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Today I did something I have never wanted to do. I like to buy all my art supplies at local businesses…like Dick Blick or Utrecht to support these business who also serve art students. I do this because I remember needing something right away right away in school to work on a piece and I was always so grateful to be able to run to Utrect or Dick Blick or even Michael’s to pick it up. The stores would be gloriously stocked with anything you could ever want and most often you’d buy something cool while gathering a necessity. If Utrect or Blick stores were too far and it was an ART EMERGENCY (they exist!!), I would go to Michaels. Today I needed a tube of Windsor & Newton Quinacridone paint for a commissioned painting.  When I perused online, Utrect/Blick was going to cost me $30 for a small tube! Crazy high cost! So…I check Michaels and learned that they had it cheaper, however they don’t carry professional grade supplies in all their stores any longer.  If I purchased it online I would have to pay $10 to get it relatively quickly…like within 10 days. So…while I fidgeted in my seat (because of my desire to support local) I checked out Amazon…ding! Not only did I get it cheaper, but they will ship it free to receive it by tomorrow. I feel like I may have just sold a piece of my soul to the online devil and I feel really bad to do this…but businesses and e-commerce, I hope, will figure out a better solution. Some places, like Home Depot, will let you snag something online from their store and pick it up down the street relatively quickly and I wish more stores would do that. Perhaps someday I will be able to seek out smaller art supply stores that may be of assistance. Sigh….I am just happy to be able to get my paint by tomorrow.

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Happy 2015!

I have a wish for you….

I wish you to see the beauty in all things – large things and small things.
I wish you to embrace the idea of silly and strive to be it often!
I wish you to start a conversation with an artist (it may seem scary but we love it!).
I wish you to buy an original piece of artwork that you love (and the story with it).
I wish you to see the world with the wonderment of a child’s eye.
I wish you more laughter and love than you can handle!
I wish you whimsy!

These are all things I try myself to strive for each and every year; some years it’s easier than others. Thank you for being on this journey with me this past year and I’m looking forward to better embracing my artistic whimsy this coming year!

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Opening Thursday, September 11th through Sunday, September 14th, from 10am-5pm the Cedar Avenue Studios artists will be featuring their artwork for viewing and sale!

The Skylight Gallery event is part of a larger weekend event being hosted by the St. Charles Arts Council (www.stcharlesartscouncil.org).  The arts council is hosting their annual Charlies Center for the Arts – ALL of the ARTS – ALL over TOWN!  There are so many events going on this weekend in town!!!

Batavia Enterprises, Inc. is the building owner and they were so kind to allow us to utilize a really creative space in the rear of the building at 1020 Cedar Avenue in St. Charles, IL. The space features one large gallery room with 8 smaller rooms that make up one large space.  So, the six of us gathered up all of our artwork and hauled it into the space, hung it up to show the world, and now we are excited to open it to the public.

There is an Artist Reception being held Saturday night, September 13th from 7-10pm.  If you are in the area, please feel free to come on down and get your dessert on while looking at art and hobnobbing with the creatives!  We love everyone and it will be lots of fun…no stuffiness…just fun!  There are also notecards, prints of work, and other goodies available!

For more information: visit https://www.facebook.com/CedarAvenueStudios

We hope to see you!

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When we arrived in Juneau, we were continuing on our misty cloudy days. It was damp and cool but really not uncomfortable at all. Juneau…you can only get into and out of Juneau by boat or plane. Who knew?? When we first pulled in I could not believe how many boats there were. After learning about the only way in and out, it makes perfect sense!

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We were originally planning to take a helicopter to Mendenhall Glacier on this day, but the fog was way too low for the ‘copters to fly so we wound up taking a bus to the glacier but we would no longer be able to stand on it. Sigh. First, we trammed out way up to Mt. Roberts!

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We measured our wing spans, saw eagles, watched a totem be carved, and learned about the signs that are carved in the trees around the area. The particular native sign on the tree below asks viewers to stop and find the reason why this place is so special.

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After Mt. Roberts we boarded a bus to head to Mendenhall! This was a must-see stop! Juneau is the governmental capital of Alaska although there is rumors amongst the locals that they may transfer this back to Anchorage. There is fear by the people of Juneau because it may then ruin the city of Juneau if most of their population leaves town.

Mendenhall Glacier is currently retreating and it was about 60 degrees when we were there. It was such a beautiful place!

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Onto our last port….Ketchikan!

 

 

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This post may require grabbing a cup of coffee.  There will be a lot of images and each one is worthy of a significant amount of your time. This place is beyond words and each word I type shows me how insignificant language is for this hallowed place. If I had seen this place as a child, I would be working there as a Ranger protecting it with a ferocious passion. Here we go…

Towards the end of this year I will turn 50. Therefore it’s of no surprise that I have been longing for a spiritual adventure. With family in the southwest, I had always imagined it would come somewhere on a mountain hike there or perhaps New Mexico via my artwork. Never in my life had I imagined it would take place in Alaska! Alaska….really….Alaska!  I cannot recall the last time I was so “in” the moment before Glacier Bay National Park. This time I was filled with electricity. I had a narrative playing on the television in our cabin and I was hopping in and out of the balcony door like a small child jumping on the stairway gate on Christmas morning. I could not sit still! At breakfast I was anxious and eager to get back to the balcony and when looking outside it looked the mists of Avalon and the water was eerily still as it swished along our bow.

