A Trip to the Anza-Borrego National Park

Coyote Mountain (aka the backyard)
After a 5am taxi cab and a two hour flight, we arrived at Palm Springs International Airport on Saturday to snow topped mountains and warm sunshine. If you ever get a chance to fly into Palm Springs go for it - it's worth it! How often do you get to land and then step off the back end stairway of the plane onto the tarmac like a rock star? Instant sunshine gratification that's what.
It didn't last long though because by the time we arrived that afternoon in Borrego Springs (after a detour through lunch and multiple margaritas) the sun had slipped behind rolling gathering clouds. On our return from our first foray out into the desert the sprinkles began to fall, soon turning to full on rain. The desert valley ended up getting 1.5 out of 2 inches of annual rainfall. It was beautiful to see - the way the light shifted and changed on Coyote Mountain and within a day green things began springing up all over the desert floor.
Each day was spent exploring a different section of the Anza-Borrego National Park. On Sunday we took an exploritory hike up Hawk Canyon. Andy & I started off together, climbing up above the canyon, but then, as it were inevitable, he took off to summit some yonder peak and I moseyed my way further up the canyon. After our return to the Jeep with water and snacks, I worked on one of soon to be several desert watercolors. The light and clouds and shadows were changing so swiftly that within seconds the colors had all changed. I quickly acclimated to painting rather swiftly which is against my nature but I must admit, I've gotten quite hooked!
Our drive back into town was met with a continuation of the shifting light and some of the most unusual cloud formations. Lucy & I theorized that the clouds were forming from the evaporation of water directly out of the desert floor. Shifting sky reaching spires and tentacles wisping up at the base of each mountain. Completely breathtaking.
Andy climbing the wind caves
The following day, Monday, we took a Jeep ride through Split Mountain - a sheer canyon about a mile with a wash flat and clear enough to drive all the way through. (I tried several times to take pictures but they all came out pretty blurry) On the other side of the canyon we parked and took a hike up into the hills to see the Wind Caves. Andy of course immediately had to climb them - love that guy =)
Beyond the Wind Caves lies an area called Elephant Knees. Here is a picture of them taken through an ocotilo:
They are basically dunes formed into mud and then hardened. The area used to be under water ages ago, so when you look closely at the mud you can find all sorts of fossilized shellfish and the whole area glittered in the sun from calcite deposits. Lucy had a field day poking through it all. Such archealogical exploration was rendered easier by all the previous rain that for perhaps just the day, un-hardened some of the hardened mud, making it into some pretty muddy mud.
Our last day we hiked to a fairly famous section of the park called Palm Canyon. It was called such because it was one of two spots where water is almost constant and hidden deep up in the canyon is an actual small oasis - an old grove of palm trees near a watering hole. Of course, after all the rains what is normally a mere trickle this time of year was a fully flowing gushing bubbling stream. Wildlife and fresh greens abounded.
We concluded Tuesday after the Palm Canyon hike with a mad dash to Palm Springs where a fine meal and a few more margaritas awaited us pre-flight. Afterall we had no choice since there was a birthday to celebrate!
All in all... well, is it time to go back yet?


Has it Been So Long?

I suppose so... how on earth did January get Gone this fast?? I had so many things I was "Going to Do". And here it is, a day before I leave on vacation again.

In part I know I have been distracted. I've been alternating between feeling researchey inquisitive due to the amazing exhibit I went to and feeling domesticly inclined. This month has been filled with things such as organizing, cleaning, clearing, reading reading reading, painting painting painting and the begininngs of my first quilt. It's been lovely actually. Just boppin along, following my bliss. No show to prepare for. No deadlines looming.

But I feel... not quite guilty and not quite discontent, but somewhere between. Shifty.

I had all of these Goals I was shooting for which I had managed to sweep under the rug for awhile - rationalizing that I was burnt out and needed the break. Which is/was true. December rung me out. But December was also a Rekoj success and I feel like I took all that spark and growth and energy and just well... swept it under the rug. Packed it all up in a box and shoved into a corner. Put the lid on AND covered it with a blanket.

