Thursday, December 10, 2020

Goodbye to OUR Last Pup

 Our dachshund, Chaco, was 17 1/2 years old. He started to fail about a year ago. We have fretted and worried about when the day would come that we would have to say 'goodbye' and it came on this past Monday.  We made the decision based on his health issues, bad back with pain, not able to walk or stand for very long, stomach ailments and eating issues, blindness and confusion, I could go on...but the signs were there and could no longer be ignored.  Any 'body function' he had to do he needed help in doing..we were experiencing 'doggy hospice'.   

Through much discussion and definite 'guilt' we had him put down. The vet said that we could do some meds that would help him for a bit, but we would likely be right back where we were in a very short time - that helped tuck away a little of the 'guilt' I felt.  She agreed with us that it was time to say 'goodbye'. 

So - WE SAID our FINAL goodbye's and held him while he slipped away.  It was a heart-wrenching task..one that continues to visit my memory.  But in the days ahead, we will realize it was the best thing we could do.  He was the one of the three we have had the privilege to raise in our 20+ years together.  Now we are a Dogless Home.  We have agreed to NOT think about having another dog for at least a year..and especially since COVID is still around.  I can't bare the thought of myself getting ill, being hospitalized or dying and leaving a dog behind with no one to take care of it.

I would like to share a video I made of him and our other two dogs...but it's too large for Blogger.  It helped my mind -  to put it together.  (anyway, here are a few photos of him)






GOODBYE CHACO...we will meet again someday. We LOVE YOU. 



Thursday, December 3, 2020

Watching Birds

For the second year, I have joined up with The Cornell Lab in participating in the 'Feederwatch Project'.  This is the third week of watching for 2 days and then taking a break until 5 days forward.  During the winter we are limited on the number of species we see, most likely due to the harshness of the winters and the environment not having very many trees. You observe, log your observations and report once a week.  When we see birds it is usually by the droves.  One species in particular is the House Finches.  We have a total of 4 tube feeders and about 4 - 5 times a day, over 100+ birds fly in to feed.  It is like a scene from Hitchcock's movie "The Birds"!  The photo doesn't let you see how many birds are on the deck and the garden area in front of the deck, gathering spilled seed.


We have a suet feeder that is out by that gate along the fence..away from the smaller birds, so as to not displace them.  Crows and Magpies visit that feeder.  And talk about displacement, the Crows always RULE over the feeder.  The Magpies sit on the ground and wait their turn or snatch up anything that the Crows drop.  It is a great pass time to watch these visitors.  It gives me something important to do.  
Here are a few of the crow photos..I think that perhaps there is a Raven or two in the mix at times.  We see both from time to time. Magpies, when they all appear are a flock of about 10 - 20.  Crows - I have counted 30 at one time.







I often paint or draw these birds and I have never had a true resource of my own, over the years. The Feederwatch Project gives me the time and the inclination to take LOTS of photos for my files.
Love painting these birds!








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"
pastel

"Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep Study"
pastel

"Armadillo"
pastel






 

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.


"Yucca"
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.