Thursday, September 10, 2015

What do you like to do at Camp?

Camp and Play

I am rarely bored.  I love all kinds of weather.  If it rains, especially in the Southwest, I cheer, as we need it.  On a bright, sunny, day, (which we have lots of), I hike, bike and enjoy the warmth.  I'm pretty active while traveling, but the list of things I enjoy includes Photography, Uploading and Developing my photos in Lightroom, Reading, Painting, writing, and watching clouds roll by.

But mostly, I make art.

Camping at 9,000 feet in the Mountains of Colorado, surrounded by Aspen.

I have art supplies at my disposal whenever I want to play, and I collect barn wood and cut it into small enough pieces to create affirmations.  Art work that speaks to me.  I use oils on canvas, acrylic on canvas, and Martha Stewart Paints for painting on wood.  Those are NOT permanent and don't hold up well outdoors, so I spray varnish, but also, I just re-do when needed.

This is a two-sided painting.  It spins.
Generally I like to make art at camp that inspires me.  This week I'm focusing on Gratitude.
A few weeks ago I made this gift for a friend of mine, celebrating her 50th birthday.  The truly IS this Helen Keller saying.

And when I'm in my camper, I love to read, to post images on my walls and to write affirmations on the blackboards I installed over my refrigerator and above my dinette.

I like color and fabric, pattern, as you can see.

Camp in the shadow of Mesa Verde National Park (on a friend's 87 acres)

Abundance, Prosperity, Bloom Where You're Planted

Symbols = Om, and Love

And sometimes I bring out the big guns, the acrylics and have a blast.

What do you like to do at camp.  

Last year, while wintering in Arizona I met a woman who loved to quilt and carried her sewing machine and lots of fabric samples in her rig.  What do you like to do?  Do you travel with lots of supplies?  I have an 18' travel trailer and tow it with my Jeep Grand Cherokee, so I pay attention to weight.  How about you?

Next Adventure: Art at the Grand Canyon and Beyond

Trip Preparation.

When I choose a location for travel I search for inspiration on the web.  It's not hard to find.  For the second year in a row, I'm visiting the Grand Canyon for the Invitational, Plein Air Festival. And I love to surf the websites of the participating artists.  While at the Grand, I too will be painting and making photographs, although not part of the Invitational, but I aspire to be invited someday soon.  I'll be hanging out at the Ten-X campground south of Tuscayan near the South Rim.

And the Art of the National Parks book is a terrific, inspiring informative read.  Last year, at Zion National Park's Invitational plein air festival, the authors spoke and showed a terrific slide show of some of the work in the book, as many of the artists featured were present.

I will be at the Grand for 5 days and then I'm participating in the Escalante Canyons Arts Festival in Utah.  My camera is my traveling art studio for the week,  and right now I'm building some drying racks for my oil paintings.  The organizers have reserved some group camp sites at the Escalante Petrified Forest State Park.  Photography, painting and travel go together for me.

Today's Inspiration

Here are some artists who inspire me, and trigger my need to "Get Out and STAY out"

Erin Hansen's Website




Matthew Higginbotham, painter




I will be "on the road" for about three weeks, Grand Canyon, Grand Staircase-Escalante Canyons, and then Capitol Reef National Park.  I love all three of these locations for early fall photography and this year I will practice oil painting too.  Join with me as I share the adventure and new imagery on my blogs.  And since I have a new hip, I will do some hiking in all three locations.

My Website Link

Grand Canyon Photography, 2014

Here are a few photos from my 2014 trip to the Grand Canyon
OOH la laaa, the clouds

By hanging around the canyon for a few days, I enjoy the changing light,
the shadows, and the warm/cool colors.

This view of O'Neill Butte and the South Kaibab trail seduced me as
it was lit be the sunrise.

I was thrilled by the clouds, which allowed me to include quite a bit
of the sky in the image.  Cloud shadows are my favorite subjects.