Here is the imagery that made me run back to my balcony! Something really great was coming into our view….

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As we entered the park, we were treated by otters!

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As we moved into the park we were treated to the vision of a sea of ice….and waterfalls….and interesting inlets.  Even what looked like a very small sailboat. Imagine what an adventure THAT would be!

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Something interesting I learned during this adventure was the way the Rangers take care of the park. In order for our ship to enter into Glacier Bay National Park, we had to allow park security personnel to board our ship to assure them we were ready. In order to be “ready” the ship had to stow away all disposable products. All paper napkins, straws, coffee stirrers, tissues…anything that could possibly be blown into the water area had to be put out of sight. The personnel also stayed aboard our ship until we were leaving the park and then they would transfer back on to their own boats in the water. Our ship was also guided by security boats creating invisible ropes in which we had to stay. As the ship turned into the bay, my eyes and my heart synced together in the most magical of moments. Enjoy the images….

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Just when I thought it could not get any better….it did!  We were idling alongside this huge glacier and everything was so very quiet. There were no voices…no motor sounds…no birds or bugs…just peace. Then out of the blue we heard a loud thunderous CRACK and I was scanning the glacier with my camera lens…it was calving!!!

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As the ship continued on its journey through the park…and I was speechless and not wanting time to move forward for one moment…I just wanted to stay in this moment)…we came around to this amazing glacial cave.

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Then I realized how difficult it was to show the scale of this cave…good thing there was a boat nearby!

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As we left Glacier Bay National Park, we were treated to more ice in the water. I was so taken aback by these images and felt compelled to capture their shapes along with the various shades the water kept turning in the Park. The water in Alaska is so interesting. The water was constantly changing from deep blues to Caribbean aqua to minty greens to almost brown.

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But all there was to see was not necessarily water.  As excited as I was to see glaciers, I was also very aware of their fragility and the sadness I feel when I think they are something that may eventually leave. I believe nothing depicts the violence of the creation and extinction of this area as some of the rocks that were jutting out of the water. These images show the scarring that occurred in the development of this place.

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On our way out of the park, we were again greeted by the wildlife that are so lucky to call this home!

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I really did not want to leave this place! Although I know we have wonderful things planned for our stops in Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan…I could have stayed here for a lifetime.

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Who hasn’t seen the photo of a glacier or a National Geographic show featuring glaciers or wondered about glaciers?  They are cold and blue, but for some reason I didn’t really realize how big, cold, and blue they were!  Silly, I know. While at sea we drifted (because you don’t really speedboat your way past these magnificent landmarks) by Hubbard Glacier! It’s currently an advancing glacier that is over 600′ tall!

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Along with amazing colors, the most fascinating part for me was to see all the various layers within the glacial ice itself.

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I have never felt so one with nature before. It was so easy to breathe and it was comforting to see these. It wasn’t exciting and I wasn’t anxious or jumping up and down. I was humbled, in awe, afraid to speak, respectful and knowing immediately that I would miss these sights as soon as I had passed them. The water around us was littered with ice chunks as well. You would have thought it was cold outside…it was chilly…but tolerable with a light jacket and sweater. The colors are simply breathtaking and the sizes of these are remarkable.

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I cannot wait until we get into Glacier Bay National Park!

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Skagway, Alaska is the gateway to the Klondike!  There are less than 1000 people who live in Skagway and it’s an extremely popular port for cruise ships.  When we awoke in the morning and I looked out the window this is what I saw….

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The narrow port is all rocks on one side and I loved that they have all been decorated with various cruise ship lines and organizations and individuals. Although I have no idea how they got up so high to do this!  Collectively it was cool!

In town is this amazing building created for the Arctic Brotherhood. The AB was created in 1899 as a membership organization for those who were looking for gold in the Klondike along the Chilkoot pass. It was created following the arrival of the “City of Seattle” ocean steamer.  The facade of the building is made completely out of pieces of driftwood.  So cool!

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Our adventure in Skagway was to take a bus up to Frasier, British Columbia and then take the White Pass and Yukon Rail back down to Skagway. This railway was built against all odds due to the narrow ledges upon which it is built as well as the equipment challenges when it was built in 1901. It climbs almost 3000 feet in 20 miles and is flanked with cliffs on one side almost continuously.

On our way to Frasier, BC we passed along this amazing waterfall, Bridal Veil and other wonderful images!

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Upon arrival into Frasier we transferred onto the train!  During our tour, our guide inquired if it was Tuesday. We answered that it was indeed Tuesday and she became slightly panicked because groceries were only delivered to the ONE town grocery store on Tuesdays only and if you don’t get there right away you risk not having any groceries for the week.  Can you imagine???  Our train ride through the valley along the cliffs was incredibly beautiful.  During the gold rush days, each adventurer had to carry 2000 pounds of gear over the mountain in order to reach the gold. Imagine….

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Along the route, the tour guide snagged me and took me out between the rail cars.  She told me that there was something special coming up.  It is an old storage area from the late 1800’s where the rail construction crews used to store the explosives. It’s hard to see after July 1st because the plants get too tall. So thrilled that I caught this old relic!

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Such an amazing day of adventure!  We didn’t get a chance to get any gold though. Sigh….  Next stop..Juneau!

 

 

 

 

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