Thursday, June 29, 2017

Thursday Travel Musings

Mountain Wildflowers

This art travel journal page was inspired by a wildflower walk that I took in the Sandia Mountains, near my home.  The wildflowers are like small treasures.  The journal page has a CitraSolv background page that I created, and a quote from Frank Lloyd Wright also as part of the background.  I took photos that I took of some of the flowers and converted them to drawings.  Such delicate blooms that are really quite tough to be able to stand up to the conditions in the mountains.  Maybe that can hold true for us – it’s ok to be both tough and gentle.  Perhaps a contradiction, but look how well it works for wildflowers.
Mountain Wildflowers


Sunday, June 25, 2017

In Miki’s Words…..
Hi, I’m Miki.  Jeff & Nadine are my people pack and also my Dad & Mom.  I told Mom that I wanted to have a try at writing a blog post (even tho I’m not quite sure what it is) to tell my story about our Abiquiu camping trip.  She told me to have at it, and so I am!
Swimming at Abiquiu Lake
To me, one of the most important features of a campground is whether it’s close to a lake.  I can’t speak for other German Shepherds, but I truly do love the water.  Mom calls me a “water dog”, and I guess I truly am!  Dad always manages to find just the perfect stick to throw into the water, so I can rescue it and bring it back to him!
In the Shade
Sometimes I don’t know about Mom & Dad. They seem to like to explore in the sun a lot, especially Mom taking all her photographs.  But, I’m always wearing a heavy fur coat, so I have to be a bit smarter than they are – I always look for the shade!
Going for a Walk
Here’s where I took Dad for a walk in the shade by the river.  Mom stayed in the sun (sometimes, I just don’t understand her) to shoot pictures of something or other.  I thought I’d check out the water here, but the current was just too fast and strong to jump in.
Favorite Spot
And, here I am again in my favorite spot in the campground.  Frankly, I think water, electric and other stuff that are important to Dad & Mom are highly over-rated.  I love them, but they are humans and much higher maintenance that we pups!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Pedernal Backroads
One day, Jeff & I decided to explore some backroads around the Pedernal.  We tried to see if we could get up close to the top, but that’s not possible with a Jeep. Maybe hiking, but definitely not with a Jeep. Still, we did get to see some beautiful and charming sights.
Hay Bales in a Row
One thing that sort of surprised us was the fact that there is a “back in the country” type of community here!  Mostly farm/ranch type of homesteads and little towns, but much more of it than we thought there was.
Old Homestead
I’m not certain if this is currently being used as a homestead, but it had the look of one in the past.  It may now be used as a sort of storeroom and corral for the house that is directly across the road from it.
Russian Orthodox Church
This had the look of a Russian Orthodox Church and Jeff & I were surprised, at first, to see such a fancy structure so far back off the main roads.  However, we later saw a sign that indicated this is part of a monastery, so it then made a bit more sense, I guess.
Along the Country Road
The scenery was quite lovely and charming along this back road.  However, after seeing such a fancy church, we weren’t quite sure what may lay around the bend…..
Eye Contact
What we didn’t expect to see was a horse on the wrong side of the fence!  He just casually looked over at us as if it was perfectly normal for him to be in the road, looking in toward the pasture, rather than the other way around.  We couldn’t see how he managed to get himself into this situation, tho!
Sandstone Bluffs
 A bit later, it seemed like the road sort of cut between some sandstone rocks or bluffs.  Jeff had to get out to check it out, and the sandstone easily broke off into his hand.  I loved the patterned texture of the rock.
Valley View
As we climbed, the view was just spectacular.  Such lovely colors – wouldn’t a room be wonderful finished off in these colors?  And, this image could hang on the wall, pulling it all together!
Flowers on the Pedernal Backroads
We did see some lovely wildflowers along the way, too.  The Indian Paintbrush blooms were actually in the meadow where we stopped to have lunch.  The wild irises were also at our lunch spot, but also in a rocky field, as you can see from the bottom photo in the collection.
Lunch and After
And, here’s the view of our Jeep as we sat perched on a log among the pines (in the semi-shade).  It was such a nice meadow.  There were some Jeep or truck tracks leading to about this spot, so we imagine this meadow would be used for livestock as a summer grazing spot.  I think we may have timed this right, and arrived here just before they did!  The second photo in this collection is off a spot just off the road that had the most interesting cut outs or carve outs in them.  Jeff thought there might be signs of some ancient folks who may have lived there, but none of them was large enough for a human.  However, he did say there were lots of nests in them, so the birds must like them!
