Monday, November 21, 2011

It's the busy season, but aren't they all?

Salt & Pepper Pattie  Pan oil on panel 6" X 6" $125.00

James has continued painting a little paintings nearly every day. They are all on his Facebook page at McDowells Hilltop Gallery.  
He has a show of some at Kingfisher Used Books here in Creston until the end of the year. 
We also are part of a show at Centre 64 in Kimberly starting Nov 29, with an opening on the afternoon of Dec 4. and running until Dec 22.

James is showing 60 of his daily paintings plus some of his larger work and I am showing birdhouses, Tea cozies, and pendants I have been making using tiny images of James' paintings mounted behind a glass tile.
Our friend, Sandy Kunze will be showing raku fired clay and another friend, Bea van Allmon, will be showing here wonderful clay birds.

Coffee Grinder 8 X 10 acrylic on panel $125.00

As life goes on I notice one of my treasures "missing" and then, low and behold, there it is in the daily painting.

Ye Olde Coffee Pot 6 X 6 acrylic on panel $125.00

Can't have the coffee grinder without the pot.

Back when Ironing was still Fun 6 X 6 oil on panel $125.00

I believe he misnamed that one!
My mom had one of these and she hated it. It hissed, ran on gas, was a real fire hazard. Wash and wear was such an advance!

James and I will also be at the Creston Arts Council Craft Fair at the Rec Center this Sat, Nov 26, from 9:00 - 5:00 
and at 
the Wynndel Craft Fair on 
Sat, Dec 3, 
at the Wynndel Hall from 9:00 - 3:00.

We will be selling calendars of James' work.

James' daily paintings calendar. $25.00

"The Manly Calendar" $25.00

We will also have cards made from photos of his paintings and pendants I have been making of miniatures of his paintings mounted behind a glass tile.

I started these using commercial bails but have since moved to a wire work bail I make myself.

Here's a back view. They are finished with an Oriental origami paper before I attach the bail.
 The pendants sell for $20.00.

Here are couple of my tea cozies which sell for $35.00.


Monday, October 03, 2011

James' painting a day continues

"Dragonflies," 6"x6", acrylic on panel, $125.

"Avocado For Lunch",6"x6",acrylic,$125.

"Coffee after the Harvest ", 8"x8" , acrylic on panel , $125.

"Grapes in Waiting ", 6"x8", acrylic on panel ,$125.
"Mom and the kids,"  7" x 8", acrylic on panel, $125.00.
 "Quiet Times ",7"x8",acrylic on panel,$125.

Oh my but time goes swiftly

On Aug 13 we had a wonderful wedding at our place. Our son, Larry McDowell, married his fiance, Lisa Benschop.
The wedding took place on a ridge by the closest field.

We should have had more sons. It was an absolute joy. A number of Larry and Lisa's friends came early and stayed in our unrented mobile home. They spent the last few days knocking the place into shape, putting up tents, mowing grass, clearing the covered deck, and one young lady spent 3 days baking pies. Another friend cooked all the meat for the "do" and numbers of folks made salads for their picnic themed reception. Lisa's mom and a friend spent a whole day arranging the lovely loose summer bouquets that dotted tables and blankets all around.

The party went late and then it was all done but the cleanup.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Less than a month until the wedding!

Our son and his fiance are getting married this summer. Last week, on Lisa's birthday, I realized it is less than a month until the wedding. In that it is taking place here on the farm we still have things to whip into shape.
James has been continuing his painting a day and I need to post a few he has finished since my last post:

" Three Garlic " 14"x7" , acrylic on panel $125.00
" Strawberries and Cream," 8"x8", Acrylic on panel ,$125.00
"Study in Green," 8 x 8, acrylic on panel, $100.00
"Iris and Poppies," 7"x 8", oil on panel, $125.00
"Chik-a-dee,"  8"x 8", acrylic on panel ,$125.00, SOLD
" One Old Chair,"  5" x 7" , oil on panel , $125.00
We are still ever so busy with not only Saturday's Farmers' Market, but also Wednesday afternoons from 3:30 - 6:30. This week's Wed was kindly cooler. Saturday we had about everything but snow at the market: chilly breezes, rain, heat ...  you name it!
James has begun harvesting his garlic, hence the painting. We've been selling fresh at the market, along with my baking, tea cozies, cards of James' paintings, and on ....
Hope you are enjoying your summer too.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Blissfully a little cooler

