14 January 2020

inspired by...

I've always loved mountains.  I grew up a few hours from the Blue Ridge and spent my childhood visiting every year.  The endless sweeps and drops of green and blue and gray.  So much beauty.

Now I have new mountains to admire and love.  All the rust, gold and tan with splotches of green.  So much beauty.

And inspiration...

The photos above are spreads in one of my art journals I did not long after my return from New Mexico.  

When I first returned, I was obsessed with painting an image that had formed from my flight home.

I call it Above the Clouds.  I'm not sure if I'll keep it this way or if it will go into my re-use stash.  At one point on the flight, I looked out the window and all I could see was the blue above and clouds below.  It seemed like that was all that existed.  

One of the New Mexico sights I've found inspiration from is Cerro Pedernal.  I already shared images that I made in our class project.  

This is Pedernal Weeps.  If I remember the story I heard correctly, the indigenous peoples of the area believed that the world was formed from that mountain.  I think the creators came from there.  I really wish I could remember the story I heard.  I've tried to google it and could find nothing.

Anyway, I'd done the painting and while I liked it, it just didn't seem finished. I remember waking in the middle of the night and going to the studio.  I took the closest matching acrylic inks I had and dripped along the sections.  I kept thinking, the world weeps because of all the chaos and terror in the world now.

I really like how it turned out.

Just before I left for that trip I was experiencing bouts of insomnia and ended up in the studio late night/early morning several times.  This acrylic and pastel is what came from those couldn't sleep sessions.

I call her The Guardian.  

I think this about wraps up my experience of New Mexico.  I'm going to have to find something else to share about.  :-)

I guess I need to go on another trip.  Or maybe just leave the house.  ;-)

What have you been up to lately?

Thanks for stopping in to read...
love & blessings

04 January 2020

Let's go to New Mexico (part 3)...

Back to Ghost Ranch once again.  This time I want to share the art made during the trip.

Our project was a book, with a stitched cover.  The photo above is where I headed with my cover.  It's hard to tell in the photo, but the fabric is representative of the mountains with a heart shaped rock I found on one of my walks there.  I'm actually still working on my cover, so I can't show it yet.  Once I finish I'll post it.

Here is my book, put together.  The stitched piece will be glued over the current orange fabric.  The piece of paper will be incorporated somehow.  I used a burning tool to try to make it look branded.  

The inside cover and the pages all tied in.  There are several blank pages that I can still work with.  I want to get some of my photos printed to place inside.

On my initial walk around the area where I was staying, I found a couple of pieces of charcoal from a nearby firepit.  So I did a couple of sketches, the top is of chimney rocks and the bottom of pedernal.  (click to make the photo bigger)

This is a watercolor I did from my view from my room or pedernal.  

One of the pages of cyanotype papers.

An acrylic of pedernal.

An impressionist type of the mountains using milk paint and a tongue depressor.

This is a few of the things I brought back.  Some large rocks, a bag with small rocks and sticks, a bag of clay from the creek and a few art supplies I picked up at an art store in Santa Fe.

I think that's enough photos for now.  I'm sure I'll revisit and share once I finish putting the book together.  Most people would be done by now and I'm sure the majority of my classmates have long finished their books.  I tend to take things slow and I'm okay with that.  

Soon I'll share the art I've made since my return that was inspired by my time in New Mexico.  

Have you been on a trip that had a profound impact on you?  I'd love to hear about it.

thanks for stopping by, 
love & blessings

01 January 2020


I'm choosing Gratitude as my word for this new year, 2020.  I spent time the last few weeks trying to decide if I would choose a word for the year.  I don't think I've done it in a long time.  One word kept coming to mind and I'd pretty much settled on it.  Then yesterday, as I was working with my tarot and oracle cards I thought to pull an oracle card to see what word they would recommend.  

Gratitude was the card and just seemed perfect...

I do have a lot to be grateful for and I think too many times I ignore that and focus on what I feel I lack.  So, gratitude for this new year and I'll see how things shift.  

Three things I am grateful for from 2019...

 The gift of a trip to the beach to celebrate my 50th birthday...

The amazing adventure that was my August trip to New Mexico and all the wonderful people I met there...

Last, but, most importantly, YOU.

I am so grateful for those who read my blog and take the time to comment and interact with me.  I know I've been an intermittent blogger and not very good at replying to comments.  (I hope to do better this year!)

