Saturday, December 29, 2012

One More Saturday

Greetings -
Today is the last Saturday of 2012 - a year that went dinging ringing chinging far too slowly and quickly.

Medical bleahs aside - the year held new friends, old truck adventures, and our best garden ever. Or, so far.

I've discovered the great pleasure of an early morning light-box. the rest of the family HATES the brightness. Oh well. Right now they are still abed.

But for me there is oatmeal to eat, tea to drink, and a backpack to prep. Heading for a shift at the Gift Gallery in the Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, Wisconsin. this facility is well-used year round, and we are lucky to have it within an easy drive.

Here in Stillwater, Minnesota, our Artreach St. Croix building is coming into its own as a center for writers, artists, and performance artists, and class instruction. Ever-changing exhibits are bringing in more and more viewers, and this year has also brought some excellent programs featuring writers, storytellers, musicians on a frequent basis. it's located across from our treasured Stillwater Public Library.

Another Stillwater art doing is the Van Gogh Cafe. After a couple months off, this group of folks interested in learning more about artists should be convening again shortly. Topics vary WIDELY, but each presentation has been well received. Open to all - free free to bop in for a visit. We have been meeting at Valley Booksellers but hosts are looking for possible different location. Google Van Gogh Cafe for more info?

So, on to the day. Book-keeping awaits - oh, goodie! But I'm bring a sketchbook, too. And a good book. Books, books, books.

Oh, there is an excellent hand-made paper/hand-made books exhibit at the Stillwater Library. It will probably be up only for till the end of the month. Inspiring work for us paper and word addicts.

On to 2013 and all it's Grand Adventures! GO PACK!!!!

- Fare-thee-well,

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Using Stuff

This coming year I'm re-newing vow to use the stuff we already have around. This morning I thought there was so little ink in an old Sharpie Marker that the pen could be put to use on one last bear and then tossed away with joy and satisfaction in Job Well Done Old Pen.

Not to be. So a piece of paper is no longer blank, I've learned a lesson in potential, and the pen remains on the table - resting up for it's next adventure.

A day before Christmas I mixed up a batch of molasses cookies for the first time in two years. Lack of ambition and ill health had yielded ZERO cookies last Christmas Season. Not good. This year our ancient vintage old heavy-duty Hamilton Beach mixer came down from the cupboard and roared to life. It whipped those spicy buttery ingredients into shape with speed and efficiency. Appliances made in the 1950's continue to bring Joy to our household. Especially ye olde 2-slice Sunbeam Toaster (1950's) whose bread goes down automatically and come up the perfect golden brown. I have a life-long love of these toasters. My husband thinks I'm nuts. I love their style, toasting, and continued loyalty to the art of toasting.

                              On that note, here's a toast-colored bruin made fresh this morning.

On to the last days of 2012. May 2013 find you where you want to be, or on the journey, path, adventure heading on the way!


Friday, December 7, 2012


Remembering Pearl harbor Day. Somberly, respectfully.

Remembering Summer Garden 2012. With Joy and Hope for 2013.

Snow and ice are forecast for tonight. It's time for some Stillwater Summer Greenery:

Now we can face Winter head on
And start the planning for unfrozen soil

On to our varied days. Time to frame a custom order, send greeting card orders, and hope for the best for the future. Looking forward to the movie, "The Hobbit." A reading by an 8th grade boy to our 5th grade class of the part where Bilbo and Gollum first mention "My Precious" changed a part of my brain forever.

Like a great tomato will. And Pearl Harbor Day...


Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Bear for the Day

Greetings -
Too many tiny tasks.
Must remember to tackle them, as stated by Anne Lamott's father, "bird by bird."
 Keeping Lists in small notebooks is a must this days. Just don't start writing in too many notebokks.

Sent one Christmas card. Am hoping to have ambition to write witty Christmas letter this year. Last year, well..... adventures, good and bad, were not chronicled.

Here's a Bear for the Day:

Some days that's all you can ask.

Time to get back to organizing greeting car orders and finishing custom work and finding some "Not Really Balanced - Don't Really Care" tees in the basement bins.

Playing excellent jazz all day in honor of the passing of the great Dave Brubeck. Some days are filled with Bach. Today it's Mr. Brubeck's turn.

On to this December and all that it brings - may you find a bit of Play in your day!

Our Sue Rowe Studios Facebook page is always willing to take on a few more "Likes". Sitting at 99 - maybe we'll hit 100 before year's end? And who knows the Mysteries waiting in year 2013? Must get back to some Challenges. Suggestions?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Quick Post

Greetings -
For fun, and through a friend's joining, I, too, have become a member of Facebook's Art Abandonment group. Sharing a surprise gift is usually a wonderful thing, and it's amazing to see folks from all over the world doing this sort of thing.

So far, and with the help of cousin Ginny, last Friday, I abandoned a lovely floral greeting card AND a great book on many things botanical, somewhere in Tomahawk, Wisconsin.

This was the day of the Annual Venison Feed - so Todd and I joined the lines of folks waiting for their venison burgers. The morning was gorgeous - and colorful. Lots of camo, blaze orange, and Packer Green and Gold. Two thousand burgers got grilled pretty darned quickly. It was fun chowing down our burgers and chips at an event we'd never hear about - though this was it's 47th year. Hunt safely, mighty hunters!

Am working on a series of quickly-drawn bears, done mostly in the morning, but sometimes while waiting for the chiropractor. (Yes, a whole year of "interesting" health stuff.) But, if you have a small plastic bag with paper, pens, pencils, and the like, it quite amazing what can be scribbled in the "I'll be back in three minutes" time - which may or may not be three minutes.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all. I am thankful that a sister-in-law is hosting the day, and I bought the ingredients for our bit of food to be shared. The squirrels and birds appear to be thankful for the sunflower seeds that they seem to be sharing.

On to our Grand Adventures, and where in the heck did November go?
Scribble if so inclined!


Monday, October 22, 2012


Adventures? Mixed emotions. I admire The Adventurers - great and small, but do not feel part of their gang.

I read books about rock climbers, but am too chicken to make phone calls.
I know folks who run marathons. I walk three miles every now and then.
I've seen the tiny boats in which single sailors have crossed huge oceans. I don't feel comfortable in a snug rowboat on calm Lily Lake.
I watch documentary films on world travelers. I have driven alone, in one day, to Colorado Springs, Colorado. Yippee-yi-o.

Some folks FEAR the blank piece of paper. I do not. Here be Adventures!

How people are brave enough to attempt and complete their adventures is always interesting. Daughter, Tara, has been to Japan twice. Loved it. Son, Tyler, took off for Ireland on his own shortly after his twenty-second birthday. Loved it. I fear ordering a plane ticket to Anywhere. But I can now address crowds with little reservation. Fear and shyness have their levels.....

Life remains mysterious. My head is still ringing/feeling like there's  high-speed drill inside. This is it's own Adventure, and soon the trek will be a year in - with no destination in sight. Some days are Bad. Most days are Standable. Many people have given much advise. Some things I've acted on, some things are written down - still to be considered.

