Friday, June 27, 2014

Subtle Changes

Ruts can be comfortable. Created  little by little or in a burst, they, never the less, provide paths to travel or in which to rest. I know my ruts and you know yours.

But sometimes the longer we stay in our rut the deeper it gets, till one day it's become so deep that we can't see over the sides. New day. Same rut. Decision time. Decision time. Time to have a chat with the brain, and for me, also the right hand. Is this rut leading in the direction we want to go? do we dare climb out and head into a whole different world? Is it O.K. to make it to the least deep part and simply veer off toward a slightly new adventure

I was comfortable with the bear-moon-words format. Especially in pastels. Bear facing toward moon. Symmetrical. Solid. Serene. Vary the colors. Vary the background.  Some "better" than others, but most sell. Life is good. But art is starting to become lovely cliche. I've never wanted the bears to become cliches. They have always been meant to be individuals, each living it's own life, on a different night, looking at the same moon, but each in it's own way...

This piece started out with the same format, but I wasn't happy with the image and couldn't figure out why.... This bear wasn't an individual. It was a shape painted in the middle of a picture. Life was not good.

Time for daring to change the direction of the rut - just a bit. Acrylic paint on board is slightly more forgiving than pastel on paper. The many starts, stops, wipings-out, adding ins are not evident, but eventually they added up to a piece that I can consider finished. I like the slight twist of head and body. I like the asymmetric shape. It's somehow a tad more alive. This bear might be done sitting pretty soon. It might be deciding right now to head in a new direction.

All because of a few subtle changes.

 Dare to make a few yourself today??

This bruin, and many more, will be heading to the Spring Green, WI Art Fair this weekend.

Time to quit sitting in comfortable couch "rut," talk myself into ignoring "loudly" chiming head, and get on with the packing. The garden is starting to look like a garden, but... ahem, for gardens, fields, and art fairs alike: WE DON"T NEED THE COMING RAIN.

Craving some Summer sunshine -

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Head is in fog today. No ambition. Too much to do. Not even energy to pick up pen to make that List of Too Many Things to Do Today. Argh. this is NOT how I want to feel. I want to feel frisky, perky, on-the go!!!!!! Nope. In the recliner - in a head-chiming heart-thudding fog. I am a Fog Machine. Oh goodie. lighten the mood and pretend to have accomplished something -  here are a few images of lovely fog (find your art where ever you can):

Hoping the personal fog will lift soon. Hoping your brain is sunny and bright!!

On to prepping art for the Spring Green, Wisconsin, art fair this weekend. A well-juried show in a lovely town. Frank Lloyd Wright Country. Get up, Susan, make yourself a cup of Happy Tea and get on with the best June 25, 2014 that we will ever have!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

More Cup Thoughts

A paper cup is a paper cup. Tea is tea. When the tea is gone the cup remains. A plain paper cup. Now I have a habit. The cups are not so much containers for tea but containers for play. Playing with paper. Me? Play with paper????        hahahahahhahaha.

Here are two recent goofings-off:

This one has  red Higgins drawing ink brushed liberally over much of it's surface. USING UP ART SUPPLIES! THAT'S OUR MOTTO!!! Well, sort of. Used up some. Did color before planned text. That's a lie. I seldom/never plan text. But it's good to have a theme. Plan your words and images around a theme. Pick a Theme! Any Theme! Lines are a thicker Sharpie Marker. Colors, other than red ink, are Prismacolor pencils.

Recently Tara stitched me a many-pocketed pencil carrier out of some nifty fabrics. This is A Good Thing. Roll out the colors! Sorted to rainbow theme, with extra pockets for colors we can't see in rainbows. Little time needed to sort through choices. Sorry, clear plastic bags - we have a winner! Inspiration was make-up brush bag. My two are custom-sized - one for mostly colored pencils, another for special pens and other drawing pencils and the like.

Have I mentioned IT'S BEEN RAINING? On track to break all-time rain amount for June in Minnesota. Not a record farmers, boaters, and folks who want to play on weekends care to see broken... Did I mention vegetation is quite GREEN????? All green all the time???? Thus, this cup:

Again, thick Sharpie and Prismacolor pencils. It doesn't take much.

