Tag Archive: Art

Happy. Art Part 3


Thompson Dog Park, Amarillo Texas.  Discovered this off leash dog park as I was wandering the neighborhoods of Amarillo, it’s located within a much larger park. Was super cold and windy so no one was there.  This might have been a good thing as I’ve read unfavorable reviews of crowds and trash. Wonderful park for us! Clean, Texas style big for long long runs and happy sniffing, green and it had a pond.  I did keep diverting the Lagotto’s attention from the water; far too cold for wet dogs.

A so-so night at Amarillo Ranch RV Park. They at first assigned me what could have been the worst site in the park which fortunately they let me change. I don’ know exactly why but it happens with some frequency that I as a woman RV’er alone am shunted into some of the worst spaces in RV Parks. Do they think they have to put me near the bathroom with the lights and people going back and forth or the entrance with lots of traffic, or in their worst space that no “single male” or couple or family would accept?  I do wonder.  Frankly the first space I was assigned should not be a camping spot at all as it was on a busy intersection surrounded with foxtails, bight lights and smack on top of the neighbors in front and to the side; kinda leftover  bit of land that some wise ass said, hey we can put another one in there.  That’s revenue!. I did notice that while they put out the No Vacancy sign they never put anyone in that site. To further this aggravation a single MALE in a 22 foot Sprinter showed up while I was going through the process of being switched which took quite some time; he did not have a reservation either and arrived at nearly an hour after I had,  yet somehow they found him a nice site. What, the park wasn’t full for him?!?! They didn’t put him in my vacated miserable joke of a site?!?!  You can tell I didn’t leave this Park a great review. It was not my style, noisy, crowded, strange layout, but in spite of the super-fierce wind I slept well. The park offered limo trips to the Big Texan Steak Ranch, my Canadian neighbors tried it with the comment, ”it was interesting,” BIG steak. Beef town. They (a mature couple and a cute little dog) in an upscale Class A were using my park site table (the one which should have been mine) since their outdoor TV and entertainment bar was on their opposite side (and they wanted to take up both sides, one for her and one for him I guess) which left me no room.  (They were supposed to use the table on their camp side.) Didn’t matter as it soon started RAINING with the wind and thunder, rock & rolling our rigs so after discussing treacherous driving conditions we all retreated.  Oh that was another reason I wasn’t fond of this place, I asked the ladies who staffed the park for the forecast, and , well, no, they didn’t know anything. Nope, not a clue. REALLY!  After about 10 min one of them gave me the local news station so I could listen to it in the privacy of my RV. Shush… everyone the weather is a SECRET!

Amateur art galleries on Route 66..  artist occupied.

I called ahead and reserved a different RV Park, Oasis, for the next night as  Amarillo was on snow watch! Up ahead was already a blizzard.

On the Route 66 section of town I found something open, it was still very early even after the dog park, comes from waking up at 5 am. Found a mall type building full of amateur galleries occupied on the availability of the artist. I visited the first one open owned by a woman who was married to the curator in charge of the Amarillo Art Museum. She told me how the City of Memphis, I think the Dixon Garden and Museum where the museum had been closed, maybe they were rehanging the pieces, had loaned works from Monet, Degas, Renoir, Sisley, Matisse, Cézanne to the little town of Amarillo. She was very proud of it so of course even though that show had closed I had to check out the museum.

Amarillo Museum of Art.  Dr. and Mrs. William T. Price of Amarillo Asian Art Collection.

It was raining. I love rain. Love exploring. I parked in the student parking lot. According to directions if you’re visiting the museum you do not need a parking sticker on your vehicle. I looked around for the pay machine; what I thought the parking sign said could not be right but there was no way to pay for a parking spot. Logically that meant I could not park there. In California if you can’t pay, it’s no problem you will be given a $50 parking ticket or possibly booted and towed. I closed up the van, lowered the blinds and cracked the windows for the dogs and happily immersed myself in the cool wet windy environs enjoying the sound my shoes made on the wet asphalt and then the brick stairs. I asked if I could park in the lot across the way, Oh yes, I was told as long as I was visiting the gallery, no problem. I stopped myself from asking how it would be determined that the owner of any given vehicle sans parking sticker was in the gallery or not. I did not see a spy.


Texas Panhandle Sunrise

Am running short of time and likely won’t have wifi again for a bit so will have to label the art work later (if anyone checks back) and tell the great story I heard about the Texas Rancher and his daughter who made the Amarillo Art Museum so special….  more wonderful American Art along with international offerings. Suffice to say that although it did not snow with the wind chill factor it was in the low 20’s and biting. the cold came in through the door seams, I had to stuff them and cover them over even with both my little electric heater and the propane heater it was still chilly, but enough to be comfortable especially with a nice hot Tex-Mex fish plate. Going outside for walks!  That was another story but by morning the storm had cleared….  nothing left but the WIND!


….  So may be a delay before the end of this journey is posted…  Off on the road again.

Art! Part 2. American Art

The museum is built around and above water with view points that bring nature inside. The exhibit are in pods and you walk from one to the next in a circle with views of nature and water as you pass through.


