Thursday, December 9, 2010

"Fuzzy Stick" Fun

So.... I'm old...... but have finally come around to know the joy of "Fuzzy Sticks."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Springing into Winter

Saturday, Dec. 4, Tara and I trekked back to St. Paul, MN for the final day of the Landmark Center Holiday Bazaar.
We needed a bagel fix so braved the sidewalks and roadways leading to the local Bruegger's Bagels shop. The paths were semi-well shoveled, so in some places the snow was piled high.
Unlike outside, the bagel shop was warm and cozy, the coffee was good and hot, as were the bagels. Eventually we knew we'd have to return to Landmark - so we did.

Here is Tara heading to Bruegger's. I couldn't juggle coffee, bagel bag, purse, and camera well enough to photograph return trip. Her 12-foot-long Dr. Who-inspired scarf was doings its best at keeping her warm.

Here is a little guy who was commissioned as a God-father gift to a recently-born lad. Customer G. picked him up at Landmark - Thanks! I hope cub and lad make everybody happy almost all the time! (A seasoned mom can at least cross her paws.) He wasn't around the studio very long and I miss him already. Maybe I'll make him a brother some day.
Working on this colorful cubby helped keep me from looking out onto all the new white stuff. I'm from Big Snow Country in NORTHERN Wisconsin - think Lake Superior - but have lived here in "southern" Minnesota long enough to be spoiled by snowfalls of "only" 4 - 8 inches.

Did plant the daffodils and iris before this storm hit so can finally look forward to Spring - whew. Planted in the dark and pouring rain but did the deed. Even put chicken-wire barriers over the fresh mud spots. Take that! - you smarty-pants squirrels. I'm not really counting on having out-smarted them - but am slightly proud of actually making the attempt.

Art events are mostly over for 2010 - maybe one last thing at a co-op in Rochester, MN - and now it's time to spruce up the studio & catch up on life. (Stuff is always at American Gothic in Stillwater & other shops around the land.) Gotta crank up the carols, try to ignore the cookies, and get crackin' on those cards to customers, family and friends.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Landmark Center Holiday Bazaar - Dec. 2- 4

Greetings on this Brisk and Nippy Morning -

We will be off shortly to St. Paul, MN for the second day of the Landmark Center Holiday Bazaar. The grand old building is festooned in finest holiday cheer, and customers & craftsfolk alike get carolled to enough to make most of us fairly jolly and of good cheer. The free food samples sure help, too!

The building is also home to a beautiful woodworking museum - the gift shop has exquisite work from baubles made of exotic woods to funky awesome purses.

Yesterday's crowd was a mix of super busy to nobody in the booths - we took it upon ourselves to entertain by way of making stuff from pipe-cleaners - or Fuzzy Sticks - as the bag was titled. Tara, I, and the lovely Loren created things not seen before in the universe - my creature began as a bear, of course, but quickly - well, not really quickly...., through the afternoon - morphed into the beginnings of a fine giraffe, then a genetic mutate giraffe- chicken thing, and is beginning to become a serious giraffe again. Tara made anime creatures, and a fine flamingo - quickly adopted by Loren to perch on her shoulder. Loren made and shared some gorgeous fuzzy bracelets. Fun was had by all. some simple pleasures are the best. If you are bored go buy a bag of Fuzzy Sticks. Life will be oddly but pleasantly different.

So it's back on the road and on to the day. If you're in the area come join in the festivities!

Stay warm - don't fall,

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Thanksgiving Day Greetings -

Every so often our yeast, flour, sugar, and all the other goodies that go into whipping up a batch of dough come together and heat up the kitchen. I'm compelled to make two loaves of whole-wheat white flour bread each week. Almost a ritual - mainly to knead. It helps that our oven can now be trusted.The bears were made for our Open House. The white sugar ones never made it to the shop.
They were cut from with the same cutters. Gingerbread stays so much more true to original shaping. Both were delicious. Good old Betty Crocker Cookbook.

On to the family festivities. I made a version of cinnamon apples in honor of Grandma Clara Reich to bring to our usual feast. Not the same recipe, hers used whole apples, but cinnamony. We'll see what her children think of the daughter-in-law's brave attempt.

On to the Grand Adventure!
Then back to sending out cards and magnets to shops, and working on commissions. Giving Thanks to all our customers, family, and friends!

