There are days when I’m not painting, usually when I’m between paintings or stepping back from one in progress. On Saturdays when I’m at the studio in Alpena, I always like to at least get something small done or started. And right now I’ve got three almost dry paintings in my cramped home office/studio, so I’m not real keen to add another one to that space yet. So I’m working on admin and household or homestead tasks in the meantime. And if you read through to the end, you’ll learn a woo-woo secret about me.
Paper on standby, Printer not cooperating
Thanks to a recent sale of an original, the business could afford to order more printer paper. So today, I did layouts for prints of the newest paintings and pressed the button to turn on the printer. There’s nothing woo-woo about any of this, unless cursing at inanimate objects counts.
The dreaded error message came on the screen and the printer didn’t initiate. After a few more tries and some stern talk… and maybe some good shakes to the cover, it complied with my wishes. Soon she was humming and waiting to get to work. Making prints is one of the things I definitely like to get done when I’m not painting. So I was happy to get over this hurdle.
But my joy was short-lived. After all the trouble just getting the printer to initiate, then the software couldn’t find the printer at all. So still not printing anything. We’d changed our router recently, since the last time I’d used the printer. So, I did expect to have to delete and re-add the printer. But that didn’t solve the issue this time. Nothing I tried would make the software find the printer.
So I resorted to using a cable to connect it directly to my computer. And that solved that problem, but not without a lot of grumbling and troubleshooting to try and get it to go wireless first.
Finally, I could move on to making the prints.
Prints in stock, prints on demand
I keep a variety of prints in stock at the studio in Alpena, but usually print on demand when orders come in between Saturdays. So now I’m back in business with that. But I’m having problems with my camera and can’t get good enough images for large prints (anything over 8 x 10″). I’ll need to get the two latest ones (Raven and Kings River in Spring) scanned professionally before I can offer anything larger. I have good images of On Down the Road, but haven’t had a chance to do the layout for it, yet. Layouts is another of those things I do when I’m not painting, and that comes before making prints.
My favorite go-to for scanning artwork is Scott Frame and Art in Fayetteville. They’re near the mall. The problem is that I don’t often go to town in that direction anymore since opening the studio in Alpena. When I’m not painting and need to go to town for more than just hay or groceries, then it turns into an all-day excursion. I really don’t like going to town, but sometimes it has to be done. If I could, I’d have everything sent to me by mail. And if sales were better online, I’d be a true hermitress and just stay home all of the time.
Collecting pigment rocks and mullein leaves
After holding the stick for Rob while he surveyed the solar pad to see if it was level enough, I found some nice pigment rocks. They were turned up by the tractor when he scraped the dirt in that area. Then I noticed all the mullein growing just off to the side. Last year wasn’t a very good year for finding it, so I gathered a lot of leaves after pocketing the rocks and putting down the measuring stick. I’m not sure what you call that measuring stick… let me ask. It’s a big aluminum collapsible measuring stick, but he said it’s called a ‘grade rod’.
Are you curious about why I wanted the mullein? I use it to make a syrup for what I call the ‘winter crud’. It’s part of my annual Christmas herbal box I give the kids and their families each year. I raised them all to be less reliant on the medical system and more reliant on taking care of issues before they become big problems that require intervention from things like antibiotics.
Not Anti-conventional (Is that a double negative?)
To be clear, I’m not against going to the doctor when needed. I’m not against taking conventional meds when needed. I just think they would be needed a lot less often if we paid attention to and addressed things like coughs and sniffles before they become critical issues. And now they all still use the things I give them in that annual box. So when I’m not painting, sometimes I’m foraging. For rocks, herbs, or even trees of a certain type.
So, here’s where the woo-woo part of me steps into the picture. I’m very much always woo-woo (see my bio), but for the most part I pass as a normal human being. Not when I need to talk to these certain trees, though, hahaha.
I talk to Gloria just to say hello when I walk past her each morning. Sometimes I ask her to send out messengers, too. But when I have a strong need to send a message to the Universe, I go to the Broadcast Tree. This is usually when I have a need or request from the Universe, and I want to enlist the messengers for help. I’m not sure how to explain what a ‘messenger’ is, as it’s the part of all of this that makes the whole thing fall into the woo-woo category. I suppose it’s the same way a Catholic expects intervention from a Saint. Maybe. Anyway, for me, it has to do with the interconnectedness- directly and indirectly- of all that exists.
I talk to trees, and the land itself
And so I speak to the Broadcast Tree and the tree then ‘broadcasts’ my message out to the messengers. And then the messengers carry it onward. They travel by all available vectors: air, earth, water, and most especially via the mycelium of the fungal network. I don’t have a way to explain what exactly a messenger is, though, so I hope you get the gist.
But yep, call me crazy if you like, but I feel better and whether it’s coincidence or not, it seems to bring results. I feel like the the emissaries of the land are trees, rocks, water and creatures. It is their colors and existence reflected in my artwork. This is the partnership I am talking about when I write about my process being in partnership with the land. So even when I’m not painting, I’m still engaged with that part of me that leads to making art.
So what kinds of things do you do when you’re not doing ‘your thing’? And is there anything woo-woo about yourself? I don’t often share that sort of thing about me, but today I stopped at my Broadcast tree and so thought I’d share a little about that practice.
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. In 2023 she began her journey into the world of oil painting with those same pigments. Her paintings of the Ozark-inspired scenes feature 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. Wild Ozark is also the only licensed ginseng nursery in Arkansas. Here’s the link for more information on the nursery end of life out here.
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