Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Moving towards retirement without a pension, but with a plan...

Since Michael Chesley Johnson and I will only get minimal social security and have no other "pensions", I have been working a plan to have some type of income coming in for our "remaining years" which in both our cases due to family genetics is likely to be well into our 90's.

I have been working the plan which is to move to a CHEAP fully paid for house in a beautiful place(done) and sell all other real estate investments with long term owner financing.  I am happy to say that we have one house sale to go and one piece of land remaining and I am working diligently on finding the right buyer for those as well!  This will take the pressure off Michael to make a full-time living as an artist and allow us to do some budget travel!  We hope a used truck camper is in our future...

In the meantime, Michael teaches weekly and I maintain houses and deal with the minutiae of daily life among the self-employed!  Michael is still writing articles and doing a lot of painting, but his focus lately has been more to challenge himself rather than to make a painting to sell and I love the results.  I even commissioned him to paint something which had personal meaning and he did a great job!

We have closed both galleries to concentrate more on online sales and reduce the time just hanging out in case someone came by to be more productive.  We are open by appointment wherever we are at the moment.   Follow Michael's blog to know where we are...  Plein Air Painterman's Blog.

Fog and Green
Since May it seems that we have had lots of fog and rain and also lots of green growth!

Fog and Boat


Once we get a few miles under our feet in recreational travel, we will get a new herding rescue dog probably in Fall 2018 when we are back in New Mexico.  We miss Saba every day.



Friday, June 2, 2017

Fog and Rhodora Blooms on Campobello Island

The daffodils and tulips and forsythia have passed and now we have copious apple blossoms, horse chestnut candles, and rhodora blooming.  Next up will be lilacs and finally lupines in mid June to complete our Spring bloom here on the Island.  The Eagle Hill Bog is abounding in beautiful blooms right now just calling for photographs made into kaleidoscopes.


Rhodora Colors


Bird in Spruce


Cotton Grass Splendor


Spruce in Fog


Moss and Sticks



Life will be very busy for a few more months with gardening as a diversion.  

We hope to slow down when we get settled in a new location this Fall.  The new location is near an old location for us which we are excited about returning to after 15 plus years.  Hint is the state's name has Mexico in it, but it is one of the 50!  We left a different area of the state around 11 years ago and although we cannot afford to be near the "city different" which is an art capital of the US as well as a governmental capital, we will be in a beautiful area with lots of native americans living nearby.  I expect to be grocery shopping in a native american pueblo as that will be the closest grocery store by many miles.  Multiculturalism at its finest is found in this state and tolerance is part of the culture.



Sunday, March 19, 2017

Show at Sedona Arts Center

To end our season here in Sedona, we are part of a show which we are hanging on March 22nd, 2017.  It will run through April 4th in the Special Exhibition Gallery at the Sedona Arts Center.  This is the Gallery in the original Apple Barn Building below Main Street where the Pottery Workshop, Larger Classroom and Arts Center Administrative Offices are located.  Open Daily 10-5.  We will be there for 4 shifts and the other artist will also be manning the Gallery for 3-4 shifts during the period.  It is called the Spring Celebration of the Renegade Artists at the Sedona Arts Center.  I am sharing a wall with Michael Chesley Johnson and I picked out the 9 pieces I will showing today.  Prices $100-200 so an affordable gift for yourself or others.  These are metal prints or framed prints on paper.

My largest one is called "Monumental Valley", 24" by 24" with 9 kaleidoscopes on a hand painted board.   It is based on a recent trip with the Sedona Camera Club to Monument Valley on the Arizona/Utah state line.


Come and Visit Us at the Show

To celebrate the first official day of Spring tomorrow, here are some recent photos taken of my lilac bush in Arizona.  I get a kick out of the fact that 2 months from now, the lilacs will be blooming in Downeast Maine and the Canadian Maritimes so we get to enjoy two Springs!


We are heading to Zion National Park in mid April to lead a painting retreat and then will begin the trek east to Lubec, Maine and Campobello Island, New Brunswick.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The New Year and my Kickstarter Campaign

If you have been enjoying my kaleidoscopes for a while, please consider supporting my kickstarter campaign.  It is only until the end of January and is part of the larger Make 100 Program.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1622641529/make-100-kaleidoscopes-from-nature?

 Artists need patrons and patrons need the artists to create art...

