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A love song

Greetings from Maine.  My home away from home. (I have a few.)

There is a yearly gift I offer, to the muses of art and music, to that of friends seldom seen, to places I hold dear but do not occupy on the daily.  Most years these offerings come easily.  Other years, in eras of difficulty or “the in between”;  hard times of cocooning to become our better selves, these posts -dripping with honesty and true love – are harder to give birth to.

On the one hand, as my dear flute-sister-friend Ellen so eloquently put it, :

“Sometimes, when something is close to perfect, there is not much to say, it is complete as it is.”

“I think I’ve found my humans!” ~Cairn Toul <3

On the other hand, I simply can’t let this year’s return to the Swannanoa Gathering go unwritten, undocumented.  It had been 3 long years since we’d all been together making music and mayhem.  On yet another hand, how to even begin?

So I’ll just begin with the loss of a legend.  I had the off chance to have a quick meet up and brief flute lesson with the great Seamus Tansey in the “before times” while in Ireland in late 2019.  He was a force to be reckoned with and I knew I was shadowed in the light of greatness in our couple of hours together.  It was surreal to say the least and I am so glad to have met him.

I received word just before Celtic Week that Seamus had left this realm for greener pastures, and god-speed to him as he navigates the great beyond.  He brought many gifts to the music.  So as our week began at Swannanoa, he was on my mind a good bit.

To say that I was a tad anxious about attending a “gathering” in the midst of yet another round of Covid’s latest shenanigans, would be putting it mildly.  But I trusted my loved ones at camp and we had a plan.  A plan that included mostly keeping to ourselves, mostly keeping out of doors when at all possible, sadly avoiding indoor concert options (most of us at least) and basically just doing what we had done in our bubbles for the past couple of years.

 

“This fear is a terrible chore. If only we had enough sense to let it give way to love.”   ~The Shins

There was still a distinct culture of covid-based fears upon our arrival, especially amongst the staff.  I quite literally found myself walking away from the annual orientation to quell the panic bubbling up amidst the all too understandable rhetoric coming down to us from on high.  But we had our plan, we knew our risks, we orbited outside of the center of things.  We dove in.

Through the week some moments float to the surface.  Some better documented than others:

Finally meeting Alia, soon-to-be daughter in-law to some of our Swannie loved ones, whose work with Hannah online is shaping culture to be more loving, understanding and inclusive.  They are brilliant and if you are on instagram and consider yourself an ally for anyone in the LGBTQ+ community, they are a hopeful follow

Receiving a tear-inducing compliment from an old Swannie connection that basically amounted to “you and your work, your postings online, basically got me through the pandemic.” I was deeply moved to hear this and did come to tears, which to be fair were quite close to the surface all week anyway. Here’s to more of us putting small, thoughtful, hopeful things out into the world.  Never question the power of love. Thank you Kate.  

Plucking up the courage to ask the somewhat recognizable but clearly incognito Rising Appalachia gals if they were indeed themselves.  They were so gracious and, yes, it was indeed themselves – out at band camp with their mama.  Learning new things, being vulnerable.  I sent a snapshot of myself with them to my own girl and we had a mama/daughter love moment over music and the vulnerability of life in general.  They are lovely.  so is their mom.  

Daily cocktail hours celebrating each day, and near the end of the week, the anniversary of my dear friends David and Ellen.  We even played their wedding march together with our teacher and friend Nuala Kennedy.  

I met new friends over my little multi tool which just happens to have a wine opener on it.  Madeleine, Ann Marie, Alicia, TJ, et al, so glad to have met you all!  Let’s do it again next year.  Later we all sang and played while mountain storms danced around us. 

There was a full moon, and much mystery surrounding it.

There were even some howling wolves afoot, though I am still looking for footage.  Thankfully, Nuala chased them away from the door.  

There were evening sessions with beloved instructors who share the love of this music with us and with each other with such generosity that we marvel.  

Two of my teachers from over the years, who’ve become dear friends. John Skelton and Nuala Kennedy

I attended piping classes which was low-level terrifying for this still-new piper self.  

