Coast Starlight Slide Show

How about a ride along the California coast on Amtrak’s Starlight?

Here are some pictures I took out of the window. I love riding the train!

(By the way, this is a quick and easy slide show. It uses pictures you have already uploaded to other sites. These are on Flicker.)

Kirk at Work

While attending a performance of the local symphony, I made some quick sketches of the conductor in action.

A couple of weeks later, as part of a painting demonstration for school children, I pulled the drawings out of my purse. I did this quick painting to show students that you can make drawings at any time and use them later in a composition.

If you teach,

1. Encourage students to fold a sheet of newsprint or recycled white paper once in either direction.

2. Tell them to carry the paper, along with a short pencil, in a pocket for a day.

3. Encourage students to make at least three quick sketches.

4. Allow them time to create a color version of the drawing.

5. Use crayon, tempera, torn paper, textures from magazines, or watercolor to create the composition.

6. Emphasize that the sketch is just a starting place.

Small Adventures

Before our daughter was born, my husband and I spent long, happy summers in our little ex-miner's house in Ouray, Colorado. We stripped wallpaper off the walls and hung fresh, painted the worn pine floors, and attended to the details of everyday life. In the afternoons, we sat on the porch and watched the thunderstorms roll in. The thunder echoed off the steep cliffs around the little town, and then the rain came town in sheets. The whole show lasted only a few minutes, leaving everything fresh, damp, and more vivid.

Sometimes, we took our Jeep up into the mountains. There are many great roads in that area. One of the scariest is the Engineer Pass road. Taking off from the Million Dollar Highway a few miles above Ouray, this 4-wheel- drive-only route is little more than a rocky stream course in places.

One day, my husband decided that we should see the dawn from the top of Engineer Mountain. We rose about 3 AM and climbed into the Jeep. It was dark. It was very dark. We headed up the empty switchbacks above the sleeping town. My husband is a very good driver. He maneuvered the rough, winding Jeep road with perfect skill. Light was just beginning to tinge the cloudless sky when we reached the top of the pass.

Sunlight hit the peaks first, and then the still waters of Ptarmigan Lake. It slid down toward the valleys as we watched. The most amazing thing about it was that it happened every single day whether we were there or not.

How many wonders are happening at this moment, somewhere? Maybe even right where you are.

Improvisational Abstracts

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Improv on the Street

I painted this abstract acrylic on canvas while listening to live jazz at Grand Junction’s popular annual street festival. It’s part of my improvisational series. I enjoy allowing a work to reveal itself . I haven’t had time to paint since Spring Art Week, but it’s instructive to look back at previous work.