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2009  Blog
began March 2007
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Tim - June 2008
Special House Guests (5/29):
            This afternoon, the fantastic triplets arrive for a month long visit. It's going to be a blast. I'm heading out today to pick up a month long family pass to the pools. Albuquerque has great swimming pools. The grandkids prefer the West Mesa Aquatic Center because of the great waterslides. A full month of fun in the sun.

Rollerblades in Albuquerque Today

            The fantastic triplets showed up about 3:00 PM Albuquerque time. The first thing we did was to take Blossom for a walk in the park behind Grandma's and Poppie's house. Of course we wore our rollerblades.
Tess Brings Her


PC vs Mac
PC vs Mac in Our House (5/27):
            It becomes my job to fix Fran's PC when something goes wrong. And, it always does. I know nothing about computers - that's why I have a mac. I know even less about a PC. This time she was getting all sorts of expired certificate warnings from her security software when she tried to visit websites. I spent hours in a chat with the Norton folks. I even talked on the phone (to India) with Norton supervisors. In the end, all I needed to do was reset her clock and the issue was resolved. We did have a short power outage a week ago - that's when the clock, in her PC, reset to 2003. Now, when the power came back on, my mac just resets it's self to Naval Observatory time. Why not the PC ?
            Now, we don't have a Mac vs. PC war in our house. The only reason she even has a PC is that it was free from AT&T when they let her go. AT&T had a deal with Dell and would not give her a Mac. They wanted her to be able to retrain for the world of work. After 37 years with AT&T she had no desire to get another job. She just took to money (and computer) and ran - into retirement. So. now when the PC acts up - it's my job to fix it.
Rain in Albuquerque (5/24):
             It's rained a bit, off and on, the last few days. We just experienced a nice rain. but it only lasted for a few minutes. Since the start of January, we have only gotten .90 inches of moisture. That's why they call it this a desert. But my roses love it - of course, they have little tubes giving them water three times a day. It's that drip, drip, drip that does the job - that and the cool evenings.

Today's Roses in Our Backyard

Cactus Flowers
Cactus in Bloom (5/23):
              I sat the NMWS exhibition at the Hispanic Arts building this morning. I even sold a painting for a member. I put the check in the mail to the artist, as I drove home. A dozen watercolors have sold so far - not bad in this down economy. The show ends on the 31st. That's the day we pick up our paintings.
            My cactus began to bloom a couple of days ago. I took some pics when I got home today. With the roses, poppies and now the cactus - all in bloom at the same time - the backyard looks beautiful. I'm going to have lots of resources available for paintings.
             Fantastic news - today we learned that our son (father of the triplets) will fly out to Albuquerque to join us for our trip to the Grand Canyon area. He will drive home with his family after we all visit Zion and Bryce Canyon in Utah.
Finished Watercolor (5/22):
             This morning I finally finished the watercolor I started last month. It may be my last painting until I go to Taos in June. I've got to get back to my "Honey-Do" list. Things have to get done before the triplets come for a month long visit.
<<<   click on watercolor
                       to view
                 matted painting
Way To Go Frani (5/21):
             Frani is making real progress on her newest quilt. Of course she doesn't know I'm posting pics of her progress. She may just get it finished before the triplets show up for a visit.

<<<   click on quilt

That's Me Teaching
Back in Kansas

Nice Surprise in the Mail:
            In today's mail, I found two fat envelopes full of Thank You letters from the fourth graders I taught watercolor to back in Kansas. That was during our trip back to Kansas in April. My triplet grandkids are in three different fourth grade classrooms. I volunteered to teach art to the students. They don't get art in their school. I choose a two day lesson using both watercolor and collage. Along with the wonderful letters from the students was a copy of an article from the local newspaper. I scanned the article and posted it on my website. I did mark out any references to the schools name or the town they are in. I try to post only first names of students as well - because there are some nuts out there. No one on the internet needs to know where my grandkids live.
Link to photo:
Link to Article:
Michelle Obama Speaks Out For the Arts (5/20):
            At a ribbon cutting ceremony reopening the Charles Engelhard Court of the newly renovated American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Michelle Obama said, "The arts are not just a nice thing to have or to do if there is free time or if one can afford it. Rather, paintings and poetry, music and fashion, design and dialogue, they all define who we are as a people and provide an account of our history for the next generation. The president and I want to ensure that all children have access to great works of art. We want all children who believe in their talent to see a way to create a future for themselves in the arts community, either as a hobby or as a profession." Michelle and her husband had their first date in a museum - that alone speaks volumes for where the first couples priorities and hearts are.
Watching Blossom Play:
            As it gets warm inside the house, each evening, I go outside to watch the sunset reflected against our mountain. Blossom has me trained to throw a ball over and over again. Sometimes she gives me a break and just chews on the rubber ball.
Cutting Mats for Watercolors (5/19):
            I started yesterday cutting 24 double mats in several different sizes for my watercolors. That way I'll have good mats for the paintings I create in Taos in June. I won't paint that many watercolors in my week in Taos - but I'll be ready for July and August painting. It's just easier to cut them all at once and have them ready before I paint. Yes !! I almost always paint for the size of the frame. I prefer 22 x 28 or 16 x 20 frames. But I also cut mats for 24 x 30 and 18 x 24 frames. A good mat always makes any painting look better.

