Friday, August 31, 2007

Test for blog video

video

I took this video clip of the Iowa River this afternoon to try to add it to the blog. So far, so good. I'll go to the blog in a minute and see how it opens.

This is our last day in the Amana Colonies, we leave and head toward Minnesota tomorrow morning. The Amana Colonies are a big German area and we have enjoyed all the German food specialities while here, in fact enjoyed them so much we have decided to just go to the meat market where they process and smoke all the meats for the local restaurants (they have been wonderful!) and buy some of the local specialties and take with us instead of eating any more carbs for awhile. I do believe we have both eaten more carbs in two days here than we normally would for two weeks! Good German cooking! We took a scenic drive through the colonies this afternoon and found a lake with water lilies unlike any I have seen. The lily pads were 2-3 feet in diameter! They really were something. I'd like to paint some of those.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Amana, Iowa...Day Two
















After being on the road for a week, it was time this morning to do some housecleaning around the motorhome. This was after a monumental breakfast at one of the Amana Colony restaurants, unbelievable! We went to another restaurant for dinner tonight and decided we just cannot do that again....we will spend tomorrow and probably the next few days "drying out", with no carbs.

We went to Cedar Rapids this afternoon and saw Collins Radio as it is now....Tom worked here forty years ago for a few months before being sent to Viet Nam for Collins. Some things were the same, many had changed. We made a Wal mart run and then drove around taking photos. The Cedar River runs through the city and we found a few places to take photos, that is the big river in the photo. The other photo is of the creek that runs alongside one side of our RV park here. One additional Cedar Rapids note...Quaker Oats is here and when you are walking alongside the river you can smell the oats cooking. Really was interesting. General Mills is big here, too.

We will do some more sightseeing tomorrow and then it is on to Albert Lea, MN to check out my Norwegian side of the family's old homestead farm. I want to take photos and possibly paint it. I have certainly collected enough photos of barns and farms to be able to do a 100-painting series! The barns, especially, are so interesting...no two seem alike in any area but all are beautiful buildings.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Amana Colonies, Iowa

We are at the Amana Colonies in Iowa for the next three nights. We had our first really scrumptious dinner tonight. We will have to limit ourselves to trips to the restaurants since we could over-do without much provocation. But, we plan on a few more good meals while here! We drove without sunshine all day today but didn't get any rain until the last 15 minutes we were on the road, as we arrived here at the Amana Colonies RV Park. It is a huge and nice facility, as we remembered it.

Tom has worked with our satellite receiver and gotten it all to work except for last night, when it was so stormy and windy the dish wouldn't stay stable on the roof of the motorhome. Otherwise, it is great to have satellite reception when we are in the boonies! There are no trees blocking the direction of the dish here (as shown in the photo), so it should all work well. The sun has finally come out, it is about 7:00 here. Nice, mild temps. We read that the Phoenix area is having record heat right now, I am so glad we planned this trip! After spending half of July and most of August there, it is good to be away for awhile. Hopefully, when we return it will be to cooler temps there.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Kansas to Nebraska

















We left Dodge City, Kansas this morning and stopped this afternoon near Grand Island, Nebraska. We finally got to an Interstate heading in the direction we want to go. We have decided that after traveling for three days on farm highways that Interstates are the way to go. There still is traffic on the smaller highways, lots of local haul trucks going very fast, and too many small towns where you have to slow to 20 mph, which really slows progress. However, I took 132 farm and barn photos today, and enjoyed seeing those small towns. The main street photo with this submission is one of the many small towns we went through today, I couldn't tell you which one. But, this is memorable for the brick street we traveled over, it shook everything loose in the motorhome (including the passengers!) and was quite an experience.

It has remained windy here on the Plains and tonight we had a thunderstorm. Thankfully, nothing monumental but when it thunders on the Plains, you know it!

Tomorrow we plan to head east and go to the Amana Colonies for a few days. We have been on the road for three days now and want to stay in one place for a few days. I can't think of a better place to do that with all the wonderful restaurants there....two days of gluttony!

Monday, August 27, 2007

New Mexico to Oklahoma to Kansas
















We left Tucumcari, NM this morning and traveled through the extreme northwest corner of Texas, through about 50 miles of the Oklahoma panhandle and into Kansas. We are in Dodge City tonight. We will head for Interstate 80 and go east toward the Amana Colonies in Iowa tomorrow. We might go all the way to Amana, but might also stop before then along I-80. The weather is very windy and fairly warm here, but at night it does cool off along our trip so that is okay. At least it hasn't been above 100 on our trip, right at 99 is close enough, though!

More tomorrow....

