Friday, June 30, 2017

100 Happy Bears - Done and Done

Am sitting back in The Daily Grind.
Got some free plants for the garden from the co-op. Journaled Three Morning Pages - no, not immediately after waking up - as is the prompt. But a few hours later - when a few things had been accomplished, but not yet enough.

I scribble to calm the brain - and to note the times - and to see what I might be thinking.

Here are the last three Happy Bears - 

Gouache on smooth watercolor paper. Able to be matted to a 5" x 7" windowed mat. I put down three light washes, grabbed a STAEDTLER 0.05 pigment liner, and started in from the left. One never knows who is in a pen or marker. And I didn't know if the colors would bleed into each other. This combination worked very well. I will do more work in this way.

Now it is time to leave the safe bubble of a local coffee shop. I've been here about two hours. Through combination of a little internets music, a peek at Facebook, scribbling in  a cheap notebook, and typing on an expensive MacBook the brain is almost calm and ready to hit the road.

June's Personal Challenge has been met. Yippee! I am a bit happier - if only for being forced to "think Happy." Seeing the resulting bruins BEING joyful did make me smile at times. And social media comments by others helped lift the mood. 

I am sad that June is over, our days are getting shorter, and that summer is almost at an end. (Yes, I am a perverse individual.) But I have a little more hope for the future. Any is more than none - haha. And the garden needs me. Or I need the garden. Sunflowers are giving hope. Fennel and dill are waiting to help make butterflies. Pots and other containers remain unfilled. The hammock is still in the garden shed... But sunshine is warming the back. More hope and happy.

On to last-minute prepping for the Shell Lake (WI) Art Fair tomorrow. A one day show before a series of full weekend festivals. and the one day Stockholm, Wisconsin Art Festival. That planned zipping down to Breyerfest in Lexington, Kentucky FOR ONE DAY, in between art festivals is still in the hoped-for plans.
Todd said,"We haven't done anything crazy yet this year." That adventure is kind of crazy.

So, do something crazy. Do something that will make you happy. 
And may your holiday weekend go as you choose.

Sue Rowe

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Last First - First Last

Apologies (sort of) to dear readers for inane thoughts and typings.

Today is not about High Quality. It is all about Quantity. I am shallow. I type on.

But this will be the last of seven posts. Two cups of de-caf coffee and a few bites of a Mexican Chocolate Biscotti. A typer's gotta consume what a typer's gotta consume.

And the thing about completing a Project/Challenge is that even if it isn't very good it it none the less DONE. One has finished a thing! This is good for the spirit. One can go back and refine, re-write, regret.

So - if you have down time and wish to go along for The Seven Blog Post ride - here is the start and here is the finish!

"Nice to meet you," says the multi-facetted investment banker who sat at next table most of the morning. We'd come in when all the tables with electrical outlets where in use. We sat in comfy chairs. Read the paper a little. Oddly, two spaces opened up at same time. He saw them first. We congratulated each other on gaining the spaces. Simple pleasures and all. His name is Todd. Although he is a banker he would also like to be an artist.  I will not doubt this. Parts of me might want to be in banking...

Though the hours that table fills with other company - talk of sports, sports cars. We like Ford pick-up trucks. We like muscle cars. The guys talked about piano lessons. Really. They would like to start taking them again.

On that note - there is still much to put the day to - but the blogging has been blogged. Seven of seven.

Time to free up this seat and get off my butt.


Mr. Teal

Once in a while the exact right person comes into the booth.

This lovely lady bonded with "Mr. Teal" at Duluth, Minnesota's Park Point Art Festival this past Saturday.
She is a quilter. She loved color. She loved "Mr. Teal." Fancy that?

She loved "Mr. Teal" enough to purchase him. That is true love.

I hope that they will be very happy together.

A warm-hearted moment on a cold windy day!

Saturday, July 1st will find us at the Shell Lake Art Fair in Shell Lake, Wisconsin. After one more blog - back to the paint and brushes.

"So it goes." - Kurt V.

