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Archive for the ‘Fun activities’ Category

We survived the winter! It was one of the coldest I can remember, and hard to live with the seemingly never-ending subzero temps. In March, my husband and I enjoyed a reprieve — we went on a road-trip through Missouri, where we enjoyed a visit with family, and then to Florida, where we stayed with gracious friends and enjoyed the warmth of sun and sand. It was -30 the morning we left, and in the 70’s in Florida — over 100 degrees warmer! On the way home we went through New Orleans, spending a tourist day in the French Quarter. I’ll post a couple glimpses of our trip:

 

A scene at the beach we visited (several times)

A scene at the beach we visited (several times)

One of MANY birds we saw -- especially pelicans.

One of MANY birds we saw — especially pelicans.

One view from our day in New Orleans.

One view from our day in New Orleans.

We were welcomed home with 10 inches of new snow — but it has since melted, and we are hopeful that spring is truly here.

Art busy-ness started right in — hanging new shows at the RavenRock Gallery, entering the annual Hawley open judged show [I won a 2nd place!] and preparing for the annual Artists of Minnesota show, coming up in May. I also had a dog portrait commission to work on, which I completed this week. Here is a look at the finished painting:

Alaskan Malamute "Charlie"

Alaskan Malamute “Charlie”

I’ve been reading up and researching metal sculpture techniques. This year I plan to learn to work with copper, aluminum, stainless steel, bronze, and other metals in addition to the steel I already work with. I received a grant to help me with this goal. Should be fun [and lots of work, too]. I am excited to see what I can learn, and create this year.

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Whoa! Time has a way of getting away from me. So much has happened since my last post. I will catch up on the most memorable parts —

Right after finishing my High School class in April, my husband and I took a road trip out west to visit two of our kids, and some family and friends along the way. This is one big country! Lots of miles, lots of good times. I brought a pastel portrait of my son’s dog, Kuna and gave it to him as a surprise. He said it looks just like her, so that made me happy.

Kuna

These next two paintings were my entries in the Artists of Minnesota show this spring. The one titled “Be Alert” got a merit ribbon in the Super Gold category.

"Be Alert" 30"x30" Acrylic mixed/media on canvas. [There are 5 wolves hiding in the background - can you see them?]

“Be Alert” 30″x30″ Acrylic mixed/media on canvas. [There are 5 wolves hiding in the background – can you see them?]

"BFF" 20"x16" Acrylic/mixed media on canvas.

“BFF” 20″x16″ Acrylic/mixed media on canvas.

Right after returning from the trip, I attended a week-long workshop taught by Karen Knutson. It was so fun! Learned a lot and had good visits with fellow artists. Below is one of my paintings from the workshop, taken during the final critique.

Watercolor and collage painting at Karen Knutson workshop

Watercolor and collage painting at Karen Knutson workshop

That brings me up to the end of May, and I will have to continue in the next post from there. I am glad to report that the snow did finally melt and the leaves came out. [Of course, now we have mosquitoes, but that is a whole ‘nuther story!]

 

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Hey — where did April go?! I guess it flew by while I was doing all the things on my list! I was happy to complete two new works for the Artists of Minnesota annual show — got them done just in time to send them off with my art buddies to the show, while I had a once in a lifetime trip with my family to Costa Rica. (more about that below)  I was thrilled to get back and learn that I had won First Place in the Super Gold division with my painting “Heading Home”. Always nice to get some kudos when you have poured your heart and emotion into a painting, to know that it speaks to those who see it.

“Heading Home” Acrylic/mixed media on canvas, 30″x40″

It was based on a photo I took a couple years ago while canoeing behind my house. I started it with a collaged map in the background, and worked on getting the group of swans in place, then finished with some metal leaf and ink sketching.

The other piece I did was inspired by a shot taken on my trip to Alaska last summer, titled “Watching”. That one was fun to work on because I started it with ‘flinging paint’ — which is very unlike my usual working style, but a great way to loosen up and let things happen.

“Watching” Acrylic/mixed media on canvas, 20″x16″

While working on the paintings I was also busy with our kitchen remodel, varnishing the doors and drawers, etc. which are now installed and in use — hurray! We had our countertops installed as well, so it is starting to really look like a kitchen. This last week I finished grouting on the tile portion of the backsplash and just yesterday did dishes in the new sink for the first time. I also prepared sketches for a commission I’ll be working on, and sent in a proposal for an ‘art call’ here in town. Never a dull moment in April.

After all that, it was delightful to spend 9 days with my hubby, all my sisters and husbands, my niece and her husband and baby — visiting,  enjoying the warm Pacific beaches, horseback riding, swimming, fishing, etc. Wonderful trip for all of us, just what we needed to refresh and ready ourselves for whatever comes next.  🙂   Here is a shot of one of the sunsets on the beach.

Sunset in Costa Rica

Now it is back to real life, so thinking about my next projects, some deadlines, some shows to enter, the garden to plant ….  and on it goes.

