Thursday, March 29, 2007

House hunting and hotels

Matthias and I are currently in the Los Angeles area. We arrived Tuesday. We are looking for our new home. It is a strange thing, trying to imagine yourself living in a totally new environment. I find myself asking a lot of questions: "will we be happy here? Will the dog be happy here? Where will I walk the dog? Where will I hang out? Will I be able to connect with anyone here?" It is a rather intimidating decision. I know that we will find a place, eventually. We are in some ways at an advantage, since Matthias doesn't drive back and forth to the airport every day. He only drives back and forth once or twice a month. Therefore, we can live within a 2 1/2 to 3 hour radius of the airport. That means we have a lot more ground to cover than usual.

We drove to Palm Springs when we first arrived on Tuesday. Matthias rented a Toyota Prius, because we are thinking we might sell our truck and buy one. It is a pretty cool car, and easy to drive. It has been getting about 46 miles to the gallon. Impressive! The reason we went to Palm Springs is that might be the most AFFORDABLE area right now. There are quite a few things I really love about the Palm Springs area. It does get extremely hot there. This time of year, however, it is gorgeous. The light reminds me of Hawaii, and guess what - we got a hotel room in this wonderful hotel called Caliente Tropics. It is all decorated Hawaiian style, and I have to say, it was one of the cutest, most original hotel rooms I've seen in a long time. I've got photos of the room, and it was simple, but clean. The thing that really got me was that painting over the bed. What a nice painting - and this is HOTEL ART!!!!! Whoa!!! I could see the painting while I sat in bed in a mirror that hung across from it. I enjoyed it immensely. Of course you must realize that part of my love of this hotel is due to my partiality to anything Hawaiian. But STILL. It was really fun!

I found the contrast of desert and palm trees really interesting, and perhaps a bit jarring! The thing is, there were some pretty nice houses that we could actually afford, and that is comforting. I wasn't sure if that would happen, since California is notoriously expensive. We have already looked at a bunch of different areas, including La Quinta and Idyllwild. Idyllwild is up in the mountains, reminds me of Evergreen, and it was COLD. I have to admit, I don't think I want to be in the cold anymore. I mean, we've DONE the mountain thing already. The dog would love it there, but he can't be the only reason we buy into a certain area. The rest of us have to like it, too. It had just snowed the day before we got to Idyllwild, and you can still see a bit of it under the awning of the cafe where we ate lunch.

We are now in a Hotel 6 near the airport (LAX) because Matthias is leaving on a 3 day trip to Anchorage at 2 am. I will be driving him to the airport, and then coming back for a few more hours of shut eye. I am planning on checking out the Oxnard, Hueneme Beach area while he is on his trip. He will be back on Sunday, and then we will continue our exploring after that. We head back to Colorado on Tuesday.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


I have just returned home, after driving to the Front Range yesterday. I had to drop off the accepted entry to the Lincoln Center for the NCAA juried show. (see blog entry from March 2nd) The drop off was actually today, from 9 am to noon, but I knew I wasn't going to make that, so my one and only friend in Fort Collins, Kirk Johanson, agreed to help me out. I brought the drawing to him yesterday, and he took the piece to the Lincoln center for me today. I haven't seen Kirk in probably 20 years or more. My family and Kirk's family were friends when we were growing up in Rapid City, SD. Kirk and I used to spend a lot of time together, hiking and reading books. Fun to see him after all this time. He is married to a beautiful blonde wife, with three beautiful blonde children. He is now our mortgage broker. Thanks, Kirk!!

After Pono and I went to Fort Collins, we drove to my parents house in Highlands Ranch (a suburb of Denver, for those of you who don't know). We spent the night with the parental unit. This morning, I woke up before light (thanks to the dog/alarm clock) and took Pono for a walk in a misty rain. There was no one out, save cottontails and tons of earthworms. Those earthworms were stretched out on the sidewalk, and I spent the majority of the walk trying not to step on them. Pono, however, had no such concerns. He stepped on quite a few. After breakfast, a la Dad, we got ready and drove to the airport to pick up My LONG LOST husband!!! Matthias has some time off from his training with Cathay Pacific, so he is HOME!!! We are reunited, and let me tell you, it feels GREAT! It's been one month since I have seen him.