Still trying to decide how to create a coherent group out of all these once-cups. For now I will probably punch a hole in upper left corner of each and put them on a metal ring. Can't have them all running wild in their slow flat way.

If you can - take 5 or 10 minutes to write a thought, draw a flower, or scribble "breathe enjoy look up look down look across" on a small scrap of something. The day might be better for having done it.

It's time to "accomplish something."
We will be doing the Art Fair in Spring Green, WI, this weekend. Booth 105B. (I would wish for two nice-weather days - yup, I would.) Come by and say Hi!


Monday, June 23, 2014

30 Thankfuls Again

Greetings -

In no particular order, this warm pleasant sunny Monday  morning I am Thankful for:

1) living on top of high hill in Stillwater, MN
2) being able to eat breakfast in dry patio
3) seeing a bee
4) blooming delphiniums
5) head not being quite so "loud" as yesterday
6) Minnesota Public Radio - Classical Station
7) You Tube audiobook offerings of "Moby Dick" complete text (Thankful AND Excited...)
8) Very gren baby basils, lettuce, kale, tomatoes, sunflowers, etc.
9) being "lucky" enough to be able to type this before going to work 30 feet away
10) sunlight on damp ground all around
11) having a "free" weekend the past two day - to semi-refresh/get more work done on acrylic paintings
12) family and friends - forever and always
13) the Masterpiece Theater Mystery episode starring David Tennant ending the way it did.
14) the color Scarlet Red
15) kale
17) broadband internet
18) Sharpie Markers
19) fences
20) Lyle Lovett
22) tennis racquets better than last year's ( not that it matters)
23) caring about living life again (yes, the opposite happens)
24) Coconut Rough herbal tea (Thanks, Karen O'NZ!)
25) the Beautiful Cat That Is Not Ours (unless it get to "our" squirrels)
26) pecans
27) a semi-clean work desk
28) a mostly-weeded vegetable  garden
29) the new watch
30) crows


* Oh, and of course, this bear showing up (Yup - work in progress):

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


This is not a post about Warm and Fuzzy. It is going to at least start out about being Flawed and yet Somehow O.K. And will end up were it does.

Last week I set some peanut butter out for whoever got to it first. Tara and I eat only almond butter these days (health reasons), Todd eats Skippy from grocery stores. We found some out-dated, opened stuff in box from a storage locker buy and didn't feel urge to finish it. But, re-use recycle - put some in feeders and other places out doors and see what happens.

This is one thing that happened:

This crow wasn't messing around. Grabs large clump of drying peanut butter, pauses a moment, and flies off. To make toast? Find a cracker? Mysteries remain.

Yes, it's a "bad" photo. Yes, I've taken many focused photos of "our" crows. But when it came to possibly deleting this one.....  I still can not. There are enough story lines here to keep my little brain entertained and enough abstract crow shape and color to keep my eye entertained. You will make your decisions about the image. That is how life should be. I will not waste time defending this picture as a "good" picture. But it is good enough for me. At least for now. That is what is important. Feel secure enough to make your own value judgements - regardless of popular views, regardless of topics.

This can be difficult to do. I love the movie, "Animal House." During college days a friend and I went to see it. The dead horse scene sent me into hysterics. Friend was not amused - at all. Perhaps because I'd dealt with actual  deaths of ponies and horses, as well as a number of other animals (farm family...), and had gone through all the many emotions that go along with these experiences, for some reason I found the "Animal House" doings truly FUNNY - in a "hey, this is a film that is a COMEDY" way. In a horrible way - but Funny, none-the-less. We walked out of the theater writing completely different reviews in our heads. We'd made our judgements - and were true to our selves.

We make judgements all the time, every day. This crow judged this peanut butter Fine and Dandy, and came back for more later.

It's time to quit typing and get on with a walk. The brain has to de-fuzz. We have an art fair in Grand Forks, North Dakota this weekend. I am not prepared. But am trying to be O.K. in a Zen way. My sister's attitude is most often: Things are the way because that's the way they are supposed to be.

