visit the web site

Thursday, September 6


That's how I think of this part of the trip. Get through the "drive by" states of Iowa and Nebraska, then the fun begins. Which is not fair to Iowaska. Iowa is all green, rolling, soft hills, the roads lined by corn fields. And more corn fields. The highway takes you away from towns and cities, although at times you see a shimmer of a distant city, a tall building reflecting light over the endless corn. Then it vanishes like an apparition. Mostly what you see as you go is this

There are many windmills in this open, flat land and Quincy sees them as creatures threatening him with waving arms. He barks and jumps from front seat to back, from side to side. They are so close to the road that you can see just how massive they are. I tell Russell we should have called him Quixote instead of Quincy. Barking at Windmills. He smiles indulgently.

It is a thriving business here, we see truck after truck transporting a piece of the thing. A blade, a stand, a housing for the mechanism, each piece so large it has its own rig. We met some guys in a rest stop that were delivering a blade. The truck escorting them had a logo that said 'Escort Service which cracked us up, so Russell posed there, hamming it up.

The truckers spoke with pride about driving these behemoths, proudly saying this was a small one, the next trip would be with a blade 15 feet longer. I asked how one drives such a rig and the driver smiled, pointed to our SUV and said "just like you drive that" and he winked.

We are indulging ourselves at a lovely little LaQuinta with pretty rooms, nice beds, a loving pet policy and a breakfast buffet. We should be gong but we are cozy here, enjoying the break. I have brought the dogs some breakfast sausage which prompted a lot of tail wagging and now I''ll go bring up some things for us so we can get started with the day.

The road will soon start to rise and fall, the scenery will change from corn to hills and rock and we will be in Wyoming before noon, Iowaska just a long, lazy strip of green in the rearview mirror.

Wednesday, September 5

Start, sputter, go

Day one of our yearly cross country trip. First day is always awkward. We leave later than we planned, the car isn't configure right even though much thought was given to it. Quincy is restless, never sleeping,always vigilant,pacing, I think he is waiting to get where we are going and doesn't understand what is taking so long. Oliver sleeps whenever there is a soft spot available for him which is almost always.

We sailed through Ohio and Indiana and Illinois, checking off the " drive through" states. Waiting to cross the Mississipi. That is our goal. To drive right through, get to the good stuff where we will slow down and enjoy the journey.

Even in the dark and with a heavy rain obscuring the view, Iowa feels different. Cleaner, softer. We will travel through endless miles of corn fields and the tedium of that will be a running joke until we hit Nebraska where the joke will start to lost its charm. But I know the road will start to wind and rise and Wyoming is next.

People ask why we drive, they ask how long it takes as if it was a chore to endure.

It is an hour to sunrise, I am snug in our roomy car with the man I love and our 2 dogs, all of them sound asleep. It is raining.trucks line the space behind us because the truck lot is full, so we are surrounded by other road takers, sleeping in cozy compartments. The rest stop is clean and modern with free wi fi. The bathrooms so bright it hurts my sleep-tender eyes. We decide to take another hour here with the sky slowly turning from black to indigo, the rain softer now allowing the windows to be opened and filling the car with the sweet smell of wet grass.

I'm in no hurry, surrounded as II am by the creatures I love, watching the sky wake, looking forward to the corn fields and the road.

Saturday, September 1

images of August

I write about these shows and seldom post pictures of them. Not sure why. One of the perks of this business is that you sometimes get to spend a weekend in a place a lot nicer than your usual haunts. That is the case with the Chautauqua Institution and Sonnenberg Gardens. The exception to the rule is Elmwood Avenue which, as it happens, is my usual haunt because I live in the neighborhood. Sometimes, during that show, I do things like return library books and when we run into the co-op to get a cold drink, the cashier says "member 53, right?" There is something special about that.

The pictures are a combination of show and setting. To share with you what my "office" looks like these days. And to think I traded a gray cubicle and dusty windowsills for this. What was I thinking? :)

You also get to see how my booth is evolving as I wander deeper into the scary world of framed art.




August rewards

How could this month go wrong? Two of my best shows and one that has potential.

Chauatuaqua, as always, a wonderful show. I didn't get the guy who wants everything, but I sold almost everything anyway, one at a time. Breathing room. Finally.

Elmwood, at the end of the month, my neighborhood, the show I wait for, was also very good. Love this show.

But the show that ended up being the one with a reward was the one that came up short on earnings. Sonnenberg Gardens. What a gorgeous place, what a stellar organization. They treat the artists like they were, well, artists and not interlopers. We are respected. You gat a little puffed up with treatment like that.

But sales were disappointing and not just for me. So, much schmoozing about marketing happened amongst us (we had a lot of free time to chat) and somehow, with the encouragement of several of them, an idea was born. I was bemoaning the fact that while I was happy to have given up making low priced trinkets to boost the bottom line, I missed the money they brought. People love my cards, but it is tedious to make individual, uninspired collage one at a time. I hated the production aspect and I was not proud of the boring designs that happen when you are cranking out quantity.

Then the light came on. My big collage, the ones that made me happy, might be able to be reproduced. Some folks thought scanning, some photo. I decided to try it. I had a week to get some together. I was psyched.

Monday morning I started. Took pictures of a few of my favorites, tweaked them for color and brightness, contrast, yaddayadda. I am not a photographer although I love trying to be one. Some came out great, some awful. Then I had to decide what printer settings to use to get the most realistic reproduction. I chose mixed media paper to print the first batch. It has a soft surface texture and heavy enough for presentation. I had so much fun. That tummy bubble you get when you're on to something and having fun with it took up residence. I made a hundred of them.

But would they sell? I brought them to Elmwood. Set them up in a spinner near the originals and waited.


Oh, people looked. They smiled. They told me how lovely they were. I sold a few. I was deflated. It had seemed like such a good idea.

Sunday morning I put the spinner a little closer to the street to encourage walkers to peek. By noon I had decided that it would have been great, but chalk this one up.

And then the damn broke. I had priced them at $4 each, 3 for $10. Only a few bought one. Suddenly they were selling. One after another, customers holding 3 cards. On Sunday afternoon alone, they brought me $300.

The beautiful thing is now that I have them ready to print, I can make bunches quickly. As I make collage I really like, the collection will grow. It is win/win. An impulse purchase, affordable, easy to replenish and based on work I really love to do.


I am trying not to think about how great it would have been to think of this before the season started. It's not easy.

So, just like that, the Summer season is over. The stars have aligned to give me just one Christmas show this year, but that's OK. My granddaughter will be here shortly after my last show and I am chomping at the bit to play Grandma.

But first, some vacation. Blogs from the road coming up!