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Artcroft Day 16

I was invited to have lunch with Kentucky’s poet Jim Lalley. We met at the same restaurant in Carlisle that Robert tried to take me to last week. She was having some construction done, and was not open. Everyone says it’s a great best-kept secret type cafe, and so far, it’s still being kept a secret from me! We ended up having lunch at Blue Licks State Park, 5 miles outside of Carlisle.
Shirley's family

Jim wanted me to help him organize a website for a writers group that meet at Artcroft the first Sunday of every month at 10 am.

this is a great opportunity for all writers living in the Cincinnati, Lexington, Ashland-Huntington area.

On the first Sunday of every month at 10am, (the next meeting will be March 2nd) The Writers At Artcroft meet.

Writer’s should come prepared to practice the art of writing based on a specific theme. A lecture is followed by poetry reading and discussion. This is open to the public, and you can get more information from:

Jim Lalley
606 763-6827

I have been invited to trade art with some of my friends that I have met online. A friend suggested that make Artist Trading Cards. Here’s how I understand it works:

  • they must be 2.5″ X 3.5″
  • they must be traded not sold

Artist trading cards

So I get the impression they can be made from any kind of medium. I would prefer to trade my cards in person with artists that I meet, but I have made some friends who live very far away, and may never visit my country…let alone my studio! I will trade cards by mail with anyone interested. I would prefer to trade cards that are original (not printed cards) since all my trading cards are original. And I would prefer to receive a trading card before I send one. If you are interested, give me an email. We can meet and trade, or arrange to trade through the mail. I think it will be fun!

I helped Angela Fremont hang a huge roll of paper on her studio wall. The paper is probably 5 feet tall, and 30 feet wide! (yeah, it took 2 people!) I think it’s funny that in one studio, the artist is working on a sheet of paper that size, and in the other studio, the artist is painting on 2.5″x3.5″ paper!

Shirley has inspired me to change my theme to include goats and baby goats (kids) I painted 2 small goat themed paintings today. They are really cute. Shirley is standing up without problems, and the babies are starting to figure out how to get milk from her. Since they had to be bottle fed as newborns, they come to me and Robert when they are hungry….I think they will figure it out!

almost Set For Eclipse
Tomorrow, a lunar eclipse is scheduled to happen. As the sun was setting, I noticed that the moon is almost on the completely opposite side of the sky. I took my camera and tripod, and took about 16 photos between the sunset and the moon rise. Then I put the photos together into one long, panoramic photograph. I recommend clicking the photo to see it enlarged. Unfortunately, it is snowing on the day of the eclipse, but for those in North America with clear skies, the eclipse is supposed to happen between 8pm and 10am…check it out! I wonder if there is a superstition about lunar eclipses? I’m thinking, they stir up creative vibes!

After dinner, I sat by the fire and chatted with Angela about art, and politics and etc. There is a beautiful Asian pot that sits on the coffeetable. A few days ago, Angela noticed that a spider was living in it. It hides under the lip of the pot, so you only get to see it on special occasions. We were looking for the spider, when I noticed a small spider next to Angela’s shoulder.
We captured it in a glass, and she identified it as the spider that lives in the pot. I was going to take it outside, but Angela thought it was cold for a house spider, plus, spiders are useful by eating other bugs…so she gave the spider an Asian name “Shu-Ying” and returned it to the beautiful Asian pot.
Angela And Shu-Ying

Well, it was another beautiful day at Artcroft!

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Artcroft Day 15

Today, I did a lot of work in the studio.
I have been thinking about Shirley and her babies…a lot (in fact, last night, I had dreams about baby goats).
We are still bottle feeding the babies, since Shirley cannot stand up on her own to nurse the babies.

I finished my oil pastel painting of the house around the corner with all the dogs. They make a great picture, but I do not recommend jogging by their house. Dogs love a good chase!

I have new roommates in my studio! They came in the mail.

ken With CHick
Baby Chickens. I believe the breed is called Burma. They have little feathers on their feet!

Here is Angela Fremont with one of the chicks.

They chirp a lot, but it is pleasant…it reminds me of being outside during the spring. Not a bad ambient sound during the cold month of February!

shirley Standing
While helping Robert feed the babies, Shirley decided to stand up! She decided she had recuperated from the childbirth, and she walked to the hay to have a snack. This was the highlight of the day. We were all afraid that she would not make it, but she is one tough mama!


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Artcroft Day 14

Sunday is the day I go into town and do my laundry.

I went to Maysville to have a look at my newly aquired art studio/web design office. I had agreed to renting it over the phone. My home/studio was damaged during the tornado storms last week, and I have a friend who was getting ready to rent a space in her building in downtown Maysville…it seemed like a match brought together by the cosmos. The space was very comfortable, and I know it is going to make a great workspace.

