Sunday, June 30, 2013

Traveling Lion

While at the IAPS conference I started a lion pastel as part of getting in the frame of mind for Africa. I did not get her finished so brought her along on the trip. I think she is done. Will look again tomorrow, might pop out a few of the whites but right now will walk away while I am happy with her.

Next will work on a elephant that traveled from there to here! 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Sunrise - Sunset

We have been on the go, up and out early each morning but this morning we were up before sunrise and returned after sunset. We headed out for the Mukini Big Five Conservation Center today. They are working with both lions and cheetahs  to return them to the wild. Cheetahs, especially have been on the decline. This program has some animals that have been hand raised, which allows them to interact with humans. It was amazing - we got to walk with 6 month old lion cubs, pet them and watch as they had a grand time playing. We walked cheetahs and they like having their head, chin, and back rubbed. The cheetah we were with returned the good scratching  I gave to her by licking my hand. Felt a bit like sand paper but I was not about to pull my hand away.

The other animal we got to interact with was the elephant. The elephant has been a part of the Mukini tribe, as they were handles throughout their history. They want to keep the heritage alive. Which allows visitors to ride the elephants. I did not ride one, but Rick did but I did walk with the elephants and  was able to get some photographs of Rick.

After we finished out morning with the animals we went over to the Mukini Village. We meet with the King and were invited into his palace. We sat and spoke with him about the village. I presented him with a piece of my artwork, a handmade paper piece with a print of zebras that had been hand-colored.  The village has some electric in the palace, water is carried to the huts from central locations throughout the village. They have primary & secondary schools within the village. They have a craft market to sell the things that they make, sculptures & bowls to name a couple made from teak, zebra wood, or ebony.

Before we were to head home we found out we were going on the Africa Queen for an evening dinner cruise as the guests of the King. It was a very long day but ended with a lovely sunset on the Zambezi River, where we saw Hippos, Baboons, cranes, croc's and a giraffe.

A gift for the King of the Mukini Village

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Getting an Education

While we are in Zambia we have been visiting the Victoria Falls University and several Primary (elementary & junior high) and Secondary (high) schools, along with seeing some of the local businesses and meetings to discuss education/tourism.

The children we have seen have been infectious, their smiles and happiness to be able to attend school has touch our hearts. Being here reminds us to be thankful for what we have and to pay it forward. Giving the gift of knowledge, helping others to help themselves. All good thoughts, and this trip does make one think.

We have been here in Livingston since Sunday night. We have had a busy week and it will continue. There will be some tourism events coming soon, along with wild animals and of course Victoria Falls. I have seen the mist in the distance and from certain points in the city you can see Zimbabwe across the river.

Looking forward to a break in the business of this trip, having some tourism adventures and doing a bit of art, maybe some plein air painting.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Wrens and Hummingbirds

Spring into Summer has brought back all the resident birds.  I've seen 4 or 5 hummers at a time (that's an increase over last year).  And even though I've put out 5 sugar-water feeders, they still dive bomb each other and fight over the same one.  I'm sure there are Hummingbird nests somewhere close but I haven't been able to see them.  However, the wrens are very sociable and have set up housekeeping in a hanging basket of petunias on the front porch.  It's been easy to watch them from eggs to the now hungry chicks.  The parents have been OK with me being around, but they sometimes scream from the power lines overhead if they think I get too close.  I try to keep my distance, but have been able to snap a few pictures. 

.....I've been trying for over an hour to get some images to post, with no luck.   I'll try another time....till then....Happy Birdwatching in your backyard....


