About Me

My photo
Somewhere in the Mojave Desert, California, United States
Gazing into this abyss called Life and wondering.....what's next !?!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Art touring...

Our community just experienced the annual Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours. This happens every fall around the end of October when over 100 artists open their studio spaces for folks to wander through, be inspired, make new friends, run into old ones, and - hopefully - take home a piece or two to bless their own spaces with.

Some years, I try to hit as many studios as I can. I've yet to experience all of them. Other years, I barely make it out to visit my favorite artist pals. This year was one of those years. I think I made it to less than 10 in all - not even making it fully east to some of my favorite folks. Just wasn't in the cards this go 'round...

The art tours is such a special venue. It's way more than checking out art for your own inspiration or to adorn your abode with. It is a holistic experience that includes taking in the expansive beauty of our unique desert, meaningful conversations with artists and patrons alike, making new acquaintances, reconnecting with former ones - full days of being intrigued, surprised, entertained, or just quietly soaking it all in.

Over the years, I've experienced the tours alone and with company. Sometimes I just want to meander on my own, not particularly feeling like engaging in conversation but just getting a feel for how each artist expresses their life experiences through their medium. Other times it's nice to have someone along who can open you up to new and different perspectives. I did both this year - one day with a friend, another solo. And while I didn't make it to many studios, the experiences were delightfully rich for me. I ran into several 'old' friends and had some much needed catching up time with lots and lots of hugs. I got to know some acquaintances better. And, I met some kindred spirits along the way I know I will enjoy sharing creative exchanges with in the future.

I didn't take photos on all my excursions. Here are a few from my first weekend outing. If you ever get this way in late October, I hope you can make time to experience our Open Studio Tours. And, if you are a 'local' - I hope you will make time next year to indulge your senses and expand your perspective with a meander among the creative spaces tucked here and there in this special place I am happy to call my home....

The studio of Tina Bluefield. If I'm short on time, this is the one studio I try not to miss. Tina's art is both soothing and inspiring to me. There is such peace and tranquility in her space, her art, and her person. I always feel so good when I visit Tina. She is a lovely soul and it shows in what she does. Check her works out here: http://www.tinabluefield.com/

I met Moira Fain in my former hiking group. Hailing from New York, Moira recently migrated to the tranquil open spaces of our high desert. Moira is an artist in illustrations, assemblage, collage, and sketch.  For the art tours, she expanded to making modern metal mobiles - everything cut, polished, painted, twisted, and perfectly balanced by hand. I love her new studio space. Spacious, clean, open, very fresh. And she's a pretty cool person to hang out with, too! To give you a feel of Moira's past accomplishments, you can check out her works here: http://moirafain.com/

The studio of Steven Rieman is absolutely stunning. He is an amazing metal sculpture artist among many other things. Everything he does is in perfect balance. In this shot, I ran into 2 fellow artists and important behind the scenes folks who did major work putting the art tours together. It was nice to see them out and enjoying the tours after many months of hard work. One of the perks of attending the tours is definitely the social aspect... You can check out more of Steven's amazing talent here: http://www.riemansculpture.com/

This photo doesn't do the studio space of Melissa Spurr and her husband, Peter,  any justice. Melissa's photography is stunning. Lively, quirky fun, rich colors. I'm happy to say I have a piece of her work hanging in my own home. Art is both a luxury and a necessity. The tipping factor, to me, is when I establish a relationship with the artist - I can appreciate their artistic energy that much more and then will I find the means to bring that into and grace my home. If artists really want to sell their works, they need to make those connections with people and Melissa has a natural ability in connecting genuinely with people.  It didn't hurt to have Hansel and Gretel there to greet and engage the guests either... You can check out more of Melissa's works at her website here: http://www.atomicbloom.com/
2012 all images ©Diana Shay Diehl

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Time well spent

This is such a busy time of the year in my desert - open studio art tours; cooler weather for hiking about; and prepping for the multitude of holidays and special occasions that fall brings.  Instead of partaking in local events, I escaped for the day to share some time with my two older kids this weekend. They both live on the coast of California. One literally lives on the ocean in a, some jokingly say, 'very big houseboat'.  The other lives a 3 minute drive away from his after-work-daily-surf spot. They have such busy lives - work, school, budding careers, time with friends - I was grateful that they carved some time out that afternoon to spend with me - sharing the highlights of their new world. The chores could wait.

