Sunday, December 30, 2007

Art on Sunday

I am working on a series for art note cards of dogs. Thought I would start with two very familiar breeds, Dachshunds and Weimaraners. I like the "zeroing" in part. These are quick pastels. If interested, check out my Etsy to buy them. They should be on there in a day or two. Thanks!

Where I Stand Sunday

This morning, I went for a small hike, as my DH and Weim had found some interesting animal tracks between the woods and the fields. I am standing over a definite "bigger cat" print, there were lots of them among the rabbit tracks. Gene had seen a bobcat earlier this fall coming up out of the pond slash/downed trees. After close inspection, these prints are lots bigger than ordinary house cat. There were some areas where you could see that the animal had rolled in the snow.
As I walked on, I thought I would show you the old windmill pump at the base of a non-operating windmill, adjacent to our property, which we would like to own someday.

As I walked around I noticed these kind of prints in several areas, at the end of a series of rabbit tracks. I can only imagine that this might be where it stops and surveys its travel path, or "thumps" or ??? If you have an idea, please leave me a comment!

As this year comes to an end, I look forward to the joy and luxury of more time to create art. I am headed to the studio today. Didn't sleep well early this morning because IDEAS started happening in my dreams and then my thoughts take over, wake me up and that's it, I had to get up and start on the ideas! I am working on some new Etsy designs. I love that when it happens! My muse is directing me today!

P.S. JUST FOR FUN...check out this blog. It's great!

Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. If you'd like to join me by posting a photo on Sunday of places you've been on your blog/photo hosting site/website, leave a comment on this post telling me where I can find you/your photo and I'll add a link to my sidebar so others can find you and I will also let Fibra Artysta know, so she can you on her web sidebar if you'd like.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hiking Trail

Finally finished! When I lived in Conifer, Co., I used the Jefferson County Open Space for exercise/walking/hiking. It is a lovely place! You could use the trails for the ultimate climb; walk, run or mountain bike or just a casual nature walk. The Aspen trees were my favorite! I used to live only a few minutes from here. Sometimes, I would approach the trails with a little apprehension, as 'bears' were a possible threat. One time a teaching colleague set up a 'before school starts' picnic for her students and their parents, and DID see a bear. Had to greet those arriving at the base of the park, in the parking lot and turn them around. A little hairy for 2nd graders! But, yes, I miss it and it's beauty. From the top of the trails (extremely invigorating but worth it), you can sit and look down on Aspen Park.

Meyers Ranch Park Trail, Conifer, Co.
pastel on sandpaper, 14 x 19

Christmas Remnants

In 2005 there was a video floating around the internet with Christmas lights done to the music of Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Wizards in Winter". Looking around this year, I found a video that is way better, maybe you have already seen it! It is from 2005 also, and since I am not in a big city to look at lights, and that is one of my favorite things to do...I played this several times, with volume up, as it is "The Best". Hope your Christmas was merry and lights! Check it out!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Where I Stand Sunday

Sorry- this is a little late, slept in today and got everything out of whack! As a diversion, or perhaps a good excuse to be doing art at this time of year, here I stand in my studio. With the cold, snow and ice, it seems there is nothing else to do, ha! Never thought I would be saying that! Lately I have had lots of studio time, then I see people who do a phenomenal amount of (practice and other) work and think, I am only touching the tip of the iceberg, and I am retired from a full time job! They must have no commitments other than laundry, no dishes, no meals to cook, no family, nothing to do but paint or create.
I continue to experiment with different mediums. I still come back to my old favorite, pastel.
Below is another portrait of my daughter (I think I do her portrait so much because she and I look a lot alike, commensurate with time of life and age, I think about her a lot of the time). I loved this photo, as her hair was sooo long. She now has short hair with the new baby, who she says is grabbing her hair now! Doing a portrait with 'teeth' showing is difficult, I try to choose source material without teeth, but it's time to tackle the TEETH! I may have to work a little more on that part, but the size of the piece doesn't lend itself to do much more, especially because the surface - Canson paper - doesn't take much more pastel at a certain point and I don't use spray "fixative" anymore (not good for breathing, which can be difficult at times for me).

