Friday, October 29, 2010

IF: "Spent"

I have "Spent" a lot of time in the mountains of Colorado. My dad was a Forest Ranger, we literally went " over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go." My mom, bought property full of dirt, stream and deer where we climbed the hills and avoided the rattlesnakes. Our church groups went to a camp called "Wilderness Ranch" where more rattlesnakes had to be avoided- and a few were caught by one of the dads- and cooked over an open fire- it tastes like chicken if you are wondering. I was a Girl Scout I know how to build a fire starting with a teepee of dry sticks.

My Step Dad had a cabin- that we were always at- where the elk roamed right below Long Peak and Estes Park- where now old enough I could drive myself, through the meandering canyons of the Rockies foothills- where I discovered a mountain chapel- nestled by black rocks and behind the infamous Stanley Hotel- the inspiration for Steven Kings- "The Shining"- Well years later when Jon, leaning against the back of a pick up truck- nestled in a hidden valley, near the elk and deer and below Kenosha Pass- and asked me to marry him- I remembered that chapel- and that winter we were married there- Elk graving  outside the windows.

Now- well you know where I am now- looking out at red dirt and sage- far south of where I grew up, but still up against the Rockies- the names replaced from French- like the Cache La Poudre river near Wyoming, meaning "hide the powder"- were I spent a lot of my childhood- - - now the river are in Spanish- "Rio de las Animas Perdidas" which means "River of Lost Souls" and Florida is not pronounced like the State- but Flor-E-Da as in Spanish.

Where you spend you time- changes you- I can dream of California and the ocean- or Europe- when other bloggers show me moss covered church and wooded lanes- I can "pine" for culture and other parts of the world- but this is where I have spent my life- this is what is in my bones and my soul and so this is what is my art.

Friday, October 22, 2010

IF: "Running"

" The water was running so fast that they could never get across"
This is actually a new illustration- in my attempt to market towards covers for chapter books- but it also is some what grounded in reality!

My grandmother lived through the Big Thompson flood in Colorado back in 1976- don't hold me to the exact year- I was like in 3rd grade.
A large amount of rain sent a 60 foot wall of water through the narrow canyon which heads West- up to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park- and 70 + people were killed because they did not heed the warnings of the police officers telling them to get out- two officers lost their lives trying to save people.
My grandpa- a carpenter- had actually built many of the cabins in the Big Thompson Canyon- that literally got swept away in the rushing water- but for his cabin, he built it high on a hill- he died when I was four-but  my grandma spent that terrible night safe listening to people's screams and the explosion of propane tanks, thanks to his hynesight-  a strip motel which over hung the river right below her cabin was totally taken away along with the family that had climb on top of the roof for safety instead of climbing the hill to safety- people do crazy things in crisis.
The next morning- she walked down to the river- now piled high with gigantic boulders and debris and watched neighbors save a man- stranded in the middle of the river, his clothes ripped from his body.
she had called us in the middle of the night- but then the phone went dead- we lived down the canyon in the larger town of  Loveland and so the next day- my mom borrowed a 4x4 and was driving over rough mountain access roadsto come save her but literally met her  4x4 driving her 1967 Chevy Caprice out with other neighbors- the road the only way out- since the main highway was ripped apart, another neighbor was actually trying to get out in a RV!
Grandma only spent a few days with us and then wanted to get back to her cabin, concerned about looting- so she went with a pistol and was a lady who knew how to use it. She also had spent a great deal of her life without electricity, running water and knew how to use the cook stove residing in the stone basement of her cabin- we supplied her with a generator- but it was too noisy and she only fired it up to brew her morning coffee.
My brother and I, when we were allowed to come and stay with her- hiked high up on the hill and the vision of the ripped apart black road was the inspiration for the illustration- though not the exact view- or my brother and I. I wish I could of added more- the overturned cars and the helicoptors hovering in the air-looking for survivors- can still hear my bossy older brother telling me not to wave at them in fear they would think we need help.
She did have one run in with some looter, two men came knocking at her door one night and she waited patiently on the othe side of the door- the pistol load- but they never broken in- the next day she tracked them to the neighbors house- that was vacant and discovered a broken window and blood where they had gained access to the cabin and had stolen items.
People were always impressed by her sticking it out- up there- after my grandfather died and staying through the flood's aftermath- she would always laugh and tell them it reminded her of "keeping house" for her farmer brothers when she was a young girl and lived in a isolated farm had to sweep snakes out of the house . Her younger sisters wanted a chance to housekeep for their brother that were farming away from the larger family farm- but with a prideful laugh- Grandma would tells us they never lasted long and soon she was back- the only one tough enough to handle it.
Boy do I miss her!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

IF: "Spooky"

Not really the spookiest spider in the world-but actually have a new illustration ready for season-I  put it on postcards for a promo mailing- hopefully that will get done and out before Halloween- since sending Art Directors a Halloween postcard after Halloween would be "Spooky" or "Tacky"

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Road Trip: Santa Fe

Got to go to Santa Fe this weekend, with daughter #1, who is looking at colleges- (whole'nother blog)- but we ended the weekend  meandering Santa Fe,  the narrow adobe streets were in shadows as we hurried to our favorite breakfast place, the morning sun not high enough yet to warm them up ....

 We always seem to be at the big communal table, in the middle, but always meet interesting people, and the food.... there is a reason everyone comes here and will wait, and wait- til almost lunch for their breakfast.

 The sun started  shining, by the time we got to the square...
 and warmed up the long porch of the Palace of the Governors where the Pueblo Indians sell wonderful jewelery.

Still needing a little warmth and caffine, I headed to the Starbucks, somehow "cooler" in Santa Fe!

And then we meandered up Canyon Road- lined on both sides with Art Galleries.....

and then father up, adobe walls and cool gates only hint at the wonderful sucluded haciendas behind  and artist studio, that make me tempted to convince Jon we need to retire here...

Then driving home, we stopped at Abiqui, the village in the Rio Grande valley that Georgia O'Keefe renovated a house and is known for its "penitent worshippers and "Christ in the Desert" monastery and Ghost Ranch. 

 And then another little village along the way, can't remember which one, I thook this picture....
Just because I love the old house and want to use it in a illustrations. Santa Fe, Road trip with my daugher, just me and her, it was a very good weekend!!

Friday, October 08, 2010

IF: "Transportation"

This is from a long time ago- when we drove around the island of Maui, with good friends that were there for 3 months for their business. The island is small and much of the roads teeter between hilly land and sea.We meandered  the "upcountry " of villages and pastures full of black cows, feral chickens and a few junked out cars.

Friday, October 01, 2010

IF: "Beneath"

Isn't "Beneath" a blanket, snuggled near someone you love a nice way to spend the fall! Hope you can go see the Colors this weekend- we are here in Colordo!