My Artist’s Business Plan for Wild Ozark 2019

So, this isn’t a ‘formal’ business plan, but more of an outline of my goals, plans, and strategy for the year regarding my art. To see the outline of intended subjects for the paintings, take a look at my Ozark Birds of Prey page. It’ll give you an idea of the focus and scope of the project.

And just so you know, I *am* still writing on my novel, too. I just don’t have a plan for the writing business… I just keep adding words and I’m doing that on a nearly, but not quite daily basis. There’s a note posted on the shelf in front of my computer to remind me to at least write ONE sentence every day.

My Artist's Business Plan: Paintings by Madison Woods of the Ozark birds of prey as of Feb. 1, 2019.

Paintings: the focus of my Artist’s Business Plan

Producing new paintings monthly is the primary goal this year.

My focus for the works planned for this year, which will likely stretch into the foreseen future, is to complete a few series of Birds of Prey. Specifically, I am interested in painting the ones found here in the Ozarks. We have a lot of resident raptors and several that visit us only during winter or summer. But where we live represents only a small part of the Ozarks. Since the Ozarks spans more than just Arkansas, it includes a few species less common to my immediate area. The states included are Arkansas, Missouri, and far eastern Oklahoma.

Here’s a link to the birds on my list, and that list has links to the paintings of the ones I’ve done so far. I’ve only begun to get started and it looks like I have my life’s work cut out for me with only this narrow focus!

Paints

Before I make a painting, I make the paint if I don’t already have some on hand. When I do that, I put the excess into decorative containers to sell at the Fayetteville Farmers Market and on Etsy. I’ll continue to do this, but my main focus is on making the paintings, not necessarily selling the paint. I am only going to do the farmer’s market during the indoor winter market months. Once it moves outdoors (in April), I’ll focus more on Etsy and Downtown Roger’s Art on the Bricks, and contests/exhibits.

Selling my handmade watercolors is part of my Artist's Business Plan for 2019.

Prints

I’ll definitely keep making prints of my art. These sell quite well at the market and on Etsy I’ve sold a few. Anywhere I can make some money (while staying focused on the art) to keep funding the art is on my list of things to do, ha.

Stationery

I am loving my stationery sets and stickers and have been using them to send letters to friends and family. These haven’t caught on much yet (well the stickers sell, but they’re a very low-dollar item) at the markets, but I hope they will. If they haven’t by the end of the year, I’ll probably drop this from my list of products and just focus more on the original paintings.

The Strategy and Artist’s Business Plan

My production rate of new paintings has been averaging about one per month. I want to keep that pace and perhaps squeeze out two on some months. Once I have paintings, then I will enter them into exhibits, contests and shows. The paintings may or may not be listed ‘for sale’ during the exhibits or contests. It depends on whether it’s part of a completed series or one still in progress. Getting into exhibits helps to build my CV and gain exposure to more people.

The ‘getting into’ exhibits isn’t necessarily a straight-forward thing, nor is it free. Each entry has a fee associated with it, normally $35-$50. And just because the fee is paid, it doesn’t mean my entry will be accepted. So this is one of the expenses in an artist business, and the selling of other things helps me to afford those fees.

Not only that, if it’s a show, then there’s usually a booth fee if the art is accepted. If it’s an exhibit and not local, then there’s shipping costs associated with getting the art to the exhibit. And then home to me once it’s over.

At least the rocks I use to make the paint is free! However, the paper I prefer to paint on is not. It’s quite pricey, in fact. So there’s another expense. I’ve been very discouraged by how expensive it is to get a work of art framed properly for shows/exhibits. That’s a major expense I’ll need to plan for, because the painting can’t be displayed in shows, contests, or exhibits without framing.

Keeping Track of Expenses

This year I’ll do a better job of tracking expenses and income directly related to the art. I’m curious to see how that turns out. In general, it’s fairly difficult to make a living as a painter. There’s a reason for the phrase ‘starving artist’. I’m planning to buck that stereotype this year, though. The derivatives, like the paints, stationery, stickers, and prints are where I expect to make the income to fund the paintings. Perhaps if I’d finish my books, I could rely on a little income from that too… but it seems that ‘starving writer’ might be a pretty accurate phrase, too. But thank goodness I’m not relying on my art and writing for my everyday expenses! And when Rob gets to working in his workshop again, we’ll have woodworking to add to our inventory of things to sell.

 

Selling my handmade watercolors is part of my Artist's Business Plan for 2019.

“I make paint from rocks…” A typical encounter.

Click HERE to go directly to my online gallery. All of the work you’ll see there uses paint made from rocks.

Click HERE if you want to see Paleo Paints at Etsy. And HERE for workshops on making them.

Talking about Paint from Rocks

When people see my artwork, they usually don’t realize the colors they’re seeing is paint made from rocks. I love the surprise I invoke when I tell them that. It makes for interesting conversation with almost anyone even remotely interested in nature.

During winter months I get to talk to people at the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market. From spring through fall, I’m usually at the gallery in Kingston, and that’s where I get to talk to people. Usually they’re visitors to the area, passing through on their way to or from the Buffalo River or out to see the elk at Ponca.

To see what other venues I’ll be at this year, check out my online calendar. And Wild Ozark is always ‘open for business’ at our Etsy shop.

A Typical Encounter

People come in through the doors, walk through the aisles, sometimes browsing the various offerings. At the farmer’s markets, some of them, regulars who come for specific things, walk right past other vendors as if they don’t even exist, making a beeline for the booth that carries their (usually) gastronomical delight. Some market-goers glance at everything they pass, just to see what’s new.

At the gallery, it’s a little different because mostly all there is in there to see is art of some sort or another.

An Interested Browser!

Finally I notice a person who’s eyes linger on my artwork. Usually i don’t pounce right away. Pouncing is not my style. I let them look for a little while. After a few seconds more, I know they’re interested and I will try to strike up conversation if I’m not already involved with someone else.

“All these colors you see are Ozark colors.”

“Oh that’s nice.”  And then they’ll either step away because they’re afraid I’m going to try and sell them something, or step closer. Most become more interested. So I give more information, little bits at a time until they’re really engrossed.

“I Make Paint from Rocks”

“Literally. I make the paint from rocks right here in the Ozarks.”

Then most of the time, the interest really flares. Oh? Their eyes light up. Now this is something they’ve never heard of, and if they step in to hear more, I’ll come around and go through the show and tell of how I gather the pigment rocks, crush them and then make the paint.

My personal pans of paint from rocks. They get pretty messy with use.
My personal pans of paint from rocks. They get pretty messy with use.

I get more satisfaction out of showing and telling about the beautiful colors than I do from trying to ‘sell’ art to them. The idea that I can get paint from rocks is still so fascinating to me that I like to share it as much as possible. But when someone walks away from my booth, treasure in hand, it is also very satisfying.

Keepers

The most favorite interaction comes from meeting those I follow or who follow me via this blog or other social media. They already know I make the paint from rocks. They’ve made a special trip to see my work or to meet me. It makes my most of the time otherwise slow day when one of these market-goers shows up. Even if they only came to look and don’t buy.

