Sunday, April 24, 2011

May Watercolor Class: "Watercolor Exploration for Newbies"

Just to take a break from "our return from Mexico" via my journal ... back here in beautiful, spring blossoming Oregon, I'm warming up for a season of outdoor painting and journaling.

Having just recently taught a "Watercolor Journaling Basics" in March, I'm answering the call to have a continuing class.

During this 3-session class we will explore basic watercolor techniques, revisiting value/volume, color theory (more info on "color temperature") and improving illustrative skills (with some attention to creating surface textures). Our agenda looks like this:

All Wednesdays, 5-8pm, May 11th, May 18th and May 25th.

The Ashland Art Center's Main Classroom, 357 E. Main Street, Ashland, Oregon. The second class hopefully, will offer up a 'plein air' experience weather permitting.


Registrations & Materials:
To register, contact me in Studio 13, upstairs at the Ashland Art Center (there is a registration sheet right as you pass my studio), email me at: or give me a phone call at: 541-944-2196. The "Materials List" will be provided upon Registration.

Come on you all, let's get out our paintbrushes, ready for summer, vacations and memory sketching!

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Beginning of our Trek Home

Although the preceding days felt like a drum roll . . . the early morn leaving Lake Chapala felt sadly quiet. We were pulling out just as the daylight broke so as not to run into anything maneuvering out of our snug neighborhood. Our hostess was up at dawn, directing us out of the gate and our neighbor followed us up to where we stopped to attach the RV to the to-be-towed vehicle. Foggy grey waves bid us g'byes.

Once again we were to take that short cut towards west Guadalajara. The sun was just coming up over the lake when we reached the end of the paved highway and Roland was pointed down the steep, rocky dirt road leading to the northbound highway. I just couldn't take the angle, the fear and the thrashing around I knew was going to go on in the RV taking that dive. Me? and Cody? we got out and walked ahead. I caught this shot of the nearly vertical RV ~ yikes!! Once the RV landed at the bottom of the hill, I re-boarded and we were on our way.

We'd planned for our first nights stay in Mazatlan this time. It was an RV park right on the ocean, south of Mazatlan. We'd gotten exact and clear directions from the owner, a couple of lefts, a right and then almost nine miles along the same road. Sounds easy enough? Yep, save the fact that that nine miles was a washboard dirt road. I was still vibrating when we finally arrived at "Tres Amigos" RV Park. Sunshine, warm neighbors and the ocean sand greeted us. Whew!

Even the challenge we had with the braking system on the towed vehicle, our PT Cruiser, did not keep us from enjoying a spare day on the beach. Ro, mechanically inclined as he is, mended the problem and we took off very early that next morn. We'd decided I would drive the PT and Ro would drive the RV, hoping to cut down on vibration, bumps and dust. It did all those things and, it provided me the opportunity to get some dreamy photos and visions of the morning sun filtered thru the palm-treed fog. Lovely.

I enjoyed trying to merge these two "Tres Amigos" images. Bumping them into one another where their compliments, connected yet separated them. I was most pleased with the mornin' fog image.

That evening we made it all the way to inland Los Mochis. We "camped" in the Sam's parking lot, nothing fascinating to paint. Once up and headed out in the morning, we found the inland valleys here in Mexico the be much like the inland valleys in California and Oregon . . . slathered with mornin' fog. But it softened the harshness of the city and soon we were again on the Highway 15D, headed north and homeward.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Final Mexico Sidetrip ~ Mazamitla

Our time down in Mexico was drawing to an end . . . and we had one more fun side trip planned. We'd be traveling west to the end of Lake Chapala, then south back around the other end of the lake and up into the mountainous area. Our destination was Mazamitla, a settlement dominated by German immigrants. We'd heard a variety of responses to the city and were anxious for our own experience.

When we turned into the city of Mazamitla, much to my surprise - I was thrilled!! Not only was I actually seeing lovely evergreen trees, more green grass lawns but also, wood!!! I saw wood banisters, wooden doors, wood door and window trim. Even wood signage. I'd not realized how very much I'd been missing the presence of wood in the Mexico cities we'd been visiting. Look, right in the middle of the town square was a wooden gazebo!!! This "mountain girl" was feeling more at ease. The streets were wider with elevated, substantial rock walkways with a more flatten, fitted stone pattern ~ much easier to walk on. Just off the town square was a pedestrian walk walk, void of cars and sprinkled with bakeries, paper shops and several nurseries. We entered one, charmed by the spotlight of sun flooding the colorful potted flowers in it's enclosed patio. Up another path in that patio was another shop, fine art prints, books and paper goods. You know I was headed there! I purchased two handmade unusual books for Christmas gifts (next year in 2011) and relished seeing local fine artwork!!

Farther up the mountainside we discovered a local restaurant, also tucked in a sunlight patio hidden through an open-doored, long dark hallway. At the nearby bar, where I smiled at this "cowboy boot" planter, we watched them create our fresh "Limade" squeezing many fresh limes into a giant Martguerita-like glasses. Ahhhhh, how refreshing - - and our friendly server had lived in the United States and visited much of it. We limped along some conversation with all of our "minimal" language skills ~ plenty of laughter. Lunch was yummy and the young man's elder Uncle came out to help us with our Spanish. All in all a fun, relaxed day surrounded by wood.

Our drive home landed us back in the Lake Chapala area early evening. We'd noticed numerous new signs mentioning "Rosca del Reyes" and we stopped at one such sign, outside a bakery to ask. Roland came out with what we learned was a special cake, baked for this particular day. Epiphany, a day which celebrates the arrival of the Three Wise Men to the manger, by drawing together families enjoying this fruited cake with a chocolate layer. The fun addition is that there, buried somewhere within the cake, is a Baby Jesus. And the person who gets that piece, is required to have a February 2nd party with tamales and hot chocolate.

You can guess ~ yes, I got the Baby!! Here he is peeking out of the cake upside down, and of course, I had to keep him in my journal. I admit I had to not only cut off the back of his head and sand off his "bottom" to get him to lay flat in my journal for gluing. But he seems pretty happy and comfy here in his new home. I just adore how his sweet presence now pops into my every journal page ~ clear to the end of my journal!

What a delightful, fun-filled day this final side trip furnished us . . . now the prospect of heading home will flood our time and energies.