Monday, September 29, 2014

Journals ~ With an Ending, Also Comes a New Start

My last entry completed my road trip to my beloved Telluride summer-before-last, and it also finished out the final pages in that journal. Sort of a sad, but exciting time to this journaler. Especially because this next journal is one I actually made myself. Yep, I've been taking on bookmaking - - with none-but-the-best bookmaker, Denise Kester!! I'd been all too long drooling at the amazing books Denise makes and finally took the leap of joining one of her all-to-rare classes. To date I've made three books and this next journal was my very first.

In planning the book, I decided to challenge my ole'
journaling habits. Before even going to take the class I talked with my wise instructor. I wanted some pages to be watercolor (140 lb.), both hot and cold press alternating with some of Denise's standard writing papers and other, long-in-my-flat-file-drawer papers. With all that together ... I headed to the two day class.

First day is deliciously messy, gooey and magnificently freeing!! We make Paste Papers for the cover and inner signatures. Slather on paint
and through a plethora of techniques, remove, create pattern, layer! Yep, that's it in a nut shell. Then, overnight these all dry.

Second day, is the actual bookmaking. You select the dried Paste Papers you want to use for where and what, trim, shape and get into position for the bookmaking. WHAT a process - boggled my lil'
mind! But here you can see in brief, my putting together the book, from scratch!

You start with the backbone of the book, begin covering with beautiful materials (that you made the day before), and lastly stitch in your book signatures with your paper in them, tenderly into place. WELLAH!! Here's my book, who came to be known as my "HeartBook". From it's imaginings, it began to take on personality and even the beads I choose were meaningful. Once
I began working in it, friends gave me different quotes, this one in particular spoke to me and became part of this books story.

So now that you've see "her" birthed ... you'll begin to see what her inner workings begin to reveal ... in the next post! I have to say, this book has stretched me, and witnessed me stretch in ways I could not have imagined ... stay tuned ...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Telluride Plein Air ~ Homeward through Silverton & Bryce Canyon

Starting homeward day, a bitter sweet air floats in the breeze today. We start on our trip home, leaving my beloved T-ride. Yet our travels in the westerly direction hold adventures too. So, off we go.

Because I'd left my favorite and best gortex coat in the classroom in Ouray ... we were leaving via Ouray. But as you can see from the sketch, going over the Red Mountain Pass is thrilling! Not only the colors of mineralized landscape, waterfalls and
mining remnants, but the views too as we head to Silverton. Touring the streets there provided smiles at the charming ole' town and the bustle of the summer months. After lunching in Durango, we start into desert landscape. Long stretches of emptiness, broken with Indian Reservations, unusual rock formations and a sand-pelting
wind. Our attempt to stop at the Four Corners ($8 per person entry fee) was discouraged by that wind, 100 degree temperatures and a very long line to just stand in the four different states at once. We overnight-ed in the eerie town of Page.

Next day we reach Bryce Canyon mid-day. Rock shapes become magical and color drenched! We locate and check into our KOA Campground 20 minutes from Bryce, where we'd reserved a tiny cabin. Charming and very, very small, the cabin also had no AC nor cross ventilation. Cody was suffering and, I have to admit, we were too in the 100 degree, sun-drenched temps. So we launch off to find a nearby (well, we got lost so it wasn't so near) reservoir for a dunk! As the sun began to set we head back to the Bryce Canyon Park for the sunset. Absolutely magnificent! ABSOLUTELY!!! Even Roland said it brought tears to his eyes - the unimaginable beauty! We are impressed!!! We dinner-ed at a restaurant where the waiter was the chef and old, found relics were all over the wall - - a taste of local color for sure!!

Next day we are up early for the magnificent Bryce Canyon sunrise (wow! again) and return to our lil' cabin. As the heat rises, we find we are so uncomfortable we make a decision to leave and seek a cooler climate. I'd researched the Highway 12, headed north and a tad east and we found it fascinating. Such diverse country - - first we travel across colorful, solid rock undulations that roll together like "silly puddy" (remember Silly Puddy?), then after lovely, green-stretching agriculture fields we begin to climb. I'm in heaven - - high country with groves of my Aspen friends and free range cattle!! Gradually we curve down into a wide valley of horses and lush fields - - the quiet town of Torrey. We find an air-conditioned hotel with this bucolic view out our back window and picturesque sandstone ridges around us. We'd "arrived" - - so much for us ever being desert rats!!

