Thursday, July 31, 2008

Old Dog

Click on photos for a larger version
This is Boomer, without a doubt the most unique dog there ever was. He was a St. Bernard mix. He was known to rip the coat sleeves of people whom he thought walked too close to his pickup when he was in the back. He tolerated cats, more or less, but this one he claimed as HIS kitten. They adored each other. He used to pull Barrie around town in a little red wagon. And he loved to help pack in fire wood. He expected treats when we were eating, and would pick up his treat dish and put it up on the table and wait for you to put something in it. Then he would put it on the floor, eat his treat, and put the dish back up on the table.


A pen and ink I did about a year ago.

Another watercolor


Click on this to open a larger view so you can read it.

My favorite cartoon is Calvin and Hobbs. Tracy got me hooked on it several years ago. At that time, I didn't "get it". I had never figured out that Hobbes was a stuffed toy who only became a real tiger when he and Calvin were alone. Calvin's idea about life in this cartoon fits me perfectly!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

July is Gone

Tomorrow will be the last day of July! This summer has gone by so fast. I wonder why?

After I complained about the haze and smoke yesterday, I found that there is a forest fire up by New Fork Lake, and there was a lot of smoke billowing up. The air actually looks better today, I think the wind is taking it east of us. There are so many beetle-killed trees in the forests this year, I guess we have to expect this.

Here are two more of my favorite "clean air" landscape photos, the first is Fremont Lake, and the other is Newfork Lake.

Click on photos for a larger version.

It was nice to meet with the art group at Rendezvous Pointe this morning. Missed Vicky, though. Terry is working on a beautiful painting of purple iris. Can't wait to see the finished product.

Pam is volunteering to help with the art exhibit at the county fair, and Conley offered to help her. I feel guilty - Pam is getting three of my pieces ready to enter in the fair, and I didn't even offer to help.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

clear skies?

An Old Watercolor

click on photos for a larger image
I came across this slide not long ago, and scanned it. I have no idea when I painted it, but it inspires me! I like this better than anything I am doing now.

I considered going for a drive yesterday and taking some pictures. But when I looked across the mesa and saw the dirty air, dust, smoke or whatever, I knew it would be frustrating. It's not much fun to photograph our beautiful mountains with that hanging over them.
I went through some of my pictures I had taken in the last year or two, and remember how beautiful it can be here. I wonder if we will ever have clean air again?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Meet Kasey

This is Kasey, my grandaughter. She is 14 months old. I just met her for the first time last week when her father brought her to introduce us. She is such a cutie! We had a picnic in the park together today.

click on photos for a larger image
She looked so nice when she and her dad arrived. Shoes and everything!

Bad, bad dad!! We found a depression in the lawn that was filled with water, and Gary took her shoes off and encouraged her to wade it.

And it didn't take much encouragement for her to get in and start to experiment with the water and mud.

Does she look like she is having fun? I had a jug of water with me, and poured a stream of it over her head while Gary washed her off. She was ready for a nap by the time we left. So was I!


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Domestic Goddess

In The Kitchen:
Chocolate chip cookies and potato salad

I don't spend much time in the kitchen, usually. But I am going on a picnic to the park tomorrow, so made some cookies and potato salad. I even got most of the dishes washed afterward! I need to go out and put a new tank on my little portable grill and just hope it works so we can cook hot dogs.

Hey, Vicky, if you read this, I promise to bring some cookies to our next art meeting!

Vicky is so good to bring treats for all our art classes. Always welcome, and always yummy! I sometimes feel guilty that she does this every week for all of us.


My computer automatically runs a Norton system scan every Friday night, and every week tells me I have some kind of spyware (forgot which one), so I remove it. And it is always back the next week. For several days now, I have had a pop-up message from Norton that new updates are available, so this morning I decided to go ahead and install them. I should have known better. Three hours later, Norton is still telling me it needs to run another complete system scan, that I am not protected, the spyware is back, and some of the updates could not be installed because the program couldn't find the correct path.
So I guess I'm not fully "protected".