Truly, there are more things I'm grateful for from 2019.  But I think those are the top three.

Wishing you a fabulously happy new year and new decade! 

thanks for reading...
love & blessings

ps...the top two photos were taken today, it's the last night of our neighborhood holiday light display and my traditional southern New Year's day lunch just before we dug into the food. :-)

11 October 2019

Let's go to New Mexico (part 2)...

On Wednesday (Aug 21st) I hopped in the shuttle van and headed from Santa Fe to Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu.  The ride was so beautiful and the driver of the van was so nice.  We talked so much!  Honestly, I was so overwhelmed by the landscape that it was hard to focus on the conversation.

Throughout the 10 day trip, I took over 600 photos with my camera and probably around 100 on my cell phone.  

I was the first of our group to arrive that day in our building.  After settling into my room, I wandered a little bit around the outside of the building, just taking it all in.  There was a monsoon off in the distance that I kept watching as it came closer and closer.  The lightening was amazing and when the storm finally made it to us, only a few drops hit the ground.  It sure was fun to watch move over the land.

One of the things I learned was that the land had once been the bottom of the ocean, which I guess I should have known from school, but it just didn't register.  They had a couple of museums on the ranch, that I never made it to.  One of them was about the dinosaur bones that had been found on the land.  It turns out they matched bones that had been found in Africa.  So fascinating!

Anyway, I walked A LOT on the ranch.  I only hitched a ride with my classmates a few times.  It was really important to experience the land as much as I could.  I walked over 12,000 steps daily and a few days went as high as 15,000.  

My time on the ranch was from Wednesday until Monday.  It was the most wonderful five days I think I've ever spent.  

One thing that surprised me was the lack of wildlife.  I saw one rabbit, one deer (just barely), a couple of little lizards and a few birds.  I could hear ravens but never got to see them.  Not a single rattlesnake or scorpion.  No coyotes or wolves.  I was very disappointed in that.

On Monday, I took the shuttle back to Santa Fe and met up with my friends from class.  One had a flight out later that day and the others had to drive back to Albuquerque for their flights, so we hung out in my room for a few hours until she had to leave.  I had to get up at 4 on Tuesday to make my flight home.  

I'd been watching the weather before I left for Ghost Ranch and was worried about a tropical system that was supposed to hit the Miami area when I had my return flight through there.  Once back in Santa Fe, I turned on the weather channel and found that the storm was still incoming, but my bigger problem was a system moving across the country into Dallas - which was my first stop on the way home.  

I made it home Tuesday after lots of flight delays and re-routing of flights.

Being out there, experiencing the open spaces and the clear air, seeing all those stars, it just reiterated how much I would love to live away from a city.

Next up is a post about the art we made in class and the art I made after returning home that was inspired by my time there.

What have you been up to lately?

Thanks for stopping by for a read...

love & blessings


02 October 2019

Let's go to New Mexico (part 1)...

 (Holyhocks outside the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum of Art)
 (Bear Lake painting at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum of Art)
 (Untitled O'Keeffe painting at Georgia O'Keeffe Museum of Art)
 (Rattlesnake skeleton on display at Georgia O'Keeffe Museum of Art)
 (Santa Fe Plaza)
 (Santa Fe Plaza facing the Palace of Governors)
 (St. Francis of Assisi Chapel at the New Mexico Museum of Art)
 (The Railyard in Santa Fe - farmer's market, art galleries, shops and restaurants)
(Boulder Falls by Pansy Stockton at the New Mexico Museum of Art - made with leaves, twigs, grasses and feathers on board)
(New Mexico Museum of Art)
 (St Francis of Assisi statue in garden at New Mexico Museum of Art)
(Sculpture Garden at New Mexico Museum of Art)

Let's talk about New Mexico...

First, a little back story...

Last year I signed up to attend a session of the Red Thread Retreat.  Normally, they are held at a beautiful retreat center in the mountains of Maryland.  This particular session was to be held at Ghost Ranch in Abiguiu, New Mexico.

I'd heard about Ghost Ranch several years ago on an art Instagram account and was fascinated.  So when I saw it was being held there I immediately decided to sign up.  Once the co-instructor and the dates were announced, I knew I would have to attend.  The co-instructor was Nina Bagley, whom I have adored and admired for years.  And the dates, well, it was scheduled during my own personal hell week.  I was sold!  I mean, what could be better to alleviate my yearly depression during that week?

