Thursday, August 31, 2017

State Fair - Part the Second - Prep/Plans

I heartily dislike almost all things vinly, but today the dark brown vinyl backpack purse will try to be my Minnesota State Fair boon companion. It includes, but is not limited to:

- peanut butter sandwixh on gluten-free bread
- dark chocolate
- two smallish sketchbooks
- large variety of art supplies
- iPod/earbuds/various chargers
- driver's license
- money
- State Fair Ticket!
- business cards
- AAA batteries for vintage Walkman headphones
- map of State Fair
- small notebook
- teabags
- a little space for Fair things one might pick up

New to try is stainless steel water bottle hanging from sturdy carabiner clip. We'll see how that goes.

- Just stashed one more little notebook in. And an empty clean sandwich bag, 'cause you never know about the Words and Stuff one might find.

That's it! She thinks.
On to a little breakfast, and seeing if there's gas in the car enough to get to a particular favorite Park and Ride.

Well, hello, Patio Door Squirrel! Yes, breakfast time for you, too.

Huzzah for sunflowers, and all that they bestow.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Better - 23

There was no room inside Daily Grind coffeeshop - so here I am - outside on a sunny deck lounging on a comfy outdoor couch-y thing. De-caf coffee in a to-go cup. (I will be using parts of this cup to make into art later.) Good vibes - as in from vibraphone - and soft clarinet are chillin' in the ear-buds. Should have worn a cap, but I'd not known that outdoors is where the typing would be typed. Perfect soft breeze to accompany breezy jazz. Sigh. THIS is the Summer I've been missing out on all season. (Do NOT take a nap here, Susan. That would be so unprofessional of you.)

Just now I dared to take off right foot's well-used Nike sneaker as to get even more comfy. Do I dare practicing R-E-L-A-X-ing? Put head back on bank of lovely pillows... Close eyes... smile a little smile.... Come on. You can do it. Slow count to thirty. One...twoo.. threeeee... fourrrr..... Breathe in.... Breathe out...
Wow. Made it up to thirty-five! And could have gone longer. This will be a completion of a small "Superbetter" (Look it up if you care to know more.) Quest. Baby steps, you know.

On to the reason for posting:
Monday's Minnesota State Fair visit was partially to take part once again in the group fair sketchout held twice each fair. I missed Saturday's doings as we were at ArtStreet in Green Bay. But this doings is always so much fun that Monday was mandatory for me to head in to fairgrounds early. Not 6 A.M. early, but 8:30 A.M. early. Todd said he'd join us later in the day - hooray!

I roamed the fairgrounds, stetched a few pen and ink people, some scribbled square-dancers, and then met up with hubby. We went to a few buildings (I was of mixed emotions in the Fine Arts one), visited the vintage tractors, and then decided to part ways till the group get-together scheduled for between the Sky Ride and the Food Building. We are trained in - first one there to score a table STAYS PUT till whole group arrives.

Off to the sheeple barn I go. No good reason. I'd have been content drawing bunnies, porkers, or fowl, but the sheep were just there - waiting - haha. I chanced into a relatively clean spot on barn floor in an odd "l"-shaped coming together of pen rows. Two cooperative mostly-shorn sorts were dozing and awake by turns. Out came the tiny tin of gouache and watercolors, and that magical brush with water in its barrel. Sometimes sheep moved. So one single head study is actually of two sheep. You do what you must. I had Glenn Gould playing Bach in my head. One ear-bud. So if a watcher asked a question I could be polite and pay attention. I showed off tiny tin to several people Some got Excited. Oh, the possibilities!
Four or five pages of gouache studies filled the "flow" time. Magical how that happens. One REALLY SEES stuff. The soft "Georgia O'Keefe foothill" wrinkles on neck and flanks.

The "non-color" color of shorn coat. The wool left on head.
The muted colors in tine were up to the task of mirroring actual local color. Huzzah. Time passed all too quickly. A couple stopped by - they are Standard Poodle People. I might gain a portrait commission. Not going to count my poodles till they hatch.

Gathered up art supplies around 3:30 and headed slowly back to meeting up site. The day was perfect. Large crowd filled most of the grounds. Lots of people do not enjoy hoards of people at the fair. I walk around with a smile on my face. Of course, I am no longer pushing a baby stroller. I try to make way for wheelchairs and stollers. Oddly, I saw no one carrying around a huge prize from the Midway - what gives?

Back at our spot we chatted about the day as folks began to gather. The ones who'd not gotten "i draw"pin  and the event pin for 2017 got theirs. This year The State Fair Rodent Mascot graced our pin. One year it was a sketch of a sow and sucking baby piggers. One year it was a cocky Hen.