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I had a wonderful time at a watercolor workshop led by Karlyn Holman. We spent five days in Washburn, Wisconsin, working all day (with pauses for meals) and sometimes even into the night hours. We learned techniques ranging from collage, and portraiture, abstract, semi-abstract, wet-into-wet, and “paint flinging”! It was great to be able to totally attend to art and painting for the duration. Here is the step-by-step on the portrait  I painted of my niece Carrie, ( and a tour of my studio:)

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We also had some beautiful weather and scenery to enjoy when we were there. Our motel was right on Lake Superior, with a marina right there — I got some wonderful sunrise shots!

Sunrise on day one.

and again:

Sunrise on day two -- the wonderful pink only lasted about 5 minutes!

Once I got home it was full steam preparations for the annual Bemidji area Studio Cruise. My sister and aunt came up to help me prepare, which was great! (Thanks Carol and Bonnie!) I was ready in time, and enjoyed 3 days of visiting and sharing my art with the public who made the drive out to my studio. Here is the entry to my studio — see the full quick tour in the slideshow above.

[Next post will include my demo painting I started during the cruise, and you can follow my progress on that. ]

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So quickly we slipped into Fall! The colors are peaking here as I write this, and the weather has been beautiful. I have been busy in the studio, Painting, Teaching and Cleaning for the Studio Cruise, which is coming soon!  I finished my raccoon painting, which I will soon put into a step-by-step slideshow for you to enjoy. Here is a quick snapshot of it:

"Mischief Maker" Acrylic Mixed Media on Canvas 24"x24"

I have been teaching a drawing course at the Bemidji Boys and Girls club — we had our fourth session today.  It is fun to work with the kids and see them apply the lessons in their art. We hope to have an exhibit of some of their pieces at the end of the course. Next week we have off, as I will be in Wisconsin taking a Watercolor Workshop from Karlyn Holman. I am looking forward to the challenges she will present us with!

Last weekend my husband and I went over to the North Shore and visited the Split Rock Lighthouse. We had a wonderful day for it, and I took lots of pictures! I’ll share a couple here.

The Lighthouse from the Lake Superior shore.

View from the top by the Lighthouse, facing Northeast.

I also had some photo ops right in my own backyard — there were some swans on the lake, and I went down to get some pictures before they flew off. They always seem a bit shy about sticking around to have their pictures taken.

Swans on Lake Flora

Tomorrow I will be back in the studio, starting another painting, and maybe slipping out to the welding shop as well. So much to do, so little time to get it done!

Here is one final picture, my son Chris and his bride, Laura, on their wedding day. They are such a great match for each other.  I sure miss having them around to visit with, now that they have moved to Oregon!  I hope to share pictures from a visit out there one of these days.

Chris and Laura -- Wedding day at Gooseberry Falls State Park

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A Glimpse of Mount McKinley -- aka Denali

Here we are at the close of summer, and what a summer it was! After the exhibit in June, I went on a wonderful trip with my 3 sisters, and 2 brothers-in-law to the land of the midnight sun — Alaska! It was a wonderful trip in every way. We flew to Anchorage, and rented a vehicle, then drove over 1700 miles seeing and experiencing the beautiful northland. Highlights included Denali Park, Chena Riverboat cruise, hiking on the Matanuska glacier, viewing whales and other wildlife on Resurrection Bay, and beachcombing on the Homer Spit.

Caribou seen in Denali Park

Fireweed patch

The Matanuska Glacier

Breaching Whale

The second big event of our summer was the wedding of our youngest son. He and his bride chose to have their ceremony on the shore of Lake Superior at Gooseberry Falls State Park. It was a beautiful day, and two beautiful people committed themselves to each other in the presence of friends and family.  My other kids came from here and there, so we had a brief time of being all together before they all headed out their places around the country.

View from the wedding site.

Now it is back to work! Back to Art, back to kitchen remodel, back to teaching!

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After my time in the cities, I had to dive into sculpture making to get my new piece ready for the sculpture walk in Bemidji. In between the frequent rainstorms I did get it done. We even had to install it in the pouring rain!

Installing "Hopes Rising" along Bemidji Avenue.

Right after that I had to repair one of my larger sculptures to have it ready, along with several other works, for an exhibit in Grand Rapids, Minnesota at the MacRostie Art Center. The exhibit is up for the month of June, a group showing titled “Garden Art/ Sculpture Exhibition”.  Stop by and see it if you are in the area.

"Oracle" at MacRostie Gallery

This Spring went by so fast I hardly had time to think! Here it is, officially summer, and I have a moment to reflect on the busy and fun times I had with my students.  My homeschool kids came to my studio and we looked at the art of the Oaxacan people of Mexico. We then created paper mache animals and painted them in that style. It was a fun (and messy ) project, with students from 1st to 9th grade.We also did a relief printing project that turned out great as well. They learned about positive and negative space and we did a space reversal by printing one on black paper.

Last week I was involved with a wonderful project — the first annual Bemidji Art Camp at the Headwaters School of Music and the Arts. It was a very fun time, working with some very talented girls. I will post more about that in my next update.

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