Friday, November 28, 2014

The Day After

The day after Thanksgiving Day finds me picking up a different guitar and attempting to remember simple chords and country songs from long ago. I was never a "good" player, but spent enough hours being bad that I sure can appreciate the great guitarists of olden days and now. The ones who play like fast calm butter. the ones who simply become the music. I can't do that.

We also have a really good banjo. Garage sales can be mystical things...  So THAT beastie is waiting it's turn to be tortured by my hands.

I LOVE music. But am not good at making it. Brain, eyes, and hands do not cooperate. Begged to stop taking piano lessons at age thirteen. Permission granted. Tortured grand-school music teach during clarinet lessons. Mostly all I recall is never making it past squawking sounds AND breaking way too many reeds. Sorry, Mom, we need more reeds... That year's experience is usually shoved WAY BACK in brain's many dark drawers. When art career begin I drew a clarinet as greeting card. Text: She preferred Death to going on with the clarinet. (Sold it quite quickly - I have soul mates...)

In between I was spending a teen-aged week with Uncle Dave and Aunt Martha. Uncle Dave sort of "forced" me to learn a few chords on his 12-string guitar. I could do "Proud Mary." Later, from high school graduation money I bought myself a guitar as present. Sadly, it was not one that wanted to stay in tune, but it got me through many a James Taylor  and Bob Dylan tune, and us through some 4-H accompanying stints. ("Goodbye, Old Paint" is a song I may never sing or play again.) That guitar taught me that rum and cokes can "tune" a guitar, but only as long is under the influence of rum and cokes.

Years passed. I started watching YouTube videos of great guitarists - blues, classical, Mark Knopfler playing with Chet Atkins, etc etc.

It is time to return to learning. Just for fun. And me. I pity that new guitar; and yes, the old one will be a garage sale or flea-market offering (priced accordingly) so I pity it's new owner a little.

Time to move forward into this grey day. Re-learned chords to "The House of the Rising Sun" this morning. Life is slightly better.

Dare to Learn/DO something New today? On to the Adventure!


Thursday, November 27, 2014

30 Thankfuls

Today, Thanksgiving Day, the only Nov. 27th, 2014 we will ever have I am thankful (not in order, but mostly for fun) -

4)sweet potatoes
5)not having to host Thanksgiving feast for extended family
6)friendly Facebook "blips" from computer throughout the morning's cooking
6)extra butter. (Perhaps more about that in a post about dyslexia...)
9)enough sunflower seeds, shelled corn, and suet for the crew feating in backyard
11) The Yellow Bowl
12)folks who post usable recipes on World Wide Web
13)Summer Memories

Evergreen Tree at Community Center during Gurney 100th Year Anniversary

14)making new friends & seeing old ones during art fair adventures
15)relatively good health throughout the year
21)ART of so many kinds

22)model horse show memories
Badgerland - long years ago!

23)being able to have lived many different lives
24)not caring about really correct grammar and punctuation today
24)Arron Rodgers saying "R-E-L-A-X (Go Pack!!!!)
25)our January adventure to Lambeau Field - even though Tara and my Green and Gold folks lost that battle
26)both  grown tykes living, I hope, happily.
27)more of certain art supplies than I will use in my lifetime. Come play?
28)having more Holiday Spirit this year than in quite a while. (No, I do not know why.)
29)just enough snow
30)that this typing is finished before the brussels sprouts dish has to be taken out of oven

And that there way more than Thirty things that I'm thankful for on this Day of Thanksgiving.

Fare-thee-well, and Happy Thanksgiving!

- Sue 
(I'm clicking on Publish - typos or no typos. "r-e-l-a-x....")

Monday, November 17, 2014

Grey Day - Summer Color

Some days we just need that tiny bit of Hope....

Here are a few images from 2014's Greener Times here in Stillwater. They won't melt the Cold Big White that is right outside of our doors, but the  might help warm the heart. 

Earlier in the Summer - my very favorites...

I often use a black piece of mat board in order to focus on details.

I am not a fan of most floral images that seem more Specimen shots than work that is more Art. Giant color fields of cropland is an exception. Bring on those fields!

And one final boom of COLOR:

YAY for Big Pink on a Grey/White Day!!!
Now back  to prepping for the remaining art fairs in metro area and Wisconsin, and making art for Art Show here in Stillwater that hangs on Wednesday. No pressure!

Next art fair will be Saturday, Nov., 22, at Edina, MN's, Christ Presbyterian Church, 6901 Normandale Rd. Edina. 9 - 4. For more information: CPCONLINE.ORG/HOLIDAYBOUTIQUE, or call 952-920.8585. Lots of wonderful artists/craftsfolk. Good food. (I'm not looking up potential weather forecast yet.)

Then we will be attending Dec. 6th craft festival at Color Crossing in Roberts, WI, and the next weekend we will be bopping down to The Very Merry at Baraboo, WI. (Dec. 13-14.) Our goodies are also available year-round at a number of galleries and shops, from Art Dock in Duluth, to No Rules in Spring Green, WI. Check web-site for more info.

