Saturday, July 30, 2011

How to Have Fun in Salida with a Gaggle of Kids - Salida Criterium

Day Two in Salida was a lot of fun. The kids did not race until the early evening and so we had the whole day to hang out. The older kids spent part of the morning riding the Road course for Sunday. Skylar and I did a bit of window shopping. We went to the bead store, the fiber store and fun clothing store. Skylar checked out the toy store while I added art to the sidewalk chalk gallery. We met up with the older kids, grabbed lunch and watched the pro race. It is always an interesting race.

Davis raced first and was doing great. He was hanging with the top 3-4 guys in his age catagory until he had a michanical and had to drop out of the race. He was pretty bummed, but dealt with it well. While the girls raced he had to walk his bike to the bike store and get help. The folks with the guys at Absolute Bike took care of him, jsut as I knew they would.

Ellie and Skylar raced next. Ellie had a great race. She was out in the front and wond her race. Behind her a boy crashed in the first turn, just about 200 yards from the start. That freaked Skylar out and made her a bit more cautious for the remaining laps. She came in fourth.

After the races the fun really got going. We picked up some stuff from the grocery store and joined a bunch of other families with junior racers for a BBQ in the park near the river. Some of the kids played in the river and climbed the tree. After grilling dinner we made s'mores and then headed to the hotel for more fun in the swimming pool. There were games of Chicken, a variation on football. We made a ton of noise. The kids were having so much fun! Skylar said that it was the funnest night.

We closed up the party at a little after ten. We retired to the room for a few more card games and silly company. I rounded them up and put them together so that they could actually get some rest before Sunday.

Racing in Salida - The Time Trial Race

The Salida Omnium is our favorite set of races for the entire Road season. This year it is the Salida Classic and it is also part of the Rocky Mountain State Games. The place we usually stay in was not available this weekend so we were going to camp. However, two kids on our team wanted to race this weekend, but their parents were not available to go, so we worked out a great deal. I take all of the kids to the races and Barb rented a big room for all of us to share. Ellie was very happy with the deal.

We left the house at around 7:15 am.m to make sure that we had plenty of time should there be any sort of delays. The idea was that the kids would sleep part of the way, but they were little chatter boxes and played games instead. Davis and Skylar are siblings as well as great kids.

Once we arrived in town we drove all of the three courses so that the kids could see where they would be going. Ellie loves the TT course. When we were driving it we saw several sets of deer with their fawns. One little fawn was just a few feet from the car window. It was a treat to see them. We checked in early, enjoyed each other's company, put the TT bars on Ellie's bike, etc. I also watched the weather closely. Last year it was very cold and rainy during this race. This year we were lucky and mostly dry.

Davis was keyed up to do well as he is very close to winning the Best All Around Rider (BAR) award. Ultimely, he placed fourth, which made him unhappy. His main competitor won the race. He is now setting his sights on the Road Race on Sunday.

Skylar ran a great race. She is new to racing and had a good time, coming in third. That means she will earn one of the beautiful medals that the Rocky Mountain State Games folks award.Her competition is much more stiff during the next two days of racing.

Ellie was awesome, coming in ahead of the second place rider by more than a minute and a half.

This is Davis and Skylar being silly. Aren't they cute?

After the race I took the kids down to see the river. We also had a really lovely dinner at 216 Ferraro's where they made the pasta by hand. It was a bit of a splurge, but well worth it. I had the best Caesar salad that I have ever tasted. That was served with ciabatta bread and butter. My main dish was Eggplant Parmesan. Carbs are good the night before a race and this hit the spot. Davis was in the mood for Fettuccini Alfredo and the girls simply wanted noodles. I will have to go there again.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Color Abounds and a Frittata Recipe

[Photos coming soon]

It began when I didn't feel like paying quilting store prices for white fabric (about $8-$9 per yard) that I wanted to dye. I found that I could get great, soft and oh so pre-washed white fabric by purchasing pillow cases, the ones made of 100% cotton, at the thrift store for $.99. That started a trend. Since then I have been back at least three times this summer. I seem to always have cloth in the dye bucket ready to go. Even as I write this there is a full size flat sheet that I imagine will become a quilt backing at some point.

