Friday, April 28, 2017

Last Friday at Home, I Hope....

Today we got new brakes, and oil change.

Although I would not allow my car in the Park to be viewed by visitors if I had the power, I began doing longer trips when it hit 100,000 miles.  The CarTalk guys convinced me of the "nothing to lose" aspect of letting things fall off and keeping it running for the lowest investment.   If it is rolling, it is just fine.  Now it stops too!
In my mind it is like a jigsaw puzzle, packing for a month away.  I am really funny, as my last few trips to Denver went with entire art shows of 30 paintings in the trunk (I did not unload the last 20 until this week...) and my cat and the necessities of life, but I will no longer have the ability to run to the local 7-11 and grab a bag of potato chips at 11 at night.  I am visualizing planning ahead!  So today I got canned food, a salt and pepper shaker, spaghetti and sauce and will bring the last of what is in the fridge, freeze things that can't go bad and stop in Holbrook on the way in for milk and cold stuff.... need to learn where the grocer is anyway! And all for a whopping 4 hour drive!!
My computer is completely ported into a small external drive, I have the home phone now all computerized so I won't miss the tons of unidentified callers looking for that OTHER Debra Jones who has outstanding bills! Thinking of adding a few GB to the cellphone, and if it works, may even experiment with a "hot spot".   I am such a tech addict....hoping for withdrawal.  I am boxing up all the peripherals and a small printer and paper to begin fitting into the trunk.
I have a list of minimal clothes and the knowledge there is a laundry makes me feel much better about that plan.
Refilled all my meds, updated insurance for the year, paid all the bills and go out nearly broke, but tapping savings for now.
This weekend I have a few obligations and figure tomorrow will be actual loading anything not critical at home so I can figure the amount of finished art to carry for demos and show-and-tells.  
The cat is a piece of cake. We have made about 8 individual trips in the past couple of years and he is cool!  As you know, he lives in that cage at home too.  I even opened the portable red kennel to get him used to it and he is sitting in it, supervising now.
So the weekend awaits and I am saying goodbye to the windy, concrete box I live in for the windswept (so much different) beauty of the millennia in this stark and amazing National Park.

(Nothing picturesque about all this... that will begin on MONDAY, if the internet gods shine on us!)

Monday, April 24, 2017

First Event is on the Schedule - May 12

Holbrook, the little metropolis on the edge of the park, has wonderful arts events featuring the Artists in Residence at their historic Train Depot!

The Park cosponsors the Holbrook Art Series featuring the monthly artist in residence and give a great way to see what the Park is doing and help me with promoting my art.

I am planning a demonstration of my Tin Cup style.

I did a lot of the Pony Express historical re-enactors from the area a few years ago.  I figure showing my pieces and explaining my technique would be a great way to make a new PeFo related piece and interact with the community!  I will post the images when we get going.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Getting Real

I spent the day finalizing lists.
Today we needed to be sure meds were ordered and plentiful in case of emergencies.  Appointments that need done before I go are in line to get done.
Finally, we needed a micro chip and rabies shot.  No telling what sort of visitors may sneak in.
Thing here, is an indoor only kind of a guy, but since we are in the middle of nowhere, If lost, when found, I want him back!  So he was told NO HARNESS.
This is odd.  I tend to grab him by his handle when he is making trouble, but the vet fears he will rub the little "beacon" out if the harness hits it wrong.   So he is NUDE for a few days.
Here he recovers in his travel home, while I work in the office.  He is fine elsewhere in the house but in my studio, if I leave, paint water ends up on the floor and who KNOWS what damage he could do to an oil palette.   

Next to tuning up the poor sad travel machine and vision check for me before departure next week.
More to come.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

April 19 is Petrified Forest Day!!!

Today they re-dedicated the Painted Desert  Community Complex (aka the Painted Desert Visitor Center) as a historic landmark. The governor proclaimed today Petrified Forest National Park Day!

For me, it starts the 10 day count down, but I doubt it will be as exciting as a proclamation, dedication and grand opening.  
They also swore in a group of new citizens in the Park.
I am so excited by the whole National Park Service I could just split!  
Take a look at their FACEBOOK PAGE.