Paint from Rocks: Wild Ozark Paleo Paints

I bring whatever paint sets are available with me to markets, but they’re also at Etsy. Here’s something new I’m working on. This is the prototype, called a Paleo Biscuit. What is that? It’s a palette to hold paint. I made them from recycled paper and I hope to use them to replace all the plastic pans eventually. The idea of using flat rocks themselves as palette trays is also on my list of things to try.

The wood palettes are nice, too, but those I have to hire out, whereas I can make these paper ones by myself. Another thing I especially like about them is that they’re plastic-free, use recycled materials, and the base material (paper scraps) is freely available.

"<yoastmark

My Art

Most of my work is uploaded to Etsy when it’s ready to sell. These awesome stationary sets, all works derived from my paint made from rocks, are the most recent addition!

 

To see art works as I do them, follow me at Instagram. To see them when they’re finished, keep an eye on my Paleo Paints website. I do bring some originals with me to the market.

Original Paintings for Sale

The Twisted Tree swatches and other small originals are usually for sale, but I’m holding on to most of the birds of prey originals now. I need to build a large enough collection of them to enter into exhibits or shows. I almost always have prints of everything available at my market booths, but email me to make sure the one you want is ready, if you want to be sure of a certain painting.

Even if you’re not looking to buy anything, come out to see what incredible art and colors come from our Ozarks. I still find it fascinating, every time I make paint from rocks.

Upcoming Events and Exhibitions

I usually do a good job of keeping my online calendar updated, but here’s the highlights of the months to come.

  • Fayetteville farmer’s markets on most Saturdays
  • Feb 9- Community Craft Show, Bentonville
  • Feb – April- Fox No. 1 will be on exhibit at the Faulkner Center for Performing Arts
  • March- unsure of date- Terra Studios fair
  • last 2 weeks of March-December: Kingston Square Arts on Sundays
Today it's 108*F and feels like 118*F. I'm standing in the shade of a date palm here.

Year in Review- Wild Ozark 2018

Every year I like to make a review of the year at Wild Ozark. I didn’t think I’d get time to do it this year, but today I managed to carve out the space to get it done. At first I thought this one post might include the goals and aspirations I have for 2019, but it’s turned out to be long enough with just the 2018 Wild Ozark Year in Review. The next post will be about the 2019 outlook.

2018 Wild Ozark Review

January started out with the loss of one of our homestead dogs, Bobbie Sue. The remaining dog, Badger is just now seeming to overcome the grief of losing his companion. I didn’t post much in January, but shared a few product reviews and began a soon-to-falter series of posts on homesteading hacks.

Rob and I did some exploring of the bluffs on our property in February.

I posted some photos to RedBubble. This one was my favorite. It made really cool looking tote bags and tee-shirts.

Comanche's Lovely Eyes are on products at RedBubble.
Comanche’s Lovely Eyes

I turned in an article with accompanying art based on one of my old blogs post about a woodland habitat full of green dragons. That would be published later in the summer by North American Native Plant Society.

Changes on the Horizon

Already I had begun feeling the tremors that would eventually lead to a complete transformation of what it is I do here at Wild Ozark, as a business. I was feeling the need to take some of the irons out of my fire already and early in the year. In March, Rob built the beautiful wooden corner shelves for the market booth and I began getting ready to start the season on Easter weekend, for the first time in Fayetteville at the downtown farmer’s market.

Not long after that, Rob got a job offer and all of the wheels ground to a halt as we switched into preparation mode for his departure. That took a lot longer than expected because of passport issues, but he was finally cleared to go but it would be May before he actually left. I brought the Burnt Kettle Shagbark Hickory Syrup, fairy gardens in glass globes, and Forest Folk.

New Artsy Product and Less Blogging

I also began making the little Fairy Swing Mushrooms. The syrup sold the easiest, but I also sold a lot of the fairy gardens and a few of the Forest Folk and mushrooms. We went to the Arkansas Made Arkansas Proud festival in Little Rock in April. For the entire month of May, I only managed to make two blog posts.

The first time I’d ever seen a Baltimore Oriole (bird) in real life was this year in May. After I’d seen the first one, I found some oranges in the refrigerator and sliced one up for them.

A Baltimore Oriole in the Ozarks

For the most part of 2018, I let posting to the blog slip to the side lines. It just seemed like so much more *work* than it used to be. I think it’s because I tried to include too many photographs in my posts. And also the effort of practicing good SEO (search engine optimization). The rigors of trying to make everything perfect really detracted from the pleasure of blogging. I’m going to quit worrying about that so much in the future.

Handmade Watercolor Paints, An Entirely New Obsession

At the end of June, I made my very first handmade watercolors. They weren’t even dry yet when I gathered all I had made so far with me and brought them on my trip to Doha, Qatar, where Rob was working. At this point, I hadn’t even painted anything with them yet. Surprisingly, I got through customs with my assortment of powdered rocks and sticky half-set paints.

I used earth pigments for my first paintings.
These are the colors I used for my first paintings.

It was there, on the other side of the world in a foreign landscape that I made my very first painting with my very first paints. That was a life-changing way-point. I had no idea so much color could be wrestled out of rocks. I had no idea I could even paint.

Change of Plans

I returned from my trip at the end of July to nearly desert conditions at the nursery. My little fern nursery and fairy garden mossy supplies had gotten dried out and died. In June it had rained too much, and in July it didn’t rain enough. So I dropped out of the market for the remainder of summer. Instead, I focused on making more paint and paintings.

And now that’s pretty much all I do. Go out for walks, pick up rocks, then smash them to powders to see what colors I get. It’s fun and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of the art of making art.

Wrapping up the 2018 Wild Ozark Review

That’s pretty much where the business aspect of Wild Ozark stands now. I make paint, make paintings, and then make derivatives of the paintings. Recently I got the Etsy shop up and running again and have been making some sales through that venue. I also go to the Fayetteville (indoor) Farmers Market during the winter months, but not sure if I’ll go during summer. Instead I’ll be applying to the local juried art and craft shows. That will get more exposure for both the artwork and the paints.

My next post will highlight some of the plans going forward. Look for more paints, more paintings, and some workshops.

 

 

 

Catching Up & Gearing Up for More Paint-Making and Paintings

For the past couple of months I’ve been busy with festival-going and getting ready for more festival-going for the Burnt Kettle Syrup. Then for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been enjoying time with Rob (Mr. Wild Ozark/Burnt Kettle). Paint-making and painting has been on the sidelines for a while.

But it’s time to get back to work now. Lots of events coming up over the next couple of months that involve my art.  So I am gearing up for that now. (See my Schedule calendar to keep up and get locations/times information).

