Category Archives: Arizona

Happy New Year!

Aaron and I at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Aaron and I at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your Holidays. I really did enjoy all the time spent with my family in 2016. We also had a really fun and successful mini-tour to Arizona with our music. Sunlight performed in Phoenix, Tucson and Ajo, AZ and we were very grateful for the turnout and CD sales!

Margaritas in Mexico!

Margaritas in Mexico!

While in southern Arizona, we visited the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. It was awesome to see all the huge cacti! Saguaros and Organ Pipe Cactus were everywhere. We took a short hike, but it was quite cold while we were there. Of course, it warmed up into the 70s on the day we left.

Serenaded by Mariachis

Serenaded by Mariachis

We made a very quick trip down to Mexico for dinner one of the days we were visiting in Ajo. It was supposed to be a full day trip, but my sweetie woke up sick that day and ended up sleeping until 3 in the afternoon. Once he got up, we decided to go for it and drove down to Puerto Penasco for a wonderful dinner by the sea! The food was great, even if the weather was COLD and windy. Our waiter was awesome and brought us our own personal heater. We practiced our Espanol with him and he practiced his English with us. Other than the trucks of soldiers riding around with automatic weapons, nothing was out of the ordinary. I guess the soldiers were there to protect the tourists. Like I said, nothing out of the ordinary!

Javelina helping himself to some grub in the garbage

Javelina helping himself to some grub in the garbage

I saw my first live Javelina while we were in Ajo! Apparently, they are regular visitors to the dumpster there. I only got one photo of one of them, but at night we were surrounded in our car by a herd/pack? of them! It was quite interesting, like watching a nature show in person! haha!

Our dear, sweet Raven. May she RIP :(

Our dear, sweet Raven. May she RIP 😦

We arrived home in Albuquerque just in time for Christmas and spent several great days hanging out with our kids, siblings and parents. Only one day was a sad day, as we had to have one of our fur babies put down at the end of the year. She was old and sick, but Raven will be greatly missed! She was a great dog. ❀

Cannabis coloring page, will be available in The Chronicle sometime this week!

Cannabis coloring page, will be available in The Chronicle sometime this week!

The last week of the year I was asked to create a coloring page for a new local quarterly paper. The Chronicle is New Mexico’s Cannabis Magazine. I created a Cannabis Mandala coloring page for the first issue of 2017. It was quick and fun, check out their website for more information.

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Birthday Week!

Tuesday was my birthday, not saying how old I am! Let’s just say I’m not a Spring chicken anymore! Not a winter chicken either, but somewhere in between. They say age is just a number and I live by that mantra! I’m enjoying my life more now than at any other time in my life. I haven’t spent much time in the studio this week, we went for a ride on the Sandia Tramway on Tuesday evening and have been sleeping in everyday. It IS my week after all!

Current work in progress, 24 x 30" oil on canvas

Current work in progress, 24 x 30″ oil on canvas

I have done a bit more painting on my current work in progress. This is a larger canvas than I’ve been painting lately. A friend gave me the canvas and so I figured I may as well put it to good use (Thanks Stephanie!). This one is an 24 x 30″ oil on canvas. (Darn it! I just cut my finger on the tape measure!) It’s getting very close to completion!

I’m working on updating my portfolio and this means I have several older paintings to clear out of my studio. Check out my Etsy shop for some really great sale prices on some great art! πŸ˜‰ I will be adding more paintings in the coming days and weeks.

Today I will start my next painting video! I’m working on a series of 12 x 12″ oils on canvasΒ  that will be made into a video series. Each painting will be named after a song on our Sunlight CD, Life is Good. The corresponding song will provide the background music for the video as well. I hope you will check back in with my blog, or better yet, subscribe so you can get an email when I post the next video!

