Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Springtime Catchup ~ Return Home from San Jose

This is a fun page that floods with memories. I had taken that trip in February down to the Bay Area, after visiting San Francisco, for planning with my Co-instructor of my "Women's Mexico Retreat".

I'd not seen my friend for quite awhile - since she'd been newly married. So staying with her was a treat, getting to meet and spend some time with her new honey. When I'd early arrived, I noticed dried flowers hanging from the kitchen cabinets. Upon inquiry, I learned the flowers were from the wedding bouquets. Since I was at the table with just my journal and didn't want to pull out the entire watercolor kit, I just used a Micron Pen with a brush tip. You can get a wide edge and some relatively delicate lines too and it's nice to have a variety on my journal pages (although you all know my favorite is watercolor!) Another item that, for me exemplified the new energy and joy in the household was this kicky gecko. I couldn't resist bringing it "home" with me on the corner of my page. He turned out rather zippy, with an attitude, don't you think?

The wacky and playful flag originated from a local restaurant. Several years ago we'd tried the charming, rustic eatery named, "The Black Bear Diner" and it'd been so long ago that we couldn't remember IF we liked the food. So, on a whim ... we dropped in for dinner. Let's just say, the fun lil flag was the best part of the dinner, although not edible :)

And one of the things I begin watching for in the early spring (it happened February 14th last year) is the emerging of our heartwarming golden yellow crocus. On the afternoon of February 24th, I caught sight out our front window, of a yellow head poking up out of the dirt. It's always a joyous moment - kind of reminds me that Winter is waining and Spring, just around the corner. The next day I got a photo of the bursting lil family of crocus - hurrah, Spring has begun!

This full page, spread out is one of my favorite - joyous and diverse. It reminds me of the deliciousness of life and our world. I'm hoping you take a moment here, now, to count your many blessings. Even the tiniest of gems is worth celebrating!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mexico Update

Now, with the chilly, rainy days of Autumn darkened by early darkness, I'm nestling in to do some catch up in my journal.

This page is way back from my Women's Mexico Retreat in April. But it was complex (of course I don't keep it simple) and it's taken awhile to complete. I've long loved those pinpointed blow-ups that often appear in ads or maps. So I used that format to tell the more thorough story than just a single illustration. Since I was aware that the condo I had currently secured was NOT going to be available in the future for more of my retreats, I requested sampling several other potential venues. One of the rentals the Real Estate gentleman toured me thru was what I entitled, "The Castle". It w-a-a-a-s like a castle: multi-floored, elegant presentation with grounds that included 2 small casitas, a pool with a swim-up bar, cages which used to house a full collection of exotic animals (I'm please all the animals are now gone - and - hopefully, free roaming) and a view to die for.

These multi-views seemed the only way to expose the more expansive caliber of this rental. I'm most happy with the sink and stained glass bathroom detail. And, yep, as you can guess, it was the most time consuming. I found the tiny-ness of the other three images to be really challenging, but, they capture the essence of the vast place.

I've been painting busily in my new Studio 8 in Ashland Art Center and several other entries to include here. So for now, this concludes the Mexico pages and we'll be returning to the San Jose trip next.

Til then, perseverance and creative juices will see me thru the dark season. And I know, there is always light waiting (yes, you can take that literally and metaphorically too).

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Long Ago ... on a Trip to the Bay Area

Once upon a time in the land of February ... I took a trip to the Bay Area. With plenty of planning to get three busy artists together, I headed off to visit my dear friends, Jean Warren and Floy Zittin.

My first stop was to be over to see Jean in Bodega Bay. Now my husband had specially programed his lil Garmin and convinced me "he" would joyfully guide me to my friend's house. "Ok," I agreed, "I'm in for an adventure". As I drive over the California state line, I'd picked up my cellphone to make a quick call and - yep - as soon as I saw the Highway Patrol pull out from the brush near Weed, I knew I was getting a ticket. I'd forgotten the new no-hands-calling law we don't have in Oregon. Argh! But, I proceed on, glaring at my ticket (turned out to be an over $125 fine).

Mid-way down valley near some farm turnoffs, the Garmin instructs me to turn off into the wild blue west near Williams. At first I hesitate, but remembering "I'm in for an adventure", I follow the lil fellows suggestion. Eventually, after zigzagging country roads, I am directed to turn into County Highway 20 with towns like Clear Lake en route. I've heard of Clear Lake, so I'm feeling more confident but, once I've passed Midtown, I look down at my lil "guiding light" and - poof - he's gone out, completely out. The kind of "out" that won't revive. Now I have no idea what route the Garmin had planned for me, what roads lead where and I had no maps of this remote country area. Blessed with kind people at the gas station where I stopped, who xeroxed maps for me and highlighted the way down the curvaceous hilly roads of Highway 29, I dropped into Calistoga and then, on to Bodega Bay. The country was lovely but, the roads so intense, that I couldn't enjoy the scenery. But I finally landed, a bit frazzled from the saga of the "Garmin gone awry".

The views at Jean's house were picturesque, encompassing the dreamy coastline and we hiked briefly around the area before a luscious dinner.

Next day Jean and I headed down to San Francisco to meet Floy at the Museum Of Modern Art (MOMA). Floy had come across the show they were having focusing on, of all things, journaling! The basis was that 1000 empty journals were left all over the world - for anyone to fill a page and then pass on. When the journal was full there was a website to contact for shipping the journal back to the project originator. This show was the culmination of this project. We lunched (of course) before the museum visit and then relished all the featured shows ... one included this exhibit of hundreds of brown poodles forming a huge circle facing inward. And the circles of brown poodles continued in smaller circles, filling in the entire circle. Some diverse creativity! But the greatest part of that day was reveling in the reunited friendships. What can 3 women artists talk about for hours . . . only 3 other women artists can guess :) You all understand :)

I'll pause here as I continue catching up that period of my journal ... down in the San Jose area. Oh - and yes ... I'm afraid I will continue without the Garmin!