Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Clean Hard Fast: 12

CLEAN: Much of the house! Much in baby steps - but hey, whatever works! Not the DEEP CLEAN of finding things thought forever lost - simply because, no, we haven't touch every item, nor scratched out every corner. But the Holiday dramas should be a wee tad less dramatic in a (haha) more Zen environment. And work will be a bit easier. It does help to put "Hoarders - Buried Alive" on the Netflix  for a little more "you can do it!" And then do it.

HARD: the soil frozen solid around bulbs I should have dug out of pots a month ago...... Hot water and gloves will be put to task in a few days when forecast is for slightly warmer. It's my first go-round with digging up and storing bulbs. I'm a plant and pray - not plant and dig up sort of gardener. New skill time. HARD Lesson learned.

Another HARD - we are hosting a new art doings here tonight. a small salon-style event called Part Art. So I baked a lovely pan of chocolate caramel walnut brownies only to torment myself and maybe a few others. Trying so hard to really lessen gluten and sugar intake. hahahahahahahaha. And Sigh. Husband licked spoon and pan. Boy, the kitchen smells delicious... Yes, it was from a box - don't care. And other members of family are dealing with food issues, so Thanksgiving will be "interesting." There will be plenty to eat - it just might not all be the normal stuff. Normal stuff - plus. We will be thanksful for many things - just not having to be careful putting items on plate. Was hard enough back in the day when all we were concerned about was Calories. Now it's Choosing Foods with Care. My thoughts go out to all dealing with similar doings. GOOD LUCK! and enjoy The Day anyway!

FAST: how we plunked down bear goodies as The Grand Hand Gallery in ST. Paul, MN yesterday. An oil pastel, two acrylic bear heads, and a small pastel are now there along with the pieces shown below. Apologies for glare and angle. I'm thrilled that the work is right inside the second large gallery. And next to Betsy Bowen's wonderful woodcuts. Woo hoo! We also delivered a big bunch of greeting cards - both Holiday and other.

Then I got to run into Wet Paint and buy yet another Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. The third, so far. Argh. Expensive to lose. Expensive (for cheap me) to buy again - knowing that TWO are probably hiding in not quite plain sight. Argh. But the newest one has a strap I tied onto it. The bright tape on the second one didn't help in the keeping-track-of. We shall see.

And now it's Thanksgiving Day Eve. Every day is a day to give Thanks. Seriously. I think of 30 things each day to be thankful for: (sometimes more than once a day - repeats are legal).
Number One is is usually, even with this "LOUD sound" that no one else can hear - I am Thankful that I can still Hear. The next twenty-nine depend of mood, day, and circumstance. Today I am Thankful for the great jazz music of Vince Guaraldi. We know him most from the "Charlie Brown" soundtracks, but he did much more, and like many excellent musicians - died way too young. Check out his work - it will probably make you happy.



Monday, November 25, 2013

Clean hard Fast: 11

CLEAN - Must do much in studio and on kitchen desk in preparation for new art discussion group. Two of us decided that The Van Gogh Cafe concept could not die. Our little doing will be "Part Art" and will not have to rely on businesses for locations. So... I'm offering our home for this Wednesday's first go-round. Topic: Your Favorite one or Two Art Books. We have enough folks planning to come that we think we can have an excellent evening. Yay! And we will be flexible as to dates, topics, etc.
I'm excited to know that a number of folks who can't make this date (day before Thanksgiving) never-the-less are glad that we are keeping the group going. But on to learning more of the art of un-cluttering. Never as much fun as the accidental forming of the stuff. Onward!!

HARD: to watch and journal complete Packers-Vikings four hours of NFL football that ended in an over-time time TIE. Well, did finish writing holiday cards out to soldiers - unless I do a few more....
If you'd like to join in - simply write cards to addressed to Dear Soldier (cards don't need envelopes) and mail packet to: Holiday Mail for Heroes, PO Box 5456, Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456. These cards go out to a wide bunch of our troops - and I'm sure any extra piece of well-wishing mail one gets at ANY time of year is a good thing. (Now THAT was a wide-ranging paragraph!)

FAST: how I fell asleep Too Early in The Magic Sleep Recliner. From about 7 to 10 PM. Blaming lovely hot mashed potatoes and butter, with fried chicken and veggies. And the stress from writing HARD the four hours of football game. It is done now as a practice for paying attention to outside action and  inward thoughts and emotions. Lots of those pages have words that even young adults might find surprising in a simple red spiral notebook.... I haven't written for four straight hours even in college! And perhaps those hours could have been put to much better use, but how they WERE used. A forced "flow'? Anyway. Then of course, between clanging head and over time of Denver - New England game I could sleep when one SHOULD sleep. But morning has arrived. Many taks have already been accomplished, and it's almost time for a walk. A  Relatively Fast One.

Here is the wall o'bears at Duluth's Blue Lake Gallery. (Except for dancing couple in top row. They should be safey arrived somewhere in Montana  now.) Some bars are older. Some more current. It's fun to see a bunch of them in a grouping!

The acrylic on board in lower right states:"I'm so Bad I'm almost good". Truth. Many layers of "bad" bear underneath the final image. A Lesson in Not Giving Up. One lady bought a print for her son. He is sixteen. I patted her on the back and wished her "Good Luck." Ha! We talked a bit - he sounded like he was an interesting/challenging lad. They CAN turn out to be the best kind. This bear was interesting/challenging.

If you are are visiting BLG,and find these wall pieces are not in your budget there are LOTS of wonderful items there that might be. Bear stuff, yes, but marvelous jewelry, fanciful paper mache animals (to see them is to love them!), and so many other great pieces!

On to finishing breakfast, and woohoo!!, the SUN is wanting to peek out! The walk won't be warm - well it's 32 degrees - that's not too awful for us northern types.

Life Lessons:
1) Don't Give Up
 2) It's FUN to do something nice for others.
3) Bacon, Eggs, Kale & Tea get really cold when one blogs during breakfast.

An Early "Happy Thanksgiving!" wish to one and all!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Clean Hard Fast: 10

CLEAN: the patio. Prepping for Winter... whether we want to come or not.

HARD: the FROZEN leaves of kale and chard. I went out into the dark freezy night - armed with knife, bowl, and flashlight. Didn't need knife. All leaves snapped neatly off whereever they were touched. Not thrilling, but easy. So made one last batch of gardeny kale chips the next day, and had one last eggs with chard. Boo hoo. I want Spring already. Sorry, Christmas. I don't care. I want to walk out into warm garden full of buzzing insects and flitting birdies. And I'm a Big Snow Country kid from Northern Wisconsin. Argh!

FAST:how I want Winter to go.
Last night I attended the November meeting of The Lake Country Pastel Society. We watched a demonstration of how to make pastels. All you need are bags of this, bottles of that, spatulas, a hard surface, dust mask, apron, gloves, and will. Will post photos soon. It was quite the fascinating process, and we could have dried samples of a variety of colors and hardness. Lucked into four of the still-damp pieces as well. Most are quite soft- they will be fun to work with when ambition happens to happen.

