Friday, June 29, 2007

Etsy is worth visiting!

I just want to thank all of you who posted comments on my blog, wishing us well in the new house adventure! August 10 seems like a long time to wait, but I know it will go fast. I am not sure if adobe is cooler than a regular kind of house. I think REAL adobe is, actually, but this house is FAKE adobe. Meaning the adobe is just a surface they put on a standard wood frame house. It just LOOKS cool, if you catch my drift. ;)

I want to post a little about etsy today. If you have never visited etsy, I highly recommend it. It is a website for buying and selling all things handmade. You can find art, clothing, soap, candles, magnets, handbags, baby items, quilts, and on and on. The thing that distinguishes etsy from other sites, including ebay, is that the people who are listing items on etsy are also the creators of the items. So if you buy something, you are buying directly from the artisan. It is a very exciting concept, and there is an amazing amount of talent!!! Here is the link to click. Of course, I have listed some of my small originals, cards and prints on etsy, but I want you all to know there are many other artists and crafters selling on etsy. You can even buy supplies - things like yarn, buttons, fabric, etc.

I have recently listed some of the paintings from the 100 on etsy. For those of you who don't know about this, I painted 100 oil paintings for a show at my gallery in Salida. The show was titled "100 paintings for $100 each". The idea was to create paintings that regular people could buy. Something for those of us who don't have thousands at our disposal. Yes, I realize you can buy reproductions that are very affordable, however in my opinion, there is just nothing at all like an original. These 100 paintings are all oil paintings, and they are quite large, for the price. Measuring 12 x 12" and 12 x 16" each, the main focus is abstract. I did do a few landscapes (which I sold right away), a couple of paintings of leaves (also sold right away) and some nudes. The one remaining nude will be listed sometime this weekend!!! There is nothing quite like setting a large task for yourself and then being able to complete it. It was exciting to paint all of those paintings, and then see them hanging up on the wall, all together. It became an installation, really, once they were all hung. I tried to find a photo of it, but I think it is buried in a box somewhere. Here is a photo of the front of my gallery, instead. Just so you know, I sold almost all of the paintings from the 100. (over 80% of them are sold, which is pretty good, considering the show was only up for 2 weeks!) What I am posting now on etsy are the few who still haven't found their rightful owners. There are still some really nice ones left!

I just took the dog for a walk, at 8 pm, and it is still scorching out there. It is quite impressive, really. I like it, though. After a cold and snowy winter in Colorado, I am NOT going to complain. I'm just going to jump in the pool....

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

New House in escrow!!!

Hooray!!! The house we put an offer on yesterday is now in escrow!! It is so exciting. I have always wanted to live in one of these adobe-style houses, and soon, it looks like we will be. So Exciting!!! Our escrow closes on August 10th. This house is so pretty, and I will have fun picking out cactuses and desert plants for the front. It is an almost new house, can you believe it? It is only one year old, and it still looks sparkly shiny like a new penny. The house is located in the high desert, in Joshua Tree. It's not too far from Joshua Tree National Park. We even have Joshua Trees on our property. !!!! !!!!! Maybe I will just type in one whole line of exclamation points, so you can see how happy I am!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There. Enough of that.

We took Pono out there, so he could give his stamp of approval. He seemed excited, and wanted to go and look for critters to chase through the cholla, but then he realized how hot he was, and made a beeline for the air conditioning of the car. After signing the necessary documents, we headed for the local taco shop (how much Mexican Food is TOO much Mexican Food??) We then decided to go on a little road trip up to Big Bear Lake. It is beautiful up there! It's only about an hour from Joshua Tree/Yucca Valley. After climbing up and up on this winding steep road, you end up at almost 7,000 feet. It was nice up there, cool (relatively speaking) and Pono had a blast chasing sticks Matthias threw into the lake for him. He was soaked from nose to tail when we were done. Happy dog. We walked on a really nice path that runs around the lake, just to be outside. This is a cool photo of Pono and Matthias next to a giant old juniper tree.