- Sue

Backstretch - But Reversed

This is where it gets "hard." Not in hard labor. Just in O.K., Brain, put some words into your friends the Fingers. Fingers would happily go it alone, but results might be be readable. you know how independent fingers can be. poking in to places they shouldn't be. Pointing at things not to be pointed out. Grabbing stuff that isn't theirs. We have to keep our eyes on our fingers.

A guy and I were just showing our long-ago injured bent fingers to each other - haha!

It is quarter to eleven in the morning. You  know - that quaint concept. Quarter past, half past, quarter to. Round clocks with numbers in a circle. Grandmas taught Time differently.

Oops - now it is 10:52 A.M. Digital time. Central Daylight Time.
I no longer wear a watch. I used to wear a watch ALL the Time. Except when dealing with deep water. I hearted knowing the time.
Now time both excites and haunts me. I live for the few hours and days when "flow" is achieved, and Time means nothing. A whole day when time is measured by occasional glance at sun and shadows is a marvelous, rare, and wonderful day.

Most of my days are tethered to twenty minutes blocks of time. My iPhone timer is my pal. It makes me enjoy focusing. And twenty minutes is a nice bunch of minutes - not too many. Just enough. And often I just click the timer to another twenty. Today "time" is not being a factor. The doing of the blog posts is the focus. Getting there. Getting there. Feeling a tad guilty about taking up coffee shop space, but also not guilty. The sitting here is getting deeds done.

What do you do to get the deeds done?

Two to go! I am almost shallowly excited.
(Insert Inspirational Quote of your choice here.)
(Can you tell that I have had a half-inch of Real Coffee?)


Four - Four

Post - The Fourth.

I am sitting in The Daily Grind coffee shop near the St. Croix River in downtown Stillwater, Minnesota. Yes, I have moved my (mostly) loyalty to Tin Bins at sough end of town to this smaller closer tighter place - aglow today with the most people I've ever seen packed in here.

Might be The Rain. It is raining. Forecast to rain all day. We need it for the soil. But the spirit was just getting used to The Sun.
On of the owners just said that her "brain is like moosh." I think lots of our brains are mooshy today.

The de-caf coffee here is O.K. But I lived most of the weekend sipping and gulping "high-test" real coffee. It was divine. I did all the deeds. I was perky. I felt "good." I was even tired enough by ends of Friday and Saturday that caffeine did not keep me awake. That lovely balance. Monday I paid the price for indulging.

Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" is pouring into head from little earbuds sucking tune from Pandora Radio. How DID we live before these waves of technology? And how will we live with future waves?
"What would Miles Davis do?"

I doubt that he'd be a blogger.

(No, I amnot editting these posts - haha.)

Seven Blogs Today

Personal Challenge Update: I Am running "Behind."

My challenge to myself is to publish at least two hundred posts this year.
It is June 28th.  The year is past half over. (Cannot think about that.)
Number of published pieces is sixty-six. There are a bunch of typings to go.

But some focus is better than none?
The "100 Happy Bear" Challenge is chugging along.
The gardens - well, chugging, trying, and stopped.
Studio organizing? Hahahaha! But it DID get started.
Meeting new interesting people? Yup!
Selling original paintings? Yup!
New designs in the card racks? Yup?
Getting cards and magnet orders out in a timely manner? It depends.

Tonight I plan to drive south an hour to Eau Clair, Wisconsin. the Artisan  Forge Studio complex is hosting an Open House from 5 - 8 PM. I have been wanting to visit a friend's studio there for a couple years. I am (cross fingers) doing this tonight! Gotta keep being a little brave.

But the Wednesday Evening Art doings at our house are cancelled because of this.
None of us can do it all. Some of us are O.K. with knowing this. Others of us are not.

Enough typing for this post. Moving on. Subject? I have no clue.


Challenge - Five Happy Bears

The "100 Happy Bears" Personal Challenge is chuggin' along.

Yesterday's production numbered seventeen! Playing catch up from a pretty much zombie Monday after two day art fair in Duluth, Minnesota. Doing it alone, on a cold, wet, windy weekend finally took a tole. I'd not expected to "crash" - goodbye, beautiful Monday. I missed most of you.

