Tag Archives: spring grove cemetery

Taking stock and shifting gears

My work life has always had plenty of branches, and lately those branches have reached beyond the scope of our nest and into the world a bit more.  I’ve not been so studio centered so there is not as much solo art being made, and this blog practice continues to shift into the land of longer, more convoluted stories of What’s Happening Here.  All of this being so, it’s an exciting time in the work sphere, and beyond so I’ll catch you up to speed on where things are.

As you may know, I juggle many jobs.  The most important one being that of Parent.  With my teens not quite driving but still busier and busier by the day, we spend a lot of time running around to various school, music and dance related activities.  Jack is branching in his work as much as I am in mine.  Between his classical and Jazz studies at school and his Jazz and Irish music duties outside of school, he is constantly playing music.  This past weekend we both played at the Museum Center’s Celtic Lands Festival.

First with the Riley School as a group.  And later, with Jack in the lead of the kids band in a kid centered concert in the Children’s Museum theater.  Seems like only yesterday, he was one of the little kids.  And being a Celtic festival, Maddie had a dance gig as well that day.  Good thing there is overlap in their cultural activities, or I’d be in the car even more!

Later that day, Jack moved on to his Jazz activities which these days includes a local gig at a place called the Blue Wisp.  He and some of his fellow musicians, the Young Lions, play there most saturday evenings for tips.  It’s great practice for all of them, and has led to some other gigs here and there for them as well.  They are a joy to watch and are consummate professionals, even at this young an age.

In spite of all of this, I was able to steal away a few hours over the weekend and attend an Owl Prowl at Spring Grove Cemetery.  I love Spring Grove.  It’s a place to sit with the spirits of those we’ve lost as well as a place to sink into the beauty of nature.  Just last week we marked the third anniversary of Esme‘s passing with a gathering at her weeping cherry tree.

I still can’t fathom that it’s been that long ago, and yet feels like just yesterday…

And so, the time spent at the Owl Prowl was pleasant, yet pensive.  The presentation portion was in the Norman Chapel of the cemetery.  I had never been inside this lovely building and felt a world away….

We did hear an owl call later, just as we caught up to the crowd where the guide was calling them with a recording.  I really enjoy owl calls.  Both those of the local varieties to be found right outside our door, like the Barred Owl, the Screech Owl and the Great Horned Owl, as well as those from farther afield…. like this guy at the zoo, a Eurasian Eagle Owl I spent some time sketching last week….

It felt really great to sit down with my sketchbook and my watercolor set and get lost in the drawing process for a couple of hours.  As you may know, I am gearing up for another visit to Taos in June with a group of students interested in keeping an illuminated travel journal.  I am looking forward to getting back to teaching this magical process, as it inspires me to capture my own life and travel adventures in my sketchbook.  Taos has a magnetic pull and a way of making connections between people that is, in my experience, rivaled only by Ireland.  A number of weeks ago I was approached by a film-maker, based in Taos, about the potential of being a part of a very unique film project…..

And so, let me introduce you to Jody McNicholas, of Walk-In Productions.  Jody is putting together a project called the Eco-Chic Retreat which you can read all about at the website.  As much as I love the idea of a retreat to Taos, or Ireland or wherever the wind blows me with my work, I know that a travel centered retreat is not always a possibility at all times for all people.  And yet, the need to back off of the daily grind, to dig down deeply inward and take stock of things is a crucial practice in this wild and wooly world of ours. Jody, and I, along with a whole basket full of talented artists, healers and makers are in the process of crafting a container for the at-home retreat experience.  The Eco-Chic Retreat will provide viewers with mini-classes in all of our various fields of self-work and exploration, such as yoga, nutrition, painting, journaling, meditation…..  It is something you can take a weekend to commit to, or simply apply a bit to your daily life.  The film will be the type of thing you get together with your girl-friends, your partner, your sisters, to encourage the self-care so many of us lack in our lives.  In so doing, we will be that much more outfitted to care for our loved ones, and our communities.  Each bit of the film will be a little bit different, owing to the differences in all of us participating in the project.  Each of us will provide a bit of what it is we teach in our classes and place-centered retreats so that you get an over-arching spectrum of skills and ideas to apply to your own life.

Jody found me and my work through the magic of google.  The convenient timing of my time in Taos for the Mabel Dodge trip is nothing short of serendipitous and I’ll be able to film my part of Eco-Chic while there.  I am honored to be a part of this amazing project and will of course keep you updated here as things progress with the film.  At this time, it looks like it will be released in the fall time frame, allowing for it to be on everyone’s holiday gift giving lists!!  I’ll keep you posted….

So yes, another spoke in my Wheel of Work.  Puppetry is shaping up.  I have learned 2 shows and have a third one to get under my belt in June.  The weeks of rehearsals are exhausting, but the performance schedule is composed of feasts and famine, which suits me just fine as it enables me to keep up with part time work at Carroll Concertinas.  And still, as if it all weren’t enough, we are in the process of renovating another area of this old house of ours.  To keep the budget in scope, we are doing a lot of the work ourselves, which is fun, but time consuming.  This house sits on an amazing bit of land, but was poorly built (as so many things were in the 50’s) and so we have been systematically rehabbing it.  In our lower level there was no insulation whatsoever which kept it cold and dank much of the year.  We’ve torn all of that dankness out and have framed in some new storage and insulation.  It’s already more pleasant to be in.  As this area continues to shape up, I can see what I want in there.  One half of the room opens out to our yard and so it is light filled and wonderful during the day.  It has a fire place too, for wintery days.  My plan is to put one of my drawing tables near the hearth so that I have a place to paint and draw, even when the weather is too cold or too hot to be in the studio….

