Sunday, April 19, 2015

Waterfalls-Some recent works.

Currently, I am trying to master painting moving water in watercolor.  My daughter, when seeing some of my paintings, suggested we make the short trip to Fish Creeks Falls, just outside of Steamboat Springs.  We packed a picnic lunch, drove up the mountain, unloaded Eliza and Walter (the dog) and gingerly made our way down a rather steep trail to the bottom of the falls.
"Gingerly" because my daughter had just the day before been released from bedrest, but told to "take it easy" by her doctor as she had made it to 37 weeks in a high risk pregnancy with twins.
Taking the easy trail back to the car
 The next day, Alethea stayed in bed, Eliza took a rare nap at preschool, and I worked on some paintings of waterfalls that I had begun before our little outing.
"Logjam" is a bit more abstract than my normal style, but I like the upper falls.
"Cascade" is a little more colorful than I had planned, but I liked the pallette so much that I painted the forest scene below using similar colors.
 In the next painting, I took some photos of the progress of the painting to show you how the work evolved.
Blocking in the main elements.  After this I covered the white areas with masking fluid before working on the water.
Here I have rubbed off the masking fluid and added some stronger blues to the water.
Here the painting is almost done, but I think I will go back and tone down the brown in the tree on the left with a wash of purple.  It seems to draw too much attention to itself when the movement of the water is where I want  the focus of the painting to be. 
 Tomorrow we will meet "da brudders",  Eliza's names for her baby brothers.  Alethea will have a C-section the morning.  I expect that I will be too busy to paint Fish Creek Falls anytime soon, but I have a lot of reference photos to work from and hope to return to do a little plein air painting before the snow flies next fall.

Monday, April 13, 2015

How Close Is To Close -- To An Alligator?

For Holy Week I traveled to New Orleans with a group of teenaged girls and two other adults on Pilgrimage.  In addition to visiting many religious sites, we made a trip into the swamps to learn about tidal basin ecology as part of our responsibility as Christians to be stewards of creation.  It (blessedly) was a cool cloudy day and all the creatures of the swamp where quite active...except the mosquitoes which did not seem to be much of a problem even to Pat.  Pat swears that mosquitoes come from miles away just to bite her!  Here is a little photo tour for you...
A Fairy House? want to see alligators?

Ummm!  Don't get so close!
Don't Turn Your Back to Him!
Ladies, really, I think they can jump at least three feet!

Oh, phew, he is moving away.  But there is still lots to see...

Hey, we have thistles in New Mexico too!
But no Spanish Moss
Oh dear, these guys are everywhere!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Art Lover At An Early Age

Today my friend, Kathie B., took me to lunch at Vinaigrette Bistro near Old Town, Albuquerque for a belated birthday celebration and my almost three year old granddaughter Eliza enlivened the occasion.  After a wonderful lunch on their patio where everyone politely ignored the fact that Eliza was NOT STAYING in her chair, we drove the very few blocks to the Albuquerque Botanical Gardens to see what was in bloom.

What is this tiny plant going to be?
Can I throw them a penny? "NO!"
Smells good in here!
How fast can I run down this ramp?

Yikes! Everything in here pricks you!
I'm WAITING for you!
What's a "Curandera?"
 Eliza was very taken with this sculpture and spent quite a bit of time exploring what she could reach with her hands.
Kathie wondering in what direction Eliza has now run.

Eliza is now trotting ahead with her arms crossed and her "meany face" firmly in place because I wouldn't let her pick up some bird poop.


"The Rescue" by renowned sculptor, Glenna Goodacre, captivated Eliza and her anger is forgotten.  Not able to drag her away, Kathie stayed with her while I was dispatched to get Eliza a drink.  We spent the next thirty minutes with Eliza comforting the bronze little girl at the base of the tree whom Eliza assumed owned the imperiled cat.

Return of the "meany face" as Eliza is warned we are leaving in 5 minutes.

And a very happy birthday to my daughter Alethea (mother of Eliza) who is reluctantly sharing Eliza with her grandparents while she is on mandated bed rest until the birth of the twins she and her husband, Tim, are expecting any day.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Santero, Alcario Otero, Creative Lives Series

Recently on an Arts Crawl through a few Albuquerque galleries organized by my friend Katrine Stewart, we met the New Mexico Santero, Alcario Otero.  As we were admiring a bas relief retablo in the current show at the Albuquerque Museum, Visualizing Albuquerque, a friendly man asked if he might join us to look at this piece.  He shared some insights about the artist and pointed out what he thought was special about it.  We began to ask questions and he shared that he too had a piece in the exhibit.  Sonja, Katrine and I were intrigued and asked to see it. 