- Sue

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Open House: Nov. 19 - 21

The snow is slowly melting, cookies and other goodies are being rounded up, and our booth area upstairs in American Gothic Antiques (236 S. Main St., Stillwater, MN) is being readied for our Open House. Fri- Sat: 10 - 5; Sun: 11-5.
We have found some vintage bear goodies including one-of-a-kind hand-drawn cards starting from 1998, oil pastels from when I wasn't brave enough to pick up the soft pastels, and pen-and-ink drawings of bears pre-Larry and Bob. We will have older sketchbooks on view, hard as they are to see, and Pearl the Bear will make an appearance - if we can replace her lower jaw....

Fresh gingerbread bears will be there for the munching. Their friends, the sugar-cookie bears, have almost all been eaten already. Not on purpose - really. Just to check for flavor and texture. Crunch... flavor - yum.... texture....excellent.

Friday and Sunday you can me at find the shop. Saturday, you can walk among the Stillwater bears Sue-free as I'll be vending at the CPC Craft Boutique - Christ Presbyterian Church - located at 70th St. & Hwy 100 in Edina, MN. It will be our first time attending this event but we have that it's a fun way to spend the day. Hours are 9 - 4.

Time to get back to the work-a-day stuff of being an artist. Tara and I are heading for coffee!

Packers play the Vikings in Minnesota on Sunday.......... Go PACK!!!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Fun and games in the Northland. And playing around with the sky. Once upon a time I was a crazed basketball fan and here are a few borealis bruins going at a game. Maybe.
This is my kind of art sky - full of textures, subtle colors, dramatic shapes, and more than enough "jumping-off" points.

These clouds are long gone now - but the image reminds us to appreciate The Moment - whether caught or not.

Not enough time to reflect on moments at the moment. This sky will have to wait a bit longer to be appreciated or used. Such is the blessing and curse of the artist's life.

Windy day today equals short choppy thoughts.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Open House for us at American Gothic

Winter is on it's way and there's no avoiding it. But "Hudson" here and lots more of the bruin crew want to help us ease our way into the grey days ahead with a bit of furry fun -

November 19, 20, and 21 will find lots of bears hanging out where the first one was created. We will host an Open House at American Gothic Antiques, 236 S. Main Street, Stillwater, MN and see what happens.

The little brown desk is still there, though Marshall's magazine rack is long gone. Hard to believe that since the first furry guys came out of the pencil how many have shown up - and, knock wood cross fingers, and no end in sight.

We will have old bears and new bears, bad, better, and excellent bears. Bear-shaped cookies (thanks to the cutter found down the block at the great shop, The Chef's Gallery), paw-print cookies (thanks to a recent yard-sale find), and other edible goodies. We may display a few of our sketchbooks and piles of idea stacks to show folks some of the stuff that seldom sees light of day. And maybe even rip of a pile - that's hard and fun at the same time!

If you need/want a bear card, magnet, tee-shirt, book, painting, or print come to American Gothic Antiques and climb up the stairs. If you need/want a cookie help yourself. Explore Stillwater, remember where you parked, and enjoy the day - grey or sunny.

On to THIS gorgeous day - it's back to playing with the pastels again. Bears - come!

Sue and crew

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It Don't Take Much

It don't take much more to get started than a piece of something to draw on and something to do the drawing. However, when those two things aren't quite enough I head for a local coffee shop.

It helps if the place has recent copies of The New Yorker. Even sitting in Stillwater, MN I can read a few pages and recall Manhattan in October..... two years ago when my good hubby "forced" me to finally hit the big city. We in turn tortured daughter Tara - at the time busy in Chicago earning her degree in Fashion Design. Project Runway? Haha - we're in Bryant Park. Haha - we're standing on the sidewalk outside Parsons. Walked through wonderful notions shops - tiny rooms filled to the rafters with buttons, zippers, and trims galore. Fashionable kilts for guys filled the windows - I wonder what the in mens-wear item is for Fall 2010.

We did bring sketchbooks on the trip, but my odd bit of souvenir is a collection of photo images done in restrooms. The curved wall in the Guggenheim, the OCC logo at Orange County Choppers in Montgomery, NY, my "new" vintage bomber jacket hanging on hooks in various resting places out East.

