Sunday, June 29, 2014

the technical behind what makes great art...

The golden ratio isn't a new concept. Has been around for ages...but definitely not something that's really talked about amongst artists and art collectors much.

Here's Ronald Swanwick explaining just how this works.

Click here to view the video.

Our eyes are training to see this concept in everything that's around us...especially in nature.

Maybe this is why nature is such an inspiration to us all?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Toledo Art Walk, TONIGHT, June 26, 2014!

ART WALK Tonight from 6p-9p.
Like original art? Looking for something fun to do tonight in the Toledo, OH area?

Thursday, June 26, 2014
downtown Toledo

Click here for a map of participating galleries and art walk venues.

Be sure to visit #3 on this months map.
Truth Gallery located at 1811 Adams Street
downtown Toledo, OH
I'm excited to have my artwork featured at Truth tonight!

Also note that street parking is free after 5:00p.

I'd recommend you park over near Adam Street and visit the venues on that side of town, then park over near St. Clair Street and walk that strip. Those two areas are where the highest concentration of participating venues and galleries are located.

Be sure to print the map and bring it with you so you don't miss and stops.



Monday, June 23, 2014

What a difference a roadtrip makes! Excerpt 4 of 10. Adventures on the Cumberland Trail.

It was finally time to get out into the woods!!!

There are two hikes that Chris and I REALLY like to experience when we visit Chattanooga.

Chickamauga Creek and a section of the Cumberland trail that leads to North Suck Creek (which Chris has aptly named "the death march").

Unfortunately we learned this day that Chickamauga Creek was closed until mid-July (it appeared they were making improvements to the parking area) we went to go see what condition the suspended bridge over North Suck Creek was looking like.

If you take Suck Creek Road up Suck Creek Mountain (opposite Signal Mountain in Chattanooga)...there's a wooden staircase that comes down to the road off the mountain on the West side (this is where the Cumberland Trail crossing the road). And just to the East of this the trail continues across a wooden bridge (over South Suck Creek) up to the top of a ridge-line...across the ridge and down the other side where you'll find one of THE COOLEST suspended bridges that crosses North Suck Creek.  This was our destination today.  The distance from the road to the bridge is 1.4 miles and takes approximately one hour depending upon how fast or slow you walk it.

I'd brought Chris to this trail once before so she knew what to expect (as far as the climbing and the descending). Although I'd forgotten how jungle like it can be hiking in the woods in East Tennessee in June. It was overcast so it didn't get really hot which was nice...and we managed to predict the weather well because it didn't start raining until after we'd returned to the car (yeah us!) We also had the dogs with us...and I was a bit concerned what their reaction would be when it came time to walk across the suspended bridge. (Carrying the dogs across was the first plan of action). 

I'd hiked this trail no less than a dozen times since 1993 and I'd seen the bridge in all different states of repair. Kudos to the Cumberland trail maintenance crew whoever you are...the bridge on this day had recently been repaired, numerous foot-boards replaced. Guessing by the yellow tape you'll see in a few photos below that before these repairs the bridge had become unsafe to cross.

Adventures of the "death march."

Chris having hiked this trail before...was nervous. I could feel it. I could see it in her face. And I was nervous for the dogs and about crossing the bridge...and the fact that I was taking my three most favorites into the woods and might be presented with potential dangers (heights and poisonous snakes primarily). But in the spirit of we went...for the adventure of it. (spoiler alert...all ended one hurt, all safe, adventure stories to tell!)

This section of the Cumberland trail is one of my all-time-favorite hikes on the planet! It has a steep uphill climb for the first 20 minutes or so...then a flat jaunt along the ridge at the top for about 20 minutes then the decent down the other side which takes about 20 minutes with the coolest creek and bridge as a destination.

Reese HATES bridges, (our black and white toy fox terrier) and Dodi LOVES to swim (our white with a little brown toy fox terrier). They both love to run a I figured they'd generally come out smelling like roses, likely have gathered up a few ticks along the way (which proved true) and would be pooped the rest of the day.

We arrived at the suspended bridge in no time and Dodi was the first to explore the bridge. His foot slipped through one of the slats so that was my clue that to carry both dogs would be the best thing.

As many times as I've walked across this bridge...I ain't gonna's freaky. It sways a bit as you take each step and if more than one person is on the bridge at a time it moves about even more. It's freaky. And there's a pretty serious drop to the creek below. Yet this bridge is frequented by a lot of safety in numbers right?

Tales from the suspended bridge!

Notice the yellow tape I'd mentioned above. The boards that were used to repair the bridge had to have been hand carried in. Special kudos to whoever humped all that wood. and Thank you!

Here's Chris and Dodi about halfway across. It seemed to be easier to handle the freakiness of this bridge if one of us crossed at a time.

