Tag Archives: adventure

Welcome to the “Flying Colors Mural Project”

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The Flying Colors Mural Project tour is in full swing! I arrived at my first leg and the first mural in Barcelona and will start painting this week at Primavera Bed and Breakfast!

I’ve been working on this project for some time now and it was inspired by my experience painting murals in South America. I wanted to create a project that was interactive, mural based and community centered. I want to share this project with you as it is near and dear to me.

Mission:

The Flying Colors Mural Project seeks to create murals with youth and adult to create a more approachable, collaborative, and interactive connection where the focus is on the development of creative and personal skills through painting, hands-on workshops, and community gatherings. 

History:

Created in 2017, the project began after lead Artist, Molly Keen, spent two years painting over 28 murals throughout Cartagena, Colombia, Palomino Colombia, Salento Colombia, Tena Ecuador, Cabanaconde Peru, Puerto Maldanado Peru, Sucre Bolivia, Puerto Madryn Argentina, Punta Arenas Chile, Puerto Madryn Argentina, Chicen Itza Mexico, and San Qintin Mexico. 

Keen quickly saw the impact of female street artists throughout Latin America who were inspirational to their country and the world. She quickly realized the lack of attention and focus on these female artists and encouragement of women to start painting at a larger scale. Women such as Colombian Street Artists Gleo, Zurik, Bastardilla and Ledania as well as Argentinan Muralista Fio Silva represented art and activism creating a remarkable memory in the creative mind of Keen. They created works that were large in size and importance in content.

Goal:

With the project, Keen seeks to utilize her skills as an art mentor to past summer camps, vision as a creative independent artist to show that anyone can paint and even more, we can do it together. The long-term goal of the tour is that it will start in Europe and circle back to Oakland in May where throughout the summer community murals will take places at family camps of festivals, youth summer camps, schools, and various locations.  

The project seeks to unlock the spirit of one’s creativity to experience the world in a way that develops color, new ways to live, and a creative way to self-express.

The tour will start on January 17th in Barcelona and head to Lagos Portugal, Porto Portugal, Dubrovnik Croatia, Germany, and the Netherlands totaling over 3.5 months and 6-7 murals.

In Conclusion…

My blog “Painting Molly”  is over 6 years old now, can you believe that? I have designed it for you to get a closer and more intimate, behind the scenes look, into the mural-making process and travel adventuring. Traveling can sound romantic and intangible but the reality is that it is hard, requires an incredible amount of energy and the ability to leave your home and get outside of your comfort zone.

Traveling has become a dream for me and I am full of excitement to be able to share this experience here, with you!

Oh, and if you know of cities, towns or locations in need of a  mural within the route in Europe, feel free to reach out! Also, a special thank you to Chris Gallen who recently helped me to create my new logo! What do you think? Thank you, Chris, for this incredible gift! You can click on his name for a link to his website. Amazing!

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Bellingham to Vancouver

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We made it to Canada! Check out the above photo of the 4 bands with a burning man sculpture that was used 20 years ago and is pedaled by solar energy! Canada was epic and we are so happy to be traveling now around the islands and B.C. We love this place!

  

What a beautiful ride we had to get into Canda! Crossing the border from United States to Canada was a breeze, we had to ride on the I-5 to cross but it was relatively easy. We only had 33 miles to ride this day, so we swam, took lots of breaks (as we always do) and arrived to Vancouver to the house of Adley’s brother, Chris. Chris let us stay in his back yard and was so gracious with his home. There are now 16 of us, three more joined us in Canada. Craig, our drummer, Dara an amazing writer and experienced cyclist that took a group across the U.S. with a theatre group the Agile Rascals and then Mega, who juggles, sings and dances. She has ridden with the crew before in previous bike tours.

  

We stayed a total of 4 nights and played a gig at the Vancouver Art Gallery in conjunction with eatArt that helped us with the burning man sculpture. We had a beer garden and a dance floor. There was also tricycle bikes they brought that people could test ride that we pretty amazing.

    
It was an incredible show as we played on the steps of the gorgeous gallery.

   

The show was incredible. I was pulling people from the street with my stilts and our sound was incredible. It was a sunny and beautiful day. It was great to relax and take time in one city. Vancouver is gorgeous right on the water and at the edge of huge mountains and glorious hiking. I was so excited to get to know the area and to get to celebrate Canada day! July 1st, they celebrate the joining of three colonies, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Providence of  Canada into a single dominion within the British Empire. This all happened on July 1, 1867 .