We gathered around and put our various sketchbooks and drawing papers onto two large flat stones. Some did true show and tells of the day. "Archie," a young East Indian woman living in Minnesota allowed us to see her wonderful watercolor sketchbook. She is a member of the Urban Sketchers group - a group that is worldwide. Her book held detailed drawings from Middle Eastern markets to others done in her native India. But, of course, she purchased her book and art supplies at St. Paul's Wet Paint - the GREAT indie art supply store we are so lucky to have nearby. Eek. I might need a new nibbed drawing pen - NOOO! But its line was so exquisite... We shall see what we shall see...

WEarily when Todd and I decided to go different ways I handed him a nice small sheet of good watercolor paper and a common yet treasured ultra-fine black Sharpie Marker. He went on his merry way, ate some chicken somethings, found a spot somewhat near the HUGE Ferris-wheel, and proceeded to create a lovely loosely-drawn "time-lapse" drawing. The sky on the left needed filling  - well, here came a small plane circling the grounds! It took me a while to see the man's form in the foreground - but there he is - next to the fire hydrant. I was proud of my man for participating. And his drawing fit right in with those of the rest of group. Yup, he got his pin!

We put our pieces side by side to photograph. Fun to see together!

One of the guys in the Twin Cities Urban Sketchers group requested a volunteer at the Historical Center's Newspaper /Print Shop space create a lead type piece. This might not have been legal by Minnesota law, but it sure makes a pretty mark! And what a great idea! I won't tell if you won't tell. (And I might be a wee bit jealous...)

After all the sketch sharing was done we chatted quietly about a wide range of things. I now know that there is a group of jugglers of all range of skills that meets regularly in the metro area. We know that Monday's leader, and supplier of morningcoffee and mini-donuts, won a prize for his print in the Fine Arts Exhibition! We know that veggies are good subjects for drawing as they tend to stay put. We know that there are always new art methods to play with.

As a lovely end to our adventure, one woman began blowing soap bubbles into the light breeze. A little more magic in a day is almost always good!

This group usually meets the first Saturday and Monday of the State Fair. Drawers in ALL ranges of ability are WELCOMED! If you dare to draw, you are a Drawer. And even if you can't make these "official" dates, just bring along some pens or pencils and a few sheets of paper. Sit for a while and put some marks on your paper. Your record of the fair wil be unique, and might become a treasure.

I'm planning to return on Thursday and Labor Day. Thursday, "alone" with hundreds of thousands of people, and the last day in the Great Minnesota Get-Together, with a pal who "forced" me to bring her along last year. Look out, Butterfly House - Dee and I are coming - LOL! Last year's visit was great. Guessing this year's day might be Better!

The owners of this coffee shop have been to the fair three times already. Another pal goes nine times. Next year I'll have to up my State Fair game.

Darn - it's probably time to quit this fun.
On to the rest of this glorious Upper Midwest day.
And time to donate some $ to folks in Texas.

Facebook Page: Sue-Rowe-Studios

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Better - 22

Day Two at the State Fair has been postponed till later date.
If my feet could talk, they might be whispering, "Thank you."
Walked a small blister that I didn't notice until this morning.

Things I DIDN'T see yesterday:
1) cows
2) porkers
3) DNR pool of many fish
4) bunnies
5) Dairy Building with butter Princesses
6) The Coliseum
7) favorite craft beer/music place
8) the area where Heritage Square used to be
9) Education Building (kids' art is often better than big peoples' art)
10) Miracle of Birth barn
11) horses

So many reasons to return.

Yesterday I ate so many things I seldom eat these days - Sweet Martha's Cookies. Our family of four used to share a paper cone of these horribly lovely hot small chocolate chip cookies. Yesterday - just Todd and me. Way too much yummy sugar and gluten for my head. Was I done? HAHAHAHA

Bring on a slice of Green Mill pepperoni pizza, a little beer, onion rings, a little more beer. Tasty samples of wine slushes, spicy soups, maple syrup infused with bourbon (my FAV sample), little pretzels dipped into various dips, a quick Kemps ice cream sample as I didn't see the LONG LINE of people because we just came onto the sample tables from the other "short" side - haha and "I'm sorry, people in the "legal" line!" That ice cream was my second favorite sample. Oh, the Peace Coffee sample - always a fav.

Salt, sugar, gluten, alcohol, caffeine, strong spices. A Master List of what not to consume if you have tinnitus.

Oh, and a Swedish cookie - purchased by a pal. I wanted till coming home and making a lovely cup of tea before chomping that tasty few bites. Adding a bit of dark chocolate added to the pleasure - of yesterday.

