Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Wisconsin River

Last weekend we explored a sandy path that stretches along the edge of the Wisconsin River. It was a beautiful sunny evening; The snow had melted away and all that was left were cool sandy hills and tufts of tall golden grasses, waving in the breeze.

The river has this way of making you forget about what should be forgotten and remember what should be remembered. Stories abound. Laughter echos. Smiles glow. Rigid emotions surrender and are replaced by the warmth of those that are calm.
This photo was taken in the town I live in. There are many, many days that I long for a house in Madison. A house that's close enough to host a last minute dinner party for my friends. One that lets me walk to my favorite coffee shops and restaurants or allows me ride my bike to work. A base camp for the nights I want to go out after work but have to come all the way home first just to turn back around a few hours later.

When I look at the photo, I can't help but to ask myself why I'd want to leave. The views here are gorgeous. Sure, they're not the mountains or the ocean, but it's what we have and what we have is quite striking. Our house felt like home from the minute we walked through the doors. The neighborhood is quiet. Right now the only thing I can hear over the tick of the clock is a Mourning Dove. That's it. Nothing else.

But still, again and again, I find myself yearning for the day when we live near a decent grocery store. And in all honesty, it's thoughts like this that have made me feel unattached and distant from the thought of living here. Right now I just stay here. I haven't been able to connect with my house as much as I'd wish because I don't feel like I need to be here. It's more like I'm always trying to escape; to go to Madison to do fun things. I live there more than I live here, and it really started to bother me.

And so, last night I took the first step towards feeling like I have a sense of living here. I wish I could tell you what it is...and I suppose I could tell you what it is. But not yet. Not until it's official.

I'll come back with pictures when it's time. Goal #2 of 2012 is about to get a nice red line penned through it...I'll show you my list sometime.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Work in Progress: Mixed Media on Wood

The other day I sat down and had a little talk with my buddy Rotring Rapidograph. It was well received, and after about 40 minutes of gentle persuasion, he finally gave in and decided to stop being so damn stubborn. 

And so with a pen that was once again in working order, after previously thinking it was in need of major surgery for the last 5 months, I anxiously began lugging my paper scraps, inks and tools up the stairs and to the kitchen table. I think we've talked about the patience I have for my studio before...it's in the basement and I cannot, for the life of me, work in the basement during the day. And to be honest, I can't work down there at night either. I tried to like it, but it's just not working out for me right now. And so, the kitchen table is usually where I end up.

The process of clipping and shuffling and staring and feeling soon took over my Wednesday afternoon. I had forgotten how much pleasure I get out of working on new pieces...it's as if I step over into a different world. It kind of reminds me of disappearing into one of those warp tunnels in Mario. Pretty awesome.

But, there is just one small dilemma with this secret world I visit. The obstacle of coming out of it before I'm ready is a bit of a drag...it's like, once I'm in I have to stay there until I run into a hurdle that's too high to jump, or else I end up resenting the things in life that are pulling me away. Work, appointments, house guests. You know, commitments. The idea of a vacation sounds more and more appealing.

When it comes down to it, however, it's this creative escape I should be thankful for. I shouldn't look at the other things like they are such hindrances. I mean, they kind of are, but it's those very challenges that make the process so gratifying, right? Right.

Anyway, my hope is that I can take a solo canoe trip this summer, down the Wisconsin River, and haul all of my art stuff with me. I'll let you know how it goes. For now I have to wait for warmer weather so much inks don't freeze.