Monday, November 4, 2013

Happy Birthday Nanbert!!

This week has been a whirlwind.  On Monday one of my Brown Swiss heifers calved a beautiful heifer calf, and I've been learning how to milk (previously I've only milked goats) and she's learning too.  Actually she seems unconcerned with the process.  She has been a dream.  Stands without being tied and lets me fumble through the milking process without a flinch.  I'm 'sharing' her with her calf, and so far that's going well too.  I am keeping the calf with her at all times without any hold up issues.  

The other heifer is overdue, and looks to be getting close, so hopefully we'll have another calf on the ground by the weekend.

So without further ado, here she is:

Baby Brown Swiss heifer born on the farm Monday morning!!

I linked up with The Homestead Barn Hop.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Where I've been.

This past month has been a blur.  

I've been anxiously awaiting the birth of my heifers' calves (both of them are still heavy with calf, by the way).  This waiting period has entailed numerous trips to the barn each night to check and make sure they aren't in labor and needing my help.  I've not had more than a four hour span of sleep since the beginning of the month (the previous owners were rather vague about the possible calving dates).

My Brown Swiss Heifers
(soon to calve).

Another big event was my daughter's fourth birthday.  Seems like just yesterday I was gargantuanly pregnant and now I'm the mom to the coolest kid imaginable.

Taken with my iPhone--fog on Lake Lemon.
(I wish I would've had my camera).

And now it seems we've transitioned full-on into autumn.  I've got a lot of changes coming all at once.  My Uncles helped me buy a lot of art supplies at an auction that I'm looking forward to breaking into.  I've been researching digital cameras because mine is in need of an upgrade.  And I'm planning my new studio space (it's going to be HUGE, and that's super exciting).

I'll keep you updated.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Artist Interview: John W. Shanabrook

**A more recent interview with John W. Shanabrook can be found here.**

It has been a little while since I have interviewed anyone for the blog, and so I'm remedying that right now.  Here is an interview with a very fascinating painter named John W. Shanabrook.  He has a shop on Etsy called ArtistiicAbandon filled with eye-catching oils.  So, without further delay let's get to the questions.

Green Roof Farm.

1. Were you always an art kid, or did you stumble upon it later in life?

When I was a kid I read a lot. Or I made little scrap-wood boats to float in a creek that crossed the grounds of convent not far from my house. Art was never anything I thought about or knew. The closest I came to art was buying (many years later) a handful of Conté Criterium 550 pencils in Haarlem, just west of Amsterdam, from an art store that was going out of business. I can’t even tell you why I bought those pencils—if it wasn’t for their beautiful, bright, new-grass colors—but I still have them.

Oak Day.

2. What style of art is your favorite and why?

I much love the Hudson River School of painting, and among its artists, George Inness especially. Inness has a darkness and a spirituality that thrill me. How shall I put it? His paintings are perfectly present, but they have an atmospheric imperfection that I find immensely attractive.

Pop Creek Dusk.

3. What do you use for inspiration, or how do you generate ideas?

I let the painting, what’s happening in the painting, inspire me. What happens, happens at the easel. Only rarely do I come to my canvas with an idea of what I want to put down. And more often than not, even if I come to the easel with something in mind, half an hour later I’m painting something wholly different.

Spring Traverse.

4. Walk us through your creative process from idea to finished project.

This is directly related, for me, to your question on inspiration. And at the risk of sounding facetious, I’ll say my creative process is the act of painting itself. My paintings are, therefore, largely process-directed. In this sense, I tend to discover my works rather than paint them. Or perhaps I capitalize on emerging possibilities. Very often I'll overpaint old paintings and canvases, though in the finished work very little might remain visible of what's underneath. You could say I make the past my partner. Which means that the fortuitous is also often a factor in my process. Very few of us can be as subtle and perfect as the aleatory and the evanescent are.

Storm's Light.