Eleven, at Crystal Bridges. Ate at both the coffee bar and the restaurant. Had a cap and sweet goodie, then when I was ready to leave, a trout club sandwich. Yummy!

Susan Catherine Waters, 1855-1860. Portrait of a girl and her dog in a grape arbor.  Self taught in a time of male dominated art. Women’s suffrage movement and an animal right’s activist. 

Randolph Rogers 1825-1892 Atala and Chactas

Francis Guy 1760-1820 Winter Scene in Brooklyn

Asher B. Durand 1796-1886 Kindred Spirits 1849. Memorial to Thomas Cole, Catskill Mountains.

Frederic Edwin Church 1826-1900. Home by the Lake, 1852 Optimistic view of America’s future.

George Inness 1825-1894. Sunset on the River, 1867.


Frederic Remington 1861-1909 Cowpuncher’s Lullaby, 1906

Stuart Davis 1892-1964. Still Live with Flowers, 1930.

William Hunt Diederich 1884-1953. Greyhounds 1913. Bronze.

Yasuo Kuniyoshi 1889-1953. Little Joe with Cow, 1923. Japanese born American artist.

Grace Hartigan 1922-2008. Rough, Ain’t it, 1949.

These are a few of the pieces I photographed as a sampling of the range and quality of American Art represented at Crystal Bridges. Good thing I don’t live closer or I’d be rooted; likely doing duty as one of the volunteers and sketching till I’d mastered each piece. Have been taking an Adult Ed course on American Art in Santa Barbara so, if you’re into art, maybe you can image my thrill to see some of these pieces in person and if not, just know that art hold a precious place in my world as a method of direct and subterfuge communication of both the tangible and intangible, perceived and visionary, representative, political or imagined and twisted nature of our lives.

Cool Stuff! In the Gift Shop.

More in the Gift Shop.

Hard to leave but the dogs are waiting! Wind and rain was picking up, so one last walk and off we went. As I take my last walk I think more about how art, culture, music, brings a cultural bubbling, like a spring itself, mixing, unsettling, stirring…  I saw cars from New York, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado, Arkansas, Missouri, Wyoming, Ohio and me from California in the small upper parking lot on that random morning when I stumbled in.

Another walk with dogs.


Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art  I’d almost forgotten what I’d been told and how I had to stop here, so glad I remembered! Approximately 500,000 visitors a year. 

General admission to Crystal Bridges is sponsored by Walmart. There is no cost to view Museum permanent collections. There may occasionally be a ticket fee to view special exhibitions. Crystal Bridges was founded in 2005 by the Walton Family Foundation as a nonprofit charitable organization for all to enjoy.

This museum is changing the shape, tone and nature of the Arkansas Ozarks. 

“Many press reports about the new Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR, have mentioned the more than
$1.2 billion in 2010 contributions (including $800 million for endowment) provided last year by the Walton Family Foundation, for which the museum’s founder, Alice Walton, serves as a board member.Nov 28, 2011″ 

The grounds of the museum full of orchestrated delights. Pet friendly! Woof! 

120 acres of native Ozark forest which include natural springs, streams, geographical features, and a host of native plants and animals.

The Staff/Volunteers, absolutely talk to them: informative, welcoming and sweet. I arrived an hour before the museum was to open, thinking I’d take a quick look and depart, that’s when I learned the trails are perfect for your dog. The fellow watching over the entrance convinced me to go get my dogs out of the van so he could meet them and then get exploring on the trails. Was a day of light rain on and off, clouds and bursts of sun. I think we hiked every beautiful inch, didn’t get too wet either. 

LOVE. I learned during my visit how many West & East Coast people are relocating to this area.

The Gardens and Trails are full of American Art, like this guy.

Finally we spot bears that didn’t scare my dogs!

Inside The Way Of Color  Chamber

It was hard to leave these beautiful grounds to check out the interior but finally I put the dogs back up in the van and set out to see what was inside.

Here’s a fun video, walking in high speed!


Little Treasures

Here’s the view out my window.

My view out the window in the morning

My view out the window in the morning

Lee’s home has little treasures one discovers, she says she’s not an artist as she hasn’t the creativity. From what I see she is a true artist  Her projects aim to delight and express color, line and shape. The sky participates with dramatic thunder clouds, the water in the pool throws reflections, it’s all meant to delight. Here are just a few little treasures, there are many more, and many more to come… photos taken with a whitish not raining sky. Everything’s damp and cool, bit of sun warms everything then fades in and out.

Globes, balls and statutes amid the plants

Globes, balls and statutes amid the plants


Twirlies to fly in the wind :)

Twirlies to fly in the wind 🙂

The Gazebo in the woods

The Gabezo in the woods

My First Printmaking Workshop

Something different for this post. The LT has been getting spruced up meanwhile……

I’d written exactly how it all felt but unfortunately I did so on a piece of paper…. An ordinary piece of paper in the jungle of pieces of paper. The world didn’t used to have so many pieces of paper…  or maybe there was a place for these things but now they take over. I saw that paper last night…  it was on my bed but today it is gone.