I did my laundry, had lunch with friends, did some grocery shopping, then headed back to Artcroft. The winds were picking up and the sky had a beautiful light and interesting pattern of clouds. I was anxious to get back to Artcroft, but had to stop long enough to take this picture.

After dinner, we bottle fed the baby goats and hoisted Shirley up so she could get used to standing on her feet. She is still very weak from the birth.
She is eating and drinking, and has a good demeanor (as always), but her legs are too weak to support herself. It is important that she be able to stand on her feet so that she can feed the babies, but also for her recovery. I hope tomorrow she gets up and gets to walk around.
come On Shirley

I showed Angela my studio after feeding the babies. She is from New York City, but has some country in her, so she’s alright with me. She understood the idea of composting banana peels, and wasn’t too prissy to sit in the hay and feed baby goats. She noted a few times with amusement that her city boots had mud on them. I have a feeling that her boots are going to have good fun out in the country. Can you imagine being a boot, and not getting to step in a muddy puddle? I have been the only resident for the last 2 weeks, and it was really nice to sit in my studio and talk about art, the artist’s life, and those other things that artist’s like to gab about.

This experience as an artist-in-residence has been awesome. I can tell that I am making some important developments as an artist. I’m sorry that I can’t express them very well with words right now. It’s been a long day, and I am so tired that I accidentally erased one of the sketches that I wanted to share with you all. Thanks again everyone who has been so supportive through your comments and emails. I want to personally reply to everyone, but I am not very good at finding the time to write the letters…I do read the comments and appreciate everyone’s kindness and friendship.


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Artcroft Day 13

Today was busy.

Hiking  With My Art Supplies

To start the day, I decided to take Robert’s advice, and attempt a plein air painting. The weather was nice (sunny in the 40s), so I strapped my gear on my back, and took my studio outdoors.


I chose to paint the road that leads to/from Artcroft. It is situated on a series of hills. With a nice mix of old trees. During winter, it is difficult to paint outside, so I paint fantastic images from my mind. I love my indoor work, but the fresh air blended with turpentine was like visiting a long lost friend. I love painting plein air.


I wanted to take advantage of the good weather, so I then went for a 7.5 mile jog around the block. I pretty much turned right at every road that I passed. There was a nice steep hill with a church at the top, followed by a sheep farm…complete with a variety of chickens scattered around the yard. I would really like to go back with sketchbook.

After the run, I noticed the truck was filled with compost. I offered to help lay the compost on the garden bed before taking my after-run shower. After unloading the truck, Robert came back from checking on Shirley (the big fat mama goat), and he said that she was ready to have her babies, but needed some help. I don’t think I was much help, but it was amazing to see Robert get in “there” and turn the baby from feet first to head first. Then he delivered another baby. One boy one girl.

I took my shower, then went to the studio to work, as the new resident drove up. The most important component of her project was lost in the flight. What terrible luck! She was able to order everything she needs, and it should arrive monday.

After having babies, a goat is supposed to stand up so the babies can get to her milk. Shirley still wasn’t standing up, so I went to the barn to help coax her to a standing position. When we tried to move her, she hollered like she was in terrible pain. There was another baby inside her…and this one was coming out feet first. The baby was not cooperative, and I thought it must be dead. Robert tugged on it, and had a difficult time getting it out, but it came out, and coughed. It was alive!!!! WOW.

Shirley still hadn’t stood up on her own, which is understandable considering what she went through. Robert, Maureen and I ended up bottle feeding the three little goats, and they are now resting in the barn with their mama.

What A day!

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Artcroft Day 12

Sorry folks, I don’t have any pictures of my latest/greatest today.

Yesterday, I hit a creative wall, so I was eager to get my mind off art and help Robert with some construction work to prepare Angela’s studio. (she arrives tomorrow).

After finishing the work on the studio, Robert invited me to have lunch with him in Carlisle, Ky. After driving into Carlisle’s charming downtown, we discovered the restaurant was closed due to sick children. While walking back to the truck, we met Ed Taylor, a friend of Robert. He offered to feed us at his restaurant ‘cafe on Main’.

Cafe On Main
sorry about the quality of the photo…i had to take this shot with my cellphone.
Although it was not open for business, Ed welcomed us in, and turned up the stove. The Cafe was decorated with beautiful art…real art! Every space on the walls in the cafe were being used to display paintings or drawings. We both had roast beef with a potato casserole and broccoli. It may sound like a normal lunch, but there was nothing normal about it. The food was a concert of flavors! I don’t rattle on about food…food is usually a means to an end…it gives me energy so I can paint. This food was a work of ART!

When we returned to the farm, I went directly to my studio and began a new, mysterious project. I don’t want to show unfinished work, but you can rest assured that I have broken through the creative wall. Thanks everyone for your encouragement on yesterdays post to keep those creative juices pumping!

