News; "This and That"
For instance, I have moved my Studio!
(photo story as always, follows!)
So much has changed since
I started this story. It seems it must have been a life time
ago. At the point of this story I had rented one room of my
gallery to help me be able to make the overhead. Annie Hall
was a great gal, wonderful artist, but I seldom saw her but she
worked one day a week which was welcome to me as it meant 3 days at
home a week. Annie was a fun person to have help with the
Second Saturday Art Walks. I had made up my mind to try to
survive until the new restaurant next door and the 23 planned
townhouses behind me were finished with a ready market for the things
we have to sell on our corner. I still believe that it is an
up and coming corner in town, but every
possible penny I could earn and more went into keeping the doors open.
I happened to be in an Art Walk meeting when I struck up a conversation
with Eva Marie, one of the gals in the meeting, who along with another
artist, Serey, were opening up a new gallery called the Fern and Dina
Art Center. It was
just two blocks up the street. I asked how it was progressing
toward their August timetable of getting the door opened by August.
She said it was going well and they only had one more studio to
lease. On impulse I blurted out, "can I look at it?"
We set up an appointment.
The rent was a 1/4 of what I was now paying. It
included utilities and also a place to show my work on a continuing
basis and a wonderful bright studio in which to work. I went
home, talked it over with Bruce and my Sister,
Susan, who both thought it was a no-brainer. So next morning I
fired off an email to Eva Marie and said "I want it." I set about
trying to figure out how to close down Amelia SanJon Gallery.
Things fell into place to the point that I felt it was meant to be.
I had by chance run into Diane the week before who had moved her
Centre Street shop to a place away from Downtown and it had been a
disaster for her. She wanted
back in the Historic District. She had closed her business
and was moving out on that Friday.
I got her number from a mutual friend, and gave her a call.
She was over joyed with the prospects of being back in the
downtown area. She wanted in immediately. This was
the middle of June. By July 1 we were pretty much moved out and
she was moving in, taping walls for painting them, while we finished up
taking load after load home. It was a breath-taking endeavor
and went great except for the stress fracture I got in my left leg as I
moved those last loads of stuff out of the old gallery.
A few weeks beforehand a friend I met here 7 years ago, came through
relocating from N. Carolina where she had lived in an elderly
ladies home for 3
years. With the lady now entering a nursing home, she had no
where to live, and wanted to return to
her home state. I offered her a place to stay for a few
nights. That stay extended until this week when she found a space
to move. It has
been difficult with another person in the house, but she also
make that move out of the old gallery in such a short time possible.
I had hurt my leg on the third of July and on July 5 a visit to the
Urgent Care I was told they believed it was just a sprained ankle.
I was put in a small brace and told to check with a doctor
in a week. An appointment the following Thursday with the
Foot and ankle doctor I was put in one of the big black boots with a
diagnosis of a stress fracture in my leg bone just above the inside
ankle on my left foot. I have been in the boot a total of 7
weeks now, two and a half of which I was waiting on an appointment with
the therapist to get me weaned out of it. The insurance
company had other ideas with a two weeks lead to get approval on any
kind of therapy. Guess they feel like in two weeks you will
either be totally bad or well and they are gambling on the wellness
aspect. In the meantime the ankle itself which was not a
problem in the beginning has gotten worse and worse.
The good news is that I love my new studio and the environment with
teaching and pleasant conversations going on around me.
Problem is people don't know what has happened to me.
That is the rush on getting this out...don't laugh with all
going on around me it is a rush. In the middle of all that
this last week Susan and I put on a bang up wedding for the guys who
take care of my mom and Aunt Helen, the "Golden Girls". We are so
thankful to have
them in our lives that we can never do enough for them to repay them,
especially Billy, for the tender care and love they dote on the girls.
It is the only reason they can still live at home.
Praying for the sales to come because I have been painting
like crazy with so much extra time. Being on duty each day
took a lot of time and just interruptions which I loved because I loved
the interaction with customers was great. But the time it
took in interrupting the thought processes in creating a piece took a
huge toll. It seems now I am just trying to get the backlog
of things done that I have been putting off for so long. The
Turtle Trot piece is finished and the sale of it would be wonderful for
me as the move was very expensive in paying all the back rent, artists
checks, utilities from the old place, then two months first and last
rent at the new place that it took all the reserves. Even with good
sales it has left me bottomed out.
