An Old Friend on New Terms
After dropping my Very Tall Boy off at George Mason University, I was on my way to Baltimore to visit a dear friend. I knew I would need this trip to keep my mind off my new life scenario… empty nest and all.
Who would I make breakfast and pack lunch for in the morning? Who would I worry about coming home safe in the evening? Who would I prepare dinner for so that he could dive into his homework as soon as possible after crew practice?
Michelle has been asking me to visit for years and it’s been very infrequently that I’ve been able to indulge her request because I have been taking care of kids and running around the country with my art bag, working.
Michelle and I were able to walk everywhere we wanted to go from her South Baltimore home. Out the door and on our way to the farmers market, shops, restaurants, church, you name it! Having always lived in suburbia, this was a new and exciting experience for me.
We were right in the thick of things in Baltimore, but the photo of the two of us above was taken (by Yours Truly and her orangutan arms) just a half hour out of town into the rolling hills of Maryland. A beautiful country drive delivered us to a cattle farm, where we purchased some steaks and had an amazing fresh grilled burger lunch!
Best of both worlds, I’d say.
Ready for an Adventure
After leaving Michelle’s neck of the woods, I headed home to run a load of laundry and pack a new bag; I was getting ready to hit the road for six weeks! SIX weeks is a long time and I didn’t originally plan it that way… it was going to just be a month in California but then I thought about how much I’d love to be a student and take classes from some artists I admire at Art Makers Denver.
Im taking a doodle draw class from Jennifer Mercede and a jewelry making class from Kirsten Denbow. I have met both of these amazing artists in the past and I own beautiful examples of both of their work. It’s been forever and a day since I’ve been able to indulge in a class for personal enrichment. I decided to take these classes because they are outside the realm of my own medium and that can be the most amazing way to jump start your own creativity.
I never take the time to DOODLE and I’ve not had a jewelry making class since earning my BFA at SU. It’s going to be like being a KID AGAIN and how awesome is that?
Outstanding Opportunities and Beyond!
Right about the time I was planning to add Denver dates to my trip, I was informed by Golden Paints that I had been accepted to their Artist Educator program taking place for a week in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Now, I had to apply to this program, write an essay, submit samples of my work and provide my workshop teaching schedule. I knew I was up against some hearty competition but I threw my hat in the ring anyway. After all, I now have the time to indulge in such things.
Low and behold, I was accepted to the program along with 21 other artists from North America. Now, it was going to be a few more weeks on the road than I thought when I started planning this adventure.
But I haven’t gotten to Denver OR New Orleans yet… I digress.
After my Baltimore laundry was done, I headed to the airpot with one BIG suitcase weighing exactly 50 pounds (I have a sixth sense for that), my camera and computer backpack, and my roll-aboard suitcase full of workshop art supplies. I was on my way!
My first stop was to teach in San Jose at A Work of Heart Studio for the amazing Andrea Chebleau. Andrea’s got an adorable art studio and supply store in San Jose that’s perfectly located and perfectly set up. We had the benefit of an overhead camera so that everyone could watch what I was doing on the big screen, we had an art shop on the premises in case anyone needed more supplies, we had lunch options close by, and Andrea made sure we were well stocked with snacks and drinks.
Nobody wanted to leave, including me.
Want to join me in 2020 at A Work of Heart in San Jose? Learn More Here
The Power of Friendship
Once again, I’m lucky enough to have another old friend in San Jose who I spent a week with while I was there teaching. Anne and I met in London in 1990 when we were both in our early 20’s on work permits. She said that she was from California and I from Massachusetts. After some initial conversation we learned that her father was from my father’s home town in Massachusetts and that he had actually graduated high school with my uncle. “Im looking at Jim St. Hilaire right now in my yearbook.” Fred Pappalardo exclaimed over the wall-phone to us one day.
Annie was generous enough to let me insert myself into her busy, busy life for a few days. We managed to work from home at the kitchen table, her doing marketing consulting and me painting and being my own marketing consultant. We carpooled the kids to school in the morning, we prepared meals, baked cookies, celebrated both of our summer birthdays with belated homemade strawberry cheesecake, and even managed to sneak away to the beach of Santa Cruz for the day.
San Jose was an amazing week of all good things, including humidity-free weather with cool nights and sunny days! Soon I would have to make my way up to Sacramento where my next class is going to be held at the SAC Fine Arts Center.
Big hugs, and loving goodbye’s … but short and sweet because Annie will join me in Florida in October! Just after I touch down from this amazing journey, she will join me for Promenade the Alcazar Gala where my artwork is featured as the People’s Choice Winner at the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine, FL. I have two tickets to the event, guess who’s going to be my date?
I couldn’t imagine anyone else.
Hit The Ground Running
Off to Sacramento to teach at the Fine Arts Center but before I went back to work, I had to make a side trip to the artful town of Sebastapol where the Junk Art of Patrick Amiot adorns local businesses and his own Florence Street neighborhood. I also visited the local art supply store, galleries and the Center for The Arts.
And why not?
An Artistic Community
The sculpture work of Patrick Amiot (a Canadian artist living in Sebastapol) has been on my radar for years. His work adorns the front yards of the humane society, the fire station, restaurants and other local businesses as well as local art lovers and their neighbors.
You have to look at the details, the fingers and toes, to truly appreciate the work that goes into these whimsical works of art that make you smile and even chuckle out loud when you see them.
After the art walk, we strolled aimlessly downtown where there were unique shops, galleries, and a local art supply store where we chatted with the proprietor at length. I was on a mission for some mark making tools for my upcoming Doodle Draw Workshop.
After all, you can never have enough art supplies.
The Sebastapol Center for the Arts was in the middle of setting up a silent auction fundraiser but they were gracious enough to let me walk around and look at the paintings. I immediately found a piece that made me very happy and asked about putting in a sealed silent auction bid since I would not be in town for the actual event. Rick shared that he had been coordinating this fundraiser in Sebastapol for 31 years and had raised tons of money for Face to Face. Art for Life and Face to Face presents the longest-running art auction to end HIV with 200+ works donated by Sonoma County artists.
Learn more about the event and get a ticket if you are local. Just don’t outbid me on my cow painting!
And Now, Welcome to the Stage…
After an amazing artful day exploring Sebastapol and talking to the folks at the Center for the Arts about hosting a workshop… yes there’s always THAT possibility. It was time to get our groove on and head out for the show.
My trip to wine country was originally about taking in a concert at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts where Big Head Todd and the Monsters took the stage with the Gin Blossoms for some awesome live music. I’ve been following Big Head Todd around the country (and to the Caribbean on a cruise ship) for decades. I’ve met the band, their wives, and the stage crew.
When you take time to wander, you meet amazing people and see unique things along the way.
Home Again, Home Again, Jiggedy-Jig!
The next morning it was a lovely wine-country drive back to Sacramento, preparing for my next Beginning Collage Workshop at the SAC fine arts Center. You can find the listing on my website if you are interested in joining us–we still have room for you!
Stay tuned for more tales form the empty nest of Sacramento and beyond!
And thanks for taking the time to wander with me.
for being a part of my