From Art Journaling

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The Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours

Live long enough and you begin to understand what “lights you up”.  I know that a bit of “adventure” and the delight of seeing creative spaces both really do that for me!!  Combine the two?  Forgetaboutit!

A few days ago, I stumbled upon such an opportunity when a new art friend told me about the annual open studio tours in a nearby desert area we’d never visited.

 WHAT!  I JUMPED ON IT!

Road trip with hubby + artful spaces = BLISSFUL DAY!!

Considering there were 95 studios open, this would take some planning.  There was no way we could see that many.  So we grabbed their catalog and map and charted our course.

We began our adventure in the farthest area (29 Palms) and worked our way back closer (Joshua Tree) to home.

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Some studios were easy to get to – as in paved roads and close the highway.   Others were situated far into desert dirt roads.  My jeep was built for this adventure!

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Half the fun is not knowing what’s around the next bend.  We were so lucky to purchase an incredibly beautiful painted drum from a Native American living in this deep desert “ranch” below!

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My favorite stops were where several artists used a sprawling “communal” space.  The high desert has wide open spaces to spread out, ya know?  Artists sure know how to make ramshackle buildings fun!

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I love all sorts of art, but hardly ever do I get to see where it’s actually created.  It’s really interesting . . .  I mean the studios themselves often become a work of art.

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Anything can become a “canvas” – walls, tables, furniture, even large storage containers!

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Look – this guy lays out a large stained glass installation.  Wow!  I never imagined that he would design and draw the piece first – of course he did.  Duh.  Then he makes, colors and cuts the glass!  Wow, that’s a lot of skill.

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Such an artful adventure does require hearty sustenance.

We heard the best burger in town was here at the Joshua Tree Saloon.

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The place had been overtaken over by LOTS of women bikers!  Pretty fun people watching dontcha know.

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I can hardly wait until next year – there’s so many studios we weren’t able to visit.

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It all had me dreaming of the “compound” I would create (if I could).  Some day!

I hear that the real estate prices are pretty darn reasonable in this neck of the woods.  Hmmmmm.

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BTW if YOU are up for an artful desert adventure of your own, there is 1 seat that has opened up for The Creative Nomad art journaling retreat I’m hosting in Palm Springs.

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Details are here.

Do join us!


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Scenes From The Road

Over the past week,

we’ve roamed the Southwest US . . .

from Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico

to Monument Valley, Utah

through Flagstaff, Arizona and the deserts of California.

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I’ve spent a few days circling with friends, old and new,

rediscovering my sense of “play”.

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I’ve over-indulged my photographic

obsession with doorways and windows.

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And seen more stars in the night sky

than I EVER knew existed!

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Even piles of rubble are made beautiful

in the hands of local southwestern artists.

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My “well of inspiration” is running over . . . 

I may burst!

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I’ve seen such diverse beauty.

Sacred and profound and quiet and simple.

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I’ve hardly had time to “process” or capture my thoughts,

but I may not stop painting or writing for months

– okay, maybe NEVER!

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The “big sky” country is incredibly gorgeous.

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The hues – so deep and rich.

The architecture and decor – so magical.

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Even the food is color-full and spicy-delish!

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Icons are everywhere – appearing in art and on buildings.

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Around every bend, more beauty, more embellishment.

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Overhead – underfoot.

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Textures, both velvety and rough.

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A single art journal spread

is all that I’ve worked on during my trip,

as I focused on gathering inspiration and beauty.

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Here’s the same page AFTER 20 fellow retreat 

goers added their mark to the page!

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I’m aching to get back in the studio!

So that’s happening NOW!

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Art-On-The-Go “Kits”

I do have some mad organization skills!  That, combined with a lifelong purse obsession, a tendency to hoard art supplies and a desire to tote them everywhere is the “perfect storm”!

It’s manifested in an crazy array of “art to go” kits.  Perfect for jaunts to desert or beach, art journal picnics or attending yet another art retreat.

I thought I’d share them with you today.  I’ll put some links to various supplies in case you’re interested – and BTW the links do NOT earn me affiliate fees.  They are things I really use and love.  Almost everything can be had on Amazon.

This first kit is for “traveling light”.  I use this set up most often – it’s great for road trips or for a sketch date at the beach.

In this hand painted clutch I can fit a travel set of watercolor, a sketchbook or journal, and a zip case full of pens, tape, scissors and glue.  I also love to include my portable photo printer.  It prints pics from my iPhone and even has sticky back paper – perfect for sticking straight into my journal!  