But, ever onward. No Adventures scheduled for today. Prepping for some indoor shows and boutiques.  There are a few phone calls to be made. Buck up. Thousands, millions? of people spend their whole days making phone calls. It is what they DO. You scribble bears on paper. You try to make people laugh and consider. You do not paint or maintain those poles that keep our cell phones working. You do not have to float on a tether to repair things in outer-space. You do not have to spend the most of a year in a submarine or on high alert in a war zone. Quit bitching! Have some Fun! Get a massage! Pat people on the back! Suggest ways that folks can enjoy creating! O.K? O.K.

Life is O.K. Hoping your is O.K., too. And as full of adventure as you choose.
On to The Grand Adventure -

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Red Leaf Day

Yesterday the Autumn leaves were raining down in Stillwater. Our back yard is full, but the ones that caught my eye were the tiny red maple leaves in the Walgreens parking lot. I picked up one and another and another. They all had reason to be rescued. They were red, they were small, they called out "Me! Me!" If people were watching I really don't care. It was fun to focus on which few to grab without caring why. Reason set in after taking about 5 or 6; plus, I didn't want to get run over by an innocent sort just wanting to park.

So, off to The Bikery. There, armed with a cup of herbal tea, small sketchbook, bag of colored pencils, and some "you-deserve-it" time, it was time to choose a leaf. Took one with some fret-work in it's body and placed it on the page.

First, I did a few light orange passes to serve as background. Then as it says in the notes - time to Focus. And draw that fine line between wanting to be perfect and letting go of perfection. Remind oneself to observe and make a mark, measure again and make a mark, choose a color and make a mark. It was amazing how quickly the minutes went by. And how complex and beautiful this one small leaf was.

Yes, I did stop to goof off on-line from time to time. But not often and not for long.

Using only six pencils kept decision-making easy. Details were noted and refined. Colors were intensified by layering. Yes, some areas got more attention than others and I missed some open areas in completed drawing. Had to say to self "It's O.K. if it's not perfect." Little Life Lesson: 994002744.

Of course, the day held other plans. But drawing a leaf for an hour and a half was something, too, that needed to be done. And was. Yippee!!!

No, it's not perfect, but it's as finished as it will get. Botanical artists - you have my admiration! Maple trees, ditto! And sole proprietors of small local coffee-shops - hats off to you, too.

Tomorrow (today) holds getting-back-to-real-work, but I will treasure this  time spent in the company of a particular leaf.

 If you need a subject to draw or paint today pick out a leaf, rock, or piece of something that just happens to be nearby. Treat yourself to thirty minutes or an hour focusing on a small drawing. You might learn things you didn't know. (Write these down!) Have fun. Relax. Enjoy. And appreciate Small and Impermanent, now, maybe still Small but a bit more Permanent because you chose to take some I-deserve-to-draw time out in your day. Hooray!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Scribble Power

Must get back to the challenge of marking marks. In journals, in sketchbooks, and here. Even when one puts "blog" on list of things to do - well, of late...... that little square has been not been being checked off. Then there is evidence of one's intentions minus one's actions. Well, at least there ARE those small notebooks of tasks and plans. Spring and Summer DID exist. We did do stuff. Not everything, but quite a bit. Without notebook and photo evidence parts of me would be right back in the dark of this past Winter. No fun, no ambition, no plans, not much of a life.

This Winter, cross fingers knock wood, will be better. I'm not hoping for the Old Normal, just a better New Normal.

So here's a little drawing from early morning today. A smudged piece of card-stock from the Scrap Paper Drawer. Doesn't everyone have a Scrap Paper Drawer? We also have the Scissors Drawer but that's another issue. This piece of paper recently doubled as a dustpan. I really like card-stock weight paper. "It's a card! It's a dustpan!" And now the paper is supporting a scribble - so it's dustpan days are probably over.

One of our magnets was sitting on the kitchen table so we added her to the mix. Reminding me to get back to lists and schedules. And to keep scribbling.

Our last outdoor art fair of the season is over. The Red Wing Arts Association in Red Wing Minnesota puts on a lovely festival. Sunday was the better day of the two - although cold and wet put a damper on Saturday and some of Sunday. Of course the sky turned sunny blue as we were pulling out of town. We packed up "dry" - that's always nice.

And the Green Bay Packers won on Sunday night - that's always REALLY nice.

So on to the challenge of scribbling and posting. Give yourself a small challenge soon, accomplish it and let me know. You'll get a typed well deserved pat on the back from me, and maybe from others as well. And we all can use any number of pats. Heck - here are three just for fun: PAT PAT PAT.

Back to playing with paper -

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Greetings on The Change-over Day -

Yesterday was delightfully sunny warm summery, no wind, blue sky Perfect Day. This morning is dank and dreary. Grey, windy, heading for Cold. And Snowy in the Northland. And WINDY COLD.

We are heading up to the 3 Day Bayfield Wisconsin Apple Festival. Snow is forecast for Friday night. And high winds. And rain. I do not like high winds and rain on the shores of Lake Superior. It's always Interesting but never Fun. I want a Yesterday for Tomorrow. Reality? No. So will try to pack enough tethers and ropes and wool socks and plastic and warm clothes and Thermos and blankets and gloves. Oh, and five-gallon buckets for wet heavy sand. And dog tie-downs  and more plastic and boots. Oh, and the art stuff. Oh, and a cap or two.

So cheer us up and give us hope is this guy - the Optimistic One:

He's at least semi-hopeful that stuff will turn out O.K., if not Terrific. A Blue Skies kind of bear. As a friend describes herself - a "pragmatic optimist."

Some parts of life are needing lots of this attitude of late. So it's time to get back to breathing in some at-least imagined blue-sky-air, deal with reality, and starting the day. Grey or Sunny it's the one we've got to work with and the only October 4, 2012 we will see.

Do something Optimistically today? Wear bright colors? Read a funny book?  Look up? On to it.

- Sue

Friday, September 28, 2012

Play Time - 30 Seconds

Greetings -

It's Friday already. I haven't sent the weekly bear card to Mr. Colbert, there's a basket of laundry within touching distance, and the possible tasks for the day are too many to contemplate. But I WILL be able to cross off "blog" from invisible list.

Yesterday there was no time to play either - but a quick grab in the paper drawer and 30 seconds in the studio brought a simple, yet, graphic design - and some words that will be used in the future. Woopee!
Just from grabbing a flawed piece of card-stock, 3 possible pastels - out of hundreds nearly, and the ever-preent Sharpie Marker. I do "heart" those Sharpie Markers.....

All you need is a sheet of paper. Don't worry about Quality. This is about getting some marks down just to see what comes. You could use crayons, water-colors, markers. It doesn't matter. I made two broad blue lines and two squiggly green lines - with a space in-between each area. Hmmm. Summer colors? So it seemed. So grab one more color. Yes, it had to be yellow. Four smooth yellow lines and the colored part was complete. All this was done far more quickly than the time it's taking to type this. Whoosh whoosh squiggle squiggle whip whip whip whip. Done.

The center white cried "Use me, too!" Time to trust that Sharpie Marker. Ponder colors. Ponder shapes. First thought into mind? So, when is Summer over? As good a thought as any.
Write 'er down. Yup. So, when is Summer over? Well, with all the garden and art fair photos taken this year I'm planning on keeping it around through Winter and back in to Spring. We need all the blue and green and yellow we can get!

Once again - no excuses. If you don't have a box of crayons lying around -  treat yourself. Or grab a brush, three tubes of paint, paper, and put down six shapes of your choice. Add some words, or don't.

