Thursday, December 30, 2010

Snow day

Two photos for you this morning, taken after our lake effect snow day earlier this week.  I let the ladies out, and they quested out bravely into the new snow which was up their lower feathers.

And then I went skiing, one of the only reasons I can stand the Ithaca winter.

Monday, December 27, 2010

In which I am a tourist attraction

yawn blink blink...I'm emerging from my holiday-induced cave this morning.  If I see my shadow I might hide for another few weeks.

So, December was a busy month.  I started throwing things overboard to stay afloat and the first thing to go was my blog.  But now Christmas and its attendant craziness is behind us, and my parents' 50th wedding anniversary party too (which was a rousing success! and I'm very proud of them!), and the fun of family visits is coming to a close.  Also, market is done for the season, and all I have to do is clean out my display at the Holiday Store.  I rejoice that I don't have to be pleasant and professional to customers for a few months...although I dearly love my customers I am ready for a break from the retail aspects of my business and eager to spend some time in the studio instead.  Right now, big fluffy snowflakes are falling, my wood stove is cranking out heat, and I'm contemplating shoveling out the driveway in a little while so I can go skiing in the woods.

Our last farmers' market of the year is held on the Saturday before Christmas, and the occasion is marked by the annual Rutabaga Curl.  It's a uniquely Ithaca event, sort of a mix of lightly choreographed street theatre and community enthusiasm in the guise of a sport somewhat like bocci ball but with root vegetables.  I get to be the Rutabaga Goddess, a title I have rejoiced in for 10 years.  Which means more crazy headgear (this year I added lights) and a bedsheet toga, strangers taking my photo (which showed up on the front page of the Ithaca Journal this time around), and athletes asking me to bless their 'bagas before rolling.  This year things were enlivened by a band of protesters calling themselves PIECRUST (People in Ithaca Exposing Cruelty to Rutabagas something something) and carrying signs such as "it's all fun and games until a potato loses an eye" and "those who BEET their vegetables will get a RUTAwakening."  And I'm proud to say that I took the second place medal through pure blind luck...even though some people were questioning whether some divine intervention was involved.  It's fun...follow the links and check it out.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I have a new hat

One of the best parts of going to these art-and-craft shows is meeting other artist-and-craftspeople.  And meeting their art or craft.  As you know from my incessant harping, I was at the Plowshares festival last weekend, and came home with a new hat which makes me very, very happy.  The business name is Artsy Fartsy Productions, no website or I would pass it along...but keep an eye (or two or four) out for her work at a show near you.

Lake effect snow today, which means big fluffy flakes swirling around like magic.  I was supposed to work at one of my graphic design jobs today, but moved it to a later day because I have a cold and was not so interested in shoveling out this morning.  It's good to have a snow day, and I might get to that silkscreening project yet.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Old-school etching

Oh huzzah, I spent some time in my etching studio today!  No new plates, but trying to catch up on printing some editions because my print bin is dangerously low for this coming weekend's Plowshares show.  The printing process is a bit of a mystery for many people, so I took some photos with the goal of making a little tutorial about old-school etching.  I love complicated and obscure and old-fashioned art processes.  But it didn't really turn into a fully-functional step-by-step photo essay after all...although I did get a few arty shots to share.

The first step is to ink the plate, squishing the ink down into the etched lines with a plastic mini squeegee thing (sorry, I don't remember the technical term).  After the plate is inked, I gently wipe the surface of the plate clean with some stiff cloth, which leaves the ink in the lines to create the image.

This particular piece involves two plates.  After they are both inked and wiped, I lay them out on the bed of my beautiful etching press (with a piece of newsprint behind to keep the press bed clean).

I lay a piece of printmaking paper (which has been soaked in water and rolled out with a rolling pin between towels) over the plates, then the blankets go on top for cushioning and better contact.  I crank the big flywheel to move the bed between some big rollers, which presses the paper tight to the plates to pick up the ink in the etched lines.

And here is the print being pulled from the plates!  Always an exciting moment.  Now the prints I pulled this morning are drying between pieces of blotting paper with heavy things on top of them.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

In a brief lull between shows and work, the Thanksgiving gluten-and-sugar free sweet potato pie is out of the oven, and I'm taking a moment to throw a photo up on my blog and let you all know I'm still alive.  Thought you might enjoy seeing some of the lovely eggs my flock are producing these days.  Please note that there are green eggs, but there's no need to reference Dr. Seuss.