And so I have had some thrifty fun of late as I dye fabric. The first batch consisted of mostly colors blending into each other. Ellie, Christy and Connie did a bunch of clothing as well. The next round was mostly dyeing solids for a quilt I am working on. This week it was some solids, some blends in specific combinations I need for the quilt and two sets of gradations. One goes from Bright Orange to Fushia. The other is a blend of blues to purples as I had to mix in more than the usual two colors. Even though I have done enough dyeing that I know what to expect, it still feels a little bit like magic to take a tired, plain white pillow case and turn it into a vibrant cloth full of possibility. Washing out the pieces that have multiple colors is always a little like opening a present since you never know for sure how it will come out.

In between bouts of dyeing fabric, I took the time to whip up a frittata that was inspired by the one that Mike made for us last week. I am offering her recipe as she made it and my own changes. Mike says that the beauty of the recipe is that you can really just use what ever you happen to have around. I found that was very true.

Today Ellie and I are prepping for a small road trip. We will travel down to Salida for a set of three races. They are her favorite races of the year. We usually stay in the house our friends own and make it into a small family vacation. However, this year the boys are staying home. We will take Davis and Skylar, two siblings from our team, down to Salida with us so that they can race, too. We will stay in a hotel with them. I like staying in the house because it is flexible and I can cook our meals. However, the hotel will be fun, too. It has free breakfast, a swimming pool, a hot tub, air conditioning and cable t.v. That will be nice, but we will miss Larr and Ethan. Davis and Skylar will go home with their dad and Ellie and I will head out to Snowmass so that Ellie can go to art camp at Anderson Ranch. I am super excited for her to have this opportunity. I am certain she will have a blast. I will spend some of the time exploring the mountains and working on my photography. I will also see if there are volunteer items that I could do to help out the folks at the ranch.

Mike's Flexible Frittata
via Mike Rathbun

12 eggs, large
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 cup Cream
1 1/2 tea. Dry Mustard
2 TBL. Oregano (fresh is best, but dried will do)
Salt and Pepper - just a bit
4 Potatoes, large Russets *
2 TBL. Butter or Olive Oil
1 tea. Italian Seasoning
1 c. Spinach (clean and stems removed)*
3-4 Roma Tomatoes, large, sliced *
1 1/2 c. Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded

* Note: I did not have these items so I substituted 3/4 # Italian Sausage, cooked, 1 c. Zucchini, shredded and Grape Tomatoes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil your pan well. Mike used a lovely Calphalon Dutch Oven pan with high sides. This caused her frittata to dome. I had to use a 9" x 13" pan. It worked, but the frittata was much more dense.

Begin by prepping the potatoes if you are using them. This involves scrubbing them and then microwaving each one on high for 5 minutes. Once cooled, slice them. Saute' them until they are brown in a small bit of olive oil or butter with a bit of Italian seasoning as well as salt and pepper.

In a bowl mix the eggs, milk, cream, dry mustard, salt, pepper and oregano. Fluff it up using a whisk to incorporate some air.

Gently pour in about half of the egg mixture into the pan. Next, layer the potatoes (or sausage), followed by spinach (or zucchini) and then the tomatoes. Sprinkle about half of the cheese on top of this. Next, whip up the remaining egg mixture and gently pour it over the ingredients in the pan. Top with remaining cheese. Bake for 45 minutes - 1 hour, or until it is done. let it sit for a few minutes before serving. Mike likes to offer creme' fresh or sour cream on the side. The frittata reheats nicely.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mount Evans Hill Climb Colorado State Championship - What a Difference a Year Makes

Oh, what a difference a year makes.

For many years, or perhaps for all of the years that Ellie has been racing, her coaches say she is a real hill climber. When she was much younger, it was much easier for her. She assumes it was because she weighed so little. When she was 12, it changed because she had changed. It was much harder, but she still did well. By 13, the year when I think she was suffering burn-out, she hated it. Ellie raced because it was a team required race. In the past I made sure that we went to the practice rides up the mountain. This year she did not want to do that and I did not make her.

