Spring Will Come Momcat.

Spring is on its way. I feel sure of that, because it always comes. It must, because that’s what it does.  I never really thought about spring so much until I came to Wisconsin. Where I came from, spring was just an extension of winter. Southern Missouri has fairly mild winters with spring beginning to show herself about the first part of February. I used to plant potatoes around St. Patrick’s Day when I lived there. Easter Lilies are in full force by Mid-March.

My first winter in Wisconsin freaked me out. I remember it snowed in October and didn’t melt until May that year. I had only experienced winter as a minor three-month cold snap, so to say I was uninitiated was no exaggeration. But I got hip pretty quickly. I bought all the necessary clothing and hunkered down.

I tried to enjoy the winter hiking and such, but the first time the skin on my face cracked, I stopped walking the trails in the snow. Now I only go outside to go from one controlled environment to the other, house to car to house etc.

All my friends say I should learn to love the out-of-doors in winter, but I don’t like being outside in warm weather so why should I learn to do so in sub-zero temps? I have spent most of my life figuring out how to not be exposed to the elements. I’m too pale and too much of a house cat to be unprotected in any season winter or summer, and yes, I do know about sunscreen.

Don’t feel sorry for me. To each her own, I say. I love my books and music and snuggling down with my cat and my husband in all kinds of weather, happily oblivious to the elements of climate. So, ‘why’, you may ask, do I care what season it is? One reason only. Because spring brings all my seasonal friends back to Wisconsin.

All the snow birds come flying home from parts south, both human and fowl. My business picks up and I thrive on the good company and stories of adventure from them. I get a vicarious thrill from your travels and exploits. I have my own feats of strength to report too. Keeping my head in lean times, and finding solace in my art for one.

For instance, the planets seemed aligned for me to be practicing music again. I haven’t picked up my dulcimer or learned a new lyric, never mind performed, in several years. This winter I was invited to sing with my daughter in a one-night performance locally and since I had to ‘get in shape’ for that I just kept on rehearsing, and adding to my rusty repertoire, and I must tell you, I’m diggin’ it!

No snow shoeing for me thank you very much. I wish you the best of luck in your sports and winter activities as I while away the hours in sweet repose in my warm cocoon, singing my songs and reading poetry and sleeping.

Meanwhile, at the gallery, I have renovated my wearable art department and enlarged the dressing room. It’s what I’ve envisioned for some time and I’m so happy to have had the chance this season to finally realize that vision.

I just returned from the American Handcrafted Show in Philadelphia, PA and bought a lot of very cool art and craft. I have finished several new paintings and I just can’t wait for you all to get yourselves back to Spooner, Wisconsin and visit me. If you’re already here, by all means won’t you come see me?

Here’s a poem I wrote many years ago called ‘Spring Will Come Momcat”.
When I was a kid, we oftentimes were deep in the throes of poverty. This poem is about one of those times.

My dad was a shade tree mechanic and he owned a small garage where he eked out a very small living. I often missed school for lack of proper winter gear and shoes, and my siblings and I were forced to huddle all five in a bed for warmth. In spite of its mild winters, the Ozarks can be a harsh place when you’re poor.

These times are part of my history, part of the reason for any strength or courage I have, and a large part of who I have become spiritually and creatively. I cherish those times and embrace them as such. This is not a poem of sadness or a time I’m bitter about. It’s meant to be a poem of courage and optimism. I hope you’ll see it that way too.

Spring Will Come, Momcat

Small clouds of breath times five.
My nose so cold I can’t feel it running.
Little bony knees and elbows poking,
hoping we can stand the crushing boredom
for a few more hours. I’m the eldest.
It’s my job to tell stories.

We’re packed like sardines in one bed
trying to keep warm.  We survive;
we have hope; this is America.
I haven’t been to school in a week.
Someone comes knocking.

We hold our breath; they’ll go away.
Spring will come.  I’ll catch up;
It’ll be okay; Spring will come.
When she comes, Mom brings us penny
candy in lieu of supper.

She’s like a cat with her hidden
brood born out of season.
Understand, it’s only instinct
that brings her back.  It’s beyond love.
It’s pure proclivity.

Shame is her intimate, and with tender
affection, it engulfs her.
Baby reaches dimpled arms with
the power to persuade.  Momcat, smiling
says, “Spring will come.”

Why is Purple Pelican Gallery Here?

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Art is subjective and always a matter of taste, but one thing we all know and agree on about art is it brings us great joy and enriches our lives. I enjoy art at every level including my movie/TV viewing and lately I’ve been watching a series about the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (later known as the Pre-Raphaelites)

They were a group of English painters, poets, and critics, founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, a genre of painters I hadn’t heard much about before and I’m taken with their message of artistic renewal and moral reform in a time of political and social upheaval in mid-nineteenth-century England.

One among the second generation of the the artists mentored and influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites and  responsible for a big shift in art and art appreciation was William Morris. I have been extremely influenced in my personal artistic philosophy by his work and it’s more than a little interesting to see historic information about the first generation of artists that predate the Impressionists suffering the same churlish rejection by the art dealers and critics of the dayI saw a William Morris exhibit in Toronto, Canada about twenty-five years ago. He was mentored by Rosetti who was one of the original three founders and leader of the Pre-Raphaelite-Brotherhood.

I enjoyed this essay by  Jennifer  Meagher. The full essay is an interesting quick-read about this group. Below is a pull-quote from that piece.

As their works became more decorative, the Pre-Raphaelites were increasingly interested in the decorative arts. In 1861, Burne-Jones and Rossetti joined William Morris’ new design firm of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. (reorganized as Morris & Company in 1875), producing murals, stained glass, furniture, textiles, jewelry, and wall coverings inspired by botanical motifs. The firm responded to the rift between fine and applied arts caused by the Industrial Revolution and mass production by reviving the workshop practices of medieval Europe, considered a paragon of spirituality and artistic integrity. By the mid-1880s, a movement to unify the arts, known as Arts and Crafts, took root in England and by century’s end was flourishing throughout the British Isles.

Utopian in theory, Morris’ intentions were to create affordable, handcrafted goods that reflected the workers’ creativity and individuality (qualities not found in industrially produced goods).

We still feel the influence of this Arts and Crafts movement to this day and
it’s my belief that people come to Purple Pelican Gallery to appreciate art
and beauty while being inspired to create for themselves and/or to find
affordable art and craft to enrich their lives, homes and work spaces.

At Purple Pelican Gallery we want to make you feel special and make
Spooner a better place to live and visit.

To do that, we’ve adopted “slow life” disciplines to give merit to all
we do. I keep a consistent daily routine to produce my own original
paintings and prints, keeping my creative time foremost in my day.

We actively resist mass produced trade and trends that promote poor
quality by adhering to standards that engender intrinsic value.
We offer high quality rare products and services not found anywhere
else at one location. With attention to clothing design and jewelry
we find and present “slow fashion” at the lowest cost possible.

We’re committed to being transparent with you and taking more
time with you than you might expect with a positive attitude
always agreeable and accommodating. If we can succeed in this
we’ve achieved all we strive for.

I hope you will be our guest participating with us in the pursuit of
that honor! We don’t think this ideal is Utopian and this is honestly why
Purple Pelican Gallery is here.

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I have been accused
of clinging to the past
hanging on the history
of my people
as if I had formed it
with my own hands
and named it for a dear friend.

I didn’t.
It was born before me
and comes after me with
a tenacious will to live.
It grows daily and finds
its own voice wherever
anyone will hear.

It is the evidence
of things not seen,
and calls that which is not
as though it were.
And when it has learned to
move mountains,
be assured
it will.

Esa Everroad ~ Firefly Finger Rings


You Are a Haiku

“What one does can originate nowhere but in one’s life.” says Wendell Berry. He goes on in his essay to impart some crazy cool wisdom about living peaceably. My husband and I have spent the better part of our adult lives doing battle against the American tradition of striving for prosperity and getting more stuff. I suppose if you looked at my back account, you’d say we’ve made a damn good job of it (Imagine the LOL emoji here).

It’s a constant battle though. I actively endeavor to live and promote the ‘slow life’. By slow I don’t mean doing things without speed so much as I mean doing things in the sense of taking the long way home or doing things in such a way as to go the extra mile with no shortcuts. There shouldn’t be shortcuts with art or life for that matter, at least not good art or well lived life.

