Artist Interview-Rachel Micander

REMI was fortunate to meet Rachel in person at the Wild Nevada exhibit during Reno’s Artown.

My biggest breakthrough came when… It was very recently. I think it came when I realized that my artwork was unique. I thought for so long that the paintings I created were generic and in an artistic style that was no longer in vogue. I recently went to a local salon to show my work in consideration for an upcoming show. I was very nervous about showing my work since I never see anything like my paintings in local coffee shops or salons. My paintings were received quite well and I will (hopefully) be having a show at the end of 2017. The gal that organizes the shows told me that she had never seen anything like my paintings before and loved how different they were. Since then, I have begun to embrace my style of painting and work to share the landscapes and birds of the Great Basin and eastern Sierra that I love so much.

CedarWaxwing

Cedar Waxwing-R. Micander

Who are your heroes in real life? I have always had a hard time defining heroes in my day to day life, but I would have to say that my parents are two people who have always taught me to do good and whom I look up to. My mother shared her artistic talent and love of nature with me and my father shared his love of sports cars, his calm demeanor, and rationality, making me the person that I am today. Also, my husband, Gary, who always supports and encourages me in anything I try to tackle and is a constant rock in my life. I have a great appreciation and respect for John Muir – he fought for what he believed in and I am so thankful I am able to enjoy the wilderness, mountains, and the beautiful western landscapes because of what he worked so hard to protect. After all, “none of nature’s landscapes are ugly so long as they are wild” – John Muir.

How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your creative pursuits? Recently, I have found that after a long, sometimes monotonous, and stressful day at work, the best thing for me is to decompress at home with painting. I find that if I have a project going at home, it helps me through my day, and I have something completely different to tackle when I am home from a 10-hour day at work. It’s not always easy, but I find that if I leave my unfinished work on the kitchen table I am drawn to return to it at some point.

What are your other passions? I love topographic maps, compasses, and old-style navigation. I am also a geologist by training and love the Great Basin in all its beauty and

ConwaySummit

Conway Summit-R.Micander

geological interest. I have a love of European sports cars and motorsports (thanks dad). Last year I competed in the inaugural Rebelle Rally, the first all-women’s off-road rally in the United States. My best friend and I competed in this seven day, off-road excursion with no GPS or cell phones through the Great Basin and Mojave Desert. She was my driver and I was her navigator. I have always wanted to compete in motorsports (again, thanks dad), and this rally made my dream a reality.

What’s next for you? I hope to continue painting the beautiful landscapes of the Great Basin and eastern Sierra. I would like to learn how to make prints of my art so I can keep some of my favorite originals. There are quite a few paintings I sold early on that I wish I still had. I also hope to begin creating stationary, and maybe one day, design wedding invitations.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? I believe that anyone can be an artist. If you want to create something, don’t let self-doubt hold you back. This is something that I have struggled with for a long time. If you love painting then you should paint.

To learn more about Rachel and her art -check out the following link: 

micander.com/art

Art with Friends

Wild NevadaSome folks are all about keeping it wild. While Friends of Nevada Wilderness  is more about open spaces than the party scene, their opening reception for their Wild Nevada Exhibit was quite the festive event, packed with artists, advocates and volunteers.  During Artown the local 502(c) non-profit headquarters becomes an art gallery featuring  a variety of visual mediums and diverse landscapes and wildlife.

“Art is activism,” one of the volunteers remarked to me.  She then noted how Ansel Adams brought remote spans of wilderness to public attention.  In addition to raising awareness of Nevada’s public lands, the exhibit also provided visibility to local artists, like Rachel Micander, who fielded inquiries about her work like a veteran during her debut show.

As an office dweller, I was pleased to see the outside brought in—long white hallways populated with snowy mountains, wild flowers even a Lazuli Bunting and an Evening Grosbeak, birds native to the Great Basin.  So corporate spaces can play host to art and nature if only for a little while.

Writer Interview-Kathleen Kaska

Tell me about your latest book. 

My latest book, Run Dog Run, just released by Black Opal Books last March, is the first of my new Kate Caraway animal-rights series. Run Dog Run revolves around the world of greyhound racing.