Bummer the creek was so low.
With all the rain that Chattanooga had been getting, I was surprised to see how low the creek was this day. (yet another fun thing about visiting this never know how high or low the water is going to be...but always plan for some fun swimming just in case). Needless to say, we still got in some good romp around in the water time. Dodi of course jumped right in and swam around.

No sooner did Dodi jump in the water than a snake juts out from the rocks and into the water.
The creek was totally clear so you could see this snake swimming around underwater and then turned to look back at us. I'd never seen a snake stay underwater like this one did. (We think this might be a small water moccasin).

Meanwhile, Chris and I are trying to figure out how to let Dodi swim with this snake lurking about. So I said, "maybe if we throw rocks at it it will swim down stream?"  No sooner did I say this than BOOM, Chris chunks this huge rock into the creek and this snake looked like hurricane Katrina just hit it in the face. It worked in-so-much that the snake moved down stream, but not before Dodi jumps into the water after the rock like it was a toy. (not what we planned). A few scary moments later (after he insisted on swimming to the opposite bank just to prove he could) I snatched him up out of the water before this snake resurfaced.

Needless to say, we moved up the creek a bit to let Mr. Snake have some privacy.

The water was COLD!  Typical of mountain creeks...but geez, I'd forgotten just how cold they can be. Hence the look on my face in this photo.

I had intended to swim and float around in the creek, but having hiked the return trip before soaking wet and not really enjoying that...I decided just to wade around. It was refreshing.

The dogs are always flitting about when we pause to snap photos so we never know who all will be in the photos. Reese managed to get captured in this one above.

Can't ever seem to get both pups looking at the camera at the same time...but at least you get the idea.

This photo above I thought was one of the best of the day. Hard to tell, but both dogs are in the background. And can you tell that this was toward the end of the hike? more nervous.

We did it! Hiked just short of 3 miles to the bridge and back. Success!!! We checked this hike off our vacation bucket list and returned to our cabin for some chill time on the porch.

Much more to come...stay tuned.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

HOLY Toledo!!!

Super excited to announce that The Truth Gallery in downtown Toledo, Ohio will be integrating my artwork into their beautiful art gallery mix of African wood carvings from Ghana!

I stumbled upon this gem of an art gallery while perusing the various locations participating in the Toledo Art Walk some two years ago. Just so happens that upon my last visit Chris mentioned to the gallery director that I was an abstract painter...and that led to a review appointment which led to being invited to show at the gallery through June!

If you're an art lover and want a fabulous experience stop by and visit the Truth Art Gallery at 1811 Adams Street in downtown Toledo. This piece below titled "Keepin it Real" will be one of many abstract paintings on display and for sale at the Truth Gallery now through the end of June.

Or stop in on Thursday night from 6p-9p for the June 26th Toledo Art Walk. I'll be there!

Onward and upward for the arts!

Want to know more about the June 26 art here

Thursday, June 19, 2014

What a difference a roadtrip makes! Excerpt 3 of 10

I can't explain where it comes from...but it seems to be something some people are born with and others not-so-much.  The love of READING!!

I love to read...and I found a store many years ago when I was attending college in Chattanooga that filled the book void!  And OH MY how this store has grown since then.  I watched this store grow and grow over the years and still...I love to go there.

Naturally I would share my love of this place with Chris and her kids too. I swear there is something for everyone in this place.

McKay's Used Bookstore!!

With locations in Knoxville, Nashville and Chattanooga Tennessee we can only get our fill of this phenomenal store about twice a year. And a visit to Mckays is a MUST when we road tip to Tennessee!
It might not look like much from the outside...but HOLY books, movies, cds, video games and even vinyl records are in this store! It's a buy, sell, trade sorta place so it's always hopping.
Aisle and aisles of books and it's very easy to burn two hours wandering this store and not even know it.

What might be some of our favorite categories to explore?
Cook Books
Art (the big picture book variety)
New Age
Green Living
Nature (for the birding books)
and on and on.

If you're a reader...and you live in or around any of the Mckay's MUST visit!

Stay tuned....there's much more to come.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What a difference a roadtrip makes! Excerpt 2 of 10. ART!

As avid art lovers, Chris and I both love exploring Chattanooga's Frazier Avenue (known as the Northshore or North Chattanooga because it's on the North side of the Tennessee river) and shopping the art galleries and cool shops from near the Veterans bridge to the Market street bridge.
However, this time we'd also found a new gem! (the mural shown above can be found at the parking lot of the Chattanooga Workspace building on 6th Street).  It was an accident how I found out about the first Friday Open Studio night at Chattanooga Workspace, but a fabulous accident at that.  Fortunately I'd written down the address of the place and off we went to find it. Open house was the evening of the Friday we arrived in Chattanooga from 5:30p-9p.  That same night was also the opening of the Emerging artists show at the AVA gallery on Frazier and also just so happened that In Town gallery had an opening too! So off we went to explore the local art flavors of the city!

