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A Purple Weed-Chopper

Today was a lovely hot day with puffy white clouds floating across the sky, perfect for the rescheduled fly-in at the local municipal airport. We arrived around eleven in time to see some parachutists landing. Vintage cars lined the tar-mac and then there were the planes. Mostly smallish ones–two or three passenger ones at best—and then there were the ultra-lights or experimentals.

In the background is the Polyethylene plant–I used to work there as the occupational physician. I learned a lot about people and management and work processes there. The plant looks to have tripled in size since I was there and sometimes I wish I was still there.

A friend from those days, husband’s partner and son, and another friend from motorcycle days were there with two vintage cars. Husband thought he could have parked Tessie there as it was the only one in the parking lot. That would have been nice as there was a huge turn-out and we parked a good distance away on the side of Keith Road.

As we caught up chatting—the habit of pandemic seclusion a bit challenging to break—a truck drove up in front of us towing a what is lovingly referred to as a ‘weed-chopper’.

I thought it might be a glider with its wings furled around a center mast—the wings are made of rip-stock nylon identical to sails—and made by sail making companies. The man, his son and two grand-children carefully prepared the plane—-taking about an hour to fit all the pieces together. I was graciously allowed to sit in the pilot’s seat—-

It was a bit of a chore to climb through those struts with my back not bending very much.

I took more photos of some of the other ultra-lights, flying planes—and a lot of sky with clouds and no plane—and then what my engineer-minded husband and sons think of as rather odd—engine parts.

I do not know what this is or what it does. I have been accused of thinking like a surgeon at times–‘i.e. stop talking about the problem, let’s figure out a way to fix it’ but maybe with a bit of pruning, it could be part of an engineering bent.

I will do a bit more editing of the photos I took—and upload them into my Texas 2021 folder on Smugmug.

Five Buckets of Kelly Green

Five Buckets of Kelly Green. two buckets of Purple and Sky blue and a quart jar of Yellow

I was not particularly familiar with David Hockney’s work. I had read about his work with an ipad but had never viewed any of his paintings.

However, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston hosted a Hockney-Van Gogh exhibit and as I have a membership and given the seclusion of the past year or more, I was eager to see some art.

I usually park in the Herman Park Zoo parking lot, walk across the park enjoying the ducks and the turtles and the little train and the fountain in the middle of the pond and all the little children darting about. However, EVERYONE was at the zoo this morning—-the parking lot was FULL and dozens of cars drove around aimlessly hoping for a vacant spot. I ended up parking in a church lot with a bit of a hike to the museum.

Fortunately I was able to use my timed ticket although I was fifteen minutes late.

Hockney likes kelly green—buckets and buckets of the stuff; sometimes he contrasts it with a purple—both colors seem to come directly out of their buckets with no mixing.

Interspersed were some lovely small paintings of Van Gogh’s—he certainly delighted in color, mixing it on the canvas–and favoring a variety of greens, yellows and a turquoise-y blue. The only commonality I could see was that all the paintings reflected landscape—Hockney painted the same bit of road in many seasons and in many lights–but always with that dreadful kelly green.

There were some lovely charcoal drawings of wooded scenes and a series of watercolors–that seemed random landscapes–but perhaps that was the curator who placed them in such a fashion.

Of interest, though, one of Van Gogh’s drawings of a wooded scene was done in reed pen and ink over pencil with a wash over the top—interesting combination of media.

I did pick up a few postcards as reminders of the day—I have decided to not get catalogs–they are heavy to carry and I rarely look at them again–postcards are lightweight–easy on the wallet and reminiscent enough of the day.

The exhibit closes on June 27 and from what I could tell about ticket availability next Saturday the 19th is the last available day to view the exhibit. Next up is Monet to Matisse—one I’m sure to find more to my liking and aesthetics. However, it is always good to see art, analyze it for content and appeal, and see what I might use in my own work.

But it will not be huge doses of kelly green.

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.

Denver here I Come!

