Sunday, October 21, 2012

Color and Shape Inspirations

My family spent over two weeks this summer visiting 7 National Parks and 1 State Park. We traveled through New Mexico, a bit of Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. As a Florida native, the landscape couldn't be more different. I'm used to green trees and blue ocean, with many shades of green and blue represented. I'm also used to the flatness of Florida, which made driving on the cliff roads (no railings!) at these parks rather scarey. I wouldn't say I have a fear of heights so much as a fear of falling. I can hike up a mountain with the best of them, I just don't like it when I don't have a nice wall or railing that will keep me from tumbling to my death.

Anyway, back to the landscape. We visited 5 National Parks in southern Utah, starting on the east side. That means, our first one was Arches National Park. Our base of operation for a few days was Moab, Utah. Before you even get to Moab, you pass a few arches on the side of the road, like Wilson Arch. We're amazed, and immediately jump out of the car to take pictures and hike to it. We didn't realize that once we get to the parks, we'd see hundreds more just like it. But for right now, it's our first arch, and we're going to stop.

This is a classic scene of "red rocks." But what do you think when you see this? Orange? That's what I thought as we made our way through several parks. Then we hit Bryce Canyon. That was different, and was clearly orange and not red. These just aren't colors that we see in Florida. And it goes on for as far as the eye can see. I couldn't believe how large these parks were.

In addition to the color inspiration, I was inspired by the shapes. Look at these jagged rocks at Bryce Canyon. Also, notice the horizontal layers in the rocks. I also thought it was interesting that sometimes you'd see nothing but rocks, but here you see a lot of green trees too.

When we were in Taos, New Mexico, we went to Taos Ski Valley and hiked up to Williams Lake. A lot of the hikes are essentially ski runs in the winter. We came across quite a few boulder fields, which my kids from Florida loved to climb.


I also loved the algae on the rocks, which told me that they are probably covered in snow in the winter, and wet most of the spring.

How about this gnarly tree? Are you inspired by the twists, layers, and colors?

At some point, I'll create art inspired by my travels. The photos don't even do them justice, but I think I've still got the true colors in my memories.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Inferno at the Armory Art Center

The Armory Art Center is a school in West Palm Beach that offers many art classes: fiber arts, paintings, drawing, sculpture, ceramics. I'm currently taking an 8-week bookbinding class. I'll do a future post about that when the class ends. The Armory also hosts fun art nights. Last night I attended their show called "Inferno." They always do a show around Halloween that has a dark theme. In addition to the unveiling of their two new exhibits, "On the Map" and "Dark Art," they had 20 artists with booths selling their reasonably-priced art. Here's my good friend Laura Willems with her pieces.

The devilish lady from Tortuga Tileworks displayed her scarey pieces.


 And here is Pam Kwarchak, on the right, or PiqueStudios. Please go to her blog to see her work up close. It's very detailed and beautiful.

Although you can't tell here, the show was quite crowded. Artists showed their work in many of the studios, as well as outside in the courtyard. When the skies opened up and the rains came, they just quickly moved their tables indoors.

I loved this Frankenstein piece. It's simply painted on a big sheet of canvas. I'd love to see that at someone's Halloween party. I'd dare them to keep that up all year! Would it go well above your couch?

You can go to the Armory's website to see when their next big event is. They also do smaller openings for their exhibits, but these big parties are much more fun.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Secret Garden, or Secret Town?

This summer my family took an incredible trip throughout the Southwest. We hiked, rafted, shopped. We started in New Mexico, did a bit of Colorado, then a lot of Utah, and finally Arizona. On the advice of a friend, we stopped in a small town outside of Taos, called Arroyo Seco. I don't even know if it is a town. You drive through, and if you're changing the radio station at the time, you might miss it.

It's small, but filled with galleries and cute shops. We stopped at Taos Cow for some ice cream. The ice cream was wonderful, but there was a bit of a fly problem in the store. We had to move it outside to the front porch, and then of course my daughter had to explore the back by the water and trees. She can always find things to climb.

I wandered down the street and found this incredible little garden. Nestled between two stores, it's just perfect to sit and relax. Not that you're not already relaxed in this cute little town.


My daughter still found something to climb on.

We learned this is called a coyote fence. You see them all over Taos. Are coyotes still a problem? I don't know, but I think the fences are really beautiful.

This old pioneer home was moved to the site. There's a plaque that tells the name of the family who lived in it.

Hope you enjoyed my visit to this little garden. We drove through Arroyo Seco on the was from Taos to Taos Ski Valley. We had an amazing hike up to Williams Lake there, and picnicked at the top.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Garden Turmoil

Here in Florida, we're still in quite a rainy season. We usually refer to the "afternoon summer thunderstorms" when we're talking about the 30 minute intense showers that we get, followed by plenty of sunshine. As I see from my calendar we're in Autumn, and my daughter's soccer practices are still getting rained out, so I think we might want to adjust that name just a bit.

It's this time of year that my husband and I begin to plan our vegetable garden. You see, we grow our vegetables here in Florida from October until May. Last year we had a bumper crop of lettuce -- we couldn't eat enough to keep up with it. We ate the snap peas right off the vines, they were so good. We successfully grew corn for the first time, and will definitely plant more of that this year. The only vegetable that lasted through the summer is our green peppers. Those couple of plants are quite hardy, and survived the summer heat and bugs.

Now, however, with all the rain we've had, I feel we are in the midst of a garden turmoil. The grass is growing so fast, it's quite thick and long between mowings. Our flowering vine on the fence is going crazy, and I can't talk over it to my neighbors anymore. I must find a dry but not too hot weekend so I can tame that beast.

All of this talk leads me to the unveiling of a finished painting. I worked on this one for awhile, and even showed you some photos in process in a previous blog post. I've put the finishing touches on it, and it is now hanging in a place of honor in my home. What do you think of this Garden Turmoil?