This is not one of yesterday's seventeen. I do not even remember the date it was maybe considered finished. (It might not be finished.) Although a gardener, I am not usually  a person to put flower petals of things. But fake flowers on faux bruins seems to be working on the Happy Front. So - 

(copyright Sue Rowe 2017)

This acrylic-on-canvas piece has had many dances with the paintbrush. I don't know if there are metaphorical layers, but there ARE layers of unseen colors and shapes. The white-ish bear was NOT white many brush strokes ago. Artists have to make odd decisions, but they do have to decide to decide.

I do not know these bears. But they appear to be Happy.
And that's all that counts this month.


Last - First

Seventh Post of Day:

Wet Runner

While driving
the hill

I watched
wet runner
in the ran

She was
along level land

Didn't matter
Running mattered

Once upon a time
I pedaled
like this

Torrents of rain
and no fenders
on racing bike
made road dirt
stripe up my back

While torrents of rain
down long

Five pounds
wet cotton?

Pedal on
Pedal on
Pedal on

This pedal
person is
still inside

It's time to
set her

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Heading North

Friday will find the old van and Yoda and Bear and me and the art stuff heading North.
To Duluth, Minnesota - the BIG CITY we would visit when I was a child.

Off to Seth and the Girls Land - and a night or two at Seth's farm - 

Weather forecasts change by the hour.
We will deal with the sky cards we are dealt.

On to the grey damp day.

And making product.
Sometimes making ART stuff is fun.
Sometimes it is semi-mindless work.

Life's choices.

You know.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Motivation - Ugh


Sometimes it takes a good talking-to from oneself to oneself.
Writing "chat" down helps - sometimes.

After afternoon shift at antique shop I went to our local co-op for that free Small cup of coffee they offer on Tuesdays. I was too late for a free cookie. So it goes.

As a long-time journaling sort I have been keeping quite on task in writing at least three journal pages a day. These are not always "Morning Pages" as suggested by Julia Cameron in several of her books. They are "Whenever They Get Scribbled Pages." That's O.K. with me. So up on a stool I hopped, out came iPod and Bach, and after a few sips of uninteresting brown liquid the black-inked pen started rolling across paper. Results are often messy and mysterious. I noted the one last crumb of "cookie" I nabbed, but not chatting with the young lad practicing on saxophone with his dad at a table outside the store. He'd had two lessons and was already better on his lovely golden instrument then I was after a YEAR of terrible squeaky squawking on clarinet in my eighth grade year. "The horror... The horror..." Good luck, young lad - you'll do fine.

Here is the third page:

                           Sunbeams are the best part of this photo? 

Anyway, it seems I once-again have purpose in life. It's been a while. And here are the Quests. Time to quit typing, and get back to the bruins.

This weekend holds the Park Point Art Fair in Duluth, Minnesota. Tomorrow holds finishing three new greeting card designs. And framing things. And checking lists. And working another shift at the shop. And hosting another Wednesday Evening Arts/Crafts Event.

Tonight holds more work filling the card racks and learning more about ancient English History. No good reason. Just because.

Sometimes treat yourself to doing things just because...


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Studio B

I am sitting in a room in our home we now call Studio B.

It has been, by turn, daughter's bedroom, son's bedroom, daughter's sewing studio, and now, with grown urchins several years gone, and walls now empty of Tyler and Tara's "history," Studio B - another of my spaces in which to work and maybe work.

Here Frida Kahlo looks down within her red-white-purple graphic towel. The Brain - evil genius mouse from "Pinky and The Brain" animated cartoon series looks down from his un-used picture frame - a gift from good daughter. I am more Pinky most days. I should channel more of Brain's ambition and less of Pinky's Narf!"

Art supplies, organized or otherwise, are almost everywhere - although one CAN walk on bare carpet to every corner of the room. And there ARE bare horizontal areas in several areas. And one can open the printer cover and the not-vintage record player. There are drawers where I know where things are, and others that I have no idea of what they hold. Hmm. Let's open one of these, shall we? An old Olympus camera that is not mine. A small stack of the early black and white line drawing magnets we first offered. Bear art photos - some from shortly after that first bear was drawn - let's just say - a drawer of mixed emotions.

