Here we have the layers of cloud and rain as seen from Petit Jean Mountain in the state park of the same name in Arkansas. It was late spring and we just watched as the weather slowly rolled south.
When you look at the long view in the Big Bend area, you are confronted by many layers. Whether geologic or historic, there are many layers to the area.
The elements, Earth, Air, Fire, Water, are on display in Yellowstone National Park. But not quite in the obvious way.
The fire is the huge magma chamber underneath the caldera which superheats the water into highly pressured steam which erupts with great violence in the geysers. The breeze blows with the smell of sulfur and pushes the steam around until it dissipates.
I give you Old Faithful.
Art Camp 2017
I woke up at the usual work time, 5:30 and got on the road by 7. I was planning on spending the night in Amarillo but when I got there it was lunchtime and I couldn’t see spending half a day just sitting in a hotel so I decided to drive on to Tucumcari and spend the night in one of the cool old hotels and breakfast in a diner we ate in before. Got there and it was only 2. That’s still too early to stop. So I thought to drive on to Santa Rosa. Getting gas, I checked how long to Manzano, it was only going to be two more hours. Why stop now? So I made the whole drive in one day. I arrived at camp at a little after 5, lost an hour due to changing time zones, so that makes it an 11 hour trip.
I had been texting Susie Monday, the person who runs the art camp, and she said it was ok for me to arrive a day early and as it happened, I got to the front gate at the same time they did. Several people had already made it there and hugs went all around. I got my little blue cabin again and got settled in. We had build your own tacos for dinner and watched hummingbirds fighting over the feeders. The bird identification debates have begun.
I got to bed and slept ok until the nearly full moon shone in the window like a spotlight right on my head. I had to get up and cover the window. I will have to switch sides and sleep in the other bed.
Today was an open day with nothing scheduled because it’s the day everyone is supposed to get here. I got to rest and take it easy, had a nice nap in the afternoon. Susie made a trip into Mountainair for groceries and I was one of the people who went along. We did a little shopping and I found a couple of fun things to buy.
The last two campers got here right before dinner, and after dinner we had camp orientation and the history of the camp itself. The nearly full moon was almost round and very bright.
The workshops got started today, Junanne did a very comprehensive overview of the printing techniques she is doing here and then Dale did a basics talk on what we’re doing for metalwork. Then lunch and get started making art. Dale was first so we got our ideas going and banging done (you do a lot of hammering on metal to punch holes for the design and smooth out edges). When Dale’s time was up, we had to stop banging for Junanne’s printmaking.
The well pump started having problems and couldn’t keep up with demand today.
After dinner, a few of us drove down the road a little bit to the place a house burned in one of the local forest fires, to look for bits of melted glass, or rusted metal or flat stones to use in our mosaics the next day. The nearly full moon rising over the flatlands was beautiful near sunset.
After a semi-restless night, I woke up about 4:30. By 5, it was starting to get light so I got up. The water tank had a chance to fill up overnight and I was the first person in the shower and it was a very nice shower. Hot and cold and plenty of pressure.
After breakfast and workshops, we went into Mountainair for a mosaic workshop with a local artist. We spent 3 hours picking out pieces and putting together a mosaic. They are fairly large, mine is about 18″ square. That’s a lot of real estate to cover with pieces of glass and ceramic. I ended up using mostly glass with a ceramic dragonfly in the center. There’s also a tiny bottle in it so I can put a little bouquet of dried flowers.
While that was going on, Erik drove into Albuquerque to get a new pump for the well. In working on the well, a piece of wall fell and broke a pvc pipe and that ended the water. Erik, Dale and a local plumber/handyman went through a box of parts and found a fitting that will fix things, saving Erik another trip into Albuquerque. Hopefully there will be enough water for showers by morning. Dale saved the day!
The moon is totally full tonight. We’re blaming the water pump problems on that. It’s the Full Buck Moon which is when the buck deer have antlers in velvet, growing.
I slept all night and woke up about 6. For breakfast this morning we had salmon and bagels and fresh fruit. And of course, plenty of coffee.