It’s my feeling that to live a life of peace you must make room for it. In other words, I must enable myself to have peace. Which is why I rarely watch news anymore, and why I try to stay away from viewing TV or movies that bring the ‘Pop Culture” into my space. I’m terrible at Hollywood trivia games because I rarely know any of the current pop peeps, and I don’t care for the latest in anything, though I happily accept your right to do so and will cheer you on if you’re so inclined. I’m so ‘old school’ I don’t have a cool bone anywhere. But that’s my coping skill set. My way of maintaining peace in my life.

I seem to be able to discover most of what’s going on in the world by osmosis quite by chance from info on my FB and other such places. That’s enough for me thanks. I’ve found my sense of place and I have peace there, which I believe makes me able to pay peace forward. It’s a wonderful thing to find happiness in the small things and find contentment in the natural course of life. To love and be loved. To have health and abundance, I think there is no better blessing than these things. Corny, I know, but… and yet…

I spent the winter reading, writing, painting and learning new music with a friend. It’s spring now and I’m ready to rock after the long deep freeze of creativity. New art, new songs and new friends are always on my radar, so I’ve made some very groovy discoveries this season. My husband and I found several new crafters for the gallery at the American Handcrafted show in Philly, and I recently made a new friend who just retired here in the area. She is also an artist and her husband is a musician. I’m looking forward to more time with them and my old friends too this summer.

I’m making plans with a local restaurateur to hold a fashion show at their place soon and, of course the summer holds so many other exciting events here in Spooner that my cup is full to spilling over!

I hope you’ll join me in seeking ways to find peace in the ordinary life, find your sense of place and share with me all you know about ways to better live the ‘slow life’. Let’s take some time together, you and me, how about it?

Here’s a Haiku I wrote this winter to put some perspective on how God loves us by His very nature. A reminder that you are a Haiku.

You Are a Haiku

The moon pushes through sky

and shines his fat face on me.

You are good, you are.

What’s the Matter with Being Blocked?

So, I’ve been artistically blocked for a while. True confession. But, so what? Art is what I do, so if I’m blocked does that mean I don’t do art? Unfortunately no. Art for a professional isn’t inspirational. I know, hard to believe and also a little bit of a let down, but honestly, if I waited to be inspired I wouldn’t ever create.

I learned as a writer (before I became a painter) that inspiration was something that couldn’t be depended on. All the best writers just write! So, as I emerged as a painter I put that discipline into practice and began to paint even if I didn’t feel inspired. I usually paint two hours every work day and whatever comes, comes.

I have always painted, written, or whatever, from my imagination. Trouble is, my imagination has been empty for about a year, hence I’ve been blocked. I worried if I had any imagination left. I’m sixty seven and maybe I’ve used up all my imagination. I mean I started at three years old with my first drawing and began writing poetry at ten years old and maybe it’s all done.

This last year of painting has been grueling. Painting past ideas and even reinventing good ideas and re-does of past good stuff, keyword past. UGH! Taking tutorials and painting from learned techniques of skin tones, perspective, Impressionistic ideas and plein air painting. SHIT… OMG! I hate being outside.

But then, “Voila!” I found a series that was touted as a clearing of creative block. I bought the book and started, without much faith in the process, but with a will to try.

Day one, write ‘free association’ also sometimes thought of as ‘stream of consciousness’, in a notebook. Just write, don’t read what you wrote, just stream of conscious, free flow, all the things that are bugging you, all the things you’re thinking of now. Okay, I got this!

I tried to write honestly. Here’s what I started with: I don’t know what to write…I don’t know what to write….I don’t know what to write. And then suddenly I began to write. Several pages of you don’t get to know what and then… I wasn’t blocked.

The next day I started a painting, from my imagination and I don’t know if it’ll be good but I know I feel like it will be, and maybe that’s good enough. I’ll keep ya posted.

Here’s a poem I wrote a while back that speaks to this dilemma.

Oh My Soul

Oh My soul,
That third of me that sometimes takes control;
Must we always be at odds?
Two parts mine, one part God’s.

Oh my soul,
That part of me that makes me who I am;
Must you be my driving force?
One part better, two parts worse.

