Wine & Canvas: Whimsical Winter Tree

We had a packed house at Wine & Canvas last Friday night. This was a private class to celebrate a birthday! As always, there were many unique backgrounds and trees. While everyone was painting, laughter and giggling filled the room—that is always a good sign. Thanks again to all who were able to join us.

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Whimsical Winter Haiku

Swirling snow
floating from sky
tips of branches glisten

~

I hope you have had a happy weekend!

~Nicole

Let’s Celebrate!

What’s Up December?

I am celebrating today because this is my 100th blog post! Thank you to all the readers and followers that continue to support The Whispering Pen! I appreciate you!

This is a busy month. Denise and I are hosting three Wine & Canvas events, I have several assignments with the St. Charles Press, an assignment for Radish, a Rochester Post Bulletin subsidiary, and a trip to my hometown to celebrate the holidays and my mom’s birthday!

December 5th Wine & Canvas Event is “A Bottle of Red.”

Wine & Canvas events for December 2014

December 12th Wine & Canvas Event is a “Snowman.”

December Events Wine and Canvas Snowman

December 19th Wine & Canvas Event is “A Whimsical Holiday Tree.”

I didn’t have time to create this painting over the weekend…perhaps next weekend.

This month I am reading short stories from Stephen King’s, Skeleton Crew, and Sand in My Bra and Other Misadventures: funny women write from the road. I’ll dig into another novel in January when I have more time to devote to reading.

I’ll also provide more tips for poets courtesy of the Portable MFA in Creative Writing.

And, the best part, exploring more haiku.

Memories Haiku

Memories fading
one by one—
journal entry remains.

What are you up to in the month of December?

~Nicole

 

 

 

Wine & Canvas: A Rustic Tree

Saturday, November 15th was the fourth Wine & Canvas event. Denise and I had 21 lovely ladies join us for this event. Thankfully we had an additional easel as we were only set up for 20.

Wine & Canvas Rustic Tree

We had many familiar faces and lots of new faces. Everyone had their own take on the Rustic Tree subject matter. A few ladies wanted trees in a spring or summer setting. I couldn’t blame them, it was 20ish degrees and snowing (again) last night.

There are several pictures below thanks to Denise’s dedication to capturing the process as we filled our canvases with paint.

A big thank you to all the ladies who were able to join us for the Rustic Tree event! We have three Wine & Canvas events planned for December, two are private parties. The next one is a wine bottle and wine glass on December 5th. I’ll have a sneak peek once I get each one painted.

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Wine & Canvas Haiku

Blank canvas
a brush pushing paint
laughter fills the room.

How do you feel when looking at a blank canvas or blank screen?

~Nicole

 

A Tasty Chocolate Cupcake

Surprise!

I bet you were expecting to see a delicious, fresh-baked chocolate cupcake right out of the oven.

Cupcake Painting for a birthday party

Nope, just a delicious looking cupcake that made its way onto the blank canvas.

On Saturday, my friend Denise (from Wine and Canvas) is hosting a birthday party at her yoga studio for a young girl in our community. She asked if I would teach a painting class for the girls.

Denise is teaching a 30 minute yoga session first, and then the birthday girl, and nine of her friends, are going to get creative! I thought this was a wonderful idea for a child’s birthday party!

Cupcake Haiku

Dollop of icing
atop the rich, gooey cake.
Time to celebrate.

~Nicole

 

Paint the Town

On Friday, October 17th, Denise hosted another Wine & Canvas event at Illuminate Yoga Studio. We had 18 people, our largest group yet. The painting we chose was “Make a Wish.” But, as the creativity was unleashed many people changed their painting to say Peace, Love, Joy, Blessings and other greetings.

It was such a joy to create this painting with many new faces and many familiar faces. Some of the ladies that attended have been to all three events Denise and I have offered. We are very grateful for all who have attended, and I am grateful for Denise, who has been a wonderful friend and host for these events.

Make a Wish painting for Wine and Canvas

“Make a Wish” Haiku

Believe in yourself
and your wishes will come true—
Grateful and humble.

Here are a few images from Friday’s event.

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There will be another Wine & Canvas event on Saturday, November 15th at 6:30.

Wishing you a great week!

~Nicole

 

Save Room for Dessert

Hello Everyone,

Today is the last day of September, and though I planned to end the Haiku Challenge today, I decided to continue this process. However, instead of posting one haiku per day, I am going to post one per week.

What’s Up October?

My upcoming schedule looks about as hectic as September.

October 4th – Blacklight Bubble Party 5K. I cajoled some of my fitness friends to join me. It’s at 7 pm in Rochester and starts at Silver Lake Park. It ends at Legends Bar.

October 9th – I need to complete a piece of artwork to donate to the MMPA silent auction. Not sure what I am going to paint.

October 12th – Reiki article due. I am almost finished. I am hoping to turn it in early.

October 17th – Wine & Canvas. We are featuring “Make a Wish.”

