Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dodge City, Kansas

On the last leg of our trip from the ISCA National we stopped in Dodge City, Kansas. We were expecting to walk into a blast from the past and see a piece of history. While that is not what happened unfortunately, we did find one treasure.

This is the Mueller Schmidt House. It was built in 1881. I walked in the home/museum to find a tour in process which was quite a treat. The house is one of the few structures still standing in its original location. It is the only native limestone home remaining in Dodge City. The house was built to be one of the most prestigious homes in Dodge at that time. It still sits atop a hill - but now surrounded by modern homes.

Here are some trivia items that were quite interesting. Much of the furniture build during that era was black walnut. The Mueller Schmidt house was filled with furniture very much like our antique pieces. We were never quite sure what type of wood was used. The Mueller Schmidt house had three closets opposed to armours. Back in that era, houses were taxed by number of rooms with six foot doors. So, to avoid taxation, most homes had no closets. To have a closet was a sign of wealth. After eating, tables were reset with all the dishes facing upside down. This was to keep flies and germs off the dishes in an effort to combat tuberculosis. Newsprint was used to line cabinet shelves for the same reason - combating tuberculosis. Arsenic was used in newsprint which in turn would be toxic to bugs. When newspaper publishers started dying from arsenic poisoning the use of arsenic in newsprint was discontinued. With fur hats, mercury was used to combat bugs for the same reason - disease control. When people started going insane - i.e. "Mad Hatters" the use of mercury was discontinued.

The tour guide was a wealth of information and I wish we could have spent more time in Dodge City. It was windy there and very little to allow us to relive history in an authentic way. New meaning comes to light for the saying, "Get the Heck out of Dodge" which we did quickly!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hotel Dogs

Monet enjoying the hotel room.
Jewel has found a great place to rest....hum....that looks like my pillow!

Hopefully, this is our last night in a hotel. We are in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The drive home tomorrow is an estimated 13 hours. There are no sight seeing adventures planned so we should be on schedule.

Looking forward to sleeping in my own bed and seeing our pets that didn't travel with us.

I'll post today adventure photos from Dodge City on Saturday. It was a fun place to visit....however.....we understand the saying, "Get the Heck Outta Dodge!"

Drew at the National

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I just received these photos from a friend who was sitting ringside at the National last week. It was fun to see them. Thank you Tammy!

Dawn painting at the National in Oconomowoc

A friend just send me this photo. Thank you Susan!

We are considering putting this painting into print. The three dogs featured are Jewel (top), Monet (bottom left) and Drew (middle right).

Would love to have ideas for a title for this piece!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Winterset, Iowa: Birthplace of John Wayne

To our surprise, this little town where we ventured to photograph bridges is also the birthplace of the legendary actor, John Wayne.

The locals told us the fame of the town is all around John Wayne. The town is tiny - a stone throw from one end to another. It is a beautiful place. We have had so much fun exploring here!
Check back tomorrow and hopefully I'll have the bridge photos up. Next, we are headed to Dodge City, Kansas. We want to get some western photos for my 2011 ISCA National painting.

Madison County Iowa - Good Morning

Drew at sunrise - Winterset, Iowa
Monet at sunrise.

We woke this morning to day break. Guess our internal time clocks are all off. The morning sun was cresting the beautiful fields of Iowa. Monet and Drew stood in the window looking out. These photos can not relay the beauty we saw this Wednesday morning.
Last night, before bed, we took the dogs out for one more walk. They all did big business. We bagged the poop and searched the small hotel for a trash can. The only can we found was right outside the front door of the lobby. When Rich went down to checkout this morning he walked in the lobby to overhear the manager talking with another party. The manager said, "You'll never believe what I found in the trash can...it was a bag of sh**". "Then I opened another bag and dang it if it wasn't another bag of sh**". "Now...who would sh** in a bag?" Rich was in hysterics. Guess they don't use bags to pick up dog poop around those parts.
Monet spit up this morning... hum....could she have morning sickness??!!

Bridges of Madison County

Rich and Jewel outside one of the covered bridges of Madison County.
Rich and Drew walking into a covered bridge. Isn't the countryside beautiful? Iowa - America's Heartland.

Rich and Drew posing outside one of the bridges of Madison County.

Big kisses from Dawn to Monet.