Today's head is a ringing buzzing combo of cicadas and electricity -  good thing I know the cause. And can sort of smile as I type.

Maybe it's a good thing that Life is not aways Fair.

Two more tickets to go!
 - Sue

Monday, August 28, 2017

Better - MN State Fair Edition

My mission today is to not be jealous or bitter toward Winners, and people with more talent than I have.

My FUN will be sketching at the Fair for much of the day. Meeting a like-minded crew at 9:30 this morning, and re-convening at 4:30 this afternoon. Show and tell is always an eye-openng amazing time. Folks range from professional illustrators to people just brave enough to bring a pencil and a sketchbook. All are welcome!

Todd plans to join me later in the day. If he sketches, he might get one of special pins designed for this event! Happened a couple years ago. Always nice to gain an interesting momento.

Clouds are the sky of day, and high of 71 degrees. Not "normal" MN State Fair Weather.

Off to catch a park and ride bus!
And tomorrow's visit might be even better!

Bunnies, and chickens, and piggies await!

Fair - haha - thee well!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Better- 20

Yes, I am watching You Tube videos of how to help one overcome one's at-least-perceived "flaws."

Most of us are aware of what we think of as our shortfalls. Sometimes we don't care. Sometimes we care.

After weeks or months of going it alone, sometimes it helps to gain a boost from a talk or ten. One's brain can go off on a different path, or at least a bit more down a path on which one is already heading.

Today's interest/s is "stress"/"relaxation." No good reason. Mainly, a refresher.

Off to the links. On to the learning.

"R-E-L-A-X" - Aaron Rodgers. 
Typed almost within seeing distance of Green Bay's Lambeau Field. 
Rain in forecast, but Life IS O.K.


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Better - 19

Once upon a time, I was the shyest kid and young adult around.
Didn't speak up.
Got at least one "F"grade in a high school English class because I preferred that to having to give a verbal book report.
Didn't think I'd graduate from college because we needed to pass a Speech class.
Dancing was Out of The Question.
Thanks to certain people and time... and except for the dancing part, these things are simply mostly memories.

Just back from doing a live TV interview for ArtStreet Art Festival in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
It seemed to go well. I was not nervous. Loren, the morning personality person, was charming and fun. She made the two and a half minutes chock full and smooth flowing. And we remembered to mention our Booth number.

So - we don't HAVE to change cetain things in life, but we CAN change then. For me, this definitely has been for The Better.

On to Day Two at Booth 164. Show runs from 10 - 6 today.
I hope to sneak off to the huge Farmers Market just down the road.

Watching coverage of Hurrican Harvey helps put our forecast of rain tonight and tomorrow into perspective.

Facebook Page: Sue-Rowe-Studios

Friday, August 25, 2017

Better - 18

We've lucked into a motel room in Green Bay  - on a Toby Keith Concert night. Yes, paying the big bucks - because, as a pattern of year continues, when info was given out by art fair committee I didn't book a motel closer to the art fair offered at a much more reasonable rate.

So it goes. As is life could be far worse. We could be dealing with Hurricane Harvey. We could be sitting in the the van - not having brought along an air mattress - just in case. 

A cup of de-caf coffee awaits. And a peanut butter on gluten-free bread sandwich. Todd opted for Kentucky Fried Chicken tonight. I am still trying to learn from last week's deep-fried and sugar/salt head adventure.

The Friday afternoon/evening of ArtStreet went well. The bands were good. The crowds were fine. Sales can always be "better," but they could have been far worse. I will not complain.

Weather - especially on Sunday, appears to be iffy. Art festival people always want to "Pack up dry." It is our audible wish to eachother on particular days. Sunday's forecasters are hedging their bets. So we are dealing with those 45 - 55 % chance of possible rain, and maybe some thunderstorms. But maybe not. Sigh, and we will find out. Still NOTHING like having to deal with Hurricane Harvey. I cannot imagine the effects of the amounts of rain being forecast. FEET of rain. Many feet of rain. Over a large area of Gulf.
Normal life will not be normal for quite a while. We will just have to dry a few things off. I will not complain.

On to an evening of cable TV. We have broadcast stations at home. Todd is in control of the clicker now. But I have a lovely laptop. WIFI, and good headphones. Silent LOL. I will not complain.

It's time to set the alarm for "early" on iPhone.
And to try relaxing on a lovely looking bed.
I was a maid at a Holiday Inn for years.
I will not think of TV reports about motel rooms.
For the time being - I will not complain.

(I HAVE complained from time to time about particular rooms. I wil not go into details. A few comped rooms in the past. Reasons. Lesson: Yes. Do speak up if a room is not up to your standards. The Hospitality Business is in the Business of offering Hospitality. You know if your room is not hospitable. Complain - but politely.)

