Saturday, September 29, 2012

Day 6 - Frosty Shop Skills and Ice Cream Swirls

The crew got up and headed out to paint after a little "sumthin" to eat on the front porch of our room at Circle D.   As my kids used to say "can we have something to tidy us over till lunch?"  The class scattered and ventured out and about through town and Doug drove up and down the 8 or 9 streets till he found each one!  There were some rock solid paintings.  

Shannon's great little piece of a classic little barn in town.  Beautiful, Shannon!!
Kitty Brumberg down near the Roundy hill which we used to use as a sledding hill.  It didn't seem nearly as steap as it did when I was zooming down on an intertube or truly trying to guide one of the old sleds with my feet.  I generally ended up in a ditch to the side of the road!  And it was SUCH a long way to haul your sled back up.
Kitty's painting - beautiful!
The Everett Ruess Art Festival was in full swing as we got to stop by and look at the fabulous art on display.  The plein air painters had been there all week, painting the area and had just displayed their work in the Escalante Community Center.  Booths set up in the street and great works of art inside and out.  

It was great to go in and peruse the paintings and VIST just as I'd hoped!  Lots of familiar faces to greet and catch up with!  Also some outstanding paintings.  Brad Holt was the featured artist and had some outstanding pieces on display and for sale.  Click on his name to see some more of his work.  

Doug painted a great little piece as well just one block north of where he painted yesterday.   A fellow classmate of mine came out and talked with him and for the life of him, he cannot remember her name.  If you're reading this, please let me know who you are!  He's an amazing painter, but his memory sucks!  It's killing me to know who it was!!  Speak up, please!!  Kathy?  Karen?  Well, the painting is amazing!

We ate lunch at the Escalante Outfitters "Esca-Latte Internet Cafe and Pizza Parlor" in the middle of town.  Fabulous pizza and salads!  We were sad to see Blair Jenkins go, as he needed to get back up north for some family commitments.   After again, filling up on delicious food to the point of pain, we headed out and had to say good-bye to Escalante, a moment I avoided and always put off as long as I could.  I cried every time I left home - it was terrible!  I just loved home a LOT!!  

We were welcomed into Bryce Canyon by the amazing Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel and were delighted to crash on a wonderful bed in a room loaded with all the extras or just relax in the lobby near a beautiful rock fireplace with a crackling fire.  When we decided we could fit a little more foodage into our already stuffed tummies, we headed across the street to the always-wonderful Ruby's Inn Restaurant where hundreds of other people were thinking the same thing.  We took our "buzzing number" and meandered through the gift shop where Jack seriously spoiled our darling Shannon (as well he should) and I'm sure, Doug will be shopping for something wonderful for his most amazing #1 Queen of Fun!  

Buzz Buzz Buzz "your table is ready"  We rounded up the troops for a great dinner and we stuffed ourselves as much as possible!  We even made room for the dessert bar at the buffet, and I couldn't have been more thrilled as I was able to show my "frosty shop" skills by making a beautiful ice cream sundae with the perfect swirl at the top!  Ta Da!!  Well I'll be darned, she IS the Frosty Shop Queen!!

Toldja . . .



Day 5 - Hometown Parade for the Queen of All!!

We were sad to leave the beautiful Boulder Mountain Guest Ranch as it was such a peaceful and serene place to stay and "de-stress!"  What a great staff!  They were all so accommodating and we will definitely be back!!  Check out their website -- WAIT, not yet!  You have to finish reading the blog first!  

We headed out to the Burr Trail to see some of our favorite country.  Everyone headed out to paint their favorite scene.  It was such fun sharing this well-kept secret with our friends – every turn being more breathtaking than the last.  I even took on my second painting of my very short painting career!  It was really fun and I, again, reaffirmed my deep respect to all the painters in the group as well as Doug – they all make it look so easy and I did a lot of mixing of painting and put way too much on my board!  It got messy and gooey and all the greens and reds kinda got mixed together.  Because I was painting, there weren't many pictures taken - Doug snapped a picture of me painting and the back of my legs getting sunburned!  If I can get the picture off his camera, I'll post it!

My brothers family
We had the rest of the BLT’s down in Slot Canyon on the Burr Trail.  What a great little place – wished we would have had time to hike down through it.  Google it – it’s freakin amazing!!  Could be a vacation in and of itself!   My brother and his family hike the slot canyon all the time.  Here's a fun picture of them!

From Burr Trail, we were Escalante bound and I got pretty excited!  Goin home!  Stopped at Kiva Koffee House for some great java and smoothies and an incredible view at the top of Calf Creek.  We caravanned on into Escalante.  The class was wondering where the parade was . . . I mean, "Miss Garfield County 1980 something" is here . . . where's the party and hooplah!!  All kidding aside, it felt so good to be home, even if it was just for a day.  