5. What is a typical day in your life?

Typically I wake early, sometimes at 4 a.m., have coffee or breakfast, and start painting. This is partly because I like to have something accomplished early in the day and partly because I just can’t sleep! After painting, I’ll take my mom to the gym so she can walk around the track there while I either row or swim. Then in the afternoon it’s freelance editing or more painting, perhaps a long run on the trail not far from my house, something to eat, general work around the studio, more painting if the morning wasn’t particularly successful, and then sleep. My life’s a very quiet one.

Ten Sleep Dusk Wyoming.

6. What do you think draws you to other people's work?

The great thing that draws me to another artist’s work is the suggested, the implied, the shadowing forth of possibility. What I truly love is art that tiptoes up to its revelation but then stops and says to the viewer, in effect, “You go first.”

The 6 a.m. Harlot.

7. What are your interests/hobbies?

Though I read and run, painting tends to be all-consuming. If I’m not painting, I’m often simply compelling myself to get going and start painting.

8. Is this your full-time job, or do you have a job out-of-the-studio?

When I’m not painting, I work as a freelance copyeditor. There’s an enormous difference between these two jobs. The latter, editing, requires consistency and vastly aggressive attention to detail, while the former, painting, usually works best for me when I abandon detail and strive for the immediate. If someone’s in the studio with me, conversation is one way of achieving this, though when I get deep into a work and am bringing it to some point of finish, I generally fall silent.


9. What is your favorite piece you've ever made and why?

Undoubtedly I prefer some paintings to others, but I’d find it almost impossible to say that one painting alone stands out from all the others. Often though, I’m very much in love with paintings I’ve finished recently—for example, Bringing Us (The Hilltop), and The Wet Day. This is what I mean by coming to the brink of revelation. Knowing when to stop (and make it, in my opinion, sooner rather than later) is invaluable.

Painting and some tools of the trade.

10. What advice would you give to an artist just starting out in the business world?

I confess to knowing very little of the business world. My only advice to any artist just starting out in the business world would be that he never let business get in the way of art, and that he work at his art every day, every single day, without fail. This may be naive. I hope it isn’t.

Bring Us (The Hilltop).

11. Describe your work space.

I work in an altogether bright and high-ceilinged room with floor to ceiling (almost) French windows and a white wainscot, the wainscot proving super handy for propping up drying paintings.

Color Up.

12. Did you face any setbacks on your path to being an artist?

Having never seen myself as on a path toward where I am now, I’d have to admit that I never met any setbacks in getting here. Or if setbacks there were, I never saw them as such at the time. Perhaps I’ve been fortunate in that I became a painter before I very much knew I wanted to be one.

Far Meadow.

13. What milestones, goals, or achievements are you striving for right now?

My only goal right now is, quite honestly, a daily goal: paint, and paint well. I don’t always achieve this goal, as far as painting well goes, but even failure has its heroism (or I’d like to think it does).

The Wet Day.
Thank you so much, John, for taking the time to answer my questions!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Suggested Reading: Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

I am not sure how I have gotten to twenty-eight years of age without reading this book before.  But, alas that has been the case.  I decided to download a free copy to my Kindle over the weekend, and found myself staying up late to finish it last night.  Yes, it was that good.  It was an easy read, and was written in such a way that sucked you in immediately.  I hope you give it a shot.  It's free, so what do you have to lose?  Oh, and forget all the Tarzan characters you've been witness to growing up because they are a far cry from the original character created by Mr. Burroughs.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

My Birthday is Tomorrow!

I'll be twenty-eight tomorrow.  Thought I'd make a treasury of some fantastic items that would make excellent presents if anyone is so inclined, ha.  I am just hoping for a great day, no gifts necessary.  I hope you like the list.  I think Etsy has some of the most beautiful things for sale.
Birthday Wishlist via Etsy.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

To Lose A Grandpa Twice.

