Category Archives: hiking

You get to Paint All the time, right?

It’s one of the biggest misconceptions about artists. Unfortunately, unless you have some type of career manager or assistant, artists do NOT get to paint/create all the time. Unless of course, you aren’t concerned with actually selling your work. Being a full time artist, this is a pretty important part of the career.

Hanging my show at the Sierra Club office

Hanging my show at the Sierra Club office

This has been one of those weeks. I always struggle during these weeks to know what to blog about. There is no time lapse video of a painting in progress or progress photos to share.

This week I’m working. Business stuff, ie paying bills, making painting labels and hanging art for a show, sending lists of pieces for consignment forms, twisting wire on hanging hooks so my records will hang right, creating and sending out promotional emails and facebook events and posts.

Hanging my show at the Sierra Club office

Hanging my show at the Sierra Club office

Editing some older writing for the “Paula Beck Prints” art book I’m working on. I didn’t realize how negative my outlook was until I reread my blog posts from 12 years ago! Time to change the story up a bit so I am accepting my responsibility for my life. I was such a victim in the past! No more.

I will admit, we took our dogs for an afternoon hike yesterday. We have been promising them a hike for at least a month! It was a beautiful, cool day in the San Pedro Wilderness, west of the Jemez. We did happen to stop by a tree with a bee hive in it, and I got stung 3 times! Boy do those stings itch today!

In other news, Monday I meet with the clients for my next mural commission! I’m so excited to get started on another mural! Updates coming soon!

 

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.

Living in the Land of Enchantment: Nature is the Best Medicine

Subaru parked at the trail head

Parked at the trail head

I’ve been feeling down lately. Trying to stay positive and happy, but that doesn’t always happen. My personal life is good, but the world is losing it’s collective minds! So much fear and hate in the world, it can be hard to stay in the light.

Hiking selfie! :)

Hiking selfie! 🙂

I know of no better healing/grounding than going out in nature! Our dogs agree 100%. Yesterday started as a “morning hike” day. We had planned to take our stir crazy dogs (it’s been over a week since our last hike) for a short hike so we could get back to our studios in the afternoon.

Aspens in their fall colors

Aspens in their fall colors

Some days end up very differently than we plan. We spent a couple of hours looking for a trail head that leads to the Continental Divide Trail. We never found the trail head and so we ended up backtracking to another area we’ve been to before. We did find a trail that we had never been on before (Penas Negras Trail) in the San Pedro Wilderness.

Old road trail; Penas Negras Trail

Old road trail; Penas Negras Trail

It started out very steep, but after about 20 minutes the trail leveled off and took us through a gorgeous ridge top. The trail was more like an old road that had grown over, probably for decades. We timed our visit perfectly as the Aspen trees are beautiful in their Autumn colors!

More colorful Aspens!

More colorful Aspens!

The ground was littered with beautiful quartz stones, sparkling in the sunlight. Needless to say, I LOVE the mountains!

Super tall Aspens, still wearing green!

Super tall Aspens, still wearing green!

Inspiration

Sandia Mountains with cloud cover

Sandia Mountains with cloud cover

I’ve been struggling with my life as an artist lately. Having been an artist professionally for over 25 years now, some days are just hard. I had this vision where I would be as an artist by this point in my life. It doesn’t really match up with my reality at the moment. Being an artist is a constant struggle interwoven with moments of inspiration and good days.

Yesterday was a cloudy day in New Mexico, today, more of the same. I’m a desert rat, meaning I love the sun! Cloudy days are great, at first, but then the grey emotions set in and I’m a wreck. It’s the reason I paint bright, happy, joy filled paintings. I NEED the sun in my life.

Most often, my inspiration comes from my morning meditation. I start every day with meditation, it helps me stay in a positive frame of mind, helps me keep my inner peace. Before I meditate, I usually read something inspirational. Currently, I’m reading the book
Simple Abundance, A Day Book of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach. It has a different entry for every day of the year. It was a gift from a dear family friend. I highly recommend it!

