Today’s goal…

to spend at least 30% of the day in an upright position.

Which would triple the output of the last eleven days, wherein I crawled from daybed to nightbed, dragging boxes of tissues, bottles of medicine, and an increasingly bored bernese mt. dog.

Mood-Swing

I have managed the first 18% of that goal by throwing the contents of the kitchen and garden into a large pot, now simmering away with chicken soup. With a few breaks in between to sip some hot tea and cough up a lung, I am upright, sitting in the office chair,  but basically upright, and catching up on the business that piled up while we were away in IRELAND !!!

The fairies were with us all the way, and they turned out to be the only two weeks since late July that I have been free of the plague. Brilliant !

I think the muses have grounded me upon my return so that I could linger in a foggy state and simply drift back to our time there and cement the whirlwind of images and experiences. It exceeded every single expectation, from the traveling companions, to the glorious weather that followed us, to the historical touchstones and meaningful connections, and on and on and on to the landscape and the people.

Here’s one of our favorites, An of Inis Oirr.

inis-oirr-an
We spent a day on that smallest of the Aran Islands, with a bumpy wagon tour,a pint in the pub, a talk with Masie and Thomas, and Herself threw off her shoes and walked in the ocean.
An, or Anya (I’m sure that spelling is not right)  was the owner, waitress, chef at the little cafe at the top of the hill, just below the castle ruins. She fed us marvelous chowder and hot chocolate and smiled and laughed the afternoon away. Apparently Pat has wrangled a room in her B & B in exchange for light housework.

One of the bucket list items I got to cross off was buying a Bodhran, the Irish drum used in acoustic sessions, and it has just arrived here in grand shape from the little shop in Dingle. I did a bit of googling, and discovered that there is an annual Bodhran festival right there on the tiny island of Inis Oirr.

Check it out…http://www.craiceann.com/

Already signed up to the mailing list. Bit of practice to do before I’m worthy of that group but we may take An up on her offer.

Be assured that this trip was a creative game changer and I’ll be sharing thoughts and images as they begin to move from the suitcase to the easel, but I am approaching that 30% threshold and I’ve got some paperwork to finish before this thing sits me back down.

Yours in tissues and dreams, H


A new year…

Looking out of the studio window on this, the first day of the new year, I am eager to let the last five months of challenging emotional detours fade into the history books…carrying the lessons forward that sustained us in the deep waters,  the rock solid humor that kept us sane, and the love that is at the core of our precious little family of three.

The work begins anew today and the muses are tingling with anticipation.

It’s time for the annual editing of the ideas. Pouring through the stacks of sketchbooks, the mountains of photo references, compiling all the notes and phrases and scribbled phrases that have been gathering in the corners of the studio…and my mind…for the last year, and putting them in some manner of order. Then teasing out the concepts and titles and compositions which scream the loudest to have their turn on the easel.

Acutely aware of time, and the energy that is required to push the boundaries further for each new painting, I can here Polly’s voice over my shoulder, telling me to “Shake yourself together”. She’s right. All the pressure I’m stressing out over, to chose the right images, to meet gallery expectations, to take on the harder subjects, to bring the work to a new level, and to clear away enough of the outside world to find that focus which is essential to make a space for the magic to happen… I do know better.

It just simply won’t happen unless I get out of my own way. Let all those “shoulds” go. Pull up what you can of the drawbridge. Bite the head off a tiny chocolate santa and dig in…

So today, I cast the net. A wide arc of review, in which the first wave of ideas, old and new, will be gathered into a new listing. There are no limits to the criteria… I’ve always wanted to work on that…I think I might be ready for this one now…I can’t wait to try my hand at that subject…oh yeah, I forgot about that light…on that boat…and look who wandered into that photo shoot…I still love that title…and this one makes me smile.

Time will do the weeding. For now, make the list. There are always one or two ideas that rise quickly to the top. Usually it’s something fun and light that practically paints itself. Just get the brushes flying and the muses will smooth out the rough patches.

