Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Off the Beaten Path II

I better finish telling you about Las Vegas before the year is over!  For those of you who might travel to Vegas and NOT gamble, here are a couple of other things you might be entertained by.  Of course, any time you travel, eating becomes part of the adventure.  We discovered this lovely German Cafe called the Heidelberg Cafe.  YUM.  We went there for an early dinner, and it is tasty authentic German food.  You can rely on my description, since M's parents are both from Germany.  The schnitzel is wonderful.  I had the Schnitzel combo plate.  M had the Sauerbraten.  It is a lot of food, so bring a good appetite.  This gem of a restaurant is only about a half mile off the strip.  Sorry I didn't take a single photo.  I can't think straight when I am hungry.

Other than Red Rock Canyon, I think the highlight of our recent Vegas visit was the discovery of the Pinball Hall of Fame.  M and I both love to play pinball.  M is a much better player than I am, having spent the better part of his youth putting coins into pinball games.  However, we both had a great time at the Pinball Hall of Fame.  This place is a must see!!!  There are over 200 vintage pinball machines in the Hall of Fame.  I remember even seeing a Pacman game, but we were focused on pinball.  The place is run by a man named Tim Arnold.  Mr. Arnold is originally from Michigan, and had a dream of moving to Vegas to open a Pinball Museum.  Now he has done it!  Only the cool part is that you can actually play the games in the museum.  It is a non-profit organization, and any leftover monies go to the Salvation Army.  It is staffed by volunteers.  Even if you aren't a pinball addict, like M and I are, you will have a fun time visiting this unique place.  Check out the rows and rows of pinball machines:  So cool!


We could have spent a lot more time and money at the Pinball Hall of Fame, but we only found it on our last day, when we were scheduled to go home.  We easily spent more money on pinball than we did at the casino.  M stopped in the bathroom before we hopped into the car for the drive home, and while I waited, I discovered the rubber duckie game.  That probably is not the official name, but that is what I call it.  I really wanted to try to get a rubber duckie, especially the one with the pirate hat, but we did really have to go home.  Next time!!!


Back home, to reality, work, chores, dishes, and all of those other responsibilities.  I am dreaming about our next visit to Las Vegas, when we will spend our time exploring Red Rock Canyon and playing pinball at the Pinball Hall of Fame.  I hope to bring back a rubber duckie.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

To all of my beloved blog readers:

Have a wonderful holiday.  I love you all, and I am thankful for you!


Monday, December 21, 2009

Off the Beaten Path

Maybe you thought Vegas was nothing but a city of casinos and strippers.  Pawn shops.  Lights.  Buffets.  It is all of those things, but there is much more to this sleazy city than meets the eye.  One of the best attractions for those who want something different is the Red Rock Canyon.  A short drive from the city of Las Vegas, this National Conservation Area is well worth the $5 daily entry fee.  There is a brand new visitor's center.  You can enjoy this beautiful area without even leaving the comfort of your car, but plenty of hiking and climbing trails are available for the adventurous.  We didn't give ourselves nearly enough time to explore this desert wonderland.   I am certain we will be back.

In order to get to Las Vegas from Joshua Tree, one will drive through the Mohave National Preserve.  I really love this drive.  I always feel a bit like those suction-cup "Garfield" cats, looking out the window when I am lucky enough to be the passenger on these trips.  I just drool out the window, looking at the plethora of Joshua Trees, sand dunes, vintage train depots, and other desert visions.   On our way home, we even spotted a lone coyote, crossing the road in front of us.


Sunday, December 20, 2009


This poor, neglected blog!  I have every intention of posting at least twice a week.  In fact, there was a time, when I first started blogging, when I would post 4 or 5 times a week.  I don't know why I have slacked off so much, but perhaps in the new year I will find new motivation and inspiration for this blog.  It's not that I don't have plenty of things to blog about.  I have plenty of things I could share with you.  For example, I did manage to get back in the studio, and produced a painting that is a complete departure from anything I have done lately.  It feels more like my art from 4 or 5 years ago, combined with newer techniques.  I will let you be the judge.  This one is called "Departure", and it is oil on canvas, measuring 48 1/2 x 36 inches. 

M and I went to Las Vegas for a couple of nights this week.  We like going to Vegas, even though we don't really gamble.  It's just a place to go where we can escape the daily duties.  It isn't too far from Joshua Tree, and we love the drive, through the Mohave National Preserve.  I will be blogging about our trip this week, so I won't go into too much detail here. 

I got a new camera for Christmas.  (an early present from M.)  So this week has been spent with me learning how to use it and the accompanying software.  The learning curve has not been without its challenges, especially for this blogger, who has come to love the little tiny point and shoot digital camera I have been using since the beginning of this blog.  Nevertheless, I am sure my new camera will make for better photographs, once I get it all figured out.  Here are a few samples from the new camera, including the photo of the new painting and the Kelso Dunes.  (keep in mind that it has taken me nearly all morning to load the software, get the images from the camera, and get them comverted for you to view here!) 