Healing waters of the ocean coupled with time spent with those you love most who also love you back....

2012©DianaShayDiehl / La Jolla Cove

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Day 6: Things that make me smile...

It's the simple things in life.  Always make time to stop and enjoy the flowers...


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Day 1

Marquise du Deffand was thought to have said: "The distance is nothing. It's only the first step that is important." (Okay, so I thought the quote was quite apropos for my day...then, I read up on the supposed author. If you like scandalous history, she might tickle that fancy....)

Anyway, I spent some time today browsing through old photo archives. I like this one. I have a print of it framed. It reminds me of a trip to the other side of the world that has left a lasting impression on my heart.... You are looking at Kingfisher Bay off the coast of Queensland, Australia. You can only get to Fraser Island, also Great Sandy National Park, via ferry or private boat.

Hope your day was a beautiful one. Be grateful.

Fraser Island boardwalk / Kingfisher Bay, Queensland, Australia 2007©DianaShayDiehl

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Big C

Interesting phenomenon....when one is given a potential death sentence, then does one begin to think about living.  I've denied my reality long enough. Tomorrow I begin treatment. I should be sleeping but my mind is racing - part fear, part excitement that I am, according to my consultation team, now on the road to healing.

The good news:
     Treatment is noninvasive.
     "It" is isolated and at a Stage 1-2 - for now.
      I'm tired mostly but nothing really hurts.
     Including surgery - which is minor considering - the 'inconvenience' of several times a week hospital/dr visits will be over by the end of this calendar year.
     Treatment is holistic meaning I am encouraged to stay active, meditate, eat/drink as I should and mostly do, use acupuncture for additional healing, clear my life of all that is useless to me, and add more time for those people/things I love. (Isn't that how we should live anyway?)
     I don't need to take off months of work, for now. My students are the highlight of my day.
     I have a lot of angels in my corner.
     I plan on being a very, very old woman who still hikes to the top of mountains - with or without grandchildren in tow.

The bad news:
     Well, I don't really have any - yet. Nor do I really expect to. Unless you want to count the cost of gas driving over an hour to the treatment center and the time it will take. I don't think my insurance covers the cost of gas....darn it.

I've shed many a tear and gnashed my teeth for a bit over this development. Now that the fog has lifted, I can clearly see the fair weather friends as they flee. And standing in their wake are those who have been quietly there all along, no matter what a putzy grouch I've been. What a gift this has become. I am finally free of trying to make anyone happy but me. I don't have to be ultra responsible for anyone any more. I don't hafta if I don't wanna.....

No photo today. And this will be the last I will ever say about this. From the moment I click send and take this weary body to bed, my Life begins.

I am starting over.

I will leave you with this great story that circulates around Facebook quite often. A friend posted it just today. Apropos, don't you think? It's a great reminder of how to balance our lives with the essentials. My only regret is that I didn't balance mine better all those years ago...


The Mayonnaise Jar and the Two Beers

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 Beers.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began,
 he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.. The students responded with a unanimous 'yes.'

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.The students laughed..

'Now,' said the professor as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things---your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.. The sand is everything else---the small stuff.

'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.

Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, 'I'm glad you asked.' The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.

~Author unknown

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Invisible Connections

While enjoying the lowest tide of the year, I watched these 3 women walk the length of the beach to the bluffs at the end and back. They stayed close the entire walk. Heads bent in conversation, occasionally stopping in unison to examine and appreciate tidbits found at their feet or gaze out to the distant mountains. The scene emitted deep appreciation - for where they were and who they were together. It warmed my heart to be in the wave of all that. You never know when your act of connectedness, acceptance, and appreciation for what is may touch the life of another soul. I thank these women, unknown to me, for touching mine.

Friendship. And what a beautiful place to share it in.....

2012©Diana Shay Diehl / Bishops Beach, Homer, AK

Saturday, October 13, 2012


5000 views today. I am honored. Not bad for a teeny little out-in-the-wide-open-beautiful-boondocks blog. Thanks for sharing the journey so far.

