Tag Archives: festival

Painting in Joshua Tree

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Twice a year, the Joshua Tree Music Festival happens in the desert of Southern California making up the Mojave and Colorado desert. Its stunning, the size of Rhode Island and one of my places to gather to meet other artists, listen to international music and get to know more about Joshua Tree.

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This is my third festival with them. This year I decided to be apart of the Art Auction where 21 artists get together to do live painting throughout the festival. At the end, the pieces are put on display for a silent art auction where half the proceeds go to the music education fund in Joshua Tree. Its an amazing way to engage artists and the community. I love that the festival puts such value on the visual arts.

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This year I decided to listen to some music and enjoy the festival before I immediately started painting. Last festival I had to paint an 8 foot by 6 foot piece so I was a bit more stressed out. This year it was 2 1/2 feet by 2 1/2 feet and I could carry it with me wherever I wanted. There was shade, thank goodness and I could actually listen to all the live music and I met a lot of people because they would enjoy the progress of my piece throughout the festival.

   

Here are some process shots of how I painted the murals. Of course the background first, then slowly deciding where I wanted to put people and the parts of the festival. I walked around with my board for this part and just sketching in front of what I was painting. This was one of my favorite parts because people were super intrigued with this process. This also came with sticky notes so I could play with the composition and make sure I had room for the entire festival and all the things that made it so special.

I spent most of my time shaded in the “Bowl” that included 3 musical stages and performances from 10am-11:30 pm with artists rotating almost every 1.5 hours. I listened to almost every set of music that was played. Quality music and painting combined made for a dreamy weekend. Below you can also see the silent art auction and how they set it up for us on the sunny Sunday morning of the festival. People could go around and write on the clip board how much they wanted to bid. I was a little nervous!


   

I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of people seeing my artwork before its done, let alone when it’s just in the planning stage and many people ask if it’s done. That is why I like the festival, to push myself and get out of my comfort zone of a studio or a blank wall inside alone. Music, friends, food, art, and workshops this festival was a great way to connect with the community and introduce art at the same time.

 

My absolute favorite part of the weekend was getting to interact with people who were speaking about my painting, and then I was able to paint them into my piece. I loved the children getting excited about their cartoon character coming to life. My painting was a hit with children as the same children would sneak back to my painting about once an hour to make sure they were still in the painting. They were so engaged and it was incredible to make them feel included and excited about something creative.

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In particular one girl, Chloe stood out to me as she was more than an admirer, she was an assistant. This beautiful 6-year-old gave me advice about what things she wanted to see in the festival, composition, and she even got to paint a little of it with me. I appreciated her excitement and loyalty to the piece. She helped me out, and I enjoyed the company. Her family, all featured in the piece, ended up purchasing the piece through the auction and I could not be happier about it. Pretty special and it was a great experience.

  

Until next festival, Joshua Tree, hope to see you all in May!

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Port Angeles, Sequim, Port Townsend and Beyond!

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We arrived from the black ball ferry mid day into port Angeles from victoria that took about one hour and 36 minutes on the ferry. Again, epic as we passed through the islands and through the US border and into the tiny cozy town of port Angeles. Home of the Olympic and Hoh national rainforest it is where many people get their start before their trek into the forest.

   

  

We arrived in town and wanted to play a show so we asked a bar owner we met on the ferry if we could play at his bar. Two hour later we were on stage praise on the sidewalk and then later elevated on a second story stage that looked down upon the bar. At the bar called “next door” we met a man who let us crash at his place less than a mile from downtown and the venue we were playing around. So many nice people along the way! Yipppeee! The outdoor sidewalk concert quickly turned into a full on elevated stage venue inside and we played a couple hours on this stage that was on the second story looking down onto the bar. A pretty amazing venue.

We slept in the lawn of a friend and played music around the bonfire!

Next we traveled next to port Townsend and along the way we passed by squirm which is where my great aunt lives!

 

This part of the tour was super super super important to me. After my mother passed in 2007 I started using my mothers last name as my artist name. Molly Aigner turned Molly Keen for my art and inspiration. I sign my paintings M. Keen and my mother has been with me through all my journeys and paintings. So meeting another Keen was amazing. She is a painter herself and signs her paintings M. Keen as well! What a blessing and amazing thing to have in common. We spoke of family and I heard stories I never had before.

 

I gave her a last minute call to see if he could have lunch or coffee and she agreed! Met me within ten minutes at the Mexican restaurant down from her home. What a gift! Her name is Marion keen and he is an artist and painter as well. He was married to my grandfathers brother, Stan. What a beautiful reunion it was!

Marion let me know that she has a son and family in port Townsend so I grabbed the number of drew. The next morning after we camped at a clearing in the fleet and made a lovely fire. We stopped for gas at a gas station and sure enough there came Pamela and Drew running to our group of cyclists and asking “Which one of you is Molly?”. They had found our group and the reunion was beautiful. The last time I saw them was apparently when I was only a couple of months old and I was in their wedding. They are Keen’s as well! I loved meeting them and getting to know them. I invited Pamela to our show and she came for the whole set with chocolate and gifts included! She was so sweet to connect with and just retired from working for the library for 25+years! What a treat it was to be able to get to know her!

The show was set on the water at a park and we had a great turn out. After the show we rode another 5 miles to a friends house where we slept in the front yard. It was a great place to stay for the night and we were all super tired!

 

 

The next day we were in route to Seattle! We rode a different way from Port Townsend to the Edmonds ferry! I was able to ride early enough to get dinner with my family and enjoy seattle! More to come on the Seattle shows that I have helped book and put together. It is going to be an amazing weekend! Stay tuned.

International Festival de Peliculas Fiesta

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It was 10 pm, the night was sticky and hot with a soft breeze that was swaying in and out. The outdoor movie was dancing in the wind as the screen moved around.”The bicycle thief” was the movie in Italian, translated into Spanish subtitles. The International Film Festival was in full swing as we drank beers while watching the film for free.

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Honestly, the movie was horrible. The experience was priceless. After the five of us walked 15 minutes from the old historical town to the media luna district which was roaring with energy. We found ourselves at the plaza again as street vendors and artisans were humming about.

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Suddenly, a car pulls up and starts playing music from subs in the trunk of the car. My friend Karine from Australian starts feeling the music. So much that he starts to go Napoleon Dynamite and dances by himself holding up traffic. A circle starts to appear around him and the rest is history. Thank goodness I have this on film! I couldn’t help myself I just couldn’t believe that he was dancing like he was!20130223-173447.jpgAnother wonderful end to the gorgeous day in Cartagena. I don’t think I could be more in love with the people and this city.