Driving up the day of the race I think she was feeling some dread, looking forward to having it over. After all, it was a required race again this year. I was working the race so we had to show up three hours before her race. It was 6:00 a.m. when we arrived at the base of the mountain. She hung out, waited a little, chatted with other junior racers, and then raced. I was driving the sag (a van that follows behind the riders to pick up anyone who is not going to finish the race, or who has mechanical issues) so I could not be on the starting line to cheer her on. I love seeing my strong, beautiful girl in the line to start. I love a chance to cheer her on. I am not sure if she notices it or not. She is in "the zone." Due to driving sag, I also did not get to see her finish. I was behind a young girl who was inching her way up the mountain when I saw Ellie whiz by on her way down the mountain. That took me by surprise for several reasons: 1. In the past she has not wanted to ride down the mountain because it eats up the break pads, 2. It is easy to get out of control when riding down hill on a steep hill for 11.5 miles, 3. She was smiling. Smiling? I wondered about that the most. Was she happy because she had the hill climb behind her until this time next year, was it because she had done well? Later, while driving home, I asked her about it. She was smiling because this year it was a pretty fun race, she said. Hum, imagine that - she was smiling because she was having fun. I had not even considered that possibility.

After the race was over and I had completed my duties, we went to the after race party to wait for podium and chat with friends. I also took the opportunity to pet a few dogs. Ellie was happy with third place. Marta, who won, is second in the nation and Jenny, who was second, is a great hill climber.

During the drive home I looked at my contented girl and asked her about the race, as is my habit. She said that it was pretty fun and much better than last year. Again, I was surprised. I told her that her coach still thinks of her as a good hill climber and that the main difference this year was her attitude. We had a good discussion about how much impact your attitude has towards how you will perform. It was a great way to end that event.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ethan and Harry - The End of a Journey, and the Start of a New One

In the beginning, many years ago, he and I sat side by side on the grey couch that once belonged to my brother-in-law, Rex. I would read. He would listen. Sometimes, during the tense sections of the story, he would wind my long hair around his index finger and play with it. Each day he would excitedly reach for the book in preparation of our next session of reading together.

As he and Harry aged, we would listen to the books during road trips to Grand Junction to see the Foster Family, or to Moab, Ethan's favorite place. Jim Dale's voice became like that of a welcomed friend. Listening to him read was wonderful. (Even now when I listen to other audio books he has recorded, such as "A Christmas Carol" or his part as a narrator for "Pushing Daisies", I can only really hear the characters from the Harry Potter books.)

The movies, first on VHS and later on DVD, were often given as gifts. We are considering re-watching all of the movies in order during the winter break.

As Harry grew, matured and became a young man, so did my son. They have both moved into the times of their lives where they do not need the support that they once required. My role has changed to one of sideline support. So even though I enjoyed "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,Part 2", I found myself weeping through parts of it. My son patted my arm and tried to hush me, telling me, "It's only a movie, Mom." Little did he know that my tears were more about the end of that element of our life than what was actually happening on the screen. I'm proud of the young man he is shaping into. His life is becoming ever more independent, as it should. Thus, our days of reading or listening to the books together may have come to a close. It is my hope that we will find other books to enjoy together. Some of my friends who have young sons have been successful in carrying that tradition over into adulthood. For now our tastes in literature are very different and our paths take us in different directions. But I trust that they will find a way to come together and enjoy each other's company while sharing a book again.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Photo Shoot Practice with Ellie, Laurel and Rhys

I'd like to get a bit better at taking photos so I took an opportunity to do a practice photo shoot on Tuesday when we went to Monument to spend the day with Laurel and Mike. It was a lot of fun.

Rhys, who does not like having his photo taken, was a good sport, too.

Some of our shots were serious, others were silly.

I am taking the Advanced Photo Editing online class over at and so I thought it would be nice to have some fresh images to work with.

The classes are great. These photos are not yet touched up.

Wednesday's theme was getting stuff repaired, or at least trying to. I had my van in the shop and was waiting for the Qwest guy to show up and fix our internet. He was a no-show. After a few hours on the phone, I got a great guy to show up on Thursday. Five hours later he got us back online. During our week long stint without the internet I was trucking down to Starbuck each morning to use their Wifi. I am so happy to be back online.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hot. HOt, HOT

The rains from last week seem to have headed elsewhere and now we are back to the usual hot summer days. Now, this is no hot summer like you can find in the South, but it is hot enough for me, especially since we have no air conditioning.

