Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Non Traditional Student Graduates with Honors

For the past few years I've watched my wife Terrie sweat bullets over mid-terms, finals, and APA research papers. I've seen her determination and focus as this non-traditional on-line student never lost sight of her goal, despite being "on the road" most weeks to art shows and festivals all over the country. This past weekend her journey culminated when she graduated from Columbia College with her Bachelor of Arts in Human Services Magna cum Laude and I couldn't be prouder!

Our 2012 show schedule is beginning to fill in. In January we'll be at the Southwest Arts Festival in Indio, CA. A side benefit of doing this show is that we'll visit Terrie's mom and her husband in Yucca Valley. In March we'll head south into Louisiana for the Oak Alley Plantation spring festival. In April we'll return to the Stillwater (OK) Arts Festival. We'll be heading off to Sedona, AZ, in August for the Hummingbird Society's Festival. And we'll be back at Silver Dollar City in September and October. We're both excited to return to some excellent shows and to try out some new shows. More dates will fill in as shows complete their jurying process.

Hummingbird fact for today: Blossom shape can be a determining factor to flowers that are visited by hummingbirds. Nectar contained in a long, tubular blossom is easily extracted by a hummingbird, whose tongue can extend a distance roughly equal to its beak length and reach where most insects cannot.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Whew! Stop the merry-go-round!

The nearly eight weeks at Silver Dollar City in Branson is definitely a fun gig, but it sure leaves us out of touch at home - yard unmowed, leaves unraked, etc. We had some construction work going on while we were gone, and we've still not got the house back together from that. After we got home we have to completely shift gears, from the 1890's to indoor holiday art shopping. In early October, Terrie went to the Wild Bird Expo in Mexico, MO, and we had several good orders from that. They've all been created and shipped out. Plus Terrie is mid-way through her FINAL term at Columbia College (graduation is Dec. 17) and that takes a lot of time. It just seems that the hurried-er we go, the behind-er we get.

I'd like to devote more time and energy to the Best of Missouri Hands and the Lake Arts Council. Being on the road so much, I feel I'm doing a disservice to these organizations in my position as a board member, yet the LAC made me Vice President of Visual Arts. The amount of talent at the Lake of the Ozarks is really amazing.

Holiday plans are made. We'll go to Kirksville, MO, Thanksgiving week so we can finally meet the twin grandsons who were born in March. Over Christmas we'll go to Maryville, TN, to see family and visit with Lt. Cmdr. Sean before he and Kate and the twin grandsons head off to Japan for 3 years. Somewhere in between we'd like to see the 3 other grandsons in Smithville, MO. Guess getting the house back together can wait until January......... Unless, of course, we're called off the waitlist for the Southwest Arts Festival in Indio, CA!

The application process has begun for 2012 shows. It seems that the deadlines keep getting earlier. And most of them want you to send a check for the booth space, which they will hold for the 3-6 months until the jury process either approves or disapproves your inclusion in the show. Wouldn't it make more sense to request the booth fee UPON acceptance into the show? And of course we don't know what we will be doing in 2012 until the shows make their decisions.

The Hummingbird Society is planning a Hummingbird Festival in Sedona, AZ, in August. Yep, we plan to be there.

Networking with my fellow artists at SDC gave me insight into some new techniques that I'm anxious to try out over the winter. I also want to create some new items. Just need more hours in a day.........

Hummingbird fact for today: Even though hummingbirds are extremely resilient, they do face problems: 31 of the 331 known species have been designated at risk of extinction.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hard at work at Silver Dollar City

I am awed and humbled to be in the company of such amazing Best of Missouri Hands Juried Artists! Our new location inside the Frisco Freight Barn seems to be beneficial, especially when it is raining outside and we don't have to worry about getting wet! We're in our third weekend and we're having a blast. We have jewelers, photographers, painters, woodworkers, potters, and mixed media artists. Some have been here and gone only to be replaced by other high caliber creative people. A few more will change out this week. In addition to being able to see how talented my fellow artists are, I am also learning a few things from them that I plan to use in my work in the future. This is undoubtedly THE best time of the year to visit Silver Dollar City!

When we went home last week we noticed that our hummer population is down. It seems that all the males have headed back to the tropics, with females and juveniles soon to follow. Thank goodness our neighbor Steve is taking care of our hummers because we will spend the winter looking forward to their April return.

