Why Wear Custom Boots

With boots, it is all about the fit. Comfort is key to me. I didn’t start out thinking about these factors. Before, it was all about the look! Now, I am older and wiser, and I say to you young wipper snappers,’Take care of your feet’. Years ago when I first went shopping for a new pair of boots at a large western store in Oklahoma City, I couldn’t help but notice, as only a young budget conscious rancher’s wife would notice, that the shop had many average-priced boots. The problem was the boots that fit me best were from a much more expensive boot line. My husband, Jim, was with me. He taught me some common sense that day. Pointing out that for the money I was about to spend, I could have a pair of custom, handmade boots made in Amarillo, Texas by Harry Beck. Jim had been considering custom boots for himself due to his many previous boots that fit him poorly. I was intrigued with his idea and thought it would be worth checking out. So, I went to see Harry Beck, the famous boot maker that advertises in the Livestock Weekly out of San Angelo, Texas. After talking price, I found Jim to be right! I could get custom handmade boots made to fit my feet and my legs for the price of the boots I had wanted in Oklahoma City. I was measured that day for my first pair of custom handmade boots. Mind you, these boots were to be working boots, well made and ready in two months. I picked out a beautiful burgundy leather for the upper shaft and black for the vamp foot part. I then selected the style for the upper boot, the stitching pattern, toe shape and finally, the heel height. Selecting a French square toe and a slightly tapered heel, my boots would also have a 40 penny nail used to support my arch while riding in the saddle all day. When my boots were ready, I went to Amarillo to pick them up. They fit me perfectly in every way! I am a believer in custom boots. I now own three pair of Beck’s Boots, and my favorite pair is still that very, first pair. Now, this brings me back to my original question, why wear custom boots? Well, first of all, it is all about the fit and the comfort. Getting your heels set right will save your knees and back down the road. You will be better off in the long run to paying extra for custom made boots in order to save going to the doctor later for your worn out knees and nagging back pain. My entire family is sold on custom boots for the health of our feet and our backs.
My artist friend, Barbara Dawkins, knows all about custom boots, because her husband, Sunny, is a bootmaker in Dalhart, Texas. She told me that one pair of custom made boots could be resoled ten times before the vamps wear out. I find that fascinating! She also shared this wisdom, when your heel caps show wear, replace them. Do not wait until the heel caps are worn down, because your back is taking the hit. I wear my boots all of the time, most days for ten hours at a time, sometimes longer. I never get blisters, I can walk through cactus and tall grass, and my boots are snake proof. When I get a new pair of boots, I like to oil the leather soles with neatsfoot oil. It also helps to wear them when wet in order to let them dry to the shape of your feet. That is probably just one of the reasons why cowboys of old would sleep with their boots on. It’s almost impossible to pull on a pair of wet boots the next morning. I wear my boots with everything. If you like boots, go custom handmade, enjoy them, and wear the heck out of them!

Posted in Ranch Life | Leave a comment

Heart In Hand

Being guarded and reserved does not embody an artist’s make up. Art is emotional, because an artist lays their inner-self wide open for professional critiques and reviews, as well as the opinions of art lovers alike. Attitude and art is not only oil on canvas, but it’s the unique talent that each one of us possess. This is everyone of us whether we are fence menders, authors, cleaning ladies, stonemasons, athletes, welders, teachers, shooters, leather crafters, woodcarvers or the windmill repair man. Keeping a positive outlook when I paint helps my artwork become a success in my mind’s eye. Happiness is imperative for me to be able to paint. Being an artist tends to be a emotional roller coaster; a ride I feel I am becoming more comfortable with. I have to keep myself enthused while I paint. That is key to me. My bold brush strokes help relax me as I paint allowing me free motion in using my brush as a conductor uses a baton. Yes, I am composing my painting. Simplicity in brushstrokes is something I strive to achieve. I like to think this freedom from affectation gives my art a clean interesting look. For me, it’s necessary to connect emotionally with the subjects I paint. Each of my subjects becomes a part of myself I reveal only in my art. I am thinking of the art story that gives my art background; it’s my getting beyond reality by moving my viewers emotionally. Writing, like art, sparks an outflow of thoughts as one digs deeper to convey personal thoughts and emotions. With each new composition, I am learning, growing, and constantly challenging myself to not just paint the easy subjects but to work on those difficult compositions that are emotional and tell a part of my story.
My art is like my own personal jigsaw puzzle that snaps perfectly into place. Having family support as an artist is perhaps the most important piece of my whole puzzle. I have to have their support so I have a relaxing and stress free environment to create art that flows easily from my brush. Thus, emotion of my art portrays my heart in my hand!

