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Newsletter December 2011

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Newsletter December 2011

NEWSLETTER December 2011

Greetings from the mountains of western Maine!

Short days, cold nights, soup simmering on the woodstove—December is a season for sticking close to hearth and home here. Our summer residents are long gone, leaving only a few hardy friends behind.

I always wonder where they have all gone, and what adventures they are having. The robins, vultures, myrtle warbler, and some of the sparrows are wintering down the east coast, in warmer parts of the U.S. The wood thrush and veery have gone to Central America. So has the chestnut-sided warbler. Some of the smallest ones journey the farthest. The yellowthroat may travel as far as the West Indies, and the brilliantly colored redstart even as far as Brazil. The tiny ruby-throated hummingbird spends its winters in Mexico or Central America.

The groundhog is deep in the winter sleep of hibernation, its body processes slowed to a faint shadow of life. The chipmunk sleeps deeply but does not truly hibernate. Occasionally he wakes and eats some of the food stored in his underground storeroom. The raccoons and skunks also sleep, but will be up and about from time to time, foraging for food. The snow will soon be full of tracks from the deer, foxes, and coyotes, who carry on business regardless of the season, and are ranging far in their search for provisions.

Different species of butterfly handle the winter months in different ways. The mourning cloak butterfly winters over as an adult. It is the first large butterfly to appear in the spring, usually looking ragged and worn. The tiger swallowtail hibernates in its chrysalis, and enters the butterfly procession in June, just in time for the lilacs. The admirals and viceroys spend the winter as caterpillars, so they appear later in the summer.

And our amazing monarch butterflies journey 2000 miles or more, some even traveling as far as central Mexico. In the spring the migrants begin the flight home, but they stop in the southern U.S. to mate and lay eggs. It is their descendents who continue the trip north to leave their brightly striped progeny on our milkweed plants.

The studio work has been of the invisible kind this past month, as befits the season. My biggest project has been to start building a website for myself. It will pull together all my print-on-demand sites and provide one landing page for my image gallery and blog. This has been in the planning stages for a long time, so it is really satisfying to get it underway now.

I have been starting from scratch, learning about the WordPress software and working through all the design and construction issues. What color background will show off the images best? How big a header do I want? And what goes on it? And what pages will I need? I want to do the best job I can to showcase what I am doing in my studio on a day to day basis. And hey, if you have any suggestions or requests, let me know. After all, this is for you. Needless to say, I am having a blast doing this. I love the challenge, and I love the desiign work. It will be fun to watch it unfold. Stay tuned for new developments.

My gift to you this month is a breath of summer, a file of the canada lily drawing attached to this email. You may do with it as you wish.

For more information on “Swift River Treasures,” my artmaking process, or recent work, or to check out my blog, see my website at Here you can order prints of my work, and have them matted and framed if you choose, courtesy of Fine Art America’s great print-on-demand service. They also offer greeting cards, either single or in packages.

If you want to look at the Moments of Transcendence book, here is the link to it on the booksite: . And my online stores for shirts, mugs, and housewares can be found at (the Swift River Treasures art) and (the Explorations and Moments of Transcendence art).

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” (Edith Sitwell)

Thanks for joining me in the journey. I hope that you enjoy looking at the art as much as I have enjoyed making it! I would love to hear from you, too, so please do reply with comments.