vehicle through which these ideas and imagery should come forth into the world.  I’m diving, once again, into oceanic depths.  Why is this land-locked river-rat of a girl forever with her head and heart in the sea? I do not know. I simply must trust that what calls me there is worth listening to as I conjure paintings and whatever else needs birthing here in this magic workshop space I have hunkered down into for the winter.  I am surrounded by piles of lovely books with oceanic folklore and mythical stories from the land beneath the waves, as well as scientific guide books to the amazing creatures found there.  Have you ever noticed how a murmurations of starlings resemble the swarming behavior of fish?*


 
It may be a long while before much or any of this work is fit for viewing, but I do like to give you readers a peak into the process of things between proper Ta-Da moments. With temps being well below zero degrees F in recent days, my daydreams of dipping my toes into the ocean on a warm summer day are helping to maintain sanity.
Hoping you are staying warm and snug this winter, wherever you may be. 

The mores and the lesses of things

Depth by bird in the attic

 

It is that time in the wheel of the year when many of us are called to be a bit pensive about things.  To consider the seasons that have passed and what they had to offer to us and what gifts we gave in return, as well as to gaze through the telescope of time, looking to what’s in store in the days, weeks and months to come.  I find it’s helpful to select a word which resonates for me in the deep pockets of my heart and to keep that word at hand through the year, almost as a keel to keep me on course as I sail on….. Last year’s word was FOCUS and I utilized it with great care and reverence. But I don’t believe we give up on a word once it has served us for a year, it merely acts as an addition to the tool box of life.  And so this year’s word, DEPTH will work with last year’s:  Depth of Focus.  I like the sound of it.

As a reminder of these chosen word talismans, those in my creative circle sometimes trade word laden gifts.  Above is one of these crafted by Michelle Blades of Bird in the Attic Studio.  Her world of whimsy and wordsmithery is simply enchanting and I am tickled with my murky depths ornament.  A reminder to go deep in all that I do in this New Year on the calendar.

Along with a word on which to focus, I like to make a little list of the mores and the lesses to consider.  Much like Ye Olde New Year’s Resolutions, but with less room to fail, the mores are all the things I’d like to add to my day to day while the lesses are things I could stand to curb.

 

 

More and lesses, a list of potentials

 

One of these ‘lesses’ is the time I spend monitoring and engaging in social media, for both work and play.   Much has been written by many about just this thing and two of my favorite blogosphere heroes, Rima Staines and Neil Gaiman have recently shared their thoughts on this dilemma.  As I consider what depth will look like in my life and work I know that the bite sized information available at the candy counters of Twitter and Facebook, Tumblr and other such temptations acts as both a driver of work and connectivity, and a swallower of precious time and productivity.  Simultaneously. Of course this can be endlessly frustrating and one could chase one’s own tail for days on end trying to come up with a solution to the quandary of it all.  But I don’t think there is a solution.  Like all complicated systems that come with good and evil, there must come a balance and we must simply ride the pendulum the best we can, attempting to know truthfully how much is enough for each of us.

Canary rides the pendulum of time

As December roared through town, swinging at my head with engagements and obligations, flurrying and hurrying, I began to think very concretely about how not to fall prey to the insanity of it all and I realized that time off from the virtual world, as much as I love so much of what it has to offer, was key to an even keel personally and professionally.  Along the same lines, I have opted to listen to music without ads to keep the screaming part of the world at bay, and this has already made the first few tentative steps down into the artistic rabbit hole easier and more successful.  I plan to keep these minor (yet major) changes in place as this new year gets underway.  As it has been for so many years now, it’s these micromovements, set to the course toward what feels to be our true north which really make for sustainable change and growth.

I wish you more mores in your lives, and fewer of the lesses which cling to your backs as well.  Happy New Year.  May your blessings be bright and bountiful.

 

 

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.

puppies 2

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.

 

puppies 3

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

peekaboo dogs 3

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