Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Change in the Weather

5 X 7 oil on canvas board $65
Includes shipping and insurance in US
We are back from our vacation and have ALMOST recovered. The "Big Trip" wouldn't have been "normal" without a blowout - and we had two - one in Colorado and one on the way home - both in 100 degree weather and on a major highway. Fortunately we took two spares this year. Mike and I have become experts at changing a trailer tire, too - we were back on the road within 20 minutes with the last one!
The other "normal" occurrence was electrical problems. We just couldn't get the batteries to take and hold a charge. We finally tracked it down to a failing converter, and after locating a new one, we changed it out in a parking lot, and the electrical issues ceased to be a problem.
I had a number of commissions to complete and get out this past week as well as a couple large paintings to get ready for a show in November. I am a member of(and the bookkeeper for) a group called the "Artists of Texas" and we have just completed our first year. It's time for membership renewal and I have had to send out letters encouraging members to re-subscribe. Fortunately, most have enjoyed more traffic to their websites and increased sales that are a direct result from our advertising campaign. There is strength in numbers!
The weather broke last week and it was briefly 10 degrees cooler - no rain, though. Ninety-five is MUCH better than 105! I can almost stand to be out long enough to get a few things done - like getting ready for a fall garden.
Right before we returned, we received some sad news from the folks taking care of the place - the chickens were massacred by a pack of coyotes. Of the original 22 chickens, only 6 survived. Evidently the coyotes finally figured out no one was home during the day and attacked the Thursday before we returned. All that was left was piles of feathers in assorted colors scattered all around our 1 acre yard. Needless to say we are closely guarding the 6 that are left (Moe the naked neck chicken, Aunt Bee one of the Delawares, 3 black Cornish who are good flyers and one unidentified hen that I call the Chatterbox). The roosters must have vainly tried to defend the ladies, because none of them were left. We learned a valuable lesson - don't trust Mother Nature.
We are on armed patrol now...rather like we need to be down south...but that is another soapbox.
John 13:38
Then Jesus answered, "Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cheeseman Ranch at Mueller State Park - Colorado landscape

8 X 6 Oil on linen panel $65
Includes shipping and insurance
Mike and I took a 4 mile hike in Mueller State Park and found the perfect place to build a home (in our dreams), just past Cahill Pond and this view of the Cheeseman Ranch. It's easy to imagine what the country must have been like 100 years ago in this part of Colorado. Very few roads go through the park - just hiking trails, and there are no fences and very few structures as far as the eye can see. Just 30 miles west of Colorado Springs, Mueller State Park has 50 miles of hiking trails in 5000 acres and is one of our favorite places to go. Woodland Park is nearby for the shop-a-holics and Eleven Mile Camp is in the other direction for those that need to go even deeper into the wilderness.
Isaiah 35:6

Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.
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Monday, August 16, 2010

Eleven Mile Fishing Cove

8 X 8 Oil on Gessoed Board $100
Includes shipping and insurance in US

Our last day at Eleven Mile - we didn't have to be out until noon and I went fishing one last time - promising Mike to be back to the campsite by 11:00 am (after packing up everything I could the night before).
By 9:00 am I was in "the spot" after snapping some quick pictures on the pathway around the edge of the cove.
Unfortunately I didn't catch any fish that last morning, but like many fishers, I am of the opinion that it isn't so much the catching fish as it is where you GO to catch fish and this lake is PRIMO.
Matthew 4:19
"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."
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Cowboy Needs a Name

I found this funky carved wood cowboy in Red River, New Mexico and Mike agreed to figure out a way to get him home for me. He's 6 feet tall and weighs 200 pounds (at least) and we THINK he'll fit in the RV. Can't put him in the bed of the pick-up because of the 5th wheel hitch.
I will build a stone perch for him outside the studio door so he won't rot, 'cause we all know how bad a rotten cowboy can be.
He needs a name - "Uncle Something" I am thinking. Should I have a contest and give away a painting to the person who comes up with the best suggestion?
Next stop Santa Fe then home in less than a week...hooray!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dawn at Eleven Mile Camp Colorado

10 X 8 Oil on Canvas board $125
Includes shipping and insurance in US

One of the best places to camp and fish in Colorado has to be Eleven Mile Campground on Eleven Mile Lake on the South Platte River. We were there last week and I have just now found a "hot spot" where I can use my lap-top and post this painting.

