Saturday, March 6, 2021

Good Morning


1) for March 3 - Being accountable to the gods of March Personal Challenge. I already have not blogged EVERY DAY quite a bit. Argh. Brains can be not-our-friends in this meeting one's own challenges thing. Some get zipped through. Others refuse to happen. (Sips the 1/4 Caribou Decaf grounds-3/4 Teeccino French Roast chicory grounds stuff. Because it makes me kinda think I'm drinking real coffee. Caffeine is no longer my close personal friend.... I miss it.) On to pecking at the keyboard. High school typing class does not bring many good memories. A few - but not many. As with life - I'm ok with the alphabet - it's the numbers that muck stuff up.

Just putting "Mr. Mustard" here to remind me to get back to work at making art. Today holds part of a shift at American Gothic Antiques in Stillwater, Minnesota. We have had booth space upstairs there since September 1, 1993. The same day that we moved into this house on the top of the hill. I drew the first bear in October 1997 upstairs in the shop - at the same nondescript brown wooden desk that I will sit at today. You might never know when a little change in habit will change your life for the next twenty years.

2) for March 4 - Pretending that is another blog post - this may become the pattern. Ye olde thing about starting is hard - keeping going is easy. Many of us know this to be true. The laptop is frozen shut in huge block of ice (not really) so cannot be accessed so how can I blog? I can't - because the the laptop is encased in a huge block of imagined ice. So - whew! A "reason" - not an excuse! Except - there IS NO ICE. There is only excuse. Yesterday's "reasons" that the writing did not happen is because there was other writing that got done, clothes got folded, Facebook got attended to, some sketching got done, and a three hour chat over coffee with a friend - yes, we were masked when we weren't sipping). Oh, and I made delicious gluten-free pancakes (Pamela brand) for dinner. With real maple syrup from family syrup-making. Soooo... there must have been "no" time to blog yesterday. The lies we tell ourselves. I could have blogged about pancakes. Many people blog about pancakes. On to  "Day Next" - 

3) for March 5 - Soft guitar and piano jazz is coming out of the laptop while classical stuff from Minnesota Public Radio is mixing with that. Keep "loud" tinnitus brain almost sane. Distractify! Otherwise the "loud" chiming buzz (only one variety of "sound" the head hears constantly) keeps me company every waking hour. I cannot speak of living with constant pain or the oddness of one's body attacking itself through other afflictions, but I can speak of the weariness of "hearing" "loud" vibrating not-sound for almost ten years. Millions deal with this affliction in various degrees - the idea of tinnitus used to interest me - everything interests me... - so the universe said "Study THIS, mofo." No school holidays, either. Haha. Gotta "laugh." I learn much from friends, family, and others dealing with far worse. Still not quite at Zen acceptance - though with change in diet and other practices  - well, I haven't cried about this in many years. On to the chiming roaring day - hooray!

4) March 6 - Now I'm just typing for typing's sake. May dig a real machine out of the basement treasures - just to see what happens. It seems that different thoughts and words happen with the use of different writing implements. Pens spill different words than pencils scribble. Almost-soundless laptop squares tick different thoughts than pounded typewriter keys. That's OK. We need them all.

And so - ta da - counting the above blither as four blogging posts. Why? Because I can. On to checking off a few more boxes in the Week of Life.



Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The Ones That Go Away

Greetings - 

Through odd choices and stuff that happened, somehow I have managed to be a professional artist for a bunch of years. Still amazed. Like many other artists and craftspeople, I make things  - and then I hope to sell the things I make. We make things that we like to make. We make things that people like to buy. Sometimes we do both.

Several years ago I visited the rabbit barn at the Minnesota State Fair. I like rabbits very much. When I was a kid in very northern Wisconsin, we raised a number of bunnies. New Zealand Whites, Himalayans, others. Never any lop-eared beasties. I do not know why.

Anyway, when I visit the rabbit barn the camera is very busy. Because almost every bunny has its charm. Oh, this one is nibbling kibble. Oh, this one is scratching its ear! Oh, this one is twitching it's dear little nose. On and on and on. Click click click. So many clicks...

And it's LOUD in rabbit barn. And often it is very warm - some will say Sweltering....  Onward-

To winter. And wanting to paint a new pastel. Scroll past so many rabbit photos in the collection. Oh, a little lop. Eyes closed. Hmm. There is something about this bunny. I have art supplies and time.

After many, many, many pastel pencil scritches on a small piece of substrate this image appears - 

I like it. It's "real" - but not really real. After trial and error, it became a bit of state fair magic. And a lie. The peaceful "Zen Bun" was inspired by a lovely rabbit simply attempting aa bit of peace in a hot, bright, hectic, loud building. That's art for ya.

And because I am a professional artist, I mat and frame this little rabbit. But I want to keep it. But I want someone to buy it. Sigh. And that is what happened. A woman at a December art festival decided to love this painting as much as I do. Enough to buy it. For a decent amount. We chat and smile. And do the transaction.

And because I really really loved this painting I kissed the glass before wrapping it up. (It's a think I do with my favorites.) There are so many more bunnies who will offer inspiration. But there is only one "Zen Bun 1."

Now art festivals being planned for later in 2021. It's time to get back to work. A year of pandemic mostly-unpaid sabbatical is soon to be at an end.



Tuesday, March 2, 2021


Welcome -  

March, 2021 is upon us, and so - another monthly Personal Challenge. I do not remember how many years I've set these tasks to myself - but many. Some epic fails. Some pretty good successes.

 Fears and joys as days come and pass. 

This month: Blog Thirty-one Times

As you can see, I'm already a day "behind."

So it goes.