Hummmingbird fact for today: Hummers migrate individually, with this year's juveniles the last to head south. They instinctively know when to leave and where they are going.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

New Item - A Hummingbird ONEsie

This is without a doubt the handiest little hummingbird feeder I've created. The copper coil holds one nectar tube and attaches to any window. I always test my ideas for functionality and these pictures are proof positive that hummers have no trouble finding the feeders and are delighted with them. I put a couple of these on the doors of the studio and hummers found them within just a few minutes. The hummers don't even seem to be bothered as we move around inside. These little feeders provide an opportunity for great close-up photos, too. Feeder activity is especially busy as they are trying to double their body weight before heading south. We sure will miss them!

We've been trying to get new carpet in for over two years - ever since the trees fell into the house and we had the roof and ceiling re-done. Now that we finally have all of Ozarklake's "stuff" moved to the studio, this project is moving along. What a hassle! Especially since we're having all the floors repaired as we go so they won't squeak anymore (the sub-flooring was originally installed wrong). After the great job they did on the studio, we're having Powell Construction do this project for us, too. We've been with these guys so much for so long that they feel like part of the family!

Heading off to Branson soon to set up shop at Silver Dollar City. We've lined up some holiday season shows for November and December. Then we'll spend some time just recuperating from a very busy summer.

Hummingbird fact for today: The drought in Texas may affect the hummingbird migration.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mission Accomplished!

Terrie and I have now driven to 49 states together! Plus the District of Columbia and five Canadian provinces. This trip completed the states (with the exception of Hawaii) and we've done all of this traveling in less than 14 years together.

Terrible show and terrible weather for the show in Binghamton, NY. But excellent show, excellent weather, and an excellent show in Bar Harbor, ME. We always meet so many wonderful people. Heading home so we can get ready for the National Harvest Festival at Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO.

Hummingbird fact for today: Hummingbirds can be found in 49 states at some point throughout the year. The only state they do not visit is Hawaii.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Atlasta Studio!!

At last the studio is up and running! ALL the glass has been moved out of the house. MOST of the copper, too! Yay!

The last two shows have been very disappointing. The organizers did well in preparation and making the artists welcome, but lacked in promotion. Thus, neither show was well attended. Sugar Creek Arts Festival in Normal, IL, is next up. It was a great show last year, so we're keeping our fingers crossed.

Our little hummers are eating us out of house & home! What voracious appetites! Remember to keep the nectar fresh and you'll have hours and hours of enjoyment.

Hummingbird fact for today: Most hummingbirds are enthusiastic and versatile predators, plucking gnats and flies out of the air, searching leaves and bark crevices for aphids and beetles, and even robbing spiders of their silk-wrapped prey.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air

Watch your local PBS station schedule for Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air. Or go here and purchase the DVD. This is the most amazing presentation on hummingbirds that I have seen! The cinematography is absolutely miraculous. You can see a variety of hummer species feeding, with close-up shots so stunning that you can actually see their tongues flicking in and out as they gather nectar. The narration is excellent. This will be the best hour you have ever spent watching television!

We spent the weekend baking in Columbia at Art in the Park. Well, baking is probably not the right term since the humidity was as high as the temperature! It was more like a very uncomfortable sauna. But once again the Columbia community came out in droves to support the arts and artists. Kudos to Diana Moxon, the Board of the Columbia Art League, the generous sponsors, and to the league of unwavering volunteers. They all work together to make this one of the best shows in the Midwest.

We're off to Olathe this coming weekend for our only show in Kansas this year. We can only hope that the weather will cooperate.

We are still awaiting the completion of the studio. The guys are working on the inside now, so hopefully it won't be too much longer!

Hummingbird fact for today: When the early Spanish explorers first encountered hummingbirds in the New World, they called them "joyas voladoras" and the term "flying jewels" is still used today.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Happy Customer

The highlight of our wet weekend in Tulsa was meeting a very happy customer. Jim Beeson stopped by our booth and then emailed us this amazing picture. It's always extremely satisfying to hear from people who are delighted with not only the eye-pleasing aspect of my art but also the functionality. Thanks so much for sharing with us, Jim. And kudos to your photographic skills!

The winds during Tulsa Mayfest never stopped. We felt like we were in a tumble dryer each day. But we were lucky. The devastation in Joplin, MO, is beyond comprehension.

We are still anxiously awaiting the completion of the new studio. Finishing the detail work seems to take the most time, probably because now we can see our vision coming to fruition.