You may create an instant "ah ha!" Or a gift for a friend. Or a new ball of paper for the waste-paper basket. It doesn't matter. Your hands and mind will have had a play half a minute or hour or, if you're so inclined, day. Hooray!

Facing up to Fall - Bayfield Apple Festival, Red Wing Art Fair, & several boutiques. Check our Sue Rowe Studios Facebook page for updates.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Forcing Creativity

When enough women at fairs request a bear-and-wine theme I have to pay attention. The customer may not always be right, but she darn sure knows what she want to buy. And I want to make my customers happy, and welcome and ask for their suggestions. Two days ago  it was time to grab paper, pencil, a bit of coffee-shop time and see who showed up. Well, a cup of herbal tea and a large lemon bar helped produce a vertical attempt that got the attitude and the words that would work. And then a horizontal design seemed to integrate image and text a bit better. Whew. Hard part over? In a way.

So yesterday I put the original horizontal sketch on the light-box, but not before requesting good husband to pose a few times with an empty wine glass. This produced good laughs but not really the effect I had hoped for. Back to the drawing board!

Here's the basic sketch. Now down to reality. I bow down to the inventor of the light-box. Not working  with high-tech goodies and computer art programs, I still have to trust the steadiness of hand and Sharpie Marker. On to it. Drawing in ink directly over the original sketch isn't the smartest of ideas, but I was in a rush, and trusting the hand, ink, and paper. First try worked! Added a few more strands of pearls (too many pearls are never enough). And  bear content with  vintage was complete. Whew.

Now on to the Prismacolor colored-pencils. More decisions. What kind of wine? A lovely red. What color bear? A pleasant brown. Make-up? You bet. Nails polished? Yup.

So this girl will make her debut at the Spirit of the St. Croix Art Festival in Hudson, Wisconsin this weekend. We'll be in Booth #4 - on south end of the park.

There are LOTS of area art doings going on the weekend of Sept. 22 -23. An art fair in Afton, Mn, the Annual Franconia Arts & Artists Celebration in Franconia, MN (the 22nd), and more. Check out the new web-site: for more information on many more cultural events coming up!

Now it's time to fold laundry, re-pack the truck, and tell the pastel piece in progress that it has not been forgotten.

Dare to doodle today?

- Sue

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Roberta from the Piles

This morning I dared to dig through a pile of drawings in the studio. This is not a stack arranged in any particular order. Some drawings are recent, some are from almost back to my bear "Big Bang" days. Some were remembered, others were not. Surprises were frequent. Pastels and colored-pencil drawings made up the majority of the work, but now and then an old pen-and-ink piece would surface.

Most of my college drawings were pen-and-ink.  This process forces a person to come to terms with many personality traits - are you timid? confident? that odd mix of both? You will find out much about yourself if you work in this method. I started drawing with graphite pencils and the wish that erasers magically grew from the eraser holder. Yes, I've erased lines into holes. Yes, I've worn away many an eraser to sad end. This cannot happen when you work in pen-and-ink.

It was late October of 1997 when I drew the bear that started it all.... The first few bears were pencilled bruins, but after a while I braved the world of the permanent line.

"Roberta," here, is one result. Done March 7th, 1999, on water-color paper, her full title, oddly enough written in pen, is "Roberta - Lost Hope." I have no idea why. The actual paper is vertical, with an almost complete moon behind her and lots of white below her head. Cross-hatching is an easy way to create value, and as long as the hand was able the Sharper Marker was willing. Yes, the moon was pencilled in and that evidence still remains. But Roberta, herself, appears to be drawn "free-hand." One good thing about working with cross-hatching is the ability to make LOTS of small marks, thus allowing the artist to stop, consider, and go on. You need not fear the Big Gesture That Cannot Be Disguised. Just mark mark mark mark until your image builds to your idea of completeness. You can do this! And soon you will have your own pile of pen-and-ink drawings.

Thanks, Roberta, for coming out of hiding - hope or no hope.

As long as we have paper and ink-filled pens we can have a bit of hope.

To draw or not to draw? Not a question. 


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Playing at the Library

If you bring your paper and pencils you can draw almost anywhere.
Yesterday I stole two hours from reality and ended up at The Stillwater Library.
Found comfy chair near window.
Put ear-buds into head and put quiet Pat Methany guitar stuff into brain.
Dared to close eyes.
Tried to relax.
A little.
But had to poke toes back into real world.
Went and sat in a different room. Got out art supplies.
Wrote some stuff to myself on piece of cheap typing paper.
Drew a box in the space that was left.
This bear came.

Who's to argue with the ones who show up?
Although there are words that I still have to memorize. Visible, for one.

On to our days. The attempts today are to make one square foot of space slightly "better," and to help someone out. Baby steps baby steps. Oh, and to make a few phone calls. I really wish I could talk the bears into being secretaries, house-cleaners, and the like. I have the power to draw 'em but they can seldom be persuaded to do more than stay on the page. And.... perhaps that's for the best.

Work, play, rest?


Monday, September 17, 2012

Playing With Frida

Greetings -
A few days ago a friend and I spent an hour or so at a local coffeeshop. Of course, I brought along some art supplies and a few more friends.

After normal "catching up on life" chatting I pulled out the art goodies (and friends), and asked if we should play for a bit. Out come the strange trio - a tiny grazing cow, a  lovely Rubber (plastic) Duck, and Frida Kahlo (finger puppet AND frig magnet! given to me by another good buddy).

Out came papers, markers, colored pencils and water-color pencils. On to choosing our toys.
Politely, I gave my friend first choice of subject. During our session she did a charming drawing of Rubber Duck and then an artful "purple cow" version of the Holstein. Hooray!

Frida had to put up with my attempt to render her most carefully in water-color. Lacking a pencil with her particular skin tone, I never-the-less, did my best. I learned quickly the power and intensity of wc pencils. Poor Frida's facial features became even pronounced due to my lack of pencil/brush control. Sorry, Frida! Yet, somehow, I do think her powerful and magnetic personality manages to shine through.

Yes, her ears are stitched quite a kimbo. We know that human facial features are a-symetrical, but, happily, most often NOT to the degree of this  particular Ms. Kahlo. Trying to render the figure as realistically as possible I forced the hand to draw those ears as sewn.  It was sometimes difficult to stay in "play" mode, and not listen to that super-critic invisible voice so many of us hold inside. Darn that "too dark" eye. Oops for that red horizontal line at neck level.  Just keep drawing and painting. I did manage to get her round nose just about perfect - ha! And aren't we glad that most of us are lucky to walk around with working nostrils? Not this Frida.

She WAS lucky to wear some lovely flowers in her hair, and I was lucky enough to have matching water-color pencils with which to render the blossoms.

If she volunteers herself as a model in the future I will probably pull out a bag of colored pencils and see what happens.

So, some day soon, invite a friend or two for a beverage, chat, and a chance to goof off with art supplies and the subjects of your choice. Even if the the "art" produced isn't particularly lovely, the time you spend probably will be.

On to it!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Play Day - Your Sign

Greetings -
Now and then we need (I need) that visual reminder to keep us, if not on track, then heading in the general direction of our intentions.

A nice Personal Sign may be just the thing.  It doesn't have to be fancy. It has to be Visible - Early and Often. That constant beast poking you in the eye and brain.

So - have some fun creating your motivational reminder!

