Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Back again!

In October every year I head to Denver to help my brother out, babysitting his aged pets while they have an anniversary trip to Mexico.  (Due to a simple but tragic mis-reading of my schedule, I was ORIGINALLY assigned this month for my AIR, so I wondered if there were any gaps in the schedule that I might come back and do a little token residing) This year it snowed his first day out and I forgot about what I will return to ...Phoenix HEAT!
The trip down was via Wolf Creek Pass in Colorado and last time I went up that route a couple of years ago I was crying on the way down.  The beetle kill was so awful.  This time I left early in the long shadows of morning, to the west, so the sun did not blind me and NO TRUCKS stressed me out!  I really enjoyed it!  Then back through the mountains and on to the familiar flat Rez land on the way back to Arizona.
Kip did arrange a three night recovery for me, from the 12 hour trip.  I feel it a lot more coming home than driving up. Probably the depression of coming back to boring old home....
In to the Park, I was eyeball burned and aware that it was no longer Spring.  The deep autumn in the park brings rusts and gold to the rolling flat grasslands.  And the air was softer, whiter.  I found there was a lot of "controlled" burning going on in the area.  It was seriously changing the nature of the place.
Once I located my key and was settled in to cabin 77, the L-shaped one, I met my neighbors, a water colorist and her husband from Tubac.  They had arrived the night before and I gave them my brief park rundown. They also made me feel guilty that I was not up to the task of this place.... Relived that an artist was in the park to contribute to the experience, but again, not sure where I fit..
I had been turned down for another residency (and I should have held off for next year, as I an already hoarding the days I can talk someone in to giving me precious hours here) but I had thought I might work on a sample of my project if I can apply it to another park... I have my eyes set on Mesa Verde as I had a short email chat with someone there and they MAY allow the cat! 
I wanted to do what I do best - humans.  The project, which really was an offshoot of the ill-fated model release I never ended up using, was to meet and immortalize at least one visitor a day, probably from another country, with a brief interview and a lot of photos.  To show how really valuable the park is to US.  The humans who revitalize ourselves, who often only get to experience actual nature in these parks. 
Now with the impending doubling of fees, I think it is even more necessary to show that access by EVERYONE is necessary!  We own these places and we need them to STAY human.

I packed for Denver and found myself lacking some necessities for the Park.  I have all (oh, I am nearing another good 500 if not more photos from the Denver Zoo and Rocky Mountain Arsenal wildlife snapshots) my photos in the camera, but forgot to bring the card reader for to put them into the computer to use when I am connected by wifi in the few areas of the park that I can connect!
I did learn that my phone can transfer a few photos, so we are lacking the beautiful shots and back to being a tourist!!!
Here is the Thing, settling in at his home away from home:
I left for about an hour and came home to tail-less corpse of a three inch lizard that he had already murdered.  
I understand there is a small chewing creature next door, and as this is our third stay, I am grateful that my traveling companion has earned his keep... of course the lizards are NOT an issue, but he is always on patrol!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Outreaching and updating.... and adventures ahead!

I realized a lot of drafts were sitting in my program here, waiting for better photos and I forgot to upload them!!!
So this is just an update on my recent adventures.

I have learned PowerPoint and just finished my third presentation as my outreach for the Artist in Residence obligation...well gratification would be better named.....

In July, I spoke at the Scottsdale Artist League.  August was Tempe Artist Guild and just Wednesday, gave a presentation to a great group of quilters called the Mavericks!   I bring my borrowed projector (GREAT thanks to the amazing Arizona Art Alliance and Mike Brady) and did this one in the daytime!  Still was able to show the drop in the bucket of my over 3000 photos from that month living in the Petrified Forest. When I return, November is Peoria Artist League and January will be the Mesa Art League.   Hopefully I will carry a little less of the original art with me for show and tell as it will be moving into galleries or permanent homes... or donation to the PARK!

Summer is always fighting the cabin fever I get in so many days over 100° weather in the Phoenix area, so I am coming out of my despair and starting to plan my annual car trip to Denver in October.

I have offered to be present for my original month of October (because of the annual jaunt, I nearly declined, but Kip was able to double up artists in I was out of sync) during the last week of the month as I drive back.  So I hope to put on my badge and set up - for a couple of days at least - in the PDI to work on a small secondary project of portraying the visitors!
My first concept was supposed to center around the ravens, and where they would lead.... but they basically HID from me most of the month!  This time I want to interview people stopping in and see if they will let me borrow their visages for a project emphasizing the HUMAN aspect of the park!

I am loading materials and getting them ready for the road as I go up to enjoy the trees turning in Centennial and come back to see another season in my beloved PEFO.