Now all those Goals are knocking a bit louder, a bit more insistent and it's time to pull that box back out. Time to get Rekoj back on her feet.

Some goals for February, just to put them out there to the Universe:
- Finish the Website
- Continue with The Wild series and make more prints / greeting cards
- Post all remaining photographed pendants on Etsy
- Make a fresh batch of Rekoj clothing and gather friends for a modeling photoshoot
- Finish the 2 oil paintings in progress and begin the 3rd that's been sitting in my head

Busy, but not impossible. They just all kinda go together.

First things first though - Tommorow, (at an ungodly hour) I will be departing with Andy via flight to spend 4 glorious days exploring the desert with his family. I've heard it may rain, which I'm actually kind of excited about. It's not everyday that you get to experience rain in the desert. My watercolors are packed and with luck I'll even remember my camera. I'll be back on Wednesday with an update on my adventures!


Downtown Irritation

A little "Life in Downtown Seattle" anecdote for you:

Today, while I was returning to work from lunch I was walking my usual path along First Avenue: A quick tug of the door to insure it locked, walk foward, admire the pigeons pecking at dried puke on the sidewalk, make a wide circle bypass around the somewhat odor-ful fellow who has been living in the darkened doorway of the Plymouth Housing Group office, squeeze past another pedestrian on the overcrowded section of sidewalk in front of Ohana's outdoor seating area and arrive at the corner of Blanchard. Cars are stopped on First, waiting for the light. Two young businessy type guys are waiting for the light to change on the opposite corner. I look to my right to see if there is any one-way traffic approaching towards me. Confirming that the street, as usual, was completely free of cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles or flying saucers, I step out into the intersection to safely cross - yes, against the light. Not a problem when there is absolutetly NO ONE is coming.
Two steps into it do I realize why the young businessy guys are waiting for the light instead of crossing themselves - a quick on/off of a siren and I see a motorcycle cop sitting behind me, also waiting for the light. I give a tilt back of my head and a shrug of my shoulders in a complete "Good Grief" gesture and step back to the curb. The guys across from me? Laugh merrily.

No harm done - no ticket or anything. But as I completed my walk back to work I got to thinking how completetly ridiculous it was that this police officer even noticed me or cared as I looked around at the prevailant graffitti and the 5 homeless for any 1 businessy type. Why the hell is SPD putting time, thought and effort into harrasing common pedestrians when Belltown overall is so under-patroled as to lead to alley lurking crime, club scene shootings and smelly fellows sleeping in a doorway of First avenue in broad daylight???

This is not a rant about any one of those things in paticular - I know and accept that it is all part of living where I live. It's not okay - people should be able to go out to a club without getting shot, walk to the corner store without gettitng threatened and smelly dude needs some serious help & love from the society that rejected him- it's not okay but I accept it.

What I don't get is Seattle's unhealthy approach to pedestrians. Coming back to the office I was consoled a bit by reading this article by Daniel Jack Chasan. At least I'm by FAR not the only pedestrian who feels this way.


Touched & Sparked

Not too much has been happening on the Rekoj front this week, other than a CRAZY amount of inspiration coming in the form of quilting of all things... More on that soon I'm sure.

I wanted to comment and just put it out there how much I wholeheartedly agree with Christine's post from yesterday. So many times I have tried to articulate these very thoughts and always felt like I fell short. Her words and thoughts on the subject of love, life and purpose are so eloquent and beautiful and sparking true to me that I want all of my friends, family and soulmates to click on the link and read the post.

I could just quote or paraphrase, but that doesn't feel right. Go - read from the Swirlygirl.


Among Other Things

Rekoj is quite busy working on this:

A much overdue, long awaited ACTUAL website! Hooray!