I don't want to be a wimp but I'm so pleased it has cooled down a wee bit.
We had a great market yesterday. Tourists are starting to move around and, after our very slow start this spring, it was nearly like a normal Farmers Market day.
Here are some more of James McDowell's paintings:

"Squash", 6" x 7", oil on canvas. $100.00.
I think it's a Buttercup Squash looking good enough to eat.
This is last summer's squash: this year's are still wee tiny, those that have even blossomed. This is such a slow gardening year.

"Cranbrook Appaloosa," 12 x14, acrylic on canvas, $125.00. SOLD

This little horse was often seen at the first rest area east of Cranbrook, heading to Alberta. James just had to paint him.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Busy days: even busy nights

James calls this painting "Strawberry Harvest." It is oil on panel, 7" x 8", and priced at $100.00. SOLD
James has been inspired by a group of "Daily Painters" who try to paint one small painting every day. It's a challenge with all the other summer chores of gardens, Farmers Markets, and the like.
This is today's painting:

"Tomatoes for Lunch" is acrylic on panel, 8" x 8", acrylic on panel, and also priced at $100.00. SOLD

Friday, June 17, 2011

Oh my how the time does fly.

This weekend marks the openings of our 16th Annual ArtWalk. 
This is the 10th year I have been coordinating it and Frank Goodsir has worked with it even longer. Right now, frankly, I am tired.
 Our long cold wet spring has continued and gardening between rain storms has been a challenge. James' potatoes were nearly climbing out of the box but they got planted this week.
I still hope to get the yard knocked in shape for our son's wedding this summer and here are a few pictures of "promise."

Saturday, April 02, 2011

The answer is "Yes."

Last month I quoted from  Percy Bysshe Shelley's  "Ode to the West Wind,"   
"O wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind."
Apparently it can be. It snowed all morning on April 2 and it is still on the ground! I don't know if the sun and warmth on Thursday or this snowy nastiness is the "trick"
James has continued labouring long in the shop and has finished his mandolin/mandola/ bazooki - beautiful 8 stringed instrument (4 sets of strings) and it plays beautifully.

This has been James' project to chase away the winter blues. He figures he has about 350 hours in it. 
Earlier this winter James built himself a 16 inch band saw from wood.

He used his band saw to cut parts for his mandolin. The top is made from part of a cedar block a friend brought him from up the Pend O'riele. The wood was very old and the tree was rotted out in the middle. The grain is very fine.
James cut it, hand planed it, and book-ended the pieces.

James "milled" the fret board from a piece of Brazilian Walnut another friend had given him. The back is milled from a the beautiful mahogany of an old door jamb and the sides and neck are from a mystery wood James had.

James carved and stained The Twa Corbies.
 All in all this has been quite a project. Now he is ready to get back to painting for the summer's shows and for a show in December at Center 64 in Kimberly.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

O Wind, If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

Well, when last I wrote I was heralding the onset of spring, blah, blah, blah. A little setback here. We have had snow and really cold weather, and brutal winds, and tonight it has warmed a bit and it is snowing again. Spring will come It must, but we are a ever anxious for its face.
Friday evening we were treated to watching a doe and last summer's twin fawns lapping up the sunflower seeds James has been scattering for the birds. All three look in lovely sleek shape.

The opening of the show at the Temp was a huge success. James' piece sold almost immediately and will find a good home with the couple who bought it. A number of other large pieces sold that evening: a mixed media collage by Brandy Dyer called "My Life" which will hang in the offices of Mental Health here locally, a number of wonderful stone carvings and more smaller works. The show was a great success for the week it lasted. It was classy all the way. The lions share of the show's organization was done by Maggie Leal-Valias with the expert assistance of Sandy Kunze in arranging and hanging it.
I have finished redoing the forms for this year's ArtWalk and we will be stuffing envelopes this weekend.
This week in our Self Employment class we will be studying Quick Books. The young would say "Kill me now." 
I have also signed up for another class at Beadazzled making a bangle bracelet and that will be my reward.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

James has just finished this sculpture for the Contemporary Sculpture Show at the Temp Gallery on Canyon St in Creston. The show opens Friday night at 7:00 pm  and will continue from 11 am - 7:00 pm Feb 18 - 24.