Speaking of Sunlight, we have jumped back into playing live shows again after a 2 year hiatus for recording. This weekend we are playing a house concert at our own house in Albuquerque. Our friend, Alison Reynolds, is coming up from Las Cruces to play a set and some songs with Sunlight! On November 12th we are playing in Austin, Texas at the Carousel Lounge! Our first gig in Austin, so exciting! In December, we are traveling to Arizona and have shows in both Phoenix and Tucson. Click the “live shows” link above to see where and when we are playing next! πŸ™‚ Our next local show is December 14th in Rio Rancho. We hope to finish our 2nd album of original music by the beginning of 2017! Stay tuned for more and thank you for visiting my blog! πŸ™‚

Best Laid Plans…

Every time I get back into the swing of a routine, my life comes along and sweeps me up into it’s flow. I am grateful for my life which is far from boring! It seems like I JUST posted that last blog and now here it is over a month later.

love touches the heart finished oil painting

“Love touches the heart”, 18 x 18″ oil on canvas, SOLD

Lots of things going on in my life these days. As I mentioned in my last post, I just returned from a short tour with my group, Sunlight. We played three shows in Arizona and a couple in Las Cruces and Wednesday of this week we are playing again here in Albuquerque. Music has always been a huge part of my life, but now, being a performer, it has taken on a whole new meaning. I am coming up on my 2 year anniversary as a singer. Who knew it could be this much fun!?

oil painting in progress

“Generous, kind, hearts, shine”, 18 x 18″ oil on canvas, work in progress

Still working on my “Words” series, in fact, since my last post, I finished the painting I was working on (and sold it!) and started two more. One is an addition to the Words series, and the other is a new guitar painting.

guitar painting in progress

“Love knows no gender”, acrylic on wood guitar, work in progress

The guitar painting is inspired by the recent popular issue of marriage equality. I don’t like to be political here on my blog, but I have to admit that I support gay marriage! The ONE necessary ingredient for a successful marriage? LOVE! Hence the name for my latest guitar painting, “Love knows no gender”. πŸ™‚

Lessons Learned

photo of the stage at Fiddler's Dream coffee house

The stage at Fiddler’s Dream Coffee House

Last night we made it home from our second trip out in the RV. We went back to Arizona again. This time starting off in Phoenix where we had a Sunlight show at Fiddler’s Dream coffee house. Then heading to Tucson the next day where we had a gig at Delectables restaurant.

Aaron and I, Sunlight, before our show

Aaron and I (Sunlight), before hopping on stage for our show

Fiddler’s Dream is just that, a dream venue! The audience is actually listening and not just there to eat and visit with each other. We had a really wonderful response there, it was lovely. We will definitely go back on our next trip to Phoenix! Before we left Phoenix, we spent the late morning/early afternoon at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens. They had an exhibit of Chihuly glass sculptures all throughout the gardens.

Chihuly glass sculpture

Chihuly glass sculpture at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens

Though it was a bit chilly, it was a lovely sunny day to be there. We met a friend there and also had a nice lunch in the patio cafe where the quail were so tame they came right up to us and practically ate out of our hands. I have never seen so many quail in one place and NEVER so tame!

Chihuly glass sculpture in the gardens

Chihuly glass sculpture in the gardens

tame quail in the patio cafe at the botanical gardens

tame quail in the patio cafe at the botanical gardens

quail at the botanical gardens

quail at the botanical gardens

There was also a lone squirrel in the mix that did, in fact, come up to me and take a piece of bread from my hand. He even posed for several photos!

squirrel that ate out of my hands!

squirrel that ate out of my hands!

Delectables was another lovely venue. It was a restaurant/bar and though the audience wasn’t there just for the music (we played for an art opening), they were friendly and welcoming. The owner, Donna, was sweet and invited us to come back anytime we were in Tucson.

more Chihuly glass

more Chihuly glass

The third day, we were supposed to be on our way to Bisbee to play a show at the Grand Hotel Saloon, but our RV had other plans. It started the night before on our way back to the RV park from our gig at Delectables. The night had gone really well, the crowd enjoyed our music and we enjoyed the crowd. That is, until we pulled onto the freeway and the RV started shaking and rocking back and forth. Aaron immediately pulled over because we thought we had blown out a tire. He got out, walked around to look at all the tires and got back in saying they were all still fine. So, we fired the engine back up and got back on the road and everything seemed fine.

Huge Chihuly glass sculpture

Huge Chihuly glass sculpture

The next morning we headed back out on the road with the intention of making a couple of stops for a new air filter and dish soap before we hit the road towards Bisbee for our show at 4pm that afternoon. This time we were exiting the interstate when the shaking and rocking started. This was enough for us to stop in the parking lot in front of the auto parts store and check the tires and underside of the RV once again, this time in the light of day. There was evidence of something being off with the suspension, so we ended up calling the roadside assistance number for a tow truck. Incidentally, we had JUST purchased the roadside assistance before leaving on this trip. Thank goodness!