Even though my house looks like one of the hoarders has moved in here
it will eventually get straightened out and life will return to
normal...well that would not be normal for us though, but I would like
to see that for once. My framing studio is here now and my living room
with soon be turned into that space. Old Man is well and
causing me some delays in getting this story done as he keeps running
across the keys and then climbing up on me to feel my face.
He is so thankful to have me home today. Little Boy
is outside and although his had his butt whipped so much by the bigger
older squirrels that he has lost his tameness he still comes and looks
though the storm door and window waiting for a handout of pecans
without running screaming away like the others do when we open the door
to deliver. Three tiny little squirrels have taken refuge
here right how after big wind storms over the last several weeks. Life
is good and can only get better.
Sea Turtle Season 2017 Arrived (and Almost Gone Now)
beginning of a new year and time to take down the Christmas
Decorations. The boys have enjoyed having them to play in and
around. Little Boy had managed to pull all the red berries
one of the Christmas table top decorations.
At the grocery store I find a whole container of red berries which
just like the ones made out of plaster, he seemed so intent to plucking
off. He was excited to see them but one
taste and the nice pleasant but tangy like fruit flavor was not to his
The Butterfly Painting done in oils and which was started in September
was finally finished on New Year's Eve. I was just
to let it go over into another year for completion.
Although I took prettier photos of this spider web composition wise
this one showed up the intricacies of the web so much better I decide
to post it. It is an understatement to express my admiration
astonishment that one spider can do this much construction.
can they even hold enough web material to make this happen.
is quite a small spider who created this masterpiece.
marina so damaged in the Hurricane is still not in operation except on
a small scale. The ramp in the foreground which now looks
arrow pointing to the damage when you include its reflection.
When it will be redone, we don't know as our City
take their own sweet time in getting any decision made.
if they wait long enough things just resolve themselves, and they don't
have to go on record as having had to take a position on anything.
This decision is costing the city a lot of money in the
meantime. As of today August 30 it is still not in operation.
sweet Little Danny Boy was always the entertainment of the day.
His passion for hiding nuts led to noting
"he was the only squirrel out there who was going to die from
anorexia because he was so obsessed with hiding nuts that he never
takes time to eat". He was a joy and I kept him inside far
than I should have, but he would eventually adjust to life in the wild.
He had many adventures and misadventures before that.time.
Two jail breaks via the dryer vent was two of the
misadventures and led to the final decision it was time to go outside,
especially the time he included Old Man in his jail break and the
destruction of a "new" dryer vent.
was a wonderful one with lots of mild beautiful days and only a few
cold blustery ones that you would even call winter. The
mildness left my
Angels Trumpet to bloom several times during the season, trying to
outdo itself each time..
Old Man and Little Danny Boy were such good friends that I really was
unsure how Old Man would react once he was by himself.
you would get the camera to photograph either of them they would not do
what you wanted them to continue doing, but would become fascinated
the camera and the picture taking itself.
days at home, when I let the boys roam pretty freely around the house,
punctuated by the sounds of things crashing. In this case I
you can all see where this is heading.
enough, it wasn't but a matter of seconds until things started to
but this time I was luckily able to keep anything from crashing to the
boys would often sleep together...sometimes in the hammock and
sometimes in the various other bags I had hanging around the room for
them. Squirrels like to change sleeping places, trying not to
be too predictable to predators.
was usually too tired by the end of the day to go to the waterfront and
catch sunsets but once
in a while I would stop by the waterfront on my way home for a glimpse
of one I hoped would be good.
They would romp until they were both exhausted and then off to siesta
a happy day when friend Michelle brought an almost full basket of
pecans. Little Boy would pick out the fattest of the nuts and
he went to hide them. I got so I would try to beat him to the
ones which I stored in a closed Charlies Potato Chip canister.
The big ones are easier to crack out for Old Man who with
only two bottom teeth could not do for himself..
