Stories and Classes and Puppies, Oh My!

So much has been going on this month I don’t know where to start!

My most exciting news is that we have adopted two puppies:

Meet Abigail Josephine (Abby Jo)
and her sister Ginger Lee!

They are cavapoochons, which means they are a Cavapoo (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/Toy Poodle) crossed with a Bichon Frise. And they are the smartest puppies I think I have ever been around! We’re crate-training them, and they’ve already figured out that they need to do their ‘business’ outside. They’re doing reasonably well with the commands ‘sit’ and ‘come’, too.

I think this is mostly due to following the advice of Bethany Wilson at Ruff Beginnings (website and YouTube). Her training techniques are working wonderfully with my little babies. It also helps that I’m home most of the day, every day, so we’ve quickly learned how to communicate. The first few nights were rough, but they’ve finally trained me to understand when they need to go potty, and we all got a good night’s sleep last night!

They are so adorable that my heart melts every time I pick up one of the little furballs!

Storytown Radio Show

My second bit of news is that I’m writing more for our local radio production/podcast, Storytown (web and Facebook). Tonight’s show will be the third that has one of my stories in it, and I think it’s my best story yet. All of the scripts are based on real stories of real people, and every month we have a theme for the stories.

This month’s theme is “Old Fashioned Fun”, with stories about fishing, homemade toys and telephone pranking. I love performing in the show, it’s such a good feeling to know that you are sharing someone else’s experience with the world! It’s also really cool to be able to relate to the real historical events that have happened in our local area. We have the best cast and crew, everyone is 100% supportive. It’s just like having an extended family.

We always have a live audience and tickets are only $10, but if you aren’t in the local area and can’t make a live performance, you can always hear the show on Simplecast or anywhere else you listen to podcasts. If you’re curious, listen to the May 22, 2023 “Old Fashioned Fun” episode and you’ll see why I enjoy it so much. It’s our local version of the Prairie Home Companion!

Image courtesy @Storytown

New Urban Sketching Class

My last bit of news is about a new class I’m going to be teaching at the Jonesborough McKinney Center in the fall. It’s called “Storytelling Using Urban Sketching Techniques”, and the goal will be to learn or improve upon our urban sketching skills to tell our own stories. I’ve never taught an urban sketching class, but most of the concepts are the same as what is used in regular fine art, so it’s not much of a stretch to change the focus.

I’ve never considered urban sketching to be fine art, but I’ve been researching some of the more famous urban sketchers in the world and discovered that some of their works are quite notable. Marc Taro Holmes, of course, is one of them, well known for his urban sketching and now painting landscapes for sale. And he, along with many others, have published books containing their works.

I started urban sketching when I was in high school, in ninth grade, long before it was called “urban sketching”. I had the best art teacher, and I remember being so excited to start his class, my first ‘real’ drawing and painting class! His philosophy of letting students learn through their own practice meant that we often were in the classroom only long enough to get supplies. His instruction was “go draw what you see”, so I’d take my #2 pencil, drawing board and manila drawing paper outside to the parking lot to draw the neighboring homes, cars, and landscape.

I wish I still had those drawings. I’m sure we had classroom lessons, too; Pennsylvania gets some pretty nasty weather in the winter time and I don’t remember going outside during that! But when I think about urban sketching, I always remember sitting in that high school parking lot.

Anyway, I’ll probably have a lot more to say about the class and the Storytown writing in the next few months, along with a few puppy stories. I hope you are also having a lot of “old fashioned” fun as the summer ramps up!

(I couldn’t resist including this video of the babies. Enjoy!)

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