On to the weekend's adventures!
Green Bay's ArtStreet.
Booth 164.
Some people visit here to be happy.
That's what they tell me.
The stuff in our booth makes them feel Better.
I will not complain.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Better - 17


We  have lived in the same place since 1993. There were two gardens here when we moved in. The veggie garden has enlarged several times. Seemed like a reasonable thing to do.

However, the patio garden, a combination of terrace along one edge of the patio, and a triangular section above the terrace, have remained much the same for years and years. Old plants that survive stay put, and new ones are put in from time to time.

Only this quiet, tinnutus not withstanding, morning did the brain think: You could DESIGN designs in these two spaces! Planned patterns of colors and shapes. On purpose. A garden of your choosing instead of this garden of chance.

Insert Homer Simpson's "D'OH!"

This doesn't mean  I will follow through.
It does mean that I have become Aware of Possibility.

On to the morning. 
On to the day.

On to ArtStreet away in Green Bay.

It's MN State Fair Time, too. On to that lovely insanity soon.
But it's time for buckwheat pancakes with some pals.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Better - 16

Visits to coffee shops almost always leave me "better." Today's hour or two, well... maybe a bit more than two... again did the deed.

My tinnitus head had been unceasingly "LOUD" the past three days. Yes, I take the little helpful pill, but it wasn't helping much. Yes, it was much my own fault. Eating far more salty and sugary treats than usual, plus a bit of bourbon... and perhaps a sip or two of real coffee. One forgets that a bit of one or another from time to time usually doesn't spike the "sound," but a weekend of too much feasting on the stuff seldom sampled... Well, lesson re-re-re-re-re-learned. Again. Sigh.

This morning the brain was pretty much my friend again - and just in time. There is always too much to do, but without energy and urge, well, heck, let's just dink around all day and accomplish the barest minimum. Sure, I'm good with that. For way to many hours this year.

Morning and noon-time passed well. Bills paid, emails mailed, even a load of laundry finished. Garden photographed - yay, garden! But no art created. And artists probably should spend a bit of time now and then actually creating something that might be called art.

Luckily, that magic red bag from IKEA that daughter Tara gave me for Christmas is big enough to carry a small but wide variety of art supplies. 

After three o'clock I knew it was time to to escape. Now or never. NOW! A small table at Stillwater's Daily Grind was open. I caught up on various newspaper sports pages, rigged the laptop up to play good soft jazz (headphones on), and dug out that stuff that some of us use to make our stuff.

Here are two of three little doings with Pentel Pocket Brush Pen and various washes with gouache.

Paper is "whiter" than shown on monitor. And I truly was goofing off. Daring to trust the brush pen. Had I done more, the lines would have become more sure. But time was speeding by. 

There was also time for two chats with two guys about a wide variety of topics. The men knew eachother, and one of them I'd met before. Or so he said. Each chat was interesting, and I learned things about young people and I learned things about Main Street Stillwater. Time well spent.

But now it's time to mat the drawings and keep preparing for our weekend in Green Bay, Wisconsin. My home state is always pulling at me, though hubby points out that I've lived in Minnesota far longer than I did in Cheeseland. Doesn't matter. Packer Backer forever and always. And always fun to drive past Lambeau Field a time or two during ArtStreet.

Sigh and darkness is falling. 
It's only 8 P.M. 
It's 8 P.M. already!

On to the adventure of the evening.

and ArtStreet - here we come!
- Sue

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Better - 15

This late afternoon held one of those:

You Have to Take a Walk and Have a Serious Chat With Yourself Walks

So after sipping a very small cup of de-caf at River Market Co-op I headed down the form railroad bed that now parallels the St. Croix River in Stillwater. The air was perfect. Tree canopy created just the right mix of sun and shadow. Most of the bikers and skaters were good with their versions of "On your left." I set the iPhone timer for ten minutes. And headed North.

For no good reason part of brain thinks of this year as The Lost Year. No, I don't know why. Brains are mysterious things. At last year's end I had Plans and Ambition. Due to a couple things early in 2017 that threw off my usual self-imposed schedule I have never quite felt back on the "Woo Woo!!" Track.

Looking down on the path a bit past it's start - a sign? Two white arrows, one in front of each other, pointing forward. O.K. I'll take that.

So for ten minutes out and ten back the I made the brain remember many lovely, interesting, and fun things I DID DO this year.

I'll not bore you with details - some where seemingly trivial and some were of national Woo Woo! calibre. But they were of equal importance to the walk. Yes, a podcast of "On Being" was in one ear. While out walking I prefer having one earbud in and one ear open to current reality. Topic was physics and crochet. It is an excellent episode.