My fellow pipers in class were welcoming and kind and our instructor Cillian was the picture of patience and poise.  (One needs these in a room full of pipers.)  Outside of class I was grateful for the encouragement of not only my flute teachers but of old musical friends as well, championing my new efforts.  Would that all humans were so encouraging of one-another in all new endeavors.  Just think what we might accomplish!

There was seriousness of purpose.   And a lot of noise.  

There were new polkas which caught the ear of some local towhees:

We were slowly, and ever so sweetly, reminded of who we were meant to be.  We were reminded of what we are worth, especially when we have a tune in our hearts.  We were reminded of what we are made of and who we deserve to be.

This is what art does really.  It connects, it channels, it swells and sweeps us into new ways of being.  And let’s face it, we need new ways.  The other day it was 106° in Paris France.  It’s been in the 90’s here in Maine.

While at the Swannanoa Gathering I met a writer (and whistle player) who’s written a beautiful book (she’s written a number of them actually) that is on the surface a fairy story for the young adult set.  But like so many books in the YA realm, this book flows into deeper truths.  About how we are treating the world and one another.  It’s beautiful and I plowed through my first reading of it.  I now revisit it with wider eyes seeking deeper truths. Always seeking.

Because here is what I believe, the forces driving climate change and all of the heart break lying therein are, on the one hand, of course our responsibility. And yet, they are not, not exactly.  We are a small part of such a huge set of systems, that the only real thing to do is push for systemic change.  Which we must do.

So that leaves us with our day to day.  In the face of such enormity, what can we do?  Like really?

Well, VOTE.  That’s one thing.  Set aside all other agendas and vote to save one another.  Our country in particular is in deep, deep trouble.

Beyond that, and this merely comes from my quiet corner of things, we must dig deep down to find ourselves and one-another.  We must risk asking hard questions and be ready to receive difficult answers outside of our little egos who might like to explain and correct and  think we are “right”.  We must look to the youngest among us and trust them when they tell us of how to move ahead.  We must step aside.  And listen.

And in the day to day, we must trust the art.  Trust the making of music.  Trust and come home to reconnecting with those who make our hearts sing.  We must trust the drifting of our world into a minor key.  Trust the beauty and difficulty to be found there.  We must turn off the noise sometimes and just step outside ourselves to find the answers to difficult questions.

Above all, and this is merely a note to self, we mustn’t lose the joy in our lives.  It’s easy to do isn’t it?  With the never ending stream of news and difficulties around the world.  We must try and hold both truths in our hearts.  That we are at once, in deep and existential trouble, and that at any given moment, we carry the very human tools of laughter and connection, art and music and wordsmithery, and are capable of making meaning out of mayhem.

I am so deeply indebted to my yearly pilgrimage to the Swannanoa Gathering which reminds me of all of these things.  Most especially the making meaning out of mayhem bit.  I’d not be the writer, artist, musician, human being I am without all the things I’ve learned there, all the wonderful people I’ve met there who have become a family of sorts.  For all of this, I am deeply grateful.

****To current patrons, this is a “public post” as a gift to my old and new swannanoa buddies who may or may not follow my posts on the regular.  To anyone new who likes what you’ve read here and who might want to read more and/or support the work that goes into it, I’ve been posting more often via Patreon.  This allows me to pay my tech bills which is a wonderful thing.  

Here’s the link: https://www.patreon.com/amybogard?fan_landing=true

Till next year swannie siblings.  I love you all.

~amy

 

Distilling a beautiful depth

Firstly,

To my dear patrons, this post is a “public” post, intended for those who maybe don’t read as often, or who may be new to the work and are considering participating later on via Patreon.  To those of you who do chip in a buck or 3, or ten, month to month, please know that you keep this ship afloat, you are the wind in the sails that keep it all going.  So many of the pennies you contribute are right now working behind the scenes to get this old blog into a more modern and navigable state in the form of a shiny new website.  And for this, I am truly grateful.  But for today, below is the post-Taos-trip report.  A yearly thing….

A love letter to the participants of this most recent workshop:

I always come away from the Taos, NM trip in a state of awe.  This workshop is my offering to the world.  A way of seeing, traveling, art-making and engaging that is different from anything else.   And each year, a small group of people, varying in degrees of experience and expertise, take a plunge of trustful open-heartedness and come along for the journey.