Upcoming paintings

I’ll also be working on three more paintings. I have the “Make a Wish” painting to finish and the other two are for children’s painting events that are both on November 1st. I am keeping these on the October to-do list so Denise can post them on the Illuminate Yoga website. I am also planning another November Wine & Canvas. We already have one scheduled for December 12th. Yikes! Lots of painting coming up!

And, the Haiku Challenge lives strong this month. I hope you have enjoyed them as much as I have.

Wine Tasting-due to privacy reasons, images have been omitted. I will repost when the article is released.

Last night, some friends and I indulged in dessert wine, decadent chocolates and spectacular cheeses for an article I am writing. A few ladies from Rochester Women magazine gathered at Jorrie’s house for an evening of food and fun.

Jorrie is the editor and publisher of the magazine and she asked me to take over the wine column after the current writer moved out of the area. Since many of the wines we feature are made from local wineries, it would have been impossible for the writer to continue writing the column.

I’ll give you a taste of our evening, but only a sliver. I want it to entice you to read the article when it’s published November 1st.

 

Last night, we tasted four different dessert wines from four different local wineries. We had Chocolate Truffle Pig from Elmaro Winery (does the name sound familiar? Adlai and I were there a couple of weeks ago), Bootlegger’s Red from Cannon River Winery, Dark Skies from Salem Glen Winery and Riverport White from Garvin Heights Winery.

 

Jorrie put together a delicious spread of blue cheese, gorgonzola cheese and brie cheese (not shown) from People’s Co-op in Rochester, Minnesota. She also shared a plate of dried fruit and mixed nuts with us, along with the white and dark chocolate from the Chocolaterie located at University Square in Rochester, Minnesota.

 

Day 30: Haiku Challenge

Grapes, berries, and spice.
Cordial glasses filled for an
evening delight.

Do you prefer dessert wine or wine that is appropriate for dinner?

~Nicole

The Tree of Life at Wine & Canvas

Happy Monday! (Is there such a thing?)

Friday, September 19th marked the second Wine & Canvas Event. Once again we had a great turn out. There were 12 spots that sold out within a week of the class being advertised. We even allowed two more to join because of the popularity.

Denise and I had everything set up by about 6:15 and had a little time to catch our breath. The painting we completed was the Tree of Life.

We painted the Tree of Life for Wine and Canvas

 

Everything is set up and we are ready for Wine & Canvas

Everyone arrived around 6:30 p.m. They poured their wine and hand-picked some of the delectable cheese and crackers Denise had purchased for the event. There was cranberry cheese and honey cheese and more…

For the painting, the background was a mixture of warm and cool color swirls, and once again, all the paintings were unique.

We started by painting cool colored circles mixing greens, blues and purples.

We started creating cool colored circles.

 

Wine & Canvas paints a tree...creating cool colored circles Wine & Canvas paints a tree...creating cool colored circles Wine & Canvas paints a tree...creating cool colored circles

Then, we moved on and painted the upper half of the canvas with warm colors—reds, yellows and oranges. After the upper half was completed, we painted our landscape and trees.

Wine & Canvas paints a tree and landscape

Wine & Canvas paints a tree Wine & Canvas paints a tree

And the finished product…

Wine & Canvas paints a tree Wine & Canvas paints a tree Wine & Canvas paints a tree Wine & Canvas paints a tree

Wine & Canvas paints a tree

The next painting coming up in October is Make a Wish! Stay tuned for details.

And now for the haiku challenge.

Day 22: Haiku Challenge

Blended colors pose
in the background while The Tree
of Life grows roots.

Have you been to a Wine & Canvas event?

~Nicole

 

 

I’m Falling for Autumn

We are days away from the fall equinox, but, in my mind, when the leaves start changing colors, fall has arrived. I walked around my neighborhood Monday evening with my camera in tow. I snapped a few pictures of the maple leaves that had already started taking on a new color.

I liked this one…its time had come. The leaf had matured into a beautiful and orange-hued maple leaf and left the comfort of the big maple tree. It was resting gently on the ground.

Autumn colorful maple leaf

Day 16: Haiku Challenge

Veins long and leggy.
Maple leaf changing color—
now, autumn is here.

As I continue my haiku challenge, I wanted to highlight the importance of ‘Morning Pages.’ About 10 years ago, I was introduced to Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way. She teaches her students to be “unblocked artists” by writing “Morning Pages,” or essentially, keeping a journal.

Since I have always kept a journal, it was a natural transition for me to write every morning. She prescribed three pages using ink and paper. I completed these pages for years, until one day I just stopped. I put the pages away for several years, and then began writing them again.

At this stage in my life, I write them for a few months and take a month or two off and repeat that cycle over and over. Recently, I found myself in need of the pages again. I always need them, but I don’t always write them. So Tuesday morning, I found myself scribing words, thoughts, dreams and prayers inside my journal.

A notebook and pen to jot down thoughts.

Day 17: Haiku Challenge

Words flooding from my
pen. Dreams scattered on paper
line, by line, by line.