  • Demo Day- the artists of Kingston Square Arts will be demonstrating their crafts. I’ll be making watercolor paint from local rocks.
  • Holiday market- my work will be on display and for sale at the Walton Arts Center/McBride Studio from Nov. 23 to Dec. 1
  • Give Less Give More- a popup market hosted by Good Acres at Johnson Mill in Johnson, AR
  • Fayetteville Farmer’s Winter Market- tentatively I will be back at the market on Dec. 8
  • Local Juried Event Applications- there are some art shows I want to enter for next year with deadlines in December this year

Before the Painting

First I have to make the paint. I need a palette I can use for my next project. Today I collected some rocks to use for the next round of paint making.

One of those rocks is the size of a flattened grapefruit, and I just know it’s going to make a fabulous color. It’s a soft sandstone, an ochre that left my fingers stained when I crushed a little of it in testing.

It’s a big enough rock so that I can make both a good sized batch of watercolors and test something brand new I want to try- my first handmade oil paint.

A flattened grapefruit sized rock that'll make some nice handmade paint!
A flattened grapefruit sized rock that’ll make some nice handmade paint!

I haven’t painted anything in a while and I’m overdue! The next picture is going to be my first attempt at an oil painting, with my handmade paints from Ozark colors. It’s going to be the first in a series of goshawks. The first one will be Rob’s, as all of the ‘firsts’ of any series always are. The northern goshawk is one of his favorite birds and I’ve been collecting permissions from photographers to get ready for this new line.

Future Paintings

Here’s one I’d like to do that I don’t yet have permissions, but I’m still trying to find out who the photographer is. I’ve found the photo in lots of places, but only recently found some that give credit to a photographer, so I’m waiting for response from an email I sent.

A female northern goshawk with prey.
A female northern goshawk with prey. I believe the copyright holder for this image is Jens Stahl of the Netherlands, but not sure. Waiting to hear back from this photographer so I can properly credit the photo, and if so, see if I can use it for a model in a painting.


Greens and Blues

I won’t be able to make this green, since we don’t have a light fast source for that kind of green. Blue is another color I can’t make from Ozark sources. I may decide to go beyond the Ozarks for stones I can use to make a good green, though. And to get a gray with the blue tones like this, I may need to use an outside source for that, too.

It’s hard to find good photos of this bird, although I have found some. Even when they are shown with photographer credits, it’s hard to get in touch with the photographers to get permissions to use it. If you know of one, please send me leads! Thanks in advance 🙂

The Latest Paint Collection

If you’d like to see more about Soul of the Ozarks Collection No. 3, I made a blog post at the Paleo Paints website about using the red leaves of black gum for one of the colors in the latest palette. I’ll have that collection of nine colors available to buy at the Holiday Market, and I’m working on the next collection now. Collection No. 4 will be ready for the popup on Dec. 1, or you can watch some of the process I use to make these paints at the Demo Day on Nov. 24.

A Call for Rocks and a New Page

Saturday I went down to Felkins creek which is near the end of our driveway. It’s not that I needed more rocks. I just wanted to see what the recent rains might have turned up. So I should probably have not gone looking.

Limestone and fossils.
Limestone and fossils.
Look at all of the fossils in this one little piece! There's that many more in the larger chunk.
Look at all of the fossils in this one little piece! There’s that many more in the larger chunk of fossil rock.

 

I only needed one rock. Or one color of rock. And I did get it. But all these other rocks wanted to jump in my bag, too.

It's the red sandstone without a black shell that I wanted. Not sure how all these other rocks got in the bag...
It’s the red sandstone without a black shell that I wanted. Not sure how all these other rocks got in the bag…

 

Have any rocks to share?

I’d like to make a collection of paints from other regions. A single colorful rock will work if it’s about hand-sized. I’ll send you a little pan of paint for a single rock (or handful of clay!). If you’d like to send me a medium-sized priority box of rocks (or clay) from your area, I’ll send you a whole palette of paints from those rocks. Choose a few rocks (or clays) of about 5 different colors if you can. Email me for my address.

How’s that fall in line with the ‘I don’t need any more rocks’ line of thinking??

New Page and Menu Item

I decided to put my paintings on a single page as I finish them. You’ll see that page now in the menu above. Next up will be a brown pelican, the State Bird of Louisiana. It won’t be for sale as it is a custom order but I’ll still post the progression of it as I’m doing it. Not sure I can do a pelican, so it’s an experiment!

A Book to Finish

I haven’t forgotten about the book I’m supposed to be wrapping up this summer. Summer is almost over… I know. If you’ve been waiting, please know it’s on my mind and I’m trying to work on it between making paints and painting.

Fairy Swing Mushrooms- New Nature Art from Wild Ozark.

Fairy Swing Mushrooms – A New Nature Art from Wild Ozark

Update as of 112118- I’m not making these very often anymore but there are still some in stock at Kingston Square Arts in Kingston, AR.

These adorable little fairy swing mushrooms are the latest creations from the Wild Ozark studio!

Each of the Fairy Swing Mushrooms are handmade and one of a kind (OOAK).

Rather than painting the caps, this time I decided to use something natural to add the color.

The mushroom caps are polymer clay infused and dusted with powdered sassafras leaf (filet’ gumbo herb) and cinnamon. Follow me on Instagram (@wildozark) to see the new ones as I make them.

Powdered sassafras leaf on the cap of this mushroom.
Powdered sassafras leaf on the cap of this mushroom.

The stem is made from an elephant garlic stem.

The cap on this one is colored with powdered cinnamon.
The cap on this one is colored with powdered cinnamon.

The fairy swing mushrooms are mounted on a small slab of shagbark hickory. It’s decorated with moss, lichens, dried rabbit tobacco flowers. Two of them have a vine tendril. The swings themselves are made from beebalm flower stems and a bit of leaf or grass for the seat.

The caps are made from polymer clay mixed with and coated with cinnamon and gumbo file' (sassafras leaf).
The caps are made from polymer clay mixed with and coated with cinnamon and gumbo file’ (sassafras leaf).

Here’s more, colored with cumin and trimmed with sassafras leaf powder.

The ones I haven’t sold yet will be with me on Saturdays at the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market. If I still have them when I get home, I’ll list them at Etsy and put them in our online shop here on Sunday (or one day soon). They can be shipped. Bring a little Wild Ozark nature home with you!

Prices start at $30.

From @cmwhitson: I got mine today, and the photo doesn’t do it justice. This is the cutest little mushroom swing EVER and I truly love it! It’s so delicate and wonderful, and thanks for using biodegradable peanuts to pack it. What an incredible artist you are!! ?

Follow me on Instagram (@wildozark) or FB to see the new ones as I make them. New ones are added almost every week.

Day 14: Nature Journal Series – Sunlight on Distant Hills

Sunlight on distant hills always makes for a pretty picture. It’s just hard to capture, whether by camera or pencil. This time I tried with my Prismacolor pencils.
Nature Journal Day 14- Sunlight on the Hillsides

About this journal entry

Some autumn seasons bring vivid colors, while others are quick and or less spectacular. Always, though, the sunlight favors certain hillsides while leaving others in the shadows of the cloudy skies. When this happens, the favored spot fairly shines with brilliance. It’s always so hard to capture that with my camera and proved equally hard to capture with the pencils.

