Almost Showtime!

Yes, I am a creativity junkie. But then you already know that, don’t you? My upcoming Holiday Fair is NEXT WEEKEND Dec 2/3 and I still have embellished boxes and original watercolors and sumi-e paintings and greeting card sets to finish up and package and oh my!!

Betsy Schulte-Fessler will be joining me with her wonderful repurposed lamps and globes. My favorite is the Studebaker lamp made from a car jack. Its just plain cool! There will be lamps made from oil cans and lamps with Edison bulbs. And they will all be lit up so you can see them live.

I rarely do in-person shows, so please come on by and say hello. Purchase an Earth Prayeras a gift for a loved one or yourself. Support a local artist who supports the earth with her work. And remember to scroll all the way down to hear about “Podlette.”

Creatively Yours,

Oh yes, and did you hear? We are now the proud owners of an off-road capable tear drop trailer! It’s our new base camp for adventures into the wilds of this beautiful planet. The photo to the left is from our first night of camping in it in the Mojave Preserve near the cinder cone area. Podlette needs a name – send your ideas! 





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Autumn News!

 It’s been quite an eventful fall already, hasn’t it?

Our latest adventure was to the wilds of southern Utah, northern Arizona in the Verm

illion Cliffs area, and eastern Nevada. We roamed among red rock and white rock formations that felt like alien landscapes. Did loads of slogging through red sand and had bats visiting our camp in the evening.

I was very grateful to just be in the desert as I didn’t know if I could go until the last few days before we left. The truck was packed to the gills with two photographers, all their gear and a week of camping gear and food. Perhaps that’s why one of my hiking boots decided to take a long rest along the way and still hasn’t returned?

Then we came home to wildfires and worry and smoke in the air. I had to pack up again and head to the coast to find air I could breathe. A reminder of the precious nature of our planet and of what we too often take for granted. Grateful that those dear to me survived intact in this craziness.

And now onto the news! On the first weekend of December, I will be sharing a booth with Betsy Fessler at the 30th Annual Holiday Craft Faire atFremont High School (1279 Sunnyvale Saratoga Rd, Sunnyvale, CA 94087.).

Betsy makes the most amazing lamps and other treasures from found objects – they are really cool! I am bringing my new collection of embellished boxes (that’s the Flower Box on the photo – inside is a six pack of dried rose buds), earrings, and of course, Earth

Prayers – original sumi-e and watercolors as well as greeting cards.

The hours for the Holiday Faire are Saturday December 2nd, 10am-5pm  and Sunday December 3rd from 10am to 3:30pm. I look forward to seeing your smiling face there!

I am also working on an online class that is all about teaching folks how to create their own Earth Prayers. Look for that in the new year!

Last, I have two paintings in the Harvest Festival Show up at the ANEW Gallery in San Francisco: Lady of the Ocean, Singing and Black Madonna, Love at the Center.

Yours in red thread and creativity,

P.S. I donate a portion of my profits to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Sierra Club. My way of helping to insure our planet gets the support she needs.

Photograph Above: Intersections & Connections, Coyote Butte South, Arizona. ©2017 Annette Wagner. Prints available for sale. 

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Desert Wildflowers: Part 1 Amboy Crater

Wildflower hunting in the desert. Dust. Heat. Color. Life! I’ve been wanting to see the desert bloom for a long time. We usually head into the desert in the fall or winter. So when my partner and I realized we had time in our schedule to duck out for a long weekend and the blooms were starting to happen, well beastie truck practically packed itself.


Our first hunting expedition led us through Amboy, California which is a 1950s ghost town with one gas station and Roy’s – a motel ala museum complete with a canonical sign. We topped off Beastie’s tank while I took in the still-as-it-was motel lobby complete with a small carousel horse and a 1950s couch. Oh my such delights!

From there we drove a short distance to Amboy Crater which was in full bloom. I fell in love with wildflower hunting with my first step on the trail and the joy of finding beauty hidden where you least expect it. Seeing the scrubby, grey, dried out creosote bushes of fall and winter transform into green leaves and yellow blossoms which litter the sands around the plant with little golden petals.

Finding fast moving many legged beetles with an odd sort of iridescent shell until I suddenly realize they are covered in pollen and thats why they look like that. Coming around a corner and sending a lizard flying with its tail curled way up in the air. Then watching as it stops and checks me out. Then look out, there are two of them racing down the trail!

Peeking carefully under and around the bushes to find green grass mixed with little fiddleback sorts of flowers that come in yellow or white or blue depending on where you find them. Always keeping an eye out for snakes. Dancing as I walk on the earth trying to avoid tiny yellow daisy flowers while enjoying them out at the same time.

We hiked towards the crater wandering with lots of stops on the way. It was very hot and little shade and I am not one to perch in the desert sun without serious wilting. Thank goodness there was a breeze and a couple of shade stations to sit in out of the sun. As it was, I did get overheated by the end of it.

That said, I did a number of little sketches of flowers and a couple of larger watercolors attempting to capture the lovely fields against the mountains and sky and clouds while the man wandered about with his camera. The fields were golden yellow against the greenery and the mountains with groupings of white and purple and pink scattered about.

The fields were alive with critters happily doing their thing. Ravens talking to us. Lizards. Beetles. Birds. Lots of bees and insects flying about. People have said you can’t really understand how much the desert comes alive after the rains until you see it transform and they are right. It’s as if a light switch was turned on and suddenly everyone is dancing and growing and blooming. 

My flickr album is here.

Next stop: Mojave Preserve

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The Gift of Sumi-e

Sue sketching on the Seine River in Paris, 2014
Sue sketching on the Seine River in Paris, 2014

Yesterday was Sue Hoya Sellars’ birthday; she would have been 80 years old. Sue was my mentor – the one who taught me how to do sumi-e sketching. How to sketch in nature and connect to the essence of what I was drawing or painting.

Yesterday early in the morning, I drove up to Russian Ridge Open Space near my home and walked up the hills through the lush wildflowers that have sprouted this season from all the rains. I had my backpack full of watercolor paper, watercolors and my pens at the ready. My small daily notebook was in my hand awaiting inspiration. I wandered up the hills, stopping to take pictures and to draw.

After getting almost to the top of the trail, I stopped at an intersection. My plan was to go to the top of Borego Hill, but another hill beckoned and so I stood for a moment feeling that tug. Then placed my feet on the trail and climbed up the lightly used trail to the other hill. Checker bloom, lupine, poppies, vines with white flowers – the profusion of flowers was breathtaking. I got up to the top of the hill and looked out over the rolling vistas of green, and then planted myself on the earth and brought out my watercolor paper. I asked what wanted to be drawn and got to work.

After my first sumi-e lesson with Sue many years ago, she told me to go home and practice sumi-e every day for at least 30 minutes. Mind you, I had a young child, a crumbling marriage and was in the midst of writing my master’s thesis. I didn’t know how to find another 30 minutes in my day!

Yet, somehow I stuck with it and found time to practice. The whole idea of connecting to the essence of a plant or creature or rock tugged at me. Sitting in front of a leaf or rock or flower became a way to meditate and ground myself. A way to connect to the essence of this amazing planet we walk upon. It became prayer – earth prayers.

Gradually over time, I began taking a sketchbook with me when I went for a walk. I found a cool ink brush cartridge pen to use that I could carry with me easily. I made myself pull out my sketchbook everywhere – even when I felt embarrassed because I wasn’t “any good”. Soon I was going for walks just so I could sketch. I realized with time that THIS was my work in the world. This connecting to the earth, this honoring of the essence of these things that asked to be drawn.

I got better and more confident and learned how to draw leaves and trees and stones and birds and wildflowers. How to use the tip of the brush to make fat lines and fine detailed lines. How to create a leaf in one stroke. How to capture feather in all its beauty. How to draw a line that flew like the birds I watched.

Somewhere along the way, I began posting my sketches on Facebook and started adding words to them which turned into poetry. I published a set of greeting cards as an experiment. And now, I am developing a line of meditation posters based on these earth prayers and poetry. They want to go out into the world and do their work; my job is to give them wings.

Sue didn’t know that putting a sumi-e brush in my hand and sitting me down in front of moon shell would end me up here. What she did is believe in me and that can take a person anywhere they want to go.

Thank you Sue. May you walk in the cosmos knowing my earth prayers are flying to meet you.

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