If something destroys my computer, I will just buy a new one, I guess.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Lazy day today - not much happening and not much planned. I did boil some potatoes and hard boil some eggs for potato salad, but probably won't make it until tomorrow. I watered part of the lawn, fed the cats, and made my bed. Well, in my books, that's enough work for one day!

Now I plan to try some of the activities in the "Art Escapes" book Pam sent home with me.

The cotton is starting to come down from the trees. I have so many butterflies around the house right now, and when the cotton floats down and a butterfly floats by, I see them out of the corner of my eye. It's very distracting!

Click on image for a larger version.
I think I will call this pencil drawing a "work in progress", as I can see it needs more work. But it's all I have accomplished this past week, so thought I might as well post it.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

All Cats Home:

Click on images for a larger version.
Dan, the cat I was concerned about, was on the porch this morning with the others, waiting to be fed. She looks pretty thin, but is OK. She even rubbed against my legs and wanted petted, so I guess she has forgiven me. The other little bob-tailed female is still mad at me, but she'll get over it. She spent a lot of time yesterday calling for her sister. They have been together since birth.

There are two more cats not in this picture. Time to call Julie and start the trapping procedure again. I will NEVER let myself get in a mess like this again!

Oil Pastels

I finally finished this oil pastel. Well, at least I'm not going to waste any more time on it. I have a ways to go with oil pastels. Maybe someday I will produce something worth while with them.


I have been working a little with soft pastels. I'm working on a picture of a wolf, and having a hard time with the fur. I ordered some pastel pencils yesterday - maybe they will help.

I have three new sets of 18 each Unison pastels. I haven't used them yet. I open the box, look at them and touch them, then put the lid back on the box. That's the brand Lynn T. uses. If I use the same pastels, do you think I will get as good as she is?? Yeah, right - in my dreams!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Enjoyed meetng with the art group at Rendezvous Point this morning. What a great bunch, and I always look forward to our class. We had a discussion about the problem of keeping our personal creativity and confidence while also attempting to follow what we see in books about techniques and learn how to paint the "right way".

Pam sent me home with a book about "daily exercises and inspirations for discovering creativity and artistic confidence." Exactly what I need, I just need to set aside time to do these activities. I have so many projects started, and there is not enough time in the day for me to do all the things I want to. Why didn't someone give us longer days when we retire??


Click on image for a larger view

I didn't photograph the fireworks on the Fourth of July, but they also had fireworks after the last Rendezvous Rodeo. My pictures weren't that great, but I cropped this one, and was pleased with it.

This is an arrangement I have on the wall in my studio. I used to have several pairs of beaded moccasins, but the soles wore out, and I sent them home with my former neice to Ft. Washakie. She said she could get them resoled for me, and I haven't seen them since. I bought this pair at a pawn shop in Riverton.

Cat woes . . .

This is Dan - hope she comes home.


I got my two female cats spayed yesterday - a stressful day. First of all, I was presented with a $350 bill for spaying two cats. I was shocked! The charge for spaying a cat is $70, which sounds reasonable to me. But then there was a charge for $40 per cat for anesthesia, another charge of $35 for an examination for each, another charge for rabies shots - and I have lost track of what else.

Then, when I got the cats home and took them into the yard and opened the door to the kennels, they freaked out, got panicky when they weren't able to walk, and kind of flopped all over the yard. I think one squeezed through a space at the top of the retainer wall and fell down to the driveway. I couldn't find her and haven't seen her today. I can't believe that when I was a kid I wanted to be a veterinarian, because I don't deal well with all this.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Another Cool Day

St. Stevens Mission
Click on images to see a larger version
The church at St. Stevens is beatiful, and lavishly decorated on both the inside and outside with Indian motifs.

