Jes Lee

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.

This new year is still new



I am still getting the hang of this new year.

I have introduced a lot of new practices into my creative life. Some are sticking well, others not as much.

I have kept up with my film 365 project, and in the process fixed one of my broken cameras.

I have kept up with my ‘morning pages’ journaling practice, though not quite every morning, and not always 3 full pages. But I am journaling and writing more, and it is helping me more than I ever thought.

I have started doing yoga. I went to three classes last week, and really enjoyed the challenge and calm they provided. (Also, yoga makes me feel warm, which I desperately need now!)

I have started working with the studio manager at MCBA on a very exciting project there.

I have started a new book making class at MCBA that will guide me towards making a new editioned book. I admit, I was scared to death to go to this class. I still am, though much less than I was. It is intimidating studying under and next to book artists that I look up to and admire, and feeling like my work belongs. But it has been amazing. I have a lot of work to do on this project, and many articles and books to read to help guide me through this design process, and I am looking forward to it!

Through a very kind friend’s amazing generosity (if you happen to be reading this, you know who you are!) I am the owner of an Impossible Project Instant Lab camera. This amazing little invention creates instant photos of any image you can put on a cell phone. I have played with it all weekend, trying different exposures, making images of cell phone photos and artwork compilations, and double exposures. 2014-02-08 11.31.45

There will be a full blog post on this very soon! I am still too amazed at what it can do to really put in words yet.

2014-01-28 16.34.38


I have had to do more healing this winter than I ever expected to. For the first in quite a while, I finally feel like I have a better grip on it. 2014 is still new and still fresh, and still great.

2014-02-10 16.44.54


Today also happens to be the birthday of the guy I adore. I am very happy to be enjoying 2014 with him. Happy Birthday love!

Walks and wanders

My day today:

Found while trying out my 4×5 camera (that I still have some technical issues to work out with)

A make-up beer. . .infused with raspberries!

Plus some fairly major issues with my new-to-me 4×5 camera, but nothing that can’t be fixed. Really, just a technical issue I have to figure out. Also grocery shopping, then a bunny and wine. At times I didn’t think it was that great of a day, but I realize that it was good! Any day spent with my husband, and bunny, and cameras (even if they don’t work like I want!) is a good day!

Long days

It seemed like a long day. I biked to work – my usual Wednesday routine. Once there I spent a lot of time texting with my aunt, discussing how my mom was doing with her surgery, coordinating another showing at our condo, and what seemed like a million other important things at the time as well as working. After work I didn’t bike home, I biked to my parent’s house to visit my mom (she is doing quite well, thank you!) and to met Mr. FN as well as my aunt. It was a longer bike ride than I remembered it being, and quite warm. But, after that, amazingly, I had no energy to worry about anything anymore. It is amazing how peaceful and quiet your brain is when you reach that point.

The showings and activity on our dear little condo has been ramping up all week. It is exciting, but also a lot of work and worry. But we are surviving it all….though the resident bunny may have different feelings.

Of course I am busy with artwork as well, though there is a huge part of me that loves being busy with that. Currently on my plate is a family photo shoot that needs to be processed, two photo shoots this Saturday that will need attention right away, 100 calendar pages to be completed by the end of September, working on another book set box for the Fine Book and Fine Wine event at MCBA in October, and working on creating more art work for my show at the Larson Gallery…also in October. Have I mentioned that I have just realized how quickly October is coming??

It is ok, I have a plan. Mostly that plan simply involves giving myself more time tomorrow to work on the artwork portion of that to-do list, and saving the photo processing for this weekend and next week when I find myself away from home, between jobs, but with my laptop. The calendar pages will be started on next week when Laura Brown is back in the studios at MCBA…because it always seems like a party when she is there to work! I think this plan will be successful. There is potential.

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, the image uploader is still being a bit wonky for my website, but I have been told by Mr. FN that if it doesn’t get better this week to hold on until next week and he’ll have it all fixed up. So bare with me just a smidge longer. The photo I just took tonight is a staged shot of the book I’m currently reading laying on one of my favorite chairs to sit in and read. It is the only thing I really want to do tonight, and exactly what I will be doing as soon as I finish this entry.