I just uploaded my 2011 Community Supported Art sign-up on my website.  More info to follow...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Shows and such

I had to run into A.C. Moore yesterday as part of my quest for the right color mattboard for some framing, and my ears were assaulted by really, really loud Christmas music.  I have a strong dislike for pop music in stores anyway (because then I have songs I don't like stuck in my head for hours), and early season Christmas music is extra rough for me.  But ya know, we gotta start getting in the cozy warm buying spirit!

Speaking of, I am madly preparing for two big out-of-town shows.  One is this approaching weekend: the Sauquoit Valley Fine Arts and Crafts Show, near Utica, NY.  The other is December 4-5 in Syracuse: the awesome Plowshares show, sponsored by the Syracuse Peace Council. 

Which means I'm pretty much busy with folding and packing cards, making journals, framing prints and paintings, collating calendars, driving back and forth to the printer, sorting out displays and tables, and generally being pretty boring in my little productive world (not the stuff of riveting blog entries).  I have some new limited edition products for the holidays: cool little magnet sets and address books.

Something fun is going on tomorrow night though!  Rasa Spa is having their 4th birthday party, and the reception for my show is part of the festivities!  Here's a link to the directions and information.  I'll be there for the evening, with a wee collection of things for sale.  I'm happy to say that I sold a painting from that show this week, amusingly enough the one hanging over the urinal in the mens' room!  Probably the one people looked at the most...

Anyway, hope to see you at one of these places.

Friday, November 12, 2010


At long weary last, the time has come to reveal the calendar.  Above is a page from the larger version (8.5 x 11).  This one is back from the printer, and I'm excited to take them to market tomorrow, and to the Holiday Store as well.  Below is a page from the smaller version, which fits in a CD case and sits on your desk in a perky kind of way.  This one will be going to the printer on Monday, and available by the end of the week, Lord willing and the creeks don't rise.  They'll be on my website and Etsy in the near future.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I haven't posted any photos of the animals I live with in a while.  Here's Nebraska looking sly.  He's super cute and loves me, but definitely has a streak of pure badness.

Today was a good day.  I woke up ready to work, the sun came out, I painted all day (those of you who have been following the saga of me trying to make these calendar paintings, you will be glad to know that I'm DONE with them and will now stop whinging and procrastinating), the woodstove has been going and therefore I am one more step closer to a fuel-oil-free life, a took a nice run, and now there's a celebratory homemade gluten-and-dairy-free pizza-like delicious creation in the oven about to come out for me to consume.

I love my woodstove.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Once in a while, paintings flow.  This came out last night, after I got home from a Farmers' Market meeting...the idea was apparently incubating while I was listening to talk of work hours and board elections.  Watercolor on illustration board, destined to be Miss January in my calendar.  Three more to go, hoping to have them done by the weekend...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Holiday Store opens

Been packing cards and cutting mats all last week, and here's the end little display at the Holiday Store.  We opened last night to a rather enthusiastic crowd.  Check it out, we're on the Commons in Ithaca, in the Night and Day building, open every day until Christmas.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The good earth

It was sunny yesterday, so I got outside and messed around in the garden and yard.  "Putting the garden to bed," as they say...pulling out all the dead plants, rolling up the fence, hauling stuff to the compost pile, turning the soil, chucking old green tomatoes and frost-killed squash at tree trunks for the thrill of the smash.  I also dug my potatoes.  The summer was so busy that I didn't plant the seed potatoes that my housemates left for me when they moved out until (shameful confession) sometime in July.  So this is what I got.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

From journeys to journals

Alright, enough of this mooning around looking at photos of big mountains! I'm back in Ithaca, and deep in preparations for the Christmas season. Every day I'm spending a few hours creating or packaging cards, prints, journals, boxes, gift cards...getting orders out to stores, reconfiguring my market displays, planning ahead for big seasonal art-and-craft fairs, updating Etsy, cleaning and painting the space where the Holiday Store will open. These journals were made fresh this morning...and if you like one, email me or come to the market this weekend!

