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  • By Jerry Ann Fenter

Summer's End

I'm here in my "writer's uniform", paint stained sweat pants, a slept-in tank top, plaid flannel shirt and my Minnie Mouse slippers. I'm afraid to type any words on the computer...trying to make my writing "perfect" for this new blog.

My head is bursting with thoughts of art, gardens, fall colors, abstract design, planned adventures, distant places and the excitement that I feel each fall. Fall has always been my favorite season. The changes in the color palette, the cool breeze through the Douglas Fir trees, squirrels and deer near the yard, all signs that changes are coming. Good changes. I'm in my studio, sitting and writing a post for my new website.

My studio is a story in itself. It lives in a small room in our log cabin that I've used for a very long time. When I first moved here, the walls were made from hand hewn logs and the space totally empty. No furniture, three windows on the right side (that will open...but no screens to keep bugs and critters out), one window on the left and the back deck with a sliding door and a screen. The floors are covered with a 1960's fuzzy grey rug that I kept because it would help keep me and my studio warm. Also paint will not destroy this rug since it's already pretty messed up! I could look out at the back side field, into the front yard and out at the treed area off of the deck. New to the woods, I was surprised by the constantly changing wildlife outside and the scary carpenter ants that would swarm in from the everywhere during their mating season. Now, years later my studio is my favorite place in the world.

My studio may not be quite as impressive to other people as it is to me. In addition to bursting with tables, a desk, an easel, an Ott light, scrap boxes, file cabinet, paints, paper, brushes and an amazing rolling cabinet (that has slowly crept into the adjoining kitchen). My studio has a little bit of everything I love in it. Over my desk are some wonderful bird illustrations given to me by an old neighbor in Portland. Near that hangs a Highclere Castle Calendar...a gift from my friend, Maureen, in Liverpool. Anyone who watches Downton Abbey will feel right at home. Close to that Is a weird, wonderful fabric stuffed baseball headed man sculpture with red buttons for eyes. He is hanging calmly on a skull cross. He stares down at me when I'm at my desk. He was made by a young artist from Hood River. He has a whistle around his neck.

On the left wall is a bulletin board totally full of family pictures, silly cartoons, stamps and lots of treasures I've been given by my amazing circle of friends and my creative family. To the right of the board is the window. It's shelf is full of strange and beautiful things, a ceramic parakeet peeks out the window...a gift from my daughter. I sometimes talk to him when I need advice. Nearby a wind up sushi sits close to a small rubber Buddha drinking a cup of coffee (given to me by students from an amazing painting class I taught light years ago). Some tiny GI Joe boots from my Barbie days stand next to a beautiful box of incense my son bought me when he was in high school. (It still smells like Christmas).

Mexican souvenirs are everywhere you look, A crowd of Madonnas quietly sit or stand in contemplation while surrounded by my marble collection and near to a small toy jeep driven by a "Frozen Antonette" who is about 1/2" long. (She comes from a crazy silly garage sale near my cousin's house in Nebraska) .Tiny prayer flags hang from two strings near the windows. A pair of painted loafers are nailed up near the back door...completely covered in cartoon dogs and created by my friend, artist Nancy Coffelt.

The oddest item in the studio is a Holy Water Font with a sculpted face of the white Jesus, showing his wounds and wearing his crown of thorns. He was a gift from my friend Linda Owen. She sent it to me for my birthday one year. In his attached holy water container are dozens of millagros (tiny metal charms made to look like parts of your body or other items that will bring you a miracle at any moment). Oh...and an electric pencil sharpener is placed right below him. I love my studio. IT'S SO good to be here in it and working.

I hope you'll read, enjoy and share my website with your friends. Check out all the paintings. They are all for sale. I'm hoping to be doing most of my sales from my site from now on. You can buy something, ask questions, comment or just say hi on my contact page.

Fall is here. Go outside. Jump in some leaves. Jerry

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