Tag Archives: spring

Turkey Creek, Gila National Forest

photo of turkey creek

Shadows play on the surface of the water

This past Sunday was mine and Aaron’s 21st wedding anniversary. We decided to pack a picnic lunch and head out to explore the Turkey Creek Hot Springs trail. Turkey Creek feeds in to the Gila River, or at least it must when there is more water. Either that, or the creek goes underground at some point. The creek bed is currently dry by the time it gets down to the river, but after a couple of creek crossings, the water was flowing quite well. Lots of deep pools for soaking feet!

hidden windmill

It took a while, but we finally spotted the windmill that marks the trail head!

On our way out past the windmill

On our way out past the windmill

The road in is not for the faint of heart! It is a 14 mile drive in from Hwy 180. At about mile 8 the pavement ends and a few miles later the road starts winding it’s way up and over a tall “hill” or what some people call a mountain. The road is narrow, bumpy and there are no guardrails. We drive roads like this all the time, but this is one of the more scary roads we’ve been on. The drop offs at the top are almost straight down! 4 wheel drive or AWD with high clearance definitely recommended!

photo of Turkey creek

Turkey Creek, so pretty!

All that said, the scary drive is well worth the end destination! Aaron’s mom asked why we drive roads like that if they are so scary? Because the reward on the other side is SO worth it! It’s not easy to find the trail head, even with a trail book of directions. There are lots of four wheel drive roads, more like a maze of roads surrounding the Gila River. We had to park a mile or so away from the trail head. Even though we drive an AWD Subaru, the river is quite deep in some spots, so we decided crossing in the car was not a good idea.

turkey creek

Who knew there could be such a beautiful desert oasis hidden in these desert mountains!

Crossing the river by foot is quite refreshing at this time of the year! It was 94 degrees the day we were out there and the cool water felt lovely. After four river crossings, we wandered around a bit, looking for the trail head. There is an old private homestead with a windmill hidden in the trees. This is where the trail begins. Unfortunately for us, after making our way through the maze of roads and backtracking to finally find the trail head, we didn’t have enough time or energy to make it all the way to the hot springs. According to our trail book, the springs are another 3 miles up from the windmill. We made it up about 2 of the 3 miles.

I love these tree trunks! Sycamore trees abound in this canyon!

I love these tree trunks! Sycamore trees abound in this canyon!

Now that we know where we’re going, we hope to make it all the way up to the hot springs next time. We weren’t too disappointed though, considering how hot it was! The cool water in the creek and river were refreshing and more than enough for this trek.

The rock cliffs tower hundreds of feet over the creek bed, though the trees cover most of them from view.

The rock cliffs tower hundreds of feet over the creek bed, though the trees cover most of them from view.

I’m planning on getting back to blogging twice a week. One blog will be about our latest hiking adventure and the other will be about my art. Subscribe to my blog above if you would like to be notified when I post a new blog. You may also want to go to my website and sign up for my email list to get more updates about my art and where our latest explorations have taken us!

Such a gorgeous landscape of rocks, trees and water!

Such a gorgeous landscape of rocks, trees and water!

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Four Seasons Mandala

"Four Seasons", work in progress, 20 x 20" oil on canvas

“Four Seasons”, work in progress, 20 x 20″ oil on canvas

Finished up the background on my most recent painting. “Four Seasons” is getting close! I already have one collector interested in this one, and it’s not even finished yet! I love it when that happens! πŸ™‚

I’m really enjoying the process on this one. At first, I was trying to line up all the lines at the corners of every section. Then I realized how difficult that would be, so I just let it flow. Always a better option!

The blue section represents winter, above that is the Summer section, to the right is the Spring section and the left is Autumn. I used color temperatures and symbols to represent the different seasons.

As we transition from Autumn to Winter, color helps me stay upbeat and happy. I’ll admit, I don’t like the winter, but I’ve been working on finding things I like about the cold weather. May as well make the best of things, right?

Things I like about Winter; Hot coffee, tea or cocoa, homemade hot soups, wearing my knee high boots, sweaters, cuddling under blankets with my sweetie while watching netflix, seeing snow on the mountain while being in the sun in the valley, covering up my middle aged, flabby body with winter clothes, aaaaaand that’s what I’ve got for now. Still working on my list! My favorite thing about Winter? Traveling to warm places for vacation from the cold! lol!

My 2018 calendars are almost ready! They will be available for purchase VERY soon! Stay tuned!

Back to Canvas

It’s been quite a while since I’ve painted on canvas! I’ve painted several murals and a bunch of vinyl records over the past few months. I guess it’s about time.