Can you tell that I'm ranging far from drawing. We will simply blame the power and the glory that is NY. Now back to basics:
Although I don't save them all, those lovely Altoid tins are a great size for traveling colored pencils. Favorite Prismacolor beauties get worn down to nubby-sized things. But MANY drawings can be done with a half-inch-long lead - especially when out-fitted with a holder for such tiny bits - (check your fav art-supply store - our choice in the Twin Cities is usually West Paint on St. Paul's Grand Avenue). Not wanting to break pencils to fit I make do with an odd assortment of hues and look upon the mix as a sort of discipline. I also try to fit a single-edged razor blade in the box - for sharpening pencils or adding in some way to the day's adventure..... The above drawings were messing-around-with-possible-ideas. How many piles of those do YOU have? Nothing finished, but brain cells firing.

But The New Yorker was lying there.... with a marvelous poem and a couple of solid quotes that might help one get through a day some day. Whipping out the small spiral notebook I copied a bunch of words dealing with Dizzy Gillespie and Rudolph Nureyev. And thanks to poet E. J. Thribb "cheeks" will never be thought of the same way again.

So, no excuses. Grab something to write/draw with and something to write/draw on. Be cheeky.

Later a clerk came by with a sample chocolate truffle. Trying to build a bit of coffee-shop loyalty? Works for me. Coffee and chocolate and paper - oh my.

On to the grand adventure!

- Sue

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bayfield Apple Fest - the Easy Part

The Easy Part of an art fair or festival is demonstrated here by daughter Tara. One goes down by the shore of Lake Superior and rests up for all the heavy lifting that is to come.

The drive up from Stillwater on Thursday afternoon was gorgeous and beautiful and relatively warm. The Good Old Red Ford pick-up truck did the heavy lifting that day. Our magnets may be cute and little but in volume they add lots to a load... We scored an excellent parking spot on the edge of the park in Bayfield, Wisconsin, sighed, took some deep breaths and proceeded to unload. Two hours later we were as done as we were going to get for the day. Treated ourselves to raspberry pie, a burger, and a shared malt at Gruenke's. Then took a room for the night, there, too. After dinner we explored the new new bookstore (we hit the old used bookstore the next day...), then checked in on-line doings of friends and family. Got to watch "Project Runway" in real time, and then had good sleeps in our vintage beds.

It was strange but wonderful to wake up Saturday already in town and not 50 miles away in Gurney. A bit of sun teased us. We headed for the first of many trips to Big Water coffee-shop for caffeine and excellent scones. Grey happened while we tweaked the booth goodies. Then clamps and big plastic came in handy as the rains started and stopped for much of Friday. Sigh and sigh.
Hearty shoppers poked their way into venders' tents and some made purchases. Hooray! Only one big splash of wayward water made it into the tent - unfortunately, it landed in the center of a box holding greeting cards.... sigh again. Only a few brave cards were lost in the adventure. Eventually we could take plastic sheets down and clamp them up to dry.

Eventually five o'clock happened and it was time to zip up and head for home-town, Gurney, Wis. The weather forecast had been for a delightful weekend, but at Ashland we could see whitecaps on da big lake. A clerk at Walmart told of small craft warnings for the night. We don't like those words - even on land. Sure enough - at Gurney brother Rick turned on his marine radio. Small craft warnings. We had not tied down the booth to the concrete park bench like we usually do. Oh well. Sleep was not as sound as the previous nights'. Small craft warnings don't make for sweet dreams. (to be continued.)

- Fare-thee-well,

Thursday, September 23, 2010

From Lines come Lines

So I'm lying already. The Oneadaymotivationaldrawings are not done every day. But often enough that they are a sort of tiny discipline and practice. We can almost all of us use a little more practice. And because the only rules are: Draw the Title - put the date - the paper is free to accept anything that comes its way.

I try not to whine. I try to find some words or actions that another shares. Monday daughter Tara shared her lovely markers and I proceeded drawing My Bright Orange Bedroom Wall Looking East. The mirrored wall was on the west side of the bedroom. On sunny mornings it was a seriously bright room. I was seventeen. This color kept me sane. I sat at the desk and drew horses and my left hand - badly and not so badly. Beam forward lots and lots of years.

My bedroom is no longer orange but I'm still drawing. Instead of hands and horses it's bears and cats and now the occasional porker (in honor of those awesome art-filled years at UW-River Falls). From one goofing-off-at-the-antique-shop-while-making-model-horse-bridles drawing has come thousands of images and, more amazingly, thousands of customers. A whole different different life. (Yes, a couple differents in honor of those other real life lives I've lived.) Ya yust neffer know - as we'd say Up North...

