Category Archives: anniversary

Twenty Years ago…

Our wedding day, June 10, 1997

Our wedding day, June 10, 1997

I married the love of my life! This Saturday is our 20th anniversary. It has flown by, I still cannot believe all the life we have lived together. I am so grateful to have found my soulmate during this lifetime! June is a crazy month for us, yesterday was Aaron’s birthday (Father’s day coming up soon!), so we took it somewhat easy and spent some time with our grandson in the afternoon. He was in a happy mood, so it was a blast. It’s so much fun being a grandparent! What is it they say? If I had known it would be this much fun, I would have done this part first! lol. Aaron and Ben took a little nap together yesterday and I was able to snap my new favorite photo of the two of them.

Aaron and Benny napping

Aaron and Benny napping

I started on the mural last Friday and have had a few days to work on it so far. Of course the weather decided to be nice and HOT this week! Luckily for me, the homeowners have an Ez-up canopy they put up for shade and lots of ice cold lemonade. Sandy and Jeff have been really great during the whole process, thanks guys! This photo was taken this morning before I started painting again. The green sections have been started since I took this one. I’m filming a time lapse of the whole process, I will share it once it’s complete. I’m so excited about getting this finished up! It’s coming out even better than I had hoped. The texture of the stucco adds a cool dimension to the painting, though it does make it MUCH more difficult to paint. Lots of drip spots to touch up once I’m done. It’s been so freeing to paint this big, I think I’m hooked, murals only from now on! Just kidding of course, but I wouldn’t mind it so much. 😉

Progress on the mural!

Progress on the mural!

Living in the “Land of Enchantment”

Clouds, Trees and meadow in the San Pedro Wilderness Area

Before the snow, one of the many beautiful meadows in the San Pedro Wilderness Area

Ah, Spring in New Mexico! So many varieties of weather available to chose from! Rain, wind, sun, snow! If you’ve never been to New Mexico, you may not realize that our state is more than JUST a desert! We have mountains and meadows, rivers and lakes, snow topped tundras and then there are the deserts. There is a reason the state motto is “The Land of Enchantment”.

hiking trail covered in logs in the San Pedro Wilderness Area

The trail is covered with logs to give you some traction when the water is flowing and/or standing

There is currently a storm front moving through the state that has dumped snow in the northern part of the state while down south, they are getting highs in the 70s and 80s! New Mexico is a VERY diverse state. Diverse in our landscapes, diverse in our people. Is it any wonder why I love it here!?

tall Aspen tree in the San Pedro Wilderness Area

There are Aspen groves alongside Evergreen trees, very TALL trees!

Watching the weather report this morning, reminded me of a hike Aaron and I took a few years back. It was our anniversary, June 10th, and we decided it was time to head up to one of our favorite hiking spots. It is a summer only trail, as there is usually plenty of snow in the winter. Unless, of course, you have snow shoes! I’ve never been much of a snow lover myself, but NM also has some great skiing areas. The San Pedro Wilderness area is part of the Santa Fe National Forest. A bit west of the Jemez mountains, just east of Cuba, NM and about a 1 1/2 hour drive from Albuquerque. It is almost always wet up there, but that year? We got snowed on! It wasn’t a heavy snow, but wet, and it stuck pretty well to the green grass.

Lake Gregario in the San Pedro Wilderness Area

One side of Lake Gregario, such a beautiful sight!

Let’s just say we didn’t make it very far that day. We were not prepared for snow and so we turned around and headed back down the mountain, after we sat and enjoyed our lunch in the falling snow! San Pedro Wilderness is a wonderful place! The trees are tall and there is a lake for fishing as well. The trail we usually hike is called the “Las Vacas” trail, which is Spanish for “the cows”. You have to be careful not to step where the cows have been, it can be pretty messy! At least there is a stream to clean off your shoes, just in case!

Osa sneaking up on ducks at the lake in the San Pedro Wilderness Area

Osa THINKS she is sneaking up on the ducks, but they aren’t fooled!

Our dog, Osa, LOVES this wilderness! So many smells and places to explore. One of the best things about this trail is there are rarely any people on it past the lake which is about 3/4 mile up from the trail head. Osa loves this because she gets to run free without her leash!

