Thank you for stopping in

The Fresh Art Studio Tour was great fun—as usual. Conversations with stimulating guests were abundant as was enjoying the artful surroundings of site 12, with its ceramics and paintings by Kaye, raku by Mark, jewelry by Pat, gardens, guinea hens, chickens, my nature prints, and very wet grass + mud. During the 24 hours between Friday and Saturday afternoon, we received 5.5″ of rain.

If you’re a printmaker, you know that humid weather keeps the ink “open” and the paper damp, making last weekend ideal for printmaking. As guests strolled through Kaye’s studio, I kept printing. You may have joined in the fun and made a print to take home.

The print below shows three leaves from the prairie plant Leadplant (Amorpha canescens). One guest used red and gold ink; the next guest wanted a cooler palette of green, turquoise, and blue ink. I seldom clean the freezer-paper palette between guests, due partly to laziness but mainly because it’s exciting to see what the results may be when working with the colors and patterns left on the palette. Sometimes I refer to these as “residual” prints, honoring the “remains” left by previous printers. To the inky palette, I inked and added the three leaves.

A “residual” print of Leadplant leaves on a colorful inked palette.

I will give this print to dear friends Lynn and Wayne, whose 40th wedding anniversary was the day after they watched this print being pulled from the inky palette. You may be wondering what the small floating squares are in the background of the print. They’re in the paper, a sheet called Bangkok News, an affordable Oriental paper I purchase at Wet Paint, of course.

If you plan to take up the artistic sport of nature printing, Wet Paint has all of the supplies. Stop in to their shop on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota, or contact them to fill a mail order for these simple, affordable supplies:

• 2” Speedball soft-rubber brayer
• Speedball water-soluble printmaking inks: black, red, yellow, blue, and green. If your budget can manage it, also purchase the colors dark yellow and turquoise. These provide unexpected influences when you mix them with the primary colors—or each other!
• A plastic palette knife (or use a plastic picnic knife)
• A roll of Sparkle Gold Oriental paper, 13” wide by 10’ (10 sheets per package)

You will also need a palette for rolling out your ink and applying it to your leaves. You can use the shiny side of Reynolds-brand freezer paper, a piece of Plexiglas or window glass (with the edges taped for safety), or a sheet of 18”x12” quilter’s Mylar.

After you get your supplies arranged, your paper dampened, and your leaves selected, be sure to have fun! I know you will.

 

Fresh Art Studio Tour 2017

Pack your vehicle with pals and soar across the border to western Wisconsin where you can joyfully tour 17 inspiring art studios and galleries. I will be at site 12 with family—my inventive step-brother John who can build or fix anything and his creative wife Kaye whose talents in anything artistic, musical, or related to hospitality are boundless.

Stop by to enjoy Kaye’s paintings and ceramic wonders, Pat’s jewelry, Mark’s raku, and my nature prints. Print a leaf, make a raku piece, shop, relax, and have something to eat and drink. The chickens will roam, the flowers will bloom, the wind will blow, and the portable toilet will have time for you.

The front of the brochure for the Fresh Art Studio Tour, fall 2017.

The photo from the Fresh Art Studio Tour website—the glorious Mississippi River valley, looking south along Wisconsin highway 35.

 

Early-morning writing

What it’s like, for me, to write in the early morning.

 

The inspiring advice I recorded in my journal is from the late poet, Jane Kenyon.

Gratitude

A writer friend, Dee Ready, has kept a gratitude journal for more than 20 years. When she was diagnosed with sight-threatening eye problems, she realized she’d never once written that she was grateful for her sight. Knowing Dee, her oversight is due to her vast appreciation for her family and friends, good books to read, gardens that grow, her cats, and more. http://cominghometomyself.blogspot.com/

Another memorable mention of gratitude was from Dave Cornell. Dave is a motivational speaker and coach whose focus is on cultivating courage, professionally and personally. Dave revealed during a presentation that when he and his wife went through bankruptcy due to both losing their jobs within 13 months, they kept a gratitude journal. Through the distress and anxiety of their experience, Dave described the positive value they gained by recognizing the good things in their life. http://www.cultivatecourage.com/

I’ve gained lessons from Dee and Dave – to not take anything for granted, but rather to be grateful. Also to be grateful for the things that don’t go my way; for challenges and stressful circumstances, knowing I will learn something from them, if only I approach those times with an outlook of gratitude.

