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Posts from the ‘Travel & Places I’ve been’ Category

Rocky Mountain National Park

Today was a painting day.

It was about an hour and a half drive there and 2 hours back due to traffic. But it was spectacular!

My bus went to Morraine Lake, the other went to Beaver Creek.

There were only two other water color painters there. the air was so dry that what I thought was a generous puddle of wet paint became almost instantly dry within seconds—.

I do not have an easel; and I decided to take only a few brushes instead of a large handful as I did not know how much walking I would have to do—and how much I wanted to carry.

I found a fallen tree that provided an easel and a place to securley place my cup of water.

I found some evidence of what looked like campfires with some charcoal.

That piece of charcoal just fit into the palm of my right hand. It was a bit awkward to draw with it.

Of course the scenery was so spectacular, it was hard to select just one spot or view.

Wind gusts knocked over several easels. Oil and pastel painters weighted down their easels with their backpacks but some still fell.

I tried to paint a view of the mountain through the trees, then worked on drawing just the trees with first pen and then using the local charcoal. I was feeling very frustrated with the end result of my paintings and then realized I had been drawaing with pen for twenty plus years and should not expect my skills in water color to be immediately acceptable.

I had given it a good try and then just walked down a dirt road to take photos from a different angle for future reference. I sat down on the side of the road—no fire ants here and just enjoyed the view.

When I got up I realized there were some tiny flowers–not more than two or three inches tall near me.

Garden of the Gods

Today we learned the location of the 2024 Conveniotn—the Great Smokies!!!

And after another great demo we headed out to Garden of the Gods.

The weather has not been favorable all week with smoke from the Canadian wildfires blurring the views. Today was to be a day of afternoon thunderstorms…and the weather forecast was right on target.

Our bus driver used to work for a touring company and he entertained us on the way by pointing out various landmarks, buildings, and giving us a bit of history or background about what we were seeing.

We arrived in rain!

I took out my tiny little rain poncho I had bought for my mission trips to Hondruas fifteen years ago. I think it is a one use poncho and I might consider repalicng it with something more substantial.

The oil painters set up on the balcony of the visitor center. It was misting and raining—and I decided I would just walk and take photos.

With the rain and wind it was chilly.

too windy and cold and wet to set up here with water colors.

After getting that poncho in place I walked down the trail.

Our bus driver generously drove us around the 2 mile loop and stopped at Standing Rock for photos. Although the weather was challenging, there were a lot of people out hiking or picnicking and a few of our group who had driven their own cars to the spot and were able to paint on some of the hiking trails.

And to prove I was there–here I am in front of Standing Rock.

El Dorado Canyon

Another morning of fantastic demos and lectures, another tour of the expo hall to see all the enticing art supplies.

Lots more notes. During previous note-taking session I had used a regular pen. With my diminishing eyesight, I could not review those notes and this time I used a fine tip Sharpie—-much better—and I tried to slow down and work on making theem legible.

And then it was onto the bus and off to El Dorado Canyon State Park.

This is a popular painting spot for local artist groups—and it was obvious why that was so.

It is a state park with limited parking. The road is very narrow and none of us envied the bus driver making his way around curves with sheer drop-offs on one side and sheer cliffs on the other.

There was a para-sailor and a rock climber—I could not watch either one of them–it was so high.

It was hard to choose a spot—it was all so spectacular.

Some people were perched in some very precarious spots. I wanted to capture some of the stream water in my water bursh but I wasn’t sure I could make it down to the stream and then back up without falling into that rushing water. In retrospect, there were plenty of young folks walking/running/jogging—I could have convinced one of them to fill it for me.

I liked this spot but I would have had to sit on top of the garbage container.

That pale yellow green against the backdrop of pines in blue green!

Then there were these.

and these

We don’t have many dandelions here in this part of Texas but they were common first spring flower in Wisconsin—these were quite lush.

One of the lectures earlier this morning was by Shuang Li on Trees. So I practiced on some trees—and no, I’m not showing my any of my paintings….I’m planning to practice.