Repairs in Orbit
Really Important Work:
            I'm fascinated by space exploration. Today, the astronauts finished up repairs of the Hubble telescope. It's hard to believe the telescope has been in orbit for 19 years. I just hope that in our economic troubles, we do not cut back on this very important research. Our future may depend on the earth being serious about exploration of space.

Check out more images at:

View from Hubble
Fran's Magic Quilts (5/18):
            It's only two small sections of her new quilt, but you can get an idea of how great it's going to look.

<<<   click on quilt

Cutting Up Plant
Turquoise Luncheon:
            Today, Albuquerque Museum Docents finished the year with a luncheon. Besides just celebrating a successful year, this is when docents receive their turquoise to add to their museum badges. We get a new chunk of turquoise every third year. I don't get my second turquoise until next May.

Turquoise Luncheon

Good Bye Plant:
            A few years back, I bought a plant and put it in the corner of our kitchen.  It continued to grow and grow and grow. I thought it was wonderful - climbing to the ceiling. Frani had different ideas. Today she cut it up and put it into the trash. I'm posting before and after pics of the corner. I miss my wonderful plant already.

Good Bye Plant

click on rose
to view
my flowers
Finally May Flowers Arrive (5/17):
            Our back yard, in Albuquerque, is finally in bloom with poppies and roses. It's going to burst out in the next two weeks. I've been shooting lots of photos of my poppies and roses all week. CLICK HERE to see all the flowers. It's an artist's delight to see. Now, I'll have lots of great pics of poppies to paint from this summer.

Poppies Early last Week
click on poppies to view my flowers

My Poppies
Sunday Morning
Taos Bridge in New Movie:
            “Terminator Salvation,” which opens this week, took advantage of New Mexico’s dramatic scenery, including the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge near Taos, which was closed for three days to shoot this dramatic scene. I wonder what kind of insurance the movie company took out just in case something went wrong.


Acoma Trip (5/15):

            A couple days ago, I was on a bus trip to Acoma and Laguna. It was arranged for the docents at the Albuquerque Museum. Besides visiting the two Pueblos, we visited El Malpais National Monument. This is a rather recent (15,000 to 3,000 years ago) lava flow. El Malpais means "the badlands" in Spanish and is most commonly pronounced el-mal-pie-EES. Its volcanic features include jagged spatter cones, a lava tube cave system extending at least 17 miles, and fragile ice caves. My job, all year, is to photograph the docent activities.

Albuquerque Docents Tour Sky City
Good Year for Poppies:
This year is a great one for my poppies. Every morning I'm shooting more pics of the massive blooms. Several watercolors are going to come from these photos.

Finished Poppy
Poppy Painting Lesson (5/12):
            This afternoon, I taught a watercolor workshop at the Palo Duro Senior Center. This is the second time I've done a lesson for the senior center. Since my poppies were blooming, I used photos of my poppies as a resource. We created a torn paper collage first. The we used watercolor in a wet-n-wet method to add color. I had 12 students and each painting came out different - that's what I call real success.


Torn Paper Poppy Collage - Finished in Watercolor
Blossom And Poppies (5/11):
           This morning I had five poppies in bloom. Soon the flower beds, in our backyard, will be in full bloom with lots of roses and poppies.  Then I'll have lots of resources for my watercolors. Our puppy, Blossom was even exploring the large poppies this morning.