The sunlit O'Neill Butte really stood out
against the shadows of the inner gorge from Yaki Point.
This year I hope to hike the South Kaibab trail, visible
to the left of the saddle.

Capitol Reef Fall Photography, 2013

Autumn in the Orchard, Capitol Reef

Looking towards the Henry Mountains, from Strike Valley Overlook

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Artist in Residence: Acadia National Park

Capturing Motion • Waves at Acadia National Park

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the power of the waves really tempted me at Acadia National Park.  I was seduced by the sound, by the power.  Many of the coastal waves were 40 foot high and the crashing of them on the rocky coast was stunning.

Click on this link to see more images from my Artist Residency in Acadia.
And I wrote a few blog posts about the experience, check this out.

Next Adventure: Campers, Cameras and Plein Air Painting, A month of travel to the Grand Canyon, Canyons of the Escalante, Grand Staircase, Capitol Reef National Park.  Ooh la la.

Road Trip: Artist in Residence, Crater Lake National Park

It's been awhile since I posted, but I have great excuses.  I've been traveling as an Artist in Residence at our National Parks.  I spent late April on a road trip from Durango to Crater Lake, where I was the Resident Artist for three weeks in May.  I didn't take my travel trailer, because I was recovering from hip surgery and needed to keep it simple. As part of the residency, I was assigned housing near the Welcome Center, and the staff and rangers were helpful, welcoming and fun to "hang" with. There was no need for my camper, but next time I will spend a few months in the Northwest exploring with my Cherry Baby and Saturn.
Although it was May, the snow was still blocking some of the roads at Crater Lake

Road Trip to Crater Lake

  • Durango to Sand Island Campground, Bluff, Utah
  • Bluff to Wahweap Campground, Lake Powell
  • Lake Powell to Zion National Park
  • Zion to Death Valley National Park
  • Death Valley to Eastern Sierra, Bishop
  • Bishop to Topaz Lake
  • Topaz to Klamath Falls
  • Klamath Falls to Crater Lake National Park
Here's a link to my blog about the Artist Residency at Crater Lake. And another to share about the process of becoming an Artist in Residence.

Road Trip: Crater Lake to Idaho

What a fun trip it was to head north out of the National Park (where there are current forest fires burning) and to explore the Eastern side of Oregon and Idaho.  My favorite place in Idaho was at the Snake River at Three Island Crossing State Park, where the Lewis and Clark Expedition crossed the Snake.  A friend flew up to Boise and met me and we rented a sweet cabin for a few nights.  I read about the campground on the Wheeling It! blog.

Three Island Crossing State Park

On the drive east I also enjoyed viewing some awesome murals near Malhuer Creek, along the Lewis and Clark Trail.  I can't remember the name of the town (help me here) but the murals were worth a side trip.

Great Basin National Park

After leaving Idaho we headed south to Nevada and the Great Basin National Park.  Wheeler Peak is the highest peak in Nevada and the Park was a complete surprise, from hot springs in the basin, to mid-altitude creekside lunch, to snow while photographing Wheeler Peak and the Glacier too.  Great Basin has one of my favorite welcome centers with terrific, well produced films about the Park.

I enjoyed a few hours of photography along a creek in the park.

And at the Wheeler Peak Trail, the snow was still built up on the side of the creek.  And the trail was snow-covered

Artist Residency: Acadia National Park

When I returned to Durango from this adventure, I packed, shipped and loaded gear for my flights to Maine to be the Artist in Residence at Acadia National Park for the month of June.  Click here for the blog post.

I'm home now, living in my travel trailer, visiting with friends, teaching, and getting ready for my upcoming fall adventures.  Here's a link to the blog about the Grand Canyon and the Escalante Canyons too.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Intro to Snowbirding in Southern Arizona

Snowbirding = Flying South for the Winter

Roper Lake State Park and Mount Graham.
This photo show the campground cabins along the lake.

