Wednesday, June 28, 2006

...Maxfield Parrish

When I was a little girl I would sit in my grandma house and stare at a Maxfield Parrish illustration my uncle had given her years ago. It was of a lady, her knee resting on a whitlesandsone bench in a classic garden, her hands stretched out, to the heavens over a mountain lake. As if she was imploring the Gods for something- I was convinced she was pleading for her lover somehow, he off on a dangerous trek. My grandma knew I loved it, or got tired of me asking for it so one day she allowed me to write my name on the back of it, in green crayon. The acceptable way to distinguish who would get what from her was their name on a piece of masking tape, in a inconspicous spot. My cousin said she was going to put a piece of tape on the foundation of my grandma house.
Well it was twenty some years before the painting was mine- fine by me- to enjoy my grandma into my thirtys when she died at 96. Now the illustration is near my bed and as I jump into this world of writing and illustrating stories it is such a wonderful reminder of the spark that existed so long ago- before I thought much of my career in life- to know the pull "story" had on me as a young child, I still wonder what she is begging the Gods for and will one day have to just put down on paper her story.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

...A soak in Trimble Hot Springs

Saturday we went and spent the day with friend at Trimble Hot Springs. People have been soaking in the natural mineral spring located in the Animas valley, north of Durango for a very long time- including the nomadic Utes who claimed the valley for hunting for hundreds of years. Several establishments have been built near the springs starting with Frank Trimble built a "way station" in 1847. Three hotels over the years have been built near the "healing waters" and all of them have burn down. Marilyn Monroe, pictured above stayed here, during filming in around the Durango area- as did many movie stars from the golden era. Infact, not far away, is Baker's Bridge-over a small gorge, where Paul Newman and Robert Redford, were filmed jumping off the ridge for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

More on Durango illustrious past check out-

Friday, June 23, 2006

...a wonderful short story

Well, I'm off the hook today- my friend Sue Cameron wrote a touching short story on her blog-
"My Own Little Corner" so here it is!

A Dance of Thanksgiving
starts @ June 20th- two parts

Thursday, June 22, 2006 Eagle Dancer

Several of the town in the Four Corners have nightly summer Native American dance performances. Being a local, it always amazes me how the tourist respond to the dancers, like they really expect them to head off on their horse to their tepees- when they see them- around the corner, taking off their costumes, with their CD walkmans in their ears, maybe playing a Gameboy, drinking a Coke, leaning against their Camero- I think the tourist are actually surprised!
The relationships in the dancers families are interesting, too- remember once when we were watching them in Taos New Mexico, two young boys were goofing around before the performance with the wooden drum sticks that would be used to beat the drum for the rhythm, well their grandfather came over and put an end to it, speaking Apache, but you know what- I didn't need a translation and the boys quickly put the drumsticks back and stopped goofing around! We're not that much different!

Monday, June 19, 2006

...that is tenacity

We just got back from spending Father's Day weekend camping above Ouray, Colorado. The little mining town is one stop on a "scenic byway", encircling the San Juan Mountains. Many times we have driven the route up the Dolores Canyon, over Lizard Head pass, down into Telluride, up over Dallas Divide, turning east toward Ouray, up and over Red Mountain pass, into Silverton, then over Molas and Coal Bank pass, through the Animas valley to Durango and then back north through Mancos and back up to Dolores.
And every time we do it, there are moments I am holding on tight to the #$%@! bar as Jonh has to move way over to the edge of the road to allow a wide RV, probably with a small car in tow, to get by and I look down the thousand foot drop off, wondering how close our tires are to the edge and my thoughts always seem to turn to the men who dug these roads out of rock, before the age of powered machinery and think of their tenacity to get the job done!
But then Gold and Silver have always motivated men to be tenacious.
Otto Mears was greatly responsible for getting the railroad to about every place it could go in the San Juan mountains, then to the places too steep of a grade for the steam engines, he made toll roads, on which the miners had to pay him to get their riches out.
tenacious men were able to lay track up the Dolores Canyon and the train brought much need supplies to Telluride, in it's box canyon. But even today you can stand on the main street and see the remains of roads cut into the sides of the mountains, Black Bear, being the most famous and most dangerous, dug by miners to get at their treasures.
When we headed home yesterday we decided to get off the beaten path and turned on to Old Lime Creek Road, a dirt and rock road that paralled the modern highway above as it made it's way over CoalBanks Pass. Luckily for my husband, my memory is short and I usually don't remember the %$*&! places of a particular road till there is no turning back.
Well that moment came about midpoint, when we started to climb out of the creekbed and the road hugged a red dirt cliff. This is when I start thinking about how wide our truck is, how wide another car might be meeting us and how wide the road isn't! Backing up on a narrow road, next to a huge drop off to let another car pass is no fun! Jon is very skilled and I would want no other to be behind the wheel, but getting through places like this always makes me suck in air!
Once pass the crisis, I thought of the ladies, who traveled this road, not for pleasure, or an aircondtioned cab of a truck with great suspension, but in a wagon, out in the air, with unpredictable horses, but hopefully sitting next to a skilled man, who she has complete faith in to navigate the treacherous road, wondering what they would do if they met another wagon coming the other way.
Do you know why the pieces and parts of NASA's shuttles are the size they are? Because they have to be able to fitt through the tunnels that the trains take, the trains are a width because that is the width of the track they are on, the track is that width because of the width of the roads they were layed down on, determined by the width of the wagaons that were driven down them, determined by the width of two horses harnessed together. Our future is connected to our past!

