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Old 08-04-2007, 03:30 AM
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Re: By the Fireside, August 2-9, 2007

I am a park ranger in Phoenix Arizona (since 1988) and have been trying to get in to drawing fairly seriously for about 4 years now. Pretty much sticking to pen & ink, but I have a few color pencils I play with now and again. SOMEDAY, I will learn to paint. Its on my list of things to do someday. I didn't just start drawing recently, however. I too had drawn from an early age and through college, but kind of let it go when kids came along. I did go from pencil to pen after all that time off (about 7 yrs).

Anyhow, born in a Chicago IL suburb and mostly grew up in a Milwaukee WI suburb. Took a bicycle trip around the country and in a round about way ended up wintering in Phoenix 1/2 way through. Finished with 17000 miles ridden and 48 states travelled to and loved Arizona enough to make it my home. (and you can probably tell why I ended up a park ranger after all that)

Lisa M, my wife grew up on a dairy farm outside Watertown SD, you may have been neighbors!
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Old 08-04-2007, 10:33 AM
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Re: By the Fireside, August 2-9, 2007

I am so excited that Sue (Moccasin) told me about this forum. This is my favorite style of art both as an artist/photographer and a buyer (when I am able to do so). I have been all over the Southwestern United States and have done a lot of work based on those areas.

Other than that, I am a library assistant in San Diego, blah, blah, blah.
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Old 08-04-2007, 03:23 PM
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Re: By the Fireside, August 2-9, 2007

Nice to meet you Dan! What great experiences and memories you must have created doing that bicycle trip. I'd guess Park Ranger is a perfect job/person match for you...and you get to spend all that time observing nature too.

Desert, I think we are seeing many friends here with similar interests expressed in a variety of ways. What could be more fun?

Mikki
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Old 08-04-2007, 04:18 PM
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Re: By the Fireside, August 2-9, 2007

Jo... It sounds like you've lived overseas like I did! We'll have to sit in a quiet corner sometime and swap experiences...

Ralph... Riudoso! I haven't spent much time there but I've done a Master Class three years running in nearby Cloudcroft with Texas artist, Bill Herring. I love that area. If I could convince my husband that 'cold is good', I'd move to those mountains in a flash.

Lisa... Not trying to ignore your question... I live in the easternmost part of Puerto Rico, just up the mountain from the little town of Ceiba. It sounds like you didn't get over during your visit but, if you went to the El Yunque Rainforest you are seeing the kind of vegetation we live in. We are just a bit east of it and can see it and the distant islands of Culebra and St. Thomas from our porch... My husband captains private boats and I used to teach scuba so we are pretty comfortable with waves...

Sue... Thanks for the well-wishes on the forum. I'm thinking we might need to have a weekly photo thread for those pics that everyone has...

Dan... Somehow I knew you were a park ranger. What an exciting trip! I admire you since I'm definitely a 'car' person...

Desert... I'm glad you found us. I've seen a lot of your CP work (I lurk there all the time) and certainly look forward to seeing it cross-posted here. I love San Diego... too expensive to live there but I definitely enjoy myself when we visit my sister who lives there...

Diane
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Old 08-04-2007, 10:49 PM
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Re: By the Fireside, August 2-9, 2007

Howdy everyone from rural Nevada,

This is a wonderful forum. Even if I didn't live here, this area is where my heart is. I'm 50 and I grew up in Colorado, spent some wonderful years in Arizona where half my family reside now, and have lived in Southern Nevada for 23 years, and now I am loving it up here in Northern Nevada. I live 13 miles from Carson City, and 6 miles down from Virginia City where the gold rush was started. I just started with the art bug one year ago when I picked up pastels to release some of my feelings of profound sadness on the eve of my mother-in-laws passing. I work with soft pastels/pastel pencils, and I am in the experimental stage learning, absorbing knowledge, learning. My favorite thing to do is pack out to the desert with and work en plein aire. I only have to go two blocks, or out my back door. I live 1/2 mile from the Carson River, and the Pony Express Trail. I will post my works here when they get made. I have posted several works in the Soft pastel Studio.
My sister is my mentor, my mom is a talented artist,(they are thrilled I've rekindled my interest in improving my artistic abilities) and so is my brother-in-law, my husband has a lot of artistic skills, but hasn't taken the time. So art and the west are in my body and soul. This forum is perfect. I lovve this wet canvas site, and all of the people here.
Nice to meet you all,
Carol
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Old 08-05-2007, 01:49 AM
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Re: By the Fireside, August 2-9, 2007

