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Detour . . .

After the floods - this is what remained of the Gardiner to Mammoth Road in Yellowstone National Park.

PHEW! It has been quite the summer here, as our county was declared a national disaster area in June when the monumental floods swept through Yellowstone and beyond. Living and working along the Yellowstone River and watching the devastation up close and personal has had many challenges. Now, over 2 months out, dealing with the ramifications has been - and still is - A LOT.

But it's time for a brief re-group and catch up to where I am now...

On this unexpected detour, I'm learning more than I'd like to know about river erosion. Road repairs and river bank stabilization are in various phases of the process. The job is BIG and unprecedented, making it hard to work out a time line for the future. The community and many local businesses are trying to pivot through this very unusual and unbelievably quiet summer in Gardiner and Yellowstone. Many businesses have closed completely for the season - possibly the year. Too soon to see where we'll come out through all of this. It's certainly been 'one day at a time'.

Morning Symphony, a plein air piece of mine, recently went to a hew home.

For me, between my new hobby of flood recovery efforts, the quieter summer is now giving way to more time to paint. Through it all, even with the detours imposed with recovering from flooding and raising kids, I keep at it. Painting is a constant for me. Luckily, I have continued to find new homes for my pieces, too. So a special thank you to my collectors this year! I appreciate you more than you can imagine. :-)

I took this photo of the Lower Falls on the Yellowstone River this summer, and have never seen a brighter rainbow there!

“Rainbows reminds us that even after the darkest clouds and the fiercest winds there is still beauty.”

- Katrina Mayer

Between all the flooding and disaster talk, meetings and paperwork, yes, there were some high points to the summer...

I'm in the process of adding a few of my paintings to the U.S. Department of the Interior collection and had the opportunity to visit their collection and tour the building in Washington D.C. in July.

Then in August, I was recorded while plein air painting in Yellowstone and talked about the history of Art here as part of a program for BBC radio on Yellowstone's 150th anniversary. The program will be airing on BBC radio soon. I'll keep you posted.

Here's Victoria hard at work. I was recording and plein air painting with her for the BBC radio program.

Currently, I'm working on a series of bird studies as I continue painting and studying the collection at the Yellowstone Heritage and Research Center.

A typical, boring, run of the mill Robin from the collection of the Yellowstone Heritage and Research Center. At the height of the flood recovery flurry, it felt very good to paint this common, predictable, plain old boring bird - singing!

My kids many years ago plein air painting with me in Montana.

AND, a BIG personal accomplishment this summer!! Drum roll please...

At the end of August, I got both my kids all set up at their respective schools. Now, they are both off and running into their new school year - in other places! Yes, these young ones are now young adults and living on their own at school. So I am now an official 'empty nester', cheering them on and reveling in my new found freedom!

It's official - they have been launched!

An 'empty nest' painting seemed appropriate - waterolor and ink -

from the collection of the Yellowstone Heritage and Research Center.

With that new found freedom, I've decided to 'go back to school' myself. Self-imposed school that is. Digging back into some basic art concepts, but even deeper. Taking some workshops and classes to gain a fresh perspective and to gather and try out some new ideas. A refresh for me in this new exciting stage!

A plein air painting I did this weekend in Yellowstone at sunrise along the Firehole River.

“When thunderstorms roll in, you make a choice to either succumb with tears to the gloomy downpour, or smile and look for rainbows.”

-Richelle E. Goodrich

On my way home from errands, this double rainbow showed up just north of Gardiner -

to remind me again. :-)

Even with my summer detour, I certainly want to keep an eye out to the future and all it's possibilities - rather than dwell in the past muck. And there has been a lot of 'muck' this summer. Our human brain with its negativity bias wants me to circle around and around on that. But I don't want to - so we have a chat and readjust to the here and now and how thankful I am to be able to share my art with you... and that you take some time out of your day to read what I have to say. Thank you.

I will be back - and keeping you posted with updates. Not even the detour of a once in a lifetime flood will keep me down for long. It's my job as an artist to create something that will ultimately make someone's life better. I take that very seriously. One, Day, At. A. Time.


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