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Artcroft Day 23

I wanted to spend the day painting asparagus, so I started out by working on a few artist trading cards.

After 2 failed attempts to make an interesting painting with asparagus, a wet little dog was knocking on my door.
It was Flurry. She had been outside in the sleet, and wanted to stay dry in the studio with me.

With Flury for company, we decided I should paint a a tree with crows…like the one I saw on the icy hike with Angela.

I made a few sketches of the chickens, and put them together into a small painting.

The chickens made me think of eggs, and birds nests, so I finished the day with two small paintings of eggs in nests.

Today the chickens came before the eggs.
eggs In Nest


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Artcroft Day 22

It feels so good to be home!!!

After sleeping at my studio in Maysville, I hitched a ride with a friend to Cincinnati where the Saturn dealer made a new key for my car. I was able to get back to Artcroft, where I immediately went to my studio and returned to my paintings.

Back in the studio

Later in the afternoon, Robert needed some help unloading 2 metal shelves that each had 90 drawers. It was auctioned off at the University of Kentucky…originally used for holding a wide variety of nuts and bolts. The drawers were so heavy that we had to take out all 178 drawers (2 drawers were missing) before being able to get the shelves out of the truck and into the barn. It didn’t take long, but it was a chore removing and replacing all those drawers!

For dinner, we had chicken and broccoli. Maureen was going to cook asparagus, but I wanted to paint the asparagus for a special painting that I must paint tomorrow…because asparagus is on the menu!


At the dinner table, we had a nice conversation about business and art. The state of Kentucky offers a marketing program for artists, but the artists are expected to maintain a consistent presentation in order to participate. My primary goal at Artcroft was to work on a body of work with a unified theme. I have found this to be very difficult. Every day is a new experience, and I want to translate those experiences in my art. I do not want to commit to one single way of painting. However, I do want to participate in this program, because I must expand my market if I am going to survive as an artist.

Speaking of selling art, I just received my acceptance into the Francisco’s Farm Arts Festival at Midway College on June 21-22…so mark your calendar if you will be in the Cincinnati/Lexington area this summer. This is a really nice show that you don’t want to miss!

Family hike

After dinner, I fed the black baby goat. She never made the transition from bottle to mama, so 3 times a day, someone takes her a bottle. She drank a bottle and a half for me…good girl!

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Artcroft day 21

Ever have one of those days?

Today, I planned to get lots done. I was going to Maysville to get groceries, do laundry, meet a client about a design project, and then get back to Artcroft in time to have dinner and celebrate Maureen’s birthday.

Well, at the grocery store when I went to start my car, I couldn’t find my keys! I looked everywhere, then returned to the store…retraced my steps, and after looking for about 2 hours, I called a locksmith. He couldn’t make a key without the key code for my car. The only way to get the key code for my car was to go to the dealer…which closes its service department on Sundays. I thought I would have to tow the car to the dealer, but after a few phone calls, I learned that I only need to take the title to my car and my driver’s license.

I tried to make the best of the circumstances by taking my van to my old studio. If you remember my post on day 3, my home/studio was damaged significantly during the tornado storms. I had not seen the damage first hand, but knew what to expect. Now I agree that the house is not really habitable anymore, and I am very grateful to my friends who secured my things while I was away on my artist-in-residence. I loaded my van with some of my materials, then moved them into my NEW studio…which I think will be very comfortable.

Sorry not to have any pictures today. It’s really been one of those days. I need to get some early rest…tomorrow, I am hitching a ride to Cincinnati to get a new key for my car.

Its only been a few hours, but I really miss Artcroft. Can’t wait to get back!


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Artcroft Day 20

Wow, 20 days! Time really flies when you are having fun.

Angela Fremont left this morning. It was sad to see her go home so soon, but I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet her and to watch her create one of the most ambitious projects I have ever seen!

I spent most of the day in the studio painting.

I am simultaneously working on a group of oil paintings. I am learning to stand away from my work, give myself a few minutes to think about the painting before I return to it. I usually paint like mad until it is done. I am also able to let one painting rest while I work on another painting, but I do not have anything finished to show today…sorry, but oil paintings take more time to finish than small oil pastels.