Snow at the top of the mountains in the San Pedro Wilderness Area of New Mexico

And then there was SNOW! Yes! Snow in June in New Mexico

This forest is quite literally a rain forest. Ferns grow here and boy, the bugs are pretty bad! We have hiked to the top of the trail, the ridge that follows the tops of the mountains, and it almost always has at least an inch of standing water. It’s too bad we can’t transfer that moisture to other parts of the state at times. It’s green and lush and the meadows are gorgeous! Wildflowers abound in the late Spring and early Summer. It’s a great place for camping, just make sure you take your rain gear and a waterproof tent!

Snow on the ground in the San Pedro Wilderness Area

And MORE snow!

Last Summer, we took a backpacking trip on this trail and ended up coming home after one night because our brand new backpacking tent leaked like a sieve and we were drenched! Even so, we have several happy memories of the place. Looking forward to the day when we can head back up there, I guess it will have to wait a bit longer for the snow to melt all the way. 😉

The Rio de las Vacas or River of the Cows in the San Pedro Wilderness Area

The Rio de las Vacas or River of the Cows

Looking Back at 25 Years as an Artist!

This year marks my 25th year as an artist! It’s so hard to believe it’s been that long! I have been an artist since childhood, but at the young age of 21 I decided it was what I wanted to be when I grew up. It was actually a Tony Robbins infomercial in the middle of the night that inspired me.

pencil drawing covered bridge Tennessee

Covered Bridge drawing, the first image I printed/sold on postcards

I was working graveyard shift at a Comfort Inn in Clarksville, Tennessee after finishing my time in the Army. I was disgusted and frustrated because I was back at basically the same job I had left for the Army. New town, different state, but that same graveyard shift, minimum wage paying, sleep depriving job. I worked graveyard because my husband worked mornings and it was the only way we could have a second income without paying for child care. My two eldest sons were 5 years and 9 months old at the time. The third son hadn’t joined the family just yet.

I was at work, killing time watching cable TV in the lobby, when the Tony Robbins infomercial came on. I decided to watch it all the way through and by the end I thought, I can’t afford his book right now, but surely I can think of some way to make a living doing something I love to do. (I eventually bought that book at a yard sale many years later and I highly recommend Tony Robbins to anyone looking for motivation!)

After watching the infomercial, I thought of how much I used to love drawing and painting in high school. The next night, I brought paper and pencils with me and spent the graveyard shift drawing a local covered bridge that I found a photo of in a local magazine.

That drawing changed my life forever. (Little did I know at the time!) I showed it to my husband, grudgingly as he always told me my art from high school wasn’t that good, and he was blown away. It wasn’t long before we found a printer to make postcards of the covered bridge drawing and my husband took them to his job at a local convenience store where he sold them to people who came in for gas and cigarettes.

Before long, I had drawn several other local historical buildings and had quite an array of postcards of local drawings. I was invited to show my drawings at the local Chamber of Commerce, a local bank and eventually the local tour of historic homes commissioned me to draw several other local buildings and I sold art prints and postcards at the tour event.

That event helped me to really get my art business going. I ended up getting several commissions for other historical homes as well as portraits. After the buildings I started my portrait series and the rest is history! Of course, there is so much more to this story, but this is the story of how it all began.

A word to any young artists who are reading this post. Don’t ever let anyone tell you you can’t make a living as an artist. Sure, it’s not an easy life, sure, it takes time to build a name for yourself and a portfolio of art that you are proud to share, but it is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. The first most rewarding thing I’ve done was having 3 beautiful sons!

Artists starting out today have it much easier than I had it starting out. You have the internet and so many avenues to get your art work out there (Twitter, Instagram, weblogs like this one, and an infinity of other sites with a plethora of information). When I first started, the internet was out there, but not for the masses. I didn’t even have a computer until 6 years after I started!

One of the things I always wished I had starting out, was other artists to ask advice of. I was very isolated in a small town in Tennessee with no art scene to speak of. There were no smart phones or digital cameras. Thank goodness for the internet! There is so much information available in a simple Google search!

If you have any questions about starting out as an artist, please ask away in the comments and I promise to write another blog post in answer to any and all questions I receive.

Camping, Aaron’s Music and Yosemite

Last week Aaron and I went to California for our annual anniversary vacation. Aaron had a gig in Santa Margarita, California on June 2nd, so we planned the trip around that date.