Laguna Madrid
Based on how green the depressed area is, I would imagine that during the spring and in summers that have a good monsoon season, that area really is a lagoon.  For now, tho, it’s just these lovely shades of green!
Pedernal Views
And, yes, on these backroads, we did manage to drive around to the backside of the Pedernal.  That’s the bottom view, altho many might argue it looks like the front view.  What definitely looks different, tho, is the side view (top image).  I had always imagined a sort of mesa on the top, but as you can see from the image, it almost comes to a sort of wedge like peak.  Interesting!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The White Place
Technically, The White Place isn’t on Georgia O’Keeffe’s property.  However, it is closely associated with her due to her series of paintings called The White Place.  The property that this area sits on is currently owned by Dar Al Islam, and Islamic Education Center.  They are gracious enough to let people freely visit this area.
The White Place from Afar
When driving to The White Place, we were on a dirt road that ended when the ground rose to form a sort of small embankment.  At the top of the embankment was a sign that simply said “The White Place”.  When we climbed to the top of the embankment, this was the first view (up close) that we had of it.
White Pillars
When I zoomed in for a bit of a closer look, I could sort of see the beginnings of the similarities between this area and Georgia’s paintings.  Off to the right of where I was standing was a dirt road gated off, but that had a pedestrian pass thru so that people could walk down the road to get a closer view of the monoliths.  In Georgia’s time, I’m certain that the dirt road was open and she drove down it to get the perspective she wanted for her paintings.
The White Place and Inspiration
Here’s a comparison of the best perspective I could get from an upper vantage point and one of Georgia’s paintings.  I didn’t have appropriate footwear to walk down the road and into the White Place area.  It does appear that one can walk into it, and reading about it online, it sounds like people do.  However, that will have to wait for our next visit to Abiquiu!  Something for me to look forward to!
Front Courtyard at Georgia O’Keeffe’s
Our final stop was the area that I’m calling the front courtyard.  It sort of brings us full-circle, so that we end up leaving by the front gate. 
Former Corral
This is the view from Georgia’s kitchen and what you step into when you leave via the kitchen door.  Originally, this was a corral for horses, etc.., but Georgia didn’t need a corral.  So, she converted it into somewhat of a bonsai garden.  She had a bonsai gardener trim the various bushes and shrubs into a bit of a bonsai look, and that look is still maintained today.
Window in Adobe Wall
Georgia may have been struck creatively by the door in the Inner Courtyard.  I became fascinated with this adobe wall and the empty window.  The window was not placed centered on the wall, and I think that’s what I found very appealing.  I also love the rich tones of the adobe on the wall.
Beautiful Bush in Front Courtyard
I don’t know what this bush is, but I love the colors.  The bright pink seems perfectly complemented by the energizing color of the green.  And, altho the size of the bush was quite large, it felt almost lightweight. 
In the Front Courtyard
There was another lovely little inspirational nook that just begged to have its photo taken in one corner of the courtyard.  It just looked like it would always be quiet and peaceful, and removed from whatever activity was going on in the courtyard.  A nice place to sit and reflect.
Looking Back Thru the Front Gate
This seems like a good image to end our visit of Georgia O’Keeffe’s Abiiquiu home & studio.  A quiet, peaceful place that I’d love to visit again.
Inner Courtyard at Georgia O’Keefe’s
Now we have entered (by way of that entryway I talked about in the flower and garden post) what I call the Inner Courtyard.  It’s interesting in that this courtyard has 4 different entrances and exits.  The first one is the way I just explained.  The second is sort of kitty corner from this entry/exit, and, I believe it is another entryway that leads to guest bedrooms and thru to the front courtyard.
Inside of Supply Door
The third entry/exit is thru the supply door that I mentioned in one of the previous posts.  The photo of the outside wasn’t all that inspiring, but the view from this side, with the light shining thru, is quite striking.  It’s one of my favorite images that I took on this day.  And, to those of you who are real fans, there’s a tidbit of fun info about this door……
Georgia Sat Here
This was actually the setting of a photograph of Georgia O’Keeffe that was published in Life Magazine.  In the photograph, the door is wide open and she’s looking out into the front gate and entrance to the property.  In my image, the doors are closed, but the large elk skull still hangs on the wall, and the bench is still there.  One other interesting item do you see the lightbulb hanging from the ceiling?  Georgia did not put any covering or lampshade, etc., on any lightbulb.  All her lightbulbs, throughout the house, are naked. She was really very Spartan in her approach to decorating (and I use the term lightly).  She only liked white walls with nothing hanging on them.  She felt that to have anything hanging on the walls (even her own art) would be too much of a distraction for her creative processes.  Most of the bed coverings, curtains, etc., were also white for the same reason.  Very minimalistic.
