Monday, April 30, 2007


The sun has melted the snow off the LaPlatas and the Ute. Water has been trickling down into streams and creeks, making its way to the Dolores and Mancos Rivers and then into Summit Lake and McPhee, Naragwimimp and Totem. All bringing a change to the men of the valley. They go nuts. Men have shot other men over water, never heard of a women shooting anyone over water? I see them, the men, on the roads, with their tool- a shovel- in a pick up truck or an ATV- and most often with a dog. (there is a whole 'nother blog on what a determined dog can balance on- )checking the hay fields and head gates.
What is it with men and water? It's more then just each needs their allotted amount to water their fields of hay? Water has defined the West- without it there is no settling anything. From the beginning of the whites migration from east to west- Water was paramount- Ranchers would only have to lay claim to the sections that had water- of the miles and miles of land he would need to grave his herds of cattle and he then had all the land he wanted-no one else could sustain with out the water- often he would put his cowboys near the water holes to guard them from anyone else using them- the adage-"plenty to go around" did not nor does today exist when it comes to water. Water rights keep attorney's busy even today. In drought years it all has to do when your claim was filed and often the dates of the claims go back to the 1800's- if you have a new claim- filed in the 1900's- forget it-
There isn't enough to go around- and each claim holder wants his allotted share- whether he needs it or not- it seems- days are spent watching the pressure of the the streams of water spraying from the side rolls and moving them along the fields, hooked on to the back of an ATV. Valves are also checked on the head gates- either to open your values more then your neighbors or to make sure your neighbor didn't open his more than he should of-
And in good years- the valley is green and the ranchers might get three cuttings of their hay- and the reservoirs are splotches of blue on the horizon. On bad years the irrigation gets cut off in July and the fields turn brown and hay price will be bad for the winter.
Back to my question- what is it about men and water- today I think it is more-I think it is a powerful thing to think of ever year the snow comes to the mountains, the snow melts the water comes to the streams and rivers and will flow over this whole land until it reaches the sea and the whole process starts again- I think men are in tuned to that- and are drawn to put their hand in it and to control it- to "reclaim" the wild- it is what God proclaimed in Genesis and what must of been a great motivation to the man in the East who heard the call to go West.
I see it in them- when they are out in the fields, shovel in hand and they have diverted the might force of water to go where they chose and it flows out glisening in the sun- and then they stand there and watch for a moment what they have control of.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

IF "Remember"

I think this is the second or third attempt at fabric collage. Looking back at it I realize how much my "technique" has changed- dare I say "improved". My dogs have definitely changed and I think that is the last cat I have done. Making an account of my portfolio on my website- I have done 10 illustrations that have a dog- out of 17!One illustration has a cat. Hum? What does that say- and I don't think I am a "gagga" for dogs person? Well- okay right now my two dogs are right here- the big one on the floor next to the bed, where I will have to navigate over him to get up nd the little one at the foot of the bed surveying her domain out the window.
Why do I illustrate so many dogs? Cause they are expressive I guess- they come in so many sizes and shapes- and having a dog says something about who a person is-

people who "take their dog" places are a little bit more laid back- little bit less up tight- and I like those people, I like illustrating those people. Dare I say I am one of those people? The illustration I am working on right now? Aghhhhh? Has two dogs in it and a pick up truck- ( 5 out of 17 illustrations have trucks)Great I will be the illustrator of dogs and trucks- is there much need for that in in the children's literature market?

I love the West- the geographical location and the lifestyle and you illustrate what you know- if you drive the highways of the Southwest- you see dogs and you see trucks. Both say something about the people who make this place their home.

Friday, April 27, 2007

"Being part of an Old Couple"