Posted in Philosophy | Leave a comment

Viejos Amigas Excelentes Vacaciones (Part Three)

I was one happy girl as I crawled in between the sheets that night, thinking… I must be dreaming… I must be dreaming… The next thing I knew it was 7:00 A.M.. I opened my eyes and realized that I was really in Mexico.  Jumped out of bed, I ran to the balcony to see the sunrise over the ocean! The horizon was still dark, but my eyes were captivated by the many yachts headed out for a day of fishing. The Bisbee Fishing Tournament was in full swing on this beautiful calm October morning. What a sight to see! I counted to 35 quickly with more boats coming into sight. Some were all lit up, while others had no lights at all. The boats traveled very fast as they headed out to The Sea of Cortes, leaving a trail of white water in their wake.
I could feel it, the day was going to be a perfect day with my Viejos Amigas! Breakfast, then lounging by the poolside and of course, just sleeping the afternoon away.
Later, our day would end with an evening trip to town. But right then, the marina was bustling with activity! Many of the Bisbee Fishing Yachts were docking in the marina. Chelle and I were off to enjoy a cruise on the Rissalena catamaran. The white deck was polished to a brilliant shine; it’s lounging area was stunningly all dressed in white while gracing the yacht with comfort. A beautiful stain glass skylight set over the serving area casting a variety of beautiful rainbow colors on the white surroundings. This is where our dinner was served by Captain Eduardo Rissalena’s daughter, Nora. This dinner cruise was well worth $55 per person it cost us in 2008. Along with the 20 other guests, we had a front row seat of the Bisbee Tournament Fischermen returning in their well equipped beautiful yachts to the Marina Main Dock with their big marlins on board. What excitement they showed as they each came directly in front of us, throwing the small fish out to eagerly awaiting pelicans. The pelicans snapped the fish up in midair. Each yacht represented the $65,000.00 entry fee into the famous ESPN televised event. One of these lucky teams would net the two million dollars for the biggest blue or black marlin caught during the 5 day event. That year, Hang ‘em High won with a blue marlin weighing in at 492 pounds. Chelle and I actually saw the winning yacht coming in that evening! That in itself was exciting! More yachts continued to come in, each trying to beat the 6:00 deadline. Our expert, Captain Rissalena, maneuvered around the yachts and other tourist boats. We came along beside a beautiful beach called, Lovers Beach. It is near what is known as Lands End or El Arco, the Arch. You are not going to believe what we saw next! Sea lions, such a wonderful surprise! The sea lions cacophony of barking from their rocky perch underneath the watchful gaze of El Arco was quite a sight and sound. The lounging sea lions seemed to have taken our recent spot of watching the beautiful yachts from their own front row seats just as we had done earlier. When we rounded Lands End, where the Sea of Cortes meets the Pacific Ocean and the desert meets the sea, we saw a stream of water coming through a hole in the rock. This beach is called Divorce Beach. We then sailed across the 20th Parallel or the tropic of Cancer which is just 20 degrees from the Equator. No wonder it is so hot there. Much too soon, we saw our beautiful resort as we were enjoying the sunset. It was an interesting perspective seeing it from the seaside. This expedition would be worth doing again!