I ran 5 miles. The roads were clear, but there is still ice on many of the trees. The run was beautiful!

I helped Robert put a milking stand in the barn. It is a platform that will hold Shirley steady while she is milked. The little black baby still hasn’t learned to nurse her mama, so she will probably have to be bottle fed until she starts eating grown-up goat food.

Tomorrow I will go to Maysville to do my laundry, have a short meeting about a design project, and then visit my new studio/house. It is also Maureen Barker’s birthday (Feb 24)
Happy Birthday Maureen!


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Artcroft Day 19

This morning, I woke to a winter wonderland.
Everything was covered with a layer of ice.
After taking a few snapshots, I invited Angela to take a hike with me.
We walked around the farm, and marveled at the ice while a little black and white skunk hurried away from us. Further down the trail, a deer ran into the woods. I noticed that we had not seen any birds. The fog was very thick…it was like walking around in a cloud.

Towards the end of the hike, I spotted a tree covered with crows…so there is where the birds are!

I spent the rest of the day working in my studio.
After a conversation with Robert and Angela about the use of turpentine in my studio, I am considering switching to a safer solvent. I studied the OSHA report for turpentine, and after reading that in a case study, workers exposed to turpentine had a higher risk of esophagus cancer…I am open to alternatives. I bought some turpenoid, and will pick it up on Sunday when I go and do my laundry. I am interested in hearing what solvents other artists like to use.


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Artcroft Day 18

It was very cold when I woke up, so I started a fire in the fireplace. While in the bathroom, I learned that the pipes had frozen. Even when the fire was burning pretty good, the living room was still cool. I discovered that the front door had come open during the night, and a chilly draft was creeping through the house! With the door closed, it took just a little while before the house warmed up, and the pipes thawed.

Group hug
In the studio, I finished a portrait of the goat family having a “group hug”. I did not plan to make a series of goat themed paintings when I came to Artcroft, but Shirley and her babies have made an impression on me.

While browsing through my albumns on my computer, I stumbled into “The White Album” by the Beatles. I had not listened to it for a while, because last time I played it, i played it over and over until I was sick of it. I thought I would give it a spin, and do you know what??? That album really stands the test of time. I still love it!

Sketch for two doves in a tree
While listening to John, Paul, George and Ringo, I sketched a wild version of a tree with two doves roosting in it. I wanted to use as many patterns as possible. There is a pattern in the sky…in the tree…in the earth…and in the birds.

Two doves-oil pastel
I was afraid that all the patterns would be hard to look at, but I think it might be the best thing I have done for a while! After painting it in oil pastels, I decided to paint it in oils.

Angela Fremont artist trading card
Angela finishing her painting...One Day-Day One
After dinner, Angela invited us to her studio to see her painting, “One Day-Day One”. We carefully walked the icy path to see one of the most spectacular paintings I have ever seen! The 5’5″ and 30′ wide painting depicts some of the poets who performed at the St. Mark’s poetry marathon. On January 1st, some of the world’s greatest poets meet to read their poetry to an audience. On average, a poet is only on the stage for 5 minutes. During this small window of time, Angela sketched the poets and wrote short verses from their poetry. At Artcroft, she reproduced the sketches almost in life size. I took a panoramic photo of Angela working on the painting, but will not show it until after it is unveiled at the museum this May.

Note: I will replace this note with the museum name when I get back to my studio. I wrote the museum’s name in one of my sketchbooks, but I do not want to brave the ice tonight.

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Artcroft Day 17

Today we had snow flurries on and off for most of the day.
Two birds-oil pastel
I stayed in my studio, and worked. I finished 2 small oil pastel paintings, and started two large oil paintings.

Around dinner time, when Robert and Maureen came home, the clouds began to clear, and we enjoyed a beautiful sunset, followed by the rising of a big full moon.
Full moon over artcroft

Tonight was the lunar eclipse. While painting in my studio, I could watch the moon gradually change from a full moon, to a crescent moon, and then eclipse. I expected it to have disappeared, but it actually had a eerie reddish glow. The stars were all shining, and it was a great experience….awesome!
Full moon

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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.