I bumped in to an interesting blog today. Usually happens when I am trying to find images to help me draw something and then my curiosity takes over and I end up reading the websites where the images are. This blog was written by a young girl, must of been in college because she was saying she wouldn't be posting until her examines were done. Well the blog that caught my eye was her opinions on marriage. She sounded just like I did in college.
She said she would not even consider getting married until she was "independent and shrewed". Here is my "rebuttal blog" on why if she takes that as her criteria for marriage she will fail.
I might not know everything or much- but I have been married for sixteen years- I think, I always have to have my husband remind me what it is exactly- but then again he has to remind me exactly how old I am too.
I think her very modern idea of "being independent" is the kiss of death to a marriage. Sorry "modern women" - "Need" is vital. Marriage will not last unless both of you need each other. Companionship is not enough.
When I was in college- I worked in a nursing home as a CNA and learned a lot about life, death and marriage.
Amazing, most of the residence when their mind "left them" their thoughts went back to their childhoods and they would take about their mothers and fathers in the present tense- like a child. But there were a few exceptions- Minnie Brown would wander the halls looking for Mr. Brown- sometimes in desperation and only the reassurance that he was on his way would appease her.
There was another man, I can't remember his name. You could tell he had been a proud man,tall and strong in his younger day but since having a stroke he just sat in his room, not one to want to be out in the halls or involved in the activities- he was waiting to die, but it was going to take him a long time. He would not interact with the nurses and CNA when we would help him get dress and take care of the things he could not do anymore- sometimes "growling at us" in his frustration of not being able to even go to the bathroom alone. I knew he liked me because he wouldn't "growl" so much at me and I could usually get him to do the things I needed to.
His wife came to see him everyday.She would talk to him a little, but mostly she just sat with him. Sometime, I would walk by the room and she would be standing behind his chair rubbing his back.
But then she had a heart attack and died, so all day, everyday he sat in his room alone. Once when I had gotten him in the bathroom and was standing behind him waiting for him to finish, he cried and I rubbed his back for him.
I don't know what kind of a marriage they had, what their life was like together. But whatever it was, they stuck through it together. I could tell, as could everyone else in the nursing home-how much he loved and needed his wife.
You don't sit with the shell of your husband or wife everyday or help them with their "bodily functions" because you enjoy them as "a companion". In fact, that might not be a bad litmus test to decide if you are in love- "would you empty out their catheter bag for them the rest of their life." Well actually it is put a little bit more elegantly- "In sickness and in health, forsaking all others" in the marriage vows. Enough said on that!
On to the second half of my rebuttal- "not get married until I am shrewd?" - I had the same thought in my head as a young women- I want my husband to be this to be that- I want him to have this intelligence, this demeanor, even to the extent of his eye color, hair color, etc. Asked the questions young girls discuss- the what if's - what if he wants me to do this or that?
We define love the wrong direction- we thing we will love someone because what they do and who they are- True love is loving someone Despite what they do. And God has a sense of humor- my husband is such the opposite of all my expectations- and frankly sometimes he irritates the hell out of me- but he is a good, strong man and takes care of his family. The bottom line to everything, the thing that "trumps" being independent, shrewd or anything else- is when he kisses me- I melt inside. There really is nothing else then that. I love him enough to empty his catheter everyday- hum? maybe I should put that on our next anniversary card?

Monday, April 09, 2007

A Stitch in Time

I was enjoying the comments that were coming in on my IF "Go Green" and a lot of them had to do with how hard it must be to do collage in fabric and how much time it takes. So thought I would respond to that. First- I have tried so many other mediums-pen and ink, watercolor, paper collage and they all finished out looking like "crap" sorry can't think of another word.
In fact, other well known illustrators- one Caldacott winner who will remain nameless-
at a SCBWI conference- told me so. I tended to over work things. So finding a medium that I am successful with, even if it might take some extra time, is worth it. Beside when I get to the stitching stage- I can take it anywhere and it is very relaxing, often do it watching a movie in the evening.
The laying down the fabric really goes fast. While a painter is working in the texture in the sky, I just find some blue batik fabric and it is done in a matter of seconds. I'd say it takes four days to finish an illustration- and that is by no means a full day- that is having blocks of time to work on it- I am a mother, need I say more. One day to sketch and get a final pattern on tissue paper, a easy day laying down the the pieces of fabric- with iron on adhesive on the back, one to two days to stitch around everything and do embroidery and other details.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Go Green!

Although I had fun with the "earthness" of this illustration,sorry couldn't resist- the scene is looking at the Flat Irons ( rock outcrops near the town of Boulder, Colorado-near where I grew up) and it freatures "Granolas" ( the new hippy), the reality is we All need to Go Green and recycle. This is the only planet we have and we only have so much room- and we create too much trash.

I featured this illustration on my "How I Work Page" on my webstite if you are curious about the construction of my fabric collages.