Here’s a short synopsis:

After five years in Africa researching the decline of elephant populations, animal-rights activist Kate Caraway’s project comes to a screeching halt when she shoots a poacher and is forced to leave the country. Kate travels to a friend’s ranch in Texas for a much-needed rest. But before she has a chance to unpack, her friend’s daughter pleads for Kate’s assistance. The young woman has become entangled in the ugly world of greyhound abuse and believes Kate is the only one with enough experience and tenacity to expose the crime and find out who is responsible. On the case for only a few hours, Kate discovers a body, which complicates the investigation by adding murder to the puzzle. Now, she’s in a race against time to find the killer before she becomes the next victim.

What’s next for you?

 I’ve just finished the second Kate Caraway mystery. A Two Horse Town in set in Montana and Kate is on a mission to save wild horses living in the Prior Mountains. Also, I’m putting the finishing touches on a hardboiled-detective novel.

Who are your writing role models?

I have so many and they are all so different. As far as essays and blogs, I love reading anything by Roger Angell, The New Yorker editor and writer; William Zinsser, E.B. White, and Lisa Socttoline. Mystery writers Martha Grimes, Laurie R. King, Spencer Quinn, Elizabeth Peters, Agatha Chrisite, and Arthur Conan Doyle are tops on my list. For literary fiction I read Pat Conroy, John Irving, and Anthony Doerr. And I have an entire shelf of foodie books written by M.F.K. Fisher, Ruth Reichl, Anthony Bourdain, and Julia Child. My hardboiled-detective writer favorites are Raymond Chandler, Dashell Hammett, Mickey Spillane, and Rex Stout.

How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?

I get up early. I’m a morning person so that’s easy for me. Sometimes I over schedule and put too much on my plate and the balancing act becomes tedious. But it also motivates me to get the work done. I set long-term goals and daily goals and that keeps me on track.

What are your other passions outside of writing?

I love birding. Living in Washington State most of the year and spending several weeks in Texas in the winter allows me to see a variety of birds, some local and some migratory. I have several friends who are birders and this gives us a great reason to spend time together and travel to exotic places. Cuba is next on our list.

I also love running, especially long runs. I live on Fidalgo Island and the scenes are spectacular. This is one of the few times I am by myself and it’s easy to get lost in my thoughts. I solve problems, plot mysteries, and plan my day, week, and year. I often run marathons with my three sisters. The big city races I participate in are quite different from my solitary runs. Running with thousands of people is a thrill like no other, especially the huge races like the ones in Houston and Seattle. Imagine thousands of people out there with the same goal: challenging yourself and having a blast.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

I’d like readers to know that a portion of the sales of Run Dog Run will be donated to the Greyhound [adoption] Project Inc, which provides adoption and foresting services.

Books are available through Black Opal Books, Kathleen’s website, and Amazon.

http://www.kathleenkaska.com

http://www.blackopalbooks.com

https://twitter.com/KKaskaAuthor

http://www.facebook.com/kathleenkaska

Art for the Organized & Free-Spirited

Some wares from Resi*he(ART).

Many writers describe themselves as either a plotter or a pantser. Plotters carefully chart their course with outlines before starting a novel. Pantsers (as you may have guessed) fly by the seat of their pants. As a paralegal and a blogger, I’m definitely a plotter (particularly if you count having 4 calendars to run your life). As a writer, I’m a pantser. While I concede that outlines can be valuable planning tools, they’re just not for me.

The great thing about Artown is that it’s set up to satisfy both the highly organized as well as the free-spirited. Held during the month of July, Artown is Reno’s city-wide celebration of the arts. Orderly souls can review the Artown calendar and plan their month accordingly.  While certain events are ticketed and require some planning there are plenty of activities that are free for drop ins.

There are too many amazing exhibits and activities to pack into a single post, but I wanted to give a shout out to a couple of events:

Resi*he(ART) Open House: Sip some wine while meeting some of the creative minds behind the works featured at Resi*he(ART).  171 Los Altos Parkway, Sparks, NV      July 1, 15, 22 & 29 from 4:00-8:00PM. 775-741-4521.

Create, A Space for Arts and Crafts: Stop by between 11:00AM-3:00PM and create your own piece of art. 20 Hillcrest Drive, Space A. Reno, NV. July 8 and 15th. 775-686-6551.

Musician Interview-Russ Dickman

russ_roasterHow did you get into the coffee roasting business?

In my experience, some hobbies remain hobbies for rest and relaxation.  Other hobbies can easily be turned into businesses.  It was like that for me both with coffee roasting and photography at different times in my life.

Specifically with coffee, I acquired the taste for good coffee in my travel agent days while visiting countries like Italy and France, the bean was planted then.  Through the years I found few places that could offer that same taste. Eventually there were roasters and stores that at least offered roasted whole beans.  Since I had a demanding photography business, I settled for buying roasted beans at local stores.

Still thirsting for a fresher cup, I applied myself to researching what it takes to deliver that great cup of coffee; I decided it was time to practice.  I started with a small window roaster and shared some samples with others.  My friends loved the freshness and different tasting origins, so the venture was successful.  With crafting each roast to its specific region and origin, we were able to share the world of coffee with others, no passport needed.

When the opportunity arose, we were able to purchase a commercial roaster, remodel an area for roasting and we started the High Sierra Coffee Roastery business (www.highsierracoffee.com). The timing was perfect as the photography world was rapidly changing with digital cameras.  So a couple of years after the coffee roasting business started, I closed my photography studio in Reno and freelanced from my home, along with coffee roasting.

My experience as a travel agent and having my own photography studio offered me the education of small business skills which was vitally important to beginning this new venture.

How do you balance your day to day commitments with your creative pursuits?russ_tuba

Prioritizing is the main key when all of the pursuits fall in the same week.  Most weeks are normal consisting of roasting and delivering coffee along with necessary home projects and maintenance of 3 acres of land.  On other weeks, life revolves around rehearsals and concerts and sometimes a photography shoot.  So although balancing can vary each week, I try not to schedule or commit to projects on the concert weeks other than roasting and delivering coffee.  I do have to add that I have a very supportive wife/partner who not only is the second leg of the coffee roasting business, my assistant on many of the photo shoots, but also runs the demanding home commitments on my busier weeks.

With music, it has been part of my life since seventh grade, joining the Reno Philharmonic in 1969 (as tubist) which I continue to play with, along with the Great Basin Brass Quintet that I have been a member for over thirty years.  Coffee roasting can keep us pretty busy, but being a part of music with the symphony and the quintet is the steady underlying creative pursuit in my life.  I still play, I still love it.

What advice do you have for aspiring photographers, musicians and entrepreneurs?

If a seed has been planted or you know what you were born to do, pursue it, learn as much as possible in that area. You will soon figure out if it will just be a hobby or a hobby turned business.  If you feel you can make a living doing what you love then focus on that and don’t give up. Have courage and resist discouragement.  The challenge is to maintain focus above all the big and little trials that may come along.

 What’s next for you?

 I’m always ready for the next adventure and I never want to stop learning.  At this time what I’m doing might be enough as far as businesses.  I have always wanted to be a beekeeper and maybe have a few chickens.  So who knows, I remain open and available for another seed to be planted.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Find a way to make a living doing what you love, what you were born to do or what you are most interested in, whatever it takes.  Educate yourself in that area either in school, travel, or researching on your own. Recognize what will remain a hobby and what could become a business.  If you feel led to venture out and start a business doing what you love, then I would recommend learning some small business skills. If you are not suited for business skills then find a partner that is.

Writer Interview-Laurel S. Peterson

Tell me about your latest book.Do_You_Expect_Your_Art_to_Answer Cover

My latest book is a collection of poetry based on artwork: Do You Expect Your Art to Answer? (Futurecycle Press, 2017). My husband and I love to travel, and we look at a lot of art. The book documents my perceptions, interactions, and ideas about the works I’ve seen, including Chadri (burqas) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; a horse painting by Picasso in Madrid; and a handwoven Navajo rug in Santa Fe.