The Catholic cemetery is on the north side of the mission grounds. It is a large cemetery and has everything from unpainted leaning wooden crosses to large marble headstones. This is the grave of a young Indian boy who was a high school basketball player at St. Stevens High School. (St. Stevens Eagles) He had just died a short time before I visited there. His grave had a large wooden cross with his name, and another painted one at the foot of the grave. The one at the foot was in the shape of an Eagle, and painted black with the number "24" on it, and the nickname "Bonez". It is decorated with beads, feathers, crystals, crosses, artificial flowers, cans of pop, balloons, and Halloween decorations. There are two basketballs on the grave, autographed by his team mates, and his basketball shoes hang on the eagle cross, also autographed. The edge of the grave is outlined with smooth rocks, all spray painted with images of a basketball or eagle. The grave next to this one is decorated in a similar way, with the same painted rocks and basketballs.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Another cool and cloudy day. So nice! We got a little thunder and lightning yesterday, but just a couple drops of rain. I could smell rain, so it rained somewhere not too far away.

The smell of rain got me thinking about my favorite smells. Rain is one, and newly mown hay is another. And of course the smell of bread in the oven is a favorite. But I have a favorite smell that may make some of you raise your eyebrows - I love the smell of corrals! I have been known to park next to loaded horse trailers and cattle trucks just to smell them.

I filled my pickup with gas this morning so I would have enough to get my cats to the vet and pick them up tomorrow! Good grief! -- $80.

I only have one of the mamma cats trapped and in the basement in a small dog crate. She is very unhappy. She was easy to catch. I just picked her up on the porch and put her in. The other one is evidently off hunting and Susie will be very unhappy with her if she has a full stomach. I will take them tomorrow, come home and see if I can trap more kittens, then go to pick them up in the afternoon.

Tracy called yesterday. She had just watched "Brokeback Mountain" on TV. She had never seen it before, and said she wasn't impressed with it. She said it really didn't have a good story or a plot.

I had watched it when it was available on Pay-Per-View TV. I kind of felt the same way about it. I have Annie Proulx's book with the short story in it, but have never read it. Annie is not one of my favorite authors - I think her stories are wierd. I remember the movie theater here would not show it, and the ladies at the County Library got it and showed it free of charge to the public. Way to go, ladies!!


Click on images for a larger view
I did this watercolor some time ago. I was pleased with the sky, then splashed some dark spots on it when I painted the trees. So I turned them into birds.

Another page from my sketchbook. This may look like a waste of my time, but my drawing skills really did improve when I was faithfully sketching every day.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

July 20

This is my first oil pastel. It didn't turn out too badly, but his hair is NOT yellow.

Click on photos to see a larger version

This is something I have to make myself do more often. I should draw something in my sketchbook every day. There is an artist web site with forums for everything to do with art. They have an "artwork from life" forum, and someones posts a list every week of things to draw. Almost everything on the list is something you can find in the house, and you are to draw items from life - no cheating and drawing from a photograph. I have been lazy lately, and neglecting my drawing.

When I got up this morning, I put on a pair of shorts. I have given up on that and put on a pair of long pants. Now I am thinking I want a long sleeved shirt! The forecast said a 30% chance of rain, and they are not right very often. But it is cloudy and cool, so maybe we will get some rain this afternoon.

I read in the Casper Tribune on-line this morning that the Forest Service has shut down a resort/lodge near Tensleep and revoked their permit. The owner said the manager he hired was responsible for the needed repairs, and had not done them. The Casper paper has a "comments" space after each article, and someone left this comment:

TrueBlue wrote on Jul 19, 2008 9:19 PM:
" No sweat, Jim McCotter, hire a few hippies from the Rainbow Clan to run the resorts for you. The Forest service allows them free reign. "

Saturday, July 19, 2008

July 19 - Where is the summer going?

Bill called last night, and Alice is home and doing well. He says she is HUNGRY and has been to the kitchen for seconds on some things. Then is napping on the couch, but feels much better. YAHOO!

Click on photos for larger images
Another photo from Shoshoni. This is one of old abandoned houses that are all over town. I think they are picturesque.

I love this picture of Half Moon Lake. I was taking pictures of fall colors, and it started to snow.

I have a new Photoshop filter I downloaded from the Internet, called "Topaz Adjust". I can use it for a 30 day trial period, then have to pay $40 to continue to use it. I'll see if I think it is worth it. I'm not sure it is all that useful for photography, but maybe the effects will be worthwhile for my reference photos for painting. Maybe.