Because of the threat of rain, the visit to the top of Capilla Peak was changed to lunch today so we load up and start driving at 9. We get up there and do our morning movement/stretches at the pavilion at the top, then do a nature wander up and across and down and see flowers and grasses and butterflies. A few people actually make it to the top of the fire watchtower to talk to the woman who stays there. Looking to the west, you can see the Rio Grande riparian corridor. Then lunch, then head back for workshops.
It rained about dinnertime and things cooled off nicely. Pasta dinner then open studio and I did a little drypoint of a cactus leaf and helped with a couple of things and got my mirror frame finished.
As I walked back to my cabin, I looked up and the moon was between clouds and the clouds looked like silk gauze or batting draped across, all smudgy and silver gray. Breathtaking.
Silver bright moon rises
Through smudgy swathes
Of black silk clouds,
Lead bright sky between them.
Wind sighs through the pines
Carrying the fragrance
of pine and sage.
Hours later, the moon finds me again,
Awake and alone.
Today is the last full day and all projects have to be completed today. I finished one last night but don’t have time to complete another one so today has been a kind of piddle day for me. Other people have finished things and have produced some fabulous pieces.
We had a nice rain in the middle of the afternoon which cooled things down for a little bit.
Before dinner, Junanne and Dale and Carissa had things for sale in the main house. Dinner, then we had a talk on the back patio on herbal medicine by Katherine White who is an herbalist and curandera. Then the last open studio night.
Junanne was packing things up in the barn and Dale was getting a massage so Junanne and I were trying to be very quiet. That’s hard for us to do. She was cracking wise in a whisper and I was trying to laugh silently. Every so often, I had to go outside and let it out. Then about the time Dale’s massage was over, a big June bug flew in. Junanne was using a piece of white cardboard to try to knock it back out the big door. With no success. Then I started hitting it back with my hand. By that time hysteria had taken hold and everybody was laughing. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. It felt good.
This morning, all gets packed up and loaded to leave. Linens in the washer, goodby hugs exchanged, flight times planned.
The plan was for me to go with Susie into Mountainair to get the mosaics so I could take home the other two from Fort Worth people who are flying home and can’t take them on the plane. Then leave and drive to Amarillo and spend the night. Well… track of time was lost and things took longer than anticipated. By the time I could have gotten away, I would have arrived in Amarillo late, so Susie twisted my arm and I am staying another day. Tonight I get to sleep in the house and help eat leftovers. Things are quiet now and I got some rest this afternoon.
Down to just a small crew this evening, Linda cooked asparagus on the grill and we had that and various bits of leftovers blended together and it was all quite good. We ate on the side porch and one of the deer, a buck with antlers in velvet walked by and the coyotes gave us a brief serenade.
I loved this week and all the creative energy and women working on things together but it was exhausting. It was so nice to just sit and be alone on the porch. After dinner, we watched an old movie with Goldie Hawn and Steve Martin and laughed all the way through. Then bedtime and I got to sleep in a real bed, and that was also fabulous. (The cabins have a wooden platform that folds down and has a cushion on it but it’s not very wide.)
I slept very well and woke up about 4:30 which wasn’t so bad, it let me think about things I’d done and people I had been with for the week and then the birds started waking up and the sun started coming up and I heard someone else moving in the house and I got up. Linda was making coffee and we ate yogurt and leftover fruit salad and had more coffee then the others went down to the barn to work on cleanup. I gathered my stuff and after goodbyes, headed out.
I decided to stay off the interstate for a while and took the back roads which was more interesting and way less traffic. I saw two pronghorns standing by the side of the road. Years ago I would have seen several herds of a dozen or more but no longer. Made it to Amarillo by 3:30 and stopped for the night.
Woke up at 7:15 and on the road by 7:45. Made it home by 1.
I still have my mosaic to grout but Brian says there is some kind of grout you can get in a tube and squeeze it in so we will have to investigate that. I think I will use gray. Or I will just use some grout leftover from doing the kitchen floor.
All in all, it was a good trip, I met some new people, renewed friendships from last year and got to know some people better. I got invitations to come visit people and places, and start thinking about next year
I think I’ve posted this one before but it’s too perfect for the challenge not to post again.
Moon bridge at Bellingrath Gardens