I'm preparing for Duluth, Minnesota's Park Point Art Festival. It will be the first in years at which hubby Todd will not be helping. Yes, he has his own life, but most summer weekends it includes being Good Art Fair Spouse. This year the Back to the Fifties Car Show Swap Meet at the State Fairgrounds is calling to him. I am powerless against the pull of a great Swap Meet. So I wish I'd have done more weight training and less weight gaining. Yes, years ago I did art fairs alone often, but work and play are different when going it alone. Weather, so far, looks like it will play nice with us. "Adventures" to the contrary are frequent - both at Fairgrounds and out on The Point. So we shall see what we shall see.

Currently, prepping is focused on re-stocking the greeting card racks, repairing the card racks' fabric "gun cases" stitched specifically for each rack, and making lists of what to do in this short fast week. I sit here trying to decide the cards that will have to stay home in order to make room for three or four new designs. Hard to do. The curse of "if we don't bring it that will be the ONE card most asked for." Yes, I do wish the universe would tell me who will be visiting the booth and what that person will be looking for. So far - huge silence. Every time.

Studio B is also good because one can close the door. The main studio is what most people would call The Dining Room. Haha. It is open to both kitchen and living room. It has been my working studio for over twenty years. It is set in the midst of living. Studio B offers a new bit of refuge or sanctuary. I'm starting to enjoy working here, though it is not set up for painting or pastel doings.
And it is on the opposite side of the house so light is different, thus, mood is often different, too. It is fascinating to realize how one's surroundings affect one's creativity. (It is one reason I so often head for local coffee shops.)

Now it time to head for trying to sleep. NOT in Studio B.
Tomorrow will find me scurrying from work here to work downtown to work back here. Frida looks calmly down from her wall. Goodnight, Frida. Goodnight, little studio. Goodnight all.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Not Our Cat

Today's backyard was graced by a rare visit from Not Our Cat.

He is a gorgeous kitty.
From across the street.

I am not a "cat person." As kids we had cats. And kittens. They were O.K. My favorite was a black male cat named.... Blackie. Best purr ever. But even he did not turn me into a person who needs a cat.

Once upon a time, several years ago NOC showed up at our back door. He was friendly AND aloof. You know, like a cat. He is still that way.

Here he is mocking Mrs. Cardinal and her frequent click-chirps of herself giving warning.

And I must admit that Louis, his given name, IS a handsome devil.

He would agree.

Friday, June 16, 2017



 just to type
to stay
 on track

i feel like
i am standing
a dry-grassed ditch
the train

and am O.K.
with this

not good

real me is
a train 

i am
at least 


that thing
where one 
a thing

only when
go on 
a page)

a conductor, hey?

i can

it's time 
find ways
to offer


but first
a cup
of tea

before day's shift

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Cheating/Catching Up - 1

This is the first/third post today. The Personal Challenge of 200 Blog Posts will not be met if the fingers don't make contact with the keyboard. And I was making excuses to not type these recent days. It doesn't take much: too tired, don't feel like it, I'll do two tomorrow, really. Nope. So today's coffee shop doings - thanks, 2.00 de-caf, is posting three pieces. And in reverse order - so this is the last to be typed but the first to be seen - at least I'm guessing this will be so.

As will be bitched out in later/earlier post The Tinnitus is Strong With This One today. After a half-hour of decent tennis, after some actual studio work and breakfast, I was of the no energy/ambition. The Plan this year was to have Double Energy/Ambition. Really. So when the drags drag I am both uncaring and an unhappy camper. (Brains are interesting.)

Eventually, I knew that creating a something had to be done. Pastels have been ignored of late. So it was time to see what might happen if some pencils and a few miscellaneous chunks of soft of pastel in a plastic cover were put to use. Studio B yielded up a small piece of velour mat board and it was time to start.

First, I did something I seldom do - tape off a border around the board. I felt the need for bit of strict space around whatever was going to happen. O.K? What's going to happen?

