October 19, 2014

Marathon Training at the TARC Fall Classic

This fall I'm experimenting with re-entry into running; it must be a slow and careful process considering my hip health, which from now on will be an important factor. My seventh (?) Stone Cat Marathon is in early November and I've been building up my long runs cautiously.
A few weeks ago I tested my fitness at the Harwich Cranberry Harvest Half Marathon, which was a rolling course on roads. I ran better than I expected, power-wogging, to average a 10:54 pace per mile. In the past, my 13.1 mile road finishes were under two-hours. Times are different; A major, side-lining, hip injury like FAI (look it up) will change one's pace and perspective. Today I am happy to gambol through the woods at any speed.
Taking training precautions —so my November trail marathon isn't a complete "slog fest"— I devised a long run of 18+ miles for this weekend. In doing so, I signed up for the TARC half-marathon (in Great Brook Farm, Carlisle, MA) and planned on completing the race before heading back out for an additional loop of 6.2 miles or more. During the half I was mindful of my objectives and did not run too hard in the final quarter. (2:46 finish.)
I felt good at seven miles (when I usually wish to call it a day) and still solid at 13 miles. What a relief. In contrast, last weekend's long run in Ward Reservation (Andover, MA) was difficult on my hips, lower back and confidence. I ran alone (which I usually love), got intentionally lost (as a way of adding more miles), and negotiated with an upset stomach (due to a waist pack).
Yesterday was refreshingly wonderful— I found myself in the zone a few times, not poo-pooing myself, and ready to go out for a third loop. With the company of Julie O and Michelle R, 13-19 miles was a treat.  We caught up on life;  I felt nostalgic, grateful, and ooby. We rolled into the Start/Finish area and Julie and Michelle were in the 50k so they scampered off for another lap. I ran out to find Peter, who was in the marathon, and as I left the abundant aid station, I spied him along the large field. What great timing. Running a section of his final lap with him was a gift. He was strong and positive; I wish I could have accompanied him on the whole loop but I was at my training goal distance and didn't want to test my luck. 
In the end I tallied 22 miles without feeling like ripe horse manure. If I play it smart these next three weeks, I can head into Stone Cat healthy and with my training homework complete.

A big thank you to the TARC community! The RD's (Josh and Jerimy),  an army of volunteers,  Norm S with his timing system, and all who make the day run smoothly. Thank you, too, for that guacamole.

August 14, 2014


I spent this morning in my plot at the Abbot Phillips Community Garden. With the end of summer near, I a decided to plant a few rows each of beets, turnips, and kale.  I felt sore about evicting a few bees from what was left of my zucchini crop.  Luckily, they have plenty of other plants in which to play and pollinate.
 Waiting for a taste
New crop: beets, turnips, and dwarf blue kale.

One of my goals this summer was to learn how to make jam— check. 
A bee visiting my berries!

I gathered enough blueberries for a batch and picked up a box of Pomona's Universal Pectin at Whole Foods; I was ready to rock and roll.

 Yum! cannot wait to try some!!
 A straight forward and clear video on making Low-Sugar Blueberry Jam by The Crafty Gemini can be found at ( and below. 

Note: I was short on jam mixture for a full four (half-pint) jars, as the recipe estimates; I had enough for 3.5, 8 oz/half-pint jars. Having a sterilized 4 oz jar ready is a good idea. Also, I sterilized my jars and lids for longer than the video recommended (30 minutes at a simmer).

August 05, 2014

New Kayak Seat Cover from Scratch

I recently bought a used 14' Corona Perception kayak from a friend (Thanks Bob!)  It's a nice rig but needed a seat-cover upgrade, especially as I plan on enjoying some longer paddling excursions this month!

Today I mined my bins of Malden Mills Polartec fabrics for some Neoprene. Unfortunately, all I found was small swatch of hot pink. Ordinarily I would be thrilled with this color but the reds, oranges and yellows in the kayak would clash with it too dramatically —even for me. 

Instead, I settled on some black technical, Neoprene-like, fleece and added an internal layer of  300-weight fleece for cushioning on the side against my back. Working off the original seat cover as a pattern —*before it disintigrates further— I fashioned a new cover, and used my cover-stitch machine and serger to reinforce seams.
(*photo is of the original seat cover, turned inside out)

The fit is nice and snug.  After creating tiny holes for the internal seat gadgets and hooks to pop through, I installed it back into the kayak and adjusted the cords.
The cover fits well in the front but pulls a back a bit (see photo) where the clips latch down. Still, it doesn't effect the performance. In fact the back attaches so securely to the seat, I had trouble unhooking it!

I vacuumed all the internal spaces of sand, cobwebs and possible spiders !
Now the cockpit cover is in place along with the hatches to make sure no creepy crawlies get in!

Online I found some 3mm leopard print Neoprene, which could work if I get frisky for an alternative cover choice....that isn't hot pink.