The drive is spectacular, with wonderful views of Lucerne Valley. I am beginning to love the desert.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Perhaps the end is near

We have finally made an offer on a house. So I will keep you posted. The house is in Joshua Tree, and it's pretty cool. We looked at houses all day, and this house was the first one we saw. I don't know why, but I didn't get a single photo of it!!! If the offer is accepted, I will be sure to post some photos for you. Keep your fingers crossed...

Here are some more of the new watercolors:

Tired. More later...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The house hunting continues

Matthias and I have been busy looking for our new home. I must admit, it is a frustrating, exhausting search so far. We are a little discouraged, but not completely disheartened. We even broke down on Friday, and went to look at some model homes. That is the ultimate point of fear and loathing for both of us, since we have successfully avoided suburbia for our entire marriage. The best part about the model home tour was the real estate agent at one of the higher end places. I am not kidding when I tell you that he was like a character out of Goodfellas or something. His name was Frank. (Frankie, right?) He was talking to us and asked, "so where are youse guys from?" Then, he was telling us about his pool, and he said, "they wanted me to get pebble tech in my pool, instead of plaster, for $5000.00 - Forget about it!!" I am sure my mouth was hanging open as I imagined a mob guy, retired from the mob, selling model homes. I love my imagination sometimes. I wanted to take this man out for dinner, just so I could listen to him talk! FUN!

I have to tell you about another beloved feature of our rental house. It is a giant cactus out front, and it is blooming!!! I am not sure what kind of cactus it is. After reading my wildflower book description of the night blooming cereus, I am pretty sure that is NOT what this cactus is. Even though each bloom only lasts one night, this cactus does not have "few, angular, gray, thin, barely spiny, twiggy stems." I cannot find another description that even comes close. Here are the photos anyway!! I love it! By now, you should know how much I love flowers, and to see one of these early in the morning is a great way to start the day. There are still a couple of buds, but I am not sure how much longer it will bloom. So I have taken many photos.

I did find out that the purple headed hummingbirds here are the "costa's hummingbird". Awesome!

I haven't done any more art yet, with the business of the house hunt, but I have been thinking about those watercolors from earlier this week a lot, and I want to try them on a larger scale. I will be sure to keep you posted!

I am also starting on another fond hobby of mine, taking photographs of animal tracks. Now that we are in the desert, they are tracks in the sand, instead of snow or mud. I am pretty sure this first one is a snake track. What do you think?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Watercolor paintings

I finally got so tired of looking for things in the myriad of boxes that I sat down with some watercolor and painted! It felt really good to do art, and I am happy with the result. I think this is something completely new for me. See for yourself. I have painted about seven of them, but these were the favorites. I was thinking of calligraphy strokes, and the textures of grass. So these are a marriage of those two ideas. I had fun.

These paintings are quite small: the two square ones measure 6 x 6" and the vertical one measures 5 x 7".

Yesterday, we went to the DMV, to get new driver licenses. Just another adventure in a long line of adventures. For those of you who haven't had to take a drivers written exam in a while, it is pretty challenging. I find it ironic, that I carefully read and studied the manual, knowing that the driving done here in California has nothing to do with the laws and guidelines I was tested on. For example, "Don't be a tailgater!" RIGHT. These people drive like maniacs. I guess anything will seem crazy to me, since in Salida, I walked pretty much everywhere.

Here is a photo of the new house. With my favorite item - the pool.

Monday, June 18, 2007

I can't believe I didn't write all weekend! I have been exhausted from the move, and I think from the heat a little bit, too. Pono and I are getting used to the desert. I make sure I only walk him before 8 am or after 7 pm. It's still hot out at those times, but much more bearable. (80 degrees, rather than 100 plus) We even found some empty lots and one big field (do you call it a field if it is mostly sand???) for Pono to do some free-of-leash romping. (shhh...don't tell!)

