Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Getting ready for the annual art show next week. I'm working on some pieces inspired by our neighborhood wild places. The black and white work above is one I am currently finishing up; I'll color it today. It's of a wild place that used to be, but is no more.

This summer, a new subdivision was built down the road a couple miles from our house. The property had been mostly arable land, a former farm. A small woodland, or copse, bordered the side closest to the road.

I often used to cut through the property to fetch Lucy from school, using a well-used pathway that ran between the field and the wedge of woods. On many occasions, I saw wild turkey strolling the fields. Other times, deer would be grazing on the outer edge of the trees. Once, I found a substantial (three pronges!) deer shed. I have this antler in my studio. On frosty winter days, the view down the old path looked like a Currier and Ives greeting card. It was Long Ago Iowa, here in the Now.

A grand old white farm house was there and still inhabited. When I saw the house's front porch being retro-fitted with a wheel chair ramp though, I wondered if the farm's days were numbered. The acreage was sold a few short months later. A sign appeared announcing a public meeting to discuss the new owner's intent to build multiple dwellings. A group of us from a local park organization, Friends of Hickory Hill, rescued some wild ginger from the wooded bit of the property. The farm house was burned as part of a Fire Department exercise. The building commenced. And now, some very fine houses sit in the once fields. But I hold reverance for the place that I used to walk. I took a few photos before the developing began. Along with my imagination and memory, the new piece recreates a typical morning, looking toward the farm from Rochester road. It could have looked this way last year. It could have looked this way 80 years ago. Now, it's a different scene altogether.

But the turkeys and the deer and I will remember.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


We drove to Chicago the day before Thanskgiving, with plenty of late fall Illinois field and woodland to contemplate. I had my tin of colored pencils and sketch book and again I just doodled. Lucy came up with my title (she's taking Spanish in middle school!).

I am thankful for my family, warm cars and clear roads, nature, a big city preparing for Holiday, twinkling rivers, chutney on crusty bread, red wine, Michigan avenue store windows, and this place called the End of the Year.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


A little doodle of an idea today while I was painting. Cat as birder.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day!

Let us not seek the Republican answer
 or the Democratic answer, 
but the right answer. 
Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. 
Let us accept our own responsibility for the future. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Nature Near and Far

If you're in the Cedar Rapids area this weekend, please stop by and say hello at New Bo Books.
Jackie Briggs Martin and I will share our picture books (celebrating nature near [the Iowa tallgrass prairies] and far [the high plains of Tibet] !) with readings and connected kid's activities.

The brand new New Bo Market is also in full swing across the street!
We'll make folding bird ornaments and Tibetan style prayer flags!

Nature Near and Far

Jackie Briggs Martin and Claudia McGehee
Saturday, November 3
New Bo Books
1105 Third Street, SE
Cedar Rapids

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