My offering is a humble one – in this world filled with so many shiny things in which to partake.  My own world is one of moss-time; slow and somewhat fragmented.  And I am routinely caught by surprise when a class fills with curious, interested, artful beings, eager to come along.  Ever so shyly I make my way out to meet them and share what I have learned over the years, to share what I am thinking about and how I might catalogue that in some way into a travel journal.

Here we are again after another week, another year.  The Taos trip is a sort of flagship as it were.  It is at once where I feel most at home and most challenged.  It sets the tone for the year ahead, offering an island of respite and recollection from the year just passed. (And what a year it’s been!  yet again.)

It is a still point of sorts.

I treated myself to a second hand treasure of silver and turquoise. I still can’t quite believe I have custody of it. It fits like a glove.

Last I left anyone paying attention, we were were careening away from Taos town at the very break of day after the workshop.  The mountainous vistas achingly beautiful in their farewell.  We had spent the evening before partaking of one final desert hike, under a smoky sunset, worrying over the latest wildfire, and pondering the journey home.

I was so very tired,

already missing my dear friends.  And we hadn’t even parted one another’s company.

The week was pure magic.  Somehow, outside of a couple of folks opting out of the class due to utmost care (and for this I am deeply thankful), we managed as a group to remain covid free.  Everyone arrived ready to work.

and work we did!  Below is a sampling of participant work.  Like I have said before, sometimes I have beginner artists, and sometimes I have people come along who have been successfully making art for their entire lives (and I wonder to myself why they are even there!).  Yet all who are called to Mabel’s are welcomed.  And I actually don’t question much of that any more.  I merely build the container in which to hold the work and step back to marvel at it all.

It was a gentle week in many ways.  This group of 14 or so, along with a few companions and spouses, gathered and worked together with zero interpersonal drama.  It was just so easy in so many ways.

So thankful Tony and Philly could come along on this trip again this year. It was nice to get some puppy love between lessons.
Phil got to enjoy the best of Taos while I was teaching.

It was also difficult at times.  New Mexico is a fierce and weathering place and it does take its toll after a time.  We took care to take care of one another.

There were field trips with old friends…

And we were glad to see them.   I took it all in and sat in deep gratitude for the years this place have given to me.

As is usually the case, I soon found myself at the end of the week with nothing to offer up to the gods of the Socials.  Once the week had begun, I could not splinter off to report to the masses online.  I just don’t have it in me to be anything other than fully present when I am teaching or making art or music.  This might not be good for the bottom line or for advertising, but it’s true to me and so I stick with it.

We did manage a few photos collectively however and at the end of our week together, everyone gathered in their party frocks for one final fancy meal at Mabel’s and to share our work with one another back in the classroom.

Now I find myself back at home, distilling it all.  Wondering if the fever-dream of creativity and friendship, art-making and wonder were really all just a dream.  I wonder how I can wrap words around the unfathomable.

I came across a post online by the marvelous Maria Popova of Brainpickings. She wrote that she’d put together a poem of sorts in honor of Krista Tippet’s 20 years of On Being based on episode titles Without even reading her poem, I thought, “I should do that with my blog post titles!”  And so I did.  Wondering what would come of it.  Was it the thing I was looking for to somehow convey the magic of the past week?

There were many words to mix together and choose from.

I’ve been writing here since 2007.  Not many read my posts, but a few do and I am thankful for that.  My new web designer/tech handler person says I’m an ‘ “og” blogger, from the way back,’ and I take this as a great compliment.  Mining the titles of 15 years of writing, below is a poem which I think suits:

Notes to self:

Let us keep courage, on, in, near the tone of things.

Dream Quest:

A tale of Summer’s Travels

A golden opportunity; a need for slowness.

Gathering. On liminality.

Flights of fancy, gratitudinal expressions

Think Less. Breathe More.

These gifts:

Joy of Being

Evidence

Art Heals

Peripatetics:

Road time.

Traveling shoes.

Rambling ways, whirlwind wandering.

On the move, peripatetic runaway.

 

Flying.

            Distant horizons

Between worlds, shifting. 

            The end of the rainbow, virtually in time.

Seeking sanctuary, floating on air

Time bending, between.

            Careening

                        Between storms

                                    Sanctuary.

 

When I have fears; On feeling small

 

Hunting and gathering; the work behind the work

            New beginnings.