I have yet to get a photo of the house, but I will work on that for you. I know you are all curious about the temporary abode. I have met one neighbor, who is adorable. She makes me wish this house WAS going to be ours, she's that sweet. The other new neighbors I have met consist mainly of the wonderful hummingbirds. Have I mentioned them? Oh, they are delightful. The tiniest little hummingbirds you have ever seen, and the male has a purple head. I love them.

I have also made some fun discoveries on the walk: a giant spiderweb, a dragonfly, perched atop a cactus, and other visual delights. FYI: there are a lot of Palm Trees here. I suppose that is why it is called "Palm Desert", huh?? I like the heat, actually, even if I am not entirely accustomed to it. I have had the air conditioning set to 81 degrees, and it suits me just fine. You Colorado people would not be happy with that, I know!

Oh, and today I began my exploration of the galleries here. The goal is to find one to show my work, but I want to take my time, and pick just the right one. People keep telling me that most of the galleries here focus on contemporary art (abstract), but of the three I visited today, only ONE was contemporary. Go figure. There is quite a lot of wonderful art here, and I find that exciting.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

We are here

We are here at last. Palm Springs, or more accurately, Rancho Mirage. Moving is a pain (have I mentioned that already?) The packing, the driving, the stress of leaving behind loved friends and family and heading to a new place. As someone wisely said to me in Salida, "You know what you are going to lose, what you don't know is what you are going to gain." Those words have helped me. I have been trying to focus on what I am going to gain - however unknown - rather than lamenting the things I will lose. It has been no easy task. I will miss you, Salida!

The drive here went very well. Matthias drove the very large truck, filled to the brim. His mother went with him. His father drove his car, also filled to the brim. I drove my own car, with Mr. Pono in the back seat, travelling in style. He was so good the whole trip! He mostly slept on the drive. He even stayed in hotel rooms, two nights in a row! He took it all in stride, with much less trouble than I had expected. (I think I have been more upset than he has been. Maybe there are advantages to being a dog.)

We drove through Utah, and what sights we passed! I stopped more than I should have, to snap some photos, and to saturate my eyes. I would love to drive that way another time, when I don't feel pressure to get along, so that I could linger even more with the landscape there. We stayed in Mesquite, NV the first night (Sunday) at a casino. Pono got to eat a bit of my ice cream cone from McDonalds for being such an amazing traveller. (this is not a common occurance for either of us, I SWEAR!!!)

We arrived in the afternoon Monday, but spent another night in a hotel, just so we weren't rushing to find bedding and put together beds after such a long drive. That was a good idea, as we were all tired. By Tuesday afternoon, the truck was unloaded into our rental house. Amazing how much faster it is to UNLOAD.

Now Matthias' parents have gone home, and Matthias is off on another trip. Pono and I are trying to settle into a new place without unpacking. Does this seem like an oxymoron to anyone else? I still haven't found my shampoo. It's been over 100 degrees the past couple of days, and Pono likes sleeping on the tile floor where it's cool. But we're HERE!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

A large moving truck

Here it is, everyone! The yellow truck that will take all of our shtuff to California. It's parked on the side of our house. Matthias drove to Colorado Springs this morning with his dad to pick it up. So we spent the afternoon loading boxes. FUN. I bet you all wish you were here, helping, huh? My parents also stopped by and helped us for a couple of hours. I am sure we are all going to be sore tomorrow.

This evening, we had a little gathering of the neighbors, as a send off. We just sat around on Katherine and George's porch, surrounded by dogs, and laughed. It was the coolest send-off ever. We were missing a couple of neighbors, who were out of town, but we made up for it with dogs. This is the best neighborhood in the whole wide world. Or at least the best neighborhood in Colorado...