Friday, June 16, 2006 the jungle

Well- we already have another theme for Illustration Friday, but hey, here it is, for last week- "In The Jungle"! Got done with it this afternoon. I did write twenty two pages on my novel, do a mountain of research on the Manhattan Project- me! Reading about uraninium and plutonium- yikes- but got a bunch of stuff and realized I was inaccurate on a few points will have to go back and change- not too bad for a week's worth of work!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

...just say maybe

I'm try to read through some encouraging books on how to focus on an artist life and they have been wonderful. Well I have reached a hiccup in one of them- a chapter on "just say no". I hate that phrase!
Yes, I understand the purpose of it and the need to rein in our commitments. Yes we do-do way to much things and some of the things we do are worthy of doing, just we aren't the ones that should be doing them.
This is my quandery- I think we have no problem saying "No" to things we all should be doing- There are a lot of us on this planet and there are a lot of hungry people not being fed, a lot of lonely people not being visited and comforted, a lot of fatherless children not being adopted.
Jesus told us that we do not know him, if we do not clothes the poor, feed the hungry, visit the prisoner, adopt the child- where does "just say no" fit in to that!
"Just saying No" or for that matter "Just saying Yes to everything" really has the same out come and is a victory for the enemy, because it leaves God's people in need either way- either the service or the server suffers and neither is in his purpose.
How about, "Just say Maybe!" how about being intuned to the urgings of the Holy Spirit- and waiting, oh there is that word so often in his commands- wait- not never, just not now! - The Pilgrims Progress is such a wonderful illustration of the Christian walk- but a large part of it is Christian had no idea what was going to come his way or what he should do when he got there- it seems if he had a "policy of always saying no" he might of missed out on a lot God intended for him. We also are pilgrims making our way to the Eternal City- we do not know all the stops in the road or the interesting strangers we will encounter- yes some will take our time, some will be fruitless pursuits, some will be out right dangerous, but some will be a blessing sent by our Creator- we lack the ability to distiunguise them- Only by the urging of the Holy Spirit will we know.
So instead of No or Yes all the Time, how about Maybe-and then feel down inside you and determine if Guilt or God is pushing you forward.