<<<    click on poppies for larger image
While I Clean (5/10):
           I'm cleaning out my studio, arranging some things, tossing others and putting some stuff into storage. It's hard to believe what one accumulates. Oh well - sooner or later it had to be done. While I'm at it, I'm setting things aside that I'll take to Taos for the watercolor workshop in June.
           Next Tuesday, I teaching a watercolor workshop at Palo Duro Senior Center. We are going to paint poppies over a torn paper collage. I have lots of old photos for my students to work from. I even have new poppies starting to bloom. It seems early, but they started yesterday.

First Poppy of the Season
Watercolor Exhibition (5/9):
           Last night the NMWS Spring Exhibition opened. We had a great turnout for the opening. There was fantastic music to go with the art. Our watercolor shows are getting better each time. The real "Little Miss Sunshine" even came to the opening. She brought her mom and grandmother to see her portrait. I entered a different (earlier) watercolor of "Little Miss Sunshine" into the Taos National Exhibition of American Watercolor XIII. If I get into that exhibition it will be my third time. The exhibit in Taos runs from August 9th till September 30th at the Millicent Rogers Museum.

Woody With Watercolor of Grand-Daughter Tiffanie

Little Miss Sunshine
Discussion About Art:
            I took this photo at the watercolor opening last night. Mick Leo is having a discussion with Susan Thiele about her painting titled "Persuasion". Susan won "Best of Show" for her watercolor. I did not listen in - so I'm not sure who persuaded who. I just might use this photo as the source for a painting myself.

1st Rose 2009

First Rose of 2009 (5/8):
           I walked through old town a few days ago and found rose bushes in full bloom. But, mine waited awhile - today, the first rose opened up. I even have one poppie that bloomed this morning.

NMWS Signature Group:
         Last night the signature members of the New Mexico Watercolor Society held a pot luck dinner. The site of the dinner was the Spring Exhibition at Expo New Mexico. There was a great turnout for this first event of the newly re-organized Signature Group. Our honored guest was, of course, Tony Couch - this springs juror for the exhibit.

NMWS Signature Group Pot Luck
Back to Painting:
           This morning, I actually did some more painting on my recent watercolor. I started it before I went to San Diego. Just a bit of progress a little bit at a time.
Dogs & Shadows (5/7):
           While Frani scrapes and paints the house I took photos of our dog Blossom. Of course I went out and bought the paint and even got the ladder out for Frani. I also joined my fellow watercolorists for dinner at the Macaroni Grill. We are taking Tony Couch out for dinner. He's the juror for our Spring Show and is teaching a week long workshop this week. I'm told his workshop is fantastic. He has excellent taste because he selected two of my watercolors for the Spring Exhibition.

Blossom After Her Summer Haircut
2nd Graders Weaving (5/6)
          Yesterday, my docent team took 50 second graders through weaving. They finished their tour by doing a simple card weaving. Their teacher had prepared them quite well for the experience. It really makes a difference when the class is prepared before the museum visit.

Early Morning in Sedona
New Mexico School for the Arts:
          There is a newly-approved charter school, the New Mexico School for the Arts, which will be a state-wide residential arts high school opening in September of 2010. The school expects to offer music, visual arts, dance, theater and film.
        As part of its outreach program, the School this summer will be offering master classes in these arts disciplines for talented middle and high school age students on May 29th in Las  Cruces, May 30th in Albuquerque, and June 20th in Santa Fe. There will also be follow up multi-day summer intensives.
        The School has an interest in being in touch with professional artists and arts educators and any others who might facilitate interested students becoming knowledgeable about this new valuable educational opportunity, as well as those having a possible interest in contributing ideas to the formation of the school’s multi-arts curriculum. 
         For information about the summer outreach programs, go to www.artschoolnm.org and for information about arts curriculum formation, write Lee217@comcast.net .
Back From Western Fed (5/05):
          We drove to San Diego, last week, for the opening of the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies annual exhibition. I went to San Diego in order to attend meetings of the WFWS and to learn how an exhibit of this size and quality is put together. New Mexico will be hosting the show in 2011. Frani and I drove the 1800 miles, there and back, with 32 hours of driving time overall. I was impressed that my new Chevy Minivan averaged 25.3 miles per gallon, for the trip, considering all that interstate highway driving and lots of mountains.
          Of course we did the trip in two days each way. We stopped in Scottsdale, on the way to California, where we toured Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West. Then, on the way back from San Diego we stayed just North of Phoenix so we could drive through Sedona, early in the morning, on the route home. And, of course there was a stop in Gallup so Frani could buy jewelry at Johnny Murphy's Pawn.

On the USS Midway in San Diego

Frani Working
on her
Cross Stitching

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