The exhausted would be artist.

The exhausted would be artist.

What I wanted to tell you was how I fared in my first week-long printmaking workshop. I had a nice title not whatever I will title this with….  it expressed the conglomerate of exhaustion with the ray of anger…  yes anger to break out of the non-being of art into the beingness of the artist.  Can one become an artist?

My workshop was in Ojai an hour drive over a curvy road. The first day I stayed up too late and could not sleep… due to a late conversation about dogs. ….  how dogs are telepathic. . . I don’t know if they are so much as they communicate in a more basic process….  brain stem, intuitive, picking up subtle clues and electrical signals we humans don’t notice. In any case I spent the night mostly awake and lost another hour due to the spring forward dilemma.

I’d been frustrated in my once a week 4-hour printmaking class, feeling stymied for almost the entire year. My art was getting worse. Anxiety was taking over…  anxiety of the clock, anxiety of being unprepared, of having nowhere outside of the classroom where I could spread out and work, anxiety of loss obliterating the present. Anxiety was winning. I couldn’t make emotions of loss and grief transform into two dimensions but I kept trying. Even bad art is art, I was learning something, right? One should just keep going. One line after another.

The highlight of my weeks was teaching Nose Work. Even on those days that began with headaches, teaching melted it away. All those smiling dog faces. The dogs were so happy! I looked forward to them and their happy owners. I did not look forward to printmaking class but I longed for it. I longed to find myself and settle into a rhythm—to break out into the realm of an artist. So one very expensive workshop should fix that right?

This is what I learned:

  1. Next time one signs up for a workshop, do a little research into the techniques that will be covered. Printmaking is a huge field. Come with some questions about the media.
  2. Prepare some images / designs / templates  / ideas for practice with the new techniques which will be presented. Don’t do what I did and sit there dumbly in front of an empty plate rolling on the ink, knifing on the ink, smooching it around and then in disgust wiping it off over and over until fed up and the hostess has to take you outside to the chicken shed because you think you’re just gonna scream.
  3. Get some sleep —  no I’m not sure how to do this.
  4. Bring some good food with you and actually eat it. Drink lots of water, don’t just carry it around.
  5. Hire a dog walker to take the dogs out.
  6. Hire someone else to clean the house for just this one week.
  7. When you do come home don’t try to do everything…  clean house, scrub floors, water yard, walk dogs, laundry, take care of bills, answer e-mails and then stay up really really late trying to prepare some images for tomorrow on the computer even though you don’t know how to do it.
  8. Actually pretend that you are a student and just try things without any expectations.
  9. Other artist in the workshop are really really really nice!
  10. Forget about the idea that time has any logical meaning….  10 or 11 hours at the workshop equate to something like 30 min except for those hours when the instructor is giving his lectures and you want to listen and pay rapt attention but you’re sooooo tired.

So I wound up printing dog stuff…. I was more anxious during this workshop than any other educational experience I can remember. The pressure was self-induced.  I had to produce something good! I had to perform under the watchful eye of the instructor and get those… oohs and aahs from the others as I pulled my piece from the press, as opposed to the “oh, it’s good really,” comments, which meant…  nice try, but really, you did that? ….  oh okay well I don’t feel so bad then.  (The women were all around my age and kept telling me how great I was doing for my first workshop and how hard it’d been for them…. bless their hearts!) It was close quarters and I was in the back where people gathered to work on some of the equipment. I couldn’t stand having people (i.e the cheerful instructor) in my space. I sort of shrank and spent time sulking when I couldn’t get a question answered.  The woman who owns the house / studio was incredible.  She took care of me. Took me out to the yard more than once to help me relax; it wasn’t her fault it didn’t work. She brought me things like an exacto knife, scissors and template material so I could make some stencils, she brought me ear buds so I could tune out the others, she brought me a stabilo pencil, she showed me how to organize my material and offered advice on the media and the art. Whenever anyone needed anything she had it. Her yard has chickens, ducks, dogs, koi, a thriving vege garden and art, she provided a young art student to wash our rollers and bushes, amazingly she made lunches everyday for her husband and live-in visiting international guest yet spent the entire workshop time in her (amazingly organized) studio helping us….  scolding only once in a while when someone really made a mess.

Ron, the instructor was great too…  I learned some new concepts and skills that will take me to another reality, but she really amazed me. So I was very stressed, anxious, exhausted and yet soaking it all in. After five grueling days I wanted more. I could do this for a living, I could give up sleep and sanity. I could slave away over a blank plate.  I could stay up all night trying to process.

I can’t explain this reaction. There were days I swore I’d give up art forever. I hated my work. I misjudged the ink. I was very tired. Our instructor had a talk about love, he said that if we loved something we did we should destroy it. He told stories about the harsh lessons of art school….  We should never get into a rut of repeating something we loved and then grow stale.  Art is not about rendering, it’s not about a pretty arrangement or a safe path it’s a risk, it should say something. I have no idea what that is…..     so I have work to come….


All images and text belong to me, Jamie Rosenthal and may not be copied or  reproduced. 2013