Working through down days

I’m caught in a catch 22 at the moment. I’ve been feeling down this week, mainly because I haven’t painted in over a month. But I haven’t painted in over a month, partially because I’ve been feeling down. In reality, I stopped painting because it was the Holidays. I always take a couple of weeks off around the holidays. My husband is a teacher and he gets a Christmas break, so of course, I take time off when he gets time off. This year, I just didn’t have the motivation and excitement for getting back to work in the studio.

My latest
My latest “Space” painting, still a work in progress!

I believe I started feeling down a couple of days after Christmas. All three of our sons, with families, made it to our house for a couple days. Christmas Eve, Christmas day and the day after Christmas. It was a wonderful visit, truly one of my favorite Christmases in over a decade. Probably since my dad passed away in 2008.

I guess it was the let down after everyone went home. I was happy to have the house back to it’s quiet, peaceful place, but that empty nest feeling was there too. I miss my kids.

detail
detail

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE that we moved 3 1/2 hours away from the kids. I love that we have OUR time now. It’s almost like a hormonal thing that I have no control over? Maybe that’s a real thing? I don’t know, what I do know is, I’m a walking contradiction right now! lol!

While I get past it, I will be gentle with myself. If I only get in 30 minutes of painting a day for a little while, that’s ok! I’ve been working on all the mindless, mind numbing, business stuff for now. I’m also working on putting together a portfolio of my photography. I know the obsessive urge to paint will return, it always does!

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Happy New Year!

I’m so happy to be back in the studio! I had a lovely Holiday break, time with family, lots of snow and thankfully, some serious peace and quiet. I’m rested and ready to get back to work.

Enjoying the snow
Aaron and I enjoying the snow in front of our house!

I haven’t had the chance to paint just yet, so no progress pics to share. I figured it would be a good time to share some of my photos from the snow storm that hit just AFTER Christmas.

Our house in the snow
Our house from the back side, in the snow!

It was probably a good thing it snowed two days after Christmas, or our kids wouldn’t have been able to get home to Albuquerque! We were so happy to have all three of our sons, one DIL and one grandson down to visit for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. We had a great time playing “Cards against Humanity”, Jenga and “Speak Out”, a hilarious game everyone should play at least once! I haven’t laughed that hard in years!

Sun peeking thru the clouds
After the snow, when the sun finally started to peek out again!

We had planned on hiking everyday during our vacation, but the weather had other plans. We did take a couple of hikes in the snow, but once it started to melt, the hiking trails were way too muddy! While we enjoyed hanging around the house and watching movies and reading, the dogs were less than overjoyed.

Rock cairn in the yard
Rock cairn in the yard

Once the roads cleared up, (the mountain pass highway from I-25 to our house was closed for days!) we made a trip to Las Cruces and then to Cloudcroft to visit more family. I’m happy to report my art will soon be showing at a new Bakery/Coffee shop/Gallery in downtown Cloudcroft, Eight the Cake.

Hiking near the Mimbres River
Hiking near the Mimbres River in the Gila National Forest.

Hiking the Gila: Purgatory Chasm

Snow covered tree in the Gila National Forest

A couple of weeks ago it snowed here in the Gila National Forest. We had to go into town that day and while I was thinking, “we should take the long way home so we can see the snow”, Aaron was saying “do you want to take the long way home so we can check out the snow?” He’s really good at reading my mind. Not always, but sometimes we are just on the same wavelength!

I can’t resist a texture photo! Plus, I like the footprint!

Rather than coming home the regular way, we headed north on hwy 15 out of Silver City. It was so beautiful! Snow everywhere! We stopped a couple of times so I could snap pics of nature covered in the cold, white powder.

Looking back at the opening to the chasm canyon

By the time we got to the split with hwy 35 and started heading south in the Mimbres valley, the snow was gone and the sun was starting to peek out of the clouds. We decided then and there to stop at the Purgatory Chasm trail head. It’s a short trail very near Lake Roberts that we had never been on. I believe it’s a 1 mile loop. It’s one of those tourist type trails, short, level and gorgeous!

I’m also a sucker for a reflection pic! 😜

About a 1/2 mile in there is a split where the loop trail begins. We picked the left fork and shortly after we came to the chasm. The rock walls seem to pop up out of nowhere and suddenly, you are in a very narrow, tall canyon. The rocks on the canyon walls form hundreds of faces! It’s almost as if you can feel the eyes of the ancient ones staring at you and hear their whispering as you walk through.

And then there was sun…

We didn’t make it all the way around the loop trail. Somehow, we lost the trail and ended up looking down at the canyon. It was getting close to sundown, so we decided to play it safe and turned around to go back the way we came in.

The sun/shadows make the rocks POP! Can you see the faces?