They both loved their pecans.
came the time I almost killed Little D. Boy. I went into
room in the dark as it often was by the time I would get home in
The room was dark and I was used to them being on the counter
waiting when I opened the door. But this time when I made the
step down into the room I felt something very soft take the weight of
my foot. It was not a sock but a little boy under my foot.
He was badly injured and could not sit up to eat for a while.
lots of loving and extra treats during this time. He did
recover to the point where he does not show any signs of the injury,
but it was really hard to keep Old Man from hurting him when he was
injured because he still wanted to romp and run just like always.
Spring came and with it lots of beautiful strawberries by way of my
farming friends at King's Produce at the Farmer's Market.
Boy was eventually back up to his old tricks hiding nuts and exploring
every nick and cranny in the house. We had to nail a board
the bottom of our bedroom and office doors to keep him out of the rooms
as he would just skinny underneath. In this case one night I
hearing this pecking sound. I came from the kitchen to see
it was. I noticed the candle moving around the mouth of the
pottery jar it was in. A poltergeist? Oh, it was just Little
down inside probably hiding a nut.
squirrel loves to have his under-arm rubbed and scratched and will hold
his front arm up for you to be able to get to it. Old Man was
almost ready to take a nap it was feeling so good to him.
The sunshine brought out the Anoles as if a magnet pulling
them out to warm in its warm rays.
beautiful Amaryllis which was different from the ones you will see in
the florists or at Lowe's. These were beautiful surprises and
remembrances from the flowers I inherited after the passing of my next
door neighbor. She and her husband died within 6 months of
other and the son just wanted rid of all her plants.
16 years I finally got my first Blue Bird nesting pair and not just
I had another in a special Bluebird house I had brought from N. Georgia
made by an old fellow who made them and sold them all over the area
just trying to make a good habitat for Bluebirds, was also a blue bird
nest this year. However what
you wish for may turn on you and in this case the squirrels.
Bluebirds and the wren nesting just outside the back door all declared
war on the squirrels. There was not anywhere they could hide,
even on the
other side of the tree, which could not be found by the birds who were
sitting in wait for them each morning when I called them in to eat.
have been making jewelry this Spring since I had boxes of beads
bead making supplies and when I was at my Turtle Training I ran into a
lady selling turtle beads and I bought up all she had. It is
exciting for me to find someone who will buy a necklace from me which I
made, because I don't consider myself a really gifted bead maker.
Concours de'Ellegance Car Show came in April. One of the best
times for sales in my gallery is for a month before and the month of
the show. The rest of the year it is very sucky and this year
especially bad with the worst sales year any of us have ever had.
One of the judges for the car show turned up in the gallery
day during that time and we had a really fun conversation, sharing
stories (mostly from him) about the show. We both reminisced
about the year it rained. He was from England where you
have a rain backup plan. He said he asked what the rain plan
and they responded "there is none" as it never rains. He once
again asked "what is the rain plan?" with the same
It rained that year and it was a mess, cars were in the
garages, hastily put up tents and many which could not even get out of
the storage places. Now they have a rain plan in action and
year they had to use it. The predictions were for rain the
the car show so two days before they quickly switched the traditional
Sunday public car show back to Saturday. They managed to get
word out so all ticket holders and others planning on coming were able
to know about the change. A great part of the show which I
attended was the "free" part of the show. It was plenty of
for me to see. Since I no longer work the gallery on
with the gal who shares the space with us working instead, it was the
first time we had been able to go see any of it together.
drive through the park on a very, very windy day was so pretty as the
low sun hitting the Spanish Moss made it almost glow. It
was pretty swaying in the wind. Sorry I can't show you that
but take my word for it.
boys were patiently waiting for me with their paws crossed across their
chests, I just couldn't get the camera in time to catch them both in
More turtle things for me to show and sell out of the gallery.
was asked to start Turtle Patrol early this year since one of the
groups we report to require April monitoring of the beach also.