Gratitude vs guilt
During Hurricane Irma, and during these days following that destructive event, I am grateful to live in the Midwest, away from the devastation of tropical storms. But my sister and her husband live north of Naples, Florida. If anyone can come through a catastrophe, my vote would be solidly for them. They are prepared for any eventuality and they work well together.

Now, when they are among the 7 million Floridians who don’t have electricity, the good news is that they are tired but well, and although there’s flooding outside their home, inside it’s dry. I’m so relieved; so grateful. But I feel guilty that our electricity works, our water is clean and available, our streets are clear of debris, and stores and offices continue to operate in a “business as usual” model.

I also feel helpless and inadequate. Beyond donating to the Red Cross, I wonder what to do that would be helpful. Perhaps I can answer my own question by being grateful, and recognizing all that I have for which I can express gratitude.

While I was vacuuming

 

Instead of placing one piece of paper on the inked palette, I grabbed three scraps & laid them in place over the inked palette & Ostrich fern leaves.

As I was vacuuming up dust and dead bugs on our porch, I thought about how we spend our time. Housekeeping and life’s daily chores are necessary, and can even provide a contrast to the more challenging activities in life. In fact, more than one artist has written about deriving comfort and time for reflection from the doing of life’s ordinary tasks. But if you are a maker—a creator of something that didn’t exist before you started your creative process—keep at it. Your “making” of something is making a difference, surely for your own satisfaction and joy.

Great fun printing at Washburn Library

It was a wild time at the nature-printing demo and sale yesterday at the library. If you made time to stop by, thank you. If you kindly purchased some of my note cards, please know I really appreciate that. And if you bid on a print, or purchased a print—yes, some of the 8×10 matted prints sold!—I am honored and grateful.

The two volunteer Friends of Washburn Library sold more of my work (not counting the auction bids) than during the three previous years the library has hosted the demo and sale. I attribute this to your support & enthusiasm, and also to savvy librarian Gloria, who posted a note on Nextdoor (a neighborhood-centric social media platform). Several people arrived at about 10:40 in anticipation of the 11 a.m. demo. They received extra credit for watching, and helping, me set up.

As for the demo, I wish I’d thought to have the video capability on my phone or camera engaged when people pulled their first prints. The crowd of 10-12 people made a spontaneous “Ahhh” sound. It was really fun.

People made very nice prints. More adults than kids printed yesterday. Usually it’s the other way around at the library. 

Valuable lessons learned from the silent auction:

Most people start with the minimum bid, which frequently becomes the only bid. Thus I sold quite a few prints for $15—which I was prepared to do.

Works sold quite ecumenically, i.e., works I really like as well as those I don’t, all sold. This is a lesson for me in letting go. We talk about this during yoga practice, but actually allowing one of your “children” (prints) to go to a “good home” takes some resolve.

One work had a bid of $20. That dismayed me. It’s not my favorite work, but technically it’s the best. It’s also done in a style I no longer do and don’t plan to resume doing. What did I do? Bid $25. I will pay the library $12.50 for my own work, but I will keep that one for myself. Another good lesson learned.

One print had four bids, from which I learned which piece, of all of them, appealed to the most people. I will bear that in mind as I go forward with my creative pursuits.

Shown here is the work of Lisa, an enthusiastic—and artistic—kindergarten teacher in an environmental school within the Minneapolis Public Schools system. The beautiful leaf is common milkweed on which Monarch butterflies lay their eggs.

Nature printing at Washburn Library

This Saturday, August 19, 2017, please stop by the Washburn Library in south Minneapolis to print a leaf to frame—or stick to your refrigerator!

The fun runs from 11 until 2. In case you’ve got any cash left over from enjoying nearby farmers’ markets, my note cards will be available at $3 each or 6 for $15.

And, the framed prints on exhibit in the library are all part of a silent auction that ends at 2 p.m. Sizes range from 10×13” to 16×20”. The minimum bid is $15.

All money from sales will be shared equally between me and the Friends of the Washburn Library. They, along with librarian Gloria Olson, make this event possible.

 

If you’re booked this weekend, please put these other creative events (listed below) on your calendar for the coming months.