I endeavor to do all of the outside work during the cool of the early morning hours. Our internet has been down for a few days so I am finding myself at Starbuck instead of in the garden. I am afraid that between everything the garden is not as well tended as last summer. Perhaps I will get a surge of gardening fever later in the week.

Ellie's friend Laurel came up from Monument to spend the day with us. The girls went to spend the entire day and most of the evening at Elitch Gardens amusement park. Her mother,Mike, and I went to tea at The House of Windsor. We've been friends for a number of years. Our boys biked together and so do our girls, though Laurel is doing more women's racing and so we see them less and less at the races. Mike and I never seem to run out of things to talk about. It is so nice to have a friend like her.

Monday, July 18, 2011

In Search of the Perfect Burger & Racing while Feeling Pukey

The Colorado State Road Race championship was on Saturday. It was a new course on new, smooth and lovely roads. But the course was tough. It had a mile long killer hill. Ellie woke feeling ill, like she was going to puke, but she still wanted to race.

It was also a hot race. The roads are new because the area is in the beginning stages of building a new neighborhood. That meant that there were no trees. That took its toll once the heat began to climb into the upper 90s.

I was proud of Ellie for her determination. Racing while you are sick has got to be pretty bad. I imagine she might have even wanted to stop, but she kept going and came in third place.

For a brief while there was an excellent burger place just across the lake near our house. My husband and son loved having dinner there and would pick it each time we would go out. It left as suddenly as it had appeared. That made my men unhappy. Thus, I started to look for the perfect burger recipe. Here's one I found online and altered to fit what I had in my kitchen. It made them happy and so they had grilled burgers for two meals in a row:

The Perfect Grilled Burger

1 slice of Bread, crusts removed, torn into small bits (it can be stale bread)
2 TBL. Milk
3/4 TBL. Salt
3/4 tea. Pepper, black ground
1 clove Garlic, minced finely
2 tea. Worchestershire Sauce (the original recipe called for steak sauce)
1 1/2 # Ground Beef, 80/20
1/4 cup Veg. Oil

Preheat the grill on high for 15 minutes.

Clean off the grill as it is heating up.

In a bowl mash up the bread, milk, salt and pepper until it is a mush. Garlic and Worchestershire sauce. Stir to mix. Put the meat in another bowl, pour the spiced mash on top of the meat and mix with your hands to incorporate the mixture into the meat.

Grab a ball of meat and form a patty about 4" across and 3/4" thick. Use your first two fingers to put a dent in the center of the meat so that the middle is about 1/2" thick. Do not press the meat too tightly. (I made 6 patties.)

Just before grilling, soak a paper towel with the veg. oil and use a pair of tongs to wipe it across the grate. Turn the heat down to medium. Place the burgers on the grill, close the lid and cook for 3-5 minutes, depending on how you like your burger cooked. Use a wide spatula to pick up each burger, apply another coat of veg. oil to the grate and flip the burger. Repeat with the remaining burgers. Cook for 2 minutes.

While the burgers are cooking you can toast the buns.

Serves 6 burgers

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Grilling Pizza in the Rain

We've had wild monsonal weather for the last week and a half. Bike practices has been cancelled, my back yard has been practically turned into a swamp and shallow pond. Some of it has been fun.

Here are a few photos to show how differently Ellie and I see things. I love her photos.

Ellie has an Olympus Stylus Tough camera that is both waterproof and drop proof. As a result, she can take when she plays in the rain. I applied the palette knife effect in Photoshop to this lovely image.

This one has the posterize effect applied.

Don't you love her pinkish cheetah spotted rain boots?

Here's my image. It is what I see when I sit at my computer. I love how the light filters through the grape leaves. Today I also enjoyed watching how the rain interacts with the leaves.

Tuesday was the worst storm yet. In the mid afternoon I had been seized with the desire to give grilled pizza a try. There are people all over the internet who love making them, so I wanted to give it a go. I wanted to make the crust recipe fro King Arthur, but found that my semolina flour was bad. I simply went with all purpose flour, upped the recipe to 4 cups of flour and forged on.

