Plein Air Journal – Ghost Ranch

October 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

This past weekend I had the pleasure of painting the famous Ghost Ranch scenery with other PAPNM (Plein Air Painters of New Mexico) members Mary and Marilyn. As I had a bit of a longer drive than the other two, by the time I arrived at the ranch they were already lost in the landscape. It only took two minutes up the rough gravel road past the campground to find them though. Their reflective umbrellas stood out in the pale yellow grassy hills. Both painters were already hard at work, absorbed in laying down the outlines of their pieces at their shaded easels. I commenced to set up my not-so-professional camping chair with a purple polka-dotted umbrella bungie-corded to the back. hahaha.

My not-so-professional, yet very cheerful painting set-up.

My not-so-professional, yet very cheerful painting set-up.

It was an excellent morning that started cool and warmed up quickly. By noon we were all a bit too warm and after lunch headed down to paint from more shaded areas. I set aside my painting of the giant rocky cliffs and planned to pick up where I left off in the cool of Sunday morning.

Mary and I chose to paint from the portico of the worship building. Our view:  Cerro Pedernal, locally known as just “Pedernal” is a narrow mesa in New Mexico. The name is Spanish for Flint Hill. The sky was doing amazing things with big dramatic clouds sweeping over the mountains while the cottonwood trees flamed a brilliant yellow.

Mary and I chose to paint from the portico of the worship building

the portico of the worship building

closer picture of where we painted from

closer picture of where we painted from

Pedernal, oil on board, 11 x 14"

Pedernal, oil on board, 11 x 14″

Marilyn set up under the large shady trees near the dining hall. Not too long after she began painting we could see from our portico another painter had set up near her and I can understand why. The view of rolling hills and mountains in the distance was really captivating. All the yellow in the trees and scattered leaves also lent the whole scene a decidedly autumn feel, something that hasn’t reached Portales yet.

The dining hall surrounded by shady trees dropping yellow leaves

The dining hall surrounded by shady trees dropping yellow leaves

After the ladies finished their second pieces Husband and I bid them farewell, ate fajitas in the dining hall and retreated to our adobe abode to read and collapse.
The following morning we enjoyed breakfast in the dining hall again and it really felt like we were kids back at summer camp. What a nice feeling! I got myself a hot apple cinnamon tea to go and headed back up the hill to set up my painting again.

Morning walk down to breakfast in the dining hall

After breakfast: heading back to the Coyote building where we stayed

Finishing the rock piece from the day before

Finishing the painting of the cliffs from the day before

Painting the rock

Painting the rock

Ghost Ranch Rocks, oil on board, 11 x 14"

Cliffs at Ghost Ranch, oil on board, 11 x 14″

Elliott and I after breakfast

With my biggest supporter

We'll be back here...

We’ll be back here soon…

Plein Air Journal – Elida, New Mexico

October 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

Just a half-an-hour drive down the highway from Portales lies the tiny town of Elida. The 2000 census reported 183 residents and I’m fairly certain there are fewer today. Despite its diminutive size the town has bright storefronts (all of them closed), giant shady trees and lots of artfully scattered abandoned farm equipment. It’s a painters paradise really. Today was a blustery one so I painted from the passenger seat of my car.

The view with my palette on the dashboard

The view with my palette on the dashboard

Just starting out with the washes...

Just starting out with the washes…

Painting in progress resting in the driver's seat while I stretch my legs.

Painting in progress resting in the driver’s seat while I stretch my legs.

Finished painting

Finished painting, 11 x 14″ oil on board

Plein Air Journal – Bottomless Lake State Park, New Mexico

October 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

Just half an hour outside of Roswell New Mexico (aliens, yeah yeah…) is Bottomless Lake State Park. These lakes are sinkholes and range from 17 to 90 feet deep. The greenish-blue color created by aquatic plants is what gives the lakes the illusion of great depth. Husband and I drove out there yesterday afternoon and I managed to get a painting done before the sun went down and the flies came out to play.

Setting up in the shade to paint

Setting up in the almost-shade to paint

In progress

In progress

Working away...

Working away…

done

Weekend of art openings and an award!