My original plan was to drive cross country, go to the retreat then head north and visit Montana.  I had a list of places I wanted to stop and see... Yellowstone, Tetons, Deadwood, family homes in Illinois and Indiana among others.

Unfortunately, the driving didn't work out so I had to fly.  I am not a comfortable flier.  In fact, I'm terrified to fly.  But...

Santa Fe - I flew out to Santa Fe, New Mexico on Sunday, August 18th.  I spent a few days at the Santa Fe Sage Inn.  The first day was just resting from the migraine that developed on the flight out.  On Monday, I went to The Plaza and spent time at the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum of Art.  

The New Mexico Museum of Art was wonderful!  I haven't been to many museums, but I really loved the layout and structure of this one.  So much beautiful art!  There is a sculpture garden as well as a courtyard and St Francis of Assisi chapel.  I spent several hours wandering.

I wandered around the plaza a little then went to the Georgia O'Keeffe Art Museum.  It was much smaller than I expected and not very enjoyable.  It was too bright and too loud.  The guards (and there were TONS) glared at everyone and it was extremely crowded.  I did enjoy at lot of the art, but really did not enjoy the experience.

After that, I headed back to the plaza for a meetup with one of the retreat attendees that I'd met at a previous retreat.  We had lunch, and spent the afternoon wandering around the plaza.  It was great!

We returned to the hotel later that afternoon for a rest.  Then met up for dinner with another retreat member.  The next day, Tuesday, the three of us went out shopping and exploring.  We went to the local art store (Artisans - fantastic place!), Goodwill, and couple other places I can't remember, then to the Railyard for lunch and exploring. We then took a visit of the Museum of Encaustic Art. It was a small, yet beautiful exhibit that has art from every state.  They also hold  classes and workshops and have a section for local youths to come and make and exhibit art to sale.  It was really amazing and inspiring.  After that, we had a bit of resting in the afternoon, then met up for dinner again. 

I had such fun with the two of them!  And am so happy to have made two new close friends.  We each live in different states, but we've been staying in contact and that is wonderful.

Santa Fe is a beautiful place and I didn't see but a small part of it. I loved how in the distance, no matter the direction I looked, I could see the mountains.  I really hope to go back again and spend more time in Santa Fe and the surrounding areas.

Part 2 will pick up with the trip from Santa Fe to Ghost Ranch.

Have you ever been to Santa Fe?  If so, what did you think?

Thanks for stopping by for a read...
love & blessings

01 October 2019

October, my old friend...

Happy October!  

My favorite month of the year!  Now if Mother Nature will gift my region with autumnal temperatures and turn off the furnace, that would be much appreciated.

Today I thought I'd share some photos from previous Octobers.  I don't know what this year will bring, but it is sometimes fun to look back.

October 2010 at my little cottage with the blue door.  Oh how I miss that cottage and the land that it sat on.  The wooden witch was made by my Grandfather.  He used to make these elaborate holiday displays for their yard and I was lucky enough to get the witch and two black cats.  They are probably as old as I am. 

From the Haunted Halloween Tea of 2013.  I still lived at the little cottage and had the best time setting up that party for one (and the blog).

2015 Witches Tea Party.  I'd moved from the little cottage, but was able to have a nice little party. (I think that year I actually had people over.)

2016 Halloween decorations. I did a small little thing for myself and shared on the blog. 

2018 Halloween party.  This was an actual party I threw a few days before Halloween.  I invited neighbors over and it was quite fun.  I'm trying to decide if I want to do it again this year.  

Do you have plans for October?  Anything big going on?  I'm not sure what plans I have yet, except to be here more.  

We'll see how it goes! 

Happy October!
Thanks for stopping in for a read...
love & blessings


30 September 2019

where did September go...

Is it really the end of September?  How did that happen so fast?!?

I really did have plans to be here.  Where did the time go?

Most of September passed in a migraine haze.  Oh well...I'll just go on from here.

I'll be back here soon with stories of my trip.  And my favorite time is around the corner.  I usually start celebrating on the 1st.  

I hope you had a wonderful September.  Is it autumn weather where you are?  We are still experiencing 90's in the temps here.  The weather channel says the autumn weather will be settling in here on Saturday.  I can't wait!  I really want to wear sweaters, wrap up in cozy blankets and sip hot tea and cider!  

How is your autumn going so far?

Thanks for stopping in for a read...
love & blessings