RV hooked up to the tow truck

Hooked up to the tow truck, finally, after a 3-4 hour wait!

Long story short, after a 3-4 hour wait (it was a Sunday after all), we got towed to the mechanic’s yard and ended up spending the night there while waiting for our new tires to be ordered and delivered Monday morning. By Monday afternoon, we were back on the road thinking we had taken care of all the RV issues. We had already planned on going home that day anyway. To our dismay, we found ourselves stopped on the side of the road again, this time because we were losing power and backfiring. After some consultation with friends and family on facebook we bought some fuel cleaner and that seemed to help enough to get us to Las Cruces (halfway point) for the night.

Aaron and I at the botanical gardens

Aaron and I at the botanical gardens

Needless to say, we have learned a thing or two on our first couple of RV trips! Due to monetary concerns, we have been forced to come home until at least the end of February. Here’s a short list of our lessons learned;

1. Roadside assistance membership is a MUST!

2. Three dogs is way too much for a small motor home! Any motor home really, they need a yard to run in and I HATE cleaning up dog poop in those little plastic bags! Gross!

3. Towing a car behind your motor home may be a pain, but having a car when you get to your destination is priceless. Bikes are fine, but when you get a flat tire in a small town, you’re stuck with a flat tire until you get to a place that has a bike shop. Also, driving a motor home to a gig can be difficult when it comes time to find a parking space!

4. Though it is nice to travel around in a motor home and have your home always with you, it’s also nice to have a home to go back to when the trip is over. Since we rented out all the rooms in our house with plans to live full time in our RV, we had to sleep on our mattress on the floor of our living room when we got home last night because it was WAY too cold to sleep out in the RV!

Sidetracked…

We decided while in Bisbee that it would be a good decision to make a side trip back to Albuquerque for a few weeks. Lots of factors came into this decision but really, we just wanted to be home for the holidays! I thought it would be nice to be out and on our own, but when it came down to it, I just wanted to be with the family for the Holidays. Thanksgiving is my favorite Holiday, being all about gratitude and food! πŸ™‚ Personally, I like to be thankful everyday of the year, but there is something wonderful about a day set aside for that purpose.

One of the reasons we came back to Albuquerque is because our harmonica player for Sunlight is here. We had planned to take him with us on our next trip, mainly because Sunlight just isn’t the same without Ray! His harp and percussion just fills out the music so well. Unfortunately, for Ray and us, he was hit by a car a couple of weekends ago! He suffered a shattered knee and femur and will be laid up for months recovering after two surgeries to repair his knee and ligaments. We have our fingers crossed that he will be able to join us by February when we hope to head back to Arizona again.

In the meantime, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we are taking another trip to our neighboring state. We have booked a few shows for Sunlight this weekend in Phoenix, Tucson and Bisbee. The timing couldn’t be more perfect seeing as there is a cold front coming into Albuquerque the day we are leaving. Unfortunately, the same cold front is moving through Arizona too, but their cold temps are similar to warm temps in Albuquerque!

Since my last blog post we have ordered and received download cards for our first Sunlight album! We will have the cards available at our shows this weekend and the album is also available for download on CD Baby. Please let us know in an email or comment if you are interested in a physical CD of our first album. We do plan to have some made but want to wait to see what the demand is before we decide how many to have made.

While in Arizona, I am taking more prints to the latest gallery to represent my work. 55 Main Gallery in Bisbee. Turns out the venue Sunlight is playing at in Bisbee on Sunday is right next door to the gallery. The Grand Hotel Saloon is where you can find us this Sunday from 4-7pm.

Friday evening we are playing in Phoenix at Fiddler’s Dream coffee house. We are sharing the bill there and will be onstage from 8:50-9:35pm.

Saturday evening we are playing an art opening at a restaurant in Tucson. Delectables is on 4th Ave. We play from 7-10pm.