The photo above is the building that houses Chattanooga Workspace. A renovated space used by individual artists for studio space. Super COOL concept! And once a month (the first Friday) they have an open studio night. Four floors with multiple studios on each floor.

Upon entry we were greeted and given a brief synopsis as to what this space was about and then instructed to ride the elevator to the 4th floor and work our way down. VERY cool how artsy this experience was. Even the elevator was decorated in an artsy way! The chair below greeted us as the elevator doors flew open on one of the floors.

We met some really cool artists at the workspace that night. Donyale Grove being one of them (which now one of her acrylic paintings hangs in our kitchen at home...LOVE it!) We also learned that many of the artists who have studios at the Chattanooga Workspace also show during the Chattanooga Market on Sundays (naturally this makes sense because the Chattanooga Market is who is behind the operation of both spaces). Stay tuned for my next posting where I will talk about our experiences at the market!

With plenty of time to spare yet, we zipped over to Frazier avenue and walked down to the AVA gallery. This was more of an art museum experience with installation art pieces not really our cup of tea...but we enjoyed the cultural experience of it anyway. After all in the land of's good to see many different types of art.

A few doors down is In Town Gallery (a cooperative gallery so many artists were present this night for their opening reception). Chris and I always enjoy walking through In Town gallery to see what's new there.

By now it was nearly 9pm so we opted to end our evening on the Northshore with a stroll across the Walnut Street walking bridge. This bridge has a distinct and memorable smell to it as it's made from wood similar to a beachside boardwalk and there's always a lot of walkers, bikers, runners and so forth trafficking this bridge.

This evenings exploration of the local art scene in Chattanooga went down as one of our favorites of the week...but yet...there's MUCH more to come.

Stay tuned....

Monday, June 16, 2014

What a difference a roadtrip makes! Excerpt 1 of 10

Chattanooga? Yes, please!

Chris and I and our two toy-fox-terriers just returned from a week long visit to Chattanooga, TN. I cannot talk enough about the joys that being in that part of Tennessee does for us all!

Over the next few days I will be posting updates here as to what we got to see and do and experience. Much swimming (yeah Tennessee River!), hiking (snakes included), art (found a new gem in the Chattanooga Workspace) and food (Chattanooga has some KILLER bbq!) adventures.

The photo image above is by one of the fabulous area photographers we met named Steven Llorca. You can view his work by clicking here.

So stay tuned as I will be posting 10 different excerpts covering our Chattanooga adventures in detail.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Sugar Pea and Honey Fly...the continuing turkey saga

Meet... "Sugar Pea"...(and of course that's our tom all poofed out there in the background) named this past week as she is now officially declared herself part of our growing flock of farm birds.

If you've read previous blog posts here about the wild tom turkey who came around for a week or so flirting with our domesticated female turkey and challenging our tom for days on end...(he finally quit coming around after running him off a time or two with our toy-fox-terriers joining in the chase).

But day out of the blue little Sugar Pea showed up.  At first glance I thought it was Mr. Wild thang coming back for another round of flirty flirt and fighty fight with our Tom...but at closer look she was much smaller than he was...and of course she had that turkey-girl look.

Minutes later, what unfolded in our yard was rather fascinating. At first is was pretty obvious that our female turkey wasn't real pleased that she had some competition. She puffed out and jumped and jolted at our new visitor. But if being trained by the best...misses wild turkey knew just what to do to be invited to stay for a while. She was interested only in our Tom and preceded to do the traditional wild-turkey-dance. Circling then sitting down on the ground with head low. Seconds later...she was one-in-the-family so to speak. And ironically our female turkey (who Chris has since named "Honey Fly") and miss wild (now "Sugar Pea") have become the best of buds.  It's as if our turkey hen has been lonely all this time.  They chatter and trill and talk to one another as they walk the yard.

Not sure what will come of this odd little pairing. Whether we will have pullets soon or maybe next year as Sugar Pea appears to be only about a year old.  Interestingly, Sugar Pea won't perch in the barn at night with the other birds as she seems to trust more in her wild upbringing and perches WAY up in the tree behind the barn at night...nothing short of 50 feet off the ground (ain't no coon gonna snatch her at night when no one's girl).

I would have never thought that a wild turkey would join a domesticated turkey pairing (although they are the same species of turkey which probably helps with this).  But she is welcome to stay. Now if wild tom telling what may happen.

The saga continues...stay tuned as the story unfolds.