Jes Lee

The holiday sales are almost here!

I am looking at my to-do list this morning, and quickly realizing that 90% of it focuses on getting work ready for the upcoming holiday sales. (The other 10% being getting prints done of my cousin’s senior photos!)

There is no rest for the artist!

So far our schedule is:

Craftz’a! November 17th, 10am-5pm at The Soap Factory

The Roseville Holiday Craft Fair December 1st 10am-5pm and December 2nd 12-4pm in the Roseville City Hall building.

And once again we will be back at No Coast Craft-O-Rama! December 7th 3-8pm and December 8th 9am-5pm at the Midtown Global Market.

Cold mornings and my ideal self

Winter is working very hard at arriving full force today. Of course as much as I would love to just curl up on the couch with a good book and watch the snow come, I must be out today. There are photos to take at MCBA, and a class to teach tonight at Bloomington.

I chatted with a good friend the other night about goals, and what we would love to be able to do every day and how these things make up our “ideal selves” which is not usually how we actually are.

My ideal self would not feel so crazy right now. I have had two classes run that I wasn’t really expecting, that included a fair amount of prep work. I have been also working like crazy to get caught up on a lot of photo ¬†jobs, knowing that my hours at my “day job” will be increasing soon. So this week has seemed busy and stressful and way too full. Not ideal. But I know it will get better.

So what is my ideal self? My ideal self would have take time every morning to write. My ideal self would take more photos everyday than just those I use for my daily photo projects. My ideal self would be working on those leather journals for myself and Mr. FN and they would be perfect (this will in part happen soon – I am planning on working on the journals more next week, though they will not be perfect! I am ok with that part though!) My ideal self would never feel spread too thin. My ideal self would have time to work out every day. But, reading back over that, my ideal self would have a lot of routines, and that could get boring, so maybe it is better that I am not my ideal self anyway! ;)

My bestie reminded me today that November is just around the corner and with that comes national writing month. There are people who commit to writing novels in November, people who commit to writing a new poem every day, and people who commit to writing a blog post every day. It really is an exciting, creative month, and it has me thinking of what I would like to do for November. Perhaps committing to something like this would be good. Maybe it would be a good way to get myself writing more and blogging more again. Or, maybe it is just one more commitment that will leave me feeling too busy . We’ll see!

I know that I need to be more focused in my creative work flow, especially knowing that I will be working more. Working more is not a bad thing! So how do other creative types make it work? Is there a secret?

The McKinney family 2012

A few weeks ago I had a chance to do the McKinney family’s annual family photos. We met at Tamarack Nature Center in White Bear Lake. I do adore that park! There are so many trails to walk on, and the kids always seem to have fun! I love that I get to see this family each year and watch these kids grow up.











It is really hard to not laugh with these cuties around! They are always laughing and cracking jokes!

I am so grateful to have these people in my life!

Passing time

It was a gloriously long weekend for this girl.

Friday night was the opening for the two person show I am in. It was great! I am so very grateful for the people that have taken the time so far to go and see it. I’m really amazed by this show!

Saturday I taught a class at Bloomington Art Center. The students were great! I think this is possibly one of the best groups yet.

The rest of the weekend was spent celebrating being married to Mr. FN for 10 years! (Yes, for those of you wondering, we had two weddings. This is the anniversary of our first wedding!) We spent this wonderful weekend kayaking, biking, watching loads of movies, baking bread and soup, and just enjoying being together.

John in his kayak on Long Lake Saturday afternoon.

Sunday bike ride past the train yards

making soup stock

Now it is back to a regular week of working and catching up before my work schedule changes again. I keep thinking back to this long weekend though, and how wonderfully simple it was. The only thing that mattered was being together. There really should be more times like that.

New work

Now that my work for my show has been dropped off, I am moving on to the next items to work on.

The next show I have coming up will feature more printing and book work, so I am experimenting printing on different types of paper. Today I tried a couple of prints on a Japanese mulberry paper. I have actually made some of this paper by hand before, and I love it! You can print with an ink jet printer on it without doing anything special. Thankfully, you can also buy it from many art supply stores in many sizes. I would love to make all of my own paper for prints, but I think I would be working on that for a long time!

Quite awhile ago I started making two leather journals, one for Mr. FN and one for myself. They got set aside as I got busy with work for this show. The other night he asked me when I was going to work on them some more so he could have a different journal to use at work. What an excellent idea! So these are on my to-do list for today. The next step is rounding the spines and I need to use a piece of equipment at MCBA for that. Since I will be there tonight being a studio monitor, it is the perfect time to work on that!

I have also been trying a bit of food photography. My food allergies have gotten quite bad again, and I have found myself making a lot of my own food at home. So, to make it a little bit more fun I have been taking photos of what I am making. It has been good practice! The lighting in my kitchen is not the best, so I have had to find ways to compensate, etc. I may eventually blog about a few of the recipes I have been trying, but in the mean time, I’ll be collecting the photos on my Flickr account here.

