Sunday, September 7, 2014

Riding High

Yesterday we went on a hot air balloon ride.  I'm not sure how we quite arrived at the decision that this would be our gift to Kendall for her 20th birthday, but arrive at it we did.  She's been sad as of late...a tough breakup...some issues with her throat related to her October surgery...the start of a new school year.  We just wanted to make our normally vibrant, kinda snarky daughter smile.  

We decided it would be best to surprise her.  That's a tricky proposition because she doesn't care much for surprises.  We told her we wanted to go go Phoenix to go to IKEA, our favorite store.  Ok, not Don's favorite.  She asked that we have dinner with uncle Steve, aunt Kea, and her cousins Ryan, Bobbi, Kyle & Mike.  We rarely get to see them so it was quite a treat when they all said yes to dinner right away.  

We met at a Vietnamese place called Angelina's (on Bell Road in Glendale).  So good!  We had the best time catching up with family.

Then to the hotel for a few hours of sleep.  Kendall tried to get us to give away the surprise but we held strong!  At 5 am we gently woke her up & begged her to just trust will be worth it!  I don't know if it was lack of sleep or what but she didn't figure out what we were doing until we walked through the Rainbow Ryders front door.  She was pretty excited when she realized what we were doing!

We loaded into a van & left for the launch site.  They didn't love the first site so we went to another off Daisy Mountain Road.   We watched them pull out the huge balloon & quickly inflate it.  Mesmerizing!

Then we hopped aboard a 12 person gondola.

A little over an hour after we launched we landed in the desert.  It was such a beautiful ride!  I would do it again in a heartbeat!  The landing was a trip!  But the best part was the happiness the exuded from Kendall.  She truly had a wonderful time!

PS I loved the balloon prayer the pilot said as we toasted the successful voyage.  It's printed at the bottom of our flight certificates:

“The winds have welcomed you with softness.

The sun has blessed you with his warm hands.

You have flown so high and so well that

God has joined us together in laughter and set us

gently back into the loving arms of Mother Earth.”

Friday, September 5, 2014


I am not sure why, but I am obsessed with mermaids.  In my head mermaids are beautiful, mystical creatures.  They are kind, loving & sweet.  I painted a few just for fun...I've come a long way
since that first one!  She's pretty awkward...I'm not likely to show her.  Since that I'll fated face I've Ben a but preoccupied with figuring out how to draw a better face.  Not a real face.  Just a face. 

I signed up for a class with Jane Davenport to learn how to paint faces & mermaids back in May.  It was awesome!  In July (in Paris!) she taught us how to paint side profile faces & now I can't seem to go back the other way.  I'm still working out details.  No time soon will I even have a fraction ofJane's skill, but it's fun just the same.  

While trolling Facebook one day I saw a lesson from Tamara LaPorte ( a Rainbow Mermaid.  Oh how I love her!  It's a totally different face than what Jane does but beautiful just the same!  

I started my mermaid before watching the almost three hours of videos (I did use the print out).  I loved her face right from the start.

I added some ultra thick modeling past for the body...I may come to regret that.

The problems I'm having relate to a) waiting for layers to dry b) not having the same exact supplies as the teacher (it's killing me, people!  I so get my own students frustrations!) c) I need to have my background perfect & it's not & it's pissing me off! 

I like this one better than where I'm at now.

Now this face, I totally love!

Weird background that is not working for me.  Honestly, I thought my background was ok until I binge watched the episodes on Labor Day. 

The details are making me happy!

Here's what she looks like right now

Hopefully a trip to Hobby Lobby tonight will help me fix the background.

The best part of this whole adventure for me is that I am creating again.  Is it all great? No.  But you know what?   Loving the process of working through it! 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Good morning!


Good morning!  It's been a few months since I sat down to blog...for one reason or another it has not been a priority.  This weekend blogging has been on my mind.  A lot.  Then I picked up an issue of Artful Blogger and I couldn't even get through the whole thing before I had to race to the computer and start again.  Sometimes I just work like that.

I went to France in July.  Specifically Paris.  I feel many different, contradictory things about my week there...comfortable... yet uncomfortable, leisurely...yet hectic, bound by my own insecurity...yet free.  I went on an art retreat, where I didn't know anyone.  Well, that's not entirely true.  I had met the teacher at the art class I went to in May.  I told people I was nervous, but really, I wasn't.  I felt strangely flat about the whole thing.  I'm not sure how to explain that better.  Sure, it was great I was getting to go to Paris, but going alone was not exactly ideal.  I honestly did not feel that I was qualified to be going on an art retreat, but I went anyway.

I am so glad I did!  I met a wonderful group of women...11 of us. Plus Jane & her husband Angus.  While some were more advanced, most of us were novice artists.  That relieved a great deal of anxiety for me.  The trip was more about the beauty and the art of Paris than about our own art work.  We rode segeways, bikes and trains...we walked a million miles.  We stopped to sketch buildings (my least favorite activity...sketching on the fly).  We went from 9 am until 2 am most days.  It was hectic, but amazing!  I adored the museums.  The chats when it was just a few of us.  While I enjoyed everyone's company, I feel like I made a true friend with Justine.  It's a shame we are worlds away, with her living in Australia and me in Arizona.  We clicked.  If she lived here, I would consider her one of my best friends...odd for me in such a short time, but lovely none the less.

Justine and I had conversations about work, family, life.  It was with her that I realized why I was so stuck in my creativity.  I feel like if I make something I have to sell it.  If I want to create, there must be a purpose.  For the joy of it is not an option.  Maybe this comes from 9 years of being a scrapbook store owner, I don't know.  But I feel this incredible pressure when I try to make anything.  It must be perfect right out of the pen/paint/pencil.  I cannot create unless I set up an etsy shop.  I am in a job that is not my life's work.  At times it sucks the life out of me.  I feel like I need to create art to bring in income so I can leave my job, but feel that my art is not worthy.  It is a vicious cycle that has been an elephant on my chest.  Letting go of having a purpose for creating is so freeing!

For now, I am just exploring art.  Experiencing what comes out.  Good.  Bad.  Ugly.  Fabulous.  Whatever it is, my goal this month is to accept it and just create.

I will leave you with one of my favorite photos from Paris: