Days of Fading Light

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Late October and the days are filled with a lingering warmth and the golden light that will soon give way to a wintery chill and gently falling snow showers. I love the distinct seasons here in the midwest and, most of all, watching the shifts in texture, color and light on the Missouri River. As we look west-southwest from our location on the river, the sunsets are always a treat. Tonight, I caught the glow looking down the river…so serene.

Well, I feel I must extend my apologies once again, for abandoning this blog after I started my full-time job about seven months ago. Up until now, the learning curve and the investment of energy in work took everything I had. At the end of the day, there was nothing left for studio, much less keeping up with my online life. But, I sense the tide has turned! I’m confident now at work and can begin to think about creating work in my own studio again….and it feels about time! I’m reacquainting myself with the earlier me….the one who had the luxury of all the time in the world to be creating in the studio. Now, it’s a question of setting some priorities and a flexible schedule. For the artists out there with full-time jobs, I’d love to hear from you about how you manage to find time for your creative side. Perhaps you have found a way to balance work and life and art that you’d like to share with others….I welcome your thoughts.

In the meantime, Johntimothy and I are involved with a project for an upcoming gallery event in Sioux Falls that has gotten us both rejuvenated. We’re having great fun with this current collaboration. At this point, it’s a work in progress, so I can’t reveal the details, but promise I’ll write more about the project early next month when we’ve finished. In the meantime, here is a snapshot of a bit of the current chaos in our studio-


For me, the good news is that I’ve started making some intuitive drawings again. Rather than sticking to the strictness of a daily drawing project, which no longer seems feasible, I’ve relaxed the demands on myself and instead make a drawing when I have time. A couple recent drawings can be seen below.

Autumn drawing no. 1

Autumn drawing no. 1

Autumn drawing no. 2

Autumn drawing no. 2

I made the next drawing, seen below, using one of little rubber stamps from a alphabet set I have on my desk. I just grabbed the x as a kind of mark-making tool, started playing with it and then continued with pencil and ink. It occurred to me that it might be fun to do a suite of 26 drawings utilizing each of the letters of the alphabet….a kind of homage, since I am always filled with amazement at the infinite possibilities that can arise from our 26 basic letterforms. The alphabet, for me, is a little bit of magic!

Alphabet Suite: X

Alphabet Suite: X

Today, I began the suite of alphabet drawings….with the letter A, of course! This project will give me some needed focus and provide a little challenge as I explore the possibilities. I look forward to holding a stack of 26 beeswaxed drawings….yummy!

Alphabet Suite: A

Alphabet Suite: A

These drawings will all find their way into my Etsy shop, MissouriBendStudio….just give me some time, as that’s another area of life I’ve not been good at keeping up with, alas. In the meantime, another week begins….I hope yours is productive, creative and rewarding!


The Daily Practice: Bonnie Kayser

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As readers of this blog know, I am committed to a daily drawing practice (when life doesn't intervene!) and I am also curious about other artists who have a daily practice of some kind, as well as the different ways the practice can play out.  I met Bonnie Kayser not long ago on Instagram where I post my daily drawings. We struck up a conversation and found that we were kindred spirits. Bonnie also has a daily drawing practice and I've invited her to share some thoughts and images with you. Hope you are inspired as I have been!


It was last June as my students walked out the studio classroom door, when my then sporadic drawing efforts unofficially shifted into a daily practice. My own work had been taking an increasingly deeper backseat to the support of fledgling art students. While a worthy, consuming passion in it’s own right, teaching had left me parched and hungry for the process of art making.  Thus, as summer began, my appetite was achingly strong for the nourishment of my soul food! 

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While there was no particular plan for my new routine, nor for the direction it might take, my sketchbooks seemed to lure me in at least once a day. At first, the art was completely random in nature. Each day a new medium, style, content, found expression on the pages. Direction didn’t matter. Time with charcoals, pastels, pencils, inks and pens was taking me back home to myself as an artist. 

Now, as bright autumn leaves drift to the ground, I continue to show up at the page each day - grounding myself. 


My artist home is incredibly personal, while at the same time absolutely public. The daily sessions with my sketchbook heighten my awareness on many levels. Certainly, visual acuity is increased as I go through the day pausing to examine intriguing textures, colors, and creating compositions. Yes, I’m the one who is stopped by the side of the road to capture the storm clouds brewing or the remains of an eagle’s wing. The more I draw, the more I notice the specifics of things; I become curious about different vantage points, how things work, their history, how they feel both to the touch and or energetically. It is this heightened awareness, this curiosity, ignited by a regular drawing practice that opens me up to the world in an authentic way. It does not matter what I am physically drawing. More often than not, the content is visually abstract. The connection is created rather in the process of the making, what that process ignites within, as well as within others. Sharing my work takes the process to another level. Dialog and experiencing others creative responses to the world completes the circle of connection for me. Personal and public. 

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Drawing daily truly keeps me grounded in a way nothing else really can. By design, I do not put any rules or goals on my practice other than making it happen. This is important for me. Each day the page before me is blank, open to anything. At times in my life that has been intimidating. Now it is like freedom defined! These pages are my playground, science laboratory and journal all rolled into one magical place. They need to be uncensored, without boundaries or requirements. There are other places for more structure in my artwork. Daily practice is definitely my refuge for creative expression and grounding. 

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Sweet surprise: this daily practice of showing up for myself affirms for me I AM an artist. It’s not about how “good” or “talented” I may or may not be. It’s not about how I make my living. It is about how I think, what and who I am drawn to, what ignites my passion, where I choose to live….really it is how I move in the world. All this from a daily, abstract drawing? It would seem to be, yes. 

I share my drawing practice on Instagram, and welcome anyone who wishes to join the conversation to visit me there! @bonniekayserart

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