Tag Archives: road trip

the Cow is OK / pastel

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Dang, This is hard to see. My lap top is acting all crazy, still working but the flashing horizontal lines are on it. I think dirt got between the display and the keyboard. It might go away. It did before.

This is another old favorite that did not get stolen. The skull is a souvenir from my 1st solo adventure driving across country in 2002. I drove rt.66 from Springfield MO. to Santa Monica. At Flag Staff I took a detour to go to the Grand Canyon for one night. I bought a bag of carrots in Flagstaff because I was hoping to get on the mule ride but they were all booked up so I went back to 66 and headed West. In Arizona I was looking for wild burros but didn’t see any until I got to Kingman. The burros were all there and smelled the carrots in my car. They had their snotty faces all over my car before I could park it. I barely got out of the car and they mobbed me for the carrots. It was a scream! Then I shopped and bought this skull. It rode on my backseat the rest of the trip because it was too big to fit in the trunk.

When I got home I drew the skull about 6 times in different combinations of pastel colors.

Then I saw a funny article in the weird news section of a magazine I was reading. The story goes like this:

In Fla. there was a flood and a cow was just standing there in the water. Drivers were slowing down to look at the cow and it caused a traffic jam. So many people were calling 911 to rescue the cow that they contacted the farmer who told them the cow is ok. Then DOT took a big sign out there and put it by the side of the road saying, “The cow is ok”. Then the cow moved on and the sign was still there causing a traffic jam because people were looking for the cow.

My daughter, Sarah and I got on a laughing jag over the story. She insisted I call my skull drawings the cow is ok.

Now I’m having a little problem with my computer. I think it might fix itself because it did before. If I miss something don’t worry about me. I’m in a hotel with a good view. I’d like to ride out the crazy right here. I don’t know.

 

existential meme / stolen from cyanide and happiness

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I’m going out for a long drive today and tomorrow. My daughter’s going along with me to bring my Mom to VA from PA. Then she’s taking Mom home after  xmas and I’m staying home. I did that drive alone for so many years then stopped a few years ago. Now Sarah wants to make the drive and asked me if I want to go along this year, so I’ll drive the first half of it. Traffic will be heavy. Weather ok.

Enjoy your holidays, friends! ttyl

Desert, dreaming

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I woke up from a dream of the desert. It felt like my subconscious came to some profound understanding about the places of strange beauty and the places of strange mystery.

This photo came from a tour book of sites for the plein air artists.

I don’t know if I can express it in words, but I’ll try.

The time I spent at the Ghost Ranch and the time I spent on the road must have had an effect on me. I was glad I took the time to sit there and stare at it.  One thing about the plein air week was that the artists are expected to make lasting friendships and go to another plein air event to feel part of the plein air family, but I didn’t do that, alas. The group was rushing around to as many beautiful places and whipping out as many oil or watercolor sketches as they could every day and I, with my weak social skills and slow way of working, still kept to myself too much. I didn’t want to try to go fast with it like they did. I wanted to sit there in the beautiful spots and commune with nature every day as I worked on my painting.

How can an artist get the most out of it if they hurry through it? How can they pick up the vibe of the desert if they’re socializing with so many people?  Can they see the mystery in the empty spaces if they fly over it?  When I woke up I felt like out of all the 100 or so artists at the event, I was definitely the slowest, but something else. I have my doubts that any of the others felt it like  I did. Could I ever give up painting the way I do so that I could fit in better socially? Should I change my style? Should I do unfinished paintings that are sketchy and have no depth or detail? No. I remember it well, at least for now. It’s not a fast food hamburger, it’s a piece of prime rib to be savored. Do you know what I mean?

photos from the Ghost Ranch / trip debriefing

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The last few days of my drive were less exciting because of the trees on both sides of the road blocking the view.

I saw cops and robbers on my way back east and they all let me alone. I got tired of driving one night and took an exit only to find myself at a real dive of a motel, but didn’t want to get back on the road. I was lucky the whole trip with not getting bit by either dangerous animals or bugs, and not getting robbed by those scary guys staying at the same motel.

If you are afraid, a road trip isn’t for you, but if you need some excitement in your life it can be rewarding.IMG_2380

If it wasn’t for trucks there would be no traffic on rte. 40. The truckers let me alone too. I made a good choice buying the Taurus for this trip, as I feel the car was respected on the interstates, but I might trade it for a Ford pick up truck to do the next drive so I can go on the unpaved roads

Rte. 81 was so beautiful going through western VA yesterday in the mountains.