Upcoming events include: Gift By the Hand at Hudson, Wisconsin's Phipps Center for the Arts (will be ongoing in Nov./Dec.), Landmark Center's Holiday Bazaar in St. Paul, MN - the first Thrusday through Saturday in Dec., and The Very Merry Holiday Fair, Dec. 13-14, in Baraboo, WI. Then the season will be officially over and we will start the applying for next year's art fairs. A person asked recently when our downtime comes. Nope. No downtime. Good in a way. Bad in a way. We won't be doing art fairs, but the doing keeps on going. It's the daily deciding what exactly to do that is the mystery. So many tiny tasks. Lots of Priority One. And the laundry.

Bitch bitch. Moan moan. But, yes, I know I'm lucky to do what i love. Most days. And the web site is up again - hooray! Check out if you're in need of a token bear.

Ever onward. Time for tea and a nap. It's only not-quite eight  PM but the recliner is calling. Maybe it's time for tea and a book. And a nap......


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Clean Hard Fast: 9

CLEAN: the interior of my main black back-pack style purse! This is a Big Thing. I can see the things I'm looking for! Coinage isn't weighing down the leather. Pens are one pocket; small notebooks in another! Though wallet and checkbook are both dark they are easily found! For the moment. For moment. But for Now.
Once upon a time I carried no purse. For years only a wallet. Will this time ever come again? It might be something to aspire to. Hmmm. Might have to start shopping for cargo pants - ha!

HARD: to know that our beloved Green Bay Packers' quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, is injured. Sports folks get hurt all the time, as regular people do. But we wish magical protections around certain individuals, whether they be family, friends, or favorite public figures. In sports Physics rules. Sigh. Heal well and quickly. We have friends who enjoyed last night's Bears victory at Lambeau Field. Daughter and I toughed out the game at Stillwater's Buffalo Wild Wings till, literally, the last minute. So I have the game - minus one minute - journaled, of course. Woo hoo. And Boo hoo.

FAST: how this past Saturday went at Stockholm, Wisconsin's Stone Fern Gallery. A gorgeous drive there and back along the Mississippi bluff country of central Wisconsin.

This was on ride home, and yes, I know it's not safe photographing while driving at any time, much less along a curvy swervy road. But I clicked till the camera's battery said "No more." Trees are keeping their leaves much later into the season than usual, giving us opportunities for Fall Beauty into even November. The leaves on our apple tree are still green, though most from the maples have dropped.
Saturday's event was fun, if not profitable. Made new friends, ate great pie (the Double Lemon from the Stockholm Pie Company), and drew a few new bears. May have jinxed the Packers last night by getting my first henna design on Saturday. Right now on my left wrist is a beautifully drawn "frame" in which is written: Trust the Bears. Eeek. What was I thinking! It should disappear in about two weeks. Sigh and whew? And always Ha!

FAST: how I'll have to work to create new pastels for Blue Lake Gallery. Heading to Duluth early on Saturday, Nov. 9th, to hang around the gallery (11AM - 3 PM), deliver our goodies, demo some techniques, and basically goof off in a nifty city for a day. Come visit this lovely gallery and clothing shop if you are in the area or feel the need to head out on a road trip. New goodies are being added for you Fall and Winter shopping consideration. And the staff is friendly and helpful. Yes, they are!

Continuing a Thankful November - What are you Thankful for Today?

Today I'm thankful that for about  from 5 - 6 AM the ol' tinnitus was so faint that it was almost not an issue. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted, and I APPRECIATE know that if it happened while I was flat in bed maybe someday it will happen when I'm standing up. Gotta love those Simple Almost Quiet Pleasures.

Today smiles will be on face more. Yup. Giving me/us a Smiling Challenge and Smiling as this is typed. Try it? Even for just part of the day? Even if you are alone? Even if you're cynical? Can't hurt, unless you do it too hard or too long. Perhaps a bout a Smiling will even bring on a Short Laugh. Even if this makes somebody mad. It's sort of fun to smile at angry people. Dangerous, yes, but fun. On to it!

Happy Nov. 5, 2013!


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Clean Hard Fast: 8

CLEAN: most of the good ol' garden. Giant sunflower stalks chopped, folded, and picked up by the garbage crew. Much soil turned over and ready for the start of next season's adventures. Any suggestions for planting experiments? No broccoli next time, but I'd like to know of varieties of Kale that would be fun. This year's kale and chard are hangin' in there. Nice to still see patches of real green amid the mucky browns.
HARD: to tear oneself away from Facebook.
FAST: how the day went today at Stockholm, Wisconsin's Stone Fern Gallery. Didn't sell a book, but did get a custom order for a mom and cub bear sneaking a peek through a screen window. This will be a fun project for the winter. I appreciated the 'No rush" comment from the couple ordering this piece, but also was glad that we did put a "Finished before Spring" boundary. Artists, this is a lesson in "You never know." Had the woman not gotten ill in the Boundary Waters and not visited a northern Minnesota hospital where one of our Mom and Cub paintings was hanging, this commission would have never come about. She has wanted a similar piece for SEVEN years. Today we met for the first time, had a great chat, and started down the decision list for the couple's own special bears.
 Of course, the day also included a morning visit to The Stockholm Pie Company. DECISION TIME? Yikes. I was swayed by the article by Jane and Michael Stern, of "Roadfood" fame, stating that the Double Lemon Pie was one of their top picks for 2012. My 21013 slice (with a dollop of fresh whipped cream) was also delicious. (Though we've never been disappointed by any flavor pie from this tiny booming business.) I went back a second time, too late in the afternoon, to pick up something for hubby, Todd. Two pieces of pumpkin pie remained; I left them for two later customers. Sigh. Pie.

Did wear out camera battery clicking Beauty there and a bit of back. Even stopped at a Scenic Overlook near Stockholm this morning to pretend I was on a mini-vacation. Chatted about Northern Wisconsin with a gentleman walking his tiny ball of snarling (for just a tiny bit) white fluffy dog. And of course we had to mention The Beautiful Day. This means that the sun was out and the landscape wasn't the past five day Grey. Ye haw!

Tomorrow holds a day "off" - just because. And cheering for football teams that are not The Green Bay Packers. (Don't know if I can cheer for the Vikings...) Daughter, Tara, and I will visit the local Buffalo Wild Wings on Monday night to cheer on the Green & Gold. We will wear our colors and I will journal the plays and emotions. Because that's what we do. We will listen to Wayne and Larry - she on iPod, me with radio headphones - instead of national broadcasters. We will hope that radio transmissions are ahead of TV because this makes watching what happens "easier."

Now it's time for a cup of tea and trying to stay awake a while longer. Some people are attempting to write a whole novel this month. Some folks have committed to Not Complaining. I'll stick with thinking  "I'm Thankful For.... (at least 30 things at least once a day). But will keep the Not Complaining practice up as best I can. (Just not PLEDGING the Pledge.)  Find a Great Challenge to attempt by month's end. If you start tomorrow you have two less days of not having to do it! Baby steps, baby steps. Ever onward. Be kind. Think your own thoughts. Perhaps give a compliment every day till Thanksgiving Day? Yup, I'm blithering. Time for tea.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Clean Hard Fast:7

CLEAN: the dishes in the dishwasher.
HARD: to realize the number of items we must number for up-coming boutiques. But thankful we are IN  these holiday events! I am "80" for everything. A few years ago we did other venues that required different number. Needless to say this eventually drove us crazy - not a HARD thing to do - and we gave up those events. Simply not worth the effort. Not that we "work smarter, no harder" all the time - haha - but being artist/craftsman "80" makes life a wee tad easier this time of year.
FAST: how I drew today's bear. Grabbed the first piece of colored paper from the bag in Junk Drawer, sectioned off a four by six inch area, motioned to the pastel pencil container (Friendly Farms Small Curd Cottage Cheese Low Fat) to attend to duties, and started in to the mystery of creating Something quickly.