Just throw in a visual aid...
...from a previous trip..... I KNOW they will mob me this time!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Spider Woman's Hands

I am a portrait painter.  Because of that I am rather meticulous in trying to get model releases from anyone who could be recognized from my work.  Everyone who is demonstrating or helping in the park, from Rangers to Volunteers, all have to sign off on copyright issues.  They become part of the public benefit, just like the scenery (so I was public domain while I was there!!!)
When I was lucky enough to witness this presentation, I asked for a release and was greeted with "let me think about it"
There is a very good reason to think it over.
The Native Americans in the Southwest have been iconic and functioned at money-making props for many artists and tourism promotions and have not benefitted from their "personhood".  You are your face and features.  Stealing the one thing you ARE is a very tricky issue.
So, even as I left, she was still thinking.....
I have tweaked a bit the experience and this is the image I have of the presentation!   No face, just the amazing experience of watching hands on a traditional loom....

 I began with a way too detailed drawing.  The skin on these ancient hands is so full of character, much like the weathered mounds in the badlands of the park..
This is a toned canvas and I drew in pastel pencil and chalk to start the image.
I began trying to paint the amazing arms and silver

This was always the fun stuff! I love exploring flesh and although this model did not have my requisite "eyeballs" I say I paint, the humanity is what I hoped to capture.  I am always in love with work that shows it is not a photo, but the work of a human being, so I always like to stop before it is done, but this needs a better environment...

So I had to move on to the boring stuff... fibers and background:

 The piece on the right was about done, but it looked too empty....
I wanted to reflect the spirit of the weaver.  Spiderwoman, not in a place but just the weaver, and her spindle.... and........ what?

 I added the products of her hands and softened the light from the window.  

I have a high quality photo of the drawing above and will upload it to my Fine Art America store soon.  I will have a full area of my work from the Petrified Forest and continue to update.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Driving Home - Art

It is a long hot summer!
I have been stuck in my house for the last couple of months, looking at my photos and tweaking my presentations for art groups in Phoenix Area.
I did a nice presentation for the Teme Artists League in September and I will be showing for the Mavericks group of quilters and fabric artists this month. There have been some amazing fiber artists who were AIR in the Park!
Recently, the amazing Rebecca Mezoff did some truly stunning work! and Bill Meed and Denny Peterson were recent quilt artists as well.  I am hoping to let them know that the program welcomes ANY artist that needs, can profit from and give something back from the opportunity
So that proceeds. I  am going to present in Mesa in November and Peoria in January.  They are great fun and I get to meet old friends as I have been a member of many of these groups during my life!


I am close to giving up on landscape.
I tried another of my super strong images that evoked so much emotion to ME from my loads of pictures in the park.
I tried a tonalist style on it and was defeated at every turn....
Here is the work as it progressed and pretty well stopped.
Sketched in, I was trying to get the curve of the road and echos of the wonderful wind blown falling sky in the distance...  Lots of impending rain and at that time of the year, very little wet!

Final version....well, lets stay, where I stopped.
It was actually supposed to be about the lines in the road and tail lights, but I settled for the tail lights...

My little casita is just over the rise, across the road from the Painted Desert Inn.   When I was AiR, there was so little weather, but for the constant breezes, I have hundreds of photos of clouds.  

It is a good thing to do in 100° Phoenix weather, to reminisce about the cooler days...

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

One More Piece! One More Presentation!

It was a tense day.
I had applied for a second AIR. It is rarely done but I have such a great idea.... so it will have to wait.
I can do it in another Park, but this was inspired by the month I spent there.  I am going to talk to Kip later about a different plan, but no PEFO for me in 2018... Stay tuned, I am branching out.

And I have not updated, but I do have another presentation tomorrow at the Tempe Artist Guild in Friendship Villiage, 2645 E. Southern Ave, Tempe AZ.   I will be running the artist critique at 5:30, with the business meeting at 6:30 and ME at 7:30 to 8:30!
So there you are!

While waiting for good or bad news, I did another piece.  Many of these will be entries in the Mountain Oyster Club in Tucson in November.  What a lot of exciting reference I have!!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Little Visitors on the Flagstone

It is hot here in Scottsdale.
It is sweaty and the air never cools, but we did have a monsoon rain last night and I left the door open!!
That is all my excitement.

I have been working on  another one of my birch panels.  This is two little ground squirrels, snacking in the shade of a scrub brush, right outside the kitchen, when I returned in June.  It is only 10" square and I am feeling like it may need something.... later.

I am going to do another presentation on August 17 at the Tempe Artist Guild.  I will probably do some editing on the slide show and, of course, we have a few new paintings.
With a week to go, who knows what else will show up!
Will post the details in the next blog.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Pretty sure we are done.... if not, I am betting you won't notice the changes....
On to more and more things stuck in my head, needing to get out.
(PLEASE share or contact me if any of these strike your fancy.  They are all for sale.  I am doing my donation in October, so there will be PLENTY of pieces by then!)