Most of the drawings from that first year with the pencils uses only spot color, while the rest is black and gray. This time, though I used the same technique, it was almost an accurate rendering of how the landscape really looked. Time of day was dusk, color everywhere had faded – except for the sunlight on distant hills.

About the Wild Ozark Nature Journal

Get the index to the other journal entries and read about my project at Wild Ozark Nature Journal.

If you keep a nature journal online, share the link to yours in the comments.

Day 13: Nature Journal Series

Signs of Life

Day 13-Signs of Life

About this journal entry

The signs of life during the coldest parts of winter always intrigue me. I love seeing the green grass shoots found under a layer of snow or peeking out from the shelter of tumbled rocks. I’m not sure why I left the chickweed uncolored in my drawing. I think I just wanted to focus on the grass. When I started drawing almost everything I did had a single focal point. Some techniques use blurring to achieve this, but I preferred to use color instead, leaving everything else in black and white.

Recent drawings are all color, but nature journal entries might always keep this method because it’s a lot quicker than trying to get the color right for all of the elements in a scene.

 

About the Wild Ozark Nature Journal

Get the index to the other journal entries and read about my project at Wild Ozark Nature Journal.

If you keep a nature journal online, share the link to yours in the comments.

Namesake of the Dragon – Another Green Dragon Drawing

Here’s the second of the Green Dragon drawings I’ve been working on. I posted the first part of it last week. This part is called the spathe (the hood) and the spadix (the long ‘tongue’) and it is the namesake of the dragon. This part of the plant is what becomes the cluster of red berries after fertilization occurs. You’ll see it in spring, before the plant has finished unfurling the horseshoe-shaped umbrella of its leaves.

Namesake of the Dragon - the spathe and spadix
Namesake of the Dragon – the spathe and spadix. Prints available.

If you’d like to know more about this plant, I have a few posts here on the blog about it. This is one of my favorite woodland plants.

Day 11 – Nature Journal Series

A nature drawing for my Nature Journal series: Leaf on Water

About this journal entry

My son says my nature sketching looks like a turkey feather. It is not. It is a leaf half submerged in the water, haha. Can’t have the world at large making the same mistake.

About the Wild Ozark Nature Journal

Get the index to the other journal entries and read about my project at Wild Ozark Nature Journal.

If you keep a nature journal online, share the link to yours in the comments.

A Green Dragon Drawing

I’ve been working on a Green Dragon drawing for the cover of NANPS’s summer issue of Blazing Star. There will be another of the spathe and spadix to do next. That one will be used in the article.

Here’s the photograph I worked from. I used more than one photo because I didn’t have a single capture that showed the plant and all of its leaves AND the ripe fruit cluster.  I used this one because it at least showed all of the leaves.

Green Dragon in July
Green Dragon in July

Here’s the progression of the drawing in stages:

Green Dragon Drawing
Green Dragon Drawing. Prints available from the Wild Ozark shop.

 

Click here to see my drawing of the Namesake of the Dragon. If you’d like to know more about this plant, I have a few posts here on the blog about it. This is one of my favorite woodland plants.

Through Ice and Mud We Go – Bringing Hay to Horses

Through Ice and Mud. Ice in the spring puddles on the way to the top gate in the horse's field.
Ice in the spring puddles on the way to the top gate in the horse’s field.

Through Ice and Mud

Whether through ice and mud, or snow, or rain or wind, kind of like the postman’s creed to deliver mail, we must deliver hay to the horses.

It’s easy to stay in touch with the wheel of time when you repeat a certain activity outdoors throughout the year. I like this facet of living out here.

I’m sure everyone everywhere has a similar regular activity that would allow them to notice the passage of time and seasons, but how many take note?

Why does it matter?

It’s so easy to get caught up in a frenetic life these days. As for myself, I’m get overwhelmed with too many irons in the fire. I have a tendency to be a workaholic. Even though what I do for a living is creative and I enjoy it, I still manage to get disconnected from the baseline that’s important to me.

When the list of things to do gets so long there’s no end in sight, a simple reconnection to nature helps me to feel more centered and grounded.

Noticing

Taking note of the changing seasons is one way I get reconnected on a regular basis. No matter whether the weather is typical or atypical, being outside brings me into close contact with the passage of time throughout a year.

Our winter this year seems to have taken a long time to arrive. When the ice begins to skim the spring puddles, getting out there to experience it is a physical connection to the fact that it is indeed winter now.

I can’t explain very effectively how this helps, but it does. It satisfies something in me on a deep and personal level to make this connection to nature.

Reconnecting and Getting Back on Task

After playing for a little while in the ice and mud while bringing the hay to the horses this morning, I came back inside and organized my daily list of things to do with better focus on the task.

So it was a small thing, but the blast of cold helped. Stopping along the way to break some ice in the puddle wasn’t necessary. It was just for the fun of it. I like seeing the glassy shards of clear spring water. I took some pictures and immersed in the moment.

Year round I do similar things. Every time I begin to feel anxious about not getting enough done, I make a special effort to get outside and make contact with the world around me.

My World

The world around me is nearly wilderness. I like this. Ice and mud in spring puddles please me in strange ways, I guess. Perhaps it is a thing that appeals to my inner child. But if I lived in a city, I’m sure I’d find some other way to make this contact meaningful.

If you notice the little things in your surroundings, is there anything special that you do to facilitate that connection? Do you stop and savor the moments like this throughout your year?

Making Twig Art: Gumball Folk Bride and Groom

My granddaughter stayed the night with us last night and today I thought we could make some twig art together. She wanted us to make a bride and groom Forest Folk pair, so we went outside to gather some botanicals.

We picked up some gumballs from the sweet gum tree out front, along with a few acorn caps, and some sticks. Then we found a nice soft and fluffy feather that would work great for hair or hat. I had some dried wildflowers on hand and sumac berries, too.

The only other things necessary to make twig art with these botanicals were a glue gun, a pair of wire-cutter pliers, and tweezers. Tweezers are wonderful inventions that keep fingertips from getting burned in hot glue. I’m ashamed to admit it took several burns before I figured this out.

Gumballs, acorn caps, dried flowers, and a soft feather. Twig art supplies all spread out.
Gumballs, acorn caps, dried flowers, and a soft feather. Twig art supplies all spread out.

Making Twig Art

We made the very first Gumball Folk! All Gumball Folk are also Forest Folk.

Chloe’s not old enough yet to use the glue gun without burning her fingers, so I did all the putting to gether. She helped gather the gumballs and held some of the things while I added the glue.

The first thing I usually do is work on the head. If I’m going to add hair, I do that first.  We added some tiny glass eyes to these, too. Then I’ll cut a medium diameter twig for the body.

How the head is positioned on the twig depends on what the Folk is doing. Reading Folk usually have their faces tilted downward toward a book in hand. The Groom needed to be slightly looking down toward the Bride, who needed to look slightly upward toward the Groom.

