September 5, 2014

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In yesterday’s blog, I kind of jumped around because I walked the waterfront then doubled back with cousin Bob. He is fun to be with, very talkative, and he likes to learn everything about a subject before he goes on to another.DSC09215 (Copy)

For instance, I spotted a yarn tree in its early stages; intrigued because I’d run into the original yarn tree in Turkey, so we stopped.

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By the time we left the yarn shop, I could have taught a class in natural dyes. I tried dying wool for rugs in the early 1970’s and found out what I did wrong. Naturally dyed yarns are really big now according to this proprietor.

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At a yacht riggers, I expected to see them with a yacht in the warehouse and rigging the sails. Nope!  You take classes here and learn to rig your sales yourself. Christian Toss and her husband Brian have books and videos and classes. They were beastly busy with the upcoming boat show. And since we’d already had lunch and we wanted to see a museum and a bit of an art fix for me, Bob left for his house and we continued around town.

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Jim often says I make my pictures tell a story. So I’m going to let them do that.DSC09192 (Copy)

On the waterfront is a huge patio of concrete with many panels. We guess the panels were set in as a fundraiser. No information about them.

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I’m going to let the museum tell a story, too. This picture of a poor original picture I include because it shows what I was seeing in the huge red cedar stumps at cousin Davids get-away camp a couple of blogs back. Wood boards inserted into the tree allowed them to cut the tree with a cross-cut saw.

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There was child labor, prostitution and men shanghaied in this community. All under the knowing eye of the powers that be.

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You can double click on any of these pictures to get an enlarged view. Then back arrow to the blog again.

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Prostitution was a dead-end street. Few walked away with a grand new life or pocketfuls of money except a madam and she didn’t have a free ride either.

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The “good old days” were full of horror and hardship for many. But, we got from there to here and no one can change history. It helps to know where we come from and to learn from the past.

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But, back to the waterfront. I got a kick out of this little boy and his dog being helpful to dad in the boat.

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I laughed at this shirt.

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Holding onto Innocence,by Jacquiline Hurlbert 695.00

A bit of an art fix at the Williams Gallery.

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Nice place.

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This painting was in the museum. So typical here, the windblown trees. Winds can be fierce her.

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My cousin told us John Steinbeck’s boat was at the other Marina. We couldn’t find out much about it, except that a guy from Salinas was willing to pay 700 thousand dollars to fix it up so he could put it in his men’s clothing store in Salinas. Why it is here?  Don’t know. Men on the dock said it was underwater for 90 days. Online, it claims 30 days. Who knows.

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We drove to Cousin Bob’s house. He has let loose his farmer instincts and has a huge garden. He claims the vegetables just jump out of the ground.

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He is building higher boxes for his garden out of beautiful red cedar.

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I picked the last of his french beans, he picked me some tomatoes and a kohlrabi. One apple on the ground was ripe, out of three types. A nice little taste of home.

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While I sit in Monroe, I’m still playing tourist in La Conner from my picture file. I said it is a pretty town and it is. Some buildings have signs telling what it used to be in a distant past.

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I can still remember meat markets where the butcher chopped out a hunk of meat from whatever part of the carcass you wanted or could afford. For us, it was never the real meaty cuts. And, at that time, ready ground meat was unheard of. Now, the ubiquitous hamburger is everywhere. Just seeing this building brings back memories I hadn’t thought about in years.

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Traveling as I do, I don’t have pets anymore, so I manage to pet other people’s. We meet dogs, mostly. This woman reminded me of my daughter with her pup in a stroller. The dog is 11 years old and needs a bit of help. All three were friendly and cute.

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Jim warned the owner before I got to this little cutie. “She’s gonna want to take her picture.”  She was a real beggar, looking for a treat, all smiles and sweetness.

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And, of course, we kept popping in and out of shops. I did most of the popping, Jim kind of hangs around the door and waits patiently for me. Three dimensional layers of cut and polished wood pieces make up this wall hanging at the Wood Merchants.

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Nice work

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At That’s Knot All, an artists co-op, Sherry Shipley’s colorful, firey horses galloped across a canvas.

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This ceramic plate reminded me of a rug. All local artist here. Run by volunteers. Neat.

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The owner of this gallery said I could take ONE picture. She had some beautiful stuff but I especially liked her blown glass light fixture.

