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.

“Art oh beautiful art,…”

The early winter season is a favorite because of the holidays. This year’s season has been one of the happiest for me because I’m being purposeful in my enjoyment of this holy time. I’m slowing down and listening to my inner self more and finding real joy in spending time with my loved ones, plus the pure pleasure of reaping the rewards of a job well done this past year at Purple Pelican Gallery. I never forget how blessed I am that doing what I love is my calling as well as my vocation!

Business has been good this year but even more than that it’s been rewarding. Thanks to all my customers and clients who shop locally and make what I do possible. Patrons are the water source for an artist’s garden of imagination. Visual art isn’t art until it’s been seen and appreciated. Thanks to all the friends of Purple Pelican Gallery for a great season!

Let’s celebrate with Ladies Night Out! Which is actually a misnomer since men are so totally invited too. I’ll be serving refreshments (my famous you-know-what) and offering lots of bargains for Christmas shoppers. The season’s end is always so much fun. This party is the last hurrah for 2014 and kickoff for the next four months of quiet contemplation and making of art for me. Business slows down a bit but we’re open all year with winter hours Monday ~ Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Now is when I paint and write and catch up on restoration and framing for customers during the day and read and study new techniques and formulate creative ideas at night with my husband of 38 years, Terry. I’m studying this winter for a certificate from the New York School of Art and Design, working on decorating a new house for a client/friend, adding new designs/paintings to my Anna Banana line of clocks and tins and if I have any time left, five new original paintings for the gallery in addition to the everyday 10 to 5 stuff. Wish me luck.

Thanksgiving and Christmas come so quickly together with so many festivities that when January comes I’m so ready for the quiet of the ‘deep freeze’ that I actually long for it. Seclusion is the stimulant I crave for creativity and this goes against my very essence. I tend to be gregarious and sanguine and being with people charges me up so that my cheeks flush with blood and my heart races. Words just tumble out and I laugh and talk and talk and laugh until I’m worked into a frenzy of pure unadulterated joy! Which is why the gallery is so good for me. You may have been privy to or blame for one of my fits of bliss. I hope so!

Solitude is something I fight with and for. It goes against my nature so much to be alone and quiet that I feel I need to tie a rope around my foot when I enter that sacred space so someone can pull me out if I end up lost! When I finally get there, I get so in a zone that I can paint or write for hours without realizing it. Hence my longing for the ‘deep freeze’. I can’t wait to see what comes out of my consecrated time this winter. Don’t be a stranger. Come see what I’m working on, be a part of the process and, for sure, don’t miss Ladies Night Out!

“Art oh beautiful art, how pleasant to fill my days with you without guilt or fear of reprisal!” (Esa)

This is a poem I wrote for my daughter Shannon at Christmas Time in her first year of marriage. We lived far away and I was so lonely for her I wrote this to try and guilt her to come see me. It actually worked. She came and we had a marvelous time.

Will You Come To Visit Me?

Will you come to visit me,

perhaps at Christmas Time?

I’ll give you lots of presents,

you can even open mine!

In fact, I’ll put your name

on every gift beneath the tree

and make you creamy puddings

when you come to visit me.

Can you come to visit me?

Can you come to stay?

If you come, I’ll tell you things

I always meant to say.

I’ll make up funny stories.

I’ll sing you happy songs.

Will you come to visit me

and bring your heart along?

Imagine coming all this way

because I’m missing you.

But that’s the kind of girl you are;

the sort of thing you’d do.

I’ll sew a new white dress to wear.

You bring your golden key

and unlock the chain around my heart

when you come to visit me.

Esa Everroad


The Secret to a Good Song

Wow! Where did the summer go? This is my favorite time of year so I’m not complaining, but the last four months have been a blur!

Be sure to mark your calendar for the annual Fall Art Meander (see the newsletter for times). It’s our 5th year and we’re planning to pull out all the stops with painting demonstrations, a $100 gift certificate drawing for a lucky winner, refreshments and a tour of the Pelican loft where Terry and I live. We’ve given tours before but not for a long time now, so don’t miss this one. We’ll have the tours during Meander hours. It’s really a surreal feeling to see this kind of cool living space in Spooner, or so I’m told. If you’d seen it nine years ago you wouldn’t believe it’s the same place. I look forward to welcoming you into my home and the place where I get so much inspiration.

I have been having so much fun with the gallery and my awesome patrons and customers that the thought of the season’s ending and everyone holing up for the winter hasn’t even entered my mind, but it’s coming and I love the slow pace and contemplative time to write and paint and finish restorations that have been patiently waiting for a loving and much needed renovation. The gallery hours will be reduced from seven days to six and except for the Meander weekend I’ll be closed now on Sundays until next spring. Hours are Monday ~ Saturday 10:00 to 5:00.