Jessica, pastel on Canson paper, 12 x 14

Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. If you'd like to join me by posting a photo on Sunday of places you've been on your blog/photo hosting site/website, leave a comment on this post telling me where I can find you/your photo and I'll add a link to my sidebar so others can find you and I will also let Fibra Artysta know, so she can you on her web sidebar if you'd like.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cousin Kay

Last Friday evening, my cousin Kay, in Florida, lost her battle with cancer. She was 64 years old. We have known that she was battling the disease for about the last two years.

Kay with her loving dog, Destiny.

I remember spending lots of time with her when I was a little girl. Her family lived in Denver for many years and our families got together weekends and holidays. She accompanied us on a few summer trips to see our grandparents and cousins in St. Louis. I was always in awe of her, she was a teenager and I was still a young girl.

Kay visiting with my mom and dad.

Kay and her husband Ed sitting on the porch at the lake.

Our family will miss her terribly. As many grandparents these days, she was raising her grandkids. She had an enormous heart! May she rest in peace.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Where I Stood Sunday

This is where I stood yesterday. You can read yesterday's post for info.

Here we are having lunch at the Paramount, waiting for graduation time. Eat, eat, eat, that's all we got done this trip, it seems like!

This is the grad with her brother.

Ready to get on with the celebration!

After dark fun in downtown Denver, in front of Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

We celebrated at "earl's" on the 16th Street Mall. Yummy!

Back at home now, digging through snow drifts. Left the unpacking for the morning. We are all dog tired, including the dogs!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Where I Stand Sunday

Today I stood in the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver. My stepdaughter, Leslie, graduated with a Behavioral Science bachelor's degree. There were 1064 graduating - the largest in fall grad history at Metro State. BTW, that is my alma mater for BA degree in elementary ed. Felt good to be a part. My stepson's girlfriend is also attending MSC.
Will post more about this tomorrow when I get back to Middle Earth, cause this internet service at the RV park is sh***y! Can't even download my photo. Grrrr. Check back!

Friday, December 14, 2007

More Holiday Happenings

Last night was the Dec. meeting of the Palette Club. I am it's newest member. There was lots of food and (yum my favorite) chili! We had a painting exchange. Seven of us chose a number, matched to artwork, and received a cool piece of art done by another person. I received a great framed pencil drawing (a preliminary for a big painting) by Larry Z., who is a car refinisher/painter by day and artist during all the other times in his life. (Photo later) The host of the event, who owns the gallery we met in, received my horse painting. Anyway, nice peeps!!!

There was time to look at some work in progress that others brought along with them, and I enjoyed the critique time. So looking forward to being able to actively critique! Hearing what others are involved in gets me goin', like commissions, mural painting, etc. It is soooo nice to have found a group that I can affiliate with, in this small, isolated, lonely little nowhere place! Yeah! And I am looking forward to becoming a member of NCKAA, North Central Kansas Artists Association. One of my greatest memories doing art in mountains above Denver (years ago, BT, before teaching) was belonging to the Evergreen Artists Association. The networking was rewarding! Many people say that they don't need to belong to a group or organization, but as an artist, you need to take aaaalllll the help you can get.

Today, we drove to big D. My stepdaughter is graduating from college. We are here for the ceremony and will be going right back home. Had to brave the roads in the big RV in the snow and with icy roads (I think we were about the only RV out there in highway land) but did fine, and guess we got out of heavy snow at home (course my DH is an X Teamster trucker, so I NEVER worry!) There is about 5 to 6 inches on the ground here. Looking forward to dryer weather once this system passes on through the middle of the US. My daughter and her family are bracing for a Nor'Easter in Brooklyn. Hang on kids!

So far, this is like the winters I remember as a child. I also remember a lot of really mild winters and mild holidays since then. I think I like the more wintery ones, however, with a break once in awhile, like for when we go home.

Dogs get to visit a kennel tomorrow for a day and night. Oh boy!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Solid to Liquid

It's amazingly beautiful, how the sun takes care of the ice. Here are some photos of the ice as the sun penetrates it. The ice crashes or melts to the earth in one afternoon's time. Just standing there, listening, it was a sensory overload! I took soooo many pictures, saw such cool things!