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My neighbor brought me part of a cow skull. The birds eat the connecting tissue like cuttle bone and they soon fall apart. So, to have a full skull is rare unless you live near a (ugh) slaughter house. I would never have thought to decorate it with hundreds of pieces of turquoise.

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We ate lunch here at tables in the back, open to the fresh air and a view of the harbor. Great clam chowder and steamed clams.

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It surprises me what people do to guitars. This one is a wine rack.

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I kind of like the idea of spray painting some old shoes and using them to plant in.

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In the middle of town, on this main street, is a waterfall. A huge staircase leads to the top where the Quilt Museum is located. It has been a long time since I’ve been able to climb a huge staircase that goes up a steep hill.  I’m sorry I didn’t take a picture of the stairway because it was a small triumph for me.  I’ll post the quilt show tomorrow.





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Yesterday, we drove around near Semiahmoo point. We’d seen a resident eagle here in 2009 and hoped to spot it again. Instead, we found these dead trees, trimmed with a flat spot for eagle landings.

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On this stretch of public land stand three of these giant perches.  Isn’t it nice what people will do to help nature become closer to us?

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Our goal was to have lunch at VIA, and find a sign we’d seen where you could buy fresh picked peas, zuchinni, and other fresh veggies. We found the sign, and the farm, but we had just been swacked with high-priced store produce, nothing organic, and no room in our small fridge. We’ll return in  a couple of days. On that same road is the Birch Bay Waterslides, another popular summer venue for tourists.

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Jim randomly chose roads and we discovered Birch Bay State Park, and at one point dead ended at a BP Refinery, We found a field filled with freshly baled hay rolls.

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Following your nose is relaxing and fun, especially if you have a camera in hand.

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I find it enjoyable that people are creative, as these two mailboxes show, one a dolphin, the other an egret. DSC07820 (Copy)

As we approached VIA, the tide was out and boats sit stranded. Deliberately, of course, but it looks strange to see several dozen boats sitting on the ground attached to a buoy.

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And if you live there, and this is your beachfront property, what do you do with those buoys that wash up on shore? Beach art.

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A lot of driftwood get’s people’s creative juices moving.

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Driftwood beach art around Oakland and Berkeley is so popular, it slowed traffic down. The cities banned the practice and knocked them all down. Some pieces measured 9 to 12 feet high. The protest was so mighty, they had to rescind the ban.

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By the time we got to VIA, the tide was really rolling in.DSC07837 (Copy)

By the time we finished eating, the water was lapping up to the shore, just beneath our window.

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Theie menu has this rendering of a skinny dog and the waitress told me  the painter, Jefferson, is a finger painter. She pointed out the bar surface was entirely finger painted by this method.

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The bar has a lot of glare, as did the menu.

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She told me this is his daughter. It reminded me of the face on the barroom floor.

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He seems to like to paint skinny dogs. The waitress asked him to paint her some skinny chickens, but he didn’t.

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Another painting (of his daughter) on the wall, has a crush mark on the left edge. She explained that they had just bought the restaurant and had been open about 8 months when a “King tide” ripped through the place, smashed all the waterfront windows, flooded the floor and knocked ceiling tiles down, and this painting hit the floor and got damaged. The owner cleaned it up and rehung it on the wall. It has some dings and a small piece of seaweed embedded in the paint.

Art is so basic to human nature, from ancient wall paintings to, skinny dogs and driftwood. It isn’t all beautiful, but I love the idea of expression. It boggles my mind.



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The Paul Moeller Studio was built by a group of volunteers and is still part of my responsibility as the President of the Board.  We just bought new equipment and one piece was excessively noisy. I went to check it out.DSC03960 (Copy)

We settled on a fix for the noisy playback equipment, pretty boring stuff. I don’t program anymore. The one change I admired that I hadn’t seen before, was Ed Lark, our manager, put up pictures of people who have made over 100 programs. I thought that was a nice touch. Jim programmed and made 95 productions for Olympia, WA. public access studio. I worked on about 80 productions when I was active. I’m not sure of the exact numbers, but it was one of the things we had in common when the dating service paired us up on Senior People Finder.

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When I visit San Andreas, I like to stop by the local Arts Council Gallery which is currently hosting their annual Student Art Show. They had some pretty nice pieces.

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Student art is very affordable, and what a wonderful thing to happen to a budding artist is for someone to pay money for their work.

