FS 151

5″x7″ pastel on sanded paper

The road that runs between Christ in the Desert Abbey, and Ghost Ranch is one of my favorite places in the world. I love the canyon, the drive, the Rio Chama, and especially what lies at either end of this forest service road.

After lugging many pounds of heavy painting equipment around all summer, I came home and lightened my load! Check out my new travel set up. It is the smallest Heilman pastel box, which I carefully adapted with the help of my, clever and handy, Spanish exchange student. The box is made to securely hold pastels on one side, and carry paper on the other. As designed, there was no way to hold the support in the top half of the box so it kept sliding down. Second, the paper holder it came with didn’t work very well. After some brainstorming, we removed the stock paper holder and then added the 4 pieces of silver hardware you can see in the top of the photo. We made them adjustable, so they can hold the lid, and paper of varying sizes, in place. The trickiest part was carving out part of the box to allow room for the hardware so that the box will still close.

Today was my test drive, and I am delighted!


I spent the afternoon picking cactus spines out of my daughters foot and backside, I was struck how much her foot looked like a porcupine, and how beautiful the cactus spines were. They were long, fading: brown to orange to yellow. She is tough and brave, no complaints on her part, she knows the risk of playing barefoot. I was grateful it was a cactus and not a rattle snake.

Here is a haiku I wrote about the event:

Barefoot game. Hide. Seek.
Prickly Pear under my foot.
Ouch! Sat on one more.

Walking On

Pastel on sanded board 24″x18″
I jumped out of my seat the other day when I saw this beautiful, sprite of a woman charging across the alfalfa field. I loved the abstract shape that the sunlight was making connecting her hat and blouse and I knew it would make a beautiful painting. So…I ran and chased her down the road trying to snap a photo. Don’t let the walker fool you, she was trucking. I was inspired and touched. I loved that she returned to the ranch with a walker instead of staying home. I enjoyed watching several elders interact with their families last week. Three different families were here with someone who was in need of special care and it was a joy to watch them nurture and help. I hope that when someone in my family has a stroke, or goes blind in one eye, or whatever ailments age or life bring I will be there to help them continue to do what gives them life. I also hope that when my balance falters I will buy a walker, ask for the help I need, and keep on trucking!