Join Me

I posted last about my new website Vree Erickson at https://vreeerickson.wordpress.com. It features the writing aspects of my life, which I’ve discontinued here. I want to focus on the art side of my life here, if and when I get around to it. If not, I may close this site and put my money and efforts in my writing website. I’m giving both projects a year before I make any decisions.

Meanwhile, you may wonder why I’m doing this. Why not leave things alone? The answer is brand. One of my followers, whom I’ve followed for ten or more years, writes often about brands and what they mean. For this website, the brand has been twofold: art and writing.

This site began in 2011 as a place to feature my art, then became a place to feature my books two years later. I’ve since stopped making art in favor of writing, mainly because I lost my art studio, but also because I enjoy writing more.

If you like my books and enjoy reading the “behind the scenes” of writing them, who the characters are, excerpts from my books, challenges, and more, please join me at Vree Erickson. I think it’s a better deal than offering a newsletter.

I hope to see you there.

Thanks for reading.

A March Celebration

Today’s post is an update of my art, writing, and life. It’s an echo of my Art-Writing-Life blog, of a time when my art and writing took equal priority. But when I semi-retired from making art, I had more time to write, so my posts reflected the change.

Today’s update reflects another change.

Since my stomach surgery in 2020, I haven’t been able to sit for long. This has decreased the time I can spend writing or creating art. Pre-surgery, I allotted myself six to eight hours to complete a project. I’d sit for three hours before needing to take a break to refuel on food and drink and to exercise. Now I can sit for a half-hour at most before I must break. That’s a lot of breaks. And I think any artist or writer will understand me when I say, “That’s too many interruptions.” Making art and writing takes intense concentration. Interruptions often kill my concentration and take my mind away from the creative process. So, when I return to my work in a state of “out of the zone,” I find ten to fifteen minutes of meditation helps to bring me back to that zone.

Also, this new way of working has altered my creative style. I no longer concentrate on finishing a drawing or painting in one sitting. I simply let ideas form and see what develops while I follow along. I’m sure there’s a label for this way of creating art, but I’ve never been a stickler for labeling things. It’s simply a new and fun way of drawing and painting for me.

Below is a photo of a recent “drawing” of an abandoned country-style building. I was in a “Let’s draw an old, haunted house type building” mood when I started, so I thought of nighttime, stormy sky, European architecture, and isolation while I quickly and loosely sketched with charcoal and graphite. I added black watercolor paint to it during another quick sitting, then some splashes of white paint during another. Finally, I added washes of gray to add depth.

Spooky House sketch

It’s far from finished, but it’s reminiscent of other artwork I’ve done during longer sittings, specifically the barn painting below. The unfinished piece gives me ideas for future endeavors in art AND writing.

Barn Watercolor on paper

Being unable to sit for long has affected my reading schedule, influencing me to choose short stories over novels. I even dug out my old books of cartoons, including Peanuts, (pre-political) Doonesbury, Calvin and Hobbes, and Matt Groening’s Life In Hell series. I spent December and January reading again my four volumes of Mad, delighting in the magazine’s best of the 1950s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. February found me with my collection of cartoons history that had me laughing at plenty of comic strip humor over the ages—some of those old jokes are timeless and relevant today.

This post also marks a well-deserved break from writing Book 3 in the Green Crystal series. The book needs several more tweaks to get the kinks out, but I need to step away from it for a week or two to clear my head. Also, this old house needs some spring cleaning, so I’m preparing for that endeavor when the warmer weather of April and May settles on this neck of the woods. That means less writing and art, and shorter and fewer blogs during those months, but that’s life.

And speaking of life, I’m aiming at getting more physically active when Mother Nature decides to stop dumping snow outside my abode. Two outdoor exercises I’m looking forward to are biking and swimming. And just the idea of sunny days ahead has me smiling a lot.

Life is more than keeping the body fit, so I’m looking forward to browsing bookstores for the kind of literature that will exercise the brain when summer is over and Mother Nature reduces my outdoor activities to ridding snow from my walkways, driveway, and car. When I’m stuck indoors keeping warm and fed, I enjoy reading intelligent literature, which stimulates my creative muscle, which further aids me with developing sound ideas for my art and writing.

So, there you have it: Parts of my 2022 agenda and my pre-celebration of the summer to come.

Thanks for joining me. Peace and love, everybody, especially in these chaotic times.

In With the New Year and a Look at the Old Ones

Two of my resolutions for 2022 are to stay strong with my book projects (writing, designing, publishing) and to blog more often (hopefully, once a week or more).

It’s interesting that I make those two resolutions often to myself and fall short. But I tread on … and peek at the past to make sure I’m advancing.

So, in a similar form that I used in my last post, here’s a look at my old January blogs and some of the items I featured.