  
We are in good high spirits and excited to continue the tour, meeting beautiful people and playing a lot of music. Have you gotten a chance to hear all the musicians on tour with us yet?

Check out the links below!

West Coast Bike Tour Day 1! Seattle to Muckeltio

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Imagine 12 people, 8 cargo bicycles, 4 normal bicycles, riding along the road with gear being carried completely by human power. We are talking about 2 powered speakers, 4 microphone stands, tons of cables, a mixing board, drum kit, a bass guitar, tons of percussion instruments, 3 guitars, 1-18″ subwoofer, a pair of stilts, merchandise and juggling balls! This is a list of gear we are carrying for our shows! In addition we also have our camping gear and bicycle load as well! It gets pretty ridiculous! The Biketopia music festival bicycle tour has begun!

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I met 11 of my friends and cyclists at the king street station in Seattle who all rode a 24 hour train from Oakland. We rode to my beautiful friends house Heather, who lives with her son, Luka and dog, Pepper. They have a stunning home in Ballard and she was gracious enough to let twelve people and 7 tents up in her front and side yard. It was incredible. We were so thankful to have her for our first night together, she helped us out way more than just a place to stay. She was our road side helper and let us borrow her car and did everything she could to support us. We don’t know what we would of done without her!

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The night was wonderful, everyone was super tired from the train and had a great sleep. In the morning we ran errands, had some meetings and interviews with venues and radio stations for our July tour dates in Seattle. This tour is going to be amazing.

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We left riding our first time together north at 5pm! There is a saying that we have in the biking community that the first three days of the bike tour is called the “The Three Day Hump!”. This means lots of problems on the road, getting to know your bicycle better and learning how to strap it and carry the large loads.

It was a late start, but thank goodness summer is here because sub set this day at 9:30 pm! We rode to Mukilteo about 25 miles and actually the police stopped us and asked us if we needed help. They offered us a place to stay, 92nd park just a mile from the ferry. Thank goodness for that because there were 10 tents!

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That night, the rain started! First it was just sprinkles but then more and more! The night was dreamy with frogs croaking and the raindrops playfully falling from the tents. It was a great first night on the road. I am feeling so thankful for my friends, my cargo bicycle and my community. It is a really special group!

Biketopia Music Festival Summer 2016

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This summer I am apart of an amazing group of 18+ humans that will be taking part in a beautiful project called the Biketopia Music Festival by the Pleasant Revolution! This 2016 summer, we’re touring the pacific northwest from Vancouver to the bay – twenty of us, musicians, dancers, clowns, jugglers, on bikes.

The Pleasant Revolution

For the past three years we have been organizing bike tours from California through Mexico.  On these tours we have carried all our musical equipment on bikes, but wherever we played, we had to rely on electricity.  This year, we hope to abolish our dependence on external energy sources by purchasing a pedal-powered sound system from the good people of Rock the Bike, a Bay Area based small business who’s been working for years to develop a sound system which runs completely off of kinetic energy generated by people riding bikes.

Purchasing a sound system from Rock the Bike not only supports their ingenuity and innovation, it also allows us to share our message in the most authentic way possible.  Your donation will aid in supplementing the cost of our two month bike tour; this includes cargo bikes, touring gear, musical equipment, food, camping and ferry fees.

Bike touring, and performing with a pedal powered sound system is 100%  community effort.  Not only are we learning to live through alternative means, we are also realizing the power of a group of passionate people joining together to accomplish magnanimous feats.  Every donation counts, even a small amount will get us one pedal closer to our goal.  Please follow us, share our story with your friends and loved ones, and let us know what you think!

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The cyclists:

Molly, Carolyn, Adley, Nikki, Kristina, Nate, Maisha, Heather, Omar, Finn, Matt, Mega, Robyn, Robin, Seairra and more!
Within the Pleasant Revolution there are a number of potential musical acts that could play depending on venue etc. which include but are not limited to:

1. Bicicletas por la Paz or “bikes for peace” which is a band I’ve played and toured with from Oakland to Mexico in 2015. They are a Latin circus funk band that has songs in Spanish and English.