On to squirrels - 

Here, squirrels make the days better. We say that we are filling the bird feeders, but we are lying. Squirrels are in almost complete control of the sunflower seeds and suet. And that is OK. Local chickadees and juncos and bluejays come and go. But the grey/black squirrels know the backyard is theirs.

I have taken to buying shelled sunflower seeds to put by the back door. If the window glass is kept reasonably clean, shots of the fluffy chunks are quite easy to come by. I will never have the patience of the true wildlife photographer or videographer, but there are days that I think of them as I try to out wait a particular beastie. No panthers or pandas for me - and that's OK.

Well, that wasn't so hard. Sigh. The battles with the self are odd but real.

On to book keeping. And then on to, with mask on, drawing at a local assisted care facility. The residents who come to participate are masked, at a distance, but still willing to come up with ideas for me to attempt depicting on those big sheets of paper. We have missed having this fun for most of the months of the pandemic. We've found that so many things we took for granted are actually little gems of treasured time.

On to book keeping. And pondering the universe. A universe with squirrels.



Monday, December 7, 2020

Ho Hum Holidays

Greetings - 

This holiday season I am both jazzed and somber. Been playing the Vince Guaraldi "A Charlie Brown Christmas" for many weeks. I am a Guaraldi jazz, though, so this is simply excellent music here .

I no longer bake holiday goodies, but because a nearby sister-in-law DOES, I got to bite the wing off an angel. Now this is about enough white sugar for me for a long time... Sigh. Memories of scooping the cups of the white stuff into the Kool-Ade. I heart sugar. But the brain no longer does...

A very few packages are being wrapped and sent. That is OK. This is perhaps the oddest holiday season many of us will witness. The goal is to be careful and stay more or less well. Social media will be used early and often in oncoming weeks. And if the gift giving and receiving spills over into the New Year - so much the better? We will need color and lightness and good surprises to see our way to Spring.

My job is to sell amusing items to people. But my job is also to sit tight and try not to come down with the COVID-19 infection. My "job" is sending out little original art postcards of encouragement, hope, and joy. Reminding others (and myself) to Breathe.

Working on the postcards is almost a kind of meditation. A focus. A purpose. A reason for listening to jazz instead of even more news. The news will always be there. Jazz is a needed breather in the day.

Your job is to keep breathing - while appreciating the major efforts of those thousands of amazing humans WORKING at keeping people breathing. Not just from effects of COVID-19, but from the many other foes the human body battles in the epic quest to Keep Breathing.

Someday the new normal will happen. But not for a long while. The sky has darkened. The little string of 100 LED lights is brightening (a little) a corner of the living room. Hmmm. Living. Room. That might be just enough for the time being. A bit of Light in a Room in which to Live.



Friday, December 4, 2020

Making Tiny Books

 Greetings - 

Confession: I have a number of books on how to make books. But I do not use them. I read the texts, look at the beautiful illustrations, sometimes try to understand the instructions. But mostly I buy these books in the hope that they will magically make me a bookmaker.

(Insert laughter here.)

Confession: I am too lazy to be a book maker. 

Kind of.

What I like to make are small accordion books. Out of watercolor or printing papers. I like to cut the strips. I enjoy creasing the folds. I like that they can be carried in the art supply bag almost anywhere I go. However, in the way things frequently go, I neglect to fill the pages.

But sometimes books get finished.

These four artist books were part of a 2020 art exhibit at ArtReach St. Croix here in Stillwater, Minnesota. Pages are approximately 3 1/2" x 2 1/2" or 3" square.

There was no particular planning, though each one held some rules. The main rules were: 1) stick to one theme, and 2) dare to goof around. None of them are perfect. All were experiments. Each turned out O.K. I am happy with them.

You, too, can grant yourself a bit of book making time. There are many tutorials on YouTube on how to fold one piece of copy paper into a small book or 'zine. There are also many ways to make simple tomes. Grab scissors, glue, and papers. Make a collage. If you have a bunch of favorite quotes, add them to an accordion book, and keep it nearby. Give it to a friend. Put it in a Little Free Library.

Ever onward. Keep loving books!

- Sue

Instagram: surobear1

Facebook Page: Sue Rowe Studios

Thursday, December 3, 2020

This Morning

Greetings - 

This morning I got up  about five AM, turned the plant lights on, heated water for herbal tea, decided NOT to turn on the TV, and did play the Lionel Hampton band jazz record that with already on the record player turn-table. Huzzah for Lionel Hampton...

Next...., flipped light switch to brighten studio, switched on the large light box that now sits atop main studio work table, got tea, got around to scribbling three pages in the journal, and glued some paper to other paper. For particular people.

This thought came:

Maybe I would like to meet almost everybody in the world & ask them why they are who they are.

So, there is that, among so many other thoughts. 

I feel that I am going backwards in so many ways. But forward in others. Hanging by many threads. Riffing life. Caring/not caring. Being/not being. Some of you - many?- know the drill.

Trying to figure out who the next bunch of Sue Rowe is/are.

Paper, words, and people will be involved. And bears and bunnies and squirrels.... But the bell jar of Now has to be tipped over somehow. I do love "safety." But also so much other stuff. The battle is real....

On to whatever challenges the hours, day, week, year brings. I have no idea about how the holiday season will go - I'm thinkin' Low and Slow.

AAARROOUUUUU! (a good howl is better than no howl at all)

- Sue

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Personal Challenge Postcard Project

 Greetings - 

It's November 1. Congratulations. We have made it this far in the "Adventure" called 2020.

This month's Personal Challenge is to send or give away 150 cards or postcards.

Ever onward.

- Sue