No Time For Raking

Patchwork of Color

Patchwork of Color © 2011 Bo Mackison

No time for raking today, even though my backyard is covered with maple leaves. As the early morning light reached my backyard, the warm colors associated with autumn — oranges, yellows, burnt reds — were gone. In their places, with a heavy frost covering them, the autumn leaf colors turned bright red and frosty white set in deep purple shadows. Wow!

The mixing of seasons. Autumn nodding hello to winter!

Don’t look for me to be raking today. Instead, I’m spending the day at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in downtown Madison, Wisconsin.

Seeded Earth Studio and I are showing a large variety of my photography printed on canvas, or printed on fine art rag paper or metallic paper which are matted and framed. Also available are mini canvases (5″ x 7″) with their own easels and sets of cards.

I am in Booth 59, to the right of the entrance to the exhibit hall. Just a few steps from the front doors.

This is one of the better winter art festivals in Madison. The Winter Art Festival celebrates the talents and creativity of Wisconsin Artists. It is promoted as a showcase of Wisconsin artists, presented by Wisconsin artists, for the Wisconsin public. If you are in the Madison area, it is an art festival you will not want to miss. Truly awesome art in every booth!

Today is the last day — November 13, 10 am to 4 pm. Come say hello!


Bo Mackison is a photographer, owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC.

(One Too Many) Adventures at the Chicago Botanic Gardens Art Festival

Chicago Botanic Gardens Art Festival

Strolling at the Chicago Botanic Gardens Art Fair

Sherpa and I spent the weekend in Chicago. I exhibited my Seeded Earth Photography at the Chicago Botanic Gardens Art Festival. It was a rather crazy, mixed up weekend.

First we had to keep switching schedules to adapt to work schedules and show timetables. When Sherpa had a conflict on Thursday which was set-up day, my son agreed to drive me, the trailer and the art set up to Chicago on Wednesday evening. That worked out well. We had an entire evening to catch up on a few years worth of conversations.

Thursday set up went well. We set up the booth, strolled a bit through the Botanic Gardens, had a quick lunch, and Jeff was back on his way to Madison by 3 in the afternoon. Sherpa arrived later that evening to take over the assistant’s duties.

Friday again started off well. It was warm and humid, but there was no rain in the forecast until later in the evening so we were looking forward to a dry, uneventful first day of the three-day show – maybe a bit sweaty, but not rainy! The day stayed dry, but not uneventful.

We had a couple of hours of set up to do before the show began. As Sherpa and I were getting the awnings of the booth unrolled, I stepped backwards, tripped over another artist’s gear, and hit my head hard on a ladder laying in the grass. I’ll sum up the next 24 hours quickly–ambulance, ER, CAT scan, hospital admission for 24 hours’ observation for post-concussion syndrome.

Sherpa went back to the festival where employees of Amdur Productions and so many wonderful artists near my booth pitched in and set up my photography display and helped Sherpa when he needed a second pair of hands. When I was discharged from the hospital at noon on Saturday, complication-free, I went to the show and found everything in good shape. And so the rest of the show proceeded smoothly.

I want to note that I started out on this art show path with little idea of how things were going to work out. There were lots of unanswered questions, lots of risk taking, and a few sleepless nights. Sherpa and I are both lucky, because we discovered we love doing art shows. But the best benefit of being on the art fair circuit was one I had not expected.

It was meeting and becoming friends with the amazing artists at the various shows. It was getting to know the people who capably run the shows and handle emergencies in stride.

To all of you, thank you. I am so very proud to be a show circuit artist associated with such fine and caring people.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. This weekend she very briefly considered whether the life of an artist was the life for her. She answered with a resounding YES – what other life could be so fulfilling and meaningful.

In Memoriam – Jackie Russo


Empty Chairs © 2010 Bo Mackison

I only knew her three and a half days.

I met Jackie Russo at the Tempe Festival of the Arts in Tempe Arizona this past March. She was a contemporary stained glass artist and she had a booth across a small pass way from my booth. During the show, we spent a lot of time chatting back and forth – about the show we were doing, about art shows in general, about Arizona, about her transformation from a jeweler to a stained glass artist to an award-winning, contemporary glass artist who found great success in recent years.

At the time, I was doing one of my first large shows in a strange city in a state far away from my home in Wisconsin. Jackie was also from the Midwest, just across Lake Michigan in the neighboring state of Michigan. She was an accomplished, veteran artist. She had her work in galleries and in private collections internationally, had articles in countless publications, taught glass mosaics, and did the best art festivals in the country.

