Category Archives: Travel

A Week in Santa Fe, New Mexico

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Colorful planters in Santa Fe

Colorful planters in Santa Fe

Wow,  I can hardly believe that I was once again in this magical place! Sure I was here for an art workshop, and I got to show my husband Les all the wonderful things I had previously  found. I also got to explore with him new things, and places.
Since my day included 8 hours of art, I really didn’t have much energy, or time left to explore the galleries. I was exhausted by the end of the day, and Les wanted to explore. So we explored restaurants, music, a few galleries, and even a few retail shops!  Isn’t it funny how you have to check out places like Costco, Wal-Mart, or even TJMax when going to a new place…..just to see if the stuff is the same?  Well, we did check out TJMax, and Ross.  Actually I didn’t think they were as good as here, but you know how you have to hit them at the right time, I guess we didn’t!

The first painting.

The first painting.

The workshop was given by Cathy Carey, and was the best workshop I think I’ve ever taken. I say this because Cathy is a master of color, and this was the beginning of her classes. Now, I  know  color, I love color, but not like Cathy, and my feeling is it never hurts to hear color theory, or any other theory even one more time. I learned a lot, had a lot of fun, and met some incredible women in the workshop.

Since I haven’t painted in a very long time, my first painting was stiff, and unsatisfying.  By the time the second painting rolled around, it started out stiff, and soon I was able to loosen up and have fun with color.

Magic Trees

Magic Trees

After finishing my second painting of trees, it was time to try something really new, so impasto here I come! Inspired by a clay rabbit sitting on the hearth in the living room, I created this very interesting “Magic Rabbit.”  I have to make some adjustments since I thought his nose looked more like a rat than a rabbit, but here is the abstract, rather colorful, impastoed rabbit.

Strange and Unusual

Strange and Unusual

While the impasto on the rabbit dried enough to work on it, I decided to try something really different….

I was inspired by an artist by the name of Egon Schiele, who impressed me with his strange and quirky style, so I shamelessly made an attempt at copying one of his paintings.

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By Friday when the workshop was over, I was on overload.  There is so much to think about, maybe that’s my problem, I over think so much!  I loved the workshop, the magical place I was fortunate enough to be able to paint in, and the music and wonderful restaurants.

What could be better?

Until next time, have a great week!

 

 

Riga, Latvia…The Last Day

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On our last day of our Baltic Sea cruise, we found ourselves in Riga, Latvia. Funny, I really never heard of Latvia let alone realizing it was once part of Russia, and now a country all on its own. The idea that we were vacationing in Russia, a part of the world that when I was growing up, was a very bad and dangerous place. Much has changed, and much has yet to change.

A viriety of architecture.

A variety of architecture.

By this time it was the fifth day of touring, and I’m not going to lie…I was exhausted. I knew I’d be over it by the end of the week, but I wanted to learn and see everything I could if we were going to take a trip to the Baltic.

Riga, Latvia

Riga, Latvia

The architecture in the newer area of Riga was a mix of Soviet Blocks, and Art Deco.  There were beautiful parks, and lots of traffic!  The people were friendly, and seemed happy.  I’d be happy too if I had recently   gained independence from Russia!  They’re still struggling to build their economy, but it looked like they were winning the battle.

Riga, Latvia

Riga, Latvia

The older part of town, or the Mediaeval  part was spectacular, and fun to see.  I’m sure part of that for tourist sake, but people actually lived there in many areas, and of course there were many business focused on tourism, and the money we could bring to their economy.

Cajon

Cajon

As we walked the streets while others in our group shopped for Amber jewelry, we were taken by a group of three young musicians.  A bass guitar, an electric  guitar, and a cajon.  They played for it seemed an hour, or more, and it was interesting to hear the same music our youth plays here in the states.

This is how Cajons sound…

We were on our vacation when my son had his birthday, and he asked for donations for a Cajon. When we returned he had found what he wanted and everyone was happy!

The history of Cajons goes way back to the 16th century Peru.  I’ve read that Paco de Lucia brought the idea of the cajon back from Peru to use with his flamenco Guitar.

After a long day in Riga, with many things to see, we literally hobbled back to our ship, and finish our journey back to Stockholm, Sweden.

Thank you for stopping by to read about our vacation to the Baltic sea, I loved sharing our journey with you, and have to admit some of the pictures I wanted to show didn’t turn out, or I had inadvertently erased them from my phone.  Silly me!

 

Sante Fe, New Mexico

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After a long train ride from Oceanside train station, to Sante Fe, New Mexico we are now here!  I can’t tell you how much fun it was talking to new people, and getting to know some very interesting characters!    This time the people were all over the map in terms of background,  looks, etc.  From a railroad man to drifter, Sante Fe great-grandmother artist, to strange hippy couple.    I was in seventh heaven, I love new people! I hope and pray I can remember the faces so I can sketch them.

Sante Fe weather is fabulous! While everyone at home in California is sizzling from heat, it is mild – warm with a little breeze, and jam-packed with creative energy. The clouds are unbelievable….they actually look like they are out of one of Cathy Carey’s  paintings!  OMGosh, I’m so excited to be here, & today starts the first day of our week-long workshop.

Last night all of the artists, and a couple of husbands, had a little cocktail party so we could get to know each other.  I must say there only four of us taking this class, and that makes for a really great week.  Everyone was so nice, and from such diverse art backgrounds.   I wish all of you could be here to experience this incredible place with us!

It’s 8am and we are heading out for a little breakfast before the 9am workshop starts.  Have a fabulous day, I know I will!

