Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Outside of Sedona - and Heading Home

Outside of Sedona
Oil on canvas, 10x10

Yes, I am headed home. Home! 

While part of me is sad that this trip is over, more of me is just missing home so deeply, I can taste it. Missing my husband, missing our dogs, missing my friends, missing my house and my studio and my beautiful little town. 

But I have had adventures, and wonderful pleasures, and I have seen amazing things and met wonderful, fascinating people. It has been the trip of a lifetime. 

This is one of the paintings I haven't posted yet - and there are a few more, which I will post once I reach Wachapreague. These are long, long driving days, with iffy internet connections at night... But lI'll get all the remaining paintings up on our Facebook page, on the blog, and on the California Calling page on the Jacobson Arts website. 

Meantime, I loved going through Colorado, which I haven't seen since I skied there as a kid. It was thrilling to see antelope, and huge, craggy snow-covered mountains, and to drive along at 7,000 feet, close, close, close to the clouds. 

It was not quite as wonderful to drive during a gale (60-mph gusts!) through Kansas, watching 18-wheelers sway and tip so dramatically, I got scared and got off the road early. 

But today, the wind was gone, and Kansas, with its rolling hills (yes, hills!) and huge, open spaces invited my mind to wander, and think, and imagine and dream. I loved Missouri, with beautiful farms and lots of good-looking cows. And Illinois, I saw in the evening dusk, warmed and sweetened by a soft, gentle sunset. 
Halfway through Missouri today, the land began to look like the East. Along the highway, deciduous trees grew, their wintry branches just starting to turn red at the tips. Houses were made of wood, with barns and horses and plowed fields. Lawns were grass, not gravel and cactus. It is the landscape I grew up with, the landscape I know. I've been away from it for two months, and it looks different and somehow new again. 

Winter caught up to me in Colorado, with a blizzarding snowstorm that blew in on an amazing wind. The gale lasted long after the snow stopped falling - if you can call a horizontal path "falling." 

Can you imagine going to school out here? I think I was in Pecos Valley, NM. 

Here's me with hair as red as when I was a kid.

A farm in New Mexico, demanding to be painted. 

And yes, more dinos! These are outside of Santa Fe. 

Gorgeous sunrise in Colorado.

And crossing into Colorado. 

I am somehow not surprised that there are no services in Bovina. Bet there are lots of cows, though. 

Colorado mountains in the bright morning light. 

Wouldn't you take your dog here to be groomed? I know I would! 

I had a pretty good show in Albuquerque. The best part was meeting Juanita and Bill Williams, who had the booth across the aisle from me. We became fast friends, and I feel lucky to have met them.

Dog of the Day
This stuffed dog was near a booth at the Rio Grande show in Albuquerque, and it looked so real, it startled me nearly every time I saw it. 

Rio Grande, Near Taos

Rio Grande Near Taos
Oil on canvas, 10x10

I've spent the past couple days in and around Santa Fe and Taos, and I have seen beautiful, amazing things. 

The land is lovely here, with colors that are bright and subtle, large and small, strong and gentle all at the same time. Maybe it's the time of year, or maybe it's how it is all the time in New Mexico. 

I found myself recognizing parts of the area - not the houses or the roads or the businesses, but the colors and the trees and the fields. On my first trip to Arizona - three years ago? Four? - I came through this area, but from the north. 

I had pulled over to contemplate painting a pretty field with brush just turning red at the tips. Trees outlined the sides of the field, and a giant rock formation warmed its back. And as I looked, it all came back to me. I had been here, indeed - and what I was recalling was years ago.

Turns out I was in Abiquiu, NM, where Georgie O'Keeffe lived and worked. It is a tiny, quiet place, with a post office, a few galleries and the Abiquiu Inn, which offers tours of O'Keeffe's home and studio. I didn't take the tour, but I did imagine O'Keeffe living, looking and painting in the area. 

In the afternoon, I headed up toward Taos. It is a nice little town, with some traffic problems even in early March, and not many places to get a cup of coffee. I thought about going to see the ski area, but again, I didn't. I wanted to paint, not tour! 

My favorite part of the day was seeing the rivers and the rocks, and the beautiful colors of the brush and the trees and the land itself. 

Today, Thursday, I set up for the Rio Grande Arts and Crafts show, which runs from Friday through Sunday. Then on Monday, I head home. I don't expect to paint on the way home, though if I see something that demands it, I will! 

Thank you, each and every last one of you, for helping to make this trip possible. 

ps., this sounds like the final newsletter but it's not! 


A gorgeous New Mexico sunset

I love this lone tree, on the plain near Taos, and I plan to paint it soon! 

The colors of the brush along the rivers in this area of New Mexico made me think of a sunset, right there on the ground. This, and the two photos that follow, are from Abiquiu, where Georgia O'Keeffe lived and painted. 

And what's a day without dinos? I found these in Holbrook, AZ, on my way to New Mexico. 

This guy was walking along with his human, and was very interested in me. I think he would have been friendly, but his challenging look made me keep my distance.