Monday, June 12, 2006

...went up to Telluride

We took the dogs up to Telluride Colorado and hiked up to Bridal Veil Falls. Telluride is actually some kind of mineral found in the steep mountain slopes of this box canyon, but if you have ever driven down around the steep corner near the turn off to Ophir Pass a little bit fast and looked down the thousand foot drop off down to Illum, you can understand why the miners called it To- Hell- You- Ride.
My husband's family often kicks themselves because they didn't buy up a few of the fallen down shacks lining the mining towns streets when they first moved to the western slope of Colorado in the mid 70's, before the town was discovered.
Today, Telluride is a mecca for the rich, the famous and the dog lover. Infact last Labor Day, the weekend of the big Telluride Film Festival- we almost got Max's ( our Newfie/ Lab cross) photo taken with Mickey Rooney- the star of such movies as National Velvet. But the actor has to be in his eighties and I think the photo op people thought that our Max could of bowled him over- besides a cute little black lab puppy came along and was a much safer alternative.
Well yesterday the street were pretty quiet, the Western Festival keeping the tourist pretty much to the city park and we strolled with Max and Molly, being the puppy she definitely got the most attention.
We had dinner at Tellurice- the best Asian food I have had- and the dogs were treated like royalty- sitting on the side walk near the steps of the outdoor patio. Getting love from the tattooed glad hostess and water out of a china bowl.
Then we rode the Gondola, between the mining town and Mountain Village, at the base of the ski slopes, the ride if a highlight and free- several gondolas being designated for dogs.
To check out another great dog town- go to Jackson Hole Wyoming where they do the running of the labs on the Fourth of July- or at least they did when we were there several years ago.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

..a puppy off the Rez

We got a puppy! I don't know what I was thinking- but it was a whim, spur of the moment kinda of thing! We were hanging out at the Dolores River Days Music with some friends. Everybody had their dogs- us as well- Max, our 100 pound Newfoundland/lab cross. And along comes a family all wearing handpainted Tshirts that said Free Dog and Puppy. Sure enough they had two black Navajo Reservation dogs on leashes making the rounds, so they plopped down in the shade with us and this little black and salt/pepper puppy starts playing with Max like they were best buds!
Now- if you have been on the Reservation, seen the landscape of barren dirt in every direction with half starved cattle and horses seeking out bits of green, driven past the clusters of hogans, summer house and doublewides with old tires lining the roof ( so the shingles don't blow off in the wind) , stopped at a Trading Post to puruse the wonderful Native American crafts, get an afternoon snack, or tried to use their bathroom facilities ( enough stuff for a whole nother post- )you have experienced the packs of half wild Rez dogs- watching your back and your children when they are milling around you. Rez dogs are scavengers and the places people are- main roads/ and trading post if where there is food of all kinds- road kill, whatever is in the garbage, what they can steal from the other dogs.
But there is a informal group of people that foster a few of these dogs-when they can catch them and keep them temporally- cleaning them up, deworm them- you eat dead things- you get worms! And then when the dogs are healthy- they find people, like us, who want to adopt them and then go find another dog to foster.
There is an epidemic of Rez dogs- and it is disheartening to see them frantically looking for food and scared and mangy. But there is also an epidemic of dishearten people- Navajos- also on the Reservation. Sometimes, it seems to me that rescuing animals in need fits in with our busy lives more then trying to help people. Less complicated, less effort to take an animal in- then navigate the tricky waters of helping others.
I applaud the efforts of the ladies who rescued Molly and what a wonderful story to tell others when we talk about our little puppy. But there are still children, whose tummies are hungry, who haven't been taught the basics of hygiene, who are still being placed in boarding schools away from their mothers at a young age- to desensitize them from their culture-( enough stuff for a whole book, I hope to write some day) living in this country. We aren't talking Africa or Iran. We are taking about Arizona and New Mexico in the U.S of A!-The only place Samaritans Purse, a ministry created by Franklin Graham, Billy Graham's son, delivers their Christmas shoeboxes ( operation christmas child- a care package of hygiene supplies, toys and daily needs), in this country is on the Navajo Reservation. The rest go to third world countries! We have a third world country in our backyard!

To know more or Get involved- check out

Southwest Indian Foundation
a mail order catalog of crafts and jewelry- supporting the artisans that make them and programs on the Rez including wood stove to families too far out for utilities and AA programs.

Samaritan's Purse Ministry
a great ministry started by Franklin Graham- taking Christ's command that we do not know him if we do not take care of his people!

