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9. Flowers & Festival Dates

Oops! I didn’t meet my goal of a monthly blog post in February so I now I have to do two in one! I will keep it shorter vs longer though.

FEBRUARY: The month of February– such a tricky month, as always. This will be my longer writing.

Some of you know my health story, some of you don’t. But in this blog, I write about my art and, when my health is interfering with my art, I suppose health becomes relevant.

I have a mid-brain cyst that, in 2021, caused drainage problems. One brain surgery later and I was fixed– almost like magic! Now, the same brain cyst is bothering the nerve that coordinates eye movement and pupil dilation; I now am enjoying some double vision and streaky light shows. So, with dual confirmation by docs in two states, this February finds me trying to mentally accept my “new normal”... and I don’t want to.

So I need to adjust (my word-of-the-year for 2023) and I am still early on that learning curve. I can throw on a pirate patch as needed, though, and end up with good clarity of vision. I can still do the things that I love, adjusted somewhat and with reduced time.

What I don’t miss is painting– because I am still doing it! I’ve been working this month with bright colors and transparent layers, combined with collage and mark-making. And a lot of flowers.

Why so much with the flowers?

Because flowers carry such positivity for me. They transform and blossom– really amazing when you think about it– and produce such rich depth in color. When winter hangs on too long (my usual complaint in February), I start imagining the flowers that will soon come to be. I anticipate them. Sometimes in Iowa, you even see tulip blooms against a late snow! Such a crazy juxtaposition and that kind of thing gives me hope. In the craziest of combinations, life renews and carries on.

TECHNIQUE CHALLENGE for February: I’ve challenged myself this month to work on a small series versus singletons. About half are floral and the others more abstract or even absurdist. While that may not make sense as a series, it certainly represents me and what I like. The same colors appear on multiple pieces so I suppose they have that unifying factor too. I wasn’t sure that I’d like feeling restricted to 10 little cradles, 5x5” cuties, but I did. I wasn’t sure that I’d like staying in the same color palette, but I did. So I will do this again– a series– so glad I gave this a shot! I'm going to be releasing this series to my email subscribers first, in early April. I'm hoping they'll be a little lift of Spring! :)


TECHNIQUE CHALLENGE for March: this month I have been working to learn more about the business side of things. (Funny but my English degree didn’t prep me for that part.) I’ve learned a variety of ideas from three groups that I’m in: North River Arts Council, Creative Breakfast Club, and Origin Art. I’m grateful to all three. By working on mission statements and clarifying what I’m wanting to do with my art, I’ve had some realizations that feel very important BUT I’ve also realized in this final March week of “Business Stuff” that I’ve got to be careful not to let the balance tip too far away from creating and being in those moments because they are what I love. Sharing what I create feels integral as the final step in my process but HOW I share them and studying those options isn’t where I draw energy. Duly noted, self. Keep the lion’s share of your creative impulse in the studio with paint and glue. Got it.

WHAT’S UP NEXT: I have been accepted into 5 art festivals so Al and I will be getting ready for in-person escapades. I really enjoyed the one art festival that I did last fall so I’m looking forward to these! Bring on the fun of Tent Times with Artwork & Al! You can catch us at:

  • May 20: Ted Lare Garden Show

  • June 24-25: Bob Kling Artfest

  • July 15: Waukee Art Festival

  • July 29-30: Indianola Art Festival

  • September 24: Octagon Art Festival

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This is so cool! And I love your positive attitude! Miss you! <3

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