Near Salt River Canyon

 Near Salt River Canyon
Oil on canvas, 10x10

I left Tubac on Monday morning, a day later than I'd hoped. The delay came for an unusual reason. It rained! 

Dad and Paula say that a full day of rain is a very strange occurrence in Tubac - and it did rain, steadily and heavily - for the entire day. Mostly, the rain soaked into the ground; the river that runs through town also filled up a little. 

So I left on Monday, and drove north, spending most of the day on Route 77, and all of the day driving uphill. Up and up and up and up. The big van did great, but it was a slow day. 

I stopped to paint just outside of the Salt River Canyon - and while I love the painting I did, I sort of wish I'd waited for the canyons and deep, deep gorges. But I did spend a lot of time painting in the Grand Canyon. So I'll address Salt River when I get home. 


That one day of rain made wildflowers bloom all around Tubac and Green Valley. 
And the rain brought an incredible clarity to the sky, as well. 


Above is the Salt River Canyon, one of many photos I took and
 plan to paint over the course of the summer. 
The air was clear and the clouds dramatic over the high plains near Show Low, AZ, 

Here's me with my scary sunglasses... 

And here's a fun sculpture that I enjoyed seeing in downtown Tubac. 

Dog of the Day

Here's Barkley again! He got loose and wandered over to see me as I was packing the van. He's been shaved for the summer, and was happy and wagging and full of love. 

Tusayan Field

Tusayan Field
Oil on canvas, 6x12

After painting the amazing scenes of the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley, it was reassuring and comfortable and fun to paint a small field at the side of the road in Tusayan, Arizona. 

As you all know by now, I am a sucker for the pale yellow grass that grows around here at certain elevations. I captured the pale color of the grass in this painting, but can't quite make that pale nearly white yellow come through on the computer. But it's close. 

This scene was just one of the lovely, quiet, small scenes that I love. The field that someone drives through to get home. The piece of land that no one notices, but which informs and enriches their day and their environment. 

Sometimes I make these paintings large, but there's something in my heart that speaks to the small painting, that you can put on a small wall between two doors, in the sunny corner of a small bedroom, in the space below the cupboards. These are paintings that become part of the environment of your home, in the way that the landscapes are part of the environment of your life. 


Grand Canyon Morning, 20x20
I did paint the Grand Canyon again, on a crisp and very cold morning. It was again daunting and challenging - and I loved it! My painting in the landscape is below. 

I saw this twisted tree on the road from the Grand Canyon to the mountains. Its bark is really fascinating. 

Just outside of the Grand Canyon, and in many spots on the road from the canyon to Monument Valley, there are these sort of open air shacks where Native Americans sell stuff. Many of these look as though they've been abandoned for years, but this one, just outside the Grand Canyon, was open and busy.

My friend Heather, visiting California this past week, needs some help! It's January - but there's no snow! How can it be January? Heather and her husband Joe are now back in Maine, where there's plenty of snow.
Randy Clough, a Navajo I met in Monument Valley, really wants a dog. But he says his grandmother told him Navajos can't pay for dogs. So he is waiting for the right dog to show up. I suggested he go to Best Friends in Utah and barter some money for a dog.

Dog of the Day
Here's Heather's husband Joe, in sunny California with a beautiful Dog of the Day!
The dog's owner thought the dog and Joe resembled each other...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Snowy Peaks

Snowy Peaks
Oil on canvas, 10x10 

On Saturday, I painted at 8,000 feet! I could feel it, too. I wasn't dizzy (well, no dizzier than usual), but it took effort to get a full, deep breath. 

And it felt like I was up high. The trees were different - pines and birches. The sun burned me quickly through the thin air. The wind was very cold, though the day was warm. 

I was in the San Francisco Peaks, and had arrived there after leaving the Grand Canyon early that morning. After I did this painting, I drove up higher, to the base of the Arizona Snowbowl, at about 9,000 feet. Though there was no real snow to speak of, they'd made snow and there were lots of people skiing.

Seeing the place transported me. When I was younger, I skied a lot. Our family skied, and my dad and I, in particular, skied together. We were both good skiers but didn't like to go too fast, so we were a good pair. I thought for a moment about calling Dad and Paula and seeing if they wanted to come for one more run together, but I backed out. The thought of it was probably better than the skiing would have been. 

Here's my painting in the landscape.

See? I really WAS up that high!

 This tiny church, Chapel of the Holy Dove, is on the road in Kendrick Park. Click here to see photos of the inside - and a wedding! 


 I fell in love with the town of Kendrick Park, high up in the San Francisco mountains. I couldn't find a spot to pull off the road safely to paint, but I took lots of photos, and am so looking forward to doing some paintings of this little mountain town. 
A pretty sight on the way. 

Dog of the Day

This guy was up for adoption at the Tubac Arts Festival. People from the local Humane Society walked adoptable dogs around the festival, and some of them found new homes. This guy was a real cutie. Imagine him with a wash, a little brushing, a little love, and a trim between the eyes. He'll make some human very, very happy. And I bet it will go the other way, too.