On the way to another room, Alcario stopped to explain several other pieces by Santero artists.
This San Isidro was one of my favorites. Sorry that I did not make a note of the artist's name.

Alcario began telling us about his dramatic visit from God when he was called to be a Santero and his disregard of this revelation until the vision came true several months later.  He almost lost his life in the motorcycle accident that he had been shown in the vision.  This sobering event turned his life around and he began to at first paint retablos (two dimensional sacred pictures) and then carve Santos, three dimensional depictions of saints.

At one point, we were all laughing loudly at one of Alcario's stories when the museum guard (not at all amused by our mirth) shushed us.  No respect whatsoever for an exhibiting artist!

 I am sure you would like to see Alcario's carving, which we finally reached...
Sonja captures the moment on her cellphone.


Santo Nino, Salvador Del Mundo, 2011
Don't you just love the face on this Holy Child, Savior of the World?

An email from Katrine confirmed that Alcario, as promised, brought his latest carving for a preview to Katrine's house.  I had asked to see the piece before it was gessoed but I am currently in Colorado.  My daughter, pregnant with twins, and hospitalized with pre-term labor, needs help with Eliza who is two and a half, so I missed my opportunity to see this Santo midway in its creation.
The legend of the Santo Nino is that he was a little boy who helped feed the Spanish soldiers who were fighting the Moors by giving them bread from his basket (that never emptied).  You can see that he also wears Santiago's pilgrim attributes: the shell, hat and pilgrim's staff. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"Laissez les bons temps rouler" or...I Never Met A Costume I Didn't Love

Image via

Happy Mardi Gras!  I am feeling blessed today as the St. Mark's Mardi Gras party is in the rear view mirror!  There are still some costumes to be put away, but as New Orleans is winding up tonight's Mardi Gras extravanza, we at St. Mark's are turning our attention to LentIf you missed out on the fun, there is always next year!

The party, organized by Diane Reese and her incredible team, was a huge success and we raised quite a lot of money for our J2A (Journey to Adulthood) class to make a pilgrimage to New Orleans for Holy Week.  Notice that we did NOT choose to take a group of teens to New Orleans for the iconic Mardi Gras!
Maren and Fr. Christopher
Girls just wanna have fun!
Top Banana and Second Banana (which David is which?)

Margaret, Charles and Katrine
Nancy and Maren

 This is the first year that I was able to attend Mardi Gras, although it has become an annual fundraiser for St. Mark's.  

Norm as a Venetian Duke and me as Frida Kahlo 
Don't you love that faux lantern I found for $5.00 at Savor's? Tres francais?

The real Frida

Usually my husband and I are traveling out of the country in January and February for sailing, scuba diving, canoeing and rafting in Belize or Costa Rica.  Some of our traveling "compadres" joined us in costume this year as well.
Left-right in back row: Colin, Jim, JoAnne, Peter  Front row, Brittany, Heather Norm, Vicki

For a group of scruffy boaters, we dress up pretty well.

As part of the decorating committee (chaired by Angela Hearron), I designed and painted the photo booth (thanks Ken and Diane Reese for the construction help!), and hung faux draperies (really plastic table clothes in the green, yellow and purple that is typical of Mardi Gras decor) in the parish hall to create the illusion of many french doors.

Fr. Bob generously donated his professional photographer talents to begin to raise funds for the 2017 Pilgrimage group.

 We decorated eighteen tables with purple cloths (sewn by Donna Aldrich in 2014) and centerpieces of beads, masks and metallic foil bursts  to seat a total of 160 people for a dinner of gumbo, macaroni, salad, and bread pudding. 

Hanging from the ceiling were large paper pinwheels in purple, green and yellow with feather masks centered on them. 

The Hiltons

Gini looking fabulous!
Little Red Riding Hood and the Not So Big or Bad Wolf

Adam and Cleo

Jeff and Karen and Norm and Heather

Many Nob Hill merchants were extremely generous with Silent Auction Items as were members of the parish who donated things like vacation time shares, a custom hoop house for the garden, a week in a casita, vintage Native American jewelry, a handmade afghan, catered gourmet items, etc. 

Ann and Ken tending bar

Dollie and Milo

Entourage Jazz had us dancing the evening away to their smooth sounds!

No one is too young or too old to love dancing.