Cactus in bloom on the West Mesa

Cactus in bloom on the West Mesa

On days like today, when my emotions are raw, I need more than a sitting meditation in my studio. I need to get out of the city and reconnect with Mother Earth. My husband, Aaron, was sweet enough to notice what I needed and we took a drive out to the West Mesa for a short walk at the volcanoes. It was a bit chilly and windy, but it was so nice to be under the great expanse of New Mexico sky with the rain clouds looming overhead. The clouds are so much more beautiful when you are outside than when you are sitting in your office with grey light filtering in from the grey sky.

As we were walking back to the car, Aaron and I were talking about our art and music careers and what’s next. It’s the theme of the day. It was the question I meditated on this morning in my studio. Joyfully, the answer came to me on that short walk with the cool New Mexico breeze blowing through my hair.

It’s time to start over. Wipe the slate clean, heck, throw the slate away and start with a new slate! I am going to go silent online for a while. I have a plan, or at least the inspiration for the start of a plan. Being online, with my blog/website, facebook page, twitter profile, Etsy shop, etc etc, puts so much pressure on me to always produce something new. Blog everyday. Post to my feeds. Sell my art. Create more art. Repeat. I am going to take some time off from my online life. I’m going to reinvent myself as an artist. I’m going to make a plan. I’m going to execute that plan. In my studio. With no online presence. I’m going to take a class. Paint new paintings. Build a new website.

When it’s all done, and I have an idea of where I’m going next. When all the work is done, the new website is up, etc. I will be back. I will make a huge splash all at once! I will know exactly where I’m headed, or at least have a much better idea of my plan to get there. I won’t stress myself out getting there. It’s time for the caterpillar to go into it’s cocoon. The Butterfly will see you on the other side!

Aaron and I during our walk at the Volcanoes

Aaron and I during our walk at the Volcanoes

Living in the Land of Enchantment: Salinas Pueblo Missions

Abo Mission ruins

Abo Mission ruins

One of my favorite places to visit in New Mexico is actually split into 3 separate sites. The Salinas Pueblo Missions has three missions, Quarai, Abo and Gran Quivira. They are all located around Mountainair, NM. The Abo ruins are 9 miles west, Quarai ruins are 8 miles north and the Gran Quivira ruins are 25 miles south of Mountainair. I love visiting these sites and imagining a time when they were bustling villages. I wonder how they lived and what they did everyday to survive in this desert environment.

Quarai Mission ruins

Quarai Mission ruins, the largest of the 3 missions

Because of their remote location, there is rarely more than a couple of people wandering the ruins of any location. The Abo Mission is most visited as it sits near the highway to Mountainair. The Abo and Quarai Missions were built using red sandstone and the Gran Quivira Mission and pueblo was built with white/grey limestone. The red sandstone is especially beautiful when covered in snow.

Gran Quivira Pueblo ruins

Gran Quivira Pueblo ruins

All three were built during the 17th century during Spanish occupation. Although all sites were built as Spanish Missions, they also included Kivas in their buildings which could have been a concession to the beliefs of the Native Americans who lived there alongside the Spanish settlers. Nobody knows why all three sites were abandoned by the 1670s. My personal guess is they may have been abandoned after the pueblo revolt in 1680, when the pueblo indians from all over New Mexico chased the Spanish settlers out of the area. They would not return for 12 years. I would imagine, like other abandoned sites, water could have had something to do with it as well.

Salinas_basin

If you are looking for a day trip from Albuquerque, the Salinas ruins are a great choice. Make sure you fill up your gas tank and maybe even take a picnic lunch, as there isn’t much in the way of gas stations and food in the area. Mountainair does have a cafe or two, but gas can get expensive in those remote, rural areas of New Mexico. Pets are welcome, but must be kept on leash and cleaned up after.

Ruins of the Gran Quivira Mission

Ruins of the Gran Quivira Mission

All three sites are partially handicapped accessible and have handicap restrooms. All sites also have visitors centers with Rangers on hand to answer questions. All sites are open daily, 9 to 5 in winter months and 9-6 in the summer months. Of all the ruins I’ve personally visited across New Mexico, these three are most interesting to me. I highly recommend a visit next time you are in the area!