Shirley, the big fat mama goat, was making fussy noises this morning. She is ready to have those babies, but they still are not ready to come out.

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Artcroft Day 11

tree House-Oil
Tree House

For me, creativity has peaks and valleys. For the last 10 days at Artcroft, I have enjoyed a surge of creative inspiration. Today, I feel like I ran out of creative energy.

Barker's Cottage
I started the day by doing some creative work for a web design project I have been hired to do. Then at the studio, I finished 2 oil paintings. Then took a couple snapshots. I went for a 5 mile jog, came home and did some light cleaning around the house…and then got ready for dinner.

Dinner with Robert and Maureen was delicious and pleasant as always, but when I returned to the studio, I couldn’t get anything done!

I felt like I was suffering from creative paralysis. I tried to paint an idea for a watercolor, but from the beginning, the composition was bad, and the colors were not agreeing with me. The worst thing was that I had no enthusiasm for my work. I am always excited to bring an image to life, but tonight, I could care less.

I hope haven’t overloaded myself. I am looking forward to helping Robert with some work around the farm so my creative juices can build back up…that should do the trick!

I am curious to know how the other creative folk out there deal with keeping their creative energies in check? (particularly when they hit a brick wall)


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Artcroft Day 10

Time is passing fast here at Artcroft. I am already 1/3 through the residency. I am having a great experience, and know it is going to be hard to leave when the time comes.

I spent most of the day in the studio, working on my oil paintings. I have 3 that are almost finished…if not finished:

Cat Nap
Lazy cat, was hunting for birds, then fell asleep. He’s not very good at catching mice either, but he is still a good cat.

Too Good For The Hen House
Too Good For The Hen House
When I raised chickens, they rarely went into their henhouse at night. They prefered to roost in the trees…there were many nights I had to climb the tree to bring the chickens down and put them in the henhouse!

prissy Little Cow
Prissy Little Cow
Prissy little cow likes to sit with her front legs crossed in the shade and talk with the birds. Soak in the muddy pond with the other cows…never!

Big Fat Mama Goat Waiting For The Baby
A watercolor painting of Mama goat who lives under the pottery studio at Artcroft, but she comes outside to look at the snow, and let me rub her belly…her baby is overdue. I think it wants to stay in her warm belly!

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Artcroft Day 9

snowy Hill Top Panorama
Today, I woke to the sound of ice sliding off the roof…crashing to the ground. A combination of sleet and snow fell for most of the day. The wintry mix changed the landscape from yellow to white.

 snowy trail
I took a break inbetween painting sessions and took a walk around the farm.

residents Quarters
A view of the resident’s quarters.

I invited Robert and Maureen to visit my studio today. I asked Robert for a critique on my work, and was grateful for his insight. I admire anyone who can put words to the process of making visual art. It’s always easy to say “I like this/I like that”, but the ability to explain why something is working…or why something is not working. I hope I can develop that skill over time.


Sorry not to have new work for this post, but larger oil paintings take much more time to finish than smaller oil pastel paintings. I plan to have 2 or 3 finished tomorrow, so please keep watching this site!


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Artcroft Day 8

Today, I took a break from small oil pastel paintings, and put some canvas on the easels…then put some paint on the canvas.

[kml_flashembed movie=”” height=”300″ width=”400″ fversion=”9″ useexpressinstall=”true”/]
I don’t have a finished painting to show, but while painting, I took a picture every 15 minutes or so…then combined them into a video. Enjoy a peek at me while at work!

Had an interesting jog today…i decided to follow crooked creek road westward, and after about 2 miles, was chased by a pack of dogs (over 10). I probably made a personal record for sprinting during that run. I am a dog lover, but decided to hitch a ride with some nice folks instead of trying to run past the dogs again! Next run I will go east!

A week of my residency has already passed! I have done a good bit of work, but I feel like I am just settling into my new workspace. Now, I am looking forward to making some great paintings! These new paintings really make me happy…i have a feeling they are going to put a smile on your face too.


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Artcroft Day 7

For the seventh day, I slowed down a bit…still, I painted 2 more small oil pastels,

a great tree full of chickens with a rooster at the top of the tree

a cluster of houses…but much nicer to look at than some of the recent sprawl common here in the U.S.

I used today to go to the Y in paris and do some swimming. I did not pay attention to my time, but I think I got a good mile worth of laps. Then I did laundry, bought some groceries and returned to Artcroft. After a few hours away, it felt good to see the Artcroft sign and return home.

I try to use sunday as a day for staying in touch with my family, so much of the evening was spent sitting by the fire and catching up with my loved ones.

Now if I could only get a handle on my email! Thank you everyone for your encouraging email and blog posts. I want to reply to everyone, but there is only so much time…and so many pictures to paint! I will be in touch with everyone soon! Thank you again for the overwhelming support…it really keeps me going!