Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday Afternoon

I have spent the weekend taking my turn sitting at the Joshua Tree Art Gallery, the collective gallery where my art proudly hangs in downtown Joshua Tree.  I would always prefer to be in the studio, but I do realize the importance of getting feedback, and meeting people who are interested in my art.  JTAG will most likely close down for the summer at the end of this month, but we will be re-opening once more in September.  If you haven't been in the gallery yet, and you live nearby, it is definitely worth the visit.  We are generally only open on the weekend, from 10 to 3 pm, but you can also call or email one of the artists (like me!) for an appointment. 

I have been working on the new series with some miniature paintings this past week.  I am trying to paint the music I listen to.  Here are three of them. 
Eye of the beholder.  Oil on canvas board, 12 x 9 inches.
Sight and Sound.  Oil on canvas board, 12 x 9 inches.
Sensation.  Oil on canvas board, 12 x 9 inches.  This third one may need a little work, still.  You may not know this, but when I was a child, I played piano and violin.  My sisters also played instruments (viola and cello), and the three of us used to play together as a trio for church.  My father usually arranged the music we played, and he sometimes accompanied us with piano or guitar.  When I went off to college, I switched from music to art.  For me, it did not seem like a big leap.  Art just became the way I wanted to explore and express myself.  This new series of paintings is a way for me to bridge the gap between past and present - childhood and adulthood. 

As the desert is slowly beginning to warm up, the flowers fade.  I do have a few things in my yard that are still blooming, but I wanted to show you this obscene flowering cactus from a few weeks ago.  It amazes me that the flowers seem to be bigger than the cactus. 
I kept thinking that at any moment, the poor cactus would topple under the glory of those fragrant pink blooms.  But it managed to hold them up for the single day of their magnificent lives. 

Next weekend, M and I will be loading up the Gordita once again to head off for La Jolla.  This will be my last festival for a couple of months, and I am looking forward to withdrawing back into the studio once again.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The trip from Sunnyvale

We love our old vw vanagon, "Gordita."  She has become the official van of art festivals, since everything we need for the set up fits inside of her.  She has faithfully been hauling the E-Z up canopy, propanel display walls and paintings all over California and Nevada.  On our way home from Sunnyvale, she decided she had enough of this hauling crap.  About 10 minutes outside of Delano, California, the battery light came on.  I am grateful M was with me, because I would NOT have known what that meant, nor what to do about it.  He decided it could be the alternator.  We looked for the nearest AutoZone in our GPS, and I called them on my cell phone.  (Modern technology never ceases to fill me with wonder.)  Amazingly enough, they had an alternator for an '84 Vanagon IN STOCK!  We decided the best thing to do would be to get the part, in case Gordita decided to konk out in the middle of the desert.  At least that way, we figured, we would have the part to fix her.  When we got to the AutoZone, a kind man behind the counter gave us the part.  There is a "core charge" for alternators, and he told us to bring the old alternator in so he wouldn't have to charge us that "core charge."  We explained that the old one was still in the van, and then explained why.  When he found out that we were traveling, he suggested that we take the old alternator out in the parking lot. 
The new alternator.

We proceeded to unload the van, and Matthias got his tools and took the old alternator out.  Sure enough, that was the problem.  The kind man at AutoZone discovered that the old alternator was an AutoZone part, which was under a lifetime warranty.  So he didn't even charge us for the part!!!  M put the new alternator in the Gordita, we RE-loaded the van, and were on our way once more.  As we drove along happily, we congratulated ourselves for our fortunate alternator replacement.  Maybe 15 miles later, the battery light went on once AGAIN.  Within moments, the Gordita overheated.  OH NO!!!  We had to pull off the highway, and found one small tree to shelter under while we once AGAIN unloaded the Van.  This time, the alternator belt had broken.  M is a smart person, and just happens to carry spare parts in the van, so he had another belt.  He was able to replace the broken belt, we reloaded the Gordita, and were on our way once again. 
                                      We were rewarded for our efforts with hillsides just outside of Temecula covered with orange poppies and Farewell-to-spring.  (clarkia rubicunda)  M was good-natured enough to pull over so I could get a closer look at those purple wonders on the hillside.  Gordita did manage to get us home, at long last.  She did limp along toward the end of our journey, and both of us were thankful when we finally pulled into our dusty driveway.  I am happy to announce that with a little more TLC from M, Gordita is back in good health, and ready for the next journey to La Jolla, where I will be selling my paintings in the La Jolla Festival of the Arts.  This festival takes place June 26th & 27th from 9 to 5 pm each day. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The snake

We returned from the Art and Wine Festival in Sunnyvale on Monday night, and I have a story to tell you about our trip, but first I wanted to share with you some photos from a California King snake that visited us last week.  The California King snake gets its name because it eats other snakes, including rattlesnakes.  The king snake is not venomous.  It is a distinctive looking snake, and comes in many varieties of color and pattern.  Most commonly, it is a black snake with light colored bands.

Pono was the one who discovered this snake in our driveway.  He barked at it, and wanted to get close enough to sniff it, but was cautious.  I am happy he kept his distance, mainly because I don't want Pono to be interested in any snake.  I worry about Pono with rattlesnakes.  The snake climbed up the embankment towards the island of plants between the street and our driveway.  It had no problem slithering through the chicken wire, even though it didn't look like it would fit.  It then moved toward a nearby creosote.  It was a snake on a mission, and didn't pay much attention to us.  I was fascinated, and continued to follow, camera clicking away.  After exploring the area beneath the creosote, it came out of the creosote bush, moving directly toward me.  Even though I know this snake is not venomous, that doesn't mean I am going to let it slither across my bare toes!  (I was wearing the standard desert foot gear - flip flops.)  I clicked a shot of its head and then moved out of the way.
Look how it pushes against the sand to climb.  Cool.
Through the chicken wire fortress.  No problem.
Even though we don't have much to fear from this snake, there are others who feel differently. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Festivals and flowers

At long last, hot desert temperatures seem to have arrived.   Many will despair at this news, but I am a hot weather freak, and I am happy to finally not be cold.  It has been a long, cool, windy spring.  The cooler temps have provided us with an extended spring bloom, and that is something one must not complain about.  The surrounding desert looks as lush as I have seen it in our short few years living here.  Even as busy as I have been, I do take a moment every day to look out the window and admire the beauty.

The desert willow has just begun to bloom.  This deciduous native is a favorite, with its orchid-like flowers and long narrow leaves.  Chilopsis linearis is not actually a member of the willow family, as its name suggests, but is a member of the Bignonia family.

I spent the weekend at JTAG, the collective gallery I am a proud new member of.  It was a good weekend for the gallery, with many admirers and good sales.  The collection of recent Joshua Tree paintings I had displayed for the month of June were a hit, and I am delighted to say that I sold several of them, including this one.
Here is a photograph of the interior of the gallery the day we installed the show for May.  Now, most of the artists in the collective, myself included, have brought new art for the month of June.  The artists take turns sitting in the gallery, and it is normally open from 10 to 3 on the weekends.  You can also make an appointment to see it by emailing me.  (

I am preparing to take art to the Sunnyvale Art and Wine Festival this weekend.  The festival is right downtown in Sunnyvale, California.  It is a big festival, and if you are nearby and would like to see me there, let me know so I can guide you to my booth.  (I won't know my location until we arrive Saturday morning.)  The festival lasts from 9 to 6 both Saturday and Sunday.