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


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


Your ancestors are rooting for you.

I met my great grandson yesterday for the first time. His name is Liam, a diminutive of William, a family name on my husband’s side. He’s tiny or maybe I’ve just forgotten how small newborns are. He weighed seven pounds and change, so not small, but he felt as light as air in my arms. My pride and love was so overwhelming I cried unashamedly.

Although his coming is not in the most perfect of circumstances, his mom is so young and she has such a high hill to climb, as they say where I come from, “It ain’t no hill for a stepper!” She is a stepper too. I predict so much love and happiness for him and from him and strong victories for his mother, my granddaughter.

Meeting him made me think of how my family has always had a deep connection to its roots and the DNA of my clan is very clear to see in each new baby. The hair, the eyes and the temper is always there. There is usually at least one artist in the bunch and I expect to see something of this in him. I look forward to watching him grow and become.

Several years ago my son, Liam’s grandfather, had a child with a very young girl and she decided to have the baby but selflessly gave her up for adoption to a family who would love her and provide stability. It was a wise decision and I’m sure a crazy hard one for a girl so young.

I’ve never gotten over it. The baby girl was my first grandchild and as I’ve said my family has deep roots and strong DNA. We are, after all, Scandinavians.

Holding my great grandson Liam made me happy he’s with me and I wondered again about my son’s first daughter, my first granddaughter, Liam’s aunt. Did she marry? Do I have other great grandchildren?  Will we ever meet?

Probably not, but I wrote this poem to/for her a few years after she was born just in case, so she’d know she was never very far from my thoughts and just as my four children, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren, deep in my heart and always in my prayers. Forgive me. Liam’s birth has made me introspective I guess.

Jocelyn (Baby Went Bye-bye)
I heard your name and purposed never to forget it
though you were given nothing of me but my blood.
Your curly head rests blamelessly
in anonymous arms
as I utter pre-emptive prayers
and cast spells against the forces
that bring circumstances
like these.

It is no surprise to me now as I sit on my terrace
peering through the smoke of remembrance
that I find you vanished in my past, yet
secreted in my future.
Will you show up on my porch
like a stray puppy
demanding papers of pedigree?
I hope so.

I trust you won’t be disappointed
when you discover that
in the same way I lost you, you’ve found me
bloodied without wound—mouth seeking sustenance
my profile a falcon prow
on a ship sent to explore the likelihood
of a new world where there are
no names, no pain and no bye byes.
Esa Everroad

You will be different!

I hear the New Year whispering in my ear and it’s saying ‘You will be different!’ Every New Year brings the chance to reinvent, reset, resurrect. I thrive on that feeling of starting over and getting it right this time. Hope springs eternal and I know this new birth will bring with it life’s challenges and rewards, her sacrifices and prosperity, hope for success and grace for failure. I pray for it and believe it is inexorable.

I’m already different! More settled, more satisfied with my progress as a person; a very American ideal according to my Australian and European friends. I also think my experiences last year made me less complicated. I’m settling into my years and unlike when I was a younger, more complex woman, I’ve become satisfied with my life and forget to be overly concerned with my future. My husband says I’ve never had a concerned bone in my body but, in my secret life, I do feel a bit fussy about forward movement. Mostly I’m an optimist. I rise daily, intoxicated with ideas, tipsie with potential, soused on supposes and ‘in my cups’ I see everything so clearly. Then the day begins in earnest and reality sets in. That’s when I start plotting my next move, making my new plan, strategizing a better approach for turning myself into the best me I can be (as if) and so goes the year. Hence, January one rolls around and usually a long list of New Years Resolutions.

Not in 2015!  I’ve become a changeling and morphed into a woman of the moment. I mean it this time! No more obsessing on being productive or how much I didn’t get done today. At least I think that’s what’s happened to me this New Year. It could be just another declaration in the long history of my ever advancing headway toward heaven.  I tend to back slide in this area so I’ll keep you posted.

Realistically, I do need to have a plan for next year’s art for the gallery however, so I expect to paint a lot this winter. I want to add a few new paintings and pieces of my own painted tables and mirrors to the gallery for the coming high season. I’ve just commissioned two local woodworkers for a couple hand-made side tables and mirrors which I will smarten up with original artwork. My goal for the gallery 2015 is more of my one-of-a-kind pieces as well as a few new artists I’ve had the pleasure of meeting this past year. Stay tuned!

