Marianna M. Duford
...an artist with wanderlust
ADOPTED by Irene Horine
It's Easter Day and of course it was snowing in the high country last night. I think in my over 30 years of living here my kids only had a handful of Easter Egg Hunts outside. The Easter Bunny ran into snow storms on a regular basis at this altitude. The few times it was outside my kids wore snowsuits to scamper about in, instead of fancy new spring clothes. Ahhh such is life in the mountains. Our beach is at A-Basin Ski Area...and yes, there are lilacs blooming somewhere! Hope you and your family are enjoying a beautiful day. Ciao, peace and love!
ADOPTED by Dianne Mere Robertson
My husband and I have a running joke about eating organic. Everything is "free range". The tortilla chips are free range, grapes are free range, pretzels are free range. Thus, today's Little Gem is an organic, free range snow scene ... brought to you by the "Big Man" himself. Doesn't get much more natural than that does it? Hope you are enjoying a fabulous weekend ...somewhere there are lilacs blooming. I like to think houghts like that help keep me sane, or whatever you want to call it :) Ciao
ADOPTED by Kathy Underhill
The Sian Kaan Biosphere Preserve is an area that has been set aside by the government to remain pristine and wild. The only people allowed to live on the land are the native Mayan people that have made it their home for generations. There is a fishing settlement at the very end of the road, that can take hours to reach even though it only about 20 miles away from the entrance, called Ascension Bay. I had dropped my husband off at the Boca Pailla Bridge, which is a landmark of sorts, to go in search of his bonefish, and I had decided to go in search of a peaceful place to paint. This beautiful cove was perfect. I set up a lawn chair with a big beach umbrella, the sun is INTENSE, and my easel and proceeded to while away the morning. I was totally unaware of the huge bank of rain clouds building up behind me. It hit like gangbusters and I was trapped under the umbrella holding on to everything for dear life...15 or so LONG minutes later the deluge passed and it was beautiful again! I ate some lunch and consumed a beer, and went back to finish the painting. The same storm must have circled around as it came up and blasted me AGAIN! Needless to say I closed up shop and meandered back to see if, Bill ,emerged victorious from the famous crocodile infested flats of the Sian Kaan. This rendition is one that I created using a photo and my unfinished painting as a guide. On a final note, it is my beloved, Bill's, birthday today and he is doing what he loves to do best...fishing!
ADOPTED by Marguerite Ritchey
I didn't sleep much last night ...full moon! I always wanted a bedroom like they had in the movie, "Swiss Family Robinson". The thatched, palm frond roof, would lift up with a rope and pulley so you could see the stars at night. We don't have curtains on the windows in our bedroom, so we can see the sky and pretend we are in an island tree house!
I finally gave up and just got up for the day around 5:30am. When I saw the full moon glowing over Buffalo Mt. and all the little house lights on the mountainside glowing with the prospect of the new day...I knew I had to paint it. I created it in my studio, wearing my headlamp, and tried to capture the scene as I looked out my windows. This was a really challenging exercise as the night time sky and the shadows cast by the moon take on an entirely different coloring than the colors that emerge in the daytime sun! Enjoy your day and don't forget to enjoy the night time moonscape in your neighborhood!
ADOPTED by Dave Tobin/Anika Pinkstaff
In 2003 I was invited to join in an amazing photographic expedition into the wilds of Namibia, Africa. Just 6 of us and a guide. We got to go where many are not allowed as there were special permits pulled just for us. We pitched our own tents and cooked meals over a campfire. NOT a pampered pets excursion into the bush! The group was always up hours before dawn to get situated at water holes before the animals would start to come in to drink, and to have optimum light for photos. We were in Koinseb, a preserve that you are not even allowed into unless you have at least 2 vehicles. If one were to break down or become mired in sand they didn't want you on foot and become a meal for a predator on 4 legs! This was a magical morning, with the sun illuminating the harsh landscape. I came to the conclusion, after 5 weeks, that everything, in Namibia,either had horns, thorns or wanted to eat you! It was an AMAZING experience that changed me forever...enjoy and stay tuned for tomorrow's Little Gem, art fans!
