Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Telluride Plein Air ~ Our Take Off!

Probably a year in the planning, this fun road trip percolated up from my last Fall's Colorado Reunion and a friends' suggestion. My dear friend,  Hether, with whom I'd lived back when I lived in Telluride, was with whom I spent a good part of my time when back last September, when I attended the Telluride Reunion. T'wasn't a high school nor college reunion, just a reunion of all who lived there in the 70's. A riot, but that's another story already told (see blog post May 24-July 20, 2013). But my friend, who has always been such a supporter of my art career, chimed in that I should come back and consider applying to the Telluride Plein Air Event that happens annually July 4th. Well, it didn't take much to get me back to Telluride, but this time, I thought I'd best bring the family along to share the event and travels.

A week before we are ready to leave our kind neighbor, Mary, (yes, the one who grows the amazing Dollar Dahlias I've painted before!) brings over a Victorian-feeling flower bouquet. I didn't know what the flowers were 'til I asked . . . but these lil' beauties, white bells with tips dipped in a pale lavender . . . lasted forever. I had to save one, pressing it and installing it into a teeny lil' page. Sweet and succinct ... just like the "Canterbury Bell" blossom it was.

We're off, launching our road trip to Telluride, Colorado, leaving Jacksonville, Oregon on June 26th. I was up and ready by 8am (a feat for me) and we drove off into the grey misty morn. Once we passed through Klamath Falls heading eastward, we were in new territory which we'd never traveled before. Through one of my new favorite valleys. Wide rolling agriculture and horses mixed with some sunshine drew me to sketch these cozy barns of the Poe Valley. Then came rolling dessert and an incredible rock incline that took us right to the foot of a rock slide. We had to wait a bit while they cleared the large rocks from highway, but continued past Indian Reservations and finally south on Highway 95 (that's where I did this quick "while-driving" sketch along the bottom of the journal page) towards Wendover. This dreary, flat country grew in drama when we could see billows of black smoke just ahead where - YES - a car on the side of the road was on fire!! I mean shooting flames and thick smoke and all! Eventually we hurried onto the Interstate 80, escaping the trills to land in quiet Elko, Nevada. We discovered two newsy items while in beautiful, downtown Elko: 1) that there is a large
Basque community there with an annual July Festival and 2) that the fabric rooftop carry all (yes, with clothes, sleeping bags etc.) had torn open at the seam exposing everything. That second fact sent us in search of any way to stitch, glue, hammer, clip or snap this gaping hole for the rest of the trip. Finally we invested in Gorilla Tape (it IS phenomenal, btw) and it held for the rest of the drive - both ways!!

Up the following morn for the last stop of our trip to Telluride: Moab! We get to look around and drink in the landscape as it morphs into red rock valleys and rivers and green trees. Once we stop to feed Cody (our Golden Retriever who, of course, comes with us) in a curious lil' town named "Helper". And had we not stopped, we'd never have seen the crazy cliffs above this wide spot in the road. Later, we stop where I can grab a shot of the Colorado River and it so captures the landscape, it went into my journal (besides, I loved the shadow cast across the bridge). And as the sun sets we curl around canyons that open up to a charming village, tucked among the giant red cliffs.

We arrive at our very comfy River Canyon Lodge in Moad. Air Conditioning and spaciousness greet us - hurrah! We have time for a stroll up main street as the town starts to sparkle with night lights and we dine, then sleep. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh . . . anticipating our Telluride arrival . . . tomorrow!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tandem Birthdays and Gurgling Creeks

These journal pages bring a smile to face ... nice how two pages in your journal looking back at you can do that. And that's one of the reasons I relish my journaling practice ... not only does it stir immediate feelings, smells, moods, tastes, but too, it quizzes my memory. I might be better than some of those brain games or memory training CDs, who knows. I also see that moments charged with emotion are easier to remember, so that my pages mostly reflect times I want to remember. And thus, these volumes I'm creating tend to reinforce the positive and the creation of more positive. And you know what? I like that! Ok, back to these journal entries.

Early June my hubby and I get to celebrate a birthday each. His, his belly-button birthday and I, my sobriety birth date. This birthday I set aside time to create a gift for Roland and his card. A lil' burro (his favorite animal) started as a demo but grew into a sweet shadow box presentation with a wild grass installed in the foreground. We traveled to Ashland for his birthday dinner at one of our favorite places, Thai Pepper, just off the Plaza. From a shot I grabbed on the patio of the restaurant, I blended his portrait, meal and the business card to capture the evening. The snippet to save from my celebration were words, "You're the kind of person who makes the world a better, brighter place ..." and stars from the card with which Roland presented me. I punched some additional stars with my own "star" paper punch, thank you very much! Can you ever have too many stars?

The other lil' item squeezed in came from a silly cooking session. We were attempting to get cumin to come out of this spice jar - to no avail. Upon closer examination, we learned there was a seal over the cover with holes. Laughing, we peeled it off and were charmed to see a cute logo of a boy in red with the addition of the cumin that had stuck to the under side of the seal. Plunk - right into my journal!

The finishing sketch on the far right was from a demonstration for a class focusing on "Creeks and Streams". You can find evidence of the white and turquoise wax crayon I'd initially used to save or accent areas as well as the reflections, rocks, twigs and cascades to replicate our Lithia Park Creek. The class and seemingly, the sketch were a success. And more smiles.

So . . . the moral of the story . . . "For more smiles, paint and journal more!"

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Early Spring Campin' and Red Lily Calm

Ok, we've traveled through the full spectrum of camping. We moved out of the tent camping, starting with pop-up campers when we first moved to Oregon, even took a leap into the RV world towing a vehicle (you remember my Mexico tales, right?) ... with all of those now memories ... we've gone full circle again. We ordered a big 10 x 14 size (plenty of room to bed and mornin' yoga) and tested it out on the lawn at home. Then, off to truly test it out on during our May tent camping trip at La Pine, Oregon, up near Bend.

These journal pages capture some of the sweetest moments from that trip. We had some sunny and some rainy weather and I started the tent image on site, adding the luxurious plump clouds from  memory. We were joined by a dear friend who brought along his lil' camper and puppy and toured us along the pristine Metolious River (that actually has it's beginnings from a crystal clear spring that just flows out of the earth!). On our tour we ventured over to a fish hatchery (where we watched a BIG crow lunch on a sizable fish right out of the hatchery's pool) but the vision that took my breath away was the clear, brilliant colors in the churning waters of the river before the bridge.

Yep, while the boys played at the hatchery, I began my painting. I knew I'd usurp all my time getting the bridge drawn right (all that architectural stuff) so once I got the drawing down, I ignored the bridge. And went to capturing the magnificent water. T'was a challenge with the continued movement but I took many photos and feel pretty happy with the color and feel of the moment! I finished the bridge from the photo, by the way, and got to savor the time "in the water".

Those of you who own dogs ... well, you know what the scene with our friend, Roger, here is about. Perhaps you can't see the treat in hand, but you know the beggin' stance our Cody has so mastered! Had to save this into my journal!

Once home to the Rogue Valley we'd promised to spend the upcoming Mother's Day with a friend who'd lost her mom the previous year. The fresh and elegant scene along the Applegate River provided by the Red Lily Winery soothed our spirits with music. We munched on our casual picnic spread while I catch shots of the peopled, red canopied tables. Lovely afternoon.

Oh and PS ... the tent worked great, no leaks, ample room ... but we won't talk about clean up and packing of the wet and dirty behemoth ... ok?