Rabbit Tracks in the Milo Field

The Dazzling Sunshine through the Trees

Ice Either Cracks or Drips off the Tree Branches!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Studio Time!!

Been without internet and TV, oh no....for 24+ hours. Then as the ice starts to melt, voila!! We are back online with the world again!!

I spent most of the day in the studio (thanks A.E. for the suggestion, although I didn't see it til today, your vibes came my way!) Since I have had horses on the mind, I got out a photo of a horse that was at my dear friend Kira's ranch in the Colorado mountains. I DO enjoy painting animals the most!!

This acrylic painting will be a 'traded' gift at the Palette Club Chili Supper/Get Together that I will attend in Downs tomorrow evening. I also finished the Belgian horse pastel that was started at the Kaye Franklin class last month. I will post it later.

My stepdaughter graduates from MSC in Denver on Sunday. We are going. Back in Denver for a brief time is just what I need.

Kira's Horse 6 x 8, acrylic on RayMar board

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


When ice-storms are predicted here, the news media gives awareness of how one needs to get out and TCB (take care of business) before it hits. They warn against travel of any kind, remind you that even ambulance, police and fire dept. may have trouble getting down the road. We had been through one of these last year at this time (5 days without power), we know the drill.

Starting at about dark last night, it was pouring rain on top of already a couple of inches of snow and then freezing in sheets that glistened on the sidewalk outside of the door. No, those dogs wouldn't even step off the porch. The lights and power flickered on and off around 9:00, we thought for sure the power would be out this am, but luckily, we still have it. Good thing, cause it is too nasty to get the generator out and hook it up, although, I half expect us to have to do just that before it is all said and done.

Yes, I consider it beautiful! Here is a slide show of some of the photos I just completed. It is biting cold!! The wind blowing through the big tree with it's ice chinking and clinking was kinda scary.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Where I Stand Sunday

Here I stand on the porch at home, just outside the back door. I have to go out with the dogs, I literally have to PUSH them out the door, to go potty! It's 12 degrees. The cold affects them in that the weiner dogs are too low hung and get themselves a little colder on the undercarriage and our Weimeraner has a plate in his left leg from breaking it several years ago, so he can't stand it long either. So I stand and encourage, especially Chaco, the red Dachshund, he just stands and shivers.

I haven't been anywhere in 5 days, except for splailed on the road getting the mail 2 days ago, as the dogs were zooming in and out between my legs and I gathered an armfull of mail, turned, tripped and fell flat on my face, mail splattering all over the road. Luckily, there is no one near by to see the lack of grace at which I took this and the words I uttered to myself and the dogs. It was so windy, I guess you could say the wind blew me down. Ha! Ask my DH and he will tell you I am not very balanced at times. (Probably in more ways than you know!)

Anyway, he's been gone for 5 days, and is trying to get back from N.M. in the R.V. Now I wonder about his trip back home as the weather has now impacted that area as well. He's on his way.

One thing that I have been able to do, is be out in the studio, non-stop since then. It has been a gift (my birthday is coming up, that is a true gift)! There have been two other paintings, but below is the beginning (day one) of a painting of my daughter and granddaughter that I really like. It is her profile photo from her myspace, and I fell in love with it. Working in acrylic is tricky, I haven't done it for some time. It's funny, day two doesn't usually go as well, when returning to a painting for me, and sure enough, I look at it now, and I have to work hard to take it back the other direction. I wanted to call it good after the first day. can imagine how it goes. It's still "about mixing paint for skin tone colors". In pastels I know what color to use. I should get them out, discover which one I would use next and then mix the color in paint. I think I will try that! I also got a hint online from a forum, that I could look at the picture in Photoshop and put the eyedropper over the color I am having trouble with and it will isolate that color for me. What a great idea! Probably I don't have the right color of cadmium red, or pthalo blue. I have a cheap set of acrylics. I am soooo art store deprived! You can imagine, how I feel like a kid in a candy store, when I go to Kansas City where there is Keith Coldsnow or New York City, where there is Pearl and Dick Blick!

Today is about unloading a few more boxes of weeded out "stuff" from our move over a year ago and probably doing some dishes. Ha! I live and look like a hermit when I am on my own!

Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. If you'd like to join me by posting a photo on Sunday of places you've been on your blog/photo hosting site/website, leave a comment on this post telling me where I can find you/your photo and I'll add a link to my sidebar so others can find you and I will also let Fibra Artysta know, so she can you on her web sidebar if you'd like.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Christmas Card

I took the plunge and spent hours making my own Christmas cards this year. I made 15. Not nearly enough, yes, I have more friends and family than that, but I also didn't want to spend so much on postage.
So, this is a card for those who didn't receive a card this year. This is our second Christmas gone from where we lived for sooo many years. Still, we miss the mountains and our friends and family back in Denver/Golden. So if you see my blog, know that I am thinking of you this season! We always had such fun at parties, get-togethers and Christmas morning. It's interesting how I had the urge to write one of those one page letters to include in our cards that I sent, on the topic of "what we were up to in 2007", but then I thought, hey, that's why I keep an ongoing blog! So if you want to know about our year from May 2007 - on, you can browse through the pages and pages of Kansas living. It's been a busy year and one filled with accomplishment. We are looking forward to starting the new year with more "projects" and life fulfilling activities. Our best to you in the coming year!

Friday, December 7, 2007


Will August come any sooner, now that I have added a counter in the sidebar of this blog? As you can see there are many days that need to pass, but I am signed up and beginning to pay for a 10 day painting trip to Guatemala. I have always wanted to go on one of these "paint trips", always to France or Tuscany, but the artist that I studied with in November, is 'doing' Guatemala in August/September. So, I thought, hey, that would be a cool trip! Part of the trip involves visiting Tikal, where there are many ruins and history of the Mayan.
Honestly, I have been to Hawaii and borders of Mexico, like the kind you get to by car, so it's time to venture a bit further and while I am still physically able to climb, plein-air painting in the heat and up to the rigor of mega site-seeing and photographing. Every day is filled with activity, including sketching and painting.
I applied for my passport (never had one) and already made my plane reservations. Should be a great time, we have guides and sponsors and translators and five star hotels and meals.
I think I will brush up on my Spanish. I can always get the basic gist of what is being said, I just can't put sentences together too well. You would think that after 5 years of the language in my school days, I could do better than that. Senora Gilbreath and Senora Borman did their best!
Along the way, I have had to 'use' it, or lose it, like with kids or parents in my classes, or with the Hispanics that moved into the area to work on the TM Palaces when I worked at the liquor store. (Don't get me going on that issue, right now.) If you want to know more about that, Google "Smith Center, Kansas and TM'ers" aka Global Country of World Peace.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Winter Wonderland

No, it's not Global Warming, it's December and as it should be, it's snowing. Ha! Took the camera on an outing around the homestead, as you can see, all is still and beautiful. It's going to be in the 20's and 30's for the next several days. Out to the studio for some serious painting.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Good Health

These are my parents, as you can see they look "in good health and happy"! This was on my mom's 80th birthday. Just got word from Dad last night, that his cardio/pacemaker exam went well. He is in better health than last visit, which is very good news. This time last year, he was not feeling well at all. It's a good example of what a difference it makes when you mix excellent healthcare, with a patient who cares and tries to do the right thing for their health. I am proud and thankful that my parents take great care of their health and each other.

Today is cold and it's supposed to snow tomorrow. I am out to the studio for some more arranging and possibly beginning some new work. Also, need to go through paint that might freeze and collect it to keep inside the house for the winter. It really doesn't get to freezing in the studio with all the insulating we have done, but since materials are soooo expensive, I want to avoid ruining them at whatever it takes. Since installing the mouse (sonic sounding, high-pitch that only mice can hear) devices, NO MICE! Yeh!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Dog Baths and Dog Laundry

Today was doggie bath day and dog laundry day. Someone was pretty stinky! We went on a mile hike, then corraled Big Dog into the bathroom, he 'comes' along, but really doesn't like it. But oh, he smells so much better. Little dogs don't have much choice. You grab them and put them in the tub, and there isn't much they can do about it. All of their "pluffies" and blankets get washed to, which is about 3 loads of laundry, cause we cover up the furniture they lay on and the bed. It's almost done.