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If you’ve never visited the gallery, it is an ever changing scene of local talent. I try to get there at least four times a year. Give it a go.

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I had other errands, a leak in my power steering, a bit of shopping. It took up half the day. I received the last paper I was waiting for to finish my taxes.  It was nice to get out and do something different for a change, especially with the beautiful weather we are having.


February 18, 2014

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Look at that grumpy guy. I interrupted his reading. We were supposed to meet Jim’s friend, Bill Dob, but that fell through so we again enjoyed the weather and the park. I walked the two miles in 30 minutes at the recreation center with the Leslie Sansone video. I like it. It also gives some upper body movements that are beneficial and definitely gets your heart pumping.

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This park is really beautiful with so many palm trees. Painting them will be a challenge but I took 40 pictures of palm trees yesterday with that idea in mind.

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And this morning, I’m blogging on my new system 7 computer. I spent several hours learning the difference between the old one and the new one. This computer has programs that came free with the computer, some interesting stuff that I explored as well.

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The palms have such individual character when you really look at them.

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My friend Pam says you have to think of them as living beings, which they are.

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Today is laundry day, and packing to return to Murphys. We move to within range of the airport at Ontario tomorrow. Hope we have a signal.




February 11, 2014

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I love art and have always been a wanna-be artist. Pam at one time taught art and offered to give me two lessons. She said, pick a picture you like and I’ll teach you. I’m always attracted to paintings of people, so she suggested I choose from one of the homeless people pictures I took. I have a homeless brother and I tend to do that wherever I am.

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I took two the day we were downtown Palms Springs, but, they make me sad. We considered could I turn my interest into a political statement by painting homeless people? No, the pictures make the statement. I want to paint something happy and beautiful.

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I like my bird picture I took.

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I thought the saxophonist made for a fairly simple people painting.

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Among people photos, this is the one I liked best, the woman taking a picture of her friend modeling a hat.

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Hedging the bet, I chose a simple desert scene as probably an easier place to start.

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The night before my lesson she said think of the tree of life, your life. And see if you can look around and find 20 different shades of green.  I thought maybe I could do some palm trees and mountains. When in the desert paint desert pictures, that  kind of mentality that I’ve heard from various artists over the years.

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She loaned me a book on color charts.

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In my long ago past,  (early 60’s) I tried painting with oils and it was enjoyable, but not very successful. Recently, I tried a papier mache’ sculpture and couldn’t understand how to use acrylic paints and gave up and put the thing in a box.

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After talking it over, she decided I should paint on a student canvas a person, not a tree, not a desert scene. We chose a picture of her’s of a little boy. He has a long way to go, but the palette board for acrylics is very different. The brushes, too. I learned gobs and came away energized. I’ll try and finish this painting today, or at least get it in better proportion. Not only did I get a lesson, but lunch.

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Pam made this killer soup with mushrooms, peppers, chicken breast and fennel sausage with a small amount of noodles. Delish.

On a different note: In the morning,  Jim and I walked the park, looking to find my bike, both of us knowing that this is a park full of mature people, unlikely that we would find our bike lurking under someone’s canopy. It was our morning exercise anyway, and we learned from talking to people we met that bike theft is very common in this park, especially men’s bikes, which mine was. It seems, the thieves jump the fence, choose an unguarded bike, and ride out through the gate. The next weekend it will be for sale at a flea market. We went to find a White Sheet, (sales paper) but it didn’t list flea markets. We might try a regular newspaper today. But, I’ve mentally given up the idea that I might find that bike. There must be 300 in our park alone. And, another 70 parks like ours. It is probably a very lucrative business.


February 5, 2014

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The “slabs” is called a city because it was one for about 5,000 people at one time. Now, it serves as home to about 200 people, and for them, it is their city. Amenities include a place of worship.

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A few businesses. The Mechanic, Linda, the news editor, and solar Mike are old timers of 25 years or so.

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Various clubs regularly meet and/or stop at the slabs. Loners On Wheels, Jim’s former club, the WINS, Travel’n Pals. Leo, who we came to see, left early. He told us most of his friends from the Oasis Club are gone. In his early eighties, the newcomers and he don’t have much in common.

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There is a free shoe shop and a pile of free clothing should you be in need.

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A coffee house, organic espresso near the library.

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The library hasn’t changed much.

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I donated a couple of books. They have a two-seater cafe inside, now.

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In the morning, after we learned that Leo was okay, we took a walk past the pet cemetery.