The double page spread exemplifies one of my very favorite journaling exercises: linking together two images across the center, spiral binding of the journal. And this illustration gives you a sneak preview into our last rubbing shoulders with the monumental red rock formations of Utah, Capitol Reef. Another mesmerizing spot amongst Mother Nature's gifts.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Telluride Plein Air ~ From Lake to Parade to Class

This journal spread covers a lot of territory in our Colorado Summer. First we attempt a second 4-wheel drive up Tomboy - - and WOW - - even Roland eventually opts to turn around after facing giant lopsided granite rocks in the road. I'm rather relieved and we decide to go to Alta Lakes as an alternative. The terrain is wild, scenic and Cody gets to tip-top in the cooling water (yep, there he is with his red bandana!!). The day leisures away as we meander towards the Telluride MountainVillage with plans for a pizza dinner at the acclaimed "Crazy Elk" pizzeria. We'd forgotten this was the start to Fourth of July Weekend and parking is challenging. But the pizza was worth it and our evening ends gently back in town.

The big Fourth of July Parade is THE event in Telluride.
Hether has placed chairs in good spots along the main street and get all nested in as the crowds gather. First the town is buzzed by airplanes and hang gliders over main street!! The audience is nearly a fascinating as the parade: children in outrageous outfits, outlandish parade floats as well as every club in T-ride represented, including the Bearnaise Mountain Dog Club. T'was hilariously entertaining!! Then the entire town sludges-en-mass down to the Town Park for the Bar-B-Q. After eating til
ready to bust and chattering with ole' friends, I wanted to stay for the kids activities. The "Balloon Toss" was so fun but the one I really wanted to see was the "Kids Fish Catch" where kids hand catch the live fish and then release them. But t'was way later in the afternoon so I wandered back home. My stomach couldn't believe my bubbly hostess had organized a pot luck for evening and I was certain I'd pop (but didn't, in case you were worried). A day full of fond memories and being so alive in such a magnificent place!

I'd arranged to teach a Plein Air Class in Ouray at the Weehawken Creative Arts Center. We sail off early morn from T-ride to get to Ouray in time to set up. The discreet building sits along the Uncompahgre River, before you get into town. A lovey, spacious room is where my students and I collect and I take them over some plein air basics and examples. Then we move outside for a quick demo. I find the view looking into town tarnished with smoke (from New Mexico fires), and the river a milky grey from some kind of run-off. But finally, I find a charming little mining shed perched on the side of the ridge gazing northward. Ah-ha - - the subject for my demo (and here's the finished piece upon which I worked after arriving back home in Oregon). Then students set up and begin painting their chosen subjects and I pop around helping, making suggestions. The casual critique is held inside and it's impressive what everyone's accomplished. I feel like I'd like to return to teach another class should the situation present itself.
I especially love this grouping of images on my journal page. Well, I'm sure it's the sweet memories but also, I was pleased how combining several photos of the Fourth of July Parade came out. I got to savor the parts of the raucous gathering that I especially loved! Oh ... do I LOVE my journal!!!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Telluride Plein Air ~ Quick Draw & ArtWalk

Well, I have been missing. Apologies ... I'm committing to post at least twice weekly 'til current. So here goes ... back to the Telluride Road Trip and a week's drinking in the Plein Air Event there (Note this was July 2, 2013!)!
THIS was one of my favorite days of our trip! After a quiet morn, Roland and I plan to head into town to meet Hether and hubby to watch the big "Quick Draw" Event. This is where artists have their surface (be it watercolor paper, sandpapered surface or canvas) stamped with a particular recognizable mark and then, they have a specific allotted time to go out on site using that specific substrate, paint the painting, and come back with the piece all framed, ready for sale. This event was given ninety (yes, 90) minutes.

The "Quick Draw" artists were scattered everywhere through out town. Some in the middle turning lane of the main road, some in front of the courthouse, some in alleys and others off on-site. I observed they all worked simple and small. The woman I depicted here in my journal was my favorite. And what I noticed was that her canvas was cradled right inside the back of the black frame she would be using. All she had to do was flip the painting and set it in place for the presentation! As the end of the 90 minute time period came to an end artists began gathering, placing their finished pieces on easels for the jurying and award ceremony. Some of the pieces were just amazing - - most were of the impressionist style, and some even sold right there on the spot. But whew ~
what a workout for the artists!!