It is fun to find evidence of things which people put a lot
time into while they are visiting. Good therapy.
got involved this Spring also with the Home Extension Agency in the
area which seems to be extending its area of outreach in nature to more
than master gardening classes. I was contacted by their
Crab/turtle person, Lili. She had scheduled several 2 day
of the beaches in search of Horseshoe Crab Nesting area,s which could
proven as areas of nesting activity. Surveys were at high
tide in the
morning. We walked the edge of the water watching and
Horseshoe Crabs observed in mating and nesting activities.
Usually there will be several of the little males with
looks on their faces following the larger female around waiting for a
chance to be chosen as "the one" to fertilize her eggs when she puts
them into the depression in the sand in the edge of the water.
like to recycle things and brooches from yesteryear is one of those
things I find fun to create a necklace around. This one I was
unsure of since jewelry is outside my realm of expertise. I
the mechanics of it just not so sure I can determine what someone will
want hanging around their neck. I posted this one just to ask
advice from others as to whether it worked or not. I got
opinions from "leave it alone like it is" to "loose the pearls".
I went to a very wonderful beading person and friend and
her opinion. She also said don't do anything else to it.
She, as I did, liked the idea that the pearls were from the
as was the shell on her back of the sea turtle, to the shells scattered
around the necklace. So I left it and sold it before I got it
out in the jewelry case. Sometimes you just gotta go with
instincts which is, maybe, the most important part of being an
Horseshoe Crab activity on the beach with hundreds of nests like this
all over the nesting areas there and having maybe 50 a morning to
rescue which had gotten stuck in the sand or flipped upside down by the
of times these little pink crabs are hitch hiking on the backs of the
HS Crabs. They are very small about the size of a thumbnail
to get a glimpse of the morning sunrise or at least almost one.
You can still see the pier at this point but it is all gone
Our new beach buggy is such a nice thing.
A new painting which was almost finished at this point. I
need to take one more photo of it then the final glaze.
Festival came on cue a bit later than last year, but alway I have
turtle patrol on that Sunday. I was not able to go to see the
Blessing of the Fleet this year as I got stuck on gallery duty.
The parade was a really good one.
Shrimps were everywhere as usual.
Amy called me in for a consult on the first Sea Turtle nest on the 5th
of the month. It was her first day to be a real Turtle Lady
and luck would have it her first nest.
tracks came in right by the pier. Lucky for a first timer.
Of course she has ridden shotgun with me for a couple of
years and had lots of experience.
a visitor to my back yard window feeding station. I had never
seen a Grosbeak down here before...not to say we don't have them.
Holes like this are very bad things to leave on the beach.
Sea Turtles can only go forward and going head first into a
hole like this can be fatal. We filled this one in but it
could have already done its damage if it had been found by a turtle
during the night. It is also very dangerous for people
walking on the beach.
Every day we pick up a bag, a balloon and a bottle all plastic and all
dangerous to the marine life. A lot of it left my people
using the beach but more which is Marine Debris put in the water by
boaters, fishermen and cruise ships tossing garbage overboard.
I was a sad day for us as Amy & I were on hand for the first
bits of disassembly of our beloved pier. First the top
sections were removed a section at a time, then the concrete pillars
were cut off at water level, then divers came in and cut the sections
off at sea bed level. I believe some were driven into the
sand by big hydrollic hammer action.
A tiny new fawn was just had a few hours earlier beside the fort wall.
There were a couple of these. It must make the
mother feel protected to have them up against the wall.
It's first steps as it goes toward the mother who is in the edge of the
trees calling to it.
And then there is Mr. Gopher Tortoise out for his morning constitution
on the road to the parking lot on the East side of the Fort.
I helped with the Parks Kids Fishing Clinic. I got to work
the critter tank this year. We had a bunch of sea critters to
pick up and show to the kids. The summer came and was hot.
We have had a good year with the sea turtles. We
have not lost any nests thus far and we have not guess wrong on any of
the marked nests...they were all nests. We did have one which
we found after it hatched by following the tracks back to the nest
which we had not marked making it 40 nests total this year.
Not a record but a good year by being our third best yet.
The new gallery is at 26 S. 5th Street, behind the News Leader building
and diagonally across from The Patio Place. Please come to
see me. I am getting lots of new work done.