Autumn is really here, with a taste of winter. Saw the S-word in the forecast, and right now my woodstove is glowing in the corner of the living room. I find this season before the snow comes to be very challenging, all the dark mornings and damp, chilly days and early evenings.


I'm processing some of the photos from my west coast adventures, and you really should see this one! Mt Shuksan, in the North Cascades, reflected in Picture Lake, apparently one of the most photographed spots in the world, and I see why. What a perfect, clear day...I was field-tripping up to Mt Baker with the legendary Doc Sheldon, looking for ptarmigan and mountain goats.

Monday, October 11, 2010


I'm home from my reconnaissance trip to Oregon and Washington, and just getting back to my computer and scanner and other tools of modern communication. It was a sleepless red-eye flight home after a fine drive down the Columbia River Gorge to Portland with all the mountain out, and it took a few days of weird nap times and general discombobulation and crankiness to get myself back in line. Not to mention returning to a house which two poorly-behaved but adorable cats had been living in unsupervised for almost three weeks. Not to mention a full market weekend, and preparing to hang another show in a few days. BUT it's great to see my Ithaca friends and the lovely fall weather, and I really love my own comfortable bed.

I particularly loved my time on Whidbey Island, in the sound north of Seattle. Here's a page from my travel sketchbook, looking out to the islands from the beach at Deception Pass. I just finished a larger acrylic painting based on this, which will go up on Wednesday at Rasa Spa as part of my show there.

(Side note: since I've been painting islands and thinking about whether I could manage to live there or something, I have been plagued with having snippets of that classic early '80's duet featuring Dolly P. and Kenny R. in my head for DAYS (which I will not mention here by name lest it return).

I have a great little story to tell too, a sweet moment that really made my week. I was out on Friday evening at Just A Taste, taking in a fantastic meal with a friend who wanted to see my paintings there before they came down. Halfway through our meal, the head waitress came over and told me that the woman over there at the table wanted to buy the painting, that one over there in the corner, right off the wall and was that ok with me? Heck yeah!

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Cairns my eldest niece and I built on the Oregon coast.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Looking at Mount Baker all day

"These mountain–Mount Baker and the Sisters and Shuksan, the Canadian Coastal and the Olympics on the peninsula–are surely the edge of the known and comprehended world. They are high. That they bear their own unimaginable masses and weathers aloft, holding them up in the sky for anyone to see plain, makes them, as Chesterson said of the Eucharist, only the more mysterious by their very visibility and absence of secrecy. They are the western rim of the real, if not considerably beyond it. If the Greeks looked at Mount Baker all day, their large and honest art would have broken, and they would have gone fishing, as these people do..."

(yet another Annie Dillard quote, from Holy the Firm, my favorite book of all time)

Soooo, right. This is where I am right now, exploring the Pacific Northwest, visiting family and friends, doing some reconnaissance for potential sabbatical-ness, and looking at Mount Baker all day. Photos will be coming soon.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Brookton's Market

Even though we're already nearing the end of September, it's not too late to show you what my botanical show at Brookton's Market looks like. Go check it out, and pick up some coffee and a few groceries while you're paintings will be up until October 3rd. I'm proud of my little town's beautiful market.

I'm putting the finishing touches on my packing for a quick escape to the Pacific Northwest, leaving in a few hours for grand adventures with family and friends. I figured now is the time to go, because when I get back the gloves are off for the early Christmas season. My first job when I get back is to finish my 2011 calendars...but I won't think about that right now.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I've been cooking a lot this week, inspired by all the great produce available right now in our fine town (did you know that Ithaca has been named one of the top five foodie towns by Bon Appetit magazine?). I also have a little more time this week it seems, almost caught up on my freelance work in preparation for heading out to the west coast next week. Anyway, I made this amazing salsa twice this week, and you should too:

1 pint tomatillos, husk removed and washed with warm water to get rid of the stickiness, cut in half
4-5 cloves garlic
1 jalepeno, halved and seeds removed
1 sweet red pepper

Roast the above ingredients at 400 for about 45 minutes. Mmmm...roasted garlic!