Dawn and Monet enjoying the landscape and the beautiful sound of song birds in the surrounding trees.
We made a special trip to photograph the bridges of Madison County, Iowa. This is the location for the movie featuring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep of the same name "The Bridges of Madison County". Rich and I have to watch the movie again to see if we recognize anything from the quaint town of Winterset!
We pondered over why bridges were covered? Was it to keep ice off the bridge for horse carriages? When photographing one of the bridges there was a narrative inside the bridge that gave us the answer. The large wooden beams that make up the flooring of the bridge are very valuable. So much so that the bridges were covered to protect the floor boards. The cost of the covering was less than the cost of the flooring. Now is that not interesting?

Madison County Iowa

Well....we have headed to Madison County Iowa to photograph covered bridges after leaving Woodbury.

When we travel cross country we try to go to new places to add reference photos to my library. Many of these photos are used at some point in my paintings.

Here are the dogs in the hotel....ready for dinner.

Woodbury, Minnesota....again

Here is Dad with Monet, me with Drew and Jane with Jewel (who she offered to keep!!). Notice Drew looking at Dad. He kept wanting to give Dad hugs and it was such a crack up.

After leaving Elk River we went back to my parents home in Woodbury. Nothing like a home cooked meal opposed to the sodium laden artificial nightmares we've been consuming for the past week and a half.

This is a view of their back yard with no rain. More photos to follow once we download them from the camera. Check back!

Elk River Photos

John and Victoria's Dogs: Dakota, Zoe and Loki on the floor. When John and Victoria used to live in Chino Hills we would take Loki and Bailey Boy on walks together. I sure miss those days.
Rich and Drew....on the sofa....what kind of house guests are we????

Victoria, Rich and John on the patio enjoying Strawberry Margaritas.....remind me why we left there!

These are some candid shots of us in Elk River. John and Victoria were such awesome hosts. We have to live down Jewel stealing part of the dinner before it was served.......will she ever behave? No.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Elk River - Victoria Painting

Isn't Victoria wonderful. Victoria is the person who introduced me to pastels. She is such a fabulous artist and my inspiration every day.

Elk River - raining but still fun!

Although it was raining, we sure hated to leave. If only we could have stayed a few more days. Why the heck is Rich smiling????
Jewel has the red collar, Monet the orange and Drew the blue. Thanks for the photos Victoria. Hum.... I had to omit the hiney one....

Elk River - Hunting with a view

Jewel (red collar) and Drew had a blast hunting from the comfort of Victoria's living room!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Elk River, Minnesota

Here we are at our friends', John and Victoria, home in Elk River, Minnesota. They live on three acres in a heavily wooded area.

It was pure heaven to be here. The dogs haven't had a yard to run in since June 3, 2010. The three were running around and hunting and playing.

It was so awesome to be here in real life. John and Victoria visit us frequently when they are in California for Victoria's art exhibits. However, we've never had the pleasure to visit their home.

Hope you enjoy the pictures of our 'Hunters"!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Woodbury, Minnesota Day 7

Well, after the National we headed towards Minnesota "don't cha know" to see family. It was a beautiful drive across Wisconsin and I added many barn and farm scenes to my reference library.

Unfortunately, I can't show the pictures of my father's backyard yet as the photos are still in the camera. His yard backs up to a small lake and an abundance of wild life. Until recently, Rich and I thought Jewel and Drew were our big hunters in the household. Until today that is. We took all three dogs on a walk around the lake and Monet discovered her hunting instinct. I have to tell you what an amazing transformation she has gone through and so quickly. Monet was on constant point and absolutely lost interest in all else - except food of course. Monet is absolutely bonkers about hunting. She is driven with a newly found passion for sure.
We walked her several times down the lake nature trail trying to get her to do her "business". She was unable to take the time to do so. All she could do was scent, look and point.
Back at the house, she found she couldn't hold it any longer and decided to take the opportunity to do her business when she was not hunting. This opportune location happened to be the white carpeting in my father and step mother's pristine home. And boy did she have to go. I scooped up the damage with toilet paper and flushed it away. The volume of it backed up the toilet temporarily (adding insult to an already embarrassing situation). In good spirits my parents laughed. My stepmother, Jane, suggested perhaps Monet had her accident because she was pregnant.....yes....absolutely....that has to be the reason......ha ha ha ha.

Here is a photo of my father and Jewel. I'll post more photos when we download them from the camera. Their backyard and surrounding landscape is amazing.

Next title for Monet you ask???--- we are going to have to go after her JH ( after the puppies are born of course!! Hoping she is pregnant of course!!!) Tomorrow we head for Elk River, Minnesota.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Oconomowoc, Wisconsin Day 6

We are at the final day of the 2010 ISCA Specialty. This day is always bittersweet. The week has long days with the set up / tear down of the booth contents daily and functions in the evenings. However, no matter how tired we are we hate to see it come to an end.