Sunrise over Roper Lake, Arizona

I've read quite a few blogs about "Snowbirding" in ArizonaSouthern California, and Mexico.  I follow a few blogs and learn when and where folks "full time" in their RVs. Living in Durango, Colorado is awesome, but for the winters, I plan to be a snowbird, and needed to scout some ideas.

Cherry Baby and Saturn with morning rainbow. 
In January I met up with some friends for a few weeks of camping in Southeast Arizona.  This is their second year of retirement, they spent last winter in and around Southwest New Mexico and Southeast Arizona. The names of the locations they explored in 2014 really intrigued me; Bisbee, Tombstone, the Chiricahua Mountains, Cochese Stronghold.  And as this is the first year of my extended travel with part-time retirement, I decided to rendezvous with them at Roper Lake State Park.

My friends have a classic 12 foot camper and tow it with their Toyota Tacoma.  A sweet set up.  Our rendezvous location was Safford, AZ, Roper Lake State Park. With a clearing storm coming through, the sunset and sunrise were photographically inspiring.  The campground was quiet and in the Gila loop I paid $15. for the night; no hookups, but water spigots and hot showers too.  Roper Lake has three loops for camping and can supply up 30-50amp service.  The campground even has a hot tub!  What a deal.  Here's a map of the State Park.
My friends' rig, sunrise at Roper Lake State Park

Day One: Durango to Bluff, UT (121 miles)

Day Two: Bluff to Holbrook, AZ (200 miles)

Day Three: Holbrook to Safford, AZ (215 miles)

I was solo, and often am, so the third day was kinda long for me, as the travel from Show Low to Globe was through the mountains, the Apache Reservation.  There were lots of hills with signs suggesting that vehicles towing trailers check their brakes for the downhill.  I certainly followed those suggestions, and stopped when I felt a bit overwhelmed by the drive, rested.

On this trip I learned that I can tow for 250 miles per day,  I prefer just around 200 miles.

I'm a newbie at towing my camper, took driving lessons and have been on many familiar roads, but when the travel includes mountains, and unfamiliar routes, I see I need to take my time.

Destination, Gila Box Riparian Area.  Safford, AZ

The reason for meeting friends at Roper Lake was our plan to caravan to Gila Box Riparian Area, northeast of Safford, and just about 20 miles from Roper.

Gila Box, BLM site. 
Outside of Safford, Arizona
The first thing I learned while towing my rig to the Gila was that the campground hosts, Walt and Kathy, were going to be fast friends.  They met us at the entrance and escorted us up and down the tight curves to the campground.  The road is narrow, well paved, but there are a few blind curves so Walt and Kathy made sure no other vehicles were coming at us.  

Walt, collecting the trash left behind.  
On my last day, Walt and Kathy escorted
me out of the Gila and gave me walkie talkies
for the drive to town.

The Beauty of the Gila Box

The Gila River, near the "take out".
Gila River, the beach.  I sat here many times with my sketchbook, camera
and reading material. 

Barrel Cactus galore.

Prickly Pear Cactus right next to my campsite

Home-sweet-home for 12 days
I settled in to Site #9, and set up my camper to catch the morning sun and southern exposure, my friends at Site 10. A 30 watt solar panel proved perfect for two weeks of "dry camping".   One of the main reasons I chose a travel trailer is to unhook and be free to explore with my jeep.  My "clunker" mountain bike serves me for daily trips to the loo, and to exercise and enjoy the land.  As you can see, I like a "gravity" chair and folding table end table at camp.  At $2.50 per night (with America the Beautiful Pass) the Gila was the best bargain for front country camping.  We had the campground to ourselves, with spacious sites, great views and the river flowing nearby.  And having Walt and Kathy, Jim and Marianne (BLM Volunteers) onsite sure helped me to feel safe and comfy.
The campsites at Gila included sweet light, covered picnic
tables and fire rings.

Part II. Geo Cache, ATV tour and New Friends