Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ice, Snow, and Winter in Arizona Finally Here

We are getting unseasonably cold weather now in central Arizona as is most of the country except Florida.  I managed to take a few pictures this week of the ice and snow. Michael is plein air painting with a student this week, but he did begin later than usual in the morning for the first two days of the week.

Obviously ice
$60 framed

Less Obviously Ice
$60 framed

Icy Cascade of Water
$60 framed

Rock and Tree Columns in Sedona under the Winter Sky
$60 framed

Snow on Path
$60 framed

Happy Holidays from my family to yours

Join us in purchasing NOTHING over the holidays unless it was made by hand in the United States or Canada by a self-employed artist or artisan!

If you are looking for inexpensive holiday gift ideas, consider a painting by Michael: or one of his recent daily paintings:
His regular paintings are available at:  

Have a Happy New Year!  My next blog will be in 2014 and will be my 100th for the Fab Fabrications blog!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Amazing Arizona

Most people think Arizona is hot and dry and it is in some places, but it has amazing diversity.  This week we got around 3 inches of rain and now we have below freezing temperatures in the mornings.  However, the daytime temperatures are IDEAL!  Along Oak Creek I found the most amazingly large fungi mass.  The sunglasses in the kaleidoscopes are put there to give a sense of scale!  And yes we have grass here also...

original photo is almost as impressive!
Fungi Mass along Oak Creek in Cornville, AZ

Come and visit us this winter.  Take a Plein Air Painting Workshop!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Archaeology, Geology, and Red Rock Hiking

Besides fabric and photography, I enjoy archaeology, geology and hiking.  I was able to take a hike with my woman's hiking group to a remote cave this week which I used for some of the images.  These are subtly colored kaleidoscopes, you really need to look at them in full screen.

What did the handprints mean?

Native American food storage chamber?

The red rocks of Sedona

The leaves are changing color as seen in the center of the kaleidoscope

For a change of scene, tonight we attend the opening of the SAGA show.  If you find yourself nearby, come and buy yourself a holiday gift of locally createed art:


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Back in Sedona for the Winter

We've been home for a WEEK and I have managed to clean up the landscaping, take 2 hikes, put our furniture back in it's place as our first summer tenant decided to rearrange our house, and BUY another property!  This one is a good samaritan deal for Brian and Sharon Bieberle.  Brian has worked on the past two renovations I have done, one in Oak Creek Valley and one in Lubec, Maine, and he needs to be a homeowner again!  So we are working out a deal for him to buy this home from us and he will fix it up for himself and we get payments for the next 15 years(or less).  It's actually a great deal all around for him, us, and the community of Oak Creek Valley since it was a vacant foreclosure.

One of my two hikes was to Fay Canyon where the meetup group we created had a paintout:  It was not very well attended, but we did have great weather.  Below are 4 kaleidoscopes I made of the Fay Canyon area.

View from the parking lot at Fay Canyon

Michael Chesley Johnson at his easel

Sunday, October 13, 2013

On the Road Again!

We had a few days before we left our beloved island, to do some exploring.  Saba got a chance to do a last swim in the Bay of Fundy.  This year we do not plan to visit California as we have the past two winters, so this is our last view of the broad ocean for a while.  The weather cooperated and we harvested veggies from the garden and got both our Campobello Island and Lubec, Maine homes winterized.

Superdog Saba

Super Dog Swimmer...that water is cold in the Bay of Fundy!  She is amazing for a dog well over 14 years old as she can walk miles, swim, still loves to hunt, and is an amazingly happy girl!!  I hope she lives to 20...

View from the edge of the Bay of Fundy

Yellow Lichen on Rocks

We are now off to southern locations for Michael's teaching, then we make the long push west in 3 and 1/2 days from St. Augustine, FL.  If you want to follow along see Michael's schedule and you will see that he has very few days off right now!  Workshops on the road are all full which we are grateful for.  We do have time to visit Michael's parents in GA next week which is nice since they are 84 and 87 and still going strong, but at that age you don't take nearly perfect physical health for granted.  We are lucky since very few couples in their mid-50's have both sets of parent's living beyond the normal life span and in perfect health at the moment, still gardening, taking care of their homes, and driving(except for my dad), and doing deep thinking....

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Farewell to Summer in Nova Scotia

We had the opportunity last week to participate in a painting retreat.  Michael painted 7 paintings and I did a lot of hiking and photography.  We rented a former student's home called the  The house was wonderful for the 4 of us and Saba loved the deer, squirrels and the 60 acres of land with trails down to the waterfront!  It was very relaxing, plus we saw lots of new scenery which is always refreshing.

We spent most of our time around Annapolis Royal where we visited the historic gardens and a variety of wonderful museums and learned a great deal about the Acadian expulsion, tidal power, and the history of Nova Scotia.  We were able to visit Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick at low tide which was a real treat.  On our way home we visited Burncoat Head during fairly low tide and then made our way via Five Islands and it's large sea cliffs where we had a picnic lunch and then to Joggins Fossil Cliffs before we returned to New Brunswick and stayed in Port Elgin for the evening at the Pumpkin Inn B & B where there was a very nice walking trail.