Lines come from the lines. A recent display at our local bank shows a tiny part of what we sell. The original drawings morph into reproductions, magnets, greeting cards, tees, and bookmarks. I feel guilty because the promised sculptures and jewelry aren't out there yet. What's a hobby? I ain't complaining (at the moment anyway). It's a weird life, but a good life.

Time to quit typing, water the African violets, and get on to the day. The Chickadee Boutique in Shoreview, MN is opening soon and this weekend holds the second Spirit of the St. Croix Art Festival in Hudson, WI. Rain is forecast. We shall see. On to the Grand Adventure.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Playing with Paper

Some days are made for goofing off. So pick up that bag of non-toxic art supplies and head for your favorite goofing off spot. Mine lately has been Stillwater's The Bikery, where for the price of a cup of very good coffee and perhaps a lovely cranberry scone one can grab a table and hang on to it for quite a while. (We don't do this sort of thing during busiest hours.)
Here is a trio who showed up recently. I have been lucking in to a variety of nice art papers at "throw away" prices so grabbed a bunch of stuff at random and didn't have worry about wrecking it. It's always more fun to make art when cost is not a thought. Only thoughts were Work Fast, Don't Worry, and Glue After Just a Wee Bit of Consideration Concerning Composition. And go get another refill on the coffee.
There was no moon at first. "We sure could use a nice moon on this black paper night," the youngest bear hinted.
"HUZZAH!," and "What a delightful orb!," and "I think I'm actually glowing!," said the three bears.

Of course, this is not the end.
But now it's back to work.
Commissioned bears, orders to fill, and this weekend's Marine-on-St-Croix Art Fair to prepare for are crowding out the goofing off hours.
But "we'll always have The Bikery....." and these bears are far from finished.
The collage adventure continues -

Sue the Glued

Thursday, September 2, 2010

State Fair Daze

Gotta love those blue ribbon African Violets. They look the same to us every year and every year we have to go see the new winners.
Crop Art - yes! Gene Simmons of KISS and Miles Davis make for a lovely composition any time.
A bear at the fair.....
Big Fat Bacon. I think the Chicken-Fried Bacon was at a different location. Not sure. We have stayed bacon-free each of the days we've feasted at the fair. And after chowing on bacon get high on the Sky Ride. Summer's over. Sigh.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Home for a Day

Home after a lovely weekend at the Glensheen Art Festival in Duluth. Minnesota. Major road construction through that part of Duluth, but the shuttle system brought costumers in fine and dandy.
Because it was the first time the show was both Saturday and Sunday it was wonderful to not tear down at the end of one day. Plus, the artists were treated to a wine/beer/pizza evening (for nominal fee) on the banks of Lake and Superior and up at the mansion. We were also invited to tour the interior of Glensheen at our leisure. Built in the early-1900's, fittings and interior design were state-of-the art, and as antique dealers we only drooled occasionally. Note to self - order gold-leaf ceiling for studio.... Last year we'd taken one of the guided tours - if only I remembered all the facts..... Todd, Tyler, and I made some new friends and had several of those intense/funny/no topic barred chats that go so well with pizza and beer. Plus our table crew sang "Happy Birthday" to Todd - whether he liked it or not!

The grounds are delightly to walk through - some hollyhocks appeared to be ten feet tall. The swiss chard, cabbages, and other vegetables are thriving (is Glensheen a deer and rabbit free zone???), and the various shaded pathways lead to pockets of perennials throughout the compound.
The business end of the show went well for us - and the folks we chatted with on Sunday appreciated the second day being added to the event. Some artists were not as pleased.

All in all it's good to be home. Tara and I sat outside The Bikery this morning and basked in the sun with our coffee and cranberry scones. Then we scooted into the shop when a table became available. Sketched a little - relaxed a lot. Right now I want to lie down in a hammock in a library or bookstore and read with my eyes closed. The humidity is down, the temperature is perfect, and the day is yelling "keep goofing off!" So that's the plan for the day. On to it -


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Casual Art

We had an awesome Blueberry Festival up in Ely, Minnesota this past weekend - thank you to old friends and new customers! Our goodies have been restocked at Mostly Moose and More downtown. And once again I'm trying to exercise off an art-fair eating frenzy...

This afternoon I cut up a large piece of sanded pastel paper - large goodie picked up for free at a Lake Country Pastel Society meeting two years ago. Because it was free it was easier to chop up than some papers. Also, it was slightly damaged. It felt good to toss away that last little piece - although the hoarder in me still felt bad about wasting possibly useful stuff.