Also today, I FINALLY put some of my prints and calendars into an art/collectibles shop here in my town. Signed the contract and all. I figured if I didn't make a more concrete move then I might never. Enough of the talk of ideas. Time to put it all into real time. The creative spirit needed a push off the tuffet.

This little guy, whom I've shared his story way earlier in this blog, needs to be resurrected. I've got my last 5x5 metallic prints out for sale. He yearns to be big and bold again to continue his tale...

"Coyote Pup", 10x10 image / 16 x 20 framed, Southwest Art Show
3rd Place winner ~ photography category. ©Diana Shay Diehl

Friday, October 12, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Snippets from the natural world...

A simple post today. This is of a desert fan palm (Washingtonia filifera), a very young one just unfurling its leaflets which will make up a leaf frond or fan. You can see how tightly packed they are with the corrugated look to the leaflets. They become quite straight, stiff, and smooth once the opening process is complete - like spears spreading out from a center point. You can see 'older' leaves in the bottom right corner. The Native Americans used the fibers for weaving baskets and sandals. These palms can live from 80 - 250 years. This 'baby' will far outlive me....


.....post on March 26 has this same shot as I did a piece on a wildflower shoot last spring....

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Moving forward

Greetings.....just a quickie post for today. I often wonder where my art venture would be if I wasn't so consumed with those things I must do in my 'regular' career - the one that pays the bills. Actually, I love the creative end of teaching and how the students keep me striving to find better ways for them to expand their learning and make it fun. That actually fuels my creativity and we do enjoy our time together. It's the other 'stuff', like being popular over being professional, bad politics, and judgement based on gossip that drains the life force....  But hey, I'm not here to kvetch. No! I'm here to share the tidbits coming in that move me yet one more step closer to my next destination......

My first product other than fine art prints and portraits - 2013 calendars! The calendars feature photos indigenous to the area I live in - my perspective - and each month has a different image. I'm generally pleased with the quality but will continue to seek other printing methods and styles - quality with affordability. I also designed some business cards, stationary, and a client log book to keep me motivated, organized, and moving forward. I've finally made my dream official! My tax guy will be proud of me...

A few of my readers have inquired as to how to purchase the calendars and soon-to-be completed sun print fabrics. For local folks, you can buy direct from me or through a local art/collectibles shop in my town. When I square away the details with the owner, I will post the details here. For anyone else, I am looking into a PayPal account or some other type of online purchasing set up, perhaps something like Etsy as some of my other artist friends use.  In most cases, I do all the printing myself (except for specialty products like calendars). I like creating one thing at a time verses feeling like a production line. I only printed a limited amount of calendars. When this set sells out, I will create another set of different images and style. I'll let 'Wally-world' and the like have the factory produced effects while keeping to things with a quieter, more unique appeal.

Quickie post? Guess not this time. I should have known better...

Be curious to know what you think.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Launching a vision

Just a simple, picture-less post.... I launched my studio on Facebook today. It's time to take concrete steps towards exhibiting, creating more, and selling my works. It ain't gonna happen if I don't stick my neck out there!

The Facebook page will focus largely on sharing tips, what's new in the studio, and occasional giveaways to make it fun. Who doesn't like to win something now and again? I also am gathering pieces from different artists and their visions to use on my sun printed fabrics and other cool printable items. This excites me to no end! There are so many keen eyes out there, who feel the world with their lens in ways I cannot. Stay tuned to meet some soulful artists and how I am taking their captures and turning them into wearable, usable art, mini-books and the like.... a little something to make your world more beautiful...

If you are a Facebook user, come visit me here - and, please, share the word!


Mojave Light Studio on Facebook....

Okay, I lied. This isn't really a picture-less post. Here's one angle of my studio with my faithful conspirator in all things creative, the Tobster. Forgive me if I've posted this shot before. Every home has one spot where you simply feel good being in it. This is mine....it's in the center of my house, under a big picture window that gazes out my backyard into the desert hills. I can watch the storms come in from here, the hummingbirds at the feeder, and the rabbits torment Toby. The mojave sun warms my soul in the cold months and is shielded by the huge fruitless mulberry in the warm ones and my mind gets to wander all it wants....