It doesn't have to be perfect, it helps to make it colorful.

My recent attempt.

Sharpie Marker to outline letters. Prismacolor Pencils to have some more fun. Yup, missed that "u" in Through. No problem. And never underestimate the power of a fewExclamation Points.

My problem is to REMEMBER to Focus, Focus. Follow Through!!!!!!!!!!!

You may want to get fancier, or find an excellent quote that gets you through the day, or  use an image instead of words. The point is, still, to Have Fun. Heck, your sign may simply say: PLAY!!

That's it for the day. Packers beat the Bears last night. Tara and I will bask in reflected Green and Gold Glory for a few days. But we have to work at our own "games" to move toward our own goal-lines.
Yes, I've drawn motivational "football fields." Whatever it takes, what ever it takes.

On to prepping for the Marine-on-St-Croix Art Fair in Marine, MN this weekend. Weather seems as though it will cooperate this year. Hooray for simple Fall Weather pleasures. We will be on a road edge of Flag Park. Come chat, laugh, or share a life story (or a handful of Kettle Korn). Make your day a day of Play?

Signingly yours,

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Art Fairs - Yup

Greetings -
I was a late-comer to the art fair circuit. We missed "the Glory Days" that the old-timers talk of when we gather around on a Saturday evening with a plate of goodies and the beverage that might make chats even more intriguing.

However, in our case, better late then never. It's been a quickly moving time since that first mostly horrible experience in a nearby town. A bad-craft fair. We didn't know. Pitched a booth of some s orts, offered some now-remarkably-semi-awful stuff... and yet... and yet.... the few drawings and words done on cheap paper and poorly-presented resonated with just enough quirky folks that we were encouraged to carry on. Thanks, you few customers of 1998! Without your kind words and chuckles no more bears would have made it on to more paper. All the Bob bears would not exist. The books and teeshirts, and greeting cards and magnets and Real Art would not exist.

Passersby and customers - you never know when YOUR one sentence to an artist might be just the sentence that person NEEDS to hear that day.

We progressed. Whew. The booth grew more colorful, if not the most tidy. The economy changed. Sales of smaller pieces saved the day when maybe only one or no originals would sell. Sigh. Tell us again about the Glory Days "old-timers." Yet  prizes were won, galleries asked to carry our work, and wholesale accounts were created.  The bears, cats, and piggies were starting to move out in to the world! And the chats held in and around that 10 x 10 piece of white plastic ranged from a lady baking banana bread to feed to a DNR-trapped bear to people dying of bear attacks. We discuss cancer & children & politics & religion & food & relationships & philosophy, & of course, the weather. "Sue's Booth of Truth" one woman stated. I try.

An empty booth, though filled with stuff, is gloriously different when filled with People.

This is a tiny part of the crowd at the 2012 Ely Blueberry Festival. At this event our booth, good old #15, next to Al and Shirley, is a destination to many people, and we knock wood and cross fingers that it continues to be so. Having been one of the emptier booths in our earlier adventures it's gratifying to find an often-filled booth on our hands. Some times potential customers give up and come back later or see us at a different show. The difficulty at a busy event is trying to chat with friends, old and new, while conducting business and making eye contact and saying "Thank You!" and "Would you like a bag?"
The current year's comment/suggestion/contact notebook is always open for stories, good words, and the like. Each year's book is a treasured reminder of things to do, places to see, new things to make. And GREAT STORIES. Garrison Keillor said that it's all about the stories, and I agree.

So....  this is a short piece covering a long topic. Even if you don't plan on buying art just go walk around a good art fair. You may find joy in one booth and truth in another. You might learn about a craft you'd never known existed. You might meet an an old friend from high school. We artists will be glad to answer questions and give advice to the brave sorts who might want to pitch their own booths next year.

Summer is almost over. It's been short, long, slow and busy. Soon it will be time to start those application processes all over again. That's never fun - so we will not speak of such right now.

On to September, October, and then resting the tent.
We'll be doing some indoor events, but remembering those sunny days at a good fest.


Monday, September 10, 2012

New Sketchbook

Greetings - We did the Centennial Lakes Art Festival in Edina, Minnesota this past weekend. Windy Saturday, lovely Sunday.

Crowds seemed a bit off, as were sales, but it's still a lovely show, and the staff keeps us artists too-well supplied with hot and cold beverages, excellent doughnuts, and chocolate chip cookies, which they deliver to your booth.... Or, if you need the exercise,  you may visit the artist reception room on the lower level of the show. This will but  you in the tempting area of the Dick Blick Spin-the-Wheel-for Stuff booth. One year I won a tee-shirt - good. Last year I won a pack of pencils - ho hum. This year it was sketch book choice. I have enough medium-sized books scattered around the house, so chose the cute little 5 1/2" x 3 1/2" mixed media cutie. Haven't counted pages but there enough for more than a few adventures, and the paper is slightly textured. It could fit in almost any purse or backpack, along with a small pack of drawing/painting materials. So, Thanks!, Dick Blick! I'd wanted a new toy, but didn't NEED a new toy.

Now to find time to scribble between Autumn art fairs, trying to freeze some squash (today's garden adventure), and still trying to solve the mystery of the constantly chiming head (Mayo Clinic - here we come?). Will there be time today to play with a few pages? I don't know. Have to get back to the altered book garden journal, too.

Packers lost, Vikings won. The man  of the house will be happier than the ladies of the house - at least for this week. GO PACK, anyway!

Fare-thee-well, It's back to the squashes -

P.S. - Find some way to play today, O.K.?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Play Day - Tomatoes


No bears today. Too many volunteer tomatoes. Way too many. But here are a lucky few - drawn to the tunes of Hank Williams and Hank Williams Jr.

No excuses. Hit the junk drawer #2 for the bag of markers and high-lighters.

Used: blue HI-LITER
          "Cheap" blue marker
          Red Sharpie
          Yellow Sharpie
           Pink HI-LITER
           Green Sharpie
           Bic Brite Liner

That's it. Drew the blue frame first, added to it later. The tomatoes were in a white bowl. I like drawing freely - not needing to be exactly accurate - UNLESS I WANT to be exactly accurate. I wanted the fun of drawing small tomato circles and coloring them in, using only the tools at hand. Squares and circles - with only a few accent marks for stems and such. Played around with ways to add volume - some more successful than others. And sort of wrecked the yellow Sharpie while creating orange-y areas hither and yon. Must admit I really like the orange effect. Sorry for wrecking you, Yellow Sharpie Marker. It had to be done. For Art.

Food, fresh or prepared, can be an excellent spur of the moment subject.

And there are Beautiful subjects in your backyard, farmers' market, or grocery store right now.

Maybe you'll be lucky enough to use up a few junk drawer art supplies today. Then you can treat yourself to an office supply/art supply Play Day. Woo hoo! After chomping a lovely fresh salad, of course.

Maybe tomorrow we'll get back to some bears. And you can get back to drawing whatever makes you Happy! On to it. No excuses.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Play Day 3 - Draw Faster

AThis morning I have, as always, too much to do. Here, the kitchen timer is our friend. Mission on Play Day 3 - draw as many bear faces as possible in five minutes. Yes, you may gather your materials before-hand. I didn't, so had to re-set timer. Ready, set, draw!!!