This fuzzy, perhaps dangerous, quirky bruin appeared. Nano-seconds of tiny decisions go into drawing quickly. Yellow pastel ears and curvature of head were the beginning. Next, with black pastel, eye area next blocked in, but no eyeballs. A dark blue pastel teddy-bear "stitched" nose next,(oddly, most of my bears' noses are indigo blue - no, I don't know why), and mouth that demanded to be drawn smiling.

Yellow fur with bit of orange followed, and body contours were outlined in black. (It's taking way longer to type HOW drawing was created than creating the drawing.) Eye decision made - hmm - instantly forming personality. White highlights here and there. More yellow to tone down black.

Still deciding on possible text, or leaving space blank, or putting color in spaces... I think this piece will stay as is for now. I don't know if the world needs another being possible up to no good, but this little guy was fun to draw and now he exists.

As long as we exist we can make the effort to create that better world, town, home we wish and hope for, so -  done with the dreaming and on to the doing!

Facebook Page: Sue-Rowe-Studios

Monday, October 28, 2013

Clean Hard Fast: 6

CLEAN: More parts of the vegetable garden, though chard and kale refuse to believe that snow is forecast tomorrow.
HARD: how my heart was beating after I challenged me to running part of one-mile walk. Actually ran more than last half mile. Granted, most of that WAS downhill all the way, except for the last two blocks of the STEEP Pine Street hill. Yup, legs made it up that - in a running fashion.

Fashion was not running fashion. Golf cap, red goose-down winter jacket, gloves, jeans, decent walking shoes, head-phones. I could not have looked like a runner. But I was doing the best "running" I could make the legs move. Mantra: " Re - lax don't care re-lax do't care re-lax don't care" got body and brain to team up and do deed. I am a runner because I ran. You are an artist if you make art. You are a gardener is you grow a plant.

FAST: how we trying to prepare for Holiday Boutiques, Holiday shows, and gallery requests. Listening to CALM RADIO in iTunes, but not feeling Calm.

Sun is shining. Trying to feel Sunny.

The Bikery, our favorite local cafe is no more. The place was PACKED on Saturday morning, Sunday was it's last day, and today holds auction of furniture and fixtures. Lucky is the winner of the retro orange couch and two matching chairs.... Who will win the 2011 era "New Yorker" magazines? Somebody.

Time to start setting up at Roseville, MN's "Peggy's Holiday Boutique." We bring many of the support grids and other parts of infra-structure, so get to see large hall transformed from empty to full and bustling. Good thing some Type A Personalities have always been in charge. Odd to feel like see we're setting up this show "last week." No, it's bee a real year. Sheesh. So time to make a Thermos of herbal tea, not think of all the over task to be accomplished this week, and get on to these chunk of the day.

Yes, the web-site is still down. No, I haven't gotten to the powers that are in control. Another mission for this week. You can check my Sue Rowe Studios Page on Facebook for fun and games - ha. Will try and post some bruins soon. Darned other priorities!

But The Green Bay Packers won the battle over the Minnesota Vikings, so some parts of this football fan family will enjoy the reflected glory of Green and Gold till the next games. Shallow is good at times. Re-lax don't care be shallow. Just not all the time.

Create Beauty in some way today! YOU CAN DO IT! Report on efforts. Be Kind?


Friday, October 18, 2013

Clean Hard Fast: 5

CLEAN: One of the two Junk Drawer Journals I've taken along on a quick goofing-off jaunt to Kansas City, Missouri. The other is being quickly filled with trip notes, reminders, & directions to places.
HARD: to believe how much Great Art there is in Kansas City.
FAST: how the long did not go at the original Oklahoma Joe's BBQ place. But well worth the wait. Ahead of us in The Line was a couple from New York City. She spoke of the awful days following the downing of the towers. And other things. later, while re-filling our drink cups, we wished each-other "safe travels," and she said Thanks for the great chat, Hon (or words to that effect). The guys behind us  in The Line counciled theCarolina Pork Sandwich. I'd been told earlier in the week to order The Z-Man Sandwich. We decided on both, plus an order of onion rings. Darned fine choice. And though the place is small for the number of folks filing through we managed a table for two up against a wall. Thought I'd be watching other folks eating, but no, too busy chowing and trying for my fare share of the brown crunchy rings.

Rained most of the day - mucked up plans to walk the sculpture garden of Nelson-Atkins Museum. I LOVE the large collection of bronzes by Henry Moore..., but they will wait again for another visit. But between the galleries there and at the Kemper we are arted up to our eyeballs. I feel odd zipping past so many paintings and sculptures - preferring to focus in on staring hard at a selected few. An exhibit of Islamic art from ancient times to the present had my eyes glued to ONE illustrated page filled with the tiniest figures, flowers, text, ropes of almost-invisible gold dots.... I could still be there - following the intricate patterns of one small work.

Now it's time for a bit a relaxing and figuring out the possibilities of tomorrow. Rain and 37 degrees here was not part of plans. Such is life.

Ever onward - time for a swim, and maybe a Bloody Mary. Hmm... we may have to get away more often...


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Clean Hard Fast: 4

 Yes, head is still clanging - along to Mozart piano music this dark morning.

CLEAN: not the work desk or kitchen table.
HARD: to believe our outdoor art fair season is over. It went out well, with a lovely, nippy, sunny weekend in Red Wing, MN. I learned that when a man says "I LIKE that bear" it means "I want to BUY that bear." Two different gentlemen at different times of day on Saturday. Thank you, gentlemen. I hope you enjoy your new bruins. Oh, and got to give away two of the Junk Drawer Journals made earlier this year to two new art fair friends who immediately put them to note-taking use!
FAST: how early mornings went DARK. It's 7:05 A.M. - time for tea, egg, bacon, and garden greens. But greens will have to be gathered blindly or by flashlight. Sigh. I still vote for five A.M. daylight - all year round.

A bit over a month ago it felt time to play with new techniques - thus the playing with acrylic paints that happened to be on hand and goofing off with papers - just to see. Here is one result:

Acrylic paint on 7" x 5" paper

I'd started doing mono-prints, but ended up cutting stencils out of scrap backing boards. Yay, for not tossing scraps. The four-inch wide boards can be cut into pieces for three bears. Yes, the designs are limited in size, but forcing oneself to work within limits IS a good challenge.

Papers, were, once again, scraps. But good scraps - either printing or heavy-weight water-color papers.
Paints ranged from garage-sale "craft" stuff to  new good goodies that I had to go BUY once I started loving the results. Especially exciting were the metallics in with or over the original layers.

The acrylic bears have now graduated to being painted on small wooden boards, and folks and I are happy with the results. I even "craft" stenciled two bears onto a canvas tote. It sold at the Red Wing Art Festival, though I wouldn't have minded using it myself. Have a small stack at these tote bags (25 cents each at a summer estate sale) so more of that doing will get done. We'll see how tough the board paper stencils are and how long they last.

