Friday, May 29, 2009

Best Laundry Day Ever

Today I needed to wash a few loads of laundry. Outside the laundry building was a nice porch with chairs to pass the time while the machines do their thing. Across the way was a pile of fallen wood. In this pile, a mama fox had a litter of three pups. I sat on the porch for an hour and a half watching these pups cavort on these logs. I didn't have my multiplier lens with me when they were the most active, so this photo is the best I can show after Tom brought the lens to me. They were playing closer to where I was at first and so cute. I think you can click on this photo and make it larger and, hopefully, see these babies better.

Georgia O'Keefe Country

Wednesday we drove toward Abiquiu, NM. This is the land where Georgia O'Keefe lived and painted in her later years. I can see why. As is very typical of this area, the clouds build up just about every afternoon and bring very dark skies. These dark skies, though, have cloud holes which light up the wonderful buttes and cliffs like a spotlight, making for much fun photography.

As we left and started climbing the mountain again toward Chama, the black clouds just broke loose with a terrific downpour, so that was exciting, too!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sky Mountain RV Resort in Chama, NM

We traveled this morning to Chama, NM. The sun was shining most of the way here from Santa Fe, but the clouds were gathering in the direction we were heading. It waited until we arrived and got our RV site hooked up before it started raining; so I was able to get a few photos before I came in and started posting on the computer.

We are staying at Sky Mountain RV Resort, which is a lovely setting beside the Chama River. We chose a site which is under the tree canopy and about 10-feet from the river. As I am typing the water is flowing right in front of our rig, with the large windshield affording us a wonderful view of the river. The temps here have been in the high thirties overnight and in the seventies during the day...makes me hate the thought of returning to the desert on this coming weekend! We'll enjoy the cool and clean green while we can and return home early next week.

I plan to sit out beside the river and do some pleine air painting while here, it just begs for that!

Unser Racing Museum

While in Albuquerque we visited the Unser Racing Museum. This is a very state-of-the-art museum with many digital visual displays as well as many of the Unser family race cars on display. We saw all of their championship rings, trophies and many photos of races we remember watching on TV.

While there, Tom climbed into the cockpit of the race car simulator and thought it was an excellent simulator. It looked like fun to me, too, but I was too much of a wimp to try after seeing Tom was able to get the car up to 180 mph without crashing it.

We always have thought about stopping by the museum while traveling through Albuquerque but had not done that, it is worth stopping for.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A few New Mexico Photos

This first photo is of Roch, our guide who owns NM Jeep Tours. He is a very experienced guide who knows a great deal about the beautiful state of New Mexico and loves to enjoy the natural settings he shows to people. If you are interested in taking a tour with Roch when in New Mexico, check out his website at He is willing and able to custom design a tour for anyone's special interests and needs. He shares his photos of these tours on his Flickr site at it out if you want to see some of the true beauty that is New Mexico.

This next photo is of some of the red rocks we saw at the last part of our daylong tour. It had rained on them and the red color was especially vivid at that time. The wash was dry, but very colorful with the red soil.

This petroglyph of a mask, probably ceremonial, was found at a site in the mountains and was very isolated, which is a good thing since it was not a protected site. There was no graffiti, which was especially nice to see. Thankfully, Roch has permits which allow him access to these wonderful sites on tours and I felt as though we were being given a special gift, seeing petroglyphs which few have seen.

We also visited the Unser Raceing Museum while in Albuquerque, I have not downloaded my camera photos of that yet, so will do that later. All-in-all this has been a great half of our trip and we move on to the last week tomorrow morning, leaving Santa Fe and traveling to Chama, NM. Cool weather, here we come!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

We're Still Alive

I will try to include some photos later, but I just wanted to let you all know we are still alive and well, having a good time, but unable so far to get good WiFi reception so I have not been in contact with anyone either through the blogs or e-mail.

We spent a few days in Las Cruces where I found a great bead store and we had good weather. We traveled to Albuquerque for five days and the WiFi system at our RV park was being worked on so we had nothing there. So far, so good, at this RV park near Santa Fe. The park is beautiful with mountains and trees.

We took our tour with Roch of New Mexico Jeep Tours on Wednesday and had a wonderful day. He really knows the area and is a wonderful tour guide, stopping whenever I asked so I could take as many photos as I wanted (almost 500 that day). He is a great photographer too, so was willing to stop when he knew of a good place for that best camera angle. More about this great tour company in a later post.

The dialysis in the motorhome is going well and we are encouraged that we can continue to travel this way. It is more complicated than before, but do-able at this point and we still love to travel in our motorhome.

I will organize some of my photos and post them here soon, WiFi willing!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Aubrey Easter WIP 3

I got to work on this at the art club this afternoon and found it so enjoyable! Only my BFF Barb was there but we solved the problems of the world while we worked on our paintings!

There are still many little things to be done to this but so far, so good! I need to make her look more like three-year-old I think, she has been aged a bit more than reasonable in this. We'll see how it all turns out.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Easter Aubrey WIP II

I made some time this morning to add to this, I just had to make her look less like a ghost child. I strengthened the modeling shadows and glazed another layer of skin color and started on the hair. It helps that she, in real life, has hair the color of quin burnt orange, how cool is that?

There is still much to be done with her before I begin the foliage fine-tuning; if I can't finish her to my liking there is no need to go on to the foliage! So far, so good.

PS...the first WIP photo was taken early this morning inside, thus the yellowish tinge. I should have corrected the white balance for that but I didn't. This photo was taken outside and more truly reflects the true colors of the painting so far.

Easter Aubrey - WIP

After Easter, I received a photo of Aubrey at an Easter Egg Hunt that just said "paint me, Grandma!" So, I decided to do just that. I am trying a different technique with this one. We saw a demo at a recent AAG meeting where the artist used clear Contact paper for masking larger areas. I painted the modeling shadows grisaille first, then the slightest tint to her hair and skin. When that was dry I placed the Contact paper over all of her figure and then used a sharp utility knife (yikes!) to cut around Aubrey's entire figure. When I lifted the excess paper off, I found that I had not cut any of the w/c paper...hooray! I used a brayer to burnish the edges of the paper to make sure nothing seeped underneath and then did my usual wet-in-wet foliage underpainting and just sloshed away, splattering Aubrey's little figure with green paint, praying the entire time that the Contact paper would hold. When I removed the Contact paper, I found that some of the green had seeped onto her left arm. So, I put a piece of Contact paper over that arm, cut out her arm shape, then used my Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and scrubbed the offending paint off. It worked!

What do I think of this method of masking now? One disadvantage is you are still left with those pesky hard edges that will have to be softened in places, just like masking fluid. An advantage is you can splash freely without using a gallon of masking fluid beforehand. I will try this Contact paper technique more and see what I think.

I did use masking fluid in the greens to preserve the geranium shapes, which will be a bright pink/red color. Lots of negative painting later in that foliage, I dislike that part of the process, but will endure since I think this photo has such merit.

More to follow as I have time....

Monday, May 04, 2009

Madhu's Misty Morning

This is a painting I just finished from a photo supplied with permission to paint from a fellow Watercolor Workshop member, Madhu. This photo seemed so calming to me that I thought I would paint it and try for that misty background look I like.

Thanks Madhu!

Image size 25 x 17, watercolor on Arches 140-lb paper