Monday, December 14, 2009

Art Happenings in Joshua Tree

On Saturday, I was out and about in Joshua Tree, catching up on just a few of the art events.  The first event I enjoyed was Martha Jacobson's lecture at the public library.  Martha Jacobson paints these really cool watercolors inspired by photographs taken by the Hubble Telescope.  There was a good crowd for the talk, and I enjoyed hearing Jacobson talk about her art.  I tried to take a couple of photos of her paintings, but they had glass on them and I did not get any good images to share.  The show stays in the library until January 5th, so if you get a chance, I highly recommend it.  The art talks are sponsored by the MBCAC and the Friends of the Joshua Tree Public Library. 

After the talk at the library, I went over to True World Gallery, where there is an exhibition of my friend Tina Bluefield's art.  They are showing a nice sampling of Bluefield's art, including abstracts, landscapes, and collage.  Apparently, the Red Arrow has now relocated to a space in closer to downtown Joshua Tree, but I did not make it over there.  I was too busy admiring Bluefield's paintings!  Plus, I was struggling to get myself back in the studio after too much time away from my own art.    


It is always better to see paintings live and in person, so if you are in Joshua Tree or vicinity, please do stop at True World Gallery.  If you don't live nearby, you can visit Tina Bluefield's website to see a bigger sampling of her oil paintings.

I have finally managed to get myself in the studio with oil paint once again.  After an interruption of over two weeks, I am struggling a little to find out where I was heading with my work.  I have jumped into an entirely new direction now, but I am beginning to rediscover the thoughts I had before leaving.  I hope to have something interesting to show you soon.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Return from snow bound Colorado

It seems like I have been away for an eternity.   The snow and cold in Colorado brought back things I had forgotten:
-the leather of Pono's leash becomes stiff on walks
-how much more I eat in cold weather
-The sound of snow crunching under boots
-The grey sky
-How much I love fluffy white flakes of snow - what delireum!
-Pono's joy in the snow.  Never have I known a dog who loves the snow and cold so much.  Makes me feel sad that we moved him to the desert.
-How I could live my whole life and never shovel snow again.  Ever.
-The way frost glistens when the sun finally comes out

It brought back a rather strange and wistful longing in me, being in a place where I have spent most of my adult life.  My husband and I keep moving away from Colorado, only to find ourselves drawn back to it. I wonder if we will move back again, someday.  

We have returned to a pretty cold Joshua Tree, but it feels warm, comparatively.  I am happy to be home, and I am anxious to return to the studio after so much time away from my art. 

I have missed you, my dear blog readers!  I hope to catch up with everyone this week.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December is here

Here is a blog post from Colorado, where I am currently visiting.  I am here to show my art at the beautiful Framed Image.  The artist's reception is this Thursday, from 4 to 7 pm, and I will be there with some of my newest paintings and monotypes.  I am showing with Susan Harrington, who is a Denver artist, and does richly colored paintings.  Come and join us Thursday, if you are nearby!  Click on the Framed Image website above for location and more details.  The show runs until the end of December.

I was in Salida, Colorado for Thanksgiving last week.  It was fun to visit our former home town, and to have a chance to catch up on friends there.  On the Friday after Thanksgiving, every year, Salida has a parade at night just before they light up the Christmas tree on top of "S" Mountain.  We went downtown to see the parade and the lighting of the Mountain, because everyone in town comes out for it.  It is so much fun!  After the parade, we headed to the Steamplant, where there was live jazz music, free hot chocolate and cookies!  We watched them light the mountain and shoot some fireworks from there, hot chocolate in hand.   Festive!  Anything that involves cookies and hot chocolate is going to be high on my list of great activities.

Before the parade, we did a little bit of walking around downtown.  I like to see what all of my artist friends have been doing.  My friend, Padgett McFeely had an exhibition of her paintings at Bongo Billy's Cafe.  Then, we saw the felted work of P.J. Bergin at the Paquette Gallery in the Steamplant.  We also visited several galleries, including cultureclash, where there are a few of my paintings for sale.   Here is a photograph of a little bit of P.J. Bergin's show.  Unfortunately, I was not in my prime photo form, and failed to get a photo of Padgett's art.  (Sorry, Padgett!)  I think that's what happens when I take some time off - my brain takes time off, too!

All in all, I had a happy Thanksgiving, even though my husband was working and not with me.  It is always a little lonely, celebrating holidays without him.  You would think after fifteen years I would be accustomed to it, since it is common for him to work on the holidays, but you know everything is always better with him around.  What did you do for the holiday?

Another list of things I am grateful for:
1.  You, my blog readers
2.  Hot peppermint tea
3.  small towns
4.  travel opportunities
5.  crisp apples
6.  the sun, shining on exploding cattails
7.  prairie dogs
8.  falcons
9.  the green walking path, where nature has been preserved in the heart of suburbia

10.  good walking/running shoes