Tired. Bye.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The wildflowers in spring

This is the flower blog. I have been awed by the flowers recently. I especially love wildflowers. As I mentioned a day or so ago, I have already packed my wildflower book, so I won't be identifying any of these flowers for you. I think you will find them lovely anyway. I cannot seem to chose a favorite. I had a favorite picked out, in the form of these exquisite purple flowers, but then two days ago the red prickly pears began to bloom. (I wasn't sure if they were prickly pears, but Matthias seems to think they are.) These red blooms are so vibrant! I don't remember seeing so many of them, last spring. Yet, that may be one of those things that memory decides to trick you with.

The other flowers I would like to share with you are the old fashioned roses that are growing in our backyard. They are the most magnificent color! If I wasn't busy packing art, I would be out there with my paints, capturing them that way. The photo was quicker...

It is quite green around the Arkansas Valley right now, and I am drinking it in, knowing that we will be surrounded by brown desert soon enough. I wonder if it's possible to stockpile green in your mind. I think it is. There are flowers of every color, that we have been discovering on our morning walks with Mr. Pono. The Arkansas River is raging, with all the rain and the early snowmelt. It is brown and high. Pono still loves to go in, although he is not much of a swimmer. Mostly, he enjoys wading. Matthias was throwing sticks in for him, so I got a photo of Pono, daring to stretch his neck out for a stick in the turbulent river. You don't have to worry about Pono in the river. He will not go out further than he can wade, and even if he ends up deeper than planned, he is an excellent, if reluctant, swimmer.

Tomorrow, the big truck arrives, and the loading begins. This move is coming upon me more quickly than I was really ready for! Sunday is the day we plan to leave. Who knows if I will have the energy to continue the blog through this whole adventure, but I will do my best.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Spring rain and other adventures

It was a pretty good weekend, despite the fact that most of it involved packing more boxes. We managed to take a break, thanks to our friends, Sally and Greg. They invited us for dinner at their house on Saturday night. It was a much needed break. They live out of town on county road 251, in a beautiful house that they built themselves. Our good friend Padgett was also there. We spent some time before eating out on the patio, watching hummingbirds. I was trying to take a photograph of hummingbirds close up, but Sally was the person who got the shot. She also got a shot of me, trying to get a photo. So I got a picture of her, taking a photo of me, and you can see Greg, gallently holding the hummingbird feeder so we could get our closeups.

It has been typical spring weather in Colorado. It is warm in the morning, and then it clouds up for some thunderstorms in the afternoon. I like the weather - you just have to remember to be outside before the rain begins. Pono the dog, on the other hand, hates this weather, since he is terrified of thunder. He basically hides in the bathroom, shivering. I have tried to comfort him, but he is not to be consoled, apparently. I took a photo, looking out our front door this afternoon, so you could see the rain. It was coming down really hard, but I am not sure you can see that in my picture. Maybe you can. You can definitely see how cute our neighbors house is.

Here is a parting shot of Pono, chewing the feet off of his new hedgehog stuffed toy.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Colorado wildflowers, spring

The wildflowers are wonderful this spring. We have had enough rain, so there is plenty of color. I would identify the ones in the photos for you, but I think Matthias packed away my wildflower book already. So you are on your own. I can enjoy them without knowing what they are called, but I have always had a desire to say, "oh yes, that is a mountain four-o-clock" or whatever it is. (The mountain four o clock I do know, but they are not blooming yet.) Here are some of the favorite ones I've seen while walking with Pono and Matthias in the morning.

We are slowly but surely getting the packing done. It is a little sad, taking the art off the walls and then seeing them blank. Boy, do we have a ton of art! Not just my art, either. We have been collecting Aboriginal art from Australia, and combined with the art I've collected locally, it is mind boggeling to see what we have amassed. Yet I love every piece we have. Now I know how collectors feel. You buy work because you love it, and then the challenge is to find a place for it where you will be able to enjoy it. Not an easy thing to do, when you live in a house that's only 1100 square feet!

I leave you with one more monotype from last weeks printing session. It also needs a title, if you are struck with any brilliant ideas... please post them! I'll give away a free notecard to the title I end up using. How's that for temptation?