Monday, May 25, 2009

Colorado and more...

So after few days spent in quality time with my baby I drove from Flagstaff, AZ to Grand Junction, CO. It seems to be an annual pilgrimage by now. Three years in a row. Instead of the Monument Valley route this time I went through Cortez, a little minute town called Stoner, of course and Tulleride. This stretch of Colorado has the most deep dark Burgundy color rocks that were intensified by the new green leaves on the trees and ground. The aspens are so thick at times. I had never seen anything like that. If I go in this area again I would add Durango and try to spend some time to explore those mountains.
Anyway after about 10 hours Grand Junction appeared and Nancy was waiting patiently for my arrival and with a glass of wine on her new redone patio it was all I needed to feel at home. The next few days went really quickly. Nancy is the perfect hostess and showed me beautiful areas of her new adoptive State. We went to the Grand Mesa were the snow and the ice on the lakes are still present and the leaves are still in buds. We passed by Cedaredge a really cute town on the other side of the Grand Mesa and then Eckert where we tasted some wine at the Surface Creek Winery and Vineyards where Jim Durr (the owner) changed my mind by introducing me to his Syrah and his Riesling. He and his wife Jeanne have found a "recipe" that left out what I don't like in those two varietals (that is what I think that is). We went to Paonia a very rural village that progress has not affected. Because the wineries of the area were planning to open on memorial day we ended up tasting in a little place that advertised "Organic food and yarns"... Pretty fun little place where we had lunch on their porch due to a downpour. It was all delightful. We also hiked in the Colorado National Monument one late afternoon and encountered so many wonders. There was also that incredible Desert Yetisound (maybe a mythical creature, a blend of a frog, a grouse and a goat!!!! You know???!!!) that came from one hill it was so loud and scary. We were in search of a waterfall but found a little pool and abandoned our search when dusk came and we still had a bit of walk to do to get to the car. The evening was beautiful.

Another hike in the red rocks took us to a long loop where the heat of midday and the altitude almost did me in, but what a glorious experience. Breath taking... literally. ahahha. I took way too many pictures of twisted trees and stained red rocks but love every single shot. I love the luxury that a digital camera gives me. I have become the most greedy sight catcher in the World. My daughter is afraid of me showing her any of my pictures due to the lengthy event that it could be. ahahah.
I got to meet Nancy's quilter friends from the Aqua group. They were so fun and inviting that I joined right on the spot and I am now an Aqua member from afar. Love it! They are a group of very talented women and the energy is palpable in that group. They are making things happen. So I will try to make them proud. Here are is a bad picture of some of their fabulous exhibited quilts "Aquafer". Nancy made a demonstation on textile collage with muslin as a base and adding silk, fabric, paper with a glue like medium. It was really interesting and I might try that technique.
We also enjoyed a stroll on Main Street in Grand Junction where the statues are fun and some change from year to year.
We had great food (one night prepared by Craig and LeeAnna) and great wine to talk over and time passed quickly.
My route back to Flagstaff was by Gateway. Another incredible valley. It is to me a Valley of the Giant's Gate. You can picture yourself in a Lord of the Ring movie traveling between those humongous sheer dark red mountains cliffs on either side of the road. I wanted to sing of happiness all the way through my heart was so big and full of wonder.

Back in Flagstaff I had few more fun hikes with Emily and more fun conversations to keep me warm with memories in the future.
I am now back in Eagle River where my Studio is calling me and where I want to be locked up with my ideas. So back to work...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Chihuly by Day at the DBG in Phoenix, Arizona

After two weeks of exploring the "Far West" I have acquire many new images of unbelievable beauty. Not because of my quality as a photographer but because of the quality of the subject matters. place that doesn't hold much love from me is Phoenix. I find that city too flat, too hot, too big and to hard to get around. It is just a personal thing and to be fair I have never spent enough time to get to know it better, but this time I found a reason to go with anticipation.
That reason is the Chihuly Glass Installment at the Desert Botanical Garden. Now image a 105 degrees and a limited shade, beautiful desert plants mixed with Chihuly's visionary glass. So for a couple hours Emily and I toured the facility. It is quite enchanting. I felt like I had landed on a different planet with new beautiful plants with dream like colors and shapes. It was magical and so worth it. My only regret is not being able to see it at night. This arid garden must come alive with those lit up luscious glass sculptures. I am enjoying the exercise of imagining it for now. I do feel so privilege to have seen those first hand anyway. I hope you enjoyed the tour.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Happy Mother's Day, and a lot more...

To all the Women that have the experience Motherhood in any form in their lives have a Wonderful Happy Mother's Day!
I am in Flagstaff, Arizona where my daughter Emily has graduated from Northern Arizona University yesterday.

It was quite an emotional filled moment in my life. (Emily and her proud parents )She has grown into such a wonderful young woman. (Here she is with Travis, her boyfriend)
I am so proud of her in so many levels. She was born "mature" and I didn't have much to tell her for her to understand the rules of the game of life. Nevertheless she has always been happy to be around me and listen to my counseling, laugh with me at my lame jokes, stay by me and smile, has no problem telling me how it is. I love the relationship that we have and I am looking forward to see what the next "chapter" will bring to her.
We had a very nice dinner celebration at Brix in town. I would recommend a meal in this very intimate restaurant if you are going visiting the area.
We have spent the last few days hiking around in a nice hot heat with a cool breeze. Works for me. The trails have those gorgeous giant pine trees that release the most beautiful sent Even the dead ones still speak loudly.
Travis has treated us to a visit to "Walnut Canyon National Monument". It is such a magical place where the Sinagua ( It means "without water") people lived more than 800 years ago. Not much is known and much is speculated about these people in the area but they used the cliff natural shallow carving from the erosion of the limestone to construct their dwellings. To form walls they shaped limestone rocks and cemented them together with some gold colored clay found at the bottom of the canyon. They used wood beams to reinforced the doorways. (This one is a caryatid ....)They then plastered the wall with clay on the inside and the outside.
The plants around are really interesting right now with the new blooms coming in. Cactus and yucca. Have you ever heard of a Banana Yucca blossom....? Those are still closed and I can only image them in full bloom. The Sinagua people would use the yucca plant to make soap, food, fiber and construction material. There are pinyon pine and ponderosa, prickly pear cactus and claret cup cactus. Of course the Junipers are my favorite with their twisted ancient look. The texture on their trunks could occupy one for years of study. Such sources of inspirations are countless around the area. I think that I would have much enjoyed being a Sinagua living in one of those dwellings.
A lot more soon...