Forest of Nisene Marks

I recently showed my work at the Sausalito Art Festival, and took the opportunity while I was in California to drive down to the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park in Aptos. The park is a beautiful and not well known forest, that was also the epicenter of the Loma Prieta earthquake, which occurred when I was working in San Francisco.

My favorite trail is the Aptos Creek Trail, which had been heavily damaged by the winter storms, so it was more than usually challenging. I hiked in about 6 miles, spent the night and then back again in the morning. It’s always a special treat to experience dusk and then dawn in a forest.

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looking out through a stand of redwoods
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This is pretty far in on Aptos Creek, as dusk was falling.
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This is the spot that I had remembered from an earlier hike years before. I got there about an hour and a half late for the light I wanted though!
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Dawn just coming into the forest right after I had woken up.
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This is a wonderful little glade, looking up at the fog in the redwoods in the early morning.
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Deep in, the forest is a mix of redwoods and bays, and has an Edenic feel.
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This is high on the trail looking out southwest.
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The canyon looking up towards the fog on the hills
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This is one of the bridges along the road as you head into the park.
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Sausalito Art Festival

I’m leaving Santa Fe in a little over a week to show at the Sausalito Art Festival over Labor Day weekend. (booth 818) I hope to see you if you’re going to be in the Bay Area!!

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Vermont in early fall

I’m going back in time a little bit now as I’m trying to catch up. I visited an old and dear friend in Vermont in mid September, south of Burlington by Lake Champlain. I love Vermont; there’s beauty everywhere you look. I snuck out late one night – or early one morning I guess, and wandered through some of the villages and backroads. Here are some of the images from that trip.

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Night over Lake Champlain
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Neighborhood in Vergennes
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Maple & School Street, Vergennes Vermont-
More Vergennes at night. I love this feeling of being lost in time.
Nocturne, Vergennes Falls Vermont-
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Main & Mountain Street, Bristol Vermont-
outskirts of Bristol
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leaving Bristol
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Highway 116. Heavy fog just before the sun began to rise.
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Early morning fog near Starksboro
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My friend’s house at night as I left.

Bisti Badlands

I had heard about the Bisti (BIS-tie) Badlands ever since moving to New Mexico and have always wanted to visit. It’s pretty far from Santa Fe; about 40 minutes south of Farmington in the middle of nowhere. About 50-70 million years ago it was a riverine delta on the edge of the Great Western Seaway, which covered much of New Mexico and the west. The remains of that, as well as volcanic ash, now make up this surreal landscape. I spent a day and night there so I could get up early and explore before dawn. Despite being somewhat warm during the day, it was crazy cold at night, and the first hour of tramping through the cold darkness before pre dawn arrived was a little challenging.

It’s a giant area, and takes a little orienting to figure out where to go. This was my first exploration, so I’m looking forward to returning now that I have a somewhat better sense of the place.

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pre dawn with the black hills in the foreground
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Dawn just breaking. It seems like another planet, And NO ONE is out here at this time.
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Looking north over the flat area between two lines of hills as the sun starts to rise.
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The different kinds of rock deposits erode at different rates, making these hoodoos.
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Looking down into a little valley of hoodoos.
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This is a tree that fell some 50 million years ago, and the wood was replaced by minerals.
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more hoodoos
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canyon of hoodoos
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rock formations at sunset
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looking towards the sunset on the way back to the parking area

Dawn. Madrid

This was a little 11″ x 17″ commission of an early morning in Madrid, New Mexico just as the sun was about to come up. I’m always experimenting a little bit,  and in this case, after I painted the sky, I laid out the scene using pens filled with acrylic paint, before  working with brushes once the basic structure was delineated. That worked okay, except that the wet paint caused some of the pen work to smear, so I had to rework a few areas. I am using what are called Open Acrylics, which stay wet and workable longer, which is better for the southwest climate. Unfortunately, I thought the painting was dry when it wasn’t really, so my isolation coat destroyed a lot of my work, so I painted some of it twice…

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The Black Place

The Black Place is where Georgia O’Keeffe painted some of her most unique landscapes. It’s right opposite mile marker 111 on highway 550, but unfortunately it’s been taken over by oil drilling and the land is private and separated by barbed wire.

I visited on my way to an overnight in the Bisti Badlands, and managed to find a way to wander around a little bit using some little used dirt roads to get access. This was just a scout really, but it’s an amazing place. The black is from oxidized iron ash, and it’s a combination of the swamps, forest and river sediment that once covered it. Many of the hills are covered in montmorillonite clay, nicknamed ‘popcorn’.

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Dawn and Moonrise over Rio Salado. Sandia Mountains in the distance.
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snow covering part of the black hills
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It’s a very otherwordly and abstract landscape.
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Looking north from the hills above the Black Place
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Looking east
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The San Juan mountains in the distance to the north. Highway 550 bisects the view.
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looking south from the hills above the Black Place
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The canyons from above
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One of the ravens that hang out there passing by

East Fork, Jemez River

I haven’t posted in a while; like many others I’ve been too disturbed by the state of the nation to think about it. But I haven’t been idle! I finally decided to catch up; please forgive me for putting things out of sequence and occasionally out of season!

This is a favorite hike of mine west of Los Alamos, just past the Valles Caldera National Monument, called the Las Conchas trail. It’s  a lovely little valley surrounded by volcanic cliffs with the Jemez River flowing through it. This is from a very early morning hike. I started a watercolor that I worked on when I was showing my work at art festivals, and ended up with a pretty insipid watercolor painting. So, I glued the painting to a panel, covered it with acrylic medium, and turned it into a pointillist painting.

Here are the stages below:

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