Marianna M. Duford
...an artist with wanderlust
ADOPTED by ELIOT ROBERTSON
We live in a laid back part of Summit County called The South Forty and we have a collection of wonderful, and eccentric, neighbors. The kind of neighbors that mind their own business until you need help and then they magically appear. Our neighbor across the street lives right on the Blue River and for years battled his indigenous neighbors, the beaver family. The prodigious damn, dam building furry family was putting his land under water. He would tear down their dams just to find them rebuilt the next day. He now lives peacefully with the creatures and has set up a wrought iron bench by the ponds to sit and enjoy the peace and quiet as he feeds the fish that populate his "private ponds". Hope you enjoyed your day as much as I enjoyed painting this scene. Arrivederci my Little Gems art fans!
ADOPTED BY PATTY SPLETTSTOSSER
I've come to the conclusion that for an artist with wanderlust I've been ignoring a few other corners of the world. Today we are going to the Netherlands. We visited friends living in Amsterdam in 2000. They were gracious enough to put up with us for three weeks and took us to places we would never have probably ventured to alone ...Brugge and Paris to name a couple and the, ahem, famous adult district of the city. This day we ventured out alone to see the working windmills of Zaanse Schans Village. I had dragged my poor husband into every art museum I could find, The Rijksmuseum, The Van Gogh Museum, and The Louvre ad on finitum... This was his reward, finally, and what a great day. Zaanse Schans has 3 working windmills that you can get inside of to see the gears and inner workings.. working! One grinds mustard seed and makes wonderful mustards. Another grinds peanut waste into oil and a third, MY FAVORITE, grinds exotic woods and stones into the dry pigments that are used to make paint. The last one in existence. We also saw clogs being made in a wood workshop, and enjoyed the goods of a cheese making workshop and tasted EVERYTHING... needless to say we returned to our friends with bags of goodies and gifties to lug home. Total tourists! This is also the same trip that I dyed my hair bright blue. When leaving the country the customs agent looked at me, looked at my passport and looked at my husband. He asked him, "Was this alright with you?" to which he replied, "You think I had any control over it?" . Hmmm... Till tomorrow art fans!
ADOPTED by PADDY DUFORD
I have family in Maine and I love to visit in the fall, but is NEVER often enough! Being from the mountains of Colorado I crave the beauty of big leafy trees. Yes we have aspens, cottonwoods and little scrubby willows and evergreens...the ones that have survived the deadly pine beetle that the Rockies have been plagued with. I would be hard pressed to find someone with a big, lazy porch that provides a bit of cool comfort in the summertime near our home. We don't need that. In fact the summer season is so short that most mountain people revel in whatever sunshine we can find and big leafy trees aren't necessary. Something else we don't have is the warm morning fog that rolls in from the ocean that burns off and leaves a crisp beautiful New England day. I was planning on hanging out at the harbor to paint on my last vacation day, but is wasn't just foggy it was more like liquid air! I snapped a pile of pictures to use someday and someday finally happened! Arrr, I must avast, (which actually means to stop or desist), this little ditty, me hearties, and abandon ship till tomorrow as I have flotsam and jetsam to collect.
ADOPTED BY CURT AHRENDSEN
Our state is know as "Colorful Colorado" and it is true! We have it all. Rivers, mountains, valleys, sand dunes, prairies and wildlife galore. Even when blanketed in white there is color in the shadows and trees and stunning mountain views. It is rare that we are not treated with vivid colors both at sunrise and sunset. The ridge behind our home, Hamilton Creek, is often in silhouette against a cloud studded, fiery sky. This painting was created entirely with my old nemesis, the palette knife, from a series of photos I took at 8:22 PM July 17, 2012. I know there are other parts of the world with just as much beauty, but I love that we live where inspiration presents itself on a daily basis.
On another note. Happy birthday to Mary Staby, an amazing friend who has filled her life with art and is a fabulous photographer that hand tints her prints, (that she develops herself!) with oils...practically a lost art in itself! I remember meeting you, Mary, 30 years ago in Frisco and I cherish your friendship....of course that makes us both 39 and holding :)
Adieu and Ciao, till we meet tomorrow!
ADOPTED by NANCY CANNING
This is the second painting in the Little Gems series that have evolved from my plein air paintings at "Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing". Two times each year, spring and fall, veterans, with wounds that are not necessarily visible, are invited to a magical gathering at a private ranch near Kremmling. They learn to tie flies and how to cast and acquire a love for the Zen of the sport. It is something that stays with these amazing people and hopefully takes their minds away from their everyday troubles. My husband and several friends are guides for the group. One on one they work together to catch the big one...and to just have a wonderful few days away from life out in the great outdoors. I've been blessed to get to come along and plein air paint during their gatherings. Here's to this year's crop and may they find joy and peace!
ADOPTED BY LINNEA LOF
The hill towns of Italy can be seen from a distance almost anywhere in Umbria and they always have a tower. Easier to keep an eye on marauding neighbors out to steal your special piece of saint that the church was usually built to house and hopefully bring miracles to the local inhabitants. Civita di Bagnoregio's belonged to St. Bonaventure, a medieval theologian and philosopher that was born in this hill town and eventually became a cardinal. Now days it is better know as the dead city, as most of the population of approximately 14 people is elderly. Dating back to Etruscan times the town is virtually a step back in time. The only way to access this wonderful village is to walk which brings me to my story! My friend, Linnea, and I had just left Siena via the Cinque Terra and I had acquired a rather large collection of Limoncello, a lemon aperitif popular in that part of the world and not available in the States at that time, to send home for gifts. My bags weighed a ton...some exaggeration, but not much! It was off season and we had made arrangements to spend the night in the only room to rent in the town. The owner had made arrangements for us to leave our bags at a bar where the bus was to let us off. The bar was closed and we had to drag our bags with us...about 2 miles...uphill! To lighten the load we stopped about every 100' and downed a bottle and left it to pick up on the way back the next morning. By the time we reached the entrance to the city, an arch cut by the Etruscan people 2,500 years ago, we were a tad wonky! Ciao, I'm sure I have Italian blood in my extremely nordic genetics somewhere!
