Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A Hidden Gem: Montezuma's Well in Arizona

Montezuma's Well: A Living Desert Oasis - DesertUSA

The fascinating story of central Arizona's Montezuma's Well; a sinkhole, a collapsed underground limestone cavern filled with water located in Montezuma Castle National Monument.

Montezuma's Well is one of those places often bypassed as people explore the more recognized attractions in Arizona, but what a little gem of a place this ancient sinkhole and 1/2 mile paved trail is. The steep stairs 
down to the sinkhole itself was blocked off the day we went but the rest of the trail was fine. We were advised to watch the trail as a park ranger was out checking a report of a rattlesnake on the trail. Glad to say the only critters we saw were lizards and these.
We also walked down to the shaded forest with the biggest sycamore trees I've ever seen next to the small canal. The air was heavy with the beautiful scent of mesquite blossoms, and a welcome cooler temperature than the 109 degrees on the trail.
I could have spent hours sitting here, it was so peaceful and COOL, as in temperature cool.


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Is Your Art a Hobby, Professional or a Lifestyle?

These questions come a lot for many involved in the arts. I used to get perplexed when when working professionally as an artist  when some people would state what a nice hobby to have. I had regular studio/workshop hours, was working full time as a artist, selling my work, having shows, licencing my images, and was fully embroiled in the act of trying to earn a modest living from art. You don't tell a doctor or a lawyer it must be nice to have such a fulfilling hobby, so why presume it's a hobby for an artist. I am now retired from the business of art, but haven't retired from being an artist, YET I still can't really call it a hobby despite what this NYT article calls it.

The Case for Having a Hobby

Last spring, I forgot the word for hobby. I was on a hike with friends, and I was explaining how much happier my spouse had become recently after starting a band with some friends. "It's just nice for them, I think, to have this creative outlet that's not their job," I told my friends.
 If what we do defines us then creating art goes way past being a hobby. 
I really loved Laura Farrell's take on the issue of art as a lifestyle in this Elephant Journal article.
 "An artist breaths art all around us, they let it fill their soul, and then they let it fill the spaces they occupy. It is applied to every aspect of their life".

Meanwhile in the Studio
I'm working on a small textile graffiti piece for a group exhibit next year.


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Blogger: Dear Anonymous Commentators!

Visitors rarely leave a name or initial when they comment but somehow they think I should let them know something, and publish their comment. I have no clue who you LOL! 

Anon ONE:  In reply to your comment that after you left a comment on my blog you now get email alerts for every single comment posted on my blog. Please read this carefully; I HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THAT, YOU DO, UNSUBSCRIBE sheesh!

Anon TWO:  You keep telling me my blog has been a major inspiration for your community project. Unless you elaborate or share who you are I don't see what I am supposed to think of that, flattered or something? You spam my blog with the same comment over and over sheesh! I mean how long has this project being going on, seems endless ;)


Anon THREE: This is hilarious, you keep asking how I made this BRILLIANT website. DUH! it's a flippin' template provided by blogger. sheesh!

Anon FOUR:  You have several times claimed I have spelling mistakes all over my blog, LOL!

Anon FIVE: what is with the commentators asking how they can contact me? My contact form is on my SIDEBAR, put yer' speckies on.
slang spelling INTENTIONAL.

Anon SIX: I can't offer advice to thin air. I don't know who you are, and even if I did why am I supposed to spend time giving you support or advice. You don't support me, buy my art, follow me and comment on my artwork and photography?

Anon SEVEN: You say you came upon my blog by accident, well of course you did ;) and  Bless your Heart NOT - you have bookmarked my blog too. 
.