I spent a week in the vineyards of Napa and Sonoma this past fall with my dear friend, Sue Pappas. I took lots of photos and enjoyed the landscape. We were lucky to be there right when the big harvests were going on so the vines were heavy with grapes. I got in close and personal with this shot. The sun was shining through the purple grapes and green leaves giving them an array of beautiful colors! We spent so much time combing the hills that we only actually enjoyed one bottle of wine the whole week we were there! ...must be some kind of record for 2 women on vacation in the wine capital of California.
ADOPTED BY NANCY CANNING
Adopted to Danna & Jason Quinn
Today I thought I would visit Italy, where the lambs at the art school I went to would pass the day eating and bleating, non stop! There was a lovely hillside behind the school with a stile to cross over the fence into their territory. I was up early one morning and decided to go for a peaceful walk and enjoy the morning light. There were no sheep in sight when all of a sudden I heard the frenzied jingling of their bells swiftly approaching. They were running in a pack 90 miles an hour down the hill at me! I turned tail and ran as fast as I could and barely made it over the fence when they all piled into it bleating like crazy. I found out that it was their feeding time and they were convinced I was there to fulfill that need!
Today is the day that Passover, the Festival of Freedom and Redemption, begins at sundown. A few of the symbols used for the Sedar are Matzah, Maror and the Paschal lamb , or in laymans terms, unleavened bread, bitter herbs, and a sacrificial lamb. Years ago good friends invited me to share their Sedar meal with them. Raised Methodist I had never experienced it. It was a wonderful evening of family and love...and history. Soooo, this is my Ode to Passover with lambs eating bitter herbs and dreaming of unleavened bread. Mazel tov to my Jewish friends, may your evening be filled with family, tradition and love.
ADOPTED by Marilyn Holder
My husband, Bill, and I travelled to the South Island of New Zealand for our 20th wedding anniversary. He was in search of the elusive New Zealand trout, while I was in search of places to paint. It's a great combination...we do something separately...together!
We rented an RV and ventured out into the countryside. Funny thing, New Zealand is famous for being the adventure capital of the world...our biggest adventure, heart stopping at times, was driving this monstrosity on the tiny roads, on the left hand side of the road! I began to notice mounds of beautiful orange flowers growing like crazy on the side of the roads. During one of our many stops, to catch our breath, I realized that they were lilies. Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Easter week. White lilies are the true symbol of purity that reigns during this holy time....but one should have a spot of color in their paintings, don't you think! Peace and love...and thank you for going on this journey with me!
ADOPTED by Donna Oblachinski
Nothing like palm trees and a beach to calm the soul on ANOTHER snowy,cold day.
In honor of my 60th, (yes 60th!) birthday, my husband and I spent a blissful month in the quaint little town of Chan Chemuyil, near Tulum, MX. We explored the Mayan Coast daily enjoying the pristine, snow white beaches the area is famous for. It became a favorite jaunt to make the treck to the Sian Kaan Biosphere Preserve. While my husband braved the crocodile infested waters, in search of bonefish, I explored and painted en plein air by deserted beaches and jungle flora...no fauna, (except for little bug corpses that I had to pick out of the paint), thank you! Each evening, about happy hour time, no matter where we were we were treated to beautiful sunsets. The perfect ending to each amazing day!
Winter is still in full force here in the high country of Colorado! The Blue River runs through our neighborhood and graces us with lovely nooks and crannies. This tiny offshoot goes into the willows and is in constant motion so it never freezes over. I loved the subtle colors and reflections found in this morning's light.
I hope you are enjoying this journey as much as I am. I have found it challenging already and am growing as an artist. Each "Little Gem" is taking a much longer time to create than I had thought they would! I have to "lick" each brush stroke into perfection! It's just my nature...my family might have another term for my tendency to hyper focus :) ...but I won't go there! ADOPTED by Becky and Charley Hobart