I'm not quite there yet. Strive and Lazy are my personal Yin Yang. Too many ideas, plans. Too much time spend on Facebook or sorting things that might not be Priority One sortings. And always judging and then forgetting to judge (prioritize). Yup, this brain is one weird glob of dried out and/or too oily nut butter. Hoping that a crow won't be picking at it soon.

"We find what we expect to find, and we receive what we ask for." - Elbert Hubbard

And on to we all doing something today worth crowing about!


Monday, June 9, 2014

June 9th - Possibilities

No, the 30 Things in 30 Days has not gone as planned.
No, the Facebook Page 30 Bear Challenge has not been finished.
No, the garden is not completely planted.

Yes, we had a great time in Chicago.
Yes, I could still be walking slowly through the Edward Gorey exhibits.
Yes, I was cheering for Rafa Nadal to win The French Open Championship in the tennis world.

Maybe we all have too much planned to do.
Maybe the sun will come out today (crossing fingers, but without much hope.)
Maybe Delight can be found in Green against Grey.

Have as Glorious Day, or Small Bits of Glorious, as you possibly can. I will try, too.

That is all.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

June 5th - Adventure Time

It's a Gorgeous Early Start to the Day. Calm sunny blue. Just enough moisture in the gargens (not all planted yet). The iris are spectacular. Iris Lesson (sad): While tying stalks up in advance of windy forecast, I snapped off an unopened stalk covered with buds. Hoping for possible blooms I sat the stalk in a lovely vase filled with water. Yup, after a week and a half that's what we ended up with. A stalk of unopened iris in a lovely vase.... I'm sorry, iris.

Daughter and I are off to Chicago today. Tara as a piece in a fashion exhibit featuring instructors and alumni from Columbia College. The opening is tonight in whatever they call the Sears Tower now. Tara graduated in 2009, and, though we'd drive down four to six times a year during her college stay, I have not be back since then.

Excited to have two exhibitions on Edward Gorey showing at Loyola College Museum of Art. I have loved his quirky work since discovering it longer ago than I can remember. We see how much the eyes and brain can suck in. He IS one of my major inspirations - art, text, working small often. My university had to invent a a degree major in Drawing so my tiny pen-and-ink efforts would be legit - ha!

Gorey's work gives the brain freedom to move freely within his odd worlds, both small and huge. He gives life to Stick Pins and Quirky Victorian folks alike. He wasn't afraid to make us deal with situations absurd AND scary. Well, scary to me. Funny scary.

On a very unfunny scary note - please remember D-Day tomorrow. Even with the film footage, photographs, audio records, and stories shared around tables where World War II veterans share just some of their memories, we can have no real comprehension of what it was to hit those beaches and climb those cliffs. Bowing with respect to those thousands, living and dead, who made the plans possible and accomplished. Hats off to you all!

Now it is time to look around the green backyard, admire the bleeding heart, cheer on the basils and lettuces, and baby sunflowers. Milkweeds are planning for butterflies, feeders are prepped for birds (and squirrels). We are lucky to have a backyard that's green and thriving. If art wasn't needed to be worked on and travels not headed out on, yes, I'd garden till I didn't want to anymore. Have never given me that gift.... hmmm. Some day?

Give yourself a small wonderful gift of some kind today? It might be a well-derserved ice-cream cone, fifteen minutes sitting by a river, a few pages in a too-long neglected book (yes, "Moby Dick" is coming along for the ride).

Our next art fair will be June 15-16 in Grand Forks, North Dakota. We will be staying at a nice little motel on the Minnesota side of Grand Forks, within blocks of our booth. And, yes, the art fair IS on both sides of the Red River - a one town two-state art festival. And it's a good one! The volunteers make our stay pleasant. Giant puppets parade around (more scary stuff for wussy me!), and it's in the midst of potato farming on a scale unknown to our family's little Potato River Farms doings back home in Gurney, Wisconsin. Still, I somehow feel "at home" driving past the many giant spud warehouses. Sugar beets and all their processing? Umm... not so much.

On that sweet note - it's time for tea, checking off the last few things on the lists, and heading for Chi Town. I'm sure many residents there were hoping to be cheering on their Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Playoffs right now, but Penny C. and The Rolling Stones and most of us know "You Can't Always Get What You Want."

I want a tiny adventure. We'll see ya when we see ya!