I practiced smiling The Big Smile. Try it if you'd like. Sometimes it helps. A few fellow walkers  and I exchanged "Hi's. That helps. 

Huge burr dock plants were clustered in one area off the path. This sent brain off to memory of my last horse appearing one dat with her forelock, mane, and long chestnut tail completely filled and covered with burrs. Her tail was a four foot burr club. This was not a Good Thing.

So I set about finding and destroying every burr dock plant in the pasture, and then, with hours, and fingers, and combs, and care, removing every burr from Daisy's hair. I can't remember. I'm sure it took several days. So Velcro discussions always bring mixed emotions. I really like Velcro. I heartily dislike burrs. But good things can come from bad things.

As I was coming up to the park at the end of the trail an Army band was doing a sound check. This group was the last musical act for this year's Summer Tuesdays. They did three songs and a bit of Johnny Cash. And were quite good. I hope that tonight's crowd was enthusiastic in their applauding.

I left the area and headed home. Brain had done it's duty. It had talked me into realizing, at least for tonight, that this year has NOT been lost. And that there are still some precious months remaining.

Sigh and whew and we'll see what happens next.

On to Wednesday, and whatever it holds.
Friday through Sunday hold Booth 164 at Green Bay, Wisconsin's ArtStreet. We will be in an area we've never been in before. Near the raffle area, food area, and part of the entertainment area. Time will tell how she goes.

So, fare-thee-well, and, athough the list of things to do was not completely checked off, it remains as a reminder of a track to set my wheels back on come morning.

Come on brain, it's time for bed.

A twenty minute chat with yourself? It might be a challenge, but it might do the trick!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Better - 14

Eclipse Day

Started sunny 
Turned grey

Saw through teensy pinhole
That tiny arc today

Dark moon
Bright sun

Then our fun
Was mostly done

Somewhat forecast
Not on a lark

The  skies 
On cue
Of course
Turned dark

Not from
Fancy eclipse stuff

But "normal" clouds
Sky'd had enough

Of once-in-lifetime
Thrilling sight

Time for rain and dampness
Mother Nature's might

Takes many forms
Some fair some not

We'll have to thank 
The skies we had

For the short, small
Glimpse we got

Actually, more than a couple glimples, but mainly at the beginning of event. Televsion coverage, via NASA and CSPAN helped us share in a bit of the amazements of the day. Of course, we who could not view the Totality will never really know the feelings of those lucky and/or ambitious enough to be in the path.

I was thankful for some cameras showing the eerie darkness in affected areas. After reading Annie Dillard's essay "Total Eclipse" many years ago I would have loved to have experienced the silver greyness she wrote of. Oh well. Better to have read about it then to have no idea that this happens.

On to the daily duties of a not-so-daily day.


We plan to be in Green Bay, Wisconsin this Friday through Sunday. Artstreet awaits.

(Forecast is for Sunny tomorrow.)

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Better - 13

We don't have the extra channels on our TV.
Sometimes I miss them.
Most times I don't.

Facebook posts alert me on Sunday evening.

"Game of Thrones" is on!
"Game of Thrones" is over!!!!

I watched one episode once.
Years ago.

So now I just go right to the Spoilers.

Yup. THAT happened tonight.


You can trust me not to tell.

But. Wow.

Better - 12


Parts of Studio A have been cleaned for first time in two years - Better.
Fought short battle with Asian beetles in the garden - Better.
Watched "CBS Sunday Morning" - Better.
Played with paper cup cuffs and black and gold paint - Better.
Ate a relatively healthy breakfast of fried egg, gluten free toast, and lovely ripe cherries - Better.
While cleaning studio I found a Hagen-Renaker Performing Misty still in original box - Better.
Hunted around in the winter squash jungle. Many (though I won't count baby squashes will they're harvested) more baby squashes than last year - Better.
Tinnitus is super "loud," even though the pill that usually helps was swallowed. - Not Better.
Learned some things from Facebook links: Better.
Eyes are looking out on a partly sunny day: Better.
Jazz music filled the air earlier this morning: Better.
I've decided to send a something to a friend: Better.
There is still time left in this day: Better.
There is still half a bran muffin and a pat of butter left over from a friend and my coloring session at Tin Bins yesterday: Better.
One can clean lots during TV commercials: Better.
Many of the 100 Happy Bears have been moved to a happier place: Better.

Time to appreciate a cup of hot and hearty Ginger Tea: Better.

Sue the Slightly Better

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Better - 11

A rare No Art Fair summer weekend

Potential is wide for adventures
and cleaning
and bookkeeping
and cleaning

I really should clean


Adventures in cleaning?