Well, typing has taken long enough that a bit of yard is visible. Greens, here we come?
Web-site is down at moment - argh, but Facebook Page: Sue-Rowe-Studios is alive and fun.

We are attempting a too-long-in-the-doing vacation soon. And yesterday while working a shift at American Gothic Antiques I learned, at long last, of Kansas City's Oklahoma Joe's BBQ, so new eating plans for KC! We always ate at Gates.Time for a new chowing adventure. Great Art and Great Meats await! Now to carve out a chunk of time. Carve out a bit of time today for creating happiness, joy, and perhaps a piece of art or two. A crow is cawing "You CAN do IT!"

On to the day's Grand Adventures!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Clean, Hard, Fast: 3

CLEAN: Two-square feet of work desk. This will have to be good enough for today. It IS nice to see the antique maple top under the clear Plexiglass. I wonder what got accomplished by others who have owned this old, useful piece of wood-working. What goodies were stored in those four small drawers? Who dusted the shelves?  Enough pondering. On to Hard.

HARD: to believe how "loud" the old noggin is today. Even with pills and music - well, she's a hard-chiming rascal. Must remember that so many have things so much worse, but boy, would an hour of "peace" be appreciated. Not deafness, but what I used to know as "quiet." There is NEVER any quiet. Oh well. I can still hear. Hoorah for Hearing!

FAST: How the many bugs, insects, birds, squirrels are making use of garden. We have two old wooden chairs set in a sunny corner of the place, and once in a while I sneak off to sit and watch our personal version of "Nature." Today a dragonfly lit upon some basil. Flies are chowing on the rotting tomatoes. Bees are still sucking at the sunflowers. A lucky look up in to the blue sky and wazaah! and yup, a bald eagle glided high above the picnicking crew down below.

The sunflowers are being felled by the black squirrels.... Mixed emotions. Mixed emotions. And once they decide a stalk or head is coming down - it's coming down. That we should have such Focus and Keep at that task till it's Accomplished. There are yet quite a few upright beauties, and it's a Simple Pleasure to photograph them.

We will miss the brilliant colors of plants and skies in the Grey Months a-coming. Not that snow isn't brilliant and the winter skies can be, too. I guess it's the sense of Life and Growing and the Possibility of Green that seems missing from November till whenever Spring might decide to happen.

For now I'll appreciate even the "Autumn" colors of  maturing sunflowers and other garden goodies past their peeks.

These colors are actually inspiring new bears. Woo hoo! Time to get the acrylic browns, yellows, purples, blues, and their shiny metallic friends out to play. I appreciate folks' kind words pertaining to the new stuff. Playing with mono-prints has opened new paths for the bruins and us. And sometimes it's good to start down a new path. Just don't forget your way back! You can view some on our Facebook Page at Sue-Rowe-Studios.

Time to put in an hour at Work-Fun," put on some excellent tunes, ignore the loud personal cymbals, and make some jazzy bears!

The Roycrofters Creed from John Ruskin:

"A belief in working with the head, hand and heart and mixing enough play with the work so that every task is pleasurable and makes for health and happiness."

On to the trying!
Our next art festival is Sept. 14 -15. The Edina (MN)Fall into the Arts Festival at Centennial Lakes. We are "downstairs" this year. Booth 154 - on the north end of the north end. Come walk the path, enjoy the water, and those great wooden swinging chairs, but don't forget to visit the excellent artists "upstairs."


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Clean, Hard, Fast: 2

CLEAN: how the living room WILL be by the end of the afternoon!
HARD:  to know where to start.
FAST: how the 29 years have gone by since being married to Sir Todd on that September 8th a long/short time ago.

Yup. Going to spend some of our Anniversary Day cleaning. Because tennis and football can keep us indoors AND because it simply has to be done.

BUT will also try to sneak some time to stencil acrylic paint into dancing bear designs. It's freedom inside a form. Simple, yet, because of the mixing of metallic and regular colors, a mystery of final outcome. Yay for Mystery! And feeling more like Play than Task.  And WANTING to create instead of NEEDING to create. Such an airy difference.

But first must make more open spaces - literally. I like piles of stuff and I like clean flat surfaces. This is not good mix.

So, today, inspired by friend, Sarah M., will be partially devoted to CLEANING. And part to Anniversary Doing Something. And cheering on the Green Bay Packers. And Appreciating a Breathing Day.

May your day hold at least one small Grand Adventure!


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Clean Hard Fast: 1

CLEAN: part of the living-room floor that had been covered by greeting card stuff, drawing books, and       misc. papers. Now to KEEP IT CLEAN! Dusted under card racks in studio - yes, all the way to the wall.

HARD: to believe how quickly tomatoes ripen once they put their little green head to the task. Have made sauce, tomato basil soup, given some away, & yet a number lie rotting on the ground. Will harvest more tomorrow, and probably give them away - hooray!

FAST: how that first three-mile hike in a long time went. Radio headphones helped hide the head's constant ding ding ding. Got to walk with Bach for a while. Can't go wrong hoofing along to all those great and lovely notes. Made it back before dark. High-point of walk was an in-shape dude striding along in white muscle shirt and red shorts, sporting a really good mohawk haircut, and  accompanied by a gorgeous black German Shepard Dog.

We're prepping for River Falls, Wisconsin's "Art on the Kinni" - Sept. 7th. Because The Grand Hand Gallery in St. Paul have hung so many of our originals I've been "forced" to work on new goodies. Yes, I know it's a good problem. I don't know what will be done by this weekend, but we have five more shows in following weekends so the work will be shown SOMEWHERE. And it's been fun to play with acrylics and mono-prints. Might have to frame the large rabbit drawing done during rand Hand event a week ago. It should hold it's own against the bruins!

Here are two of the small mono-prints now part of a Fine Print Show at the Stillwater Art Guild. These are made by layering acrylic paint on plastic, flipping plastic onto printing paper, then burnishing paint on to paper. Some images printed easier than others, and I kept adding more paint where it seemed to be needed. Darned judgement calls! But I'm excited with the technique and plan to do some larger pieces soon.

Colors included black, brown, and the Magic Touch - GOLD. Can't go wrong with a golden dancing bear. But I still love the shapes of sitting bears, so had to play with one here. Playing with a brayer created the large area of dark on lower center bear. What to do? What to do? Why press a gold bruin over the area. Yay for Play!

Now it's time to watch live-streaming of U. S. Tennis Open and cheer on Rafa Nadal. AND keep working through the competition. Little yellow balls and little golden bears.

And don't forget the tomatoes....


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Joys of Old Journals - Clean, Hard, Fast

Know I need some promptings toward new things.
So found a journal from 1998.
In it, found a yellow Post-It note reading:

June 18 - 1998 -
  Fast  -

the words as
a trigger -
don't think -
just write

So I did. For many days. At the beginning of most journal entries I'd print, in three rows, first - CLEAN: (and write first thing that came to mind),  HARD: (do the same), & FAST: (do the same).

Some days words came tumbling out of pen. Other days a bit of mulling had to be done.

