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Need more days in the week please….

I completed several paintings I had on the go during the first couple months of the year, in preparation for my exhibition Paintings from the Lost Forest, which opens up at Yumart on Saturday afternoon. My little basement studio looks empty with the works out of there.  There are 16 paintings in the exhibition, all small paintings, many of them very new. A couple of them are barely dry. It’s time to take a break from painting for a couple months to work on several other things I have going. This is troublesome, as I have some ideas floating about my skull for approaching a new series of paintings.

Next up, we have three commissions for mosaics set to go, and we’re working on some initial preparation for all of them. Two are birds, a blackbird and a cardinal, similar in approach to our previous bird mosaics. The other is a large garden bench, a project we are cooking up with Ruth Arnold, a wonderful wood carver, which will incorporate stone, wood and mosaic.

Meanwhile, I have to squeeze out a little time to get going on some banjo necks. I’ve been planning to make a gourd banjo or two for some time, and as well, there is a plan afoot to make a pair of salad bowl banjos with my friend Jamie. I have a nice piece of oak for the necks, thanks to my friend Chuck, and I’ll buy some specialty woods for the fingerboards.

Playing banjo is one area in which I’ve been very disciplined. I try to practice every day, even if it is a short practice (years ago when I was learning one of the sword tai chi forms, my teacher would say, “touch your weapon every day”….it applies to banjo too), and some days I’m getting an hour or more practice time in. I think the work is paying off quite a bit as I’m playing with more confidence as I develop some technical chops, bit by bit. In June, I’m going to the Midwest Banjo Camp for a long weekend of banjo immersion. That will be a great opportunity to start playing with other people.

I’ve been working in spurts on a novel for some time, which is suffering from my inability to find sustained periods of time to focus on it (not to mention the fact that I’ve never written one before). I’m hoping to complete a draft of the whole story this year, even if that means I still have lots of revision and rewrites to go. That’s an arbitrary deadline, which I’m sure I’ll try to talk myself around at some point.

All this and trout season opens up this weekend, and two or three weeks after that, we’ll see if this long winter of ours helped or hindered the morels this year.

I think we need an extra day each week. Let’s make it a weekend day so every weekend is a long one. I’ll pass the sign up sheet around….

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