Monday, November 4, 2013

Telluride Plein Air ~ En Route and Arrival

We leave Moab, Utah early for the last leg of our road trip to Telluride, Colorado. The road repair avails us more time to drink in and photo the changing terrain. As we near Colorado, the landscape becomes more arid and we hit pockets of small communities as we climb onto mesas. Once on top the highest mesas, then we weave down into lush green meadows and creek curl curves.

One of the most exciting homes I saw (but wasn't quick enough to photo) was a house carved deep into the undercutting of a red rock ridge so that all I saw was the door to suggest lodging. I imagined the cool, curved walls of the cozy nest behind the wooden door. Creativity comes in so many fascinating forms.

There's effervescence stirring once we get to Norwood . . . I know we are close ... I can see the San Juan Range just beyond this mesa's edge (can you see them in my sketch?). I know several people who choose to live here in this quiet, non-pretentious town, rather than bustling Telluride. And as we stop at the grocery store for a munchie, I experience the warmth and simple-ness of this sweet lifestyle. And that part of me that loves country living aches . . .but I know, there are bigger parts of me that need fed in other ways. Isn't it educational to watch the human personality? realize all these different parts of one's self and try to feed the important ones? Anyway, this sketch was a compilation of images from the Norwood mesa.

Following two motorcyclists into Tellluride, we drink in the liveliness of main street. We stop at the Steaming
Bean for their delicious Chai Tea (remember, last year I swore it was good I only discovered their Chai the day I was leaving?) aiming to slow down, settle in.

Once we find, greet, get settled into my friend's cheery nest and have a quick bite, we decide to take advantage of the free Wednesday Concert up at Mountain Village (up on the ski mountain). It's our Cody's first ride on a gondola, and he fares well except for feeling a bit cramped for space with some playful children sharing the cab. We also discover he's not a fan of those open woven surface stair steps (great for getting
snow off your boots - but not too fun for multi-padded puppy feet). So we detour around on the dirt at the base of the gondola.

A large crowd was already settled onto the grass before the stage and we wiggled in. Ro sampled his first high altitude alcoholic drink (and was silly for the reminder of the evening) and I did a slow and meandering contour drawing of the crowd and clock tower. Often the contour drawing isn't what you'd planned (like this one) but it's offers up a fun way to later take snippets from photos and drop in some personality between the lines of the drawing. I actually love how this ended up looking - and it still has some of the moment's spontaneity!

Up for our first full day in Telluride, we breakfast and head out on foot errands. Roland has a medical situation he needs to check out, so we include the local clinic in our agenda. While sitting outside in the warm mountain air, I start a sketch of what looks like a blossoming onion. I barely get the shape down and an elder gentleman sits across from me - - and soon we are wrapped in conversation. Seems he lived here in Telluride back when the roads, like Society Turn, were just being carved into the mountains. He told me hair-raising tales of some of that work, and how his family had ranched here. Eventually, he and his wife split their year between Texas for the winter, then back to Telluride for the summer. He seemed a content, gentle mountain man. I love the mix of magic that can color one's life on a road trip. And it's just begun!

Back to our cozy room. Roland takes a nap and I get my lil' studio space all set up. I'm glad I've brought my very own favorite lamp and devise space for pens, brushes etc. Ok ... I can stay here now!!