Took the hounds out for a walk on Thursday morning – out into the countryside. It way a beautiful morning. Immediately I regretted leaving my DSLR camera at home. These photos are from my iPhone.
And oh did they run. Won’t forget my big camera next time 😉
I should have scheduled a workshop. Or planned to attend the big event at the Bray. Or a vacation (what’s that?). Something to get away from this place for a while. Something to look forward to.
As it is, I’m waiting for boxes to dry. I’m working steady. Soon they will be dry and I’ll be loading the kiln, glazing and firing. Lots of interesting stuff to do.
But until then… North Dakota is dearth of inspiration. The rains keep coming but my creativity well is running a bit dry. Like the rain clouds… it’ll pass.
Cold. Wet. Rainy. Gray.
On the bright-side the basement is dry. That can’t be said for most of my neighbors. Or those along the Missouri river here in ND. Flooding. Sandbagging. Stress.
I don’t know how long it has been raining – just that it seems like we’ve had more rain this year than ever. If memory serves, we’ve had three nice days in all of May. I long for 70+ degree weather. I had to turn the furnace on last night.
And no Greyhound Gathering in Kanab, Utah. And no Art Show at Dewey Beach, Delaware this year either. I sit with no set events this year. No finalized engagements. The calendar is wide open with not a deadline in sight. I’m not sure I like this.
But my memory box goal for this month has been met. The boxes are drying and should be ready soon (rain/humidity is slowing the process down… slow drying is a good thing… but it takes forever…) There are also smaller smoke fired greyhound and saluki sculptures ready to be fired. In about a week things might shape up around here. The kilns will be firing, at last. I’m excited for the results. I’m really liking this batch of boxes and small sculptures.
The hounds and I have been squeezing trips to the dog park in between rain storms. I’m not crazy about them running on wet grass, but there has been little choice, of late. They need exercise and while the leash walking does fulfill some of that, it isn’t enough. The dog park ground is squishy and saturated like a sponge that needs to be wrung out. The hounds don’t seem to mind it or the baths when they get home.
Back to work. May has been a productive month. Memory boxes started. Small sculptures started. Shipped a larger piece (cross your fingers UPS will be kind in shipment). Have two other larger works possibly sold. Am *this* close to completing a $36,000 grant at the library job. It’s all good.
The temperature was near 70 degrees Fahrenheit. And the weatherman was warning of an upcoming blizzard. Such is spring in North Dakota. Turns out, this time, he was correct.
Winchester woke me this morning around 4AM. The wind was howling. He wanted me to be awake to hear it, I’m sure. The wind sounded like a train, but just a bit of snow. Wet and heavy. Then more snow… and wind. Ugh. Blizzard.
Just a few days ago, spring was here. The dogs and I have been visiting the dog park more often. We are all out of shape. We all love the sun. To be outdoors again.
Yes, every couple of days it snows. Then green grass and sunshine again. Just this time, the wind came.
This snow knocked down many (14?) of the very, very few trees that are in Bowman. We are short grass prairie. Every tree here has been planted. They don’t make it on their own.
I know there is green grass under the snow. The snow will be gone tomorrow or the next and the warmer temperatures will return. Such is spring in North Dakota.
So if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all, right? I’m going to attribute my lack of blogging to something along that sort. But mostly being super busy with library stuff, not making much work in the studio thanks to various reasons, and generally blanking on anything good to write about. It’s all okay. Just makes for a dead blog… Let’s get back in the swing of things.
Earlier this week, Mother Nature decided to dump roughly 14 inches of snow on Southwestern North Dakota. I’m like everyone else around here very tired of winter. But the snow was good snowman making snow. When I sat down on the couch to watch Glee I began to think about this awesome snow. Like the best snowman snow we’ve had all winter…
I had to make a big snow Greyhound.
We made many, many snow sculptures in this front yard through the years. My Dad and brother, and sometimes the neighborhood kids, built snow people, snow castles big enough to walk around in and dragons of all shapes and size. We got pictures of our results in the local paper fairly often.
So when the newspaper editor showed up in my front yard with a camera in hand, I wasn’t surprised. It’s a small town. There isn’t much for news. As he was snapping photos of the gigantic Greyhound I’d built, he asked how I decided to make a snow dog.
“When I was a kid we made snow men and other things. I was thinking of those snow men and how all I wanted, back then, was one of those plastic brick shaped snow cutter things to make igloo blocks, you know what I mean?”
“No” he says with a southern accent.
So I continued, “You know… they advertised in the backs of magazines… the block cutter was red with a handle on top.”
“No” he says with southern accent.
“They were red…”
Then it occurs to me. Southern Accent. Southern US…. has…. no… snow.
Really, my brain was as frozen as my hands. Really.
This new project isn’t made of clay. But I might make a small version maquette out of foam core.
This is the room in which my computer is located. It used to be the room we also used for TV watching (see the wall-mount for the flat screen still bolted to the wall?). The TV, couch, etc. has been moved out. It’s just my computer room now. And it’s my new project!
Here’s the idea: I want this room to be my “in house” gallery space. The place where finished sculptures live until they are transported to their new homes. I’m thinking improved lighting, paint, floor covering and, obviously a big de-clutter (yikes!).