I have to tell you about a dream I had last night. I dreamed that the artist who won "best of show" in the aforementioned juried show had cut carrots and celery into sticks. It was an installation that looked like a section in a grocery store, with refrigerated shelves lined with these sticks of celery and carrots. That was the art that won best of show. I was so ANGRY!!! I kept saying, "how can they win best of show for cutting up vegetables! That doesn't take talent!" Pretty funny. Dreams are extremely strange.

Tomorrow, it looks like I might get to do some more circus training, and then either Monday or Tuesday, Matthias and I are off to the airport once again, to fly to LA, and look for our new house. I hope we find something! Wish us luck.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I ran off and joined the circus!

Yesterday, I woke to pink clouds over the mountains, so I knew it would be a magical day. What I didn't know is that I would join the circus.

I recently met a woman, Jennifer Dempsey, who is a member of the Scarlet Sisters. She is in the process of relocating here from L.A., believe it or not. I guess we are switching places. Well, she saw that I am small, and asked me if I had ever done gymnastics. Yeah, in HIGH SCHOOL!!! That was a long time ago. (don't tell) Then, she asked me if I missed it. Which I do. So she convinced me to go to "Circus for adults" at the Salida Yoga center last night. (it didn't take much)

We had so much fun! Jennifer is incredibly strong, and multi-talented, as you will see. She would tell me what to do, and I would do it, for the most part. There were a couple of the poses I couldn't do, but how fun! Then, there rings for tossing, plates for spinning, balls for juggling, and stilts for walking. FUN FUN FUN. This is the lovely and amazing Jennifer here, juggling while hula hooping! Whoa... I can barely walk and chew gum at the same time. I am definitely going to try the stilt walking next time. Her boyfriend, Dave was in charge of that aspect. I learned that plate spinning is NOT my special gift. However, I loved it, and I think everyone else who came loved it, too. I must say, it is well worth it to try something new every now and then. It makes life fuller, richer, and much more exciting.

Thank you, Jennifer and Dave, and everyone else who made joining the circus so much fun! (you know who you are!)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

baby chicks at Murdoch's!

One of my favorite things in the spring (besides the teeny peeny cows) is that Murdoch's Ranch and Home Supply has baby chicks and ducks. They are TOO MUCH!! So cute and fuzzy and wonderful in every way. If you have the blues, just go to Murdoch's and see the little chirping things, and you won't be able to stay down. You just won't! It works for me. So yesterday, I went to see the baby chicks (they also had socks on sale, which is how I justified my indulgence). I liked those chicks so much, that I went out to the car, got my camera, and took some pictures just for you!

The close up shots didn't turn out, unfortunately. They were blurry. It's too bad, because they were cute. I had one chick in my hand (which you aren't supposed to do, but c'mon! this is free advertising!) and that one would have been particularly good, if I could improve my photo taking skills a bit. Oh well. If I didn't have a Murdoch's employee watching my every move, I might have been able to get a better shot. He was making me nervous, and it was too much pressure for an amateur such as myself. He kept asking if I wanted to buy some chicks, which of course I do, but I can't buy baby chicks when we are about to move!! So I told him that.

It was nap time for the baby mallards, and they were all huddled together under the heat lamp. I was a bit jealous. I wouldn't mind having a giant heat lamp to snuggle under every now and then. I really love to see a baby chick or duck standing in the heat of those lamps, because it almost puts them in a zoney trance, and they get heavy eyelids. Fun! It almost looks like they will tip over from the heat, but I have yet to see one do that. I have also discovered that if you are wearing a shiny ring and you put your hand in the bin where they can see it, they all come over and peck at your ring. It feels really funny.