It’s not unusual for me to pack an inspirational book – this one’s about Dan Eldon – the guy who first inspired me to art journal!

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In my world, everything is an art project.  I love to take canvas or cotton totes and alter them with paint.  I use regular acrylic paints and find they do not fade or wash out.  The flowered tote below was originally a gift-with-purchase bag from Victoria Secret – it’s at least 5 years old and hasn’t faded a bit.

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What’s organization without a pen bag?  It holds more than I really can ever use – it’s awesome!  My husband’s bag (the green one) is filled with his cigar accessories and other man gear.  No, I do not smoke cigars lol!

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My second art kit has many more supplies to choose from.  It’s the perfect “portable studio” for longer travels or for an in-person art journaling class.

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The organizer is really cool!  It has a lift out tray for sketching or art journaling in my lap – and of course being plastic, it’s waterproof.  It holds quite a lot.  In it goes tapes, a sharpener, glue, water brushes, a spray bottle of water, standard watercolors, little jars of shimmery water colors and water-soluble markers and pencils.

There’s plenty of room for a sketchbook or two – I may even throw in a guided journal like one from Shiloh Sophia McCloud.  Again, I love to carry a camera for taping in photos.  This one prints self developing mini’s similar to the old polaroid cameras.

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This final kit is full blown!  This amazing box allows me to carry everything needed for a days long painting retreat, except the canvas itself.

In it, I can carry paints, brushes, paint pens, a painting shirt or apron, an art journal (or two), a full size camera and more.  Pretty much anything can find a place.  Well maybe not the humungous inspiration book . . . it’s an incredible collection of art journal images by Peter Beard – another favorite artist of mine.

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I bound the journal to the right of the white camera myself –  it’s soft and mushy which I love.  I ripped the cover to size from one of my own un-stretched paintings on canvas.  I filled it with luscious creamy 140 lb. hot press Fabriano watercolor paper – the best paper ever made in my opinion!!

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They even make the box in other colors and sizes.  I’m seriously lusting over the turquoise one. There’s even a cool fabric one (that I will not admit to owning – uh huh).  I believe this box may have changed my life – well, my creative life – a bit, anyways!  

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Tell me . . . do you HAVE to tote art supplies wherever you go too?  Am I alone in this?  Do you go on sketching dates and art journal picnics and painting retreats?

 

 

 

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White Space

At least once a month, I head east on crowded freeways towards our second home, Palm Springs.  After an hour or two of loud and harried, I reach my favorite exit – a long stretch of road in the shadow of the towering Mount San Jacinto.  It’s flanked by a wide expanse of blinding white sand and craggy mountains.

It’s here, I breathe deeper than I have in days.  The air is clear, the pace is slow, the stillness palpable.   In near reverence, I lower my window, quiet my tunes and let my hand roll in the warm breeze.  It’s my church.

My intense love for the desert southwest is as old as I am.  I figure it’s the closest I’ll ever live to the deserts of my Texas birthplace.

I’m here for over a week and it’s such a gift!  The temperature may soar to 117 degrees by this weekend, but that only means the desert is in it’s quiet annual hibernation.  So, I venture out at dawn for long coolish walks through town.

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The only people out so early in this town are sleepy dog walkers and casino shift workers.  But, I have spotted a familiar braided-Native-American-ranger bumping his truck onto a canyon road.  I so envy his turquoise bracelets!  He shows them off each time he waves my husband and I through to hiking trails during the cool months.

After my walk, a dip in the lukewarm pool is in order.  I float for awhile in the silky water, cloud gazing and day dreaming.  Before it’s too hot, I’ll run my errands.  The rest of the hours will be spent in much too cold air conditioning deep in page, paint and pen.  It’s a working retreat, you see.  I’m so fortunate to have my work feel like play nowadays.

The white space I’ve managed on my calendar is not likely to come again for a year, so I intend to make the most of this time.  How about you?  What are you doing in these last days of summer – are you finding some white space of your own?

 

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The Drums Are Calling You

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Registration opened yesterday for The Creative Nomad and already there’s only 5 spaces left!  

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UPDATE AS OF 7/25 3PM PT:  3 SPACES LEFT & WHILE THERE’S

OTHER HOTEL ROOMS AVAILABLE TO CHOOSE FROM THERE IS

ONLY 1 ROOM LEFT WITH

THE OUTDOOR FIREPLACE ON THE LARGE PATIO!!

IT’S THE COOLEST WAY TO PLAY!

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Hoping you’ll join us . . .

All details and registration is found here.