 As you can see, these are not the fanciest of bruins - but they are the ones who came to exist. No real plans except, as the writers say, Keep the Pen Moving! So I did. And when the timer went off I cheated a bit, as the charcoal guy on the bottom was not even as unfinished as he is now. So, feel free to add a few seconds to your fun if you so decide.

No change in image, just goofing off in scale. Gotta use up the space - ha ha. My favorite is the hatted type. I'm a sucker for a good cap or hat - always have been, always will be.

So, if you want to make art fast - set that timer and scribble away. Or write a poem in five minutes. If people can make excellent ten-second films, and they can, we have No Excuses.

On to the Grand Adventure! Use an art supply today, or do something fun with peanut butter and jam.

Good Luck playing!

Monday, August 20, 2012

No Excuses and Goofing Off - 1

This morning I grabbed a piece of white mat-board, three tubes of acrylic paint, and my newest toy - a flat-ended wooden coffee stir stick. There are no excuses if you want to make something.

Working wet on wet is fun. Now I see things I'd have done differently, but was working fast and having fun.

All in all - not a terrible result.

Colors used: Cadmium Yellow Medium, Alizarin Crimson, Titanium White

Go find some paints, pens, or pencils that you haven't touched in a while. Use what paper or canvas is at hand. Work quickly. This is goofing off and having fun. We have to remind ourselves that we deserve a bit of fun every now and then.

On to it!
Summer is leaving at an awesome clip. The robin splashing in the birdbath will be gone in a bit. Go splash something while the splashing is good!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Trying Times

Sometimes you just have to grab that Sharpie Marker and see who's in the pen.  

This guy showed up. I don't know if he can be trusted.... Not a Grinch-type, but probably an opportunist. And he got his gear from somebody who seems to know the Santa Game. On the other hand - he might be watching delighted cubs quite thrilled with their holiday take.

If he had a thought bubble we could fill it in.
"O Silent Bear, your thoughts are hard to fathom - "

Someday we might add a bit of Prismacolor Color to Sir Starkness. But not today. Today shows the "bones" of drawing. No pencil start - just gutting it out with the thin black line.

Try some pen-and-ink drawings today. You cannot fail. And you might give yourself a pretty awesome gift!

Merry August 16th!!


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Art Fairs in General?

We are deep into the almost-every-weekend insanity of the Midwest art fair season. Blessed with mostly excellent, or standable, weather this year. Knock wood. Cross fingers.

And the labor of making product (yes, I'm mercenary) is lightened by a booth of laughing and sighing customers.

The Ely Blueberry Festival in late July is always a highlight of our year. Folks are shopping seriously from before the show opens until we are trying to pack up the booth. This is not normal art fair behavior - so we must appreciate the crowd when it's there. Thanks, Crowd!

Our booth is never the prettiest, but there sure is lots to see. Most people seem to find at least one image that suits their needs. Lots buy groups of cards to frame. I'm "frugile" (cheap) & then ask if we may have the matching envelopes back to accompany a different card. Most say O.K., and we rescue a few innocent envelopes from the trash.

This past weekend we did the Powderhorn Art Festival in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was our first time there, and our booth space was moved from 131 to 70. Good Luck or Miracle? Friday night a storm blew down four or five tents in the area we'd have been in. Booth 70 was wet but upright. After a damp morning the crowds came and stayed. The ice cream was excellent. We made some new friends. The quality of art was high. Julie Crabtree, fiber artist of bowing-down to Julie quality, won Best in Show!

This weekend finds us once again near the shore of Lake Superior. Glensheen Art Festival, held in Duluth, MN, on the grounds of the Glensheen Mansion is a smaller, but high quality event. (Did a five minute radio interview about the event  at 8 A.M. this morning. I'm hoping it sounded O.K.)Tour the mansion and the beautiful gardens while you are there. Then follow the path down through the pines and toss some stones back into the lake. It's convenient, too, for us to send customers downtown to Blue Lake Gallery in case we don't have the exact bear they need.

So, on to the day. Too many tomatoes to think about, but won't complain about bounty. Must make product, maybe start a painting or two, and go draw at the Croixdale Assisted Care facility. Stillwater's Summer Tuesday Market- Music - Movie event is on tonight. Will try to sneak down.

On to our individual Grand Adventures!
Do something fun today? Do something FUN today!!

- Sue

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer Color

Summer Greetings on the Last Day of July - sigh.

I want way more July, and even some bits of May and June back.
Here we are not hurting for water. 
I almost feel guilty typing this.
The sunflowers tower.
The basils and tomatoes grow wherever the pumpkins allow them space.
And every so often I allow some time to play with art supplies.

This guy's name is "Big Bob."
He is pretty much an acrylic finger painting.
On a thick wooden board.
The owners of Ely, Minnesota's Mostly Moose and More shop bought him during 
the Ely Blueberry Festival.
He's probably had his fill of almost everything.
Eat or nap? Eat or nap?

Here, we are back to dealing with tomatoes. 
No time to nap.
Volunteer tomatoes gone really wild!

Yes, almost too much of a really good thing.
Like the garage-sale supply of paints and drawing implements.
So a bit of early morning harvest, and then back to making art.
Art  fair season is in full swing - 
and we are happy, busy, and tired almost all the time.
We appreciate our many customers!
The stories, suggestions, new ideas.

But now it's back to making "product."
If the tomato plants can do it, well, so can we.

Produce something today!
On to it - 

And Best of Luck to all hard-working Olympians. 
May your mistakes be minute, and may you be judged and timed fairly.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Some Mornings Are Better

Sunday morning I walked the exactly one mile down the hill from our motel to the harbor in Grand Marais, Minnesota. The morning before I'd done the same thing - walking and journaling (yes, you can walk and write at the same time) and saying "Good Morning" and "Hi" to people coming and going on same path. Took photographs and thought thoughts both days. Different thoughts different pictures each morning. Was so focused on walking and writing the first morning that the second day I was surprised to see a whole long stretch of fencing right to my side that I'd not even seen the previous day! No real big deal - just a thought of focus.

The Grand Marais Art Colony takes fine care of us artists. Some perks are  hot coffee and tea and way too many very good donuts. I had planned to visit the World's Best Donuts shop a few blocks up the way, but, darn, the artist reception room was already open in the motel (yes, we can use a real restroom!), so free donuts trump pay donuts in my world.

Time to grab a sketchbook, pencils, tea, donuts, and some space on a lovely large rock. The whole of Lake Superior was in front of me. Time to close focus. A row of rocks made perfect subject. The bag of colored pencils came out and the looking and gauging began.

Yes, I ate a donut before drawing. And sip a bit of tea. And watched some people and their poodles.

But back to the row of rocks. I chose four or five, and their smaller companions, as subject. No blue on this page. But even so small a view offered large challenges. Relationships between rocks thought duly noted became simply not correct when first lines were committed to paper. Ya think yer doin' stuff just perfect till ya look again and NO!  Angles are off, values and ratios, too. How can this be? Even being seriously careful the eye and hand were drawing wrong. Even drawing slowly the looking long needed more longer looking. The tiny viewfinder in the brain was fine, but the awareness needed exercise. On to it, then! Light and shadow, cracks in that large boulder to the right. Don't forget to note the millions of small beach stones between boulders and lake. And then remember to quit drawing, have a last sip of tea, and go set up the booth for the day.