Posted in Memories | Leave a comment

Viejos Amigas Excelentes Vacaciones (part two)

My heart was still pounding and my head dizzy from that exciting ride through Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, when all of a sudden a peace came over me as we drove up a cobblestone paved drive. The electronic crossing gated entry was flanked with palm trees. The cobblestone drive was lined with large rock pillars. The pillars were connected with long poles in between. On top of each pillar was a shallow round pot filled with the most beautiful, draping, pink flowering plant with a perfectly manicured miniature canopy tree coming up through the center. Aw, can you hear it? Can you hear the ocean with its sounds of crashing waves? Once again I was experiencing the sounds of battle between the elements of water and land, and the smells… the smells that I had forgotten… the smells of the ocean breezes as they came racing through my car window. I couldn’t believe I was once again here! Sy is a most gracious hostess to have invited us to enjoy her family paradise. I felt blessed.
The perceptive shuttle driver sensed my longing to enjoy the grand entrance as I tilted my head towards the window so I could breath in the ocean breeze. He slowed his speed to just poking along so my eyes could begin to drink in the beauty around me in every direction. The driver with his distinct familiarity of confidence, pulled around a majestic fountain held up by carved rock dolphins, which made quite a presentation while gracing the entrance of the resort, Pueblo Bonito. The craftsmanship of the stone carvings was one of the many details that welcomed me to my ‘Excelentes Vacaciones’. The driveway curved around into a beautiful circle drive pulling up into the entrance of the courtyard lobby. The bell boys were dressed in white, each with a step stool in hand and made ready by offering his outstretched hand in order to help me step down into the dreamlike fantasy vacation of a lifetime. This mid-afternoon arrival time at Sunset Beach on my 2008 trip has provided me with many memorable hours of unique inspiration and enjoyable painting even years later.

Posted in Memories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Viejos Amigas Excelentes Vacaciones (part one)

I along with my tres viejos amigas (three old friends) were headed to San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, the fall of 2008. It was a pleasant flight with no turbulence and a perfect three point landing. The captain entertained us with his funny nonsense all the way to the terminal. The hot 98 degree day greeted us as we walked down the ramp stairs to the Tarmac along with the 70 other people that had been on board. On our walk to the terminal, we were welcomed by a receiving line of uniforms. In retrospect, I believe they were making sure everyone went inside instead of allowing them to wander off. I noticed right off that the airport had changed from my previous visit of three years before. When we arrived in 2005, it had been after dark with very little exterior light to guide our way to the terminal. Our baggage had been unloaded directly on the Tarmac, where we walked over to the haphazard pile with our 20 fellow passengers. I and the other women waited patiently as the men passengers elbowed one another in order to pick their bags from the pile. Comparing that last trip of 2005 to my 2008 trip, we continued our walk inside without our baggage where we were herded into switchback lines waiting with about 300 people to go through customs. Once we made it through the end of the line still with no baggage in hand, we handed over our paperwork, declared the amount of cash that we were bringing into Mexico, questioned as to where we had come from, where we were staying and for how long we expected our stay to be. We were then handed a tourist I.D. that we were to carry with us throughout our stay. Only then were we allowed to retrieve our luggage from the new automatic baggage carousel and exit at a slow rate through the airport ex-ray screening. The new advances seemed to have changed the pace of the workers to a more harried and stressful working environment.
Off to the shuttle and a ride that was fast and jerky. The streets were narrow and full of construction. The traffic was chaotic with jaywalkers everywhere. What looked to be a two-lane street suddenly turned into four lanes of traffic with mere inches between the fast moving vehicles of various sizes an models. It was amazing to witness this order in chaos with absolutely no markings to indicate the added lanes of traffic. I was very confused at this point, but I found it all very entertaining, as drivers honked and yelled at one another, pushing this way and that to get where they needed to be. I just held on for dear life until I saw the sign directing us to our destination, and boy, did I let out a big sigh of relief as we stopped at the gated entrance. When the crossing gate arm went up the difference in traffic was like the difference in night and day. It seemed we were in the middle of nowhere, and we were completely alone. As we wound our way up the mountain, I caught my first sight of the Pacific Ocean. How can one forget the beauty and grandness of the ocean until faced with it again? Emerson said it best, “If eyes were made for seeing, then beauty is it’s own excuse for being.”