The “Morning Pages” are honest and truthful. They always uncover what I am thinking, but sometimes ignoring on the surface. My husband and I love the Southwest. Arizona and New Mexico always come up in conversation when it comes to living in a new location. I found myself writing about the Southwest today.

So tonight, I found a decorative ceramic plate my mom gave to me on one of her trips to the Southwest. It resides in my china cabinet for now. Maybe some day it will have a mate and I will use them for more than decor.

Ceramic Decorative Spanish Plate

Day 18: Haiku Challenge

Flower petals are
bursting with warm yellow hues—
art of the Southwest.

I hope you have had a great week and accomplished all the writing goals you set.

Has anyone read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron? What is your take on the book?

~Nicole

Does Writer’s Block Exist?

Is writer’s block real?

I don’t suffer from writer’s block. I don’t think I ever have, and I believe this to be true because there are always thoughts that ping pong in my head. There is always room for a journal entry which can be transformed into a personal essay or haiku. I also use writing prompts that inspire me so that I can get something on the paper, even if I later discover that it’s trash.

However, I know this is not true for everyone. As I was reading a fellow writer’s blog, I came across this post by Ryan Lanz from A Writer’s Path. I love how he describes those challenging times when the words aren’t flowing. He refers to it as a knot. That was the perfect explanation for how I feel sometimes—not blocked, just undoing a knot. He also has some clever ways to beat the block.

And now, for my daily Haiku

I took these pictures on Thursday in Winona, Minnesota. I love all forms of art, and graffiti simply intrigues me. I know this is a controversial topic because many graffiti artists use private property as their canvas. I am not encouraging vandalism or trespassing, but when I see artwork, like the images below, I feel it is more beautiful than the train car itself.

So, today my haiku is focused on graffiti instead of nature. All four pictures depict one panoramic painting on a train car.

Graffiti on a train in Winona, Minnesota.

Graffiti on a train in Winona, Minnesota. Graffiti on a train in Winona, Minnesota. Graffiti on a train in Winona, Minnesota.

Day 5: Haiku Challenge

I am mystified.
Bloated shapes and swirling lines,
vivid color passing by.

Happy Friday!

Do you have writer’s block from time to time? 

What are your thoughts on graffiti?

~Nicole

Creative Minds

Happy Friday! I would say finally, but the week went by fast and we have a three day weekend coming up. Woo Hoo! I see lots of writing and reading time in my future! Maybe a few pictures too.

A couple of weeks ago, I received my assignment from the editor of Experience Rochester. This is my third year with this publication and I always love the assignments. In the past, I have written about SEMVA art gallery and the Farmers Market.

This year is different, I am not writing an article per se, but I am collecting fun facts about two creative people from Rochester to compile into a summary. Wednesday, I had the pleasure of interviewing a young woman who had a small part in the movie The Wolf of Wallstreet that starred Leonardo DiCaprio. I spoke to Emily Tremaine and collected information about some of the roles she has played in, where she went to school and various other fun facts for the ‘Creative Minds’ summary in Experience Rochester.

Then, yesterday, I interviewed someone who works at the Mayo Clinic as a glass blower. He makes scientific glassware that is used for testing human tissues and many other things. Not only does he create scientific glassware, but he also creates blown glass Christmas ornaments and small decorative bottles. The only problem…I forgot my camera yesterday. Well, actually, I didn’t feel comfortable taking my camera. I wasn’t hired to take the pictures (which usually doesn’t stop me), I was hired to interview and compile information. I am kicking myself now. I was able to watch him in action. He did a couple of demonstrations for me and I left the interview with an original piece of blown glass. The whole experience was amazing!! I’ll post this piece in January when the magazine is released.

What’s scheduled for September?

Publications

I have an article coming out in Rochester Women called Pairing Women with Wine.

I have another piece coming out in The Wagazine, it’s called Happy Hounds.

Flash Fiction

I plan to post a flash fiction writing prompt once a week along with a 750ish word flash fiction piece. The first piece I will post is based on Tuesday’s writing prompt.

Haiku Challenge

I am also going to take the “Haiku challenge.” I have seen a few websites that have daily Haiku challenges and even contests. I am doing one that is slightly different, I will be taking several pictures throughout the month of September. Then, each day, I will create a Haiku to go along with an image and post it.

Wine and Canvas

In the month of August, I taught my my first wine and canvas event. It was very successful! We had ladies asking when the next event would be taking place. So, Denise and I scheduled the next Wine & Canvas event for September 19th! Stay tuned, I’ll give a few sneak peeks as I prepare for the next event.

Dessert Wine with the Girls

On the 13th, I’m meeting with several Rochester Women writers, editors, photographers and other staff members for another wine tasting event. This month it’s dessert wine. I am very excited for this event because I love sweet wines and ports.

Memoirs

I have four or five more pieces to edit and post. I am sharing these particular essays because I submitted these to an editor to land my first writing gig.

September Reading Material

The only book I have on the list right now is Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects. I am sure this list will grow to at least one more.

How is your September shaping up?