Thee could be Discoveries
There might be great finds
And creating new vistas

Even the definition
Brings pleasure

One way or another
This weekend
Will hold
"A pleasing view"
Or two

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Better - 10

Eek! We are on the backside of August. Daylight is definitely shorter. Most of us still have many Summer Plans, but are running short on Summer Days.
Today is cool, wet, and rainy. Our tomato jungle is FILLED with green orbs, but with little hint of pink, much less RED. Sigh. I will not be anxious yet. Well, maybe a little bit.

Last evening was the fifth of six Stillwater Summer Tuesdays. Two were rained out. Two I forgot about. 

Last night I took a green towel and a purse full of art supplies. And a thermal cup of herbal tea. And hope. Hope that the music was good, that there would be a place to put down towel (I only got in on second set - stuff happens...), and hope that the past week's national doings would fade from mind - if only for an hour.

It wasn't a perfect weather evening, but it was a good weather evening. The tiny black flying insects didn't attack as often as they can. I scored a spot much to my liking. And the band took the stage soon after towel and art supplies were arranged.

Playing was Third Wheel Project. The first band was formed in Alaska, but there are a number of small groups now. I do not know where "our" band was from. There is one based in Minnesota, so I'm guessing this was them.

I played around with using only the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. Seeing how small a line could be created. Blocking in shapes. Editted the scene. Started with guitarist/lead singer in center. No, that's a lie. Began with bassist. D'Oh. Nope. We often cannot trust our brains to recall specific acts exactly. Anyway, after drawing bassist I attempted guitarist. O.K. And the amps and mics. Do I dare draw the fiddler? "Do, or do not." I did. I was O.K. with only depicting the musicians. Sometimes a drawing can be ruined by adding the wrong detail. But I plowed the tip of pen onward. Here's the stage. Here are instrument racks. And the concrete and chain in background. I didn't put in the large boat in the river. But I think I might remember it.

After this drawing, it was time to goof off. Bears, where are you, bears? Oh, here comes one. The same brush pen was used for outlining. Then out came that tiny tin of gouache and watercolors. This bruin's color is all gouache. (Sorry for ignoring you all summer, little watercolor chunks!)

I know NOTHING about this bear. Except that it had a night spent with really good, Wonderful - in fact, pie. I don't know if it is male or female. I don't know what kind of pie is was. I could wish to be so blissful.

Set over - certain Johnny Cash songs will never be the same - I packed up and headed back to secret parking space, and home.

The live music and being with humans who were not screaming at eachother, in person or online, was soul washing and a bit life-affirming.

On to today's Grand Adventures. Back out into the cold wet rain, and then to the second floor of American Gothic Antiques. Where, twenty years ago come October, the Bears began. 

Fare-thee-well, and enjoy the music of your choosing.

- Sue

Monday, August 14, 2017

Better - 9

The real stuff.
I have sipped it. 
Because the coffee shops crew
was brewing de-caf.

I love the high test stuff.
Or part of my brain does.
The other part is saying,
while I'm pouring:


I will.
Right now
the brain
and heart
keeping time
Mr. Lionel Hampton
And his 
pounding vibes.

Better - 8

Posting every three days will not get me to where I want to go. Well, truth to tell, I'm not going to do the math to see if the above statement is true. So it goes.

Here is a squirrel from a couple years back.

Chillin' Squirrel

This chair used to be bright red. it is now mostly pale sort of washed-out pink. Except for area under dark pillow. Such is the power of our I-have-mixed-emotions local star.

Solar eclipse? We will stay here - probably looking at the ground for shadows cast by tree leaves. I will remember warnings to not look directly at welding arcs and sparks created by various uncles repairing farm machinery. Bright light? Uh, yes, my little self had to look. Though it was across the large farm driveway  - from house to barn. the lure of Light is strong with me. And the odder the light the better. So my heart will travel will folks heading for Totality Path, but my head will appreciate whatever darkness and mystery we will have here in Minnesota's metro suburbs. My thoughts are to the people who may have purchased sham eclipse glasses. My eyes are "bad." I treasure sight. And would want no harm to come to anyone trying to view the eclipse directly - through the special lens made for the job. Dang. This makes me think of "humans" again. (I look sideways out to purple phlox in terrace garden. I don't like thinking about humans right now.)

Anyway - back to cleaning a few more spaces. Yes, I am "better" when spaces are cleaner. And life is easier. This does not mean I keep up the discipline. I do not. There are lots of discipline balls in the air here. And discipline plates spinning. It's time to get back to the discipline of little boxes and plans. This year has not been the best planned. This has been a year, so far, of much "wandering." It's hard to wander and spin plates at the same time. It's time to get back to the practice of spinning plates. I have to make difficult choiced on the plates I want to spin. Iwant to spin ALL of the lovely life plates. Can't. The Ed Sullivan Studio could not hold all of the rods for all of the plates I'd like to spin. 