Nashville has TERRIBLE traffic and I was glad I took 440 instead of staying on 40 through it, because the cars kept moving fast even though it was very heavy traffic, and I saw total gridlock going west at 6:30 AM!

Now I’m home and I don’t have any food in the house, so, I’m back to doing  boring stuff like grocery shopping, picking up mail and doing wash, etc.

It’s hot and humid here at Virginia Beach. I had great weather for my drive and also at the Ghost Ranch, it only rained a little one day and it was cool and dry all week.

I accomplished my goal at the Ghost Ranch which was to complete 2 paintings in one week. And it was a great trip!

Now I’ll buy a whole pound of fresh NC steamed shrimp and eat it all myself to celebrate. I loved the west, but I’ll never move there because the seafood is probably all frozen. mmmm steamed shrimp.

 

so long, Ghost Ranch / hello Oklahoma

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I took this photo yesterday when I left the Ghost Ranch after breakfast.  This cabin was a popular subject for the Plein air artists. If I had more time there I’d have sketched it.

In OK news tonight, women in OKC are fighting for the right to go topless because men can go topless. They had a topless protest. A lawyer said they should be free to go topless but this opens up a whole can of worms.

 

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I’m in Shawnee OK. after driving for 7 hours across northern Texas then into OK on rte. 40. Traffic was light until I got close to Oklahoma City then it was very heavy and I got in my first traffic jam of this drive. When I crossed the state line I stopped at the rest area and wanted to figure out how far I’d get in OK today so I looked at the map they have taped to the counter and a lady working there spoke to me. I knew I could easily get past Oklahoma City and pointed to a town east of there and said, maybe I’ll stay there tonight. The lady said, ” There’s not much out there.” I had just driven through a couple hundred miles of “not much out there”.  I enjoyed the drive. It was another day on the plain with wide open spaces on both sides of the road.  I left the desert and got into a greener state. I saw thousands of wind turbines, a couple huge stock yards in North Texas and a couple dead armadillos next to the road.

After I got past Oklahoma City it was still early, but I remembered what the lady said about ” not much out there,”  and I knew what she meant because it was a long distance between Amarillo and Oklahoma City with few towns and fewer hotels. I did see a couple exits with motels and got a room before all those truckers and travelers on 40 fill these places up. Oh, the beauty of the vast empty space out there.

The rest area lady gave me this free tour book for OK and I think  the cover is real nice.

 

Ghost Ranch paintings by Gary Alsum

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Gary is from Loveland CO. These paintings are small, there’s a shine on the right. It’s still wet oil paint.

Darn it, my computer is telling me WordPress is taking up too much space. I hope I can keep posting until I get home and get this puppy to Best Buy where they will fix it for free.IMG_2368

I checked out of the Ghost Ranch and drove all day on a high desert plain. I had the open road for hours. It’s pretty much unpopulated from Santa Fe to Roswell.

I shopped in Roswell for ET souvenirs then decided to head east. Now I’m in Clovis New Mexico.

Got a new phone in Roswell, finally, after my old one died a week or so ago.

It’s hot with a strong dry wind out there. I enjoyed looking at the desert. Not many trees until I got almost here.

I missed my turn onto 60 into Texas by a couple blocks, not too bad for a long fast easy drive through a vast desert, to only be a couple blocks off the route. So, I got a room at the Holiday Inn Express. I remember Clovis is famous. They have a natural history museum with a fossil of a saber tooth tiger, and they also have a history of being a music town. Led Zeppelin played here and so did Buddy Holly to name a couple famous acts. I wonder if the music place or the museum is open on Mon.

Box Canyon @ Ghost Ranch / oil

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If I could describe the Ghost Ranch, I’d call it mystical.

I have to make this a fast post because it’s hard to stay connected.

A weird thing happened to my roomie and me. Half the time the lights don’t work in our cabin. Sometimes they flicker. Sue told the maintenance guy and he came right over. Naturally they worked then. He left and the lights went out 10 minutes later. I think it’s a bad circuit breaker, but are we haunted?

what they dug up @ the Ghost Ranch

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It’s hard to imagine this high desert was once a lush swamp, but 300,000,000 years ago at the end of the Triassic era, all the continents were joined in one extra large land mass called Pangea and even before the real age of the dinosaurs the ancestors of the crocodile were here. This is a Phytosaur.IMG_2356

This little one isn’t too scary. In fact he doesn’t have teeth. It’s an Effigion Okeeffeae, which means Ghost of O Keefe, after Georgia O Keefe’s Ghost Ranch where they found it. I wonder if I spelled all that right.

Tomorrow I’m going to get serious about sketching the scenery. I have a week here.

