Jes Lee

Daily things

April is the month of the ‘daily’ exercises around the art communities I follow on the internet.

I’m going to try to keep up with a few of them, just for fun, and something else to blog about.

To start off with, April is National Poetry Month, and there are quite a few sites offering up poetry writing prompts for people that want to try the challenge of writing one poem a day.

I have tried this challenge before, and I enjoyed it! It is not easy, but it does get me back into the habit of writing daily, something I so easily get out of. Plus, I have a bunch of new journals and markers, so there is really no reason why I shouldn’t be journaling more and writing a poem a day.

So, through April, I will try to post a photo of a poem I wrote in my journal. Some pages will of course be prettier than ours. Some will be just plain pencil or ink. I’m not fussy. Just trying to get myself to get something down on paper each day.


#1 is a little haiku.

More daily projects to come soon!

Now, back to catching up a little more on what has been happening around here.

Spring break trailed off with a lot of fun events.

Saturday I spent the day with a friend…I even got up early for it! (Dear friend, if you are reading this, I’m sorry you learned the hard way I am not a morning person!!) We went to a sheep shearing event at a local park/farm, learned how to spin yarn, and of course bought wool and drop spindles to continue doing so!


I have plans for this….really…it isn’t just another crazy hobby! I did make the grey into a skein of yarn. It is a pretty crappy first attempt! Ha! But I know what I’m doing now. These supplies are not just going to sit unused! I have plans for them.

We also went to the roller derby later that evening, and watched a college friend of mine say her good byes to her team. It was very bitter sweet, but I’m glad we could be there.

Sunday was a laid back day with celebrating the anniversary of our favorite local brew pub where there was, of course, someone playing the bag pipes!


We had our first little backyard bonfire of the season that evening. I’m looking forward to many more of these soon!


Monday I spent my last long day in my studio, finishing up my little book that you have already seen.

Tuesday, I had my hair dyed before heading in to work, and spring break was officially over.


It is amazing how many things can happen in one week. I feel like it was packed full. Ups and downs, yes, but more good than sad. It feels like so long ago already.

The count down to summer break begins!


Slowly emerging again….

Things happened.

Lots of things.

Things I would love to post about here.

Things happened, and then I got sick. Quite sick.

And for the last week, I have spent most of my time going to work, trying hard to not sound like I was dying, (I wasn’t, really…), thinking about my little blog and wanting to update more and talk about what has gone on, and trying to get better.

I survived my week at work, and stayed home this weekend, and am feeling more normal than I have for a while. Yay, road to recovery…helped along by antibiotics and prednisone and many other allergy and asthma drugs…

Today, John got a door hung up on my darkroom! I can finally use it without having to block out a certain bunny with many pieces of furniture in the doorway! I’m really looking forward to getting back to work in there!

I also made it out of the house for a tiny walk around the block with John. The evening air felt really good. And the sunset was beautiful!

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We’ll see what tomorrow brings. Hopefully energy to run a few art errands, and get some plans going.Onward!

Oh what a dream it was


I can’t even begin to say how wonderful it has been to be home on spring break this week.

To say that I have finally been feeling like an artist again, more like myself for the first in a long time would be a big understatement.

Not that I don’t enjoy my job – I do. But I missed this.

There have been events around here in the last couple of weeks that have been absolutely gut wrenching. I don’t pretend that life will stay the same – I know it won’t, and I believe that change is good, to get us out of our comfort zones, and on to new things.

There have still been a few things this past week that blind-sided me though.


I went and photographed swans with my uncle again this past weekend. There is something about just sitting there, watching the birds, and talking that I really needed. Some things clicked into their proper places after that.

On we go, and keep flying, even when you don’t know how you will be able to. Hearts are resilient things. I learned from a new friend this week that the heart of a racing dove is the same size as the heart of a young turkey. I don’t know what to think of that really, except that there is proof that you can still fly even if your heart is a bit heavier.


In to the sunshine.

All on a Sunday

We had a long Sunday. While it was not filled with art show openings like Saturday was, it was still wonderful, and filled with family and shopping and I was able to spend a lot of time with John. I always love weekends like that.

Being that it was the first weekend in quite awhile that we were both feeling good, John went with me to see the swans and test out my new lens. From where we park, it is about a mile walk out to where the swans hang out. We weren’t able to stay long enough to watch them fly away, but we were able to stay for a bit. I tried out my new lens, and I am really enjoying it! The auto focus isn’t the fastest, but it isn’t the slowest I’ve used either. And the photos I got were quite sharp. I forgot to bring something to feed the swans, so they weren’t very interested in sitting close to me. It was a nice to test the zooming capabilities of this lens though!

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For reference, I took this with my iPhone from where I was sitting. More photos with my digital camera below, and more film photos to come soon.

After, we hiked back to the car, stopped at home to change, and went to The Bad Waitress to celebrate John’s birthday as well as my father-in-law’s birthday. It was nice to see them. I’m hoping we can do Sunday brunch with family a bit more often now.