July 23, 2014

Jazz Painting

 Emily Trespas
Unsquare Dance: Ode to Brubeck, 
oil on canvas, 15 x 30 inches, 2013

Titling art is a favorite part of my creative process. Frequently I just know the title, other times I welcome research. Usually something in the work tips me off; it might be a shape, a color, a distant cousin to the original inspiration or a direct descendant.
Emily Trespas
Sweet Rain: Ode to Getz
acrylic on canvas, 11 x 14 inches, 2013
The titles for these paintings emerged from jazz. The loops repeat and intertwine like steps in a dance—notes in a song, clapping hands, the samba, bossa nova. Or blue dusk and the floating just before sleep. Song as painting. Nothing new but the dial tunes to Brubeck and Gezt without pause. 

Listening to "Sweet Rain," I found an informative post, Unsquare Dance, on Monk Rowe's blog. He is the Jazz Archives Director at Hamilton College.

Including the above paintings, I have eight paintings on display in a local exhibit at Phillips Academy through July 30th.

Summer Session Faculty Art Exhibit  
Reception: Friday, July 25th,  6 to 7:30 pm

Gelb Exhibition Gallery

George Washington Hall
5 Chapel Avenue

Phillips Academy, Andover, MA

July 22, 2014


Emily Trespas  | in-progress proof print 
 "Gather"  |  July 2014

This July I am teaching Visual Studies to a group of rising Phillips Academy ninth graders. Last week we worked on relief prints. 

The students who finished their two required (portrait and place) plates could earn extra credit by creating another portrait .... but without the aid of Photoshop filters. In other words, they had to carve the translation from a color image directly into black and white shapes and textures on the relief block. 

A few students took to this challenge:  find a person/character from a magazine or art history book and create a new scene.

My example (above) was borrowed from Matisse's painting, "Nymph and Satyr." The open-ended possibilities of this reaching figure appealed to me; he could be reaching for something other than what the artist intended.

Part of this prompt involved the concept of "how artists may find inspiration." I explained to them my process.  The week before this project, I re-read Shirley Jackson's short story, The Lottery. The final line of the story is unforgettable: "And then they were upon her." 

When I saw this Satyr reaching for the Nymph, I thought of the young boy in Jackson's story who excitedly gathered his pile of stones. That the man in my print remains nude adds to a pure, vulnerable and animalistic presence.

Henri Matisse |  "Nymph and Satyr"  |  oil on canvas  | 1909

June 05, 2014


Berry Bowl
Stoneware Strainer—Ceramic Colander

One of my better pieces from the latest firing.

May 17, 2014

DC No. 136: Memory

vine charcoal and pastel on paper
8 x 10 inches

A nod to Edgar Allen Poe's poem, I drew a Raven perched on the still life in my drawing studio.  In the actual drawing process, I reflect a fading memory, to which I refer as "history." What was once there, since erased, leaves a trace. 

This week's Drawing Challenge is hosted by my friend Kristen. See links to more artists who explored this theme at her blog here.

May 08, 2014

My Duchamp Outside the Drawing Studio

Dear Viewer,  You see the problem was—well it wasn't a problem at all— I carry a black marker and there was an old cracked toilet in front a building. I could not resist. Yours,  R. Mutt 2014

May 04, 2014

DAZE, Mural, and Going Big

Today Chris DAZE Ellis gave a public talk on his work before a full auditorium. Afterwards we headed to the Addison Gallery for the opening of their spring exhibits. What a blast!

Autographed DAZE exhibition flyer

Before his talk DAZE said to me "I see your students are working a lot larger." Yes! A lot larger. This is thanks to their group mural project with him. Working with DAZE was exceptional; He embodies collaboration. I believe his time with my painting students blew open their ideas about painting and stretched their imaginations. Not only are they working larger, they are working faster and more intuitively. What a gift. Thank YOU for everything, DAZE.

Detail of Mural 

Here is a time lapse GO Pro video of the mural in the Elson Art Center just outside of the Addison Gallery Museum Learning Center at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. (by Neil Evans).

May 03, 2014

Porcupine and Witch Hazel (Big A 50K Trail Race)

This morning we headed up to Mount Agamenticus

My friend Jeanne talks about this mountain and various trail events there with great fondness. So when I got the wake up call (actually a peck on the cheek) I decided to accompanying the BF. Why not? I could go for a little loop and call it a day. In short, that's just what I did. 
I have no place attempting a 50k —without any training—or a "clear-to-run" voucher from the doctor.  But there I was relaxed, having some fun with friends, and hoping to make it one full loop.

When I met up with (the great white-bearded) Craig W. I casually mentioned that "I shouldn't be doing this..." (because of the hip). He responded, "well, that speaks to about 98% of the folks out here." I chuckled and we carried on for a bit and he was off. About 20 minutes into the first loop, I came up behind Peter, which was a treat because even if he tried to drop me, I would stick to him like a black fly to tape. It's rare that I can stay with him but in all fairness I think he decided to stay with me. Ann A. joined up with us, too. The three of us got really lost exploring some orange blazes through the woods that were technically conservation area markings and not the Mt. Aggie race course.
Porcupine and Witch Hazel 
two of my favorite trail names on Mt. Aggie. 
 Above image From Here.
After the first 3-mile loop we headed into the second side, a 7 mile jaunt, which is where we found the extra-credit miles. Following my "seriously, this can't be right" mutterings...we returned to start/finish,  grabbed a map and headed BACK out for another loop. This time we had a personal guide! Cindy lead us over Second hill and up Third. How lucky because she lives next to the mountain and these trails are her stomping grounds. 
When I pointed out to Cindy the general area where we went off course, she said in a matter-or-fact tone, "But that is not a trail." I found this funny because when Peter, Ann and I bushwhacked up the side of Mt. Aggie—through the woods— I thought how Mainers sure have a funny sense of trail race humor. Orienteering gone wild.