  Detail of sculpture by James McDowell. 
The sculpture is 25 in X 25 in X 5 in and is for sale.

I am putting in an arrangement of crocheted flowers and tea cozies in an installation I'm calling it "All the Flowers in my Garden."

Down here in Creston's sunny south (I haven't seen the sun in a few.) spring really is on its way. Most of our snow is well on its way to gone. James has seen red winged black birds, the robins are out, and a friend tells me she smelled the unmistakable odour of skunk the other morning; the sure sign of spring.
With winter waning I'm looking at the yard and thinking of our son and his fiance's wedding this summer. Much to do. Much to do.

My class continues. This is week 6 of 12. It is a huge commitment of time at the time of year when we should be getting ready for this summer's sales but as I hammer away at a business plan things in my mind are clarifying.
I have decided I will not bake for the Farmer's Market this summer.
I love making people happy but it takes 3 hard days of baking - without air conditioning, I might add! - and then another day at the market and then it takes the other 3 to recuperate to start baking again. I would rather make birdhouses, or jewellery, or cards, or tea cozies and when I'm baking I have no energy to do those other things.
We do plan to do the market but will be selling cards and jewellery, birdhouses and tea cozies, and some of James' lovely garden produce. 
Today in the mail I just received 3 wonderful books from on jewellery making: Steam punk, Soldering, and Cold Joins. I am more than thrilled. Last week I took an evening's class on wire wrapping and I think I am in love!
I think the summer will be busy enough.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Pine Grosbeaks

This winter we have not been using the regular bird feeder since the bear came by and bent its pole in half last summer. This is not an altogether happy thought: neither the bear, nor the lack of the feeder.
We have been throwing seeds out under the bushes and on the lawn and getting whole flocks of Juncos, lots of chickadees, various finches and today we were blessed by a Pine Grosbeak. I borrowed the picture. He is a bit bigger than the finches and with a heavy grosbeak beak.
We've never seen one here before. I've seen them across the valley in West Creston and my girlfriend about a mile down the road had some earlier this year but here on our hilltop, this is the first we've seen.
Winter progresses. Ours has been milder than many years and open for the most part. Even though we've had it easy we are very ready for spring and planting things. I was SO very tempted to pull the grass off the spot my snow drops grow the other day but fortunately caution prevailed as it has gone back to freezing hard again. Usually the snowdrops are under a big drift of snow off the roof but this year we don't have that.
James has been keeping busy in the shop and studio. He has built himself a 16 inch band saw, mostly of wood, inspired by a YouTube video.
This week he was creating a wooden sculpture for the Contemporary Sculpture Show that will run at the Temp Gallery on Main street  from Feb 18 through the next week as part of our month long Spirit Fest.
I plan to show a grouping of my tea cozies.
My class progresses and I am getting more of a handle on our business but sitting "thinking" from 9:00 - 3:30 5 days a week is a big change after all these years. It takes a different kind of stamina than working with ones hands.
James and I are celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary today by watching the Super Bowl. I like both teams that are playing and it should be a good game.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Waiting for winter to leave

We have actually had a brighter winter than most but I am so ready for it to be over. The week before last we got about 16 inches of snow spread over 2 days and then it rained and turned to ice on the driveway and in the parking lots. We had a pretty treacherous few days. Last night we got about 3 inches and now it is melting again. We noticed in the night a deer had discovered where James threw seeds for the birdies and some wheat for the pheasant. Given the choice, Mr Pheasant seemed to enjoy the more expensive spread.
Here's a picture of our friend Victoria wearing a fun hat I made to compliment her dreads, and here is Mr Pheasant himself.