Friday, April 30, 2010

Poas Volcano in Costa Rica

This isn't just any Squirrel, it's a Poas Squirrel!

We started our drive in the town of Alajuela near San Jose. We basically got lost. But we made the smart decision to follow a tour bus. That tactic has saved us before in our Costa Rica travels. And it worked this time as well. Poas is the main tourist destination in the Alajuela area. So up we went and look at the beautiful scenery. We passed several farmer's markets selling strawberries. Strawberries in And beautiful fields planted with coffee.

Poas is at an elevation around 8,000 feet.

We never got a good look at the crater. And because of the above sign decided not to jump in. Whew!

A lake formed in the minor Botos crater.

This was our best view. The camera's were snapping away. And people were cheering. But it never really cleared. Darn! The crater is filled with a sulfurous and bubbling pool. Another good reason not to jump in. Be sure to visit color carnival this week for lots of photos

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Fiction Project: An unedited first installment...

A new Sun smiled down on Alajuela, Costa Rica. The first rays of light illuminated the trees and awakened a rainbow of sleeping birds. Soon a wild symphony swirled through the moist air.

"Good morning," peeped the yellow bird. "I'm hungry!" wailed the black bird.

A brown feathered Squirrel Cuckoo flew over the top of a Gold tree. One of the tree's branches bounced softly as the cuckoo landed in a patchwork of yellow flowers. Slowly a golden petal drifted to the ground.

It landed in the path of a leaf cutter ant. "Just another day in paradise," grumbled the ant.

This is the unedited, first chapter of my own personal Fiction Project. The first of 7 short and sweet stories about animals that fly or crawl, "Over the top" in Costa Rica. Over the top is my assigned theme. By the end of May the stories will be part of my Art House Co-Op journal.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Spring Art Tour

This photograph holds the reason why I don't paint many flowers. You can't improve on the real thing! Don't tell anyone. But I like my camera better than my paintbrush. Shhhhh...

The turtle fountain.

Every Spring I try to catch the tulips and crab apple trees at their peak. I'm so lucky to live just a few blocks away from the Rose Gardens at Lake Harriet.

This is an art blog. So here is a humble example.

I could set up an easel and try to paint this scene. But a photograph is better. So why bother.

O.K., yes I painted this.

What a beautiful day.

This one is kind of neon. That's cool I guess.

The Rose Garden has two dramatic fountains.

These trees are peaking as I write this. All the above photos were taken on a glorious day last Spring.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lots and Lots of Lava!

Can you believe there's a road beneath this lava?

Here it is. And after hiking around 6 miles over this hot and rolling moonscape, they definitely don't need a speed limit sign!

I took many closeup shots of the exotically textured new land. The photo on the right looks like Alligator skin.

Is it too hot for a close up? Only if your camera melts!

My husband and I have had many fun hikes and vacation adventures in our travels. But I think this lava hike still rates at the top. Have you guessed where we are? No, we didn't go to Iceland last week. It's the Big Island of Hawaii. We had to hike around 6 miles round trip to get to the hot stuff. And the endless fields of rocky lava land made for one grueling expedition. A man hiking ahead of us had a big stick protruding from his back pack. And when he got to the flow he stuck it in to see it burn. We wondered what the heck he had that for. One guy was carrying action figure dolls. They turned out to be his version of the traveling garden gnome. He posed them in his lava photos.

But the best part of our adventure was our planned night hike back to the car. Thankgoodness we had our flashlights. That's when you could see the path of the lava spewing from the crater in the distance. WOW! And the best part is we survived!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Everything you never wanted to know about my studio!

Look at my desk. Do I look busy or what?

Here is my official "objects of beauty" area. Unfortunately it's plum full. Where will I put my next wooden bowl or plastic palm frond? Dilemma...

My husband bought this Boruca Indian mask in Costa Rica this year. The artist who made it is named Jose Gonzalez L. L is for LOVE this mask!

I bought this little wooden Coati this year too. They look similar to Raccoons.

I've never named my pet Flamingos.

My friend Amy Vasterling gave me this pencil sharpener. Naughty!

There's my 2nd self portrait,"Princess and the Me" Instead of Pea. I crack myself up.

That's me and the hubby's feet on the Big Island. And there's a turtle hanging out next to us. And NO that's not real black sand. I don't want anything to do with the bad luck curse. I bought the fake sand at pottery barn.

Look, I'm working so hard that even my computer area is a mess! Except for right now since I'm blogging.

Here's a 2nd look at where all the magic happens. That's my self portrait, "Mermaid Me" above my desk. And do you see my row of photos up by the ceiling? I know what you're thinking. You're thinking maybe I just stare at those instead of work. Actually what I do is set up a blog post! Like right now...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Milky at Margarita de la Garita

Whenever we travel we always make new friends. But they always seem to be the feline varity. In fact, we even named our cat Akua after the original Akua Nani. A cat we met and loved at Inn Paradise on the Garden Isle of Kauai. I did a blog post on her awhile back. At Margarita de la Garita we met Milky. I know that was her name because the owner's daughter came up to her (while she was licking cheetos off my hands) kissed her on the head and said,"I love you Milky" Cute! The hotel is tropically decorated and each room has a different color scheme. We stayed in the yellow room and the green. The beautiful turquiose green was definately my favorite. And Milky wasn't shy about sneaking into every color at all times of the day. We saw her paw hook her way into another guest room while they were reading inside. We weren't snooping honest! Besides Milky there are several other cats and around 8 dogs on the property. But all the pets certainly don't scare off the tropical birds. We saw a Squirrel Cuckoo and a Beautiful Motmot while we were there. But of course Milky was still my favorite new friend. To see more cats visit

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My Cats on Tuesday

There were so many directions I could have gone with my connection to my last post. But I decided to do a Cats on Tuesdays with I mean a cat lover can never have too many cat posts, right? The windows are finally open after a long Winter. And when I left the house the other day, I looked up and two faces were staring down at me. And I thought I could sneak off without them knowing. Not! Of course when I went to get the camera I couldn't get them to look back down at me again. But the top shot is pretty cute anyway. And has this scenario ever happened to you? You carefully pack for a big hiking trip. You think you have everything you need. But hours into a major trek, you realize you forgot your cat. Darn! DJan, I bet this happens to you all the time. Well, we were prepared in the last 2 photos. Dean is always teasing me that he's going to release my precious Akua in the woods. And Akua just might end up somewhere someday. He's never met a purse, backpack, duffel bag, drawer, garbage can, basket, shelf, sink, nook, cranny or box that wasn't worth crawling into.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Night in the Barn

I just finished, "A Night in the Barn" I can honestly say it was the hardest painting I've ever done. I put off starting it until the deadline of my upcoming show, Imagination, Exploration and Creativity loomed before me. It opens next Thursday night at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. It was the lighting that proved so difficult in this particular piece. And don't even get me started on that Owl. But I can happily report that I love it now. (click once or twice to enlarge) My favorite part is the Moon, which I actually painted separately. I cut out the window and will mount the Moon about 1/4 of an inch behind the painting. It creates a window you can see through. And it takes real bravado to cut through a painting. Let me tell you! I'm in the framing process right now. The MCBA show runs from April 8- June 20. And it's a CBIG show. So there will be plenty of great artwork to see.