Saturday, May 30, 2015

Is this Crane for real

While walking to my conference in San Antonio I ran across this guy on my first day on my way in (it was early in the morning....6-something Denver time).
I was quite tired heading into the conference, as I slept like crap in the hotel and had just flown in the night before (and like I mentioned, I don't enjoy flying).

I really wasn't sure he was real to be honest. I thought he might be a statue placed on the river walk for decoration. I snapped some pictures of him, watched him closely for a bit and then realized that the conference was starting and I was now late (this is a common occurance, I'm easily distracted and often late because of it). I'm pretty sure he was real....I just was so tired.

Then, a few nights later, I was walking back with my friend, Megan, after throwing a few back....we stumbled upon this piano bar and then the night got long. It was about 1am when we headed back to our hotel and while walking back, there he was!
The Craniac!

"Look there he is, we should be really quiet and sneaky (you know because quiet is always accomplished after a few drinks) I think he's real."

Now, I was a bit frightened, as I now thought he was real and going to attack us, plus, he was really close (really really close) and my sense of reality was more impaired than it is at baseline. We sneakily walked past him and he immediately flew off across the way.......

He's a Craniac (2015)
Acrylic on canvas panel 6x6

That crane is REAL! 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Alamo vs. a coffee machine

When you are visiting another city, you ask the locals what they do for fun, but a lot of times you really just want to do the touristy things. This was the case with San Antonio for me. This trip was not a vacation, it was for work, so my touristing was limited to dinners and a half day on a Thursday before I had to be at the airport.

We had asked a local about the Alamo. Now, I was bound and determined to go see the Alamo, I grew up on old Westerns and I'm pretty sure my dad sung the Bonanza theme to my brother and I when we were babies. It's an important historical site and it was walking distance from our hotel.
Despite this, we still asked a local what he recommends.

"The local" (or so he claims) said that the Alamo wasn't worth it and that we should just walk by it.
He of course gave us a different recommendation of some coffee shop with this coffee machine that is only in San Antonio (we would have to take a cab to get there and most likely wait in a line) and the way it's brewed makes the coffee's a one and only in the world.....blah blah blah.
Coffee machine or Alamo....hmmmmm, that's a tough one.....

I'm sorry, but seriously, a coffee machine!?  This is the Alamo! There's no competition when it comes to the Alamo vs a coffee machine. Do you know how many guns are inside the Alamo? Cases of Guns! Cases and cases of old one of a kind, historical guns.
I grew up with a Dad obsessed with John Wayne, he would disown me if I went to a coffee shop over the Alamo.

We did not go to the coffee shop.

By the way, the Alamo was amazing and completely worth it. The inside gardens are a site to behold. I really wasn't into the guns, but I appreciated them for their historic value. I really enjoyed seeing this site and I would go back again (if I was ever on a work trip or layover, because like I said before, I would not willingly vacation in Texas).

Alamo Insider (2015)
Acrylic on canvas panel 5x7

Bottom line: Just be a tourist. 
You can be cool in your own city. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Nothing but air, good ole plein Texas air

I recently had to travel to Texas (San Antonio to be exact) to attend and speak at a conference for my job. I have to be honest, I was not looking forward to going to Texas. Not only do I not enjoy flying, but I would not choose to visit Texas.

Regardless, I got on the plane.
I went to Texas.
It didn't totally suck.
In fact, something happened.
It's called Plein Air and I've always found it terrifying.
But what better place to try this out than a place that I will most likely never willingly visit again.

I took with me a set of soft pastels and 3 pastel panels and then I set out on the river walk looking for a Texas adventure.

So there I was sitting in various places of the riverwalk, with my pastels, and panels; "being arty", not caring who was around and what they were doing. Just me and my shadow, outside.....sketching.

