Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Day!

I just returned from another wonderful adventure in the west. Having friends and family in Phoenix and Santa Fe is such a blessing! But the trip was not without peril. We chose to drive (rather than fly) for a variety of reasons. One is that I want to travel with my art supplies and the airlines have made it very difficult to travel with cadmium, lead, cobalt, and titanium paints. Another reason is that I have developed asthma in the last 15 years and it's much easier on my lungs to slowly climb the mountains rather than arriving at high altitude in an airplane.

On the way, our trusty Yukon (with over 180,000 miles on it) started showing its age and the alternator went. We were lucky to be near a little town in Oklahoma where some very friendly and skilled mechanics put us back on the road in about an hour and a half. While Zack worked on our vehicle, I did a pencil study of him at work and gave it to him as a "tip." We climbed what should have been the final hour of the trip in blinding snow as we ascended the mountains. Many of you have commented how fortunate we are to have family where it's warm, but Santa Fe's weather is very much like it is back in Michigan - only drier - because it is at 7500 ft above sea level.

It was great to see everyone, especially my grandchildren! There is nothing like being surrounded by youth during the holidays. But I was also inspired creatively. This was the first time I've been to Santa Fe at the holidays, and it was magical. We strolled on Canyon Road (famous for the many art galleries in Santa Fe) among what seemed to be a million other people. Luminarias lined the pathways, and beautiful Christmas lights were everywhere. And just about the time when I thought I had seen enough, it started to snow. You could hear the throng of joy build as the flakes got nearer, until everyone was cheering and singing Christmas carols. There were hot chocolate and fajita vendors, and everyone had a marvelous time.

On the way home we stopped in Cedar Rapids to visit the final day of the Alphonse Mucha exhibit at the National Czech and Slovak Museum. I've always loved the fun-loving, art-nouveau style that Mucha has been known for, but I didn't expect to come away with the powerful sense of purpose that he put into his work. I'll be posting some of his quotes from the exhibit on my facebook fan page in the coming weeks. Won't you please follow along?