Friday, June 09, 2006

...a noisy house

Okay- I have been reading all the books that should inspire the artist, been trying to breath in inpiration looking towards the mountain, at the sunrise and sunset- which was amazing last night by the way, walked out of the movie theater about eight and a thunderstorm had just gone over and left these deep clouds that the setting sun turned orange- the light all around was literally orange and everyone stopped what they were doing to look at it- there was a huge rainbow that looked like it had crashed into the earth on the otherside of town- it was absolutely surreal- then this morning the sky is an amazing blue over the mesa and the sun is casting a soft yellow light through the east windows and giving a warm glow- all inspiring- if not for the two children, the husband, the two dogs, etc- swarming- I think I have lost that window of bliss- when the house is quite, the world is fresh and new and one can sit, curled up on the couch with a warm cup of tea and write- unincumbered- ahhhh, tomorrow is another day- or morning, like Scarlett O'Hara would say!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

...lessons from my garden

There is an old rose bush in my flower garden. It was there first. We moved on to an old homestead and actually moved an old house off its foundation and built our log house in its place. The wonderful thing about building in an old homestead is that you get to have the delight of old trees- we have an apricot tree that is thirty feet high and about a hundred years old. Hollyhocks, peonies, sweet peas all come up year after year. Then there is this old rose. My mother came to help get the garden ready- ten years ago- and we went about it in the way my grandmother and greatgrandmother would have. Double digging the rich soil- putting more compost, planting the clumps of flowers she brought with her- adding some more from the local nursery, and she gave me advice about dealing with this old rose, whose roots were so deep under the ground we could never find it. So I was instructed to snip all its shoots that dared to come up in to my flower garden. If that didnt work- cover everything else and poison it to death- something I never got around to doing.
Over the years, the rose and I have had sort of a battle and I have been losing. Losing to its shoots, sticking here and there in my flower garden. I have also been losing the battle with the weeds and battle with remembering to water. I have been failing miserably to carry on the tradition of my mother, my grandmother, my great grandmother- all who are magical when it comes to growing flowers.
Then it hit me this morning- my artistery doesn't come from my flower garden- it comes from my art. My mother, my grandmother, my great granmother are all artist and their canvas are the glorious gardens around their house, the lovely bouquets of flowers on their tables. But I am also contining the tradition of beautiful things, just in a different medium. The old rose and me are a lot a like. Even though it had to fight to let it shoots see the light of day- year after year they kept coming up. My artistery has had the same battle. Year after year, even though it was pushed back down and other things took the place of importance, my need to create, kept coming up, showing itself to me- wether I let it grow or snipped it off.
So now, the old rose and I have a "treaty" it will be allowed to be what it is and fill my flower garden and I will watch in anticipation to see what it becomes and I will allow myself to be what I am- an artist and writer- and watch in aticapation to see what I become.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

...meaning of a muse.

I am trying to read a little bit of Janice Elsheimer's "The Creative Call" every morning- a Christian response to books like the "Artist Way". What Janice says about the muse is really inspiring- too often, we Christian want to stay so far away from any reference to such things- which is sad. Janice writes how even great Christian authors like John Milton wrote an invocation to his great work Paradise Lost , inviting the Holy Spirit as his muse. The idea of something greater then the artist, using our minds and our bodies, to create is pretty universal- We, Christian artists, need to start giving credit to where credit is due!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

...logo done!

Got a logo I am happy with- seems like since high school, teachers having been saying artist should have logos and I never had one I liked for long- think this one really sums up the whole idea of Moonflower Studio! Moved images around on website and it really came together! Getting there- maybe will be able to do some real writing and illustrating by the end of this week. Still am giddy about doing "illustration Friday" and actually being able to get my illo on the web- though did get a note about it not being a "static" page- not sure what that is but will figure it out! Got some nice people to talk me through such things- God is really pushing me- saying "now is the time to do this career thing"- scared and excited!! On a tangent- we adopted a "reservation puppy"- Molly, little black with little floppy ears and a salt and pepper nose- for the girls- think from near Chenle, Arizona- never can spell it right- sweetest thing- though not too interested in me- which is okay- since Max is my dog- but this morning discovered she had worms! Will be seeing the vet later today!!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

...illustration friday

First attempt at "illustration Friday" a fun end of the week project! Started by a very clever illustrator- Penelope Dullaghan- who sends out a theme word- this week being "portrait", suggested by one of the I'm sure a hundred illustrator who participate, and then over the weekend or into the next week, we all can link our illustration and websites or blogs to the site, check it out- yeah! I got it done on Saturday! Goal is to not miss a week through the summer- see how I do- but also got myself another portfolio piece!

Here We Go!

Wow! What can happen in a week- since the writer's conference, I have connections- a supportive group of experience lady illustrators that want to include me in their endeavors and a website online, if incomplete. Now, a blog! Wow!