Skip to main content

Snapshots of Summer

My kids and I have a pact to see all 50 states together. During the time we lived just north of Atlanta, Georgia, making day trips to other states was easy. Then we moved back to Texas seven years ago - and not somewhere along the state lines, but central Texas. While I love my hometown of Austin, living here means "day trips" to other states are out of the question, unless you just want to turn around right after you cross a state line and head back home. You're looking at an average of 6 hours in any direction to get to another state. With that in mind, it's easy to understand why our list of states we'd seen together had been stuck at 11 for the past four years.

This summer, I was determined we were going to add more states to the list - specifically, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. Technically, I had been through New Mexico on a trip to Colorado when I had just graduated high school, so this was a chance for my kids to catch up on states I had already seen. Two hours in to the 8 hour drive toward our first destination of Roswell, NM, we were still in the A's in my music library and AWOLNation's "All I Need" started playing. When it got to the lyrics, "I think I'm getting closer, but the scenery's the same," my 16 year old son deadpanned, "I'd say that's an accurate account of how I feel about this trip so far." After I stopped laughing and caught my breath, I assured him the scenery would change...eventually. 

During the long drives between destinations, the three of us discussed a wide variety of topics, we recounted our favorite family stories that make us laugh, we oohed and aahed as the scenery changed to plateaus, mountains, and sandstone arches, and the kids took turns making the home video of the road trip. I found creative inspiration around every corner and was constantly taking pictures of the gorgeous views. We packed in a lot of touristy activities, visited art galleries, and did some hiking. I had anticipated the potential for bickering and grumbling, but was pleasantly surprised there was none. 

Our longest trip was the 11 hour drive home from Santa Fe. Fortunately, we had new material for discussions and new funny family stories to laugh about along the way. As we started planning which states we want to visit next year, I realized how grateful I was that we took this vacation together. It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind of life and postpone things that can be considered "frivolous expenses" such as vacation trips - but when you do go, you remember why it's so valuable. You enrich your life through new experiences, learning new things, restoring your energy, and, most importantly, creating memories.

I came back from the trip refreshed, inspired, and ready to tackle the paintings I need to get ready for a couple of shows coming up this Fall. New works will be posted later this week. I will also be starting a quarterly newsletter featuring previews of upcoming projects and exclusive promotions. which you can sign up for here.


Popular posts from this blog

35x35 Art Project - "Keep Dancing"

"Keep Dancing" 35cm x 35cm, acrylic on canvas by Alisha K Ard I was invited to participate in the 35x35 art project by the Copelouzos Family Art Museum, a contemporary art Museum in Athens, Greece, owned by Dimitris Copelouzos’ family. Each of the works in the art project are created on uniform 35 cm by 35 cm canvases, and the collection contains works by artists from around the world - USA, Europe, Asia and Latin America. My painting,"Keep Dancing," will become part of the Museum's permanent extensive collection created by a blend of established and emerging contemporary artists. It will also be featured in a published book about the 35x35 art project, along with the following insight to the creation of the painting: The vibrant colors of this painting are intended to delight the audience with the shiny black dance shoes, a red carnation hair adornment, and three yellow roses against a turquoise background. The red carnation is symbolic of love and

Following the Call of Creativity

3 Sisters, 1 Pair - Acrylic on canvas by Alisha K. Ard Art has always been an important part of my life. As a child, when my grandmother would read books to me at bedtime, I was as enchanted by the details of every illustration as I was by the stories. When I would visit my mother in the summer, she would entertain me with art projects. I was absolutely thrilled to get newsprint drawing pads and pencils as gifts. In High School, I took a single semester of Art class my Junior year, but with the “starving artist” stigma, I did not consider art as a serious career option, so I started college in pursuit of a Chemical Engineering degree rather than a formal art education. Fast forward to late 2006, and I was a stay-at-home mom to a 6 year old son in Kindergarten and a 1 year old baby girl. I read blogs and articles about the Daily Painters movement — artists painting one small painting every day as an exercise to hone their skills. These small works were then poste

Overcoming Creative Inertia in a Pandemic

Have you seen the posts about Issac Newton developing calculus in quarantine and Shakespeare writing King Lear? Or maybe you've seen this one: If you don’t come out of this quarantine with either:  1.) a new skill  2.) starting what you’ve been putting off like a new business  3.) more knowledge  You didn’t ever lack the time, you lacked the discipline. Did either of them actually fire up your motivation? If they did, that's awesome, and I'm sincerely happy for you.  For the rest of us who spent each day wondering what happened to our creativity, our motivation, our passion for the projects we were working on, I'd like to share the following posts by @alexisrockley,  a psychology-certified coach on Twitter: I don't personally know her, but her message was exactly what I needed to hear to take that first step to overcoming this unwelcome inertia. I'm sharing it in hopes that it may help you, as well. As I'm sure is true w