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Tucumcari, NM

















We traveled from Las Cruces to Tucumcari, NM today. We avoided the busy interstates and chose to drive through the ranching highways and less traveled roads. Well, today that didn't work out as we had planned, there was a lot of traffic and more construction than we thought we would encounter. No problems though, and we arrived to our RV park for tonight, which happens to be off of Route 66. I can remember traveling through Tucumcari as a girl on our trips to Minnesota and I think that, though that was a long time ago, many of the same motels are still in business. Route 66 is still Route 66 here.

Tomorrow we will travel through the extreme northwest corner of Texas and into Kansas. The weather is cooperating so far, will hope for the best with that in the days to come.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

August 25, Hatch NM
















We drove to Hatch, NM today, it is time for the chile harvest there. Their annual Hatch Chile Festival is next weekend, I am glad we went when it was a bit quieter. There were quite a few vendors selling chiles and others were roasting huge bags of chile for sale. We bought two of the chile ristras, went to a chile field and took some photos, then ate lunch at a local Hatch restaurant. We both had local chile rellenos...yum! I bought a small basket of Anaheim chiles to take along and make rellenos on our trip as well as some local ground chile powder to make future enchiladas. We went right to the source! Hatch is purported to be the Chile Capital of the World...I don't know how true that is but they certainly sell a lot of chiles and chile products.

Tomorrow we plan to head toward Tucumcari and then on to the Midwest, barring floods or anything else going on where we are headed. We are watching that closely and may have to change our plans for destinations again...if it isn't fires in the West it is flooding in the Midwest. We will try to stay out of trouble.

Friday, August 24, 2007

August 24, 2007
















We are in Las Cruces, NM until Sunday morning. We visited White Sands National Monument today. The "sand" is actually gypsum and in parts was a pristine white color. There are parts that have desert plants growing through the gypsum, and parts were high drifts. Then, we went to Three Rivers Petroglyph Site, a NM State Park. This has to be the highest volume of glyphs in one place of all the petroglyph sites we have visited. There were many glyphs that we had not seen before anywhere, and lots of them. The downside was that we visited between noon and 2:00 PM on a very hot and sunny day. We had to quit before the end of the trail happened because we got too hot, but not before I had just about ruined my poor feet climbing over many rocks to get good angles for the glyph photos (I took 125 photos there). At any rate, it was a wonderful petroglyph site to visit and after we downed 44-ounce icy diet drinks in Tularosa, we were revived and came back to Las Cruces. Tomorrow we will visit Hatch, NM...famous for Hatch Chiles. I want to try Chile Rellenos for lunch tomorrow at one of the local restaurants and possibly buy some chile ristras. Should be fun. No more rock climbing in the hot sun, though, for awhile!

Saturday, August 11, 2007



This is my do-over, "Mulligan" painting of the Spanish Moss in the cemetery. I was trying for a different "mood" while trying to improve my rendition of the Spanish Moss. Which do you prefer?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Cemetery with Spanish Moss



This is a painting I did as a group project for one of my online art groups. We were to create a "mood" painting. This is from a photo I took in Walterboro, SC and it was sort of spooky but peaceful being in this very old cemetery with the Spanish Moss hanging from all the trees. I think I will start another painting from this photo and try another technique for the moss.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


I have created a few new sets for my Travel Photos collection in Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wcbysusanroper/
I will eventually get many more sets of individual trips and locations as I get to them. There are plenty more photos from where these came!

Walterboro Swamp Garden Final


After carefully considering the suggestions made by my two online critique groups, I made some changes in this, particularly in the water. It reads more realistically now, but seems to be overworked a bit. Of course, this is a very overgrown scene in real life, so part of me just considers this more realistic! Anyway, this is the final version so I will rest for awhile!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Walterboro Swamp Garden



This is a painting on Yupo I did of the Walterboro Swamp Garden in Walterboro, NC, which we walked through while on our trip there. It was early in the morning when I took the reference photo and the sun was dappling through the trees onto the dark floor of the swamp.

I am in the pondering stage of whether I am finished with this or not and awaiting any critiques from my online groups.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

My latest SWAP painting



I belong to an online international group of artists who, every quarter, have a painting swap, sort of like a Secret Santa format where you don't know from whom you will be receiving a painting and they don't know who is sending them theirs. It has been a lot of fun, but no more enjoyable than today when I received this beautiful magnolia from Marilyn Fuerstenberg (Wisconsin). I have always loved her style of painting and especially appreciate the beauty of this. On our recent trip through the South I was introduced to the soft beauty of magnolias and can appreciate her rendering even more now. I am a lucky person today!

By the way, my swap partner this time was an artist in Tasmania! I sent him a petroglyph painted on Unryu paper and mounted to watercolor paper as he is a mineralogist and I thought he would appreciate something more organic and "earthy".