trip

31 Days to Spain - Week One

Agh! I can't believe it. Today is October 1st and that means 5 weeks or, a one month countdown to my departure date for Spain. I decided that I would post more frequently during this time as I get ready for it for two reasons. One, I decided that I would make a new piece of art and post it everyday until I leave (31 pieces of art!). Two, I will post a weekly checklist to prepare for the residency, since if I publish this list publicly, maybe I will be more organized and actually follow it! 

The daily art will be posted on Instagram, Facebook and then I will post the week's images collectively in weekly blog posts. The art might be related to what I am working on at the residency, a sketch, a completed painting, etc. The hashtag I'll be using is #31daystoSpain on Instagram and Facebook. The blog posts will happen every Wednesday until I leave.

And heeere it goes!

First off, I am starting to think about supplies. Originally, I applied to the residency with my project being a 3D Sumi ink paper project. Initially, I thought that I would just bring white paper and Sumi ink. I soon realized that I would likely be wishing I had color, so I decided to bring watercolor and gouache paints. I am not going to be using oils or acrylic since I don't want to even think about dealing with the wood I would be painting on. Too heavy! The residency where I will be also includes the following:

Projector, screen, printer-scanner, two monitors (small and large), DVD player, stationery equipment (craft knives, self-healing cutting mat, staplers, rulers, felt tip pens etc.), jigsaw, drill, Dremmel multi-tool, tool set (hammers, screwdrivers, hacksaws etc.), extension cables, electric stapler, two portable halogen lamps (500 watts), airbrush compressor, potter’s wheel, option of firing small ceramic pieces (the kiln is located off site), plastic buckets and utensils, glue gun, two easels, whiteboard.

After reviewing this list again, I realized how exciting it would be for me to work on ceramics while I am out there! OK, onto the list.

This week's checklist:

  • Supplies to buy
    • Sumi ink - purchase new large bottle of Sumi ink
    • paper - research what kind of paper (Bristol, watercolor, etc.) will be needed
    • gouache paint - price and order Holbein Acryla Gouache
    • watercolor - assess what I am running out of and order
    • brushes - order a few extras
    • Bamboo pens - order a variety of sizes
    • pencils - order a variety of styles
    • palettes

I'm happy to have found a great art supply shop called Piccolita in Cádiz. I'm sure I will forget something or I will be inspired to try something new while I'm there, so it's great to know there's an awesome shop there!





Joshua Tree, Arizona and New Mexico Pt. 1: California

As a California girl, I love that I don't need to leave my state to experience mountains, sea and desert. This year marks the second year of a new annual tradition to head down to the desert during the holidays to decompress.

From December 26th through January 2, I visited Joshua Tree, Arizona and New Mexico. I had been working on my show at Seeing Things Gallery for months and preparing for the holiday season prior to leaving. I had been working non-stop and although it was good practice in self-discipline and creativity, I was literally giddy to be out on the open road and not cooped up inside.

It has taken me a few weeks to post about this amazing trip. In this time, I have thought about how I can create an environment at home that is similar to how I felt on vacation. I have also been working hard at getting organized this month so that I can have a more smooth year, especially since I have a lot of exciting things planned (see my New Year post).

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Pioneertown Motel exterior

Pioneertown Motel exterior

We stayed at the Pioneertown Motel in Pioneertown. With a population of 350, the town resides up in the hills near Joshua Tree. The town itself was built as a set for Western movies and the hotel was where actors would stay. Can you imagine how I felt making this my home after months of chaotic work? 

The bathroom shelf.

The bathroom shelf.

The Barbara Stanwyck room. She actually stayed here! 

The Barbara Stanwyck room. She actually stayed here! 

Pioneertown, a strip of old western buildings, some still in use as shops.

Pioneertown, a strip of old western buildings, some still in use as shops.

This was my third time altogether in Joshua Tree National Park. I love that cell phones lose service soon after you enter. That's when I know I'm in a good place. We climbed Ryan Mountain and were rewarded with 360 degree views of the park.

Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park

Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park

Bryan on Ryan Mountain, doing his best Ansel Adams

Bryan on Ryan Mountain, doing his best Ansel Adams

A panoramic view from Ryan Mountain

A panoramic view from Ryan Mountain

Peak hikes are my favorite. Such a good workout and always worth the climb.

Peak hikes are my favorite. Such a good workout and always worth the climb.

The next day we hiked a small and lesser known trail in the park that was recommended by a ranger. It seemed like nothing special at first, but took us by surprise with its wild rock formations.

Cyclops eating a rock?

Cyclops eating a rock?

Channeling my inner Georgia O'Keeffe by sketching some rocks.

Channeling my inner Georgia O'Keeffe by sketching some rocks.

I'm so glad we found out about this "secret" trail. I found this near-perfect circle in nature.

I'm so glad we found out about this "secret" trail. I found this near-perfect circle in nature.

Rose quartz in my hand from along the trail and quartz lined throughout the rock.

