My road trip to Fresno, CA… 3 days after returning from Australia

I used to look at the crazy schedules of my friends who also teach and wondered how they coped with big trips back to back, but now that I find myself occasionally in the same boat, the answer is; you just do it. When you love making art, teaching and need to pay the bills, there really isn’t a choice and I’ve learned that taking melatonin with the dinner service on international flights is practically miraculous for eliminating jet lag.

So after being home two days to unpack, do laundry, buy groceries and repack, I was back on the road, driving this time (yay! 🙂 ), to Fresno. I have passed Fresno countless times on my drives to and from Los Angeles over the years and always remembered it as the sign on the freeway that marked the halfway point, and the place where raisins come from, but I had never been to Fresno itself.

What a treat it was for me to find myself arriving at the lovely home of my host, Ann, who lives on a farm at the base of the foothills east of Fresno and see this on the wall next to her front doorann's tree
because I own thismy tree

It was clear to me we were going to have a few things in common. Our sculptures look like they had to have been made by either the same person or same village in Mexico, because the leaves, apples and birds are exactly alike, just painted differently.

I also found out Ann has a love of the beautiful carved wooden animals from Oaxaca that inspired my quilt Arbol de Vidalizard A 7253

and that she and her husband were in related fields of study and work to my parents, and had travelled to many of the same countries they have, needless to say there was rarely a lull in conversation.

On the free day between my lecture and workshop, Ann’s quilt group invited me to go on a field trip with them to the San Joaquin River Conservancy to view the the last project art quilter Jean Ray Laury completed before she passed. You may remember this wonderful quilt made by Jean, I remember it was in one of the first art quilt books I owned, featuring Jean’s techniques on printing and painting fabric.jean ray laury quilt

This quilt hangs in the historic Coke Hallowell house (below). It’s one of the Sears and Roebuck kit houses you could order from a catalog in the 1800’s and is beautifully restored inside and out.Coke Hallowell
In the building behind the house hangs the  amazing series of California nature themed banners made by Jean. The  images are individually painted and embroidered and then appliquéd onto each wool felt banner.

jean ray laurie banners

Each banner is absolutely stunning. If you click on the photos a couple times you can see large images, just hit your return key on the browser to get back to the original blogpost.

banners1 banners2 banners3

On saturday I taught painting, and as you can see it’s a talented group of women in Fresno, they took to painting fabric with ease.painting 1

painting 2

painting 3

painting 4

painting 5

painting 6

painting 7
This is my wonderful host Ann, and of course she chose to paint a beetle, a woman after my own heart 🙂ann painting


I drove the 3 hours back to Sacramento, after the workshop to be home for Mother’s day. This was the fun gift that showed up on the table after breakfast from my daughter Indigo. It was so cute I hardly wanted to open
This is the beautiful card she made.
cardand the beautiful bird she painted while I was away. I feel truly blessed.
birdIt’s a wonderful feeling to see your child develop skills that often surpass your own and wonder what amazing things lie ahead of her.

This month, I was in charge of posting the theme for The Sketchbook Challenge and I chose Aqua Vida ~ Life Water. Hop on over and check out my tutorial using scratchboard with artwork from me and Indigo.

Keep creating, it’s good for the soul!

8 Responses to “My road trip to Fresno, CA… 3 days after returning from Australia”

  1. What a wonderful class and to be with someone who has so much in common with you, is wonderful.


  2. jeannievh says:

    What a wonderful trip! Jean Ray Laury was one of the first instructors I traveled to take courses from back in the late 70’s. I still own one of her applique pillows. Her banners ~ OMG! I love them. I am so glad you got to see her exhibit and shared it her. She was a force. Indigo continues to amaze me with her creativity and generous heart. Of course, she had a good role model. Enjoy your time at home.

  3. Rachel says:

    I have been amazed by your skills and teaching ability from the first time I met you, nothing has changed.

  4. Martha says:

    Lovely post!! Indigo sure is talented!

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