Monday, August 24, 2020

Next Three

 Our local artist's guild is doing it's best - during these times.  As you can imagine, like any small business, Covid 19 really put a damper on ART activities and events in towns and cities.  Ours is not alone.  Each month, I am happy to be able to enter a show and display my art.  (It's important to keep yourself out there.)  These are the three that I am entering in a show titled "High Peaks" this next month.  Interesting that you don't have to adhere to the theme.  That's good, because I suck at painting 'peaks' and mountains.  Animals it is - for me!

"Golden Eagle"

"Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep Study"



Friday, August 21, 2020

Wildfires and Forest Fires and an RV Trip

 Right now - there are 10 fires burning in Colorado. None of them are very close to us, but the smoke - on any given day, can drift along the valleys and low spots and get to us.  It does awesome things to the skies at sunrise and sunset.  Our governor has banned ALL campfires and outdoor fires for now.  Many of these blazes are being fought with little or NO containment.  

DH and I recently took a short RV trip to Creede and Gunnison, Colorado.  I noticed that the forests that we drove through were SO dry. I realize this whole state could go up in smoke in a snap. 

Our first stop was Creede. Co (about 3 hours west from where we live).  We met up with relatives and stayed at a lovely RV resort - Mtn. Views.  Here are a few photos from there.

(Brothers Gary and my DH Gene)

I took a few photos going over the passes we traveled in the Rio Grande/Forks area of SW Colorado. The forests there are full of beetle kill pine and very, very dry.

ON the lighter side, we took some time to rent a pontoon boat and go fishing for the day on Blue Mesa reservoir in the Curecanti Recreation area.  We are not big fishing people.  Best we did was 4 Rainbow Trout and put them all back in the lake.  We had a fun day, it was hot and the wind came up near the end of our travels from one end of the lake down to the other (about 13 miles each way).  The campgrounds were crowded and the highway, which was nearby in our sight - had an unusual amount of travel due to the rerouting of the I70 corridor from the fires. Made for an 'not so familiar' noise all night.  Chaco, our dachshund, was with us,  He rode in the boat - his first boat trip.  He did great, but stayed in the shade the entire time - sleeping.  He is 17.

It was nice to make this trip.  We are usually hunkered down on our ranch - avoiding being around people for now.  We did social distancing and mask wearing.  I feel we were not amongst people at all and did extra cautionary things like wiping down surfaces especially on the boat rental and staying out of places that seemed sketchy. Having an RV is a good way to get away for a short trip.  Our 34 foot Monaco Cayman RV is 15 years old but still runs like a champ and has adequate space to make you feel like you are at home. We tow my Jeep Wrangler behind, so if we need to make a trip to town, we can.


Saturday, August 8, 2020

DIY and Pastel Practice

During the pandemic - DH and I thought it would be a great time to get going on some major outdoor projects.  I was right!  We have accomplished a couple of those projects to the point of 'finish' work.  It's ongoing. It takes time away from the studio, but it will be worth it in the winter to have these changes done.  Not easy to give up studio time for me, not only is it my time to create and get things done, artwise, but it is my sanctuary and place where I continue to ponder and pull myself together, to be who I am - that meditative space..important for everyone.

Back in the studio though is where I long to be.  Sharing a few paintings that I have entered into the latest 3rd Street Gallery show in town and a practice piece in pastel.  I have to give credit to a few photographers that graciously share their photos to be used  by artists on a group I belong to on Facebook..they are referred to as 'AR photo' (artist reference).  Lots of birds in my mind right now. LOVE birds!

"Barn Owl" watercolor, (AR Nicole Jenkins)

"Tree Swallows" pastel (AR Terry Colby)
"Golden" pastel (AR Ian White)


Wednesday, July 8, 2020

There - but NOT There

Since March, I have done my best to 'stay safe at home'.  I go into town only for mail and groceries.  I entered my latest gallery show at the end of June.  The Opening Reception for the artists and the show has occurred for the last two shows, with masks, social distancing and sanitizing.  Not wanting to be in an enclosed space with others (some of who might not wear masks) I have not attended either of these openings, but my ART is still there, hanging on the wall.  Each month they have a People's Choice competition.  My piece submitted this month, won a 2nd place award in that category.  Woohooo!  I discovered - it seems the world is still revolving for art and artists in small ways.  Between, taking this photo on iPhone, transferring it to PC, it isn't quite what it looks like.  It's not this bright...oh the dilemmas of photo upload and transfer.

