Sunday, December 21, 2014

Happy Solstice, all! The light returns...bit by bit.

"The Shortest Day

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!"

-Susan Cooper.

Here's to love, and life, family and friends--a most peaceful and happy Solstice to all here.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Times, They Are a'Changin...

...and they have been, for the publishing industry, for some time.  Just got word that Sierra Club is going out of the publishing business to focus on their other missions.  Publishing has changed, a LOT, in the past 10-15 years, and they're not the only book publisher to disappear...

They had a great run, and a LONG one, with many, many wonderful books by some elegant, eloquent writers over the years.  I was very glad to be in that august company, and happy with the books I did with them--it was a wonderful experience.

The internet has impacted a lot of publishers, both of books and of magazines; it's a tough business these days; several of the publishers of my natural history books are no more.  (I'm more than grateful North Light/F & W is still around and going strong.)

 Sketching in Nature's been out of print for some time, though it had a great run--hardcover and softcover, with revisions and multiple reprints. I loved doing it...

Painting in Nature came out in 2000 and did very well too...3 print runs are not at all bad! 

The latter book was very meaningful to me; I was working on it when my first husband Harris fell ill, and when he died.  It came out a year or so after, and there are many sweet, poignant memories held within those pages.  We sat together in the woods and I painted while he read or napped...we picnicked by the lake while I drew...he was always supportive, and always proud of what I did.

My dear friend Judy Gehrlein, a wonderful artist and sketching buddy, went with me on many of the field trips--those memories are held between the pages as well.

In 2005, I was invited to speak to Sierra Club's first International Gathering in San Francisco on field sketching; it was the first time my beloved Joseph and I were alone together as well.  What a trip THAT was!  Between my stage fright and the snafus with technical issues like laptops and slide projectors and the Powerpoint presentation that J. put together for me, running late, miscommunications, and...stage fright, did I mention stage fright??  (More like terror...)

For a while there it looked as if I'd be speaking to an auditorium of a couple of hundred people with nothing but my sketchbook and a microphone.  (Thank goodness we had a couple of days to wind down after that and explore that beautiful city!)

Jim Cohee was the best editor anyone could ever have...I loved working with him, and loved finally meeting him in 2005.  Gentle, funny, talented, inspiring...the best, yep.  He's writing books of his own, now!  Just saw The Swan, on Amazon...

Lots of warm memories...

Still, it's a sad day when one of the Old Lions goes away.  You'll be missed, Sierra Club. Thanks for the wild, wonderful ride.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Life has been...LIFE!

...of course that DOES beat the alternative...

It's been too long since I've had time to slow down and just enjoy has been intense, between classes and the upcoming North Light book.  Lots of juggling, lots of confusion, lots of needing to stop and take a breath.  And of course, family stuff...

I need to get out and sketch more often!  This one is from 2009, and no, it has NOT been that long.  I was out just last week...

This is from our October trip to Bennett Spring...I did a LOT of sketches that trip!

My sweetie and the other fishermen at the spring...

Our godchild Molly Hammer, singing at the Broadway Jazz Club with one of her favorite pianists...

Copper Creek Band, good friends we go to hear as often as we can...

Joseph's English Country Dance group...

The beautiful newborn Henry!

BACON and a Buddhist prayer...interesting juxtaposition...

...and three wonderful visits with three wonderful young women--daughters of my heart!  That would be Kristin Frazier, Christiana Farabee, and Ailsa Barrett, all in the space of a week... life is good, but life is crazy.  Looking forward to breathing room December 26...

In the upcoming year I plan more journal entries, more reviews of favorite tools and books, more reminiscences, more on simplifying, more demos, more on gratitude, more mini-class giveaways (that last one was FUN!)--and who knows what else?

I hope you'll join me.


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