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September 2014

Finding My Way

I just barely have caught my breath after leaving my oldest at college this past weekend. Some of the parents were crying, for many it was bitter sweet. For me it was more sweet than bitter. My daughter is ready and so am I for the next stage. I have been getting things in order since my return. Below you see my first attempt since coming back. It is of a hiking path so right in the middle of the town, that I think most people might dismiss it and go for something "beefy-er" ... but no more beautiful. The blue green vegetation, in the background, is sagebrush. When walking alongside it, I can't help rubbing it between my fingers and taking in a big deep breath. It seems to clean the air. The yellow ones appear to look like Golden Rod, but it doesn't look like the golden rod back in Tennessee. The sky... well I fail you, there, for the skies, here, in Colorado are intense. I think if I stayed here I could spend the rest of my life attempting to capture it.
I have to go make dinner. See you next time.

Carolina

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Finding My Way 12"x18" pastel on sanded paper


A Peek At My Week

I thought you might like to take a peek at my sketchbook from this past week. I have a love/hate relationship with my sketchbook. When I am working in it, I am battling the demons that hover over me and tell me that this artist path is useless. In the past I made mistakes while sketching and would tear the whole page out and all that would remain is "the keepers"... this would result in several unfinished sketchbooks... most filled with pathetic attempts. Lately though, I decided to try something new. Rather than trying to make "great" sketches, my only goal has been to make "finished" sketches. Saying that you are going to "finish" something is way more doable than saying you are going to do something really well.
So what you see below, are my finished sketches from last week, mistakes and all.
First up is a little sketch I made down by the river:

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I got some lovely flowers, for our table, at City Market:

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This is where the gondola takes off in Vail. We have year long passes to go up on it, and it has been great fun going to the top in this awesome summer weather. I wish I had had more time to work on the sketch. I felt rushed:

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I had a great morning one day at the Betty Ford Botanical Garden... it is odd not knowing all the names of the local trees and plants:

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I am going back to this spot, along Gore Creek, again:

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I went out hiking with a group. BIG MISTAKE. I was the little fat girl that couldn't keep up. At one point, when my lungs felt like they were going to come out of my throat, I had to call it quits. I was near the tree line. I could not catch my breath and told the group to go on ahead without me. I sat down and made this sketch of the beautiful trees around me. I thought- if I am going to die right here, I am going to make a sketch of my death bed. I was beyond 11,000 feet up. Altitude sickness took over and I had to hike down and finish painting the sketch from memory. For your information - it was NO picnic getting altitude sickness:

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The last one I made this past week, is of the view from the terrace of the Arabelle Club in Vail. Although a little Disney-esque in it's execution, this part of Vail (Lionshead) manages to transport me to a make believe world of European alpine villages. Nothing like the real thing, I know, but it does the trick:

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If you ever feel like your sketches stink, try doing what has worked for me... finish every sketch.


Carolina

In Colorado, Everybody Does It

So far, I have realized one thing that is for certain in Colorado - EVERYBODY DOES IT. Does what? Exercise. These folks are crazy about it. I haven't even had my first sip of coffee, at sun up, when there are folks cruising by my window in their hotshot biking suits. Bleary eyed, I wonder where on earth are they going so early in the day. Every direction, around here, is up hill... but that does not stop them. Out they go, like children running free in a massive playground. Those that aren't biking, hiking the endless trails, sending out their fly lines on the rivers, or playing soccer, are out with their favorite companions - man's best friend, their dog, on one of the glorious trails that seem to be everywhere.

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You know those trails are there, because they have this little yellow sign announcing the head of the trail. You just get on the trail, and in seconds, the traffic magically disappears and you are in another world. I love it. So much so that I painted the sign that is at the head of one of my favorite trails.

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Call me when you get here, we can go hiking together. You will love it.

Carolina

The Art of Learning A New Language

I have been trying my best to learn a whole new language since I was last here, on the blog. In fact, I have been learning two new languages. The first language is the language of a new medium; pastel.

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To make a long story short, last October, I found myself in the desert near Santa Fe, NM. It was supposed to be a second honeymoon of sorts. My husband had planned a vacation to one of my bucket list items - the balloon festival (Balloon Fiesta) in Albuquerque NM. As luck would have it, at the last minute, all our well made plans were derailed and he had to cancel his part of the trip. I found myself sharing the joys of it all with me, myself, and I. No worries. I enjoyed it just the same. At the last minute, before going on the trip, I added a box of pastels to my luggage. I had not planned on bringing art supplies on my trip at all, as I was supposed to be canoodling with my sweetheart. Adding painting supplies, with all the brushes, containers, paint tubes, liquid containers, and so on, was just too much too think about stuffing into my already full suitcase. Pastels it was, then, a fresh, still shrink-wrapped box of pastels and a few sheets of paper was easy to squeeze in between my well folded layers of clothing.
There was one miscalculation on my part, though, and I only noticed my shortcoming when I was standing out there, in the glorious desert, on my own, having just used my teeth to get at the tight plastic wrapping on the box of pastels. I peeled a bit off with my teeth and tore at it, like a kid opening a new present just retrieved from under the Christmas tree. What? No directions, that's what. I don't know what kind of short circuiting had occurred in my brain... but somehow I thought that a pretty box of brand new pastels that came in their own little box was kind of like an art kit one might get when one is a kid... and that a box like that would have instructions of some sort. No go. Nothing. There I was, in the middle of the desert, no reception on my phone to access the internet so that the ever dependent Google could help me begin a painting out there. There was not much left to do but begin... on my own... grab a pastel... make a mark. And make a mark I did.

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I followed the first mark by another, and then another, and it didn't stop until I was all consumed.

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I went back home and continued making marks with those little chalk-like sticks.

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I painted everything on "my" mountain.

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As you know, I deserted all blog writing.

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Other than keeping my head above water with my home and family responsibilities, I painted. With pastel.

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On cold winter mornings, I could be found painting the sunrise down at the lake.

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I stole any free moment I had, and would go out and paint.

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Just as I was starting to understand this new language of pastel, my world got rocked and we found out we had to move. AGAIN.

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My good friends, Kim & Lee, joke that with this next move they are now more certain than ever that we are participating in a witness protection program. What other explanation could there be for spending my life living like a pack mule. This move was number 26. TWENTY SIX. Craziness. I am sick of it, I tell you. It has thrown a major, stressful, wrench into my art plans. But like everything in life, it has come with a silver lining ... or perhaps something more akin to a rainbow with a pot of gold after a storm... you see, I have moved to Colorado. I am in the mountains. It is beautiful, really, really beautiful here. And so this brings me to the second language I am learning. Everything here, from my corneas out, is different. I don't recognize the plants, the ways the grasses sway, the patterns of the the weather, I can't name but one of the trees. I have to learn the language, the visual language, that is Colorado. This is what you will be seeing in the posts to come. Won't you join me?