June & July - Catching Up
This is the header for June in my journal. I used a photo I had taken in England as a reference. I loved the mix of daisies and wild grasses that filled the orchards.
One of the biggest tasks of June, was getting the family genealogy archive downsized to a more manageable level. In all, there were 34 boxes to go through. Daunting to say the least!
Thankfully, my sister came to help! We managed to pare those 34 boxes down to 13. Five of them hold the actual genealogy records and our Mom did a fabulous job of putting that together. One of these days, I'll get it scanned and hopefully be able to downsize those boxes into 4 or 5 books. Both my Mom and Dad did extensive writing about their lives and even before their deaths, I had been helping to compile their memoirs into a book format. I work on it here and there and hope to have my Dad's done in the near future. They each have 3 boxes of memoirs and memorabilia. And then I have 2 of things that I've kept over the years. We downsized my stuff too! So in all, just 13 boxes - much more manageable than 34! It took us a week!
The thunderclouds were amazing the day I took my sister back to the airport! This is the aftermath, which wasn't nearly as epic, but still beautiful none the less! We seem to be going from extreme to extreme. It's either rainy and cool for a week or overwhelmingly hot and exceptionally dry. I'm so grateful that we have had the rainy periods as it is easier to make it through the hot dry spells.
July's journal heading is a watercolor of mountain pines and aspen. Fitting as I've been trying to spend a day every week in the mountains! It's definitely my happy spot these days.
I really love the watercolor tabs on my journal! July will finish off this one and I'll start a new one with August.
Some of my mountain visits start in the early hours of the morning, so that I can get up there just as the sun crests the horizon. Love these early mornings. This was in early June. The East Troublesome Fire spread through this valley and the ridge in the background. The meadows have recovered beautifully. The trees are struggling. Most of the ones you see as red will die before next summer if they haven't already. In places, there are still healthy trees, which are a joy to see!
I make a point of painting each and every visit I make to the mountains. On this visit I did an oil Plein air of Big Thompson Creek. Can you see the elk that was watching me from the bend in the river?!
It had been a while since I'd done a plein air oil painting. I got caught up in the excitement and forgot to do the things that help me create a more successful painting. I'm still happy with it though! For me, painting is mostly about the journey. In truth, I have little space left on my walls for more paintings. One of these days, I'm going to have to put some up for sale!
I loved those early mornings before the sun came up! June had some amazing sunrises!
On this day I hiked up to Alberta Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park. I scrambled down a steep slope and found a steady perch on a large rock where I did this watercolor plein air sketch! Such a gorgeous spot! I could have spent a lot more time there, but rocks aren't the most comfortable place to sit for long periods of time.
I feel like I always struggle painting water, but I'm really happy with this one! Using a white gel pen helps me add highlights after the painting is done.
Beautiful Albertal Falls!
Another day I went to Brainard Lake. The Indian Peaks Wilderness is probably my favorite spot in Colorado. We spent countless hours here while I was growing up. My dad climbed most if not all those peaks in this view and led many hikes and climbs over the course of his life. I've been up a few of them too, especially Mount Audubon, the peak on the right. I've climbed it at least three times. Also the ridge to the left, which is mostly out of view in this photo. Niwot Ridge is the gateway to the peaks on the left. I'm not nearly as capable of intense hikes like these now, so I opted to take a slow walk around Brainard Lake in the foreground.
I stopped along Mitchell Creek and did a sketch in gouache. It's an opaque form of watercolor and handles a little differently. The colors are more intense, so I was out of my comfort zone! But fun to try and I think I captured the feeling of the place.
The Marsh Marigolds and Globe Mallow were in bloom, so I was glad to be able to capture them in the sketch!
There were lots of other things that happened in May, June and July - mostly house hunting in Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska. I made 4 different trips to look at 12 houses. I made one offer - refused as they had what they hoped were better offers. I later heard that they fell through. So, for the time being I'm staying put and have taken my house off the market, but I do need to find a job in the near future.
The whole family! We took these at a park near where I live. It was an overcast and damp day, but we were able to get our photos in between rainstorms! While I've been blessed to see each family group individually during this past Covid-impacted year, I dearly missed having my family all together. To finally be able to gather together was emotional and wonderful! Truly, it was the best gift I've had in a long, long time.