Also on my list today is to get more pottery done for the holiday sales! I think that will be a very relaxing task this afternoon.


A scattered little fall day

I have felt a little scattered today, but in a good way. My mind keeps going off in different directions, adding different ideas to my many lists, and generally keeping me staring out the window, thinking.

I won’t complain too much. It has been awhile since I have felt like I could allow myself time to do that!

I dropped off the artwork for my show today. It feels really nice to have that task done! I think I even have an outfit picked out for the opening reception on Friday too! I’m feeling quite on top of things!

It was a gorgeous fall day today, and while I am trying to limit my time outside so my allergies don’t get the best of me, I have to get out a little bit. A few of the trees in our back yard have gotten bright leaves finally this weekend and they have been so pretty to look at today!

It is warm enough to try and get out kayaking today, and I’m hoping we’ll get out for a little bit this evening. I am also feeling a bit daring and thinking I might bring a better camera with my in my kayak. . . something more than just my cell phone!

A few of the ideas that have been floating around in my head today:

– the next set of books I would like to work on. I don’t have solid ideas on content yet, but I have started thinking of bindings I would like to use. In particular I would love to do an edition of coptic bound books. I may start working on new prototypes soon . . .

– starting a food blog. No, I don’t really need another blog. One is at times more than enough for me to keep up on. But, with the fact that my food allergies seem to have come back full force on me again, I have become a bit obsessed with food and cooking and baking and recipes and substituting ingredients and things I can make and eat that won’t make me feel like crap the next day. I would like to keep notes of the things I come up with somewhere. I don’t know if a blog is the right answer, or if I should just keep another journal, but the thought has been bouncing around in my head today.

I’m sure there will be something brand new on my mind tomorrow!

Sampson’s portraits

A few weeks ago I had a chance to do a portrait session for a beautiful horse. There has always been a part of me that loves horses, and it was so amazing to have a chance to be so up close and personal to Sammie. This was so much fun! I hope there are more opportunities like this in my future!






(I know it is not proper to post a photo of the subject sticking their tongue out…similar to posting that photo of the toddler picking their nose or something…but this photo just made me giggle so much this week! I love it!)




Today will be a quiet day of work.

I am definitely looking forward to it.

A day where I can just dig in and cross many things off of my to-do list.

On my list is framing the very last piece for my new show. I can’t believe I am finally at that point! It seems like it has been such a long time coming.

I also pre-ordered the Paper Darts volume 4! I love this publication! If you are looking for fun distractions during the day, follow them on Twitter! Maybe if I get my work done early today, I’ll sneak out to their publication party tonight!

Have a great day friends! May we all have a productive one!

Instant fall photos

There has been a lot of quiet contemplation around here, which has led to me writing a lot more privately and a bit less here. There has also been a lot of catching up of things I had to set aside while I was getting work done for deadlines that came up way too fast. So, while I have been working hard, it hasn’t all been very blog worthy! Hopefully that will change soon.

Tonight! Tuesday, October 9th 6-9pm, is the Fine Books and Fine Wine celebration at Minnesota Center for Book Arts! My series of Seasons books will be on display along with many other amazing pieces! I love this event. It isn’t often you can find so many artist books out where you can actually look at and touch them! If you have ever thought of starting to collect artist books, this is the event that will answer all of your questions! I’m super excited for it, and I will definitely be there tonight! (Not to mention I will be doing some photo documenting for MCBA while I am there).

Next Friday night is the opening reception for my show at The Larson Art Gallery on the St. Paul University of Minnesota campus! I am so excited for this. The work is almost done. . . I am finishing up the last piece today. The reception is from 6-8pm. I hope you can make it! This will also be my last gallery show until later next year, which makes it just a little bit bigger and a little bit more exciting.

In the mean time, I have still been practicing with my Sx-70 and the new color protection film from The Impossible Project. This is really such lovely film! It takes a bit of camera adjusting, but I am starting to get the hang of it. And experimenting is always so much fun anyway!

There will be more updates soon. For now, I’m off to ink up my printing press.

Fall colors at Tamarack Nature Center, White Bear Lake, MN

Tall grass at Tamarack Nature Center, White Bear Lake, MN

A huge sculpture of a frog made out of all sorts of materials at Tamarack Nature Center, White Bear Lake, MN

Instant photos from the Renaissance festival

A few weeks ago Mr. FN and I headed out to the Renaissance Festival to meet up with a friend. This place has always held a certain nostalgia for us. Years ago, this is where Mr. FN proposed to me. The pewter shop there is where we got our cake topper and bride and groom drink glasses for our wedding from. We haven’t gone for a few years. It was quite fun to walk around, remembering all of those little moments.

I of course had a couple of cameras with me, one being my Sx70 loaded with the Px70 V4b test film. I don’t usually end up with many photos from the fest, but I really enjoy how these came out. This film is amazing. The Impossible Project has come such a long way, and I am so immensely proud of them!