That was about the time the sun came out and made the rocks really POP! So, even though it LOOKS like these photos were taken on three different days, it was all on the same day. You know what they say about New Mexico weather? Wait 5 minutes, it will change! Just for fun, I’m throwing in a photo I took at Emory Pass after the most recent snow on the mountain. I love the heart in the clouds!

This is the heart in the clouds, taken from the look out at Emory pass.

Space, Spirals and Stars

Spiral Detail

Spiral Detail

It feels great to be back at the easel! This new large canvas I’m working on is exciting too! I can see it finished in my mind and it’s going to be awesome. A friend commented on a progress pic on instagram, “The eye”. I hadn’t noticed it before, but when the painting is turned sideways, there is totally an eye in there. Follow the link above to see some of my recent Instagram posts. I posted a couple of time lapse videos this morning while working on this painting. Follow me on Instagram to see all of my WIP posts!

Current work in progress, 36x36" oil on canvas

Current work in progress, 36×36″ oil on canvas

The discovery of the hidden eye is so perfect! My spirals have always been about looking within, I guess the subliminal message is there too. I’ve always felt like my paintings came from some other place, like I am just the conduit or channel for the Universe. It makes sense that my paintings of the galaxies in space would have even more hidden meaning than what I am aware of. As the years go by, I find more hidden meaning in my work. It’s not intentional on my part, but perhaps it’s a message from the Universe?

Today I worked on the yellow section some more. I’m working from the middle out. I started to add in more blue and also put in the first layer for the bright yellow stars in the image.

Another detail

Another detail

I’ve said it here before, my paintings are a meditation. They are a meditation for me as I paint, but they are also meant to be a meditation for anyone viewing the finished painting. My intention is for you to go within yourself as you gaze at the painting. Think of it as a focal point for your meditation.

In this new Space series, I can feel my spirit soaring into the sky, like I’m viewing the galaxies and stars from the vantage point of the Hubble telescope. I recently saw an article about the Hubble telescope. Did you know it’s been 28 years since the Hubble was launched?! I remember it well, but it sure doesn’t seem like it’s been that long. Are you as fascinated by the Hubble images as I am?

WIP (Work in Progress)

work in progress, 36 x 36

work in progress, 36 x 36″ oil painting on canvas, this is a center close up.

I haven’t painted in a couple of weeks. I took the week of Thanksgiving off from the studio, since it’s a vacation week for my husband. The beginning of this week was spent working on boring business stuff. Somebody’s gotta do it! This is a one woman operation, so I guess it’s me!

Detail of the layering

Detail of the layering

I started the current work in progress weeks ago. It’s always difficult to jump back into a painting in progress after a break. I forget where I left off, or what brush I used for a certain section. It’s mostly a mental psych out. I overthink it every time! This afternoon was the perfect time to jump in.

progress pic in mid layering

Progress pic during the layering process, darker blue was painted first, with light blue layered over the top

I’m working on the blue parts today. Layering with a darker blue and then a lighter blue on top. Layering gives the paint more depth and makes the blue part stand out a bit more. I’m pretty sure there will be more layers added. The blue in the original inspiration photo is very bright, it should be, there are stars in there! Not easy to recreate with paint! I’m using Cerulean Blue mixed with some Naples Yellow, but I may have to search out a brighter blue in the end. So far though? I’m liking the effect.

Another detail of layering

Tomorrow the temps are supposed to drop with a chance of rain in the forecast. Aaron and I will be working on finishing up the insulation in my studio. Hopefully, I will be able to work in the studio next week. The wood burning stove in my studio does a pretty good job of heating the building, but 1,000 square feet of space takes a while to heat! I’ve found that it heats up fine as long as the outside temps are over 50. Forecast is calling for 40s all next week, so we shall see if the insulation is doing it’s job! One of these days I will get a more reliable source of heat, but that will take more cash. Plus, we still have to insulated the ceiling, so….. Not going for sympathy here, I chose to be here. I LOVE my studio, but it sure will be nice when it’s all finished!

Hiking the Gila: Trees

Alligator Juniper tree

Hard to tell in this photo, but this is a HUGE tree!

I love trees! Shouldn’t we all? I mean, come on, they give us oxygen to live! When I was a kid, I loved to climb up into their branches. I even swung out of a tree with a garden hose once and had to get xrayed for a possible collar-bone fracture. It turned out it was just a bad bruise. I never swung out of a tree again after that day! I have climbed up into their branches again and again though.

Twisted Alligator Juniper with Aaron in the photo for scale!

Twisted Alligator Juniper with Aaron in the photo for scale!

Aaron and I went for a hike in the Gila Wilderness this past Sunday. We went back to Rocky Canyon since we didn’t make it far on the trail the last time. Actually, last time, we took a split in the trail to see a cave. This time, we hiked the main Rocky Canyon trail and I must say, the name is a bit misleading! The trail only stays in the canyon for about a half mile before climbing several hundred, possibly a thousand, feet up and out of the canyon. The trail then follows the ridge top for quite some time. We ended our hike after about 2 1/2 miles, at Brannon Park.