Just as I had assembled what I needed and was set up outside, it began to drizzle. The drizzle quickly turn to a deluge. Popping open my giant golf umbrella I began to attempt to protect the pizza dough shapes I had rolled out as one of them cooked on the grill. I watched the rain as it hit the hot grill. Watching me must have been funny. I had my head stuffed up high in the umbrella and I was leaning in such a way as to protect the food on the table. I contorted my shoulders to hold the umbrella in place when it came time to flip the pizza crust or remove it and place another one. (I had the oven heated up inside in the event that I had to ditch the grilling idea) In the end I grilled the dough outside and loaded it with topping, finishing them off in the oven. We used wee bits of spaghetti sauce, chunks of fresh mozzarella, Italian sausage and basil from our garden.The family enjoyed it. I liked it, but was not pleased with how watery some parts were. I am certain that it was so many fresh ingredients. I will have to figure out how to solve that.

Later that night I set up to dye fabric in the garage as the back yard grass was too wet. I am making a quilt from my hand dyed fabric and need more colors. Thunder boomed, Lightening cracked and I mixed colors. I was nearly finished when an especially loud crack took out our electricity. I finished the job wearing a head lamp. After a hasty clean up I trotted back inside, much to the relief of my son who was sure the lightening was going to reach into the garage and strike me.

This rainy weather has also meant reading time on the porch. I have finished reading Water for Elephants and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final book in the series.

I have not decided if I will see this movie. I am tempted, but I also know that there is no way to capture that book on film completely.

I will most definitely see this movie. The end of this series caps off a wonderful part of how I have spent time with my son. We sat riveted together while reading these books. It began when he was little and ends now just as he becomes a man, he and Harry together. It is something that defines his childhood.

I wonder what today will bring. More rain, I imagine.

Our Favorite Pizza Dough
via King Arthur Flour

1 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 cups semolina*
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Pizza Dough Flavor (optional, but delicious)
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup + 2 tablespoons to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
*Use 3 cups all-purpose flour OR 3 cups Perfect Pizza Blend in place of the all-purpose/semolina mixture, if desired


tomato sauce, cooked meats, vegetables, and cheeses of your choice


1) Dough: Beat the ingredients at high speed of your electric mixer, using the beater blade, for 2 minutes. Switch to the dough hook, and knead for 7 minutes; the dough should be smooth and quite soft. You can also make the dough in a bread machine set on the dough cycle. If kneading by hand, mix the ingredients, then let the dough rest, covered, for about 30 minutes; this will give the flour a chance to absorb the water, which will make kneading easier.

2) Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 45 minutes; then refrigerate it for 4 hours (or up to 36 hours); this step will develop the crust’s flavor. It'll continue to rise in the fridge, so make sure it's in a big enough bowl.

3) Divide the dough in half. Note: for thick, Sicilian-style pizza, leave the dough in one piece, and press it into a rimmed half-sheet pan (18" x 13").

4) Working with one piece of dough at a time, pick it up and let gravity gently stretch it into an oval. For a more circular shape, move your hands around the perimeter of the dough as it stretches. For thin-crust pizza, make a 12" round or oval. For thick-crust, make a 9" round.

5) Cover the dough, and let it rest while you heat your oven to 450°F. For thickest crust, let your pizza rest/rise for 60 minutes before baking.

6) Baking: After about 30 minutes, use a giant spatula or pizza peel to transfer the pizzas and parchment to your hot oven stone; or place the pizzas and parchment on a pan, and place the pan on the middle rack of your oven.

7) Bake for 6 minutes (for a thinner, larger crust), or for up to 8 minutes for a smaller/thicker crust. Remove from the oven.

8) To enjoy pizza right away, top it with your favorite toppings, return to an upper rack of the oven (not to the stone), and bake for an additional 8 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling bubbly.

9) To serve pizzas some other time, remove the parchment, cool the un-topped crusts, wrap them well in plastic wrap, and store at room temperature for 2 or 3 days. Refrigerate for up to 5 days; or freeze for up to 4 weeks.