If you live in any of these areas, it sure would be great to see/meet you! πŸ™‚

This will be a short trip to Arizona, returning next Monday or Tuesday. In January, we are planning a trip to southern Texas. I am really excited about it, I have never really visited that area of the state. We plan to go to San Antonio, Austin and possibly Dallas/Fort Worth. We have heard so many great things about Austin, it’s going to be fun to finally go there!

Stay tuned for next week’s post, all about our trip and shows in Arizona! πŸ™‚

Bisbee, Arizona Then Home Again

photo of sunrise in Bisbee, Az

Bisbee sunrise

After the inspiring time spent at Chiricahua National Monument, we took a short drive over to Bisbee, Arizona. This small town is only a few miles away from the Mexican border.

photo of Aaron and Paula suited up to go into the Queen mine

Aaron and I suited up for our tour of the Queen mine

Bisbee was once the largest mining town between St. Louis and San Francisco! In it’s heyday the town had over 25,000 inhabitants. I forget the exact number but I believe there was 30 billion pounds of copper mined out of the hills and underground tunnels beneath Bisbee.

photo of fence post

Interesting fence post on a residence in Bisbee

The elevation is 5,300 feet so even though it’s located in southern Arizona, it wasn’t quite as warm as other southern towns in the state. In fact, after only a few days, a cold front blew in and we had wind, a bit of rain and lots of clouds.

photo of Main street in Bisbee, AZ

Main street, Bisbee, AZ

Bisbee High School

Bisbee High School

We took a tour of the Queen Mine which just happened to be just down the hill from the Queen Mine RV Park. It was an interesting and educational tour, even if it was a bit freaky being underground in the man made tunnels.

photo of the train ride into the mine

Riding the train into the mine

We stayed for a week and had plenty of time to explore around the town. Bisbee has some interesting architecture. It was quite a wealthy town when built back at the end of the 19th century.

shitter or sanitary car inside the mine

Sanitary or “shitter” car down in the mine

Aaron sitting on the shitter car

Aaron found this to be the perfect photo op! Sitting on the shit car! πŸ™‚

boss' quadricycle in the mine

Boss’ quadricycle. This was how the mine foreman got around in the mine’s 2,500 miles of tunnels!

I located a gallery, 55 Main Gallery, that is now representing my art prints. I once sold my Paula Beck prints in the same space! I didn’t realize it was the same place until showing Aaron around the gallery. I found one of my old print racks, designed and custom built by myself with my stepdad’s help back in the early 1990s.The gallery had since been sold to a new owner, but apparently, the print rack came with the space and is still being used to display prints! 55 Main gallery has been in that location for 20 years now. My how the time flies by!

Copper Queen hotel

The Copper Queen hotel is at least a hundred years old and possibly haunted. We ate lunch at the restaurant there and enjoyed some live music in the saloon.

We got plenty of exercise while we were there as the town is made up of nothing but hills and stairs! Unfortunately, my bike tire popped while we were in the Chiricahuas and there is no bike shop in Bisbee. So, we walked everywhere and road the town bus a couple of times in order to get our groceries from the only store about 5 miles away from the RV park we stayed in.

stairs in Bisbee

Bisbee is famous for it’s stairs! They even have a race called the 1000 stairs race.

more stairs!

more stairs!

After a month on the road, we learned a LOT! We have since decided to return to Albuquerque for a few weeks to regroup and figure some things out. We have a Sunlight show booked in Phoenix for December 6th at the Fiddler’s Dream coffee house. We hope to book a few more gigs before then as well. This adventure is FAR from over, I can promise you that! πŸ™‚

Chiricahua National Monument

Panorama shot taken from the top of Inspiration point. This spot was a 4 mile hike into the monument. Definitely, an inspiration! We ate lunch here, it was wonderful!

Panorama shot taken from the top of Inspiration point. This spot was a 4 mile hike into the monument. Definitely, an inspiration! Click on photo to see larger version.

We pulled out of Silver City, NM on November 7th and headed straight for Chiricahua National Monument just past the NM/AZ border. Another of those amazing desert mountain ranges that seemingly pops right up out of the middle of the desolate desert southwest.

In the Heart of the Rocks trail, so many huge, gorgeous rock formations!

In the Heart of the Rocks trail, so many huge, gorgeous rock formations!

