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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Wow — I haven’t written a post for a very long time! This last year was different — I guess you could say I was out gathering sights and experiences to feed my soul and provide inspiration for future works. I went on a long journey out west with a good friend, visiting friends and relatives all along the way. We also visited 7 beautiful parks: Mesa Verde, Arches, Redwoods State Park and Redwoods National Park, Olympic National Park, Yellowstone, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park. All different, and all wonderful!

Here are a couple shots from the trip.   I addition to the trip, we also were busy raising the kittens of a stray cat who came and adopted us — we spent a lot of time playing with and feeding, petting etc. to make sure they would be friendly and adoptable. They all got good homes and Patches [the mama cat] got spayed and adopted by us. We also kept one of her babies, which we named Calypso.

Hope to have some new works to share later on this year!

Calypso1

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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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I’ve been waiting for a slow-down after the holidays to get caught up on things — well that’s not going to happen so I’ll just have to jump in and do it. [I do have some unanticipated minutes to use today, as a snowstorm cancelled my board meeting this afternoon.]

As promised, I am going to post some photos from my pastel class that I taught last fall. I hope all my students are continuing to create, because they all did some beautiful work! [If you students see this post, write and tell me how you’re doing.]

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Our first exercise was a small portrait of an apple. They all looked good enough to eat!

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Next project was a still life. This picture shows the group’s work in progress at the end of the first class.

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We then worked on some landscapes, on Art Spectrum colourfix paper. This is Sue’s completed piece.

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Our final project was an animal portrait on velour paper. We have here Dee’s Kitty and a cute Burro by Michael. I had a fun time teaching this class, and hope to do more classes through the Bemidji Community Art Center this year. I am putting together a Black and White Media sampler [four mediums in four sessions] for this April. I am also teaching this class to High School kids from the local VEH charter school.

I took a trip out to Seattle to attend my niece Jessica’s wedding. It was a beautiful wedding and a fun time spent with family and friends. I came home to a huge snowstorm, which left nearly 18 inches of new snow on top of the 12-18 inches we already had. Lots of work involved in getting that plowed and removing snow from the roof!

Now I am putting together some upcoming exhibits here in Bemidji. My art group is hanging a new show at Brigid’s Pub for the First Friday Art Walk, which will be March 1st.  I am also helping line up artists to exhibit at the Sanford Medical Center. Keeps me busy.

Two paintings are awaiting my attention on my easels, so I hope to have some new things to post soon.

 

 

 

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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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