Like the wildflowers of spring, the fall colors come but once a year and I knew that if I wanted to soak them up, I'd have to hit the road again. A few weeks back my husband and I took a trip into Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado in search of Aspens and Cottonwoods turning shades of gold. I blogged about that trip so if you scroll down to the previous post you'll see photos and can read about it.
Today's blog is about another trip that I took with my sister. We left on Oct. 16 with the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina as our destination. After putting more than 3,000 miles on the car and driving through a total of 6 states going and coming, we are back home. Mission accomplished! We were greeted with mild weather and a vast variety of colors as we drove the byways and back roads of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We were a bit early as the greens were still dominate in many areas, but that contrasted nicely with the reds, rusts, yellows and oranges that were peaking here and there. The scenery was so very different from the out west trip earlier in the month!
Heading toward the mountains, we took a few side trips, including a stop to see Elvis's boyhood home in Tupelo, Miss. We had stayed the night there and couldn't pass up the chance to see where the King's birthplace. Very humbling.
While there was something memorable around every corner and down every road, one of the most special discoveries was the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge. Located near the village of Chimney Rock, what was at one time a bridge to drive over, it had been converted into a long garden landscaped with flower beds and quirky outdoor art. I loved it!
As with all my travels, I return home with tons of ideas for future projects...paintings (of course), craft projects, and decorative elements for my patio.
Here are a few photos for you to enjoy!
I'm the painter of wildflowers but that doesn't mean that I don't love other seasons as well. Next to spring my favorite time of year is fall. I love the colors of fall! With that in mind, David and I took a week off in early October to travel up to northern New Mexico and southern Colorado in search of some fall inspiration. And we found it! We put in nearly 2400 miles, of course some 900 miles of that was in Texas going and coming. The rest was a mix of highways and back roads, both paved and gravel.
Our primary destination was past Wolf Creek Pass, north of Pagosa Springs, where we were booked for a few nights at Wolf Creek Ski Ranch. We were in the eastern San Juan Mountains and crossed over the Continental Divided several times during our day trips in the area.
From our base, we headed in different directions and explored the area. One of the most memorable trips was up to Creede, an old mining town that's transformed into lovely little artsy village that's very walk-able and fun to explore. Many shops and restaurants here and throughout the area were already closed for the season and would be reopening in 2021. But still we found plenty to enjoy, including the Quiller Gallery where I got to meet the artist, Stephen Quiller. What a treat!
As we left Creede, David decided to drive up the road toward the old mining area and we ended up taking the Bachelor Loop, a 17-mile drive through the mountains and past several old mine shafts. The bumpy, gravel road was a bit scary especially at the start where David had to get around some major ditches, washed out areas and random big rocks in the road. At one point we mulled whether we should continue or turn around. We knew what was behind us and decided to take a chance on what was to come. And we were glad we did.
Another awesome drive was up Beaver Creek Reservoir, which started out as a paved road but became gravel as we climbed the mountain. Not far from where we were staying it was a treat and the views and the golden aspens were amazing.
Wanting to explore a little further north, we set out for Gunnison about the third day into our trip. Again, the drive was pretty amazing but when we arrived, we ran into a bit of a problem.
When we drove into Gunnison, we had no phone service. We had ran into this when we were "out in the middle of nowhere" but when we got into towns it had not been a problem. Later I would find out that AT&T had been having problems that day so it wasn't just us. Like just about everyone else these days, we have become dependent on our devices to map our trips, find places to eat and book rooms for the night. In this case, none of that was an option. As we drove around a bit getting a sense of the town, David looked over at me and asked the question "Did you hear that?" He pressed on the brakes and there is was...a grinding noise. Between the challenging mountain roads and the number of miles on the vehicle, we were due, perhaps overdue, for some brake work. With no way of "looking up" a brake repair in the area, we drove toward the main drag in hopes of finding someone to ask. The next block over I saw some sort of shop looking place. As we got closer I read the words "tires" on the sign and then under that "brake repair." What are the odds? A very nice mechanic, likely the owner, did a test drive and yes, they were grinding and it was bad enough that we needed to get them fixed. We were OK to drive around town a bit but no more than that. He had to order the parts and they would not be in until the next morning. He was kind enough to let me use his wifi password so I could find a motel for the night, which ended up being about a quarter of a mile from the shop. Our Guardian Angels were certainly working over time to keep us safe and comfortable!