Alligator Juniper. This side shows the twisted trunk better

Alligator Juniper. This side shows the twisted trunk better

While on the ridge top, we encountered a massive grove of Alligator Juniper trees. Alligator Junipers get their name from the texture of their bark. It looks like the skin of an alligator. These specific trees have always fascinated me. They are usually old and twisted. This grove was OLD. The trees were HUGE!

Not sure what type of tree this one is, but I love it!

Not sure what type of tree this one is, but I love it!

One in particular was very twisted. It looked as if a giant had spun it from the top, the trunk had several parts to it and they were all twisted around each other. Even the branches were twisted. I wonder what causes this? My guess is the wind, but if anyone knows for sure, let me know!

Charred remains of a Ponderosa Pine. That must have been a big fire!

Charred remains of a Ponderosa Pine. That must have been a big fire!

It was quite obvious when we left the grove of Juniper trees. It was almost like a line had been drawn and the Junipers were separated from another grove of Ponderosa Pines. Brannon Park is where the pine trees lived and the park was at a lower elevation from the ridge top where the Junipers were. We came into the park as we came down the hill.

Alligator Juniper

Alligator Juniper

In Brannon Park where we stopped for our lunch break, there was a muddy stream bed that was drying out. Just enough water remained for the dogs to get a drink. As we sat eating we noticed there was a flock of Bushtits congregating around the dwindling water supply. We heard the squawk of a hawk, but never saw it. We don’t get to see much wildlife when we hike, thanks to the dogs. I guess that could be a good or bad thing!

I am so grateful to now live in southern New Mexico! It was a gorgeous, warm, sunny day! Hearing about blizzards in other parts of the country, I’ll take a sunny end of November day anytime!

Abstract

I have always loved abstract art. I’ve attempted to paint in an abstract style for years, but never felt I did it right until these five paintings. When I started the 20 plus canvases this Summer, my goal was to paint them all completely abstract with no recognizable objects. No suns or flowers, just pure abstraction. I ended up going in several different directions. These five stayed true to my original intention. Several wandered back to my spiral abstract series style with the mandala effect. Six became my new Energy series that I wrote about in my last blog post. Plus a handful of heart/love related paintings.

This one is still a work in progress, 12 x 12" oil on canvas

This one is still a work in progress, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas

I have one that is still a work in progress. Somehow it slipped by when I was finishing up the Fall Portfolio. Not sure how it will be completed, I suspect it’s very close to finished in it’s current state.

Landscape with Rain, 12x12" oil on canvas, Pure Abstract Series, Available for $225.

Landscape with Rain, 12×12″ oil on canvas, Pure Abstract Series, Available for $225.

“Landscape with rain” was painted in my home studio, looking out over the Mimbres Valley. The clouds were settled in to the valley and it rained daily. Though I meant this to be a pure abstract, looking at it now, I can see the hills and clouds and rain. It feels like Summer rain to me.

"Balanced", 12 x 12" oil on canvas, Pure Abstract Series, Available for $225

“Balanced”, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas, Pure Abstract Series, Available for $225

“Balanced” was done after I moved in to my new studio in Santa Clara. I called it balanced because I felt it was the closest to my original goal for this group of paintings. A Pure Abstract painting. It started as a scribble and the colors were filled in with pure intuition. It was one of those paintings that felt perfect and great as I was making it. It flowed from a place of pure inspiration. Al

"All I Speak is Love", 12 x 12" oil on canvas, Pure Abstract Series, Available for $225

“All I Speak is Love”, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas, Pure Abstract Series, Available for $225

“All I Speak is Love” was inspired by a song written and performed by a musician friend. Alison Reynolds is an incredible song writer and musician in Las Cruces, New Mexico. This painting was specifically inspired by her song, 3 Monkeys. Give it a listen!

"Eye of the Storm", 12 x 12" oil on canvas, Pure Abstract Series, Available for $225.

“Eye of the Storm”, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas, Pure Abstract Series, Available for $225.

“Eye of the Storm” was started in August at my home studio. In the midst of above average rainfall, storms were on the mind when this painting was started. We had some intense thunderstorms with spectacular lightning shows. Someone on social media pointed out the eye in the middle and it stuck. Not easy to paint a pure abstract without someone seeing something represented! 😉

I definitely see more pure abstracts coming in the future. I love concentrating more on the colors and composition of the brush strokes. Not thinking about whether it “looks like” anything. Stay tuned for more! If you want to get notice when I paint more, subscribe to my email list and get regular updates on new paintings, blog posts and studio sales! My Small Business Saturday Sale is coming up THIS WEEK!