These are my favorites, (well, they are all favorites!) with the fuzzy legs. I forget what they are called, but aren't they groovy? What amazes me every time is how things that are so tiny can be so amazingly LOUD!! You can hear them chirping the second you open the door. For those of you who don't know this, the chicks are delivered via the US mail. I find that extremely interesting, or at least I did until my sister told me that they don't all survive the mailing experience. I am just happy that enough of them do survive, so that I can visit them every week during the springtime!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Successes and Failures

This is one of my favorite new monotypes!! I am experimenting with using LOTS of ink, which I may have mentioned, and this one actually got a big BLOB of ink, which created a really interesting texture. I know I need to sell some work, but this one has to stay with me for a while, because I love it too much to part with it at the moment. The title is "Opulence" and it measures 5 x 7".

It's amazing how quickly the days go, and then I realize that I should write my blog! I went to Denver on Thursday, to pick up a frame for the piece that will be going to Fort Collins for the National juried show next week. For those of you who are interested, and in the area, the show opens April 7th with a reception from 5 to 8 pm. It will run through May 11. It is at the Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia in Fort Collins.

While in Denver, I also visited Sandy Carson Gallery, on Sante Fe Dr. They had some of my work, but haven't sold anything for me in over a year, so I went to pick it up. Even though I know it is the right thing, to not have work in a gallery that isn't selling, it still feels like a mini-death, somehow. I was so excited to have my work well-received by a gallery of such caliber, and then nothing happened, and the work is back with me. I know I am partially to blame, since I was so busy running Cool Mountain Art (my gallery that I recently closed here in Salida), that I didn't give them the attention or new work they deserved to have. What I've learned from this whole debacle is that I need to be clear about what I want from a gallery, and I need to put energy into helping them sell the work for me. Chalk one more up to experience!

The house has gotten plenty of attention this week, but no offers yet. In the meantime, I am photographing my new monotypes, and working on my artist statement and other promotional materials. I would like to have really professional looking promotional materials ready to go for California. I am also going to order some postcards with an image from my new monotypes to send out. All good things.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A day's work

Once again, I made the drive up to Buena Vista, and the Colorado Mountain College. I spent the day with the beloved printing press. It feels a lot like spring now, so it is not an easy thing to spend a day indoors. Art is the one thing that seems capable of keeping me in. It is a beautiful drive from Salida to Buena Vista. Now is the time for spring calves, which I adore. There is something about them that holds me in a thrall. !!! I LOVE THEM!! I tried to get a photograph of one for you, but the mama cow had other ideas. Maybe I'll try again later.

After I reach the parking lot, it usually takes me two trips to get all the "stuff" I need for a day of pulling prints. I set out all the things I will need, and basically spread out all over the room. Good thing I am usually the only one in there! I like to squeeze out all the colors and mix them before I even make one print. I use a glass palette, and regular flexible painter's knives to mix the ink. As I mentioned before, I am using oil-based etching inks (made in France - oooh la la). Once I have some colors mixed, I am ready to use the brayers to roll the ink out on the plate. I also sometimes use the knives to apply ink, or a brush. Variety is key! Once the plate is where I would like it to be, I am ready to dampen a piece of paper with a squirt bottle. I then blot it on a paper towel before putting in on the press.

This is the press I have been using. There are two blankets under the roller, and I put the inked plate down first, then my sheet of dampened paper, and then lay the blankets back down. Now it's time to turn the big wheel, so that the heavy roller travels over the paper and plate. It's a pretty nifty piece of equipment. The pressure is what creates all of the exciting textures that would be time consuming, if not impossible with paint. I was there for about 5 hours. It takes a while to clean up, probably an hour, since I am persnickety. So usually by the time I get home, I am pretty tired!

Here are the fruits of my labors. Today, I was experimenting with a whole new palette of colors, so some of the monotypes I did I don't like at all. That is pretty normal, anytime you experiment with new colors, composition, etc. Usually, you have to suffer from some "growing pains". I don't mind, since I did get a few that I do really like.