This short bit of free time on the beach must be remembered. The drawing is in the book, the sunblock is in place, there is lots of the day ahead.

I forget to treat, allow, force myself to have these lovely short retreats more often. Roz Stendahl would have you "force" yourself to the time for drawing. I do agree. It's the doing. It's the doing. And back at home I must remember to find the retreats here. Priorities? We forget while piling on the other doings.

Today, treat yourself to a well-earned retreat. Twenty minutes of doing something just for the haibut. It will do your heart-spirit more good than putting away the laundry RIGHT NOW. The laundry will feel lighter after you've sketched it - ha!

Maybe almost every morning can be A Better Morning. Back to yours and back to mine.

Best of Luck and Fare-thee-well,

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Stacks and Piles 5

Several days ago I attacked the top of my vintage oak dresser. Sometimes it's "cleaner" - sometimes it's how it had become. Another horizontal area on which to put things. This piece of furniture demands more respect. But there were always excuses. Oh yes - Stacks and Piles. On to it.

Miscellaneous stuff had no reason for being there. Books, yes, but not all books. We don't watch the stack of last year's GreenBay Packer football games recorded for future enjoyment (not so much since they lost that first play-off game...), so they are now in a box put a way for future enjoyment. Go Pack!!

A stack of small art/writing journals were piled high on one side. Now several finally have cover labels stating dates and topics. What a concept! Thumbing through the pages I re-lived trips, art fairs, and time spent in various coffee-shops and waiting vehicles. Some journals held good ideas for new products. Yippee. Inspiring quotes - forgotten until re-read. Decision time. Some volumes have been moved to more useful areas of the house. Some remain waiting more decisions.

Time budgeted was thirty minutes. Yes! Enough for a number of actions. Vintage hats moved from dresser to closet. One brown velvet beauty was singled out to head for the antique shop. I appreciate it's style and condition, but someone needs to wear it - well and often. Hoping for better homes for one's possessions is fun. Who will treasure this cutie? Will it go into a good collection or start someone on her love of hats? Goodbye beautiful hat. Go make somebody else happy.

After clearing off the whole front of the dresser it was a joy to move a few things around and DUST the old oak. Funny.... the dresser seemed to look Happy. And we do like happy furniture.

Yes, there is still work to do with books and papers, but again, work HAS been done. A few less piles, a few shorter stacks.

*When you get a space empty  - wipe it down, polish it, pat it, appreciate it.
*Go back several times during the day to check to see if the space is still empty!
*Spend a few minutes considering the next project - dare to challenge yourself to a larger pile or a longer period of time.

Good Luck - Have Fun! Your effort will be worth it -


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Stacks and Piles:4

Greetings -

Tiny stack attacked today. A small plastic bag of business cards. Some tossed. Some kept, Some kept - to be considered as tossable soon. Memories, some wondering of "why do I have this card?", card-design inspirations, old addresses for moved-on friends. Used about ten minutes of Challenge Time. The whole stack wasn't big to begin with - but it's smaller now. Yes!

A smaller step than even a baby step. Yes, I know that this Challenge is not going so well. I keep forgetting to keep at it.

Life Lesson # 4048883-7 - Keep At It.

Go to it. Keep at it.
Did draw, make cards, water the garden, post on Facebook, and put away the laundry. But that has no counting toward the 30 Hour Challenge.

How to keep a Challenge in mind?
*Attack the task early.
*Ponder the possibilities the night before - and WRITE them down AND put the words where you will see them.
*Do it every day.
*Write down the accomplishment on paper or type it onto your screen.
*Talk about it with friends and family - and even folks standing in line at the grocery store.

Now it's time to pack some orders and ponder the next pile.

Many hours left in Challenge. Not so many days....
On to your Challenge -


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Progress? Stacks and Piles Baby Steps

Baby steps. Baby steps. But they count muchly. Why? Because the top had been filled to top of under table with the miscellaneous stuff that will be filled, or is needed "soon," or simply needs that temporary home. Temporary - hahaha.

I worked on this area for one hour - even dusting to the back of the wall under the studio able. Woo hoo! And removed some files to other filing areas, TOSSED papers un-needed for years. Discovered a few things, and re-arranged parts of the filing system - such as it is....

Of course, now the empty top of file was available for new tasks. So the light box fit on it (no more hunting for the light box - hooray! And a plastic business file that kept hiding from sight WAY under the studio table is now sharing space with light box. Two large items vs 100 tiny pieces of paper.

Some days baby steps count for Big.
Take either kind but take some today - O.K?

On to art -

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Stacks and Piles - Day 2

Greetings -
Yesterday's 30 -minutes of sorting resulted in toss two inches worth of old paper filings, putting other papers in proper places, and finding a a framed piece of art from 2011 that was hiding under the pile!

Now there is Empty Space (at least a little) on top of one filing case. Air instead of stuff. Yes, a tiny baby step, but one in the right direction. Some empty space is good. It rests the eye, it increases the view, it offers an option in case space is needed. From our earlier Challenge of ridding house of 30 things every day for 30 days we have empty spaces in some of our bookcases. This is amazing as often books were double stacked and hard to find. I want more ease in finding!!!

29 1/2 hours to go - on to the next hour. Yes, it does bite into the time to work on art and other obligations, but I think that this project will SAVE time in the future.

Lesson: a seemingly "small" stack can suck up time amazingly quickly. Start Small and appreciate any progress.

Back to the stacks! On to empty spaces!
Best of Luck to you with any Challenge.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Another 30 Day Challenge - Stacks & Piles

Yup. June 18, 2012 -
 With the head still chiming and Summer quickly sliding gliding by, it is time to focus on Something Else.
Art fair season is upon us, and a bit of creativity is creeping back, but almost 20 years of racks and stacks and files and piles are crying for a bit of attention, too.
So - the next 30 Day Challenge will consist of 30 Hours in the month of sorting, deciding, and re-organizing. Matting art good work found in stacks will count, as will time walking things from one level of the house to another.

There's no time to waste - on to it!


Sunday, June 17, 2012


Greetings - on a most sunny blue calm Farther's Day. Today's topic: Options. We prepared ten Masonite panels - all around 9" x 8". Having a number of pieces to play with all at the same time takes the pressure off of making one "perfect' picture. And I am still trying to use up acrylic paint, so almost any color is legal to use. Six pieces are in progress - four faces and two bodies. It's hard to fight being "serious." Play! Play! Play!, I SAY. (Though it's often hard to take one's own good advise....)

1) Stick with one image till completed or spread the paint around a variety of panels.
2) Experiment with new ways of applying  paint - knives, stencil brushes, pinkies.
3) Use a bottle or two of those texturing helps to add more dimension to the surface.
4) Play with expressions - these are not real bears!!!
5) When in doubt refer to reference materials - or not.
6) Ask folks for aesthetic opinions ( a college-days ritual) - take their advise - or not.
7) Work wetter or dryer.
8) Consider "finished" pieces as studies or Finished Pieces.
9) If you usually work quickly - go more slowly.
10) Stop often or rush through. (Remember how well "Nine Blue Thomas" turned out)

Make a list of your own options - and then try them. There CAN be two, or more, good sides to every decision.

I don't know how these two will turn out - there are still more options concerning their fates. On to the deciding!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Blue Bruce

Greetings - 
Sometimes a bear comes out of all those tubes of paint and 
just appears as a completely realized personality - 
independent of the artist who made him.