Oh my soul,
That triune part that will not take a rest;
Must we always have this fight?
Two parts wrong, one part right.

Dear old soul,
That part of me I cannot do without;
Might we this time pass the test?
One part struggle, two parts rest.

Written by
Esa Everroad


“Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy”

Last month I told you of my husband’s idea to have me paint unfettered two hours each morning. I’ve been faithful to that schedule and I’m lovin’ it! Just keeping you posted.

Now to the topic of summertime. I must admit it’s not my favorite season, mainly because of the heat. Many would say fortunately for me, since I live in Wisconsin where summer is very short. I say it too. I can already hear the groans as you read this blog thinking I’m going to ‘dis’ Wisconsin summers and thinking I’m crazy to not-like the heat of this lovely season but hold on a minute and let me ‘splain’. There is a difference between not-liking and disliking. I don’t dislike summer, I just don’t like her heat. It hasn’t always been so.

I was reared in the Ozarks of Southern Missouri where the mountain streams are gravel and sand bottomed making them crystal clear, flowing swiftly into larger rivers also gravel and sand bottomed and clear. That’s the waterways I spent my youth exploring. We lived on the river in summer, in a converted air show snack bus, (a poor man’s RV) and I was outside as much as ten hours a day same as most kids. I thought it was a great life.

In the Ozarks of my youth, we had four distinct seasons. Summer was four months long with hot, hazy days and clear, crisp, cool nights. We had our share of ticks and although we had mosquitoes I don’t remember them being numerous enough to carry off a small animal or child but that was a long time ago and I could be wrong about that part.

I do remember poisonous snakes, bobcats, crawdads that pinched like hell, chiggers that would dig down deep and make you crazy with itch till you thought you’d scream, poison ivy, compulsory blackberry picking and sunburns. Even so, I didn’t start not-liking summer weather until I was a grownup.

Though what I’m about to say about myself has always been true, it seems even more pertinent now. My hair is pale, my skin is thin, my eyes are light blue and I can’t open them fully in a sun filled room much less out-of-doors, it’s a rods and cones thing. I don’t like bugs, I don’t like being hot because I don’t like sweating and I don’t like being outside. I only go out there if I must, which is to say not very often. I can do as I wish now I’m an adult.

Many of you will say I miss so much but consider this. Since I’ve become a not-liking-summer-weather adult, I haven’t been sunburned once, consequently I haven’t had a melanoma and probably never will. I’ve never had a tick bite, never had a chigger bite, never had poison ivy, and the list goes on.

That said, I love it that you all love summer heat and no one loves summer more than a Wisconsinite or a Minnesotan. Folk love to eat outside, fish, ski and go to outdoor functions, and I applaud your tenacity when it comes to the battle against the mosquitoes, I only wish I could be as cool as you are. But that’s not how I roll, so forgive me for saying it but I’m looking forward to Autumn so I can go outside again.

Here’s a poem I wrote about my childhood summertime life in the Ozarks.

At Water’s Edge

The rusty truck careens down the final hill.
Favorite swimming hole greets us with clean,
watery fragrance sensed through open mouths.

“Sit down; sit down!,” our mother yells
out the truck window, her arms making
a downward motion; sign language resembling
prehistoric water fowl landing.

We think, rightly, that this sparkling river
must be seen from the best seats
dearly paid for with bugs in our hair.

So, we stand and bounce like stones
on the flatbed truck, our rebellion bound
to incur her wrath. We are careless.

It’s an old ceremony accompanied by a
consequential slap; a ritual most ancient.
Rites received, we are waterborne.

Gliding, splashing, bluff-diving, arms flapping,
we jig dance precision steps in the icy

I look up to see my siblings, whose protests
belie their blue lips, banished to sun on the
riverbank lest hypothermia rob our mother.

Meanwhile, where hidden creatures of the
eerie deep keep their secrets, I am satisfied
to poke at rocks, quietly hunting for crawdad,
alone at water’s edge.



Finally Summer!