I love that you have stopped to read my blog, thank you.  I hope you enjoy….

Riding the Southwest Chief!

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Where are you going now?

Tomorrow, Les and I are boarding the train for Sante Fe, New Mexico. This will be my second trip to SF on the train, and Les’ first train trip ever. I’m excited to once again travel by train, but Les doesn’t know what to expect.
As a child my family use to travel back to Michigan each year by train. Mother, and all of us kids would pack up, dad would drive us to the station, and off we’d go. It was one of my favorite childhood memories!  Then at the end of three weeks, my dad would fly out, get a new Chevrolet (he was a General Motors man), and we’d have a three-week road trip back home.  We had some amazing vacations from the Mid-West to California with lots of interesting stops along the way.  Again one of my favorite childhood memories!

Name that train?

This time we board the Southwest Chief for Sante Fe, & stop at a few places on the way…  Since we travel all night to arrive at Ramy, a little whistle stop twenty minutes out of SF, Albuquerque is the first  stop I remember making.

Riding the Chief…

Why do you like the train?

Of course I have great childhood memories, but I also love the train because there are things to see that you certainly couldn’t see by plane, or driving.  The people are great, and from all walks of life, I love that part.  So for me it’s an experience I just can’t pass up!

I know, but why are you going?

My friend Cathy Carey is holding a week-long painting workshop.  Cathy is a wonderful Modern Impressionist artist, who I have admired for many years.  I’ve taken her classes before, but this is a special workshop.  One that is being held in beautiful Sante Fe, an artsy town that every artist would love to spend time in.  Me included!  Since it’s easier to travel with acrylics, that is the medium I’m using for this workshop.

It will be interesting to see what this trip holds for both of us, and you can bet I’ll be letting everyone know how much fun we have.

Thank you for stopping to read my post, I hope you’ll be back to hear more about my Artsie Fartsie trip!

 

Leaving Russia for Tallin, Estonia

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After meeting in the lounge to recap our two days in St. Petersburg, we could hear the ships horn blast, and slowly we could feel the ship start moving.  It was finally time to travel to our next destination…..Tallin, Estonia.

Anu our tour guide in Tallinn, Estonia

Anu our tour guide in Tallinn, Estonia

We cruised all night, the Baltic Sea was like glass, and our ship didn’t show any signs of movement.  This was fortunate for all the light weights aboard.  Les and I left the sliding glass door to our balcony open all night, as I drank in all the fresh ocean air.  That made sleeping much more enjoyable, and relaxing.

Gun towers from long ago!

Gun towers from long ago!

Our guide was a bouncy blond Scandinavian woman of middle age with a big smile, and a personality to match.  She proudly guided us through the streets of Tallinn as she told us of Estonian struggles, and achievements.

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We started our tour by stopping at the fair grounds where every four years they have a music, and song festival.  This is where the people of Estonia gathered to sing, and gain courage to build their voices in numbers enabling them to win their independence  from Russian rule.  This only happened some twenty plus years ago, and since then they have been struggling to build back their infrastructure, and becoming the strong country they know they can be.

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They are a proud people who literally sang their way to independence!

Looking out from Old Town to the new Tallinn

Looking out from Old Town to the new Tallinn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the stops on our day long tour was the oldest Cathedral in Estonia.  It had survived the Nazis, and was still standing.  This cathedral dates back to the 1200’s, and is quite beautiful.

Oldest Cathedral in Tallinn

Oldest Cathedral in Tallinn

The walls were thick, and the church cool.  While we were there we were treated to a short midieval concert with lutes, and midieval song.  I felt like I had teleported back in time!

Coats of armor from the Aristocrats.  The most prominent place in the church, was from the wealthiest family.

Coats of armor from the Aristocrats. The most prominent place in the church, was from the wealthiest family.

As we turned to leave, I was able to take a picture of the old organ pipes.

Organ pipes

Organ pipes

After a long day our tour was over, and we returned to our ship.  I loved the excitement and enthusiasm of the people of Tallinn.   They were happy people, and seemed to be loving life.  In contrast to what many of them had been through, life was now good!

 

Winding Our Way Through the Countryside to the Ship…

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While we were at the Summer Palace, we were treated to a small band of local musicians.  My husband is a trumpet player, so this was of interest to us both.DSCN0197

Once back on our tour bus after touring the Summer Palace of Catherine the Great, we stopped for lunch.  It was interesting because my understanding of Russian food was that it wasn’t very good.  We probably didn’t get a taste of true Russian food, but on both days we were given a small glass of Russian Vodka as a starter.  Admittedly I had to try it, but only a taste,  It was strong, & I don’t usually drink.  The day was hot, stuffy, and I didn’t think it would be a good idea to be drinking vodka, get on a bus, and wind around the county side.  I have never been car sick, but there is always a first time.  The first day we had chicken stroganoff, the second was some kind of beef and rice.  I’m not a meat eater, but I did try it just to see how it tasted.  Everyone else thought it was pretty good, I wasn’t that excited, and couldn’t eat the beef, but again I don’t eat meat.

The country side was beautiful, and if I hadn’t known we were in Russia, the only thing I would realize is that we weren’t in the USA.

Once we came back into the city of St. Petersburg it became more interesting once again.  These two days were long days, and by the time we walked off the bus, there wasn’t one of us that wasn’t exhausted.

TMy husband LesThanks for taking time to read my post on the last day of St. Petersburg, Russia.  Next we traveled to Tallin, Estonia.

My husband Les

Karen

Karen