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Light in the time of darkness

“’Twas the night”  is available as a greeting card or small matted print. © Annette Makino 2015

“’Twas the night” is available as a greeting card or small matted print. © Annette Makino 2015

As you may have heard, the holidays are upon us. Amid the Christmas muzak and urgent appeals to buy mass-produced widgets, it’s easy to lose sight of the true spirit of the season. There is such pressure—to buy the perfect gifts, to cook lavish meals, to decorate the house festively, to have the most wonderful time ever.

toobusytostophamsterwheel

(Prune Juice, July 2015)

But I believe that behind all that, there is a simple urge. We are looking for meaning and connection with the people we love. Even if we’re not particularly religious, in the darkest time of the year, we are seeking light: the spark of magic at our holiday gatherings, the light on the faces of our family and friends, and at the most primal level, the return of the sun.

My sister once did some custom work on a house that had a special closet just for storing the family’s artificial Christmas tree, with the ornaments attached. It just needs to be carried out and dusted off each December.

The mind reels.

Instead of that painfully efficient and bloodless approach, today we are going to put on some holiday music and decorate our old-fashioned, real spruce tree with quirky ornaments. There are charmingly awkward clay decorations that the kids made in pre-school. Odd mementos from our travels, like the satin girls and boys holding their Little Red Books that my husband and I once bought in China. A family of gray and pink velvet bats that my mother once sewed for us, just because.

“naughty or nice”  is available as a greeting card or small matted print. © Annette Makino 2015

“naughty or nice” is available as a greeting card or small matted print. © Annette Makino 2015

The bottom 37 inches of the tree will be left bare because my curious two-year old nephew is coming to town, along with my two sisters, daughter, and mother. There will be much cooking and feasting, piles of presents (several handmade), and wintry walks on the beach. In this time of deepest darkness, such light.

Happy holidays to you and yours.

warmly, Annette Makino

Makino Studios News

Holiday Craft Market: Makino Studios will have a booth at this fair in the Arcata Community Center in Arcata, CA this Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 12-13. This is my only in-person fair this season.

Made in Humboldt: A selection of my cards, prints and calendars is available at the Garden Shop of Pierson Building Center in Eureka, CA through Dec. 24.

2016 calendar: You can still order my wall calendar of art and haiku, featuring twelve of my paintings of landscapes, animals and flowers. For US addresses, order by December 14 to receive by Dec. 24 via standard mail.

Wishing you peaceful holidays

“peace on earth” is 5×7, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolor on paper and digitally edited. It is available as a  holiday card  or small print. © 2014 Annette Makino

“peace on earth” is 5×7, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolor on paper and digitally edited. It is available as a holiday card or small print. © 2014 Annette Makino

Whew. After weeks of holiday madness for my little business, I have just one more in-person event this season, a holiday craft fair in Arcata this weekend.

With this chance to catch my breath, I just want to say a big thank you to all my customers, family and friends. This holiday season and all year, it is a tremendous gift to be able to spend this brief time on earth engaged in truly meaningful work.

the time we are given . . .
sparks rise through darkness
to join the stars

(tinywords 14.2)

Peaceful holidays to you and goodwill to all creatures.

warmly,

Annette Makino

Makino Studios News

Holiday Craft Market: I will have paintings, prints, cards and calendars for sale at this fair in the Arcata Community Center in Arcata, CA this weekend, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

“oak tree” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper. © 2014 Annette Makino

“oak tree” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper. © 2014 Annette Makino

New Oak Tree Print: I just posted a new print of an oak tree in my Etsy shop, where you can also find the latest holiday and everyday card designs and my wall calendar for 2015.

Made in Humboldt: My cards, prints and calendars are on offer at this holiday fair at the Garden Shop of Pierson Building Center in Eureka, CA  through Dec. 24.

Living Room Retrospective: I am one of nine artists featured in this exhibit at MikkiMoves in Eureka. The show runs through January.

Holiday at Mateel Gallery: A few of my paintings, plus cards and calendars, are available at this gallery in Garberville, CA through Dec. 27.

