Thursday, August 25, 2011

In the Woods

Just when you thought you knew someone, bang, zing, you find out they have an entire secret life.

An original design by Rayo; this
piece is called "In the Woods."
Rayo and I have biked, swam, and run miles together over the years. I had occasionally heard little references to a beaded necklace or working out a design. Then, one day she shows me a work in progress. Wow. This is not your everyday beads on a string. This is haute cotoure, fine-art embroidered beadwork.

So when Rayo invited me to exhibit my calligraphy/watercolor things with her sophisticated creations at our local gallery, I was nervous but energized. I got busy.

Below are some of the thirty or more original calligraphy artworks you'll see at our exhibit called In the Woods -- a title we chose to reflect the feeling we had in stretching our range as we prepared for the exhibit. 

Go to to see some of the fabulous beadwork pieces that Rayo will present at this exhibit as well.

The exhibit opens Friday, September 2 with a reception from 4 to 6, at Drury Gallery at the Portage Center for the Arts. Open hours are  September 2 through October 1, 2011 Wed-Fri 1-6, Sat 10-3.  Admission is always free.

301 East Cook Street, Portage, WI 53901
Two tiny originals, about 5 x 5 inches framed; $48 each.
The maple leaf design says "The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness." J. Muir
The oak leaf design says, "In the woods we return to reason and faith." Emerson

This original artwork will be on display, as well as bookmarks for 75 cents of the same design.

This text by Winston Churchill will be exhibited; $300. You'll notice I sometimes can't resist including real objects.
Reproductions of this design are $16.

This original, framed in gold, 12 x 12 inches, is available for $120, and a few reproductions for $16, will be at the show.
Thoreau has offered many great insights. This original (NFS) and reproductions ($16) of this design will be at the exhibit.

This original is about 9 x 18 inches, framed in gold for $200. Smaller prints for $16 will also be on hand.

This small original (about 8x8 inches) will be available framed in oak for $50.

Another small original (8x8 inches) is priced at $55.
This 10x10 original has depth and is presented in a shallow shadowbox; the original is $200.
No reproductions are available of this design.

The yellow bicycle is inspired by my new Trek road bike. The text was pointed out by my husband. The text reads:
"But at this moment I came upon myself.
Previously I had existed but everything had merely happened to me.
Now I happened to myself."
Reproductions will be available for $16.

"Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life." Rachel Carson
The 8x8 original is $55; reproductions are $16.

Some artworks are for fun; I started this piece almost three years ago and set it aside. Koi are a significant symbol of transformation and one of Rayo's favs so I was motivated to finally complete this illustration. Reproductions of this 6 x 8 watercolor are $16.

I love the Robert Frost poem "Swinger of Birches," it always reminds me of my brother who has actually swung on a birch (and now works as a fire fighter for the parks service.) This artwork is just the last bit of the poem. It starts, "I'd like to get away from earth awhile and then come back to it and begin over."
The 16 x 20 framed original is $160.

This original is elaborately framed in a 17 x 17 inch black and silver frame. It is created with fabric, paper, acrylics, gesso, pencil, watercolor, and gouache. You'll have to come see it! The framed original is $240.
Free small cards are available of this.

Thoreau again with the text about building castles in the air. This original is made of collaged papers, gesso, acrylics, watercolor and gouache; it's about 10 x 20 inches, $140. Sorry, no reproductions available.

This text fascinates me, "Trees are God's first alphabet." Sort of makes one look at the landscape differently. The other two texts are "Who plants a tree plants a hope." (I'll bring free small cards of just that text.) And, at the bottom of the artwork you'll find "We grow when we plant trees who's shade we shall never sit in."
Framed 18 x 30 inches, $300; reproductions available $16.

"Even if...even if I'm not sure." Sometimes a little goes a long way. 8x10 inches, $120

In the woods, the fuller text from Emerson. About 18 x 28 inches, $200. Sorry, no reproductions are available of this one.
"We shall not cease from exploration and at the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and to know the place for the first time." T. S. Eliot
"I was like a child playing on the seashore and diverting myself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me." Isaac Newton
These little canvases (about 6 x 8 inches) are created with acrylics, gouache, watercolor. They are $42 each.

"To accomplish great things," about 11 x 14 inches, $85.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Point to La Pointe Swim

That's the finish "Pointe" over my shoulder.
This picture is from the night before the swim.

I think the word is "ideal."

I swam the 2.1-mile Point to La Pointe event on Saturday -- from Bayfield to Madeline Island in Lake Superior, where conditions were ideal. A new course record was set (43:24), my friend, Ann Berres-Olivotti, broke her record from the previous year to take first in our age again (49:16 this year), and I finished in 1:08:51 (had expected about 75.) The lake was at her best.

As I hear it, women who give birth remember the wonder and forget the pain. So, yes, I may be skimming a bit and remembering the rosiest. Still I know I was relieved that the temperamental lake was calm and 70-some-degrees. The pink morning sunshine and pebbly, red beach that faced the east were calming. The back of the field of about 150 women swimmers (where I deliberately seeded myself) had plenty of breathing room along the straight route.

Trust me, there are big, orange balloon on that
distant shore denoting the finish.
I counted buoys along the course, five altogether, and although I couldn't see each until I was almost upon it, I could sight far ahead to the little hump on the island that kept me in line. I allowed myself a couple of peaks at my watch, and despite my purposely easy pace (my iffy arm) things seemed to be moving along well. I didn't wish for another degree of warmth; my black wet suit, the sun shining on shoulders, and the 75-ish air temp made the water perfect for the effort of swimming. And the occasional nosefuls of sweet water were cool going down.

I giggled as I sighted during the last quarter mile because the yellow finish banner didn't seem to get any closer. I was baffled at an unexplainable current during the last 200 meters that held me in place despite efforts. But even this seemed right, I could hear the crowd on the island and see more distinct colors of the flags on the finish arch. I had just a few more minutes of swimming so drank it in.

From Madeline Island, the view across
the channel is clear. See the swimmers
along the bottom (hidden by pines)?
They are coming into the finish chute.
There may have been tummy butterflies, worries about my still-insecure left arm, and hidden wishes that I was faster. But five hours of driving each way is now just a moment of passing scenery and a friendly chat with my swimming companion. My night-before worries that the weather could turn into one of those "isolated thunderstorms" are evaporated. My near-sighted concerns that I wouldn't be able to see to the finish are disappeared. And I've almost forgotten the fear that my wet suit would be too tight -- I hadn't had it on for six weeks and me and Mr. Scale don't speak anymore. 

The many swimmers I met at the beach, and after the race at awards, and on the return ferry, were humble and warm. I think a big lake makes us all feel a bit of humility.

Afterward, I drove from the swim to my family reunion hours away. And, although I had swum two miles in the reunion's pond in 2010, this two-mile Great Lake swim got applause from my sibs. There is something about a big lake that is wondrous. And on Saturday, it offered itself up in an idealic way.

Point to La Pointe is a fundraiser for the Bayfield Rec Center. It has great community support, hot food, over 40 kayaks, sweatshirts, hand-made awards in age groups. At the awards ceremony, the event coordinator told us that this event kept the Rec Center from closing five years ago when the swim started. This year they raised $25,000. Find out more at