Windblown (2010) is one of my first “autumn”
paper sculptures.

Fall semester has begun.  Start of the school year, start of a new cycle: since I was a tiny child, the start of another school year has functionally been my “new year.”

But it’s been several years since I last began a new fall semester as a classroom practitioner.  I will always be a teacher in my heart, but the life of working in the classroom is no longer my life. 
Today I’m most invested in the other major aspects of my life: professionally, as an artist and a writer; personally, as part of a vibrant, multigenerational (and multi-species) family.
Purple Clematis is one of the paper
sculptures I finished in 2013.

So, while my “intuitive cycle” is (probably forever) tuned to the end of summer as the time of “new beginnings,” this particular year’s new beginning marks a change of direction for this blog.

For the past few years I’ve been scattering my attention between two personal blogs—this one, as “Artdog Educator,” and another one that’s been devoted strictly to my visual artwork, titled “Artdog Observations.”  As anyone knows, who’s been following either one, I’ve been posting less and less frequently to both. 

That’s because I have a massive new project in my life, a science fiction/mystery novel with the working title of Dogged Pursuit.  It’s been consuming much of my attention since spring.

At the same time, I have been trying to keep up working on my artwork.  I make fine-art paper sculpture, aimed at juried shows and in hope of gallery representation. 

Nine-Part Herbal Fantasy is my most recent finished
paper sculpture. It was recently accepted into a show!

With so many creative projects now moving forward, however, I need to re-balance the load.  This season of new beginnings seems a good time to combine both of my former blogs under one title, “Jan S. Gephardt’s Artdog Adventures.”   

As all creative people know, it’s hard to compartmentalize—worse, it’s often counter-productive to try.  Things one learns in one sphere inexplicably turn out to relate to others.  My own creative life is like a Venn diagram with about a thousand circles—and they all converge in my art and writing. 
I sometimes foster dogs for
Great Plains SPCA.

“Artdog Adventures” will explore all of it—the artwork, the writing, the background material, the interesting stuff that I discover, books I read, current events, and also my ongoing thoughts about social issues and education reform when it seems appropriate.  

Because they inform my creative work, I also will undoubtedly include thoughts on the environment, animal welfare, and most especially dogs.  Because I am involved in science fiction fandom, you’ll probably also get comments on that sphere, from time to time.

I hope you’ll be interested to join me on my creative journey, and share the “Artdog’s” adventures.