Posted in Memories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Day The Pickup Outran Dallas

God put us ranch ladies in different roles than our rancher husbands for a reason. I figured that out many years ago. To this day I seem to need to relearn this obvious lesson in life more times than I care to admit.
The day was planned ahead for me to do Jim’s work in order for him to take our son, Tyler, to his speech contest. Jim had spent time with me laying out the day’s plan of feeding the cattle. After feeding, I was to take a different rig to drive through and check the baby calves for scours which are signs of illness. He told me when I found one, I was to put the pickup in granny low,  pull along side the animal, place the medicine bag on my arm, slip the pickup in neutral,  just before leaping out onto the calf. He assured me that as the calf was sick, I shouldn’t have any trouble catching him.
The next morning found me doing Jim’s work. Feeding was a breeze! Now, onto the real job of doctoring the baby calves. It was a nice day for February. After loading up my doctoring gear in the pickup, I had to hoist my leg as high as my hip so I could climb in the rig that Jim wanted me to jump out of on the fly. I was dressed in my cute new button up western shirt that was tucked neatly into my Levi’s, topped with my pretty pink wool coat that had turquoise plaid lining. My pant legs were tucked inside my cowboy boots, and I had on my favorite cowboy hat that has a stampede string to go around my neck. I say it’s better to have a little ranch lady style than just drab everyday clothes. I looked pretty cute; I’m sure of that. Over in the pasture, I drove slowly, all the while looking for any signs of sickness in the baby calves. I had already looked on the East and West ends of the pasture before making my way to the central area when I found a sick baby. I readied myself as Jim had instructed. Pulling up along side, I jumped out and made the catch. I don’t know who was more surprised, the calf or me? I unzipped the medicine bag, pulled out the syringe and drew up 5cc of antibiotic. Next, I proceeded to administer the shot under the calf’s front leg. After that, I pulled out the balling gun, put in a sulfa pill and gave it orally to the calf. At this point, I was really happy that I had completed the task. I gave my little patient a pat on the head and told him I would check him tomorrow. I gathered my stuff and zipped the bag shut. As I turned to get back into the pickup, to my surprise, the pickup was gone! Looking into the distance, I saw it bumping along in granny low with the driver’s door still open. I had forgotten to slip it into neutral before I made my leap! Nothing more to do than get after it, the quicker the better. I ran hard. Jim’s medicine bag began to weigh me down. I failed to mention earlier that he had a holstered heavy pistol strung onto the fanny pack belt of the medicine bag. This was needed to kill any coyotes we may find that might be stalking the baby calves. I didn’t dare ditch the bag and gun for fear of not finding it later in the tall grass; so without slowing down, I decided to shuck my pretty pink wool coat. I took on a new found burst of speed. That pickup just kept on going, but I was beginning to gain on it. At last, I caught up to that big tall pickup! Throwing my bag onto the flatbed, I grabbed hold of the steering wheel then took a giant leap with all I had left in me.  I had managed to hoist my exhausted body up behind the wheel just before the pickup hit the downhill slope toward the steep ravine just a mere 10 feet ahead of me. Sharply, I turned the wheel, pulled out a ways, and shut the pickup off. I looked down only to see my chest fully exposed. Every single, little button on my cute western shirt had popped off during my quarter-mile sprint! I was breathing so hard and gulping air so loudly, that I know I sounded like a donkey sucking air! I must have sat there for 15 minutes or longer before going back to pick up my pretty pink coat. Needing water, I stopped back by the windmill to recharge before heading home. That evening when Jim and Tyler arrived home, they were full of good news. Eventually, I got around to let Jim know I was not suited to switch roles. I related to him how I had managed to save his beloved pickup from running off into a ravine that day. He somehow seemed… grateful?