I had one before - years ago Andy taught me some very basic html. Enough that I could quickly set up a portfolio website before an Olympia Arts Walk show. And then... well it just stayed that way. Yep - the classic "3 year old and no longer valid at all and embarrassed to send people to the website" kind of website. Oops. How does time fly like that? So I let it expire and then I anguished for ages on which new domain name to go with. (Rekoj Design or something more general to encompass ALL artwork that I do)

In the end I decided to stick with Rekoj Design - because afterall, it has become my "brand" that I have built up over the past 5 years. From way back in the days of the Olympia Clothing Project and I Heart Rummages to now. And I decided that just because Rekoj began with clothes, didn't mean that the new website had to be nothing but clothes. The over-arching theme is that it's really all about the line drawings and the art of it. So hence the super graphic homepage. Building the pages and the links isn't the hard part, nor what has kept me procrastinating. It's the picture taking honestly. I really have a steady dislike for dealing with cameras and photos. Good grief. Won't be a very interesting website without 'em though so I better get snappin! Among other things...


Studio Arranging Bug

Yep indeed - Rekoj caught it too. Seems like just about everyone has gotten some sort of new year's organizing/arranging/cleaning bug and I'm no exception. My primary motivator was the gift of an Ikea flat-file from my folks. Totally an awesome and much needed gift, but man did I have a handful getting the thing in here!
Has anyone else built one of these things? Did it take you FOUR hours too? A power drill would have helped I suppose, but I'm stubborn and started with the tools the cute little guy in the pictures told me to use - as in a manual screwdriver.
Okay okay ... it really wasn't that bad - kind of fun, actually. But it DID take me four hours. And that isn't counting the time I spent organizing and moving my old filing cabinet that used to sit in it's place. Or the time I spent drinking wine with Betsy & Xtina....
Anywhoo - here be the first phase of the glorious results!

Phase two? Actually putting stuff IN the flat file....


Why Georgia's on my Mind

Miss O'Keeffe is on my mind because of a journey I made on Saturday. A road trip with two companions into the northern lands of B.C. to see the largest exhibition of her work to ever be seen in Canada. A mecca of sorts since I have looked to Georgia's work ever since I was a young girl. She was the first artist I recognized as a painter (and not just some stuffy history stuff.) The first historical figure I connected with - not just as a painter but as a woman. At various points throughout my life I ended up studying her or writing about her in some form. And all the while I never did actually like those giant, saturated flower paintings... always way more moved by her bones.

But Saturday was the very first time I had seen more than one of her paintings in person. And much to my thrill, the Vancouver Art Gallery was exhibiting such a lesser known range of her work that many of the pieces I had never seen before at all, in person or otherwise.

My fourth or fifth time through the show, after all the crowds of noisy elder ladies and bouncing children had left for the day and the security guard was shooing me along, I reached a point of sheer thrill-chills-exhilaration. Me and all these gorgeously rich works. I realized then that what does it for me about O'Keeffe isn't necessarily the glory of a famous artist or even an artist whose work has influenced my own - but rather it is more just purely the celebration in a life well lived. That woman had cojones and I will always always look up to her for that. Thank you Georgia.


A History of Users

Ah yes. A return into the swing of things. Rain is raining, winos are whining and cranes are swinging. Just another day in Belltown. Is it the stark contrast of a vacation spent mostly away that is making me feel glum? Or is it the swift return to action with the moving forces around the fate of my home? Barely a day after the new year and the emails are flying with the attorney. Yippee! Welcome 2008!

The contrast with vacation is that while I was away from it all I realized just how NICE it was to be away from it all. It's so easy to get swept up into everything. Taking a bow out with a tip of your hat is quite necessary at times, as it certainly was for me. Am I refreshed and ready once again for battle? Nope. Waiter, I'd like another order of vacation please!

Despite the impending battle I've still got some ideas and goals for my art in the coming months. I want to paint more. No more of these little visions sitting for months in my head - time to let them free! I already started last night by finger smearing some vibrant oils into a thirsty old cupboard door. Yep - "Horizon Starts Right Here" is on it's way out. I also want to work more in the Wild series and add them to Etsy as prints. I also want to get back into the habit of daily Etsy listing. Time to find all those pendants happy homes!

And then of course there are the usuals - none that require a resolution per se, but just some ideals on living healthier and more balanced. Cooking at home more, more scheduled studio time and more priority given to actually making it to the gym! Ah sweet New Years.