witch hazel
Besides losing the trail, we found two miles of extra distance and some decent added elevation. I also found my 6-mile limit when my hip starts to ache. I found my fitness ledge. I found a second wind. I found "Yes" and then, "No." I found renewed love of beech trees, moss and lichen. I found the best part of the day was hiking with Peter.  And getting to know Ann.   

The trails are as beautiful as Jeanne mentioned and this is a wonderful laid back event. I imagine it's like what Fat Ass events used to be like in the 1970's.  Still, while it felt low-key, I know a lot of time went into marking the course, buying food for grilling, permits at the park, etc. Many Thanks to Bob Najar, Rich, and Crew!

May 01, 2014

A Little Hanky Panky (gnuck gnuck)

Today in advanced painting, I illustrated to my students that a painting need not be created with paint to be considered a Painting.

Like working with acrylics or oils and one's subject matter,  
a series of choices must occur —
selection of color, character, and composition, 
to name a few. This doesn't change with the materials.
Emily Trespas
"Hanky Panky Painting"
up-cycled, re-purposed, and vintage hankies
12 x 16 oval canvas
May 1, 2014

The concept of painting is plastic. A small collection of dainty, tatted and crochet detailed squares are elevated from stuck-in-the purse-or-pocket swaths of cloth to another level: A Painting.

Tomorrow I donate this piece for the Essex Art Center "$25 wall"
 to raise money for the EAC at the Hair of the Dog.

 Details, Details:

April 28, 2014

Cocktails and Summer Produce

 As I prepare for the garden,  
I dream about warm summer nights sitting in the yard, 
after an afternoon of picking and pruning, 
sipping a fresh lemonade 
or cocktail 
with friends. 

Last week my fabric from Sweden arrived. 
In the spirit of summer produce, 
I sewed these bright cotton napkins.

Just a few more weeks.
8 cotton napkins
13 x 13 inches

April 24, 2014

Merrimack River Reflection

A few weekends ago I went to cheer on friends and capture some photos at the Merrimack River Trail Race. I can't claim I miss running fast, especially on this course, but I do miss traveling through the trees dodging roots and rocks and effs. 

After the racers passed, I walked along the river and watched the water. I thought of the girl who drowned and the poem my mother wrote about her. I remembered another story from a friend who said that during his runs along the Deer Jump he found letters and bouquets of flowers— at the same place and same time, year after year. 

Then the leaders came through, breathing as if shy of a lung, and then the mortals and they too pass.

 Still, the river is constant.

March 13, 2014

DC No. 131: Connections

March 16, 2014, marks the 3rd TARC Spring Thaw 6 Hour, a trail race I designed and direct to raise money for local land organizations like A.V.I.S., Andover Trails Committee, and the Bay Circuit Alliance. On many levels this event is about introducing, nurturing and appreciating our connections —to each other, to the outdoors, to environmental stewardship, to spirit, will and imagination.

Each year I make a commemorative art print for both runners and volunteers. Tonight I completed printing an edition of 120 relief prints. I get giddy thinking about giving them to participants as a way of connecting my love of art to my love of the woods and trail running. The prints are a "thank you" to the runners and volunteers who help make the event possible.

The relief printmaking process is a series of connections.  By nature of its multiplicity, images in an edition are intended to be shared. The process of printing relies on connecting ideas and tools to materials:

Inspired by a friend's drawing video, I decided to show some of my printing process. Link to a Sunny Spot  and enjoy more interpretations on the Drawing Challenge theme of connections.

March 08, 2014

DC No.130: Hair

 Emily Trespas, "Swatches," Digital Photograph, 2014

I am fortunate to enjoy a variety of student hair styles, colors and textures when teaching my art classes. Hair is part of our identity—our phenotype. These swatches are a sampling of my printmaking and painting classes, plus a little (chromatic) grey for variety.

Ms. Nadine at Tiny Woolf prompted this week's drawing challenge with the theme of HAIR. Please visit her site to explore many other creative interpretations.

March 03, 2014

Spring Thaw 6-Hour Race Garb

 In case you have too many race T-shirts (you sexy beast, you).
Here is a mug  for your morning yeTEA or another libation.

I'm having a blast setting up SHOP for the TARC SPRING THAW 6 HOUR race goodies. Only one guy gets to lurk around as the Yeti (see below) but many can wear a TARC SPRING THAW 6 HOUR T-Shirt. There are also pull-over and zip-up Hoodies, Tanks, Kids and Onesies, too, on American Apparel wear. Men's and Women's Specific T-shirts start at $22.

I don’t put the year on the design so participants may select their favorite no matter what year it is!

Is he making a "heavy breather" crank call?
NO, he's ordering his hoody.