Monday, June 11, 2018

White Sands National Park in New Mexico

White Sands National Monument (U.S. National Park Service)

White Sands home page


I can't even begin to share the awe of seeing this park, it's magnificent.  My advice though is go in the fall or winter, because it was brutally hot by the time we got there and it hadn't even reached the alert stage. Spending too much time out on the dunes isn't a good idea what with the heat and then the reflected heat.  As you can see on the Link to White Sands official website there is an alert for temps 100 degrees and above. It was about 97 degrees on the day we went and I drank so much water/sports drinks I was sloshing around like a water barrel and had to keep getting in the car to cool down. 
 Oh! and WEAR a hat. 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Korean War inspires a Roadside Shrine in Arizona

On one of our road trips we passed by a roadside shrine 2 miles outside of Miami Arizona, built by Ruben Licano who served in Korea.  "When I was in the Army in Korea, I promised the Virgin Mary that if I returned to Arizona alive, I would build a shrine  which he named Shrine to Our Lady.

Top Ten Roadside Shrines in Arizona
It was one of the most elaborate and beautiful I have ever encountered on one of our road trips. 


Friday, April 20, 2018

Invasion of the Tumbleweeds

I never saw a real tumbleweed until I came to Arizona. They always looked kind of cool,
that is until you actually have to deal with one and you realize it's full of nasty little thorns and like giant bur's. Luckily this was just a lonely one in our neighbourhood and nothing like the invasion in California.

Monday, April 09, 2018

An MRI and The Fabric Cactus

I was having an mri and started to panic as they rolled me into it and my face was just inches from the top.  I told myself, "close your eyes jafagirl, breathe slow, imagine what you want to create in the studio". 
Fabric versions of catci came to mind and by the time I'd finished exploring how and what I imagined it should look like I was done with the MRI. Finally after 2 years I found a use for the gorgeous vintage green velvet my friend Karen gave me.
This is a work in progress as I have other stems to add, as well as beads/thread, flowers and perhaps a wee critter. I'm not trying to copy any particular plants,  but rather imagining them and going from there. As with so many of my 3d textile art I don't have patterns or any examples to guide me, so I just make it up as I go along.  It will be one of several wall pieces for the Winds Cafe Exhibit in 2019 with my TAG group in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  

Saturday, April 07, 2018

The Creative Desert

and I mean this in two ways because Ahwatukee is in a hot desert climate and because 
creativity/arts is almost non existent in the visual sense within my daily and immediate area.  Before any locals get defensive this is not a complaint, it's just a difference I will get used to.  I was very spoiled as an artist in the last place I lived, Yellow Springs, Ohio, which was like Bisbee or Jerome.

I no longer have the distractions of the visual prompts or the daily interactions of a very active arts community, but I don't see the creative desert as a negative, but rather as an opportunity.

What creative people understand about the importance of being alone

In the digital age, it's easier than ever to avoid spending time alone with our thoughts. If we don't have family, friends or colleagues nearby, we can just whip out our smartphones or fire up Netflix. In fact, we so dislike solitude that we would rather administer electric shocks to ourselves than just sit and think....

Monday, April 02, 2018

Pareidolia: Snot Rock in Ahwatukee

There are times when seeing faces in things is fun BUT when I noticed my water fountain looked like a face I was NOT pleased. I can never unsee it now lol!
Before I even noticed the rock looked like a face I had made a wee cairn that someone else in our household (I am not naming names) laughingly said looks like rock had sneezed out some wee rocks, hence the name snot rock. Anyhoo, snot rock is sporting a lovely flower power hairdo.

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Just for your amusement ♥

14 eerie 'faces' of pareidolia from nature

Most of us know there aren't faces on Mars or messiahs in our toast. Still, we can't help but see them. The human brain is programmed to recognize other human faces - so much so, in fact, that we even see them where they aren't.