Now it's time to bundle up in this lovely nine degree weather and work a shift at American Gothic Antiques in downtown Stillwater. not dealing with awful travel conditions. Thoughts are with you doing the white-knuckled trek.

Forward and onward - 

 FB Page: Sue-Rowe-Studios

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Drawing in Coffeeshops

Oh, dear.
I love drawing in coffee shops.
Or small cafes.
Or the bakery - if table space allows.

Needs are simple: chair, sketchbook or papers, pen, pencil, marker, beverage, and maybe something to nibble on.

Good company can add or be a distraction.
It's great is sound system is playing good quiet jazz music and the surrounding chatter is not too loud.

The drawing to be discussed was played with while visiting Stillwater, MN's Tin Bin. This eatery is housed in the former Commander Mill grain elevator, and the folks who re-designed the place did not mess around. There are large windows for watching St. Croix River action - or non-action. Nooks and crannies in which to sit. Full bar. A counter-level fireplace for winter warming. A SCRABBLE game. Great selection of bakery. Other goodies for chomping through the day. Beverages from coffee and herbal teas  to beer and wine. Friendly staff. Live music on many weekends. Like I said - they didn't mess around. It has become the go-to place. Sorry, other local places.

As shown by date - this sketch was done March 8th of this year. A pleasant Winter Saturday morning. I went with Tara and one of her friends. We had to sit across from "our" table because people were sitting at "our" table. Tara and friend chatted about stuff. I pulled out sketchbook.

Simply started from upper left corner and worked away down the page. Pentel Pocket Brush Pen for black lines.  Worked on changing up kinds of lines.  Aimed for "loose" but relatively accurate. Didn't THINK too much. Tried to allow the brush tip "dance" across the paper. Just let the brush do what brushes do. Then added Prismacolor colored pencils (small short selection from Altoid box) for bit of color. Hmm.... room at bottom for drawing the drawing I'm drawing? That was Fun.

The black tote at right top has a "Coraline" theme. Quote drawn on table's edge is taken from bag's advice: "Be careful what you wish for." Thanks for the reminder, Neil Gaiman.  So very true - but that topic is for a different day!

No, it is not the perfect sketch. Yes, it has some perspective problems. (Don't we all?) But it holds memories of a lovely Winter morning in a warm establishment, with hot beverages and warm friendships. And a Life Lesson. Pretty good for a short time scribbling in a small sketchbook.

Daughter is now living in Southern California. California has coffee shops. But it doesn't have Tin Bin. Wish I could beam a large warm muffin your way, Tara. With two butters!

On to the day. An Art-Making Day. (Because I JUST FOUND OUT YESTERDAY that the bears were accepted for a one-month show at the art center here in Stillwater. That's a topic for a Serious Serendipity post some day!)


FB Page: Sue-Rowe-Studios

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Thankful - And Again

Today I am Thankful for (in no particular order):

1) this MacBook laptop computer.
2) the friends it allows me to talk with almost instantly.
3) bunny videos on YouTube.
4) we didn't get most of the weather forecast for the past two days.
5) time to make a cup of tea
6) a good variety of herbal teas from which to choose.
7) knowing what we have to bring for Thanksgiving Dinner.
8) knowing that we don't have to host Thanksgiving Dinner.
9) those who host Thanksgiving Dinners.
10) images of Garden 2014:

BIG GREEN!!!!!!!!!

11) Todd vacuuming the living room yesterday.
12)being given probably a life-time supply of certain Prismacolor colored pencils!
13) being able to deliver art for Phipps Center for the Arts gift shop today instead of on the worst day of recent storm.
14) bacon.
15) our adult children having a bunch of excellent friends.
16) most excellent friends - and most excellent relatives.
17) not shoveling and plowing our way through 24 inches of snow in my hometown of Gurney, Wisconsin. Happy Winter, everybody!?!
18) words that can change color with a single Clink!
19) a large card order that was picked up and paid for yesterday. 

20) THIS sort of thing not happening here everyday:


21) not being able to recall the oops moment happening.
22) heavy-duty lined leather boots.
23) being able to donate books/art magazines to Hudson, Wisconsin's Little Library. Little Libraries are Awesome!!
24) my head's dinging slightly less "loudly" this morning - huzzah. (Ya take what ya can get!)
25) the last of the garden kale made into crunchy chips.
26) that, through this practice, perhaps I have persuaded a few readers into giving Thanks or being Grateful for slightly more than three things each day.
27) being able to check "BLOG!!" off the day's list - and probably do it before 8 A.M!
28) food, and toothbrushes, and electricity.
29) people who write and publish books.

30) good local coffee shops in which to sit and sketch (though I don't go as often as I should anymore. - hmm - maybe today?)

May your day go as you wish it to go - mostly. 
Off to light the candles for those who need and want them. 
Mainly 'cause I like goofing off with lighters and hot flaming wax. 
And Thinking of Folks who might need a Good Thought.


P.S.: The polar bear from yesterday is now finished, matted, and available for sale. $60.00 - postage paid. Can't keep 'em all!

FB Page: Sue-Rowe-Studios

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


First - Thank You, Veterans!!