The CLEAN part forced me to be aware of home/studio messes that got much better over time; or the satisfaction one gets over cleaning one kitchen counter for the few hours (minutes) it will remain uncluttered. This time, among other cleanings, I'll do as my sister does on her Colorado Springs walks, and carry a bag for the bits of litter one encounters along one's way. Entry from Dec. 1: CLEAN - part of top of desk shelf - I almost threw out $30.00. It was in the dusty posies.

HARD can be hard, but one becomes more aware of what one considers hard. Or it can simply be the truth of parched lawn. Or, from Aug. 8 entry: HARD - to believe I don't have enough brown sugar to make chocolate chip cookies.

FAST makes one aware of time, or not eating (hahaha), speed of decision-making, or of speeding up some part's of a day's production. From Feb. 10 entry: FAST - the fast has disappeared. I must get back to the discipline.

(Perhaps SLOW might become part of exercise - but not for now. YOU may use it if you choose.)

So, back to blogging, again. Sort of like the beginning of the "Bob's Burgers" cartoon. Re- Re-Re...

And with thoughts of all the world spinnings going on & regular local life, too - quoting Mr. Kurt Vonnegut ("God Bess You, Mr. Rosewater") again: "There's only one rule that I know of, babies - God damn it, you've got to be kind."

Going to play with some "easy" printing techniques today - to hopes of producing a few things good enough to show at Stillwater Art Guild Print Show in September. Do have a decent woodcut to frame, but have to try new things. On to the Grand Adventures!
And on to The Bikery - just for the halibut -

Fare-thee-well, (be kind)


Friday, August 9, 2013

What an Artist Might Do in a Day

* Eat breakfast
*Spend a bit too much time on Facebook
* Think about ordering supplies
*Look out at the garden
*Do some of the dishes
*Wash some of the laundry
*Visit the post office while hoping to get a check or two (and no bills)
*Look at the studio
*Listen to TV (Ken Burns' "Jazz" at present
*Start working on show prep list - always a few hours too late
*Try to remember to pack clothes/air mattress/food/camera/art supplies/Thermos/business stuff & ART
*Make another cup of tea
*Look at stack of art magazines (not read - just look)
*Think about pile of stuff on desk
*e-mail or call some customers (maybe)
*VISIT AN EXCELLENT ART SUPPLY STORE (buy 1 white gel pen 'cause the house is already filled with art supplies)
*Promise frames that they WILL be used some day
*Look at too many unfinished pieces of work
*Check weather report for weekend's show
*Put air in van tire
*Mat some new prints
etc etc etc

Maybe work on a drawing or painting. Maybe. hahahahahahahahahahahaha

On to the next minutes and hours. May yours be going the way you'd wish!
Back to Charlie Parker and Miles Davis -

Next week I will work at the artist part of being an artist. Crossing fingers & knocking wood.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Why I Am An Artist

This won't be the whole deal, of course. But here is a tiny book that was a HUGE reason.

"Harold and the Purple Crayon," by Crockett Johnson (I really never thought about the actual artist/author at the time) was a book in Gurney Grade School OR I picked it up on one of the monthly Bookmobile runs from The Vaughn Library in Ashland, Wisconsin. It really doesn't matter.

What mattered was that with a crayon ANYTHING was possible. It was my first experience with a "page turner" book. You just never knew! Trouble brewed. Fun might happen. Relief could come.

All with the mark of line on paper. And so it continues today. Hooray!

Thank you, Crockett Johnson and Harold, for the adventures and the showing of the liney way.

You have YOUR reasons for being creative or wanting to create. Dare to share?

On to delivering some reproductions and other bear goodies to The Grand Hand Gallery in St. Paul, MN. On Grand Avenue, of course! We will be having a Truck Show and some drawing sessions in a couple weeks. I am both nervous and excited. Come join in the Adventure!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Never Give Up

Only TEN years after being created - this little oil-pastel found a new home... Yay! We've hung it a few times this art fair season and at Minneapolis' Powderhorn Art Festival a lady came to inquire about the piece.

She'd seen it two shows ago, and yes, she'd like to buy the cubbie.

this is a short lesson
Not giving Up.

On to preparing for the art fair at Duluth, MN's Glensheen Mansion, Aug. 10 - 11. May the air be warm and calm, the grass be green and cool, and our backdrop of Lake Superior be it's usual Superior backdrop.

On to the drawing up of lists, and then the brave attempts  to cross off those those little boxes of completions.

The sun is peeking out from somewhere, Mozart is tinkling from the MacBook, and I must tear myself away from Facebook updates.

Here's a peek at our garden. It continues to amaze and mystify:

On to our hours. Have fun. Make something. Make somebody Happy. Pat yourself on the back. Relax? Breathe in. Breathe out. On to it! (Ain't got time to make pesto right now. Argh.) (So it goes.)


Friday, August 2, 2013

August 2, 2013

The sunflowers are blooming.
Thanks to seeds planted by  squirrels we have sunflowers in the patio.
Thanks to sunflowers in the patio we can watch goldfinch eating sunflower seeds from plants fifteen feet from back door.

Now if giant clumps of tomatoes would show the faintest hint of red.... That 59 cent pack of Rutgers tomatoes produced 45 plants - but time is ticking on ripe tomatoes...

Time is also ticking on MAKING time to make pesto from another great crop of basil. I'm not panicking yet because at Stillwater's ArtReach St. Croix's Front Porch Thursday we got to chatting about ALL THINGS. One was gardening - basil can be chopped, water or olive oil added, and then frozen in ice cube trays. Whew.

On to a bit of art stuff. We are thrilled that people are buying original pastels and acrylics on a regular basis at the Summer art fairs. We are grateful, but do miss some of the favorites. Yes, it IS hard parting with certain images, but inspiration to head back to the studio. Plans are for more birds on bear heads and some longer lines of bears in motion.

We are also planning a possible August event at The Grand Hand Gallery in St. Paul, Minnesota. Combination drawing and writing demos/workshop and bears for sale. Let folks at The Grand Hand  or me know if you'd be interested in attending. We'd be playing with art supplies, ideas, and words - a no-pressure to make a masterpiece type of let's trust our fingers to make some fun! I'm thinking about colored pencils and crayons for starters and Sharpie Markers for the braver sorts. A day or two for simply making marks.

This weekend holds the lovely Powderhorn Art Festival. We'll be in Booth #89.
Next weekend, Aug. 10-11, we'll be at Duluth's Glensheen Art Fair. Our booth is down by pine trees and close to shoreline of Lake Superior.
Then we shake things up a bit and are going back to our flea-market roots, vending at the large Gold Rush show in Rochester, MN. Spent YEARS doing flea markets and antique shows. Whole other stories than with the art fair crowds, but great times with mostly great people.

Last week's three days at the Ely Blueberry Fest was dampened - literally - by Friday and Saturday being cold, wet, and windy. Sunday was fine - sunny, blue, warm - but sales were half of usual event. Blueberry pie was Delicious, and I got a bit more ice cream because I was wearing my favorite vintage ('95-'96) Green Bay Packers sweatshirt. Do like those tiny daily miracles. Hoping some will happen today. Heck, finding time to blog is the first this morning!

Here's a bear for the day: The original is at American Gothic Antiques in downtown Stillwater. In our booth where the bears began.