Our hummingbird population seems to be flourishing. We have several large feeders out but they still have to be refilled every couple of days. Thanks, Laura, for taking care of our little flying friends as well as our kitties while we were gone.

June will be busy. Art in the Park in Columbia, MO, is first, followed by the Arts Festival in Olathe, KS, and then the Arts Festival in Lebanon, IL. We'll stop by and see the grandkids while we're in the Kansas City area just so they know we are still around. Time and distance constraints don't allow us much time with them.

Hummingbird fact for today: If a human's energy output were equivalent to that of a hummingbird, you would have to eat about 285 pounds of hamburger, 370 pounds of potatoes, or 130 pounds of bread each day just to maintain your body weight.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

You Can't Get Much Closer Than This!

Terrie's holding one of the nectar tubes from one of my tube feeders in her mouth. This little guy doesn't seem bothered in the least.

And the orioles are back now, too. Orchard orioles started showing up last week. Baltimore orioles were at the feeders today.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Those Ozarklake Feeders Are Irresistible!

We had a couple of males show up about two weeks ago. Now there are at least four. A couple of days ago we had about three females. Apparently the rest of them arrived today. This is reminiscent of the "feeding frenzy" that lasted all of last August!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

They're Back!!!!!!

We spotted our first male Ruby-throated last week. Last evening we spotted two males fighting over the feeder. Females should begin arriving in 10-14 days.

We had a GREAT weekend and show in Stillwater, OK. First, we went to Eskimo Joe's to get our own t-shirts because at every single show we've done we've seen at least one person wearing an Eskimo Joe's t-shirt. Obviously, we had to have our own!

Despite unbearably cold, windy, and wet weather on the scheduled set-up day, Jessica Novak did a remarkable job organizing the Stillwater Art Festival. Many of us waited until Saturday morning to set up and the weather was absolutely perfect. Winds on Sunday were terrible, so many of us took down our tents and displayed our work sans cover/shade. Thank you, patrons of the Stillwater Art Festival and the City of Stillwater for a fantastic show.

Various and assorted construction items are arriving, so the studio should move right along now. Saws and hammers are going as I write this.

Hummingbird fact for today: The first male Ruby-throated of 2011 was spotted on our porch on August 12.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Festivals, Hummingbirds, and Chaos

We're home now from our swing through Texas for 3 shows. Mixed results on the shows, but a fun trip none the less.

Came home to find walls, and a roof, and new concrete! As well as piles of lumber, mounds of dirt waiting to be backfilled - the usual construction site chaos. Since we're having them build a new garage as well as a studio, we have no place to park the van except in our front yard. The car is already parked in the neighbor's front yard. Chaos drives both of us crazy. But the weather appears to be finally changing to Spring, so hopefully the construction project will move along nicely now.

We were pleased to learn that we've been accepted once again at both Artsfest on Walnut Street in Springfield, MO, and in Art in the Park in Columbia, MO. These have been great shows in the past and we hope they will be again this year. We've also added a new Art Festival in Lebanon, IL, to our schedule.

We were excited to check out the Ruby-throated migration map and see that hummers have already been spotted in mid-Missouri. So we've put out the feeders and hope the little guys won't be frightened by all the chaos, as well as the trees that are no longer there so we could build. The migration map can be found at http://www.hummingbirds.net/map.html.

Hummingbird fact for today: Hummingbird numbers in the US seem to vary considerably. This may be attributed to environmental catastrophes on the wintering grounds, such as volcanic eruptions, forest fires, and the use of pesticides.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Wonderful Weather, Wonderful Show

Just did Artscape at the Dallas Arboretum. What a beautiful place! The weather was fantastic and the air was filled with so many fragrances from all the blooming plants. The flowering cherries were in full bloom behind the artists' tents. The crowd was very appreciative of the creativity and effort that artists put into their work. All in all, one great weekend! Thanks to all the staff and volunteers who worked their butts off to make this a truly memorable weekend.

Today we went to the Dallas World Aquarium. That's really a misnomer. It should be called the Dallas World Rain Forest. It is an amazing exhibit of birds, mammals, reptiles, fish, and marsupials living in a naturalized habitat. We even saw hummingbirds flying through the trees!

Next weekend is the Zilker Garden Festival in Austin. Let's hope that Texas weather remains art-friendly!