Elk Skull
Here’s a full up photo of that elk head I just mentioned.  It’s absolutely huge!  And, no, Georgia did not find this skull on one of her daily walks!  This skull was given to her by a Native American leader.
Georgia’s Door
This unassuming door, in the Inner Courtyard, was why Georgia said she wanted to buy this house.  She found it very inspiring, and used it as the foundation for many of her abstract pieces that included doors and what appear to be windows.  Curious as to what’s behind the door?  We didn’t get to open it and see, but the guide told us this was her storage and crating area, where she would prepare or direct the preparation of her pieces to be shipped to various galleries and museums.
Dining Room Entry
The fourth entry/exit from the Inner Courtyard is actually this door and the one to the right of it, almost out of view.  This door leads to the dining room where Georgia would host larger numbers of guests from time to time. She did entertain friends, but wasn’t known for hosting large parties.  The greenery on the top of the covered entryway are branches of trees that grow in the yard.  They are put up there for the summer to give shade into the dining room. They are removed come fall, so that when the snow falls in the winter, it can just fall right thru the skeletal structure of the cover.  The concern is that if it remained covered overwinter, the weight of the snow would break the entryway cover.  Oh, and the door on the right leads into the very large pantry and then into the kitchen.  From the kitchen, one enters the far end of the front courtyard.
Georgia’s Flowers and Garden
Georgia O’Keeffe loved to garden.  She was to have said to people that if she hadn’t left her Abiquiu home in the summer to go out to Ghost Ranch, there would be a real danger that all she’d do all summer is work in her garden, and not create her paintings!  I find that a bit hard to believe, but her garden certainly is a testament to her love of that hobby!
Old Door
Thru this doorway lies a sort of long entryway to what I call the Inner Courtyard.  More about that later, but my point in sharing this image with you is two-fold.  The first is to explain all of Georgia’s gardening tools (whether used by her or her gardener) are along a wall thru that entryway.  The second is to point out the actual door and what it’s made of plywood!  Many things in her home, including her kitchen and studio tables, were made from this basic building material, unfinished.
White Trumpet Flower
Here’s another view of the white trumpet flower that was an inspiration in so many of Georgia’s paintings.  These seem to grow like weeds around her home what a welcome and delightful weed!!
Blooms in Georgia’s Garden
Here are a number of the different flowers that continue to bloom in Georgia’s garden.  Of course, now they are tended by gardeners.  I’m not certain if they are employees of The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum or volunteers, but they truly do a magnificent job!
Hollyhock Blooms
This is a collection of two different hollyhock blooms in the garden.  The image on the right has been converted to a watercolor painting, so that’s the reason for the soft focus don’t worry, your eyes are fine!  The second image (on the left) just sort of spoke to me of a somewhat intimate portrait of her home/garden.
Georgia’s Garden
Much of the back garden is planted each year with vegetables.  Obviously, we’re at the beginning of the planting/growing season.  College students work in the garden, and then are able to take home some of the produce.  The rest is donated to those in need in Abiquiu & its surrounding communities.  I believe this is in keeping with what Georgia herself did with her garden.
Views from Georgia’s Studio & Bedroom
When we visited Georgia’s studio & got to peek into her bedroom, we weren’t allowed to photograph anything.  However, once we got outside, we were allowed to photograph views that truly inspired her.
Georgia’s Rock Collection
Georgia O’Keeffe had a fondness for collecting things when she went out on walks.  She’s widely known for the animal skulls she would pick up on her explorations.  However, I didn’t know she also would pick up rocks that caught her eye!  There are shallow bowls or stone carvings around her home full of the rocks she collected on her walks.  I chose this one to photograph, as it looked out onto some wonderful scenery just outside her studio door.
Georgia’s Bedroom View of The White Place
To take this shot, I stood with my back to Georgia’s bedroom window.  This is the view from her bedroom, and it looks out onto a place where she found much inspiration a place she called The White Place.  To spot it in this image, look for the white streak in the midst of the brown-beige hills in the center (sort of) of the image.  I’ll chat more about The White Place in a subsequent blog post.
Winter Tree and Inspiration
One of my favorite series of paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe is her Winter Tree series.  She painted those trees as they appeared to her mind’s eye in the winter season in the 1950’s.  However, we were here in the almost summer, so you’ll need to use some imagination to see the cottonwood trees and how they inspired this series of paintings.  I am looking straight on to the cottonwoods that she painted.