Adding Details

Once the head is attached to the body, I’ll add the legs. I usually use a slab of hickory bark to mount the Folk on if they’re standing. This is a lot more stable than a twig figure standing alone.

Before I add arms, especially on the female figures, I’ll add the clothing around the hips and upper legs. That’s so much easier than trying to do it around fragile arms in the way.

This Gumball Folk Bride is wearing a grass and dried wildflower skirt accented with the red sumac (NOT poison sumac) berries.

The Gumball Folk Groom’s shoes are made from a wildflower seed cone cut in half. The seeds are gone from the plant and it left behind an interesting form, so I gathered them thinking I’d find a way to use them sooner or later. Worked great!

Which Botanicals to Use?

Sometimes I do use botanicals that could be harmful if eaten. But for a project with children, it’s best to use things that can’t cause trouble. None of my artwork is intended to be consumed, so I’m not really picky about what I use except I generally don’t use things I know to be dangerous.

But if it’s beautiful, natural, and not going to cause the plant population to decline if I use it, it’s fair game no matter what it is. Sometimes I’ll not harvest berries from plants that are in short supply here, so the seeds inside will have more opportunity to repopulate new plants.

The sumac berries I used on the Bride’s shoes and skirt are a good example. This is not poison sumac, but an edible berry from a shrub called sumac.

Bride and Groom Gumball Folk.
Bride and Groom Gumball Folk. Check out their groovy little shoes.

Chloe took these prototypes home with her, so I’ll have to make some more soon so I can take some better photos.

These would make interesting nature art cake toppers for someone having an interesting wedding 😉 When the next ones are made and I get the photos, I’ll load it to Etsy so you can get a better look at them.

Twig Art Workshop

If you’d like to create some Forest Folk of your own and want some guidance, make plans to attend my workshop on Dec. 16 at the Ozark Folkways center in Winslow, AR. It’s just in time to make some for Christmas gifts!

Test Firing the Native Clay – Failure and Success

Yesterday I posted about cleaning the native clay and the test firing I planned to do once they dried out enough.

I’m too impatient. I should have waited another day, maybe even longer because the clay was pretty wet when I first worked the little ball and circle.

They exploded to smithereens almost as soon as I put them in the coals.

Plan B

So, I pulled out the first test ball I’d made a while back. It was in storage in my studio/office and I KNEW it would be dry. I had already fired it for a short amount of time last winter. I hoped this would compare to a “bisque” firing, because what I planned to do with it would test the limits.

It wasn’t as smooth and I hadn’t burnished it, but it was made the same clay. This was just one of the small clean clay lumps in the chunk, so it hadn’t gone through the sieves and process the others had.

Test Firing and Pushing the Limits

I opened the wood stove, made a nice little bed of glowing embers, where the previous test pieces had been but now were nowhere to be found, put the test ball in the embers and covered it with more hot coals.

Test firing underway, and quiet so far. Unlike the previous episode that sounded like fireworks going off inside the wood stove. Whew.

When the little ball became red hot I pulled it out with the tongs and dropped it into cold water as if I were making a Raku pot and ducked for cover.

It survived!

This was once the same color as the test pieces I just blew to smithereens in the test firing.
This was once the same color as the test pieces I just blew to smithereens in the test firing. It was not as smooth or “finished” as the original test piece.

Now it has some blackened areas and some rust colored area and I like it. More tests to come once the new pieces dry much longer. Very encouraged in spite of this little setback. I learned some things!

More Stress Testing

Next I wanted to know if I could drill into it with my Dremel tool. Sometimes I just need to put a hole into pieces I’m working with. If I’d think of it before firing, I could just put the hole in before the clay hardens.

Anyway, it did take the drilling okay. I lost my grip on it for a second and it twisted, resulting in a flake chipping off of it, but not too bad.

After the test-firing, I wanted to put a hole in the top of this so I could insert the stem and glue it. Now, this little "Folk" will have an interesting hair piece made from the clematis seedpod.
After the test-firing, I wanted to put a hole in the top of this so I could insert the stem and glue it. Now, this little “Folk” will have an interesting hair piece made from the clematis seed pod.

So that’s it for the reporting on my experiments for now. Tomorrow we’ll be at AFIC cooking more of our Burnt Kettle Shagbark Hickory Syrup. Then I’ll be getting ready for the market.

Market Plans

I’m not planning to bring my Forest Folk out again because they’re too fragile to keep boxing them up and setting them out, then reboxing and bringing them home over and over. If you want one and want me to bring it to market for you, just email me. Most of the market-goers are there for vegetables and bread, and crafts just aren’t doing very well, anyway.

If you’d like some hands-on fun at a Forest Folk Workshop, plan to attend in Winslow on December 16.

Next round of tests

Here’s the two I fired yesterday on 11/3/17. The one in the back hasn’t been fired yet. The one on the left was burnished before firing and the black one on the right was not. Both were dropped into water as soon as I pulled them from the fire. Both performed exceptionally! I can’t wait to make more things.

The second set of test pieces - they survived!
The second set of test pieces – they survived!

Nature Drawing in Progress: American ginseng in October

Two years ago I made a nature drawing of American ginseng in October, with yellowing leaves against the dark backdrop of the Wild Ozark forest.

Repeating the Same Nature Drawing

Since that time I’ve learned a little more about certain techniques I can use with my pencils, specifically blending, and so I wanted to re-draw the picture so I can enter it into a contest.

Usually I like to scan each step as I go along with a drawing, but for this one I forgot. This one picks up at the blending of the background stage.

Background First

You can see in the image that most of the drawing hasn’t been blended, only the very bottom part.

Although I have some color on the leaves and plant itself, I have barely begun on that part of it and have a lot more color layers to add before blending for that part begins.

Nature Drawing by Madison Woods. Background stage: Beginning the blending.
Background stage: Beginning the blending.

 

 

 

Needs More Detail

Once I finished blending the ground background, I decided I wanted to add some more form to the surroundings. So I added a christmas fern, one of ginseng’s habitat companions. Now it balances out the empty woods surrounding the main object.

Looking at it from Different Perspectives

When I scan each step, I’m doing more than just recording a step in the process.

When I look at the picture in another format, like on the computer or the small screen of my phone, I can see things I didn’t see in the original.

The first image I posted showed me that the background was too empty.

The next one showed me where I have spaces that are too light or need *something*.

"Ginseng in October", a nature drawing in progress. Ground floor background blended.
Ground floor background blended.

At the base of the fern and on the lower levels of the background above the floor, it needs to be darker and I’d like some vague suggestions of more fern to the left.

Here it is again, with the background blended, after I added darker lower levels and a bent fern frond to the left.

Background finished. "Ginseng in October" nature drawing in progress.
Background finished. “Ginseng in October” nature drawing in progress.

Foreground Next

The next step will be the dried leaves at the bottom. Those two dead leaves are the foreground. Once I get those done, I’ll start working on the ginseng plant.