We checked into the Circle D Motel and the class headed down to paint.  I decided to chill, do a little writing, and then went to find the group and walked down the familiar main street.  My mind was flooded with memories of that main street – it used to seem sooo long from one end to the other.  Probably not more than a mile from one end to the other. 

I finally found the group and here's Doug's little painting of a very old building that seriously looks the same today as it did back when I was growing up.  It's just a block from my house well, okay, almost everything is about a block from my house!  hahaha  

We enjoyed a fabulous dinner at the Circle D Eatery.  Our waitress, Angie, a darling gal, ended up being a “fellow Griffin” yes, a cousin!  Dinner was seasoned with lots of reminiscing about being not only the “Miss Garfield” Queen, but also the Frosty Shop Queen, our family business in the middle of town from the time I was 5 years old.   My dad built it in 1967 and we ran it until I was about 19 years old.  

Living just across the “baseball field” from my high school, I would make a mad dash across the field at the sound of the “lunch bell” to beat the rush of students coming to be fed at the Frosty Shop and as I heard the first bell, I would grab a burger and drink and run back across the ball diamond hoping to get there before the “late bell” rang. 

I did go and take some pictures of my Grandma's house - she was born in 1898, Grandpa in 1896.  

Home of Ray and Nora Griffin in Escalante, Utah.  This is where my dad grew up, and I guess I spent an awful lot of time there myself.  Always home made bread and peanut butter and strawberry jam on the table

My dad as a young boy delivered newspapers.  I think it was the Garfield County News.
Thanks for letting me reminisce.  Great memories of my home town - excited to see more familiar faces and do a little "vistin" as Grandma used to call it . . . "oh, how we did vist!"  hahaha 

Signing off for now . . .

J'net aka Queen of Escalante - you can all just call me "Queen of All" if you want  hahaha 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Day 4 - Trees of Fire and Comfortable Tipi's!

We caravanned over Boulder Mountain with a couple of stops to see the brilliant gold, green and red quakies.

Doug laughed at me because I was holding my camera out the window and taking pictures.  This one was taken over the top of the car!  hahaha Doug - I was totally focused!

A beauty shot of my antenna!  But hey, who even notices it!  These colors rock!!  

The fabulous three here at one of several rest stops to take it all in.  Jeanette, Shannon Grosko and Kitty Brumberg.  I'm really not that tall, but these two dolls are tiny little things!  

The trees were on fire and we had a hard time settling on a place to stop as there were way too many "perfect spots!"  Having this group in the middle of nowhere gave ma captive audience and I was able to do my fabulous impersonations of my Grandma Griffin's "Laaaaaaard Ray!"
During the demo is our time to catch up on the night before and the important happenings from each other and the families back home.  Scott and his lovely wife celebrated their 20th Anniversary with Scott getting a text at 4:30 am being the FIRST to acknowledge the big event!  Congratulations!!
Shannon Grosko, from Georgia, enjoyed her second workshop from Doug and brought her husband, Jack, along.  What an absolutely beautiful and upbeat person to be around.  She and I may go on tour as comic relief for painting workshops.  "What did the zero say to the eight?  Nice belt!"  Think about it for a second . . . this may help 0 to the 8 . . .  ahhh I knew you'd get it!  Good one Shannon!  Yeah, we're all pretty funny.  I haven't laughed this much for a long time!  And I laugh A LOT!!  

The value study of many colors . . .

And MORE colors . . hmmm looking a bit "Doug Snow-esque!"

Ahhh they're coming to life . . .

The shimmering of the leaves in the breeze make them sparkle like diamonds

The leaves look like they're moving . . .

Final Demo painting.  Nailed it.  Again . . . Do you think I'm exaggerating?  
Greg Stocks painting just a hundred yards away.  Another amazing painting!

David Skidmore knocked a beautiful painting out.  Great to see the new techniques being tackled.  Starts out pretty frustrating, but experimenting with a new way of laying the paint down is kinda fun!

Kitty Brumberg found a great grove - and with trees not being "her thing," she could have surprised us all - they were great!  And some ornery cows down the way - doing "elk impersonations!"

Scott Shearer and Blair Jenkins taking it all in - some beautiful work created by both of them.    Not traditional "plein air" painters, they're pretty quick studies.  They both knocked out some fabulous work.  

Loved this profile of Shannon Grosko - her darling pony tail - you could spot her a mile away.   She's working on BOLD strokes.  Go for it, Shannon!!  I'm her #1 cheerleader! 

