Dog Days of Summer . . .

dogdays2I want to thank readers and friends who emailed with concern about where I had disappeared to. No accidents, injuries, or illness. Just like Alice, disappearing down the rabbit holes of life in wonderland, is all.

The “season” for the gallery went very well – surprisingly well for an 8 month old business. Yes, we had the gallery in Eldorado for four years, but this is a whole new ballgame with very little in the way of carry-over. I am especially pleased that we have attracted quite of bit of interest from local Santa Fe residents because that is a rare thing downtown.

Some jewelry and glass ideas sold very well to the tourists also, so I was very busy in the studio in order to keep up.

And then there was the Santa Fe Art Journal Retreat – oh my.

It is always surprising to me how these events BECOME my life for almost a month – including before and after. It’s what I think about, what i dream about. what I DO for that time period.

I am pretty sure there are teachers and retreat facilitators out there who do it differently, but for me, it is all-consuming.

So, it is really a blessing when things turn out well – or better than well – which this did.

My students learned a lot about sketching and painting and everyone went home happy with their books and their accomplishments.

And I learned things too.

Because we had 3 cancellations, we ended up with 12 students instead of the 15 I had set as the quota.

12 is the PERFECT number and future retreats will be limited to that number.

I did not lose my voice the first day, or any of the consecutive days, because I could speak in a conversational tone and be heard by everyone. I had even arranged for a lavalier microphone just in case because I ALWAYS lose my voice when teaching.

Last year, we had separate tables set at all angles, with three students per table, and it turned out that folks mainly got to know only those at their table. Of course, we had more than twice as many students. And many lasting friendships were made in those small groups, so it was all good.

But, this year, I decided to put the tables end to end in a semi circle so everyone could see what I was teaching and our flat screen, white board, etc.

It resulted in a situation where everyone talked with everyone else in the group – because you could be heard across the room, and everyone became friends.

Here is a shot of this wonderful group of artists . . .

sf2014classDon’t look for me in there because I do not like having my picture taken. I am there in spirit because I was on the other side of the camera (same thing I tell my family about family reunion photos).

I notice when I see photos from other retreats that there are some with a lot of hilarity, jumping in the air, etc. showing that everyone was having fun.

My group had a lot of fun of a less hilarious kind . . . mindfully creating art that made them pleased and happy.

class2 class3They arrived early everyday, and were painting up a storm by the time I came in the door.

We had a sweet little ritual of ringing a bell (everyone had their own special ceramic bell) every time there was an AHA! moment or something they drew or painted that really pleased them. There was a lot of bell ringing. Like every time an angel gets her wings.

My thanks go out to this wonderful group of creative and supportive folks. I had a wonderful time.

We will meet again.

Dog Days of Summer . . .

As every reader knows, this is not my favorite time of year.

I have grown up about it, however, and am more involved in the transitions – and helping them along in preparation for next year – rather than sitting there crying like a baby that my garden is going away.

Every year, there are changes that make the whole experience better.

My favorite change this year was the opportunity to share the garden with all three of my Huskies instead of just Sky.

Huskies have a wanderlust, are great escape artists, and like to go off on their own adventures.

Sky does not have that quirk, but my two boys can be gone at the first opportunity – and they have jumped the courtyard wall on many an occasion. I would never leave them out there alone.

But this year, I started inviting them to hang out with Sky and I, while we did our computer work, planting work, and artwork, in the garden.

As I have mentioned before, Sky does her work on that nylon bone of hers.

The two boys don’t do much work at all, actually. But, they have not tried to run away, and having them join us has been a great joy for me – and given me a laugh or two.

Like who “paves” their garden walkways with dogs?

dogdays1And they are ALL blowing their coats – another Husky thing that never seems to end. I have even thought of going into the mattress business.

Even at this late date. the swing area (aka Paradise) under the portal still looks good . . .

skyswingAnd it is still warm enough to sit out there and enjoy. I can’t even believe that cascading Illusion Begonia is still so healthy and amazing. It will be going in the greenhouse for sure.

The nine Hibiscus plants are already in there, all trimmed up and ready for their Winter in sunny windows.

I will be in Colorado next week for the Manitou Springs Retreat, but I am going to stay in better blog-touch now that I have reclaimed some time and space.

I will be back with some great flower photos and a Workshop sale to share.

Until then . . .

7 thoughts on “Dog Days of Summer . . .

  1. Jeanne from Austin

    Like many others, I’ve missed your blog posts, so I’m happy you’re back. And I’m so glad for all your good news—the gallery, the retreat, even the garden and dogs! The retreat sounds like it was so much fun. Attending one is at the top of my “bucket list”!

    Can we assume that your ankle has healed?

  2. jessica

    Well . . . my ankle is being such a good ankle and trying so hard to heal.

    And I have not bashed it in awhile. But it needs more rest to be 100% and I plan to accommodate – soon – really . . .

  3. Judi Middleton

    Just have to say that your dogs are beautiful!
    We have a small private sanctuary for small elderly dogs.

  4. Cathy in AZ

    Jessica, you have been on my mind this past week. I was going to email you. Perfect timing.

    I can feel your passion and love in the preparation for the retreat and the retreat itself. And when it is over, you can reflect on the good time. That is the kind of teacher I like. I have missed you, too, like the others.

  5. Alcina Nolley

    I like the bell idea. Sometimes workshopees concentrate and the room gets so quiet, the tinkle would signal for all to come running and learn from each other …..

  6. Delores

    I loved seeing your dogs paving your garden walkways!! Attending one of your workshops in person is a dream of mine! My son moved to Arizona last summer and absolutely loves it there. He keeps encouraging his Dad and I to find a way to move there. We really want to, but have a lot to work out to make it financially possible. Moving there would put me a lot closer to your lovely area and to attending a workshop in person!!

  7. Lani

    Jessica–Save that dog down and I will spin it up into some yarn for you to have someone to knit a muffler or ???? for you –and just a few words to say MISS you and your retreats, classes and blog. Hugs, Lani

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