Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Alaska- Inspiring Awe + ART

It is no wonder I called this series "Believe Your Eyes," since the visual beauty of Alaskan vistas is astounding. Here are some photographs of some beautiful scenes along our way:

And here are some more of my interpretations:

Golden Wilderness- monotype

Silver Spring in the Forest- monotype

Silvered Trees- monotype

Golden Forest- monotype

Believe Your Eyes- mixed media

Monday, February 23, 2015

Believe Your Eyes- Alaskan Inspired Art

Last summer we went to Alaska and I was overwhelmed with the natural beauty there. A trip to Alaska amid all the natural beauty made it hard to believe my eyes when I saw the incredible natural resources. Over 75% of the land is preserved wilderness! They have wooded wilderness, mountains, lakes, glaciers, abundant flowers in summer- everything to make your visit a stunning visual experience. I captured some of the color and beauty from that trip into this series.

There are 15 images in this collection.

Believe Your Eyes- mixed media

Believe Your Eyes 2- mixed media

Endless Wonder 1- mixed media

Endless Wonder 2- mixed media

Golden Forest- monotype

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

ECUADOR- Traveling 14,000 feet in One Day!

We drove from Quito to Guayaquil and went from 14,000 feet to sea level on the way. We stopped in Cajas National Park and saw the Continental Divide at Three Crosses. We went through cloud forests as well.

Good bye Andes! You are amazing!

ECUADOR- Inca Ruins

Not far from Cuenca are the nearby ruins of Ingapirca (Wall of Inca Stones.) These are the famous ruins that, according to the experts, were used to control the native Cañaris. Stores, bathrooms, a tambo for the Inca, a temple dedicated to the sun, they are part of Ingapirca that was built in the 15th century by orders of Huayna Capac.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

ECUADOR- Quito, a very high capital city!

Quito, formally San Francisco de Quito, is the capital of Ecuador and at an elevation of 9,350 feet, it was highest official capital city in the world until La Paz became the capital of Peru. It is located in South America Ecuador on the eastern slopes of Pichincha, an active volcano in the Andes mountains. With a population of 2,671,191 according to the last census (2014), Quito is the second most populous city in Ecuador, after Guayaquil. In 2008, the city was designated as the headquarters of the Union of South American Nations.

The historic center of Quito has one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved historic centers in the Americas. Quito, along with Kraków, were the first World Cultural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO in 1978.The central square of Quito is located about 25 kilometres (16 mi) south of the equator; the city itself extends to within about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) of zero latitude. A monument and museum marking the general location of the equator is known locally as la mitad del mundo (the middle of the world), to avoid confusion, as the word ecuador is Spanish for equator.

ECUADOR- The Galápagos Islands

Pinch me! Here I am in the Galápagos Islands! We are staying on Santa Cruz, a larger island and are taking boat cruises to other islands- Seymour and Plaza. It is now rainy season so we have some rain.

The Galápagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands distributed on either side of the Equator in the Pacific Ocean, 563 miles west of continental Ecuador, of which they are a part.

The Galápagos Islands and their surrounding waters form an Ecuadorian province, a national park and a biological marine reserve. The principal language on the islands is Spanish. The islands have a population of slightly over 25,000.

The islands are famed for their vast number of endemic species (only found here) and were studied by Charles Darwin during the voyage of the Beagle. His observations and collections contributed to the Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.

Notice the colors of the water:

Bird caught in flight around boat:


The city of Cuenca — in full, Santa Ana de los cuatro ríos de Cuenca — is the capital of the Azuay Province. It is located in the highlands of Ecuador at about 2500 meters above sea level. The center of the city is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Trust site because of its many historical buildings.

Most tourists visit the historic area, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, between the river Tomebamba and the street Gran Colombia to the north, General Torres to the west, and Hermano Miguel to the east. This area's compactness, grid-like layout, and numerous readily identifiable monuments make it easy to navigate. Outside this area the city can be confusing, as there are dozens of narrow colonial streets with similar buildings. This city has four rivers and beautiful parks!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Haciendas and Their Legacy

We visited four haciendas in the Otavalo area. In the early 16th century, the King of Spain divided up Ecuador into huge land masses and gave them to the 210 conquistadors who defeated the Incas. Many descendants of these original Spanish conquerors, now mestizos because those original Spaniards had relations with the indigenous people. In fact, over 80% of the population is mestizo.

The hacienda got indigenous people to work the land, 100,000 acres or more, for free or if they were paid, it was with money only good at the hacienda. This system went on until 1964! Finally, the president made Land Reform Acts and hacienda owners had to give land parcels to workers who had been there for 20 years or more. The land was big enough to build a house and garden. 

The original haciendas are now open as hotels and restaurants and they are functioning as farms.
Hacienda Zuleta was the first hacienda we visited. Fabulous place to visit! We stayed there 4 days. The owner of this hacienda was forward thinking and in the 1950's gave land away to all of his workers. They now hire help to keep their cows, help make their cheese, and run the farm, still big but not the original 250,000 acres.

The next Hacienda Cusin is also a hotel, but we did not enjoy it a such as Zuleta.  It was originally owned by the church and sold to several families until it came to the current owner. In the 1990's, they built a monestery which they use for catered events.

We went to lunch at the third hacienda. Like the others, the gardens are amazing. Hacienda Pinsaqui which was first constructed in 1790. It was originally a textile workshop, employing 1000 local weavers and spinners. Fabrics woven here were exported to the U.S. In the late 1800's. Now it is a beautiful full service hotel and restaurant.

The fourth hacienda was different. It is now a rose plantation, roses are a huge export business. Hacienda La Compania de Jesus has been the the same family for over 300 years. It has hundreds of green houses since it is on the equates and too hot to grow roses outside.

The house was built 100 years ago in a French neoclassical style. The ceilings, floors, wallpaper, rugs and furniture are original from when the manor was built.