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Colorado Flood of 2013

September 26th, 2013

I haven't been on FAA much lately. Oh, here and there, sorta hit and miss, but I have not spent a lot of time on it... Besides this being a normally busy time of year for me, the flood along the Front Range here in Colorado has really taken its toll. I live in Longmont. Even though our property was not affected by the flood, it has still been emotionally draining as I have watched (and helped) friends who lost a lot of their things. I have heard of people who lost animals, like horses, who were precious to them--some folks even lost loved ones. Utter. Devastation.

I read that the effects of the flood will be felt into next year, as many of the irrigation ditches for the farmers were destroyed. Rain is usually very precious in our semi-arid climate. We normally get only about 15 inches a year. September 2013 brought 17 inches to this area in a week or so. That's what caused our problem--too much rain in too short a time period. Next spring, the farmers will need the irrigation, and I hear it may not be there. So, that will cause another problem. But that is next spring, and it has just turned autumn--autumn in the mountains is a huge tourist attraction.

Along with many others, I am unable to easily get to the mountains like I normally do. There are only a few main thoroughfares to get up there, and the closest ones to me were totally destroyed. No one can drive on a road that has been broken and washed away. Big parts of a few our highways are just no longer there. These roads are not temporarily closed due to being flooded so that they need to dry out--they are gone. The violently rushing waters ripped the roads away.

It used to take me about an hour to get to Rocky Mtn National Park--now it will take about 3 to 3-1/2 hrs (one way). Travelling there has gone from being an easy day trip (for hiking, painting en plein air, and/or photography) to now being at least an overnight trip... It will cost way more in gas money, and there will also be lodging expenses--plus, meals with tips will cost more, too. That is, if I can even talk someone into taking me. Since I had to quit my day-job several years ago, my husband and I share a vehicle. It usually works out okay, but not in a situation like this...Bill needs the car to go to and from work. That trumps my need of it, and I am suffering the affects of apprehension. I.Am.Afraid. ...I am afraid of missing the aspen and the elk bugling up in the mountains this year.

You see, fall is my favorite season up in the Park. I usually get to experience a crisp autumn in the high country 2 to 3 times over a few short splendid weeks--and then I literally long for it the rest of the year. There is a stand of aspen at West Horseshoe Park up in Rocky that is beyond beautiful when it is at peak color. My personal discovery of it occurred in 2010. I got out of the Subaru and decided to talk a little hike up the hill on which the trees stood. The mid-afternoon light filtering through the golden leaves was so gorgeous it brought me to tears of joy. The memory of this is instilled into my being, but I feel a deep need to go there again and again. Yet, it happens only once a year.

Currently, the portion of Rocky Mountain National Park that contains this glorious golden wood is closed due to the flooding. I fear that this special time of year will not happen for me this season, and I have been grieving over it. It sounds extremely small compared to what some of my friends have lost, and I sorta feel bad for writing it here, but I guess writing it down is part of the healing process. I call this particular stand of aspen, Lothlorien. If only it could miraculously stay golden all year as Lothlorien did in Tolkien's trilogy. I do have photos of my special place. Perhaps I will do a series of paintings about it. No, I must do a series of paintings about my Lothlorien.

I have heard that two of the towns I love to go to, Lyons and Estes Park, are devastated--and that grieves me as well. Many people around here didn't carry flood insurance because they didn't live in a flood plane. I hurt for them, and I am hoping they will be able to rebuild--but I do wonder about that. One of my favorite places was totally flooded. The Stone Cup was a "mom-and-pop" coffee shop and café in Lyons that showed people's art on a monthly basis. It was also a very popular spot for locals to gather, enjoy a light meal, listen to music, and meet friends. The owners thought of people like me who have food allergies, and they accommodated the gluten-free/dairy-free crowd. Many places don't. The Stone Cup was only 20 minutes from my house--on the way up to the Park, and sometimes, for a treat, I would get one of their very tasty vegan muffins with a cup of something hot. It was not only yummy, but refreshing as well! ...I recently saw a picture of this wonderful place in some online news, and it made me cry. Perhaps you have heard of Planet Bluegrass--a wonderful venue for music festivals. It was also destroyed. The Stone Cup was close to that. Heck, the Stone Cup was close to my heart. I really hope they recover from the flood.

I guess the only nice thing about all this is that people have come together, as they often do when tragedies occur. Friends and neighbors are really helping each other, with local churches joining together and helping people as well. I have heard some amazing stories, seen some unforgettable videos and photos, and I have gone through something I hope I never experience again. Some of our land has been scarred by flash flooding that carved new paths for the overfilled rivers and creeks. Our hearts have been scarred by the trauma of the flood--the land will heal, and our hearts will heal. We will heal.

My Stendhal Syndrome Experience

January 29th, 2013

My Stendhal Syndrome Experience

Not long ago, Robert Genn, of the Twice Weekly Art Letters, wrote about something I had never heard of before. As I read the description, I felt I had an experience related to what he was describing.

Recently, the Denver Art Museum had an outstanding exhibit called "Becoming Van Gogh" which I was privileged to see not only once, but twice. The first time I saw it, I was with a couple of real art afficionados. One lady was an art historian, and the other, an accomplished artist. In the middle of seeing the exhibit, the art historian challenged us to be able to name our favorite painting and also state why it was our favorite painting.

After her request, I got a little nervous. I was thrilled to be at such a wonderful exhibit, and I was drinking it all in, but then the pressure was on!

As we were nearing the end of the exhibit, I thought I finally had my favorite picked. Then, we all turned a corner together, and each started looking at a different painting. I was looking at a landscape that had huge billowing clouds in it.

All of a sudden, I softly gasped, but it was enough to garner their attention. I was so absorbed in the painting, that I did not realize they were observing me. The longer I looked at the painting, the more of an effect it had on me, and tears started rolling down my cheeks. The art historian asked me if I knew anything about that particular piece. I told her no, that I hadn't even read the plaque that accompanied it yet. She told me it was one that Van Gogh had painted while he was in his cell at the asylum. Wow. The only reason I could think of that would have caused me to have such a reaction was that, somehow, the emotion of what he was feeling as he painted really came through to me. I finally "got a grip" and was able to see the rest of the exhibit without any further emotional displays.

I bought the book about the exhibit so that I could really learn more about Van Gogh. I was also hoping that a reproduction of the painting that had illicited the response from me would be included. It was, and when I saw the reproduction, once again I welled up with emotion.

I am a 55 year-old woman who has loved art all her life. I started drawing when I was a child of about 8, and I started learning to paint when I was in high school. I've seen a LOT of art, and I've never had an experience like this before.

The second time I went to the exhibit, I was very curious about how I would react when I saw the painting again in person. Upon my first few glances at it, I thought I would be fine. Then, the longer I took it in, I began to feel slightly faint, so I quickly averted my attention elsewhere. I've never fainted before, and I didn't want to faint in the Denver Art Museum. I don't know why this particular painting has such an effect on me. The name of the piece is Landscape from Saint-Remy, 1889. It wasn't even my favorite Van Gogh piece from the exhibit!

So, thanks to the dear art author, Robert Genn, I was happy to learn that I was not the only person affected by art in strange ways. I even learned there was a name for it. And, even though a friend recently gave me a lovely, artsy beret with the French saying, tete de genie, on it--I have come to know that I have a very l-o-n-g way to go to fill that hat... I looked up tete de genie and discovered it meant "head of a genius." Oh, if only that were true! much as I have learned, I still have a long way to go--don't we all?

Emotions We Feel as We Paint

September 5th, 2012

Emotions We Feel as We Paint

I have read that one's emotions while painting really influence the outcome of one's work. I believe this to be true. I am generally in a good mood when I paint, because it is one of my favorite activities. I love God's creation, and I love painting it. I know of many painters who play music while they paint to create the proper emotions for the piece they are working on. I don't usually listen to music while I work, but maybe I should give it a try! My not listening to it is a throwback to my Air Force days when we had to work in radio silence due to the fact that no radio transmissions could make it into or out of the top-secret vault I worked in. It was weird to work without any music on at first--but then I got used to it and realized how I could really think clearly without the distraction of it.

Ah, but I digress--there have been two paintings I have completed that were very challenging emotionally for me to paint. One is the girl from Haiti. I worked several days on that portrait of her, and found myself with tears in my eyes as thought about this happy, beautiful child and all she and other orphans in Haiti had to endure during and after the devastating earthquake of 2009. I had to work very hard to re-create that child's beautiful smile as I was crying. Whoa! ...I'm tearing up again just thinking about it.

The other is a painting I recently completed plein air at our zoo in Denver. I did it in front of a statue close to where the sea lions and seals reside at the Northern Shores section. It is a tribute to a rescued sea lion who was missing his back flippers. This magnificent animal was not only a survivor, but an overcomer!

My family loves to go to the zoo. My 24 year-old daughter's favorite zoo animals are the seals and sea lions. We saw Bismarck in a show last March of 2012. He moved through the water so gracefully that at first, I didn't even realize he was disabled. We always enjoy the sea lion show, but this one was particularly poignant.

This year, I was planning to do a painting of something at the zoo for the Denver Plein Air Arts Fest, but I just hadn't made it there yet. The festival runs through Sept 16. Then, last week I read about Bismarck, and how he passed away on August 22, 2012, during a surgery intended to help him. I sat there and cried like a baby and couldn't get it off my mind. I read how he had really become an ambassador for disabled people visiting the zoo. I guess that's why it struck such a chord with me. I imagined how sad all the people would be, especially the children. I remembered seeing a statue of sea lions at the zoo from when we saw Bismarck perform last March. So, I went to the zoo to attempt the painting.

I know that plein air work is more about the light and shadows in what we see outside, but I infused this painting with light and shadow to represent what this awe-inspiring animal had achieved. I decided to use a tetrad of colors to make the painting more visually appealing.

Even though I did the painting from a statue of two sea-lions holding up a ball, one of the staff who works by Northern Shores at the zoo stopped by and told me that Bismarck and the other sea lions always sunned themselves in the afternoons on their rock, and that my painting captured that. A little later on, a lady who had on a zoo-keeper's outfit came up to talk with me about the painting just as I was finishing up. She said that she recognized "Biz" from "all the way back there" and she just had to stop and talk with me about it. She got tears in her eyes, which made me get choked up again. I had to get a grip on myself several times while painting--this was and is quite an emotional painting for me. I plan to enter it into the Denver Plein Air show. I will donate half of any proceeds I make from this piece on this website to the Denver Zoo.

I have been extra tired over the past several days. All this emotion has been draining. I have recently achieved my 5-year cancer survivor status, so technically I am a "success" even though I am not totally cancer-free. I am thankful for the amount of healing I have been given by our Savior, Jesus Christ. I have learned to live with my cancer just as Bismarck learned to live with his disability. Hmmm, maybe that's why this struck me so. Working through one's emotions IS work, isn't it? Life is precious--celebrate it!

Time Management

August 21st, 2012

Time management...I still stink at it. Don't get me wrong--I get a LOT of things done...but I know I could still improve. I just read this blog and felt it worthy of sharing. Hope it helps you!

Signing your painting

March 15th, 2012

Signing your painting

I am wondering how you all feel about signatures. Is your signature a work of art in itself? Do you work hard on it, or do you just "dash it down" in an artistic manner? Do you strive to make it always the same, or is "close" good enough?

When I paint my signature onto the pieces of work, I do sometimes wipe it out before it dries if I am not happy with the way it looks. Actually, I work really hard on my signatures. Do you do that?

The way I sign my paintings is not how I really write, but it is a style of calligraphy I have perfected for myself over the years. I do try and make it consistent. Admittedly, at this point in my career, I have several styles of painting, and I have grown to love each one. There are some of my paintings that when viewed together probably would not be considered as done by the same artist, yet there is my consistent signature. It is a little beacon of sameness that says, "yep, this IS an M Bobb!"

I would love to hear your process with how you sign your painting. Please leave a comment...and thanks!

Maybe "one-day" I will paint only in one style, but I kinda doubt it. I think I can narrow it down to three....maybe. I like changing things up a bit for myself. I love watercolors, and I love acrylics, and I love water-soluable oils for plein air. I wish I could love the oils for studio work, but there is that not-so-little issue of health that I have to deal with. So there! At least I have uniformity in my signature, and I think that is a good thing!

NYC Art Show at Breadworks Cafe in Boulder, Colorado Feb 17-Mar 15, 2012

February 19th, 2012

NYC Art Show at Breadworks Cafe in Boulder,  Colorado Feb 17-Mar 15, 2012

I am currently participating in this wonderful show of work produced either on site at Lillian Kennedy's Art Workshop in NYC, spring 2011, or from photos we took while there. There are seven artists included in the show: Lillian Kennedy (our fearless leader), Margaret Bobb (moi!), Marie Clampet, Susanna Nelson, Janet Rozene, Elsy Wilkins, and Tisha Wood.

I had a wonderful time at the workshop in NYC. It was a dream come true for me, and it was everything I had hoped it would be. When I was there, I had no idea that Lillian would come up with a show for us to do. I thought I had plenty of time to prepare...hahahahahahaha!

I did come up with the idea of an interactive painting. It is the Statue of Liberty with an underpainting of complementary colors, but finished in red, white and blue. The interactive part comes in with having people from all walks of life and different points of view; democrats, republicans, whatever and whomever to write on the painting (gasp!) what Liberty means to them OR where they find their LIberty! I had them use either a white paint pen or a black pen depending whether they chose the Background or the Statue Herself to write on. That is representative of the light-skinned people groups and the dark-skinned people groups that inhabit our Great Land.

It was interesting to note that nobody wanted to actually write on the Statue Herself. I had to start that off myself and then beg most people to write on her. So far, besides my Artist Self, there have been the following types of working people: A husband and wife who are part of a band called Blood-stained Innocence. They work with handicapped people during their "other" job; a photographer/web designer; an executive assistant; a head clerk at a national grocery chain; a meteorologist; a published author who also happens to be the senior pastor at my church; a professor at CU in Boulder, and of course--other artists! ...The rest who have shared their views on it so far are a mystery to me!

You may be asking why the rest who have written on it so far are a mystery to me.....the answer:

My gluten sensitivity has become far more pronounced with time. My celiac symptoms have gotten worse with each Very Occasional cheat...And last night, I actually had an allergy attack in the bakery/cafe during the art show opening. I did not cheat by eating any of the fabulous-looking bread set out for customers and patrons. No, all I did was breathe. And it became harder and harder to breathe as the event continued.

Hanging the show the night before was a bit of a challenge. I thought there was some sort of cleanser the night crew was using that was causing me to "choke-up." I felt miserable. I was coughing, and my throat felt "funny." My fellow artists kept telling me to go home...that they would take care of the rest of the work, but I didn't want to be a whiny-baby.

Well, after being at the opening for only a short while, the coughing started again and was worse than the night before. My daughter, who is studying to be a nurse, told me that I needed to get out of there. She could see that I was in distress, so she convinced me to leave.

I had a "duh!" moment...A working bakery that makes their bread in the back room at night has microscopic particles of wheat flour floating in the air. This baking was going on during our opening...As I was preparing to leave, a lady who is employed there told me that they always have to wipe flour "dust" off their counters and tables out front. Wow...I learned that breathing air laced with gluten can be just as bad as eating it (or maybe worse!)

Consequently, I have traveled farther up my path on this journey of eating for health. I say "up my path" instead of down my path, because it has been a struggle and not easy. However, I would rather continue being a cancer survivor and not become a cancer statistic. This has all been a huge learning curve for me.

It’s just like the words in the song "Ooh La La" which Rod Stewart sang, "I wish that I knew what I know now when I was younger." That would have saved my family and me from so much grief. But, sometimes experience is the best teacher. I wish I could open up people's heads and pour what I have learned into them, so they would not have to go through what I've been through.

Anyway, if you are in Boulder during the next few weeks, stop in at The Breadworks on 2644 Broadway. Have a pastry. Check out the art!

Sketchbook Tour 2012 by Art House Co-op at the Brooklyn Library of Art

January 10th, 2012

Sketchbook Tour 2012 by Art House Co-op at the Brooklyn Library of Art

I'm taking a break from frantically working on my 2012 Sketchbook Tour submission. I signed up for it rather late, but I figured I had plenty of time to get the little sketchbook finished before the Jan 31, 2012 deadline. It turns out that I did not work on it at all during the holidays, and then after New Year's, I got sick....the first cold/virus I have had in 3 years... Oh Boy! I think the CT scan I had of my abdomen and pelvis on Dec 29 really knocked my immune system down, and what with the craziness of the holiday activites I finally succumbed to the cold that my hubby brought home. The good news is that my latest CT scan was clear of any cancer...YAY!

I started writing for the sketchbook project in the Fall, and I have finally finished my children's story about a goose and a moose and how they begin to travel the world together. I think I have some good ideas for the illustrations, and I have my storyboard planned out. I'm on my wa-a-a-a-y..... Hahaha...that's the theme I chose this year... Travel.

I THINK I can get it postmarked before the deadline. Then, the little sketchbook will be off to Brooklyn to get digitized before embarking on a world-wide tour. You can check it out of their digital library after April, I believe.

Wish me luck!

Right now, I'm headed off to bed to get some shut-eye, so that I can spend tomorrow making good progress on my drawing and lettering. I adored "The Travels of Babar" by Jean de Brunhoff when I was a child. One of the things that I liked about the style of this author/illustrator is that the book was not typeset. Jean de Brunhoff wrote the text in cursive. I loved it then, and I still do. So, I plan to adopt that style in my book.

Here's to a LOT of progress on it in the next few days!

Denver Plein Air Fest 2011

August 28th, 2011

Denver Plein Air Fest 2011

I can hardly believe it's been a year since I last painted in Denver for the festival...WOW! I had an awesome experience last year. I was just hoping and praying that I would have a piece juried into that show. I submitted four pieces, and one made it! It was the piece I thought least likely to succeed, but boy was I glad I entered it. The only reason I did so was to honor my daughter's time spent with me. (My hubby hates for me to paint in Denver alone). The piece not only made it into the show, it won an honorable mention ribbon--and sold at opening! Thrilled and elated only begin to describe how happy I was. Then, the thought occurred to me that perhaps my daughter bought the piece, and my feelings of elation subsided a bit. She has been known to do that before... However, this time, she did not. She confided in me that she didn't even like the piece. Whatever! ...she's still my biggest fan!

I was writing an email to my art teacher this morning, and thought I should include a portion of it in this blog, as it describes how this year's plein air event is going for me so far...

...I went to Denver to paint again yesterday. Jenny went with me and brought her Biology homework and book to study. It was hot. We started out on the16th Street Mall again for my morning painting, and ended up on Acoma Plaza for the afternoon one. All in all, I had a good day! I did not see many artists out though. There was one man sitting at a table with all sorts of supplies at the Byers-Evans House. He was inside the fence, and up above eye level, so I could not see what he was working on. I did not want to stare, so we just walked on by with me pulling my gear behind me on the luggage tote.

Then, in the very late afternoon, a group of ladies including Mary Ann Billingsly passed by Jenny and me. They said they were out scouting for a good place to paint. They asked if I had seen many artists around, as they had not seen any. I wonder if the $15 fee has kept some people from entering...sort of like an "it's the principle of it kind-of-thing..." but that is just speculation on my part. Maybe the artists were just in different locations trying to produce some DIFFERENT work... What I did see were photographers! I've seen a few different people with very expensive-looking cameras and lenses. I think that I will enter a few of my photographs as well this year...I'm working on a theme, but I'll surprise you with it later.

I did see two photos of artists (or some pieces they had produced thus far) on my Facebook. There is a Denver Plein Air Arts Festival page that you can "friend." Jennifer Bobola was painting on the deck of the Denver Art Museum last week. Then someone posted a picture of their work at some fountain in City Park. I would like to have attended the paintout on the deck at the DAM, but we already had Rockies tickets for that day...and boy, we were glad it was cloudy that afternoon! ...Our seats were in what would have been a very sunny location. Believe me, it was still VERY hot!

Well, the new school year is in full swing here now--though I imagine you are trying to soak up the last bit of summer at your lake house. Did you feel the earthquake at all? Bill's family lives in Virginia and New Jersey, and they all felt it. Wow! earthquake AND a hurricane up and down the east coast all in the same week! That was certainly big news.

Take care my friend!
I'll be glad when you are home!


March 27th, 2011


Discounts! ...Everyone LOVES to get a bargain! I know I today I decided to give a discount on items purchased through this website. What do you think of discounts? I'd love to know....

My Most Important Art Discovery This Year

February 24th, 2011

My Most Important Art Discovery This Year

The most important thing I learned this year is that I don’t spend enough time actually painting in my studio. Oh, I do all sorts of art-related things, which makes me feel like I’m working on art, and I guess I am. But I’ve realized that I’m not painting enough.

I love spending time learning new things…especially anything that has to do with art. Being part of an online community of artists is a lot of fun, but it can take up a lot of time. Reading other artist’s blogs is also helpful and fun, but that, too, takes up the clock. I get an online artist newsletter filled with great information on all manner of things related to being a professional artist. In and of itself, it doesn’t seem like it takes that much time to read… But, when you add all of the above items together—a significant chunk of time each day is spent on art-related stuff; however, the time was not spent on painting.

In our society today, computers have become such an important part of our lives. I know that I would feel totally out of touch without our computer. It’s how we get a lot of our news, information, and entertainment. Sometimes my entertainment consists of manipulating the color, brightness, and contrast of photographs that I took, so that I will have a great reference from which to create a painting. I have thousands and thousands of photographs that I would like to paint “one day” stored in my digital files. In addition to that, I’ve ordered many art supplies online. Plus, I also take an online course in Children’s Illustration. Besides the lessons, it includes daily email with great informative links, and it also includes a monthly webcall.

Email is a major form of communication with my art buddies (and family, too). Yet my husband sometimes asks me if we should just unplug the computer! I know that I spend too much time sitting at the desk and not enough time behind my easel. Perhaps I need to make and follow a rigid schedule.

One fellow I follow, Robert Genn, suggests squirting out paint each day before that magical morning cup o’ joe. Well, I drink tea, but I think the advice is still the same. I think he’s onto something! Just the act of starting the creative process would keep me away from the computer screen during my most productive time of day—and I’d be painting!


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