Well - THAT was an interesting paragraph. I WANT to be the squirrel - resting, yet alert.

Hello, sneaky sunshine, again, today.

On to the Grand Adventures of the Everyday.
Let's go have 'em!


Friday, August 11, 2017

Better - 7


Been working on bear stuff since 5 A.M. Dark then now. Sigh. I want sunlight from 5 A.M. till 9:15 P.M. Always. No more lightboxes. Much less bottled Vitamin D. Hahaha.

I have no emotions about the Eclipse yet. Will be envious of the folks getting to "see" it in totality, but to lazy to make a trek. Those of you who DO get to experience this most amazing event - please try to put it into words/photos for the rest of us. Otherwise, I will content myself with Annie Dillard's report from many, many years ago. If you are interested, this essay is from "Teaching a Stone to Talk." "What you see in a total eclipse is completely different from what you know," she writes. And, "The sky was navy blue. My hands were silver."
Our son will attempt a real view at a site yet to be determined.

Reading most anything written by Annie Dillard can make one "better." The foks with ways with words are like that.

Off to the Butterfly House at Como Park. This will make a friend and me better. In many ways. This is why we go.

Forget about work work work. It will be here when we come back.

Off to the day's Adventures!

And afterward - another drive NORTH - to spend the night with lovely relatives on a lovely busy colorful farm outsie Two Harbors. And then off to set up early Saturday morning at Brighton Beach  - north of Duluth, Minnesota. 

Trying to make a few folks' lives a tiny bit better.


100 posts this year. 100 hundred posts to go.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Better - 6

Life is better today because our son introduced me to the music made by Caravan Palace.

Better - 5

Just in from the main garden.
Walked around and into it.
Pulled a few weeds.
Ate a few sprigs of FRESH kale.
Ate a leaf of FRESH basil.
Filled mouth with mixed emotions.

Visited with the zinnias.
Looked over the patches of colors.
No bees or butterflies yet today.
Practiced SEEING individual blossoms.
Breathe in. Look at a blossom. Breathe out.
Breathe in. Look at a different blossom. Breathe out.
For thiry breaths and thirty blossoms.

Touched one zinnia type with a ring of single petals.
Touched each petal.
Was aware of each petal.

Acknowledged the flower's center, sides, and underside.
Silently said Goodbye to the growing greens and glowing colors.

Walked back to the house much the same - but different.

Oh, and there is sunshine right now.
And many many many green tomatoes.

Back to tea, soft jazz, and working with the bears.

Didn't stop to smell the roses.
Zinnias did just fine for the stop today.



Sunday, August 6, 2017

Posting Simply to Post

Nopride here. Just some typing that will count toward total.

We have baby winter squashes.
Powderhorn Art Festival customers were very kind to us on Saturday. Now to see what Sunday brings. "Pack up dry. Pack up dry. Pack up dry." - mantra of all art fair artists on these iffy grey days.

We celebrated last night by having a lovely steak dinner at Hy-Vee in Oakdale. I understnad that meat-eating is not for everyone, and we have cut down our consumation lots. But I appreciated the meal, and broought half home for finishing. The cream of asparagus soup was hot and delicious. As was the large baked potato. Staff was attentive and fun. We will be back.

On to Powderhorn Art Festival - day 2. We sold out of our little black plex dancing bears. Time to make more.

Brighton Beach Art Festival is next week. Summer is crazy. And we tend to "miss" it - though right in the midst of it. Thus, some typing. Still not keeping up with the past week's many adventures. And if I do not note a thing this thing most often never happened - even if it did.

On to the day's Grand Adventures!
pack up dry pack up dry pack up dry....


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Better - 4

In a bit it's time to head over The New Bridge to The Phipps Center for the Arts. For no GOOD reason I have agreed to do do improv drawing sessions at our Members' Art Show Members' Showcase  for the opening. Why, oh, why...????

Well, to get "better" at it.
About eleven times a year "Scribbles by Sue" is a thing at the Croixdale assisted care center in Bayport, Minnesota. I started out reasonably frightened. Now it's old hat. No pun intended. Lots of young minds in not-young bodies there. I just try to keep up.

Tuesday's theme: Fairs

No, I did not suggest "An elephant with a cone of cotton candy." That would have never crossed my mind. But it crossed someone's mind... With the help of a lovely high-tech tablet and some lovely semi-low-tech Crayola Markers this showed up - 

Not the best elephant. But the biggest hunk of cotton candy we will ever see! And on we went - discussing our favorite Fair Foods. And finding out about some of the new specialities coming to the Minnesota State Fair. Yes, Bacon Fluffernutter is a new offering for 2017. Are you excited? We were not.