And in September we will be brave enough to try a different art fair. We'll be at The Lakeville Art Festival in Lakeville, MN. Expanding the range of the funny furry ones - come visit! Dates: Sept. 21-22.

On to the day! A bit of tennis; then prepping for Powderhorn. Rocked in hammock for five minutes last night simply to know that summer is here to be enjoyed. Rushing through the days, only to be hit by frosts zooming our way, well, yes, insane. Make time for blogging. Make time to sit on art center's front porch. Make time to cut pesto. But then I have to note these things in journal, or in my brain they never happened. Sigh. So, time for tea and tennis. Make TIME for a Summer treat for yourself - then write a few sentences to prove that you've done it! It'll be our only Summer 2013, and August is hinting at September already. State Fair is zooming near! My first-time attemt at turnips could have been contenders...


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Playing With Color

Sometimes, lots of times, it's time to start over.

There are lots of bears in the house - finished, almost finished, never to be finished. It's a mission this year to move a number of these bruins in different directions - including the fire pit in the corner of the garden - if that be the fate of some bruins.

I've not been one that's comfortable painting on stretched canvas. (And you call yourself an Artist?) A year or two ago, on a plain 18 " x 24" canvas, I had a go at a Mom and Cub. Regular bears. Normal sky. That sort of thing. They got this far and there they stayed:

Not awful. Not great. A tiny bit of potential, but boring and O.K. with using up space in the studio.

Til this week. Time for a change. Out came the acrylic paints and a little bit of bravery (or foolishness). Nothing to lose. I budgeted about an hour of goofing off. This is the result so far:

Yet, a definite work in progress - but at least they are becoming a tad more interesting. I'd hoped to have the pair finished for the July 13 -14 Art Festival in Grand Marais, MN, but now am aiming for The Blueberry Festival in Ely, MN, at the end of the month.

Progress has at least gotten me to want to play with them more. That's progress. And perhaps in a month or two they will be taking up space in another family's home.

Color me Hopeful.

If you're visiting Minnesota's Northland check out our furry ones at:

Kah-Nee-Tah Gallery -  outside of Lutsen, MN
The Pie Place - Grand Marais, MN
Blue Lake Gallery - Duluth, MN

Summer is zipping by. Try to play outside a little bit each day!


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Another Day. Another Bear.

Here is one challenge an artist comes upon early and often: How to work within a theme without becoming repetitive and boring.

Having sold a one of my favorite original "Sunlight/Moonlight" pieces at The Edina Art Fair it feels like the time to tackle a new one. So out comes the Masonsite already prepped and waiting for pastels.
Maybe some day I'll tackle one in acrylic or oil, but not today.

First lesson - While working with lots of black pastel DO NOT wear a lovely pink top. Pink and black are a fine color combination - but not a great way to color clothing. I switched to a black Dick Blick tee shirt and continued on.

This piece will be the first "Sunlight/Moonlight" to be fully 24' x 18". More room to work, different scale to be considered. What colors moon? What colors bear? What colors background and foreground? What colors lettering? I'm still working on using up tiny pieces of color, but first it's time to lay down the black. (Wear dark clothing, remember?) The prepped board is done in a reddy-orange so we'll see if any of that warmth will remain in finished piece. Onward!

Here's the piece so far:

I'm liking the moon. Realistic? No, but that's O.K. Daughter, Tara, likes the blue ring surrounding it. That was fun to scribble. The bruin's got some volume. Lots of work left to do. And am experimenting with different fixatives. So far, so good.

Hoping to finish this beast by the end of the day so we can offer it for sale at the Spring Green Art Fair June 29 - 30. Crossing fingers. Trying to work in larger color fields - a bit more abstract than previous work. Knocking wood. Head is pounding, but if Frida Kahlo could paint her masterpieces under great pain I can finish a bear to comparatively much less suffering. 

On completely different note - it Rained so hard yesterday that the soil dropped away from a large pot of marigolds - leaving the little beauties completely bare-rooted. Replanted them this morning and wished them recovery from the deluge.

Wishing us all recovery from whatever not-good situation we are dealing with. Sure are a bunch around. May you find a bit of time today to sit, relax, or even play! The "Back To School" displays are going up. Argh. Appreciate these last few days of June. 

And come visit us at an art fair in July:
July 6: Shell Lake, WI
July 13- 14: Grand Marais, MN
July 20: Stockholm, WI
July 26 - 28: Ely Blueberry Festival - Ely, MN


Monday, June 24, 2013


Wow. Summer is speeding by. There aren't enough exclamation points to end the previous sentence.

But the cold wet never-ending Spring has given now to hot wet we'll-see-how-it-goes Summer. Storms tip the tomato and sunflowers over and we go tip them back. Have staked up a number of them - what a concept.

Will be doing the Spring Green, Wisconsin Art Festival on June 29 and 30th. Sad to miss Duluth, MN's Park Point Festival, but the bears said "We want to see new sights, and we know that there's Great Pie in Spring Green." Who's to argue with a bear? Especially when pie is involved. So we will see how the truck's worth of art stuff packs into a Chrystler Town and country mini-van. A vehicle with an automatic transmission! And doors for access! Yes, we've come to van-land way late, but our hearts belong to pick-up trucks, at least big chunks of hearts. But our hearts are beginning to come around to better gas mileage and a tad more comfort. And lots more cup-holders!

As several of the larger originals have gone to new homes in past weeks it's time to see what new bears and themes come out of the studio. It's a battle over doing cousins of favorites and and or trying to create totally new creations. Plus, refilling card racks and magnet trays. And maybe making a new sign.    And business cards. And attacking a really large basket of freshly washed/bleached laundry goodies. Oh, the joy of matching up many almost the same but not all the same white socks!

So, on to the tasks/joys of the day.

We do so wish we could send much of our rain to Colorado, but a recent report stated that Minnesota's watershed is still depleted from recent droughts. Sigh.

Wishing, too, for ONE whole art fair weekend without one day of RAIN.

Time to stop wishing and start doing. Good thing we can wish and do at the same time!

Time to tea, considering options, and on to the art supplies!

Will post line of upcoming art fairs here and on my Sue Rowe Studios Facebook Page. Yes, there are other Sue Rowe Studio FB Pages. Try some words like: bears, Stillwater, MN, artist, to hunt up our crew. Didn't know it would turn into an adventure - sorry for inconvenience, but Thanks for showing up!


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

You Have to Start Somewhere

Greetings on a RARE Sunny morning in late May Minnesota.

Playing a bit of Glenn Gould's "Goldberg Variations" by Mr. J. S. Bach to set the mood. On to the typing:

Playing with using up small chips of pastel on a painting that will mount to 14" x 11". Working on velour mat board, going for an abstract semi-retro feel. Here goes!

Fun to play with large simple shapes. Large fields of color. Some days it's time to say "To Heck with that blasted detail stuff." Not every day, but some days. This is one of those days. I'm hoping for many more in the near future. The idea came from a recent sketch during "normal" goofing off in sketchbook time. Sometimes certain ink or pencil shapes yell out for becoming finished pieces. Whew.

Am running late for mandatory tasks. Will update progress SOON.

Today? Finish something, start something, try something new, hold a door open for a stranger, hold the brain shut to a fear.