I don’t have a huge budget for this. I’d like to hire an electrician to put in lighting but otherwise I’d like to do the work myself. So here’s the challenge. What would you do? Here’s your floor plan:
Longish skinny room with painted concrete floor gallery space.
Do I want to go with a warm interior look with a color on the walls and a wooden floor? Or clean and modern with a tile floor and flat white on walls? Should it be an antiseptic looking gallery space or more like a traditional home interior where I could photograph the artwork “as it would appear in your home”?
Well now I’ve gone and done it. After planning and preparing for nearly a year and a half, the joint exhibition of my mother’s and my work is up in the gallery. And I’ve gotten myself a nice winter cold.
As of this moment, I’m quite froggy. Tomorrow is the Artist reception (Tuesday, 1-4PM). Art classes will be coming to hear me… croak.
I have no one to blame but me. Last week was nonstop sugar and negativity. Grump grump grump and not a multi-vitamin in sight. The guy at the restaurant coughing his brains out without a napkin over his mouth might have had something to do with it.
I’m drinking water. And taking my vitamins. Anybody out there have suggestions?
or Watching Clay Dry. Nothing exciting to report (which is a good thing, I guess). Waiting for work to dry so that I can fire. Hoping to bisque fire tomorrow. Don’t want to be too hasty. Blowing work to pieces is no fun.
Until I know more, thought I’d share a photo of Winchester and Sage – who look somewhat like one LONG dog. Keep warm.
The furnace just kicked on blasting warm, dry air. It’s Cold outside. Currently -16 F and dropping. It’s hibernation time.
Hard to believe I took this photo a couple of weeks ago – most of the snow had melted off the deck behind the house and Frank dog sculpture needed his -her?- photo taken. Nearly impossible to get a resident Greyhound to sit like Frank for the photo. We got close…
Also during those weeks I began a nasty rabbit sculpture. Grumpy and it comes out in the art. Hard to find photos of snarling rabbits even with Google images. Not pictured is the nice, but overly eager Greyhound she’s snarling at.
The past weeks have been dog park-less and the hounds have had to be satisfied with occasional leash walks and romps in the backyard. I’ve tried to capture them in the snow in the yard with the camera, but the results have been less than satisfying. Dogs probably feel that way about the quality of the exercise. So much snow, but nothing like last year… yet.
Also worked on a new piece tentatively titled, Faith in my Lucky Rabbit’s Foot. This is a piece that I’ve wanted to make for a long while. I’ll find those original sketches in an old sketchbook and post them. This is another piece I hope will be ready for the exhibition at Dickinson State University in March. Going to be close.
Sage waits for the weather to break. He is a tough dog and tolerates the weather more than any other Greyhound I’ve owned.
But we all want the weather to warm up.
If you’ve been counting, which I assure you every North Dakotan has, this is Too Much Winter #3. I realize that for the rest of the US, North Dakota means Cold and Snowy. But Bowman is located in the “Banana Belt” of North Dakota. That usually means that we’re warmer and have better weather than the rest of the state. Usually.
Really, I can stand the cold and snow. I can put up with the layers. The ice layer on my windshield. The ice layer on the streets. The layers of clothing required for any outdoor (and several indoor) activities.
Wish my dogs had a place to run… The snow is too deep and too hard at the dog park. Walks are possible, but the roads are slick and nobody around here shovels sidewalks. Guess we’ll have to check out the indoor horse arena again. Because they are bored, bored, bored.
As am I. In a way. Just too much same-ness. And so I made a sculpture that illustrates (I hope) how I feel about the winter… The dull, underwhelming sameness of winter.
What is that expression, “the shoemaker’s children have no shoes?” Seems like I remember my Grandmother using this expression along with “wishes don’t wash dishes.” When I think more about it, I’m not sure she actually said those things, or if, instead they seem like something she would have said. My memory has mashed them into the memory of my Grandmother.
Anyway. My point. I work in a library, and my own library was a mess. A Mess. Stacks of books propped against the book shelves sitting on the floor. Like was not with like. Like the shelves had rejected the books. So remedying this problem was my New Years Day project.
Here’s the problem. I never discard a dog book.
Like “The Other End of the Leash” – love this book. See the nice new copy on the bottom of this photo? The copy of this book on top is Winchester’s version – as a young Greyhound he stole the book and tore out page after page. And I feel like I must keep it. Cause its a dog book. I makes me think of Winchester as a teenager – gawky and destructive – how can I throw the damaged copy away?
I put all the training books with training books; Greyhound books with Greyhound books. Including these two: the spiral bound is a privately published book of stories edited by Mary Bauer with my first Greyhound, Sterling, on the cover; the book in the foreground is also a book of Greyhound stories with Annie Greyhound on the cover. This book is available at the Greyhound Gang website.
What is it about the tags? They are so personal. The GPA 031 tag was Striker’s. 162 must have been Apollo’s. Who was the dog that wore the Venturia 4 1949 tag? A mastiff? or An IG? Who knows… Love the dog tags.
Tomorrow, more art.