Category Archives: photo

I’m on a Roll!

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working” ~ Pablo Picasso

I never know where inspiration will come from. Whether or not it strikes, I paint. Sometimes inspiration comes in the middle of a painting. This time it came from a comment on facebook. One of my collectors commented on a progress photo of the beginning of a painting (painting above). She mentioned that she would love to see a moon image. I usually paint suns and flowers, but I hadn’t considered a moon until I read the comment. Needless to say, the painting became a moon image! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m now painting another moon image, a bit larger this time (painting below).ย  I had a few ideas I wanted to work on from the first attempt. The larger painting is a bit more refined now.

oil painting in progress

20×20″ oil painting on canvas, work in progress

Still a work in progress, I may end up painting a couple more moons so I can really refine it further. I’m enjoying this theme. What do you think?

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Pile O’ Paintings

Canvas ready to paint!

Canvas ready to paint!

I’m ready to get some painting done! I have one painting started and 3 more black gesso canvases ready to start. It’s always a bit exciting and a bit intimidating to have a bunch of fresh canvas to paint on. I know these will be a continuation of my painting video series. Each painting is made to go along with a song from our Sunlight CD, “Life is Good”. They will be more of the time lapse painting videos. Stay tuned for updates, I’m hoping to get started either today or Thursday.

Today, I’ve been busy getting my new paintings posted on Etsy and here on the website. Check out ‘Canvas Paintings’ in the Portfolio menu above. (Or click the link) The page has now been completely updated. This is my 2017 portfolio! I’m excited because it’s been a while since I’ve had my paintings page up to date! There are 4 that were worked on and added to a bit more. I’m really happy with how much more ‘finished’ they are now. I still have one other painting to finish up. Hoping to get to that sometime soon too.

Shambala, the painting above, was one that I painted last year? I think it was 2016! The original painting on this canvas was painted in 2003. It never sold so I decided to paint over it. Rather than painting over the entire thing, I left traces of the old painting there, peeking through. The four yellow strips coming out from the mandala are the windows to the older painting. All I added was the yellow wash over the old marks. This was symbolic to me because the new painting has risen from the ashes of the old. Bringing two time periods of my art together in one painting. The older painting was not centered but the new painting is more like a true mandala. Centered and symmetrical. It relates to my personal life because I do feel more centered in my life now than I did in 2003. My style has emerged now, while in 2003 I was still searching for a style all my own. I like painting over older works because I feel more environmentally responsible. Recycling is very important to me. Why not paint over something that is no longer relevant?

 

Finishing Up a Few Things

Before and current photos of "Believe in Love", 16 x 16" oil on canvas

Before and current photos of “Go with the Flow”, 16 x 16″ oil on canvas

Still working on “finishing” up a few paintings that I thought were done. Due to a recent critique, I decided to rework or actually, work more on a few of the paintings in my portfolio. The one I’m working on today (“Go with the Flow”) really needed it, I was never really sure it was done. It wasn’t. I’m putting another layer into the background, basically hundreds of little circles. I used to put much more detail into my backgrounds, I think I may return to some of that. I enjoy painting them, all that little detail work is a GREAT meditation!

Before and current photos of "Believe in Love", 16 x 16" oil on canvas

Before and current photos of “Believe in Love”, 16 x 16″ oil on canvas

The other painting I worked on last Friday (“Believe in Love”). This one needed all over shading/blending work. It was originally painted during a live music show at a local brewery, so it never really had that “finished” look. I’ve always loved the idea, but I think it’s better with an extra hour or two. I’m still not sure if it’s completely complete yet. What do you think? I do believe I will be revisiting this theme of heart flower petals in the near future.

One of my goals for the current year is to get back to blogging at least twice a week. After blogging for over 12 years, it can be difficult to come up with new, exciting ideas for blog posts. Do you have any suggestions? Is there an idea for a series of blogs that you wouldn’t mind sharing with me? I like to blog in series, makes it easier to come up with new material for some reason. Is there something about the life of an artist that you are curious about? I am going to keep with the theme of “the life of a New Mexican artist”, but there are a lot of places I can go with that. I want to blog about things that are of interest to YOU, my readers! How to videos? Video blogs? More painting time lapses? Photos of my travels? Please feel free to suggest, I’m all ears! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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 canvasย  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! ๐Ÿ™‚ 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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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!

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”(NM): Carlsbad Caverns

Aaron and Paula standing at the entrance of Carlsbad Caverns

Aaron and I at the Cave entrance, about to descend 750 feet into the ground!

In 2014, Aaron and I took a trip down to visit Carlsbad Caverns in the SE part of the state. It’s a 4 1/2 hour drive down to Carlsbad, NM from Albuquerque. We had both been there several times as kids but never as adults.

Rather than stay in Carlsbad, we stopped off in Cloudcroft for the night. We love that little town in the middle of southern New Mexico at the top of the mountains. It’s name is very fitting as the clouds often get stuck at the 8,600′ elevation. Carlsbad is another 2 hour drive past, but it’s well worth the stop over. Especially in the summer, as the temps up in Cloudcroft are usually 20 degrees cooler than down in the scalding high desert sun!

Aaron’s family has a close connection to the small New Mexico town with a population of 674 (2010). His grandfather and uncles built a cabin there in the 1960s and the cabin has stayed in the family ever since. We have visited the cabin regularly for 20 years. We’ve always enjoyed hiking in the warm months and snow tubing in the winter. There are several nice campgrounds and a historic Lodge too. Even if you don’t spend the night, I highly recommend stopping in a Mad Jack’s BBQ for some of THE best BBQ you will ever have!

descending into the entrance of Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Descending into the main entrance of the cave. Though it looks scary, there is a paved, somewhat flat path leading into the cave.

The next day we headed out for Carlsbad. It’s funny when you go back to a place you haven’t been since you were a kid. You know how everything seems smaller? That didn’t happen at Carlsbad Caverns! I cannot imagine what I must have thought of this place as a little kid. The big room, is BIG!

cave formation in the big room at Carlsbad Caverns National Park

One of the many large scale formations in the big room.

It’s quite a downhill walk into the caverns, the good news is, there is an elevator at the bottom if you don’t feel ambitious enough to walk up and out. According to the website, the elevator is currently not working, but should be working again by May 31st.

We spent several hours walking around and exploring all the alien landscapes of the tremendous Caverns. I took well over 200 hundred photos, that I still haven’t edited! The few I’ve shared here are my favorite picks.

underground pool of water in Carlsbad Caverns

underground pool, there is water deep in the ground, even when the surface is a dry desert.

It’s impossible to get across the majesty of this place in words or photos. You simply have to see it for yourself. It’s like seeing the Grand Canyon in a photo, a camera flattens the image. I wish I could have captured it, but it’s nature’s beauty, it cannot be captured.

Giant stalagmites in the Big Room at Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Giant stalagmites in the Big room

It is well worth the trip into the desert of eastern New Mexico! Any time of the year is good too, as the temperature in the Caverns stays in the high 50s year round. Follow one of the links I’ve provided for more information on Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Carlsbad, NM and Cloudroft, NM.

One of the muddy textures in Carlsbad Caverns National Park

One of the muddy textures in the Caverns