A series of unfortunate events

“merry & bright” is available as a print or card. It is based on an original 11×14 painting in sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on rice paper.

“merry & bright” is available as a print or card. It is based on an original 11×14 painting in sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on rice paper.

It was a very trying couple of weeks. The first thing to go wrong was that mice invaded our kitchen and bathroom, leaving their droppings in most of our drawers and cabinets. Just days after I finished cleaning and sterilizing everything from that episode, the dog did his business on the driveway, my husband stepped in it wearing hiking boots, and voilà— a trail all through the downstairs that even a human could track by smell.

After cleaning the evidence off the carpets and floors, I updated some software for my website—and much of the sidebar text disappeared. I naively thought it would be simple to restore it from the nightly backup, but my web guy said that what with the reconfiguring and testing, it would actually be faster for me to recreate the content. There went another big chunk of the day.

Next up, my digital security service notified me that my Gmail account had been compromised. As advised, I dutifully changed the password. But this foiled only me, as the account could then receive email, but no longer send.

A couple days later, the front door permanently locked while open. We spent 24 hours with blankets draped over the top and side of the door to keep out the chill until a locksmith came to replace the failed lock

During this period, I noticed that the house alarm system was indicating a low battery. When I called the company that had installed the system, they had no record of our account

The way my luck was going, it was just par for the course when I picked up the lid of a ceramic butter dish and part of it broke off in my hand.

As each new calamity arose, I got farther and farther behind on my to-do list, just at my busiest time of the year. Instead of painting and framing art, while my husband was off teaching and the kids were at school, I spent many long and tedious hours cleaning and fixing things that I usually take for granted, like front doors that close, email that both sends and receives, and kitchen cabinets where you can safely store food.

“peace on earth” is 5×7, painted in sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on textured paper. It is also available as a print or card.

“peace on earth” is 5×7, painted in sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on textured paper. It is also available as a print or card.

It was a small mercy that this series of unfortunate events happened just before Thanksgiving. Even while lamenting all the time I was losing, a part of me remembered to be grateful to have a home at all. I told myself that many displaced people—from Syria to the Philippines to downtown Arcata—are facing situations far more dire than a little mouse poop in the silverware drawer.

Beyond that insight, I am not sure what else to take from this run of aggravations, except that sometimes in life, poop happens. Then you just clean it up as best you can and carry on.

With everything running smoothly in our household once more, this past week I found time to paint several new holiday pieces, including the persimmons shown here. I’m now busy catching up and preparing for holiday fairs over the next two weekends.

Who knows what else might go wrong (what is that weird sound coming from the dishwasher?). But the little white Christmas lights are up and the mood here is turning merry and bright. Here’s wishing you delightful and aggravation-free holidays

warmly, Annette

Makino Studios News

Humboldt Holiday Fairs:

  • Humboldt Artisans Crafts and Music Festival at Redwood Acres in Eureka, CA, Friday through Sunday, Dec. 6-8. I’ll be offering new paintings, prints and holiday cards. The Makino Studios booth will be in the sunroom of the Home Economics building.
  • Arcata Holiday Crafts Market at the Arcata Community Center, Arcata, CA, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 14-15.
  • Pierson Christmas Fair in Eureka, CA, now through Dec. 24.

Poetry & Honey: My new 2014 wall calendar has been selling much faster than I expected and is currently on its third printing. You can order copies online at my Etsy shop, find them at select Humboldt County stores, or get them at the fairs above.

Holiday Cards: My newest designs can be found in the card section of the Makino Studios Etsy shop.

Arts Alive Holiday Show: Several of my framed prints and cards are in a group show at the Mateel Cooperative Gallery, 773 Redwood Drive, Garberville, CA through December.

New Retailers: I’m happy to share that you can now find a selection of my cards at Eureka Natural Foods (see the special card rack in the center of the candle section), and at St. Joseph’s Hospital Gift Shop, both in Eureka, CA.

Haigaonline Show: Eleven new haiga (haiku art pieces) will be featured in the next issue of Haigaonline, coming in late December.