What I need is a nice long walk on the beach…with my girls.

pf1 pf2 pf3 pf4 pf5


Puppies !!!!

double trouble

Meet our newest pack members…Ellie and Ava

sisters

After a hard year in which our friend Saren and family said farewell to three of their dogs, she is welcoming these two precious girls into their home…and our pack !

happy saren 72

We have already fallen in love. Ellie is the lab and Ava the shepard and it’s hard not to see their predecessors, Nina and Finn’s special pal Tallie, in these wee furry two. They were perfect angels, as all puppies are and I’m so happy for the light back in Saren’s eyes.

ava172 bone172 ellie in the window ava closeup 72 finn and ava shadows oh yeah72 nose to nose

It’ll take some time for Finn to adjust, she’s an old dog now and it was a bit of a furprise (I’ll leave that spell check in there)…but all tails were wagging and there’s nothing better than starting your day with puppy kisses !!!!


In Fokos

In July, when we were on the island of Martha’s Vineyard for the Granary Gallery show, I gave blog readers a teaser which may have left some of you wondering, why is a world famous photographer, David Fokos, following HN around with his camera ?

docksiders

And why were his Emmy winning wife, Barbarella, and Herself in such gleeful moods down at the dock in Menemsha ?

Well, their award winning selves are executive producers for a new art venture,

the Artist’s Odyssey They describe it as, “A Netflix for Art”, with an emphasis on educating and inspiring. Click Here for Barb’s better explanation.

A successful Kickstarter campaign launched them into the production phase where they have begun to film and interview artists. These documentaries will be featured on the network site.

I agreed to be one of their flagship projects and the fun began in earnest on MV in July.

David Fokos and I have been paired for the same group show week in the Granary’s summer schedule for a few years now, so we have come to know each other after long respecting each other’s work. He creates breathtaking, large format black and white photographs, like this…Eight Rocks and a Stone, Chilmark, Massachusetts, 2000.

Barbarella is, well…a Diva.
I’ve linked the image below to the bio page on her website, and, while there, you can click around and find out a bucket full of interesting, humorous, artsy and eyebrow raising tidbits about Barb, her juicy creative mind, and her many projects.

diva-barbarella-logo-icon2

Together, these two are a force for creative good, and, after two days of being tethered to them, (Literally, my pocket was full of wires and my every word…heard by a studio full of machines.)…and trying to keep up with their production energy…Pat and I fell into heaps of old lady exhaustion.

In between takes, and camera set ups, and retakes, and hours of listening to myself ramble about…myself…we had a few breaks to get to know each other better. Oh the laughter, the stories, the entertainment quotient was stellar, and we agreed that we live in exciting times.

Here are a few behind the scenes snaps from the first “shoot” on Martha’s Vineyard, and the last two days of frivolity, here in the studio. Click on thumbnails to view photos.

I’m in awe of the amount of work they managed to accomplish in this small and densely packed studio, and I’m in a stupor thinking back to my bumbling responses to their thought provoking questions. I have no idea what documentary worthy words they will be able to tease out of the mess that was my commentary…but I am confident in their abilities to make the visuals stunning.

I’ll keep you posted on the progress and let you know when they deem it launchable.

Now, it’s travel time for us…a weekend of wedding celebrations, then back to the island for some working R and R.

Here’s to the autumnal equinox and clear cooler days to come…Stay frosty out there, HN


Granary Gallery Show 2015

We have returned safely to the studio, and the GG2015 show moves into the exhibition stage. Every two weeks, during the summer, a new show opens and the granary elves play musical paintings and shift the artwork to make way for the new works. I took some photos, after the crowds dispersed, so you can see what a masterful job the gallery staff does in hanging the show.

solo

gallery gallery2

mass act smalls pedestrians mirror lite wash katama crow wolsey wharf trident
It has been a terrific start to the summer show season, with a satisfying double handful of red dots filling the walls. We return home to a triple digit heat wave and one very happy puppy to greet us. I had promised myself a week of uninterrupted gardening days, but with this weather I’ve turned up the A/C and brought out the quilting bag. The creative soul needs some rest but the hands…never.

Stay frosty out there and thank you all for your support.


Almost forgot…day 4

Vineyard Vanitas

2009 – Vineyard Vanitas

Painter’s Notes – click here

This is the year of the birds.

sarens pups

2010 – Margo, Tallie and Nina

Three paintings of Saren’s pups, and Finnegan’s best friends.

