Underpass

The streets are quiet as I walk to the creek. I hurry through the ugly underpass, remembering a time when I loved the city and its grey places of decay.

In the woods, the sun lights up the bends of the creek where I sit on a log and draw two trees.

It’s not the forest’s fault I forgot how to love an urban eyesore.

On the way home a crow is in the underpass throwing his ingracious voice into the amplified cavern. I take a moment to consider the stately cement columns caught in the sideways light, then startle when a shadow slips along the street from the sidewalk above.

Who better than a loud crow to revive the glamour of an ugly underpass?

Habitat

The other day I woke up on the couch after a nap and felt like an adult suddenly. Like my spirit was intact in my body, settled into my life choices and needing only to continue along on this amazing adventure with complete trust in my capableness.

Eventually I had to get up to shower and prepare for the next day and the feeling faded. But for a couple days after I felt unrushed, content to do the dishes by hand, eager to clean the bathroom because it’s such a rewarding task. Also, the hot-pink blow dryer I bought on sale was no longer a disappointment because it is useful even if garish.

I remembered my hermit days and how I loved to cook and wash the dishes. How one day a week I cleaned my apartment and it was my favorite day. It seems so charming until I remember how depressed and lonely I was.

I wonder if I can extract that mindful element of enlightenment philosophy and carry it with me on this inward journey into the depths of an engaged life.

I don’t see why not.

I consider Landscape Diaries and how it started out as an attempt to remove the idea of a boundary between my psyche and nature. What if I also removed the imaginary boundary between nature and my indoor habitats—my job, my home, my endeavors, other people?

We are all still mammals. Everywhere we go is our habitat, everything we do is part of our nature but there’s no reason not to seize the opportunity our divided brains give us to cultivate the best parts of our nature, to make habitat for ourselves that supports our beauty instead of anxiety and isolation.

I have no idea how I’ll do this, but I am up for the adventure.

Newport

I had a great time at the coast a couple weekends ago, taking my books to the Newport Autumn Fest and Lincoln City’s Artisan Market. I really appreciate all the support from people who purchased my books or just spent time reading them in my booth.

One woman purchased a copy of “Patefacia and the Crickets.” for a teen she knows who is struggling with depression. It was very touching to me that one of my art pieces might provide solace and understanding for someone who’s having trouble stepping fully into life. It’s not as easy as it should be.

I got some beach time in as well as a hike after the shows were over. It was a great weekend.

Since I’ve been back I’ve started work on some final draft pages for my next book, it’s slow going right now but I’m really excited about it!

Remakes

I remade a couple of my books from 2013, The Wind Returns with Autumn. and Patefacia and the Crickets. I didn’t have good photo editing skills back then so the books always printed dark. Also I made a new cover for The Wind Returns. and shortened the title. The old cover was smaller than the print size and I never really like how that turns out. The new cover does not exactly flow with the illustrations but I still like it better.

I was tempted to redo the whole thing since I’ve gained a lot of skills since 2013 but I want to move forward with my new book. Maybe in the future I will get to that. The poem is one of my favorites and one of my more relatable ones so I think it deserves the attention. It’s always challenging as an artist to know when promoting old work detracts from what you are doing now and when it adds to your history and depth.

Both books are in my shop on the front page!

Studio Update

I had a great time at the Belmont Street Fair last month. Since then I’ve started a new book which will be my first attempt to channel my illustrations and writing into a children’s book format. So far I have the pages all sketched out and have been doing some studies to develop my style more intentionally before I start in. I also bought some new boards for stretching paper as I will have a lot more pages going at once than normal!

You can always catch the latest on my Instagram @alexandra.schaefers

I am taking a break from Landscape Diaries, because I feel like doing some experimental writing and not being on (or wishing I was sticking to) a posting schedule.

I just rearranged my web-site a bit. If you have opinions about that sort of thing, let me know what you think!

Belmont Street Fair

I’m going to have all my books at the Belmont Street Fair this Saturday September 14th from 10 am to 6 pm. I’m in booth #144 between 33rd and 34th street.

I’ve been very busy getting my Landscape Diaries chapbook ready! I’m really happy with how it turned out! The hardest part was choosing which pieces to include. I asked a couple friends to tell me their faves. One of whom is a very gifted printmaker whose work you should check out, Patricia Giraud. I’m not great at analyzing art but it seems to me that Patricia and I both work closely with the moody, dark and intricate beauty of the human connection to the natural world but that we do it it very opposite ways. Patricia renders exquisitely detailed drawings and prints and I make more gestural paintings and whimsical illustrations.

If you can’t make it to the fair Landscape Diaries is available on MagCloud.

The Gift of Birds in Print

top on top of original illustrations used in the book

The Gift of Birds is now available in my shop!

The above photo shows one copy on a pile of the original illustrations. I took this to get some Instagram glam in my on-line presence. Probably not most people’s idea of glamorous but I really enjoy turning my writings into illustrated books!

I took a copy to the nearest Little Free Library at 35th and Spring Garden as has become my tradition when I finish a new book. I’ll keep that up until I no longer live in walking distance of a Little Free Library.