Georgia O’Keeffe’s Winter Road and Inspiration
Georgia also painted a few abstracts that she called Winter Road during the 1960s.  The road, NM 84, just down from her home in Abiquiu, was the inspiration for this series.  I was standing in a similar spot to where she must have stood when she painted the painting I’ve shown in this picture.  If you look closely, you can see how the road & painting mimic each other.  I honestly admire her creativity for this series.  I don’t know if I would have ever been inspired to paint based on a curvy road!
Georgia O’Keeffe’s Abiquiu Home & Studio Front Gate Area
I have wanted to take the Georgia O’Keeffe Home & Studio Tour in Abiquiu for all the years we’ve been visiting the area.  And, finally this visit, we did take the tour.  It was great, and I’m happy to share our tour experience with you!
Layout of Georgia O’Keffe’s Home
This certainly isn’t a photogenic image!  However, I thought it might help you understand how her home and the tour was set up.  Altho we walked thru much of the inside of the home & studio, no photographs were allowed inside or from the outside looking inside, so I’m sort of glossing over those areas of the home and have only identified the areas where I’ve photographed and that will be covered in blog posts.  An interesting note is that the home and studio were left as they were when Georgia last lived here, in 1984.  She had to leave her home at that time, for health reasons.  She moved to Santa Fe and died there in 1986 when she was 98 ½ years old.
View from Front Gate Area
When you are in the front gate area of Georgia’s home and turn around so that your back is to the front gate, this is the view.  Isn’t it beautiful?  Georgia’s home is up on a hill, so her views are wonderful.
Gate into Front Courtyard
Georgia used to drive her car up and thru this gate in order to reach her garage.  It is left pretty much as it was when she used it.  The gate itself is not very sturdy more of a suggestion not to enter when it’s closed, than something that could really keep people out!  The opening creates a nice invitation to visit the garden in the front courtyard, which we’ll do in another post, but for now
Front Gate
Here is a collection of some details of the front gate structure, and a peek at what’s on the other side of the gate.  The adobe used on the front gate is the original type of adobe, made with mud.  Georgia recovered much of the actual house to a concrete adobe, which is still used today, due to easier maintenance.  With the original mud, it would be necessary to recover the entire surface every few years, or it would begin to peel, as you see in one of the images.  The other image of the gate is of the old hand-forged hinge that used to be used.  It would seem that the gate opened at the center at one point in its history.  The final image should look familiar to those Georgia O’Keeffe fans.  It’s a white trumpet flower that appeared in many of her art works.  This one is located just inside the front courtyard.
Thru the Front Gate
For this image, I stood inside the front courtyard looking out.  I love the combinations of textures, from the peeling adobe on the gate wall, to the old rustic wood, to the wire on the face of the gate, to the greenery beyond.
Outside of Supply Door
As we walked along the front gate area in the front of the house heading to the back garden, we passed by this door.  The guide said it was a supply door, and that the supplies needed for the house were delivered thru this door into a small inner courtyard.  It’s not terribly impressive from this side, but wait until you see it from the other side in a following post!
Georgia’s Dog Sign
We needed to pass thru this gate to get to the big back garden within the walls of the home & studio.  This sign is one that Georgia put up to warn people of her two Chow dogs.  Altho they were fine with her, they had the reputation of not being very welcoming to others!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Abiquiu Lake Views
One of the things that we love about camping at the national recreation area in Abiquiu is the views.  Just taking a walk, during the day or at sunset, can be amazing!
Abiquiu Lake Sunset
One of our first nights here, we had this great sunset.  It had showered a bit during the afternoon, and that’s what gave the sky some clouds to add depth to the sunset.
Evening Rays
We don’t get to see sunsets with rays a lot beautiful colors, yes, but at home it’s more about the colors and less about the rays.  It’s nice to see the rays here!
Moon Rising
As we walked the loop at the campground, and turned away from the sunset, we saw the almost full moon rising.  The touches of sunset colors adds just the right touch!
Abiquiu Lake View
This spot is Miki’s swim spot, and the spot from which we launched our kayak.  What a great scenic spot for a pup swim!  (And a nice kayak ride)
Open View at Abiquiu Lake
Love the big skies here in New Mexico!  Actually, most places in the West and Southwest have wonderfully big skies……unless you’re in the city, I suppose.  But, clearly, that’s not where we were!
Tree Silhouette at Abiquiu Lake
I was trying to find something to sort of spice up a softer sunset sky when I noticed this great tree.  Its silhouette adds some nice detail and texture to the image.
Sunset at Abiquiu Lake
One final sunset from our trip.  This one had plenty of clouds for nice colors and details in the sky.  Can you see a bit of evening mist at the bottom of the mountains in the distance?  Nice touch by Nature.