Monday, March 12, 2007

New work, new life

Here is one of the favorites from the last session of pulling monotypes. It is late, and I am tired. I did want to check in and tell you all that I am still alive. This is a small monotype, and the art measures 5 x 7". Yummy colors. More soon.

We listed our house this weekend. It was a bittersweet moment, and I nearly cried. It is hard to leave a place you have called home for 3 years.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Weird things

A while ago, a friend of mine posted 10 weird things about herself, and challenged others reading her blog to do the same. It has taken me a while to get this done, but I have decided to do it. Even though I have new artwork that I need to show you. (I haven't gotten a chance to photograph the new stuff yet.)

So don't think this will ever happen again, and remember, it is TOP SECRET!!! Which is why I'm posting it on the internet. ha ha ha. You know it's just for fun.

1. When I eat apples off the core, the tip of my nose gets sticky.
2. I don't like clothes with words on them.
3. I don't usually like art with words on it, either.
4. When I'm hungry, I need to eat right away - if I don't, I get grumpy!
5. I don't watch television, nor have I watched it for most of my life.
6. I am almost always cold. In fact, my toes will actually REMOVE the heat from a pair of wool socks.
7. I pick up feathers, bones, leaves, and rocks (like a 6 year old!), bring them home, and make piles of them on the table and other flat surfaces. Even though I know all this debris is messy and clutters up the place, I have a hard time getting rid of it! Pack rat extraordinaire!!
8. I really pretty much hate the music of the Beatles.
9. I arrange my clothes (other things, too - like m&m's) by color. I wonder if this is from all of those years shopping for clothes at Goodwill. ???
10. I can't watch scary movies. They give me really bad nightmares that will last for weeks. It will amaze you, but even that movie, Gremlins (I think that was what it was called, from the 80's) gave me horrible nightmares, and it wasn't even supposed to be a scary movie!!!

There. Now you know what a freak I really am.
New art coming soon!

Monday, March 5, 2007

New monotypes

I spent Thursday and Friday up at the Colorado Mountain College, creating more monotypes. For those of you who don't know what a monotype is, please refer to my earlier post, from January 15th.I have been experimenting with using more ink, lots of ink! The textures I'm getting with more ink are really intriguing, but it also means it takes longer for the work to dry. So I have to lay out all the work on the table to get it dry. I am using oil based printers' inks, which is one of the other reasons it takes longer to dry. (the alternative is water based inks) I prefer the oil based inks, because I like the deep, saturated colors. I still love this process of monotypes!

I would also like to tell you that it feels wonderful to create art again, after a reprieve like the one I had in Hong Kong. AAAAAHHHHH...

This week will be spent painting the living room and ceiling in our house, because I am going to try to get this little Salida house on the market by the end of this week. If I complete this goal, my reward will be more time spent with the press on Friday. Here goes!

Friday, March 2, 2007


I'm still not over the jet lag thing. I didn't think it would take this long! The good news for you is that I have time in the morning to post on this blog.

I forgot to tell you the exciting news. One of the things I found in the mail was an envelope with my own handwriting, addressed to me. Now these envelopes are what I send to galleries, juried shows, etc. So opening one of these is not without a certain amount of "steeling myself" for possible hard to take news. This particular envelope was from a national juried show I recently entered in Fort Collins. When I opened the results, I first saw two red check marks (bad) and my heart had just begun to sink, when lo and behold - SOMETHING WAS ACCEPTED!!! Amazing! So here is the drawing that got in.

This is a drawing I did of my good friend, Padgett. The paper is a tan color, and it was done in charcoal. I did do this from a live sitting, not a photograph. That is why each and every detail is not resolved. One thing about a photograph - it doesn't ever have to move. You will always be able to tell a piece of art done from a photograph, because the artist has all the time in the world to perfect each detail. I'm afraid it's a bit too fussy for me.

Here are the other two pieces I entered, that didn't get in. Just so you can be your own judge. What do you think? Do you agree that the juror picked the best one?