After, John and I went to Ikea in search of spice jars (we didn’t find them) and the Mall of America in search of clothes. We didn’t find very much in the way of clothes, but we did come home with a stack of books, thanks to a couple of gift cards. The number of books I have purchased this weekend says a lot about where my head has been lately.

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Currently, it is beautiful and snowy out, and I couldn’t be happier! I’m heading out to yoga for the first time in over a week…I finally feel like I could make it through most of class. Fingers crossed that I’m right about that!

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Until next time….

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Oh what a weekend

The first weekend after long weeks of at least one person being sick always seem to feel so good. And with all the art events going on this weekend, it definitely did not disappoint!

Friday, on my way home from work I stopped at Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts to meet their new education coordinator, Jennifer Kennedy-Logan, and see their latest art exhibit. Jennifer seems like a great person, and I am glad to see her joining the BLCA community!

The exhibit that is on display is a show of paintings by Linda Deg Lee and Mary Lingen. It is beautiful! Their work pairs so well together, from the use of color and geometric shapes, even down to the beautiful OCD satisfying way one gallery is filled with work by one artist working in angular geometric shapes, and the other is all circular flowing lines and shapes. It is quite appealing just to go look at bright colors in the middle of our grey winter.

Saturday started off as a busy day at work for me, and concluded with a wonderful evening out. We started with dinner at a local wood-fire pizza place, continued with a pretty LNL* at a sort-of hidden gem of a store/coffee shop that is I think relatively new to the neighborhood, and then continued on to art and cocktails. Who doesn’t love that??

First stop: Traffic Zone for the one of two displays of one show. This particular exhibit is a juried show if many alumni from the College of Visual Arts that recently closed. I have many friends that graduated from there, so I definitely wanted to see the show. Aki Shibata (she and I met at MCBA) was doing a collaborative performance piece with another artist. They each had a writing desk, one at each gallery displaying work for this exhibit, and wrote love letters to each other, having gallery visitors that were moving on to the next gallery, deliver and read them to the other person. I delivered a letter from Aki to her collaborator, John Colburn over at Form+Content gallery, and read it to him. It was a simple friendly, love letter, not steamy, or overly mushy. Just beautiful. It was a lovely experience! It also made me think about how I don’t write letters often enough, especially sweet ones to the people I care about. I’d like to change that.

Just around the corner from Form+Content is Cave Paper, run by two women I have also gotten to know through MCBA. They were open for visitors, so we stopped to look at the new things they had hanging up on their walls, and so I could buy some cloud paper seconds! I am in love with that paper, and have collected a couple of sheets each time I go there. Now, to start planning projects to actually use it!

We ended the night with cocktails at a friend’s place (I think Manhattans might be one of my new favorites!) and then walked over to the 801 Gallery to see an amazing show of three photographers and a painter. It was the perfect show to end the night with. So, the 801 Gallery is actually inside a building of lofts in Minneapolis. Many artists live there and have their studio work space there as well. So, along with the artwork hanging in the large, open hall ways of the building, there are many other little shows of artwork going on in people’s individual spaces. We saw so many great pieces! My very favorite, is the work by Sara Belleau. Her staged photography is just amazing and beautiful. She was selling books of the series that night as well, and thankfully I had enough cash with me to buy one. She even signed it for me. I can’t write about her work without sounding like a gushing fan girl…but I’ll just leave it at this. As an artist, once in a while you go out and see an exhibit of someone’s work, and it in many little ways renews your sense of being a creative person, and reminds you once again that there are amazing people out there, and amazing art, and kicks you in to not-giving-up.

Sunday was full of family, and some shopping and many books, as well as more photographs. But I will leave that for another post.

*LNL = Late Night Latte (I am testing my caffeine time limits. Evening coffee doesn’t seem to cause me to not be able to sleep later, so this may become a thing!)

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Getting out

Even though winter is one of my favorite seasons (with summer a close second…I am a girl of extremes) it is still so easy to get caught up into hibernation mode and spend loads of time in front of the tv under the blankets. This year I am trying to combat that!

A friend of mine decided that she was going to go to as many openings and theater shows as she could this winter. So, I am copying her.

Valentine’s Day Weekend was the first of this experiment.

Friday evening I stopped by Rouge Buddha Gallery to see Nicolas Harper’s newest work as well as some of his guest artists. I stopped at a tiny art gallery on the way home that had a sign outside saying there was an art opening, but it seemed quite private, so I didn’t stick around. On Saturday, during our Valentine’s Day wanderings, we stopped by Black Dog Coffee in St. Paul to see the Metro Sketchers work that is displayed there, while sipping hot chocolate and tea. On Monday, I was at MCBA helping take photos of artwork for the upcoming ‘This Is Book Art’ exhibit where I got to see and look close up at some of the amazing book art that is being delivered to the gallery for the show.

Having a weekend full of art filled up my empty spaces again. I have a list of other shows to see, and plan on continuing this well past the end of winter.