                        Filling from a deep well.  Digging deep.

                                    Dive

A taste of practice.  A call to action.

            A measure of quiet.

Attending. Awakening.  Aware.

 

Dreaming the between into being.

            Making space.  Between

                                    Listen

                                                Ciúin

Quiet beauty.  Cosmic reverence

Contentment is wealth.

            This is love

                        Stay and wonder

                                    Come on along

 

And Just like that

Allowing the structuring of magic.

Enchantment. Inspiration. Artist’s pace.

            What artists do:

                        A book and a box of colors

                                    A glorious something else

Mere sketches, more sketches, PORTALS.

Pictures speak louder.

A day for greening.  Gold behind the green.

Awakening, gradually.

                        Mode of magic making.

Red eye. Blue.  Shades of gray.

                                    Processing daylight.  Come, chase the light.

Goldening, alchemy.

                                    Sometimes words will do.

Paint, how do I love thee?  Watercolor play

Fully blooded magic. Gestures. Play in motion.

            Illumination in situ

                                                What do I know?

Art happens

The language of drawing, mapping the unmappable

What comes next, shifted paradigm

Magical thinking:

                        This I believe.

            The ancients, bubbling

                        Reminders, blessings, allies.

                        Stone whispers, living geology.

                        A living land where your name is spoken

A conversation

                        Tiny offerings, Gold. Gifts of color and light.

Recalibrating

            Under a mountain

            Evoking passage

Picture This… Transition

At one.             Drawn

Settling in, here, now.

            Under pressure.

Connecting through sketching.

            Melding worlds.

                        While we are together

On traveling and coming home

Nest.    Arrival.

            Gratitude and liminality.

                                    For friendship

Joy before the journey’s end. Light returning.

State of contentment on impermanence

            JOURNEY’S END

           

Dream nest. 

            Successful. Returned.  Enough.

Grateful for the mountain

            Home again, do not disturb.

                        Gifts that keep on giving

On crafting one’s own world. 

I find it fascinating that the words I have used for all this time can cast a net to hold the experiences of my most recent time in New Mexico, leading me to believe ever more so in the constancy of all things.  I’m no quantum physicist, but I find some of the concepts fascinating.  Perhaps all time is in this very moment.  A vast void of now.  

As this glorious summer of re-opening, re-engagement, and re-commitment continues on, I’ll balance all the nows at hand.  Opting more and more often for a puddle of paint or the company of a good friend over the tantalizing offerings of the online world.

Week to week news will always be over on Patreon however, and  my tech handler John is still weaving this old blog into the new space as he puts my new online home in order.  So stay tuned for that.

I will announce registrations for 2023  (!!!!)  classes early in September so mark your calendars for that.  I will do my best to blast those announcements all over the usual channels, but let me know if you need more information.  I’ll put you on an email list.  Classes are selling out faster and faster each year which is humbling and amazing.

More soon……

Amy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pardon Our Dust!!

Over the course of this winter I am working with my tech team to streamline this online space of mine here to better showcase the ever changing information about classes far and near, work available and of course, the writing featured on the blog.  The more recent stuff will be available on Patreon and eventually those posts can be read for free on the website.

Please pardon my digital dust as we get to working on this as it’s a big job.  I’ve had this thing going since 2007 with a minor upgrade sometime in the early teens I think.  If you have any questions about classes, art, etc, send me an email at abeefrnd@gmail.com

Thanks for your interest and support!

Heeler : Healer

This time last year…..

We were staring down another lonely holiday for fear of infecting loved ones with a deadly disease.

There was a vaccine, a miracle really, but not readily available quite yet to us normal folk.

We were terrified and tired.  And, frankly, tired of being terrified.

And then….

We welcomed into our home a new creature, a puppy.  This was no flight-of-fancy pandemic puppy, as we had done a lot of research and were biding our time hoping for a blue heeler, or perhaps a dog with heeler in the mix.  After the mass exodus of our two beloved big dogs, River, then Iris and our cat Ian, in late 2019, early 2020, the house had been feeling a bit empty and quiet with only Charlie left to snuggle.  We took nearly a year to think about it all, and to adjust to life in a long term pandemical era.

