Settling in Just Fine

The big question we had when we left DC back in March was where we would ultimately land. Funny thing is we had so much planned between then and now: two, month-long artist residencies and one picked up along the way, lettering workshops to teach, family to visit and not to mention the 3-month adventure we had with Flo, that we hadn’t really thought about where we would land much. In fact, we got asked this question more often from others than we asked ourselves. I guess it was intuitive where we landed that we really didn’t have to think about it.

Southwest Colorado is where our hearts and lives belong.
We’ve been here one month now spending time with our Colorado family and friends. Here are a few of the highlights.

The moment we landed we started housesitting in Durango. It was nice to be there and have a little room to settle in by the river during the holiday weekend. It was like we hadn’t really stopped traveling yet. With housesitting gigs lined up through spring. I guess you could say we are still nomads.

Hanging out with Kaia, Dexter, Grendel Pants, Blossom and Handsome Cowboy while housesitting the first few weeks back in Southwest Colorado.

The Grange
Hanging out at the Mancos Grange has been a nice extension of our experience at the Old Trading Post in Paonia. The people growing, preparing, and gathering in celebration of food and our friends from Feins, have a deep connection with each other and the land. It was heartwarming to have one of our homecoming dinners here and to meet a demographic of Mancos we hadn’t known even when we lived here before. They offer a community dinner every second Sunday. The food is so good. And to quote Michelle Mercer from our residency at Elsewhere Studios in Paonia, “The food is so packed with nutrition, I feel like Popeye after just one meal.”

I have a “Top 5” list of mentors who, if they call, I drop what I am doing to lend a hand. When Patricia called as we were on the road back home to see if I could paint some signs, I could barely wait to get back to Mancos and help out. Although I painted these while housesitting in Durango, they made their way to Mancos (the 3 white signs pictured above) to hang at The Grange on Grand Avenue. The food was delicious as always and catching up with friends was a nice homecoming.

New Studio
Like being asked to paint signs (among other local requests), it took about a minute from the time we landed to find a studio space to settle into. As the town was all a hustle for Labor Day weekend, we quietly snuck into our new shared space (with my good friend and photographer, Kyla) and carved out a spot on the wall for me to start working. Ray and I refinished a small table that will become the base for many of my upcoming online lettering classes and with the help of my good friend Miki and Kyla’s dad, we now have a gorgeous 4′ x 8′ birch plywood wall that will become the backdrop to my online class offerings. Having the space allowed me to lay out my full online lettering curriculum, and list the printed books and other products I want to create in 2018.

It’s simple, elegant, rustic, and warm. Three days a week I spread out and make a bunch of letters, videos, teach classes and make products in my new shared studio space. This is so long, I have enough projects to last me until spring!

We heard of Rosa Sabido’s story when we were on the road, but when we arrived to town, the postcards and t-shirts announcing her plight made it more real. Attending a vigil recognizing her 100 days in captivity was a beautiful experience for the town, her family and by the look on her face and the sharing of her poem it was for her too. You can read more about Rosa here.


Between helping Peggy with Willowtail Springs and designing an Appreciative Inquiry summit for November, answering the call to paint poems and excerpts from residents for their upcoming Reveries show at the Durango Arts Center, and moving into the new studio, I’m still able to make all of my 1:1 lettering coaching calls and virtual lettering classes. Life can get crazy sometimes, but there is always time for letters!

All about Willowtail Springs: one of four “pennings” on the wall at the Durango Arts Center for the Reveries exhibition, view over the lake, mission of the artist-in-residency program, Appreciative Inquiry proposal.

So here we are all safe and sound staying with Gawkie in Ray’s childhood home until we start housesitting again. As we transition from summer to fall days are full with peeling roasted chilis, chopping and stacking firewood, spending time with nephews, and eating tortillas, sopapillas, beans and green chili. Okay, that last part is year-round. We are just so happy to have full bellies and warm hearts.

After traveling over 13,000 miles we are happy to report that the only car trouble that we had was a burned out taillight and a bad gas cap. We were never robbed, nothing got stolen, neither of us got hurt or had to go to the hospital. I think we may have caught a cold but that’s it.

We may post again sharing our favorite places we visited and additional stories we may have forgotten to tell. One thing is for sure. We may be home again, but we are different having made this journey. We discovered that America was already great, people were kind nearly every where we went, and there is much to see and enjoy in this great country of ours.

Thank you for following our journey, for sharing your favorite stops along our route, and for the warm homecoming when we arrived back in Southwest Colorado.

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Just a few details from my studio projects including (top left to right): My new wall and all that I plan to do on it, videos showcasing how to mix Neuland inks, a new sign painting exemplar, “All About the Brushtip” online meetup through NOVA Scribes, “Working with Visionaries” a small job aid with accompanying video, Roman majuscules template for the sketchnoter, a new sticker promoting, “Level Up Your Lettering” agenda, and my new paper rack full of projects.


4 thoughts on “Settling in Just Fine

  1. Welcome home! What a journey you two have had. I really enjoyed following your blog as much as I could during our big transition and relocation to Astoria OR. I hope you enjoyed the redwoods in CA. Best of everything to you both.


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