Edina Art Fair: Last Day in May & June 1 & 2. We'll be in Booth # 348 onFrance Ave. - near Caribou Coffee. Closest cross street: 49 1/2. Come visit. These two probably won't be coming along, but there will hundreds of their fellow furred ones to consider. Toodle-loo!

Monday, May 20, 2013


Inspiration? Ya gotta get it where ya find it. Just here in the kitchen one could draw or paint:

* Candle with calm flame
* Young tomato plants eager to become adults
* Dirty sneakers (remember Van Gogh's boot paintings/)
* Creamer full of white apple blossoms
* Various "still-lifes" of Stuff on Counters

Last week we vended at Llama Magic - an event held annually at the Washington County Fairgrounds just outside Lake Elmo, MN. The barns held many booths of wondrous wooly things - roving, fleeces, yarns, finished products, and ANIMALS. The building we were in held Alpacas and Llamas. So I "shot" llamas and alpacas. for Future Inspiration.

We can play with Attitude. We can play with Shapes. We can play with Contrasts. We can play with Textures.

Not this morning. But as Grandma Bessie would say - "Soon. Soon."

Take your camera with you  - even on mundane travels. Something close by or far away might just be the thing to capture  and get the pens or paints busy. I will probably never sketch this week's filling-station sign stating gas is $4.39.9 a gallon, but the image is there if I need to draw in despair.

Time to go learn of the healing power of art at the Hudson Hospital - their facility is filled art - on purpose. Hoorah!


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Another Start - Another Finish

May is here, and green is happening. No leaves on trees yet, but where is are buds there is hope...

Where there are boring paintings there might be hope.

Hunting through some stacks I came across this semi-finished acrylic painting done on an 18" x 24" canvas. I don't do much work on canvas, and this piece was O.K., but not good enough. Plus, I needed a challenge to finish off my Sue Rowe Studios Facebook Page "30 Bear Challenge." Bye bye, Bear...

Out came the sand-paper. Off came the paint.

On to seeing who next will show up. Time to PLAY WITH MORE COLOR. I have nothing to lose. And after a few days, paint tubes, brushes and fingers (and consultations with daughter and husband) this is who appeared:

His name is Mr. Smirker. Folks seem to like him. He feels at home on his canvas, and is waiting patiently for varnish and frame. I'm glad to have given the canvas a second chance, and I hope that this guy will liven up an art fair or gallery.

Give something or someone in your home or studio that second chance? Mr. Smirker would say "Yes!"

Shepard's Harvest/Llama Magic is coming up Mother's Day weekend, at the Washington County Fairground, outside Lake Elmo, MN. Admission is free. Come see all the wonderful fiber work, demonstrations, and  wide variety of animals - of which many will be the fluffy or shown llamas and alpacas. We will have a booth in the Llama Magic barn. Come by and say "hi!"

Spring does seem to be actually coming. Our baby tomato, basil, and marigold plants are very excited!
On to the next "30" Challenge. And Spring.....


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

How Many Times Can A Person Start Over?

Happy May Day? It's been raining and /or snowing off and on all day, but not right now. More in forecast. Yippee yi oh.

To play in Spring dirt I have been making newspaper pots and transplanting the baby basils in potting soil. It's TIME to play in dirt. Earlier this week we had two Beautiful Days. We shoveled the empty sunflower seeds from under the bird/squirrel feeders, we swept the patio. We raked the flower garden.... Brave green things are attempting Spring. but Spring keeps back-tracking. Like me and writing. Darned back-tracking....

One Bear left in the Sue Rowe Studios Facebook Page "30 Bear Challenge." I think he is finished. I keep asking husband and daughter for advice and they give it. He will be posted tomorrow. Then it will be on to the next "30" Challenge. for some reason "30" is a good number for me to work with. It's short  enough to see the end but long enough to appear as a solid block of work. I give thanks for 30 Things at least once a day. Often they are repeats but I make the attempt to bring a wide variety of thoughts into the list. Almost always on is "I'm thankful that i can still hear." The head is "loud" tonight, whether from weather or possible gluten intolerance (Yes, I made oatmeal chocolate chips cookies recently (double batch, with butter). Still no answers.

Anyway, it's time to get back to the challenge of writing. NO EXCUSES!

So, on to a fresh cup of boring herbal tea and seeing who gets voted off of "Survivor." Surviving is good. On to our possibly record breaking may snowfall and continuing the starting over.

Play in dirt, or with dough, or with crayons this week!??!

Festivals and art fairs start for us in two weeks. Come visit!


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Yet Another Start

ABeen away, now we're back. No excuses. On to the the day.

A recent bear from my 30 Bear Challenge on Facebook. Scraps of soft pastel on scrap of velour matboard. Finished image would mat to 7" x 5."

Progressions: 1)

No thoughts except "bear" and "highlights," and "fit image to mat." This is a scary time. But one must keep going.

2) Keep going. Keep going.

I have large hands. Fingers don't like working with bits, chips, and small pieces of pastel. "Tough," I tell them, "It's our mission to use these tiny colors to possibly create some new beauty." "We NEED more BEAUTY," I tell fingers. (This is a lie. I simply want to use up more bits of pastel.) Time to break out of the blue and see what happens. Come on, little pastels, you can do it!

3) A bruin is appearing. I want it to be Joyful. Lift those arms skyward! Pick up those feet! Fingers, grab that lovely intense light blue! And more yellow! Make tentative marks within the bold ones! (Sadly, I'm quite good at making tentative marks. Be brave enough to go for Bold!)

"Why is that line of bright green dots there?," you ask. For Fun! And perhaps - a bit a Stability.  And a wish for Spring in this white white Upper Midwest. And because I love that color.

4) Keep making marks, keep making decisions. Blend some parts. Keep other spots untouched. This is the time of Tiny Miracles. Don't go too fast. (I almost always go too fast.) Let the image form. More decisions. More marks. Good thing that pastel on velour mat-board is quite forgiving and one can re-work areas deemed in need of such. (Recalling pen-and-ink horrors... I shall not elaborate...)

At this point I have no "good" reasons for placing colors, other then feel for composition and an unbalanced balance. Six colors used so far. Is that enough? For this piece, probably. But one must keep options open. It's fun to work with abstract shapes after most often drawing blue "lakes" and green "trees." It's scary to dare to play. But fun to have fun. This bear is making me happy. This piece might be a 'successful" piece. I try not to care. I'm one who likes succeeding, darn it. But the end seems to be near - that's a whole other problem....

5) I keep fitting the matting over the image. Choosing the final cropping. At this size an eighth of an inch can make a big difference. And I know that the finished piece will be used in cards and a variety of reproductions. An 10 x 8 reproduction crop differently than a 6 x 4 image for a greeting card. Now we're starting to leave the Fun and return to Business. Sigh. Keep adding high-lights! Stay with the Joy!  You can do it. You can do it! A few more marks, a couple more blends. One more look overall. And, ta da!, let's consider this bruin done. 

Now it's time to relax and enjoy the results. This piece came quite easily - whatever THAT means. One is not often so lucky. And there are so many small bits of pastel left...

But we'll leave them for another day.

Hoping this piece inspires YOU to pick up something and make your own marks. 

Time to get back to transplanting zinnias and tomatoes and starting to plant the beloved Sweet Basil.


Friday, March 1, 2013

Desk and Journals - 10

One More Part of ChallengeAccomplished!