Monday, March 26, 2018

A Mentor's Legacy: Marie Linnekin

 I was told I should meet a fellow artist called Sue in our village in Ohio and so I invited her over for tea. I was bowled over by her sketchbooks and she felt the same about mine. The discussion over the sketchbooks sparked a conversation about who had inspired us and I said I had this wonderful mentor in Maryland. Sue said "how interesting, me too". I told her it was a teacher at Ann Arundel Community College and again Sue said "me too". I was one of the students the teacher invited to her monthly critiques in her home for several years. Sue again said "me too" and in unison we shouted "MARIE". I mean what are the odds LOL! We could clearly see the influence Marie had on us when it came to our sketchbooks. Unlike some instructors Marie encouraged us to use our sketchbooks like playgrounds for the imagination and exploration of everything. 
Colours, shapes, words, quotes, bits of cloth etc were all tossed into the sketchbook, along with formal drawings, thumbnails. Marie said in time as your skills develop you can go back to those early sketchbooks and realize some of the ideas that seemed impossible to achieve at the time or they will inspire new ideas.
Painting by Marie Linnekin

I was 40 when I took my first oil painting class. My intention was to go to college and work towards my social work degree now that my children were older but that all changed. Marie saw something in me and took me under her wing and that was the beginning of an amazing art journey.  Those monthly group art critiques at Marie's house were a crucial part of my development as an older artist. Learning how to do a critique, how to take one, how to stretch the boundaries, how to get your work photographed, etc etc.
Marie was an amazing artist, an inspiring woman, a fantastic teacher and mentor. I am forever grateful to have been part of her life for a short time and for her kindness and support. 

Last Christmas was the first time in over 20 years I hadn't sent a card and letter. Not sure why but I decided to double check to see if she was still at the same address and I found her obituary.

Marie was a beautiful BRIGHT star and she will continue to guide the way for all those she touched. 



Jacqueline Marie Mills Linnekin's Obituary on The Capital Gazette

Read the Obituary and view the Guest Book, leave condolences or send flowers. | Jacqueline Marie Mills Linnekin, 84, died in her home, with her children at her side, on February 25, 2017. Jacqueline was born in San Diego on October 17, 1932 to Marjorie and James "Jimmy"

Friday, March 09, 2018

Clouds and Studio Notes in Ahwatukee

Saw these amazing clouds this morning.


If you are a fan of clouds

The new hashtag you should be following? #Cloudporn

Who knew clouds could be so sexy?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
About Ahwatukee 
and 
 origin of the name

Each day is an adventure as we learn to live in a new place and a new lifestyle.  I have a new motto when it comes to plants in the southwest, "look but don't touch". They can be ever so pretty but the thorns are lethal and sometimes they are hidden within the leaves, on the trunk or tiny slivers sneak into your flesh and irritate.
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STUDIO NOTES
Esqualita is now up and with her studio dog Phineas Fallis, all is well in the studio 

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Ahwatukee Rocks

When we first moved to Phoenix I came across this great fb page called Ahwatukee Rocks. I can't tell you just how happy I was to find this as it's right up my alley. I love the whole concept of adults and children painting rocks and leaving them in unexpected places for people to enjoy. 

National craze hits village with Ahwatukee Rocks

From East Coast to West Coast, a trend that promotes random acts of kindness while combining it with creativity is this summer's craze, an unplugged and heart-satisfying alternative to last July's Pokémon Go. In the past month, an Ahwatukee woman and two children have brought the craze local with a Facebook group page, "Ahwatukee Rocks."

So I joined the fb group and after finally finding my box with some of the stones left one out today.
painted rocks and stones
Hope whoever finds it enjoys it.

Well BACK to unpacking studio boxes
 until next time 
cheers and thanks for visiting




Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Unpacking and Setting up an Art Studio

It seems each place requires a different set up, different storage, different furniture before one can even open all the boxes. 
IKEA to the rescue and I got a new table and
studio skeleton
a new very comfortable chair and it didn't break the bank. I am itching to get all my supplies out and start working on some ideas.
Meanwhile Rooster made the cut, why I have no idea since he is falling apart and scraggy.
Some things I opened and I have to ask myself why the heck did I bring THAT. 

How To Set Up an Art Studio
I like the video because of his accent ;)
and I like his still life box. Reminds me to keep one of my moving boxes to make one. 

The biggest requirement is LIGHTING.