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!