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Back On Line from Africa

Long day of travel up at 5:00 am on Friday arrived at Cool Breeze hotel Lusaka, Zambia at 4:00 pm Saturday. Total flying time almost 20 hours, this does not include the two hours to get through customs. On our way to the hotel saw some very cool trees. Thought of you Marilu, will get pictures soon but none today.
Heading out soon for short 6 hour drive to Livingstone. Have the cameras, sketchbook & journal all together cause you just never know when you will need one or all. 
Check in when we get to the next city and hope to have pictures!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Back to Africa

Heading to Zambia soon, it will be a long day into night of flying. But, we will be there for a while giving us time to adjust.
It will be a working vacation, so to speak. I will be exploring new ways to recycle, re-new and re-create hand made paper as a special project. Along with demonstrations with pastels and some personal work time. 
This trip came about because Rick was ask to help coordinate hospitality/tourism programs via VA Tech. We will both be meeting  people from the University of Victoria Falls, His Royal Highness Munokalya Mukuni, and working with local children/families.
My hope is to be able to post a blog or update on FB at least once a week. There are some unknowns on this trip. One of the reasons for going is to see what materials we have to work with to create future programs both through tech and artistically for me, teaching & creating.
Oh and we will be in Livingston by Victoria Falls. It is the dry season just coming off of the rainy season. The falls should be flowing nicely. Pictures of that to come, until then here are a few photos from our passed trip to South Africa.

Lots of Black Coffee

Getting ready for lots of travel, some of you already know where. Other will find out tomorrow. Cause today I am still trying to get it together. Time changes from west to east and more to come. So this morning we will frame art to present to a King, yes a real live King. We will pack art supplies to do paper making workshops and easel for painting. Of course cameras, including a new waterproof camera! 
Until tomorrow when I have more pictures to share I will just enjoy another cup of Ethiopian brew.

Monday, June 17, 2013


Back on the road again... Without my smart phone I would be lost. Pictures, phone numbers, email, my blog, art photos and ideas. It keeps me some what organized, in my own special way. 
We are in MD, heading to VA. Lots of travel coming up and lots of pictures to take. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Cotton - Would?

The cottonwood trees (populous fremontii) in the southwestern area are Fremont Cottonwoods. I noticed while driving through N.M. that the cotton is starting to fly. The seeds of the cottonwood are on a soft cottony fiber that blows very easily. Cottonwoods like to live along river banks, they are a hardwood but not really that hard. They have a wonderful textured bark and a beautiful triangle type shaped leaf. The ones in the south are related to the Black Popular of Europe & Asia. The cottonwood from the east & middle of North American are slightly different but not by much, there are 3 main family members and maybe 3 sub family members, but all in all they are related.

cottonwood leaves in the fall
I love trees, I have gotten away from drawing them as much as I use to but working on doing more this year. I have spent time at the Botanical Gardens with the cottonwoods they are near the back, it is one of the shady spots. There is a great horned owl that lives in their trees and since it is a water loving tree it is near their little pond. Which houses frogs, lizards, birds and butterflies. The cottonwood is one of the main food sources for many butterflies. The cottonwood, would - be there - be strong and provide food & shelter. A good tree, even though it has little cottony seeds floating all over the place.

cottonwood leaves & seeds, spring

Friday, June 14, 2013

Old Glory

Today is Flag Day, the idea came from Bernard Cigrand from Wisconsin and was made official by President Harry S. Truman in 1949.

The colors of our flag are: White - Old Glory Red & Old Glory Blue.

The name Old Glory is a nickname given to the flag that hangs in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. by Captain William Driver. Captain Driver owned the flag and it traveled the world with him.

From what I read the colors: Old Glory Red & Blue can only be produced on material. I am guessing many an artist has tried to mix those colors as best that they can.

Happy Flag Day!
Long May She Waves

Thursday, June 13, 2013

On The Side

After the IAPS conference, Rick & I took a side trip going south in N.M. We explored Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Even though it is the off season we were surprised at the wildlife we saw, mule deer, racoon, blue herons, egrets with babies, ducks, and many small birds. Worth the stop.

We took the overland route up through the mountains, a good choice as it was 103 on the low land and 68 in the mountains.

