It is a process by the way, as every day I put pastel to paper, I learn something new.

My sweet husband, I will refer as TD, and I make a trek to Colorado every summer to paint.  The process of packing our supplies, two dogs, food, clothes, art supplies, etc. brings us valuable knowledge for the next time we do it.

After much discussion we decide on August as our target to leave.  Not a really hard decision this year as the mercury started climbing to 100 everyday, and it looked like there was no break in the future.  So we start planning……We have down the clothes category as we wear the same thing most everyday!   We each pack a large plastic tub full of our canvases, paper, paints, supplies etc. These are taped shut and packed in the back of our pickup truck along with a third tub for food.  Two small suitcases and two dogs get the back seat.  It is easy!  Yeah, right….Seems like endlessly going over what we have packed and what we will need. Would enable us to not forget that inevitable “something” every year…..  We are in a very remote area between Gunnison and Crested Butte, Colorado so it isn’t easy to just run to town…..

As we happily get to our destination and settle in, the job of setting up our spaces to paint in this lovely cabin on the mountain is a real process.  We will spend everyday at this location painting for hours…..As I get everything ready: easel, paints everything in reach, dog comfortable laying under the easel, decide which painting I want to do, choosing a photo I made, or should I paint “plein air?“… I reach to start…….This year, I forgot my oil brushes!  Yes, hard to paint with out them…..  Law of  Demand???  After moaning and groaning over this mistake, TD, calmly and generously lends me three of his brushes.  By this time my brain was very bent out of shape, negative thinking etc., and just could not get them to work for me like my magic brushes do…ha ha….So I painstakingly complete two oil paintings and even try plein air painting for inspiration.  I am frustrated beyond belief!

This process set up a life changing decision for me. Maybe “it was meant to be“, but it gave me that moment we all have, when we turn the corner and see the LIGHT!  As I sat out on the deck of the cabin in the cool air looking down at the valley with a stream, cattle grazing happily, I decide to think this through and gather myself together.  I have weeks here to be productive!  I say to myself, “Pull yourself together girl!” I always start painting first with oils as they take longer to dry, and then finish painting with pastels about half way though our stay…. Oil painting is more work for me compared to my work with pastels.  Wise and wonderful, TD, says to me “do what you do best, you are a pastel artist!  BINGO “The truth be told!”

I realize I am a pastel artist, good or bad…..  Why am I trying to be something else!  So here are the paintings I completed as I happily went to work using my wonderful pastels.

One other thing you need to know, I purchased a beautiful camera with telephoto lens this year to get accurate photos of my subjects, animals in their habitats.  We travelled Alaska, and spent time at Mission Wolf, a wolf refuge in Colorado.  I also went to Friday night team roping, local rodeos, cattle drives, and right on our own ranch got shots of our wildlife, horses, longhorns, dogs etc.  I am blessed with a full range of wonderful shots now to keep me busy for a long time…..Just this morning I got a shot of two red-tailed hawks and a young deer behind our house!  This is rewarding and fun.   So plan to see more of my new work since my “ah ha” moment on a mountain in Colorado!

Please check out the new Pastel work (first 7 painting) in the Flicker Gallery – to the right of this blog.