 

The book previous to that is a mystery novel, Shadow Notes (Barking Rain Press, 2016). Shadow Notes Cover compressedIt’s about a landscape architect, Clara Montague, with terrible mother issues, who has to come home after fifteen years away because she has a dream her mother is in trouble. A few days after her return, her mother is arrested for murder. Did she do it? And what does the mother’s history with the local politician have to do with anything? The book is set in wealthy Fairfield County, Connecticut, where it’s all about how shiny your new ___________ is.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently acting as my town’s poet laureate, in the second year of a two-year term. That’s the highest creative priority at the moment. I’m lucky to have a job teaching, so I get my summers off, which gives me space to write. I am working on a book of poems about piloting and the stars, what it means to float up there in the sky, and what it means to land. I’m also finishing my second mystery novel, which also features Clara, above. Given the number of projects I get myself involved in, I’m a little behind.

Who are your writing role models?

What an interesting question. I have writers I admire, but I’m not sure I ever thought of them as role models, even though they most assuredly are. I admire Sara Paretsky because she interweaves political issues with strong mysteries and an intelligent female P.I. I admire Sue Grafton for her incredible productivity, and for trying new forms and approaches in each of her Kinsey Millhone novels. I love poet Mark Doty for his language and his attempt to connect with life on a deeper level. I  love travel writer Colin Thubron for his gorgeous depictions of the world he’s walking through. I love poet Billy Collins for his wit, poet Claudia Rankine for making me think about race, mystery writer Jo Nesbo for scaring me half to death. And I love Jonathan Franzen for going on and on and on, because he challenges me to look more closely. So many wonderful writers out there to make me think about things in a new way.

How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?www.utechristinphotography.com

Balance? What’s that?  A friend of mine once commented that we were rarely in balance; it was more about getting into and out of it over and over, like a see saw. I tend to see my life more in those terms. I write a lot in the summer, from two to six hours a day, depending on where I am in a manuscript and how much work (play) there is to do in the garden. I can maintain a fairly regular writing schedule into early October, and then the college essays needing to be graded start to pile up.  I’ll write on and off until the end of the semester, and then write over the Christmas break, mostly in January and February, until the semester heats up again.  “People” say one is supposed to write every day, but I just don’t have the time or the mental space when the semester is busy.

What are your other passions outside of writing?

My husband is a Francophile, so we’ve visited France a number of times. We have family in Australia and Canada, and we love Central Coast California wineries. We also have a house in Vermont where we spend time on weekends and in the summer.  We live close to New York City, so we maintain memberships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the Whitney Museum of Modern Art; we like films, hiking with our dog, botanical gardens, hosting dinner parties, reading (!), drinking coffee on the back deck on summer mornings, gardening… Life has so much beauty to offer, and we are so lucky to be in a place where we can enjoy it.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Don’t put off doing what you love, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Find things in the world that bring you joy. Listen, even to people with whom you don’t agree. Read things that make you cringe—in order to understand and to think. Never stop looking for something to challenge you. Act from love, rather than rage or fear.

And thank you so much, Susan, for hosting me on your beautiful blog. I am so honored to be here.

Come find me on Twitter @laurelwriter49, on Facebook or at my website: www.laurelpeterson.com.  Thanks for dropping by!

Keep Calm & Read On

British researchers asked people wSundance Booksho were feeling stressed to engage in one of the following activities: reading, listening to music, taking a walk or having a cup of tea or coffee. Of the entire group, the readers demonstrated the most reduced stress levels with heart rates lowered by 68%.

It’s always gratifying to discover that one of your favorite pursuits is actually good for you. Now if only researchers could prove the health benefits of watching classic films…Since today happens to be Independent Bookstore Day, it is perfect day to pursue new literary horizons.

“There are entire universes of ideas that contain the possibility of real serendipity.”  indiebookstoretoday.com.

Real serendipity seems like a distinct possibility at Reno’s own Sundance Books and Music. Imagine spending time in an elegant white two-story home that is all library. Not only do they have a helpful staff, impressive selection of popular and local titles, they also have a frequent buyers program.

Like local indie stores during this one day celebration, Sundance Books & Music will have exclusive literary swag unavailable during other times of the year. After you’re re-stocked with good reads, you can stop by Bibo Coffee or Too Soul Tea. After all if reading is good for you, a cup of coffee or tea with a good book has to be even better for you.

Sundance Books and Music-121 California Avenue, Reno, NV 89509

Hours-M-F-9 to 9, Sat & Sun: 9 to 5

775-786-1188

Sun Dance Dragon

Will the dragon be there? I don’t know, but if you don’t go you’ll never find out!