David delivered the vehicle the next morning and walk back over the motel. AT&T was back so I was able to call Wolf Creek and let them know what happened and that we would need a late check out. Within a few hours the brakes were done and we were back on the road by noon. Praise the Lord!
We were past the mid-point of our trip and it was time to start heading back toward Texas. We stayed the next night in Pagosa Springs. While we didn't get to soak in the hot springs, we did get to drive and walk around and enjoy them. That will be on a future to-do list!
As we headed back into New Mexico, I was was amazed at the color of the Cottonwoods changing for fall. I told David that they needed better PR. Aspens were getting all the publicity but the Cottonwoods are just as spectacular.
On the way to Abiquiu, we drove past the entrance into Ghost Ranch. Another place on my future to-do list. Yes, we were in the heart of Georgia O'Keeffe land! After a few photo stops and brunch, we head for Taos and then Santa Fe for our last night of the vacation (and a little fun at the casinos there) before heading back into Texas and then home again.
As I always do with these posts, I'm sharing a few of the photos, some just for the fun and others that I will be using for inspiration for future paintings. I never know what comes from the memories and experiences of trips like this but I'm looking forward to getting back into the studio to see what develops!
Near Wolf Creek Pass, South Fork and Creede, Colorado...
Creede, Lake City, Slumgullion Pass (on the way to Gunnison)....
Georgia's New Mexico...
In late July 2020, David and I found a way to escape the heat and humidity of Central Texas as well as some of the realities of the on-going pandemic to spend a few days in the "cool" mountains of Colorado and northern New Mexico. Once again, traveling fed the spirit and provided inspiration. We made our way to Amarillo for the first night's layover. Having gotten an early start, we arrived in time to take our first drive through Palo Duro Canyon. Had to secure a day pass online in advance and I was glad I could and did! It really is Texas' own little "grand canyon" and worth a visit! Unfortunately, the lighting was not great for getting photos but I have my memories. Got an early start again the next morning so we could make it Estes Park by nightfall. There, we stayed in a cabin just a mile from the entrance into Rocky Mountain National Park. Day passes into the park were limited and difficult to get but we soon found out that if we entered before 6 a.m. when the kiosks opened, we could drive in and spend the day, which we did -- twice. It was a first-time visit for both of us. What a spectacular place...as you can see from the photos I'm posting! A few days later, we packed up and sadly said goodbye to Estes and began to make our way southward. After a couple more nights in Colorado, including a memorable and artsy stopover in Alamosa (check out the public sculpture project in the photos I'm posting), we took a scenic trip to Chama, New Mexico, and then headed east through Carson National Forest, making it to our next stop: Taos. The next morning, we checked out, took a drive up to Taos Ski Valley, soaking up the mountains, pines and aspens along with the cooler temperatures one last time. Spent most of the day in area, doing much of the Enchanted Circle before leaving the mountains to head toward Texas again. Once back in Texas, I put myself under a self-imposed 14-day quarantine before starting back to teaching. But I did spend some of that time in the studio, inspired from my travels to paint.
David and I recently returned from a road trip that took us into some new territory. While we've traveled Texas and neighboring states of the Southwest between here and the California coast, made it up through Colorado and Wyoming into Montana several times, headed due east from Texas along the coast line to Florida, did a drive along the blue ridge parkway through North Carolina, spent a magical week in Vermont and, of course, explored Manhattan on several occasions when exhibiting at art and licensing shows in NYC, there's still so much to discover in this great country of ours.
This most recent trip took us into Arkansas and the lower Ozarks. While we were a bit early for the fall color that the area is known for, it was nonetheless an inspiring trip. We found that both nature and human creativity thrives...and we only scratched the surface.
From stately mansions that have been standing the test of time for more than a century to quirky and colorful "sweaters" wrapped around the trunks the trees from a recent "crochet in the park" event, creative expression can often be found in the most unlikely of places. I couldn't help but to think about the tenacity that it took to turn steep hillsides into communities: clearing the forests for roads, laying foundations for buildings, harnessing the natural resources (like the hot springs) to create both places for people to live and work, and popular destinations for tourists who would arrive by horseback and wagon, then train and finally by car. The first 3 photos below were taken in along Bath House Row in Hot Springs, Ark. The "Mona Lisa" was in a gallery window in Hot Springs. The crochet on the trees was found in a little pocket park in Eureka Springs. In researching things to see and do and recalling conversations with folks who had been or lived there, I came across something call Thorncrown Chapel and put it on my must-see list, which is shown in the last photo for this grouping. Located outside of Eureka Springs, it's an amazing glass church in the woods. As you can imagine, popular for weddings!
When it come to art and architecture, a highlight of the trip was a tour of Quigley's Castle. The creative spirit behind the project was Elise Quigley. How I would have loved to have met this amazing woman! If you are so inclined, I suggest you read about her and her "castle" when you get a chance. And if you're ever in Eureka Springs, take the drive south down AR23 and see it for yourself. In the meantime, here are a few photos.
Quigley's Castle combines art and nature, but of course, I'm always on the look out for colorful and interesting landscapes, from wide sweeping hilltop views to intimate details of leaves on a tree. And Arkansas had no shortage...even if we were too soon for much in the way of fall colors (but did find a little here-n-there).
And, last but not least...flowers! In the country, in towns, in cities, we found many varieties in bloom. Inspiration for future paintings, no doubt!
Thank you for taking this "trip" with me. I hope you enjoyed reading about our travels and getting to see some photos.
A few months back, I began experimenting with something just a bit different, but still in my wildflower theme. Once I got started, I couldn't stop and now I have 9 new paintings in this series, ranging from 5x7 to 30x40. I'm calling this my "Motley Meadow" series and, as always, prior to making them public I registered the copyrights on this new body of work. Some are still drying in the studio before they can be varnished and then will need some additional curing time before then can be shipped. The rest are ready to go and can be seen in person at Wildflower Art Gallery in Wimberley. If you are in the Austin/San Antonio/Texas Hill Country area, you can also arrange a in-home viewing. I hope you enjoy looking at — and collecting — these as much as I did painting them! Like the style but need a different size or dominant color scheme?
P.S. Let me know and I'll see what I can do! E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call, 830-221-7676.
It's hard for me to NOT paint this time of year! I've been soaking up the images of wildflowers blooming on the roadsides and in pastures for weeks now and found myself to the point of overflowing...time to PAINT! Below are the results of my time in the studio and at the easel since early March. As of now, all are available and can be seen at Wildflower Art Gallery ... or in your home! Contact me to set something up!
What a glorious wildflower season we've had this year ... and it's not over yet!
I didn't realize that it had been 4 months since my last blog post. I do try to get in several a year but the first quarter of 2019 kept me busy, even busier than usual if you can believe that!
Starting in early March, the wildflowers start blooming in South Texas as they make their way northward. Since it generally warms up in the south sooner, the color generally pops sooner. Then as it gets warmer in each region, they begin to bloom. It's call the March of the Wildflowers and this year was one for the records!
Although I've had a full schedule teaching at my studio, I found time for a few road trips, plus have been taking time to soak up the views on my daily drive. Between the images in my memory and the ones stored on my iPhone, I soon found myself so overflowing with the inspiration that I had to find time to create some new wildflower-themed paintings. Over the last month or so, I found time and energy to sequester myself in the studio and paint, paint, paint. The new paintings will be ready to share soon.
Lubbock Arts Festival
While we are doing fewer shows this year, I was thrilled to be invited back for the 2019 Lubbock Arts Festival. Held April 12-14, the festival was a well attended and well organized. Two of the paintings that stayed behind were "Sky Dancers," and "Day Dream," both purchased by Katy, my newest collector.
There's such a mixture of feelings this time of year. Like many of you, I'm excited as I look forward to a new year that's filled with hope. At the same time, there's always uncertainty about what the future will bring. Meanwhile, as I look back on the year that has passed, I find the need to express my deep gratitude for the both the successes and the lessons learned.
My journey as an artist...
In 2018, I continued to add to my "signature" wildflower series while exploring a few new styles along the way. I do love to paint and fulfill the need to create something that I can share with the world. I worked with acrylic as my primary medium of choice, but I also found time to continue my journey with watercolor, even completing a "painting a day" series in July for World Watercolor Month. A challenge, yes, but there were tiny paintings so that helped me to meet the goal.
Throughout the year, many of my paintings found new homes with collectors, both long-time and first-time. It's always such an honor to know that my art brings such joy to people. And, of course, without folks who buy and collect my paintings, it would be difficult to continue to do what I do. So I am indeed grateful for every purchase! At the end of this blog post, I'm including a small sampling of paintings that sold in 2018.