Jackie could tell I was the new kid on the art show circuit and she took me under her wing. She gave me pep talks and shared past stories of failures that turned into surprising successes. She encouraged me in my venture into this part of the artists’ world. She welcomed me and gave me a boost of confidence.

On Sunday evening, as the show was coming to a close, we shared our schedules for the coming summer in the Midwest. When we discovered we would be doing another show together in early August, we made plans to get together for another visit. She and her husband Frank had made vacation plans in the Phoenix area before returning to the snowy Midwest, and they were both looking forward to some sunshine and time off. We said our goodbyes with a big hug.

Last Friday, Jackie Russo had a massive stroke and died.

As I said at the beginning, I only knew Jackie for three and a half days, but she was kind and helpful to me at a time when I needed an extra bit of kindness. I respected her as an artist–her glass creations were stunning and very popular–and I respected her as a wonderful person, too.

There is a lesson in this. One never knows when a proffered kindness to a stranger will make a big difference in that other person’s life. In this case, Jackie’s kindness made a difference in my life when I was questioning my art decisions.

Jackie Russo will be greatly missed.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. Goodbye, Jackie, and thank you.


An Art Fair Experience

Columbine Bell

Columbine Bell © 2011 Bo Mackison

I was at the 57th Street Art Fair in Hyde Park, Chicago last weekend. This weekend I purposely did not schedule an art fair so that Sherpa and I could celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary.

We will be going to the Wright and Like 2011 House Tour on Saturday, and my second favorite thing in the world to photograph, second only to shooting botanicals and nature, is photographing the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright and the like-minded architects who were his contemporaries. There will be plenty of opportunities as we tour fifteen buildings in and around Milwaukee (if we have enough stamina!)

Thinking over the events of last weekend, I so enjoyed the art fair. I analyzed (just a bit) what made it a great show for me. Yes, I covered expenses and made a profit at the show, and that is always a great thing, but there is another really wonderful reason that I am an artist on the art fair circuit. 

I love art fairs. I always have. And I love being in art fairs and festivals even more.

Sure, art fairs are enjoyable when crowds of eager customers fill the streets, when the weather is sunny, when the entertainment isn’t drowning out conversations in the booth. But that unique combination doesn’t always happen.

Still, I pretty much love any decently organized art fair that has patrons who want to talk art with me — who are genuinely interested in what I do, in my vision, in my photography, in my life as an artist.

There were so many people at the 57th Street Art Fair that wanted to talk art, it was pure pleasure. We discussed why and how I chose to photograph certain subjects, we talked about emotions caused by visualizing oneself in a photograph.

In one example, I shared the background of the relationship of a specific photo and its title with a couple of women. The conversation went like this:

“Why do you call the photograph of that white flower ‘Basho’s Temple Bell'”?
“I was inspired by a haiku by a poet named Basho who lived in the 17th century.”
“Do you know the words?”
“Yes. ‘The temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of the flower.’ ~Basho

They told me how much they loved poetry and how much they loved flowers. They studied the photograph for a few minutes. And one of the women said she would like to get the photograph for her home. She also took home a meaningful art experience and an understanding of the story behind her new photograph.

That is the most beautiful part about being an art fair artist — the connection that can develop between artist and collector.


The above photograph is a close-up of the intricate beauty of the columbine flower. Photographed in a private garden in Madison, Wisconsin.

Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. No art fair this coming weekend, but I’ll be at the Leeper Park Art Fair in South Bend, Indiana the weekend of June 18-19. (Sherpa is thrilled–he gets to visit his Alma Mater.)




57th Street Art Fair and Feelin’ Sunny!

Greening Days

Greening Days © 2011 Bo Mackison

Seeded Earth Photography heads to the Chicago area for the second weekend in a row and I’m hoping for a reprieve from the stormy weather. I’m feelin’ sunny — I want to SEE the sunshine, too! Weather predictions are for warm, summery temperatures and the cool breezes from nearby Lake Michigan will be a perfect antidote. And perfect weather for strolling a great art show.

We’ll be at the 57th Street Art Fair in Hyde Park this weekend. Seeded Earth’s booth is in the Ray Schoolyard, near the corner of 56th and Kimbark. Booth #302.

The shows’ hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 4 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 5.

Mention this post and receive a 10% discount.

Hope to see you there!


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. Bo is looking forward to her trip to Hyde Park this weekend — she loves the art and architecture in that area of Chicago!