Life has thrown a few obstacles/challenges/opportunities in my life.

Having to retire due to health issues was discouraging and I needed to define a different future than I had planned or envisioned.

I took up making hand-made books—lots of fun—and although clumsy at first, I can now turn out a respectable looking book.

I returned to hand embroidery—-my hands and eyes are not as coordinated as they were in the distant past.

I worked on finishing up quilt tops–much easier and faster with a long-arm—also a bit awkward at first, but now I can turn out a fairly servciable and neatly done top–not a show-stopper or winner–but serviceable and pleasing to my eye. I am finishing up quilt tops left by my mother and grandmother–and It feels great to have them in a finished state.

And then I decided to return to painting.

In high school art class, I painted with oils. There weren’t a lot of techniques other than learning how to stretch a canvas and prep it.

In graduate school, I had a semeseter of water color painting. We were supposed to set up our palette and create a lot of wet paint and were supposed to provide an image we copied—no instructions in types of brushes or mixing colors or using masking fluid.

I had lots of stuff—plenty of supplies.

I reviewed videos and read and listened.

And I decided to jump in and learn plein air painting—–

And so here I am at the Plein Air Convention in Denver.

This is the outside pavilion of the hotel. I’ll show you some goslings later on. The fountain was intermittent and I never figured out its sequence.

***This is all written after I have returned home and trying to make some sense of it all.

Review, an Injection, and First Communion

Last week was long and filled to the brim.

On Tuesday we drove through some really nasty weather–pouring rain so hard the semis were driving at 40 miles an hour, Tessie panicked screaming she couldn’t see to drive—neither could we.

But we made it to Glen’s appointment at the VA.

Valet parking is not something I’m accustomed to doing—but in this case, if we wanted to be at his appointment close to on time, it was our only option. The VA is very organized with people in yellow slickers directing traffic and efficiently dealing with anxious paitents and spouses.

The CAT scan showed the lesion to be larger than the original lesion, the radiologist did not seem concerend—but we must now wait three months for the next scan. Waiting is one of the most difficult parts of this.

We stayed overnight in a hotel as I had an injection scheduled for the next morning. We try to schedule back to back things–so as to avoid the multiple trips to Houston.

I was pleasantly surprised to have a good experience with the injection. The radiologist was skilled, cometent, quick, and talked to me during the procedure—a vast difference from the previous one by a ‘pain management specialist’. That experence was miserable. As an Emergency Room physician for so many years, I had ample exoeruebce in managing pain and anxiety in the patient, patient family, and nursing staff—not easy but doable expecially if the technically expert with the hands so as to concentrate on the psychological aspects.

On to more pleasant subjects.

Our oldest grandson was scheduled for his First Comminion.

There were 136 children in the group, the girls dressed in lovely white dresses and head gear rainging from a band of flowers to veils. The boys were all in suits with ties; interestingly, many both boys and girls wore sneakers—- James wore polished black shoes as did his little brother.

It was an impressive ceremony, the church is immense and quite lovely with stained glass windows, and a wonderful choir.

Afterwords we adjourned to Seasons 52 for a wonderful brunch/lunch prepared by Chef Eddie.

We drove home—tired, but so glad to be home after three long days in Houston.

Magnolias and the Scent of the South

A large magnolia tree is in our back yard. It was a favorite climbing tree for my three boys as the limbs seemed to be placed perfectly to fit the lenght of their arms and legs.

Across the street was an even larger magnolia tree. It was hit by lightening and then termites set in, It is gone now with not even an indentation in the lawn to mark its former location.

I think I was too busy in those early years here to notice the lovely scent of the mganolias.

Now that I am retired, I have time to sit and enjoy the faint breeze through the open windows—the few days in which we use no heating or air conditioning. The windows are screened; a few mosquitoes manage to make their way inside—riding along the coats of our two border collies who no longer run as fast they used to—-but then neither do I.

Sometimes the small things of life are the most lasting in impressions.

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.