Posted in Memories, Ranch Life | 1 Comment

Confessions Of A Ranch Lady

I have been debating whether it is too soon to relate a most recent experience of my life here on the ranch? The “I will” won. Here goes…Ok, I admit that I am a curious sort, responsible and yes, a glutton for punishment! Now having said all of that, I literally do not have one single solitary excuse as to why I get myself in the darndest predicaments. Incidentally, I might add, I always have a reason for doing what I do. I think so, anyway.  Now that we have all of my defense laid out, let’s get on to the most recent source of excitement in my life. Here, in black and white, is how it happened.
The sun was cresting the top of the horizon as I started down the mile long drive leading away from the ranch house. I was ready for a fun filled day of painting in Palo Duro Canyon along with Anna, my mother-in-law. As I looked back over my shoulder, I noticed one of ”my” heifers laying out on her side in a birthing position. I stopped my rig, backed up, hopped out, and ran back to the house. I needed to rouse my groggy husband from his warm bed so he could tend “my” heifer. Half awake, Jim said in a not so convincing alert manner that, “yes”, he would handle it, and Anna and I were to go on and have a good time painting. As I walked back to my still running Excursion, I couldn’t keep myself from veering away. I just had to go have a look see. So I marched right down to check “my” little heifer in order to look her over. She was not much inclined to let me see her condition. I pressed on walking around her until I had a good view of a calf’s nose, a swollen tongue and one foot sticking out. Disturbed from her efforts, the heifer tried to get up but fell back down. Then as quick as the blink of my eye, she jumped to her feet! Keeping my eye on her, I started to get her hint that I had invaded her privacy. I tried to talk her out of her angry mood, but she wasn’t in the mood for my sweet talk. All the while the sweet talk was flowing, I was trying to back out of her comfort zone that I had so rudely invaded. Now this particular heifer had taken on a pirate’s stance to repel boarders, and that boarder was me. It didn’t take but a second of eye contact to realize that I was deep inside her space. She came at me in a dead run, her head low, and out to make physical contact!  “Now here is where I made my mistake,” as Baxter Black would say in one of his stories. I wanted to see her coming, and I didn’t really think she would actually follow through. I was dead wrong on both counts! She hit me at full throttle on my upper right thigh, knocking me for a loop. In one swift movement with her head going skyward, she connected with my left shoulder and jaw. Whereupon my head hit the ground first when I was thrown backwards. Through my pain and my fighting for air, I saw her do a quick turn and then kick both feet into the air. Luckily in her condition her aim was off. It was not the landing on my backside that hurt. It was the impact of my shoulder and jaw that jarred me, making my teeth feel loose. I had an instant headache. That first impact had sent my cowboy hat flying; rolling over, grabbing my hat, I gathered myself up and stepped quickly to the safety of the fence. Mustering up all I had in me, I climbed that fence. Not one time did I look right or left to see where “Jim’s heifer” had ran off to. Now at this point in my defense, do you think I wanted to admit to Jim that I had just had a tussle with “his” heifer? Heck no!  I didn’t want to, but I headed to the house to spill the beans. It turned out that words were unnecessary.  Jim took one look at me in my blood splattered clothes and boots, covered from head to toe with dirt and manure, and topped off with hay hanging from my hat. In that rather satirical voice of his,  Jim said, “Well do you think you have her good and stirred up for me?” He capped his statement off with a big grin. With my head held high, I proudly said, “Yes, indeed.” She was all ready for him, and furthermore that he had better watch out for her because she would sure get him if he wasn’t careful.
So in closing, you may ask, what bit of wisdom should I impart to you my reader? What can I say in my defense?  I admit that I made several mistakes and furthermore, she is, “Jim’s heifer”. Let him deal with her!