Now one large piece is five smaller pieces - so on to the adventure! I did a small bear from the back - using only Nupastels. No text yet - don't know if it needs any. And started a red-toned dancing couple. The couple traded places during the dance - female is now on left - original thought had her on the right. But with no pressure to stick to plan - bam - just switch sides and continue on. Whew.

Also toned a sheet of Wallis paper orange-red. Will probably get two small works out of the sheet. Might attempt some "cute" stuff on purpose. After all the years of doing "not cute" stuff on purpose.

Tara and I went to the Bikery this morning to drink coffee and design. She has a magic sketchbook right now - one of those that refuses to accept any bad drawings. So lovely fashion designs are filling the pages. I just keep chopping white cardstock in half and seeing who comes out of the Sharpie markers. Three or four possible card designs today. I had a long list of possible things to work on - of course none of the new bears helped cross anything off the list. Sigh.

Time for chocolate mint ice cream with a small handful of almonds tossed in for good measure.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

This and That

Summer is zooming by. I try to find time to take a few photos, head downtown for Stillwater's Summer Tuesdays, and sort through old bears. August is hiding at the end of this week. I'm trying not to panic.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

July 7th Already

Greetings - on this sunny moist morning -

Here is Mandan, ND during the recent 4th of July celebration. The long line of folks up and down Main Street were attempting to set the world record for most people doing the Chicken Dance. Some folks knew how - some appeared not to know how. By the time things kind of got going it was time to stop. The line was thick in places and spotty in some. Had I not been my usual shy and retiring sort there was plenty of room in front of our spot where another body could have been tucked in. However, I preferred to participate as a witness. Dance on Chicken Dancers! I didn't see "officials" anywhere but you know they had to be around. Good Luck to everybody involved - I hope ya did the deed!

We set up the booth a bit differently every day. And, of course, found that we'd forgotten to pack some of the best-selling cards and magnets. Inventory control! Inventory control! Oh well. And another lesson learned - stick with the more readable business cards. I love the look of our new prettier ones, but the black background does make the white print hard to read for some customers. Back to designing newer cards - on white stock again.
On to the day. Filling orders, working a shift at American Gothic, sneaking up to Fresh Fields for a cup of coffee. First, a slow walk among the tomato plants and lilies.

Fare-thee-well, and on with the day-

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


New poem this morning:
Good Morning

Up, up, up.
Be a pioneer


On to being a wee tad of a pioneer.

Other tidbits:
Witnessed the Mandan, ND 4th of July World Record attempt for most folks doing The Chicken Dance. I took photos - they don't show much flapping, mostly standing.

As usual - we met gobs of interesting folks, one couple lives a few miles north of us in Stillwater...., had great neighbors - the local art teacher clued us in on history and politics, got hugs, gave hugs, made new friends.

On the way home it's fun to see all the tiny far-away firework explosions at distant spots on the prairie.

Now it's time to head downtown to check on the antique shop.

Oh! Must not forget the Most Excellent Bakery (my title) an Main Street in Alexandria, MN. I am sad that we don't live in a down with that bakery. And fiesty clerks to boot! I miss the lemon boat... yum.

-On to the day - it's a steamer.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Big Storm Coming

Greetings -
No photos for now. Just the reporting of grey and windy and some folks Up North dealing with Grapefruit-sized Hail. I do not want to know that there can be grapefruit-sized hail..... The tomato plants have their metal frames around them. The delphinium and foxgloves will have to fend for themselves. Good Luck Flowers!!!

We had a delightful time in Grand Forks, ND at that city's lovely art festival. I got to be one of the Artists in Action so was located in a row of permanent little structures on one side of the park. Near the music and close to the food, and with "civilized" restroom facilities nearby. We artists did two-hour stints of demonstrating. I worked on three bear pastels, and one celebrating guinea pigs!
I didn't bring along my favorite pastels so will finish the pieces at home.

This weekend (June 19 - 20) holds The Stone Arch Art Festival in Minneapolis, MN. I do not want to deal a weekend weather adventure. Stone Arch has had it's share of whole displays going bye-bye... But it is a beautiful show, with wonderful work. We will be in Father Hennipin Park again. The main street area might get more folks but I enjoy meeting the strollers along the paths. We will bring along our first wax of the Larry Bear sculpture. He's wildly golden-furred, thanks to Rub-N-Buff, but his funky personality shines through even that. We plan to do him in ceramic and see what happens. Two-dimensional bears are yearning to be three!