...and a calling to teach
While I deeply enjoy creating art, I also get to teach and that gives me a different kind of satisfaction. Teaching is indeed a calling for me. Knowing that I can share my love and knowledge with others feeds my soul. I can easily say that over this last year, more than 100 students, ranging from 90 years old (but oh so young-at-heart) to age 5, have studied art of one sort or another with me. Offering classes at my studio in Wimberley and specializing in teaching beginners, helps me to fulfill a personal mission and brings me so much joy!
Sharing my art with the public...
Back to my life as an artist this past year, I've continued to get my paintings out into the world for people to enjoy and make the work available for collectors.
Of course, the primary and "year around" venue is our Wildflower Art Gallery that my husband and partner David manages so that I have time to paint and teach.
We opened the gallery in February 2015 so we are looking forward to marking our 4th anniversary soon.
In addition the gallery, I keep a selection of my paintings on display at Casa de Linda Art Studio. While it's not open to the public other than when I'm there teaching, my students enjoy the inspiration and many have become collectors as well.
I've also continued to show at the New Braunfels Art League Gallery, had several solo shows to Kerbey Lane Cafes in Austin and taken my fine art to shows in Texas and New Mexico. Plus, a special series of my small paintings as still available through Texas Highways magazine.
Meanwhile, my art licensing agent in the UK has continued to secure international clients who use my art on various products, including greeting cards and wall art.
Acknowledging that special someone...
Finally, I can't let 2018 pass without a shout out to my partner, David. He makes it all possible. Of course, he is so much more than just my business partner. This coming April, we'll be celebrating 23 years since saying our "I dos" on a sunny Easter morning.
And now for 2019...
I plan to continue doing what I do... paint, teach, love. Strive to express gratitude and practice patience. None of us know what the future will bring. But it is my hope that we all find peace of heart and joyfilled moments to remind us why we are here. Blessing to you and yours for the New Year!
A sampling of my paintings selected by collectors to brighten their homes-and-hearts in 2018...
In early October, David and I were able to steal away for a few days for a road trip to New Mexico. The purpose of the trip was for research. We are considering applying for a very popular art fair that is held every year during the Albuquerque Balloon Festival but wanted to check it out in advance before we decide to put it on our 2019 show calendar. While it was mostly business, we also needed to recharge our batteries and the mountains of North New Mexico were just what the doctor ordered!
As luck would have it (and sometime it does) our timing was perfect as the cottonwood and aspen trees were turning shades of gold. As we drove the switchbacks of the mountain roads north of Santa Fe that encircle the Taos Ski Valley, ribbons of golden aspens glowed against the deep green pine trees. The same was true of the Jemez National Recreation Area north of Albuquerque and west of Los Alamos, with the added bonus of red rocks that would nearly rival some of those you'd see in Sedona.
Meanwhile, stands of cottonwood trees that were often strongest along rivers and creeks put on a show of their own. Interspersed here and there were deeper yellow, orange, rust and red leaves from various trees and vines getting into the season. And among all of that fall color, incredibly, wildflowers were blooming! Most yellows and even some purples, they added to the beauty. Of course all of these images will be future inspiration for my paintings.
As for our research, we were very pleased with the show and are giving it strong consideration for next year.
Many professional artists roll their eyes and may or may not attempt to hide their disgust when something is said about "matching a painting to the couch." They would like to think that a collector is buying a painting because it moves them or they are considering it an investment. While that may be true, the reality is that when you add a work of art to your collection, it's because you want to see it and enjoy it...how, when and where you decide. For most people that means that that painting will find a home above a couch, a bed, an office desk or a fireplace. And to that I say, awesome. I WANT you to enjoy my art...all the time and anytime. Need to brighten up your dining room? What about the office? Or perhaps, even the bathroom? That's OK.
Getting to see a painting in a setting is called "in situ," (in position or in place.) While nothing beats getting to do that in person, a photo can convey the idea. Below are three images of my paintings in collectors homes (you can see more photos from my collectors by clicking here). That gives you an idea of how people use my art to brighten their homes. Next are some "mock up" shots, thanks to the magic of technology, that can give you an idea of how some of my available paintings would look in home or office settings.
Would you like to see what one of my paintings would look like on your wall? Again, thanks to technology, I can do that! Contact me for more information.
Paintings "dropped in to" photos of rooms...