But here are a few more photos of the canyon.

I’m not sure why we were all so tired at the end of the day–but the bus was very quiet on the way back—I didn’t hear snoring but I might have taken a little nap myself.

Pleain Air Painters Invade Golden Colorado

Still funcitoning on Central Time Zone, I took an early morning walk. This area was below the large parking lot for the hotel and suprisingly enough is part of their sewage treatment area settling ponds. No, it does not smell of sewage, it smells of water, and pnes, and birds.

The morning was filled with fantastic demos and lectures by water color artists and I took copious notes.

In the late afternoon we piled into buses and set up in Golden. Although I had a map of the downtown, I was still functioning on Central Time Zone and did not wander too far from the bus drop-off spot.

But not to worry–there was plenty of gorgeous scenery to paint.

When I saw this, I knew this was what I wanted to paint.

Note that white ‘M’ on the side of that mountain/hill.

I attended University of Wisconsin Platteville which also has a ‘M’ on a hill. It represenst the mining engineering emphasis of the school as it does here. Every spring, the ‘M’ is refurbishes. It is a field day with girlfriends invited as the rocks are returned to theiur proper place and whitewashed. I am sure it is the same for this ‘M’.

Some people painted downtown, others painted in some fiarly precarious positions.

The Golden population seems to be enamored with outdoor activities—walking their dogs, one or two on bicycles with their dog on a leash, a man on a skateboard instructing his son on his training wheel bicycle, joggers, runners, more skateboarders, a few walkers, moms with strollers, couples both older and young.

Is the Canadian Side Prettier?

I’ll never know as I did not see the American side. I could see a large group of people standing on an overlook across the falls—but there were dozens along the Canadian side.

Wrought iron fencing atop sone fencing, large stone buildings reminiscent of WPA days in the US extended for at least a mile or more along the river and Falls.

Boats maneuvered up the river for a closer look at the Falls, there was a tunnel to look at the Falls from the base.

At the edge of those daffodils is a sheer dropoff—into the rushing water that is the Falls. Hundreds if not sevearl thousand are planted here–and I wondered at how that happened.

A rookery could be spotted with dozens of gulls. Reportedly there are over a hundred speicies of gulls and terns here. It is also the diverse population of fish with both commonly found southern and northern fish in the waters.

And there was a rainbow when the sun came out at the end of our time.

And just to prove that I was there. Here I am with chattering teeth.

Niagara Falls

When my parents married, Niagara Falls was a popular honeymoon trip.

They married in November, and decided to drive south from Wisconsin along the Mississippi River instead of driving over icy roads to Niagara Falls.

My husband had been to the Falls when he was about 7 but I had never been there—so the add-on trip was definitely on my bucket list–there are much fewer things in that bucket. I’ve accomplished some of them, others lost their appeal.

We loaded up on a very nice bus and drove through the countryside filled with vineyards. Those grape vines look very stark–as they are trimmed bacvk to just the trunk at the end of each growing season.

Our first stop was at Niagara on the Lake. This is a touristy town with lots of shops along the main street.

Of course, there were tulips.

This hotel occupied most of a block and had some lovely outdoor seating—too chilly for me to contemplate.

There were lots of places to have lunch–but I opted for a chimney cake—a thin roll of yeaast dough covered in cinnamon sugar–although I could have had jalapeno or pina colada.

there is a Shaw festival each year and in one storefront, several people were working on a costume for a gypsy…it was pink with lost of spangles.

Of interest was a milliner’s shop, with assorted sewing machines, advertising hat shaping.

I’m not sure how you organized a ride in this horse and carriage but it seemed to make the rounds on an hourly basis.

After loading back up on the bus, we headed for the Falls. It was a chilly rainy dreary day and I hoped it would not be a full downpour when we got there.

Bobbin Lace, Garbage Bags, and Ice

The third floor of the Textile Museum was filled with the work of Padina Bondar, an artist focused on recycling. Plastics of various sorts are collected from the streets of New York City and transformed via a propietary method into thread/yarn/fiber to be used in traditional needlework forms.