Hello Folks,
So glad to see a southwest forum! I posted a couple paintings somewhere here, then realized this thread might have been the place to begin. Anyway, I live in a cabin with a couple of cats in Hathaway Pines, CA, down the Sierra a piece from Mikki (hi, glad to see another pastellist). Not giving away my age, though I retired from a stressful job in 2000. Three years ago I got my act together enough to start painting after doing everything but for the previous 25 years. I was trained in oils and clay--Bay Area Figurative and "pop" art at UC Davis, but am most interested now in painting landscapes on location whenever I can--mostly with pastels.

There are so many beautiful places in the Southwest! I am fortunate to have been able to backpack Utah's Escalante Canyons, and camp in the Southern CA desert in the winters. There's also a friend in Santa Fe, whom I've imposed upon more than once, so I could lug an easel into the countryside. Georgia O'Keefe country has wonderful warm colors. I don't know how she stood it.
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Last edited by Sonni : 08-05-2007 at 02:01 AM.
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Old 08-05-2007, 01:38 PM
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Re: By the Fireside, August 2-9, 2007

Hi there, Carol... What an artistic family! Like I said to the others, just because you've posted something in another forum... it doesn't mean you can't here, too. We aren't trying to steal people away from their favorite forums but, with this one, it's a special place to cross-post those works which we SW/W art aficionados would truly appreciate not just for the art but for the soul that shows through.

Hey, Sonni... Glad to meet you! Your mention of UC-Davis brought back memories of staying on a fruit ranch just outside Vacaville one summer when my Dad was guest lecturing at the Davis campus. I had a great time working alongside the migrant workers pitting apricots at 50 cents a lug. It really teaches you the value of money... Can't wait to see some of your pastels!

Diane
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Old 08-05-2007, 02:03 PM
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Re: By the Fireside, August 2-9, 2007

Northwest checking in here. Oh, yeah, I've been living in the Northeast for ten years, but I am a westerner through and through. Every time I go back to visit it gets harder to come back east.

Grew up on the dry side of the mountains in Oregon, went to school and raised my family in the maritime NW (I keep telling people here, "No, really, it doesn't rain in the summer there!"), lived in the Colorado mountains for a while, spent lots of time exploring the southwest and fell in love with it. Job and family brought me to the NE, then a health issue (Lyme disease) has kept me here. So far.

My favorite places in the world are where the sea meets the mountains or where the desert meets the mountains. Note the word "mountains". Love the western landscape, love western plants, love western weather, love western people, love the west, period. Yes, indeed, I think constantly of moving back, just got to figure out how. Ah, dreams. It's going to be exciting to see other artists expressing their vision of the western landscape, people, and culture in various media.

I posted a watercolor landscape of the Puget Sound shore, someone pointed out that I used "Northwest colors". Hadn't thought about it before, but she was right. The colors I reach for instinctively are expressive of the west. I even found myself using western colors in a pastel painting I did of my barn here in Vermont recently! Now I am working on one of the same barn, only set in the dry western country I grew up in.

About me: I'm not really old, but, as of recently, I do have 3 generations of descendents. I am trying to get used to the idea that I am a great grandmother. No wait, that's not an idea, that's a fact....

Let's see, more or less retired from a career in environmental science and policy. College was split about half and half between art and science. I don't really see much difference between the two: both are a mix of vision and skill. Science paid the bills (until the Lyme got me, anyway). Art kept me sane (no, it is society that is mad, not I). I kept studying all through my adult life, working in various media. Now I do art pretty much full-time. All of my children are artists. I find that amazing.