Here's what happened.
Day 1:
 I had a hard time just figuring out where to sit, to accommodate myself and not feel weird. I found this place down by the mall, where there was a live band playing "easy listening, adult hits", of which I knew all the songs, so I sang while I sketched. (I often sing while I paint at home too, it keeps me relaxed)
River Walk (2015)
Soft pastel on pastel panel 5x7
Plein Air: San Antonio 

Day 2:
This was quite a fun day. I met so many people while sketching this scene. Most of them tourist like myself, but a few natives as well. Many came by to see what I was doing. Few offered their comments and opinions, which I found pleasant. 
Heading Up (2015)
Soft pastel on pastel board 5x7
Plein Air: San Antonio 

 Day 3: 
I loooooved this building with the Texas flag on top. It was what I used to navigate my way through the city. I have A LOT of pictures of this building (meaning, you may see it again). I also was able to figure out how to add the river boat in. It helped that there was so many of them traveling so frequently. This one is a bit out of proportion, but I purposely made the Texas flag big, because everything is bigger in Texas, in case you didn't know that. 
Going Big in San Antonio (2015)
Soft pastel on pastel board 5x7
Plein Air: San Antonio 

So I guess my lesson is this:
1. Don't be afraid to go out and create in the air around. It's actually really fun.
2. Don't mess with Texas (at least that's what all the gift shop magnets say)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Here come the judge

I was asked about a month ago by one of my friends (who is the mother to my son's best bud), to create a painting for her office. She recently became a judge and was in the process of decorating her space. I of course was honored and accepted the request. She asked if I could paint a courthouse for her office.

Now, there are a lot of courthouses here in Denver. When I think of a Denver courthouse I think of where I had to pay my $360 school zone speeding ticket (for the record, I was going 20 in a 15), which was at the City and County building.I was super excited to paint this courthouse, because they light it up at Christmas, and I walk by it on my way to work. It's a large, beautiful building. I also really like the newer court of appeals next to the library; the architectural angles on it are screaming to be interpreted.

Wait.....not those courthouses?......Oh, those are state courthouses and you're a Federal Judge!?
Holy Sh(you know what)!
You're a Federal judge!?
Now, that is impressive & secondly, now what?
Thankfully, she knows her courthouses and guided me to an old beautiful courthouse that sits across from a diner that the Peacock and I use to frequent before kids, but unfortunately is no longer. The lightrail stops right in front of it. The old and the new. I immediately loved it and rerouted my walk to my son's school to study and scope it out, for a few weeks, much to his complaints. (Uhhh, we're walking by the courthouse many more pictures do you're  not done with that painting yet?)
I'm Done!!
And now,

All rise for the honorable 10th Circuit (2015)
Acrylic on canvas board 9x12

 Congratulations to the new judge! 
"It'll be good to know a judge as the kids get older." -Peacock 
Ahhhhh...It better not be.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

I'm a commute-ist

In our house, we support many public goods: swimming pools, fire departments, PBS, public school, and of course, public transportation. The peacock takes a train every day to work 40 minutes away. I love a good ride on the train too. So relaxing and slow, makes me feel all urban old fashion Bostonian inside. When I lived in Boston I took the T everywhere. That's where I first fell so in love with trains. I then became a fan of Thomas the train and the love grew. Here in Denver we have a modern train called the Lightrail. But I still call it the train because that's what it is (Mom, you call everything a train).

I like public transportation and I am proud to be a commuter whether by bus, bike, foot, or train. I truly don't understand why Sir Topham Hatt doesn't ditch his car and ride on his trains for free. Between you and me, it's time for him to go, time for a change. Sodor needs some sustainable forward thinking. Topham Hatt is a little too clueless / elitist for my taste. But I digress....If you want to get caught up on your reading, the train is where time stands still. If you like to knit, you can create an entire scarf on your ride to work. If you have children that need something to do on a rainy day, put them on the next train; you get out your book and keep warm with your scarf and just ride the train. Back and forth. Back and forth. Everyone loves a train once they get going. I'm telling you, it's fun to be a commutist.

Commute-ist 2015)
Acrylic on canvas 9x12

Cinders and Ashes that Lightrail is a really useful engine.  

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Weeding drops of sunshine

I have always loved dandelions. I remember picking these lovelies when I was very young. I picked them all the time in daycare for award ceremonies, weddings, playhouse centerpieces, and  funeral flowers to put on dead worm and ladybug graves. I picked them for my teachers and of course Mom.