1 red onion, chopped
1 more sweet red pepper
juice of a lime
cilantro (optional if you are one of those people who think cilantro tastes like soap)

Add these ingredients to the roasted stuff above, and chop up finely in a food processor.

1 pint sungold tomatoes (oh so sweet and good), quartered
1 large regular tomato (I used a Brandywine, also sweet), chopped small
generous dash of salt

Mix everything together, and EAT!

Monday, September 13, 2010


Monday morning...early fall has arrived in Ithaca, it's chilly and damp and grey. Some of my crazy friends keep claiming that fall is their favorite season, but that is not an opinion I share...I'm sad to see the sun hide, and also generally dislike being cold. Basically this weather change makes me want to buy plane tickets...which I did, and I'm heading out to make a grand tour of Oregon and Washington a week from today!

I'm working on my calendar paintings, as mentioned a few posts ago. Here's another of them, an August afternoon sky.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Not really a happy ending

A couple of weekends ago, I got home from market and opened the chicken coop to check for eggs. There's a funny little ledge inside the door, which is hidden when the door is closed, where I often startle mice or see a little stash of mouse-hoarded corn. On that day, I surprised a small mouse with a missing tail, who was hovering over three just-born pink babies. I shut the door quickly, and decided that I should perhaps introduce a nice box for them to hide in from the omnivorous chickens.

In the process of introducing the box, with the best of intentions, I scared off the mother mouse. Hmmm. But I left the babies in the box for the evening. I checked back at night when I locked up the coop, and there was still no sign of the mother. So I decided to just move the babies back to the original ledge, and hope she would come back for them if they were where she had originally left them.

Kind of worried about it that night, since I was starting to feel responsible for messing with this situation, even with good intentions.

The next morning, heading out to Sunday market, there were only two babies left on the ledge. Did that mean she had come back for them? Or had one fallen out and died? When I got home again that afternoon, I ran right over and checked. No sign of any babies on the ledge...oh well, end of story. But then I saw one on the ground, where it had fallen...still shockingly alive 24 hours after my first "intervention." Ok ok, at this point I definitely felt responsible and decided to try to take care of it myself rather than let it die from my neglect.

My internal dialogue by now is going something like this: "Why am I doing this? I mean, I cheer for my cats when they kill mice! I don't WANT mice in my house! This is just an exercise in heartbreak anyway if I get attached, because chances are very slim it will survive. I don't WANT to do this, but I feel responsible and have a choice here. I should try to choose the chance of life over the certainty of death."

So I installed the wee baby in a Chinese takeout container, on some cloth, with a hot water bottle under the container to keep it warm. Got some eyedroppers. Looked up on the internet what to do. Did you know that you have to stroke a baby mouse with a wet q-tip to make it, umm, eliminate? (That mimics the mother mouse's licking, which it needs.) Fed it tiny drop by drop...all I had were half-and-half and eggs, mixed with water to thin it. Took it to a potluck because I needed to feed it. Was amazed every time I checked that it was still alive. This little thing was about the size of my first finger joint, and you could see through its skin....fragile, but surviving. I didn't get attached. Why was I doing this? All this care and work for a baby mouse of all things, this is ridiculous.

Maybe two days later I was out at the coop again, locking up in the evening. I spotted a nice fluffy mouse nest on top of the nesting boxes, and carefully poked it to see if it was occupied. It was!! So I decided, with great relief, to leave the baby I was attempting to care for in the nest and hope for the best. The next morning all seemed well, so I felt I had discharged my duty.

So in one way this is a happy ending. I feel good that I took care of my responsibility and made the choice to try to make a good ending out of a situation I had messed up. But in another way it's not...I got some new hens the next day, and in the process of getting them settled the mouse nest was destroyed. But that was ok, because it wasn't through my intervention or neglect.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Orion and Sycamore

My friend Brandon (who has very cool tattoos) just emailed some photos to me of my mannequins. I painted these several years ago, salvaged from old store displays...experimenting with using the form as a canvas for landscape.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I spent most of today painting! Watercolors! Oh hurrah, actually being an artist instead of running the business of being an artist.

