Out like a lamb

peonyIt is the end of March, finally.  After a rough February, March did treat us with a few fine days and a serious snow melt, and for that all are grateful.  But we have also seen subfreezing temperatures in recent days which took this Ohio River Valley a bit by surprise.  One expects these tricks of the weather gods in New England, but not here.  Yet the garden knows that even with occasional cold temperatures, it is time to unfurl and find the sun.

Today’s softened breezes feel like a gift.  The fam and I are off to Montreal, Canada for our final Irish Dancing competition (which just happens to be the World Championships.  I say why not go out in style yes?).  While there is still much packing to do, I simply had to go outside and sketch for a while.

peony sketch 1Nothing is better than sitting in front of real plants, growing outside in true garden soil, surrounded by happy animals (in this case dogs and chickens) while I sketch and paint.  I am rusty and need more practice, but that is always the case this time of year.  And I am glad for the opportunity for a little quiet before the storm of our last Irish Dancing ‘Majors’ competition.  Hoping to get a little sketching done while in beautiful Montreal, but I have learned that these events have their own timeline and expectations of all of us.  We shall see.

For now, the peonies and I have had our time together, and upon our return, I shall tidy up their beds to make more space for them to burst forth.

Happy spring everyone! And blessings and fertility on your Easter celebrations as well.

peony sketch 2


A day for greening

green 1It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and we all know the level of crazy this can mean about town, and frankly, the whole world.  I was up before dawn to accompany my young dancer to a ‘Kegs and Eggs’ event at one local Irish establishment where she and some fellow McGing Irish Dancers stomped their steps in front of a packed house as well as the local news crew.  Then it was off to the school day for her and a couple hours in the studio for me.  She heads back out to dance the bar circuit later today and I will join my musical friends for a couple of gigs ourselves.  It’s High Holy Season for Irish musicians.  And we love it!

Before I head out and get lost in the tunes and the mayhem, I figured I would engage in a little paint play, exploring the many facets of the lovely color of the season.

green 2It’s a greening time of year, so the green theme is appropriate I suppose.  Traditionally though, I have heard that St. Patrick actually wore the color blue…..

st-patrick-icon-magnet-643x800I am grateful for this day, the one day when Irish music is sought after by the unwashed masses, and we get to play, play, play the day away.  It’s really a gift.  If you are local, a few of us are playing at the Brazenhead Pub in Mason, Ohio between 4-5.

Photo by my friend Rick BoyceAfter that gig, we will meet up with a few others at a favorite venue of ours, The B-List bar in Bellevue, Ky.

1911623_10203327241004046_1941510764_nDo stop in and give us a wave hello as we do our thing.  This crazy thing called Irish music.  Here’s a taste:

In Praise of the Day Job

Carroll Concertinas from Soapboxmedia.com on Vimeo.

It’s a rich and full existence I inhabit.  Here on this long-running and still lowly little blog of mine, I often highlight the adventures of my home life via kids, dogs, and tales of travel to other lands.  More often, I share what’s what in the realm of art-work and life imagined by my mind’s eye.  Only occasionally do I make mention of The Day Job, my part time employment at Carroll Concertinas where I have the gift of being a small part of a team of talented folks who craft gorgeous musical instruments.

Recently, a friend of one of my co-workers came for a visit to the shop to document some of our process for Soapbox Media . He has created a beautiful video that gives a small peek into the world of wonder in which we have the great honor to work.  It is said that artists who’s work comes along in feast-or-famine style must attempt to maintain some sort of Day Job for the leaner times.  In our world, where clock, calendar and contract rule the day, this is a difficult task.  I am incredibly fortunate to set my own schedule to do the work I need to do, in the studio, for my travel workshops and at the concertina shop.  I am also even more fortunate to work with fellow artisans and musicians who love what they do as much, if not more so, than I do.

So here is a peek into my ‘Other’ work; work I love as much as the artwork and teaching I do.  Do you work as a creative? I’d love to know what other wonderful ‘day jobs’ are out there that enable us to cobble this creative life together in a world that often seems hardwired in the linear.

the music in the video is by fabulous concertina player edel fox.