Thursday, April 28, 2011


Last week my husband and I went for an overnight 'retreat' to the Gateway Canyons Resort. Gateway is about an hour from where we live. It used to be a tiny farming community, with a Post Office, and a gas station/grocery store. It has become a resort, nestled along a river and surrounded by beautiful canyon walls.
We weren't there long, but we took a picnic along the river, then my husband went biking from there, while I sat and did a small oil sketch of the Palisade that looms over the canyon, from the back of the pick-up, which I had set up as a comfortable mobile 'studio.'

The next day, we took a terrifying drive up into the steep muddy mountains, then came back (thankfully) to the valley, where I set up my truck-studio and did another small painting while my husband hiked a bit. These two sketches are just 5x7". The first one I did on a gessoed masonite board, and the second is on canvas. I wanted to see which I preferred for this kind of quick oil sketch. The canvas won! It was much easier to paint on, and I like the effect better.

This is a view of the Palisade from our hotel room. We were just across the way from it.

And this is taken in the other direction. The resort has beautiful landscaping, and, while the flowers are not yet in bloom, a lot of the trees were blooming.

On a totally separate topic, yesterday was my day to paint with Alzheimer's patients again. I found that one of my two regular gentlemen has passed on to a better place, but the other one was there, and he was still painting his crocus when I left, after an hour. He is very methodical, and I believe he enjoys painting a great deal. I am so glad that I go to paint when I see him walk into the activity room! There was a new man there, along with all of the women. He did not paint this time, but watched with interest, so I think I can get a brush in his hands when I go again in two weeks. This volunteer work is not an easy thing to do. It pulls at my heartstrings every time. But I know the time passes so slowly for many of the people with this horrible disease, and when we smile and discuss their paintings together, and sometimes we sing, and often they tell me of events in their childhood (which is the point of the activity; to bring out memories), I am so glad that I am there. If anyone is interested in doing this, too, contact your local Alzheimers Association. The program is called "Memories in the Making," and they are glad to train new volunteers. Painting often takes place at the association facility with out-patients, giving their caretakers a short break. I paint at an in-patient facility, and activity directors at such places are also grateful for new volunteers and programs.

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