Taos Art Museum Fechin House

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This is the front of Fechin house. Nicolai Fechin was an artist and Russian. They have Russian themed things in the gift shop out back.IMG_2353

This is the back of the museum. It’s a privately owned house but they don’t live there. There’s also a studio in back and I peeked in. Some artists were taking a class.

They change their exhibits to include other Taos artists but Nicolai Fechin’s works are always on display.IMG_2352

This is Fechin’s “Indian Profile”. It’s larger than life, charcoal on paper. He did mainly portraits.IMG_2351

This is Nicolai Fechin’s self portrait. charcoal on paperIMG_2350

This is “Eva in Peasant Blouse” painted in 1933, oil on canvas.IMG_2349

This is the by other artist represented this month, Marjorie Eaton. “The Boy” charcoal on paper.

Marjorie Eaton / 1901 – 1986. She was born in California. Her dad was a doctor and her mom died when she was a baby, but her dad remarried and she loved her step mom. Marjorie’s step mom took her to Europe shopping for clothes.IMG_2348

Eaton came to Taos and was so inspired by the natives she became good friends with her models, and had an Indian boyfriend. I don’t know if they got married.

This is “Man in Cloak”, oil on paper mounted on board.IMG_2347

She painted this “Nude” at the San Francisco Art school in 1924. Marjorie was recognized for her talent and had an offer to study with Picasso, but the war happened and she didn’t get to go to Europe then.

She went to Mexico and loved it there. She became good friends with Diego Rivera and Freda Kahlo, among other famous artists of the time.

Darn it, my phone isn’t taking a charge. I’m heading up to the Ghost Ranch today where there might not be a signal anyway. If I can’t get it to charge this week out in the middle of nowhere, I’ll stop at a Verizon store before I head home.

Taos Pueblo photos

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The native Americans pass these apartments down through the generations. They are over 1000 years old and the oldest continuously inhabited homes. They don’t have electricity or running water. They’re adobe and require upkeep with more adobe added. When I was there I saw a bunch of guys working on their houses. As I was walking out I asked one guy if I could take a picture and he said no. I said ok and went on.

It seemed unfriendly to me because people often take my picture when I’m drawing in Plein air. They don’t always ask permission but I don’t really care.

There’s only about 50 people living there full time. The other pueblo owners come back for feast days and pow wows, Catholic and Native American celebrations.

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San Geronimo church / Catholic / built in 1850.

The guide said they also practice their native religion but she was not to talk about it. I guess they don’t want to spend the time on that subject.IMG_2345

This is Red Willow Creek which is their water supply. They go to the creek for drinking water, cooking, washing, and I saw guys getting water from the creek to mix their adobe. It’s fed by their sacred lake which was confiscated by the US government for a national park and then returned to them by Richard Nixon. They own thousands of acres besides the pueblo. They call themselves a sovereign nation but they pay taxes to the US.IMG_2346

This is the ruin of their original church that they were forced to build by the Spanish Conquistadors.  Built in 1619 and destroyed in the 1680 Pueblo revolt when the natives drove the Spanish back into Mexico. It was rebuilt and destroyed again by the US cavalry in the 1847 Taos revolt.  When the cavalry bombed it there were 150 women and children inside that got killed.IMG_2342

Before the Spanish came they didn’t have doors or windows on their pueblos for safety reasons, as protection from other raiding tribes. They went in and out through the roof.

When I pulled into Taos yesterday around 9:30 AM I ran into a traffic jam. After I checked into my motel I sent my daughter a text saying I made it to Taos. Then went back to see the pueblos but couldn’t get in because their wifi was down. They have wifi where they collect the entry fees. ($16). I planned to go back today but didn’t take my sketchbook because this is a one time visit for me.

I got a National park pass with unlimited visits for a year for $20 and got my money’s worth out of that at the sand dunes going in and out for 3 days, so the $16 per visit seems too expensive to me.

When I got into my motel the wifi was off over the whole town and Verizon was  off too, so there was no communicating with the rest of the world all day.

I drove up and down through the traffic a few times. Too many people shopping. It’s a tourist trap for sure. I couldn’t find a parking spot, gave up on shopping and came back to the motel and read my daughter, Sarah’s manuscript all afternoon which is a real page turner and I’m sure it will get picked up by a publisher.

This afternoon I’ll go to the Taos art museum. Maybe I can get another post done before I go to the Ghost Ranch tomorrow. I don’t know if they’ll have a cell phone signal at the Ghost Ranch. I read where it’s spotty up there for wifi too but they have it in the main lodge.