See, I thrive on deadlines, although I don't want to admit it. I'm putting up a show of botanical paintings at Brookton's Market on Friday, and of course want some new work to show. I also want to have a collection of 12 new paintings for my 2011 calendars and have set a deadline of getting those done and designed by October because many of the more future-thinking and organized people of my acquaintance have been asking for them already. So I'm buckling down with a couple of botanical subjects which will work for both. Here's a Phalaenopsis orchid, hot off the drawing table. I also worked on some quite perky green pears and started on a collection of hot peppers. This means, of course, that I will be framing these new pieces moments before they are due to go on the wall.

(Technical sidebar: my scanner does not do well with yellows and sap green...I had to adjust a lot in photoshop to make the colors not look hideous. That's why the white space looks all grey in this scan. It might be time for a business investment in a new scanner.)

Speaking of shows, I moved my larger pieces from the Kitschen Sink over to Just a Taste (an absolutely delicious tapas place) yesterday. Just a Taste is my favorite restaurant in Ithaca, hint hint...

Friday, August 27, 2010

"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember the distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."

(opening line of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Snapshot: wednesday afternoon inside my brain

So here I am with my computer, store-sitting at the new Ithacamade space down here on State St. Have you been in yet? It's right next to the State Diner and kind of tucked in with Mimi's Attic (a secondhand furniture store that always looks like the way you'd like your living room to look). We've only been open two or so weeks, this is my first time working here.

So I haven't blogged much lately, mostly because I've been doing a lot of graphic design work, which
a) means I'm spending far too much time on the computer, and
b) makes for dull blogging (unless you're keen on hearing my inner dialogue about font sizes and color palettes), even though I do really quite good work and have interesting clients.

So here's what else is on my mind right now:

1) I am HUNGRY, and going to go get a giant Super Basic burrito at Viva at 6:00. 35 minutes to go.
2) just ordered some new journals and boxes and such, the New Product ap is ticking away in the back of my mind because...
3) ...the Christmas season is right around the corner, when I lose all touch with reality in the process of getting my cards and other gifty whatnots out to the four corners of the universe during the big shopping frenzy that ironically celebrates one of the most sacred Christian holidays.
4) I would very much like to take a sabbatical next year.
5) Huh, I have two shows to hang next week...more about that later.
6) It's really quiet around my place in the mornings, now that Harold the rooster is gone to greener pastures.
7) I've been posting new things on Etsy every few days, working to make that a more interesting and active storefront.
8) REALLY need to find time to start the paintings for my new calendar!
9) let's get back to that burrito and sabbatical...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Looks like a sunset

Harold the rooster's days at my coop are numbered. I realized that he would be a menace in the winter...visions of him flying out the door at me with spurs extended velociraptor-style during the cold months when the chickens are cooped up all the time have been dancing in my head. Fortunately, Glenwood Farms, market friends who raise bison on the other side of town, actually need a rooster to defend their large hen flock. The exchange hasn't been scheduled, but it will be soon as I'm adopting four new hens next week.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Wee bits of practical art for your house

Time now for a little shameless self-promotion. I'm happy to present the latest experimental additions to the line of products out there with my artwork on them...ta-daaaaa! Coasters! These are available on my Etsy page and at the Ithacamade store in downtown Ithaca, or call me up and order a set. They are 4x4 inches, ceramic, and backed with cork. Beautifully printed by Loudeac Studio, in Newfield NY.

The top one is my illustration of a Western Meadowlark nest, and the lower is a painting I call September Evening.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Anyone going to New Caledonia, and need a botanical illustrator?

"Hey," I can hear some of you thinking, "this is supposed to be a blog about ART, right? What's up with all these recipes and photos of camping trips and quotes about peaches?"

In answer to that unspoken question (and to balance out all the graphic design I've been doing this week), here's something from the more traditional side of my repertoire. A dissection plate from a job a few years ago working for a really nice Cornell botanist who studies legumes, specifically from Madagascar. This is kind of an obscure renaissance-like skill I have, botanical dissection plates. With dissecting microscope and wee little tools for pulling the flowers apart, ruler, lots of sketches, transfer paper, and final work done with a crowquill flexible nip pen and bottle of ink. Very old school, very satisfying in a tedious geeky kind of way.