An aside on participating in plein air events: from one of the well versed plein air painters in Telluride. The perspective that the event in Tellluride was NOT planned with artists on the decision making committee was evident. And not a good thing. Seems that as a participating artist in the event you would spend a lot of your "off" time (when you are not out painting on site) finishing up paintings, framing and just plain recovering from the outdoor exposure. But what the Telluride
event planners were doing was adding more and more evening fundraiser events that artists had to attend - taking away that valuable "down" time artists needed. Good to know for us considering doing a plein air event!!

Evening time continued with the art theme - with Telluride's monthly Artwalk. One show I particularly wanted to see was at the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art. They were showing pieces from Burnie Fuchs, a famous illustrator ~ and I wasn't disappointed. FASCINATING mixed media - - even his pencil sketches had such vitality. So inspiring! We wandered the full street hitting the Oh-be-joyful Gallery (who's owner does huge plein air gorgeous pieces) and another watercolor artist, David Brankley, who does terrific work, were stand-out for me. So you see, I had to save those images and contacts here.

The final image on this open page journal spread is of course, dinner. We meandered the street, mainly looking for light food without a mile long line (I'm so spoiled from our rural restaurants here in Southern Oregon - well, maybe not Ashland). And we needed a place where we could keep Cody nearby. The Telluride Bistro furnished all of that. A yummy salad, quick friendly service and an open wrought-iron fence where Cody could get scratches from us (and maybe some treats too). An end to a full and fulfilling day!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Telluride Plein Air ~ A Birthday and a Tomboy Road Trip

This June 30, 2013 on our Telluride trip was mostly a delight. Up early with the bug to go do some of my very own plein air painting. T'wasn't all from enthusiasm . . . I seemed to be experiencing some lack of flow. Yep, happens to us all apparently. I just was feeling kinda timid, uncertain and fearful about painting - - and YIKES - - I may be teaching a class in just a few days (I will hear in the next few days if my Ouray Plein Air Class fills enough to be a "go".)! So I launch off with my watercolor paper and a mission! The day carries some threat of rain showers so I find a view of the east side hills from the covered
bleacher seats in the Town Park and get to work. My friends, Hether and Chuck (PS - it's Chuck's birthday today) find me and come chatter a bit, letting me know where they will be in town. I get a good start on my small plein air piece and then, I later get it finished. Ok, I'm feelin' a bit more confident and able to paint again [[[sigh]]]!!

Our big plans tonight for Chuck's birthday are to
take them to a special restaurant that Roland has researched, "221 South Oak". We all get dressed and drive over (because Cody, our golden retriever, is more comfortable being in the car than in the basement room) and get a nice table inside. The food was good and we skipped dessert because Hether has made Chuck's favorite homemade Tiramasu and it's waiting at home! T'was rather cute ... once we'd all savored the "delish" dessert, Chuck took straight to the pan. I captured a shot of him and he had to go into my journal, with the restaurant business card angled in the corner. Doesn't he look like a happy guy?!?!?

Next day must have had adventure in the air and Roland surely pursued it. There are several 4-wheel drives leading up into the mountains around Telluride and the first one we take at the south end of town, near the defunct mine, is Tomboy Road leading to Bridal Veil Falls. Now, granted, we have a '03 Subaru and it is a 4-wheel, but it sure creeped me out taking it up those lumpy, rock plagued, angled dirt roads. I'm rather embarrassed to see how un-rugged I am now -  oh well. But we make
it a good way up the road and then, take to our feet for some exercise up the remaining turns to see the falls. We'd tried to stop earlier on the road right
under the mist of the falls but there was a TV team shooting a commercial for Toyota - only in Telluride! From different vistas we could see the falls and then, turn and see all the way back down into town. Just magical stuff - - here in my journal is my aim at capturing both views (on the left, can you see the teeny waterfalls? and on the right, can you make out the tiny Telluride city buildings?). And, on the right of the journal page is this magnificent wild flower I saw as we drove up the twists and turns of the dusty road. Isn't Mother Nature just amazing?

But Roland isn't done - - now he wants to attempt taking the even MORE rugged Imogene Pass Road up the east side of Telluride. Grief!! Ok, I'm trying here to loosen up and feel more of my ole' "Mountain Mommy Legs" and I just close my mouth. This primitive road has giant boulders and then, large, uneven drop offs. And . . . finally, even Roland admits timidity and we search for a place to turn around and head back down. A fresh bagel and hot, fresh brewed cup of coffee at "Baked-in-Tellluride's Bakery" was our consolation. I personally didn't mind . . . and we leisured the evening away, just drinking in the radical beauty of Telluride.