The longer I type the closer the storm, and as I'm the nervous storm type, just ask my sister...., it's time to unplug this and go watch the interesting skies!


Monday, June 7, 2010

Amazed By Average Iris

Greetings -
Our iris are done for the season. Just your normal every-day some-bulbs-I-bought-at-Walmart iris. But what glorious creatures they were this Spring. Getting larger and more plentiful every year, and each year filling me with more amazement.

Now with the aid of close-up photography and a cover from a photo box we can appreciate the blossoms of 2010 while looking forward to the same-but-different buds of 2011.

These designs, as well as some floral shadow photos, will grace some of our new greeting cards. It's fun to head in a different direction, and down the garden path ( or up the path in our backyard) is where I'm often headed these days.

On to the Summer art fairs - stop by our booth and say "Hi!"

- Sue

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Perfect Day?

Greetings -
It's another perfect day in late May. Lupines blooming, bees checking out their blossoms, blue sky, green grass, light breeze, warmish not hot. Will need to remember this sort of thing in the midst of January 2011.
We are heading downtown to check on doings on Stillwater, MN's Main Street. A ribs cook-off is going on as I type --- eeek! I'm missing out on ribs!
Tomorrow holds The Stillwater Marathon and other races. Part of the route passes close to home so we may go out and cheer on the running folk.
The art fair season is shaping up. No Lake Genevea, WI spot for us this year, but we will be at many of our usual events. Looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones! We will get the schedule on our website:

I've been working on some Graduation card designs. Late, of course, but in time for next year. And now a few more moose are sticking their noses into cards and magnets. They are both fun to draw and hard to draw. And with luck they will find fans among the bear customers.

Glad to hear that black bears Lily and Hope were re-united up in Ely. That luck does not happen every time cubs and moms get separated. And most wild bears'doings don't turn into international news.

Wishing everyone a safe and thoughtful Memorial Day weekend.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pink Puppy

Welcome -
Introducing our dear Pink Puppy - ceramic planter found in the basement of St. Paul, MN's Sophie Joe's shop. And one of the best five dollars I've ever spent.

Our pup is wearing a set of bunny ears custom-made by daughter Tara for twins, Clara and Evelyn. I don't know what he's seeing or thinking. Aliens? Bad master? Bad puppy, bad bad puppy?

But he's such a perfect pup. Sits, stays, has useful void in back. Looks like lots of us feel. Impending Doom, anyone?

Anyway, he lightens our days and has a home here for as long as he likes. Depending on what the aliens decide.....


Saturday, May 15, 2010

A New Day

Greetings -
Getting ready to hit the garage-sale trail again. The Grand Adventure! Yesterday held a stash of old mapbooks and almanacs sorts. One illustration from 1890 detailed the national debt of countrys around the world. Our per capita amount - a little over $42.00 each.... Ya, I know...that was lots of money back then. But it was doable, in the potential paying-it-off way. Oh well. this too shall change?
The niftiest thing found , and I didn't find it, was a ceramic bear fetish, with a lovely fish around it's neck. Good Auntie Linda, Todd's sister, bought it for a nickel, and gave it to me when we met up at a sale. Thank you Linda! It's a keeper. I found an old discarded library book, a diary of Laura Ingalls Wilder'a travels from the Dakotas to Missouri in the late 1800's. Travel is easier now - wow.
Linda loves Laura so will get the book.

The pastel bears are being ignored in favor of Sharper Marker bears that can be done in coffeeshops. A beauty-parlor sort climbed her way out of the pen on Wednesday. She's an impatient go-getter but right now is stuck under that hot-air hood.

On to our day!

Monday, April 19, 2010


Some weekends are simply more memorable than others. This one was kind of normal for us, yet splendiforously wonderful in so many ways.