I received a call a while back from a guy who said he had a painting on velvet that needed help and of course my first thought was ‘Oh boy, a tacky old Elvis on velvet’, but I could tell from the loving way he spoke about it that it meant a lot to him so I agreed to look. When he arrived with the piece I was delighted to find a wonderful, old, very well done painting of the Three Kings. The velvet is flimsy and there are a few tears and issues but I’ve taken on the project with relish. I recently found the silk velvet I need to do the repair so I’ll start the work this month. That’s just one of a dozen really great old restoration projects ahead for this autumn season. I’m ready to rock.

I’ll be adding mirrors to my Anna Banana line and have started the artwork for the first prototype. I’m pretty pumped about the work because I’ve been envisioning this for literally years. I just couldn’t figure out how to get the mirrors done fast enough for wholesale orders to other galleries (no elves here) but I think I have the answer. Stay tuned to see how it works out.

Got a new girl for Mondays. Susan Braun is her name. You’re going to like her. I do. She’s a retired architect and a beauty to boot. Tall, silver haired and soft spoken with a lot of soul in her eyes. Come meet her some Monday or at least on Meander weekend. Make her feel welcome.

Kris Kristofferson once said; “The secret to a good song is three chords and the truth.” Now that’s profound. I learn daily how truly simple it is to live creatively and yet how impossibly complicated I tend to make it. I try not to overthink things but, seriously, it’s really hard not to fall in love with the idea that creating is mystical. It’s not, trust me. There is something to be said for just showing up and trusting ‘three chords and the truth’.

Still writing a couple poetry pieces a week. I’ve attached one I think deserves a look. I write several before I feel I have one that is worth the read. I hope you enjoy this one. If you don’t understand it, that’s okay…it’s a poem. You’re not really supposed to get it.

The Sexes or Let’s Dance

In a dance at the wedding of friends
my husband of twenty-six years at the time
tried to teach me how to cut a rug smoothly so as not
to leave any ragged edges—the mark of his generation,
one hand lightly on my hip—the other cupping my hand,

whirling me—dipping me down ‘til my blue dress
brushed the floor and my yellow hair caressed his
cheek as he pulled me to himself—reading my moves—
looking me in the eyes and in one fluid movement
beautifully swaying and spinning his love into our steps.

As sexes we ‘the created’ are a contradiction,
at once fierce for individualism, and yet hopeful
for oneness, groping for the human essence
that makes us more than animals, a little
lower than the angels—divine and divined.

A desert born of drought
the surface of our gendered lives is so parched
we are become waterproof
so that rain might even do us harm
causing dangerous flash floods.

Desperate, we send for the water witch.
As she shakes a rattle at the sky, her stick
is pulled like a magnet to the sustenance of life
drawn down to the deep source of springs.
“Dig here!” she cries.

Shovels become extensions of arms
as we frantically dig like wiener dogs,
maniacally snorting—plowing—furrowing,
the object of our need unreachable but sensed.
How did we become so bereft?

Suddenly I see my Hullabaloo past like a misty dream.
Hip huggers—go-go boots—the twist—the swim—the skate.
I see a verdant landscape that slowly becomes a wasteland, and
though I know it’s not the cause of all missteps as lovers and friends,
I mourn the day we stopped touching when we dance.

Busy Breaking the Mule

I love summer in Wisconsin. I’m just so glad to see summer here, the trees leafed out and hearing the May peeps, well I just feel like dancing. When summer is so luscious it’s hard to remember the winter with its needs and whine inducing cold. I saw a quote by the ancient Greek poet, Hesiod, that encouraged having a plan when summer was not here, and frankly I have the same feeling! “It will not always be summer; build barns.”

Which is why I have several projects on my plate. I’m working on multiple paintings of my own for the gallery, planning a few retail art fairs, working on restoring several old paintings and, in spite of my schizophrenic schedule, have also been writing again.

My poetry writing has suffered for lack of contemplative time this past year but I recently bought a book of Tang Poems and have been so inspired I’m trying to spend some time every few days to write. You can see my chapbook of poetry called ‘Firefly Finger Rings’ at the gallery. I’ve included one poem in this blog that seems to fit the quote by Hesiod.

Speaking of building barns i.e. making room for my harvest, we’ve expanded the Wearable Art section of the gallery. We just got back from a show in St. Paul where I bought some gorgeous hand painted silk tops and beautiful tunics and dresses plus a couple new lines for fall/winter that will start arriving this month.

Gotta run. My muse is calling.

I’ll see you soon!


Breaking The Mule

“Why do I do it?” is the question I ask myself.

Maybe it’s the Missouri Ozark  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 here,

see these prairie 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.

 By: Esa Everroad