The weather held out and we were not hit by rain. The bag pipes this morning took my breath away as usual. My grandfather was Irish and I only wish he could be here at the show while all this is going on.
Here is a candid shot of me in my art booth. Not sure who took the second photo = but thank you for doing so!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Oconomowoc, Wisconsin...Day 5

Today started out looking fabulous weather wise. We had a brief sprinkle from Mother Nature and then things became really warm and muggy. The "girls" showed today and it was incredible how many beautiful Irish Setters were running by our booth.

Attached is a photo of Drew from the show yesterday. Thank you to everyone for their kind comments about him. He really is a dream dog.

Our dogs are settling into their hotel routine. It is incredible how quickly the week is passing. I haven't had an opportunity to check email - it is going to be crazy once I get to it.

We attended a pig roast to close the day. We are excited....feet hurt - body aches but had good art sales. Off to bed -

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Oconowoc, Wisconsin - Day Four

No rain for the art booth! What a huge relief. Hopefully the weather will continue to cooperate for all those involved - art booth or dog exhibitor.

I showed Drew (Willowbrook Artists Rendition) today in the American Bred Class under Judge Sid Marx. The class was a total of 16 entries with one absence (that I know of). Drew showed his little heart out and made the cut. It was humbling to stand in the ring and watch so many beautiful animals exit.

When all was said and done, Mr. Marx pulled his four placements and then called out for Drew and put him 5th place in line. He then directed the remaining exhibitors to fill in the gap and sent us all around the ring one more time.

While it would have been more than thrilling to leave the ring with a ribbon, making the cut and then being put 5th in line was more than exciting. Thank you to Mr. Marx for giving my young boy a nice nod. I'll put pictures up as soon as I get them off my camera.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rain in Oconowoc

Three little red dogs sitting on the hotel room patio. No one wants to play in the rain. Fortunately, tomorrow when we open our booth it is supposed to be sunny!

Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

We are here at the host hotel for the Irish Setter Club of America 2010 National Specialty. We have a beautiful view from our room. The room has a balcony that looks out to a green belt area with a pond. Rich desperately wants to go fishing. There are mallards and Canadian geese. When they fly over the dogs, the dogs are going bonkers. It is amazing to see their natural instincts though they've not been used for hunting.

The tents are going up for the show. Everywhere you look there are red dogs. It is fun seeing old friends and making new. Our dogs are having a blast. The show committee is working so hard to make sure all is on schedule. Thank you to the host club and the ISCA for putting on such an event for our fancy.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Dubuque, Iowa

We have been progressing across the Country nicely. My grandparents were all from Dubuque, Iowa. It was decided in route to deviate from our scheduled route and head to Dubuque. We went through some quaint little towns. Actually, there was one town with a posted population of 24. Considering we live outside Los Angeles and I grew up in Dallas, a population of 24 is less than what I see in the market at any given time. How can a town have 24?? It sounds wonderful to some degree.

As children, my maternal grandfather would routinely take my brothers and me to the Julian Dubuque memorial. Of course our grandfather, Bapoo, would never tell us what it was. He told us it was Bat Man's secret entrance to the Bat Cave. I'd stand at the bars in the front of the stone structure and try to figure out how the heck Bat Man got in there. It was an amazing situation for a 5 year old.

So, while in Dubuque I had to go to the memorial. The front of the memorial faces the great Mississippi River up on a bluff. From the rear of the memorial all you can see is the stone structure. As I walked around the structure I saw a mom, a dad and a four"ish" year old blond haired girl with her tiny hands on the bars looking inside the memorial. My heart warmed as I understood her mesmerized state standing in front of Bat Man's secret entrance. It was great to visit. It would have been nice to spend a little more time exploring and reminiscing.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Jewel on the road

We are in Colorado. I haven't been here since I was a child. It is a beautiful and we had a nice evening relaxing after being in the car about 14 hours.
Jewel enjoyed laying in the grass at the hotel. It is hard to believe she just had surgery a week ago. We thought she had cancer.....the biopsy came in as scar tissue from a chronic anal gland. Her hiney is shaved. She is in great spirits and running around like a young dog defying her age of 11 1/2.
Tomorrow we head for Iowa.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Ready for a road trip

Our three dogs are groomed, bathed and ready for the road trip to the Irish Setter Club of America National Specialty........on the road again!!!