10) When you’re ready to serve, remove the crusts from the refrigerator or freezer. While they warm to room temperature, heat your oven to 450°F; frozen crusts should be taken out of the freezer and thawed earlier in the day; leave them in the bag, but leave the bag open as they thaw. Top crusts with your favorite toppings and place them on a parchment-lined or greased baking sheet, then on an upper rack of the oven. Bake the pizzas for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling bubbly.

Yield: 1 large or 2 medium pizzas.

I also want to try this one from the Make It Naked blog:
Crust recipe from “How to Cook Everything”


For the crust:
1 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 chicken breast
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup BBQ sauce
Grated pepper jack cheese (1/2-1 cup, or to taste)
Cilantro, chopped
Crushed red pepper (to taste)


For the Crust:

Combine the yeast, pepper, flour and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt in the bowl of a food processor. Turn the machine on. Add 1 cup of water through the top opening. Process for about 30 seconds. Add the last 1/4 cup of water a little at a time until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead by hand for a few seconds to form a smooth, round dough ball. Grease a bowl, at least double the size of the dough, with olive oil and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to double in size (this should take 1-2 hours). You can cut it short if you need to. This is pretty fool proof, so just go with it.
While your dough is rising, cook the chicken. In a saute pan, add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the whole chicken breast. Allow the chicken breast to cook for about 15 minutes, then add the onions. When the chicken is cooked completely, slice into thin strips and set aside with the onions until your crust is ready for topping.
When the dough is ready, divide it into as many pieces as you’d like. I split mine in half. Place each piece on a floured surface and roll out into somewhat of a circle. Any shape will do if a circle just isn’t happening. Slide the dough onto an edgeless cookie sheet. Don’t have one? You do! Just flip a regular cookie sheet over.
Light the grill and let it heat up to its max temperature with the lid shut. When hot, pick up your dough with two hands and lay it on the grill. Trust me. Leave it alone and in about one minute it should start to bubble. Using tongs, move the crust around a little to keep it from burning. Flip it with the tongs when you feel like the first side is grilled enough for your liking (anywhere from 2-4 minutes). Do the same on the second side for about another 2 minutes. Slide it back onto the cookie sheet. Shut the grill but do not turn it off.
Come into the warmth of your home and add your toppings. I layer sauce, cheese, chicken and onions then sprinkle with herbs and spices. Slide it back on the grill and shut the lid cooking it just enough to melt the cheese (another minute or two). If your crust is already charred to your liking, you can turn off the grill at this point and just use the remaining heat (with lid down) to melt the cheese.
Let cool a little. It’s easier to cut once it cools. Enjoy with a nice, bold glass of red wine!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Anderson Ranch - New Friends

One of the main goals of the Anderson Ranch staff is to make sure that people have a chance to be part of a community of artists. That was one of the most wonderful aspects of the week for me.

Here are a few of my classmates and our instructor. David is in the middle. He does wonderful work and is an equally wonderful instructor who is really quite dedicated to meeting each person where they are and helping them to the next level. Ginny (the one in white) is an elementary teacher from California. She teaches kids in the Gifted and Talented program. Sheila, in the front, was working on a few series of images for a show she will have in Aspen in August. You can see some of her work that we pinned up on the wall. One series involved pin-up girls, another deals with images of her beloved antique dolls and the third series centers around images of woman with children juxtaposed with images of fertility and lack there of.

This is Sarah, our teaching assistant. If you need a personal assistant photographer, she is your girl. She is a recent college graduate who has is very helpful and knowledgeable, but never in the way or pushy. She also knows just when to offer a suggestion.

These are the girls I spent the most time with. Erin will defend her thesis this August. She is an art history instructor, soon to be professor from Virginia. Next to her is Jeanette who is from Denver. She is a hoot. My part in this group started when Justice, the one in the brown shirt, liked the way I asked questions at the guest artist lectures. She also lives in Virginia and makes wonderful art in her barn studio where she mixes and pours paint over large canvases. The good ones end up looking like images of planet surfaces taken by a satellite. She says that in some places the paint can be a half in thick. She pours the paint in a special manner and then has to let it do its thing. She goes back to check on it and says that it changes for up to a couple of days as some colors receded and other rise to the surface, mixing in their own ways. Bonnie is an art teacher from Alaska. If I were an art teacher, I would want to be like her.