  • January 2011, I began designing this website and blog, published my ABOUT page on the 17th, and made my first post a month later. I made no public resolutions.
  • January 2012’s blogs came with lots of humor, which included several Louie & Bruce comic strips. Again, I made no resolutions.
  • January 2013, I made my first Kindle publications and blogged about each one. The only promise I made was to keep writing stories.
  • January 2014 brought more of my free stories and poems. Still no resolutions for the new year.
  • I featured artwork and stories in my January 2015 blogs and made no resolutions.
  • I made no resolutions in January 2016 when my blog turned 5 years old. Since then, WordPress considers February as my blog’s anniversary month. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t post anything until February 20, 2011.
  • January 9, 2017 was the first time I made public my resolutions for the new year. I spent a lot of time planning the books that I finally began publishing in 2021.
  • I lamented to you, my dear readers, about my 9-to-5 job taking away from my writing schedule during January 2018. I also made tentative changes to my Ridgewood characters’ names and ages and presented more artwork and free stories.
  • I presented another free short story and a poem in January 2019.
  • In January 2020, I toyed with the idea of renaming the town Ridgewood in my books to the earlier Ravenwood from my high school days. It wasn’t a well thought out idea. Another idea that month was to make my teen character Vree into an adult and put her into a series of books for grownups. I ended up putting that idea on a back burner and letting it simmer. It’s still there and I stir it occasionally.
  • Last year, January 2021, I was days into retirement from the work force and making big plans for my future, which kept me away from my blog that month.

And now, 11 years and 483 posts after I began this project, I reiterate my promise to keep writing, posting my art and stories, and keeping you abreast of when I publish my books.

Have a Happy New Year, my friends, stay safe and healthy, and may life bring you joy beyond your dreams.

Another Year

Another December 31st, another year is ending. Here, in my cozy corner of our big planet, I’m ready with the new calendar going up on the wall to replace the old one now marked with appointments met (and some not met).

As I write this, my mind reflects on the past. It seems as if every year goes past us in such a hurry, which suggests a poem I wrote when I was a youngster at college. It’s more of a lyric than a poem because I structured it around a tune playing in my head at the time. I often wrote poetry that way and could have been a musician if I’d have pursued it. But making art was more important at the time, so…

The poem is called A Day Song.

Our eyes are fixing on the time
On moving hands and sacred signs
And chimes that ring the end of day.

Our minds are wanting time to slow
To have it stop and never go
To celebrate the day that stays.

Our time comes ’round in furrowed lines
In yellowed books and cellar wines
And bells that ring the end of day.

Our hearts are wanting time to slow
To have it stop and never go
To celebrate an endless day.

Old lips are thirsting springtime rain
To feel alive and young again
To taste the times we loved so well.

Our eyes are sad to see time go
To watch it run and always flow
To watch it pass and never dwell.

The end of every year stirs memories of accomplishments and failures. It’s what we do, then make resolutions to do better, accomplish more. While I write this, my mind reflects on my accomplishments and failures of 2021. My biggest failure was not blogging regularly.

I continued writing and stayed serious with my writing goals this year, though I did not post anything here during January. Thus, the month is a big goose egg in my blogging score.

In February, I posted two old Louie & Bruce comic strips from 1982 and received an achievement award from WordPress for blogging with them for ten years. I posted the news and earned a 3 for my score of posts for the year.

I scored a 2 in March for posting two more old Louie & Bruce strip from 1982, and a 1 in April for posting an apple orchard painting and the poem it inspired from 2006.

A Brief Pause in an Apple Orchard
A Brief Pause in an Apple Orchard, Oil Painting

I had nothing in May, which was a busy month of writing my books, designing book covers, replacing my old laptop with a new one, and learning some new writing and art apps that I put on it.

July was a busy blogging month, which I scored a 5 for posting more writing news, as well as reposting a poem about U.S. government’s calamities and a reflection of my stomach surgery in 2020.

I scored deuces in August and again in September. The four posts were about my writing and publishing endeavors. You can see several samples of my book cover art in the September posts.

If you’re still with me, October brought 1 post on Halloween (I love Halloween and frankly, the whole month of October) and another art post in November that features both wildlife and book cover art.

Day of the Fairies e-book cover

And now—ta dah! Today’s post scores me a 4 for the month. Three of them were shameless promotions of my e-book “A Night of Hellhounds” at Amazon. During those posts, I got in a serious quandary here at home over why my spellcheckers hyphenate e-book but not email. No one I’ve talked to knows why. If you do, please leave me a comment telling me why.

So, here we are at the end of this post—number 20 and the last one of 2021. Obviously, my goal for 2022 is to post more than twenty times before December 31st comes again. Another goal is to finish more books and to stay healthy. And it’s good health I wish upon you.

Have a wonderful day and (drumroll—the old end-of-year joke is coming) I’ll see you next year.