I would like more work like this. Preferably on an old school expedition into the jungle somewhere discovering new species...? Anyone...?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rat a TWO eeee

Remember the zucchini from a few entries ago? Well, that was just a harbinger of the bounty to come. August in NY means blueberries, peaches, tomatoes, greens, squash, short, more produce at once than the average person can handle. My fridge was full to bursting a few days ago with gorgeous local organic produce (lucky me!). I tried to take a photo of it, but it didn't turn out so well...instead you'll have to look at my salad. Everything in that bowl (with the exception of the sunflower seeds) is from the market, or my garden, including the eggs.

I should be making art, but these days call for some time spent in the kitchen. I have blueberries and peaches in the freezer, plus some tomato sauce and chopped tomatoes for winter chili. I've made vast batches of pesto (just basil, garlic, sea salt, olive oil and dairy). Lunch today will be veggies with baba ganouj (roasted eggplant spread).

One of my favorite easy recipes for this time of year is ratatouille. All of the veggies and herbs that is calls for are ripe and plentiful right now. This recipe is basically from page 179 of the classic Moosewood cookbook.

olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 onions, chopped
1 big round or 2 long thin eggplants, cubed
thyme (I have a HUGE thyme plant in the garden, yikes!)
2 zucchini (recipe calls for 1, but you gotta use 'em up), cubed
2 bell peppers
black pepper
3 large tomatoes, chopped (or a large can of them)
optional: black olives, parsley

Saute the garlic and onions for 5 minutes, add the eggplants, salt, and herbs and cook, covered, for about 20 minutes, stirring once in a while. Add tomatoes, zucchini, and peppers, and cook for another 10-15 minutes. That's it. Makes a delicious summer stew.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Every time I eat a peach I think...

Shall I part my hair behind?
Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers,
and walk along the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me...

(T.S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock")

Thursday, August 5, 2010


It's exciting to see the lower end of State St (now Martin Luther King Jr St) turn into such a hip and trendy new neighborhood...what with Felicia's, Gimme, Mama Goose, Kitchen Theatre, etc. And now the latest addition will be Ithacamade, a cooperative venture of about 10 local artists and artisans, with a fun array of products and art for your browsing pleasure. Please come to Gallery Night, our big opening, if you're around....and then bring your out-of-town friends back so they can take home a little piece of Ithaca-ness. Members include Alice, Werner, and Natasha.

One exciting thing about this store opportunity is that I can work on some new products that I can't sell at the market. On the drawing board are some new designs for coasters and tiles, which I will keep you updated about.

My graphic design freelance work just picked up again, and combined with getting ready for this store to open and keeping up with market, I have not had two seconds to turn around. I'll be back soon.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Nutmeg of Consolation

Here's a short photo essay of my week at Forked Lake. Did I even get out my sketchbook? Oh nooooo...but I had a great time hanging out with some of my dearest friends, cooking over the fire, appreciating some solitude, getting a great tan, and reading a slightly cheesy novel. I spent a lot of time on the dock. All was peaceful except for the short-lived but drenching storm that blew down the lake and directly into our main site...we were clinging to tent poles and watching everything go to wrack and ruin around the picnic table. But the sun came out the next day and everything recovered. This was a good break in the summer, and now August looks busy.

Let me introduce you to my canoe. Her name is the Nutmeg of Consolation, with a nod to my literary hero Patrick O'Brian, and she's a 12 foot Old Town solo canoe. Glides beautifully and responsively through the water, and weighs all of about 33 pounds soaking wet. Easy for me to load on my car and lift out of the water. On this trip I had a pirate flag in the stern, and I enjoyed yelling things like "ahoy mateys" and "avast ye scurvey dogs" at my tolerant friends. I also figured out the mysterious circular stroke where you never lift the paddle out of the water.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Mysterious Zucchini, and other tales of adventure

I walked out a few mornings ago to feed the chickens, and there was a zucchini of unusual size and unknown origin outside my door. I love summer.

I'm pretty sure now that some neighbors down the road left it there, since they have a big bucket of them out for free at the end of their driveway. I'm taking it camping, where we will attempt to grill it over the fire. Maybe with a little tamari and sesame oil.