Hummingbird fact for today: Hummingbirds can see ultraviolet light which enables them to identify different types of flowers and plants.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sneak Peek at My New Studio

Finally! Construction has begun. Way back in mid-January, we notified our propane company that they needed to move their tank to the other side of the house. After two weeks of almost daily phone calls, the service manager finally came out to see what needed to be done. Then we got hit with the blizzard, and the ground was snow-covered for 2 weeks. As soon as the snow was gone, we again started calling them almost daily. EVERY time he had the same excuse: the last he heard the boom truck was down in Branson but he'd get to us as soon as he could. In the meantime, the weather was great and the contractor was ready to go to work. After two more weeks of hearing the same lame excuse, we called another propane company, had them place the tank where we wanted it, paid them to run new gas line, and then they picked up the tank that was holding up construction and moved it out of the way after they disconnected it. One week after telling the first company to just come pick up their tank, it's still sitting here, holding propane that we paid for and will now lose. But at least it's out of the way and the contractor has been hard at work.

Living in the construction chaos is nerve-racking to say the least. Thankfully we'll be heading off to Texas soon and by the time we get back, we should have an actual building! I had hoped to meet up with my sister in Austin but now that plan may change. We'll have to wait and see if it works out.

We shipped some feeders to Applehurst in Winterset, Iowa, this week. If you're in the area, stop in and say hi to Susan.

Hummingbird fact for today: The 17 species of hummingbirds that have bred in the United States and Canada represent approximately 5 percent of the world's hummingbird species.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Blizzard of 2011

On February 1, much of the mid-West was smacked by a blizzard. A few days later, it hit the eastern part of the country. Record-breaking snowfall and low temperatures paralyzed us. We shoveled more than 8 inches of snow off the back deck twice within 5 hours that day, and left the final 4 or so inches. On the bright side, we didn't seem to get any ice AND we didn't lose electricity until just a couple of days ago for a couple of hours. Naturally this all occurred AFTER the carport was removed in anticipation of the new garage and studio. Today the temperature went above 60 degrees, so finally a lot of this stuff is melting. The downspouts sound like there is water running through a fire hose at full capacity! Perhaps construction can begin in the near future because we are COMPLETELY ready to get all of the various components of Ozarklake in one spot and under one roof.

This week I will be attending Citizens Day at the Legislature, sponsored by Missouri Citizens for the Arts. Best of Missouri Hands receives a grant from the Missouri Arts Council, and MAC receives funding from the Missouri Legislature -- at least when the Legislature approves a budget with funding for the arts. And that is my purpose in attending -- to ask my legislators to approve a budget that will include some money for the arts in Missouri.

Being snowed in has not been a total waste of time. We have kept busy happily creating art for Kala Gallery in Lenoir, NC; A Wish Called Wanda in St. Michaels, MD; Oak Creek in Scottsdale, AZ; and Artsy Elements in Williamsville, NY.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds should be here in about 60 days!

Hummingbird fact for today: Popular tropical destinations such as Mexico, Costa Rica, and Ecuador are rich in hummingbird species, most of which are never seen in the US.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Best of Missouri Hands Board of Directors

I attended my first meeting yesterday as a director on the governing board of the Missouri Artisans Association d.b.a. The Best of Missouri Hands (BOMH). That's me in the center at the top of the picture. The Missouri Artisans Association d.b.a. The Best of Missouri Hands was founded in 1989 as a nonprofit corporation "dedicated to the development and recognition of Missouri's arts and artisans through education, interaction, and encouragement." A primary goal of MAA d.b.a. Best of Missouri Hands is to advance the arts in Missouri by:

· Educating the public about Missouri's arts and crafts
· Educating its members and the community at large through an annual conference, a newsletter, a web site, and other interactive communications
· Providing technical assistance and mentoring for artistic development
· Offering networking opportunities regionally and nationally
· Rewarding excellence through its jury process
· Preserving cultural heritage through public education, display and other projects

The BOMH membership consists of nearly 500 Missouri artists of all levels and mediums. I am humbled and honored to be a part of this terrific organization. We have a new Executive Director and I expect to see great things happen within BOMH this year.

We've got a contractor for the studio! Unfortunately, we also have about 4" of snow and more coming, so groundbreaking may take a while. We can't wait to get everything together under one roof. We have to take out one tree, though, and we sure hope that doesn't upset our summer oriole and hummingbird populations.

Hummingbird fact for today: North American hummingbirds are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Prior to that, hummingbirds were killed to decorate parlors and fashions and captured for exportation to collectors in Europe.