Now, on to "lighter" stuff.

Polar On!

Taking up a page in a Strathmore Toned Gray 5.5 in. x 8.5" sketchbook and stealing a pose from a real bear's image I start with a quick scribble with White Prismacolor pencil.

Just to see how the pencil plays with the paper. Sort of "slippery" and sliding on the "medium" tooth of this surface. Not as catchy as I'd hoped, but, what the heck, let's move forward.

Staying with white pencil I blocked in shape of bear. No real thought of real finished drawing. Trying to channel polar bear. Trying to channel polar bear. These bears are large, lanky, fast, and heavily-furred. Drawing to convey bulk and weight. And design. Polar bears are very well designed for their environment. Dense, yet Streamlined. Ears lie very close to head; not the large furry loops seen on black bears. Scribble scribble.

 Now, playing with adding bulk, shape, and a bit of shading. Because I seldom want to convey my bears as realistic beings I am more concerned with getting a spirit in the piece rather than making an exactly anatomically correct drawing. These bears aren't really loose collections of bones twirling in  white fur bags - but I sort of like to think they could be. On to some color!

A little bit of this. A little bit of that. Playing with graphite pencil; Violet, Cool Grey 30%, Lemon Yellow, Olive Green, Poppy Red, Crimson Red, Coral (Prismacolor). Playing playing. Working to get sense of Warm Sun playing across right side of head and most of body. Changing shape of mouth from source image. This is one Calm but Happy Basking Bear. Scribble scribble. Starting to see where the yellow will go. Starting toward making bear's form more solid. Slippery layer upon layer upon layer.

Adding Black to the mix, and fun with Derwent Metallic pencils - Yellow and Purple. And. gasp!, Crayola Sky Blue. Why Crayola? Because it was the first medium blue my fingers touched while searching through pencil bag. (In addition to the pencils stored in the beautiful cloth pencil holder our daughter stitched up I have a few stashes of pencils kept in gallon-sized plastic bags. And two small stashes of really short pencils in old Altoid boxes. (Focus, Susan - back to main topic!)

More layering and pondering. A touch here a wonder there. Knowing that head isn't drawn EXACTLY correctly, but practicing not caring too much. Layer Layer Layer. Longer strokes. Shorter strokes. Experimenting with subtle areas. A few darker marks to lips, eyes, and ears. Lots more Yellow. Lots more White. More shorter strokes. Think "Thicker Fur. Thicker Fur." Trying to decide what my mission is which this bear. Words and sentences come to mind, but I do not add them to the drawing. Hmm. And didn't write them on a scrap of paper or in a notebook. This was probably a mistake. Always try to have a blank piece of paper nearby incase THE Idea strikes. I know that three or four useable sentences floated in and out of the brain. Bye bye, Ideas. But if you care to come back, well, this time I've got paper.

Here is what I decided was the finished bruin:

And, as with so many of my sentences, the above is a lie. Now this "final" photograph shows clear areas that can be improved. And they will be. but not right now. The day holds many other tasks. But this was Fun And Educational to me. And I hope that you learned something, too!

Here be Pencils (sorry, you few that got left out):


FB Page: Sue-Rowe-Studios

Friday, November 7, 2014

Weeks Zip By

Another week has zipped by. Not without noting. Noting mainly in small notebooks, long skinny lists of things to do, lots of posts on Facebook.

The Mr. Jades appear to be Happy indoors. The two geraniums whisper that they would prefer a tad more sunlight. Sorry, geraniums - where you are is the best we can do. (This house was not built with thriving houseplants in mind.) Out in the garden chard and kale nap under sheets for a few more days. I harvest smaller and smaller leaves, but take joy in knowing that these plants are still producing delicious green goodness in early November. Sort of makes our late wet cold Spring more O.K. (Just a little.) Hoping to plant some bulbs, but this is not top priority today. Will wait for even colder weekend - that's my style!

Here's an early morning scribble - taken from an essay on the "On Being" web site. (Sharpie Marker & Prismacolor colored pencils)

I really like these sentences. They give us will to do what can't be done. I have a friend or two in Artist Land that do impossible things because they don't know certain things can't be done!  Kassie did her work among the poor and homeless. We can do impossible things in so many ways! We must remember this.  And of course we must keep on doing the possible things, too. And find time for rest and reflection. And fun. And exercize. And Hope.

If you figure out how - please let me know!!


P.S.: Peggy's Holiday Boutique (Roseville, MN) ends this Sunday. Chickadee Boutique (Shoreview, MN) ends in a few weeks. We are re-stocking goodies for Brickyard Pottery (Shell Lake, WI), Art Dock Gallery (Duluth, MN), and Old Time Mall (Tomahawk, WI).

Go do some impossible thing today. How's that for a Challenge?!
FB Page: Sue-Rowe-Studios

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Keeping Going.

Typing just to type.
Sometimes a person must simply show up.

It you make art you are an Artist.
If you write you are a Writer.
If you blog you are a Blogger.

What you do isn't always WHO you are.

Try to be the You you know yourself to be.


Now it's time to be a Book-keeper. Hip hip hooray!