1) Weather was Perfect both Saturday and Sunday - all day both days.
2) Saturday daughter Tara and I headed for Minneapolis and The Textile Center's annual Garage Sale for the first time. Standing in line for we-didn't-know-what. Making friends with like-minded sorts. The sale started at 9 AM - we got admission tickets for 9:30 - and at that time entered into almost too much of lots of great things. Tara headed for the fabric; I stayed in the books/magazines room. got 10 "Crafts" magazines for a dollar.
As we were parked in a one-hour parking area I started looking for Tara after about 45 minutes - She was deep in the fabric piles, with a small wind-row of goodies already piled against a wall. Check-out was easy, and we got to the car with some minutes to spare. Hooray! Let's go have coffee!
We parked at the coffee shop near The Textile Center - had good coffee and a great pastry - you can seldom go wrong with the sweet roll, chocolate, pecan, and excellent vanilla icing combo - heated...
Thnking things over Tara decides return to the fray (pun intended?) and I sit and draw and write for a bit. Fun just goofing off with pen and paper.
With our plans to return again after 3 PM for the all-the-stuff-you-can-cram-in-a-bag-for-a-buck sale figured out we head for the State Fairgrounds in St Paul (Falcon Heights....) and The Prime Flea Market. Almost like the good old days. Lots of good junk, good-sized crowd, and a pleasant buzz all around. Said Hi to old buddies, bought one little bear figurine, found son Tyler and headed back to the Center. This time I went straight to the coffee-shop to read and draw, and the two T's started filling bags....
Afternoon booty was 16 - yes, 16 more bags to scrunch into the car - happy happy happy future fabric hoarders?

Sunday was Completely Different and even more delightful. But my brain is getting fuzzy and needs a cup of tea.

Ta ta-

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Some words I particularly like:

imbroglio, zany, balanced, quantum physics, truth, fearless, shallow, tough, chewy, lava, supreme, effortless, golden, maple, pearl, red, orange, glory, ink, paper, scissors, try, books, sunshine, pup, effort, forward, rebel, O.K., cocoa, toast

First-place, sojourner, happy, fur, potato, rut, wax, off the beaten trail, hay, smiling, jazzy, roof, cheese-head, Yooper, clod-pate, bike, aware, amazed, why, refuse, attempt, delight, guinea pig,
civil, office supplies, raging, bunny, leather, hook shot, lupine, coffee-break, doughnuts, hot fat,
mystic, waffle, sketchbook, sandy loam, gravel, atlas, axis, bubbles, acid, home

oddly, I don't know, yup, ask, act, Zen, see, good, oops, jade, pebble, free, beagle, ya sure

Enough for now?
Ya sure -

Monday, March 29, 2010


This acrylic bruin was part of a threesome based on the same head template design. Amazingly, and from no particular plan, the bears are such individuals that they appear completely unrelated. One is small of eye and personality, one I consider a "business" bear, and this one has always been called The Philosopher. Sold some years ago he is one of the ones I sort of miss from time to time.

I don't think bears can read, but if they could they might enjoy pawing through a copy of HOW PHILOSOPHY CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE, by Marietta McCarty. Published in 2009, this lovely little paperback holds many tons of solid ideas and has kept me from putting in the solid hours with pastels in trade for lounging too long in the recliner while sipping tea and packing the brain with words. I'm sure new bears will come from Marietta's chapters. I don't know if they will be dealing with all her "big ideas" but they will be sure to reflect those of Simplicity, Possibility, and Joy. Flexibility, too, is a given!

Time to get away from the alphabet for a while and head off to the world of colors and shapes.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Talent 1

This guy is an "older" guy - a large piece of paper covered with thousands and thousands of colored pencil scribbles.

I am jealous of his skills!

At an art fair one summer a young lad pointed to him, looked up at his mom, and stated "That's impossible."

On to attempting the impossible -


Monday, March 22, 2010

Studio Time

Greetings -

New pastels from good old Dick Blick. Simple pleasures are the best? Six new Terry Ludwig soft pastels as a lovely Spring treat. And guess what? A touch or six from some of these new sticks are just the thing for saving some winter bears from a possible Spring bonfire. Whew!

One survivor is a large face that was "finished" since last Fall. He sat in his pale green-ness in front of a pale greenish background, and although the dude was pleasant enough he just never came out of his boring greenish shell. He has had a make-over.......both in color and scale. Now his little writing in the corner states: I'm no longer boring." True and kinda scary? True. His new title might be "Hudson's Cousin." Wouldn't want to meet them together in a dark forest. What a difference a few layers of powdered color can make.

The newest experiment is a large sheet of Rives BFK covered with the dust of drawings past. A wonderful warm grey. Am working on a batch of sitting bears a tone or two lighter than the original layer. Foggy misty fun. On to it.