This blue bear happened over about three sessions of
playing with paint.

He's not finished - but he's as finished as he'll ever be.
He is done being finished.
He is who he is.

We took him north to Duluth's Blue Lake Gallery.
"What's his name?, " the gallery crew asked.
"I don't know," I said.
We knew he was blue.
And Bruce from the gallery agreed to go along
with naming this guy "Blue Bruce."

Titles can come easy and titles can come hard.

Now this "Bruce" has been befriended by some other new bears -
visit Blue Lake & see the likes of "Laura" & "Penny" & "Todd" & "GreenTyler."

And say "Hi" to some of the great human sorts working there who make visiting 
a gallery fun & educational & a time filled with joy. 

And then go stick a toe, or ten, in Lake Superior.

Fare-thee-well, Sue

Monday, May 7, 2012

Patience With Pen and Paint

This duo has been patiently waiting for a variety of things. Particularly, to be rescued from a large stack of experiments from the piles that accumulate when scribbling comes easy but presentation comes hard. This is a cropped image of two sitting bears, done on watercolor paper - about 11" by 14". I've never been one for many rules when it comes to "seeing what happens" - so this is what happened. I don't remember why these words came, and I don't know if Mother ever saw their side.

They just wanted to venture into blog-land, and so here they are. All scribbly and messy and probably doubtful - like so many of us.

I like using pen and ink with watercolor, but haven't messed around with it for a few years. Time flies when there are so many techniques and supplies to try. And then if an artist becomes known for a particular way of working, well, argh, what to do, what to do? This is what to do - DO SOMETHING ELSE!!! This doesn't mean you have to completely ignore the styles/mediums in which you are comfortable - it just means play around with something new.

Yes, this can lead to trouble - I recently took an altered-book workshop. IT WAS FUN. I LEARNED NEW SKILLS. But right now It's Back To Work time, and the unfinished book sits there sulking. I have planned it as a gardening journal - so it  won't be ignored, but I don't know when it will be "finished," and it WANTS to be finished. As do so many other pieces haunting the nooks and crannies around the studio and downstairs filing cabinets. Sigh, is all I can say. And "Patience."

Have patience with your own work, but do egg yourself on to not dally too long before using a new tool, creating a new image, or writing some new words. On to the Grand Adventure!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Playing with Paint

Sometimes it's fun to head into the semi-unknown. Here we have some lovely Masonite boards starting to be covered in acrylic paint. Working in a series helps  the possibility of having at least one successful piece come from all this paint spreading. I wanted to stay with the bear theme, yet play with shapes and emotions. On to it!

With so many works in progress I am not focusing too long on each panel yet. Just pulling paint tubes and experimenting. We'll see if the cute stay cute and/or the concerned stay concerned. I'm also going to try and use only the paints and modeling compounds we have on hand. There are parts of each character I already like. Once the bears have personalities they want to have both back-story and some kind of future. That's the fun and responsibility of being an artist. Creating something that might deserve to stay in existence. (Yes, there are bears in the basement on which judgement keeps being put off. That's the not-fun part of being an artist.)

So, we will return to these five soon and see what happens. Dare to fling some paint yourself!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Fuzzy Fun and Fluffy Fun

These three were the result of Scribbles by Sue at a  local assisted care center. We loved them as soon as they came out of the marker! I  don't know what kinds of birdies they are - other than confident, patient, and bewildered. Shapes first, eyes and beaks second.

Draw some feathered friends - young or old. This trio made us all laugh and smile. Your birds will do what birds do. Some instill fear. Some inspire. Some make us hungry. Some make us laugh.

A bird on the page is worth two in the mind?

Egging you on!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gettin' Back At It

Yes, it's been a while....  As to chiming head - more tests, no answers. So, always mixed worn-out emotions.

However, seedlings have grown enough to be transplanted, Todd has mowed the lawn and removed a stump, and is talking about making the garden bigger. The garden will be larger because he wants to use the sod to cover the spot where the stump had been.

This is O.K. with me. More basil, more tomatoes. And more room for squash.

This morning the daffodils are waving in brisk sunny breeze. There are tasks to attend to doing. And I want to learn how to have Fun again. The constant chiming has seemed to suck 95% of Simple Enjoyment out of life. I really like Joy and Fun. And hope that you do, too. I like to laugh. Lots. But lately it's been mostly ironic cackles. I watched a bunch of funny stuff on You Tube yesterday - improv, etc. When others are hysterical it helps to join the crowd.

Today's plans are to slap some paint on some bears, do some business stuff, and try to break the cycle of anxiety creating worry creating mini panic creating anxiety. Will start by having a lovely cup of tea, some breakfast, and then drawing a flower - just for fun.

It's good to be slightly back.

May your day be fruitful and/or vegetable-y -


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring into Action

Some scrap watercolor paper, a hand-full of watercolor pencils, a bit of ink, and an hour at The Bikery . These bears are fine with goofing off, mixing it up, joining in. Lots of us, me included, need a bit more practice at this sort of thing.

Allow yourself to find ten minutes (or more?) to just scribble a bit, dig in the dirt, LOOK at a leaf, think an "opposite" thought of your usual thinking. Daring, yes, but well worth the effort. Heck, do it during TV or radio commercials. I usually use those times to tidy the house, but that's not much in the way of goofing off.

Spring is here, but fleeting. Let's go draw a bud that's due soon to bloom. Or dance among the blossoms.

Fare-thee-well and Good Luck -

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Tulips are up, birds are chirping, grass is greening, and it's time to take a walk without headphones or earbuds and hear the day - whatever it's sound.

Time, also, to dig out some old art supplies and play. Chuck Close says painting is moving colored dirt around with sticks. Maybe it's time to do the same. Roz Stendahl is a great fan of gouache. We found a box of colors in the basement yesterday. Time to spring into action - find out where the magic hides, and agree or disagree with Roz.

The sun is winning the battle over clouds for the moment. The odd heat of last week is gone for the morning. Except for constant pulse chiming in right side of head (yup, still there), the day seems almost normal. I've not been listening to ESPN's Peyton Manning/Tim Tebow talk, nor things political. Stuff will sort itself out in the end.

Now there are thoughts to write down and images to be created. Sometimes one or the other or both make a difference in another person's life. That's quite amazing. The things YOU say and do make a difference in peoples' lives. That's something to Remember.

On to playing with some dirt. Spring is here. Next 30-Day Challenge? Make a difference in somebody's life before Summer.

On to the Grand Adventure-

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hunker Down

To honor the possibility of Spring and Summer coming, here is an image from last year's What We Need is Here group's field trip to Willow River in Wisconsin.

This is not me hunkering down, but another's attempt to photograph a gold leaf and a spiderweb among the assorted greeneries and branches and roots and water in this beautiful area.

The act of hunkering is something I'm finding hard to do these days - pulsatile tinnitus for over three months takes over parts of head and the constant "ding ding ding" "chime chime chime" over-powers the "get to work" "ignore those phantom cubs with cymbals."

Must get mad enough to rise up, get some exercise, and then re-hunker to do the daily deeds.
Deeds today: work on new "Happy here" pastel, enter art fairs, pack an order, Enjoy Life, re-watch the Kevin Kling interview with Krista Tippet (there's Inspiration for ya!), bitch less, laugh more.