I'm packing up this morning for another Adirondack adventure, so this entry will be short and sweet. Every summer for the last several years I've met up with my best college friends for some extensive camping and vacation time. We go to Forked Lake (see entry from last month), this year we have one of the big island sites. So off I go with the canoe on the car and gourmet camping menu in hand. Plus citronella spray, rain gear, watercolor sketchbook, two novels, pirate flag, bikini, hiking skirt, travel-sized Scrabble, hip flask, and possibly my stuffed plushie marmot. Not to mention the giant zucchini.

See you all next weekend.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Give me an art grant

I took this photo when I lived in Santa Cruz during grad school. I miss that town sometimes.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Distracted and lazy

Summer summer summer!

Here are my first sungold tomatoes, sweet and warm in the sunshine. My garden is looking good, especially the tomato plants are making up for last year's blight-induced lost time. Bumper crop of weeds too, been trying to keep them under control but not trying hard enough apparently. I could just eat the dandelion greens, I suppose, and then they wouldn't be weeds anymore. The mother of all thyme plants is popping up baby thyme plants everywhere...yikes! Fencing out the chickens has been a good idea.

I'm behind on blogging, it's been hot and I've been distracted and lazy. I have a few weeks off from crazy freelance deadlines, and am trying to keep up with everything else that needs attending to. That's going to include picking and freezing blueberries, making pesto, getting a handle on the neglected housecleaning, purging the closet, organizing my wedding invitation business, and reading in the sunshine by the creek.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Good morning, sunshine!

Here's the scene around my yard this morning: Harold the cocky rooster lording it over his flock from the top of the coop. Here he is in mid-crow. It must be such a burden to carry around the need to be so macho all the time.

Some mornings I can hear the chickens in their coop before I let them out, going off in a loud chorus of squawking and clucking that will go on for easily 10-15 minutes, and it makes me laugh.

Another Monday morning, looking at a fairly easy week, hurrah! I have two logos to work on, and also tweaking a t-shirt design for my brother's pub. I never got around to printing those etchings last week that I was talking about, since the heat sapped my energy, so maybe that's on the agenda. Hopefully I can spend a little time this week also enjoying summer, a rare and beautiful season in upstate NY, which specializes in darkness and cold.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Yup, it's hot this week

(Nebraska's thermoregulating technique)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Like a horde o' Hottentots!

Hmm, this is probably gonna be too small to read...but trust me, it's hilarious. I love Bloom County, and every now and then pull out the ol' books to leaf through and laugh. This is a classic.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Going in the creek

I kind of love these few weeks of rare true heat we get here in upstate NY. Sure, a week of days in the humid 90's makes me sleepy and miserable, but it evens out those cold dark winter days which make me even more sleepy and a worse kind of miserable. I really don't like being cold.

One of my secrets for keeping cool is to jump in the nearest creek. Ithaca is blessed with tons of streams and lakes and creeks, and the rocks around here tend to weather and break in such a way to make perfect swimming holes. Here's a photo of my favorite such refuge...which is on private property (I have permission) and wild horses will not drag the location out of me (but if you visit me, I might take you there). Five minutes in this cold running water sets me up for the rest of the day.

I can also stay cool by working in my basement, specifically in my etching studio. That's where I'll be this afternoon, because I am waaaay behind on keeping my bin o' prints stocked for the market and also because it's probably a chilly 68 degrees down there.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Preview of the show

Hurrah, my show is on the wall at the Kitschen Sink! Here part of it last night, right after hanging. Many thanks to Ben (foreman of the hanging mob), Ryan, and Zooey for sweeping in and dealing with the placement and heavy lifting.

So this is a just a teaser, everyone reading who is in or near Ithaca should stop in tomorrow afternoon (Saturday) between 4 and 6 PM for my little opening soiree. For everyone else, more photos and descriptions will be showing up here on my blog.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What the cool kids are wearing this July

It's the first of July, and in my universe that means it's time to distribute CSA shares. If you were a member of my CSA (Community Supported Art), you'd be getting one of these super cool t-shirts for your July share. I used discharge paste to make the background, and a silkscreen for the design.

CSA? What, like the hip and trendy locavore vegetable thing? Well, kinda...but it's about art instead of agriculture, although I borrow from that model. You can read up on my CSA here.