I will be creating lots of new kaleidoscopic images for this project.  Stay tuned.  If you are not familiar with kickstarter, it is an all or nothing crowd funding campaign.  In other words, if I do not meet my $500 minimum funding level, the project does not get funded so help me achieve my goal please!


Roots of a tree on Beaver Creek

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Winter Floods in the Verde Valley, Arizona

People think of Arizona as the desert and it is usually sunny, but when it rains, it can really rain and in the Verde Valley that means flooding.  We have had quite a few days of rain so the creeks and rivers have risen.  This morning I took a picture of ducks in a tree above Oak Creek who are probably confused as to why the placid creek has become a torrent of muddy water and fast moving logs and other debris!


In our community we have two creeks, Oak and Spring Creeks which went way beyond their banks in the past few days.  Our hiking trails are flooded and even walking bridges have been relocated by the powerful rushing rivers!  It is a good reminder of how powerful water can be.


The following series were created from photos taken this morning.  Happy Holidays to All!  There is a surprising amount of color in nature for such a dreary rainy day.  Red or pinkish soils, brown water, green grasses, and many other colors shine through the kaleidoscopes!


ducks on a tree

The turtle made of debris

Above the flood waters

the poor bridge

floodwaters and winter's lack of foliage



Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Last Day Of Summer, Autumnal Equinox and Spectacular Spider Webs and next summer's vacation planning!

Maybe soon I will be able to close my windows and seal in for winter.  It has been really nice this late summer season with just a hint of the coming season.  As usual, this is the season for mushrooms and spider webs and the hint of Fall color.  However, in this area, the leaves are not that spectacular as compared with other New England areas I have lived in partly because of all the evergreen like spruces, but also the few maples do not blaze with color.   The most colorful thing is the berries on the ash trees!

I believe it is because the night time temperatures are moderated by the ocean breezes so the leaves do not have to go out in short blaze of color, but have an extended dying off period.  The first frost happens usually in October on Campobello Island which is really late for the 45th parallel!  Our garden is just beginning to bear some green beans!

I will post a few spiderweb kaleidoscopes for my last one of my summer season here in Lubec, Maine and Campobello Island, NB.  There is an international border between the towns here, but it feels like one town as the services and amenities complement each other and we own property in both!  I make my escape to another country nearly every day!

It is not too early to begin thinking about summer 2017!  We are taking reservations for our artists retreat vacation rental in Lubec, Maine for summer 2017 now.

Water views, walk to beach and waterfront restaurants.  Make your own artistic retreat, musical or painting,  or join us in a plein air workshop.  $500 for 5 nights, contact me!  Great for SummerKeys students.






Friday, September 9, 2016

Last Days of Summer at the 45th Parallel

Here at the 45th parallel, summer ends pretty early.  The day lilies and sunflowers have pretty much ended their summer bloom, and we are being treated to a good mushroom season.  It is now a season of changing leaves, heavy morning dew, extravagant spider webs, fog and fading vegetation and one of my favorite seasons.

smiling birdhouses

family in fog

johnny jump ups one of the first and last flowers of the season

spectacular mushroom "flower"

mushroom and lichen.  Mushrooms have an amazing diversity of color and shape

my red and yellow sunflowers against our red barn.  I try to grow these every year, but these year only a few germinated, but the ones that did provided spectacular blooms.

a new variety of echevaria with pretty flowers captured here  




My smokebush!


smokebush and sunflower


spider web


spider web...great design!

When the spectacle of Fall is nearly over, we begin our trek south and west to Arizona stopping briefly in Wilmington, NC so Michael can teach a workshop, in Georgia so Michael can celebrate a decade birthday with his family, then briefly to NM and then on to AZ where Michael begins the Sedona Plein Air Festival less than 24 hours after we arrive.  It will be a very busy October!



Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Colorful Flower Kaleidoscopes and Beautiful Lubec, Maine

The heat of summer has descended.  This is not my favorite time of year as I enjoy Spring and Fall much more, but there are beautiful colorful blooms in my garden now.  Especially hydrangeas, daylillies, hostas, astilbe, and fireweed.  An amazing range of color in these kaleidoscopes!  I also caught some beautiful evening light on some of the Lubec Landmark buildings the other evening so I will do kaleidoscopes of some buildings which sit in the tidal waters as well for this posting.














Now for the buildings!