Monday, September 11, 2023

A Summary of Spring and Summer thoughts...


So summer came and went with alacrity this year...streaming by in a myriad of images from here in Madison to up north at the cabin. Back and forth.  This year we went with a 3-4 week on and off plan.  The idea being not to have to pack and unpack so often which for two old folks is arduous.  

Weather in Madison was on the average this summer was dry and quite hot.  Weather in Lac du Flambeau was on average cold, dark, and rainy.  So both had their ups and downs.  

So to simply highlight our happiest sister's visit in May as she was making her way across country was splendid and so wonderful.  Then in June the visit of our granddaughter, Maddy,and her entire family was amazing. Getting to meet Maddy's fiancĂ© AND our two beautiful great grandchildren.  What a special time.  

So summer "up north" was totally full of joyous community and family gatherings.  4th of July was a local potluck of lake folks.  Great to see everyone!  

In between family gatherings I tried to keep a little sketching going.
I found the name of the clouds to be amusing as they sounded like perhaps a bad chest cold?  When they gather in the north like this it is time to be watchful.  

Beth made the trip all the way from Rochester Hills, Michigan by car this summer to the cabin for a sister duo with Julie!  Greg's son Mark and his big family came and my son Rick and his darling family came.  Katy and Chris came as a sister duo and we loved that!  Julie and her husband came.  What a treat. They all spoiled us so!  

I found a wee amount of time to keep up with sketching some  botanicals around the cabin although I found that walking too far along the verges was harder for me this year.

We returned to Madison on Friday the 8th of September.  The summer warmth will linger awhile in autumn generally comes on slowly and with sweet colors.  Then suddenly as October approaches it will rain and the colors will slide away from us offering us the always bleakness but coziness of November.  We are already beginning to think of the holidays in general terms.  With a large family one has to plan ahead! 
Art wise Julie and I have a few Zentangle® "gigs" in the works.  I am helping here at Oakwood to plan a new Art library which should be fun.  Choir at church starts this week AND a new Oakwood choral group is beginning here which should be joyful.   

I brought back a lot of old paintings stored at the cabin that "never made the cut" and so am thinking of collage and gift card making with those this winter.  I am sure I'll start up some beginning Zentangle classes here at Oakwood and need to look over the calendar for that. 

In the spring I did part of the project pack for Zentangle.  I'll drop a few of those in so you can just see a sample.   It was an odd project which was designed to get one to look at familiar zentangles in the sense of possible botanical implications.  Here's an example.  The format was unusual to say the least but I enjoyed the challenge of making "make believe" plants.  Complete nonsense, of course, but a way to push your ideas into a project that most of us wouldn't have dreamed of.  I got five of the 8 done before we went up north but hope to get back and finish the rest this fall.  


Wishing you a good autumn.  And GO Packers! 

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Entering the Good Old Summertime

 "Way beyond pretty pictures, cool techniques, gripping stories, or fancy footwork, artists make art that’s worth spending time with because it makes us feel like we are not alone in the universe.....but you do need to be authentic and unafraid. Art is the opportunity to share yourself. Seize it." Danny Gregory

Suddenly it's June and I haven't posted since April.  Cliches about time flying come to mind but I promised myself not to say that.  Instead I'll note that life has been and continues to be full of surprises and most of them are pretty okay.  

Above and below are a few of the 2" Bijou tiles in the latest project pact from Zentangle HQ.  All in all they posted 21 videos of various prompts.  I only missed one.   Black, white, and translucent tiles.  Quite fun and enjoyable.  They are meant to be put into mosaics.  

While I am writing this on June 6 here in Madison we are getting a little rain storm.  I do hope it lasts a bit as the lawns here are going yellow and brown and my daughter's garden is suffering and I am sure the farmers are worried about corn and soybeans and hay too.  

Up north for our recent 10 day stay to open the cabin...we had high danger warnings for fire. No campfires allowed.  The mosquitoes were swarming so much that most of my sketches were done indoors.  

I've been able to do a few sketches here at Oakwood this spring..this one in May near a lovely Fountain Pond on the east side of the Oaks. 
The blossoms were falling fast and floating in the pond like confetti from a celebration.  

We have a busy month planned for June here in Madison with farmer's markets and garage sales and art shows and outdoor music concerts.  We will return to the cabin just before the 4th of July and stay about 3 and half weeks. 

Wishing you all a good, safe, and creative summer.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

April Thoughts


By Ginny Stiles

To graduate is to arrange in a series or according to a scale.

“The stones were graduated in height from the lowest near the entrance to the tallest opposite.”

The longer I live the more I think of time as a spiral and not a straight line.  Every ending opens a door to a new beginning.  In this way we “graduate” all the time, minute by minute and year by year, experience by experience.