(PS.  There is still a free weekend this week, if you want to check things out!)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Less than a month

Although I hope this blog will be a visual journal, I find the month counting down is very nondescript.  I am trying to think ahead and shut things down at home. I have cancelled cable.
This is heart-stopping!
Cord cutting is not part of the requirements, but as I know there is no entertainment and I might have limited internet, I might as well see what my tiny laptop and phone data can do for me on the road.
(I will not be FULLY disconnected as I signed up for the online cable offer, so ..... I may be found in a Holbrook McDonalds loading missed episodes into my head over a burger)

I have had a lot of friends encourage me with my landscapes.
This is NOT my thing.
I am not thinking of clothes, as one might for a month on the road, rather whether to pack a lot of canvas or paper and how to keep it safe on the road and from my roommate (a cat who believes furniture keeps items from their natural home ON THE FLOOR)

...and whether I should do all water media, bring the pastels or/and oils?  This is like figuring how to put your house in your trunk!

Below is a sketch from my trip last year of the pronghorn in the park.

I hope there will be a LOT of visitors with feathers and fur to keep me busy, but I have to work hard to let the experiences to come, flow over me.
I am the sort who tends to push the river....

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


EVERYONE knows I am not a landscape painter.  
I paint anything with eyeballs.
So although it will be fine to follow through on my plan to do portraits: of Rangers, of volunteers, of willdlife, visitors and even prehistoric people, I decided to take a class that features wildlife art and elegant, loose vignetted landscapes with Morten Solberg.
It is mind boggling.
Yesterday we worked on waterfalls.  I doubt I will have much opportunity to paint during the Artist in Residence, but I was excited about the versatility of only using two paints and white!  So I put in a little wolf.

It had so much potential.

Today, we learned a very creative technique, which I frankly failed like a ton of bricks.... BUT it was a completely different approach to how to  use paint.   
Instead of the exercise, I had a brain stop.  I just could not do it.  Realizing I had only 4 hours sleep the night before and woke up three hours before class (to put in my tiny wolf....) I took a break, ate lunch, which I had forgotten, and came back with a photo from my visit to the park last year.

You may not find it exciting, but as these were both 6"x 14" paper sheets, I THINK I came up with a way of using the essence of the land, but not the usual, tight, representative style that is me!    PERFECT for the little bits behind my guys:

Ah the fun of being an artist!!!  I still cannot wait!!!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Amateur Traveler

I have been looking at other blogs of artists spending their time in the PeFo (that is shorthand for the park) and they are young and hiking and heading bravely into the badlands.  I hope you all will forgive me if you don't see a lot of bravery here.   I am a visitor,  representing the people with their Senior Passes who do not need to be survivalists or athletes!

The beauty of this park is how much you can see in a half day.
From Phoenix it is about 3 hours and there is no casual camping or places to stay within the park.  It is beautifully vacant.  One cafe in the gift store and a few places to shop and a lot of places to learn. It is a perfect day trip from the city.
You drive up through our mountains and see the green trees and can easily find snow now and then in the winder months en route.   You can grab a bite in Payson and check out the history and see how Zane Gray lived.

Then you could choose to drive up through Show Low or across a wonderful open desolate but vast Chaparral to get to Holbrook.
Most people enter up north as they see the exit and drive right on to Gallup and Santa Fe, but go to the south entrance and if you are fascinated by the actual petrified aspect, there are still legal places outside the park to pick up some rocks of your own.
Entering from the south, you are closer to the museum and really amazing logs and lots to learn.   If you are NOT up for a full day, you can have a wonderful experience and still get home again before dark!

Or continue through the park drive that is well under an hour, just driving and take as long as you want at the pull outs.  

You will see truly amazing stone trees (NO they are not still standing.  Long ago they toppled and the minerals that replaced the wood formed horizontally, but the chunks left are phenomenal.

You might have learned all about them in the museum as you entered...) and with a very short walk, experience and ancient home of the ancestors of the cultures that still live outside the park.

A bit farther up you can view the place they call "Newspaper Rock" where those people and probably others, left their mark on brown stained rocks by chipping off the patina.  Whether for self expression or communication with others or their deities it still speaks to US today.

At the end of the drive is the Painted Desert.
A Harvey Inn built on unstable clay is on view near the amazing overlook that is self-explanatory of how it got its name!

Finally there is the last visitor center, where you can buy t-shirts, books and gas.  Have an Indian Taco before you head home or off to the wonders of Indian Country.

And none of it requires anything but eyeballs and curiosity!