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.

Art Heals

This lovely drawing was created by Jessie Henson, the artist chosen unanimously by a group of us who are working to have a large scale sculpture installed in the new School for the Creative and Performing Arts building nearly complete in downtown Cincinnati.  We have been hard at work getting publicity and raising money for what should be an amazing glass installation.  We had a donation’s table at Fame and held a dance party to raise some of the money needed to make this project a reality by spring.  In January, my friend Kim Taylor will put on a concert with many of her talented friends in the music business and there will be silent auction as well.  On the Esme Memorial Sculpture Project website, you can read Jessie’s full statement for the work, as well as make a donation to the project.

But why make a donation?  Well, in other posts here on this lowly little blog, I have written time and again about the healing power of art.  Whether it’s to get myself out of a low place where I can sometimes get fogged in, or if it’s to trudge through a tragedy like we have faced this year, the making of, talking about, viewing, exploring, writing about ART is what gets us through to another day.  To me it is something to have faith in.  I am not a religious person at all, for a variety of reasons I don’t need or want to go into here.  But I do know there is a God-Spirit that resides in all of us and that when I am making art, or music, or poetry – or witnessing the making of it by others – I sense that God-Spirit most of all at these times.  And maybe that is part of why I personally get up and make art every day?

The sculpture Jessie is creating in honor and memory of Esme will include the work of students who want to be involved at SCPA.  It is also intended to honor the memory of anyone whose life is lost too soon, as Esme would want it to be so inclusive.  Jessie will be working with students on the broader topic of memorials as well, for students who may have another loss to process.  In so doing, students, and probably some teachers, will have a chance to peel another onion layer of grief and continue to heal, through the making of art.  The fruition of this project is near and dear to my heart and so I am spending a good deal of time and energy to make it happen.  I urge you to check out the website dedicated to this project and stop back often for more information about upcoming events.  Through music, dancing, making art, writing, we continue the healing process.  We’ll never get over the shock of this event and the loss of our friend, but we can bond together to move through it together.

It’s December, a giving season, and I urge you to consider donating to this project (and check with your employer about matching grants).  It’s not just a sculpture.  It’s an avenue of hope and healing for a community still grappling with loss.  And it will be beautiful.

I’ll keep you posted.