Marina Del Rey / Venice Beach/ Santa Monica

I am so grateful to have arrived at the month of June!!  Summertime is here and I am hoping that there is a slower pace in the months ahead.  March and April were filled with travel.  We were privileged to spend a week relaxing at the beach in Southern California.  I find the beach very restful and restorative.  There was lots of sun, which has been lacking in Illinois this year.  And ton’s of opportunities for soaking up painting inspiration and taking some really great reference photos.   I worked out this little painting below from a photo I had taken along the Venice Canals.  There are tons of beautiful beach cottages and homes.  It’s a great place for a stroll if you are in the area.   I really liked the composition in this photo and thought it made a nice little painting.

“A Scene From The Venice Canals”.



A couple of weeks later we headed out for a week in the deserts and mountains of Arizona.  Having spent the ages of 13 to 22 living in Colorado and Oregon, there is something about the Western United States that just feels like home to me.  We spent a day driving the Apache Trail  through the Superstition Mountains.  We headed out into the Sonoran desert for lots of hiking, we even made it down to Saguaro National Park.  And I was nervous when I saw a sign warning of rattlesnakes in the area.  My sweet daughter startled me right out of my skin by hissing a few moments later. Prankster!  I also discovered that hiking up steep barren mountains gives me anxiety and mild panic  But I am totally fine coming down the mountain.  The desert heat is nice due to the low humidity but the extreme dryness can take a little getting used too.  And I do miss seeing green, but we took a little break from the desert landscape by heading north into the mountains and spending a few days in Sedona and Flagstaff.   Maybe it was because it was my first time in these parts of Arizona. ( I did see the Grand Canyon as a kid.)  But I really loved it!  And I can’t wait to go back.  Another impressive thing to me about Arizona is the amount of agriculture in the state, which I had been unaware of previously.  My aunt had a recently harvested cotton field next to her home.  And one of my favorite places to eat was the Olive Mill in Queen Creek.  It is an olive grove and home of manufacturing facilities for pressing the olive oil.  They have a great bakery and restaurant on site with excellent fresh food.  And a small mercantile area where they sell different flavors of olive oil, balsamic reductions, body care products and other foodstuffs.   You should visit if you get the chance.

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