MinneDemo is tomorrow night. I had planned on going with Mr. FN. It isn’t necessarily my thing, but it has been fun and a bit interesting in the past. It is mostly tech themed, and I often find myself quite out of my league during conversations and demos, but there is good beer and plenty of people watching. But I am feeling in a bit of an anti-social and ‘I-want-to-stay-home-and-snuggle’ mode, and since I haven’t been feeling 100% lately, I think I will probably cave to those feelings. Sometimes you need to just be home.

However long this place remains our home.

An odd thought…but not necessarily bad. Just something that enters your mind a bit more when your home is on the market and you have had multiple showings in a short amount of time.

For right now, it is time for me to give myself that time in my chair with my book. Fingers crossed, there will be photo uploads tomorrow!


Yesterday was rough. But in the end I finished the day and went to bed with the idea that the next day is new and has a chance to be better.

Today started out a bit rough (complete with a night full of nightmares of photo processing…seriously. That is a new one!). But I kept at it, and kept going, and in the end, it ended better than yesterday. And that is great! And now I’m ready to go to bed soon with the thought that tomorrow is another new day and has a new chance to be better. The cycle continues.

Through everything today, I feel like I am ending with more clarity than I had in the beginning. I had a chance today to go to the Rock The Garden concert and it was great and fun and in the end I left with a few things:

1. listening to Dessa sing reminded me why I used to spend so much money on albums and going to concerts. I truly adore listening to her and today didn’t disappoint. Ironically, this is only the second time I have listened to her live. The first was when she and Aby Wolf opened for Ani DiFranco a while back. From Ani to Doomtree.

2. the Walker is awesome. It is one of the few art museums that Mr. FN and I keep up a membership too. Honestly, I would love to be members of more, but there is unfortunately not an endless supply on money coming in, and choices need to be made. But we always pick them, and they always have awesome shows to see (Cindy Sherman is coming!!!) and host amazing music concerts. And I’m not just saying this because I won a t-shirt and poster while playing Rock The Garden Bingo today! (Thanks again Walker!)

3. I am betting that any concert I go to around here (which hopefully will be a bit more often again) Erik Hess will be there photographing and I’ll get to chat with him for at least a bit!

4. Somehow these things have given me a sense of clarity and a stronger idea of where my next project is going. I’m not telling anymore than that yet.

An obligatory crummy cell phone photo of the Rock the Garden stage from way too far away to make it look more than teeny – Doomtree is on there!

It has been a long day though, but not in a bad way. It is time for me to curl up in bed with a book and fall asleep. It helps that I did get a new book in the mail today from Milkweed Editions. I won it from them during Northern Spark for tweeting a photo of myself at an event after midnight (which honestly is really easy to do when you are working an event all night long!). I’m anxious to start reading this book though! I promise to post a little about it when I’m done!

Until next time!


A smart title would go here

Today is a day I really wish I could just curl myself around my coffee cup and stay there. Not for any alarming reasons. Just because it is warm, and my brain feels full of clouds today.

The next exhibition of Pretend the World opens up this week. Today I am hanging my work at the Art Start gallery in St. Paul. Thursday night Kathryn Kysar will be reading her work, along with Philip S. Bryant. The events start at 7:00. There will be music, poetry, as well as the videos and artwork I created to go with Kathryn’s book.

I admit to being a little nervous about being the only artist with artwork hanging on the walls (this time feels different from the other solo shows I have been lucky enough to have) and being in charge of bringing the video equipment and setting everything up correctly, but I’m sure it will all happen some how.

Who is she?

Who is she? from Love Poem

There are so many amazing events coming up. From the MCBA Co-op show at the Anderson Center in May, to Craftstravaganza and the beginning of the art festival season, to so many other opportunities and events. It is wonderful, and crazy, and busy. I keep daydreaming as I work, thinking of what I want to try next. What my next project will include, what processes I want to try next.