Of course, it would help if I felt better. This weekend I have barely made it off the couch, except for work. Being sick sucks, and I did miss a few fun things this weekend. But it happens, and life goes on, and I will eventually feel better. There is more art out there waiting for me.


12/29/14 – Okinawa Aquarium

From my journal:

Today we made the trek to the aquarium. It is around 66.2km from where we stayed, but factoring in traffic, road construction, stop lights, a break for lunch, and a packed parking lot, it took us almost 3 hours to get there. The scenery was awesome though!

The aquarium was pretty spectacular with a giant 4 story aquarium view at the end with 3 huge whale sharks, many different rays, and two dolphins – one that kept swimming behind one of the sharks, trying to bite his tail, and one that kept sneaking up behind fish and goosing them.

At the very bottom, the glass from the observatory sloped into the tank so you can look up at fish swimming above you. One of the rays would swim to the top of the curved glass and slide back down.

We spent over 3 hours walking around there!

The views outside were beautiful. You could look out over the ocean from where you entered. There were so many little gardens planted around, it seemed like there were flowers everywhere.

On the way home we took a back road that cut across and took us through part of the mountains. We drove through tiny farming villages with houses that looked like they were close to falling down, packed together in some areas along the mountain side.

There were little roadside shops set up along the road selling fresh oranges. We stopped and bought a bag from a woman. She kept giving us samples as we decided what variety to buy. 1000 yen for a huge bag of the sweetest oranges I have had in a long time…less than $10.

We eventually got back to the road we had come in on, and decided to take the expressway the rest of the way to save a bit of time. Julie said something in Japanese that made the man working the toll booth giggle…we laughed the rest of the night about that!

So many adventures!

This is why we always take the back roads.  You never know what you’ll find a long the way.

iPhone photos of the day:

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Film photos:

It is the little things

It is always the little things. The tiny bits that add up to big bits, snowflakes that add into snowballs and avalanches.

All of the good bits, and the less spectacular bits as well.

I have still been going on my #100daysofhappiness journal project. It helps me focus on all of the good bits. Some days have been full of them, and my journal entry seems like an endless list of great little memories. Other days haven’t been as full of the good things, but because of this project I go to bed at night remembering at least one good thing from the day.

Balance is hard. Yoga reminded me of that today. We did something a little unusual and did a balance pose pretty early on in today’s practice. Balance poses take concentration, strength, and focus. I admit I was a little thrown off, and quite unsteady at first. Annie said “don’t think about it, just do it, find your point to focus on, and breathe…” or something very similar in her yogi wisdom. So I did. And I balanced. And I realize that all of that runs very parallel to life, and how much better I do when I just stop over planning, over thinking, shut up and focus and breathe. So, I’m shutting up about all of it now. I have my bits to focus on. I can breathe.

So far this week, my job and artwork balance that have seemed to be a constant struggle since starting this job in August, are maybe just a tiny bit easier. I have had a couple of very productive days in very important-to-me ways. I even printed for a short little time at MCBA on Monday, which is something I have wanted to do for a long, long time.


John was the sweetest ever to me, and took me out to spend a little money on Christmas lights for our house. We hung them up together Monday night, after decorating our little tree on Sunday, and I couldn’t be happier. I always wanted to be able to decorate a house with twinkle lights, and we finally did.


I have more plans of important-to-me-to-have-happen productivity this week, and some plans already taking shape with some great friends this weekend.

I’m happy and content right now. And when I need to find my balance today, I can focus on that.


Another weekend

The reception at Konawerks Saturday night was lovely. It was very encouraging to me – that everything I am trying to do and juggle is worth it, and there are people who notice.

I love the snow we have been getting – the soft flakes, the not terribly cold weather. I love this season.

Recently, I have spent some time printing again, working on my little press down by the fire place, getting reacquainted with my studio. That is one of many things making me happy.

And my Christmas Cactus is blooming!





I’m still here…

The new work schedule has definitely been an adjustment…an adjustment that has taken up a lot more brain space than I would like some days. But it is November, and one of my favorite seasons is just around the corner, and somehow things seem to be settling in a little more each day. I have finally gotten back to creating, and working on my little book project that has gotten shoved aside for the last two months.

There are so many events coming up between my photography and the pottery my dad and I work on together! Check my ‘Announcement‘ page. I have kept that as up to date as possible with everything new coming up.

Yesterday I hung artwork up in Karin Jacobson’s studio for Art Attack, coming up this weekend! I am so excited! It will be a long weekend, but I am looking forward to being there!

I have kept up with my #100DaysOfHappiness that you might remember me starting in September. I am loving that little project! I haven’t been posting updates for it – I am feeling quite strongly that some things just need to stay in my journal, and a few of those updates fit that. But I might share a few more a long the way.

This post has been all over the map, especially for the first update in quite a while! Hopefully this space will be a little less neglected going forward…

I’m off to my studio before I have to head to work. Until next time!

Oh, and here is one of my newest pieces…this and two other new compilations are up at Karin’s studio!

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