"Four Seasons", 20 x 20" oil on canvas, work in progress

“Four Seasons”, 20 x 20″ oil on canvas, work in progress

This new painting in progress is a special project for the latest Sunlight CD cover art. Aaron (my hubby and music partner), had the inspiration for it. Every once in a while he has a great idea! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ The title of the album is “Shuffle” and the painting is based on the four seasons. I guess it’s a play on our Sunlight tag line, “Sunlight shines on it all”, and the fact that the sun shines through all four seasons.

This is a new concept for me as I’ve never really painted a mandala in sections like this. I’m having a difficult time keeping it round. Usually, my freehand form of painting is easy to keep round, but with the different sections, not so much. Good news is, this is just the background of the painting. Not exactly sure where it’s going. The muse guides me and tells me what’s next. I just follow the silent cues. The finished painting hasn’t quite revealed itself to me, just yet. Follow me on Instagram if you want to continue seeing the progress.

Speaking of Sunlight, we have just released our first single (Pale Moonlight), from the new CD, which should be released in full at the beginning of 2018. We are really excited about this album as we played with a drummer and bass player. The first CD was mainly acoustic, with guitar and ukelele. We had one song we added drums to, and after that one song, we decided to record the entire 2nd CD with a full band. Plus, I played uke on this one! Have a listen and let me know what you think? Thanks!

The Down Side

"In Anticipation of Spring", 12 x 12" oil on canvas, available for $215

“In Anticipation of Spring”, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas, available for $215. Completed last week!

I never got around to posting my second blog last week. Turns out I have an eye infection that has now spread to both eyes. Other than our show on Friday night, I’ve been at home in bed, resting. What a weekend it was! We had a GREAT Sunlight show on Friday night in Rio Rancho! Lots of email addresses collected, lots of compliments, lots of friends showed up, lots of tips and happy listeners and then the down side.

An email on Monday morning telling us we had significant complaints from regular customers. We never received a straight answer on what the complaints were, just something about the “type of music” expected being something other than what we played. Too many original songs? They didn’t like that one folk song we altered to include our LGBT friends? They didn’t like the song “Wonder” about Democrats and the GOP finding peace?

We may never know exactly. That is the life of an artist. If you don’t have a very thick skin, you may as well pack up and go home now. I must admit, it gets hard to keep on going when a “GREAT” show gets you fired from a regular paying gig.

I’m taken back to the Four Agreements, 1) Be impeccable with your word, 2) Don’t take anything personally, 3) Don’t make assumptions, 4) Always do your best. 1) We kept our word and played 3 hours of music and acted professionally, 2) I can’t take it personally that a couple of their regulars didn’t like our song selection, 3) I shouldn’t assume anything without having all the information, ie actual complaints made, 4) I KNOW we did our best and played our hearts out! Lesson learned; always listen to your gut! We had once decided we wouldn’t play late night gigs in bars. Not doing that again.

Hoping my eyes will heal soon so I can paint! It is getting better, slowly but surely, but still sensitive to light and hard to focus on anything without tears.Β  So much gratitude for my eyesight, you never really miss something until it’s not working right. Sickness is nothing but a reminder to be grateful for all the blessings in life.

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. πŸ˜‰

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

Happy Spring!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I have recently moved my studio away from my house, AND my computer! This wonderful marvel of technology that has made my life possible has also sucked the life out of me at times! I am hopelessly addicted to the internet. There, I admitted it, which as they say, is the first step. Today we celebrate the changing of the seasons, an end of winter and the arrival of Spring! YAY! I have a project I am currently working on to make small hand bound books using my mini prints and different quotes. Here is the first one, I will do an online version as well. Enjoy and share freely! πŸ™‚

 

YAY Spring!

The past couple of days have been so amazing! Temps in the high 60s, sunshine! Finally coming out of that “last days of winter” funk! Being reminded of why I love living in central New Mexico. We have 4 seasons that pretty much stick to the days on the calendar. Winters are usually pretty mild and short with plenty of sunny, warm days thrown in. So, needless to say, I have spent the last couple of days outside as much as possible! Walking the dogs, hanging out in the back with the chickens, riding the bus/walking around town running errands. So, though it’s been fun, it’s time to get back in the studio and get some work done.

I found out on Monday that my bid was accepted for a mural project. The mural is for a church preschool and will be my first mural ever! I’m so excited, cannot wait to get started on it! Below is a rough sketch of the idea. The preschool is called “Lambs of Grace” and hence the lambs in the meadow. Work will begin on the mural as soon as it’s warm enough to paint outside, so hopefully very soon!

colored pencil sketch lamb mural

Preliminary sketches for Lambs of Grace mural

Today began another weekly art auction, as always starting bid is $9.99. In celebration of Spring, this week’s painting is one that I painted during a cold front at the beginning of December, “Cold Blows In”.

original oil painting on canvas board flower cold

"Cold Blows In", 8 x 8" oil on canvas board, $9.99 starting bid