Posted in Memories, Ranch Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ranch Life Suits Us

Aww, the smell of fresh coffee brewing can bring this girl right out of a deep sleep any day on the ranch. My husband, Jim, and I have made a deal, that whoever is the first one up makes coffee and brings the other his or her coffee in bed. Well, I guess I gave it away that Jim gets up before me. More times than not, that is the case. Our deal works out well. We usually meet up every morning in the winter by our dear fireside and in the summer on the front porch. We always enjoy the beginning of our day together. Our days are not run on a schedule, and we are not slave to a time clock. We go to work happily, always ready to face the tasks that the day may bring.
The idea of being ‘your own boss’ is a romantic notion to most, but being self employed makes you productive. We answer to ourselves and to one another, then live with the consequences if the work goes undone.
On any given day of the week the cows must be fed and the livestock water levels checked. One such day as we were going about that day’s agenda, our eyes were drawn to a far reaching shadow just when a mighty golden eagle, atop of the windmill tower, swooped down and made a low pass right in front of our pickup windshield. Wow! Was that ever thrilling!
Another time, I recall, I was closing a wire cross-fence gate when out of nowhere a charging buffalo jumped the gate I had just barely shut. That female barreled by just a few feet within my feed truck door. Thank God for His watching over me, because I had left the door open; that was my saving grace. Wow! Talk about getting your heart rate up!
On occasion, the cattle need gathered and moved to different pastures. One such July evening, my son, Tyler, and I were caught in a driving cold rainstorm. We finished the job, even though the rain was coming down so hard we were covered in welts left by the hard pelting raindrops. Soaked through to the skin, we were so cold we were unable to talk because of our chattering teeth. After we were able to reach the shelter of our pickup and trailer, let me tell you, we cranked that heater up to ‘HIGH’ as we headed for the house that July evening. I couldn’t wait, so I proceeded to pull off those wet boots, pour out that ice cold water, all the while with Tyler shivering, almost uncontrollably, as he drove dodging deep mud holes and fording the draws that had become rivers. I know how that rider felt in Frederick Remington’s rendition of the stampede.   Yet another recollection of our ranch life together was a time when Jim and I were gathering cows.  I had left the comfort of the caking pickup to follow two of the last cows in order to shut the gate behind them while Jim closed the trap gate. All of a sudden that last cow got the notion to turn, come at me in a dead run with her head down low preparing to send me airborne. What was I to do but stand my ground and pray that she would not toss me. At the last second, she chickened out, did an about face and jumped the gate that Jim had just closed. Wow! That was too close for my comfort.
Then there are those middle of the night phone calls from the Sheriff. They always seem to occur on the coldest winter nights. I can’t tell you how many times we have received such calls telling us that someone just drove through our fence along the highway. We appreciate those helpful phone calls. Boy, I wish I had a hundred dollars for every time someone run through theUniverse fence, and no one called. Jim and Tyler hate to stretch wire in the cold, because wire doesn’t stretch- it breaks.
‘Fixin’ fence on a hot summer day at the backside of the pasture is not so bad, and I am no stranger to wire stretchers and dogs or to the ’double wrapped’ method of wiring barbed wire on old brittle cedar posts that won’t hold a staple. The grand sweep of a majestic high plains sunset as a backdrop to the fence stretching off to the far horizon is an artist dream. The little creatures that one sees out on the range, like a baby Horned Toad that is no bigger than my thumbnail is just one of God’s creatures that is a sight to behold as is two big adult males fighting for territorial rights.
Being a self-employed rancher is a lot of work and requires every member of our family to work together in order to accomplish all that needs to be done. Sometimes, the task at hand is beyond our means, so we must work long and hard hours. Some days we may not accomplish much if anything at all. On the days when much is accomplished, it is extremely gratifying knowing that we have given it our best. Tomorrow is always another day and a new beginning here on the ranch. Living here on the ranch, we feel so close to God. Our appreciation of All He created allows our family to enjoy that which others rarely have the chance to experience. Ranch life suits my family. We feel we are blessed.