How do you deal with those life tests and daily hurdles? Head for studio? Head for out-doors?

"Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost. Sometime, somewhere, somehow we shall find that which we seek." - Helen Keller


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Attempting the Pinnacle for Fun

Attempting. Yup. Sometimes we know what we're doing well enough that it's time to go out on a limb or scale a different peak or dance a new dance. Even if we really don't want to do the deed. Why? Because, maybe, eventually, what we don't know how to do NOW will someday be what we are expert in, or at least we will be able to appreciate those who ARE the experts.

And, woo hoo, just trying might be Fun. What a concept. Goofing Off Theme again.

We have treated some smaller, various-sized pieces of Masonsite board and every now & then I say goodbye to the pastel pieces and hello to the various tubes of acrylic paints we tend to pick up here & there. Ya can't leave a reasonably-priced art supply item at the yard or estate sale. No, it must be rescued & introduced to like creatures stored for future use. Then, if it is a tube of something, it will dry out & get tossed (sad) or be used (happy). We like happy art supplies better. (I'm listening to Mozart right now & kinda wish I was slapping paint on something instead of typing about slapping paint on something).

Anyway, so the piece pictured is a start of something. I have no idea what. I have fear of both dancing and pinnacles so it's fitting that I should attempt a bear dancing confidently on a pinnacle - right? Problem now is - what to do next? Fear is creeping back into the decision-making. Argh. I like the form and attitude, but now what? Be brave, little bear-painter. It's acrylic paint - you can have do-overs. Do not stop with this attempt as you are suggesting to others to goof off. GOOF OFF! The beast can not fall off the mountain - it's a flat surface. The bear is in no danger. But there must be Change involved. Yup, our old friend, Change. And Chance. Oh oh. Change and Chance. And old tubes of color to play with a relatively new bear. And this is for Fun. Fear versus Fun. The bear doesn't care. The peak doesn't care. So back to that pile of paints and on to the mountain.

On to the daring. Dare to play a bit today?
"A healthy manner of play is necessary to a healthy manner of work." - Ruskin

On to the goofing off on the pinnacle of your choice!

- Sue

Friday, February 24, 2012

Door County Bear

Now and then we come upon somebody or something that makes that first impression hard and fast - and then continues to stay in the brain.

This is the head of a large wooden bear outside a shop in one of the wonderful towns in Door County Wisconsin. Might be Egg Harbor, might be Sister Bay, or another of the nifty places to visit on the west side of the peninsula. We were doing a short weekend in Door County and Green Bay, Wisconsin, in mid-October. (When the Packers were still reigning Super Bowl Champions, and orchards everywhere where advertising Honeycrisp Apples)

I just love this guy. He towers over all onlookers. He's carved with finesse, has more character than most wooden bears, and is on major alert. Finding him holding his ground made my day. Kudos to the carver, and the owner of him now. I still yearn to own a Black Forest bruin or two, but this dude would sure be fun to have in the backyard. I may never meet up with him again, but I'm glad he exists. Hunt him up if you get the chance to tourist your way through Door County.

Lenten Challenge:
4 books gone - 2 sent to a friend - whether she wants them or not.
Give Up Worry: I tried - but ended up early this morning with a good-sized, unplanned panic attack. Spent a lovely time from 3:30 - 4 A.M. reading up on panic attacks online while trying to talk my head and heart back to sanity. Sigh. Give up Worry. Give up Worry. Let the bear stand guard for you tonight. On to tonight, tomorrow, and future days.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Deal With Miranda: 1/7/03

This drawing has been pinned/not pinned on my bulletin board since January 7th, 2003......

At the top it reads: The Deal With Miranda

Under the drawing it reads:
"Here's the deal," said old Miranda.
"You need pushin' & I need a job.
"I will make a list each day and
you will follow through. If your
brain puts up resistance remember
I'm a bear. A bored old bear
ready to make trouble. So if you
don't want trouble just start
workin' down my lists."

I keep forgetting the deal these days. I'll do it later today, tomorrow, next week, next year, maybe I won't do it. Whatever it is.....

This is not good for life or business. And I don't want trouble. I would like to feel well. I would like to have twice as much energy. I would like to feel up to The Task. Whine. Bitch. Moan. Yes, I realize that Miranda is not real, but I also know that she is watching and listening. And lately I have not been living up to my end of the deal.

So, on to pulling up our bootstraps, buckling on our spurs, and getting back on our perky ponies. Or maybe not. Maybe tomorrow. These slippers feel darned good right now.

No. No. Have a little lunch and get on to the finishing of the other pastel. Listen..... Miranda's growling low.....

Use what you need to get on with your day. I have a bear we can share!

P.S.: Lenten sacrifice/challenge: a book a day shall go away. And I have to Give Up Worrying (again).

Monday, January 30, 2012

3 Pages a Day: On to Jan. 30

Yes, I Was Beautiful Back in 2011
Yes, it's hard to change horses in mid-stream. No, I've never tried it, but it seems reasonable. This month I changed Challenge in early-stream, though not on purpose. The brain started out almost O.K., I did make soon Brave (for me) moves, and then Forgot to Remember The Task....

What did start in early January, and has continued steadily, has been scribbling something (3 pages) in the Marvel Superheroes journal every day. Yes, persistence in at least one area of life! Woo hoo! The writing is not brilliant, some is bitchy moany, some is Yes, I've Decided to Live. Some is the noting that, yes, a frozen tea bag will help bring down the puffiness under one's eyes - whew, some is listing of You Tube subjects that keep me semi-happy: Chuck Close interviews, Monthy Pithon stuff, Hank Williams, Dire Straits, Miles Davis, Lionel Hampton, Tim Burton inverviews, Jim Dine interviews, TED Talks, etc etc. My life is etc.-ery. that's just the way it is. And noting of the addiction to the Roz Wound Up blog.

The first meeting of our "What We Need Is Here" group is scheduled for 9 - 12 this morning. A fine group of multi-purposed folks take over a room at The Phipps Center for the Arts. Each meeting is different and usually excellent, thanks to fearless leader, Anastasia. The group has been around for four years - this will be my second as a member. We have learned to make journals, how to ask and listen, learned from experts in a variety of fields, read and discussed two books, took some field-trips, and all in all had a fine high-quality time. I feel lucky to be part of the gang.

Have the Courage to Bloom in New Ways This Year!!

I should be heading out soon, just because I like to spend a bit of time at a Hudson coffee-shop before heading to the Phipps. A few minutes sitting with coffee, paper, pen, and no pressure. And the thought that I could buy a pastry if I wanted one. This will not happen today because the typing is going along O.K. (I'm settling for lots of O.K.s in life lately, because they are better than "badly.") "If I'm not dead I'm O.K." - one of my new mottos. Now to live up to it.

These Giant Guys Perked Up Our Patio in 2011

Gardening is both a long and short time away. These photos are posted to give up Hope. There are so many kinds of plants. Some for eating. Some to simply enjoy or bring awe. This year I plan to increase plantings of sunflowers, and maybe even more basils. (Now that I can make a decent pesto. Thanks to an artist friend with a lovely pesto recipe.)

On To The Grand Adventure

So.... no, I haven't written the three pages yet today. But they will get done. Just like business stuff that is impatiently waiting. And the pastels, finished and unfinished. And February is as good a month to be Brave as any.

On to it!