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all but the cats write here ... to remember, to share, to mumble, to shout ... follow along by RSS or email if you like.

Filtering by Category: painting

Land Ho! Art Sale, at last ...


It's been an interesting three months around here.  The "here" being parked in Keren and Bobby's driveway, with Michael pretty much living in the basement studio space that he's been graciously loaned.  The boys have been schooling, forging, and doing a lot of playing with the neighbors.  The number of foam swords, hand-forged knives and dirks and daggers, leather and copper scraps, and rivets and x-acto knives that I trip over daily has been increasing steadily.


Michael's been painting a good 12-16 hours a day, 6 days a week, and been coming to bed after sunrise most nights.  He's living on coffee with heavy cream, overseeing the occasional forging episode in the back yard, running back and forth to the art store and the hardware store, stopping by Jim's place to drop off and pick up paintings that are being scanned for prints, and taking me with him on most errands so we have time to talk. 


There's also been the occasional Starbucks, a trip to the Fire on the Mountain Festival in NC to see some master blacksmiths and an iron pour, a couple quick visits to the land to see it in different seasons, strawberry picking, and a very quick trip up to Chicago to help Mom celebrate her 75th birthday.

2500 degree iron being poured, shot from about 12' away. It was honestly too close ... but fun!

2500 degree iron being poured, shot from about 12' away. It was honestly too close ... but fun!

We also fit in a last-minute trip to Rogersville (our closest town if we get the land) to participate in their Appalachian Spring Art Festival. We wanted to meet local artists and folks, and get to know the place a bit better.  It was tiny, but we had a ball and met a lot of lovely people.

Michael drawing Guerry, a local artist, master storyteller, and delightful woman!

Michael drawing Guerry, a local artist, master storyteller, and delightful woman!

I've been alternately working on back-end stuff for the art sale (and doing some good procrastinating on those tasks), taking care of life and food and kid stuff, and doing some internal listening that's long overdue.  Bits of hyper-ish activity interspersed with a lot of thinking and some much quieter days.  It's been necessary, and good, and there's more of it to be done, soonish.

But first ...

The Land Ho! Art Sale! 

June 25th to July 8th.

In case you missed it, this is the one that Michael referred to at the end of his last epic post, and the one he's been obsessively painting towards.  The idea that he could do a painting a day for 2 weeks has been changed a wee bit, but 14 new works in 3 months is certainly nothing to sneeze at!  They're all acrylic paintings based on photographs from the trip, ranging from 11" x 14" to 36" x 48". 

The Getaway ... 24" x 36"

The Getaway ... 24" x 36"

If you want a preview of a lot of the pieces, just head over to the New works section of his website.  There will be prints available of all the new stuff, and in most cases in several sizes.  These will be limited edition Giclee prints, on either paper or canvas.  There will be some older works available also, a few by the boys, and some postcard sets based on trip photos. 

Oklahoma Chicken Huggers (painted on a roadmap) ... 18" x 37.5"

Oklahoma Chicken Huggers (painted on a roadmap) ... 18" x 37.5"

The pricing runs the gamut from about $40 to just under $6000.  The larger works are priced at gallery rates, which we know are not for the average buyer, but trust we can find some somewhere.  We know it's asking a lot but God is able, and we're doing what's in front of us ... with what we've been given, to see how it all plays out.  It will take a village, and you all are a big part of ours. 

We'd hugely appreciate it too if you'd share the link below with anyone and everyone you can think of that might be interested in a piece, large or small.  The farther the word spreads, the better!

The link takes you to a landing page on Michael's art website, where the link to the actual shop will go live on Monday around 6pm EST.  The sale ends on July 8th, and purchases will be shipped within two weeks after, by July 23rd.

Beyond the sale, who knows?  We're not making any plans yet, there are too many variables at play to be sure about anything.  We'll see what's in front of us when this is wrapped up, and go from there. 

Onward ...

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Crossing into Florida was a bit anticlimactic. We'd hoped for warm weather for so long, pinning our hopes on getting to the Sunshine State in order to have it in spades. When we finally crossed the state line and made our first pit stop, I was almost tempted to turn around and flee, despite the abundant and delicious sunshine. I've never been fond of Disney in any way, crowded theme parks ceased to hold much appeal in my early 20s, and we were arriving right at the beginning of spring break season. Not a good trifecta for my curmudgeonly self. We hit the Welcome Center on I-95 and I wanted to hide. Piles of Vacation Mode folks everywhere, kitch and hype and crowds, all things that give me hives. The boys delightedly discovered the free juice counter while I was in the bathroom, and the man handing you a little paper cup with your choice of grapefruit or orange juice in it looked like he'd morphed from a human being into a robot long ago. Jaded, tired, completely sucked dry of any emotion or energy … he did nothing to change my own view of things.

Once we sidled our way over to the western side of the state and dropped down into Palmetto (just south of Tampa), I started to revive a bit. Not a theme park in sight, just piles of trailer parks and strip malls, the promise of a hug from Ann Marie, and the ocean. We camped in an old trailer park within walking distance of our friends' winter trailer, which was bounded on one side by an entrance ramp to the highway, and a busy main drag on the other … convenient, cheap, and frill-free. Mostly full-timers in that park, not seasonals, and we'd barely parked when the neighbor lady next door blew in with garrulous enthusiasm, praise for Michael's mustache, immediate pledges of friendship and libations and great times together, and a fine how-de-do. We'd Arrived! (The libations never did, in fact we barely saw her again during our week there. I think she'd had most of them herself just before we showed up :)).

