Everybody into the pool! (the art of not being all-consumingly productive all the time)

that’s my dad and me filling up the old pool in the back yard-

I was reminded there is such a thing as the “academic calendar” upon spotting the occasional U-haul trucks loaded with belongings making an appearance in downtown streets.

I used to live by it, whether in tune with my daughter’s school activities and vacations, or dealing with my own academic life.  Waiting for summer, so I would finally have more time for my own studio work.  (Hah! you’d think that would be the case, but if you’re an academic mommy, it just means your own kids are out of school, so you are pulled differently away from your work, not necessarily less so.) I also remember the sinking feeling when department meetings started up again…..”no… not yet!””

All those years are far behind me now. And I tend to get more studio work accomplished during the fall/winter/spring months. Times when there are fewer outdoor distractions, when I don’t mind hunkering down in the basement under the lights.IMG_0017

Summer is a different story. After the studio tour wrapped up,  3 cubic yards of great top soil/compost was dumped in the driveway.  We’ve been trying to cut down on lawn area and use more of the front yard for growing veggies and perennials and flowers.  So, many shovels and wheelbarrow loads later, it’s all distributed and also stored in the garage in two trash cans.  Then there’s the recent load of stripstone that I loaded into the back of my station wagon to edge the flagstone patio and the garden beds in back.  I also enjoy the daily picking, dead-heading, occasional weed pulling, and watering.

There’s been time spent reading, gathering my thoughts, finishing up a few smaller paintings, weeding out things in the studio, swimming at the pool around the corner, bike rides, hikes….. and just enjoying sitting on the deck, watching the clouds and storms roll in, appreciating the birds and other critters that scamper through the hedge, and ….. well, you get the picture.

pastel- from my Oregon days-  9x12
pastel- from my Oregon days- 1984 -9×12…… it seems I’ve always been a gardener

It’s not that I’m a total slacker though, there are a few shows coming up this fall that are getting contributions from me – “Aria” a small group exhibit at Artworks in Loveland, CO;  “Contemporary Colorado” a juried show at the newly reopened Curfmann Gallery at Colorado State University;  “Must Love Art”  a combination exhibit/and marriage celebration of two friends.. and the on-going posting of new works on two art marketing websites.

I am also determined to finally get my hands into some solar plate print-making.

But this is also the time to sit. To look at the sky, to marvel at the lovely birds that come  close by for a drink or meal, to read a good book in the shade. Simple stuff.  Not resume builders or the kinds of things that prompt you to moan about how “busy” you are, when asked.

The real gift of summer.



Exploding watermelons….David Letterman segment or????

Wait- I think I’ve got problems????

… just was reading someone’s old copy of Time magazine-   apparently somewhere in China, 150 some acres of watermelons spontaneously exploded in the fields because of too much growth enhancing chemicals…

so check the provenance of the fruit you’re buying if you don’t want any nasty side effects this summer!  Me- I’m in a CSA and get lots of local veggies from a great organic farm each week for half the year.  What a treat.  Now I even appreciate kohlrabi- (still working on kale)

working in/up a storm

we are having the first thunderstorm of the season… (usually afternoon/evening storms are common in the late spring around here) and we really need the rain…

I’m working on things that need taking care of, and there’s no way round it, and I’ve been forcing myself to sit down and deal. It helps to have a head cold- don’t feel like going to run or ride a bike-

Working on stuff like sorting through years of art files/documents- changing the last remnant of Appleworks to Word / images- seeing what I have and what I need to capture-

Doing inventory – making things up-to-date and better organized- leaner and not meaner, but cleaner!

lap top screen

I am not a great one for being sedentary- in a chair or on the floor – for hours, so I took frequent breaks today to finish transplanting strawberries, and use the rowing machine.  Talk about attention deficit! Anyway, it makes me glad for laptops and wireless connections, no worries about lightening striking the house and wiping out the computer.
I’m planning a marketing blitz soon, but want to get all my images and information up to date on a couple places, including this blog, before I charge out there asking for attention. People make their first impressions in about 7 seconds.

putting it on ice…

No studio painting for the last few days… we’ve been enjoying some late winter snow, watching a lot of Olympics, and taking care of my daughter who is home recovering from ACL surgery. The night before her surgery, we watched the women’s downhill racers come crashing down and wondered, “how the heck do they get up and walk after that?”

I’m using the time to put together pieces for a large mailing to art consultants/designers who might be able to place some work in more public and commercial settings. I’m going to burn images on CD’s, and include the nice tear sheet from my page in the Guild Sourcebook.

Now that I am more in charge of my own fate as an artist, with no galleries showing my work, the way forward is up to me. It’s kind of like an Olympic event – training, training, training- put it out there!

The days have largely been filled with shuttling ice back to the room where daughter is confined to bed, making meals and snacks and keeping the machine that pumps the ice water around her knee running on schedule.  In a few days, I’ll get back to the studio again more full time, but for now, I’m trying to enjoy/make use of the time being home.

Let’s hear it for lemon curd!

Just back from a trip to California, land of Trader Joe’s… and because I have a fondness for lemon curd, and other goodies, the TSA folks were very busy with my luggage.  Lemon curd is such a sprightly treat, kind of like eating the filling from a meringue pie. There is just something that comes over me when I walk into a Trader Joe’s store.  For one thing, they have pretty pure ingredients in most of their products, and they are cheap!  I had gathered up 7 jars – including pumpkin butter, cranberry-apple butter…. yum! So they had cause to be suspicious I guess.

Also loaded up on various boxes of pumpkin bread mix, and pumpkin pancake mix.


So, going through security, I had my carry-on searched. And when I opened my suitcase that I’d checked, they left me a little note saying they searched that too. Rumors to the contrary, I don’t think we are getting one of their stores in Colorado anytime soon. 😦

It was lovely to see a few old high school friends, and also go visit the ocean.

It was a week out of the studio though, so I’ve been happy to get back to the painting again.

a new unnamed piece 28x42

Oh yeah, and it’s been snowing for a couple days.

a trail in the woods

a snow nest
a snow nest

well, finally on April 5th, I got the cross country skis out! I really like skiing in the spring more, and generally there is more snow in Colorado, with longer days to enjoy it. We went up towards Cameron Pass, to the Blue Lake trail…. and it

was so peaceful, light flurries, no other people visible . . .

Sometimes, I just need to breathe deep, and not think about what I should be accomplishing. Doing something rejuvenating is never a waste of time!P1000940