The temperature was around 60 degrees today. It's supposed to snow on Thursday. I say, "Let it snow!"

The horse carcass finally got picked up yesterday, she lay 1st in the heifer pen, then on the driveway for 4 days. Guess it was a good thing that it was cold. It's still hard for us to think about. She was a neat horse.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Magazine Storm

About a month ago, I got an offer to spend my mileage points with a credit card company, that I will never accumulate to even fly anywhere, so I got to choose magazine subscriptions. One of them is "Wired". What a neat magazine. DYK that there is a possibility of generating energy through movement of hordes in football stadiums and train stations by installing weight-responsive dynamos under the floors? (There is more information on MIT's site.) A subway system could be partially powered by the foot traffic of approximately 25,000 people - though not until the first "crowd farm" is actually built. So, what's the hold up? If you are waiting on ethanol, don't, if you are waiting on windpower, many areas are stating that it's too expensive and, of course, just like where I live, the population would be against it cause it scares them!!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Where I Stand Sunday

Today, I stand just outside our "dog pen" on the skirt of the driveway. Stayed inside most of the day, it's cold and brisk outside. Not much going on, watching TV (we don't do that usually, but like to watch USA reruns of 'Criminal Intent') and just hanging out. Finally took all the leftovers from Thanksgiving out of the fridge and threw them away. Went out to the RV in the quonset hut (the "Q") to get some cooking oil and found the olive oil that was there was frozen, so ya, it's cold.
On Wednesday night, a very cold night, when we were walking the horse, the skies were sooo clear, you could see the Milky Way. Planet Jupiter was big and bright and orange. The only other place I have been able to view the Milky Way was from a houseboat on Lake Powell.
Anyway, it's time to start Tivo'ing movies for winter entertainment and staying close to home.
Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. If you'd like to join me by posting a photo on Sunday of places you've been on your blog/photo hosting site/website, leave a comment on this post telling me where I can find you/your photo and I'll add a link to my sidebar so others can find you.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

It Really is ICE

Most of the time, you can count on the weather predictions here in Middle Earth. There are no mountains to change the trajectory of the storm. This one has been right on, all week. They said about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of ice, and it is! The dogs went hurriedly out the door for potty time and Bailey was 'a--holes and elbows', as they say. He doesn't get it, either, doesn't slow him down. On the other hand, Herman, our black and tan dachshund stepped carefully on the part of the sidewalk that wasn't frozen. For around noon, the prediction is 50 degrees and winds gusting to 45 mph. Oh yeah.

Before too much time goes by, I wanted to share these cool photos of a farmstead house I came upon when I returned home from Shawnee. It is about 6 miles from Aurora, Ks., just a sighting off of Highway 24, a beautiful drive BTW! They could use the scenery on that highway for their own version of "Kansas Highways" magazine. Hey, maybe that would be a neat job? Photographing Kansas! Or has someone else already beat me to it?

Anyway, as I was taking lots of pictures, here came the homestead owner in his p/u with a trailer. He opened the fence/gate and then walked over to talk to me. He was very nice. Usually, I encounter people who don't really appreciate my interest. He said you never know who you will meet, Greenpeace, PETA, or something like that, I told him, "No...I'm just an artist/photographer that likes to capture cool sights like this one." He told me about the house. As you can see, it was built in 1888. (Click on picture to enlarge.)
Their family name is "Trahan", you say it "tran". His mom and dad were down the road in the more modern home if I wanted to go talk to them about this house, "'Course dad's had a stroke, but mom can translate for him!" I really wanted to but knew I had better step it up a little, so as not to be late for the dentist. They lived in this house until about 20 years ago, so he grew up here as a boy. You can see where the house was added on to. (You can see it by enlarging photo 1 or 2 above.) He said the roof, just recently started falling off. It was sweet!

I thanked him, over and over for being so helpful and letting me linger on the photo shoot. I could poke around stuff like that, all day! I guess that is one of the perks for living here, cause this area is full of it! What is special is that you get first hand info sometimes, like this one. Lots of history still showing, where as in the city, it is either modernized, or torn down.

Also BTW, you say you are from the Smith Center area...and people talk and talk about our HS football team! They ARE a national sensation, and maybe in the wrong league!