Squirrel block, carved

squirrel block, carved, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Another week has passed. Last weekend, Paul and I drove to Woodstock to drop off a framed "Coy Pond" print at the Old Courthouse Gallery for the Women's Works Show. It was a beautiful day for a drive. The snow has melted and the rich black earth of northern Illinois filled the landscape. The icing on the top was the brilliant, clear winter-blue sky.

After dropping of the artwork, we stopped by a bakery along the square. He purchased a huge cinnamon roll and I purchased soft molasses cookies and a Dog 'n' Suds root beer. We took a different way home. It was marked by signs as the "scenic route on historic river road," but for the life of us, we couldn't figure out what was scenic about it plus, there was no river to see either. We laughed about it.

I have been so excited because I can tell Spring was on its way! The Lady's Mantle was coming up through the dead leaves, and I noticed that the mums were starting to green up. The tulips were poking their spiky leaves from the rich black dirt. The sun felt warm and I decided to plant some Sweet Peas. The package said to get them in the earth as soon as possible - St. Patrick's Day or before. I hope they work out where I planted them! They are perennial vines, so I plan on just overlapping the vines one on top of another. my heart ached for more days like that.

The next day went strait back to winter. It was a strange day because there was rain, snow, sleet, ice, lighting and thunder. Old man winter was groaning about having to leave another year.

Earlier in the week as I was walking this squirrel was startled by Gracie. It was frightened, but at the same time it was so inquisitive and curious about us. I snapped a reference photo to use as a print. The carved block is shown above.

I'll be printing it this weekend (hopefully). It will mean a trip to the local University bookstore for Japanese paper. It is the only place within 40 miles that sells Japanese paper though. I don't like to order online and pay shipping. I pay for more than just the paper either way I guess.

Anywho... Spring is on the move in my soul: that excited, anticipation. YAY!


Great Horned Owl at the Lagoon

Sometimes things seem very simple and straight forward. Everything is put in perspective and the petty squabbles, demands, and worries of everyday life are put on the back burner. Usually this comes from a defining moment such as when one faces mortality. The experience reminds us to seek greater understanding & wisdom, and to cultivate a more fully developed sense of compassion and empathy. Today as I carved, inked and printed; I meditated on a person I know of who could use prayers of comfort and peace.

I was in the studio all afternoon and late into the evening. Time disappears in the studio. I arrived at noon, next time I look up it was six o'clock. The next time, it is ten. There is so much to do and so very little precious time. Maybe there will come a day when I can work at this full time–retirement? I can always dream.

Being in the studio quiets my mind and grounds my spirit. While I am focusing on creating, my thoughts cease to race. I don't worry.

Great Horned Owl at the Lagoon (block)Great Horned Owl at the Lagoon

Great Horned Owl at the Lagoon (pulled)

This block is based on the Great Horned Owl pair that nest at the Northern Illinois University lagoon each year. The reference photo is from last year, but the same pair have returned and are now taking turns sitting on the nest. I went to see them today.

The inspiration
Enjoying this very early sign of Spring does my heart good. The sun felt warm today even with the chill of winter lingering. The birds are singing in the morning once again. Life goes on. The circle of life continues. I am grateful to be mindful.