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Monthly Hermit Musings | A Glimmer of Spring

A few green things are peeking out, and I’m beginning to see the glimmer of spring.

Yesterday I sent out my monthly newsletter to subscribers. Each month I try to write up a summary of all that went on out here since the previous month. And also each month I have a little giveaway and announce the winner in each issue. A while back… well, a LONG while back, I sent out a survey to see if doing the newsletter that goes out to subscribers and also doing the same summary here on the website was too redundant.

Most responses gave me the idea that it’s two separate groups who visit the website and get the newsletter. So I’ll recap the newsletter here today. But please do let me know if this is too much repetitiveness for you. Perhaps the ratio has changed since that survey? I don’t know unless you let me know. However, this post isn’t going to be quite exactly like the newsletter, because there’s no giveaway here (that’s a special thing I do for newsletter subscribers), and in the emailed newsletter I didn’t cover everything because I tried to keep it a manageable length. I think most people read those on their cell phones. But who knows? Maybe most people read blog posts on their phones too, so that may be a moot point.

The Cold Weather and Water Woes

I’m glad that last little cold spell is gone. People around here are still waiting on plumbers to fix broken water pipes. At least the ones in town are waiting. The ones who live far out like we do often have springs they use for household water and aren’t attached to public water lines. We did have leaks – three of them. This isn’t unusual when it gets that cold. But we don’t always have the water freeze all the way up to the tank valves, which is what happened this time. But the tank itself didn’t freeze. It would take a tremendous cold to make that happen. See, the water doesn’t stop going into the tank just because the lines to the house freezes. So it’s still going from the spring into the tank, and then it goes out the overflow line. Even if the overflow line freezes, it’ll just spill out of the lid and run down the tank. Thankfully, all of the line from the spring itself to the storage tank (until it comes out of the ground to enter the tank) are underground.

Anyway, I’ve written a lot over the years about our gravity-fed spring water system here. So I’ll just leave this search link here for you if you’d like to see more about that:

https://www.wildozark.com/?s=spring+water

A Glimmer of Green

I’ve noticed a lot of things beginning to bud, but I hope they hold off a little longer before doing so. Every time the peach flowers bloom early, it seems we get a late freeze, and that means no peaches. But I think this bee balm and wild white-leaf mountain mint will be fine even if it does freeze again.

The wild white-leaf mountain mint and bee balm are peeking out from under the mulch.

The Return of Routine

On a recent warm-ish morning, I decided to return to my routine of morning jogs. Uggh, that isn’t going so well so far because I’ve lost all the stamina for it I’d managed to build before winter set in. Now I can only jog down to the waterfall and halfway back up to the house. It’s not even a half a mile, though, to my credit, it’s all uphill all the way back. So the plan is to jog down and jog as far as I can back. For now I’ll just keep the waterfall as my goal, and once I’m able to make it up the last hill to the house, I’ll go a little farther.

One of the problems that keep messing with my goals to do this, though, is the other routines that have to be flawlessly carried out BEFORE I get to the jog. It only works out if I do it when I bring the horses their breakfast. And it only works if I bring their breakfast out early enough. That, in turn, depends on me getting mine and Rob’s breakfast done before I feed the horses. Of course, all of the above hinges on whether or not I get myself out of the bed early enough to make everything else fall into place as planned.

This morning I failed on the first count and got up too late.

But when I went out on that first run, I saw a sight that reminded me of how I got into making paints and using them to make paintings. It was a rock on the driveway.

A pigment rock on the driveway, a sandstone just like the one that first sparked my interest in making paints and painting.
How could I not stop and take a closer look??

A Glimmer of Hope

For the past week I’ve been working on taxes. Getting my spreadsheets in order and trying to make sense of less than stellar record-keeping… at least I did do better at it last year than the year before. There’s a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel for my tax project now, at least. Once I’m done with this, I can move onto other projects that got side-lined when I started them.

I want to organize my office-slash-studio space. This needs to be done before I can start the March 2021 goal of making more paints and pigments to list in my online shop. It doesn’t make sense to start grinding the rocks if there’s nowhere to store them once I’m done. There’s far too much clutter in here (I am at the computer in that cluttered office right now) and I can’t stand it anymore. But before I can do that, I have to organize the connex and throw out a bunch of stuff I no longer need. So I can fit the things I do need, but don’t use often. So as soon as I’m done with taxes, this is the next immediate project.

But this weekend I’ve been participating in a condensed Zoom workshop put on by Artists’ INC. It’s about building an art business, and is the first time I’ve enrolled into a course to see what there is I’m not doing that I ought to be doing. I’m hoping it will help me to fine-tune my already existing strategy, and I think it will. Much gratitude to the organizers of this event (Arkansas Arts Council and Mid-America Arts Alliance), who made this version of it free to artists in our region. Today we should wrap up this workshop and I already feel as if I’m walking away from it with a better stocked toolbox.

A Bit of Anticipation

Not only am I looking forward to getting things marked off of my to-do list, but there is a glimmer of movement on the flywheel of effort I’ve been pushing uphill. In the month of February, I sold TWO paintings. That’s a new benchmark for me as an artist! I recently had an excellent article written about my work in a real-life print magazine. And now I have a possible new benchmark on the horizon… but I can’t tell you about it yet. I don’t want to jinx it, so I’ll keep this possibility to myself until I find out more details. I can fill in more of the clues after a meeting I’ll have this week…. maybe 😀 And if after the meeting, it is all for naught, I’ll share what it might have been with you then.

At the very least, the year ahead is looking good. I have more paintings planned, more paints planned, and the way forward is clear. I just have to stick to the program and stick with the execution of those plans.

A New Offering

This is the new item in my shop and I’m really excited by it. I figured out that I can actually make wrapping paper with my printer. They sell paper specifically for this purpose! So I got right to work designing a nice little gift packaging offer. And there’s also just the prints, notecards, or paper alone.

That’s All For Now

I hope you’ve had a good start to the year and are recovering from all your plumbing woes if the freeze got you.


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Author/Artist Info
________________________________
Madison Woods is a self-taught artist who moved to the Ozarks from south Louisiana in 2005. In 2018 she began experimenting with watercolor painting, using her local pigments. She calls them Paleo Paints, and her artwork features exclusively the lightfast pigments foraged from Madison county, Arkansas. Her inspiration is nature – the beauty, and the inherent cycle of life and death, destruction and regeneration.

Her online portfolio is at www.MadisonWoods.art.

Click here to join her mailing list.

Photo of Madison Woods, artist and Paleo Paint maker, and her social media contact information.
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