Halfway There

Here it is again with the dead leaves done, and the background finished. I’ve just begun working on the ginseng now.

Ginseng in October, in progress

I really like drawing autumn and winter leaves. Here’s the dead leaves, closer:

Zoomed in on the dead leaves.

Signing off for today. So far, this has been several days of work. Today was the first day I spent the entire day on it, though.

Tomorrow I should be able to get this wrapped up and I’ll post the finished scan …

And here’s the finished drawing:

Ginseng in October by Madison Woods. Prints available.

The first drawing

I didn’t know about blending at all yet when I drew this first one. But that really didn’t matter at the time to me, because I drew it in situ, and it was only meant to be a journal entry. It was late in the afternoon and dark in the woods, and finding the plant to begin with was unexpected.

ginseng in october
Ginseng in October, the nature journal entry

I’m glad I have it now to go by, since I didn’t get any photos of the plant that year. Now I can’t find the same plant at all.

The Blending Process

The blending takes a long time. It’s tedious and it makes my arm and eyes hurt if I don’t take plenty breaks. So just finishing the background alone could take several days of steady work at blending.

I’m not sure if there’s an easier way to do this step or not. I saw on one tutorial video that the artist used mineral spirits. Well, I tried that and it didn’t blend very well at all. Perhaps we used different brands of pencils.

The Tools

I use Prismacolor. The only set I have right now is the Premier Soft Core and a colorless blending pencil. I need a set of the VeriThin, but that will have to wait until after the taxes get paid for this year.

The paper I’m using is a water-color paper for Epson printers. It comes in very large sheets that I have to cut down to size. Our printer does fine work for smaller art prints, like those I use on my note cards. And this is archival quality acid free paper. However, for larger than 5 x 7 prints, and especially those I sell as “art”,  I use Scott’s Frame and Art (Scott Imaging)  in Fayetteville.

Stay Tuned

I’ll post updates to the work as I make progress. Let me know if you have any tips!

ETA is the end of the week because there’s a deadline involved for the contest I want to enter.

If you’d like a print, stop in and see me at the Downtown Rogers Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, now open year-round!

Here’s their FB page and ours:

Custom Drawing – “Slug on Poison Ivy”

This is a custom drawing of a slug on poison ivy. In this post I’ll show you the process I use for drawing a picture with Prismacolor pencils. This particular nature drawing is for a business card client.

First, the Slug

I needed to do the slug first because it would have been very hard to leave the exact space for it had I done the leaves first.

Custom drawing for business card client

Leaf Shading in Progress

Leaf shading in progress on custom drawing.

I always add the lightest highlights first with a white pencil, and after the initial outline is done. There’s no way to put them in there once the darker colors are in place.

After the highlights I’ll add light shading with the predominant color. Then add the shadows and darker accents, like the spots on the leaf, the chewed part of the broken leaf, and the darker parts where the stems meet.

Leaf Shading Almost Finished

I just need to add some more of the lighter green highlights that are on the upper leaf. Then the blending will commence.

Leaf shading finished.

Shading

You can see the difference that blending makes. I didn’t know about this when I first started with the pencils, but it makes a huge difference. I use a colorless blending pencil from Prismacolor to do it. I might work on this leaf a little more.

Not yet blended.
Not yet blended

Blended.
Blended.

Finished!

Slug on Poison Ivy
Slug on Poison Ivy

Materials Used

I use Prismacolor Premier Pencils. For this sketch the colors I used were:

  • PC 946 Dark Brown
  • PC1100 China Blue
  • PC 910 True Green
  • PC 1056 Warm Grey
  • PC 938 White
  • PC 989 Chartreuse
  • PC 1020 Celadon Green
  • PC 940 Sand
  • PC 988 Marine Green
  • PC 1090 Kelp Green (predominant green)
  • PC 1082 Chocolate
  • Prismacolor Colorless Blending pencil

The paper is “pura velvet” fine art paper from Breathing Color. This paper works well for the original drawing and for printing.

Unique, Custom Drawing

Artist for Hire

If you’re interested in having me create a custom drawing for your business cards (or for any other purpose), contact me at [email protected].

My rates are $50/hr.

I can draw almost anything with a photo, but the best drawings to use for things like business cards or logos are of an individual item, so keep that in mind.

A sketch such as the slug in this post takes me approximately 4 – 6 hours, but I don’t work on it non-stop so the finished project will take a few days.

The original drawing is on 8.5″ x 11″ fine art rag paper and will be signed, matted and framed when complete. I keep this for shows and to use in various other designs, but I’ll never use it for anyone else’s business card image, or for whatever other purpose the drawing was commissioned for.

Prints will be available to the general public. If you want to have exclusive rights to use the drawing in any form for any purpose, ask me about exclusive rights licensing when the work is commissioned. These rights are no longer available once I’ve created other items from the drawing.

Client receives the first signed & numbered print at no added cost with nonexclusive rights.

 

Nature Journal Ebook from Wild Ozark

Valentine's Day Gift: The Autumn 2015 collection of Wild Ozark Nature Journal is FREE all week Monday Nov 16 through Friday Nov 20Art is how I express my relationship with nature, whether it’s sketching, writing, or photography.

As a special Valentine’s Day gift to you, my collection of journal entries with nature sketches from Autumn 2015 is FREE at Amazon today through the 16th.

If you have a color e-reader or the Kindle for PC app on your computer or iPad/Galaxy pad, it will display beautifully. It works on smart phones, but the text is too small to read without magnifying it.

You can pick it up here: Nature Journal at Amazon

 

Delve Deeper to Observe Nature

Take a moment from your day and delve deeper to observe nature. You’ll gain a sense of awe and wonder.

Delve deeper

Truly experience that moment. If it’s a plant you’re observing, reach out and touch it (be reasonable – don’t touch poison ivy). Notice the texture of the leaf. Is it smooth or rough? Are there hairs on it making it soft or bristly? Look at the veins in that leaf. Do they run parallel down the whole leaf or do they branch and fork?

lobelia nature sketch

I would never have noticed the hairs on the stem of this lobelia had I not taken the time to observe every part of it.

Listen to it. Yes, there are sounds associated with plants. I recorded the wind through these acacia trees when I visited Abu Dhabi recently. It’s a sound I’ll never forget and could have easily been overlooked. Aside from the sound of the seed pods rattling, you’ll hear the wind and doves too.

In nature, everything is multi-layered.

What about the colors and smells. Some things seem fairly uniform in color. Then as I’m preparing to capture it in a sketch, I notice how many different shades of green are on one leaf that at first looked like a simple solid color.

Observe nature and notice the many colors in something that seems one color at first, like the leaves of this ground cherry plant in flower and fruit

On the day I made that sketch, I was in a bit of a rush. I didn’t want to attempt something that would take more than a few minutes. So I saw that plant and thought it looked easy enough, all a fairly uniform shade of green. And then I began the sketch and the game changed. I began to see the details that at first went unnoticed.

