Art is almost done for the Countryside Artisan Spring Studio Tour

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Spring buds are bursting, the gardens are almost cleaned up, and the art is trying to move off the easel and into a frame.  I love this time of year outside, but I am inside many days trying to finish art for my open studio next week.  This drawing is a good example of how I spend my days.  He has been on the easel and then put away in my flat file before.  But this time I am determined to capture the view on West Harris Road, when you round a hill and there on the horizon is a beautiful horse peacefully eating the grass.

Art is a process I know, however I am just as impatient as I was when I started all those years ago.  I have several new pieces of art in process and they are destined to hang on my studio wall next weekend for the Spring Studio Tour.   Challenges are abundant when making art, and one of the hardest questions to answer: Is this art done?  Have I resolved the issues and found the spirit of this painting/drawing?

When one of my seasonal studio tours is upon me, the questions keep coming and it is difficult to know whether the work is done.   I try to slow my mind down and look closely, I move around the house and come upon the art by surprise to see what my reaction is to the drawing.  Sometimes this helps to focus my mind and ‘eye’.

Often the process is like the rest of life, when you want to be done and move on to something new, but a commitment is changing the experience.  Hoping to use this time to sign off on new art that has been on the easel for a while, even as I step back and question each piece.  Is it done?  Where is my eye led?  How do the colors and textures speak to each othe?

Making art most days, asking good questions, and hoping the art is speaking to me and my studio visitors next week.

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We are almost done spackling, painting, and cleaning up the Studio, after a big construction project.  These long awaited improvements have finally come to fruition.

A couple of years ago, an industrious groundhog tunneled his way into my studio, through the brick floor.  After cleaning up the mess, I knew the studio needed a solid, groundhog-proof floor.  Or as my brother describes it, I need an Animal Barrier.

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This summer I started planning a new floor and I realized the building had a lot more openings
for insects and moisture.  So we plugged and patched gaps in the outer walls, installed drain tile, and a gutter.  After a few more bids I realized my studio savings account would not cover all the different contractors required to fix this.  So I called my little brother Steve and asked him if he would fly up from St. Louis, to pour the concrete ‘Animal Barrier’ we talked about when the groundhog visited the studio.

Steve arrived, my sweet husband took a week off and we went to work.  Amazing how many trips to Lowes and how much work involved in this project.  My brother can do just about anything involved in building, so he and Jim were cutting drywall for my new walls and ceiling in the 10 x 20 side of the studio and we went through a 25 pound bucket of drywall mud!  Then the new light fixtures and fan arrived, Steve installed them.  The big day was the concrete truck arrival.

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Wheel barrows of heavy concrete passed from the driveway down the hill to the studio courtesy of Josh and J  and Steve was the finisher.  I had no idea concrete could be so complicated, after the initial pour and smoothing out, he waited and then very carefully created this beautiful smooth surface.

My little brother returned home and my husband and I are trying to finish the job before Studio Tour this Friday.  Artists dream about studio spaces, I have a dream work space thanks to my little brother Steve.

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Snow falling on Morningstar Studio

Snow falling on Morningstar Studio

Snowfall, hibernation, reading, and loving winter.
I love the way this weather envelops me. Warm and bundled up with good books, sketch pads and hot tea, it is that time of the year when I am not juggling, garden chores, house chores, and studio time.
I am looking out my old, wavy glass windows, at the sun shining on a snowy landscape. Thinking of books I want to read and realizing this is my time to create, explore and make art!

Snow and creating a day with art and taking care of my family.

Sitting at the kitchen table thinking about the snow, my family and the tugs and pulls of making art, when other things are going on in my life. 
I wish I could think about the art I sold in the studio, last year. I wish I could stay with the wonderful conversations that I had with studio customers about the art. And focus on working with my hands outside of the kitchen, laundry room, and overall domestic scene. 

What I know to be true for me is, when it snows and when family members return home, it is amazing how fast I revert to an earlier time in my life, when cooking and creating a nurturing environment for my kids and husband, was the main preoccupation.

I feel as if I am in art hibernation, as I make the veggie soups, hot tea, pancakes and other comfort foods for my son and husband.

An adult son has returned home, emotionally bruised, He is an Iraq war vet.  So life for him is often difficult and exhausting.  We try to hlep him problem solve, we loan him our car, we pack him food and buy him clothes and other essentials.  How I wish these creature comforts could solve his problems.    Unfortunately, they only help around the edges.

He is a sweetie but he is tormented by anxiety and nightmares about the war.  He doesn’t get much of a break from these worries.  so it is hard to focus on going out to the studio, when all I want to do is make his life easier and help him find peace and joy.

The art will come, the drawings will start, and I will discipline myself to do my work.  Art can be a refuge at times like this, I hope it will help me through, as it has so many times in the past. 

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Here he is bringing in more firewood, I need to take a step back in to the art.  Along with making soups and breads.

West Harris Walks- Sugarloaf Mountain

West Harris Walks- Sugarloaf Mountain

I walk West Harris Road most days throughout the year. It is a charming rustic road right off of the back of our field, that leads to Sugarloaf Mountain. So many days my mind is cluttered with chores, to do lists and so on, then all of a sudden a bird will flit through the tall grasses and I am drawn in, somedays it is the light hitting the wheat or soy growing in the distance. This painting attempts to capture some of that experience that.