16"x 20"
pastel on Canson burgundy paper

Monday, June 29, 2020

Days Fly By

It's been awhile since I checked in here.  I guess 'being back' on this blog is not a habit yet.  I take so many photos, it's not hard to capture most of my time by looking at and sharing photos. In addition to my iPhone, I have several digital SLR cameras that I rely on.

On June 10, DH and I took a DAY trip up Hermit Pass road, to the end of it, or at least as far as we could go.  That was a 25 mile round trip on our 2 ATV's.  The mountain range is the Sangre de Cristo mountains outside of Westcliffe, Co. where we live.  We rode from our driveway - up the county road a couple of miles - to join the pass road there.

This photo shows the composition of the 'pass' road.  The pass stops at the TOP of the world.  It does not go over the mountain and down the other side.

  It is a rough road (see the rocks on the last photo here) BIG ones and lots of medium size ones..makes for a 'kidney' jarring trip.
But the beauty seen on that day, makes it worth the ride.

This is a marmot which we saw by looking over the edge of the road.  It was sunning on a rock. The rock formations were dotted with these guys which are about the size of a woodchuck.

These 3 ponds sit between Hermit Lake and Horseshoe Lake.  
Our final destination was Horseshoe Lake, next photo.

Yep, the leftover snow from winter was still melting in the sun.  
By now, today, most of it has disappeared.

You can see the end of the pass road on this day, it was covered in snow.  This day was a fun that won't be taken the roughness is grueling on these older bodies.
There are other 'rides' to explore.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Faces -

Sorry, it's been awhile since I have posted.  Here are a few more faces - done with France online at Sktchy.  I feel I have improved.  I used to not work so deeply on my portraits, but drawing along with someone as good as France, makes me feel the depth which is needed to portray the character in detail.  She helps you look at every little nuance as you draw.

Other things are happening here...I have begun a complete going through of the studio.  I figured  there is no better time than the present.  Gardening is happening, as well, the growing season is pretty short up here at 8500 feet elevation.  Today the wind and rain are happening...that will keep me inside. Hardly EVER a day when you wake up and it's already raining..that weather event is usually left for the afternoon and evening in these parts.

NOTES on the virus - I live in a small mountain community, where there are and have been 2 confirmed cases.  There is no hospital within 50 miles of here.  There is barely medical care..just a small clinic with nurses.  Therefore, we DON'T have much of a safety net and we don't go out much. If we do it's with a mask on, to protect others mainly.  We order take-out on occasion...and eat in the car.  We even had margaritas TO GO the other day with our taco lunch.  That was fun.  But that's it, other than a trip to the grocery store about every week and a half and the post office every 3 - 4 days.

I chose to give up my activity in the local gallery for this year which amounts to no longer being a gallery host, or having my art on the walls, or manning the sales desk during monthly ART receptions.  No more Monday Paint Group.  Too much hassle for personal social distancing...being amongst too many strange and 'from faraway' visitors, as well as familiar friends.  

One thing I understand and it actually pains me to consider it, I have come to look at this situation as EVERYONE is infected.  And although it should be stated 'could be' infected, for me it's 'IS' and that is just how I have chosen to look at it.  This virus does not discriminate.  This has also eliminated visitors or company or going to someone's house as a visitor, including my daughter and her family who live in the northern part of the state. Summer RV travel will be a welcome activity...if we can get a reservation, they seem to be not so available..but with RVing, you don't NEED to be around anyone else if you choose not to be.  I notice that the reopening of many things that were closed down, has seemed to bring on this sense of relaxed concern for the spreading of the virus..a false sense it would seem, since case numbers are increasing.  Anyway, I try not to dwell on this..I stay super busy and let ART save the day.  Stay safe and social distance.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Drawing Along, Filling the Days

This is Dennis in blue ballpoint pen on Moleskin.

This is Big Al Lopez in HB, aquarelle graphite and 6B pencil on Canson XL.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Only in Procreate

Last two the app Procreate..which is starting to become NOT such a mystery!
I think I have enough grasp of it to start experimenting on my own.



Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Add 2 More

Sharing a couple of new daily drawings,
a Saturday 'draw along' and today's Lesson 5.

Matt ~ in green ballpoint pen

Stephanie ~ graphite

Saturday, May 9, 2020


There are 400+ members in my online drawing class on Sktchy, however, I think our live session was only in the neighborhood of about 200.  What fun to start the day drawing ONLINE with others.  France, our instructor, took time to answer lots of questions.  This is Dylan, done in ballpoint pen.