The spiral starts out tight and small and “graduates” outward as time spins on.  At least my spiral does.  I could see that some folks might see it the opposite, getting smaller and tighter as they age.  Dark hole style.

But my spiral is headed for the stars.  As the serendipity of life is arranged through both my choices and my chances…through luck and planning, through the best and worse…the spaces get wider and you see farther.  There are more “thin” places in the spiral where you can see beyond your spiral…just every so often.

We gather a little star dust along the way and when the spiral gets wide enough…and you get to the end…it will feel like home.

A little birthday card painting for my grandson Patrick's 17th birthday. 

Watercolor and Gouache

The Wonky House project was part of a Sketchbook online challenge series this spring.  (Ink, watercolor, white pen, white gouache)

Ginny teaching Zentangle last week  out a Prairie Ridge on the East Side of Madison.

My sister and I had 5 days to enjoy each other's company here in Madison and now she's off to new adventures in California.


Tuesday, March 28, 2023

The Easter Season

The end of March draws near.  It's truly been a month that I have almost lost in terms of time.  I've done many things...we've been busy and not a month where I noticed many spare moments although I am sure there were.  

Spring fever hit me hard in mid-March.  A few 40-50 degree days slipped in, the time on the clocks moved forward, the vernal equinox that celebrates the season slipped in, and the local Farmer's Market sent their start date in April... but outside things looked VERY wintery in Madison for most of the month!  Last Saturday we had 12" of snow! We NEED spring and it's almost painful.  Under the snow, Julie's snowdrops and crocus are poking up.  Or they were when we could see them!  And I have seen my first robin!  

On the 18th of March the Urban Sketch group went down to sketch in the capitol dome here in Madison.  Oh my it was a blustery wintery day! It was fine inside the dome but getting there was a very cold walk.

I've been obsessed with Zentangle® during these inside days...teaching an advanced class we call the "Zentangle Club".  They have been doing a great job... First project we worked on a "Zendala". These two  on top were the way it looked to start and then my finished sample.  The 3 on the bottom were my "variations on the finished piece".  

The students really worked hard on theirs and they turned out quite well I thought. Even though we all the did the same tangle they all turned out differently but then that's the fun.  

So now we are working on "part II" to finish up in late April.  We are working on a "Wonky Village".  The second one is my sample in ink and colored pencil that I am working along with them.  The top one is as far as I got in the first day of instruction.  Neither are completed yet so you'll have to wait to later in April to see how they all turn out!  

Lastly I've been working along with the Project Pack #20 online in Zentangle and Day 6 turned out well.  This is done on a gray Zendala tile using ink and while charcoal.  

Heading right up to Easter now and the choir at church is practicing like crazy as we sing Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter!! Family will be here for Easter Brunch and we all have our finger's crossed that the sunshine and spring like weather will arrive in time!  

Blessings for this Easter Season.

Monday, February 6, 2023

February: A Time to Dream

“Teach the children… Stand them in the stream, head them upstream, rejoice as they learn to love this green space they live in, its sticks and leaves and then the silent, beautiful blossoms.”
— Mary Oliver

Here is is the 6th of February and I've not posted for a long time. The holidays have come and gone with all their family and friends and joyful celebrations.  The New Year has begun in all it's complexity and bewilderment...all it's wars, earthquakes and gun violence. We have to fight to keep the balance.  I've started a Tai Chi class.  Lots of gentle movements, breathing, and contemplation.  My Zentangle® brings me healing.  I share that with others.  I led a lovely class last week.  

This month, for a time, I've lost myself in thinking about the outdoor world lying still and silent now under deep snow here in Wisconsin. I walk gingerly over ice and snow and think of the world..mostly silent and sleeping in the woods.  There is great beauty in the frosted branches and the long long icicles.   

The owls are about...I see sparrows on the branches of my Sycamore Tree.  But mostly we are lost still to the signs that spring is ahead.  Yet we still we plan for Ash Wednesday and dream of Easter on April 9.  It's only two months.  So the "green space" Mary Olivers writes of above will come again.  We have set the up north cabin calendar in motion among the family members.

It's a good month to dream of the 9 acres woods here at University Woods.  The robins will be back next month.  They always come. I so enjoyed putting together a little nature library sign for the book corner by the entrance to the woods.  

I loved thinking of each bit the woods I cherish here..the trillium, the Sycamore tree, the oaks, the Lady Slipper and the Bluebells, the hickory and the robins.  And then lastly the turkey feather.  We have an absurdly funky flock of them that think they own the 9 acres.  We have to get permission from them to walk there (well at certain times of year).  There were so many things there wasn't room for...the owls...beautiful.  All the song birds...many many wild flowers.  The list is endless.  We dream of spring now.