A Watercolor Portrait Challenge, Monsoons and Sunsets in Southern Arizona!

Vail, AZ 

7 Sept, 2022

30 Days 30 Faces - in Watercolor.

30 days, 30 videos from accomplished artists showing their process and techniques for doing portraits in watercolor.  A LOT of work.  But, portraiture is really my favorite.  I'm trying to loosen up my painting, but, it's a real challenge for my relentlessly literal left brain!

Anyway, here a a few of my favorites from that month.

I like the looseness of this one!

I love doing older women (and men)

My favorite - a bit looser!


Monsoons bring even more spectacular sunsets

I love the drama of the monsoon thunderstorms - sudden billowing thunderclouds, massive thunder and lightening and then drenching, flooding downpours (for max 20 min) - so different than the day-after-day gray skies and gentle rains of Oregon.  While this year, I've had lots of gray days with on-and-off sprinkling as the big storms skirted my location, I did get a few big rains!

Around the house and across the driveway the water flows . . .

Normally dry wash across my street!

My side yard as the water continues over to the neighbors . . . 

Despite grates in the wall for drainage, the back yard often floods for a couple hours.

And then there are the sunsets!!

Simply stunning!!

WOW! This summer has just flown by!!

 Vail, AZ

5 Sept, 2022

So much time has passed!

One problem with on-line art challenges is that they are very time and energy consuming - I think I overdid it this spring by doing 3 and trying to video and IG about them all.  So - what followed was a long period of extreme laziness.  To be fair, I had to deal with a higher number of household challenges as well.

Anyway, here's a whirlwind  update on my summer!

Sketchbook Revival

I love this annual intense workshop as a way to energize my sketchbook practice.  30 videos from other artists demonstrating lots of techniques, ideas, and projects in a very compressed 2 week timeframe really forces me to let go and dive into new things. 

Here are just a couple of  my sketchbook pages from that workshop (I filled an entire sketchbook in that 2 weeks!).  I like these because I so rarely do collage.

Followed by a quick visit Sedona - a lovely place to visit!!

I met up with a friend from Portland OR who was in Sedona with other friends at a time-share vacation place.  So fun to visit with friends after so much pandemic isolation - it's been hard to meet people in my new home town!

Time to make progress on Home Projects!!

This spring my priority was to find a landscape service to handle the summer weeds!  When I got home from my month-long trip to the PNW last year, the weeds were thigh high - and, at 70 yrs old, getting rid of those weeds just about did me in!  This project took awhile as everyone is pretty booked up with all the construction happening in Tucson.

While I was at it, I hired an arborist to trim up my previously butchered mesquites and get rid of all the mistletoe (the HOA was complaining about the mistletoe).  The guys did a great job and only left one little patch of mistletoe because of an active bird nest (thanks for sparing the birds, guys!).

Plus, Phoebe got a rug to play on!  Phoebe is still young enough at 6 to get 'the zoomies'.  She has had to limit this activity to the outdoors because she gets no traction at all on my tile floors.  So, this year I got her a rug of her very own.  Perfect for running around and destroying her 'stuffies'.

Then the house AC went out!

I wasn't particularly surprised since I had the original unit and it was almost 25 years old!  Even though I knew it was going to be expensive to replace, I was astonished at the cost!!  But, I was very pleased with the company who did the work and I'm already seeing the benefits in my monthly electric bill.  I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I got an emergency service/fix to keep me cool until a new unit could be installed (also VERY quickly - I had thought with all the news about 'supply chain issues' that replacement might be a problem).  In Southern Arizona, in the hottest month of the year, service providers take air conditioning problems very seriously - and I'm glad for that.

Then, I got Covid!

Fortunately, I am vaxxed and boosted - so, I didn't get very sick.  I did however, get some of the really weird, uncommon symptoms - like extremely itchy hives all over my body.  No pictures because, trust me, once you see those, you can't unsee them.

I did sneak in a weekend away in the mountains, and a couple day trips

When the heat gets really extreme, It's time to go camping in the mountains!  Show Low is higher and cooler and just lovely.

Fools Hollow Lake and Campground - a lovely place to cool off and relax

And, on a day hike in Madera Canyon, near my home, my first ever Coatamundi!!

Whewww!  Another post will have to finish off my summer . . .