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I didn’t count them, but there is probably 150 graves here. And a lot of love.

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We took the same walk we would have taken with Leo and his dogs, had he been here, out by the pits. The first time I visited the slabs, these huge cement bunkers were plain concrete, now all graffittied, and people live inside of them. There are three huge ones like this one.

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Whoever lives here roofed over and has an outdoor toilet and septic system and a garden on the right nearby.

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One thing Randy complained about and Jim, too, is that Slab City has failed to do something about trash. Gathering it and making trash art is not a complete solution.

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But Sandi Andrews has built it into her mud wall. She is allowing it to dry thoroughly.

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This is her mud oven where she cooks as much as she can without fuel.

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This is her God phone. It helps to have a sense of humor.

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She makes her living off of her art work. She has two signs, this one is an effigy of herself.

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Her paintings are soft and flowing. She showed me her technique and how she works.

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I liked her work and bought a painting. Her work can be described as happy. She worked as a gold miner for seven years before settling in at the slabs. She sells CD’s of her mandolin and guitar music.

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She has three painted vehicles out front. This is Sandi with “Hannah,” mostly driven by her son. She says, I don’t go much of anywhere. She invited us to share happy hour with her but when Leo wasn’t there, we left early.

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We stopped in at Solar Mike’s to have him check our battery set-up.

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He adjusted it and we decided not to get another panel. Jim had boondocked for six weeks straight and he was worried about the low voltage. All’s well. Mike says about three people cause 99% of the trash, here. He calls them strippers. We pushed on and spent the night under a starry sky at The Overlook, near Borego Springs.





September 17, 2013

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Driving from Kelispell to Libby yesterday morning  brought us through 9 miles of road work much of it really, bumpy gravel.

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Elevation rises, more trees and stump farms with scraggly second or third growth. One plot had about 3 scraggly trees and nothing but stumps. This is lumber country obviously and the twigs we see everywhere that pass for trees is disheartening even if it is private land.

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Libby is called the City of Eagles. We didn’t see any flying around or nesting spots along the roadway, but there were plenty of them around town.

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We had expected to see the Museum and Nordic Heritage Center, but it was closed.

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We missed by one day the Nordic Heritage Days annual celebration. This sign was left on the street. We pulled in to stay at the VFW in town and just walked the downtown area and took pictures.

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I  judge the health of a small town by its art or lack of it, good beer, buildings that are well cared for and if you see a nice child care center, a drug treatment center, senior center, plenty of doctors offices, a hospital and good looking schools you know you are in a progressive community. Libby qualifies. The main street was only about four blocks long and two blocks deep, but it was full of murals and they are expensive. DSC00811 (Copy)


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Even their garbage cans were painted. This one mentions their Annual River Front Blues Festival. DSC00807 (Copy)

They still have a working theater in town. Nice.

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The Libby Cafe claims to have the best huckleberry flapjacks in Montana.  I liked their sign.

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This one too.

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Libby has an Amtrak Station so you can get where you want to go. Country living, small town, pretty nice place to live.


September 1, 2013


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After a gorgeous sunrise in Superior…one of the loveliest things about living on the road, we see the sun go down each night and the sun rise each morning. We left Superior, WI about nine, crossed this unique curving bridge into the State of Minnesota right at Duluth, and parked practically in an alley in Grand Rapids, MN.  In fact, we are parked between signs, one reads, No Overnight Parking and another Overnight Parking Violators will be towed at owners expense.  We actually got permission from a bank manager to park here in our constant hunt for free parking.  Thank you Wells Fargo.

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We are parked in “Old Town” Grand Rapids. Old fashioned light posts, beautifully festooned with flower baskets so full I could reach then with my nose,though petunias are not particularly fragrant. To the left of this photo is an open lot with a farmers market just closing up as I started my walk about town. I bought delicious cherry tomatoes of every color. My goal was to visit Central School on the corner of 169 South and 2 West. We are beelining for Washington State and sticking tight to Highway 2.

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Central School is on the National Register of Historical Places. The wooden central stairway and hardwood floors, are a thing of beauty. Four classrooms upstairs, four downstairs and a basement that once held offices and a cafeteria. The building now rents to shopkeepers, with a bakery, a quilt shop, antiques, quality wood work and jewelry and unique gifts. A lovely stop.

