About Me

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

Monday, May 27, 2013

Exploring Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Preserve...

Yesterday, my good friend, James, treated me to a new place to hike in. The late May day couldn't have been more perfect. Abundant sun. Cooling breezes. Vistas to every horizon. The sounds of happy birds and the wind rustling the dried, tall grasses and old oaks. We didn't cross the path of too many people on the trails but those we did were friendly and some enjoyed chatting up a bit. A great place to let your mind clear or enjoy time outside with friends and family. They even have horse and bike trails and areas to let Fido stretch his legs, too, though they keep those trails separate from the walking trails. A very well orchestrated preserve. Kudos to Riverside County for setting aside this little jewel of a place.

This 9000 acre preserve sits surrounded by citrus ranches and vineyards and suburban sprawl, but you wouldn't know once you are engaged on one of 36 miles of trails. It's a bit of a drive from me (about an hour and a half) but totally worth it. I am pretty sure I will frequent the hills of these ancient oaks, especially once it's too hot to trek out in my desert. Our trek of about 6-7 miles ended with a tailgate picnic of fresh fruit, olives, brie, and cool water. This is what Sunday afternoons are for....

Here is the link to this wonderful enclave of history and nature:

Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Preserve

At the trailhead, trekkers are greeted by this sign. I'd imagine early mornings or evenings/nights would be your best bet to encounter this elegant creature. At the Old Adobe, they had photos from a motion scensor camera that captured curious inhabitants. Mule deer, coyotes, a mountain lion, and an ocelot (I think...)! I was happy to see such healthy creatures peacefully sharing this space.
My friend, James, has walked the Camino in Spain a couple of times.
He says it feels and looks exactly like this on many parts of that walk.

With my lens smashed up against the window, a view into the Old Adobe - established in the late 1800's. A working ranch, typical of many that used to be part of the fabric of the Southern California landscape - before gated communities, industry, and strip malls took over....

One of many grand old oaks. They are HUGE. Trekkers must stay on the trails...otherwise, I would have been right on this one.  At the Old Adobe, a 400 year old oak shades the homestead. Magnificent.

Just over this ridge is the view from the next photo....
           Remnants of spring...................

The view from a bench on the boardwalk.  This is a Vernal Pool. Well, it can be. Now the result of a severe drought. When this pool is full, it is rich in waterfowl life.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A window of time...

13 days. 13 days and a big window of time will open for me - enough to dive into some creative projects I am chomping at the bit to work on for the next couple of months - one of which is playing with different means of presenting some of my favorite images. It takes me awhile to figure out how they want to be. What kind of paper to use. Do I even want to use paper? Maybe fabric. Maybe wood. Maybe metal. Maybe a little of everything.

Here is one of many images I am looking forward to seeing off my computer screen. I was walking down a street in Little Italy near downtown San Diego when I looked up and saw this. The tree was thinking about breaking out in blossoms. Late winter / early spring. I particularly like the starkness of bare branch against rough, weathered stucco and a simple, startling blue window frame with a hint of a chair. Who lives up there? Where they watching me watching the window? What scenes have been witnessed from above?

I think this one wants to be on fine matte picture rag or watercolor paper.

I wonder....

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers, mommies, moeders, makuahine, and mutters out there. When I looked up 'Mother' in different languages, 'Mama' or something very much like it dominated the field - even in an obscure language like Quechua...Mama. A rather universal word.

There are so many quotes out there surrounding motherhood. These are some of my favorites and pretty much sum up my own personal experience:

“Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else's happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you're not sure what the right thing is...and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.”  ~Anonymus

And then, there is:

“There's no bitch on earth like a mother frightened for her kids.”  
― Stephen King

And finally, one I am sure my own kids would wholeheartedly agree with:

“Mothers are all slightly insane.”  ― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

My 3 little blessings, back then.
And who, now, will be driving me to the mountains for a picnic and a hike on Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Full Circle

My heart is heavy today. Our community lost a beloved friend and artist early this morning.

Fly with the angels, Mike. You've left a mark on many with your infectious laughter, warm bear hugs, and soulful art.  Never an unkind word escaped from your lips (not that I ever heard....).

Your beloved Betty and family will be encircled in healing light 
As only this desert community can do.
How grateful we are 
To have crossed paths with you.

FIrst Rays of Morning Light

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Altered Art Books...

This weekend has found me finishing up projects and perusing old files. I was ecstatic when I discovered the first ever photo shoot/slide show of a group of women I was privileged to photograph a few years back. The dozen artists spent a year creating altered art books.  Each woman designed her own altered art book with a unique theme and then circulated the book among the others in the course of a year. Each artist added her own perspective to one another's theme so all the books actually were complied efforts of the entire group of women. I spent one afternoon, the one before their creations were to go on display at the Palm Springs Museum of Art, photographing them in action.

Inspirational. Camaraderie. Sisterhood. What a wonderful experience just to be there...

(Please click on the link below to see the production.)

Altered Art Books: A Collective Journey