October 4, 2015 § Leave a comment

It was an exciting weekend of art openings for me. The Plein Air Painters of New Mexico opened their juried fall show on Friday night at the Santa Fe Art Collector Gallery. Many of the painters I knew from past “paintouts” were in attendance and I got a chance to meet many others. The highlight of the weekend was winning an honorable mention award for my painting Galisteo Basin Preserve! The award came with a generous gift of art supplies and some encouraging comments later in the evening from the awards judge Lorenzo Chavez. The show is open from October 3 to 25th at 217 Galisteo St. in Santa Fe.

Outside the Gallery

Outside the Gallery

Yellow Ribbon...

Yellow Ribbon…

Galisteo Basin Preserve, 9 x 12" oil on board $450

Galisteo Basin Preserve, 9 x 12″ oil on board $450

Link to a wee video of the award announcement and a comment from the judge.

Honorable Mention Prizes!

Prizes!

Certificate

Certificate

Suitcase of paint

Suitcase of paint

And if that wasn’t enough excitement for one weekend, the following day Husband and I drove to Albuquerque for the opening reception of the New Mexico Watercolor Society Juried Fall Show. There we enjoyed a fantastic spread of food (green chili cream cheese on mini bagels, spanakopita, fruit, cheese, cake… just to name a few drool-worthy options) and met some incredible artists. The gallery was an adobe building with high ceilings, huge wooden beams and large windows overhead that streamed in natural light. An exciting show in a beautiful space. Go check out the show, open from October 4th to 25th, 10AM to 4PM, Thursdays to Sundays, in the Fine Arts Gallery of EXPO-NM.

Outside the Gallery

Outside the Gallery

My piece, New Mexico Hills, 8 x 10"

My piece, New Mexico Hills, 8 x 10″

Monday after school

August 17, 2015 § Leave a comment

This evening, to beat the back-to-school blues I prioritized painting. This is NOT to say I am not enjoying the chaos and excitement of being back in my library with all the new students and returning students… just that I need this part of my day to keep me sane and to recharge.

Dragon was enjoying her favorite window ledge snoozing spot and I enjoyed listening to the rain coming down as I painted. My best friend from high school entrusted me with her precious yellow tea cup years ago and it is my watercolor painting vessel.

Dragon yawns

Dragon yawns

Palette and watercolor tea cup

Palette and watercolor tea cup

How far I got today

How far I got today, second session with this piece

Close up working

Close up working

Fancy angle close up

Fancy angle close up

Evening tea to finish the experience while I blog

Evening tea to finish the experience while I blog

The Austin Art Day

August 3, 2015 § Leave a comment

The day after the reading summit I hiked with Luce (video in a previous post), visited the amazing Art Science Gallery, Women Printmakers of Austin (WPA) studio, Big Medium and finished the day at Painting with a Twist just for fun.

At the WPA studio I met artist Jo Lagattuta. Jo had to complete a pre-requisite course in Albuquerque in order to pursue her Art Therapy program in Santa Fe. Never did she realize she was going to fall deeply in love with this medium and make it her own for years and years to come. Check out her art on the WPA website.

Here is Jo using sun exposure as part of her printmaking process…

Jo Lagattuta at work in Austin, Texas

Jo Lagattuta at work in Austin, Texas

Using the sunlight to make art!

Using the sunlight to make art!

Here is some footage of the Painting with a Twist event. Basically the idea is bring your own booze, (I did not and there were many others who weren’t drinking either) listen to music, follow the lead painter and leave with a 16 x 20 acrylic painting! It was a LOT of fun and I think it would be the best couples date idea too.

Painting with a Twist studio

Painting with a Twist studio

hard at work

hard at work

when in Texas you must choose the apron with Texas painted on it

when in Texas you must choose the apron with Texas painted on it

Princess Bubblegum

Princess Bubblegum

This guy...

This guy…

Ta da! It's done. It is called "Tranquil Buddha"

Ta da! It’s done. It is called “Tranquil Buddha”

The Reading Summit!

August 3, 2015 § Leave a comment

So the whole reason I headed on this big road trip by myself to Austin Texas was to attend the Scholastic Reading Summit. It was one day and it was full of inspiration, delicious food (why didn’t I take photos of it?!?) excellent keynote speakers and amazing workshops. The highlights for me were meeting and attending workshops by the book whisperer herself, Donalyn Miller. She was a teacher in Texas before making the move to Scholastic this year to reach more children and change them all into independent readers. Basically, my hero. Here we are:

Donalyn Miller at the Scholastic Reading Summit in Austin, TX.

Donalyn Miller and I at the Scholastic Reading Summit in Austin, TX.

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