Same thing happened with this sycamore leaf. One leaf. A simple subject.

colored pencil sketch of a sycamore leaf in fall

Wasn’t so simple after all once I noticed the many little veins and the multitude of colors.

I pay closer attention to all things when I observe nature, not just plants. Similar details abound in every aspect involving every element of nature. This sort of mindfulness offers great opportunity to celebrate and appreciate variety in all of life.

 

Nature Journal ebook

These drawings are from my Autumn 2015 Wild Ozark Nature Journal. It’s for Kindle or other tablet sized ereaders. These colorful journal entries are gorgeous when viewed on color e-readers but the text is going to disappoint on phones because the screen is too small. Here’s the link where you can get it. Please leave a review and tell me what you thought of it.

Nature Workshop with Madison Woods

nature workshop flierWhat happens at a nature workshop?

My nature workshop is designed to help you reconnect to nature and express your experience through art, writing, and photography. It can be tailored for whatever environment is available (even cities have nature), but generally we’ll take a nature walk, look at plants and wildlife, listen to the sounds of a forest (or whatever nature exists in the area), and sit in meditation outdoors when time and weather allows.

If the slant is on writing:

We learn about the history of nature writing, examine the various ways the genre is represented (poetry, prose, photo essay), take a nature walk, capture the essence of an experience with nature by writing a “flash” scene of 100-200 words (or sketch), share & discuss.

If the slant is on sketching:

We study the work of other nature writers, examine the different styles of capturing nature on paper and discuss the various ways it can be shared if that is desired (I publish mine online and as books). Then we take a nature walk and if weather permits, do some sketching in situ. If weather isn’t cooperative, we’ll either make the nature walk quickly and collect subjects with photography or bring small objects back to the conference room to draw while inside. I usually take photos no matter what so I can finish sketches later if I don’t have time in situ. And if we draw while inside, I’ll put the photo on the projector screen so we can all work on the same item, or if the participants have gathered their own items of interest, they’ll work on them individually. At the end, we share and discuss.

For a combination workshop we’ll sketch, photograph, and write and share.


 

The Park County Library System in Cody, Wyoming modeled their 2016 nature writing workshop on those presented by WildOzark


Book a Nature Journaling Workshop with madison woods

Future workshops:

June 4, at the Art Room Gallery & Workshop of the Place on the Square in Kingston, AR

Nature Journaling with Madison Woods

Past workshops:

Today (Nov. 22, 2015) at the Hobbs State Park in northwest Arkansas, the weather cooperated to give us still winds even if it was still fairly cold. But not so cold that we couldn’t take a nature walk and gather a bit of outdoor ambiance for the “captures”. Participants shared their flash captures (100-200 words or less) and gave us all insight on the various perspectives each individual wrought from the same experience.

Here’s a few of the photos from the walk and talk at Hobb’s State Park:

 

 

Hosting a Nature Writing Workshop

The workshop hosted at Hobbs state park was sponsored by The Village Writing School

If you’d like to book a similar workshop please email me at [email protected].

I can tailor it to be heavy on the writing focus or more to the sketching/journaling slant.

Bring pencils, camera, notebook if you can or want to do some hands-on writing, drawing and photography. I’ll have a few copies of the nature journals I’ve designed on hand for $10 ea, if anyone wants to buy extra ones of those. Workshop organizers may opt to supply materials. I will usually supply the art journals. My fee can be per event or charged per person and split with organizers (with a minimum guaranteed turnout). If the location is outside of northwest Arkansas there will be travel expenses.

A little about me and the reason I offer this workshop

It is said that a relationship with nature is necessary for health. On the average, people have become more disconnected over the past few decades and often don’t know where to start to reconnect to nature. I think of myself as a “liaison for nature”. A Nature Ambassador. Wild Ozark is my outlet for helping others reconnect. Words, sketches, and photography are the mediums I use and I enjoy teaching others how to enjoy my process, so they can evolve it to their own.


Book a Nature Journaling Workshop with madison woods This is a great event for companies to offer employees. Nature writing, sketching and journaling can spur creativity and help employees reconnect to nature!


 

Wild Ozark Nature Journal on Kindle

What is a sketch / nature journal?

Sometimes nature writers like to doodle while they’re interpreting nature. My nature journal is a combination of art and written journal entry.

It is both nature sketching and nature journal.

Here are some sample pages from my first collection. All of my work can be seen at WildOzark.com/naturejournal/as I do them, for free. But if you want the whole collection on your Kindle (or other ereader with a Kindle app), you can enjoy them any time, with or without an internet connection.

The sketch in the winner's journal - Two Sweetgum leaves, by Madison Woods Wild Ozark Nature Sketch Day 23 - Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense) My nature sketching of Lobelia inflata.

Nature Sketches by Madison Woods, straight from the wild Ozarks.
  • Eighteen colored pencil nature sketches
  • Journal entries with each sketch
  • No double-tapping required
* Note: The images display best on full sized color readers. According to feedback, the book looks great on Galaxy pads, Kindle for PC’s (only Windows version 8 or better), Kindle Fire, and iPad. It is less than optimal on the Kindle PaperWhites, or the small screens of cell phones. Send a sample to your device to check display.
Dedicated to the Nature Lovers, for we are the bridges, the liaisons.

 

I’d love feedback if you download it – please leave reviews at Amazon or Goodreads to let me know how it displayed on your reader. I’ve never seen another e-book quite like it, so it’s kind of groundbreaking I think.

Wild Ozark Nature Journal: Autumn 2015

The Autumn 2015 collection of Wild Ozark Nature Journal is FREE all week Monday Nov 16 through Friday Nov 20
The Autumn 2015 collection of Wild Ozark Nature Journal

 

Nature Writing at Hobbs State Park

join us for a nature writing workshop at Hobbs State Park with Madison Woods
.

This is a past event. If you’d like to book a workshop like this one, email [email protected]

Nature is a treat for the senses but sometimes it takes effort to get past the immediate sensory input and experience a deeper relationship. Madison Woods will lead the class on a voyage of listening, looking, and feeling for connections that transport. The class will include an optional easy nature walk, a communing exercise, a discussion and practice of nature translation through words, art, and photography.

Join us at the Hobbs State Park for a Nature Journal Writing Workshop!

Date: Nov 22

Time: 1 pm to 4 pm

Where: Hobbs State Park, 20201 East Hwy. 12 , Rogers, AR 72756

Cost: $15

Bring pencils, camera, notebook if you can or want to do some hands-on writing, drawing and photography. I’ll have a few copies of the nature journals I’ve designed on hand for $10 ea, if anyone wants to buy one of those.

Click here to register.

Sponsored by :

Village Writing School
Eureka Springs School of Literary Arts
479-292-3665
177 Huntsville Road
Eureka Springs, AR 72632

Autumn sunrise shining through Gloria's leaves.

The original sketch for my Goodreads Giveaway

I have a copy of my sketch journal up for giveaway at Goodreads. It’s titled simply, My Nature Journal. It’s not *my* journal but a blank one designed for others who would like to get into nature sketching. Part of the giveaway is an original sketch and journal entry that I’ll make in it before shipping it out to the winner.