And what of the studio?  I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the idea of a studio.  Especially my studio space, which is lovely to be in, about half of the year.  The room goes unused a lot with all of the work I am doing outside of the house and due to weather extremes.  It also has some serious issues which we will need to deal with sooner than later.  A leaky roof, birds in the rafters…. you get the picture.  Part of this shift in my work is the idea that I don’t really need a dedicated space that much anymore.  If I can carve out a drawing/ painting station in our new family room, and have an embroidery/knitting nest on the couch, I am left with needing just a small wax table set up in the studio space.  I’m looking to tidy it all up a bit.  Organize my books onto our new shelves downstairs, make the studio more of a breezy sunroom to be used when weather permits.  After all, that’s what it was built for.  It’s time to get rid of the fireplace out there that is the cause of the roof leaking and part of the reason it gets so very cold/hot depending on the season.  The room has served me well over the years, but I can see it now as needing a little day bed for napping, should the opportunity present itself.  My work is happening in all kinds of arenas right now and that doesn’t seem about to change.  And I don’t think I want it to.  As exhausting as it all is, it’s exciting and I love every bit of it.  Though I am trying to carve a little more time out for painting and drawing.  That’s where my heart is…..

hittin’ the road again

I love this time of year.  In a few days my family and I are hitting the road for the start of a summer of travels.  As we do every summer, we are heading to Maine to collectively fill our wells.  Hopefully we’ll have some sunshine this year after 3 years of nothin’ but rain.  But there is nothing we can do about the weather, and we adore the family-friends we see there each year.  As I usually do before a big trip, I am writing here to catch up on the wonders of what’s happening here at home, and to bid my few but loyal readers adieu until my next post which may be a month or more from now….

Being an artist requires a person to become something of an observer.  Whether that means observing one’s inner landscape, or observing the magic all around in one’s environment doesn’t really matter.  We simply observe.  And sometimes, capture that magic – with a photograph, a poem, a song, a work of art.  This is really what artists of all kinds do.  They (we) capture a brief moment in time, and manifest it into something more timeless.  In order to make room for this capturing, you’ll often find artists doing a tremendous amount of wandering.  For it is in this wandering that we are inspired.

This week I walked in Spring Grove Cemetery with Lisa like we often do and it was quite the nature day.  We came across a turtle laying her eggs just off the side of the road.  And a little fawn, who seems to often be around Esme’s Place at Spring Grove, peeked out at us this time and looks to be growing like a weed.

At home in the studio, in spite of the heat outdoors, I have had the wax table heated up a great deal recently and here’s what’s come of it….

Above is a work in progress that I hope to have finished before I leave for Maine for entry (should they accept it) into an “Earth” themed show at the Kennedy Heights Art Center.

Meanwhile, my old work, Tubular CM, has found it’s way up onto the walls at Salon Cherry Bomb in Hyde Park.  I put two installations of them up, one larger than the other, and they seem to work well in the space.  At the very least, they are out of storage.

The hardest part about leaving for a vacation is, well, leaving.  I hope that someday I can take my dogs with me to Maine and make a summer of it.  But alas, they’ll be staying here at their Kingdom across the Magical Bridge of Hope and Wonder with our house-sitter.  Caskie has not been well lately and we are waiting to get some test results back about what might be going on with him.  He’s been losing a lot of weight recently and just doesn’t seem to feel very well.  Today however he ate some chicken and rice and even played a bit with the other dogs in the yard.  So maybe we’ll get to have him around for awhile longer.

As the evening cools to a balmy, potentially storm-ridden night here at Chez Bogard, I wish a happy summer all around, with time enough to enjoy the company of family, friends and self.

I’m sure I’ll have lots to write after Irish Week at Swannanoa….

allowing

This week has me filling my well quite a bit with some much needed solitude, new music to chew on and some time with friends and family.  Today I went for a rainy walk with Lisa and Anna in  Spring Grove Cemetery which has been a favorite walking place and source of inspiration of Lisa’s for years.  Spending time with friends who are also fellow artists is a nourishing way to jump start my own creativity, making space for productive alone time.

A couple of years ago a movie called Once came out and I heard about it from numerous folks, all who said I would love it.  I finally got around to watching it this week and, as predicted, it was right up my alley.  The music in it is just the sort of stuff I like to listen to when working in the studio, so naturally, I began to dig a little deeper into who the artists are who put the soundtrack together for the movie.  Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova wrote/co-wrote most of the tracks on the CD and they have a delightful musical chemistry which makes this album somewhat different from the work that Hansard does with his Dublin based band The Frames.

I read a number of articles about Irglova and The Frames, but it’s Hansard’s thoughts on making music that really resonate with me.  He is an artist’s artist….

“Basically all songs are residue. They’re just bits of muck, for me. They’re not craft. If you imagine a snail that leaves a residue then goes off and dies, and for years there’s a silver path of residue across the wall of your garden shed. It looks gorgeous, but [pauses] I always imagine that people who make art just live a life. It doesn’t matter if they lead a good or a bad life, but they leave behind these increments in time, little bits and clues as to what emotional landscape or emotional mapping was going on at the time.”

People who make art just live a life.  wow.  I think there is quite a bit of truth to this, though there is also the show-up-and-work part of things that needs to happen as well, at least for me.  But this notion of simply allowing the art to happen is refreshing and maybe something I need to consider.  I am guilty of a fair amount of over-thinking which I often side-step by involving myself in process laden work, where losing oneself is a positive by-product.

So now as I listen to the music of my new fave Glen Hansard (as well as the hypnotic sound of my leaky roof) I think I’ll go lose myself in a bit o’ beeswax….