Jes Lee

New supplies, new colors

After sorting through a bunch of new supplies for pieces for my show, I was so excited I just had to post about them!

I took a few photos with me (Impossible Project instant film photos to be exact) to Wet Paint so I could pick out papers to cover boxes with. My paper color palette ended up going in a completely different direction than I thought, with a lot more warm and sepia tones than I usually have in my artwork. But you know what? I’m super excited about it! This is honestly the first time I have picked out a stack of papers that just look so cool together.

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Of course the lighting is just a bit funky in my kitchen where I had these lovely pieces out of their wrapping, but you will get better visuals soon when I start putting them to work!

What else came today?

A set of Smart Plates (no photo of these, they aren’t very exciting until I get the text put on them) from Takach Press, lithography ink,

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and a gorgeous new brayer!

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I also purchased one more large piece of binders board and a large piece of rag board for constructing boxes.


Now to get to work!


Dive right in

Within just a few days I have gotten to the “make it work” point of so many parts of this project. Printing supplies have been ordered, lay-outs are almost done…

Last night I was finally able to go to the Extreme Box Making class taught by Jodi Williams at MCBA. I had to miss last week’s class due to being sick. This class could potentially change the way I create! Ok, maybe not that drastic, but it is giving me all sorts of new ideas. I’m off to my favorite little art supply store later today to buy supplies for my class project. (Yay for buying paper!!) My class project will actually be a part of my show…or will lead to a piece that will be in my show. I had tentative plans for making little boxes to be displayed along the wall in the gallery, and this will be the start of them. In some ways, this class is kicking my butt into physically making something for this show instead of just imagining it and trying to perfect it in my head first. I need to be making it, not just day dreaming about it!

There is the little matter of how sitting in the class room/gallery my show will be up in is reminding me how very large it is and how much space I have to fill up….but I am not going to dwell on that now!

Head down, back to work!

Photo/word count:

February 23rd

words: 100

iPhone photos: 2

February 24th

words: 0

iPhone photos: 3

February 25th

words: 369

iPhone photos: 8

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Yes I’m still here!

I haven’t posted here for a few days, but I have kept up on a new daily journal practice, as well as still counting my photos and words written every day. I like where all of this is going, and I plan to keep it up!

Here is what has gone on since I last posted:

Thursday was Valentine’s day. 10 years ago John was at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin waiting order to be sent out of the country. 10 years ago it was a Friday, and I was waitressing. John had a dozen roses delivered to me at the restaurant, plus a few other surprises he planned with my mom. She would always help him carry out secret plans to surprise me with things while he was gone.

Well, this Valentine’s day was simple, but so much better than 10 years ago. Together we went to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts where you could give your favorite piece of artwork a valentine. Then we went to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants on Eat Street, and enjoyed a night out together. It was the simple act of being together that made it so much better!

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I actually dried those roses, and I still have the rose petals…10 years later!

The rest of the weekend was a blur. Things have been crazy busy at my day job and I have been working extra filling in for a sick co-worker. Of course a lot of that has caught up with me and I have come down with a nasty cold or something as well.

I am trying to rest more to get over it fast! I have a lot of work to do today, but all of it can be done on my laptop while curled up on the couch.

Daily statistics:

February 14th

Words written: 140

iPhone photos: 3

Film photos: 3

Instant film photos: 8


February 15th

Words written: 0

iPhone photos: 5


February 16th

Words written: 259

iPhone photos: 3


February 17th

Words written: 126

iPhone photos: 1


February 18th

Words written: 76

iPhone photos: 1


I am not posting my stats for today, because today is far from over yet!

10 years ago

10 years ago, today was a Thursday. It wasn’t snowing. It was a generally overcast February day. 10 years ago today, John left to go first to Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, and then over seas to Iraq for an undetermined length of time. 10 years can really seem like a long time, because it seems like so long ago that we dealt with that, yet at times the memories are still quite fresh and familiar. I am grateful that today, celebrating the fact that he is home, and that today is so very different from 10 years ago. We celebrated all of this pretty quietly, with a few extra kisses, and a beer after dinner, but it is still important.

Today was one of the days I was working at my day job most of the day, so my daily count stats aren’t the greatest, but that’s ok!

Currently, I am enjoying spending my evening cutting out book pages, and listening to music with John. Celebrating 10 years.

Word count: 178

iPhone photos taken: 2

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Yellow Ribbon #1 from the Waiting Ribbons series


A day

Words written: 480

Photos taken: 24 iPhone photos (I was trying on sunglasses…) 307 digital photos (I was photographing the show at MCBA)

Favorite photographers I had a chance to chat with in person today: 2

Pottery pieces glazed: 4

Photos uploaded to Flickr for a photo job: 65

Analog photo scans touched up for eventual web and flickr posting: 16

Mugs of tea drank: 2 in an Egyptian themed mug from Las Vegas found in MCBA’s cupboard.