Confronting the fear

It’s time for me to do the original sketch and entry promised in the copy to be given away. I’ve been dancing around getting this done. I was afraid of messing up the drawing and wasting one of the journals.

No. That’s not the real reason for it. I was just afraid. Afraid of not being good enough. For having bit off more than I could chew. Of having to meet expectations of the winner. Afraid that the paper in the journal wouldn’t lend itself well to color or pencil.  Afraid for any number of reasons, including wasting one of the journals.

I didn’t want to wait until the last minute to do it, which is my usual way of handling things like this.

Just do it

But I decided to just do it. Which proves that I can *make* myself draw something on demand when I really set my mind to it, I guess. I’ll bet the same applies to writing…

And it came out great! I’m very pleased with how the paper takes the color and the graphite. I like it even better than my own sketch journal that I’d bought specifically because it is a *sketch* journal with paper designed for pencil. The color on the ones I designed give much more saturation of the color.

The journals are $12 through Amazon and my online shop, but if you’re local and want to pick one up without the wait of shipping, they’re $15 at The Place on the Square in Kingston.

Not only am I happy that the paper works very well for drawing, I think I did a fair job on the sketch.

So overall, I’m pleased. And this is the original sketch that will be in the journal given to the winner.

The winner’s sketch

The sketch in the winner's journal - Two Sweetgum leaves, by Madison Woods
The original sketch in the winner’s journal – Two Sweetgum leaves.

How to enter the contest

The contest entry form is in the link at the bottom of this post. I’m only giving away one original sketch, and it’ll be in that copy.

You can keep up with my sporadic not-so-daily sketching, and see the previous ones, at WildOzarkNatureJournal.com.  All of these are available as prints. Just email me if interested (madison-at-wildozark.com).

In other news

On the 25th my short story serial begins for those on my newsletter who signed up for it. If you want to get ~300 word segments of No Qualms every morning then sign up for my newsletter and check off the box for Free Reads (I think that’s what it says). If you’re already a member you’ll just have to update your preferences, which is where it will bring you if you’re already registered and you put in the same email address here:  http://eepurl.com/Q2dBP

 

Coffee Break Reading and some pretty cool Leggings

No Qualms by ertwitch serial cover imageGet “No Qualms” delivered to your inbox in daily short bites. Perfect for coffee break reading. And check out the cool leggings featuring one of my nature journal entries.

One of my passions that I haven’t indulged much in lately is story writing. Until recently I’ve been working exclusively on nonfiction. Added to that I’ve been working on the marketing end of business, which is a lot like nonfiction, even if it does allow for a certain level of creativity.

Since wrapping up the American Ginseng & Companions book, and then the My Nature Journal book, I’ve been working on my novel Bounty Hunter again.

A little something for both of us

To help myself get back into the groove and give a little something to fans of fiction out there in my Wild Ozark world, I’m taking an old story (No Qualms) out of the file and will begin parsing it out as 200 – 300 or so daily words of fiction. This will go out only to newsletter subscribers who have checked off the box to get the Free Reads.

The main character in No Qualms will eventually meet up with the Treya and DRSS from my novel, so this story is a little background on Ledeir for you if you will be reading Bounty Hunter when I’m done 🙂

This begins Sunday, Oct. 25. If you’d like to get your free coffee break reading serial, subscribe to the monthly newsletter and be sure to click the appropriate box on the signup form. If you’re already a subscriber and didn’t get the last story I did this with, then you’ll need to update your preferences. You can do both from here. If you’re already a subscriber, when you enter your email address it’ll direct you to the update form (I think and hope): http://eepurl.com/Q2dBP

Nom de Plume

Oh, and by the way, if you didn’t notice the name on the cover image, I’m using a different name for all of my fiction work.

Reading it Later

When the series is complete through the email sends, I’ll post the whole thing over at my new fiction blog: Rural Fantasy by Erthwitch. You can find links to free copies of this story and the previous coffee break read (Ozark Pixies) there now.

Nature Sketching, One of my Other Passions

A second passion I have been making a point of indulging is nature sketching. I’m very excited about this. It’s been more than twenty years since I’ve done much artwork and I can’t even begin to explain the magnitude of my gratitude that the ability is still with me after neglecting it for so long.

Old rock wall, by Madison Woods

If you love nature sketches, you’ll enjoy my new page devoted entirely to that subject: Wild Ozark Nature Journal.

Check out the leggings!

I’m doing all sorts of cool things with the sketches and offering them as products. None of them are listed in the online catalog yet, but if you’re local you’ll be able to find them on the square in Kingston at Place on the Square Ice Cream Parlor/Coffee-shop/Vintage Store. So far, they’re carrying my post/note cards and blank nature journals. Let me know what kind of interesting items you’d like to see made from my journal entries.

There are more products, including leggings(!) made with one of the journal entries at RedBubble.

Nature Journal Leggings at RedBubble.com
Nature Journal Leggings at RedBubble.com

 

 

Tangerine Sunrise, Goodreads Giveaway, Nature Sketching

When the sun rose high enough to top the trees it washed the hills in a tangerine glow. The trees are changing fast now and I really want to take pictures every day.

Photo quality isn't all that great but you can see how bright it makes the oranges when the sun hits the hills in the morning.
Photo quality isn’t all that great but you can see how bright it makes the oranges when the sun hits the hills in the morning.

I have been drawing more often than photographing these days. Here’s the journal entry for the most recent native plant subject. It’s so dry and being late in the season, only a few of the natives in my favorite deep woods habitat are still green (at least of the ones I visit most often), but even the aging ones with spots and yellowing borders are still beautiful in the way things of autumn often are.

If you click on the image it’ll bring you to my online journal website:

Wild Ozark Nature Sketch Day 23 - Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense)
Wild Ozark Nature Sketch Day 23 – Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense)

If you enjoy sketching or want to begin, I have blank nature journals just for you. Beginning on Oct. 15 and running through Oct. 31 you can enter my Goodreads Giveaway to win a copy with an original sketch and journal entry in it by me. There are also four black and white journal entries as part of the front pages (the inspiration) of the journal.

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

My Nature Journal by Madison Woods

My Nature Journal

by Madison Woods

Giveaway ends October 31, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.


And if you would enjoy a little fiction with your morning coffee, be sure to sign up for my newsletter or set your preferences if you already have so you can get the “Free Reads”. I’m working on serializing “No Qualms” and hope to begin daily deliveries of it on November 1.

No Qualms Serial Cover Image
Click the image to go to the newsletter signup form. I believe when you put in your address it’ll let you change preferences if you’re already a member.

Here’s a nice fat rose hip down by the gate. I’m not sure what variety of rose it is, but the flower is a beautiful deep red and when the japanese beetles leave it alone it makes the most spectacular buds which open to a pretty, but fairly ordinary rose.

Rose hip
Rose Hip