Eventually we got word that there were some puppies in northeast Ohio on a farm, a litter from a couple of working dogs and would we like one.  We took the plunge.  And into our lives came wee Philomena.

Her litter mate had gotten car sick on their drive to Columbus where we met up for puppy hand-off and so she smelled like puppy kibble and puppy breath combined.  We took her to our daughter’s apartment for a quick bath and then we drove back home, wondering what we had gotten ourselves into.

Those first weeks are a blur of setting Phil up for a life of routine and structure and of course love and play and learning.  She is intensely smart and took to all of it with little trouble.

We were fortunate that Charlie opted to stay healthy and well for a bit longer with us as she taught Philomena what it means to be gentle and respectful of the boundaries of other dogs.  For this I’ll be forever grateful to old Charlie, whom we lost this year.

Philomena is a wise little thing.  She carries in her a depth of personality and an old knowing, often found in smart dogs.  We simply adore her company.

She still carries in her some of the silliness of her puppy personality.  Once cold weather came back around this year, she once again began burrowing under her bed, something she did when she was very small.

Of course now she’s a bit  bigger.

I’ve spent much time observing and sketching this beautiful dog.

This gets more and more difficult, the older and more active she is.

Now just over a year old, we are riding out the adolescent times with Phil, teaching her patience and impulse control.  She is still very much a puppy in terms of energy and excitement.  But she is a friend to all who know her.  She has opted for a career in the field of fetching a tennis ball after some inquiries into other jobs like squirrel chasement, herding ball nipping and dead-animal seeking.  Chasing a tennis ball seems like a safe bet for a long lasting career.

She’s very good at her job and takes it all very seriously.

Happy gotcha day Philly.  We love you to the moon and back.

 

 

Today

Today is September 11.  It has been 20 years since that fateful day.

20 years ago our Jack had just turned 7.  His birthday was yesterday and now he is 27, off living his best adult life.  I marvel, honestly.  His memories of the 9/11 attacks involve the grown-ups all talking in tearful hushed tones while he diligently worked to put together his new Millennial Falcon lego set.

September 11 is always a somber day and today was no different.  But there is the joyful resistance to the murderous intentions of the evil-doers of that day.  Any time people come together in love or kindness or in solidarity in the pursuit of something beautiful or good, there is resistance to that evil.

Today, after a year and a half off, the Riley School Of Irish Music came together, vaccinated, masked and ever so weary of the state of things to learn a few tunes and to see how it might go.  With the virus surging, this may not last.  But it was worth a shot.  It’s always worth a shot.

We must try to show up and carve out a new version of what normal might look like and this will take time.

There are so many news stories and posts and blogs and podcasts and etc. etc. about this year’s 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  So I won’t wax poetically here, except to say that as I wandered in a public area in a nearby suburb, I was gladdened by the multi-cultural nature of it all.  People from all walks of life, in many skin tones,  bearing the cultural signifiers of various modes of belief and ways of life.  I thought about how one small band of people so filled with hatred could cause so much harm and what we might do, each of us, to avoid this sort of thing happening again.

In the end, I have to believe it’s just more and more love.

I hope that wherever today found you, that you could find a moment of peace, of beauty, and maybe a bit of friendship.  And that perhaps, through these things, we might heal the world a bit.

Peace.

 

Home in Maine

Hello from Maine!  Our annual pilgrimage was a success and we find ourselves drinking up the sea air and the long overdue catching up with dear family-friends.  We love it here.

Many of you long time readers have reached out that you look forward to seeing “all the Maine posts” this summer.  I’ve been lying fairly low over on the social media channels, choosing instead to put my limited work time each day to writing on my Patreon page and of course, working on art and writing in the background, not necessarily ready for posting.  If you want that dose of Maine, do come over and support the work over on Patreon.  It’s a small thing, as little as $1 a month, and you get to read the posts I put so much work and love into.  I’ll see you there.  (More on why the shift in my online offerings in this post *here*)

In other news, I am busy planning next year’s place-based travel-sketch journaling classes. (We’re back at it lads and I am so excited!!!)  Access to the Taos, NM and Antigua, Guatemala classes for 2022 is always offered to past participants first.  The Guatemala trip is nearly at capacity but I am delighted to announce that there are four spaces available in the second week (arr GUA Saturday Feb 26, class Feb 27-Mar 3, Depart Mar 4).  Send me an email if you are interested in more details.  I’ll be updating the Guatemala trip page here on the blog with the new dates soon, but the prices are basically the same as what is listed there currently.