Adopted by Bob Starekow
Cinco de Mayo...or El Dia de la Batalla de Pueble, as it is called in Mexico. Our version of it began after the American Civil War to help Mexican-American people celebrate together. It is now a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. In 2005 I was convinced I needed to go to Guadalajara to have an item I needed for my business manufactured. After spending a week doing business in the bowels of the city I spent a lovely day wandering the provincial town of Tlaquepaque. It was early Sunday morning when I came across these fellows passing the morning together in the town park. It was obvious by their body language and ease of being together that this was a regular gathering. The church bells were ringing and they never moved. I'm taking wild guess that "their women" were inside saying prayers for them! There seems to be a common thread in almost all cultures that the men congregate while women pray...it is especially common to see in Italy, as witnessed by my own eyes, in every village on every Sunday that I visited. Ok...I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they got up extra early and already went. Adios mi amigas e amigos, it's time for a margarita somewhere!
ADOPTED BY PEGGY VANDETTI
In 1851 a painter by the name of Sir Edwin Landseer was commissioned to paint several panels for the Palace of Westminster. The Royals didn't pay the poor man and the panels ended up on the auction block and sold to private parties. Titled, Monarch of the Glen, become a famous image that was used by the Pears Soap Company and then by John Dewars and Sons Distillery and also by Glenfiddich. It is also on the logo for the Hartford Financial Services, Inc. The artist had to "find" wild stags to draw for his painting unlike myself who took a photograph for reference. Still not easy to find...but easier to draw from! As an artist we sometimes lose control of where our art ends up and how it is used. It's a tough business with lots of competition...but worth the reward when someone tells you that your art has touched them. Hope you are having a fabulous day and that my art has touched you, well, not literally :) Ciao art lovers...till we meet again tomorrow!
ADOPTED by SUE STAREKOW TANZABEL
When my daughter graduated from Montana State University I arranged to meet her and her friend, Joy, in Venice, Italy. The ladies had spent a month hiking and climbing the Alps of Switzerland and Italy. After camping out under a tarp for a month I thought they would enjoy a little luxury. After a few nights in the bustling city of, Venice, I had rented a room in a B&B in a small village called Negrar that was central for hiking trails and Lago di Garda...or Lake Garda. Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy and is an extremely popular tourist destination. It is a beautiful moraine valley and is populated with many restaurants and luxury hotels and is accessed via a VERY windy road where they all drive REALLY fast. Being the smart woman that I am I rented a car so that we could explore off the beaten track. WELL...I speak just enough Italian to be dangerous and get by but, I don't read it! HUGE miscalculation. I was the only one old enough to legally drive a rental car so it was up to me...and it was a shifter. I hadn't driven a shift car for many, many years and this one had a really touchy clutch and fast brakes. It wasn't pretty. The 2 other "adults" in the car were having such laughing fits that they were useless in helping me navigate. We were lost for hours and kept coming upon this little roundabout that had the proverbial "Mash" sign with what seemed like 20 arrows with names of things pointing different directions. (I haven't mentioned yet that I had also purchased Opera tickets for that night as a surprise. They were for Aida in Verona at the oldest operating outdoor, opera arena in Italy.) By the time we arrived at the B&B I was having a melt down...which was making them laugh even harder! Taking a 5 minute break to unload we were on the road again to find Verona and the opera arena...I forgot the tickets! More melt down and laughing. We finally got in and it was amazing! The next day I let my daughter drive and I sat in the back and tried to "relax". We came upon this beautiful lakeside beach and set up under a willow tree and enjoyed the breeze...and some much needed vino. Whew. La dolce vita...the good life!
IT'S THE HALFWAY POINT...ONLY 50 MORE LITTLE GEMS TO GO!
ADOPTED by Jeff Duford, yes, our nephew!
Every fall New England is inundated with tourists referred to as "leaf peepers".
I have a great Grandfather, Jehu P. Weaver 1837-1906, buried in Augusta, Maine. My sister, Joyce, and I went to find his final resting place. He was a doctor in the Civil War for The Union and was an active advocate for women's rights and the dangers of immunizations. He and my Great Grandmother, Nancy Ann Cox 1853-1912, made their home in Chillicothie, Missouri. My Great Grandmother was also technically a Doctor with a degree, but was not allowed to actually be one so her shingle indicated midwifery...an acceptable profession for women. She was a truly independent woman who fought for women's rights and also against the dangers of immunizations. Evaline Mary Eustacia Weaver 1875-1944, my Grandmother, married a young man that had "run away" from his upper crust family in Pennsylvania to the west and ended up in Missouri. My Grandmother was a published writer and poet. I'm telling you all this because I think their old fashioned names are wonderful, but also because I love that we come from a long line of fiercely independent women that have lived "outside" the proverbial box...sometimes against their husbands will. My Great Grandmother and her Husband Jehu didn't see eye to eye and lived out their lives in different states, but never got divorced, which brings me back to Maine. I feel so fortunate that my Mother, an artist, and Dad, carried on the tradition by never telling my sisters and myself that we couldn't do or be something because we were women. So to end this LONG short story...I was a true "leaf peeper" on our Great Grandfather expedition and took as many pictures as I could of the amazingly beautiful fall leaves along the way.