This is my entry in this year's Open Air Fair Plein Air Painting Competition. Five artists went out to paint whatsoever they chose in the heat and humidity of late August in Canfield Ohio, using oils, acrylics, pastels, markers. I went to the South Ring next to the Pony Palace and painted the ring and the barns. Waited for just the right pony to come in for a practice session--this Welsh pony reminds me of Max, my gray Arab. So yes, I painted the ring, and then I painted the pony into it. The judging is happening tonight, but whether I get a ribbon or not, I am very happy with my painting! Oh, I used chalk pastels. Size is 16" x 20".
On September 14th, Bridgewater Pennsylvania will be pretty much given over to the printed word—I was very impressed with the 2012 BookFest, my first. I only knew Bridgewater as an Ohio River town full of restaurants. Imagine a huge tent filled with authors, fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, science fiction, children’s books, poetry—every book you buy can be signed by its author. Usually you have to pay a fortune to attend an event like that. This one’s free!
Plus, the main street is lined with booths from local churches and organizations, selling art, tasty food—and used books! There are author talks in the 1810 Tavern.
I’ll be there. I’ll have the entire Wizard’s Destiny trilogy available, plus The Wandering Duke, available at long last in print. I’ll have book marks to promote the revamp of Thistledown for Kindle and Nook. I’ll have a really coolo table display, including a model of a portion of Crogen Castle—see if you can figure out where Tristan sleeps!
And, because she has designed the covers for all four of my CreateSpace books, Teddi Black will back me up at my table.
So, not only will shoppers be able to buy my books without paying shipping—they’ll be able to have them signed by both the author and the cover designer. Key-chains, bookmarks, post cards and possibly a few one-of-a-kind t-shirts will be thrown in with purchase. Best deal you’ll get this side of Kovelir!
One of my regular vacation activities is demonstrating art at the Canfield Fair. (Mahoning County, Ohio, for those in less blest parts of the world.) This year will be no different: artists from the Trumbull Area Artists will fill the gazebo behind the Palace of Fine Arts every day from 1100 Am—2:00 PM. We paint in pastels and watercolors and oils and acrylic. Colored pencils, wood block prints, weaving, hand-spinning will appear also. And I will have multiple opportunities to sample the wonderful foods the fair offers, and take many photos from which to paint my pastels. I also regularly exhibit in the Fair’s Art Show—wish me luck! The photo below is last year's Plein Air painting competition. Mine is the giant pumpkin lower right. (Pink ribbon, Homorable mention
What’s most prolific in the garden this year? Well, it’s not the tomatoes. Everyone’s garlic seems to have failed, so the garlic cloves I companion-planted around the roses have actually produced just as well as everyone else’s—or better. The blueberries are done. The peach tree is loaded, but slow to tree-ripen. (Great in Manischewitz Cream Peach though)
But the grape leaves! Following a recipe from a Greek cookbook, I have been making “vine leaves”. Last year I started harvesting first whenever I needed to cut the wild vines back. I have never seen a single grape, but the leaves blanch and roll just great! This year I am preparing to paint the house, so I mixed up the rice filling, harvested leaves and got the pot simmering on the stove while I went out to cut the vines out of my Alba York rose bush, “Cecily”. They are delicious!
Today, I took the bigger vines I had set aside when I trimmed, and I made two nice bag rustic wreaths. This is actually much moiré fun than what I did next, which was scrape the old paint off the walls in Cecily’s corner—she’s safely trussed up with a couple of rubber tie-downs—and clean out the gutters above, which can’t be reached when the corner is full of grape vines and wild morning glory vines running through the rose bush, Sure, it takes longer to harvest rather than just ripping out things before I paint, but those grape leaves sure are tasty! Also organic—and free!
I have improved the formatting of Thistledown for Kindle and Nook and since I just painted a large pastel of a unicorn, I’m going to add a new cover by Teddi Black. We plan to have new, really cool promotional bookmarks ready for the Bridgewater BookFest on September 14th.
I still believe in my heart that Thistledown can find traditional YA publication—even in these days of teen vamps, were-everythings, avatars and Game of Thrones wannabes, there is room for the kind of Fantasy that led me into the field in the first place. (And let me just say here, I am a huge Game of Thrones fan—the books, and the HBO series, not entirely the same critter at all, no indeed. Books, always give the fuller experience. TV can rise and fall on the casting and costumes.) Not every reader likes to read the same thing
Possibly the best thing about joining the Canfield Spinners Guild was the almost immediate invitation to the annual Woolfest at the Lake MetroParks Farm Park outside Chardon Ohio. They sell raw fleeces from their shearing demonstrations—straight off the sheep. I bought my first Jacob sheep fleece the first year—Jake’s who turns out to be a regular at the Woolfest, since he is the babysitter wether (neutered sheep) for the FarmPark rams. No secret—I like Jake’s fleece! (Jacob sheep are spotted, so their long wool is white, black, gray and brown—all from the same sheep. When you over-dye it , you get amazing variegated yarns.)
But this year, when I heard they’d be shearing Pete, the Jacob ram, I was ready to cheat on Jake. (I’d already bought Janice’s fleece, and Jake’s had gone to another spinner in my guild) It’s not just because Pete has 3—of his original 4—horns, while Jake has only 2 little horns, like Janice. (Yes, girl Jacob sheep have horns too!) I got to photograph Pete before, during and after the shearing—and I got to help shear him, when I accepted the call for volunteers. Hand clippers, like giant Japanese grass shears. You hold the blades!
Here’s Pete, his fleece is now scoured (washed) and dyed. It spins great.
Writer of epic fantasy with a wry twist. Fond of horses, dogs, cats, canaries, falcons and draft cider. Dedicated multi-tasker, I also paint with chalk pastels.