Per the usual, I will announce how many Taos slots are open after the first week or so in September.  First dibs will be given to those who missed out due to the pandemic as well as to those few who were able to attend this summer.  I will put an announcement here when that occurs so be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss it.  Or just check back in early September.

Thank you as always for reading my musings.  I am carefully combing through all of my old thoughts on creativity, the power of attention (and intention) and what a difference seeking out the artful in our own lives can make and working on a bigger avenue for all of it.  So bear with a quieter than usual blog here, dig into the Patreon option for more of the kind of updates you are used to and stay tuned as I ramp things into bigger territory in the coming months.  It’s finally time.

 

Home again, Home again

The boots are off, suitcases finally unpacked.  As are the art supplies (also, finally).  Tony did a quick turn and has found himself in DC visiting our eldest who’s working a concert series at the University of Maryland.  I just couldn’t.  I feel I have done nothing but nap in recent days.  Sometimes twice a day.  Always with this sweet soul nearby.

Provided she gets a good run in, she is all for settling into naps.  I am grateful for this, as she is, after all, merely a puppy.  8 months old today actually.

I’ve been slowly getting myself situated here at home.  Batting off feelings of overwhelm and too-much-ness which often plague after a successful journey.  And what a journey it was.  It was the kind of road trip that makes me want to sell all and get a camper-van and hit the road.  This is, of course, all very well until I once again feel the call to get my hands into familiar soil.  And so, we strike a balance via travel.

A page from my own travel journal.

I want to welcome those of you reading this who aren’t familiar with my long time musings.  This post itself is a “public” post meaning anyone can read it, as I want my recent Taos workshop participants to have access and to read my words about the work accomplished and the magic made during our time together.  Patrons who choose to sponsor my work month to month get more posts all their own, and occasional thank you gifties as well.  (The post cards are coming!)

I did get a question about whether one might sponsor my work somehow without doing the monthly billing thing through Patreon.  I punted this question to my tech handler, John, as it’s a good question.  But alas, it appears I am firmly wedded to this platform for the time being.  So far it’s working.  A fair few lovely folks, many long time (we’re talking 14 years!) readers of the blog, are chipping in a few dollars a month and more and this is sort of feeding the whole thing.  I can pay the tech handler without worry that I took a year off for the pandemic.  Maybe eventually I might invest in some stop motion gear.  Who knows!  But I must, always, say thank you.  Patreon, with all its modern day baggage, is a good thing for me for now.  So that answers that.  Now onto the post trip report!!

I never quite know what I am walking into when I do a workshop.  This year in particular was a little anxiety producing as I was so out of practice!  (Weren’t we all?)  There are a number of things which might call someone to attend a “travel journal workshop”.  In my work I attempt to make room for all of it.  Sketching, collecting words and ephemera and experience, writing all go into these vessel-books.  And in the end there is a collection of evidence that the experience was had, and that it was rich and soul-full.  Year to year, every Taos week is different and I knew this would be the same, especially with the year we’ve had.  I had people self-identifying as “complete beginner” and others who are accomplished artists in their own right.  I’ll admit I was a tad daunted on day 1.  But I remembered that this process isn’t about how “good” one is at art or writing.  It’s about the act of paying attention to what thrills the soul when traveling.  That is it.  And this is different for everyone.

In the end, the beginners made strides I couldn’t have predicted.  And the artists in the group took away a small toolkit of new ideas and approaches which I hope will serve them.  I think it went well.

Here are a number of photos of the work done by those who attended the workshop.  They were so focused and fully present.  I couldn’t help but be the same as facilitator.

Mabel’s front door.  always a welcome. (Judith)

Barb took an exercise to the next level and made an abstracted painting she was quite pleased with.

More beautiful work from Judith

I love how Judith used the hole punch to peek through to the next page.  an idea from Melissa which many of us utilized.

Melissa, already an accomplished urban sketcher, lit up this page with the day’s exercise and her own sketch of the same scene.