Continuing on we timed our stop for White Sands to watch the sun set. White Sands is a National Monument and White Sands Missile Range surrounds the Park. Once you drive into the park there are places to stop for photo op's. As you go to the back of the park, you take your shoes off and can walk up the sand dunes. It is as if you are on another planet. The white is so pure, the sand incredibly soft.

We took a blanket, some waters, and the camera to the top of one of the dunes. We sat watching the sky change along with the dunes. What a lovely way to end a trip.

Bosque del Apache

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge

White Sands National Monument New Mexico

It's not snow

whose footprints are these?

Toes in the sand - ahhhhh!

White Sands as the sun begins to set

White Sands

Rick at White Sands

me, enjoying the end of the day, another great trip on the side

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Never To Old

The IAPS conference is filled with lots of opportunities to learn new things or remind you of things, forgotten. Sometimes you just take away one thing, a comment someone made, a hint on how to do something easier or a new friend.

While I was there I meet many new people, heard lots of great ideas and took a couple demo's/workshops.

Christine Debrosky, gave a demonstration on painting shadows. She spoke of the colors we see in light and in shadows. Reminding us of the values in colors, the darks and the lights.

Mike Beeman, did a workshop & a demonstration that I attended. One was on painting animals, the other on painting birds. His style is much looser then my own.

When I go to these events, I do not go with the thought that I want to paint like that. What I am looking for is usually a small change to include in my own style. I like the line work, the details, the graphic nature of my work. But, I like including a loose background and under colors to my work. In watching how Mike works this has helped me to think more clearly about my own work.

In doing these things I take away a little more confidence in what I am creating. With the knowledge that it is never too late to learn something new. Below are links to Christine Debrosky, Mike Beeman & the International Association of Pastel Societies.
Mike Beeman's birds in pastel

Christine Debroaky at IAPS 2013

Demonstration at IAPS 2013

Mike Beeman at IAPS 2013

Monday, June 10, 2013


The next IAPS conference will be in Albuquerque, N.M. 2015!

It was full of information, demonstrations, workshops, meet and greet time with some wonderful art work created by artists from all over the world. There were people from down-under Australia, to the north, Canada, France was represented, along with people from all over North America including Hawaii.

I met people that I have only know via e-mail & facebook. It is always good to put a face and name together.  Looking forward to going over all my notes, sketches, reference information and putting together an article for the PSV (Pastel Society of Virginia) & APAA (Arizona Pastel Artists Association).

As there is too much to think of today, I will organized my thoughts and write more on specifics another day: the demonstrations, workshops and general ideas that came out of this event.

Leaving Albuquerque, heading south to see new places, new adventures...

Room with a view

Casas de Suenos B&B courtyard

Painting in the courtyard of our B&B

Two Linda's - Linda Wolitz from Richmond & me Linda from Blacksburg (& Scottsdale)

Friday, June 7, 2013

IAPS - candy store & more

It is a pastel artists dream store. The IAPS conference hosts some of the best pastel makers and suppliers of materials from around the world. The trade show also known as the Candy Store, because it is just so beautiful, rows of pastels lined up like pieces of candy. It opened today with hundreds of artists going through this morning.

The day was full of meetings from artists and board members from Canada, New Mexico & AZ. Followed by gallery talk seeing the works from the juried show through Duane Wakeham's eyes. Five artists, five canvases, 10 minutes to work on each piece and at the end of the hour a finished piece of art - now up for auction. You could not help but smile at the creative energy during the Paint Around.

Demonstrations and workshops, President's Dinner, Banquets, and more from the Candy Show. Two more days to go and so much more to write about.
Karen & Gary, AZ

President Forum , Ruth from Canada
Nick from N.M.

Rep's from all the world

Duane Wakeham
Paint Around


Five Artists later - done!

What's That Sound???

You know you are in Wyoming when you wake to the sound of horses. With limited wi-fi service it has been a lot harder to get blogs written a...