Also in my universe it's almost time to put up my Kitschen Sink show...we start hanging at 5:00 tonight, check back for photos. Speaking of shows, Gary is the featured artist at Belle Melange, and his opening is tomorrow evening, Friday the 2nd.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The view from back here

Sunday evening, feeling wiped out from a hot and humid weekend at the farmer's market. I don't think I'm giving away any trade secrets by saying that every market vendor I know also needs to take a big nap after a busy selling day.

I thought I'd give you a view from behind the scenes. This is how I view the market, from the quiet and safety of my booth. Here you can see the back side of some of my card displays and small framed etchings, a mug of green tea, the toes of my cowgirl boots where they are propped up for relaxation, some absolutely stunning roses from Plenty of Posies, the impressive display of organic vegetables at Sacred Seed Farm across the aisle, and a small swarm of people walking by. It's a very different view from behind the counter than out in the crowd...I would find it hard to survive the crush and furor of the market without my space back here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I heart Forked Lake

Just back last night from a few days at Forked Lake in the Adirondacks. You've heard me talk about this place before if you've been reading my blog for any length of time. It's sort of tucked in between the better-known Raquette Lake and Long Lake, only about a 4 hour drive from here, and a little bit of heaven on earth. My friend Jean Elizabeth celebrates her birthday there every year, and it happens to fall right near the summer solstice...and I will take any excuse to load up my wee canoe and head north and spend a few days cooking over a fire and being slothful and indolent in the pseudo-wilderness.

I pride myself a little bit on my campfire cooking skills. For example: cut a head of garlic in half horizontally, drizzle with olive oil, reassemble the halves, wrap securely in tin foil and roast in the coals for about 20 minutes. Mmmm-hmmm. Also for example: steaming asparagus in tin foil (add olive oil, a little water, salt and pepper, and some white wine or lemon juice if you have it). JE is a whiz with a camp stove, and she can make curries and fancy breakfast treats. We really don't rough it.

And now back to my studio, since there is ONE WEEK left before my show goes up!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

hee hee hee

This is still one of the funniest things I've ever seen. C'mon, admit it...I can hear you laughing all the way over here.

(with all due thanks to

Friday, June 18, 2010

Works in progress

Friday already. My car is packed up for market tomorrow morning (early), and I am yawning widely while enjoying the fireflies and citronella of a summer evening on the porch. I haven't blogged all week, and these photos should tell you why. Getting ready for the Kitschen Sink show which goes up on July 1st....the new paintings are flowing nicely. There's some older paintings in the lower photo too, along with the things in progress.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Administrative whatnot

Monday morning. The usual two hours doing administrative whatnot in front of the computer that start out my week. More delaying tactics keeping me out of the studio (my favorite: wandering around on looking at fantasy vacation plane tickets). So before I stay here any longer, here's a photo I snapped yesterday of part of my notecard display at the farmers' market.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Not-so-skill saw

I got this beautiful maple board at a local wood place, with sap tap holes and everything. This tree must have been huge! I decided to make it into two manageable boards for paintings instead of one gigantic 9-foot extravaganza that wouldn't fit in my car. So my dad brought over his skill saw and let me go at it. Like any independently-minded young woman worth her salt, I get kind of a kick out of my occasional brush with power tools. I cut a fairly straight line with a minimum of smoke.

So, paintings need to be happening over here at Christi's house for my July show. So far I've managed to clean the whole house and plant and fence the garden in a frantic bid to procrastinate. But I do have some good sketches and ideas and am just waiting for a sunny energetic day.

Please note that the classy toilet seat in the background is not there for decoration, it's the last vestige of last week's home improvement project and it is now gone.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sunbeam Candles

I can finally reveal the details of the big project I was working on last month! Sunbeam Candles, a local super cool candle company who use only SOLAR POWER to produce their products, and use lovely pure ingredients, and who are generally really good people....well, they asked me to create twelve new paintings for them for their new line of aromatherapy votive candles. That led to more labels for some beeswax candles. All of the designs are up on their website, and I will try to figure out how to make a slideshow of them here (which might be impossible). Meanwhile, here is the patchouli and eucalyptus designs.

Rainy day in Ithaca...enjoying some Rickie Lee Jones and just about to go clean out my studio a little, sand a few big boards to paint on, and start working on some new things.