Fremont Street

Aaron and I standing at the entrance of the Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas

We left Albuquerque on May 31st and drove to Sedona, Az the first day. We had planned on camping in Sedona that night but quickly found that there was no place available to camp, not even a primitive campsite! It seems we are pretty lucky here in New Mexico.

Dale Chiluly sculpture

Me standing in front of a Dale Chiluly glass sculpture in Las Vegas

On our entire 2,500 mile trip through Arizona up through California to Yosemite National Park, camping is basically limited to KOA campgrounds or established National Park campgrounds which must be reserved 6 months in advance! Unfortunately, we are more spontaneous than that, in other words, we don’t plan that far ahead.

paula

Me at the entrance to Yosemite Valley

We ended up staying in hotels all but our last night, when we stayed at the Williams, Az KOA. It’s one of the best KOAs we have stayed at, with the added bonus that they have a hot tub! Actually, TWO hot tubs!

bridal veil falls

Bridal Veil Falls

The second day we decided (spontaneously!) to head up to Las Vegas and spend a night there since we have never been. Now, if you know us at all, you know we have never had much desire to go to Vegas. It’s just not our style, we prefer to spend time in National Parks, camping, hiking and picnicking and if we do go to a city, it’s to visit museums, galleries or see the sights. Not that Las Vegas isn’t a GREAT place to see the sights! Anyway, we decided to go and experience it so we could say we did it. I have to say it was a lot of fun! We rode the roller coaster at the NY, NY casino, rode a double decker bus down the strip, and walked back to the Fremont Street Experience. We stayed at the Golden Nugget hotel so it was perfect that there were live bands playing on Fremont Street. We stayed out until 3am dancing to 80s cover songs(my favorite)! Oh and we played $10 on the slots and walked away with $30!

Half Dome in Yosemite

Half Dome in Yosemite

The third day was Aaron’s gig at The Porch in Santa Margarita, California. The place was packed and we discovered a couple of new musicians who shared the stage with Aaron. Jean Butterfield, Three Legged Sister, Don Lampson and another guy whose name is escaping me right now. Thanks to Laura Meyer for recommending it to Aaron. Everyone was very welcoming and the food was good too!

Aaron playing at The Porch

Aaron Lewis playing at The Porch in Santa Margarita, California

The fourth day we drove up to Yosemite. It was so amazing and awe inspiring, now THAT is my kind of place! I only wish we could have spent more time there. We had planned to camp, but there was not one single campsite available. There were some tent rentals in the Yosemite valley, but there is no way in hell we were paying $110 to stay in a TENT! This is apparently what is called “deluxe camping”, everything is set up for you, you just bring your suitcase. I don’t know about that, seems kind of counter to everything camping is about! For us anyway, to each his own I guess. Turned out the pass we had planned on driving over to go home was stilled closed for the season, so we ended up going back down to Fresno to get a hotel room. When we woke up in the morning it was pouring rain and the weather showed snow up in Yosemite! We were grateful that we didn’t end up camping that night! Since rain was forecast for the next couple days, we decided to head home a day early. So we drove back to Williams, Az and then the rest of the way home the day after that. As always, good to be back home!

Back home now

Home sweet home! Our trip was a blast! The concert was incredible! Plus we had some great visits with some long time friends.

I can’t forget to mention that I met fellow blogger, Cynthia Guajardo, at the Summer Art Market in Denver. I forgot my camera that day, so she took the pics with hers. Follow the link to see them. I bought a wonderful vase from her, I will get a photo posted later. I also just received a card from her in the mail with a wonderful fabric postcard, thanks Cynthia! She is such a sweet lady!

The Police concert was the best concert I’ve ever seen! The opening band was Fictionplane, whose lead singer/bassist happens to be Sting’s son. They were awesome! We got their cd, they were so good. The Police played all my favorite songs, and it was so incredible to see Stewart Copeland banging away on the drums in person!

On Sunday, June 10th, we spent the day up north of Fort Collins, visiting the spot next to the Poudre river where we were married, and eating dinner at the diner where we used to regularly go when we lived there.

When we came back, rather than driving straight down I-25, we decided to travel the back roads thru Alamosa, Colorado and Taos, NM. Beautiful drive! I doubt we will ever travel I-25 going north again.

Anyway, today(and most likely all weekend) I will be busy moving in to my new studio at the Factory on 5th. I will post some photos of our trip and the new studio once I get the computer all set up there. Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer!!!