We’ve been waiting what seems an eternity for Summer to arrive here in the North woods. Well it happened this week and I could not be prouder of our weather and our beautiful woods and water. She’s really showing off right now with Lilacs the likes of nothing you’ve ever seen and butterflies so plentiful they’re almost scary.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes me happiest in my work and my husband and I have talked so often of how much my busy-work takes me away from the things I most love to do. Create! Paint! Write! It’s the age-old problem of artists of every stripe. How to make a living and still maintain a creative schedule.

My husband of forty-two years recently put forth the idea that I schedule into my daily routine the habit of painting for the first two hours of my work day. “Let’s just see what happens”, he said. So, I started that routine one week ago. I’ve painted two hours a day this last week and guess what happened.

I feel like ‘I could run through a troop and leap over a wall’, as the saying goes. I have a renewed vigor and ‘Mama’s got a brand-new bag!’ I have two paintings going at the same time and every day brings a new challenge and a first-love kind of excitement. Go figure!

He had this same idea when we lived in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and I was trying to write a novel. I worked for three years on that thing and still had no end in sight.  Finally, he asked how long I thought it would take to finish if I wrote two hours every day. I thought it would take six months, it took four. And everything else still got accomplished!

There’s a lot of research on things like this. Like writing down your goals and how that’s connected to what the future looks like for you. Write it down, it happens. Having a daily schedule for creativity seems to be counter intuitive. I mean, why can’t I just be spontaneous? Create when I feel like it. Well, I can tell you why. IT DOESN’T HAPPEN! Seriously, you must make time for the things that make you happy.

Make time for your lover, your kids, your friends, your creative endeavors. Trust me, it makes for a much happier you & me. Now let’s see how long I can make this happen in my vocation. I’ll keep you posted.

Here’s a poem I wrote a while back on this very subject. It seems the best lessons learned are the ones we already knew.


Breaking the Mule

why do i do it

is the question i ask myself

why do i keep on keepin’ on

when everything in me says stop


maybe it’s the hillbilly in me –

that overwhelming urge to jump a stump-

which causes this impulse


to throw my head back and howl like a coon hound

dig nightcrawlers by the light of a full moon

plant rhubarb in february and

keep a turtle in my basement


but i tell you that when i wake up

to the cool of the morning

and feel his warmth still there

see these Northwoods  blue skies


hear the church bells ring

the news that the witch is dead

i throw my leg over the bucking mule

of my day and hang on for dear life

It’s Springtime in Wisconsin!

Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love! ~ Sitting Bull

The kids from the Spooner Middle School came around, along with their teachers last week for Earth Day, with plants for all the businesses. I received an Easter Lily. It almost made me giddy thinking spring is here. And then, it wasn’t. I don’t know why I’m surprised by this kind of cold snap every time it happens. I’ve lived here long enough to know it will happen and yet, I’m always caught off guard. I also know this cold weather will pass and we’ll see the sunshine and warm temperatures again. Winter must end. My muse will return and I’ll be able to paint and create again and it’ll be okay. It will be okay, right?

I’m reminded of a song my daughter Shannon wrote about me a few years ago. Actually, she may have written it just because she’s driven to create and after it was written realized it was about me. I don’t know for sure, but I’ll take credit for not only inspiring her but also giving birth to her! I love that girl! Anyway, it’s a song about timing. The lyrics are gorgeous but her singing it is the best part! I wish you could hear it. It’s on the Stone Soup CD by The Everroad Family. That’s my husband, our children and me from our glory days on-the-road when music was our art.  Her song truly reflects my attitude about my timing and has inspired no less than three paintings from me over the years.

I’ve always been told, “timing is everything”, and I’m sure it’s true, I just forget occasionally. So, I’m going to cool my jets, take inspiration from Shannon’s song about me and try to keep my timing.  I hope you do too. Keep Shining!

She Just Shines
“The sun will have her day at the end of the darkness.
She patiently awaits her dawn.
No striving as she rises; she knows her time will come.
For joy comes in the morning; what honor she does bear
in lonely hearts and weary eyes.
But she never wastes a moment on who isn’t there to see.
She just shines.”
“The sun will have her day for so it has been always.
She doesn’t mind the wait; it’s never long.
And suddenly she hears Him and knows her time is now.
And she hears her sweet Creator beckon her to come
as close as she may dare
And she thrusts her face toward heaven and shakes her yellow hair.
And she just shines.”
Written by Shannon Everroad Hushaw