Posted in Ranch Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Roar of Silence

I am convinced that the roar of silence is the sound of winds aloft. Hearing the roar of silence is a part of ranch life. Today, I began to think about it in a philosophical way. As the silence surrounds me, my mind recalls a favorite of mine. T.S. Eliot, an American poet, wrote a poem titled, ‘Silence’. Eliot alluded to the fact that he was terrified of the peace of silence. Silence does not scare me, nor does it bother me in the least. I embrace the cessation of sounds around me. When one is alone, you’re all you have, and you can get a real sense of your inner self. As long as you have your faith and a sense of wellbeing, you have a moment in time where you can reflect on what is really important in your own life. The silence and aloneness brings this into sharp focus. 
I was not always comfortable with being alone. I grew up in a family of nine people. My first memory of being alone was while milking our cow, Bossy. Even then I was not alone. That milk cow became my companion. As a young married woman, I received my first taste of true silence. It wasn’t long before I became comfortable with the hush of the early dawn. When I think of peace and quiet, I think of our home and our life on the ranch. The longer my husband and I are together, we have come to be at ease with those moments of silence between us. There are long periods of times when we may not utter a single word. Some things are better left unsaid. Silence is a conversation in itself. When you are free of distractions it is amazing how clear you can think. In our world of chaos, silence is a retreat for the soul. It gives us a place to rest from our thoughts, allowing us precious moments to enjoy the solitude of the tranquil space we are caught up in.
Nature is full of restful sounds, and it’s never truly silent most of the time. Sounds are layered. The sound of birds singing, the coyote’s call breaking the silence that lays over the air like a thick soundproof carpet, the song of the mating call of locusts, the scuttling movements of a beetle, or the breeze weaving its way through the leaves or brush may bring me back to an awareness of my surroundings. There are times, though, that not even a peep can be heard. The dead of night, the hottest part of a summer day when nothing moves, or the silence after a gentle snowfall.
When I visit a art museum or go just to look at art, I love to be surrounded by silence. To view art in complete silence is one of my greatest enjoyments. My mind slows to a snail’s pace, and I have space to think and to enjoy the emotions of the art.  The silence inspires my creative thoughts and allows me freedom of uninterrupted thought.
Helen Keller said it best, “There is beauty in everything, even silence and darkness.”

Posted in Philosophy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Palo Duro Canyon

No prettier place have I seen than that of Palo Duro Canyon near Canyon, Texas. My few days here this week have been marvelous!
When I was twelve years old, I set eyes on the canyon for the first time. I went with my family to the melodrama TEXAS. Oh, how I have always loved seeing this melodrama over and over again throughout the years.
My trip to Palo Duro Canyon this time was to paint and just enjoy the solitude of the canyon. To be able to start my day in the canyon and end my day in the canyon was an exciting adventure! On my  first evening, I arrived after dark so I missed the sunset. Dang it! I was so looking forward to my first morning, as I jumped out of bed at 7:30 A.M., had a quick cup of coffee and grabbed my protein drink. Quickly, I pulled on my long-johns, jeans, boots and a sweat shirt, threw on my jacket, hat and gloves and went out to greet the six degree morning. The sun was right on schedule at 7:55 A.M. causing a beautiful red-orange glow to peek over the horizon as it said, “Good Morning”, to me. I felt I was greeted by the sunrise as a special guest of the canyon. The air was crisp, and my breath visible; as I stood in awe and looked across Timbercreek Canyon to the Spanish Skirts that I planned to paint later that day. Many times, as I fly in and out of The Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport, I have viewed the canyon. It is most impressive from the air when looking down on the gashes that branch off the main canyon. The view from above is so awesomely different from the ground level view. The aerial view is almost ugly, but the view from the rim is breathtaking and so beautiful. This particular morning, the sunlight played off  the rim throwing a warm glow on the sandstone cliffs. As I stood there shivering and taking in the view, I began to notice the Robins flying en masse out of the canyon. I believe they were headed to gather their food for the day from the nearby grain fields I had noticed on my drive out to the canyon. Being there and experiencing this beauty was exhilarating as well as humbling. It is my belief that God reshaped the land during the time of Noah after having laid the foundations of the earth in place. Inspired by God, the Creator of our Universe,  I was there- in this spectacular canyon- painting plein air while sharing my artistic view on canvas. This has been one of my most treasured trips. Palo Duro Canyon is calling me back…to paint.

Posted in Plein Air | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment