Memorable Memorial Day

Elk River Valley
I drove around taking snaps on  quick trip home to Steamboat Springs to see family for Memorial Day. My student's need some landscape images to work from. Good thing I grew up in Paradise.

Elk River

Gore Range near Silverthorne

Borden Pond with Sleeping Giant 

Storm Mountain from Fish Creek Meadows

Flattops Wilderness and Lake Catamount from Rabbit Ears Pass

Old Truax barn on Elk River Road

Sleeping Giant

Flattops from near Sleeping Giant

Storm Mountain from Sleeping Giant

Wolcott Reservoir 

Ranch in Elk River Valley

Mesas in Kremmling, CO

Good Read

Unrelated to the photo above, my good friend Kerry Madden-Lunsford just had this wonderful article published in the Los Angeles Times. I enjoyed it so much I just had to share. It's about her visit to a local prison to teach children's book writing to inmates. 
Kerry's Article

Yard Blooms

Spring in Birmingham has been over-the-top spectacular this year. Here are some blooms from our yard. Above: Lenten Rose

Creeping Phlox

Solomon Seal


New Without a Net Post

But Here's the Joy         2016        20" x 16"       Oil on Board

I recently posted a new entry on my Without a Net blog. It's about the mind state behind the painting above. I'll save you from more explanation and give you the link:
But Here's the Joy

Italy Trip: Venice

On our way to our next stop (Venice, above) we took an afternoon stop in Vicenza where we had lunch on our own and some free time (below.)

This is my only shot of me eating. Vicenza is home to the very famous architect of the Renaissance, Palladio. You'll recognize his signature in many of the buildings of modern day Washington DC. After lunch I did a walking tour of Vicenza to see about 20 of his buildings there. Exciting for an art historian, but not so much for normal people, perhaps.
We arrived in Venice in the late afternoon. We'd heard that the crowds were atrocious, which was true, but I learned here that going out in the early morning and staying up late provided ample time to walk around and miss the tourists. 

The Grand Canal from the famous Rialto Bridge.

I took very little time to see the main tourist sights. Mostly I walked the streets, as you can see by my photos. Venice itself was far more interesting than its churches and art. It consists of:


Skinny st…

Italy Trip: The Dolomites

Our next stop after Lake Como was the Italian Alps, or Dolomites. Our luxurious tour bus drove us six hours to our new home, with a stop in Bolzano to see the Ice Man. Discovered recently in the Alps, Otzi the Ice Man is a very well-preserved 5,000 year old man. I'd seen a documentary about him with Annabelle, so I couldn't believe my luck in finding him on our itinerary. A modern museum in Bolzano exhibits his remains and his many artifacts which are surprisingly still intact. The place was crowded so I went quickly, but his tools and clothing were fascinating in their age and craftsmanship. A link to the museum site will give you more of a rundown than I can here. 
On our drive we saw pretty much nothing but vineyards alongside the freeway with huge mountains behind them. Every few miles you'd see an abandoned castle or monastery on a nearby hilltop, reminding us of the rich history of the region. After seeing so many vineyards I believed the fact that Italy makes most …

Italy Trip: Lake Como

Varenna, from my hotel room
In the next several posts I will share photos of my trip to Italy, September 29 though October 15, 2017. I went by myself, on a Rick Steves Tour. I'd used Rick Steves guidebooks for two other trips to Europe, and am a big fan of everything he offers. So this time I went all in for his Best of Italy trip. There were 27 other travelers, all of whom were friendly, easy-going, and the biggest bunch of non-complainers I've ever seen. Not that there was much to complain about. We were told that the trip would be strenuous, and they weren't wrong. In spite of our age (I think I was the youngest of the bunch at 55) we did many miles a day, almost completely on uneven cobblestone, and I never heard a complaint out of anyone. I am lucky to have had such a fun and enthusiastic group to travel with.
Our first stop was Lake Como, about an hour north of Milan in Northern Italy. It borders Switzerland, and the Italian and Swiss Alps are visible in some of the…