We found our way over to Steve and Ann Marie's, and made ourselves at home for the evening. They wanted help painting their trailer, and I think the promise of our arrival was as much help as the painting itself, as by the time we came back the next morning to get started, Steve was already attacking the front trim with a paintbrush. We jumped right in, and by dusk we had the entire project done! We'd booked a week at our campground, so the rest of the time was spent sailing, talking, flea marketing, hiking the mangroves and old Indian mounds, and biking and swimming.

The sailing was a delight, and pure entertainment to boot. The first trip out on Tuesday was fairly short due to the tides and light breezes, but as it bore the honor of our first experience ever in a sailboat, it was perfect. Steve has an old 17' boat that he keeps stored in the woods just up the road from his nephew's clam farm, so we helped haul it out of the undergrowth and down the road to the dock where he launches. Life jackets, paddles, maps, water bottles, and the tiller and sails were carried down and stowed. The mast had to be set once we were out a bit from land, as the trees were too low on shore. Steve gave calm and patient directions as we threaded ropes, helped rig sails, and got underway. Fynn's incessant questions were handled with equal patience, and we headed out of the inlet towards the mouth of Tampa Bay.

We circled a bird sanctuary island that was really really cool, and Michael especially was just mesmerized. A mangrove and tree-covered island absolutely teeming with big birds … pelicans, roseate spoonbills, glossy ibis, cranes, egrets, great egrets with their fluffy white tails, anhingas, osprey, and more. Every tree had dozens and they didn't bat an eye as we silently circled the island, staring and hopelessly snapping photos and video, knowing that truly capturing the scene was impossible. Steve, sitting in the back with the tiller in hand, quietly delighting in our delight, and offering bird names as we pointed and asked. The boys got a chance to try their hand at the tiller once we were back in the little inlet where we launched, and declared it a perfect day.

We went out again on Thursday, and Fynn had set his sights on going Fast! And Far! He wasn't disappointed on the Fast! bit, as the winds were better at 10 mph or so, and we started hiking our way speedily across Tampa Bay, taking turns working the ropes, checking the map, and swinging the jib. The sun was peeking out and we were just starting to feel like we had a handle on this sailing thing, when a loud CRACK! invaded the quiet and we momentarily all froze, watching the mast swing towards the water, dip in, and start to drag the sails under. Frantic grabbing ensued by all hands, and with a fistful of sail and cable in my arms, I asked Steve “What's the plan of attack?” It appeared that a mast cable had broken, shearing off a pin holding it in place and sending the mast overboard, though it was still attached by two more cables. Steve's “Well, first we need to secure the mast and sails …” kept us busy for awhile, and after it was determined that there was no way to jury rig the sail, we took them completely off and stowed them in the cubby, and lashed the mast to the side. Upon searching the cubby for the oars, it was determined that one of them had been left in the back of the car, leaving us with one oar, a dis-masted boat, and the closest shore about 1.5 miles away!

We tried rowing by tossing the oar back and forth between Michael and I, but that quickly proved futile. Steve tried tying a bucket to a rope and throwing it ahead of us and pulling it in, while balanced on the prow, but that lasted about 3 dangerous and slippery tosses before being abandoned also. Phone calls were made to the nephew, and to Ann Marie, in an attempt to get someone to come tow us in. In the meantime, the boys were tasked with watching for passing boats and waving life jackets to attract attention.

There was something delightful in the air though … no real dismay or fear, just the excitement of something to Do!, and a Problem to Solve!, and Steve was the one who set the tone for the rest of us. He didn't seem unduly dismayed, more like a wee bit pleased to be honest, and it truly was entertaining! We had water and snacks, we knew someone would eventually see us, or come find us, and the weather was clear and sunny with a nice breeze. Things could be a LOT worse. Just as Steve got his nephew on the phone and was working through rescue options, the boys managed to hail a beautiful fishing boat with two men on board, and they offered to tow us to Emerson Point. As they were getting ropes tossed and tied, I spotted a Tow Boat going by, and was rather thankful that we got help from passers by instead. They kindly towed us as close to shore as the shallows would allow, and we pulled the boat up on the beach there, a spot we'd hiked to just 2 nights before.

We waited there for Ann Marie, who had braved driving Matilda over to pick us up (their car being at the launch point), never having driven anything remotely like her before. There are some benefits I guess to Michael's penchant for leaving the keys IN the truck! I was as proud of her for that as anything … she rose to the occasion beautifully, and I do believe found her own delight in it all.

We parted ways after a week, though I knew I'd see Ann Marie again in a few weeks, as we had a cruise coming up later in the month, together with my sis Martha and sis-in-law Keren. (Tom really rocked it in the birthday department this year!).

That week set the tone for the rest of our time in Florida. Staying away from big attractions for the most part, quiet adventures and misadventures, lots of water and sand and heat, and most excellent companions to hang out with. And nary a Disney character in sight :).

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Mother and Son Portrait Commission


Michael put the word out last month that he was available for portrait commissions, and one came in almost immediately from a friend, to commemorate the birth of a mutual friend's first child.  The photo that inspired the project was the work of Trina Dinnar Photography,  one of a lovely series of newborn family portraits of M&R and their delicious baby B. 

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