 

Living in the Land of Enchantment: 10 Things to do in Albuquerque

There are so many places to see and things to do around here, it’s really hard to pick just one to write about! This week, I decided to write about 10 (make that 11)  things to do in the area. Technically, it’s more than ten, as I fit more than one into each number. Next time someone tells you there is nothing to do in Albuquerque, direct them to this post! 🙂

  1. Ride the Rail Runner from Albuquerque to Santa Fe.

    The ride alone is worth the trip as it takes you through the lovely New Mexico landscape. The tickets will only cost you $16 round trip! There are many stops along the route to start and if you take the train to the end of the line, you end up in the Santa Fe Railyard which is only a few short blocks away from the Plaza. The Railyard also has galleries and the famous Tomasita’s restaurant.

  2. Ride the Sandia Peak Tramway.

    This May will be the Tram’s 50th anniversary, and though I have lived in NM most of my life, I STILL have not ridden the Tram up the mountain. It’s just one of those tourist things locals rarely do. One day very soon, I plan on it! I have heard from MANY sources that it’s something one MUST do. I guess I prefer hiking up the mountain to riding up! UPDATE, Oct. 2016: I finally rode the Tram! It was awesome!

  3. Hiking the Sandia Mountains.

    Speaking of hiking, the Sandia mountains just East of Albuquerque have many, many miles of hiking trails! It can take a full day to hike to the peak, where the tram takes only 15 minutes. I have hiked to the South Crest several times and LOVE it! Please, make sure you go prepared. Water, jacket, hat. Many people have had to be rescued from these mountains because they don’t realize how quickly weather can change in NM. The weather can be warm and sunny in town and cold and rainy at the top of the peak.

  4. Petroglyphs National Monument.

    This is one of the largest petroglyph sites in Northern America. Volcanic rocks were carved by Native Americans and Spanish settlers up to 700 years ago, leaving behind interesting designs and symbols for us to ponder over. Another cool place to visit, related to the petroglyphs, are the volcanoes on the west mesa overlooking Albuquerque.

  5. Bio Park, Botanical Gardens/Aquarium/Zoo.

    Albuquerque has an awesome botanical garden with an indoor aquarium. The gardens are attached to the city zoo by a cool little open air train line that you ride between the two with out having to get in your car and drive. Also, while riding the train between the zoo and gardens, you will pass by Tingley Beach which is a series of three ponds, man made for fishing and remote control boats. In the summer months they have paddle boats you can rent for $10 an hour to paddle around the big pond in. The kids will also enjoy feeding the ducks and geese that call the ponds and river area home. The gardens are my favorite part, they have several different gardens, including a rose garden, Japanese garden and a farm with barn animals and New Mexico homestead. Great place to take the kiddos!

  6. Bike Ride on the Bosque Trail.

    While you are down near the Bio Park, right next door in fact, is the Central Ave. entrance to the Bosque bike and walking trail. The Bosque is the area of trees and open space that surrounds the Rio Grande River.

  7. See a Play.

    Albuquerque has MANY theatres, over 35 to be more specific! We can boast that we have the most live performance theatres per capita than any other city in the country. Just about ANY weekend in Albuquerque, you can find a show you might be interested in. The Albuquerque Theatre Guild website is a great place to start your search for that perfect play!

  8. Museums.

    Albuquerque has a great variety of museums for everyone in the family! There is the Albuquerque Museum of Art & History, the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science, the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, Explora, National Hispanic Cultural Center, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, the Maxwell Museum of Anthopology, the Unser Racing Museum and several more can be found HERE. I’ve linked to all their websites so you can learn more about each one you may have an interest in.

  9. Antique/Thrift Store shopping.

    Albuquerque has large variety of Antique shops and Thrift stores. Most are concentrated on Central Ave between Carlisle and San Mateo or on Menaul Ave. between Carlisle and San Mateo, but there are others all over town. You can find some really great deals on a variety of stuff. I could write a post about all the awesome thrift stores in this city. I have spent many hours sifting through the many shops.

  10. Ghost Tours of Old Town.

    This is another attraction I’ve never experienced, but I personally know one of the tour guides and KNOW it’s worth it! Yet another thing I plan to do someday. The Old Town of Albuquerque is VERY old! Over 300 years! There are rumored to be many ghosts living in the back alleys and old adobe buildings.

  11. Visit MY Studio!

    I hope you will get in touch and come visit me in my studio when you are in the area. I don’t hold retail hours, but I am always happy to open up the studio for out of town guests! You don’t have to buy anything, but I’m always pleased to send an Albuquerque memento home with a fan. 🙂

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