2. Heather Normandale is a singer-songwriter, performer, independent music producer and music teacher. She studied music via anthropology, doing an ethnography of curandera music in Ecuador, interviewing street musicians in Quito, and then taking off on her own busking adventure through Europe with a team of musicians charging their amps with bike powered sound systems. Connecting with our deeper nature and the nature around us has been a constant theme in her activism to protect and preserve the wildness within and around us. Her most recent CD delves into the theme of water exploring the space between our earthy, aqueous nature and the subconscious. “Trembling Water” plays with our many connections to water, alluding to the creative process and our mirror like connection to nature. Her lyrics are rich and emotive, poetic and thoughtful. Rolling rhythms of finger picking on the banjo, mandolin or guitar drive the melody and message of the songs.
3. Kristina Bennett
4. Maeisha
Here is  a look at some of our shows coming up! We hope you can join us!

June 25th – Biketopia Music Fest, Bellingham, Washington – location TBD, for more info check Facebook event here.

June 26 – Boundary Bay Brewery, Bellingham, Washington – 12 – 3pm,  for more details visit the event page.

July 2nd – Biketopia Music Festival  at Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada –  3-7pm with bike ride to follow. For more details visit event page.

July 5th –Biketopia Music Festival at Salt Spring Island Farmer’s Market – in Centennial Park,  Salt Spring Island, BC,  12-5pm.   For more details visit event page.

July 8th –Biketopia Music Festival in Centennial Square,Victoria, Canada. 6-10pm. — for more details visit event page.

July 12 –Biketopia Music Festival in Pope Marine Park, Port Townsend, WA.  3-7pm

July 15 – Peddler Brewing Co. in Seattle, WA  at 7pm for an outside bike music festival. For more info see event pagewww.peddlerbrewing.com

July 16– Biketopia Music Festival at BikeWorks Seattke, WA–  3-7pm with bike ride to follow. More details coming soon.

July 17 – Outlander Brewery and Pub in Seattle, WA. 

July 19 – Biketopia Music Fest at Artesian Commons, Olympia, WA. From 5-9pm – for more information visit event page.

July 30 –Biketopia Music Fest, Portland, OR

More TBD

2 Days 190 miles – Portland Maine to Townshend, Vermont

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Back on the road again, and this time solo.

First I wanted to see what it was like to ride alone, and second I wanted to visit my friend, Tyler who I originally took the train to the East Coast with.

The plan: Ride 2 days to ride to West Townshend, Vermont from Portland, Maine to see Meadow Bee Farm where Tyler and friends were working and staying.

       

The first day I cycled 100 miles to a town outside of Manchester, New Hampshire to a warm shower host, Art and Sarah who welcomed me at the end of the bike trail. They gave me a bed and a wonderful comforter and a beer and in the morning catered to my every need and made me fruit and yogurt and PB&J snacks for the road. I felt like a daughter it was beautiful! They had a wonderful garden and two lovely dogs and a great home.

   
  

The ride was intense as it was my first trip riding 100 miles and the last 15 miles was on dirt road with tons of large rocks and roots exposed. I had some difficult time with my google maps biking directions that took me into strangers back yard, sand roads that are impossible to bike on, and large up rill dirt roads that were ridiculous and absurd to take a touring bike on. Part of me thinks that the directions are for mountain biking and not road touring.

  

   

I was fortunate enough to learn about the history of my mothers side of the family from my grandfather Bruce. He told me that in the early 1600’s that my family was located in Maine in what is now called Saco its just south or Portland. I couldn’t believe it was on my way so I took some time to get a coffee and enjoy the town. Unfortunately most of the information in the historical libraries only dated back to 1750’s so I wasn’t able to find information on the Libby’s, who owned a market in town. Pretty amazing history and special for me to visit the town.

  

The next day I was up early and headed to Goffstown and road a good 90 miles to Brattleboro, Vermont where I met Tyler and we swam in the lake and headed to the Farmers market where we met all the Farm friends! I got to see the farm and then we headed to Chabot at a friend bakery “Earth, Sky and Time” where we sang beautiful songs and had a potluck. More about the farm soon, just wanted to send a update about my riding solo time! What a beautiful life this is!

   
    

Incan Mural of Peru

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The Mural: Nazca inspired wall, located outside of the hostel.