Tonight's topics? I have no idea. But the most important part of doing improv is to say "Yes." Last year at Croixdale I agreed to attempt to draw the Cassini satellite as it neared Saturn. (We have one "cruel" resident...) But Mary Jo's tablet to the rescue! Was it the most accurate depiction of either Saturn or Cassini? No. But we sure blew through time discussing, learning, and scribbling.

So, on to tonight's adventures. I've become a late-blooming class clown - and will do my best to not waste the audience's time being bland and ill-fit for the task at hand.

Hi-o, Crayolas - away!!

(You may wish me, "Break a leg" if you care to, but the left little toe did its part for real last night. So it goes. On with the show!)


And setting up at Booth 118 at Powderhorn Art Festival in Minneapolis on Friday. 


Sue - Person with brand new box of markers - YAY!!!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Better - 3

Acceptance/or not

Today's email held news that "The Girls in the Grass" didn't make final jurying into the Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Competition.

This was a slightly more than slight blow as I'd become used to being booted at initial digital image stage.

Pal who helped me drop this year's piece at the fair said that she liked this work better than last year's painting. So, although I am aware that Anything Can Happen, I was at least optimistic. Alas. The sheep will be coming home to graze on another wall.

It WAS an experiment all along. The template for "Seth and the Girls" (accepted and SOLD at last year's fair) had been rolled up since last July. My little brain had an idea: just for the halibut do same scene in same size, but in different style - 

So that happened.

I am a tad sad that the herd will not be on the gallery walls, but I am not sad that I tried this experiement. Oddly, both hubby and friend said that they preferred this second painting to the much-more finessed first.

So it goes.
I wasn't "good" this early morning.
I am "better" now.

Sue Rowe

(And still No. 1 ["We're Number one! We're Number One!" sigh] on wait list for Powderhorn Art Fair this coming weekend, though am eyeing options for rare free Summer weekend. One must almost always appreciate one's options.)

**Just notified that we are IN Powderhorn - Yippee! But probably won't be in our usual spot.  Now to cross paws for good weather through packing up... No, I will not be "greedy" about Luck. Minneapolis, here we come!

Upcoming events:
Thursday night, Aug. 3rd: Phipps Center for the Arts - Hudson, WI. Two improv drawing sets. One at regular Members' Show Opening - 6-8 PM. Second at ticketed Members Bash: 8 - 10 PM  (Tickets are 15.00/20.00 - contact Phipps for more information. Adult beverages and finger food will be available at later doings.) 
My Members' Bash set is scheduled for 8:20. Now to see which Sue Rowe shows up - eek! (Yes, there still is the Bashful Shrinking Sue inside loud flailing-arms Sue... really.)

Aug. 12: Bright Beach Art Festival - Duluth, MN
Aug. 25 - 28: Artstreet - Green Bay, WI
Facebook Page: Sue-Rowe-Studios

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Better - 2

Part of today's Better was watching some Russell Brand videos on YouTube. Seriously.

And getting to choose a whole bunch of green veggies free from the Our Community Kitchen's supply this morning.

And discussing various favorite county and state fair foods while drawing at an assisted care facility. We all had our favorites, and only a few arguments broke out.

I miss getting to eat fresh pink cotten candy.

Eggs and greens for breakfast tomorrow. 

Better better better.


Good Morning.
It is August 1st.

Personal Challenges this month are Two:
1) To get the environment around the house/studios clean and under much more control - and keep it that way through.... time for our "Christmas Party - Potluck in late January of 2018. LOLOL. Go big or go home?

2) To be better by the end of the month. This can take many forms. I need to be aware and keep track. 

So - on to the recording of the doings. 
This will also give me reasons to do a number of short posts. Perhaps several a day. To keep track. And to get back to that early Challenge of 200 posts this year. Feel free to disregard vague postings.

I am still Number One on Powerhorn Wait List for show this weekend. I will go "Zen" and what will be will be. There are more than enough ways to fill those art fair hours if the art fair is not to be this year. O.K. Now KEEP that attitude. Live in the moment. Enjoy what you've got. (Another apple just fell from the tree. I'd have missed seeing that had I not looked up from laptop.)

Even while we are doing something, we are always missing out on something.

Right now it's missing out on scrambled eggs and other goodies at the Tuesday Our Community Kitchen breakfast. First a quick survey of the gardens here, and then a walk past the that crew's garden plots.

"Winter is coming..."