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No matter how many times I see this sign, it brings me a chuckle. The other one I like is: “She who dies with the most fabric wins.” I guess you can tell I’m a quilter.

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I’d never seen this pattern before. It is called stepping stones. ABC’s of Quilting carries some neat quilt kits along with the usual fabrics and quilting supplies.

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The owner of Whispering Woods Gallery displays the work of many artists. These lovely items above are placed on a basswood plinth. He makes furniture, beds, desks, benches and uses various woods including basswood, which is unfamiliar to me.

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He demonstrated the cambium layer of bark of the basswood tree because it is known for its strength. He uses it for bucket handles, it can provide rope for a bunk bed, or braided   hanging ornaments or lamps. The wood is soft like pine but very strong.

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I loved that you can stop here for a game of checkers, another little area is set aside with floor pillows and a children’s reading library. Too fun.  You can sit and enjoy a treat from the bakery. Gifts, antiques, old and new items. A lot to offer.

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I left the school and directly across the side street was a line-up of nice shops, Hopperton’s Moccasins and gifts. Nice stuff.

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MacRostie Art Center where Ashley Kolka was in the process of setting up a new exhibit.

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Fine arts, sculpture, jewelry, fine paintings, multiple medas.  this chair is exquisite with a price tag to match at $6,000.

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Next door, a clothing store with wearable art, bags, shoes, scarves.

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At Stained Glass With Class, I asked, “Are you the glass man?”  George Berkholz answered: look at my hands, I’m always full of cuts.  You really can’t tell, they are more like scratches. He and his wife Lisa work the shop and also host classes. I watched him work for awhile. He cuts glass so fast you can’t get the action with the camera.

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He makes some unusual items.

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Nice Shop, friendly people.

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The Yarn Gallery was my favorite stop, well, a toss up with the wood gallery. The yarns are varied and pretty amazing, but I loved, loved, loved the yarn chair.

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I’m goofy about art chairs. I don’t know quite how or why I’ve come across a bunch of objects turned art with yarn. My photos include a yarn bus, a cab, a bench I think an elephant or a giraffe. Too fun! For a quick stop, this was a nice area of Grand Rapids to be in.


August 11, 2013

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The Lyme Academy of Art is in the village of Lyme which is typical of what I’ve been seeing here. Neat white houses, white fences, beautiful trees. A lovely, peaceful village. Typically,  if you are visiting the coast, you’ll see coastal paintings, boats, seascapes etc. In New England, I expected some neat white houses. An academy has a different perspective. But, I’m ahead of myself. The first gallery is the faculty gallery in which I found the painting above.

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The only painting of flowers we saw was also faculty.

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It didn’t take long to realize that the human figure is emphasized as a starting point in the academy and that is how it should be.

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These two lesson drawings by a student show the intensity of studying every muscle, limb, joint, and gestures and how they interact under clothing.

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The students draw from live models. Two student’s paintings of a woman sitting in a chair.

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How different they are.

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The students are encouraged to each do a self-portrait. This woman discovered her mother in her self-portrait.

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This self-portrait was pastel and under glass so the picture has some interfering glare.

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Also under glass. They are all so different and quite fascinating to me.

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One thing that bothered me about the exhibit was the number of macabre paintings like this:  bloody dead bodies, hazmat figures, holocaustic.

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Faceless. I find them unpleasant and wonder?  Art reflects society, and these are our young people. Is this a reflection of what they subconsciously think about as a future?

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This curious painting has so much going on. A woman swimming while pulling a boat with an unfriendly looking chap in the boat. A kid sticking his tongue out at an older woman walking with a cane. The girl behind her maybe assisting the boy with the blanket as though they are ready to toss it over the woman. It makes the viewer question the subject with an angelic figure on an island in the background. It fascinated me as well as puzzled me.

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Even this bucolic campsite scene has a woman looking kind of brazen and out-of-place, smoking her cigarette in the woods.

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There are a lot of tasteful nudes in the exhibit.

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I particularly liked this one.

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There were few happy paintings, but this garrulous, fantasy crowd was appealing. We are probably looking at  a future children’s book illustrator. Some of the paintings begged the questiion. How are they planning to make a living with their art?

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Compared to 2010, when I visited the academy, I guess I would have to say I was disappointed with the new crop of student’s work. I would loved to have had such an opportunity this academy offers. It is a four-year degree program and costs $22,000 to attend for one year.



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