A bear in a space. A lovely smiling flowery bear - in space. A white and yellow space. I started her at home. Took her along to McDonald's. Todd was kind enough to order unsalted fries so I had some. And tea from home. (I'm cheap.)A lady saying, "I like art" liked her! Thanks, lady! But there wasn't time to finish her there, so back home we came.

A few more minutes and another Happy Bear appeared.

Her taped border is still intact. Friends on Facebook "Like" her. And have given suggestions for other such bruins. Art can be easier when others make good suggestions...

So she will get a title, and she has given me some hope. 
We need more hope on a day like today...

Now the three posts are finished, and I will go home to see if anyone shows up tonight to play with art supplies or just talk about life.

(1/3 and 3/1)
Sue the Catcher Upper

Cheating/Catching Up - 2

Just for Fun - a different Font.

Today the news is filled again with sadness around the world. Just because the bruins that emerge from Studio B are most often skipping their way through life, or bitching around a coffee shop table about something shallow, minor, or less than even these, does not mean that my thoughts are skippy and shallow.

I figure that we know what is being reported, and are aware that even worse things are happening and not being much reported.

So the bruins and kitties and porkers are means by which to say a little something about topics large and small, and perhaps give some people a tiny bit of relief from reality. True, the bears and others are their own kind of real, and I am thankful when they appear fully formed and with their own thoughts and ways of making it though their days. A cat or a bear having a bad day can sometimes help make our a tad better.

On to the doings of a day or evening - the hours of which we are lucky to be having.

Part the Second - done and done.


Cheating/Catching Up - 3

This will be read in reverse order - so this will be Post Three today, though it will be the first typed. Just do a "Star Wars" thing in your brain.

What's on mind? Mostly a serious constant blast of tinnitus "HHHHHIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSS." Perhaps brought on by salty delicious Mexican meal last night, along with a shot of Jamison whiskey? Sigh. One is always gambling with the constant not-real "sound" vs some short-term real enjoyment. I was fine last evening. Minor usual steam/high tension wire "sound." But today it laid me low. Hard to get thoughts through a wall of solid "sound felting."
On these harder days I  channel personal heroes - folks I know have survived far worse, and done more.
Some are friends and relatives. Some are people I have read about or listened to. Many are living. Some are not. The point is to NOT FOCUS on the crap in one's head, but instead look outward and/or inward to beauty, music, and helpful words, and hope for a better day or hour or few minutes. Think them and they will come. Whew.

We all have our ways of dealing with our days....

And now I must get on to typing Parts 2 and 1. Thinking like a woodblock artist! Last is first. First is last.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Happy Bears - 6/9/17

The goal yesterday was to see what would happen if the cheap art supplies of childhood were revisited. 

Yes, I cheated a bit - also using a pricey Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. Why?                                                    FOR FUN.

Cheap drawing pad, basic box of 24 Crayola crayons - let's do this!

After a few sips of de-caf coffee the pen danced across the paper.
The figure on the left first - then the one on the right. No particular plans - so you can see where pen strokes ran wild, ran free. And that was OK. That was the no-plan plan.

Once the bruins were blocked in it was time to unleash the color!!

Crayola crayons were no longer the sticks of magic they used to be.
(I will write more about this later.)

After the horizontal two were finished, I played with vertical. And flinging pearls.

So the three-bear minimum bears did get done. And a new theme might be in the making. And the coffee was gone. 

And there is still lots of paper left - so many possibilities...

But next time the crayons will probably stay home.


Thursday, June 8, 2017



The hot days are 

Friends are canceling
sitting in stiflingly-HOT
art fair booths
while waiting for 
who want only to 
to the lake

 are finally taking shape
But will be looked after carefully
 these next days
so the plants
will stay watered
to not

I will fill the birdbaths
so birds 
sip or splash

We've forgotten 
old friend
so recently

And Spring...
Remember Spring?
 Me, neither.

Maybe tomorrow
we will muscle in
The Air Conditioner
and life and work
will return to normal

For now
I give thanks 
for the 
of portable fans
and ceiling fans

I am a fan of fans

Till it is once again
time to turn off
the fans and put away
the air conditioner

and turn
The Heat
back on



Wednesday, June 7, 2017


I've been awake since 4:20 A.M. because of wanting to listen to Men's French Open Tennis. Rafa "won" because opponent reitred due to injury. Novak lost because for some reason his game has not been "on" this year.