Hard to believe. The once-more-than-crammed-full-of-papers drawer has been emptied!

Emptied, turned over and particles knocked into waste basket, lovingly dusted, showed off to impressed husband, and carefully returned to old solid grooves. Yes, it now houses  few things - the one gallon sized plastic bag of saved papers, a small cutting board, some "I'm taking a long walk," "Dad & I are on the long walk," "I'm walking to Greeley" notes that get re-used through the year. That's all.

That was yesterday's fifteen minute adventure.

Today's was taking papers from the bag and cutting and folding some to be made into more small journals. Eight journals worth of papers are out of one bag and into another. Ye haw. Or Woo Hoo.

Yes, these days the tiniest of baby steps are semi-exciting.

Here are bags: Think what you will -

Journals to the left, useful paper to the right. And, yes, I got picky about the papers. So now the question is what will happen when MORE paper wants to find it's way into this desk? That's when discipline and judgement will come into serious play.

On the artsy side - March 2-3 will find us vending at the Hilldale Center in Madison, Wisconsin, and the following week we plan to be at Green Bay, Wis's Arti Gras Art Festival (right across from Lambeau Field).

This morning cashews were the subject of sketching. And a snack after breakfast.

Now it's time to quit this fun and get on to making signage for the show.

"Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties and obstacles vanish into air." - John Quincy Adams.
Or one can hope...

Do something fun. Make someone happy.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Desk and Journals - 9

Thoughts and actions while continuing the cleaning of The Junk Drawer - 15 minutes worth, but worth it.

1) I want to have the energy of squirrels.
2) I don't particularly care for the cereal grain, quinoa. Tried. Tried Tried. Failed.
3) The white noise of You Tube waterfalls doesn't stop the shaking in my head. (medical mystery continues)
4) Will we get Lucky at Goodwill today? (No.)
5) Even Schubert on radio and waterfalls on computer don't drown out chiming.
6) The grey squirrels still can't do the black squirrel "trick" of getting to the cylindrical bird feeder and it's suet container. They can get to the feeder top - but the next step, so to speak, is still beyond them. Educational and entertaining.
7) I've tossed an original bear drawing from 1998. Sorry Tina Bear.
8) Saved original drawing of Steve Bear from 1998. Text on drawing: All night long Steve waited for the fun to begin. And into the early morning hours as well. (Who knew how fitting this is to living right now?) Steve, ol' lad, you're safe for now.
9) Tossed old Sojourner Studios model horse tack order forms. Memories of a former life. Four-month backlogs of orders for tiny leather saddles, bridles, harnesses. Twenty years of good memories.Yes, you might live many lives. By choice or by circumstance. Make the most of each life you live - and move on, if possible, if you feel that the current one is not the one that's making you want to wake up and start the day. (Do as I say, not as I do - hahaha.)
10) Saved numbered forms from previous Name the Bread contests. Numbered to 20, plus an Extra Credit space. Wow. We must have been ambitious in the party's bread sculpting that year. This year we managed ten doughy creations. (If you get bored with living knead some bread dough and shape it into whatever you choose. The rising dough may surprise you - but it might be fun, and, cross-fingers, the results will be delicious.)

So that's it for 15 minutes in my chinging dinging brain. The drawer is 15 minutes more organized, blogging's accomplished, and much of the day remains.

One on-going pastel project:

It's a bit more finished now, but you can see how the playing starts.


On to the art fair applications.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Getting Ready for The Season

* Time to put more paint on board.
* Will still spend 15 minutes on that Desk Drawer Challenge this morning.
* Here's some bears for the day:

Make this day remarkable in some small or giant way?


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Desk and Journals - 8

Back at the task.

 Here was the drawer this morning - sigh.

Slightly disheartening? NO! Three 15 minutes Challenges later we have a lighter drawer, 17..... 17.....professionally printed To Do Lists - argh, and a bunch of paper squares cut in sizes from 3 1/2" to 5 " square. Useful little beasties - some to keep. Some to bring, TODAY, to American Gothic Antiques. Will also share several To Do Lists - woo hoo!

To Do Lists = Guilt about not filling out To do Lists? Not anymore. My lists are kept in small spiral notebooks that keeps the lists together - for better or for worse. Much better system for my little brain, but it keeps the non-checked-off items in plain sight. I use only one notebook at a time, so even though the un-done items stay at hand,  the checked-off items give a tiny thrill of accomplishment. We all need tiny Thrills of Accomplishment from time to time.

Tiny Thrill? Seeing the wooden bottom of the drawer! A sew square inches of emptiness of paper! Huzzah!

Baby steps. Baby steps. Maybe I'll grab a bag from the drawer and bring it to work today. A bag of paper and our smallest paper cutter? It will be "busy work," but part of the Big Challenge. Justify! Justify!

And what would an organized junk paper drawer look like? I'm planning on 4 to 6 plastic bags with different sized papers. Not helter-skelter. Neat. Purposeful. Possible? On to it.

Time, also, to keep applying to the various art festivals. Not may favorite part of the process, but that's the way the system works. Makes me want to keep sorting junky paper, but then the bears couldn't go visit all those events in the Midwest that they enjoy being part of (poor grammar - yup).

On to the tasks on this nippy day. Bundle up if going out in our beloved Midwest! Have enough gas in the vehicles, and non-slip foot-ware on your feet. Chopper mitts and serious boots are dress code for the day!


Monday, February 18, 2013


Greetings -
Yes, we will get back to desk and journals, but first it's time to get back to typing.
Today's Topic: Candles

Yes, I've finally converted. It's been many months of lighting at least one candle for part of the day. For the fun of playing with matches. For the friendly glow. For the using up of storage locker treasures.

No, the lighting of the large pale green one did not help the Green Bay Packers in that last play-off game. But, yes, the hope that it might was the reason it was kept burning. No, these are not  new special candles. These are large, once-upon-a-time expensive sorts, previously used ones that I'd considered tossing in the trash. However, they seemed to whisper "Hey, we've got LOTS of light left to give, if given the chance. Okie dokie. Let the burning begin!

Once aglow, each candle has it's own personality. It's time to spend time observing wick, flame, orange dots atop wick, black carbon specks, reflections of wax and flame. Reflect some yourself.

Then comes the fun with the single-edged razor blade. Yup. One of the reason I burn candles is to play with them. It's a gentle sort of slash and burn. Shaving the sides down into the hollow creates a shorter candle, but a longer-used candle. And most of us want to be useful as long as possible, don't we?

The green candle's wick finally gave up, but the wax continues to be melted in with other candles. Thanks, green candle. You smelled good, lasted long (heck, a small chunk of you is still here,) you did help the Pack win a few games - ha!, and I will miss you when you are completely melted away. You have been an Excellent Candle. 

This summer I will not pass quickly by those boxes of large, dusty, once-lovely used candles. If priced a quarter or fifty cents, or gasp! FREE, they have a really good chance of going to a good home instead of the garbage pit. I will see them in a new light - yes. And maybe you will, too. 

So, on to the day. In a bit I will blow out the current red candle (getting shorter every day) and head to the Phipps Art Center in Hudson, Wisconsin. We are holding  our first What We Need is Here seminar of the year. 

Candles? What I Need is Here.

If you can - be a light to someone today!