I plan on finishing my oil pastel painting this afternoon. It's nothing to brag about, but I have to remember it is only my second time using oil pastels, and maybe I will become accustomed to them. My first piece was a portrait. I may post photos of them tomorrow.

Friday, July 18, 2008

July 18 update

I've managed to trap only four kittens so far. One of them is in a trap in the front yard right now, and I hate it. The kittens are so scared and cry. I just want to go out and turn them loose.

I have tried to keep the two mamma cats in the house a couple of time to keep them out of the traps. It's not working very well. They don't want to be in the house, and one of them even learned how to open the screen door. They have been in the traps, and feel trapped in the house, so I may have problems capturing them for their trip to the vet next week.

I talked to my brother last night, and he says Alice is supposed to be able to go home today after lunch. This has really knocked her for a loop.

A woman and her husband who work in the office building down in front of me were just up here. She said they have been entertained by watching my kittens, and were concerned when they saw the Animal Control truck up here several times. They wondered what was going on. And they also said they wanted a bobtail kitten. I have two, but they are younger than the others, and it may be a while before they are caught.

Click on photos to see a larger version

Two more cemetery pictures. These were both taken at the Sacajawea Cemetery out of Fort Washakie. The building is the old chapel.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

July 17 - Taking care of cat problem

Catching Cats
I called Julie this morning about my abundance of cats and kittens. She brought up two live traps for me. This may take a while, as I am wondering if there is any chance of catching more than one at a time. But Julie said she will check back often and left me her cell phone number. She also says she thinks she can find homes for the kittens, as people are wanting them. She says they will be easy to tame down.

I have an appointment with Susie on Tuesday to have my two original cats spayed, and will keep them. I will miss watching the kittens, but they are out of hand. They don't do what outdoor cats are supposed to do - grow up and leave home. Of course, some of them "leave home" by going down on the highway.

It used to be an ideal neighborhood for cats up here - lots of old abandoned buildings and places for them to live.

Julie came in to look at my computer while she was here. Pinedaleonline had a picture of her son, Jesse, in Rendezvous, which she had not seen. I printed out a copy for her. She caught me up on what her two sons are doing now. I taught them both.


Judi promised me it wouldn't be goulish of me to post some cemetery pictures. Fremont County, and especially the Reservation, have some great cemetaries for wandering through and taking picures.

Click on photos for larger versions

This was taken at the St. Sevens Catholic Cemetary just before Halloween. There were a lot of Halloween decorations on many of the graves.

This says it all.


When my mother was hospitalized in Riverton a couple of years ago, I had lots of opportunity to drive around the area, so I visited the St. Stevens cemetery, the Sacajawea cemetery, the Washakie cemetery, and the LeClair family cemetery. Very interesting places.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

July 15

Two more pictures of Shoshoni:

Click on photos to see a larger image
This is the little Presbyterian Church in Shoshoni. It is so pretty. They don't have their own minister, and I think one comes over from Riverton. I had thought this church was on the National Registry of Historic Buildings, but I'm not sure. It sits right on the highway that goes through town, and makes the town look good.

And this is on a side street in Shoshoni, on a vacant lot. There are lots of scenes like this. I keep thinking I will paint these two trucks. When you drive around town, you will see a pretty well-maintained house with a nice yard right next to an old abandoned house. I think it is a wonderful place to wander around and photograph.


My brother e-mailed me and said that Alice is doing better. I hesitate to call her in the hospital. I think sick people should be left alone to sleep without having the phone wake them up.

Yesterday a doe with twin fawns went through my back yard on the ditchbank. Her fawns are big and healthy looking. I didn't have time to grab the camera.

Then last night, just about sunset, a big buck was in my back yard, right under the window. The light had turned that golden color it gets close to sunset, and I can still see his velvet antlers and slick and shiny coat in my mind's eye. I have seen him several times before, and thought he was a five point - but as I watched him last night, I see he is a six point! WOW!


Monday, July 14, 2008

Two Old Photos

These are old photos I took a long time ago with my old Minolta camera. The deer was a slide, which I scanned. I was doing a lot of black and white photography at the time, and even had my own darkroom. I really enjoyed it, but I don't miss the smelly chemicals.