I didn’t get a photo of one of her dresses—there were several–they were crocheted or knitted, but didn’t look all that comforable to me–but then a lot of dresses with boning allowing bare shoulders and revealing necklines seem awkward. That might reflect my preference for flannel and denim and to being fully covered as a protection against the elements of mosquitoes and sunburn and chill.

However, it was interesting to see very traditional and time-consuming needlework techniques employed. Here is part of a lace technique.

It was an incredible exhibit and I thought there could not possibly be antyhing more intriquing but there was.

On the other side of the gallery was a workspace.

It had three looms set up, sewing machines on tables, fabric on bolts, and best of all, three sizes of fabric bags you could fill for differing amounts from the scraps and ddo-dads on a table.

Of course I filled up a small bag—wishing I had the space for a large bag in my luggage.

That bag was then weighed—a way to account for what was not put into landfill.—-at least not this month….who knows what will happen to it in the long run?

On my way back to my hotel I was struck by sidewalk outside the Police Museum/Adminstration building. Compared to City Hall, it was a modern building. I puzzled over these ‘decorative elements’.

Living on the Gulf Coast for decades, the thought of ice being a problem, was no longer in my vocabulary. There was no ice while I was there, although the wind and rain were chilly and not conducive to outdoor activities. Maybe if I had been winterized?

My last day is a trip to Niagara Falls.

Still raining, Cherty Blossoms, and the Textile Museum

Sunday was equally not very nice weather, the rain today seemd to be coming sideways as it does n a hurricane—but bitterly cold.

I made my way to the conference stopping to walk through City Hall and its surround yard/garden.

I tried to get photos of what I thought might be cherry blossoms.

And here is my closeup.

Taking photos with freezing wet fingers is obviously not something within my skill set.

City Hall was bordered on three sides by a fancy wrought iron fence with interesting entrances.

I found entering to be a bit of a tight squeeze particulary since I had that jam-packed backpack on my back.

The conference concluded with a fantastic fashion show of bojagi, a Korean wrapping technique. All of hte pieces were kimono forms and made from silk; some had printed images on the silk.

Once again the weather was dreadful but I determined I was going to not spend the afternoon in my hotel room. Fortunately the Textile museum was only a block away.

The second floor is a curated gallery of work by various artists/makers. I took a lot of photos and watched all the videos.

With textiles there is an urge to touch—and I so wanted to pick this one up and look at the underneath of the embroidery.

I found the documentray of Afghan rug construction interesting—with all the story telling details.

I ran our of space on the SD card at this pont—and luckily had a second (and third) in my pocket. Those images are for tomorrow.

More Rain and the Rhinoceros Orphanage

Saturday seemed to be even colder than the tday before with more rain, fog, and mist.

I shivered and hurried through all this to get to the conference. My shoes were soaked by the time I arrived but fortunately the conference area was warm and dry.

I attended two interesting workshops n the afternoon, one on using a variety of art mediums to get desired effect, and the other on experimenting with somethng she called surface weaving—images reminding me in a distant way of MC Escher’s work.

The rest of the afternoon was devoted to museum tours—I had thought I would find a lovely spot to paint—but I don’t do cold very well—and since I had water colors-…the rain and mist wouldn’t work very well either.

So I spent my afternoon in the hotel room learning all about an orphanage for baby rhinos.

Rain I did not schedule

Since my hotel was a ‘brisk 5 minute walk” from the converence. I tended to be up fairly early.

The weather on my arrival was chilly but sunny.

This day and the next two would be dreadfully windy, rainy, and miserable.

I took photos of the mist over the tops of the buldings.

Across the street was a large silvery sculpture with lots of twining leaves. It was hard to get a good photo without standing in the middle of the street—although the Canadians tended to be quite polite in their driving–not many honking horns—I didn’t think they would appreciate a hapless tourist standing in the middle of the one lane open to traffic—road construction in spring and summer months seems to be prevalent everywhre there are seasons.

Lunch was substantial.

And with two huge trays of butter tarts.