Up-river from Eleven Mile Lake is Spinney Lake – a brilliant trophy fish lake full of several species of trout, salmon and Northern Pike. Between the two lakes is a section of the Platte River that you can only fish “catch and release”. They call this area the “Dream Stream” where anglers can hook and hopefully catch the largest rainbow trout of their life. And then turn it lose.

I am late at learning to fly fish and it was in the “Dream Stream” three summers ago that I caught a “monster” rainbow. At least it was to me. Mike and I had been “practice catching” little brookies and rainbows in the Rio Grande and stocked, ranch-raised rainbows in assorted small lakes, streams and rivers around southern Colorado. We had heard of this section of the Platte and decided to journey there and give it a try. Had I known it would end up a journey to the end of the world, we might have not undertaken the trip, but ignorance really is bliss and off we went…with Georgia in tow – always ready for a new adventure and opportunities to chase fresh chipmunks.

The trip to Spinney Lake encompassed following a slowly degenerating dirt road across a flat, high mountain meadow that ended at a Ranger hut where a fresh faced Colorado Ranger checked the date our state park admission sticker and welcomed us. The “park” consisted of a 5000 acre, high mountain lake with a rock and boulder shoreline, no trees and an off-limits to fishing dam topped by a single lane dirt road that we had to cross to get to the road that led down to the South Platte River below.

While crossing the 300 foot high structure, I looked left to the winding Platte River below and saw a number of vehicles in a designated parking area about 500 yards down river from the dam. I also spied anglers who had strategically positioned themselves along the curves in the river for at least a mile, both wading and on shore, flipping their rods and trying to convince the finny monsters that lurked in the crystal cold water that THEIR fly was the one they wanted.

We were new at this, you remember – with all shiny new equipment – waders, vests, catch nets, assorted flies and of course the rods and reels. The sales clerk at Cabellas made a payment on his new car the day after we left the store.

Mike volunteered to stay with the dog and allowed me to join the all male fishing throng and make a fool of myself alone in front of all those experienced anglers. Not wanting to call attention to myself, I first assessed the depth and speed of the water and decided that the swift flow was a bit intimidating and determined to stay close to shore. I assembled my fly rod, tied on a fly that looked tasty (hey, I’m part Cajun – we know these things instinctively), and looked for a place nearby where few people would see me. Picking the closest unoccupied bend in the river, I waded about 2 feet into the water, pulled some line from the reel and flicked the fly upriver, watching it drift quickly back toward me. OK – I didn’t hook my ear or a weed. Good start. Lifting the line and remembering to pause on the back hand and stop at 11:00 on the forehand, I again neatly placed the fly upriver. On the third cast I was feeling pretty good – I had not fallen down in the water or tangled the line or looked stupid – when BANG – a fish hit the fly and took off across the stream, feeling like a whale on the end of that teeny tiny thin fishing line. “WHOOHOO”, I shouted like a girl. “I GOT one!!!”

I stripped the line in, instead of using the reel, and quickly found out how difficult it is to land a large fish on a fly rod. Mike came running with the camera (and my catch net, which in my hasty enthusiasm, I had forgotten to bring along).

Evidently the trout was not aware that he would be released as soon as I could extricate the hook, because every time I got him within netting distance, he turned and took off across the river. Mike stood by with my net, and after what seemed like an eternity, managed to sweep up the exhausted rainbow. The net has marked measurements along its center seam and we determined “my” fish to be at least 18 inches long, which we now know is NOT particularly large. But he was my first BIG trout and he fought like a warrior.

After removing the hook and quickly photographing him, I gently returned him to the river and saw him swim off slowly. I fished another hour and did not get another bite, nor did I see any other angler catch a fish (did I mention they were all male?). Call it beginner’s luck, if you want, but it hooked me on fly fishing, and I continue to practice and learn the technique and look for a chance to feel that thrill again when a “monster fish” rises to the fly and takes off for the depths. And the places we get to go looking for that experience aren’t half bad either!

This painting is a scene behind the campground at Eleven Mile Camp. One morning Georgia took off after a squirrel and I remembered to grab my camera before I took off after her. I got some of the best early morning images of the trip…thanks, Georgia!

If you want this painting, please e-mail me or purchase it through Pay-Pal at dailypainters.com and I will get back to you as soon as possible. I am on the road with limited computer service but I will be home in less than 2 weeks. Please be patient!

Ezekiel 1:28
Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

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Price: $125 USD
Or, send me an email