It must be so strange to be a top athlete and have your skills slip - through health or brain not cooperating.

The day is beautiful here in Minnesota.

A walk will be taken, a beverage will be sipped in downtown coffee shop, bears will be painted. All to music from radio or iPod. The head still usually needs another constant sound to counteract the zinging "ringing" in between the ears. 

Then back up the hill to Real Work. And time in the garden. But, first, Real Work. I've been slacking - I will admit. A "bad" part of being one's own boss.

So - walk will be part meditation leader, part cheerleader, part life-coach. One must do whatever it takes to get the deeds done that need doing. You know what works best. I'm open to suggestions!

On to the morning. On to the day!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Long Day - River Market Coffee Break

A long day of various doings, and feeling as though nothing got accomplished. Due to this frequent sense, I've started making "Done" lists instead of "To Do" lists.
 By 4 P.M. the doings filled a page of college-ruled notebook. I still "felt" as though nothing had gotten done. Sheesh and sigh.

We DID go see "Wonder Woman" at nearby theater. I liked it immensely. 

And eventually three Happy Bears got drawn:

Well, really four - but these are the ones photographed - 

Now it's time to head for bed. Tennis on radio at 4 A.M. tomorrow!


Monday, June 5, 2017

Playing with The Happy Bears

It's often odd that when the pressure to perform is mostly off - well, better stuff happens. I won't say better-finished-ready-for-public-viewing stuff happens, but playful, don't give a dang, let's PLAY stuff shows up.

I treated myself to real coffee (Highlander Grog), a chocolate chip biscotti, and time Sunday morning downtown at Tin Bins. It's been a while since I've been there, having started enjoying time at The Daily Grind, several blocks north in Stillwater. Drat that wanting to feel loyal to a good independent coffee shop. Or two...

Anyway, I'd folded some charcoal paper - a surface that I've never enjoyed working with - into four equal areas. No, I had no ideas of what to do or how to do it. Draw HAPPY!

On a recent trip into Wisconsin I'd purchased the cheapie cheapie watercolor sets used here. Yes, I know the color is fugitive. That's not the point. The point is to play. To splash around. To empty those trays so "real" watercolor pigments can be sneaked into the spaces.

Out came a fountain pen filled with black ink. Two Dancing Bears happened at top of sheet. Separate but interacting. They were having fun so I was having fun. Then another bear appeared. Not exactly thrilled to be there. Then a fourth - Dancing! Oh, dear.

With the characters blocked in it was time to head for the water. And color. Orange, yellow, and red held forth. So it felt "right" to do standing bear in greens and blues. Push the contrast, and all that.

None of that "stay in the lines" with this crew. The brush knew what it wanted to do, so I let it. And because the paper was not "precious" it was O.K. for blobs and globs to form and dry.

One more orange, red bear, a bit of text, a little "Hi, Tara" note to West Coast daughter on a coffee cup collar, and "work" was complete. 

I actually felt joyful doing this odd piece. And that is worth far more than the cost of a coffee and biscotti! Now to try for the Joy while working on work. So I am not that not-thrilled Green-Blue Bear.

The Happy Bears are starting to pile up.
Maybe some will agree to show themselves at upcoming art festivals. 

Duluth, Minnesota's Park Point Art Festival is the next one on the schedule. Find us in Booth 18. Last weekend of June. Hoping we'll add to some folks' "happy."

Summer is still coming. May you find some time to have Fun!


Friday, June 2, 2017

100 Happy Bears

The modem and computer and I are NOT getting along right now.
So I am hoping to sneak in a post.

Here are a couple new Happy Bears.
I apologize for the blurry image.
Speed and taking focus for granted.... oops.

Am up to ten bears now. In various stages of Happy. Only 90 to go. This month. There are more than enough art supplies. So - NO EXCUSES!

Except excuses for more time spent in coffeeshops.