Click on photos to see a larger image
This deer was standing beside the road close the Air Force buildings on the Boulder Road.

There used to be some beautiful old buildings and barn beside the Boulder Road up close to Hittles. I loved to explore and photograph there. Sadly, they are all gone now.


I finally saw a hummingbird at my upstairs feeder. I'm not sure if that feeder leaks, or if the wind has tipped it so much that all the feed has dripped out. At any rate, I need to get some fresh sugar water mixed. It is a fancy blue glass and copper feeder, and it wasn't worth the money. I think it might leak, and the birds like the old fashioned plastic with yellow flowers better.

After living at 109 Canal Street for about 40 years, the town of Pinedale has sent me a letter telling me that number is incorrect. They tell me the street address is 525 Canal, and that I need to put up new numbers.

I wonder how many other residents in town are having to change their address? I just hope UPS and FedEx will be able to find me. I don't think I'll rush into putting up new numbers for a while.

I called my sister-in-law in the hospital in Riverton yesterday afternoon, and she was sleeping. When I called again later, my brother was there, so I visited with him. Alice is having kind of a hard time. She has a bladder infection, and they don't seem to be able to get the antibiotics to knock it.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Another Cool Night

Another wonderful cool night last night. My thermometer said it got down to 37 degrees.

My brother called last night and we had a nice visit. He said my sister-in-law was in the hospital and plans to be home by Tuesday. Bummer! That's no way to spend your summer, Alice!! I will call her later today.

The hummingbird I saw yesterday must have just been on his way through to someone else's garden.

Here are two photos I took in Daniel.

Click on photos to see a larger image.

The cows were in a corral right in front of the old Daniel School. They had climbed right up into the hay, and were really enjoying it. I took lots of pictures of them, and knew this one was a keeper when I saw how their heads were lined up. Sometimes I name my photos - I call this one "Let's Do Lunch"

And this is the purple tree, which has stood next to the highway in Daniel forever. I took it from across the road, using a slightly telephoto lens, which really brings the mountains up close.


I am almost finished with an oil pastel painting of mountains and a river. I worked on it some yesterday, and can't get the river right. I may end up putting a lot more trees to almost hide the river. I don't think I like oil pastels very much, but I have to give them a chance. This is my first attempt using them. Also, I bought a large set, quite expensive, so should keep trying.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Doesn't Feel Like Summer - July 12

I have been sleeping covered with just a sheet, but in the middle of the night, I felt cold and pulled the blankets up. When I checked my little weather station, I found it got down to 35 degrees here last night. I had every window open. No wonder I got cold!

I finally saw a hummingbird in the yard this morning. I have had my feeders up so long that I took them down and put fresh sugar water in them. Seems like lots of hummers should be here, fighting over the feeders, but they are late this year. At least they are late coming to my house.

Click on photos to see a larger image.
I don't usually get up very early, or at least I try not to. Even after being retired for several years, sleeping in is a luxury. But I got up early one morning last fall and drove up to the lake and got this picture of sunrise over the lake. This is a genuine photograph, no tricks.

This is a small 6" x 10" watercolor I did a couple months ago using a limited palette of three colors. I had never attempted to paint using just three colors before, and thought it was a great experience. I need to do it more often. I also need to brush up on the anatomy of a fish!


Friday, July 11, 2008

Rendevous - July 11

Rendezvous Time! I used to take part in all these activities. I drove around town a bit this morning, and it was so crowded with people on the streets, and lots of booths and tents selling their goods. I didn't even feel tempted to find a place to park and and go "shopping".

I also saw a couple of old grubby-looking big busses in the parking lot of the grocery store with grubby -looking Rainbows hanging around. I had my camera with me, but didn't try to photograph any of them.

I finally got to visit with Tracy, after missing a couple calls. She called me from her cell phone while shopping at Target. Their lives are so busy. Paul is a partner in a law firm in Frisco, Colorado, and Tracy works as the Office Manager for the firm, as well as doing some paralegal work. They will be here next month with their boat and camper for some time at Fremont Lake. I am so looking forward to seeing them!