Firewalker

2011 – Firewalker

Painter’s Notes – click here

Because I’m feeling ornery and peckish.

Today I nominate Laura Roosevelt. Would love to see more of her reflection photographs.


Tis the Season…

heuters

Yes, I am painting.
Most of the hours of most of the days.
But the apprentice has lately been insisting on beauty breaks…

the finn

And, after the winter of discontent that we all shivered through, I am taking deep breaths of every single blooming flower in my garden..

beach rose

My beloved Beach Rose and irises and even the daisy that always reminds me of J O’H

white iris daisy

and, with a cart full of color, and a pair of sturdy gloves
I am taking full advantage of every single space between the brushes
to get outside and work in the dirt.
in waiting

Herself chuckles and grins as she reminds me of the day,
sometime in mid-January,
when I hung my winter weary head
and swore I was not going to do ANY gardening this year.

Certainly no new plants, and definitely not the heavy lifting of the vegetable beds.
No, I was going to keep that head down low and focus focus focus on the paintings.
And right up until about March I was right on track with that dark pledge and doing fine.

Then some plague germs bullied their way into the studio and I spent the next few months crawling out of a very deep hole of un-health. (Spell check didn’t like that last hyphen and neither did I.) Which has thrown some curve balls of perspective at me.

BUT… the veil has lifted.
(Insert a choir of angels here please)
and all verdant bets are off…
Life is so damned short and…
you simply can’t keep a gardener’s soul from a wheelbarrow filled with marigolds…

marigolds
And then there are those newly revised beds that I dreamed of through the wintery gauze of tissues…

new beds

and the annex to the asparagus bed that wants to try growing some beans this year…

asparagus bed

Everywhere I look there are things growing…

nest
wild chives

And chairs that call to sit a spell…

chairs

or swing…

sky chair finn

And so yes, I am painting, but I am also living large in the tiny corner of the planet that we are taming. And, when the brushes begin to whine, I settle back into my chair at the easel with a tiny token of the garden wonders to temp the muses…

sir bernard and the rose

May your paths be filled with clover
and strewn with beach rose petals…
now go out there and grab a trowel.

 

 


Creative hibernation

…Don’t get me wrong, I love a blizzard. EVERYTHING ABOUT A BLIZZARD, from the early rumblings of “something to keep an eye on” on the weather sites, to the empty aisles in the grocery stores…who needs milk and bread, we hit the chocolate and cheese sections, to making sure there is a shovel of some kind just outside each door, firewood on the back porch, emergency candles, rubber ducks floating in the water-filled bathtub…

duck

then the countdown as NOAA tweaks and teases the snow totals out of the more reliable European model…like that.

Anticipation builds and nothing beats those few extra flakes that trump the forecasted foot or two. Yes, I love a blizzard.

But the last time we got one of those was when Finnegan was a little pup. And the winters in between have been dismally short on temps cold enough to produce the white stuff.

But……this winter is shaping up and laying down…in short controlled bursts… and I have been simply reeking of positivity lately, so I am happily learning to also LOVE these back to back to back little snowfalls.

snowshine

Turns out 2-6 inches of snow offer almost all of the same gifts of beauty and soul warming wooly slippered comfort…without the sore shoveling muscles from moving those big mountains and drifts… and the cabin fever that hovers over Herself when she can’t get out of the lane.

shoveler

The hearty Bernese Mt. Dog Finnegan has had weekly doses of heaven and has begun to take for granted that her first few steps each morning will be giant leaps into deliciously soft cold snow. I have rarely seen her this happy.finn

Herself has made several batches of her favorite snowstorm apple bake and now has the recipe…down Pat.

Sue and Zola helped to re-stock the firewood and the log cabin has been a toasty refuge for this tired artiste at the end of long luxurious days at the easel.

And, indeed, those long, glorious days at the easel have been pure bliss.

cs

I was going to wax on about how the muses tend to find artists when the winter dampens the bridge to the outside world. How, in this world of bells and whistles which emanate from our pockets and conspire to shatter those hard fought for slivers of emptiness, we struggle to find mental rest stops.

And how magical it is,
that when just a couple inches of snow falls,
in the studio yard,
being forced to sit in stillness,
reshuffles the creative deck.

There ya go,
now I’m headed back to work.
Stay frosty out there…