Now, I know that these are considered weeds, but I don't care (The best honey I've ever had was dandelion honey). I have never seen them this way. Every time my children give me these little yellow drops of sunshine, I am happy & I am loved. Dandelions are for Moms. Not because they are under appreciated and are a garden weed; but just opposite, because in the eyes of a child,
with dandelions,
1. You will never get in trouble for picking them (unlike the columbine), but if you do, you will probably be forgiven and hug it out over a cookie and hot cocoa.
2. You know that you can always count on them to be there for you (to pick). In fact, they seem to be everywhere.... all the time....will they ever just leave me alone? Ghaaah, I'm going to my room.
3. When it's time, they let their seeds fly away.
4. They are the most beautiful flower you will ever see. Little drops of sunshine. Especially For Mom.

Dandy Drops of Sunshine (2015)
Acrylic on canvas panel 8x6
Click to bid

Happy Mother's Day to all mom's but especially my own. 
I love you. 

Warning: If the peacock thinks he can bring home dandelions for Mother's day, he will be placed on the next plane to Wisconsin to give those dandelions to his Mother! It's only cute when it comes from your children. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Iris I was a little bit taller

It's been raining a lot here in Denver and with the rain comes not only the massive amounts of blooming Iris, but also the "I wish" thoughts. Dark dreary weather will sometimes bring this about. (Don't get me wrong, I love a good rain, but days of darkness can get you off sometimes). I wish thoughts are just that, I wish I was independently wealthy, I wish I was thinner, I wish I could go back and do that moment over again, I wish I had done this or that with my life, I wish I had more time, more money, more space, more quiet, more Whatever! They are nonsense thoughts from your brain to trip you up and get you trying to be more of what you're not and less of what you are; which brings me back to the iris (I bet you were wondering how I'd get back there).

I don't think the Iris has "I wish" thoughts. In fact, I know it doesn't. The Iris stands tall in it's royal weirdness. It's petals are all kinds of whacked out crazy, curling around to which ever way it is to be. It's an abstracting standout. It takes life and photosynthesizes the crap out of it. Every chance it gets. There is no wishing, there is only Irising.

Iris I AM (2015)
Acrylic on canvas panel 6x8

Iris I was......Iris I AM. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

You've been pick by a smooth criminal

I am a criminal. I became a criminal when I was camping. This so far has been a well kept secret within the family, but it should be told.

When I was 6, I ventured out into the fields of wild flowers in Crested Butte and picked not 1, not 2, but an entire bundle of wild Columbines. I took the Columbines back to camp and showed them to my older cousin, Steve, and he told me that it was illegal to pick those and that I was probably going to jail. I started crying and ran back to the camper where my mom and grandma were and I showed them my columbines and that I picked them for Mom. I told them I didn't want to go to jail and I wanted to stay at camp. For those who are unaware, in 1925 it became illegal to pick more than 25 columbines in 1 day or uproot them. This law was made in order to protect, I'm not sure how big my bundle was (it was big and there may have been roots), but it was enough to get me grounded to the camper.

Columbines gone wild (2015)
Acrylic on canvas panel 8x6

So, now you know, criminals pick more than 25 columbines a day by the roots and noncriminals pick only 24 root free. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Supporting the Union

There has recently, as of the last few years, been a massive revamp of Union Station. This has been the best thing to happen to Denver since...hmmm, maybe the Gold rush.... or Trader Joes...anyway....Union Station is by far the peacock and I's favorite place right now. If you come to visit us, we are taking you to Union Station to eat and also run the energy out of our tireless, rowdy, over caffeinated children (Ok, we don't give our children caffeine, just sugar). Our kids have a lot of energy!

Whoever suggested and designed the running ground fountains at Union Station should be named person of the year! Seriously, my kids will run through these for hours! HOURS! This allows for the peacock and I just sit back downing beers on the porch of Next Door or Thirsty Lion and watch them RUN and RUN and RUN! When we get home they are bathed, tired, and ready for bed. They don't even wake up and ask for anything in the middle of the night. Not water, not the bathroom, not "can I sleep in your bed, just this one last time, I had a bad dream." None of that crap! Just ZZZZZZZZ.....ALL. NIGHT. LONG.
These fountains are heaven on the ground.

Unionized (2015)
Acrylic on canvas panel 6x12

If you have children, actually......even if you don't have children, head down to Union Station and get yourself unionized.