Cold People


January 24, 2014

Have I ever mentioned my little obsession with the Arctic regions (YES) and some of the people that live in these stark areas? In particular I have a deep interest in the Sami people. A few months ago I made this painting homage to the Sami:

There are some good documentaries that have come out recently in which I have been able to indulge in my obsession. Happy People by Werner Herzog follows a year in the lives of hunters in the Siberian Taiga. I loved it. Herzog always has an interesting perspective. My only gripe is that for my tastes, it's focus was too narrow. It focused solely on the hunters as they made their preparations for leaving their families for many months to hunt. I also wanted to see what life was like for the families (i.e. women and children) that they had to leave behind. Still...a worthwhile portrait of the people that inhabit this remote area.

And now I will look forward to seeing Aatsinki. It's being released on January 25th. It follows a year in the lives of families of reindeer herders in Finnish Lapland. Looks to be very interesting, with a lot of beautiful, stark landscapes. I am hoping that it will maybe be a more well rounded portrait of the families, even though it is advertised and focusing on 2 "Arctic cowboy" brothers. 

Well, in the Midwest here we're bracing ourselves for some very low temperatures next week. Maybe my obsession with cultures that live in arctic climates, helps me to keep things in perspective here. Have a lovely weekend and stay warm!

The Wonders of Nature


January 22, 2014

Hello, yes, I do still check in here every now and then. If you follow my Instagram feed, and Facebook pages you know that I am busy creating and making, but I miss posting here regularly. My time is divided a bit differently these days. I haven't been in to the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History to volunteer in the bird lab for months, and I tell, you it is breaking my heart. I love that place so much, but I had too many irons in the fire as they say, and well, something had to give for the sake of my sanity. 

For the time being I have found other ways to give my time to in areas that engage my natural history interest. A couple of weeks ago I participated in an English Buckthorn and Japanese Honeysuckle removal workday at our local forest preserve. It was super satisfying to remove those most tenacious and aggressive of invasive species (except kudzu)! A group of about 20 of us trudged through snowy woods and found the plants that had been marked for removal that fall, and then cut, lopped, and in some cases, chainsawed them off. 

If you don't follow me on other social media outlets, I wanted to share the above image with you. I made it for a group gallery show in which the theme was all work inspired by Little Golden Books. I chose "The Wonders of Nature". The original book was illustrated by Eloise Wilkin. As you can imagine, engagement with the natural world is something we try to encourage in our little 3 yr old daughter. Children have an instinctive curiosity about nature that the book captures simply and beautifully. I wanted to create a painting that captured some of that, as well as Wilkin's aesthetic. You can all of the Little Golden Show pieces HERE.

It's been a colder and more snowy winter than in recent years; more like the winters of my childhood. Fighting cabin fever and staying engaged with the natural world can get challenging in late winter when the low temps and every surface being iced over conspires against spending quality time outside. But when nature gives you copious amounts of snow...make snow forts! I have a lot of exciting projects coming up this year and can't wait to share them with you. I'll continue to try to keep this thing going, but remember that you can always see my latest efforts on FB and IG. 

In the meantime, the original "Wonders of Nature" painting is sold, but you can get a print of it here

I hope your 2014 is off to a wonderful start, and stay warm!

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