Friday, May 8, 2020

More Portrait Practice

Here is Thursday's and today's pieces from 'Drawing at Home with France' - a month long class on the Sktchy app.
Mandy is done in Aquarelle graphite

Rick N. is done on the iPad in the app, Procreate.
I have had that app on my iPad for an eternity, but never quite
knew what to do with it. When I got online with You Tube lessons, the
person generally went to quickly and it was over my head.
Today, France only used 2 tools and went slow enough, I actually got a result I liked.
I have gone far enough now, that I can teach myself a little more.
Sometimes, all you need is a gentle nudge.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Studio Happenings and Learning ONLINE

Currently I am involved in two 'online learning' experiences. This type of learning suits my needs - just fine.  I can DO it when I have time, at any hour, and at any speed.  My first one, I jumped on the bandwagon a few weeks back by joining a Patreon group with Ali Cavanaugh - who does amazing watercolor portraits.  I was late in joining her - this event started back in October 2019, but I'm racing through each of her posts and instructional vids.  Racing isn't a very good word for what I am doing, because I am savoring each video, sharing, comments, and lessons.  Here is a piece I did this past week, we were exploring 'stripes'.  The second I went looking for a PERSON who had striped shadows or clothing I ran across a photo for a choice when painting, is always animals.  There is also a chance to dialogue with others through a venue set-up on Discord.  I find I can't keep up with that, too.  Seems other artists spend a lot of time chatting with one another, don't know how they have time to paint.

My second learning attack is through the app Sktchy.  France Van Stone is teaching a month of drawing faces.  It is a more structured type of class with postings of lessons every few days.
First one was a 'draw along' of a face with a definite expression, in ballpoint pen in my Moleskin tablet.  Today, the next lesson is ready for us and I peeked at it - going to be FUN.  And the pacing is OK, because I HAVE the TIME.  There is also artist sharing and dialogue happening on Mighty Network.  Lots of extra apps to download..but so worth the time spent on these two focuses for now. 

Friday, April 24, 2020

Self Portrait in Watercolor

"Self-Portrait with Camera Remote"
6" x 6" watercolor on Aquabord

Yesterday I hit the 'painting learning curve' with big leaps and bounds.  I imagine I have attempted about 10 - 12 self-portraits in my painting career...never, never made it to the 'oh that's me!' stage.  But this one made it.  I painted it from a very favorite photo session, I had with myself, in which I had to use the remote device to snap the was experimental, at best.  But this one photo came out that depicts me, my 'most of the time' facial expression (I don't smile very much) and it makes me feel at peace, because it was at a peaceful time in my life (not that my life isn't always peaceful, but you understand, that time when you are at ease with the world.)  More to come..I have my MOJO working for now.

BTW - this learning curve is happening thanks to watercolor artist extraordinaire, Ali Cavanaugh. 
I joined her Patreon group.  I watch her videos, listen to her expertise and get
influence through osmosis with a group of like artists on a
Discord thread.  This is the way I have been learning for
many years.  Online learning is the can do as much or as little as
you want or need...and it is always at your fingertips.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Tribute Time

This past weekend, there were protests about the 'Stay at Home' orders that have been endured in many states in the U.S..  In Denver, particularly, the parade of dissenters was challenged by health workers who stood in their way of 'doing their thing'. Perfectly stated by the action of the health workers, and I understand the thinking behind the protests..but I feel that the alternative is a considerably worse prospect for so many others. I painted this portrait, as my next practice piece, as a tribute to these brave people - they are the true heroes in this fight.

Friday, April 17, 2020

More Learning Curve, Self Critique

The redhead is finished.  Had to 'wet' out and redo her eyes, I didn't like their placement on the work.
Now, they look not symmetrical and the right eye seems misplaced to me, but it's practice.  Laying my work flat on the drawing table, puts the perspective OFF.  Oh well.

  I struggled with another watercolor piece for yesterday of a child. Children have always
been difficult to paint or draw me, I understand the differences in their anatomy
and facial features from adults...and until now,
 I was unable to portray it very well. The Patreon demos have really helped, as Ali paints 
children alot.  I'm getting a handle on the surface.  In fact, this piece of 
Aquabord had a failure from last weekend on it.  I 'wetted' and scrubbed it out, coated it with
Gesso, and voila, had a new surface to work on.  The Gesso acted much 
differently than the Aquabord surface, but I liked the outcome.
I have 4 more 6" x 6" boards, BUT there should be some new and bigger
ones in the mail at the Post Office.

Just have to mask up and get into town.

Stay safe, I feel this isn't over people.