Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Soulful Walking and a Gift

 Yesterday, I was feeling the "ho humdrums" of the times - went for a walk.  After taking the first photo, I felt way better. I think I forget to take in the beauty that surrounds me at times.  Anyway, it made those feelings drift away.  It's drab and gray, but still, even in the prairie weeds and plants, it says 'beautiful high desert at the base of a mountain range'.

Today we are meeting a friend for lunch - outdoor patio ONLY.  I used 
a photo of her cat for practice recently, think it will be a housewarming gift as 
she and family moved to another city this last year.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Oldies but Goodies

 My studio is overrun with OLD art pieces.  Most of these were done over 20 years ago..they are pastels so they lay flat in the flat file.  The elephants have been sold and gone for that time.  I recently found the elephant photos in a photo box  Sad to say goodbye to some of them..when they are your favorites, but pushing myself to say goodbye to more of them.  

I love this patriarch bull.  He was a lot of fun to paint.

This family of elephants - I can't recall selling it, but it's gone.  
It was giant. So fun to get lost in as I painted it.

This boy and his dog were a study from a magazine photo back in the day when I didn't have very good source photos. I allowed myself to use magazines - at times, even tho that's an artist's 'no-no' with copyright laws. Love the colors and the paper color.

This is my dad, Ed.  This pastel was done from a classic photo that we all had a copy of it seemed, but it showed his true character when he wasn't working and taking a break at our annual family reunion.  I will keep it - it's like an 'art heirloom'.  It is quite large, 24" x 30".

In looking at these, I noticed I was MORE careful with edges and took more time in doing a piece.  I would spend days and days on pieces. These days, if it's not done in a day, I usually lose interest unless it's a commission (which have become few and far between).  It's good for my artist's soul to revisit these from time to time, maybe that is why I hoard them. It's also a reminder to maybe SLOW DOWN a little.   

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Changing Time

 Halloween, time change, an election, COVID, full moon, cold weather, what else can we put on the proverbial plate today?  Lots going on in my world..just staying at home..working as hard as I can on my many projects.  Right now - doing some organizing and tossing of old art.  I acquired about half of a studio's worth of matboard, glass and a newer mat cutter from a closing business and although I probably didn't need any of it, it was an opportunity that arises only rarely.  It just takes up precious space.  Another issue I will need to deal with.  Where is the best place to house it so I can readily use it?  Time and 'try outs' will tell.  My 'she shed' gets fuller and fuller.  I feel like I am on a Merry Go Round, just shifting things in a circle. Do your days ever feel that way?  It's like my own little amusement park.  ha. 

Local fireban is not as stringent as it was. A fair amount of snow has taken care of that, in the meantime, because we like a good campfire, we made one each night for the past few nights in the novelty fire ring that was left here by the previous owners.  Listening to the coyotes, watching the full moon, dressing warm with a good chill in the air..watching the stars.  Being one with the earth.  It feels good.  These times are used for adjusting to a new idea of 'how to live' and stay healthy ~ for the next year or so.  I have to ask myself daily, "What expectation of normal 'can I let go of' - today?" This thought lives large in my mind.  

Hope all is well with you?

Sunday, September 27, 2020

New Pastel - just off the easel

 I used a photo reference on this one for the fox. It was in a cage at a wildlife park.  I imagined it on the prairie.  I have to force myself to use my imagination a little more.  Wild animals - should be in the wild...right?  Thanks to Deb Frank for use of the photo.

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 ride...one that won't be taken often..as 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 days..in 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.