Reference photo for the watercolor painting
Click to enlarge.

The only artwork I did today was scrub off some of the old wood background of the painting I am doing of my old red wheelbarrow. I got so carried away with it that it looked like the wood was going to be the main focus of the painting, not the wheelbarrow. I wish I could loosen up with my painting and stop trying to make everything so detailed and realistic.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

July 10, 2008 more Photoshop

Here are a couple of extreme photo fixes I did last year. I hadn't looked at them for a long time, and kind of enjoy putting the "before" and "after" pictures side by side to see what I actually did.

click on photos for a larger image

Many of you recognize this store at Daniel. Don't know for sure what I was doing when I took the picture, but it is definitely tilted. Yes, I was right in front of the bar, but I hadn't been in there! By the time I finished cloning out things like the power lines, straightening the image, cloning some grass in front, and adding the sky, and changing the colors and mood, it reminded me of the Stephen King book "Needful things".

I have this neat Photoshop filter to make fog, and I used it on this old stump. After I added the fog, I used the "eraser" tool to erase the fog from the stump and bring it back.


This is how photojournalists get in trouble. They can make a woman politician look older and uglier in their photos, they can fake things in a picture, and some of them have been caught at it. I won't try to pass any of these "edited" pictures off as the genuine thing.


I am trying very hard to be productive today, like haul some garbage from the yard down to the dumpster. I have some old wire border fencing that I am getting rid of, and some old flower pots. I'm not too interested in doing it. After all, I cleaned out the dishwasher today, isn't that enough work?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Wednesday July 8 - Art Group

Click on photos to see larger version.
This photo is for Vicki. She has mentioned seeing the artwork on this old abandonded store building in Shoshoni. This was Sid's Gambles store, and Sid sold everything you could imagine, plus some you couldn't. Sid's store was in several different locations through the years, but this is the final one. This location included the old Park Cafe, the old movie theatre, and I'm not sure what the other business was, a grocery store, maybe? The movie theatre area still had sloping floors. Sid had the place packed from basement to ceiling with his merchandise, and it was an adventure sometimes to just get through the mazes. Finally the fire marshall shut it down.

Through the years, Sid's son has brought merchandise out onto the street and sold most of it at auction. I'm not sure if they ever got all the merchandise sold.

When I was first starting to learn Photoshop, which is the computer program I use to edit photos, I made a collage from two photos I took from the same location on Ehman Lane, one in the winter, and the other the next summer.

This antelope and her three fawns were beside the Fremont Lake Road. I thought they posed nicely for me. The third fawn was behind the others, and I cropped it out of the photo


It was nice to get together with the art group this morning at Rendezvous Point. Barbara is back from California. Judi wasn't there - she is having WAAY too much fun with her family.

Conley finished an awesome watercolor of a jumping trout, which he is having framed at Ruth's.

Ruth is bringing Graham Flatt back again in Ausust for a workshop. I attended his watercolor workshop last summer. He is an incredible artist and a inspiring teacher.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tuesday, July 8 - more photos

Clarisa Mine
Click on images for larger version
Although I was disappointed with South Pass City, I did think the old Clarisa Mine was interesting. I couldn't find a way to drive close to it, however. The lighting was so bad, the sky was white, so I did some creative editing on the photo and ended up with the following:

Another image with a boring, plain, too-white sky. So I replaced it with a better sky with my photo editing program.


After crawling on my hands and knees and dragging my air conditioner out from my under-the-eaves storage space, I haven't used it since the first day. The weather has been beautiful, not too hot, a nice breeze, and a few clouds. I'm certainly not complaining!

I've started on a new watercolor painting of my old red wheelbarrow. I set up the "arrangement" against the house and photographed it. I am using something new - Instead of liquid masking fluid, I bought some masking film. Seems to work fine.

I haven't taken many photographs lately. When I look towards the mountains and see how bad our air is, I know I would be disappointed in any landscape photos. Guess I should do some plein air painting.

I wonder if we will ever have clear skies again?