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Where: Cabanaconde, Peru. Located about 3-4 hours from Arequipa in the Incan Valley.

Length of time: This piece took me about three days to make. I painted all day long, the wall was smaller than a lot of the previous walls I had created. I enjoyed the scale, and it was outside.

Accommodation: Free room (private) and breakfast, lunch and dinner as well. Amazing pizza and vegetarian food – salads galore!

What I learned: This piece was the second one I created in the Canyon. A stunning canyon at that. I enjoyed the location so much I did not mind to continue to paint. After my first mural there, Auywaska, I knew I had to stay longer.

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Below is the Hostel owner Louy and I. He is a Peruvian man with an incredible talent for playing guitar, speaking multiple languages and with people. I am honored to call him my friend and cannot wait for the day I will meet see him again!

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The Canyon was incredible. I also wanted to feature a bit about Arequpia, the closest city. It is located a couple hours from Cabanaconde and is the only place where I could find paint to buy for the mural. It is in the mountains and was such an impressive city.

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Baños, Ecuador

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Mountains covered in layers of green, rivers freely flowing in and out of the town, and steep hikes with striking views of the active Tungurahua volcano. The Ecuadorian town is situated in the middle of playful mountains which makes for perfect adventures. Zip lining, canyoning, bridge jumping, paragliding, horse back riding, and more. It’s a quiet town with 4 baths similar to thermals with waterfalls flowing into them. You will never get bored in this town as the night life is just as fun, I even found my first Indian Pale Ale beer in all my 5 months of travel!

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I went on many hikes including one that was 3 hours straight up stairs and the side of a mountain. It was worth the work as we heard the rumble of the volcano, a louder boise similar to your stomach rumbling, and packed with enormous energy.

Once at the top we were greeted with a tree house, swing, and incredible 360 view of the surrounding mountains and directly in front was the gorgeous Mt. Tungurahua herself. The noises that came from that mountain scared me!

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As we were hiking back down at night (make sure to bring head lamps) we heard the rumbling noises get louder. Immediately following, the volcano began spewing hot neon red, yellow and magenta lava high up into the air and low below, spilling over the sides of the mountain. It was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen. The volcano has been active for 14 years and apparently it is rare to see because of the clouds. However it does happen enough where the people of Baños are not worried. Spectacular!

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The next day I went canyoning through 5 different waterfalls. Cliffs that drop off 100 feet into canyons filled with sprinkling waterfalls covered in rusty orange deposits and deep green moss. We scaled down the falls with wet suits, helmets and harnesses. Repelling down the cliffs was dream like. At one point I looked up 30 feet to the spraying water bolting down rock and looked down 70 feet to the water crashing into the pebbles below. The whole trip was 4 hours long, and $20.00 USD a person, with pictures included. It was worth every penny!

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The town is known for its “Baños” which in Spanish means baths, or bathroom. The baths are $2.00-3.00 USD depending on daytime or nighttime. My experience with the baths were not what I thought it would be. It was definitely worth it to see, but they were so dirty. Brown water, people like sardines stacked in a pool. I saw more than 2 children peeing as the parents held them above the water as they were doing it! If you are interested in going to thermals, hot springs, or baths I would recommend either going at 6am or go to the thermals 1.5 hours away from Quito. They are called Papallacta where there are 6 hot bright blue hot spring baths next to a river and it was so much more relaxing and worth it. The price for those baths were more, $7.00 USD and was much more worth the trip. The bus ride from Quito was $1.50 USD.

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My hostel, Princesa Maria was only $7.00 USD a night for a dorm and $8.00 USD a night for a private per person. The staff was so friendly and ultimately why I stayed a week long.

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There is a market in town where they serve delicious food and the best juices!

Baños is a must visit city in Ecuador. It’s along the way to Peru on the main highway.

From Quito to Banos you an take a 4-6 hour bus ride (depending on night or daytime) which costs $4.00 USD. The terminal in Quito is about 1.5 hours without traffic from the Maniscal and downtown of Quito. It’s only $.25 USD on bus but can get over crowded. I would recommend taking a taxi for $10.00 – 15.00 USD as it only takes 45 minutes. Once in banos the terminal is in the center of town.

If you are coming from Guayaquil it’s about a 7 hour bus ride, and around $7.00 USD in price. It’s best to take a night bus as its fast and easy