Well, April sure has been fun and interesting!
The desert has been in full bloom and it's been pretty spectacular. The palo verde trees are trimmed with yellow flowers, the yucca are popping out big stalks of white blooms, and the cacti are bursting with all sorts of amazing petal configurations. I'm enjoying every minute of nature's celebration. While April was mostly beautiful, May is looking toasty, with the first of the year's triple-digit temperatures set to hit this weekend.
Aaron and I did several interesting things this month, including attending a Mexican street food festival, stargazing at Kitt Peak National Observatory, glass blowing at Sonoran Glass School, and chowing down at the Pima County Fair. We especially enjoyed the glass blowing experience, and will very likely return for more fun with molten materials at some point in the future.
I took a day trip to Phoenix to visit the Desert Botanical Garden, Jerry's Artarama (art supply store - $$$), and my friend Kalisha. I also trekked all the way across Tucson to Saguaro National Park East, since I hadn't been there in over a year. It takes nearly an hour to get there, and although it's certainly nice, I confirmed that I am a bigger fan of Saguaro National Park West, which is a much closer trip from my apartment (about 20 minutes). And, I couldn't resist paying a visit to the blooming corpse flower at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, one of only a handful that will bloom in captivity this year. I thought that it smelled like dirty socks.
What else... oh yes, ART! :-)
I had a really lovely month in this realm. I began April by putting the finishing touches on a special piece for my dear friend's nursery, one which contains a lot of meaning and love. So while I never in my life thought I would paint a raccoon playing a guitar surrounded by fireflies, I ended up rather enjoying the challenge and the result.
Next up, I was commissioned to paint a dog portrait by a Tucson local who discovered me on Instagram. This was a really fun project because her dog Stella is a total doll, and I met a lovely person in the process (a.k.a. Stella's mom). It was also pretty fun to see the internet pay off in terms of both art sales and people meeting. So yay for the internet!
I was then commissioned (is there a theme here?) to paint a piece for my second cousin to give as a gift to a friend. My cousin Kim lives here in Tucson, and wanted to give something special to a friend who lives in Kino Bay, Mexico. We came up with one of my "reverse mermaid" scenes set in Kino Bay, with some special touches (i.e. heart necklace, paddle board, and wine glass) to make the piece unique to her friend's life and interests.
My mother hired me to paint a portrait of her mother in front of her parents' hardware store as a gift for my uncle's birthday, and this project was next on the agenda. This was a bit of a departure from my recent work, but harkened back to pieces I've created in the past. It was fun to do and especially heartwarming to see all the lovely memories people posted on Facebook when my mom shared the piece on there. Apparently my grandparents' hardware store was full of special memories for a lot of people who grew up in Mason, Ohio.
Last, I took a quick break from commissions (yes, I have another one in the works) to create a piece inspired by spring in Southern Arizona, featuring the blooming ocotillos. These thorny, dead-looking sticks get happy, grow leaves, and bloom a few times a year, and this month has been one of those times.
But wait - I'm not done yet! (Sorry this is a long one...)
April was almost over, but I had another fun surprise in store. Another Tucson artist, Addy Cottle, contacted me via Instagram and asked if I would be interested in showing my work with her at Epic Cafe on Tucson's historic Fourth Avenue. Of course the answer was "yes," and I spent the last few days of April framing art and preparing to display my creations.
Addy and my show will run through the end of May, and while I know that many of my blog readers won't be in a geographically feasible place to see it, I appreciate the many well wishes I have received. I'm excited to have an opportunity to show my work publicly and connect with new people in Tucson.
I can't wait to see what happens in May. Stay tuned for my next blog!
And now, this month's creations. The only one of these still available for purchase is the last piece, and it's currently only available for sale by visiting Epic Cafe. If it doesn't sell during my show, it will be back online for sale starting June 1.