Doug and Shannon doing some color matching.  No mint green here, Shannon.  She knows what to add to get the brilliant colors!  
Traveling on over the mountain and finding the Boulder Mountain Guest Ranch was quite a treat!  What a well-kept secret and pleasant surprise!  

We were treated to a fabulous Dutch Oven Dinner that was absolutely to die for.  Complements to the chef!!

David opted for the Tipi which has a queen size bed, night stand, lamp and heater inside.  What a fun place!!  No one wanted to go to bed, knowing we would have to pack up and move on the next morning.  A little piece of heaven right here in Boulder, Utah.  

Night all . . .


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Day 3 - Capitol Reef, Red Rocks & Texting

Day 3 began waking up to the beautiful vista that we all thought might be a dream--but no, for real!  Nice!!  We headed out onto the desert where the red cliffs could be found in every direction.  Everyone  scttered and found their spot and set up their easels.

Some of the students took on big vistas, others a close-up of a tree.  We were thrilled to have Greg Stocks with us as well.  He brings a great talent to the group and it was fun to watch a pro knock one after another out of the ballpark.

We pulled out the cooler and made some lunch with bagels, cream cheese, ham and turkey.  Kitty found her new favorite snack, breakfast bar, dessert, whatever you want to call it - Nature Valley sweet and crunchy granola bars are her new friend.  Cup of coffee comes first, then the Nature Valley Bar!  Good to go!!  we will be shipping those to you on a regular basis, Kitty!

Back to the Rim Rock for a quick rest and refueling.  Well at least for most of us.  Kitty and Shannon stayed to finish their paintings, weathering the clouds that kept teasing us, coming in and out, casting shadows, then they were gone.  The challenges of this plein air stuff is exhausting!  Just as Kitty and Shannon returned, we were ready to head out again for a demo from Master of "He makes it look so easy!"  Here's some progress pics of his demo he did just a mile or so from the Rim Rock.

I'll take the opportunity, while you're studying these progress paintings, to just say how very patient Doug is with me.  

I have such a hard time containing myself when it gets super quiet and everyone is intently watching his every stroke.  I have to chime in with something like "yep, that's exactly what I would have done," or some joke that generally are ridiculously funny and Doug takes it all in stride.

He seriously does make this look so easy.  The weather conditions being so fickle - which has turned out to be the biggest challenge of the whole trip!  Sun, where are you??
About this time, I remember to text everyone the menu for dinner and all at once, "tweet, beep beep, ring ring" everyone's phones start going off, interrupting one of those quiet, intent moments.  I said "never mind everyone, it's just a text from me!"  Everyone still checks.  mmmm pizza for dinner . . .  

We are paying the price for these brilliant colors that are on the mountains.   

Finished.  Serious sky.  You could feel the nip in the air as the slight breeze whipped at the paper towel and the handy-dandy plastic garbage bag hanging on each of the easels.   

The students decided to tackle their own painting, braving the weather and change of shadows.  Kitty to the left turned out a nice piece and Shannon, being the visionary that she is, mixed an incredible mint green that, within 20 minutes of her mixing it, and then wiping it clean, was the perfect match for the brilliant shrubs as the sun, set low in the west, peaked out from under the clouds and set the whole vista on fire.  She's visionary, I tell you.  She saw it coming and we were all pretty bummed that she had wiped it clean before it finished her masterpiece!  The camera's were snapping left and right capturing the amazing rocks for the brief 2 or 3 minutes as the sun set.

Dinner was delish at the Red Cliffs pizza hangout there on main street in Torrey.  Scott got lured into the monster double cheeseburger while Kitty went for the pepperoni pizza!  Everything was mounds more than we SHOULD have eaten, but of course, we did our best to clean our plates!

I could hardly wait for Day 4 to begin, ready to share "my Boulder Mountain" with everyone.  I knew the colors would be brilliant . . . it's never let me down before!

So Day 3 wrapped up . . . Jack, Shannon's husband, took more pictures than I've probably ever taken in my life and Blair, getting to get in a little fishing in between painting sessions.  Everyone pretty wowed by the change of landscape from one day to the next.

And the fun . . . oh yeah, I don't really need to mention it, but, yeah . . . tons of fun along the way.  What a great group of people.  Thrilled to have made some very cool new friends.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Day 2 - Color Study and a Breathtaking Drive

Day 2 started after a good nights sleep, compliments of Helper's cool nights.  Ahhh, crickets chirping, trains chugging slowly by, and an occasional creek creek of someone sneaking into the kitchen for a midnight snack! 

Doug set up a still life downstairs and picked out the nicest tomato and pear from our garden of goodies we had picked just 24 hours before.  