Using my iphone maps as a guide, we ended up driving our RV down a scary dirt road. We have since bought an atlas in book form. No more trusting the iphone map app! It’s not necessarily that the dirt road was so bad, but we happened down said road at the least opportune time of day.

drivingdirtroad

The beginning of the dirt road we took

The sun was in that spot where it shines right into your eyes as you drive towards the horizon. The road was a bit twisty and of course we had never been on it before so we had no idea what to expect. Luckily, the dirt road only lasted 11 miles, but it was the most nerve wracking 11 miles! It seemed to go on forever!

Aaron throwing a stick for the dogs on one of our many walks down to the Silver Spur meadow

Aaron throwing a stick for the dogs on one of our many walks down to the Silver Spur meadow

Of course it didn’t and we eventually ended up in a beautiful mountain canyon campground. The Chiricahuas are known for their awe inspiring rock formations. They resemble crowds of people, sentinels watching over the canyons like ancestors of the Apache natives that once called this place home.

Taken on our first hike, back lit tree at the spot we ate our lunch

Taken on our first hike, back lit tree at the spot we ate our lunch

These mountains were the last stronghold of the Chiricahua Apache tribe. Geronimo was a member of this tribe and he fought hard to hold his homelands as long as he could. Though the story of the last Apache war is a sad one with the tribe eventually being put on a reservation like all the other Native Americans of this land.

There were numerous balanced rocks like this one all over the place.

There were numerous balanced rocks like this one all over the place.

Luckily for us all, the homesteaders that took their place loved the place so much that they saw to it that it was preserved for future generations. They were instrumental in seeing the Chiricahua National Monument and National Forest designated for the benefit of us now.

Faraway ranch is where the homesteaders settled and built their ranch in the late 1800s. The Riggs ended up being instrumental in getting Chiricahua designated as a National monument.

Faraway ranch is where the homesteaders settled and built their ranch in the late 1800s. The Riggs ended up being instrumental in getting Chiricahua designated as a National monument.

One of my more artistic shots taken at Faraway Ranch

One of my more artistic shots taken at Faraway Ranch

The landscape is reminiscent of the area around Silver City, the Gila Wilderness and National Forest. Deep canyons surrounded by tall rock formations and trees. Sadly, in 2011, this area was devastated by a man made forest fire. Much of the trees are now only charred skeletons, though there are still places where the fire didn’t reach and the shade of the tall trees is a relief from the heat of the sun.

This grouping automatically struck me as a family, daddy, mama and baby rock. :)

This grouping automatically struck me as a family, daddy, mama and baby rock. πŸ™‚

The weather here is absolutely gorgeous this time of year. The temperatures ranged from the upper 30s lower 40s to the mid 70s while we were there. We spend two days hiking, a 6 mile hike the first day and a 10 mile hike the second day. We encountered a rattle snake on our second day, though we didn’t see him, we heard his warning rattle clearly coming from a pile of rocks on the side of the trail. Unfortunately, for our doggies, there was only one meadow trail leading to the old homestead where dogs were allowed. So we added on another 6 miles of walks with the dogs to make up for the fact that they had to spend hours at a time in the RV while we were out hiking.

Kissing Rocks formation

Kissing Rocks formation

I took 280 photographs during our stay! Everywhere I looked was another rock formation or beautiful vista, textures galore and birds, birds, birds. The hardest part about putting this blog post together was picking just a few photos from the pack.

Balanced rock formation

Balanced rock formation

There were no hookups at the campground, so we had to leave after only 3 days because our ice had all melted and honestly, after 22 miles of hiking, we were ready for a shower and a cold beer!

I call this one Ancestors. The entire time we were hiking through the monument it felt as if we were being watched by the Apache ancestors who once inhabited the area.

I call this one Ancestors. The entire time we were hiking through the monument it felt as if we were being watched by the Apache ancestors who once inhabited the area.

We are now parked in the Queen Mine RV Park in Bisbee, AZ until Monday. On Thursday I will blog about our stay, so far, in this cool little former mining town that sits a mile high in the hills just 5 miles north of the Mexican border.

One last grouping of rock formations. It was so hard to pick just a few photos for this blog post!

One last grouping of rock formations. It was so hard to pick just a few photos for this blog post!