Fresh Art Studio Tour
Site 12, western Wisconsin
Friday–Sunday
October 6–8
10 a.m.–5 p.m. each day
https://www.freshart.org/ 

Boutique by the Creek
Saturday, November 11, 10–5
5012-12th Avenue South, Minneapolis

Women’s Art Festival
Saturday, Dec. 9, 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Colin Powell Youth Leadership Center
2924-4th Ave So. (just north of Lake St.)
http://womensartfestival.com/

Onward

My blog was hacked. Thankfully, a friend notified me so my husband could work with our internet service provider to delete foul, disgusting images and columns of comments in French. Also removed were two years of posts due to my not knowing—or forgetting—to back up my posts. Believe me, I am wiser now.

Meanwhile, let’s go forward to the next event about which I’m all perked up. It is Paul and Susan Damon’s 10th garden tour and art sale at their dazzling, pollinator-friendly garden and home. Dates are Friday, July 14, from 5–8 p.m., and Saturday, July 15, from 11 a.m– 5 p.m. Their address is 355 Cleveland Avenue North in St. Paul, Minnesota. Their 1920’s bungalow is located just slightly east and north of the Lake Street bridge that crosses the mighty Mississippi River.

Paul’s compelling, mostly landscape paintings will beckon you from their posts throughout their home. Susan will lead you through an impressive and artistic array of native plants in their bountiful garden that was designated as a Monarch Waystation more than 20 years ago. My original nature prints and note cards will be for sale in the cool shadow of Damon’s garage where you can also print a plant and take the print home to frame, or proclaim as refrigerator art!

Here’s a quote from Paul and Susan’s postcard about the art sale and garden tour: “Dogs welcome. Your family and friends, too. Come and help us celebrate our tenth year.” Please stop by!

Paul and Susan’s home and garden, the site of their 10th-annual Art Sale and Garden Tour.

 

Happily printing in the driveway

In this most splendid, least-humid summer of my fairly long lifetime, I’ve been pulling weeds, printing, & thinking of you. I’ve also been heartened to see Monarch butterflies wafting around the common milkweed plants that are finally blooming in our backyard.

Please join me this Friday & Saturday, July 24 & 25, 2015, at my favorite outdoor art-related event: the eighth-annual art sale & garden tour hosted by Paul and Susan Damon.

355 Cleveland Avenue North, St. Paul, 55104
(Conveniently located between I-94 and Marshall Ave./Lake St.)

Friday: 5–9 p.m.
Saturday: Noon–5

For more than 20 years, Susan & Paul have planted native plants and tended the corner lot that surrounds their sweet Craftsman home. Their garden is now a designated Monarch Waystation—#447. Last year butterflies, bees, and other pollinators joined guests as we all flitted around and admired our surroundings.

There will be plenty of art to admire, too. On exhibit and for sale will be Paul Damon’s oil paintings, watercolors, and drawings. http://pauldamonlandscapes.com/ Paintings, collages, and mixed media by Liz Carlson will also be displayed and for sale in the Damon’s home. You can view Liz’s work on Facebook and Twitter.

You will find me in the backyard, in the welcome shade of the garage, where prints and note cards will be for sale, and where you can print a leaf selected from the Damon’s bountiful gardens. We’ll be using Speedball water-soluble printmaking inks and printing on the Sprinkle Gold Oriental paper I learned about from Liz—and purchased at Wet Paint!

If Paul and Liz’s names are familiar, it may be because they’re longtime staff members at art supply shop Wet Paint, located on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. I met Liz and Paul while shopping there and am thrilled to join them in this annual event.

Please pack your car with your artistic, horticultural pals, or gather on your bicycles, and stop by! I look forward to seeing you!

One of Paul Damon's paintings on a postcard invites you to the 8th-annual art sale & garden tour hosted by Paul and his gardener wife, Susan.

Welcome to summer

It’s been a prolonged, leisurely spring, conducive to transplanting ferns and perennials, pulling weeds from long-neglected gardens, and replacing the storm windows on the porch with screens.

Meanwhile, it’s also printing season! I look forward to seeing you in class or at a demo or event. Please join me and my friend Lynn on Saturday, June 5, at the lively Landscape Revival. Twelve native plant nurseries bring their sturdy local stock to this enjoyable, educational event where you’ll also learn about pollinators and gardening. Please stop by to print a leaf and say hello.

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