I ate most of my meals with this group of women. We celebrated each others accomplishments, listened and commiserated over frustrations, and learned about each other. Although our styles of art are so very different from each other, the impact and sentiment is not. I am thankful to have met such a wonderful set of new friends. I am hopeful that I may get to see some of them again.

I opted to stay in the dorm in a room with two bunks. Luck smiled on me and I had two wonderful room mates. Olivia is an art student from Buffalo, NY who is a talented young lady, so full of promise and potential. Jayne hails from California where she is working on her Masters degree. She took the personal geography class. She has a wonderfully calm and thoughtful demeanor about her.

Sean comes from Seattle and most recently was a project manager for a video game company. He took the personal geography class, too. His knowledge of working with code meant that he was a very valuable member in that class. His project centered around celebrating the life of his father. He created a very cool online application where photographs and videos float by on the screen. If you want to view any of them closer you simply touch the screen and it will enlarge.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Anderson Ranch Campus Tour - Part 2

I've been remiss about showing you around another part of the campus. I intend to fix that today.

The Ranch Cafe

David is one of the head cooks for the Ranch Cafe'. His love of cooking and for The Ranch came through in what he offered us. Although I am not a vegetarian, I appreciated the fact that the vegetarian offerings were as wonderful as the regular main course. David is a former photographer from New Orleans. I heard that he got burnt out on photography and it would seem that he transferred his passions to the kitchen.

I spent every early morning and many cool, late evenings on the cafe porch.

The inside of the cafe is equally inviting.

The Lecture Hall

The Schermer building is next to the cafe and home to an ongoing series of lectures.

The Mixed Media Collage Class

Mark was kind enough to let me take a peak at the beautiful items he made during his two week collage class.

The Metal and Concrete Sculpture Class

These folks started out their session by mixing up nine different batches of concrete, each having some special variation. Some were light, but a bit delicate. Others looked more like aggregates with stuff mixed in. Those would be used decoratively, often sliced and polished. Others were very smooth. Some accepted a limited range of coloring. The people in the class then learned to weld and make wire armatures.

Richard and Justice confer about a design element on the porch outside of the sculpture building.

Justice takes her newly created sculpture outside so that she can begin to ready it for the next stage of artistry.

The Ceramics Buildings

This, the place of hand built clay items, feels like a set from a movie to me. There is whimsy and magic nearly every place you look.

The glazing room is next to that room. I love the way the color samples are displayed.

Across the way you can see the kiln room. It is full of large kilns. I had a wonderful photo of one, but it seems to have corrupted. I hope to reshoot the image when we are back at The Ranch in August.

Attached to the Kiln building is the classroom where my room mate, Olivia, was working with slip. She was making a series of very Art Deco inspired shapes that will become delicate bowls.

The Children's building is at the entrance of the campus. They were working hard to create an amazing float for the July 4th parade.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Cherry Creek Arts Festival 2011, Part 1

A little artistic inspiration from the artist showing at The Cherry Creek Arts Festival 2011.

The photograph of Micheal Paul Cole were wonderful and amazing. All of his work is completed in the dark room - no photoshop magic here.

And then there is the work of Raquel Edwards who combines her photograph with encaustics for a really subtle, lovely feel. This is a bird's nest that is made from horse hair. I love the soft quality of the work.

This is an example of the great graphics offered by Lissa Herschleb. Ellie really loved the black and white graphic quality of her work.

Larry Fielder creates very nice,often colorful items in wood. I enjoyed visiting with him.

Brian Beam creates pottery that has wonderful details and texture. For example, the edge of many of the pieces he had at the show were textured by running a gear around the lip of the item. I purchased a small bowl from him which I will feature in a future posting.

Cori Dantini "Willing Participant". I love her work. I got a chance to chat with her last year and was happy to see her again this year.

I've never encountered the unusual and wonderful work of Deanne Nixon. Her pieces are filled with tiny folded paper flowers. The photos don't do it justice. If she exhibits in your area, you should make sure to see it.