Monday, September 23, 2013

This morning I woke up to deer in the yard eating my flowers.  But I love watching them and cannot chase them off.  Two bucks and two does.  From the points on their antlers, the boys appeared to be three and four years old.

This guy seems to know I am "shooting" him.
Today I went to the Minnetrista Center in Muncie, Indiana to see the exhibition, Open Spaces:  Art About the Land, where I have two paintings on display.  I also needed to pick up a painting that I need to use as reference for a large commission project I am doing as a result of the Port Clinton Art Festival in August.  The client loves the colors in that painting and I want it in the studio for "influence" while I work on the commission. 

The exhibit was beautifully hung.  They always do a great job there.  

"Blizzard Snow in Yellowwood Forest", oil, 18" x 24", (c) Charlene Marsh
The quality of the work overall was mixed.  Some work was outstanding while other pieces leave one scratching their head, "How did that make the cut?"  They have a professional category and an avocational category and all the work is hung, mixed in together.  Nevertheless, it was easy for the trained eye to tell the amateur work from the professional pieces.  I suppose they are trying to be inclusive and encouraging to avocational creators.  

I enjoyed seeing the show and the wide variety of work and mediums on display.  I checked out another exhibit in a nearby hall where pieces from the Minnetrista Heritage Collection were on exhibit. Beautiful historic displays about the history of Muncie and the Ball Family legacy are on permanent display.
Minnetrista Center, Muncie, Indiana 

Gazebo in the Rose Garden at the Minnetrista

Last night I was late heading out on my evening walk in the woods.  A friend going back several decades had called out of the blue and we talked until twilight.  I grabbed a flashlight to take with me since it was already starting to get quite dark out and followed the creek up into the woods about one mile and then turned around and headed home.  Twilight had turned to pitch black dark without even a little moonlight to help light the way.   And deep in the woods with a heavy leaf cover, there was not even any starlight to brighten the way.  But I had my flashlight and could sufficiently navigate the trail even in the dark.  Although, I noticed that when I turned off my flashlight, I couldn't even see my hand in front of my face.  I got back to the gate at the top of the hill at the back of my property and waited for my fourteen year old dog, Teddie, to catch up.  I usually hear him chugging and puffing as he approaches and scales the hill.  My eight year old pit/rott mix had already arrived and gotten her treat at the gate and we both sat waiting for Teddie.  I sat on my "thinking rock" and let my mind drift.  

But the minutes grew longer and longer and I realized I didn't hear Teddie and he should have been there by now.  Last I had seen him was when I turned around by the creek and headed home.  He was right behind me.  But now he had vanished.  I called and listened and called again.  I headed down the hill and followed the creek all the way back in the pitch black night, calling and stopping to listen for him.  I got all the way back to the place where three large trees had fallen over a couple of weeks ago, where I had last seen Teddie.  But no sign of him.  Concern grew to panic and fear.  Thoughts raced through my mind about what had happened.  Maybe he had a heart attack and was dead somewhere in the woods.  Maybe coyotes got him even though I hadn't heard anything to indicate that.  Still, the thoughts tumbled out, trying to figure out where the old boy could be.  

On my way back, retracing the trail, my pit/rott was sitting in the middle of the trail about halfway back.  And I asked her, "Where's Teddie?  Help me find Teddie" and she immediately became extremely animated and ran up the trail a short ways and stopped and looked toward the creek, down the embankment.  So I dropped off the trail, down the embankment, towards the creek.  A little scary to leave the trail because even with a flashlight it would be very easy to get hopelessly twisted and tangled and lost in the woods.  But I had to find my boy!  I could not leave him out in the woods, alone, all night!  Much to my relief, with his sister's help, I found him down there in the creek, hopelessly lost in the dark.  I think the poor old boy, with his aging eyesight, must have had trouble finding his way in the dark and got lost from the trail. I clipped on his leash and got him back on the trail and back home.  I was so relieved to have everyone safely back home.  It was close to 10 p.m. before we got back inside and I fed them their dinner. 
Teddie, asleep and safe at home. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

"Day Lilies and Lightning, July 10, 2013", Oil Painting, 9" x 12" by Charlene Marsh

This weekend I attended the 60th wedding anniversary of my Uncle Roger and Aunt Pat held in Anderson, Indiana.  I had to make the tough decision to pass on the possibility of participating in the Fourth Street Art Festival held in Bloomington, Indiana, which is a local show for me.  I seemed to start getting signals that perhaps Fourth Street was not in the cards this year when I learned I was wait listed for the show.  Shortly afterwards, I heard from family members about the anniversary party which was scheduled for August 31, the opening day of Fourth Street.  Then I received the invitation in the mail.  My heart strings were definitely being tugged!  

Then my best friend from high school, Nalini, called to say she would be in the area this weekend and wanted to come for a visit.  She just spent three weeks in Europe vacationing in Italy and tending to some business in Berlin (after dropping her daughter off at a friend's house in Paris).  Now she is in the midst of three weeks traveling throughout the USA getting her daughter set up at Penn U. in Philadelphia with jaunts to NYC and Washington, D.C. for business and a few days in Muncie with her mother before coming to Brown County, where I live.  After leaving my humble studio/gallery/farm, she will fly to Dallas for more business before going home to California.  Whew!  For a homebody like me, that is a very impressive schedule!  Not quite sure how I ranked a slot!

So that was another signal that perhaps my energy was not going to the art show.   But the final signal was when I received an email from the Minnetrista Center in Muncie that the exhibition, Open Spaces:  Art About the Land, was accepting artworks on the 30th and 31st.  The Minnetrista has been very good to me through the years buying two large fiber artworks from me(one was a commissioned project) for their permanent collection as well as hosting a retrospective several years ago.  And the theme of the show just seemed too perfect for my paintings! 

When I thought of going to Muncie to deliver my paintings and attend the anniversary party, I could feel my heart sing.  My brain was trying to tell me that it made more sense to hold out for a spot in the show, that I could make more money, that I should be practical.  In the end, I decided to follow my  heart.

And I am so glad I did.  The time spent with family reminiscing about the past and hearing my uncle, now 86 years old, talk about the family history, including events dating back to the Revolutionary War, is precious and irreplaceable.  One cousin's daughter, Molly, a teenager,  stood up to relate how invaluable the three weeks she had spent with her grandparents this summer had been in reinforcing the honor and sense of "doing the right thing" every day.  I was reminded of how part of the eulogy at my Grandfather's funeral had been how he "fought the good fight" everyday and how proud I am to be a Marsh and come from an honorable family.  And how fortunate I am to have such a wonderful family to have been able to spend so much time together growing up.  My grandparents lived just around the corner and the cousins lived another four blocks away.  My brother reminded the gathered group last night about how we had spent every major holiday together as a family for 25-30 years.  We still try to get everyone together every year but now they are usually for weddings and anniversaries and sometimes, sadly, funerals.  

The drive home afterwards was spectacular with a lightning show nearly the whole way home.  Not too much rain but lots of "fireworks."  Some of the lightning was in multiple bolts across the entire night sky.  Made it hard to stay focused on the road.  The drama of the bolts of light against the black sky was just incredible.  The light show was a perfect cap to a beautiful day.  I was reminded of a painting I did out here on my farm this summer when a storm was rolling in and lightning was flashing and, so, I have included it here.