Midnight Oil

It was a late night, followed by a very early morning. I was at the easel, working  on yet another installment of my new series “Fashion and Flora” as the minutes on the kitchen clock tick-tocked. Earlier in the evening I packed up art for shipping, restocked the workshop suitcase, cleaned the Gelli plates, collated folders and created name tags for my students. By the time I got to the easel it was already late, but I was inspired.

My son and his girlfriend were enjoying Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios, the dogs had been handed off  to the sitter, the house was quiet. I knew that the longer I spent painting, the more it was going to hurt when my alarm went off at 3:00 AM. But… as with many other times in my life, I chose the art option over practical planning.

I finally got to a stopping point on Lily around midnight. I brushed my teeth, washed my face, and slipped beneath my deep purple sheets for a power nap. When the alarm rang, it felt like no time had passed. “I’m up, I’m up…” I told myself out loud. Convincing.

So started my journey to La Pointe, Wisconsin–an Apostle island in the middle of Lake Superior that is home to Madeline Island School of the Arts. It’s not easy getting there from here. My first flight to Chicago O’Hare left at 6:00 AM and arrived sometime around 8:00 AM in a different time zone (Central?). Thank goodness United ran out of overhead bin space and offered to check my 35-lb. workshop supplies roll-aboard for free. All the way to Duluth.

Yes, Duluth, Minnesota. Can you feel it getting colder?

Art at the Airport

I had a half hour to make my way from Terminal B to Terminal F at ORD. On my way between terminals I enjoyed cityscapes inspired by the Chicago skyline exhibited on the windows in the Terminal 1 and 2 Corridor Gallery. Upon closer inspection, I learned that the original artwork was created by teen apprentice artists that were participating in two After School Matters programs during the spring of 2008. The reproductions in the Gallery were made possible by Chicago O’Hare International Airport in partnership with the Department of Aviation. The average age of the artists is 17.

How cool is that? It was colorful and inspiring and made me smile. I try to always take note of airport art in my travels, especially when it features the work of young artists. I find it inspiring that their work is displayed in a place of such prominence and can only imaging how exciting that must be for aspiring artists!

Is it Cold in Here? Or is it Just Me?

Gate F-2 was just a little doorway at the very end of the hall where the Canadair Regional Jet sat waiting for me and about six other passengers who would sit two seats each side of the isle and try to stay warm.

There’s no one sitting next to me (I write this in flight), which is probably a good thing because I might be tempted to huddle together with them for body heat. I am wearing a Florida style sweater that my brother in Massachusetts so fondly refers to as a knit shirt when I complain about being cold at his house. “Maybe you should get a real sweater. “

Can you please turn up the heat Alan?

The first time I taught at MISA I told them that I could not come to “Almost Canada” any time other than the dead of their summer, because I was not actually equipped, clothing wise or mentally, for cold weather. I’m not sure why I agreed to the end of October for my second  go-round. Perhaps it was the puffy coat that I purchased at COSTCO for my trip to Italy that gave me a false sense of security. Or the promise of fall foliage that swayed me. That coat is in my suitcase (since it packs down so small and is so light) and I have opted to travel in my faux leopard fur vintage swing coat. With one button.

Practical? No. Fashionable? Very.

It’s form over function people!

The United flight attendant said she would see if they would turn up the heat for me as she handed me my coffee. It’s a short flight, (I’m powering down already) I’m mentally preparing for exiting the shelter of the airport.

On The Road to Wisconsin

It was cold in the baggage claim area. The Duluth, MN airport is very small and was also very familiar. I taught here at MISA last summer and it was all coming back to me now. Our bags came out rather efficiently, I turned around and approached the rental car counter about five steps from the baggage carousel. I was quickly processed, handed the keys and out the door!

About a week ago, a Facebook fan and follower emailed and asked if we could have lunch in WI. She had purchased my book and when I shipped it to her I told her I’d be at MISA this week. So, we made plans to have lunch in Bayfield, before I got on the ferry to Madeline Island.

Robin and I just talked and talked as we enjoyed lunch at Maggies. Robin told me all about Bayfield and how she had lived in the area for a really long time. She shared about her family, how her house had burned down at one point, rebuilding, and working for a local silversmith studio. It was wonderful getting to know her and I really appreciated her company.  Thank you Robin.

Have I said recently that I love my job?

I also met Kelly at her shop on Main Street when I was waiting for Robin. Kelly has spent a lot of time with a friend in FL, right near me in New Smyrna Beach! She said she had actually hoped to take my class this week, but was having surgery. As we talked, Kelly also shared that she had also taken mixed media classes at the HUB in New Smyrna Beach…. I’ll be teaching there in December.

What are the odds? You just never know.

Next Stop Madeline Island!

I got my ferry ticket and drove my rental car on board. The ladies at the dock told me to be sure to turn around and look back for a beautiful view of the main land. They were right. What an amazing journey today turned out to be.

Madeline Island School of the Arts was originally a working dairy farm here in LaPointe, WI. Charlie built all new buildings for the studio space, the offices, the student lodging, and the barn where all the meals are served. The farmhouse was remodeled, it’s original.

Upon my arrival, Charlie met me with a big hug and dragged my bags into the farmhouse where I’ll live for the week. “Welcome back Elizabeth!” Music to my ears. I sat out on the big front porch, taking in the view, enjoying the sun, and checked my email. “Wine and cheese is in the barn at six, don’t be late.” Charlie joked. “Oh I’m never late for a glass of wine!” was my response.

The students were treated to a spread of wine and local cheese. My group got to meet David’s quilting group. Everyone introduced themselves, got the plan for the week and introductions to the staff by Charlie. I just love the excitement in people when they are getting ready to embark on their own art adventure.

Tomorrow the fun begins. Stay tuned.

Thank You

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My Art Journey,


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