The next day did not go as well since we had specifically planned to take the Deer Island - Campobello Island Ferry, but they decided not to run that day due to wind.  It was almost catastrophic as we almost ran out of gas since we took the ferry to Deer Island, drove to the bottom of the island to find a small hand scrolled sign saying sorry not running today, then had to drive back to the top of the island, take the ferry back to the mainland and drive back to St. George.  We knew we were only 2 miles away from gas in Lubec, Maine from the Campobello Island ferry landing but were not planning the long drive around and waste of several hours on a rainy day.  A properly placed sign at the Deer Island ferry dock could have saved us 2 plus hours, 2 ferry rides, 2 additional border crossings, and a lot of aggravation.  It was an unkind, lazy act by the private ferry operator.  We were not the only ones, many others had the same experience that day....

Since we arrived back on Campobello Island, the calendar has definitely turned to Fall.  It has been cool, leaves are changing, and the days are noticeably shorter.  Our thoughts are turning to our winter season and our plein air painting workshops in Sedona, AZ.

Below are a few kaleidoscopes created from images taken during our week away:

Boat in Haulup

Historic Gardens Pergola

Joggins Fossil Rock

Lighthouse Detail

Michael and Saba at Burrncoat Head, NS

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Summer's Sojourn

Labor day came and went and for us that means we can finally take our summer's vacation.  Our studio gallery no longer has regular hours and Michael did not have any students last week for the first time in many weeks.  So what does a plein air painter and photographer do with a few days off?  They go exploring and checking out the competition....  We had not been back to the Blue Hill Peninsula in almost 20 years even though we go annually to Acadia National Park.  So we headed for the picturesque town of Stonington checking out the Galleries of Blue Hill en route.  We only had 2 free nights as we had to get back for our studio tour on Saturday, but we made the most of our time.  We met some wonderful artists and saw some really nice galleries: , , and

The following kaleidoscopes were created from 4 of the 298 photos I took during the 3 days.  Michael said he has years worth of studio paintings from the photos he took of boats.

Seaweed in the Water

Stone Walls with Lichen

Stonington Harbor Reflections

Sunflowers without Goldfinches --there were many goldfinches on the sunflowers, but none of my pictures caught them in my lens!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fireweed Fluff and Albert Handell

We were so honored to have Albert Handell at our home on Campobello Island, NB for a roasted organic vegetable dinner harvested from our garden last night.  Albert is known worldwide for pastel and oil painting and among other honors he was elected by the The Pastel Society of America into the Pastel Hall of Fame, making him one of three living artists so honored at the time he was selected.  Here is a wonderful video interview recently conducted with him:  We are facilitating a workshop for him in Lubec, Maine.  We got a very respectable number of students for a tiny town:  15!

In the meantime, I created a few kaleidoscopes from a photo of yesterday's seasonal plant change:  our fireweed went to fluff!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Two Stop Studio Tour and Show at Mulholland Market

It's hard to believe but the season in Lubec, Maine and Campobello Island is beginning to draw to an end.  The flowers are beginning to fade, even the fire weed is losing it's bloom which is very, very early.  The days are shortening and there is sometimes an early morning chill that feels like September.  Michael and I are busy preparing for our first joint show which is titled the Geometry of Nature:  Two Visions which will be held August 14th to September 3rd at the Mulholland Market Gallery which is part of Lubec Landmarks, a local non profit trying to preserve the smokehouses which are part of Lubec's heritage.  After that we will end our season on Campobello Island and Lubec.  During our show in Lubec, we will not have the Artists Retreat Studios and Gallery open so I can do some necessary outdoor painting on our Campobello Island home.

The Two Stop Studio Tour will be our end of the season grand finale.  On September 7th we will open both Friar's Bay Studio Gallery and the Artists Retreat Studios & Gallery for our final sales days of the season.  This will replace the Two Countries, One Bay Studio Tour which we used to do in September.  Next year we will begin another studio tour without the assistance of the Tides Institute since they are no longer promoting studio tours.  That studio tour will be called the Quoddy Artists Studio Tour.

We have been very busy lately, but we took time out before Michael's class the other morning to enjoy a sunrise over Roosevelt's dock.  There were so many colors in the sky that I just had to take a photo and make a few kaleidoscopes from that photo!

Geometry of Nature Show: 2 Visions in Lubec Maine

This week Michael Chesley Johnson and I are hanging a show which runs until September 3rd at the Mulholland Market Gallery in Lubec, Maine.  I took some photos of my fabric pieces which will be in the show, but am not satisfied with the photographs.  However, for those of you who cannot attend in person, you can vicariously see poor reproductions of the originals which I photographed on my kitchen floor!  I also have a selection of metal prints and photographs on paper, but the images below are made entirely of fabric.

Michael is including 21 paintings, mostly ones done this season, including a first showing of his natural divider diptychs.