Had an interesting conversation with a client and his wife in the gallery the other day about dreams, which I thought I’d pass on to you. We were talking about creativity and using your inner wisdom to create and problem solve. I made a self-deprecating joke about how the only time I’m tranquil enough, long enough to hear from my inner self is in my sleep. Well, turns out the husband was a sleep doctor and actually agreed with me.

He started quoting some study about lucid dreaming, creativity and problem solving in that half sleep state before full waking. Hey, I do that all the time! I have family fame for my snoozing ability. As I started thinking about it, I realized that much of my adult life I’ve had the luxury of a flexible schedule and have developed a habit of lying in bed drinking coffee for at least an hour to ‘think’, in that dream state just before waking completely. Drink a little coffee, snooze a little, drink more coffee, snooze some more. Who knew that was lucid dreaming? Sometimes I make up ditties or write poems in my mind. I even keep a pen and pad on my side table for the really good ones so I don’t forget. I wrote a novel about fifteen years ago based on a dream I had. It’s a futuristic story about the privatization of the penal system and cloning. Wild dream. Consequently not a really big audience and half of the imaginary prophecy I dreamed up has now come to pass so its shelf life is over. I never got it published. I had the good sense not to even try. It was a great exercise in the discipline of a daily writing schedule and I did write a novel so…..just sayin’.  Anyway, all that to say, don’t set your alarm and jangle yourself awake if you can help it. Enjoy some creative time under the blankets this winter and call it lucid dreaming. Research shows it’ll do you good.

In light of that instructive word from the sleep doctor, I’m including a poem I recently wrote about my middle daughter Jessica.

My husband came into my life  in 1975 as a packaged deal with two beautiful daughters whom I genuinely love and reared as my own. Although the girls came to us at different times, I remember vividly the day each one arrived. First Jessica when she was four and then, with the premature death of their birth mother, Una-Melina joined our family a few years later. These things were difficult for both our daughters, but we loved them and they were young and resilient.

Sadly, Jessica left this world for the next, in 1991 and there will always be a gaping hole where she should be. I love her still and as all parents do, I have often felt the pressure of regret for the things I didn’t do or say when I had the chance. Ways I failed as a mother and times when I was insensitive or harsh. Sound familiar? The agony and ecstasy of parenting is well documented and almost everyone I talk to feels the same pangs of guilt and fear that they somehow failed in their duty.

I hope you enjoy the poem. I numbered the verses to insinuate progression. Don’t try to find a meter…it doesn’t have one. It’s a little bit obscure and somewhat peculiar, but it’s a lucid dream poem, what can I say? I wrote it to celebrate my new-born self and am compelled to share it with you though it’s pretty personal. Thing is, you don’t have to know me long to find there are no secrets here. What you see is what you get, with no apologies of course.


1. Born of her who, but for him, could have been my friend.

Their first child became ours in the settlement.

The stewardess handed her over to us, clutching her bag

tied together with a bungee cord, its zipper as broken as her world.

2. With well-developed coping skills she climbed into my lap

and told me she didn’t like Rebecca, the first name of her first mom.

Her dimpled hands touched my hair and our love grew like a forced tulip at Christmastime.

The miracle of spring in an undue season.

3. Good grades—good attitude—good girl.

Would-to-God all of them could be this easy!

Didn’t we talk about her at night in our bed,

self-satisfaction entwining its lullaby of peace round our words?

4. At seven she could do somersaults

at seventeen she couldn’t climb the stairs.

The Mayo Clinic doctor phoned to say hope

but he really meant congenital heart and lung defect.

5. She came to me in my dreams the first night after she left us

and discussed the plausibility of regular visits.

She sat on my lap again, her twenty-one year old weight

lying like those piles of cotton batting in my grandmother’s quilting room.

6. Though she had flown from my arms to His, she said she’d come again

as often as my aching and regretful heart needed her.

And she has come, faithfully, her memory worn loose

like an old woman’s teeth from constant chewing.

7. Her visits of late have been less than pleasant

and two times ago when she interrupted my sleep,

I hesitate to mention, I actually called her a dirty name.

Her oft coming has turned out to be exhausting.

8. Last night she declared she wouldn’t return. Her visits weren’t essential anymore.

Naturally, I didn’t argue with her otherworldly logic. How could I?

Somehow it only seems right that mercy and truth should kiss each other

while I sleep the dreamless sleep of the forgiven.