Sunday, October 26, 2008


Say hello to my good friend Wilhemina who ate insects and died (made by Sue Hadden). Another ooky skelly to add to my collection. I also gave one to my beloved friend of 30+ years, Sky. Her birthday is in October so we have an excuse (like we needed one) to get silly.

We went to a restaurant named La Calaca Comelona on SE Belmont here in River City and boy, was the food yummy.

This is how I always think of Sky. She and I get together and do nothing but laugh like two immature teenagers. May it always be so. Happy Birthday, heart of my heart. Many returns.

My studio playmates came for a visit yesterday so we visited the vacas.

And then did some painting and rubber stamping together. We also picked grapes, visited the pigs and goats and enjoyed a repast of mexican food. It was splendid.

Happy Halloween until we meet again. (This Calavera de Catrina is painted on the walkway in from of the aforementioned restaurant. I stuck my foot in there for scale.)

P.S. For all you RaeVn's Nesters who admired my handbag; the seamstress is Liz Elayne, not Lizzie Lane although that would be a great name for a handbag business too. She can be found here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

More Cedarburg

I cant seem to quit you, Ennis. Oh wait. That was something else. Okay, so I'm back at the blog. You must wonder if I ever do anything else. But I had a few additional thoughts. Like you might like to see the angel I photographed in the graveyard at Cedarburg. Jill Berry has the story behind it on her blog.

Jill's the teacher that took a group of us out on Sunday morning to make rubbings on the street and in the graveyard. She had the fancy wax rubbing sticks and everything. She knew where the good stuff was located because she'd taken her class out on a recon to get to know Cedarburg in depth.

Jill teaches book arts and they made books of their Cedarburg experiences. With plat maps and all kinds of local evidence. What a great class that was and Jill is an excellent and very fun teacher. I got to see one of the finished books and it made me wish I'd gotten to walk the town too and make such a lovely souvenir of my stay.

This is a photo she took of me on the bridge holding Little Debbie in my hand. hee hee. What a beautiful fall day it was. (that story is on Jill's blog too.)

And here are a couple of shots from the party on Thursday night before the classes started. People having fun. Always a good way to start the event.

Kim provided us with quills and ink and we doodled in our own and in the booklets of our friends. (Michael de and Jill Shulse above). Of course we are only drinking energy drinks.

Here is a window I shot in town and altered a bit to use in my journal. You can snag it too if you like it and use it in yours. I'm going to put a face in the window maybe or something else. Maybe cut the opening out so you can see what's on the page behind it. Fun.

Thank you to Kim, to Cedarburg (such lovely people), to all who attended. I can't stop thinking about you and about the wonderful time we had together. Each moment of life is sweet and unique. We must shine while we can.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mexico Calls

Once again, while I should be making lists, studying maps and cleaning house, I am instead here with you. Yay us! We've learned how to enjoy life. Maybe I'll just crib off of somebody else's guidebook and be surprised by all Xalapa and Veracruz Mexico have to offer on Day of the Dead. John is finally being good and resting his knee in anticipation of long rambles up and down the narrow streets and all the discoveries we will make in a brand new place (for us) in one of our favorite destination countries.

I read an article yesterday about the mental health that results from writing in a journal, especially after a traumatic life event. I've always believed this to be true, even without validation from the professionals. Write it down. It helps you find your own center again.

And the images you add resonate in another part of the brain that is closer to the heart than the left brain, I believe. Closer to the emotional center. Those images imprint themselves. Which is why my journals are full of quirky and upbeat things. Not always, but generally.

While I was in Cedarburg a group of us made rubbings as we sauntered down the streets of the town. I loved it. I'm planning on making some rubbings in Mexico too. Yum yum. It's a fun and free activity to do with kids and it will make you feel like a kid again too.

Ack! Look at my studio. Everything is upended, behind, neglected, in a heap. That's what winter's for. To find the order in my life again.

Harvest is all around us. Here are more beans that John grew. I'm not sure about the oddballs in there. Those must be the artist-beans.

Here are the peppers hanging in the garage to dry. Look closer and you'll laugh.

John found a use for the plastic coils I use to bind books. He pushed a bunch of the fat ones onto a long wooden rod and hung peppers from them. The man is a hoot.

Yellow Fin potatoes which I dug myself to help save John's knee. It was like digging for gold doubloons.

And here is a photograph I snaked off the Junebug Weddings site; it's from a write-up my wonderful friend Justine Nickle did about her wedding and that features my big Eiffel Tower backdrop painting among other things. If you love love love beautiful weddings you will want to go here and read all about it.

I'll post one more time before I leave and then there will be a lull. Wish me luck getting prepared in time! xo

Monday, October 20, 2008

RAEvN's Nest - Cedarburg, Wisconsin

First of all, thank you for your many kind thoughts on the passing of our small but mighty spirit, Hermanito. It does help soothe the heart. I returned from Wisconsin last night and with bags still packed have spent the day preparing photos and pondering all the memories. If I had time I could write a book about all the wonderful new women I met there. Instead I keep saying their names, hoping this time my feeble memory will hold onto them until we meet again.

This was my first ever visit to Wisconsin and I found it to be beautiful; lovely fall colors, heaps of leaves to kick through and the nicest people you could ever imagine. I didn't expect to love it so much. Now I see what my friend meant when she said a part of her heart would always remain there.

Kim Rae Nugent put us all up in historic buildings in downtown Cedarburg. I felt like a guest at a lovely resort. I shared my room with Jill Berry the first night and Laurie Mika the next three nights - wonderful roommates; the only thing missing was sleep as we stayed up into the wee hours every night enjoying each other's company.

Bernie Berlin and Michael de Meng rounded out the teaching squad. We posed for photos on the first night of the event while a party swirled around us.

And now I'm going to show you some of the encaustic collages that came out of my first day class. I won't say much about them as I just want to share the work.

I was going to post them in groups of 4 like the one above but it took too long to assemble them. So click this one to see it better.

I have to stop and say that Marie (above) was my heaven-sent angel throughout the event as she seemed to anticipate my every need in the classroom. In addition, we had a great time shopping and walking together. She's my girlfriend (hee hee).

This is Chris Meissner who came for my business class and showed me a great plaster piece she had done as well as a beautiful resin necklace with a snake skin inside (wink wink). Thank you, Chris. You have a room in my heart.

The next group of photos is from the journaling class. I'm only posting a few; I've worn myself out already so please forgive.

So just a few for flavor, okay?

I love to ask the students to paint faces.

The results are always charming and often surprising.

The women filled many pages in their journals; every page was complex, layered, as interesting as the artists who created them.

Thank you all for playing.

Your pages were spectacular.

I got as many ideas from you as you got from me.

And oh my goodness you were beautiful. I wanted to scoop up each one of you and take you home with me to play in my studio together and be my friend forever. (the incredible Bridgette Guerzon Mills with me above. Oh, what a love she is. I've waited for 2 years to meet her and she is even more beautiful in person than she is on her blog.) My heart is full.

At the end of the last teaching day I sat with a snack and a glass of wine while I packed up my supplies for home. My life is not easy or perfect (please! pictures on blogs can be deceiving) but my prayer of becoming a teacher has been answered and I'm so grateful for this past year. I'll write more when I've had some rest, opened my mail and unpacked my bags. Be well.