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I want to start by saying that the past weekend was great! I worked my day job Friday morning, then photographed a big event at MCBA Friday night. There were quite a few people that were very grateful I was there photographing, which of course made me feel good! Those photos will be processed and posted soon.

Friday evening we started the birthday celebrations for my dear husband. We had dinner at our favorite little brew pub after I was done with my photo gig, then came home to relax. Saturday we spent the morning baking his birthday cake (orange cake with lemon filling and a vanilla frosting!!) and made a couple of other treats to bring over to a friend’s house. We played games and watched movies pretty much the second half of the day. Sunday was his actual birthday. 10 years ago he was reporting for meetings and orientation and preparation for going overseas with his army unit. It wasn’t snowing. This year we got loads of snow, and spent the day driving through the snowy city searching for vintage records. Much better, don’t you think? ;)

Of course I didn’t do much artwork this weekend. This weekend was about celebrating, as it should be.

It always seems like it is a smidge hard to get back into the swing of things when I have taken days off of working. I know it is necessary, and I probably need a few more breaks than I give myself, but it has gotten me thinking about how I work, and how to help myself work better, and more importantly, how to hold myself accountable and give myself credit for the work I have done. So I am trying something new.

Many writers (many that I know personally and adore) keep daily word counts, to hold themselves accountable, to write every day, and to keep working. It isn’t the end of the world when there is a day that no words are written, and the words that are written certainly don’t have to be the best, but they are there. They still count.

So, I’m trying my version of that. A daily word count, a daily photo count, and a count of anything else I have done that day. We’ll see where this leads! If nothing else, it gives me something to post here a bit more frequently, which also counts as writing ;)

Photos taken: 4 iPhone photos

Words written: 410

Book page layouts printed: 6

My workstation tonight:

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Film photos with twinkle…

This may be the fastest I have ever gotten film photos finished and posted. I posted on Sunday a little update about the Luminary Loppet and going out to take night photos of the ice candles. I posted my digital photos, with the promise of film photos to come later.

Well, guess what. It is already later! On Tuesday I had a bit of time in my studio and was able to develop the roll of film I had taken, and today I managed to get the photos all scanned in and cleaned up. So here you go! Night film photos of the Luminary Loppet!

The black and white photos were all taken with Kodak TriX 400 film using a Hasselblad 501c/m camera at f11, one minute long exposures. I love how some of them look like they were taken in daylight, and others don’t. This is the un-predictability of film I adore, especially with night photos. There is no exact way to meter, but after a bit of practice, you get pretty good at guessing how long your shutter should be open.

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(The light trails in the back are cross-country skiers going post. Many of them had on colored glowing bracelets and necklaces.)

Below is the only photo I managed to get with my Sx-70 out there. After this photo, something stopped working. I’m hoping to get it back up and running soon. No, I am not at all a camera repair person, but The Impossible Project has a few really good tutorials and trouble-shooting guides. I’m hoping that will help me!

This photo was taken with the Px70 Cool film, probably around a 10 second exposure, and stuck in my shirt to develop.

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Thanks for looking!


Crazy days and fun evenings

Many of you know we have our condo on the market to sell. A last minute showing can turn any day into a crazy day of running, cleaning, and convincing a bunny she should go in her carrier and leave with us. That is exactly what happened yesterday with 2 hours notice before the showing was scheduled. Not my idea of fun by a long shot, and not exactly the bunny’s idea of fun either (though she did get to visit my parent’s house for the evening, with plenty of areas to explore).

Somehow everything that needed to was done, and happened, and we still made it to the picnic we had planned with a couple of friends at the Science Museum of MN. I brought my new digital slr with for a little practice. I love taking photos in science museums! I don’t know what it is exactly, but I always have fun!

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Plus just a few dinosaur photos taken with my iPhone….mostly so I can play with them later ;)








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Main Street

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Down the road are the grain elevators. You can smell them before you can see them. Today their smell of pasta covered up the smell of wet pavement. Between the sounds of the crashing freight train cars, and the neighborhood smells, I knew I was home. 

This afternoon I dropped my car off to get an oil change close to my parent’s house and my studio. It felt quite warm outside after the frigid weather we have had lately, so I walked back after leaving my car. I love walking down Main Street and smelling the grain elevators.

I developed two rolls of film today, as well as finishing plenty of other little jobs on my to-do list. Hopefully I’ll find a bit of time later this week to scan and upload them :)

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