After understanding the concept of "values," the next step is color.  Learning to color match is a crucial piece of the puzzle.  

End result:  An amazing painting that I'm pretty sure is going to be my anniversary present for my kitchen!  I'm definitely feelin the love!!
After the demo, we were able to take a quick jaunt down the street to the studio of Ben Steele.  What a phenomenal artist he is and what a great experience to see how professional artists organize their studios and plan their day.  Thanks much, Ben!!  The students were WOWED just as I knew they would!  

After the tour, we were packed and ready to head out of town.  Maps in hand, everyone went at their own pace, stopping to take in the beauty of the changing colors and snap a few photos (Blair and Jack, maybe a few HUNDRED!)  The drive had patches of the most brilliant yellow trees I think I have ever seen!  Absolutely gorgeous!   

Arriving in Torrey, we stopped at the Torrey Gallery to see a few Doug Braithwaite originals hanging under bright lights, along with some Paul and Silvia Davis beauties!  We then headed on through town toward Capital Reef.  The vista, as you come around the corner, is spectacular.  We checked into the Rim Rock Inn which, in any direction, has a view that is to die for.  We were wowed by Torrey's #1 rated Rim Rock Restaurant savoring some delicious trout, pork chops, steak and of course apple pie and cheesecake.  Blair bailed on us for dinner to do some fishing and exploring.  Yeah, we were pretty hurt over the whole thing, but as he later confessed, we had arrived at his favorite fishing spot in the whole world and it's hard to compete with that!  We'll get over it.  hahaha  Although Blair bailed on us, our group was joined by a favorite artist and friend of ours, Greg Stocks, who came to join the rest of the tour!  Good times!

Talk soon . . .

J'net - yes indeed, still Director of Fun!  Ask anyone!  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Day 1 of Southern Utah Tour la Plein Air - Locals & Rain

Everyone arrived safe and sound, leaving all street signs intact and taking the right exit into Helper!  Am I poking fun of myself?  Geez!  It was great having everyone trickle in so we got a chance to visit and break them in!  The interns at the hotel were great hosts and hostesses and showed everyone around. 

Blair Jenkins, David Skidmore, Kitty Brumberg, Shannon Grosko and Scott Shearer watch Doug as he mixes the "infamous" purple paint that he starts most paintings with.
After some chit chat over bagels, yogurt and freshly picked apples, everyone was antsy to get rolling!  Doug helped everyone get their boards prepped and then took us on our first field trip walking a couple of "Helper-sized" blocks to watch a value study demo.  As Doug gets set up and everyone is intently listening to every word, the locals meander by to take a peek.  The jury is still out as to whether they like these "paintin' types" invading their space but they're cordial enough.   I stood back a few feet so the class could continue their instruction while Mr. Local went on to tell me his life story.  I would respond back in a whisper and he would continue on in his bold voice, trying to talk over the passing train.  Gotta love 'em - bless his heart!  

You've seen the progress paintings and know how the paintings, through starting with a dark purple surface, comes to life with q-tips, a paper towel or just the good ol' useful index finger!  Scott Shearer, a University of Utah Art graduate, from Wisconsin, nailed it with "this is magic!"  He was half joking and half serious as, as you've seen Doug's paintings unfold, it really is pretty stinkin magical!!  Good call, Scott!  

Another great observation from the students was Doug's amazing ability of drawing, which is engineered by his training in drawing through triangulation.  Helping place things in their right perspective, kind've like playing the piano and reading notes--if this line note is E, then this one here, must be C, one line down.  If you know where one thing is, you can figure out the rest.  "If this is here, then this must be here," as a dark stroke of paint represents a dark shadow under the overpass and then a stroke of a q-tip removes the paint to represent a light-colored pole. 

The value study magically turns into a "purplish" version of an old black-and-white photo ready to start adding color.

A little break for lunch and a quick nap, the students then tackled a little rain in the parking lot of the "Riverside Motel" at the end of Main Street doing their own value studies.  At first, the sun was bright and reflecting brilliantly off the yellow metal roof, but soon became dull and flat as the sun was chased away by rain clouds.  Ugh, that changes the whole pallet and now we have to add, uh, what color to change the brilliant yellow to something dull and mustardy?  Hmmm, call for help!!

The students were real troupers in sticking through the rain, as they would tip their pallet to let the water run off it and keep on painting.  Plein air painters learn to paint through the elements!!

We ended the day at Balanced Rock in Helper and we shared some great laughs over some great food!

Tomorrow, color demo and then off to Torrey!!  

See you then!!

Jeanette aka Julie McCoy (Loveboat Cruise Director!)
I'm the "fun" director