Loads of trucks made that week.  I love the purple in this one.

another work from Melissa.  Such a fun sketch of this iconic sign.  She showed a real mastery of technique on this one.

Rosemary’s trucks.  They are slowly sinking into the fields out there.

Beautiful use of quote and sketch together (rosemary)

another from Rosemary.  She prints out little photos to add to her book with her sketches which makes for a lovely presentation on the page.

just gorgeous light here from Rosemary

This truck, believe it or not, is by one of my self-professed “beginners”.  Melinda, you’re a natural!

Not all beginners bravely go for a full page spread to draw.  Well done!

getting into subtleties (melinda)

We take in so much when we travel.  This is a good example of choosing one thing to spend time with.  In this case a gorgeous stained glass window at Mabel’s.  Loads learned on this one drawing.

This is truck one from Lily.  She was working on getting her values nailed and mitigating the pigments in her watercolor set.  later in the week…..

She’d learned to really see what was in front of her and she figured out how to get her paints to do what was asked of them.  Beautiful work Lily!

Bj has been attending my classes on and off over the years and her work has grown in depth.  

Her work is always such a capture of her experiences and impressions.

And I have always adored her sense of color!

Here Ruth tackles the birdhouses, not an easy task.

More lovely work from Ruth

I really love the sensitivity and delicacy of this page from Ruth in particular.  

Kris too made lovely work during the week, getting playful with the typewriter and all the flying curses therein.  For some reason I don’t have more images of her work.  She does this lovely splatter thing on many of her sketches and I think I might add that to some of mine.  Cross-pollination with other artists is the best thing really.

Soon, it was friday. (all too soon, really).  We gathered as a group in Mabel’s dining room for some delicious chili rellenos and lovely conversation, as we’d done all week.

and just like that, it was time to go.  Saturday morning was all a flutter, with last minute coffee and packing.  The goodbyes were tender but hopeful.  We’ve somehow survived this last tumultuous year, a til next time didn’t feel quite as painful as in years past.  Though I will admit that I was a little choked up at our final good byes to Harold and Esther outside of town.  They were the first to greet us and the last to see us go.  Always making a place for us.  Welcoming us home.

Rosemary, Steve, Tony and I had one last meal together before we all headed home to pack for an early start.

We left at the crack of dawn.

Drove through the mountains and plains and back into humidity and humanity.  Springfield MO offered up a brewery open late enough for us to get a meal and a beer which we gladly accepted.

All in all it was an uneventful journey.

But gosh I’m tired.  I forgot how hard the work is, in spite of how amazing it is.  Being out of practice didn’t help.  That said, I could not be more grateful.  For people willing to trust getting back together with strangers once again.  For Mabel’s who opened up just enough to allow our arrival, even though they often weren’t sure how or even if it would go.

It couldn’t have gone any better really.  I plan to continue catching up here at home.  I’ve hand painted post cards to finish and send to you patrons who are in those “tiers”.  Thank you again to all of you reading.  Between words and paint, I somehow am managing to make a small mark in this world.

Til next time.

X~a

Take Two

It is morning in New Mexico.  The sun has come up over Taos Mountain and we have been given the gift of a new day.

The week ahead beckons.  Our weary band of travelers begin their workshop week today, diving into the colors in their little traveling watercolor sets.  I encourage students to bring what they have or what they’d like to learn with, so there are potentially multiple kinds of paints to explore today.  One of my favorite things is to solve individual art problems with each person, helping them craft a travel journal that is all their very own.  I can’t wait to get started.

I appreciate the patience of my dear Patrons as we figure out the tech angle on things here in NM and in the interface between my blog/website platform and Patreon itself.  So this is a “public” post which will be here on Patreon as well as on my blog.  More soon.

 

 

On Drawing dogs

Just a quick nudge here to go give a follow to my new Daily Dog themed instagram account @dog_drawn_good where I will post my doodles and paintings and etc. of the dog at hand.  Likely mostly Philomena.  But Charlie might make her way in there sometimes as well.

Also, come visit me over on Patreon!  I could use the support of my work in these weird, untravelable times.  Patreon is allowing me to meet my studio bills and I really appreciate it.  Even a dollar a month makes a difference.

Ever yours in deep gratitude.

Amy