Rose quartz in my hand from along the trail and quartz lined throughout the rock.

My backpack with patches from Costa Rica, Maine and New Mexico.

My backpack with patches from Costa Rica, Maine and New Mexico.

I finally made it to the Salton Sea! If you don't already know, it looks like an oasis in the desert: a large body of water sparkling in the middle of dry and dusty land. It was created at the turn of the century by diverting the Colorado River. Long story short, it is a heavily salinated body of water that causes a strange ecological environment. We were on the eastern side, at Bombay Beach.

Bombay Beach, Salton Sea, CA

Bombay Beach, Salton Sea, CA

Here are some of the obligatory fish photos that everyone takes when they visit the Salton Sea.

The Ski Inn, Bombay Beach, Salton Sea

The Ski Inn, Bombay Beach, Salton Sea

The Ski Inn bartender on the left was a funny man. These two gentlemen could not have been more perfect in this old bar. I was so glad we visited since it's for sale and you never know the fate of these old places. The people here were so nice and quirky. One man, in his ATV gear, talked about how the area flooded in the 70's when he was a kid. He rowed his boat through houses looking for candy. Definitely an upcoming painting...

Graffiti in Bombay Beach

Graffiti in Bombay Beach

I didn't get too many photographs of the trailers and homes in town. I felt that I wanted to respect the local's privacy. Here's one example of the graffiti and artwork you see sprayed on buildings around town. Bombay Beach was so surreal. It definitely seemed like a place where people escape society and just live a little differently. I plan on returning to check out the west coast of the Salton Sea next year. Well, that was Pt. 1. I'll be posting the other half of my trip in Arizona and New Mexico next time. 

Mendocino Getaway

Sometimes I get so busy that the only solution is to just stop and get out of town. After spending weeks on boring old taxes and finances, it was time to go. Living in California, the best way to gain some peace of mind is to drive a few hours out of the Bay Area and into the country. Last weekend, I ventured north with my boyfriend to Mendocino.

Late last year, my friend Jennifer Sullivan opened her dream business, the Hopland Ale House, in a cozy and historic building in Hopland, CA. She is an excellent cook and just an all-around fascinating person. For the first leg of this getaway, I was ecstatic to visit her and enjoy great conversation. We actually arrived at night and the building was very inviting, glowing with a warm and welcoming feeling. I smiled wide, stupidly staring at the ale house. I was very proud of her. 

Hopland Ale House , run by Jennifer Sullivan in Hopland, CA

Hopland Ale House, run by Jennifer Sullivan in Hopland, CA

The building was as she described to me in conversation over the phone: brick, with pressed tin walls, exposed beams, archways and the bar inside is an incredible piece of art. Handmade by a local carpenter, Tom Carter, it moothly holds layers of different woods and is apparently much photographed by visitors. You will have to stop by yourself to see the interior. I ordered the Pastrami, my boyfriend ordered the Chicago Style Hot Dog and we shared a spinach salad with a spectacular homemade vinagrette. It was seriously incredible: fresh, flavorful and unlike any bar fare you are familiar with. We paired the food with a couple of pints of Death & Taxes, quite fitting for the just shy of April 15th trip. If you are ever in the area, it's a definite must, especially since Jennifer will be opening up the beer garden in the coming months!

id-meal, we totally lucked out because the bar carpenter, Tom Carter, and his wife showed up. Each of us ordered a slice of Jennifer's superb cheesecake and we talked about Tahiti and the visual result of grafting in woodworking, amongst other things. It totally made me want to up and move to the area.

We drove on up to Mendocino that night to our awesome cottage at the Cottages at Little River Cove. Our cell phones didn't have service. I LOVE it when this happens. In the morning, we drove to Mendocino and walked down to the beach to this view...

Mendocino Beach

Mendocino Beach

We stepped down the pathway to beach and found a man playing flute, a driftwood hut and sea caves. It was super cool and reminded me of Oregon coastal trips I went on when I was a teenager. 

A little flute to liven up the scene.

A little flute to liven up the scene.

A nicely constructed beach hut. Apparently the locals sometimes build these and have a bonfire in the evenings.

A nicely constructed beach hut. Apparently the locals sometimes build these and have a bonfire in the evenings.

After the beach we headed to Patterson's for food. The calamari and clam chowder were insanely good. Then, we headed to Dick's Place for a few hours, where Bryan put in plenty of change in the jukebox. Neil Young, Creedence, Bowie, Al Green and the like kept us company while we filled our sketchbooks.

Dick's Place, a great local bar with an ocean view.

Dick's Place, a great local bar with an ocean view.

Even the public bathroom's are quaint in Mendocino.

Even the public bathroom's are quaint in Mendocino.

All in all, after spending weeks on finances, taxes and painting under deadlines, Mendocino was just what we needed.

This little inlet led to a sea cave!

This little inlet led to a sea cave!

A sweet sunset, such a nice end to our trip.

A sweet sunset, such a nice end to our trip.