Dayle Ann
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Old 08-05-2007, 02:28 PM
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Re: By the Fireside, August 2-9, 2007

I had a question. Can I post artwork relating to California Fan Palms (not in the desert, though) or even an ocean scene? I know I've seen some of those in Southwest Art Magazine because of the style or the artist being from the west. But, I don't want to post anything here that would seem out of place.
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Old 08-05-2007, 03:27 PM
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Re: By the Fireside, August 2-9, 2007

Desert,

You must be referring to California Washingtonia. Its range is SE Calif (San Diego and San Bernadino counties), SW Arizona and N Baja. Can't get much more southwest than that. I have a pastel study I did of a group of three in Anza Borrego State Park, where I hung out for a week every winter for about a decade (at heart I'm a desert rat). If I can find the painting in my files, will post it.
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Old 08-05-2007, 05:44 PM
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Re: By the Fireside, August 2-9, 2007

The forum is Southwest/Western Art so I'm figuring that includes everything out to the Coast. Diane mentioned the CA plein aire artists in her intro and they definitely paint the coast and trees and even cities.

Sonni, we meander along Hwy 4 every now and again on photo shoots. Gorgeous area and a lot less populated than around here (Hwy 50 corridor). Lucky you!

Carol, we are only about 90 minutes from your location and the change in the geography is startling. I find a wonderful stark beauty and serenity in your neck of the woods. People tend to complain about crossing Nevada on the way east because it's ugly...when I hear this I know I'm talking to someone with no artistic soul. There is majesty on those open spaces and the painting you posted is proof of that.

Dayle Ann, so nice to meet you. I graduated from high school in Massachusetts and worked my first years in Boston. I will always have a fond remembrance of New England but can't imagine living there again. The culture, populations, etc are just too much for us now. We are planning to relocate out of California as soon as we can decide on a new home in the Southwest because California is just to crazy populated anymore. I want to move to New Mexico, hubby wants to move to Northwest Washington. Don't know how we will compromise on that one. Anyway, nice to meet you too.

Mikki
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Old 08-05-2007, 06:46 PM
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Re: By the Fireside, August 2-9, 2007

I agree with Mikki--as long as you don't put the subject in a vase on a table, in a room in a high rise in a city.

There are so many fantastic "western plants" just itching to be painted, it would be a pity to leave them out. Growing together in the California desert I've seen Desert Willow, Cottonwood, Chuparosa, and Calif Fan Palms, all digging for the same illusive flow of water. Bet Ranger Dan has a bunch in Arizona, too.

The attached is a pastel "study" of California Washingtonias in Anza Borrego SP, done when I first started in pastels in 2004. I say "study" because I was mired in the stage where I needed to prove to myself that I could still draw.
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Old 08-05-2007, 09:04 PM
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Re: By the Fireside, August 2-9, 2007

Wow, Sonni! I would not call that a study. It's a beautiful painting.

Mikki
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Old 08-05-2007, 09:08 PM
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Re: By the Fireside, August 2-9, 2007

Nice pastel painting, Sonni!

I don't live too far from the Anza-Borrego Desert and I used to go out there very regularly for at least 15 years. The last two years have really been the first time that I didn't go out there at least once a month because of the gas prices and an aging vehicle.
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Old 08-06-2007, 02:11 PM
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Re: By the Fireside, August 2-9, 2007

I'm 50+, live in London and last summer I travelled about 3,000 miles around the southwestern states (California, Arizona and new Mexico) and got an insight into the way of life way out west.

I went through the Sonoran Desert and the Anza Borrego Desert a couple of days either side of that stunningly hot weekend last July!

I'll be coming here to enjoy seeing some of the sights again from other people's perspectives - and showing you my cacti series (I got seriously into cacti on the trip ) and my sketchbooks from the trip. I'm also working up drawings and paintings from sketches and other reference material from the trip.
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