A bunch of the bears are on display for the month of March at Manna Cafe in Madison, Wisconsin. Bears and food just go together so well! Here's hoping that the furry crew will be missed when they're gone, and that a few Madison folks will have been introduced to their quirky kind of fun.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

30 Thanks

Today I'm thankful for:
1- getting some orders packed
2- jazz musician Terance Blanchard
3- multi-grain bread (toast) from Fresh Fields Bakery
4- Facebook family and friends
5- Todd doing in some ants
7- O.K. decaf coffee
8- Tara doing the dishes
9- George Washington and Abe Lincoln
10- bubble baths
11-not needing to buy more pastels or paper
12- the newest issue of "Midwest Art Fairs"
13- jade plants and African violets thriving
14- friends to sip coffee with three times a week
15- remembering not to forget brother Rick's birthday!
16- the Winter Olympics
17- memories of Vancouver in 1984 and 1986
18- blue shadows on white snow, green pines, blue lawn-chairs
19- $1.49 Day at Goodwill (yellow tags)
20- having more than enough to do
21- finally getting the gumption to write down 30 things
22- the New York Times online
23- the Green Bay Packers
24- windows (the glass kind)
25- for Tara bringing home a gallon of orange juice
26- books.........................
27- the getting rid of a few books - Goodbye 1970's paperback copy of "Lust for Life"!
28- yellow legal pads and spiral-bound notebooks
29- coffee-breaks
30- South Park

Thursday, February 4, 2010

One of Those Days

So far.....
The house is filled with many piles and pieces for an upcoming art show.
We have too many decisions to make in not enough time.
We see how low some "best seller" pices are, and wonder if there is time to re-fill stock.
The dish-washer flooded the kitchen floor.
The on-line tax adventure continues.
We still have to frame 2 - 3 pastels.

On the other hand.....
Todd brought in a package of great caramels from Mom.
Pat Methany is playing great calming guitar from the iPod.

Life is OK.

Monday, February 1, 2010


The three jade plants are standing guard at the patio door, Grandma Rowe's African violets that I inherited after she died in 1976 are still living, and I'm crossing my fingers that the grey squirrels and hungry moles will have left us a few of the hundred tulip and daffodil bulbs we planted last Fall.

I admire gardeners and gardens but I live a plant and pray life. I apologize each Spring to the peonies for not transplanting them - again. It's been sixteen years now. They still tough it out in the shade of the lilacs and bloom as best they can. The lilacs tough it out in the shade of the giant pine trees and the pines just tough it out.

Saturday I re-finished, as in finished again, a bear head thought to be finished in 2007. He is a mid-sized pastel, begun in Hudson, Wisconsin, at a Thursday painting session at The Phipps Center for the Arts. We named him "Franz," he was matted and brought up to Pottery at Best Gallery in Hayward, Wisconsin, and we hoped he'd find someone to live with. Nope. Not to be. So after a while he came back to Stillwater to lean up against the wall and take up space.

This past week old Franz got a pastel make-over. Hip hooray! About the only evidence left of his original self are his basic facial features. But he is a much-improved
bear, with markings both more subtle and pronounced than originally drawn. Sometimes it pays to admit a piece is dull and boring but is yet worth the effort to rip put of the mat and attempt a re-do.

We are happy with the "new" Franz, and he appears pleased to be set in his new red frame.

On to the next grand adventure - low to the ground as it is!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Books While "Biking"

It's the time of year that I am "spinning" for an hour or two a day down in the family room on the old SchwinnAirdyne. Todd found the beast on the side of the road this past summer, fixed 'er up a tad, and found a spot for it at a good angle in front of the TV.

It may save our sanity this cold and icy winter, and keep us in some sort of better shape than we usually are this time of year.

A pleasant surprise is that I can peddle and read at the same time! Current little book I am re-reading is titled "Try giving Yourself Away." It was written by David Dunn and published in 1947. His advice is to try the hobby of doing a good deed, offering a kind word, suggesting an idea to a business - all without care of getting anything back. I have been trying to follow his lead this past week. It's fun to put a smile on a young girl's face when complimenting her on her nifty argyle socks. It's time to write a real letter to someone instead of typing out a few quick sentences online. I'm going to do that right after finishing this post......

While peddling today I read a short article on the life of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Maybe it was the blood pumping into the brain at a faster rate than usual but I found it easier than usual to retain the facts learned about the man. I sorta kinda wish more of his feisty kind were to found nearby these days. He was not universally appreciated in his day - he spoke his truths and went on his way whatever the consequences.

So on to the evening's tasks and good deeds. Tomorrow holds breakfast in the big city of Minneapolis.

Happy New Year!