My Grandpa has always been a major part of my life.  From the minute I was born he was sitting with me on the front porch swing, showing me where somebody or other lived on some backroad, or taking me along while he and his friends drank coffee and gossiped.  He loved to tell stories and was always talking.  He never met a stranger.  He is the reason I love auctions, gallivanting, and farm-life.  I grew up viewing him as some larger-than-life being.  Someone who would always be there.  He was my rock, and Superhero.

Fast forward to just a few years ago.  Grandpa started to repeat himself a lot, but he was almost eighty, so we attributed that to old age.  Then when I was pregnant with my daughter he had a series of strokes, and after that he was really changed.  The diagnosis was Alzheimer's and I was stunned.  

No longer could I call and have a conversation with him.  He'd get stuck on the same sentence over and over.  Or even worse, he'd be completely silent.  He grew irritable, moody, and even more quiet.  Who was this man?  What happened to the real Grandpa?  He seemed frail and foreign.  I found myself pulling away.  Protecting myself from the heartbreak.  Putting up a bit of a wall between us. 

My Daughter Joelee and My Grandpa Joe.  (I took this photo just two weeks ago).
My daughter never knew the real Grandpa.  She only knew the Alzheimer's Grandpa.  However, he loved her just as much as the old grandpa would have.  And she enjoyed his company despite his illness.  I got them together whenever I could, but to be truthful I had a hard time being around him.  This shell that used to house this gigantic personality was depressing.  This man I loved with all my heart was replaced with a stranger.  It wasn't fair that he'd been taken away from me.  I was angry that I never really got to say goodbye.

He started to lose weight about a year ago.  He looked sickly.  He was still getting around and going places, but he looked skeletal.  He was silent most visits, only perking up to talk to Joelee, sometimes slipping up and calling her "Julia" thinking she was me.  I was fearing that the adult me was slipping from his memory.

Two weeks ago, it was decided that we'd go to the lake and visit.  My Dad, Grandpa, Uncles, Joelee, and my nephew.  We ate a picnic and took photos.  Grandpa seemed in good spirits, but was having a hard time breathing.  We had a really nice day.  I think that may be one of the few times (other than holidays) that we got together as a group.  Little did I know that'd be the last time I'd see my grandpa.

I got the call last Tuesday that Grandpa had passed away.  It was a relief and a shock.  I'd already lost him once to that awful disease, and now he was gone physically.  It seemed so surreal.  I coped fine at the viewing, but the funeral hit me harder than I was expecting.  So final, so permanent.  For some reason the losing him twice; once mentally and then physically made it easier and harder at the same time.  I was mad that I didn't have the real him these last few years, but glad that perhaps my stepping back had softened the blow of losing him physically.  The man that died wasn't the real Grandpa.  It was Alzheimer's Grandpa.  The parts of him I miss so badly:  the stories, the laughter, the memories, the talks hadn't surfaced for years.  I still have all that in my heart, and that's comforting.  And a bit of comfort is all I can ask for right now.  

Friday, May 31, 2013

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

52 Lists: Playing Catch-Up.

Found a neat project that I had to jump in on.  I'm a list-maker, so this was right up my alley.  Moorea Seal gives a prompt every week.  The project is on Week 20, so I'm a bit behind, so I lumped a bunch of weeks together in this post.  Perhaps you would want to join in too?
Week One.

Week Two.

Week Three.

Week Four.

Week Five.

Week Six.

Friday, May 17, 2013


And the winner is:
To all who entered, or just stumbled across this blog post, please take advantage of the coupon code "GIVEAWAY" to receive 25% off anything in my original art shop!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Artistic Moment of the Week: Couple Seated on Mount Victoria, ca. 1888.

Via Flickr Commons.

Couple seated on Mount Victoria, and Blue Mountains in background, New South Wales, ca. 1888

Bayliss, Charles, 1850-1897.
Part of collection: Collection of photographs of New South Wales, ca. 1876-1897.

A Whole New Me!

Got my long-fronted pixie like I wanted.  Can't believe how much it changed my looks.  Add that to my newly re-found fit body and a new-to-me yardsale wardrobe and I feel like a whole new person!

So happy right now!